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Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the one-sided-applause dept.

The Internet 209

theodp writes "The press has been filled with wide-eyed articles about how Obama's tech team pulled out the stops in their race against the Republicans. But as exciting as some of the new techniques dreamed up may be, Tom Steinberg points out it's important to reflect on the difference between choosing to use tech skills to win a particular fight, versus trying to improve the workings of the democratic system, or helping people to self-organize and take some control of their own lives. 'I am still filled with an excitement about the prospects for non-partisan technologies that I can't muster for even the coolest uses of randomized control trial-driven political messaging,' writes Steinberg. 'The reason why all comes down to the fact that major partisan digital campaigns change the world, but they don't do it in the way that services like eBay, TripAdvisor and Match.com do. What all these sites have in common – helping people sell stuff they own, find a hotel, or a life partner – is that they represent a positive change in the lives of millions of people that is not directly opposed by a counter-shift.'"

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WTF is this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087077)

I'd say it was a slashvertisement but the summary is practically incomprehensible.

Re:WTF is this? (5, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087223)

That's because it's just a Libertarian or Republican anti-Obama Won because of tech argument. It's not even a question for Slashdot, but rather a Troll post to see how much flame or non-flame will be generated. From my position, since my job is in survey research, I'm happy that Obama's team has figured out how to poll the Youth and Young Adult groups. Those groups have always been hard, but because of trends over the last 10 years its become a big blind spot in research. Complaining that Obama won because they figured out how to measure 18-30 year old better is foolish.

Re:WTF is this? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087343)

Actually, I took it as "if they can use tech to divide us, why can't they use tech to unite us?"
 
Some government websites are plainly painful to try to find information on. Most early alert systems for weather, disaster and Amber alerts are second rate stuff that would have never gotten out of Zuckerberg's dorm room. Why shouldn't we expect better from our elected officials? Where is the transparency we've heard so much about?
 
You keep beating the drum of the one party system... I want something better. Not more of the same. Your partisan rant isn't going to change my mind on that.

Re:WTF is this? (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087627)

It's a horribly corporatist troll. Commercial tech is nothing but good, because it makes people's lives better "without opposition". Political tech is bad because there's opposition, or because it doesn't fix everything. What a load of CXO worshipping propaganda.

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087889)

Capitalism is the best. It's free enterprise. Barter. Gimbels, if I get really rank with the clerk, 'Well I don't like this', how I can resolve it? If it really gets ridiculous, I go, 'Frig it, man, I walk.' What can this guy do at Gimbels, even if he was the president of Gimbels? He can always reject me from that store, but I can always go to Macy's. He can't really hurt me. Communism is like one big phone company. Government control, man. And if I get too rank with that phone company, where can I go? I'll end up like a schmuck with a Dixie cup on a thread.

-LENNY BRUCE

Re:WTF is this? (1)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087989)

Well, so far political tech HAS only been used in opposition...

For instance, why doesn't Congress have a giant monitor wall telling them how much money they have to spend and what each bill will cost in a simple pie chart when they make their voting decision? If they need money for something they should be able to remove money from one pie piece and see what past bills will be impacted by the new one. Every change in spending will have a clear cost and funding source link.

The whole point of computers is to help manage these minute details, but so far it's been about how to win votes.

Re:WTF is this? (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087859)

I think you're right about the framing ("partisan" bad "commecial" good mmkayyyy). It assumes blindly that party politics are only about politicians and not about the issues the party fights for.

However I do think there is a legitimate point to be had here. Putting aside the issue of corruption for the moment, that is. We can microtarget political constituancies for the purposes of GOTV (who's enthusiastic, what buttons to push), but somehow we fail in assesing the will of the public (who thinks what, and how well they've thought that opinion through) to the extent that we have some sets of laws that almost nobody wants. Hell we can't even run elections competently in many areas.

Still can't believe Obama won (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087087)

Offer everyone all the entitlements you can possibly give them, when they cannot be afforded. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns. I feel like moving to Canada, except for Canada is more liberal than the US. I need a foreign country that is more conservative than the US to move to. Or I think I might buy an island. Is the Isle of Man for sale? If there's a cave, I'd call it the Man Cave. If it had bats, I'd call it the Bat Cave! And Since it was my own country, the copyright or trademark trolls could all just contact my justice department. Which would be me.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087131)

As Black Bush once said "Mars, bitches"

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087263)

Here in the civilised world we laugh at the pitiful entitlements that you give your poor, while shaking our heads in disgust at the short-sighted greed of your rich. The "entitlements" that exist in the US, even under "communist" Obama, are laughably small.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087297)

I need a foreign country that is more conservative than the US to move to.

I believe Afghanistan is like that. Iran as well. East Germany was as well. Be careful what you wish for.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (0, Troll)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087361)

I need a foreign country that is more conservative than the US to move to.

I believe Afghanistan is like that. Iran as well. East Germany was as well. Be careful what you wish for.

I get the impression that the grandparent poster was looking for a 'renfaire reactionary' conservative country to move to: ie. one that has lots of squalid peasants; but where he gets to be a nobleman...

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087867)

East Germany?

You know, I understand that history can be a bit bewildering at times, but it is generally agreed upon that Communist regimes are left- rather than right-leaning. Probably not a place for a conservative of any stripe.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088011)

Hey, don't get in the way of blink political hate...

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087497)

Iran works pretty well, but you might not like their social programs.

How about saudi arabia?

don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087643)

Offer every rich one all the entitlements you can possibly give them, when they cannot be afforded. Talk about RMoney fiddling while the US burns.

Of course you can't find a more "Conservative" country to move to. Except maybe Somalia - oh, wait, too Black for Republicans.

Thanks for playing through your entire post, demonstrating how Republican parrots like you live entirely in a fantasy world. Where each of you is a dictator.

Re:Still can't believe Obama won (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087651)

I need a foreign country that is more conservative than the US to move to.

Somalia? Saudi Arabia? Send us a postcard and tell us how you like your new digs.

What Amazing Techniques? (3)

PocketPick (798123) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087117)

I'm confused - What "exciting new techniques" did the candidates came up with? Using Twitter? Writing a blog? Campaigns and PACs soliciting donations or informing people of important dates through text messages, phone calls, emails or applications on phones?

Wow - What an age we live in...if you ignore that the underpinnings of these technologies have been around for years if not decades.

All they did was leverage what was there to spam everyone and rake in money for advertisements, travel, staff expenses and otherwise. The tools may be relatively new, but the "technique" is a century old.

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (4, Interesting)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087195)

I'm confused - What "exciting new techniques" did the candidates came up with?

Massive data analysis and machine learning (I pressume some form of data clustering/unsupervised learning system) combined with the use of behavioral scientists. It's never been done before in this manner AAAAAND in this context. If that doesn't qualify as exciting new techniques, then ${DEITY:-FSM} help you.

I know that in slashdot trying to sound l33t hax0r is the avant garde thing to do, but c'mon.

In other news, hybrid and electric cars are not exciting new technologies because the gear was known to the Greeks around the 3rd century BC, and the wheel was invented around 5,000 BC.

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087205)

In short, they used data mining to tailor messages to the specific recipients. For example, if you're a thirty five year old white woman who attends church (but only a few times a year) then it might be that even though you're nominally pro choice that's not an effective campaign strategy with you. Instead, appeals to a sense of economic justice or fair play might work better. So what the Obama campaign in particular would do is call and talk to you about tax policy and not mention abortion at all, knowing that you're just as likely to be turned off by a strong pro choice defense.

So the question posed by the story is whether this is good for the country. After all, in the above case, it's not like Obama's politics are actually any different. He's just making them seem different by selectively sharing only certain parts of his campaign. And everyone gets a subtly different message.

Personally, I think that anyone who didn't have a pretty good idea of where all the candidates stood on all the major issues doesn't get to complain. Maybe this is a little sleazy, but so is politics in its entirety.

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087519)

So It's like when Lincoln tailored his speeches by region, but with a phone and on the individual level?

cool use of tech.

Re: What Amazing Techniques? (1)

scumdamn (82357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087903)

This is not what the campaign did. This is simple micro targeting. The campaign A/B tested appeals to voters, focused on GOTV, bought their ads intelligently (targeting tv shows their demographic watched, etc. They made sophisticated use of the Web and built many of their tools in-house.

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087641)

using the massive amount of personal information they can dig up on people through google, and other online tracking schemes to personally pitch their political advertisement, bordlining on custom misinformation to get people even slightly receptive to their causes to come out for the dems at all costs, by figuring out how to pitch information better. Thus taking away their ability to respond in a non-partisan fasion.

Tell me, is any of this campaign software Free/Open Source?, available to the public, for public good.

Or is it the private disinformation system used to further build a partisan army, with people from microsoft, google, and other large tech companies that have otherwise been bankrolling/buy favors with the democratic party.

Does this really help "democracy", were we debate opinions, and vote our concencious, or is it an enforcement tool, to empower a single party that reminds us every time that its a private invite only club, were we are all invited to help out, but not invited to participate in policy or leaership.

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087935)

...the "technique" is a century old.

More like several millennia...

Re:What Amazing Techniques? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088221)

Regardless of how "new" or "advanced" the tech was, what each candidate did was a good example of how they lead and how they manage people. If you can't manage your campaign effectively then how can you be trusted with the country? The successes or failures of either side exposed elements of their management style and core philosophies in ways that some sales pitch never can.

The tech of the campaigns are a reflection of what they really believe and how they put that into action. It is deeds as opposed to whatever lie they think will win them more popularity.

The original troll just wants to distract us from the fact that the so-called captain of industry was actually nothing of the sort. The failures of the GOP IT initiative are the failures of big corporate management laid bare.

Metamarketing is the new form of marketing (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087125)

Hyping marketing campaigns (of which political campaigns are a subset) has become more and more common. It's like the actual product doesn't matter anymore.

Re:Metamarketing is the new form of marketing (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087525)

It's like the actual product doesn't matter anymore.

Our city council had a very bitter election this year, but I could determine nothing about the candidates' positions from their campaign literature. But then I noticed the flyers from the public employee unions were only attacking one of them, so I voted for her. So we cannot judge candidates by what they say, but we can judge them by their enemies.

Re:Metamarketing is the new form of marketing (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087647)

So you blindly voted for whatever crook was opposed by the people who actually work in your local government. You've proved Republicans don't need their disintegrating party: you only care about what you imagine are liberals.

Re:Metamarketing is the new form of marketing (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087891)

Would you still be as condemning if he'd voted for her? You should.

Got news for you (0, Flamebait)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087129)

supporting the Democratic party IS trying to improve the workings of the democratic system.

The only people that support the Republicans are all the dumb libertarians that believe corporations should rule the world.

Governments that represent the public interests should rule the world, not corporations that represent private interests.

Re:Got news for you (0)

jasmusic (786052) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087147)

You're a communist. Just say it.

Re:Got news for you (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087657)

OK: You're a communist.

And an idiot.

Re:Got news for you (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087689)

your just as stupid as he is.

Re:Got news for you (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087161)

The only people that support the Republicans are all the dumb libertarians that believe corporations should rule the world.

That's not entirely fair: there's also the religious conservatives who believe that the government should run your private life!

Re:Got news for you (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087371)

But are there any religious libertarians who believe that the government should outsource the running of your private life to churches?

Re:Got news for you (2)

dumcob (2595259) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087267)

What if neither is optimal? Maybe decision making at the highest levels shouldn't involve people at all. However poorly skynet ends up performing, can't be worse than what we currently see in both government and corporations.

Re:Got news for you (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087701)

Optimal decision making about everyone's life is not graded on the content of the decision as much as on its acceptance by everyone. That's why democracy is the best system yet tried: it depends on the consent of the governed.

Re: Got news for you (0, Troll)

WebCowboy (196209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087281)

So everyone who disagrees with your politics is dumb and the best way to support democracy is to have everyone fall in line and vote for the same party. That is some hot savoury troll food you are serving up there.

Maybe you should talk to some people fortunate enough to have been able to leave homelands that prescribe to such philosophies. See how places like Venezuela or Cuba or China or Libya serve their citizens under that kind of democracy that you advocate.

Re: Got news for you (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087407)

. See how places like Venezuela or Cuba or China or Libya serve their citizens under that kind of democracy that you advocate.

LOL you've never actually talked with anyone from any of those countries, have you?

Re: Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087739)

I've never talked to anyone from East Germany.

But I know East Germany was a hell hole and people were literally dying trying to get out.

But then I never talked to any of them so I must be full of shit.

Dumbass.

Re: Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087533)

Not from my perspective, blinded by bias or voting without understanding the polices that the republicans stand for, yes, but not stupid at least not always stupid. The polices he advocates although not always ones I agree with lie within those used by the the rest of the developed world, regulated capitalism with government support for the needy. The fact that you compare theme to communism is a demonstration of how you have been blinded both by ideological arguments and black and white thinking. Just because someone likes polices that push them towards the left does not mean they want to strip you of your freedoms in that pursuit, the same also applies to the right wing, if the democrats are communists then the republicans are neo-natzi cristo-fascists and at least for now neither are that extreme.

The republican polices reduce government power in favour of not individuals but large corporations, and also push for the enshrinement and enforcement of religious values in the state. If/when they change those stances then voting for them will no longer be antidemocratic, alternatively with their current trajectory they are going to become unelectable even in Texas. At this point the democrats will, for lack of an outside opponent to unify them, split and you go back to having more than one rational choice rather than the current situation, were you don't.

Re: Got news for you (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087695)

No, they said nothing about everyone who disagrees with their politics. Nor did they say that single-party rule is best. Yours is the savory troll food known as a strawman argument.

What they said was that of the two parties we actually have, the Democratic Party does things to improve democracy. The Republican Party is blatantly anti-democratic, whether in funding by (and for) a few of the richest people, or in stopping people from voting if they're probably not voting Republican.

In reality, what they said is true. In Republican fallacyland, you're still just a savory troll.

Re: Got news for you (1)

molnarcs (675885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087715)

So everyone who disagrees with your politics is dumb and the best way to support democracy is to have everyone fall in line and vote for the same party. That is some hot savoury troll food you are serving up there.

Maybe you should talk to some people fortunate enough to have been able to leave homelands that prescribe to such philosophies. See how places like Venezuela or Cuba or China or Libya serve their citizens under that kind of democracy that you advocate.

How the hell did you come up with that idea? How does the parent advocate Cuba, China or Lybia "kind of democracy." He said "governments that represent the public interest should rule the world." Sounds a bit pompous, yeah, but he's right. Dictatorships never represent the public interest.

Re:Got news for you (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087293)

Yeah, one party rule works great EVERYWHERE it's tried. The Soviets thought they were righteously correct too.

The Democrats in 2008 scared the hell out of me. They were spouting things like "we will rule for a generation". They scared everyone else too, when you look at what happened in 2010.

And as for libertarians, they happen to be the only poeple to have enough principle to be pissed about Bush's torture AND Obama's drone executions.

Re:Got news for you (2, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087383)

And as for libertarians, they happen to be the only poeple to have enough principle to be pissed about Bush's torture AND Obama's drone executions.

Yet, all the stupid Libertarians go apeshit about Obamacare, which was designed to cut back the 45,000 deaths annually due to lack of health insurance.

Sorry, but 45,000 American lives saved > Pakistani drone executions.

We liberals consider the drones to be the least important thing ever, because we worry about the 45,000 American lives due to lack of health insurance, which for some reason the libertarians ignore, probably because they can't process death that isn't scary.

We liberals only consider numbers, unlike the emotional libertarians that can't rationalize their beliefs.

Re:Got news for you (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087559)

"Obamacare", you mean when everyone is forced to buy insurance because if we all buy it, the companies should theoretically lower rates.(Supply side economics).

But its here to help people.

But if you really take the time to criticize it, its pointed out that its really an old republican plan from the 1990s.(which it is).

If your not going to vote third party stay home.(Rocky Anderson, Jill Stien, ftw).

Re:Got news for you (1)

phpsocialclub (575460) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088059)

Everyone is forced to buy insurance because everyone eventually needs health insurance.

The alternative is to deny care to those who can not prepay for their emergency care.

Forcing people to buy insurance is a free market solution.

Supply side economics is something completely different and not really related.

Re:Got news for you (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087561)

Obamacare, which was designed to cut back the 45,000 deaths annually due to lack of health insurance.

If all government programs did what they were designed to do, the world would be a perfect place.

Re:Got news for you (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087717)

Obamacare has already insured many more people [google.com] , as it was designed to do.

Now show me where Obamacare has not done what it was designed to do. Or just stop posting purely ideological made-up propaganda.

Re:Got news for you (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087847)

Your search results are interesting. So there will be more insured, but it is looking like there won't be enough doctors to treat them.

Re:Got news for you (2, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088007)

Your proof is a USA Today opinion piece? Yes, 3.6 million people more had insurance - great for them. But the overall insured percent went from 83.7% to 84.3%. That's what we can expect? 0.6%? For laws that have effectively removed almost any limit on what the Federal government can and cannot tell you what to do, for billions of dollars spent, and for literally destroying private practice medicine, that's what we get?

Re:Got news for you (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087569)

As a libertarian, and someone who can do something called math, and who understands at a moderate level this thing called economics, I can assure you that libertarians are in the right for having issues with obamacare. Answer this honestly, how is it going to improve health care? Making insurance mandatory, according to basics of economics means you've increased demand for insurance, and by making it required by law, created a very, very inelastic supply curve. According to economics 101, the only thing that can happen is that prices will sky rocket.

Then throw in the whole concept of health insurance. I'm pretty sure it's meant to cover extremely expensive, yet fairly unlikely disasters. Car accidents, house burning down, etc. I don't expect my car insurance to pay for regular maintenance for my car such as oil changes or putting gas in it. That's just adding an unneeded middle man which will do nothing but increase the price without need. Why not pay for maintenance straight up? Then rather then employer offered health insurance, that gets changed to employer offered health account, used to directly pay for care, doesn't go through middle men, and keeps everything cheaper. But NO. Libertarians are idiots for identifying that the real problem with our system is that everything is covered through insurance, rather than in any sane way everything else is handled. Leave health insurance for catastrophic care, and pay for basic care the same way you would for everything else in life.

You will undoubtedly counter that all health care should be run by government, well now all health care workers are government employees, now you're heading down the path of communism, and history has already told us how well that works.

Re:Got news for you (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087795)

Because Obamacare does a lot more than just insure more people. Though for those newly insured, it has improved their healthcare by funding what couldn't be bought before, already proving you wrong.

Obamacare also requires insurers provide contraception for the price of insurance premiums, which is preventive medicine that reduces costs due to unexpected pregnancies and STDs.

You're pretty sure that health insurance is meant to cover only catastrophes, but it's not. It's to cover spikes in health care costs that come from occasional expensive events. It's just like car collision insurance: it's a financing strategy that allows people to keep moving through life in a way they can afford, based on statistics. In fact car insurance should pay for routine maintenance that prevents catastrophic costs like engines seizing or bald tires skidding into something.

The financing costs money to operate, plus salaries and profits to motivate people to dedicate the time it requires to do it properly. Though not as much as the insurers charge (up to 20% of premiums, even under Obamacare). What every one of our foreign competitors has chosen over the past several generations is a public health insurance system like unemployment insurance, which we already have for a lot of Americans in either Medicare, Medicaid, VA insurance and some others.

In fact you have called for public health insurance in what you have detailed. Except for some reason you want an "employer offered health account". Why should the employer have anything whatsoever to do with health? Why should an employer even know when you have drawn on payments for medicine? Why should you have to move it when you change employers? Why should employers spend one minute administering health financing when their business is totally unrelated? Obviously that "account" should be Medicare/Medicaid/VA insurance, paid by taxes, administered without profit by the government that already does so very well for many millions of Americans.

What's wrong with you libertarians is that you cannot accept that government is the people joined together to protect ourselves, at a great scale economy. You're obsessed with authoritarian private corporations that demonstrate daily the vast waste they layer atop most widespread services, especially those that are equally available to all. You reduce actual life experiences demonstrated everywhere to inane sloganeering like "heading down the path of communism, and history has already told us how well that works". No, you have merely cherrypicked history and called things names without regard to their meaning.

There's more to economics than economics 101. There's more to reality than the libertarian mayor of Sim City bothers to carp about.

Re:Got news for you (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087915)

You actually sounded very lucid and correct until that last paragraph where you displayed your staggering ignorance about universal healthcare. Obamacare just furthers the agenda of crony capitalism (which is the only type of capitalism that ever has or ever CAN arise). A true UHC would put all aspects of healthcare back in the hands of the people who are getting that care, as evidenced by every civilized nation in the world with UHC that is vastly popular with said nation's citizenry.

Re:Got news for you (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087401)

The Democrats in 2008 scared the hell out of me. They were spouting things like "we will rule for a generation". They scared everyone else too, when you look at what happened in 2010.

Where they actually that different from the "permanent Republican majority" fantasists who they swept out of office in 2008? Hubristic interpretation of immediate political gains as portents of inevitable future victory is foolish; but seems extremely common.

Re:Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087679)

I think most people with a brain would agree, complete rule by any single party is asking for disaster.

Re:Got news for you (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087823)

I think most people with a brain would agree, complete rule by any single party is asking for disaster.

Oh, I'm no friend of one-party rule; but my impression has been that the contemporary crowing from both democratic and republican sides on the subject has been shallow, vapid, and largely meaningless in relation to any serious risk of 'one party rule' in the sense practiced in places named "The people's democratic republic of somethingorother"... The republicans had Rove's oleaginous dreams of a 'permanent majority', which dissolved in the cruel face of reality about as fast as PNAC's theories of a Pax Americana in the middle east. The democrats had their optimism about getting turnout that doesn't suck from demographics that don't usually vote, which lasted a mere couple of years until the 2010 midterms. Then the tea party wing had their moment of optimism, because of the congressional upsets in 2010, which has since been evaporating in the face of Obama's re-election. And so the wheel grinds on.

Re:Got news for you (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087995)

Sure, but that sets up a false dichotomy where we only have the choice between the mostly sane party and the primary batshit-crazy opposition. In reality, a period of "one party rule" while a new opposition party forms that is not batshit crazy would not be that awful, especially given that our primary system allows us to hold elections within that party.

Re:Got news for you (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087787)

I completely agree, the pendulum swings both ways.

Re:Got news for you (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087585)

Not really. There are many libertarians that have said views, but I'd not say that the Libertarian party embraces them. If anything, the problem the libertarians have is that they aren't in any way unified. There's a variety of people that vote libertarian: There's the freedom worshippers, that wouldn't even allow the state to set immigration laws. But in front of them are nativists, that hate immigrants. Some would leave a minimal army, and dismantle the rest of the state. Others would allow the state to do anything to foreign nationals to protect the freedom of US citizens. Unsurprisingly, when libertarians meet to come up with a program, they end up being unable to agree on much.

So to grow, they need a clear message, and to get a clear message, they will piss off a good chunk of their membership: Not a bad thing though, as being mostly a collection of white males will be as bad for their election choices as it will be for the Republicans.

Either way, no political party really stands against the torture and the executions. People do (like me, for instance), but this wars are won by public opinion, not by following a schizophrenic party.

Re:Got news for you (2)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088103)

That's because Libertarians are about personal choice and freedom and everybody has different personal levels of importance... Not just what their leaders tell them to care about.

Re:Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087613)

The Democrats in 2008 scared the hell out of me.

Did the Republicans in 2004 scare the hell out of you? Bush won re-election even with the voters blaming him for Iraq, and the GOP swept both houses of Congress.

Re:Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087431)

Yes, because "the public interest" is easily determined and agreed upon by everyone, and when governments try and achieve something by making laws there are never any unexpected side effects. That's what makes your plan so brilliantly simple.

Gerv

Re:Got news for you (2, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087543)

if you seriously think that our government or any government the democratic party would reasonbly instate represents public intrest, you gotta be shitting me.

The democratic party is just as corporate sponsored as the republican party, if only exceptions being to make government a private non-corporate entity that responds of a few with connections instead of money.

Where were they on SOPA and PIPA?

What about with monsanto's little debacle?

I am sure its "public intrest" where they completely ignored there campaign promises to stop the world wide war on civil liberties with the stated goal of fighting terrorism, and scale back domestic spying and unconstitutional policing.

By "popular intrest" you mean worship to whatever celebrities who normally tell people what products they should buy told them, so a few leaders can sit around paying $20 for drinks and not face consequences of insane social mores.

Or mabey you still believe in privlidege for a stated upper class.

Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087983)

There is no longer any point in trying to communicate across the Republicrat - Democain divide, or the conservative - liberal divide (however you choose to view it). No communication is occurring, because the two live in completely different reality tunnels. Not even the words shouted back and forth mean the same thing to the different sides.

We are not the same country, nor the same people, though we exist amongst each other. All that is left now is to either break apart peacefully into separate nations, or (by far more likely) for one or both sides to begin exterminating the other via death camps and wood chippers.

Re:Got news for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087813)

Is that why obama bailed out the car industry/banks?

Re:Got news for you (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087959)

Nobody should rule the rule world. The public is very reactionary and fickle, or have we completely forgotten the 30s...

PLEASE MOD PARENT DOWN (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088049)

I'm not a big fan of downmoderation, but the parent is a blatant (and successful) troll. It should not be modded +5 Insightful.

Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (2)

DarthVaderDave (978825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087139)

But all of the sites he mentioned are not in the business to "help" anyone. They're all in it to make money. The difference is that the Democratic party used the internet in a way that didn't involve Money. Now that's a neat trick!! I wonder if by next election someone will have thought of a way to make a business out of "getting out the vote" over the net.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087177)

If you think money wasn't involved in either of the campaigns you need to have your eyes checked.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087311)

You really think the campaign didn't involve money??

It's all about money.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (1, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087455)

It's all about money

The GOP and super-pacs spent about 3x as much per vote as the democrats. I am sure the analysis of how the money was spent would be fascinating. I would love to know why the GOP effort was so inefficient. My guess is that there is a crisis of leadership. After-all Reince Priebus is still the RNC chairman, and he clearly had no idea what was about to happen before the election.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087741)

go with the simple answer: romney was a shitty candidate and the gop had a shitty platform. spending 3x still didn't make the turd sandwich look appealing. giant douche 2012!!!

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087761)

If you were to hand craft a candidate that would be impotent in arguing against Obama, you couldn't do much better than Romney.

That was the problem.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087819)

It's a crisis of governance. Republicans are committed to terrible ideas about how to govern the country. The ideas that they executed for years with trifecta control of the US government, and perpetuated in years after by minority interference with goverment action to reform what they installed.

I hope that Priebus and the Republican Party stays committed to them. They belong on the dustheap of history, along with so much American greatness they destroyed.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087409)

Nails it.

Re:Well, he can be as excited as he wants.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087421)

But all of the sites he mentioned are not in the business to "help" anyone.
They're all in it to make money.

The problem is not so much that they are in it to make money(indeed, it is rather convenient if somebody can do well by doing good, since they might actually continue to do so). The problem is that, particularly in Ebay's case, 'doing well' and 'doing good' are somewhat divergent objectives and the former has been steadily gaining ground on the latter for years now.

Technology is non partisan (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087143)

Its a matter of who manages to leverage it to their advantage that makes a difference. At one point, the GOP and Karl Rove were ahead of the Democrats at using databases and software to rally support and gerrymander voting districts. But it appears that they have run out of steam.

One wonders why the Republicans haven't been the ones pushing publicly funded broadband. They are missing quite a bit of their base out in the trailer parks.

Re:Technology is non partisan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087403)

One wonders why the Republicans haven't been the ones pushing publicly funded broadband. They are missing quite a bit of their base out in the trailer parks.

These [trailerparkboys.org] might just take exception to your slanted views about the political leanings of our kind up here in Canada. Finding the time between hockey games to vote is now not an issue so the Conservatives up here are safe for a while at least ;-)

Re:Technology is non partisan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087425)

If you think the Republican base is out in the trailer parks then you haven't been to many trailer parks or you are in denial. The majority of poor people and people without a diploma vote Democrat.

Re:Technology is non partisan (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087885)

You're wrong, just like a Republican bigot. Poor Black people tend to live in cities; trailer parks have more poor White people. In 2012, in reality (not in the Republican fantasy bubble), Democrats had only a two point advantage among Whites [people-press.org] making 17 points (ie. R:58% / D:41%).

It's thinking like yours that doomed Republicans to win a landslide only in your imaginations.

Re:Technology is non partisan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42088177)

You are 100% wrong. Poor white (and some non-white) voters in the South, regardless of education, almost unilaterally vote R. This is pretty common knowledge, as is the fact that there is an obvious parallel between education and voting D. I grew up in the South, and lived there for quite some time. In 2008 in my hometown there were roving squads of rednecks who would vandalize any cars that had Obama stickers on them, from slashing the tires to smashing the windshields, real asshole stuff. Not sure about 2012, as I'm away from my hometown now, but I'm sure it was just as chaotic.

Re:Technology is non partisan (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087829)

Republicans oppose publicly funded broadband because Republicans are funded by a few very rich people whose corporations would lose some of their monopoly money to the public competition.

Capitalists will sell the rope used to hang them.

Re:Technology is non partisan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42088209)

But the very rich (fiscal conservatives) are too small a minority to be politically viable. That's why they have to make a deal with the devil, so to speak, and form a coalition with social conservatives. So its in their interest to throw them a few crumbs and wire broadband out to where the white trash lives.

And you know that if someone pitched the idea of publicly funded broadband, odds are that it would be provided by subsidies to the (private) telecoms.

Re:Technology is non partisan (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088113)

One wonders why the Republicans haven't been the ones pushing publicly funded broadband. They are missing quite a bit of their base out in the trailer parks.

There's the obvious disconnect between alleged cause and alleged effort. Why should publicly funded broadband be politically useful to the Republicans, even if it did help people who were more Republican than Democrat (which I might add is a dubious proposition on its own)? Why should someone who is bitterly complaining about taxes and such, be happy because someone throws them modestly cheaper broadband as a sop?

Instead this sounds like more of the idiocy from people who can't be bothered to understand the positions and beliefs of people who don't share their ideological preferences.

Re:Technology is non partisan (3, Interesting)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088169)

At one point, the GOP and Karl Rove were ahead of the Democrats at using databases and software to rally support and gerrymander voting districts. But it appears that they have run out of steam.

You do realize that the Republican majority in the House is due to gerrymandering? The machine still did them some good. It shouldn't be a surprise that Pennsylvania is one of the worst offenders WRT this, after all that's the same state where a new voter ID law was enacted which the republican majority leader famously described with the words "[enact a law that] will allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done!"

I was thinking along the same lines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087167)

Here in the US, the press has been fawning all over Michael Phelps, the gymnastics "Fab Five" and other athletes who won medals at the Olympics. But at the end of the day, they were just covering themselves with glory. These folks weren't affirming the life-changing power of playing video games like CoD Zombies, which I have had the foresight of integrating into my lifestyle along with fellow visionaires.

Oh yeah, so how about an unconventional party? (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087247)

I suppose that the non-partisan in this story is used in the traditional sense, where there are only 2 parties, Ds vs Rs. How about the non-partisan software that supports ideas of Ls? I do mean libertarian ideas and actually even anarchist ones?

I spent a few hours learning about Bitcoin protocol and came up with an idea of using Bitcoins to vote in an elections. Then I typed this into a search engine: "Bitcoin based elections" and voila, as it often happens there were already hundreds or more pages on this topic. Apparently it is too obvious of a step for many people who looked at this currency system, to start thinking about elections being recorded in the same manner.

So what would the Ds and Rs do when confronted with a third party (or non-party) solutions to existing problems? Maybe distributed information systems and software will actually end up solving the 'two party' problem and actually the very problem of the centralized government itself? Why have centralized government of any type in the world where people can handle information dissemination and currency exchange and payments not only without any central planning but actually by directly designing solutions and systems to go around such controls?

TOR, any form of encrypted file exchange (darknets), torrents, Wiki pages and Wiki leaks, mobile platforms, decentralized currencies, banking and investment. Is central government really that important for people who don't see a role for it in currency any longer?

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It's Called Competence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087279)

The real story is that the Romney team didn't have the tiniest shred of competence. They proved themselves overly secretive (bordering on paranoid) and so arrogant that they didn't think standard practices in software development and delivery applied to their "special" campaign.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/11/romneys-fail-whale-orca-the-votetracker-149098.html [politico.com]

America really dodged a bullet not getting stuck with this kind of leadership.

Re:It's Called Competence (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087603)

The real story is that the Romney team didn't have the tiniest shred of competence. They proved themselves overly secretive (bordering on paranoid) and so arrogant that they didn't think standard practices in software development and delivery applied to their "special" campaign.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/11/romneys-fail-whale-orca-the-votetracker-149098.html [politico.com]

America really dodged a bullet not getting stuck with this kind of leadership.

Frankly, any allegedly 'small government republicans' also dodged a bullet: Not only was ORCA a total clusterfuck from an IT nerd perspective, its premise fundamentally involved replacing the traditional, decentralized, somewhat-ideosyncratic-but-built-on-local-institutions-and-people-and-pretty-resilient, get out the vote mechanism with a shiny, centralized, technocratic "Solution" run from Romney HQ. As it turned out, the system didn't even work correctly; but (even if it had) it was basically founded on the same organizational model as assorted much-beloathed federal agencies that attempt to provide centralized management of things like education and whatnot.

Advertizing versus propaganda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087285)

What is the difference?

Re:Advertizing versus propaganda? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087433)

What is the difference [between advertising and propaganda]?

One is up front about trying to sell you something.

The BEST election tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087319)

St. Lucie county in Floida reported a 141% turnout, refused to recount, and refused to release a voter role (as is generally done after an election) to list who showed up to voted. The local offical who would answer such questions failed to do so and went on "vacation" and can no longer be contacted.

Thats the best voter tech, when you can get over 100% turn out for your guy the other doesn't stand a chance. Lets also not mention Philly where there was consistantly 99% turnout without a single of those votes going for Mitt.

Yea, they made Bill Daily's old "election techniques" outdated. Who needs dead people to vote when you can just put in whatever number you want to now?

Re:The BEST election tech (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087645)

3 seconds of googling confirmed that turnout in St. Lucie county was about 70%. Did you fact check this before you posted it?

It's all about good management... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087417)

From day one, neither campaigns are at an advantage. It's about managing a group (a campaign team) that will run like clockwork.

They gather people together to educate the population and help increase the number of voters (obviously they target their audience). BOTH PARTIES used tech, BOTH PARTIES used databases to hone in on their target audience, BOTH PARTIES used tech to coordinate their campaign efforts. Romney's team simply sucked. Obama always does an excellent job of taking advantage of the technology available to bring people together and manage a large group. Honestly, I want a president that can do this. It's a good trait. ;) Especially for, I don't know, the President of the United States.

Romney's team became known for using ORCA. It was a failure. This should have raised flags quickly and have been fixed (or replaced early on). It wasn't. Romney's team was mismanaged from the start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORCA_%28computer_system%29

Dood, Look Out the Window... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42087437)

"What all these sites have in common – helping people sell stuff they own, find a hotel, or a life partner – is that they represent a positive change in the lives of millions of people that is not directly opposed by a counter-shift. " Really - eBay is all about "helping people"? Can you tell me what color the sky is on your planet? Oh, and in the system that eBay is ever-so-helpful in, "counter-shift" is called "competition." And eBay will do whatever it can to shut that counter-shift down. Count on it.

What a way to frame the argument (1)

deanklear (2529024) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087683)

The idea that technology can be partisan is evidence that your side is relying on something besides science. Get with the program, or don't. Either way, we all win.

The last sentence (1)

biodata (1981610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42087895)

is complete rubbish. The corresponding negative counter-shift is the huge loss of individuals' privacy and the centralising of even more power in even fewer corporations.

Of course it is (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42088031)

Anything that moves the tech forward is worthwhile.

NASA developed a lot of tech specifically to get us to the moon, and along the way everyone else (who isn't going to the moon) gets to benefit from the advances. [discovery.com]

This is like that. The goal was to get Obama elected. But the breakthroughs are something that everyone else can benefit from now that they're here.

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