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Examining Presidential Candidates' Tech Agendas

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the searching-for-a-better-president-to-noise-ratio dept.

United States 274

Aaron Ricadela writes to mention that BusinessWeek is taking a look at the tech agendas for several presidential candidates. The amount of attention being paid to Silicon Valley especially is unprecedented with the computer industry citing contributions of $2.2 million up from just $1.2 million in the first six months of the 2004 and 2000 primary campaigns. "So even while the general election is likely to be dominated by the war in Iraq, the continued threat of terrorism, and economic issues, candidates have staked out early positions on topics dear to the tech industry, including increasing federal spending on research and development, allowing more highly educated foreign workers into the country, widening the availability of high-speed Internet service to create new markets for hardware and online services, and improving the state of U.S. math and science education."

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274 comments

H1-B (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672171)

allowing more highly educated foreign workers into the country
I guess Aaron Ricadela has no problem with the industry bulking up with people who are accustomed to earning under $1USD per day in their home country.

Re:H1-B (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672361)

It's all a part of the plan [globalresearch.ca] described by Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa. The globalization of poverty puts less money in the pockets of the 'have-nots' and more money in the pockets of the 'haves'. It's all about the rich getting richer at your expense and mine.

Re:H1-B (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672373)

Get a clue, and cut it out with the rampant unsubstantiated FUD.

As a Canadian I know many former colleagues who are now working in the US on H1B's, and know even more who have returned to Canada (for one reason or another) after working in the US for years in the same capacity. I also know a great number of work visa immigrants in my home country that I work closely with every single day.

All are highly educated individuals who are very capable in their work, and amongst the elite in their home countries. None come from sweatshop environments, in both the literal and metaphorical senses. All were very well paid in their home countries and enjoyed a quality of life similar to what we enjoy here.

All of the Canadian H1B's that went to the States that I know were brought in because of their unique skillsets, not because their salary demands were low. When they were hired their salaries were on par with their American colleagues, and none ever felt that they were there as cheap labour, as opposed to highly skilled additions to the company.

America is built upon these people, and thanks to you and your xenophobic brethren, it is being threatened. The hostility towards Muslims, minorities, and generally anyone out to "steal your job" is making the US plummet on the list of desirable places to move to. The vast majority of my colleagues who went to the USA have since returned, as economic conditions at home improve, and social conditions in your country worsen. Your great nation was built upon the importation of top-notch talent from around the world - Bohr, Einstein, all were immigrants. The openness and inclusiveness of America was what made it a shining beacon for the top people in the world to gather, and your little lighthouse has fallen into ill repair thanks to attitudes like yours.

Expect more inclusive countries to overtake yours soon - countries that embraces importing talent from overseas to strengthen themselves, instead being morbidly afraid of it.

Re:H1-B (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672511)

Expect more inclusive countries to overtake yours soon - countries that embraces importing talent from overseas to strengthen themselves, instead being morbidly afraid of it.


Like which countries? Any Western European one? Har, har, har. Japan? Guffaw... China? You've got to be kidding. I actually don't know of any country which really embraces importing talent from overseas. No, not even Canada.

I don't think too many Americans are upset over Canadian H1B or NAFTA visa workers. It's workers from third-world countries who are perceived to be the problem. Personally I'd rather they be working here than in their home country; if they're working here they have expenses more similar to mine, and therefore will not settle for nearly as low a salary as they would if they were working as outsourced talent in their home country.

Re:H1-B (1, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672893)

You have to translate all of that out of Washingtonian-double-talk back into Southern-Dixiecrat-cum-Republican talk. So, for instance, "The American worker must be protected from cheaper imported labor" actually means (and say this in a good Foghorn Leghorn voice) "We here don't want none of those funny brown-skinned peckers with odd last names coming here and takin' any of our lazy-ass good ol' boys jobs they ain't never gonna work at anyways."

Get a clue yourself (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672633)

Canadian H1-B holders comprise a tiny fraction of the H1-B's issued. The big Indian outsourcing companies (Wipro, et. al.) grabbed about HALF of the available H1-B visas this year. And that doesn't comprise all of H1-B's that go to India. China is next on the list. Canada is hardly noticable.

In otherwords, the OP was speaking about MOST H1-B's.

All of the presidential candidates are trying to take us back to the dot-com bust as fast as possible, with the exception of Edwards. If you'll recall, it was in the years 2001-2003 that Congress increased the H1-B limit from the standard 65,000 to 115,000, for each of those years.

In fact, the reason why this is such a hot topic this year is because the visa's issued in 2001 are expiring this year. This is what you don't hear in the media. And the tech companies know very well that they have absolutely no chance of getting the Visa limit increased in a major election year.

So, if you want to relive the dot-com bust years, vote for Clinton or Obama. Edwards seems like the only one who isn't pwned by the high-tech lobby, and actually gives a damn for the average U.S. citizen.

Re:Get a clue yourself (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672875)

I can't attest to the conditions of foreign (i.e. non-NAFTA) H1B's, since I obviously don't work in the States, but keep in mind that Canada is one of the most immigrant-heavy countries in the world. Wet let a huge number of people into this country every year based on their skillsets, and yet the industry in Canada is not suffering from rampant undercutting by immigrants.

If America is indeed having a problem of immigrants severely screwing the industry by undercutting wages, then I propose that there is a problem with your system, not the concept of talent import.

Re:H1-B (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672861)

Slashdot is filled with whiny crybabies. These folks can write a Java program and for that they don't think they should have to compete with people the world over. Ignore these idiots.

fine, if you want it that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672901)

The hostility towards Muslims, minorities, and generally anyone out to "steal your job" is making the US plummet on the list of desirable places to move to

Good. We're full anyway. Stay where you are. No need to come over here so don't ask anymore.

Re:H1-B (3, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672937)

The openness and inclusiveness of America was what made it a shining beacon for the top people in the world to gather, and your little lighthouse has fallen into ill repair thanks to attitudes like yours.

Oddly enough, I tend to think you have it backwards. Because our workers' political and economic lighthouse has gotten into such ill repair (real wage loss, especially when computed with non-core inflation; loss of social safety net; loss of political power for common people; etc.), a backlash against someone should hardly be unexpected. It is a shame that we always find the alien at fault rather than the corporate and political leaders who actually allowed this to happen, but when you see your own potential for economic advancement being washed away, you're not going to feel too happy about sharing what little you have with others.

Re:H1-B (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673091)

When they were hired their salaries were on par with their American colleagues, and none ever felt that they were there as cheap labour, as opposed to highly skilled additions to the company.

Have you considered that they were depressing wages because the additional supply of labor drove down what they were being paid?

Your great nation was built upon the importation of top-notch talent from around the world - Bohr, Einstein, all were immigrants.

Not to mention Tesla.

H1Bs aren't about bringing the best and brightest. They're about increasing the supply of educated labor to drive down prices.

Einstein, Bohr, Tesla, et all were not brought here on "Worker" visas.

LK

Re:H1-B (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672407)

My thoughts exactly.

Even though H1-Bs are supposed to be paid 'market rate', the net result is that bringing them into the country depresses market rates.

Good for business, bad for workers.

Re:H1-B (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672701)

Good for customers (lower prices), good for the H1-B workers themselves, good for their families when they send money home, good for their home economies, good for US managers who have a larger staff to oversee, good for technology development when new things get developed, good for US taxpayers since the H1-B workers are paying US income tax instead of performing the same service virtually by offshoring development...

Re:H1-B (2, Insightful)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672471)

allowing more highly educated foreign workers into the country
I guess Aaron Ricadela has no problem with the industry bulking up with people who are accustomed to earning under $1USD per day in their home country.
Personally, I don't have an issue with someone coming to the US that was accustomed to earning under $1/day. But they should play by the same rules, and not the "do what we say or you'll be deported" semi-slavery we have now. If someone is willing to do the same work under the same conditions and terms for less money than me, then I should be finding something better to do.

After all, if the US didn't believe in getting the best scientist from other countries, Germany would have had the atom bomb first and Nasa would have been set back years.

Election? Here's how I vote. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672179)





I'll vote for the candidate that vows to lock up all the niggers.



NOT appropriate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672261)

I'll vote for the candidate that vows to lock up all the niggers.


You don't need to lock them up. I just want the technology to get them to shut up in a movie theater.

And don't go telling me that Obama is black, either. He's about as back as a piece of toilet paper. Before its been used, of course.



Re:Election? Here's how I vote. (1)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672289)

I'm no law expert, but I don't believe Bill Clinton [cjcj.org] is eligible to run for a third term. But it's not like you can tell who's black and who isn't sitting at your computer, now is it?

Re:Election? Here's how I vote. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672421)

But it's not like you can tell who's black and who isn't sitting at your computer, now is it?

 
Sure you can. Most stupid posts are made my blacks. And also posts about watermelons, stupid or otherwise.

Looks Like Ron Paul is Your Boy Then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672461)

Good ol' texan boy

priorities? (2, Insightful)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672181)

I for one would be more than happy to give up my Internet connexion so Iraqis/Haitians/everyone else can have some food on their table. Are any candidates actually addressing Human Needs?

Re:priorities? (0, Flamebait)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672205)

Voters don't care about "Human Needs".

Re:priorities? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672287)

A large subset do, they're called Liberals. They only matter in the Democratic primary though.

Re:priorities? (2, Insightful)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672365)

I haven't heard any Democratic Party candidates talk about ending The War. I've heard them talk about moving it to Afghanistan and Pakistan, "Fighting the Right Fight" and all that. I haven't heard them talking about housing, food, public transport, or seriously talking about health care either.

Human Need doesn't mean shit to the Democratic Party candidates.

Re:priorities? (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672451)

Offtopic? How is this post offtopic? TFA is about presdiential candidates, right?

Mod parent up!!! Meta-mods: Mod that moderation unfair if you see it!

There is only one candidate -- from either party -- talking about ending The War, and that's Ron Paul. I care as much about he's a Republican as I care about Hillary being a Democrat. I don't vote on party lines, I vote on the issues.

Democrat candidate talks about Health Care (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672523)

I haven't heard any Democratic Party candidates talk about... ...seriously talking about health care either.

I've certainly heard one, and she stated that she wants to enforce mandatory health insurance as a prerequisite to be permitted to get a job. That's totally nuts!

How fitting that the captcha I had to type in to post this is "tyranny".

Re:priorities? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672819)

Liberals!=Democrats. Liberals are a proper subset of democrats- we vote democratic because they're closer to us than republicans. But the vast majority of democratic candidates just give lip service to liberal ideals, sort of like how repuiblicans give lip service to fiscal responsibility to keep that base around. Since we'll vote for the democrat anyway, after the primaries they just ignore us.

Re:priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672325)

I for one would be more than happy to give up my Internet connexion so Iraqis/Haitians/everyone else can have some food on their table. Are any candidates actually addressing Human Needs?
I think you nailed it. The one bottleneck for world hunger apparently was just your Internet connection. Who would have thought?

Re:priorities? (5, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672343)

Go ahead and give up your internet connection and donate the money to whatever cause you like. That's an admirable notion and I don't think there's any candidate that would try to stop you.

It's a completely different story if you want to force someone else (via the government) to make sacrifices to fund the cause of your choice.

Re:priorities? (1)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672455)

I don't want to force anyone to do anything, but I think there are many others like me who think we should be addressing food before the Internet. The Internet and problems too and I want them fixed, but there is no public discussion about Real Problems, and the presidential candidates are more than happy to keep it that way. Candidates should be forcing anyone to give money to anybody, but the Real Problems certainly deserve more attention than they currently receive.

Re:priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672817)

You act like it is an either/or proposition. Money to fund social projects like this come directly out of the abundance of wealth produced by American labor. Without our technology, our collective productivity goes down as does our wealth. When Americans wealth goes down, international charity suffers. If your concern were really bettering the rest of the world, you would want technology in America to be improved.

Re:priorities? (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673073)

If the candidates response to the Jena 6 is any indication,
no, there are no candidates stepping up to address human needs
in America, let alone globally.

Hmmm.... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672195)

She also plans to provide incentives for women and minorities to enter math-, science-, and engineering-related fields by making diversity a requirement for federal education and research grants.

Not that such a thing would ever be meaningfully implemented anyway, but I can't imagine the second half of that *helping* research.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Insightful)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672241)

My thoughts exactly. I want the smartest man for the job doing research, not someone who was selected because of their race or sex.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Insightful)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672651)

My thoughts exactly. I want the smartest man for the job doing research, not someone who was selected because of their race or sex.
Not to go overly PC, but considering the context of the comment, you should want the smartest person for the job.

shut the fuck up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672825)

really, why post a lame comment like that? been snipped long?

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672617)

Not that such a thing would ever be meaningfully implemented anyway
The worst part is, even if there's no meaningful implementation of their plan, there exists the very real possibility that whatever they do will be implemented poorly. And I cringe whenever I hear about creating diversity just for diversity's sake.

Some of you may have caught this Wall Street Journal article [opinionjournal.com] talking about a study (PDF) [usccr.gov] which looked at the drop out rates of minority law school students. Long story short, affirmative action didn't do those students any favors, it actually hurt them by putting them into an academic environment they were not going to succeed in.

At least in law school, the only person losing out is the student. If you pull in unqualified researchers just to meet some diversity quota, there is a real possibility that science is going to suffer.

P.S. I know all the arguments for and against 'diversity', I just think it's worth looking at the potential fallout before requiring it.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672997)

Instead of affirmative action, I think we can all agree that the present system is much superior, where the non-merit seats go to the children of the richest alumni.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Insightful)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672757)

Not that such a thing would ever be meaningfully implemented anyway, but I can't imagine the second half of that *helping* research.

It's not supposed to help research. It's supposed to help women and minorities.

Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672203)

Gets twisted to mean "Corporate Tech Industry" instead of mere "Tech Industry" when money is involved. More H-1b visas only helps those hiring techies, it depresses the wages of the techies themselves, for instance. And of course, they look towards more closed source options as well- you don't see any of this money trying to provide policy for alternative energy or open source projects.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672253)

More H-1b visas only helps those hiring techies, it depresses the wages of the techies themselves, for instance.
 
This is what I thought too. I did some digging but come up with a single study that supports this assertion. Are you aware of any?

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672389)

Only Norm Matloff's work and the Programmer's Guild's own internal surveys, which I assume you've already found since those are the two most popular sources, and only one of them is a formal study.

The second, if you're not familiar with it, was a secret on-site survey done at several workplaces by techies who are working with H-1b visa holders, and it showed a $12,000/year salary difference ($6000/year if you discount by the fact that the business has to spend a lot of money to get an H-1b to begin with, but the difference in cost is obvious).

The actual effect on wages is somewhat discounted by the current caps in place, of course (65,000 regular H-1bs, 144,000 exempt from cap H-1bs, is a very small percentage of the total American workforce, and that's across all skills. Second after techies is nurses.).

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672487)

I haven't really seen all the stuff from Matloff. So thanks for that, I'll read through it.
 
I've read arguments both ways on the issue and I would just love to see some solid work that might give some objective proof one way or the other.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672665)

Objective proof is something that is rather elusive in economics- since economics is usually based on some implicit axioms that may or may not be true, it's hard to be objective about such things.

In fact, I think the cheap labor movement comes down to a single pair of completely irreconcilable beliefs about labor. The first is the supply/demand theory of wages, in which whenever you raise the supply of something the price MUST go down, thus increasing the amount of labor available will depress wages. The second belief is the skills/efficiency belief, in which cheap labor merely frees up money for more expensive labor to go elsewhere, and skills are always in demand regardless of supply. These two axioms are diametrically opposed- those who believe one are implicitly denying the other.

I'm not sure which is true myself, but for any given skill that has become a commodity, as technical engineering and computer programming has, I tend towards the supply/demand theory- that a skill can only demand a wage that fits the supply of that skill in the marketplace, thus increasing the size of the marketplace will increase the supply of that skill and drive real wages down. Skills this doesn't apply to are rare enough skills not to be commodities YET- but given 6.5 billion human beings and limitations on human ability, I personally think we could commoditize just about any skill you can name- including C-level executives.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672669)

There are lots of anecdotal results that H1Bs are the problem, and lots of not-so-anecdotal results that that something is wrong with tech wages (eg, compare skilled salaries to the recent spike in unskilled labor wages and the wailing from most sectors about record low unemployment forcing them to have to pay more for labor).

The problem is that there's little to show that H1B's are what's wrong with tech wages (as opposed to outsourcing. Or that there is a shortage of potential employees in all fields except the tech ones. Or a dozen other reasons), and probably very little that can be done to prove it either way. Thus, tinfoil hattedness abounds.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (2, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672415)

The law of supply and demand.

If supply increases then so does demand as the buyers have more bargaining power to select those with the lowest price. In other words if the quantity is more limited then techs can demand more in salary as they have the bargaining power. But artificially changing the supply has the same adverse effect with the wages as if you dont do x for y wage then this Indian will. Take it or leave it?

I wonder if we had h1b1 employers to help us bring some more foreign firms to hire to artificial increase the demand if these politicians would feel the same?

Its not the governments job to change teh supply and demand curve of markets.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (1)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672773)

Right -- but the supply is present no matter what. If there are no H1-B visas then a lot of programmers who would be here on H1-Bs are going to be doing the same work, but doing it from Banglore rather than Burlingame.

The programmers exist no matter what and location isn't --that-- important. It's important, but not enough to eliminate the supply of offshore programmers.

The choice is to have H1-Bs in the US--paying income tax, being supervised by US managers, and subject to US labor laws--or to let them work offshore. If they stay offshore then they don't pay US tax and don't generate US management jobs.

Globalization of the technology economy is a fact, just like continental drift. It's an overwhelmingly positive thing for workers in developing countries (to get paid in hard currency for "clean" non-industrial work is a god-send) and generally positive here (new products, services, and goods at lower prices). All we can do is to try to do it on terms that are favorable to as many as possible. Allowing the labor to come here means that we get to set the terms of the labor. I'll take that deal any day of the week.

I'm open to new argument, but that's how I see it now.

Re:Funny how "Tech Industry Issues" (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673109)

You know, I hate to be anal, but continental drift is NOT a fact. It's a theory. And there are quite a few people who disagree with it.

And yet again... (4, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672225)

...Ron Paul gets ignored by the media.

Re:And yet again... (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672321)

...Ron Paul gets ignored by the media.
Probably because Ron Paul's tech agenda is called the Free Market, which "Business Week" really has no interest in.

Re:And yet again... (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672781)

Probably because Ron Paul's tech agenda is called the Free Market,
I'm sorry, despite all the wonderful positions Ron Paul has... his foreign policy is a mess.
Withdraw from NAFTA, the WTO, the UN, NATO, and to top it off, stop foreign aid.
There's no doubt doing those things will affect his free market policies.

It's really not a credible position to take, unless you want to disrupt foreign economies, which will in turn disrupt the U.S. economy.

What do you think will happen to the "free market" when Russia & China move into the power vaccuum left by a U.S. retreat? Markets will close, resources will get diverted, the dollar will drop, etc etc etc.

Isolationism is not possible in the global economy.
You want an example? Try North Korea.
And even the DPRK isn't 100% isolated.

Re:And yet again... (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673013)

He's not an isolationist, he's a non-interventionist:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolationism [wikipedia.org]

"Not to be confused with the non-interventionist philosophy and foreign policy of the libertarian world view, which espouses unrestricted free trade and freedom of travel for individuals to all countries."

As for the rest of your fear mongering prattle, he is for free trade - just not the corporate welfare protectionist trade like NAFTA represents.

And no, when your country is $9 trillion in the hole and $50 trillion of entitlements is looming on the not-too-far away horizon, foreign entitlements (foreign aid) should not be the first priority. Besides, I bet a lot of countries can do without us sending foreign aid (why shouldn't they be able to stand on their own two feet?)

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html [spiegel.de]

Re:And yet again... (2, Insightful)

Khomar (529552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673095)

Not to mention the fact that since most Americans will end up with more money in their pockets (no IRS), charitable giving is likely to rise. It is the vast outpouring of charitable gifts from individual Americans that often do the best to actually help the citizens of other countries as opposed to their governments. With this money, wells are dug, farms are planted, and children receive education and proper nutrition. This results in a much better long term picture for third world countries.

Re:And yet again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20673163)

Ah, tricke-down economics. Any more pie-in-the-sky ideas for your pie-in-the-sky candidate?

Re:And yet again... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672489)

And he shouldn't. If only because he's the only candidate -- on either side of the fence -- talking about ending the farsical 'War on Terror.'

But maybe that's the why the media are ignoring him.

Re:And yet again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672583)

can't cover every marginal dingbat with zero chance of winning.

Haven't you learned yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672695)

You can't stop the signal.

John McCain: Former Candidate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672233)

John McCain thinks that his experience as a prisoner of war qualifies him to give military advice. That's as coherent as the claim that my hospital birth qualifies me to practise medicine.

To respond to all of John McCain's fibs would take up too much room and time. I would like to address the most unreasonable ones, though. For starters, McCain is terrified that there might be an absolute reality outside himself, a reality that is what it is, regardless of his wishes, theories, hopes, daydreams, or decrees. There are rumors circulating that he flagrantly abuses rules and regulations and then complains vehemently when caught, so let me just clarify something: Neopaganism is his main weapon and his chief means of convincing his spin doctors to help vile, coldhearted lugs back up their prejudices with "scientific" proof. That shouldn't surprise you when you consider that no matter how bad you think his dissertations are, I assure you that they are far, far worse than you think. I may be opening a Pandora's box by writing this, but the next time McCain decides to make my stomach turn, he should think to himself, cui bono? -- who benefits? He believes that going through the motions of working is the same as working. The real damage that this belief causes actually has nothing to do with the belief itself, but with psychology, human nature, and the skillful psychological manipulation of that nature by McCain and his misguided cat's-paws.

If one dares to criticize even a single tenet of McCain's credos, one is promptly condemned as self-centered, illiberal, recalcitrant, or whatever epithet McCain deems most appropriate, usually without much explanation. It's really amazing, isn't it? We can put people on the Moon and send robot explorers to Mars, but my general thesis is that on a television program last night, I heard one of this country's top scientists conclude that, "McCain is the type of person who can look you right in the eye and, with an expression of the utmost sincerity, tell you any kind of whopper that suits his purpose." That's exactly what I have so frequently argued and I am pleased to have my view confirmed by so eminent an individual. I'll talk a lot more about that later, but first let me finish my general thesis: According to him, society is screaming for his insinuations. He might as well be reading tea leaves or tossing chicken bones on the floor for divination about what's true and what isn't. Maybe then McCain would realize that it has long been obvious to attentive observers that he seems to have no trouble sweet-talking stubborn perverts into helping him put the prisoners in charge of running the prison. But did you know that there will be lame-brained things said on both sides of this issue eventually? McCain doesn't want you to know that because far too many people tolerate his actions as long as they're presented in small, seemingly harmless doses. What these people fail to realize, however, is that if McCain isn't clueless, I don't know who is. McCain is not only uncompanionable, but he also lacks the self-control necessary to conform his behavior to reasonable norms. He asserts that he answers to no one. Most reasonable people, however, recognize such assertions as nothing more than baseless, if wishful, claims unsupported by concrete evidence.

Perhaps you haven't noticed that that's why I laugh when I hear McCain's backers go on and on about sesquipedalianism. Perhaps you haven't noticed that "tolerance" means tolerance of all, not only of a select few. And perhaps you haven't noticed that each of these issues is central to the terrorism debate. In response to all three of those possibilities, I need to inform you that if you were to try to tell his surrogates that he is not at all apologetic for the harm his helpers have caused, they'd close their eyes and put their hands over their ears. They are, as the psychologists say, in denial. They don't want to hear that the intent of this letter is certainly not hatred, but a probing look into an obviously significant issue. But you knew that already. So let me add that most of you reading this letter have your hearts in the right place. Now follow your hearts with actions.

McCain has declared that he's staging a revolt against everyone who wants to debunk the nonsense spouted by his goons. McCain's revolting all right; the very sight of him turns my stomach. All kidding aside, the reason he wants to prepare the ground for an ever-more vicious and brutal campaign of terror is that he's completely litigious. If you believe you have another explanation for his loathsome, pushy behavior, then please write and tell me about it. While he insists that the rest of us are an inferior group of people, fit only to be enslaved, beaten, and butchered at the whim of our betters, reality dictates otherwise. Actually, if you want a real dose of reality, look at how this is a free country, and I insist we ought to keep it that way. I don't like to repeat myself, but the tone of McCain's tactics is eerily reminiscent of that of gloomy, bloodthirsty used-car salesmen of the late 1940s, in the sense that people tell me that McCain's secret agents lie about their diatribes, and then, when we're all convinced that no harm will be done, they incite young people to copulate early, often, and indiscriminately. And the people who tell me this are correct, of course.

McCain's arguments are full of hair-splitting, lawyer-like quibbling, and references to obscure authorities, but, as you know, I once told McCain that if we submit to his definition of "calcareoargillaceous" and become dastardly, we have lost the war for self-preservation. How did he respond to that? He proceeded to curse me off using a number of colorful expletives not befitting this letter, which serves only to show that McCain is absolutely versipellous. When he's among plebeians, McCain warms the cockles of their hearts by remonstrating against absolutism. But when McCain's safely surrounded by his operatives, he instructs them to promote a herd mentality over principled, individual thought. That type of cunning two-sidedness tells us that you may be worried that McCain will attack my character by the end of the decade. If so, then I share your misgivings. But let's not worry about that now. Instead, let's discuss my observation that McCain craves more power. I say we should give him more power -- preferably, 10,000 volts of it. It has been proven time and time again that McCain's prodigal dream is starting to come true. Liberties are being killed by attrition. Collectivism is being installed by accretion. The only way that we can reverse these bookish, worthless trends is to test the assumptions that underlie McCain's animadversions. To be precise, I challenge him to point out any text in this letter that proposes that merit is adequately measured by his methods and qualifications. It isn't there. There's neither a hint nor a suggestion of such a thing. Like a lion after tasting the blood of human victims, McCain will test another formula for silencing serious opposition. To quote the prophet Isaiah, "Woe to ye who place voluble louts at the top of the social hierarchy".

What we need from McCain is fewer monologues and more dialogue, and that's one reason why I'm writing this letter. Granted, money is not the solution to our McCain problem. But ancient Greek dramatists discerned a peculiar virtue in being tragic. McCain would do well to realize that they never discerned any virtue in being pestilential.

When you get right down to it, it really bothers McCain when people don't obey him. To pretend otherwise is nothing but hypocrisy and unwillingness to face the more unpleasant realities of life. The central paradox of his prognoses, the twist that makes his campaigns so irresistible to tyrannical beguilers, is that these people truly believe that he is a paragon of morality and wisdom. To use some computer terminology, McCain's band has an "installed base" of hundreds of the worst kinds of illaudable dunderheads I've ever seen. The implication is that I have frequently criticized McCain's unspoken plan to grant judgmental troglodytes the keys to the kingdom. He usually addresses my criticisms by accusing me of commercialism, larrikinism, child molestation, and halitosis. McCain hopes that by delegitimizing me this way, no one will listen to me when I say that if I may be so bold, there is no doubt that McCain will attack the critical realism and impassive objectivity that are the central epistemological foundations of the scientific worldview sometime soon. Believe me, I would give everything I own to be wrong on that point, but the truth is that our national media is controlled by odious quacks. That's why you probably haven't heard that McCain has gotten away with so much for so long that he's lost all sense of caution, all sense of limits. If you think about it, only a man without any sense of limits could desire to produce precisely the alienation and conflict needed to relabel millions of people as "backwards".

If you don't think that we must hold not only McCain, but also McCain's emissaries, accountable for their callous, mischievous arguments, then you've missed the whole point of this letter. A trip to your local library would reveal that he asserts that his gestapo is looking out for our interests. That assertion is not only untrue, but a conscious lie. Everybody is probably familiar with the cliche that McCain is trying to "solve" all our problems by talking them to death just to prove he can. Well, there's a lot of truth in that cliche.

In any case, there is something in the way of "natural law" that can be stated awkwardly as follows: "At least 80 percent of the people in this country recognize that the choice we face as a nation is whether to run our country ourselves or let incompetent criticasters run it for us." Please do not quote me on that. Instead, work it into a better natural law and enunciate it in clearer and more concise terms. It is immaterial who is credited with the words; the objective is to establish a supportive -- rather than an intimidating -- atmosphere for offering public comment. I don't normally want to expose anyone to rigorous sarcasm, satire and disdain, but McCain sincerely deserves it. His confreres are quick to point out that because he is hated, persecuted, and repeatedly laughed at, McCain is the real victim here. The truth is that, if anything, McCain is a victim of his own success -- a success that enables McCain to write off whole sections of society.

McCain should not engage in or goad others into engaging in illegal acts. Not now, not ever. Although the Gospel According to McCain says that the worst types of lackadaisical, blinkered authoritarians there are are easily housebroken, I believe that one of his attendants keeps throwing "scientific" studies at me, claiming they prove that 75 million years ago, a galactic tyrant named Xenu solved the overpopulation problem of his 76-planet federation by transporting the excess people to Earth, chaining them to volcanoes, and dropping H-bombs on them. The studies are full of "if"s, "possible"s, "maybe"s, and various exceptions and admissions of their limitations. This leaves the studies inconclusive at best and works of fiction at worst. The only thing these studies can possibly prove is that the baneful nature of McCain's précis is not just a rumor. It is a fact to which I can testify. In the end, one could write several books on the subject of how John McCain has a blatant disregard for society's basic laws.

Conspicuously absent (5, Informative)

allthefish (1158249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672243)

i find it interesting that Former Senator Mike Gravel was not mentioned in TFA. Although he's far from a mainstream candidate (much to my chagrin), he's been the oevrall biggest supporter of net neutrality among the candidates. From his official platform [gravel2008.us]:


Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies who are using their networks to limit the amount of websites their customers can view, and the speed at which they can view them. Examples range from, being forced to use the search engines your Internet Service Providers (ISP), only being able to view streaming videos that your ISP deems acceptable, and charging a website an extra fee to maintain the usual connection speed. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with no restricted access to any site, for any reason. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage. Intelligent replies welcome, redirect flames to /dev/null

Ron Paul (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672251)

Ron Paul is not for "net neutrality", but he seems to be the only candidate who actually cares about keeping the internet deregulated and free from warrantless surveillance, and stupid bans on gambling and weird ID laws for social networking sites. Does anyone know what his views on copyright/DMCA are? I'd imagine he supports the 14 year maximum copyright term specified in our earliest laws, but I could be mistaken.

Re:Ron Paul (4, Informative)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672475)

Ron Paul is not for 'net neutrality' because he believes that if the government prevented business from regulating the Net, then it would unfairly jeopardize their freedom (See: Right) to do so.

Other technology votes by Paul: Source [ontheissues.org]
  • Trusts the Internet a lot more than the mainstream media. (May 2007)
  • Voted NO on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting. (Feb 2005)
  • Voted YES on promoting commercial human space flight industry. (Nov 2004)
  • Voted NO on banning Internet gambling by credit card. (Jun 2003)
  • Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access. (Feb 2002)

Re:Ron Paul (2, Interesting)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673041)

if the government prevented business from regulating the Net, then it would unfairly jeopardize their freedom...

Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.

Does anyone else find this a little contradictory?

Re:Ron Paul (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673151)

He does not support the telco in their endeavor to extend their monopolies into other markets. It is a vote to against the monopolies, not a vote for restricting what private companies can or cant do. Hopefully that came out right, but these votes, especially with Ron Paul, often mean more than what you may get from reading it at a glance. He was supporting the free market here where it could look as if he is doing the complete opposite.

Patent System (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672255)

As far as these issues go:

Education is generally a local and parental matter. Not much the President can do.

Other issues are going to get lost in the shuffle of Presidential priorities. At least I think that's likely.

A good revamp of the patent system would, in my estimation, spur a lot of economic activity and decrease the amount of money wasted on lawyers.

The one they missed is the one that counts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672267)

Ron Paul stands for complete internet freedom.

RocketSauce (1)

twebb72 (903169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672329)

If there's no internets, then theres no rocket sauce. If there's no rocket sauce, then there's no rock 'n' roll.

Prejudicial Tech Inclinations? (3, Funny)

Petskull (650178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672339)

Why should political aspirants have prejudicial tech inclinations? I look forward to a future of impartial leaders that give unfamiliar issues equal weight relying on subject matter experts from all sides. Sound, informed decisions without prejudice.

Unless they want to replace all government machines with Ubuntu- then they already got my vote.

Every major candidate's agenda (5, Insightful)

scoser (780371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672345)

1. Suck up to the RIAA/MPAA.
2. Suck up to the large tech firms.
3. Make meaningless promises to support "the greater interests of the public with regards to technological issues".
4. "Think of the children!" to restrict our freedoms further.
3. Rake in the campaign contributions for next term while screwing America in the present.

DUH (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672347)

If the Democrats win, we'll be living like Star Trek on January 21, 2009. If the Republicans win, we'll all instantly forget that fire and the wheel ever existed on that date.

Re:DUH (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673033)

And from a Republican perspective

If the Democrats win, we'll be living like 1984 on January 21, 2009. If the Republicans win, we'll all instantly forget that Hillary and Communism ever existed on that date.
I know. Lame. But I'm just a Libertarian trying to keep the balance.

Easy.. (1)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672393)

I here he is backing this "Intelligent design" thingy - as a scientist, I like the sound of that..

Arrr! Jim ladd! Get it right! (1)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672537)

Easy - Bush - I hear he is backing this "Intelligent design" thingy - as a Pirate, I like the sound of that..

And he's not even running - Avast and Shiver me Timbers! The joke just gets thinner and thinner..

how about a bigger priority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672395)

I think there are much much bigger priorities, such as, how to keep nukes (and anything else for that matter) out of our asses. The candidate's tech agenda will have a whopping 2% impact on my choice.

Mitt Romney's tech agenda (3, Interesting)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672423)

The only technological topic addressed by Mitt Romney on his recent trip to my part of Texas was this: "We've got to get pornography off the internet!"

So basically, just more "think of the children" pandering.

Re:Mitt Romney's tech agenda (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672923)

Well, his campaign team did briefly have an ad up about the importance of importing Mormon brides from Indonesia and Kurdistan, but the focus groups decided that wouldn't play well with a lot of voters.

(Ah, but I do miss Hunter S. Thompson)

Edwards the ambulance chaser (0, Troll)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672443)

On the other side of the issue is Edwards, whose campaign says: "Patent litigation reforms that may encourage innovation in some industries may hinder innovation in others," including alternative energy.

Not surprising from someone who made his money as an ambulance chaser. Luckily, it doesn't look like he stands a chance at this point.

Watch out for Romney (4, Interesting)

GrEp (89884) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672547)

Romney gave me the willies when listening to his Iowa Straw Poll speech. He advocated that every computer sold in the US be installed with government spyware to protect the children.

As usual Ron Paul isn't mentioned. IMHO he is right on that as long as the justice department does it's job in enforcing RICO statues and other laws barring ISP's from coercing their customers we should be fine. The reason our telecom system is a mess is the monopoly deals the congress entered into in the 1990s. Stop all federal funding of telecom projects and true competition should normalize the market. States are more than capable of funding basic telecom to rural areas.

Racism and Sexism is the way? (3, Insightful)

kafkar (820561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672559)

Clinton has said she'll triple the number of NSF fellowships and increase the size of each award by a third. She also plans to provide incentives for women and minorities to enter math-, science-, and engineering-related fields by making diversity a requirement for federal education and research grants.
So basically, being racist and sexist is the way to move our technology forward? Extra money and grants only awarded to people of certain races and sexes by the goverment is nothing more than blatant racism and sexism. How can anybody support this? The money should go to those that need it or deserve it the most, not the person who happened to be born a certain race/sex. This is ludicrous.

Re:Racism and Sexism is the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672991)

You fogot: In Merica, it's OK to be racist against white males. In fact, it's government endorsed.

Metrication. (1, Troll)

thesolo (131008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672563)

Candidates have staked out early positions on topics dear to the tech industry, including increasing federal spending on research and development, allowing more highly educated foreign workers into the country, widening the availability of high-speed Internet service to create new markets for hardware and online services, and improving the state of U.S. math and science education.

Does this translate into any of these candidates supporting the finalisation of the US going metric?

(Before this question spawns any angry posts, keep in mind that metrication is inevitable, the US is already too far metricated to go back, and with just a little bit of leadership, the US could easily finish it's conversion.)

Re:Metrication. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672903)

That isn't going to happen anytime soon. Barely anything metric is used in common use, are you going to make people run out and buy new sets of wrenches or something? Just because metric is used a lot in science doesn't mean the common man uses it.

Besides, I'm lazy. Leave me alone, the imperial system works for me!!

Re:Metrication. (2)

thesolo (131008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673011)

Why would anyone have to buy new wrenches? Cars have been metric for decades, even domestic makers use the metric system for their cars. Your fuel tanks are sized in litres, even if your owners manuals have the size in gallons.

Products in the US often suffer from 'hidden metrication'. Altoids are sold in 50 gram tins, but then they are labelled as "1.76 ounces". Body wash is often in 700 or 900 mL sizes, but labelled as 23.7 or 30 ounces.

Buy Listerine lately? It's only available in 250 mL, 500 mL or 1 L sizes. What about a bottle of soda-pop? 2 L. Dental floss? 50 M. A light bulb? 60 watts. Start a car? The engine's displacement is in litres as well.

Metrication is already all over in the US, you just don't realise it. Oh, and your inch was redefined as precisely 25.4 mm, so you're already metric there too. :D

patent and copyright reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20672597)

Do any candidates have any views on copyright and patents that would roll back the unlimited information monopoly give-aways some?

DMCA (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672803)

And not one is going to promise not to enforce the DMCA, put people on the bench to rule against it, or back congressional candidates that will have it removed from law.

If none of the candidates can see the error of the many provisions of the DMCA that are detrimental to the citizenry, I can then easily assume they're just spouting whatever gibberish their political handlers taught them to pronounce correctly.

what are their stances on changing the gov-t? (0, Offtopic)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20672999)

There are SO MANY problems with the system we have right now. Not the least of which is having to choose the lesser evil.
For example, if I support Clinton's agenda for abortion & civil rights, but completely oppose her views on education, how the fuck am I supposed to vote? Why do I have to choose between my views? I want to vote for the policies, not for the people, dammit!

As it is now, the whole system is one big popularity contest. And they wonder why the voter turnout is so low...

Excuse the language (0, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673129)

But, FUCK the tech agenda.

I want to know what they're going to do about the monetary system instability and the oil peak that's coming Real Soon Now.

 

Edwards on Patent Reform (1)

Creamsickle (792801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20673153)

From TFA:

On the other side of the issue is Edwards, whose campaign says: "Patent litigation reforms that may encourage innovation in some industries may hinder innovation in others," including alternative energy. "American competitiveness is too important for us to let our intellectual-property rules be skewed by lobbyists arguing for their own industries' narrow interests."

How disappointing. Based on the article, it seems John Edwards is the only major candidate (of those who have taken a position on the issue) that backs the patent system as it is. I haven't decided who to vote for (although after this article Obama is looking good), but John Edwards is now officially crossed off my list.
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