Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Green Party Candidate David Cobb Answers Your Questions 1038

Posted by samzenpus
from the third-party dept.
Last Thursday you got to Ask Questions of the Green Party's US Presidential nominee, David Cobb He answered 12 of the most highly rated comments. A thanks goes to Mr.Cobb for taking the time to explain some of his positions to us. Read on to see what he has to say.

Switching (Score:5, Interesting) by MikeMack (788889)

If I was a Republican or Democrat, what would you say to me to make me switch to the Green Party?

The Green Party offers both Republicans and Democrats the true essence of what each of their parties should be. For Republicans, the Greens offer true conservatism, which means keeping the government out of your personal business, out of your bedroom and out of your library. A true conservative would never support the so-called "Patriot Act;" nor would a true patriot for that matter. A true political conservative would recognize that public resources, such as forests, parks and oceans, should be conserved for use and enjoyment by future generations.

For Democrats, Greens are the party which champions what Democrats used to: support for working people and people of color and protection of the environment.

Both Democrats and Republicans don't represent the people of this country, they represent the transnational corporations who line their pockets and make their election to public office possible.

How do you avoid corruption? (Score:5, Interesting) by kwiqsilver (585008)

It's commonly accepted that power corrupts politicians. The Greens are always speaking out against politicians who sell favors to their corporate buddies or other special interests. But the Green party also espouses a system where the government strictly regulates most industry. How do you propose to have such strong government controlled regulation, without falling victim to the corruption inherent in a bureaucratic system?

The bureaucratic system may well be corrupt but what we really need to address is the corruption in the White House and in Congress-that's who makes the laws and the decisions which support the transnational corporate empire. The halls of Congress are filled with lobbyists representing the international profiteers who play Congress like puppets on strings. Although, I suppose, instead of strings it's campaign contributions which make the puppets dance.

If we take the private money out of our public elections and away from our public officials, we'll go a long way in addressing corruption and ensuring that we truly have a government by the people. We also need to strengthen public meeting laws so Dick Cheney and Enron can never again meet in private to determine the energy needs of this country. We also have to stop the revolving door between industry, Congress and the White House. There have to be much tighter restrictions on public servants going over to private industry.

Here goes again (Score:5, Insightful) by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963)

I'll ask the same questions I posed to the Libertarian candidate:

Would you approve of, and what would you think would be the results of, the following election reforms:

1. Abolition of electoral college, president is elected by simple popular vote.

The Electoral College is an historical, anti-democratic and racist anachronism which needs to be abolished. If you're wondering why it is racist, remember that when it was created, slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person to determine representation, yet they couldn't vote. Therefore, slave states had greater representation in the Electoral College-as if counting any human being as a portion of person wasn't insulting enough.

However, replacing the Electoral College with what you call a "simple popular vote" really doesn't go far enough. We need to replace it with Instant Runoff Voting to ensure that the winner of the popular vote wins with a majority of that vote. Instant Runoff Voting is a voting system, used to elect the mayor of London, the president of Ireland and many office-holders in Australia, which allows you to rank candidates in order of preference. If someone wins a majority of first choice votes, the election is over. If no one wins in the first round, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated and a runoff is held instantly taking into account the second choice votes of people who voted for the eliminated candidates.

Instant Runoff Voting will be used in San Francisco this November and a number of other cities and counties have approved of using it or are considering doing so. Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV, solves the perceived "spoiler" problem because you can vote for all the candidates you like; you don't have to make a lesser-evil choice. I encourage people to learn more about IRV at Center for Voting and Democracy.

2. Federal mandate that electoral votes from a state be split proportional to the popular vote within that state. (e.g. if California splits 60-40 Kerry-Bush, then their electoral votes are split 60-40 as well). This helps move away from the very brittle "all or nothing" electoral system, where as few as 1 fraudulent or defrauded vote can change the outcome of the national election for president.

I believe we should move rapidly towards Instant Runoff Voting, as outlined above, rather than tinker with an anachronistic relic.

3. Constitutional amendment granting naturalised citizens the eligibility to run for president or vice president. This would allow for the 2008 ticket for the new political party, C.O.P. (Cast Of Predator) to field Arnold Schwartzeneggar and Jesse Venutra as their presidential ticket.

Democracy should be as inclusive as possible. While I don't necessarily find myself opposed to this proposed amendment, I believe there are much more profound and necessary reforms, such as Instant Runoff Voting and proportional representation, where we should focus our energy and attention.

Our country is made up of immigrants. Your place of birth should not disqualify someone from serving as president or vice president.

Lastly a question: is the democratic system as instituted in the United States hopelessly mired in a two-party stranglehold, leaving corporate interest in defacto charge of the discussion? Is legal election reform necessary, or even possible?

Election reform is absolutely necessary, it is possible and we are being successful in changing our system for the better. Instant Runoff Voting is part of the equation. So are open and unrestricted debates, free media for candidates on the public airwaves which we own, less burdensome access to the ballot, proportional representation and public financing of campaigns. A number of states, including Maine, Massachusetts and Arizona, have been successful in implementing campaign finance reform.

We also have to strike right at the heart of the corporate empire and rescind the human rights which have mistakenly been conferred on corporations.

Voting Rights for Noncitizens? (Score:5, Interesting)by anzha (138288)

Thank you for your time. Recently in San Francisco, Matt Gonzalez, a popular local Green Party politico, has been pushing for the ability for noncitizens to vote in some of the local elections. While there are other places that offer this long before SF, it seems as though this erodes the differences between having citizenship or not. Rather than expanding the franchise this way, why not work to streamline the process for getting citizenship and encourage people to seek it?

Can you expound and explain a bit on your stance on this?

Matt Gonzalez has championed the ability of non-citizens who have kids in school to be able to vote in School Board elections. This makes sense and we should support it.

I would like to see the process streamlined so that undocumented workers, who are here and are paying taxes and contributing to our society, can obtain citizenship more simply and easily. We have to remember that we are all immigrants or the children of immigrants, with, of course, the exception of the Native people of this continent.

Mainstream Perception (Score:5, Interesting) by Locky (608008)

The Green Party is best known for its progressive policies on the environment, however its other policies are often shrouded by this, most people not knowing where the Green Party stands on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

What do you think might be the best approach to educate the masses about the rest of Green Party polices?

Greens work both within and outside of the electoral system for genuine democracy, social and racial justice, a healthy environment and for peace and non-violence. We have to march both in the streets and into the ballot box. If we do one and not the other, we won't be successful. All great social movements have used this approach.

Greens believe in freedom and privacy. We support same-sex marriage and reproductive choice.

Copyright and Digital Law (Score:5, Interesting) by Nick Fury (624480)

Obviously we here at slashdot are a bit on the techie side. I know that I have personally watched my rights being taken away from me over the past few years. Mainly my right to fair use. Under current law it is illegal to watch CSS encoded DVDs under Linux or any other Open Source operating system. What are you and your party's feelings on loosening certain restrictions to make the act of fair use a right again.

Also, on the concept of intellectual property and copyright laws. What are your party's and your feelings on the current trend of extending the length of copyright terms? Do you have any plans to reverse the current trend or perhaps to set the lengths back to their original terms?

Nick, first let's look at what the Green Party's platform says about open source: copyrights:

"10. The Green Party supports protection of software (free or proprietary) by means of the copyright. We strongly oppose granting of software patents. Mathematical algorithms are discovered, not invented, by humans; therefore, they are not patentable. The overwhelming majority of software patents cover algorithms and should never have been awarded, or they cover message formats of some kind, which are essentially arbitrary. Format patents only exist to restrain competition, and the harm falls disproportionately on programmers who work independently or for the smallest employers."

Greens favor information flows that come from the grassroots and empower the grassroots. Excellent examples include free/open-source software, open document formats, and the Creative Commons Licenses. We recognize that creativity and productiveness do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, most innovations build on earlier innovations. Creators and producers should be entitled to seek financial compensation for their work - or not, as they choose - but to wall their work off from public access for unreasonable lengths of time is, well, unreasonable.

For most of the history of the US Patents and Copyrights Office, most patent applications were denied. Most "inventions" didn't meet the triple test of being novel, useful/valuable, and not obvious to "someone skilled in the art." Patents that were granted lasted 12 years which was considered to be a third of an invention's useful life. Today, the patent office rubber stamps just about anything. We don't need a new policy, we need the old policy. Let's give standing to all stakeholders to challenge and strike down mistaken or overly broad patents, or patents granted despite the existence of prior art. (Besides genetic patents being a particularly vile abuse of corporate power, genes are, by definition, prior art. We oppose the genetic modification of organisms, as well, but that's another topic.) There's also a place for an eminent domain process for striking down a patent when there is an overriding public interest, as in the case of absurdly overpriced life-saving drugs.

In copyrights, as in patents, we favor not a new policy, but a return to the original, which provided for protection for 20 years.

If we get the general principle right, we won't need a special policy for protecting proprietary digital artworks or people's right to make fair use copies of them. But we do need a prohibition on abusive license agreements. The case law striking down "shrink wrap licenses" should be legislated. A valid contract provides an equal exchange of value: It's not all prohibitions on one party while the other party has no obligations and retains all rights. It shouldn't be legal for Microsoft, for example, to license its OS for use on only one particular CPU. That is, you shouldn't have to buy a new copy of XP when you upgrade your motherboard. When you buy a movie on DVD you should be allowed to play it on any DVD player, and when you buy a copy of an OS you should be allowed to run it on all your computers. This should be a natural result of a more general prohibition on unfair contracts.

I am happy to say that our website is open source (Plone/Zope, running on BSD).

Three Contentious Technologies (Score:5, Interesting) by rumblin'rabbit (711865)

Here are three technologies which environmental groups have generally been opposed to, but which have undergone major advancements in recent years: * Nuclear energy. * High-temperature garbage incineration. * Genetically modified foods.

All of these technologies have drawbacks, but they also have many advantages over the alternatives. Nuclear energy does not produce greenhouse gases, incineration destroys toxic chemicals and does not require land fill, and GM foods can greatly reduce the amounts of pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer, or water needed to grow food.

What is the Green Parties' stance on these, and do you see them changing their stance in the near future?

Greens have moved beyond a lesser-evil approach to politics as well as to the issues you describe above. I cannot under any circumstances accept nuclear power and genetically modified foods as a healthy alternative. There are such simpler and more sensible ways to approach these issues. We could easily eliminate the need for nuclear power by conserving more energy. We could replace nuclear power-and coal and other dirty forms of producing power-with the abundance of solar energy which shines on our country. Wind turbines, like the one I visited in Nebraska recently, are also part of the solution.

Food was grown by humankind for an awfully long time and rather successfully before the advent of pesticides and herbicides. We don't need that poison on our foods, on our soil or in our water supplies. And we don't need Frankenfood either.

As to our shortage of landfill space, we need to increase recycling and require manufacturers to take material back if it is not completely recyclable or biodegradable.

Drug Reform (Score:5, Interesting) by L3on (610722)

What is your stance on the use of medical-marijana? What do you think can be done to change the way in which the war on drugs in America is being fought, either legalizing/decriminalizing and taxing or otherwise?

Furthermore, How will you deal with our budget deficit and reform the GOP's relentless tax cuts and the Democratic Party's exorbanent spending?

Marijuana has been declared by an Administrative Judge for the FDA as one of the safest therapeutic substances known. I fully support the right of physicians and patients to use what they deem best for treatment.

The "war on drugs" is racist and an insult to all Americans. This "war" has incarcerated people of color at a much higher rate than white people. It has resulted in senseless attacks on innocent people and on our Constitution. We have to treat drug addiction as a health problem, not as a crime.

The main contributing factor to our national deficit is the world's largest military budget. The Green Party supports closing overseas military bases and reducing the military budget by 50% over ten years.

Single Payer Healthcare (Score:4, Interesting) by Coryoth (254751)

You often point out that pretty much every developed western country except the US has some form of single payer healthcare, and I think it is a valid issue, worth dicussing. However, having lived in a few countries that operate such a system I have generally found the governments involved to be having difficulties sustaining the system.

"The dilemma amounts to this: as medical science continues to advance, and as we in general live longer and longer, the amount of things that can be done continues to expand, along with the costs involved with any new technologically advanced treatments. Because of this, the costs of providing complete healthcare continue to expand at a rate faster than we can pay for. With healthcare, if something is possible, people tend to demand that it be done, even if we do not have the resources to do it.

Complete provision of healthcare simply isn't a sustainable practice as the costs are not proportionally bound by population (and hence very roughly speaking, government income), but instead by the ever expanding limits of medical science.

How do you intend to deal with this dilemma? Do you only plan to provide single payer healthcare for core and emergency services only? Do you intend to allow a parallel private health system to provide the more expensive treatments?

The basic point of single payer is that it is cheaper to administer and also that the cost of pharmaceuticals are lower as a result of bulk purchase. It is true what you say, the costs of medical care will increase in all countries as a result of innovation. However, empirical evidence shows that they will increase far less in countries that employ single payer. The best example is that of Canada and the U.S. When Canada enacted single payer their health care costs were the same percent of GDP as the U.S. Now, some 30 years later, they spend 8.9% while we spend close to15% of GDP. They spend much less in Canada on health care while treatment outcomes are similar overall in both countries.

Besides, we could pay for lifelong health care for every citizen in this country, along with college tuition for everyone who wanted to attend universities, if we stopped waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan and cut 50% from the biggest and most bloated military budget in the history of our planet. We could also do a much better job of focusing on preventative measures and take special care of infants and pregnant women, thereby ensuring a healthier start to life and reducing costs later on.

We are not opposed to allowing a private system to offer services not covered by a public system, such as Canada does. However, it is our intention to offer a comprehensive health care system which includes outpatient, inpatient, medication, dental, mental health and long term care, as research shows that this is both the most efficient and effective means for delivering health care to our population.

Viable Third-parties (Score:5, Interesting) by thewiz (24994)

Mr. Cobb, What do you believe is necessary for your party or any other to become a viable third party in American elections? Even though George Washington warned against having a partisan political system in his farewell speech, America seems to have developed a two-party system that forces third-parties out of the political process.

Also, what do you think of the Democratic and Republican parties shift away from what's good for America toward what is good for their respective parties and the businesses / people that support them while leaving the majority of Americans out?.

The need for a viable third party-or a second one, given the similarities between the two old establishment parties-is obvious and dire. We need a viable political alternative because thousands of innocent civilians and hundreds of young American kids have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need a viable political alternative because we are the only industrialized nation which doesn't provide health care for its citizens. We need a viable political alternative because our country is addicted to fossil fuel and will literally kill to sustain this addiction. We need an alternative because both of the old parties support the expensive and failed "war on drugs." We need an alternative because they are more intent on building prisons than schools; because they conspired to pass the unconstitutional civil liberty-threatening "Patriot" Act and because we need to develop a solar-based economy and create family wage jobs.

We need a viable political alternative because we need to manufacture democracy here at home before we can export it.

We don't have a "two party system" so much as we have an electoral system which favors two center-right political parties. And those two parties have done everything in their power to maintain their power and eliminate, ridicule and harass the competition.

To establish viable political alternatives, we first have to create a genuine democracy. Let's remember that this country was founded by rich, white landowners for their benefit. Our founders did not create a democracy. "The people" did not-and still don't-elect the president or the judiciary. Only the House of Representatives was elected by the people when this country was founded and those people were not women or people of color or the poor.

Our democracy is evolving and we still have a long ways to go. We need to get private money out of public elections and public policy. We can't have Enron and Dick Cheney's friends writing our energy policies in secret. We need to open up the whole process including how we make decisions on who will represent us. We need to have presidential debates open to all candidates on enough ballots to win the presidency. We need to address our voter participation rates which are among the lowest of any democracy.

I'm glad to see that we are making inroads with Instant Runoff Voting which will be used this fall in San Francisco's city elections. Instant Runoff Voting is a voting method which eliminates the perceived "spoiler" problem and ensures that the winner of an election has the support of a majority of voters. Our last three presidential elections were won with less than a majority vote. Instant Runoff Voting solves this problem and allows you to vote your hopes instead of your fears.

Most democracies use proportional representation to elect their legislatures. Countries which use proportional representation have a much broader representation of political parties and also have greater representation by women and higher voter turnout.

Of course, first a party has to get on the ballot in the first place and here again, the U.S. is light years behind the rest of the world. The United States is the only country where someone has to comply with 51 different and separate requirements to run for national office.

We also have to address the corporate control of the media. It's gotten to the point where, literally, a handful of companies control everything most people see and hear on the radio, on television and in the movies. We, the people, need to reclaim our public airwaves and we need to support our local, grassroots broadcasters.

Green activists are working on all these issues and, with San Francisco as just one example, we are succeeding, even if success is often incremental and not as quick as we would like. These issues also provide an opportunity to work in coalition with other political parties, concerned citizens and "good government" organizations.

To address your other question, I'm not sure that the two old parties actually ever represented the people. As long as there have been powerful, monied interests in this country, they have had their servants in Washington, D.C.

The Green Party is beholden to no one except the people. That, above all else, is what makes us unique.

All politics is local (Score:5, Insightful) by Quixote (154172)

In the words of Tip O'Neill, "All politics is local".

What is this desire to aim directly for the Whitehouse? Why not pool resources and fight the local battles? By aiming for the presidency (and ignoring the local politics), you are setting yourselves up for a fall. We all know that in a 2-party system, rigged the way it is, your chances of winning the Whitehouse are somewhere between 0.00 and 0.000. Then why waste the resources on this race?

How many members of Congress do you have? How many locally elected officials does the Green Party have? How many judicial appointees do you have? See the pattern here?

Maybe this isn't a question as much as a rant, but if you feel like, please answer why you are wasting the time and effort on a run for the Whitehouse, when the same resources, applied at local levels, would yield immensely more benefit.

I'm glad you asked this question because many people are not aware of the fact that the Greens have elected hundreds of local officials all across this country, including Green judges. We have elected city and county councilors, school board members, soil and water conservation board members, mayors and members of state legislatures. And that's just in this country. The Green Party is an international movement and around the world we have elected members to over two dozen national legislatures and parliaments. We haven't yet elected a member of congress in this country but we will. We are getting bigger, stronger and better organized in each election cycle. We are the fastest growing political party in America.

One of the reasons why we are the fastest growing party in America is because we participate in presidential elections. Like it or not, much of the nation-indeed the world-focuses on our presidential election. One of the main reasons I'm running is to continue to build the Green Party; to register more Green voters and especially to support local candidates. Running a national and a multitude of local races are not mutually exclusive endeavors. They are actually symbiotic and each enforces and supports the other.

Obvious answer (Score:5, Funny) by RickyRay (73033)

Obviously with the current unpopularity of Bush and Kerry the final vote is down to either you or Ralph Nader. What decisive advantages do you feel you have over Nader that make you more likely to win the presidency? ;-)

Thank you for the vote of confidence, but I am a realist and realize that until there are some significant changes in this country-especially how we conduct presidential elections, including campaign finance reform, Instant Runoff Voting and free use of the public airwaves, the chances of a Green winning the presidency are somewhat remote. I do believe, however, that we will be successful in time.

In this election, the Cobb-LaMarche campaign is the only campaign which supports a genuine, progressive agenda for change and which will continue building a movement beyond Election Day. Greens are in this for the long haul. What we are trying to accomplish is greater than any one candidate or any single election. People who want to invest in a long-term movement for peace, for social and racial justice, for grassroots democracy and for a sustainable economy and environment should vote Green.

We are the party of peace, we are the party of hope and we are the party of America's future.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Green Party Candidate David Cobb Answers Your Questions

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:30AM (#10405474)
    The Green Party offers both Republicans and Democrats the true essence of what each of their parties should be.
    ...
    Greens believe in freedom and privacy. We support same-sex marriage and reproductive choice.

    Thanks for the honest answer. As a Republican, I feel this is not what my party should be.
    • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:52AM (#10405724) Journal
      Okay, I can understand that someone with a fundamentalist Christian background could take stands against gay/lesbian marriage and abortion, but what's your gripe with freedom and privacy?
      • Privacy for lesbians ? Free gays roaming the streets ?

        Are you INSANE ? Think of the children !!!

        (mod me down, I don't care, I'm not even from the US :) )
      • Freedom is a problem because it allows people to act in manners contradictory to human welfare. Privacy is a problem because it means society cannot hold a person accountable for his wrongdoings.
        • And Conversely... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tid242 (540756) *
          Freedom is a problem because it allows people to act in manners contradictory to human welfare. Privacy is a problem because it means society cannot hold a person accountable for his wrongdoings.

          totalitarianism is a problem because it allows people to act in manners contradictory to human welfare.

          Lack of Privacy is a problem because it means the wrongdoings of society may be used to justify punishing an individual for his/her differences of opinion.

          -tid242

      • There's two different types of republicans. There are the big corporate buffoons, like the ones in the White House, then there are the more independant ones. Don't confuse or label Bush as a representative for the whole party.

        As a Christian, I believe that homosexuality is sinful. I also believe that unborn children are living humans, and killing them because they are inconvenient is wrong.

        If I were in government, though, I wouldn't do anything to prevent homosexuality. It is a part of our government

        • by corngrower (738661) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:47PM (#10407946) Journal
          There's two different types of republicans. There are the big corporate buffoons, like the ones in the White House, then there are the more independent ones. Don't confuse or label Bush as a representative for the whole party.

          I agree with you on there being two types of repbulicans. The problem is, however, is that the bufoons are using the independents pretty much just to get elected. Once in office, the repbulican polititians tend to be pawns of Giant corporations, and the extremely wealty. They do nothing to really help the american citizen. Their goal is to eliminate taxes for the wealthy, and put the tax burden on the middle class wageearner. They want also to ensure that the weath and power they now enjoy is passed down in perpetuity to their descendants, tax free. They pander to the populace on abortion and gay issues just to get elected

          Quite frankly, if you're an independant republican, then why aren't you independent of these pompous buffoons? Why do many of you take what is told to you from the pulpit without one bit of questioning or independent thought? Why do you vote for whomever the pastor says to vote for and not really look into all the issues that really affect you and decide which issues are important to YOU and vote accordingly? From my perspective, many of your type of republicans seem to be more dependent( mind controlled) than independent.

        • Killing babies, though... man. That's a moral issue, not a religious one. Even the most vocal proponent of "choice," which is just a euphamism for "death,"

          I'm pretty sure that most of them aren't really in favour of "death" in general; I think that "choice" is genuinely what they're interested in. Death is an inconvenient side effect.

          So, what is a "baby", and is abortion killing them?

          It sounds like a flip question, but it's a deeply complicated one. In in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs are fertiliz

        • by Mr_Icon (124425) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:06PM (#10408133) Homepage
          Killing babies, though... man. That's a moral issue, not a religious one.

          It's not killing babies. It's killing life-forms in early stages of development. Technically, a month-old embryo is about as advanced as a shrimp. If you are against killing them, then you better be vegetarian, because when you're munching on a ham sandwich, you are partaking in killing and consuming of a creature far more advanced than an embryo, or, hell, moreso than a fully matured pre-natal human child. Pigs can be pretty damn smart.

          Now, I am against abortions myself: I think it's a vile, degrading, and dangerous operation. I just don't think that making it illegal will accomplish much other than make abortions more vile, degrading, and dangerous. Most of those I've met who wish to outlaw abortion only want it because that makes them feel good about themselves, not because of any belief in "sanctity of life" or concern about the well-being of the mother or the future child involved.

          We have plenty of born children to worry about -- hundreds of thousands of them die worldwide due to malnutrition and diseases. In my opinion this is something far more immoral than the philosophically dubious question of the rights to life of early embryos. Let's not jump ahead of ourselves.
        • Killing babies, though... man. That's a moral issue, not a religious one. Even the most vocal proponent of "choice," which is just a euphamism for "death," [snip]

          "[C]hoice" is not a euphemism for "death". That attitude is eactly what makes any Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice debate a waste of time. Both sides are talking about completely different things.

          There are two distinct questions regarding this issue that determine your true stance:

          1. Do you believe that a person has the right to choose to have (or not h
        • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:59PM (#10409238) Homepage Journal

          Abortion (not killing babies, thank you for that leading categorisation) is indeed a moral issue.

          However, it is a moral issue for the woman considering the abortion. A blanket condemnation of abortion is a not-so-veiled implication that those women are incapable of moral judgement. We have left that misogynistic Calvinist notion that women are inherently immoral behind us, therefore it would behoove us to let that moral choice for abortion or not with the person who is about to undergo that ordeal.

          Those women have enough trouble and enough soul-searching to go through without your cheap shots, thank you very much.


          Mart
        • by Stephan Schulz (948) <schulz@informatik.tu-muenchen.de> on Friday October 01, 2004 @06:08PM (#10409791) Homepage
          As a Christian, I believe that homosexuality is sinful. I also believe that unborn children are living humans, and killing them because they are inconvenient is wrong.[...]

          Killing babies, though... man. That's a moral issue, not a religious one. Even the most vocal proponent of "choice," which is just a euphamism for "death," Mrs. Roe is now wishing that she hadn't had an abortion. Not only is it mindless killing, it is also a psychological burden to most would-have-been mothers.

          I can accept that many people feel uncomfortable about abortion. It's not an easy topic, and it touches very fundamental philosphical questions, as well as very basic mammalian instincts.

          However, at least in Europe it can be observed that more liberal abortion laws (often, but not always coupled with better sex education) lead to lower rates of abortion than stricter laws. Thus, I wonder if opponents of the right to an abortion are more more interested in "saving the babies", or in "punishing the sinners"?

    • by Psymunn (778581) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:27PM (#10407708)
      Look, all that banning abortions and gay marriges will do is force homosexuals to have children out of wedlock. Sound like republican family values to you? i didn't think so.
  • by paranode (671698) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:31AM (#10405489)
    "For Democrats, Greens are the party which champions what Democrats used to: support for working people and people of color and protection of the environment."

    In my book, this is why I can't stand neither the Democrats nor the Greens. Libertarians have a much better sense of what equality really means, not overcompensation by creating two wrongs.
    • by cephyn (461066) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:42AM (#10405611) Homepage
      the libertarian view would work if there was a level playing field.

      There isn't. And that is why they fail.
    • What else did you expect from the Greens? They just shouldn't forget that white is a colour like any other...
  • by Letter (634816) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:32AM (#10405503)
    Dear Mr. Cobb,

    Is it easy being Green?

    Sincerely,
    Letter

  • Anybody from SF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@gmail. c o m> on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:34AM (#10405522) Journal
    I have to ask, in San Fransciso is Instant runnoff voting being used for just the local elections, or will it be used for the presidential race as well?

    It would be VERY interesting to see how the presidental votes come out in that race, you could very likly see a 3rd party winning or atleast getting a lot of support.
  • "Green food" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteveAstro (209000) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:36AM (#10405544)
    Food was grown by humankind for an awfully long time and rather successfully without pesticides or herbicides

    ....but not for anything like as many people. Who is to die if the crops fail from something that a herbicide or pesticide could prevent ? Betch it ain't Americans. It'll be the poor bloody Indians or Africans. And "Green" America will do what then ?
    Steve
    • Re:"Green food" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:42AM (#10405603) Journal
      Some people in that movement think that too many people currently inhabit the earth. Crop failure would just help the population level get back to normal.

      • Re:"Green food" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by homer_ca (144738) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:38PM (#10406338)
        Yes, that is the unspoken implication of green farming isn't it? The fact is, we can't feed 6 billion people with 19th century farming. They couldn't even feed 1/2 billion people in the 19th century with their farming technology. Famine and starvation were a regular occurence. World population is a problem, but the answer isn't turning our backs on modern agriculture (not saying the status quo of GM foods and pesticides is perfect by any means). It might work, but depopulating the world by 5 billion people that way would be ugly.

        Some of his responses were quite reasonable, but I have to call bullshit on green farming.
    • So what do you tell the people in Africa at the moment when Monsanto knocks on their doors and tells them to rip out their crops as they're patented. It's already happened and something tells me those people starved.
    • Most pesticides and herbicides don't prevent a crop from disaster, but rather they're just a good way for the farmer to save a few bucks due to higher yeild. Better off spending money on researching non-chemical ways of pest control, like those cool, bug eating robots that powered themselves from the bugs they killed (It was featured here a while ago).
    • Re:"Green food" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by avandesande (143899)
      Slavery was practiced for a long time too. This guy couldnt argue himself out of a wet paper bag.
    • Re:"Green food" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Theatetus (521747) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:58PM (#10406588) Journal
      Who is to die if the crops fail from something that a herbicide or pesticide could prevent ?

      Who is to die when GM crops fail from a blight that the Genetic engineering opened up? Works both ways.

      Incidentally, if you compare calories expended in farming and harvesting to calories obtained from the food, stone-age-tech farming is about 3 times as efficient as anything we do today. People are *better* able to feed themselves with traditional farming; it just makes multinationals *less* able to make a profit off of it.

      People are not starving because there's a lack of food in the world. That's a huge myth from the ZPG crowd. People are starving because their corrupt and/or inept governments keep food from them and/or do not maintain the infrastructure to distribute it to them.

      We don't need more food in the world, we need the food that exists to be distributed better. And we definitely don't need to introduce God-knows-how-many environmental, financial, political, and health problems by growing more and more GM crops.

    • Re:"Green food" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekpolitico (743680)
      There is an excellent article entitled The Oil We Eat [harpers.org] on Harper's website about how it currently takes 1.1 calories of oil energy to produce 1 calorie of food energy. It is very interesting.

      There is also an interesting Atlantic Monthly article about how GM foods may be good for the environment [theatlantic.com].

      I find the idea that we've so badly damaged the topsoil in the that the midwest is effectively 6 feet lower than it was 200+ years ago to be particularly interesting.
  • by Steve B (42864) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:39AM (#10405572)
    I cannot under any circumstances accept nuclear power and genetically modified foods as a healthy alternative. There are such simpler and more sensible ways to approach these issues. We could easily eliminate the need for nuclear power by conserving more energy. We could replace nuclear power-and coal and other dirty forms of producing power-with the abundance of solar energy which shines on our country. Wind turbines, like the one I visited in Nebraska recently, are also part of the solution.

    Solar power and wind turbines have their own environmental problems (e.g. taking up lots of space and requiring lots of raw materials if scaled up to the point of making a significant dent in US energy needs). Nuclear power is actually more environmentally benign if the political problem of waste disposal (and, yes, it is a political, not a technical, problem) can be solved.

    • Europe does better with the political issues surrounding this than we do. And last I checked, France isn't a nuclear wasteland (though it does have other issues. ;) )
    • by pctainto (325762) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:53AM (#10405725) Homepage
      Ok, I'll bite...

      The disposal of nuclear waste IS a technical problem. This problem is inherently imposed by the politicians forcing science to its limits, but to say that we can safely throw tons and tons of nuclear waste in a mountain without a hitch is utterly ridiculous. There are a few problems that are not political...

      Getting the waste there:
      Yes, that's right, the waste has to get there. ALmost all nuclear plants are on the east coast and would be moving to the west coast. That is A LOT of waste being transported on today's roads or rails. What would happen if just one of these 96,000 (! over 40 years) trucks got in an accident. What if it were hit by a terrorist? Does it make sense to send this waste thousands of miles by road?

      Keeping the waste away from groundwater/reducing other contamination:
      If you are ignorant on the situation, let me remind you of Maxi Flats, KY. A temporary nuclear waste depository was made there in the 80s. They said that it would take 24,000 for the radioactivity to travel a 1/2 inch ON SITE... they were off by SIX orders of magnitude. It took 10 years for the radioactivity to get TWO MILES OFF SITE. That's a serious mistake! Now, I'm not saying we haven't gotten smarter, but there are many similar assumptions about migration that are still being used.

      Geological problems:
      There are earthquakes near Yucca Mountain -- there was one there last year. Geologist CANNOT predict what's going to happen. Also, geologist model Yucca mountain as a uniform rock instead of the complex, cracked, structure that it probably is. This makes simulation easier but can lead to drastic miscalculations.

      Anyway, if you look at the FACTS and past history, you will see that a permanent storage facility is perhaps not as great as you would think. It makes much more sense to have many, small, repositories that could be guarded for 100 years, and hopefully in that time we know more about what the hell is going on. Politics does not play into these technological problems -- politics is what is making these problems a serious problem because it is forcing scientist to come to conclusions which aren't very well founded..

      • by FortranDragon (98478) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:06PM (#10406692)
        One way of getting rid of nuclear waste is to fuse it glass bricks. (Not encase, infuse it so that the waste is a part of the glass.) Then dump the glass brick into a subduction zone where natural process will carry the glass brick back to the Earth's core. I think the core can handle this negligible addition radiation. ;-)

        Also, the half-life of the radioactive wastes isn't that long. Soon (decades, IIRC) it is going to be less than the background radiation. After all, the radioactive waste was originally uranium that is present in nature.

        Basically, our challenges aren't can we do this, but will we do this. While I don't agree with profligate waste, I don't' agree with the Green's emotional hatred of nuclear power. You can not conserve your way to a better future.
    • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:01PM (#10405838) Homepage
      Agreed. Conservation is an essential part of a viable long-term energy strategy, but it is a way of reducing costs, not replacing fuel sources.

      Solar is promising, but we really need a next-generation solar collection technology to make it viable on a large scale; current systems are cumbersome, comparatively fragile, and contain small amounts of toxic compounds which require careful disposal. Wind power is similarly cumbersome, and requires large amounts of space to generate comparatively little power. They're promising technologies, but they're not there yet, and we may not hit that next-big breakthrough for a while.

      The biggest thing nuclear power has going against it as that a lot of people are really, really scared of it. Nevermind that we now have rugged, compact reactor designs that are literally incapable of melting down. Nevermind that we're finding new and better ways of securing/reusing waste every day. Nevermind that we can generate staggering amounts of power in a very, very small space. Nevermind that the physically small amount of waste material is not steadily pumped back into the air we breathe and the water we drink. Nevermind that it could be used to easily meet our power needs in its current technological state.

      When, oh when, is the environmental mainstream going to wake up to the boon of nuclear power?

      • ...solar. Ever hear of solar troughs or heliostats? Look em up, interesting tech, for sale now. No silicon wafers needed. No need for armed guards and surface to air missiles either, to protect them. That's part of the problem with nuclear energy now, and it can't be ignored. If it wasn't dangerous, it wouldn't need triple containment vessels and shifts of guards, etc. Nuclear power makes "hot", that's it, that's what it boils down to. We can get "hot" other places with much less risk. Granted, at TODAYS pr
    • You are simply shitting me. We in America are blessed:
      • coal
      • natural gas
      • nuclear
      • oil
      • hydroelectric
      • solar
      • wind
      • tides
      • geothermal
      • biomass

      We have a vast array of options in generating electrical power, centrally and distributed. Just because there's a status quo of coal+ng+nuclear, doesn't mean that we can't change that. In fact, with ever increasing demand, new plant must (*) be installed all the time ... providing continual opportunity to change the character of America's electrical infrastructure.

      We

    • by Ironsides (739422) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:27PM (#10406967) Homepage Journal
      Actually, the primary solution to Waste Disposal is to recycle it. Yes, RECYCLE. You take the left over waste, run it through a re-enrichment process and what you have left is a small amount of radioactive material that could fit under a desk, more fuel rods and some other non-radioactive products. The reason we don't do this is because the enrichment process is the same to not only make reactor grade plutonium/uranium, but Weapons Grade material as well. Weapons grade is just more pure and left in the enrichment process longer. We have a solution, we just aren't using it do to a fear of someone over purifying the material.
  • ::sigh:: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:40AM (#10405576) Homepage Journal
    Greens have moved beyond a lesser-evil approach to politics as well as to the issues you describe above. I cannot under any circumstances accept nuclear power and genetically modified foods as a healthy alternative.

    "Under any circumstances"??? So Fusion power is out, too? Or any future nuclear power that solved the waste issues?

    And, of course, we know that genetically modified foods are by definition unhealthy. And nice "Frankenfood" reference later on.

    There are such simpler and more sensible ways to approach these issues. We could easily eliminate the need for nuclear power by conserving more energy.

    No. Conservation will never work; our power needs will continue to increase, and I have no problem with that. I don't want to live back in the dark ages again, sorry.

    He's just another anti-science nut.

  • Gadzooks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wallace_mark (83758) * on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:41AM (#10405589) Homepage
    The first two answers led me to consider this man. Fortunately for me, I kept reading.

    The point where I exceeded my sanity was his harping on the need for a true democracy. In one paragraph he harps on racism and in the next the need for a true democracy. (Care to take a true democratic vote on civil rights in 1860 America?) He think that conservation can substitute for Nuclear power. (Do the math; not unless you're willing to watch everyone's standard of living plummet).

    In short this candidate is just as much a politician as the others. Full of symbols that have more to do with adherence to ideology than with solutions to real problems.

    Thanks for running, thanks for answering the questions. But your symbols don't appeal to me.
    • Re:Gadzooks (Score:3, Insightful)

      Step 1: Stop subsidizing nuclear energy to the toll of several billion a year Step 2: Take that several billion and mail everyone back a flourescent light bulb with their tax rebate. Step 3: Watch as that saves you enough energy to turn off several power plants.
    • Re:Gadzooks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:53PM (#10406529) Homepage
      He think that conservation can substitute for Nuclear power.

      No, he thinks that conservation combined with increased use of clean energy sources can substitute for Nuclear power. Remember, the Greens also advocate cutting the military budget in half (which is currently half of our entire national budget). That is a lot of money, which, if invested in new technologies as the Green propose, could radically improve clean energy sources. It is all a matter of priority - if we want to build, use and improve clean energy sources, we can do so. The fact that we are not is simply a choice - and a reversable one.
  • ...bwa. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:41AM (#10405590) Homepage
    There needs to be a much easier way of voting people out of office. Voting them out of office of mayor, member of congress, or the president himself.

    As of now, they can reisntate the draft like the want to, introduce draconian Big Brother type laws, punish pirates as terrorists, etc, and nothing can be done about it.

    But what if a few people got voted out of office for it? That'd change their minds!
  • Frankenfood (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nukem1999 (142700) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:41AM (#10405596)
    Pity, I was rather interested in why the Green party (or many people for that matter) are so heavily against genetically modified foods. I was hoping for something a little more insightful than name-calling.
    • Re:Frankenfood (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      Thing is they usually don't have a good reason. Not because there aren't some good reasons but because there are just as many (if not more) on the other side. It's not a clear cut issue, neither side has a perfect argument. So if you come out with arguments against GM foods, someone who is up to speed on it will come right back with good arguments for them.

      So they use a typical tactic for situations like that: scary rehetoric and name calling. They don't want people thinking about the issue, since it might
    • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:12PM (#10408799) Journal
      I once took a course on the biology of populations (at U.T. Austin). Here's what I remember about the risks of GM crops.

      (1) GM crops are cloned plants, started from seed (genetically identical, or genetically common).

      (2) Use of clone crops reduces genetic diversity in field crops.

      (3) As a clone, each plant in the crop is vulnerable to the same adversities. I.E. the same frost, same pest, same flood, same drought, same nutrient deficiency, same disease, etc, can now affect each plant in the crop in the same way.

      (4) This puts all the genetic eggs into one basket.

      (5) A "natural" field of non-GM crops is genetically diverse, resulting in a reduced likelihood of the same adversity erradicating the whole crop.

      (6) Pollen contamination -- GM pollen can sometimes hybridize with natural strains of plants, meaning that the natural strain of wild plant is no longer 100% natural, and could potentially fall victim to the same vulnerabilities as the original GM crop.

      (7) Diversity is the mother of evolution. Diversity enforces the likelihood that some, or all, strains of a crop will survive a given drought, disease, pestilence, etc. Natural strains of crops are the product of thousands of years of crop evolution, AND those strains have enough diversity to continue evolving. Man is not competent to know how or why these diverse crops are suited to survival -- i.e. we just dont know why they are a decent batch of "good survivers." So man's genetic strain might help ALOT against one particular pest in the short term, but in the long run there's no telling what beneficial traits we've cloned out of the crop. Using a full diversity of strains therefore assists a crop species' long term viability -- and expanding the use of single-strain GM crops is what I'd call a VERY BAD IDEA, in the long run, and possibly even in the short run, because there's no telling what "stealthy survivor traits" we've unwittingly removed from the population. So if an iceberg melts and releases some harmful spore that was frozen 3000 years ago, the diverse crops still have a genetic memory, and some of them "know" how to survive.

      (8) Seed dependency -- once a farmer's bought into GM seeds, he's dependent on a corporation to provide each year's single-strain seeds. In "ye olden days", he could simply store some genetically diverse seeds from the year before.

  • Overcompensatino of race, underprotection of the country.

    What I'm seeing here are two things. Reverse-racism (instead of discriminating against those who happen to have darker skin tones, discriminate against everyone who does not to make up for it) rather than treating everyone the same, and leaving it at that, and secondly, reducing military budget by 50% over 10 years doesn't seem correct.

    Let me explain...I don't like the idea of us policing the rest of the world. For the most part I would like to see each nation take care of itself where possible. That said, there is generally a large reason most countries won't screw with the US. The US doesn't get scared off or back down, we come roaring back.

    Now, if we close all of our overseas bases of operation, and we get attacked, where does that leave us? I mean, unless the Canadians or Mexicans finally decide they've had enough of us, we won't have an operational foot to stand on.

    Not being offensive doesn't mean we can't be sufficiently defensive. I believe we can fix our deficit without signficantly reducing our defensive stances.
  • by stubear (130454) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:42AM (#10405610)
    ...but Florida proved one thing, you can't trust most voters to understand complex design dystems. You're just replacing one problem with another if you swap the electoral college for IRV.

    Mr. Cobb also fails to address the issue the EC solves, that of representation for the states with smaller population centers. For all its flaws, the EC forces candidates to deal with issues in smaller states. Going to a proportional voting system or eliminating the EC altogether is going to disenfranchise these states and the people who live there.
    • by Crazy Man on Fire (153457) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:01PM (#10405835) Homepage
      Actually, IRV suffers from MANY problems. ElectionMethods.org [electionmethods.org] has an excellent summary of many "multiple selection" voting methods. IRV is the worst of all of them, as it can end up selecting the candidate who does not have the most votes. Educate yourself about the dangers of IRV and the many superior alternatives!
  • Dogma (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wjwlsn (94460) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:44AM (#10405634) Journal
    "I cannot under any circumstances accept nuclear power and genetically modified foods as a healthy alternative."

    *Any* circumstances? How very dogmatic. The only difference between this guy and a hard-core, right-wing, religious fundamentalist is his choice of religious doctrine. The Greens can tolerate no dissent in these areas... dissent is heresy!
  • by Transfan76 (577070) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:48AM (#10405668)
    when he said Frankenfood. That's such a scare tatic move. Like Bush invoking 9/11 all the time.
  • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:54AM (#10405744)
    How many times did this guy call something racist?

    And way get people to take you seriously by using the term Frankenfood. That's right up there with a supposed tech expert spelling Microsoft with a $

    I'd love to see what this guy has to say regarding the production methods for solar panels and the waste material that comes from those processes as oppose to nuclear power.
  • by iamacat (583406) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:57AM (#10405786)
    It's fine to oppose nuclear energy or genetic engineering as an informed choice, but he should be prepared to change his mind when presented with rational evidence. I would love to have this guy as a senator to throw a wrench into Bush'es oil drilling plans, for example. But a president must be able to make a decision against his own beliefs if that's the right thing to do.
  • by tjic (530860) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:57AM (#10405790) Homepage
    The Electoral College is ... racist ... remember that when it was created, slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person to determine representation, yet they couldn't vote. Therefore, slave states had greater representation in the Electoral College-as if counting any human being as a portion of person wasn't insulting enough.

    By this logic, the first ammednment is racist too, because when it was passed, slaves didn't have free speech.

    The 5th ammendment is likewise racist, because when it was passed slaves did not have the right to avoid testifying against themselves.

    Finally, the comment "as if counting any human being as a portion of person wasn't insulting enough" displays ignorance of history: the slave-holding south *WANTED* slaves to count as full people, because it would give the slave-holders a greater say in national politics, but the slaves themselves would still be property. Abolitionists, and northern liberals pushed for less (even zero) counting of slaves - it's bad enough to enslave people, but then to count their population in order to give the slaveholders more power? Unbeleivable!

    You don't like the electoral college? Fine. Say so. Personally, I think it's a final check on potential extremist movements. ...but reasonable folks can disagree.

    Don't try to bolster your argument, though, by throwing in some ad hoc reference to "racism".

    • Anyone who thinks the electoral college is going to be done away with needs a big phat reality check. This is something that will require a Constitutional amendment to change, which requires 2/3 approval of the House and Senate. Such a measure may clear the House, but the Senate, where the small states have as much say as the big states, will likely reject is since it would weaken their power. At least 25 states would end up being losers under this change, more than enough to block passage in the Senate.

      Ev

  • by bmasel (129946) <bmasel AT tds DOT net> on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:07PM (#10405922) Journal
    because it Strengthens the Duopoly. Even tho smaller Parties gain better numbers, they lose the Spoiler effect, the only thing that forces officeholders to adress their concerns.

    Greeens and Libertarians should work out an alliance based on their areas of agreement, and win some elections. the areas where they do not overlap on policy are not something that's changeable in the medium term anyhow. End the War, dismantle the Police State and the Drugwar, and compete on the est in subsequent elections.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:43PM (#10406404)
      "because it Strengthens the Duopoly. Even tho smaller Parties gain better numbers, they lose the Spoiler effect, the only thing that forces officeholders to adress their concerns."

      You obviously have never paid any attention to a preferntial voting system's pay-offs.

      Here's how it works in Australia:

      Most of the people don't really know how to allocate all their preferences, but they know which party they want. It is legal for the parties to hand out "how to vote" cards with preferences listed in order.

      So the greens might have "Vote us 1, put libertarians 2, put democrats 3 and republicans 4"

      And as most people follow these preferences, the greens can say to the democrats "you won't get our preferences unless you do a, b and c" and the democrats will alter their policy position for a ton of votes. Thus it allows for the third parties to exercise power all the time.

      AND, even without the how-to-votes... there are still "demographics" whereby the democrat candidate will say, after doinng the research, "there is a green vote of 10% and we estimate that 5% of them always preference us over the republicans, but if we take a stand on corporate pollution controls we'll get another 4% of the demographic and secure the election".

      Preferential voting, or instant run-off as you call it, does affect the policy. And even if it didn't cause many third parties to be elected (but remember everyone can vote "1" for their first choice), it would affect the policies of the major parties.

      The thing that reinforces the duopoly also is gerrymandering. The changing of electoral boundaries to suit the two major parties.

      I would argue this is why proportional representation is the best thing since sliced bread. As it allows a 10% nation-wide green polling to covert to seats even though they didn't get the 51% required in any one location. And I mean, for example, if 25 million people were voting green in the US - but not all in the one place - shouldn't they get representation?

      There is a false idea that "democracy" is the representative two party democracy of the systems we know. This is not always the case, there are many other paths we can take to democracy, and we need many reforms in the western democracies if we are to hold on to power against a new corporatist power-grab.

      (not saying capitalism is bad, just corporatism)
  • by airrage (514164) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:08PM (#10405930) Homepage Journal
    Democracy should be as inclusive as possible. Our country is made up of immigrants. Your place of birth should not disqualify someone from serving as president or vice president.

    Actually, our current specification for President is quite immigrant friendly. Remember, this was put into place because, as it is in the UK's house of Lords, your title, or seat, is handed down from father to son.

    Regardless of what you do, you can never be elected to this house. But the US system is different, it says that regardless of the heritage of your father, so long as your are born here in the US (to insure you have no title and or allegiance to another country) - you can hold the highest office. It is actually quite profound once you realize why it is the way it is.
    • by flossie (135232) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:08PM (#10407505) Homepage
      Actually, our current specification for President is quite immigrant friendly. Remember, this was put into place because, as it is in the UK's house of Lords, your title, or seat, is handed down from father to son. Regardless of what you do, you can never be elected to this house.

      I would certainly never be an apologist for the House of Lords, it is undemocratic and should be replaced by a democratically elected chamber. However, your characterisation of it is no longer accurate. The Lords is now populated primarily by Life Peers. These are people who have been appointed non-heriditary peerages by elected politicians. Many are appointed for services to political parties, but there are also many eminent members who have been appointed for their contribution to society: scientists, industrialists, etc. The honour does not pass to their children. Also, as far as I am aware, there is no restriction on who can be appointed (although there was talk recently of them preventing convicted criminals from sitting in the Lords).

      The Lords is a chamber of cronyism, but it is not quite as bad as you imply.

    • Actually, our current specification for President is quite immigrant friendly.

      Well, aside from barring immigrants, yes.

      My experience with immigrants who seek out involvement in politics is that they generally aren't beholden to some foreign country. They're interested in contributing something here. I don't know--might have something to do with living in Toronto. A shade less than 60% of the city's population are first-generation immigrants, and another 20% are second-generation. (I'm part of the 21

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:12PM (#10405972)
    I didn't notice this when posting the questions, but isn't the one about copyright a little misleading?

    Under current law it is illegal to watch CSS encoded DVDs under Linux or any other Open Source operating system.

    To be fair, any Linux software developer has as much ability as a software developer for Windows or OS X to license the CSS decoder and write a DVD viewing application for Linux. The difference between Linux and Windows and OS X is that no company has stepped-up to do so.

    I mean, people using Linux get so upset over this issue all the time... so how come not a SINGLE person or company to date has just licensed the technology and make the damned DVD player? It can't be THAT hard, could it?
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:20PM (#10406095) Homepage

    For Democrats, Greens are the party which champions what Democrats used to: support for working people and people of color and protection of the environment.

    This quote smacks of party politics. No party should champian "people of color." Is black a color? Is white a color? How about yellow-brown? Or red-brown? Saying "I support blacks" is just as racist as saying "I hate blacks" simply by the nature that you are separating them into a group. Equality does not mean adjusting the scales to be even - it means getting rid of the scale entirely.

    ...we really need to address is the corruption in the White House and in Congress...

    The democrats say that too. And the republicans. It's easy for a party who is outside the system to say that, but what is the plan for doing it?

    We need to replace it with Instant Runoff Voting.

    I said the same thing last week. Someone from Slashdot [slashdot.org] corrected me. IRV is worse than our current system - the problems are subtle to see but very significant. Here [electionmethods.org] is why. I didn't believe it until I read it.

    Question: ...Electoral votes from a state be split proportional to the popular vote... Response:I believe we should move rapidly towards Instant Runoff Voting, as outlined above, rather than tinker with an anachronistic relic.

    This is a naive response. You can't just say "okay, let's replace all the state election systems and change all the state constitutions all at once, and forget the steps that get us there." This country's system is an anachronistic relic. Good call there. But you must tinker with it until you get what you want.

    One common thread amongs the smaller party replies is that they are often ideologically good, but realistically bad. I heard a Green party spokesperson on NPR say that if the Green party wins, they will immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq and apologize. That's beautiful, but it would also plunge Iraq into civil war, cause the UN to hate us even more, and kill millions of Iraqis. Great in concept, but unrealistic. We need people who realize that politics is compromise, and that small steps are what move us forward.

    I would like to see the process streamlined so that undocumented workers, who are here and are paying taxes and contributing to our society, can obtain citizenship more simply and easily

    This is the most political of all the answers. "Undocumented workers" is a nice way to say criminals who illegally tresspassed, dodged or lied to border police, and/or forged identities to get here. They are criminals and should be sent home. There are people who wait patiently for work visas for years to get into the US. But since the illegal immigrants have gotten good enough at forging IDs to vote, they are now a constituent base and must be appealed to.

    50% of my coworkers are immigrants, and I respect every one of them. I went for lunch today, and I was served by immigrants. I respect every one of these people from IT professionals to minimum-wage workers. But it is really scary when we decide that we need to give voting rights to people who shouldn't even be allowed to walk the streets. I really hope it is just some massive trick to have them all come out, admit it, and ship them home. What's the unemployment rate right now?

    Just so everyone understand where I am coming from, I am an independent who voted for Greens, Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans. I look at candidate's qualifications first, and the party has no bearing on my decision. I'm not anti-green, I merely question some of these responses. I do fear that some of these Green part

  • by PMuse (320639) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:21PM (#10406110)
    The need for a better voting algorithm is obvious, but Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) isn't it. IRV is a particular voting algorithm that produces some unpredicatable [electionmethods.org] (to the voter) results. There are much better methods [electionmethods.org] available, such as approval voting and the Condorcet method.

    IRV is little more than a snappy name covering bad math [electionmethods.org]. It makes a lousy poster-child for the movement to adopt an alternative voting method. How bad is the math on IRV? Under certain circumstances, you can benefit your candidate less by ranking him highest than if you had ranked him lower. That is not a result we want adopted. That's actually worse than the current situation where if you cast your single vote for your true favorite, the candidate you dislike most may win.
  • by Hortensia Patel (101296) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:22PM (#10406124)

    "Mathematical algorithms are discovered, not invented"

    I'm strongly opposed to software patents, but this statement just makes no sense to me. Proofs are discovered. Algorithms are invented, surely?

  • by ChiralSoftware (743411) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:40PM (#10406357) Homepage
    He says: For Republicans, the Greens offer true conservatism, which means keeping the government out of your personal business, out of your bedroom and out of your library.

    Great, by doing that they will have plenty of time to stay in our financial affairs, bank accounts, financial transactions, and gun safes [a-human-right.com]. They talk about things like having not just a minimum wage, but also a maximum wage. Basically, to enforce their financial plans will require law enforcement powers that may be even worse than what they say they want to get rid of. I sympathize strongly with their ideals but it ultimately sounds like they want to create their own police state, like somehow having a police state will protect workers and minorities. They tried that once. It was called a "dictatorship [a-human-right.com] of the proletariat". It sounded like a great idea but pretty soon there were mountains of bodies of people they "saved". It's the old logic of "we had to burn the village in order to save it."

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

Working...