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Would John Kerry Defang the DMCA? 1363

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the here's-hoping-people dept.
dave981 writes "Over at ZDNet, Declan McCullagh asks, 'Would John Kerry defang the DMCA?' Kerry's response: 'open to examining' whether to change current law 'to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes.' It's not clear, though, how serious Kerry truly is."
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Would John Kerry Defang the DMCA?

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  • Geek Vote? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FriedTurkey (761642) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:04PM (#10623302)
    Are people seriously going to vote for the better candidate on copyrights and making backup copies of software? There seems to be more important issues like Iraq, health care, the economy, and terrorism to judge candidates for president. I know /. is full of nerds, but speaking as a nerd I don't vote like a nerd.
    • by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#10623339) Journal
      Probably, hell...Clinton got in office because he said he smoked pot, but didn't inhale!
      • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:13PM (#10623454)
        Clinton got in office because he said he smoked pot, but didn't inhale!

        Yeah, and after he got into office what exactly did he do to promote legal marijuana?

        A good lesson there for potential Kerry voters...

        • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:31PM (#10623701) Homepage Journal
          And what did Clinton say about legalizing marijuana? Nothing. If Kerry just said "I burn copies of my CDs for my office and car, but I always buy the originals and never loan the copies", you might have a point. But instead Kerry has made a clear statement of his receptiveness to a revisions in a central issue of a specific law. Bush would splutter something about "sovereignty is... er... sovereignty". Which one is serious? Which one is going to even understand, let alone care about, this issue? Kerry.
          • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Bombcar (16057) <racbmob&bombcar,com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:37PM (#10623770) Homepage Journal
            No, Bush actually said [comptia.org]:

            I strongly support efforts to protect intellectual property and will continue to work with Congress to ensure all intellectual property is properly protected. Technology is a critical conduit of information and sometimes can be misused for illegal copyright infringement. Blaming the technology does not address the issue. We must vigorously enforce intellectual property protections and prosecute the violations, not the technology. My Administration has launched the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) initiative to do just that. I have also worked to obtain China's support for stricter enforcement and more severe penalties for piracy and counterfeiting of American ideas and innovations.
            • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by SQLz (564901) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:11PM (#10624237) Homepage Journal
              It sounds so...Bush. Start an underfunded agency with no real power to make it look like your doing something, then blame it all on China.

              Here is the problem. It seems to me he wants to "vigorously enforce intellectual property protections and prosecute the violation".

              Does this mean that the authors of Bnetd would go to jail, or people who make replacement toner cartidges, or people who make competing garage door openers all sued under the DMCA?

              He mentions the technology is not the problem, but he doesn't mention that we are not the problem either, which is true. The problem is that the world changes, strategies hat once made money will at some point, fail. You don't see Standard Oil selling kerosine do you? You dont' see blacksmiths hauling in large sums of cash or whatever. I'm sure they were against cars back in the day.

              The problem is not goint to be solved by some dumb ass task force that arrests people because the problem is not organized piracy. The problem is that laws in the US are bought and sold by big business and the DCMA is simple wrong. I know that and I'm just one guy, not even a task force.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:57PM (#10624855)
              You can tell Bush didn't write that. It didn't sound like him at all. That isn't the kind of stategery he...uh...it isn't comiserate with...uh...what he would write wouldn't have the same kick to it...
            • by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:20PM (#10625156) Journal
              My Administration has launched the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) initiative to do just that.

              Great, so disorganized pirates have nothing to fear.
          • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by I am Kobayashi (707740) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:02PM (#10624100)
            Neither will do anything on an issue such as this - it is handled at a MUCH lower level.
          • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DavidBrown (177261) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:31PM (#10624502) Journal
            Which one is serious? Which one is going to even understand, let alone care about, this issue? Kerry.

            Let's get serious here for a minute. From the article, Kerry's position is that he's:

            "open to examining" whether to change current law "to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes"

            The term "open to examining" means nothing other than Kerry doesn't want to take a position for or against the issue. It's the same thing as saying that he would create a commission to look into it.

            There are many differences between Kerry and Bush. This isn't one of them. It might be, but Kerry's half-hearted waffle answer doesn't actually mean anything, and while you can always hope, you shouldn't read much into it.

            • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:38PM (#10624632) Homepage Journal
              What I read into his statement is that Kerry knows how to govern a giant, rich country of highly polarized competing constituencies. When he's president, he'll actually get into negotiations over revising laws. While Bush will protect even invented "property" rights, like monopoly access to markets, regardless of the cost. That's a big difference. As a human without a big corporation, I prefer the president who can balance those conflicts to one who ignores them until they explode. That's mis-/management.
      • by SpookyFish (195418) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:33PM (#10623730)

        Hmm, not sure if that was it.. I voted against him just for that, how can you be pro-environment when you waste green like that??
    • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by strictfoo (805322) <strictfoo-signup.yahoo@com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#10623351) Journal
      Of course he's for it. He's for anything that might get him a vote, but not so much that might piss the people off would be against it.

      Like the Patriot Act,Kerry also voted for the DMCA [senate.gov].
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:20PM (#10623560)
        > Of course he's for it. He's for anything that might get him a vote, but not so much that might piss the people off would be against it. Like the Patriot Act, Kerry also voted for the DMCA. [senate.gov]

        Wait. Are you saying he's for anything that might get him a vote, but he's for getting the votes before he turns against it? Or is he not for it so much as to piss the people off who'd be against it, as long as he voted against it after he voted for it? In Soviet Russia, I hear they vote aga*WHAM WHAM WHAM*

        My head hurts. Politics is so confusing these days.

      • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:37PM (#10623772)
        He's for anything that might get him a vote, but not so much that might piss the people off would be against it.

        Here's my translation of what he said: "Right now, I'm devoting a great deal of time and study to that problem. And I intend to issue a position paper on that. A position that is at once simple, yet complex; firm, yet flexible; and above all, fair to every American."

        Or maybe: "My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom."

        Or perhaps: "Abortions for all. [crowd boos] Very well, no abortions for anyone. [crowd boos] Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others. [crowd cheers and waves miniature flags]"
    • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bwalling (195998)
      There seems to be more important issues like Iraq, health care, the economy, and terrorism to judge candidates for president

      It doesn't really matter - name one candidate that doesn't suck. Sure, you hate Bush, but don't let that blind you from the fact that Kerry sucks. Bush might be the only major party candidate that Kerry could beat. Maybe I just get more cynical over time, but these two make Al Gore and Walter Mondale look good!
      • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by diamondsw (685967) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:15PM (#10623491)
        Every time I hear that "it doesn't matter, they're both evil/sucky/the same", I ask the following:

        You have the option of being punched on November 2nd, or shot on November 2nd. One IS going to happen, no matter how much you don't like it, so choose which you want.
    • Re:Geek Vote? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by static0verdrive (776495) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:12PM (#10623442) Homepage Journal
      I'd rather people voted like nerds rather than voting like sheep...

      What's so wrong about voting like a nerd? Doesn't "Nerd" stand for "Noteworthy Engineer/Researcher/Developer" ?
  • DCMA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sndtech (738958) <slashdotNO@SPAMsndtech.endjunk.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:04PM (#10623303)
    if he does defang the DCMA, maybe he can work on the patriot act as well.
    • Re:DCMA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Salo2112 (628590) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:14PM (#10623467)
      Seeing as he voted for the Patriot Act, not likely.
      • Re:DCMA (Score:5, Informative)

        by osu-neko (2604) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:16PM (#10623510)
        Seeing as he voted for the Patriot Act, not likely.

        Weren't paying attention to the news at the time? Like most of the people who voted for it, he said it was flawed, but it was more important to get something in place first, then they could backfix. According to publicly stated positions of the people at the time, the majority of people who voted for the Patriot Act would like to revise it.

        • Re:DCMA (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Reducer2001 (197985) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:47PM (#10623902) Homepage
          Wait. So they voted for it, before they were against it? I'm glad Russ Feingold is my senator, the only smart guy in the Senate that day...
        • by Svartalf (2997) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:56PM (#10624023) Homepage
          When you think about it, "something in place" is not a good excuse for voting for something that is patently in violation of their Oaths of Office (i.e. They swore to uphold the Constitution- voting on something that is concretely in violation of the same is NOT upholding it!). If it was flawed, they should have fixed the damn thing or tabled it permanantly.

          I do not accept his rationale on this issue.
        • Re:DCMA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ILikeRed (141848) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:03PM (#10624116) Journal
          I really doubt that was his motivation, but seeing that Bruce Lehman [nwu.org] (the chief architect behind the DMCA) is his political advisor, I would want something in writting before believing him.

          Another link [osdir.com]
      • Re:DCMA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:02PM (#10624911) Homepage Journal

        Actually, Bush and Kerry dealt with this in the debates. Bush's attitude toward the Patriot Act is discouraging: he takes the "all or nothing" approach that you either like the entire act, or hate the entire act.

        Kerry is a flip-flopper (i.e., he is intelligent), so he likes some parts of the act and questions others. Given the size of the Partiot Act, this is not really hard to grasp - in fact I'd be wary of anyone who had one opinion on an entire act like this one, for or against. Personally I don't mind if the FBI can use the same wire-tap warrant for two phones belonging to the same person (the involvement of the courts is the same either way, but the pointless red tape is eliminated), but I do mind that my library activity can be monitored by Big Brother. It's a big act, with a few good bits here and there, so I like that Kerry wants to keep it but excise the bad bits.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:05PM (#10623315)
    For those who forgot their high school civics our live outside the USA...

    The president cannot directly write make a law at all. Only members of the House and Senate can nominate bills for consideration. (When the "President's Budget" comes every year, some member of the House must support the bill enough to put it into "the hopper" or it doesn't get off the ground.) The president's only role in the legislative process is to approve bills that have passed both houses of Congress, and that can even be bypassed

    Therefore, even if Kerry wins the presidential race, he still will have no direct impact on laws. He'll only be able to sign a DMCA repeal or softening amendment if Congress sends him one to consider.

    As always happens in the even-numbered years, all of the House and 1/3 of the Senate seats are up for re-election. Right now, it's a "Republican steamroller" because Republicans control both houses and and the White house. However, the Republicans hold on to a very thin margin to make their majority in both cases, so this could completely flip or end up in a mixed state after the elections. The Congress has much more say over the laws than the President gets.
    • by tsg (262138) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:18PM (#10623535)
      The president cannot directly write make a law at all. Only members of the House and Senate can nominate bills for consideration. (When the "President's Budget" comes every year, some member of the House must support the bill enough to put it into "the hopper" or it doesn't get off the ground.) The president's only role in the legislative process is to approve bills that have passed both houses of Congress, and that can even be bypassed


      [The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; [source] [house.gov]


      The President cannot directly write any law. But he can direct Congress in any way he sees fit. No, they don't have to listen to them, but he can be very influential. His power in this area comes from making recommendations on what Congress should be spending its time on. You can be sure that if the President wants to fix the DMCA, it will get a lot of attention from Congress.

      • by celerityfm (181760) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:29PM (#10623676) Journal
        In other words, the President may not be able to *make* the changes himself, but he is able to SET THE DEBATE and this is a power in and of itself.

        That and the whole commander in chief thing, appointing judges and other government officials, running foreign relations, etc makes it such that the President has the capability of really shaping and molding the federal government from top to bottom. Of course there is this whole bureaucratic thing that they have to get around.

        Wikipedia does a good job covering these and other subtleties of the President's power [wikipedia.org]. A must read for every American voter and/or the curious or concerned foreign citizen :)
    • by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:09PM (#10624197) Homepage Journal
      He could have spent the last eight years in the Senate introducting DMCA-defanding bills, but he didn't. That's right, he did not. Not once did he lift a finger to castrate the DMCA.

      I think there's far too many people out there living in a Pollyanna world who think Kerry will magically change if he becomes President. But guess what? He's going to be the exact same person as President as he was as Senator. Surprise! Some of you Democrats are like girlfriends, thinking they can change their boyfriend if they got married. "Oh, I know he leaves the toilet seat up now, but after Kerry and I get married I can change him! And I'll also get him to stop scratching his nuts in public and stop supporting the DMCA!"
  • by osu-neko (2604) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:05PM (#10623318)
    I believe thats politicalese for "I have not been briefed on this issue and have no idea what to say about it."

    That's not too bad, though. It means neither side has gotten to him yet. We have an opportunity to make a case.

  • In short: No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by infinite9 (319274) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:05PM (#10623321)
    It doesn't matter who wins the presidency. Nothing will happen. At first I was going to say that the president only signs laws. It's up to congress to change the law. But in the end, this is now the Corporate States of America. And no one in Washingon will ever get off the gravy train.
  • by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#10623349)
    I voted for Kodos
  • by Dan East (318230) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#10623350) Homepage Journal
    I didn't realize the president could simply wipe existing laws out of existance.

    Dan East
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#10623354)
    Would it really matter. It is already a law, and as president he has no control over it. However he would have power to veto it if changes came down the pipe to alter or kill it off.

    Why do we as americans put so much into the presidential elections, when infact our congress critters have the power to draft and approve new laws, while the president is in the position to say yes or no to them?

  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:08PM (#10623365) Homepage
    Neither politician has the moxie to say in public that he agrees with gay marriage...

    That's because neither of the candidates support it. Bush doesn't support it and wants a Constitutional amendment to ban it. Kerry doesn't support it but is against any such legislation.

    Strangely enough, both candidates are nearly mirroring their stances on the issue of IP theft:

    Said Bush: "I strongly support efforts to protect intellectual property and will continue to work with Congress to ensure all intellectual property is properly protected...We must vigorously enforce intellectual-property protections and prosecute the violators, not the technology." He noted that his administration launched an initiative to enforce such laws and has worked closely with China to support penalties associated with violating American intellectual-property rights.

    Kerry, meanwhile, has a slightly different stance. "I do not condone the illegal sharing of copyrighted material," Kerry said, though he is "open to examining whether legislative action is necessary to ensure that a person who lawfully receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes."


    Poor Jim Lehrer of PBS, who moderated the first presidential debate, was left scratching his head about what actually differentiated the two men who would be president.

    I just pointed out a major difference... Bush is against X and legislates against X (including denying rights to Americans because he wants to bring religious morality back into the country). Kerry is against X as well but doesn't have any plans to do anything about it.
    • by nojomofo (123944) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:15PM (#10623494) Homepage

      Bush is against X and legislates against X (including denying rights to Americans because he wants to bring religious morality back into the country). Kerry is against X as well but doesn't have any plans to do anything about it.

      Or, to put it another way, Kerry doesn't personally believe in some things, but he doesn't necessarily think that his beliefs should be made the basis of the law of the land because other people should be allowed to believe differently from him. Bush wants his personal belief system to become the law of the land.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:09PM (#10623373)
    Using John Kerry's Senate voting history to say that he supported or opposed any given thing is like trying to upconvert a low-bitrate signal... you end up guessing to make data you don't really have.

    For example, there never was a true vote "on the war". Congress has not ever even voted on an official decloration of war during recent years. What was actually voted on was permission to use the armed forces if things couldn't be resolved any other way. Kerry claims that Bush forgot about that if-clause and went to war too quickly.

    This is a problem anybody who tries to advance from the legislative branch into the executive branch always faces. Legislators are always asked to vote on hundreds of things on the record, while the President and governors only have to consider the final versions that have cleared their legislature. It may seem like a flip-flop to vote yes "on" version A, but "no" on version B of the same bill, but versions A and B by definition cannot be the same thing. What such a voting record indicates is not that the person was opposed to the main concept of the whole bill and then changed their mind. It instead indcates that there was some flaw in version A that was fixed by the time version B came around so they could now support the bill.
  • In CONGRESS now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdunlevy (187745) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:09PM (#10623379) Homepage
    Well, he's a Senator now. Since the Senate's one of two houses of Congress, and Congress makes the laws, it might be good to ask what Kerry's done -- if anything -- in Congress to change or even "examine" the DMCA.
  • How could he? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:09PM (#10623385)
    The POTUS does not make laws, that's what Congress is for. This is simply propaganda. Like blaming a sitting president for deficit spending when the Congress is the one with the power to spend.
  • Better Question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:09PM (#10623388)
    Would John Kerry be able to defang the DMCA with a Republican House and Republican Senate who passed it in the first place, you bastards?

    Amazing the right wing bull that gets injected into this... and yet we forget that CONGRESS PASSES THE LAWS.

    Hello. Talk to your congressman. Preznits blow up countries. They don't pass laws.

  • by astrashe (7452) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:11PM (#10623410) Journal
    First of all, I agree with the guy who said that there are bigger issues this time around than geek issues.

    But having said that, I don't understand why the parties stand where they do on this stuff. Hollywood people are huge Kerry supporters, so you'd expect him to be falling all over himself to do whtaever he could to help them out.

    Bush, on the other hand, gets creamed by Hollywood types all the time. They donate tons of money to his opponents, do benefits, make statements on talk shows, etc. But Ashcroft is behaving pretty much like the industry's dream AG.

    The only explanation for this that I can think of is that the candidates really believe what they say. The Republicans probably really do believe in the private property argument -- I imagine they find piracy deeply offensive.

    I don't know -- it's always been a small thing that's puzzled me.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:16PM (#10623505)
    > Kerry's response: "open to examining" whether to change current law "to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes".

    1) "Open to examining whether to change" does not imply "will advocate change".

    2) "Changing" the DMCA doesn't necessarily mean "changing it in the way that geeks would like".

    3) "Examining whether to change" can lead to the conclusion "no, it needs no changing" just as easily as its opposite.

    4) "to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes" could be the first paragraph of the INDUCE act. After all, the INDUCE act was spun as going after P2Pers, not those who were "lawfully making backups for archival purposes".

    5) Finally, "lawfully obtains or [lawfully] receives transmission" -- leaves a lot of wiggle room. What if "Lawfully" means "in accordance with every term of the EULA under which it was sold?"

    Conclusion: Kerry's got no intention of asking Congress to weaken the DMCA; he's pandering for every vote he can get in the home stretch of a tightly-contested Presidential race.

    That's not a partisan slur -- both parties are bought and paid for by Hollywood, and you can bet your eighth bit that no matter who wins in November, any "changes" to the DMCA in the next four years will be to Hollywood's benefit, not yours.

  • by Moby Cock (771358) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:21PM (#10623565) Homepage
    Why is it that every post on Slashdot these days that mentions Bush or Kerry winds up with partisan nonsense? This article is about the DCMA and how Kerry has indicated that he would be open to re-eximining it. However, half the posts are about Iraq and the possibilty of the American Union crumbling if one or the other is elected.

    I for one, feel that Kerry indicating that the DCMA may be opened for examination is a positive point. This discussion may raise the issue to the fore such that it becomes a issue for debate (or relentless repition of partisan talking points as the American media is wont to do). Lets hope that the tech folks out there continue to voice their concern over the stupid DCMA and that Senators and possibly presidents are open to understanding just how sweeping that law is. The may lead to change and rewriting of the law.

    Let's hope so at least.
  • Actions, not words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dpm (156773) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:23PM (#10623603)
    Both of the candidates will say whatever they have to to win, so it's better to look at their actions rather than their words. There has been one case so far where Senator Kerry had to decide about security vs. freedom, and he came out on the right side: when offered by the secret service, he refused temporary flight restrictions around his campaign stops, so that private aviation is not disrupted or shut down the way it is when the president or vice-president visit a town.

    Since he's not likely to win any votes that way (I mean, how many of you really care?), the choice suggests a real personal preference for freedom over security. Perhaps that preference will carry through to the DMCA, though that may depend more on the cabinet than the president.
  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:56PM (#10624021) Homepage Journal

    Congress' intent when creating the DMCA was two-fold:

    1. Prevent "piracy"
    2. Plug holes in the Copyright Act regarding copyright managment information

    They envisioned making it easier for legitimate, white-hat-wearing businesses to stop the violation of their copyrights. What they actually provided, of course, was "takedown", a sledgehammer a lawyer can use to swat a fly.

    The "copyright managment information" Congress was most concerned about were things like holograms on jewel cases, but the wording of the law also include the text of copyright notices in programs, EULA wrappers, and so on.

    Courts are becoming increasing sophisticated in how they interpret the DMCA in cases where it's invoked. I think as more and more people, including judges, get their information online instead of from the mainscam media, attitudes will change about what is "fair use" allowed by the DMCA and what falls under (what you'd think is the capital crime of) "piracy".

    There is real tension that cuts across the lines between the Left and Right. On the left you have Hollywood wanting protection ("for the artists"), while civil libertarians want anarchy. On the right there is the limited government crowd, but also the capitalists. Probably it would be overstating it to say the tension within the two sides is greater than that between them, but I can't decide.

    At any rate, I don't think either Bush or Kerry would do anything about it, but the courts probably will settle on good rules to curb the abuses of the takedown mess.

  • Its a joke (Score:4, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:11PM (#10624230) Journal
    Kerry might be the lesser of two evils but make no mistake he is just as in bed with the media corporations as anyone else. Hes just covering his ass on that response - he can't say "i'll abolish it" and he doesnt want to loose voters by saying he won't. Unless something is done about the dire state of bribery in America theres no hope of anything but token gestures and theres little hope of showing European governments they can't get away with this either.
  • by gone.fishing (213219) on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:53PM (#10627985) Journal
    Ugh, it sometimes seems like the election process is the kind of choice we get when we choose vanilla or French vanilla. Is one much better than the other?

    I am an American. As such I've been told many times, many ways, that I live in the greatest and most free country in the world. I'm not really buying it any more than I buy the belief that Ford is indeed superior to Chevrolet. But when I see the choices, I mean the bona fide choices, that we are given to vote for for President, I don't buy the arguments. Are these two really the best people in the country to hold the office?

    The whole process is not much more than a sales pitch for white bread. When it comes down to the taste test, what is better Wonder or Tastee? I can't tell much of a difference. But it is what it is and we are stuck with it.

    We are rich and powerfull nation. We can exert out influenence on almost anyone anywhere. Face it, if we don't like someone our president can sic our military on them and we are all but assured of victory. Isn't that really what happened in Iraq?

    In the past four years, we have seen our freedoms eroded with things like the DCMA and the Patriot Act. If Bush is elected we are in for more of the same. If Kerry is elected, do we really expect to see much change? I don't, not really. Perhaps, but just perhaps, he is the lesser of two evils.

    Is that any way to vote? To pick the lesser of two evils? Is this what makes America great? I sure as hell don't think so. There has to be a better way. The system we have may have made a hell of a lot of sense two hundred years ago when representation meant an arduous journey of hundreds of miles. But today, with the technology we have, every person who cares could actually be self-representing.

    Change comes slowly to established machines like American politics. I recognise and understand that. Hell, I'd even say that is a good thing - that it changes slowly. But there comes a time where a catalyist exists and changes can be sudden. Like the end of communisim in the USSR and the taking down of the Berlin wall. Then change can come suddenly.

    An idea occured to me that maybe we just don't see this kind of event coming. Maybe the electronic voting machines are the key to the ignition of change? I'm really just rambling now, but what I am saying is that we need REAL CHANGE not just a slight step from center but a full on change of course! We have the means - but do we have the courage or do we need some sort of catayist to kick us out of idle and into gear?

    I'm not preaching revolution here. Really, I'm not. I'm just trying to say that our form of government is out dated and in need of serious change and that to me, the time seems right for something to happen.

    Will we be the generation to do it? Frankly, I hope so. But we have to come up with better choices than we have on the ballot this year.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

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