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Vint Cerf and Others Form Advocacy Group 118

Omega writes "Vint Cerf, father of TCP/IP, and several Nobel Prize winners have formed a 527 committee called 'Scientists and Engineers for Change.' Among their major complaints are that the Bush administration has ignored and misused scientific findings to achieve political goals and that it has stifled scientific research. While the group isn't officially endorsing Kerry, Dr. Cerf points out it's pretty obvious what their goal is."
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Vint Cerf and Others Form Advocacy Group

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  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#10376107)
    "While the group isn't officially endorsing Kerry, Dr. Cerf points out it's pretty obvious what their goal is."

    Yes, it is obvious. They are circumventing campaign finance laws by campaigning for Senator Kerry, and against President Bush, in the guise of an issue advocacy group.

    I thought we all decided 527s were evil and borderline-illegal ever since the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth started airing out Senator Kerry's dirty laundry. I guess they are a good thing this week.
    • They are a good thing when used against the Evil Empire. When they are used against the Catsup Empire they are okay.

      527's are tools, nothing more nothing less. Just like Jesus needing a Tax exemption.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Did you just call Jesus a tool?
    • They are good when they use well-supported arguments, and bad when they are just smearing a candidate with lies. That's how you distinguish the scientists from the SBVT.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Which lies would those be then? That he was not in Cambodia in Christmas of 68, and Nixon was not President at the time? That he was wounded by his own grenade shrapnel while not under fire? That he broadly accused American troops of war crimes? That he once claimed to have thrown away his medals, but later changed his story? That his photo is currently displayed in Saigon as a hero of the Communist Revoultion? That he once published an anti-American book which he is currently working very hard to sup
        • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Informative)

          Yes, those lies. They haven't been shown to be true either, and those who served with Kerry back him up all the way. He's a war hero, and unlike the cowardly GW Bush who went AWOL from a cushy national guard assignment, Kerry actually shot and killed a man in a war.

          If you're going to send our boys to Iraq to fight and possibly die, then their leader should be someone who has actually killed someone with their hands, who knows what it is.

          Bet you weren't expecting that kind of response from a liberal.
          • Re:Obvious (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Actually, most of those "lies" have been confirmed to be true by Kerry's own people. John Kerry now acknowledges that he was not in Cambodia in Christmas of 68, in spite of it being "seared, seared" in his memory. His people have also acknowledged that his first purple heart wound game from the shrapnel of his own grenade, and his own journal indicates nine days later that they had still yet to see enemy fire.

            Also, the only evidence that Bush ever "went AWOL" came from a single nut-case with an axe to gr
            • What a pile of shit. Why is it that the Republicans can find a bunch of people to trash talk Kerry, but when it comes to finding a single person who saw GW Bush show up for duty there's nobody - NOBODY - who can remember him?

              If you believe all the lies about Kerry, then there's something wrong with your BS detector.
              • They all died of toxic livers, cocaine overdoses, or "mysterious midnight visits."

                This crew got away with much bigger prizes:
                JFK
                RFK
                MLK
                Reagan(Nearly)
                William Casey
                William Colby
                Mel Carnehan
                John-john
                Paul Wellstone

                Thos are the ones we know of...

                • Point of View by JIM FETZER

                  One man's opinion: Evidence indicates that Wellstone crash was no accident

                  Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone was a serious man who cared profoundly about his fellow citizens. He took courageous stands against an administration that he viewed with profound suspicion, arguing eloquently against tax cuts for the rich, the subversion of the Constitution, and violating international accords. He would have led the opposition to the war in Iraq if only he had had the chance. Everyone

    • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `nosnhoj.truc'> on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:38PM (#10376748) Homepage
      I realize that lots of well-meaning people on both sides like to decry 527's, but it's shortsighted. The beauty of 527's is that they are not tied to political parties or candidates. They can make or break campaigns, but they have no monetary alligiance to the candidate or their party.

      Let's say one of the Soros funded 527s, like America Coming Together [act4victory.org], goes and registers 45,000 new Democrats in Florida (which they have) based on Bush's horrible policies on three issues: Iraq, the Healthcare system and the Economy. Now let's say that Kerry wins Florida by less than 45,000 votes. ACT, a 527 with no alligance to Kerry or the Democratic Party was a dealmaker for Kerry. Now, fast forward a couple of years into a Kerry Presidency and Kerry is now persuing policies opposite to the goals of ACT. ACT is free to take it's organization, it's membership lists, it's money and go support another candidate or another party, including a third party. This could prove damaging to a Kerry and the Presidency if ACT were to swing another, say, Senate election or a couple of House seats.

      527's are able to band together and also are able to work with PACs. ACT regularly teams up with MoveOn.org-PAC and others like the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood under the umbrella 527 America Votes to coordinate voter registration drives. I've personally spent all of my political energy this election helping to build groups like this rather than work directly with the Democratic Party. This way, I can help make sure the Dems when they win, stay honest. If they don't, we'll go support a Green Party candidate or maybe form a new party and support them. Similarly, if one of the groups in our little coalition starts to piss everyone off, we can dump them just as quickly.

      Just to illustrate the power of these groups, MoveOn.org-PAC has a goal of getting out 500K votes in swing states this Nov. Acorn.org-PAC has registered 140,000 new Kerry supporters in Florida since January and ACT has registered 45,000 new Kerry supporters. It is very likely that these groups will hand Florida to Kerry. For anyone who complains that their vote doesn't count, you're crazy. Get out and walk, go door to door, set up mailing lists, form a 527 and build an organization, then bring it to bear on your elected officials.

      I have a problem with 527's like the Not-so-Swift Veterans because they are lying. I have a problem with people and organizations who lie. I would have a problem with Soros funding campaigns of lies, but changing campaign laws will not do a damn thing to stop political operatives from lying. So, 527's like Dr. Cerf's are a good thing; lying ones, like that tool of Nixon, John O'Neil, suck.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So far, many of the points the Swifties made (by the way, fantastic lack of class in calling war heroes "the Not-so-Swift Veterans") have proven to be true. Kerry's people have been forced to admit that he did not spend Christmas in Cambodia, that his first purple heart probably was from his own grenade shrapnel, that he was still an officer (not discharged) when he meet with the enemy and organized protests and accused his brothers-in-arms of war crimes, etc.

        However, not a single one of their "lies" has
      • Frankly, I'm all for keeping the 527s around. If it were up to me, all campaign spending and speech would be completely unregulated, with the exception that the source of funding be openly revealed at all times.

        I just find it odd that some people hate 527s when they are for the other guy, but love them to pieces when they bash a candidate they don't like.

        Maybe "odd" is the wrong word. Hmmm... "Typical" is probably better.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

        In summary, 527 run by and doing things you like are good. Others are just damn dirty liars. Would like some sugar cubes for that high horse of yours? You see the problem is that instead of political power coming from the barrel of a gun, it is coming from the ledger of a checkbook.
      • Your lengthly post breaks down into this.

        527's that support Kerry = Good
        527's that support Bush = Bad

        • If that is your analysis then perhaps you should re-read it, or perhaps you should present a more thorough reasoning for your conclusions. It seems to me that you've simply missed the point and are mischaracterizing my post.
    • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Funny)

      by shpoffo ( 114124 )
      My friend's wife came up with an interesting proposition for the way this works. She called it "Lie Capital" and it is the notionwhen one group lies, it gives antithetical groups permission to do so as well. When the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth came out, the Kerry Campaign genrated a fair bit of Lie Capital to 'play the market' with. The Scientists and Engineers for Change is drawing from those coffers in order to act. In this model the SEC is drawing from Lie Capital coffers a bit less than the SBVFT
    • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eskayp ( 597995 )
      National Guard? Been there, done that.
      Vietnam? Been there, done that.
      Lost friends and schoolmates in combat? Ditto.
      It's 25 year old history; nations and people have changed since then.
      As a Vet, I was not, and am not, insulted by Kerry's testimony against unethical behavior during a conflict spanning Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon.
      As wartime soldiers, some of us did good, some did bad, and most of us did both during our tours.
      I don't recall any of our ranks attaining sainthood while in country.
      Kerry
      • I normally find little worth modding up. This is definately worth modding up!

        Anyone who believes that either of the candidates are good for the presidency needs to do some home work on the candidates. This is not a choice of who is good for the job, but who is least damaging for the job. So far, Bush has proven to be exceptionally damaging. Kerry has not, yet. He may well prove to be as bad as Bush, but that would be a challenge. Kerry has a history of glorifying himself, liking the camera, spinning

    • If you can equate Dr. Cerf and some 20 Nobel prize-winners and some of the nation's top scientists and engineers with the not-so-swift boat veterans for "truth" (funded and coordinated by Karl Rove as early as January of 2003), then you have got to be in complete denial of reality. In a related story John Chambers (a big backer of Pres. Bush in 2000 and CEO of CISCO Systems) announced that CISCO was developing a 325 million dollar technology center in China because as he put it "in ten years China will be
  • zerg (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Vint Cerf, the father of TCP/IP, formed a 527 something-or-other, but he couldn't be bothered to make a fucking website! How does he expect to rally support from the rest of us?
  • Cerf and confederates are quite right but the problem with science as a political issue is that a scientific development leads its political consequences by years, sometimes decades. Politicians and most businesses don't operate in that sort of timeframe. [And most politicians are getting most of their money from businesses? gawd, I can't tell flamebait from reasonable conjecture anymore!] So even though most of the jobs we do today and the way we fight wars today involve technology that was hot science 10
    • My mother's boss got repeated phone calls aimed at suppressing her research because her research directly contradicted several tenets of leave no child left behind. The problem with objective scientific research is it frequently conflicts with current policy decisions. However, due to it's objective nature that can't spin it so they keep trying to suppress it.
  • by (trb001) ( 224998 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#10376153) Homepage
    The NY Times article glosses over what they're actually working towards, other than saying they don't want the US "losing the edge" in technology. That's then followed immediately by this paragraph:

    Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, disputed that opinion. "I don't know where their accounting is coming from," Mr. Hopkins said. "The president has been a strong and generous supporter of science, increasing federal R&D budgets 44 percent to a record $132 billion."

    A quick Googling [google.com] doesn't show anything for their group's name, either.

    What the hell? Are they just a few people that doesn't like Bush and decided to form a soft-money group to campaign against him? This article made it to Slashdot how, again?

    --trb
    • [unable to resist bait, it must be a trap but...] You may be right that putting out a news release before you have any other visible material is a bad move but unless you are one of those dolts who suspect anyone with a GPA>3.5 is a pinko bedwetter and you press your hands over your ears unless your hearing the reassuring words of Cheney or Rice, you would certainly be aware that this administration has been eating the seed corn, so to speak, as far as funding basic research. Just go to the details on [aaas.org]
    • They are a grass roots organization of scientists who have watched the Whitehouse tamper with scientific findings to fulfill their agenda and are sick of it. If they where a political organization then they would be building websites and such but these people have better things to do so they make a statement get some press coverage and move on. I mean there 527 people spending less than 2000$ per person on travel expences I think there self funded and don't feel it's worth it to put up a website.
      • I don't think they need a website, professionally designed with widgets and toys, but I would expect a press release or maybe an article in a scientific periodical. Without any of the above, this smells a little illegitimate.

        --trb
  • What proof do they have that Kerry will be any different? Sure, there are "campaign promises," but really, how do they know? What specific promises has John Kerry made about scientific research?
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#10376294)


      > What proof do they have that Kerry will be any different?

      Sometimes the devil you know is so bad that you're willing to give the devil you don't know a try.

      • ]] What proof do they have that Kerry will be any different?

        Sometimes the devil you know is so bad that you're willing to give the devil you don't know a try.

        I'm sorry, but I can't believe this got modded up as insightful. This is the exact same bullshit that's helped to ruin the democratic system by setting up a a near-perpetual power monopoly by the two parties that are currently serving up the schlock of the country as our proposed "leaders."

        You want to vote for the devil you don't know? How about

    • >>What proof do they have that Kerry will be any different?

      If he's exactly the same, no loss. If he's better, gain. I can't imagine how he could be worse... but my tinfoil is getting thin anyways. ;)

      As for scientific research, at least for one thing, Kerry isn't as likely to bend over backwards to stop stem-cell research.

      • Kerry isn't as likely to bend over backwards to stop stem-cell research.
        I thought Kerry was supposedly a devout Catholic. Doesn't the Catholic church condemn destroying embryos for stem cells?
        • Yes, the Church condemns destroying embryos for stem cells. No, Kerry is anything other than a devout Catholic- he's about as devout as Kennedy was.

          Not that Bush is any better- I'm not sure if he's a Baptist, a Presbyterian, or a Methodist (I've heard all three), but none of them actually condemn stem cell research as a blanket statement, which leads me to suspect he's only doing it to once again get votes from people who have no business voting Republican. Kind of like his abortion stance.
        • Key word: supposedly. [catholicsa...tkerry.com]

          Kerry is a lying bastard - either he's Catholic, and believes what the Church teaches [vatican.va], or he's not.

          But trying to pretend he is Catholic [excommunicatekerry.com] while voting for so-called "abortion rights" is a travestry.

          It's even worse than Kerry pretending to be pro-gun [nrapvf.org].

          I mean, c'mon, at least be open about what you stand for! Sheesh.
          • Faith by force? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:22PM (#10377263) Homepage
            Kerry is a lying bastard - either he's Catholic, and believes what the Church teaches, or he's not.

            But trying to pretend he is Catholic while voting for so-called "abortion rights" is a travestry.

            On the one hand Kerry says he is personally against abortion. On the other hand Kerry has support Roe v. Wade and keeping abortion legal.

            Some people insist there is some contradiction in these two positions. These people see the world as black and white and like simple slogans such as, "you're either with us or against us."

            Kerry has a personal, possibly religious, opinion on an issue. Why is it a sign of weakness or deception if he doesn't insist everyone in the US of A (or the world) adhere to that same viewpoint? The church says it's a sin to eat meat on Friday. Is it a travesty Kerry doesn't insist on that law as well? Opps, apparently that's not a sin anymore. Guess the pope likes to flip-flop on the issues.

            Anyway, those who like to insist someone's political stands must conform to their religious beliefs should remember, the government operates by force. Laws are enforced at gun point, whether by police or armies. I know the US of A is not under martial law, I don't see tanks rolling down the street, so it's easy to forget.

            Almost all the people work well in the construct of society almost all the time without the physical manifestation on the government's powers. But every law, every regulation, is backed with that final threat of enforcement. So when you take matters of faith and institute that into law, you are trying to ensure faith by force.

            I'm not saying politicians should equivocate and play both sides of an issue without reproach. I'm saying we should expect a politician's personal actions to support what they are saying are their political and personal beliefs. Kerry's record supports what he says is his political stand. As to his personal actions and his religious beliefs--how he would council a family who was considering an abortion--I do not know. How does that make him a lying bastard?

            Holding a religious belief makes you a person of faith. Using force, or the threat of force, to make everyone else conform to your religious belief makes you a wakko nut job. These are the people who shoot doctors, kill children, fly planes into buildings, and in general ruin the game for the rest of us.

          • Kind of like how Bush is a very large supporter of China, even thought they force women to have abortions if they have an unauthorized child?

            Both could care less, they just want your vote and your money.

          • Or, perhaps Kerry has a personal conviction (opposed to abortion) that he does not believe is enforceable (via the current law). For instance, my belief is that "life begins at conception." However, legislating my belief entails investigating every in-utero death as a potential murder or act of negligence, in the same way that we would investigate the death of a 6 month-old.

            One example would be my sisters, both of whom miscarried several times. Those events were emotionally tramatic enough without having a
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What proof do they have that Kerry will be any different?

      Of course there's no proof, but it'd be a safe bet that Kerry will be different, considering he doesn't make decisions based on religious dogma.

    • Then again he never tells us what he did does he?

      Too many in this election are operating under the ideal of "Anyone but Bush" and are failing to seeing the possibility that it could actually get worse.

      I am not a Bush voter but at least I know where he stands, contrasted to the fact I can't tell where Kerry stands on anything. Is there ANY candidate for the rest of us?

      As for 527s, I have no objection other than the fact that they came about with that garbage Campaign Finance reform bill which was an assa
    • Re:How do they know? (Score:5, Informative)

      by John Newman ( 444192 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @04:14PM (#10377780)
      Several, actually. You can find them on johnkerry.com/issues/technology/plan. I just cherry-picked a few examples:

      - Provide substantial research increases for clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, nanotechnology, and other priorities.
      - Extend the Research & Experimentation tax credit
      - Provide a tax credit to ensure that broadband access is universal and affordable
      - Expand spectrum that is available for wireless broadband
      - Remove restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research

      These and other ideas are laid out in fairly impressive detail on the site. The first point is most important to me. Bush completed the planned 5-year doubling of the NIH budget only by a technicality in 2003, and both it and the NSF are taking a big hit this year. His budgets plan further cuts in following years. Science is not a priority for him. It is for Kerry.
  • Well not with... He was my boss's boss's boss.

    This guy has a presense IDENTICAL to Timothy Leary (RIP). I thinkt hey were separated at birth. He's cool though..

  • It's good to hear about a 527 that's not bent on demolishing Kerry.

    In light of the whisper campaigns and the dirty tricks of copresident Rove, and the rhetoric of the RNC ("Iraq was our response to 9/11" etc), I don't know whether to hope liberal 527's play fair or not. I haven't seen enough politics to have an opinion other than blatant cynicism (all politics is dirty, right?). My gut says that a group headed by an engineer would be more interested in facts than slander... but does anyone win anything wi

    • all politics is dirty, right?

      And unfortunately, it's the single human endeavor we can ill afford to play dirty. Love, business, sports... whatever. But politics? We literally need saints, and we get the most evil of demons.

      Kerry deserves to be demolished.
      Bush deserves to be demolished.
      Anyone belonging to either party deserves to be demolished.
      Anyone belonging to a third party that would like to take over after we've demolished the previous, deserves to be demolished.
    • You mean you haven't heard? Wow, because lots and lots of money [worldnetdaily.com] goes to Democrat 527s.

      See OpenSecrets.org [opensecrets.org] for more details. Notice how much more money MoveOn.org has compared to the Swift Boat boys. Wonder at the difference in outcomes.

      Huzaah! Look here! [opensecrets.org]

      Democratic/Liberal $126,849,747 $120,331,891
      Repub/Conservative $17,381,731 $18,948,145

      Hmmm.

      • Are you trying to prove that x $ spend on spreading lies is a better investment than spending 10x $ on telling the truth?
        • Are you trying to prove that x $ spend on spreading lies is a better investment than spending 10x $ on telling the truth?
          Clearly. I think the explanation is that the truth is never a news story worth covering, but lies frequently are. The more outlandish, the more newsworthy.

          For proof, check out how many people actually saw the SBV4T ad on TV (vanishingly few) against how many watched it on the news or otherwise heard about it through the media (everyone in America).
    • It's good to hear about a 527 that's not bent on demolishing Kerry.

      My jaw is simply dragging on the floor. Check your facts [opensecrets.org], the pro-Democrat 527s have spent about 10 times what the pro-Republican 527s have. MoveOn alone has sponsored not only television ads and protests but a friggin movie [imdb.com] this year.

      --trb
      • Well, that's even more heartening. And thanks, I appreciate your implication that as a liberal, I should not be in a position of ignorance. Although I didn't see your comment on the place of slander in politics. Just because democratic 527s spent 10x as much doesn't mean they hit below the belt, as conservative groups do continuously. BTW, any conservative who complains about CBS deserves to have Rupert Murdoch and Faux News thrown at them.

        And since I'm on a roll.. I understand that the first blogged co

        • Yeah, that would work

          The problem with your logic is that no respectable news source, which CBS was considered before this, would have aired these documents. Calling it a gambit would have been wishful thinking...assuming that CBS wouldn't thoroughly fact check them and wouldn't listen to the experts they DID call on is preposterous.

          Liberal 527s DO hit below the belt...look at Outfoxed as an example. That piece of trash they passed off as a documentary is laughable...it's as much a slam on Bush as an at
    • It's good to hear about a 527 that's not bent on demolishing Kerry.

      When Kerry wins and we have to put up with 4 years of complaining when everyone realizes his election was purchased by $150M+ in 527 campaigning, 10x that of Bush...

      Well, anyway, I'm going to keep a link to this comment on hand. Thanks for that.
  • I had no idea he had fathered several Novel prize winners...
  • Clearly, the Bush administration has failed on the environment. It refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty to prevent global warming.

    Guess what? President Putin, of all people, has solidly supported the treaty and intends to sign it.

    Want another example? The Bush administration refused to enact tough standards for automotive emissions and claims that they are unfeasible. Yet, the California government has just enacted such legislation. Furthermore, the technology is quite feasible. Both Honda and Mazda m

    • You do know that China, one of the most polluting countries on the planet, and India are almost exempt from that Treaty, don't you?

      You should also look at what Putin is trying to do to Democracy in Russia, it ain't good.
    • Do you realize Congress had voted to get us out of Kyoto while Clinton was president, and that Bush merely signed the resolution when it was his turn behind the desk?
    • Gross misrepresentation of the facts.

      First, the US Senate voted *unanimously* not to sign the Kyoto Protocol, as it was recognized that it would be devastating to the economy. The only thing that Bush did differently than Clinton was actually admit that it was a lost cause.

      Second, most if not all signatory countries have not implemented the reforms required by Kyoto. This is because a certain number of nations (a "trigger" number) must ratify the treaty before it becomes binding. So Europe and other count
  • One of the major themes of

    http://scientistsandengineersforchange.org/inde x .p hp

    which is apparently Mr. Cerf's (and other's) website on this issue, is "Science isn't being given enough money." I wonder if these boys and girls realize that Joe Undecided typically takes that kind of approach as admission that this is a special or vested interest speaking, angry that it is being put on a diet after previously being given more generous portions of public funds. Scientists saying "Candidate A is bad because
  • What was Cerfs position at MCI/WorldCom during the MCI/WorldCom 'Issue'?

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