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Gary Johnson - Libertarian for President - 2012
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comm



Joined: 22 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
Interesting thought. How do you get there though? A constitutional ban from forming political parties? Could legislaters talk with other legislatures outside the legislature to discuss legislation? Or you just talking about removing the labels when you vote but otherwise elected officials could talk and support each other as they wanted?

That would certainly help. There are far too many people who support Democrats or Republicans like they were a damn sports team.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
Interesting thought. How do you get there though? A constitutional ban from forming political parties?


Sure, and enshrine strict campaign finance, districting, and voting rules into the Constitution at the same time. The entire American electoral process is a mess, and it could do with reform.

Unposter wrote:
Could legislaters talk with other legislatures outside the legislature to discuss legislation? Or you just talking about removing the labels when you vote but otherwise elected officials could talk and support each other as they wanted?


I don't see how you could stop them from speaking to one another secretly, and I don't necessarily see why you'd want to stop them. The point isn't to end political discussion (or even some degree of collaboration) between legislators after all, it's to remove the tribal aspect of politics with regards to the electorate, which will in turn naturally reduce tribalism among their elected representatives. Imagine having to look at a ballot without party affiliations listed. It would force citizens to actually research the candidates' positions and (in the case of reelection) voting records to form an opinion about them, which will automatically make that opinion more accurate. It wouldn't be perfect, but I think it would be better.

I also think it would raise the quality of elected representatives, because no candidate could gain the dubious "legitimacy" granted by the endorsement of a national party. There are plenty of buffoons in politics who are only there because they had party support in return for towing the party line. That would be best put to a stop, or at least reduced insofar as is possible.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comm,

I am a little surprised you would support such an idea as it goes against freedom. Shouldn't people be free to form groups and associate as they want? It probably (I am no lawyer) goes against the right to assembly.

Fox,

Sure, people won't be able to vote according to party so they will vote by name recognition instead. I like the name Johnson, it sounds so much better than Walenski.

The last thing we need is more legislation and yikes even constitutional amendments.

The problem is the media. They are the ones that turn elections and every other policy and piece of legislation into sporting matches. It is all about who won and more importantly who lost.

All we can do is tune them out, write letters voice our complaints at how they run their networks and their news departments and complain and boycott their sponsors.

Change also comes from media representations. We need people to protray characters on TV to be disgusted at the way the news media treats our elections. Then, enough people will follow. Never under-estimate the artists, at leasts ones that can communicate with millions of people. Fortunately, we have one in Jon Stewart. I think more will come. People are getting sick of the "MTV reality."
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parties are not the problem in the US. 3rd parties are good for the electoral system. They bring in fresh blood and new ideas. The Republican party, for example, was a third party when they were organized to abolish slavery and eight years later elected their first President - Abraham Lincoln.

The biggest problem with elections in the US is so little known and understood that no one here has touched on it: Ballot Access Laws.

Ballot Access Laws are so discriminatory and strict in the US that every year thousand of individuals who would like to run for office are prevented from doing so.

Only one state has ballot access laws that treat every candidate equally - that is the State of Wisconsin. And even there, ballot access rules keep candidates off the ballot. Even Democrat and Republican candidates are kept off the ballot in Wisconsin and every other state in the US.

The example of Virginia in this year's Republican primary election was a rare case where the exclusion of candidates made any news. In case you missed it, due to overly restrictive ballot access requirements, only Paul and Romney were allowed to run in Virginia, and before you suggest it, write-ins were not permitted.

Many states have only two legal parties and have no provision for other parties to get on the ballot. Several states in the US have been legally only one party states at one point or another. Independents can run with difficulty. It cost over $20 million for Ross Perot to get his name on the ballot for POTUS in his first race. $20 million: How many campaigns have that to start with?

This year there was an attempt to form a new center party called Americans Elect. The organizers of AE have now given up. They spent more than $30 million dollars to get on the ballot in about 30 states before they folded their tent. They will be running no one for POTUS, although there may be some downticket candidates in some of these states.

John Anderson's campaign in 1980 had to spend $7 million to get on the ballot and had to sue in several states. This wiped out their limited funds and left them with no money for advertising, so the Anderson campaign, which had debuted with much excitement in early 1980, disappeared in the morass of the ballot access laws. Because of the strict donation laws Anderson was unable to raise the funds needed to compete.

The second element in the lack of good candidates and truly competitive, free elections are the campaign finance laws. These laws are designed to prevent upstart candidates and parties from having a chance. That is why the strict donation limits are still in place.

Had John Anderson been able to accept large donations, he could have been competitve. He had several large donors who maxed out and were legally prohibited from donating more. Such laws are an infringement on free speech and free elections, and like ballot access restrictions, they must be repealed.

Ross Perot, who in many ways was a crank, was competitve because he could donate unlimited amounts to his own campaign. Just as Hillary Clinton was only able to remain competitve with Obama in the 2008 primaries by donating (loaning) millions of dollars of her own funds to her campaign. In the case of Perot, this bad policy is obvious: Perot would have preferred to have donated to a better candidate. That would have been a better use of his funds, but it wasn't legal.

The cost of lawyers alone for Anderson and Perot to get on the ballot was in the millions of dollars.

Thousands of would-be candidates are not only prevented from running as third party or independent candidates, they are blocked by the Democrats and Republicans from running in their parties as well. In fact, the Democrats (ironic they don't believe in democracy) have blocked a recent candidate against Obama in the Democratic primaries (who has been successful in several states in winning delegates) from winning more delegates, even if he takes the most votes, this in those few states where he is allowed to run at all.

California has taken these restrictions one step further: they have created a new single primary system which essentially forces everyone to compete within a single party. They are legally making themselves into a one-party state and they will legally allow a maximum of two candidates to appear on any general election ballot. The net result will be, unless this horrific law is repealed, that California will have fewer candidates to choose from for each office, on average, than were allowed in the USSR before it fell.


In the end, many of the best candidates never run: They are blocked by campaign finance laws from raising enough funding. They are blocked by ballot access laws from getting a place on the ballot and lack the funds to overcome the barriers as Independents or in Third Parties. They are blocked from running as Democrats and Republicans. So they give up before they start. And that is the purpose of these arcane laws, rules and restrictions. It keeps the power in the hands of the elected elite of the D and R Parties.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
Sure, people won't be able to vote according to party so they will vote by name recognition instead. I like the name Johnson, it sounds so much better than Walenski.


I can't imagine the number of people who are going to waste their time going to vote based purely and only upon which last name they like better will be especially substantial. I think you'd be more likely to see an overall drop in voter turn-out than a rise in this kind of behavior.

Unposter wrote:
The last thing we need is more legislation and yikes even constitutional amendments.


Legislation and constitutional amendments are precisely what we need. Indeed, saying that legislation is the last thing we need is tantamount to saying that our current set of laws (and current electoral system) is as perfect as we can make it and in no further need of refinement. Perhaps you really believe that (I doubt it), but I certainly do not.

We can make things better. We can reduce the role that tribal factionalism plays in politics. We can reduce the role that corporate (or union, or Israeli, or any organization's) spending plays in politics. We can increase the legitimacy of our elections by ensuring hard, fast, and fair voting rights, eliminating political district gerrymandering, and mandating reliable paper trails for all elections. We can restore the proper representative balance of the House of Representatives. We can take action against the unjust ballot access laws mentioned by ontheway (and I agree with him, it's a problem). We can do all of this, but to do it will require some legislation.

Legislation is not an evil thing; any law you approve of came originally from legislation, and any law you disapprove of will ultimately require legislation to be put to an end. It makes no sense to take some ideological stand against "more legislation." in and of itself.

Unposter wrote:
The problem is the media. They are the ones that turn elections and every other policy and piece of legislation into sporting matches. It is all about who won and more importantly who lost.


The media is nothing more than a reflection of the general populace. This reminds me far too much of mises' old "It's all because of the elite! The elite!" theory. Sure, the elite (and the media) play a role in society's dysfunction, but only as part of a cycle, not as a fundamental cause; the populace incentivizes the elite and the media both to behave exactly as they do. There may be some emotional validation to be found in blaming all of society's woes on a small, easily-identifiable group, but it's simply not the truth.

Unposter wrote:
Change also comes from media representations. We need people to protray characters on TV to be disgusted at the way the news media treats our elections. Then, enough people will follow. Never under-estimate the artists, at leasts ones that can communicate with millions of people. Fortunately, we have one in Jon Stewart. I think more will come. People are getting sick of the "MTV reality."


So your theory is that the very elite media you blame for the problem will play hero and "reprogram" the populace through entertainment TV into the sort of quality, thoughtful citizens required for our political process to operate effectively?

Jon Stewart is not going to change the world, and I'd go as far as to say he's not even going to change a sizeable minority of the population's minds. Jon Stewart is out to make money, and he's using the pre-existing beliefs of his target demographic to do it, preaching to the choir for a hefty salary. This isn't the salvation you're looking for.
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Leon



Joined: 31 May 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
Unposter wrote:
Sure, people won't be able to vote according to party so they will vote by name recognition instead. I like the name Johnson, it sounds so much better than Walenski.


I can't imagine the number of people who are going to waste their time going to vote based purely and only upon which last name they like better will be especially substantial. I think you'd be more likely to see an overall drop in voter turn-out than a rise in this kind of behavior.

Unposter wrote:
The last thing we need is more legislation and yikes even constitutional amendments.


Legislation and constitutional amendments are precisely what we need. Indeed, saying that legislation is the last thing we need is tantamount to saying that our current set of laws (and current electoral system) is as perfect as we can make it and in no further need of refinement. Perhaps you really believe that (I doubt it), but I certainly do not.

We can make things better. We can reduce the role that tribal factionalism plays in politics. We can reduce the role that corporate (or union, or Israeli, or any organization's) spending plays in politics. We can increase the legitimacy of our elections by ensuring hard, fast, and fair voting rights, eliminating political district gerrymandering, and mandating reliable paper trails for all elections. We can restore the proper representative balance of the House of Representatives. We can take action against the unjust ballot access laws mentioned by ontheway (and I agree with him, it's a problem). We can do all of this, but to do it will require some legislation.

Legislation is not an evil thing; any law you approve of came originally from legislation, and any law you disapprove of will ultimately require legislation to be put to an end. It makes no sense to take some ideological stand against "more legislation." in and of itself.

Unposter wrote:
The problem is the media. They are the ones that turn elections and every other policy and piece of legislation into sporting matches. It is all about who won and more importantly who lost.


The media is nothing more than a reflection of the general populace. This reminds me far too much of mises' old "It's all because of the elite! The elite!" theory. Sure, the elite (and the media) play a role in society's dysfunction, but only as part of a cycle, not as a fundamental cause; the populace incentivizes the elite and the media both to behave exactly as they do. There may be some emotional validation to be found in blaming all of society's woes on a small, easily-identifiable group, but it's simply not the truth.

Unposter wrote:
Change also comes from media representations. We need people to protray characters on TV to be disgusted at the way the news media treats our elections. Then, enough people will follow. Never under-estimate the artists, at leasts ones that can communicate with millions of people. Fortunately, we have one in Jon Stewart. I think more will come. People are getting sick of the "MTV reality."


So your theory is that the very elite media you blame for the problem will play hero and "reprogram" the populace through entertainment TV into the sort of quality, thoughtful citizens required for our political process to operate effectively?

Jon Stewart is not going to change the world, and I'd go as far as to say he's not even going to change a sizeable minority of the population's minds. Jon Stewart is out to make money, and he's using the pre-existing beliefs of his target demographic to do it, preaching to the choir for a hefty salary. This isn't the salvation you're looking for.


If you got rid of political parties, and started at zero again, I would bet that within years they would start up again. The desire to form groups is so strong that, even if they weren't official political parties, the end result would be the same. You'd have groups of legislators who vote the same way, then they'd start spending time together, and there would be an opposite group, and the old partisanship behavior would come out. The like minded ones would all endorse each other and help each other campaign, they'd form voting blocks, etc. etc.

I don't think that parties are the major problem. I think that they are almost inevitable. I think that there are many laws that should be changed, such as ballot access, gerrymandering, and something should be done about the money in politics, but I don't think that getting rid of parties is feasible.
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comm



Joined: 22 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leon wrote:
If you got rid of political parties, and started at zero again, I would bet that within years they would start up again. The desire to form groups is so strong that, even if they weren't official political parties, the end result would be the same. You'd have groups of legislators who vote the same way, then they'd start spending time together, and there would be an opposite group, and the old partisanship behavior would come out. The like minded ones would all endorse each other and help each other campaign, they'd form voting blocks, etc. etc.

I don't know... I think it would end up looking a lot more like multi-party parliamentary systems. Without an official party title, politics would have to become more issue-based. And more importantly, people wouldn't be able to blindly affiliate with one side or the other.
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Leon



Joined: 31 May 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

comm wrote:
Leon wrote:
If you got rid of political parties, and started at zero again, I would bet that within years they would start up again. The desire to form groups is so strong that, even if they weren't official political parties, the end result would be the same. You'd have groups of legislators who vote the same way, then they'd start spending time together, and there would be an opposite group, and the old partisanship behavior would come out. The like minded ones would all endorse each other and help each other campaign, they'd form voting blocks, etc. etc.

I don't know... I think it would end up looking a lot more like multi-party parliamentary systems. Without an official party title, politics would have to become more issue-based. And more importantly, people wouldn't be able to blindly affiliate with one side or the other.


We would have to change how votes are given in districts. In a single member system, which is what we have, where the winner gets all the votes it always leads to two dominant parties. In Europe, parties are given representation in accord to the proportion of the votes that they receive, that way multiple parties are able to be represented. Small parties will almost never be able to compete in a winner take all system.
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sirius black



Joined: 04 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One the very rare things both parties can agree on is making laws and regulations that limit any other competition.

We are even fed the notion that we are a 'two party' system. We were never suuppsed to be. We morphed into it but it was not the intention of the founding fathers. Its another big lie we are fed.

Also, the rules to get in on debates and the organization that was created for debates was made by people from the two parties. Its no more independant than the RNC or DNC is. When asked why so and so can't get in to the debate, they mention this supposedly arbitrary organization that THEY created.

Getting on the ballots is a construct of the two main parties as well. The media goes along with all this. They discredit, belittle, etc. any 3rd party or maverick. For years the Libertarans were reported as crack pots and they would report on what the fringe of the party wanted. Like him or not Ron Paul the media tries to marginalize him as well.

Ultimately the problem is you and I and all of us as a collective. There are too many people brainwashed or apathetic. We don't make demands on the system and when we do (Tea Party. Religious rightOccupy WS to some extent) one of the major parties takes them over to varying degrees of control.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People get frustrated because they don't believe the government represents their interests. And obviously that is true. There are 350 million Americans or so, each with their own ideas, and odds are there are going to be some things you are not going to like. Anyway, I get it. There are policies and legislation I don't like either.

What I don't get is the people who want to change the system just because they don't like the outcomes.

This is like Visitorq's belief that it is the government that is always wrong.

But, the system is generally neutral and fair, though the people who administer it are not always.

You start changing the system and it will just be "rigged" in different directions, or at least people will percieve it rigged in different directions.

What we need to do is teach more ethics and provide more positive examples of people doing the right things in government.

I recently watched a TED Talk about politcal change. The lecturer (I cannot remember the name) talked about how social change is actually slow, often generational, and tht the media is generally a head of the population. He gave an example of race relations. Generally, race relations were protrayed much more favorably on the media before the general population shared such values. Over time, things change.

Biden was not as eloquent but he made the same remarks. When asked why he changed his mind about Gay marriage, he said it was because of Will and Grace.

The media has its role. So do individuals. It still takes individuals to make a difference.

Jon Stewart was invited on this show called Crossfire on CNN. It is basically a he said she said political show where liberals and conservatives never agree. The producers of the show thought Stewart would duke it out and provide some laughs instead he gave a lecture about how stupid and destructive this type of behavior is.

The show was cancelled within weeks.

It is the way the media protrays politics as sport and the presidential election as the superbowl that is the problem. People follow.

We need people to stand up for responsible government not party partisanship.

We need the media to take partisanship to task rather than to fan it.

We don't need to change the political system.

Regardless of questions of the fairness of system change, just the sheer effort needed seems like a ridiculous effort.

Change happens all the time but system change, especially in the U.S., is rare. We can change the tone in Washington and we can change the way the media protrays it and we can change the way we do balloting but please lets not talk about getting rid of political parties or changing the electoral college and all that stuff.

And, it is not just the media but education as well. Personally, I think we need to teach the history of science. We don't have science if certain people were not able to open their minds and accept reasonable conclusions. Ideology blurs people's perceptions. Science requires being open to rationality even if it goes against your ideology. We don't have the scientific revolution without it. And, we would still be living in a Theocracy.

People need to re-learn this. Our new theocracies are our political ideologies. We have been told that everything is ideology and relative to it and we've lost a sense of empirical and testable truth (or facts). Sometimes reality doesn't meet our ideology. Well, then you better change your ideology.

Changing the system expecting to change people's behavior is a 1984 type of solution. People will change when it makes sense and they are free to choose. That does not mean we don't try to effect change. It just means that we have to go about it the right ways.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:

What I don't get is the people who want to change the system just because they don't like the outcomes.


I'm sorry, but this is just silly. A system producing unacceptable outcomes is not just the best reason to change it, it's really the only reason to change it. That's literally the entire point of legal systems: to induce positive social results.

Unposter wrote:
This is like Visitorq's belief that it is the government that is always wrong.


No, it's not. Visitorq's position is ideological in nature: government is bad because government is bad. My position is pragmatic in nature: the system ought to be changed not for abstract, ideological reasons, but because it produces defective results. It's the exact opposite of visitorq's way of thinking.

Unposter wrote:
But, the system is generally neutral and fair ...


The system is neither neutral nor fair, and specific examples of unfairness have been given in this thread. But it's clear nothing I can say will convince you otherwise (Hell, you're comparing the possibility of basic electoral reform being enshrined into the Constitution with 1984!), and insisting that instead of resorting to law to solve problems which are directly applicable to electoral law, we ought to instead just encourage people to be more ethical, hope the media -- which has been complicit in the problem -- will spontaneously morph into an anti-corruption fighting force, and wish for the best, so I don't see any reason to bother. Nice speaking with you, Unposter.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox,

I am trying to engage in a discussion. I am willing to listen and my mind is open to yours and anyone elses ideas - really! If you don't want to engage in a discussion that is your choice.

As they say, "I don't have a horse in this race." It is not about winning or losing an argument and arguing to my last breath. If I think I am wrong, I will admit it. Something I have done a few times on Daves, though not necessarilly on the Current Events forum. Though, I have been influenced by the libertarian discussion and it has made me rethink some of my positions.

That said I would like to clearify some of my points/positions.

I said the system is fair/neutral because it is. It is people who abuse their power who may make things unfair. So, changing the system is not going to change that. Changing people hopefully will.

It is not that the outcomes are bad but that the outcomes are bad for you and good for others. Just because you don't like the outcomes means we should change how they are made. If you want to make political change, join in the political process and make your change.

I certainly don't disagree that there are things that should be changed. I just question your means of accomplishing them.

I want to see people in the media perform their jobs more responsibly. I think this is necessary because they aren't. I think they can. If they cannot then system change isn't going to improve things. They will just find new ways to abuse the new system.

I don't think electoral reform is akin to 1984. I am in favor of finance reform but I think if you change the system so that people cannot behave in a certain manner, then yes, that is a 1984/Brave New World/Clockwork Orange type of solution.

The only way people are going to change their behavior is because they think it is right.

At one time, the thought of racial equality seemed like a crazy dream. Yet, we have come a long way in realizing that dream. We may have changed some laws but we didn't change the way the whole political system works. We didn't even change the Constitution (at least not since Reconstruction).

We did it by changing the way people think about race. We did it through education. We did it through media protrayal. We did it through the brave acts of individuals. We did it because some people devoted their lives toward it.

We can make a better government. I just think it starts with the people who run it, not the system.

Fox, I don't disagree (at least I don't think I do) with some of things you want changed, I just disagree with your methods.

Change starts with people, not systems.
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comm



Joined: 22 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I said the system is fair/neutral because it is. It is people who abuse their power who may make things unfair. So, changing the system is not going to change that.

I wonder how you rate fairness in this instance. It seems pretty clear that the current system rewards:
1. corporatism
2. extreme short-term thinking (buying votes with debt)
3. partisanship (those damn [insert-party-here] are ruining America! "Anyone but the incumbent 20XX")
Only some significant systemic changes are going to make a difference here.
Unposter wrote:
It is not that the outcomes are bad but that the outcomes are bad for you and good for others. Just because you don't like the outcomes means we should change how they are made. If you want to make political change, join in the political process and make your change.

The people with the good outcomes are called "campaign contributors" and they are exceedingly wealthy.
Unposter wrote:
I don't think electoral reform is akin to 1984. I am in favor of finance reform but I think if you change the system so that people cannot behave in a certain manner, then yes, that is a 1984/Brave New World/Clockwork Orange type of solution.

If there were a "freedom bible", I'd be one of the most soapbox-standin', F-Bible thumpin' posters around. My ideal would be a weak central government that simply doesn't have the power to effect people's day-to-day life. But until that government exists, even I realize there need to be restrictions on how people acquire the power of the State. And right now the law/regulation auction house called Congress isn't cutting it.
Unposter wrote:

The only way people are going to change their behavior is because they think it is right.

I can think of about... pretty much every law we could repeal if that were true. Why have laws if it wont change people's behavior? Congratulations, you've gotten me to argue for government regulation on Dave's.
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
No, it's not. Visitorq's position is ideological in nature: government is bad because government is bad. My position is pragmatic in nature: the system ought to be changed not for abstract, ideological reasons, but because it produces defective results. It's the exact opposite of visitorq's way of thinking.

Yeah, you're just an enlightened internet sage who comes on here from time to time to grace the rest of us all with your objective wisdom, always looking at things from an impartial POV, never colored by your own ideological biases... What an admirable view you hold of yourself (too bad it's a fantasy).

As for myself (since I somehow got dragged into this), anytime I say that "government is bad" I provide clear reasons as to why that is (which are often ignored by pro-government ideologues on there). Therefore, putting the words "government is bad because government is bad" into my mouth is just plain ignorant.
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another Johnson spot:

The Donkeys and the Elephants

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IDSUoIVMze8


Another hidden message @ 2.27
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