Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by Guest, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Interesting article about Ralph Nader here.
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Ralph Nader is The Man.

    He's going to siphon off votes for Kerry. I think I might send him a little contribution. :D
  3. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I find the whole Nader thing really annoying (does anyone still believe he isn't just trying to get Bush reelected?), but it's a case of turnabout is fair play--Perot probably cost Bush Sr. the election in 1992. I'd like to see instant runoff voting so third party candidates can run viable campaigns without being spoilers, but I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon.

    One benefit for Kerry: In 2000, Nader ended up getting about half as many votes as he was polled to get. (I can see how: "Duuude, was the election today? Oh, man...")

  4. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    No, I think the misperception is that Nader is more sympathetic to the Democrats. This may be true when considering the Dems at the far left. However, while Nader doesn't want to see Bush reelected, he also doesn't want to see Kerry elected. He regards them as nearly equally despicable. From his perspective, he's right. There isn't a whole lot of difference between the two. He sees both of them as ruled by big business. For middle of the roaders, one can find substantive differences between Bush and Kerry. For those on the radical left, it's a case of rich and richer, or perhaps dumb and dumber.
  5. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    I doubt Perot cost GHWB the election. Remember, Perot got roughly 20%, Bush 37%, Clinton 43%; it's hard to imagine--albeit I'll grant conceivable--that Bush would have so thoroughly swamped Clinton as to get 14% out of that 20% in the absence of Perot. And that isn't even considering the voters for Perot who simply wouldn't have shown up in the absence of his candidacy--it likely would've been a few million. Now where you may have a point is in the Electoral College breakdown, which I haven't studied from the '92 election. Perhaps a number of key states would've titled to Bush. However, it would've taken a bit over 100 electoral votes to tilt to Bush as a result of no Perot--I don't know.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Actually at this juncture in Nader's life he is only interested in one thing--Ralph Nader.

    With his socialist views he would fit very comfortably into the Democratic Party since it is once again becoming the Party of socialists and other left-leaning ideas much as it was in the days when Hubert Humphrey stridently fought the communist infiltration into his Party via the labor unions and their leaders.
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Actually some polls were taken shortly after that election and the majority of Perot voters said they would have voted for Bush had Perot not been in the race. Perot came in second in Maine behind Clinton. Had he not run, Bush would have won those electoral votes (not many but votes nonetheless).

    I voted for Perot in '92. I am one of the few who would nlot have voted for Bush had Perot not run. I would have voted for Andre Marrou, the Libertarian.
  8. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member


    I'll agree that most exit polls showed Perot supporters leaning more in the Bush direction than Clinton, but by over 2 to 1?--I doubt it.

    Libertarian, eh? Sometimes I "test out" to being a Libertarian when I take one of those ubiquitous tests that they love to stick in your face; probably because I tend to be laissez faire fiscally and have some absolutist First Amendment opinions (with the exception of obscenity), but I could never vote in that direction, I'd feel as if I were casting my vote to the wind--no offense intended, but I'm just too much a pragmatist.

    By the way, how about your religious views on social issues? Do they square with the libertarian hands-off perspective on morality? Not trying to provoke, I'm just honestly curious. When I checked out your church website, it appeared that you're fairly to the right and mainstream on doctrinal issues, but I can't say I looked it over that carefully. Just wondering!
  9. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    I'm not sure the Dems are turning socialist. They certainly aren't from Nader's point of view. He sees both Kerry and Bush as ruled by big business, and he's right. The whole country is, really.

    We in the U.S. have a high standard of living in terms of per capita income, but whether it's true quality of life is debatable. This is a country that's absolutely run by the consumption edict. Anyone who watches television is bombarded by the message. And it works! - as we consume 40% of the world's pie, despite being only 5% of the population.

    Here in CA, voters were up in arms about the extra car registration tax. And the Governator eliminated this tax upon entering office - all to much cheers. Meanwhile, of course, your 3rd grader will be lost in a class of 35 other students, and without the resources necessary to really flourish. We are a populace of misplaced priorities, IMHO. Nader is trying to bring this to light, and frankly I'm damn glad he's trying.

    Pejorative references to "ego" or "Socialism" don't begin to get at the issue.

    Anyone fortunate enough to take Laura Nader's class at Berkeley gets to see the world from an alternative point of view - the essence of a true education.
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Nothing "perjorative," Tom, just read the platforms of the Democrats and the Socialist Partiy USA this year and in nearly every Presidential election for the past decades and you will see very little difference.
  11. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    We'll probably disagree on 8/10 issues, but I will agree with you that our "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" mentality does not per se lead to improved quality of life--in fact, I think it leads to a vastly diminished quality of life. We've become addicted to feeding our appetites, enough is never enough. One thing though--we're probably more responsible for enlarging that world pie than any other nation; it's not a finite thing, and the more we consume, the less there is for the rest of the world. the "pie" is created by industry and effort, it's not something sitiing out there. However, your overall point is well-taken, our priorities aren't spot on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2004
  12. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    It is something sitting out there. These stats refer to "natural resources"- chief among them being oil. Certainly, these resources are finite, and we do nothing to enlarge those pieces of the pie, while consuming the bulk of them.

    It's inputs versus outputs..
  13. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    Perhaps I should've explained myself better: the good stuff that constitutes the piece of the pie is what we do with those resources. You take raw materials and add value to them, this creates value that is shared by the entire economy, in a sense, everybody profits. The things we use are sometimes finite, sometimes infinite (such as renewable resources like trees, solar power, etc.). The way the U.S. makes the overall pie bigger is by adding value to those raw materials that are just out there. Economies are created which didn't exist before, people in China get jobs that wouldn't have existed in the absence of U.S. innovation, people in America experience great wealth that would have seemed unimaginable just 100 years ago--you can make an argument that the average welfare recipient today is richer than Rockefeller was because as well as having sufficient food & adequate housing (actually luxurious vis-a-vis many places in the world) he can also avail himself of innovations like television, air conditioning, the automobile, etc--things that Rockefeller had no access to 100 years ago (and none of this sophistry about welfare recipients who can't afford any of the above--that's a lie, I personally know families on government aid who can manage to afford fine cuts of meat, adequate housing, multiple TVs, computers, video games, etc--all on your tax dollar!).

    Our consumption of 40% does NOT mean we are taking from the prosperity of Banglidesh--it's not a zero sum game!
  14. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    You're right. US led innovation does generate revenue and create growth. However, I disagree with some of your points.

    Your depiction of the "average" welfare recipient is misleading. The recipient that you know personally is certainly not average. In all likelihood, he or she is committing fraud. Likewise, it's laughable to compare the average welfare recipient to Rockefeller, and claim that Rockefeller is worse off in comparison. The true "average" welfare recipient can barely afford food for his/her "average" family. Rockefeller did not have that problem. Television, air conditioning, and automobiles, if the average recipient even has those luxuries, are irrelevant when you're going to bed hungry. When it comes to television, I would argue it actually subtracts from quality of life, but that’s another story.

    You're right, our 40% consumption does not directly take from Bangladesh, but neither does it add to their prosperity either. Moreover, the consumption of oil IS a zero sum game.

    Your depiction of the “average” is really an extreme case – more of an outlier, really. This is a common tactic on the part of conservatives (pardon me while I lump you in with my own “average”): they take polar cases and then draw general conclusions from them – as in, “I know a welfare recipient who lives better than I do; therefore everyone on welfare lives better than I do.” The corollary, of course, is that conservatives are then absolved of thinking about what’s really happening. They have already drawn their conclusions; however, they have made generalizations based on extreme values.

    I mean, are you seriously arguing that those on welfare live better than Rockefeller did? If you look at any meaningful criteria for standard of living, there’s no way you can make that argument. By meaningful, I mean things like food, shelter, first class medical care, and reasonably safe neighborhoods. I don’t include things like air conditioning, cars, and televisions. These are conveniences, and without the real “qualities” of life they are almost meaningless.

    The US creates huge markets by transforming materials into output. You’re absolutely right about that. However, most of this “wealth” is consumed by our own country. Yes, our industries do provide jobs for some in China and elsewhere, but it’s almost disingenuous to argue that this justifies our own excesses. Workers in China can earn the equivalent of a buck or two a day stitching our shirts, while our richest can drive around in Hummers. We are not “supporting” the Chinese out of altruism. Our companies will ditch them for the next country that can offer up cheaper labor.
  15. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    Please inform me of those welfare recipients who are going to bed with empty stomachs--I'd like to know which family you know whose children are literally going to bed hungry. I can point to real people who I know, with whom I've broken bread, who live the lives I've described, and they are by no means unique--they are more the norm--far more--than the Dickensian waifs who exist primarily in campaign rhetoric.
  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Let me preface my remarks by saying I am all for welfare, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., for those who truly need it.

    I opposed Clinton's welfare reform program for fear children would be hurt.

    Now, let me say this. When I worked in addictions and mental health I had a number of clients who were on welfare and other so-called "give-away-programs." Most had more money than I, drove better and newer cars than I, lived in better homes than I.

    They had the most modern of electronics and appliances. They would reach into their wallets and purses and pull out wads of money.

    Welfare cheats exist and we need to realize this. We also need to realize there are many on government programs who truly need the help.

    How to rid the system of the cheats without hurting the innocent (children, elderly) and reforming the system that encourages self-reliance seems to be the major question of most concerned.
  17. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    Those are good points, Jimmy. But one more: not all who live relatively comfortable existences without working are welfare "cheats"--programs such as food stamps, WIC, welfare, medicare, commodities, etc. ensure that those who know how to avail themselves of the systems in place will not starve or even go hungry. These are not all welfare cheats, most are honest people down on their luck or people who simply haven't learned how to avail themselves of another system--free enterprise.

    The fundamental problem I have with the Great Society devised by LBJ is the incentive structures it establishes. There are people who are able-bodied and not at heart lazy who will not work because their father didn't work, their father before that didn't, and they aren't quite certain what it is to work. We've had 40 years of this experiment, and many minority fathers in the urban areas and white fathers in the rural areas have learned that if they produce a baby out-of-wedlock, there's a system by which that baby and the mother will be provided for, and so they have little incentive to do the right thing--thye welfare state has taken their place! This has led to a growing sense of desperation; we're killing people with kindness! Did you know that a family with several children qualifies for WIC in some states earning over $60K per year?
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    No I didn't, mrw142, but am not surprised. Somewhere between the Libertarian philosophy and the (democratic) Socialist position, there has to be a middle ground that will help the truly needy and discourage the cheats.
  19. mrw142

    mrw142 New Member

    I totally concur, brother. By the way, are you familiar with Anthony "Tony" Campolo? He's a professor at Northeastern University in Massachusetts and a dear Christian evangelist, he was Bill Clinton's unofficial spiritual advisor, I'll bet you'd love his writings and probably see eye-to-eye with him politically.

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