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Norm, I actually made a photocopy of my ballot for Obama to keep. Obama may or may not be a great president, but his election in itself is a big symbolic deal for the US.

This may be silly, but I suspect that his election will really help the US's reputation in the world. I am not saying that is fair, i am just saying that symbolism does matter. It says things like you don't have to be a member of a ruling family to be president( ie a Bush, Clinton, Kennedy) or a zillionaire ( Kerry, Bush, Perot, Bloomberg,etc). It says that you can have a arab like name and be president. It says that America is not a racist country. It says that sons and daughters of immigrants can flourish and do anything.

Whether Obama will live up to his promise, I am not sure. I sort of expect he will be like most president both good and bad. But the symbolism is amazing.

Perhaps you should give us time to well, convince you otherwise.

were you being an "idealist", norm, when you first supported edwards and then clinton?

My view hasn't really changed. I supported Edwards, and then Clinton as having the best chance of being elected, and considered both better choices than Obama. I think I've made it clear that personally I'd be voting for Nader. I do live in Utah which made it an easy choice. He's not perfect either but is more in line with my personal views.

Come on Norm, you can vote for Obama. We need a crushing popular vote to shut up the conspiracy theorists and other wing nuts.

Being only "a bit" of an idealist you never know.

I have to say I'm with Norm on this one. Nader has a far more intellectually honest platform than Obama.

If not for Palin, and the fact I live in a swing-state, I would be voting 3rd-party too.

Norm read my anti nader comments below.

I really really have issues with Nader, I just don't think he cares about the country if he is specifically advertising in swing states. Seems like he is just cannot leave the limelight. (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/naders-radio-spots-in-the-battlegrounds/)

CBS's "60 Minutes" recently offered a tutorial on derivatives' role in sinking the economy. The mortgage-backed securities were the TNT, Steve Kroft explained. "The rocket fuel was the trillions of dollars in side bets on these mortgage securities called credit default swaps."

I accept your apology.

Further, its a good thing to vote for Nader. While differences between Right and Left from an idealogical standpoint are bascially quibbling over details over just how much regulation is needed, the current two party stranglehold is a real, tangible problem and needs to go. Because depending on where you live, a vote for Obama may well turn into a vote for McCain in spite of intentions otherwise.

http://blackboxvoting.com/s9/index.php?/archives/322-Report-in-Texas-Touchscreens-Flipping-Straight-Ticket-Votes.html

Why bother with that kind of hassle? Vote 3rd party.

Apology for what? Your selected quote says that mortgages were only the igniter, it's the CDS's that you refused to blame that were the WMD, as Buffet put it.

Without the mortgages, the WMD would have never left the launch pad, but the mortgages alone would not have destroyed Credit-tonia.

Am i misunderstanding your deflection in the other thread of the danger of an Unregulated CDS market? Do you think that CDS's need to be regulated?

I would prefer the actual enforcement of existing, sensible regulation. Like the ones aimed at preventing fraud which were actually ignored.

http://www.securitiesfraudhotline.com/2008/01/28/the-mortgage-backed-securities-mess-the-due-diligence-gambit/

Many of the problems that occur in free markets and somehow get blamed on capitalism (remember, Keynes himself was in favor of free markets, just felt they needed some adult supervision) are in fact acts of criminal behavior. There was existing regulation concerning the due diligence necessary for rating the MBS packages, which were roundly ignored.

Free markets rely on trust. But since people aren't trustworthy, legislation that seeks to prevent and punish fraudulent behavior is sensible and bolsters a free market. However, overshooting the mark and trying to regulate away everything that even might be bad goes too far. It's simplistic, childish, and reactionary. Its like making Drano illegal because somebody was dumb enough to drink it.

I draw a line when it comes to government regulation. We currently have too much, and the results of government interventions in order to try and steer the market rather than merely sustain it are what led us to where we are today. I've tried demonstrating this with numerous pieces of actual evidence and I get shouted down by well meaning individuals who have yet to present any hard evidence of thier own that the Keynesian approach confers any lasting benefit to any economy.

I could present dozens of specific, actual examples of the Keynesian approach of lowering interest rates and increasing deficit spending, in order to bolster an economy to maximize employment, fails miserably.

For example, France has drastically increased public spending for decades:

http://www.minefe.gouv.fr/directionsservices/dgtpe/TRESORECO/anglais/pdf/2007-020-26en.pdf

...and Keynesian theory would thus predict that so much public spending should shore up the economy and boost employment by creating demand. The reality of the situation is the exact opposite. From 1980 to 2005 (the time period charted by the report linked above), unemployment jumped from 6% to over 9%, hitting double digits in the 1990s.

http://indexmundi.com/france/unemployment_rate.html

If I have a theory of gravity that predicts what comes down, must go up, and the reality of the situation doesn't pan out that way, drop the theory and move on to a better one.

All this emotional attachment to an economic model is just mystifying. Logic states that effects are preceded by causes. If you don't like the effect, do something about the cause. In this case, the cause was government intervention to try and steer the housing market. Greenspan made money too cheap (lowering of interest rates to stimulate spending rather than saving, pure Keynesian economics) and actively pushed to inflate the housing market.

If you're a doctor, and you treat a sick child and find Drano in his stomach, do you bemoan the existence of Drano, or the asshole who told the kid it was ok to drink it?

(in the analogy above, Drano = CDS market, asshole = government push which inflated the housing market)

To say that there is no or little difference between the two parties is pure nonsense. In 2000 the conventional wisdom was that there was no difference between Bush and Gore resulting in a statistical tie that was broken by ultra-liberal idealists voting for Nader. No rational individual could reasonably conclude that we are better off after 8 years of Bush then we would have been under 8 years of Gore.

The USA is in a death spiral and we know how well John McCain can pilot a airplane. Who do you want on the controls?

To say that there is no or little difference between the two parties is pure nonsense.

It's exactly what Noam Chomsky said on a video posted on this very website. They both serve what he called "the business class".

After all, look at what actual socialists have to say about Obama:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/oct2008/obam-o20.shtml

Yes, Chomsky did say that (not in those exact words though). But here's the key: he followed up by recommending a vote for Obama.

I don't think that's what Chomsky said if it was the recent video. He said something about voting against McCain and for Obama without illusions but he said there is definitely a difference over time and that more people did better under Democratic admins...

I found it fairly optimistic - for Chomsky...

I'll be casting my vote for Obama, but people should vote their conscience. My vote won't decide anything, but for me I think it's important to put my support behind one of the people who actually might take office. Of course if they were both war criminals or fascists I'd vote Nader.

Norm--maybe the electoral college isn't so bad after all! You can hope for Obama to beat McCain and still vote your conscience, just like one can retreat honorably from an insignificant losing battle without being responsible for losing the war. Seriously, it's kind of a perk. I still favor a true national election, though.

A perk, I like that.

"While differences between Right and Left from an idealogical standpoint are bascially quibbling over details over just how much regulation is needed, the current two party stranglehold is a real, tangible problem and needs to go."

I don't see what the "tangible problem" is. How would having multiple parties change policy? People on the left such as the Greens often imagine that if we had a third party, it would be a left wing party and it would move policy to the left. But I don't see how this would work. The overall number of left voters would probably remain the same, and in a single-member district system the Republicans would gain a disproportionate number of seats. In a proportional representation system, it would probably be a wash, with left and right wings of the Democratic party replaced by two left parties. Canada has more effective parties than they had 40 years ago and their politics isn't any better. In fact I'd say it's worse. In 1968 we had three effective parties at the presidential level and it only bought the GOP time to integrate white racists into the party; it didn't cause them to lose or policy to change in any postive way.

Some people, on the other hand, feel like neither candadate in the general election pleases them sufficiently. "more choices!" Having some 3d, 4th, 5th or 6th party might change this (though we have this option now with relatively open primaries), but it wouldn't necessarily make the policies this or that person favors any more likely to be enacted than our current system.

So I'm wondering what exactly is so bad about the current two-party system. Or more specifically, are there any examples of countries with multi-party systems which enjoy better politics precisely because they have more parties? I don't know of any.

Because the whole 'Left' vs. 'Right' divide itself isn't representative, and America is supposed to be a representative Republic.

I'm a fiscal conservative and staunch advocate of the right to bear arms. But I also think drugs should be legal, and first trimester abortions should be safe and available, with morning after pills in every pharmacy, that gay people should have every right that straight people do, and religion serves no place in public discourse any more than astrology.

I'm not "Left" or "Right" wing. So phrasing the addition of political parties as merely slicing up an electorate along a two dimensional line that runs from red to blue is oversimplyfying the matter. There's more directions to go rather than simply left or right.

And finally. Because two-parties simply merge into one party, as we've seen with the Republicrats.

http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/5/2/2/9/pages152290/p152290-1.php

To Norm and others who are voting Nader due to his idealism,

Why even bother to group your votes together with Nader? If you want to be pure and vote for who's views most closely resemble your own there is one choice above any other...

Write in your own name. Can't go wrong voting Norm, Norm. Norm will never let you down. I promise any time Norm sells you out you will agree that the sell out is worth it! Why I bet he agrees with you on every policy issue.

Ok, seriously this is kind of a Colbert (Swiftian?) effort on my part to highlight the whole idea behind party politics. I know that Obama is only slightly more to your liking than McCain when compared to Nader. I voted for Nader in 2000 in Minnesota. I like Nader and I believed him and others who said you can't tell Dems from Reps, or when you go about your everyday life you can't tell which party is in the white house. But you know, I did not like the last 8 years. This website and others were a place of solace and hope that others agree with me. Hey, maybe if we got together and all agreed on one candidate to get behind, we could have some political power... its an idea worth looking into.

But yeah, you won't turn Utah blue no matter how often you vote next week. So I'm not worried about your vote as a practical concern, but just as a curiosity. I no longer search for purity. And I cannot wait to vote for Obama, he's been my choice since last November, and it could be the first time that I pull the lever for a winner (crosses fingers really really hard!!!!!).

Like you Norm, I also toyed with the idea of voting for Obama but I marked Nader on my ballot before I mailed it last week. I was going to go with my old standby (a write-in of Jimmy Carter) but a friend said she'd harass me for having to stay up all night for the vote count (while they counted the 'write-ins') so I acquiesced.

Also, I live in ID which I believe has an even higher favorability rating for Bush than UT - so Obama was never going to come close here.

We need IRV...then everyone can vote their conscious AND still make strategic votes.

umm..."conscience." Though I would recommend everyone to vote consciously too :)

Better still approval voting.

There was existing regulation concerning the due diligence necessary for rating the MBS packages, which were roundly ignored. ... I draw a line when it comes to government regulation. We currently have too much, and the results of government interventions in order to try and steer the market rather than merely sustain it are what led us to where we are today.

I know you're doing a line of thought post here, but are these two points not contradictory? First you claim that it's the fact regulations were ignored that caused the problem, and then bemoan the fact that regulations are too restrictive.

CDS swaps were NOT regulated, and had no rules to follow, thanks to the 1999 CTFA that Gramm and others were responsible for. This is why, 1 year ago, I could have called and gotten a CDS on a MBS that you owned, and nobody was required to check if I owned it, or if there was already a seurity backing that MBS.

All this emotional attachment to an economic model is just mystifying.

No kidding.

Your "France unemployment" link is broken, but unemployment is not the only way to measure the worth of an economic model. Even with their higher rates of unemployment, their citizens live longer, are more productive, have more vacation days, and everyone has health care, (albeit not the best health system). Now, I could link you to all the studies that show such things, but since you're smart and so fact based, i'm sure you've already seen such studies.

I know you're doing a line of thought post here, but are these two points not contradictory? First you claim that it's the fact regulations were ignored that caused the problem, and then bemoan the fact that regulations are too restrictive.

Stop being such a simpleton. Treating the word 'markets' like there's some big nebulous thing out there called "The Market" and assuming that as far as regulations go its all or nothing.

I'll use another analogy. Let's say a man murders another man with a knife. The solution proposed is that more regulation is needed, ban all knives! I'm pointing out that the sensible regulation, that of not being allowed to kill, was ignored, and additional regulation, that of banning knives, is ridiculous.

Why is this hard to grasp?

Since you came out the gate with the name calling, I feel I have some latitude here.

Are you retarded?

Seriously.

I pointed to a very specific instance of an application of Keynesian theory to practice resulting in the exact opposite of what it intended, to show, specifically, that Keynesian economics does not work as advertised, and I get a slippery little dodge about French people being happier.

Well, good for them. That doesn't do anything about the fact that Keynesian models don't work.

And what's this disregard for facts and evidence? Do I need to refer your posts to www.fstdt.com?

regarding the broken link above, seems to be an underscore problem:

http://www.minefe.gouv.fr/directions_services/dgtpe/TRESOR_ECO/anglais/pdf/2007-020-26en.pdf

What models that you are talking about have worked?

One has been the privatizing of transportation infrastructure.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10212008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_right_way_to_sell_the_roads_134552.htm

The stated purpose of this was to cut spending by a cash strapped state and improve infrastructure, which it has.

This represents a free market solution to specific problems which work as advertised.

Plus, if you look at inflation trends of the US dollar over the past two centuries, you'll see that inflation was never an issue before the Federal Reserve came along, granting banks the right to print money. A system that "works" in the sense that it minimizes inflation (I hope I don't have to explain why inflation is a bad thing), is one that ties the value of currency to a commodity. Doesn't even have to be the Gold Standard, but something so that money cannot be created out of thin air.

Hmmm....not exactly what I was asking. You were saying we haven't had a real free market system so the U.S. isn't an example, you said Keynesian economics don't work in France. What countries are using the real free market theory that you say works?

BTW - I wouldn't use any Murdoch-owned media as a source. You have to question all sources but a Murdoch one, to my mind, is just useless....

Oh - if you want to talk about the Federal Reserve I think you and Zaphod can go at it :)

Hmmm....not exactly what I was asking. You were saying we haven't had a real free market system so the U.S. isn't an example, you said Keynesian economics don't work in France. What countries are using the real free market theory that you say works?

Which free market theory have I been advocating? the broadest statement I've made is that free market solutions to particular problems historically outperform attempts solve the same problems using centralized planning. I don't recall presenting some golden key or magic bullet that'll fix everything. I'm trying to be as specific as possible. You can only say a model "works" if it does what it was intended to do. This requires details.

What got me started was the insistence that the current economic issues were the fault of a deregulated or unregulated sector of the financial market. I tried pointing out that in this case, that was misleading, as the root of the problem was clearly the push to broaden the homeowner base, an attempt to steer the housing market and financial market. In this sense, the markets in question were "less free" rather than "more free", due to federal officials feeling the need to fix what they perceived as a problem manually using the considerable tools they had available to perform said meddling. Government should not have intervened. No government intervention, no housing bubble, this particular 'crisis' would not have happened. A link was posted on this site which stated clearly that the root cause of the problem was artifically inflated mortgage backed securities. A member of the priesthood around here, Magnolia, has been continually harping on credit default swaps even after acquiescing that the MBSs and the housing bubble upon which there were based were in fact the root cause of the problem.

The jaw dropping part is where the situation then gets spun around and the consequences of trying to control a market that's bigger and more complex than any group of regulators could handle gets blamed not on the regulators who actively screwed things up in the first place, but on not having enough regulators doing even more micromanaging.

This is the 'Keynesian Approach' Regulate more, spend more, save less. Keynesian economics is still a "free market" one, for the most part, but likens the government's role as that of a captain stearing some great boat, making the necessary adjustments here and there to steer the economy towards some bright future.

A noble vision, to be sure, but simply doesn't translate well into reality.

Thus I brought in the French example, and was specifically referring to unemployment. Since if the Keynesian Approach was valid, it would do what it is intended to do, which is increase employment. I showed that it does not.

You asked for things that do work, so I brought in two examples, a specific one and a broad one.

The first was in regards to privatizing transportation infrstructure. Now, regardless of how you feel about R. Murdoch, (I don't like him either), there were certain facts being reported regarding the actions and consequences of Mayor Richard Daley. The are either true, or they are not. Needless to say, its a bit of a stretch to say that leasing a toll road to a private company in order to shore up a pension fund is part of some right-wing conspiracy.

Second was the broad example of how to most effectively combat inflation. Zaphod and I really have nothing to go at, as I'm sure we both agree that the Federal Reserve needs to be dissolved.

Giving banks the ability to create money out of thin air to line their own pockets with is one of the worst ideas in the history of ideas.

Woodrow Wilson cannot be quoted often enough when it comes to the Federal Reserve:

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world - no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

What I'm specifically referring to is your statement that free markets work - that they work wonderfully or beautifully or something to that effect. The privatization of a transportation road - that doesn't seem to cover the scope of the a country's marketplace you were using as examples that didn't work.

As far as using France's unemployment rate to discount their Keynesian approach - I'm not sure that in itself is a valid statement. I think there would be other factors you would have to take into account. Perhaps it's because they have a whole lot of baby boomers who are less employable in new fields, perhaps it's because the EU lets you work in other EU countries that some of the native population has lost some jobs, too much immigration, perhaps what they have to offer is not that much in demand right now so they need to look to other industries (Ireland is doing well now because they turned to an industry that everyone needed at the right time.) Just seems like you can't point to that isolated factor and say "this proves it." And, to Magnolia's point, I think he's saying they might have geared their marketplace to emphasize other benefits - that they could be more productive but they've chosen to alter the model to suit a lifestyle that is more important to them than being as competitive.

As I said - this is not my area (which I'm sure is obvious) but I'm always fascinated when people make definitive statements when it doesn't seem like there is that level of agreement with the "experts." Maybe you are an expert and we're in your playground right now.

As far as regulation - the one thing I know about that is from the hedge fund manager I know (make that ex-hedge fund manager). About two years ago I asked how he could become a literal billionaire in 10 years and what was the thing about hedge funds. He said - they operated within a gray area of regulation and people were taking full advantage of the lack of regulation. He said some people were going to be in trouble because they were going too far afield but they were going to get their money and run. He had another business as well, kind of corporate raider, so he said he wasn't dabbling as far in as others...but deregulation was a problem because these guys were going to take everything they could and the head guys were not going to be the ones to be hurt.

What I was looking for from you was a country that is operating under the wonderful free markets you think work so well. To make that kind of statement when Greenspan seemed to be saying the opposite seemed pretty bold and I wanted to know what it was based on - not a small example of privatization.

If you've made all these points and I missed them - I apologize - I'm not usually that dense but sometimes I get lost in the online translation. (BTW - I don't care how harmless it seems - Murdoch's paper just doesn't make a valid source - at least for me. Drudge, Fox, Washington Times, NY Post...too much baggage.)

Why is this so hard to grasp?

Listen, Bud, You are the one that failed to show what "overregulation" caused the CDS market to fail, so sorry that i'm such a "retard" that I can't read your goddamned mind and know what imaginary regulation you are talking about in the CDS market. Your blame solely on the mortgage market shows that you don't really want to be fair in your evaluation of the problem.

Mortgages were "overregulated" which then caused a giant financial meltdown across the world, in your mind. I have yet to see you prove this point, and you keep referring to some magic "overregulated" system that caused the problem.

Outside the mortgage market and the Fed inflation you keep referring to (as a tangential problem, i'm pretty sure the Fed Reserve "overregulation" didn't cause CDS or the unregulated sale of mortgage packages to investors), what caused this? I keep asking you this simple goddamned question in several different ways, and all you can do is call me a retard for not seeing the information you've still failed to provide. Giving another illustrative example is not providing proof of what the hell you are talking about.

Secondly, If you think referring to the well being of people as a measure of a market is a "slippery slope", you really are lost.

Ahem "slippery little dodge" not slippery slope.

Of course, including health of citizens in money policy decision is a "dodge". Wow.

Listen, Bud, You are the one that failed to show what "overregulation" caused the CDS market to fail, so sorry that i'm such a "retard" that I can't read your goddamned mind and know what imaginary regulation you are talking about in the CDS market. Your blame solely on the mortgage market shows that you don't really want to be fair in your evaluation of the problem.

Take a deep breath, and approach this slowly, logically.

Cause precedes effect.

The CDS market turned into a bloated monster precisely because of the housing bubble. So the housing bubble, and subsequent popping thereof, was the cause of what happend to the CDS market.

Hence, I don't really care about the CDS market. Harp on it all you like, but without a cause, you wouldn't have the effect. Thus, I'm focusing on the cause. Logic.

If everyone suddenly started stabbing each other with pencils, I wouldn't worry about how easy it is to get your hands on a pencil, I'd wonder what motivated people to get all stabby happy.

Ok, simple, yes?

Mortgages were "overregulated" which then caused a giant financial meltdown across the world, in your mind. I have yet to see you prove this point, and you keep referring to some magic "overregulated" system that caused the problem.

Are you done playing with your strawman now? I'm over here.

I said government intervention caused the housing bubble by trying to steer the housing market. Regulations that seek to criminalize criminal behavior, like fraud, are sensible, and should be enforced (such as the requirement for due dilligence reports when packaging loans into securities in an effort to prevent fraudulent ratings). This supports a market rather than try and control it. Overregulation, as I see it, goes beyond merely protecting honest transactions and into the realm of trying to micromanage markets. The very worst example of this is the Federal Reserve, and their constant and repeatedly failed attempts at managing the economy through interest rate manipulation.

If money was not so cheap, the feeding frenzy would not have occured. Feeding frenzies require something to feed on.

Cause -> Effect

Outside the mortgage market and the Fed inflation you keep referring to (as a tangential problem, i'm pretty sure the Fed Reserve "overregulation" didn't cause CDS or the unregulated sale of mortgage packages to investors), what caused this? I keep asking you this simple goddamned question in several different ways, and all you can do is call me a retard for not seeing the information you've still failed to provide. Giving another illustrative example is not providing proof of what the hell you are talking about.

Amazing, just amazing.

"Aside from what caused the problem, what caused the problem?"

I really am at a loss for words how to respond to something like that. Hopefully this last, final post will be sufficient.

People are greedy and shortsighted. Human nature. Government decides it'll be a great idea to step in stimulate the economy, so the Federal Reserve opens the flood gates making money remarkably cheap, and with some initiatives to get the ball rolling on getting more mortgages out there, the feeding frenzy began.

Human nature + Government attempt to steer the economy = Not good.

Can I make it any simpler?

Lastly, and what I felt was the most important yet most overlooked piece of evidence I've introduced.

So here it is again:

http://www.independent.org/blog/?p=201

And some who added more data recently:

http://serfcity.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/bailout-fact-check-there-is-no-credit-crunch/

The meltdown of the CDS market was something none of us ever needed to worry about. All of the overleveraged financial institutions who were dumb enough to sell the insurance policies in the first place could have all dissapeared. Nothing is too big to fail.

The lending market was never frozen. If you believe this and that the government needed to do something to save the common man, you are either ignorant or a liar, those are your only options at this point.

The whole economic crises could have been largely ignored by both the government and the media and the only people who would have even noticed would be the giant invenstment firms. When Eron dissapeared, did the energy market freeze up? No, in fact nothing happened to that market. The people who were financially invested in Eron lost a lot (some lost everything). This was due to the actions of the criminals whose fraudulent accounting practices ran the company into the ground. Shit happens.

Instead of being some global panic, it should have just been a series of Enrons. Bad, but not the end of the world.

And with that, I'm done. This place is an illogical morass where most posters seem to think with their hearts rather than heads. Good intentions are a grand thing, but, metaphorically speaking, are what the road to hell is paved with.

Debates like this are nice... but would only work in a TRUE free market. ;)

Aristotle/Fender '08

You dismiss my claim that the problem wouldn't have been so bad if not for CDS collapse, and then say the exact opposite of the mortgage market.

You claim that anyone who thought the credit markets were frozen was a liar or stupid.

You claim that the only people who were hurt by enron were those who lost money, maybe the people who suffered brown outs and power outages for years in california would like to have a chat with you.

Again, you still have not shown that the mortgage market could have caused this on it's own, as i've asked in every post since the first.

You blame mortgage markets and home ownership on this. Whatever, whether your igniter is a match, a lighter, or rubbing two sticks together, it still needs fuel.

Mortgages were traded without regulation, which then fed an unregulated market.

Hell, if it weren't mortgages, it could have been oil, or electricity, or food crops.

Good luck on whatever web site is ideologically friendly to you.

Re voting, and Norms vote for Nader and 2 party systems versus multiparty.

I live in Canada where we have a lot of parties. What happened in Canada, all the current parties but the conservatives are leftish. We have 4 big national parties and with the greens 5. So the conservatives won, in spite of the fact they took no where near 50% of the vote. Many ridings were split among the various lefter wing parties, allowing the conservatives to win a large minority. Now we do not have STV (single transferable voting) which does seem like a fairer system but be cautious if you are sure it is the best one.

If we had STV, we would have even more parties in government, how would we govern? Would we be like Israel having elections all the time, with the right wing parties having tremendous control and power to make a coalition? I am just not certain that countries that have the multiparty system really govern better. I am curious what others say, Israel is one, New Zealand, i believe is another, Ireland has STV i believe.

What really is the best system for governing.

I really really really don't think anyone should vote for Nader, he is advertising now in SWING STATES. [naderadvertisiing]9http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/naders-radio-spots-in-the-battlegrounds/) That guy is a narcissist that does not care about the country. It really does make a difference who we elect and I am sorry Nader is not capable of running the country. He is good at opposition and pointing out our problems, but not actually as running things.

The republicans are now focussing their campaign AGAINST Income taxes, focusing their platform against any form of progressive taxation, making this election more and more a class war, and you guys support Nader, so he can once again ruin the election one more time. Don't you realise that by voting for him you are just feeding his ego? He is putting his advertising dollars into SWING STATES? WHY???

I am sorry if Nader really wanted to make a difference he could find another way. A vote for Nader seems to be a vote AGAINST the interests of the country. You guys in non swing states are just encouraging him.

I don't give a crap that Nader is more "intellectually honest" - he can't possibly win, and to vote for him is a vote for McCain, as far as I'm concerned. If McCain wins, it's idiots like you who put him there. Jesus Christ, since when have American politics been about honesty? This isn't idealism, it's living in a tepid, pseudo-intellectual fantasy. Goddamn fools. I don't care how many letters you might have after your names, not a one of you is properly educated.

Thanks Norm! You are not alone. I live in a swing state, VA, and I already voted for Nader, sent in my absentee ballot last month.

I wish I could have supported Obama, but he voted for the 06 Secure Fence Act to build a 700 mile wall across the Mexican border. Supported Israels war in Lebanon and Palestine in the same year, and has called for Jerusalem to be Israeli and remain undivided.

He wont pull our troops out of Iraq, and is showing signs that he will intensify the rhetoric against Iran.

What was Nader's vote on those issues? Oh - that's right - he has never bothered to run for any government position except President. He could've been elected for something in these last horrible eight years but he's not interested in working within the system - he wants to break the system and start over. That's fine for those not living on the edge - that can hunker down like he can. How about those who have hunkered down for as long as they could already.

I am with k and others who are against a Nader vote. I think it is irresponsible. I know there is no changing Norm but I hope no others take that path. Obama is not a given and, as much as people may not love him, another four years of Republicans will truly kill us. Even the sane Republicans have come out for Obama....let's get him in and then you can lambaste him.

What an interesting conversation, Dominic is obviously a libertarian, and for the most part both he and those responding to him are simply talking past each other. He's enjoying himself and undoubtedly thinks he's dealing with a bunch of idiots. Oh my, what arrogance our friend possess. It is typical of many in the libertarian crowd.

Libertarians are doomed to extinction. At the end of the day their ideology keeps them from ever supporting any real solution.

They are in complete denial that business organizations can take our liberty as quickly as our government, elimate the government and they can do it even faster.

Dominic is a better foil then calli ever was, at least we can ignore him when we have had enough.

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