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Romney supported the bailout of the bank sector

In defense of political content in technology pieces:

Politics happens.

The above homage to the infamous, slight more obscence slang phrase, which Vic and Sade popularized on their 1940s radio show, is a fair assessment of how I regard the inevitable entrance of politics into tech articles.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you.

Why do we need technology in politics?  Why can't tech and science news sites be nice and politically agnostic?

I feel the same way sometimes.  I like technology.  I am entertained by politics.  But writing about the two in conjunction is a sure fire formula to brew up hatorade.  And sometimes I don't want to see politics in my tech or science peices.

Unfortunately, our government friends "spending", "regulation", and "court system" have other plans.  They inject themselves everywhere in technology and science, you wish they weren't. 

So you have to choices as a journalist.  You either do your readers your disservice, by promoting willful ignorance of the reality we live in.  Or your try to cover the news, politics included as best you can, trying to avoid supporting a specific "side" in your body of work.

If you pick the latter approach (as I do), good for you, but I give you the words of Captain Picard, "Red Alert! Shields up!"

On Romney vs. Bush Spat:

In terms of technology Obama has a pretty mixed track record.  But the presumptive Republican nominee -- who has kept occupied leveling attacks against both Presidents Bush and Obama (but mostly Obama) -- is a rather interesting figure in terms of his stands on certains issues as well.

Romney has seized criticism of the automotive bailout -- a topic we covered extensively -- as a method of defending his conservative credentials.  However, many fear the candidate may have trouble drawing conservative support, given the "liberal" stands [source] he's taken on past issues -- many of which touch on science and technology topics covered by DailyTech.

On global warming, Mr. Romney has defended government funding for alternative energy, stating, "I think the global warming debate is now pretty much over and people recognize the need associated with providing sources which do not generate the heat that is currently provided by fossil fuels ..."

He also publicly endorsed embryonic stem cell (from unused or aborted fetuses) research at a major bioethics forum.  

Mr. Romney has often taken many traditionally "liberal" social stands, such as supporting rollback of the military prohibition on openly gay servicepeople, opposing gay marriage bans, supporting assault weapon bans, pushing public health-care, and defending abortion rights.

In a 2002 gubernatorial debate he commented, "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."

In a 1994 Senate debate, Mr. Romney explained that the death of a relative from an unsafe illegal abortion due to laws at the time made him pro-choice.  He comments, "Since that time, my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter, and you will not see me wavering on that."

"I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan- Bush," he said in that same debate, only to later turn around and in 2005 change his mind, stating, "Ronald Reagan is one of my heroes." 

Mr. Romney has since flip-flopped on all of these issues, arguing, to paraphrase, that he lied and did not reveal his true opinions as it was a necessary evil to pander to the largely liberal Massachusetts voter base.

Ask Mitt anything
Ask Mitt Romney anything -- just don't expect his answer to stay the same.
[Image Source: Iowa Republican]

The presidential hopeful has even pondered the occasional flip or flop on the issue of the auto bailouts.  Often missed in his 2008 editorial is the line, "It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition."

So in defense of President Bush, Mitt Romney should perhaps be reinforcing the windows of his own glass house, before throwing stones at a Republican that has attained the office that he thus far has been unable to.  It's easy to point out other's inconsistencies, when you're not the leader of the free world.  

That said, Mr. Romney is unlikely to back down from these stubborn criticisms as they're drawing support from his conservative base.  More importantly they bring his campaign attention, and the former governor thrives on attention.  His slick persona and strong war chest from two campaigns of heavy corporate funding have made him the presumptive Republican nominee, according to most experts.  

While the party nomination is his race to lose, he'll have a far harder time beating Obama, given his track record and President Obama's own massive corporate backing.  Mr. Romney and President Obama are much alike -- but the President has had the advantage of handing out grants, tax breaks, and other favors to his fortunate corporate supporters over the last four years [1][2][3][4][5].

In return the President has received $67.6M USD (54 percent of his current funds) from large special interests -- plus possibly more in untraceable small donations -- according to OpenSecret.  Of course, this all equates to involuntary funding on the part of individual taxpayers and small businesses, as the average corporation or special interest group receives $222 USD in tax breaks per $1 USD spent.  Thus President Obama will likely put American taxpayers on the hook for roughly $15B USD in trickle-down campaign funding.

Obama bribery wide
President Obama is beating Romney in the special interest cash race.
[Image Source: Politically Incorrect]

To summarize, in addition to inconsistency on topics like bailouts, Mr. Romney may be pretty good at "playing the silly game", as YouTube sensation Jimmy McMillan would say, he has to compete against a foe who has mastered it.

On Free Speech and Bribes

If I'm not supporting the (D)s or (R)s or blindly backing some third party, where am I coming from in my political perspective?  I get asked that a lot.  

Well one firm belief I have is the separation of state and special interest dollars. (Or "separation of lobbyists and state" to be a bit more catchy.)

Some legal experts and political observers on both sides of the aisle have defended special interests' right to pay candidates as "protected free speech".  

The easy line of criticism is that this raises the tricky issue of exactly how a corporation or special interet group "speak" publicly -- particularly when more often, they don't make their support public at all, but sneak around to obfuscate the benefits they garner.  If they're speaking via their donations, it's more of a sneaky whisper than a public conversation.

But I agree to some extent that it's hypocritical to ban special interests from donating money, when the public can still do so.

So let me propose a bold notion -- paying off politicians to support your idea is not free speech.

It's called a bribe plain and simple.  Perhaps it doesn't fit the U.S. court's system's current, somewhat arbitrary legal interpretation of what "bribe" means, but large, organized donations very much are a bribe in a traditional sense.

What I propose is simple:
  1. Force candidates to collect a certain number of signatures, by themselves.  The signatures will scale by the responsibilities of the office they're seeking.  The exact numbers for each office can be ironed out as things go along.
  2. Give the first _ politicians who collect signatures free funding to run campaigns.  Local politicians get local funds, state politicians get state funds, etc.
  3. Outlaw any direct contributions -- public or private -- to candidates or political parties.
Is it anti-conservative to apply taxpayer dollars to allow candidates to run for office?  Sure, on the surface in a sense.  But the alternative is to have a federal candidate typically collect half their cost of campaigning from special interests and then give those special interests a 222-fold return -- money that comes out of your taxes.  So funding candidates' runs for office would be saving taxes, by eliminating the waste of bribery and kickbacks (colloquial terms, of course).

It's not rocket science.  But it's unlikely to happen, given the deep level of corruption.  This is hardly a new problem.  As the old saying goes "money talks".  Today in America money is talking loudly, the problem is the people don't get a voice.

Enacting the above system, however, wonderful it might be, would require a massive change in political mindset.  But I'm hopeful it will one day happen.

Is bribery free speech?  No.  Is it antidemocratic?  Yes.  Is it the status quo? Yes.

On Bias and Necessity

I've been called a flaming liberal and evil arch conservative.  I'm either destined for a job as a liberal shill at MSNBC or the next talking head at FOX News, depending on who you ask.

The fact of the matter is that if there is an interesting aspect of a story with respect to politics, I absolutely will absolutely inject it, as that's part of my job.  I don't play favorites, and I don't spare any precious public figures.  But I always do source the facts involved for your benefit.

The problem with politics is that people tend to suffer from "sacred child" syndrome.  America has a hardcore two party mentality, and once you've picked your party that's it for most people.  Don't worry about the issues that effect your life, the party's got it.  Criticize the party?  Well, prepare to be flamed.

Being a journalist who does a fair amount of poking around, it is inevitable that the forum flamers will come out in mass from both sides of the fence.

Despite this, I will of course listen to your opinions and respect them.  I'm all about the free speech.  The best thing in the world is a good old fashioned, solid facts based debate.  That's what my old colleague Michael Asher, thought.  I do so miss our lengthy debates.  That was a man who showed that you don't have to resort to childish name-calling to present your case.  Sadly the Ashers of the world are a dwindling few.

I'm sorry to subject you to politics.  It's a necessary evil of dealing with business, technology, and science.  Politics is a ubiquitous monster that touches them all.  On the flip side of the coin it potentially represents great opportunity, as a healthy government is typically accompanied by a healthy private sector.

Our FAQ page clearly states:

DailyTech is the leading source of news, research and discussion for current and upcoming issues concerning science and technology.

"Issues"+"Science"||"Technology == "Politics"

... in many cases at least.  But I feel your pain, if you either don't want to be exposed to ideas different then yours, or for some reason want to put a specific article in a box it doesn't fit in.

To my political wary readers I say only this; if you don't like politics avoid the following articles:
1. Automotive policy
2. Corporate earnings
3. Anything lawsuit related
4. Any sort of foreign policy piece

Hopefully that spares you some inconvenience.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Some thoughts...
By MrBlastman on 2/8/2012 11:45:15 AM , Rating: 2
First, Jason there is an annoying bug on all DT articles this week where if you click on the page--anywhere on the page it autoscrolls back to the top of the article. It needs to be fixed. I even have this problem when logging in.

Now, onto the points:

quote:
What I propose is simple:
Force candidates to collect a certain number of signatures, by themselves. The signatures will scale by the responsibilities of the office they're seeking. The exact numbers for each office can be ironed out as things go along.
Give the first _ politicians who collect signatures free funding to run campaigns. Local politicians get local funds, state politicians get state funds, etc.
Outlaw any direct contributions -- public or private -- to candidates or political parties.


Good suggestions here but you're missing one very key but important fourth point. For this to work you must prevent candidates from using even their _own_ money in the campaign. Yes, this sounds absurdly anti-American but... if you don't do this it gives hyper-wealthy individuals an extreme edge over those that are not. Those who are not independently wealthy can't raise nearly enough money needed to campaign against someone who has billions... where the billionaire can do as they please because they have so much money they can easily squash anyone who stands against them--at least in advertising and campaigning.

The last thing I want to see is our political process become completely tilted in the favor of ultra-wealthy candidates. As we've seen with the Bush and Kennedy families in particular, some of the ultra-wealthy have very little grasp of what reality is like for the average American as their wealth is "inherited" wealth. They've lived their whole lives with money so they have no clue what it takes at the regular level.

Next, on to Romney:

quote:
Mr. Romney has often taken many traditionally "liberal" social stands, such as supporting rollback of the military prohibition on openly gay servicepeople, opposing gay marriage bans, supporting assault weapon bans, pushing public health-care


These points alone are huge reasons why I don't care for Romney at all. I myself tend to be a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. This is why I have little problem with his stance on Abortion. Yes, I might myself prefer policy to encourage people to put their children up for adoption rather than abort--I'm not going to insist on a policy that prevents abortion entirely because...

a. Separation of Church and State is paramount
b. History has shown that policies against abortion do not prevent it. People will still have them and thus could end up killing themselves in the process due to the unsanitary methods used.
c. How is it my right to decide what someone else does with their own body? In case of rape in particular, there might be a good case for them to want to do otherwise with the fetus.

I have huge issues with servicepeople being openly gay. Look, they are in the military to serve our country--not show off how they can french kiss another guy. Armed servicemembers need to shut up, keep their heads down and remain focused as a team on the goal. That means any divisive behavior while in the service needs to be discouraged. They are government employees at that point serving America. As such, they should be more than willing to put their divisive stances to the side for the greater good of their public.

Gay marriage: I've said it once and will say it again... remove State ability to issue "marriage" licenses. Instead, allow states to only grant "civil union" licenses for tax/legal purposes and beyond that, only churches can grant a "marriage" (which is figurative and has no tax/legal bearing whatsoever).

Assault weapons bans are insane any way you look at it. The majority of gun crime is caused by pistols and other small arms. Everyone I know with an assault weapon is ultra-level headed and sharp. Banning weapons will _not_ work in America. It is too late to do so. Criminals don't care about laws and the only people hurt are the law-abiding public. There are far too many guns in the system now to even consider such a thing--not to mention how it would go against the second amendment.

As for the political angle being included in some articles I wholeheartedly agree with you, Jason. There is no way you can avoid it given how much our Government wants to intrude into our system nowadays. I'd rather you suffer a few black eyes than allow us to remain completely ignorant. The job of a good journalist is to report. To properly report, you have to be thorough. If you leave out politics completely, especially when the inclusion of them can only enhance the story, you are guilty of "sanitizing" your work--thus, censorship. Censorship of the press is one step closer to the Government yanking part of our freedom of speech away from us.

People can choose to live in the dark if they want. They can also choose to not read things that they don't like. As a reporter though, I think it isn't your job to decide what people will or will not like. Your job is only to report.

"Nothing but the facts, ma'am, nothing but the facts."




RE: Some thoughts...
By Just Tom on 2/10/2012 8:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
b. History has shown that policies against abortion do not prevent it. People will still have them and thus could end up killing themselves in the process due to the unsanitary methods used.


History has shown that policies against rape do not prevent it. Should we remove the rape laws? However one feels on the abortion issue the fact that anti-abortion laws do not totally eliminate all abortions is not a very persuasive argument for their elimination.


RE: Some thoughts...
By MrBlastman on 2/10/2012 11:26:25 AM , Rating: 1
The single biggest reason I can come up with to NOT ban abortion is freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Ninety nine percent of arguments for banning it are based on religious grounds. We can not allow religion to dominate our secular state. Period.

The constitution is clear about this separation. To violate it leads us down a path similar to that of Islamic states. We can see where that has taken them. Do we want America to turn down that road?


RE: Some thoughts...
By Just Tom on 2/10/2012 3:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you that any abortion law should not be driven by religious beliefs. I am pretty comfortable saying that about any and every law.


RE: Some thoughts...
By drycrust3 on 2/14/2012 10:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ninety nine percent of arguments for banning it are based on religious grounds.


In case you hadn't noticed, your American constitution was written with religion in mind, and if you took away the religious content of it then most of your so called rights would vanish too.
Of course, God has rights also, and one of those rights is that he judges people and nations. As you are an American, and I am not, I leave you to consider how he would judge America.


RE: Some thoughts...
By MrBlastman on 2/14/2012 1:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
It was? Really? Since you aren't an American, I guess you are an expert on our Constitution from afar.

Not.

Our Constitution was _not_ written with religion in mind specifically. This is seen in the first Amendment which states there must be a separation of Church and State--i.e. a secular state.

This is something that makes America special. Our secular state. We have complete ability to practice any religion we choose in our country.

What country do you live in?

The reason this was done was because of the oppression from the Church of England many faced back when America was being colonized. Our founders wanted to prevent such a catastrophe from occuring in our nation. I consider it one of the wisest things they have ever done.

quote:
Of course, God has rights also, and one of those rights is that he judges people and nations. As you are an American, and I am not, I leave you to consider how he would judge America.


What are you insinuating here? The Christian Bible is _very_ clear about countries and laws through the word of God:

Romans 13:1-5:

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Thus, our secular constitution must be obeyed if you are looking at it from a religious viewpoint.

Oh, and another tidbit for our closet constitutionalist that is overseas... The Constitution nowhere directly mentions "God" in it nor does the Bill of Rights. Read it. You'll see.

Where "God" _is_ mentioned is in the Pledge of Allegiance which was inserted in the 1950's...

You have a lot to learn about our Country it seems. :)


RE: Some thoughts...
By PrezWeezy on 2/28/2012 3:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The constitution is clear about this separation.


Here is the text:

quote:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...


The "seperation of church and state" that we talk about is only applied (constitutionally) to the ESTABLISHMENT of religion. I.e. the state cannot institute a National Religion, nor can they stop someone from creating a church (the "Church of Body Modification"??). It actually says nothing about whether or not the state can adopt moral guidance from religion.


RE: Some thoughts...
By bigdawg1988 on 2/10/2012 10:56:02 AM , Rating: 2
History has shown that policies against abortion do not prevent it. People will still have them and thus could end up killing themselves in the process due to the unsanitary methods used.

I don't even know why this is brought up anyway. This seems to be the first campaign that I remember it not being brought up. The Supreme Court has already settled the issue. Who cares what a candidate believes concerning abortion? I'm tired of the Christian Right organizations running this issue into the ground.

I have huge issues with servicepeople being openly gay. Look, they are in the military to serve our country--not show off how they can french kiss another guy.

Personal Displays of Affection (PDA) are NOT allowed in uniform whether straight or gay. Although people tend to look the other way when members greet their families after returning from deployments.

I honestly thought this was mainly just a tech blog so I didn't care about the obvious political slants. Proper reporting means you present all sides of the issue, not just the one you happen to agree with. Some news organizations are good at this, others not so much, and others just don't give a damn. It would be good (and fair) if the articles were presented with both sides.

Honestly I don't really think of most of Daily Tech's articles as journalism, they are more informative. But they have to make money, and pandering to certain groups gets you more readers and ad money. :)


RE: Some thoughts...
By MrBlastman on 2/10/2012 11:33:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't even know why this is brought up anyway. This seems to be the first campaign that I remember it not being brought up.


But it has been brought up, albeit indirectly. The Republican candidates are all leaning on a religious crutch (well, most of them). I can't in a clear conscience trust anyone that wears their religion on their sleeve given how pervasive the abuse of it has been in the past.

I'd be quite happy if religion were absent from a Candidate's campaign. Perhaps at best a simple mention that they go to a church but nothing more. No candidate will win my vote simply because of their religious views. Intstead, they are more apt to lose it by constantly voicing them.

Believe it or not, I say this being religious myself. Imagine that.


RE: Some thoughts...
By Darksurf on 2/17/2012 9:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
This is a great article with some great discussion! I really wish some honest guy in the government was looking at this and thought to himself "i'm going to implement this for the people!". Yeah, I know its all mythical and not possible. There is no such thing as an "honest guy" in the government. But i can dream can't I?


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

















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