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Re: [dvd-discuss] Lexmark Decision

> >As an aside:  My friend (not from the US) recently asked me "If the
> >polls show that less than 50% of Americans  support war in Iraq? Then
> >why is the US there?  Isn't it a democracy, doesn't majority rule?".
>   No, the United States is a  Representative Republic, not a Democracy.  We
> don't vote on our laws.   We elect the representatives who make our laws.
> There's a big difference, for better or worse.
> >   In this case, it may have been the president's decision (though he should
> >do what the public that elected him wants I would think!), but in most
> >cases, it is congress/senate that passes things through...
> The alternative is the coalition system, where the government can be
> effectively ousted at any moment by a vote of no confidence.  This is
> the political system in place in England, and the result is that the
> Prime Minister, or President, or head of state finds himself bound
> tightly to the opinion polls.  Any single false move can result in the
> collapse of his government.  Such a political system essentially
> eliminates the ability of government officials to make independent
> decisions.

More and more I like Switzerland's "Direct Democracy", where individual
citizens vote on each law, bymail, or computer.  Originally, I thought
this was a bad idea, as individuals can be more racist, sexist,
ignorant, etc. than Senators, etc. usually are when they have to face
the people they wronged.  It has worked out rather well for Switzerland

> In the U.S., you have the opportunity to force a change in government
> every 2, 4, or 6 years, for Representatives, the President, or Senators
> respectively, but not every day or every hour.  I believe that this leads
> to better government, as our elected officials are not as closely bound
> to opinion polls, but are still subject to removal on a regular basis.
The problem is that I as a voter don't have a choice in who to elect, I
only realistically have a choice between two people pushed in front of
me.  I just get to choose the one I dislike the least, based upon the
limited information available to me, and what the canidate says.  Then,
if the canidate lied (or "Changes his mind"), too bad.  i.e. Bush's [Sr]
"Read my Lips: No New Taxes" quote.

> >and it has become abundantly clear that senators and
> >congresspeople vote the way they want to (or they are told to..),
> >not the way their constituants want them to.
> ... and here's the rub.  Congresspeople have two groups of constituants.
> The people who vote for them, and the groups that give them campaign
> money.
I don't have a huge problem with that, as long as corperations can't
have more say than normal people.  A corperation is composed of normal
people, remember.

> >Every letter I have ever sent to mine saying something
> >like "I Oppose DMCA" (or patriot act, whatever), has always been replied
> >_listen_ to their constituents, not _tell_ them which laws they
> >support?  Seems to me that the information is flowing the wrong way.
> I think that the root of this problem is the ability of corporations to
> influence Congress and the President, in particular by making campaign
> contributions.   Average citizens can't afford to open a permanent office in
> Washington DC and make a campaign contribution to every senator and
> representative, but many corporations can.  Therefore, they wield more
> influence then citizens.
again, I don't have a problem with corperations being able to have some
influence.  They are citizens, and not really "ficticious".  But one
corperation is one entity, and as such, should only count as one
individual.  Thus if one corperation wants copy protection, and 50
normal citizens don't, the corperation should clearly lose (especially
since many of the corp's own employees might be against it!).

The problem is, though, there is no effective way to count the
politicians for an individual.  You can send a letter.. it is ignored. 
They are always "unavailable" to talk to on the phone or in person - and
as you mentioned, it is a large effort for an individual to schedule a
time to talk in person or wine and dine someone, whereas for a somewhat
large company, it is a trivial thing to do.  

> Why should corporations (fictitious entities that only exist by charter
> of the government) be allowed to make campaign contributions? (thus
> making elected officials effectively beholden to those fictitious entities?)

They can make contributions, but I think there should be a more formal
accounting to prove that our representatives are actually representing
us.  Their job is to represent their constituents.  I think there should
be a poll given by the senator or congressman, and he should have to
vote accoring to the results.  Corperations are recognized as
individuals, so there is no reason they shouldn't get a vote as one.  In
any other job, if you don't do what you are supposed to, why is it that
senators can mis-represent their constituants, and keep their job?

> Or, to put it another way, is the a chance in hades that the
> beneficiaries of the free-flowing spigots of campaign money are
> going to vote to turn off the spigots?

I think the proper people would, but... those type of people wouldn't
get the money from the spigots enough to have enough ppublicity to
become elected in the first place.

    Noah Silva

A T A R I - S O U R C E . C O M

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