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Derek Khanna Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the listen-up dept.

Politics 167

Last week you had a chance to ask former Republican staffer Derek Khanna about his well publicized firing, copyright law, and the state of the government. Read below to see his answers to your questions.Do You Still Identify Yourself as Republican?
by eldavojohn

I believe your paper would have been unpopular on both sides of the isle but did the Republican knee jerk reaction to it negatively affect your affinity with the Republican party and your efforts to further their cause? Setting aside your differences on Copyright Law with that party, are you still Republican?

Khanna: Absolutely still a Republican. In fact I actually quibble a bit with your premise. The conservative position is that our current system of copyright is not consistent with the Constitution and inhibits innovation by choosing winners and losers– and pretty much all conservative organizations have come out with that opinion. There is a difference between Republican and Conservative that I won’t get into here, but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology.



Re:Do You Still Identify Yourself as Republican?
by alexander_686

Follow up question: If you had been a Democratic staffer, do you think you would have been fired or would have been treated differently?

That is, what is the interaction between the Republican party verses the general entrenched interests that influences both parties. I have seen many Democrats also advocate for strict IP laws.


Khanna: I’m not sure, I’m not really qualified to assess what happens on the other side of the aisle. But I would think that the memo would never have gotten written at all. The content industry traditionally supports Democrats. And the memo was written for a conservative audience based upon traditional conservative principles.



Law to guide vs. forbid
by Maximum Prophet

One complaint conservatives about liberals is that they tend to try to outlaw stuff reactively. The EPA comes to mind, forbidding property owners certain uses of their land. How can government encourage people to do the right thing without outlawing the wrong thing? How can the government "Speak Softly" but keep the "Big Stick" only when absolutely necessary? With respect to copyrights, could the government tell people it's wrong to let artists starve, while making it easy to justly compensate them for their work?

Khanna: I’m not going to go too off base here, but there are many solutions available other than regulation and forbidding conduct. Often times the market can sort it out, but if, and only if, you ensure that externalities are built in, and you ensure that the government hasn’t already messed with the incentive structures. I’m not really qualified to jump in on EPA issues. And I’m not entirely sure on the rest of your question, as a believer of the free market I don’t think that our copyright system should be built upon ensuring that ALL artists make lots of money and I think that generally the market will facilitate even easier methods of payments with newer technologies.



Re:Great minds think alike
by Tokolosh

My posting from nearly four years ago:

To quote the Constitution: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." What does "limited Times" mean? We can agree that one day is insufficient to be an incentive. We can also agree that infinity is too long to promote progress. Therefore, it stands to reason that there is some optimal duration, which both maximizes the rewards for both the inventors, and society at large. Has any research been done to determine this optimum? Is current legislation based on anything other than what lobbyists can buy for their clients?


Khanna: Terrific question. First, limited times is a term left purposefully vague allowing for Congress to change how long copyright should be. This is a reason why I never said that copyright has to be 28 years – set in stone – as the Founders had (kind of it’s a bit more complicated). And my suggested terms are just suggestions – they were designed to be a starting point for hearings to bring in data.

But I think we have to make arguments for why longer than the Founder term is sound. Arguments like, “Our Founder system of 28 years was premised upon a market of x, and today the market is y, which requires a longer recoupment period for the content producer etc.” But of course that wouldn’t justify our current system of life + 70. In my Cato Unbound piece I go through some of the studies on this topic that pretty conclusively find that there is no incentive to content producers for such a long copyright period.

From the piece:

Research further shows that our system of copyright is suboptimal at best and significantly counterproductive at worst. For much of our history, copyright required registration to receive the full benefit of the extension. If a longer copyright term were critical to provide sufficient incentive to content producers then we would expect, particularly when copyright terms were much shorter, that content producers would choose to extend their copyright. But during the era of registration, Congress found that only “a very small percentage of copyrights are ever renewed.”[2] They found that the rate of renewal in the 1880s was 15%, and less than half of all works were originally registered at all. If a much longer copyright term of life plus 70 years is so necessary, then why did all these content producers choose to only have 28 years of protection rather than the optional 42 years available at the time?

As William Patry argues in his book How to Fix Copyright,

Was there a single author in the world who said, ‘A term of copyright that only lasts for my life plus fifty years after I die is too short. I will not create a new work unless copyright is extent to last for my life plus seventy years’? There is no such person. (p 57)

Several studies have confirmed this as well. In 2009, a study on the production of movies in twenty-three countries that had extended the term of copyright(pdf) found no evidence that longer terms of copyright caused the creation of more works rather than the prior, shorter term. Another study from the University of Cambridge found that the optimal copyright term is 15 years(pdf), with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years. Even the Congressional Research Service concluded that there was at most a small change in incentive in the extension of copyright term.

If there are no or only minimal benefits to this change, what are the costs?”


So in answer to your question there has been a lot of research. We have cross-country research so we know generally what works. And while the data may show slightly different things, it all shows that life + 70 offers us nothing and actually depresses available content. Current legislation is not based upon this discussion, I don’t recall that being the topic of discussion for the last extension, but it should be particularly when the industry comes knocking in 2019 to ask for life + 90 to keep Steamboat Willy from entering the public domain.

I got into some relevant detail in another more recent essay for Cato-Unbound:

“There are certainly legitimate arguments that copyright should be longer than that of our Founders because of certain market conditions that are different from their day – but there are not legitimate argument to say that a system of indefinite copyright abides by the Constitution or our the express intentions of our Founders.

Despite the American history on Copyright, some still argue that copyright should be or could be a perpetual right that exists forever. Many of them have lobbied successfully on a regular basis to ensure that certain highly-lucrative works never enter the public domain. Some against copyright reform hide behind the shadows of claiming that they are not for an indefinite copyright – but every twenty/thirty years they lobby to extend copyright from 56 years, to life + 50, to life +70. It’s very clear what their intentions are. They intend and have largely succeeded in destroying anything of value entering the public domain. Success in perverting the law should not be misinterpreted for constitutional fidelity despite their property law arguments using 18th century vernacular. These proponents are arguing for something very different from what the Founders believed.

Frankly they lost the argument 226 years ago. The Founders explicitly rejected this position.”




Down the Pipe
by CanHasDIY

Is there any future legislation that you know of / heard about during your time as a staffer that we, the People, should get a heads-up on? Specifically, anything nefarious regarding things like copyright, patents, digital property and/or privacy, et. al?

Khanna: Patents need to be fixed and we obviously need major privacy legislation such as ECPA reform etc. I talked about some of the upcoming privacy issues in my interview with Techdirt. I was always particularly concerned with drone strikes against US citizens so I’m happy that is finally receiving some real attention by MSM and the American people.

As I wrote in my piece in the National Review, I think we can do a much better job in allocating visas to high-skilled workers – and I think there is an actual way to accomplish that goal as outlined in the article or other ideas along a similar thought process (perhaps by providing greater help for small businesses acquiring H-1Bs).

But more on topic, we should keep an eye on the Transpacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) because it will be codifying provisions of the DMCA that are very problematic. The DMCA has been used to make some technology “contraband” and to stifle political speech. While we need to protect intellectual property, the DMCA has proved to be a terrible law. It should not be entirely surprising that the DMCA may need revisions and oversight. The DMCA was passed three years before the iPod, six years before Google Books and nine years before the Kindle. But now that it's clear that the DMCA is being interpreted in a way clearly contrary for which it was passed, it’s incumbent upon Congress to act.The idea of putting the DMCA into an international agreement is a very bad idea. If in the United States it has been used to justify censorship of political speech, imagine what other countries will do that don’t have the First Amendment and are looking for legal structure to justify censorship.

This is a big fight and as a Congressional staffer we weren’t allowed to read it – so very scary stuff and I think an unprecedented level of secrecy on this. I also touched upon this in the Cato Unbound piece:

“This treaty includes provisions on intellectual property that are above and beyond those in the Berne Convention. Setting controversial and contested copyright terms in stone through treaty was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. It’s an affront to the legislative process to try to “re-codify” legislative wins into treaty agreements. That would make it significantly more difficult to ever change course.

The length of copyright terms has always received significant debate and disagreement. This was likely the intention of the Founders in not specifying what a "limited time" meant within the Constitution itself. But current drafts of the TPP allegedly establish the law at life plus 70 years. Additionally, it would include or even expand portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) relating to anti-circumvention technologies. To be clear, I am strongly against unauthorized copyright infringement, but the DMCA outlawing of anti-circumvention technologies is extremely controversial—and rightfully so.

The DMCA created rules that until recently made it illegal to jailbreak your own iPhone or to develop a program to read a Kindle book aloud to someone who is blind. The DMCA still bars developing, selling, providing, or even linking to technologies that play legal DVDs purchased in a different region, or to convert a DVD you own to a playable file on your computer. Because no licensed DVD playing software is currently available for the Linux operating system, if a Linux user wishes to play a DVD that they have legally bought, they cannot legally play it on their own computer. The DMCA’s rules have also made legitimate fair uses of copyrighted material much harder. Using snippets of video for classrooms is legal fair use, but to do so, teachers have to use illegal technology to “rip” the DVD to a playable and editable file, or they must illegally download the file online.

Within the leaked details of the TPP Treaty there are many troubling features, but perhaps most troubling is the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Members have been allowed to view documents, but most of their staff and the general public have been denied access. Outside of the national security realm, this type of secrecy in regard to a treaty is particularly troubling and perhaps unprecedented. Another troubling aspect is that despite this secrecy, there have been “stakeholder” presentations representing one particular side and vested interest, rather than the perspective of the general public or the requirements of our Constitution. One of the stakeholder presentations at the latest TPP negotiations was titled "The Walt-Disney Company: Creativity, Brought to you by Copyright.” At the same time, representatives from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) were denied access and not allowed in the building for recent negotiations.”


But the recent decision by the Librarian of Congress really takes the cake, which made it illegal to unlock your own cellphone. In a recent article I stated that:

“Congress's inaction in the face of the decision by the Librarian of Congress represents a dereliction of duty. It should pass a new law codifying that adaptive technology for the blind, backing up DVD's to your computer, and unlocking and jail breaking your phone are lawful activities regardless of the decisions of the Librarian of Congress.” (article)

Our White House petition on this issue is currently at 75,000 but we have to get to 100,000 by February 23, 2013. This will be a big opportunity for advocates of sounds technology policy.



Hope?
by Hatta

How do we Americans manage to retain any hope for any sort of positive change when people who are paid to identify beneficial reforms get fired for upsetting special interests? Doesn't your case prove that it's impossible to effect reform through the system? Do you belive that Democracy in America still exists, and if so, why?

Khanna: Democracy is more than just people voting and it’s more than just activism for your candidate of choice. The people have immense power when they are united and coordinated. Unfortunately, most organizing up till now has required major organizations to set-up – but not anymore.

Members of Congress are particularly sensitive to interests from their constituents as expressed through letters, e-mail and phone calls to their office. This is why a united and coordinated movement can be so successful in stopping legislation. But activist movements, like the SOPA protest, cannot rest after stopping one bad piece of legislation. Instead, we must take the next step which is actually passing good legislation.

I imagine that ad-hoc groups of people who agree on some policy idea will form to both stop bad legislation but also to push good legislation. It will take a while to transition to that, but once that is done, then we will have much more of an effect and a substantive democracy. But that will require activism and involvement.

The cellphone unlocking issue is a perfect example of where the people could actually fix policy. The traditional players in DC are unlikely to do so on their own, the wireless industry likes the ruling, and many of the other technology companies may see this as an issue where they have little to gain– so it’s up to the people themselves to step up and say this ruling is crazy. The idea that average people can be arrested for unlocking their phones is insane. I hope that the people step up for their own property rights.



Lawmakers becoming Obsolete
by SinisterRainbow

The United States was founded as Republic, primarily (so it is said) because having individual voices was impossible with the technology of the time. However, we live in an age where the Internet has given us instant communication and access to vast information, where we can relatively securely pass information around, and where especially, we can have every voice heard to write our own bills and laws. Iceland may be small, but they have proven it's more than just a theory. We have open source books, open source software, open encyclopedia, with more 'open' type projects all the time - which have proved immensely successful and very efficient when it comes to money. However, the trend is in the opposite direction, with more power given to lawmakers and large corporations (in the de facto sense at least as contributions are now unlimited, it raises the bar of entry), and congress with it's two main parties, are in a huge poker match. What do you see as the pros and cons against an open-Bill type of system, where the power of the people get a more realistic voice, where the history can be saved for eternity, where the slightest changes can all be remembered using repositories, where anyone can contribute, where it would save multi-millions of dollars in taxes, where multiple types of Bills can be presented and the one the people wish for most receives the most votes? You have represented a party that claims they stand for smaller government, yet it's one that has increased government size as much and many times, more than democrats. Shouldn't such a system be at the forefront of Republican agenda? Or has big business lined the pockets so fat of every member in congress that this is not possible without some type of revolution..?

Khanna: You are correct that the Republican Party claims they are the party of smaller government, yet they have failed to deliver while they were in power – and conservatives are frustrated with the party for that reason. I think that Democrats have been worse in that regard, but clearly the Bush years were very bad ones for fiscal conservatism.

Your idea for a more open government and transparency is interesting, but while I want the people to be more involved in our process I do like the idea – in concept – of representative democracy (I’m not sure exactly what you are saying in that regard).



Would you do it the exact same way again?
by rmdingler

Hindsight being on the order of 20/15 or so, would you make the same bold statement, or, knowing the consequences and repercussions, would you be a bit more tactful and attempt to reform the system from within?

Khanna: I tried to reform the system from within – by doing my job. In this situation, discretion and tact was used as much as possible.



Now What?
by eldavojohn

You told other staffers when you left: Don't be discouraged by the potential consequences. You work for the American people. It's your job, your obligation to be challenging existing paradigms and put forward novel solutions to existing problems.

So now what? What's your plan? I mean, you can tell them not to be discouraged but that's a pretty hefty weight to put on your own shoulders. Anyone who gets a check from the content industry (and I think that's everyone in DC) is going to blacklist you. Do you see yourself taking a Ralph Nader-like approach to politics? How do you even get your foot back in the door? You do realize that if you don't return or rise to another kind of constituent-focused power that your above encouragement will fall upon deaf ears as you will become the example of what happens to an outspoken staffer?


Khanna: Yes, I stand by that statement. We need creative destruction of failed ideas and we need a thriving competition for promising new ideas. Not solving problems but “getting along” is not enough to fix our system at this point.

In normal times, the system can function by each of us playing a minimal role in its proper functioning – but when the system is like it is today, it requires those of us who are paying attention to be more active participants. Democracy is tough, it requires active engagement and participation.

As for me, I have a bunch of plans in the works. Right now I’m working on the cellphone unlocking issue that I mentioned because it’s outrageous and unacceptable. But it’s also a misstep by the other side and therefore it’s a strategic opportunity to restore property rights. Doing so will start to change the overall discussion on technology policy and it’s a winnable battle. I hope you will consider signing and promoting our White House petition and getting us over 100,000 by the end of the week.

I plan on continuing to write and research on sensible technology policies for our country through my fellowship with Yale Law and hopefully being a part in successful advocacy movements going forward.

Follow me on twitter to find out about my next steps. Or shoot me on twitter @Dkhanna11 and e-mail if you have ideas (Khannaderek@gmail.com).

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Stop (-1, Flamebait)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957321)

"Often times the market can sort it out"

I stopped reading right there.

Re:Stop (4, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957391)

Your loss. I'm not a fan of "the free market fixes everything" but that's not what he said (the key word here is "often") and despite my usually mdoerate position he had a lot of thoughtful and intelligent things to say.

Re:Stop (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957579)

The problem with republicans, whom he himself STRONGLY sides with, is that they push market fixes for stuff that the market broke. Conservatives at some point need to decide if their loyalty is to the country or to the market.

Re:Stop (1, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957823)

sometimes the market breaks things, othertimes regulations do. The Dept of Ed for instance. American students are not better off since the creation of the Dept of Ed. It makes no sense for someone in say california to send their tax money to the federal government. for the government to send it back to them, along with stipulations on XX or YY. when the people of california could be better off if the money stayed in california, So While I get your point, the market cannot fix everything, but more often than not, it is regulations that stifle progress IMO

Re:Stop (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958629)

The Dept of Ed for instance. American students are not better off since the creation of the Dept of Ed.

Please cite your references showing that the Dept of Ed. as the root cause of America's decline in education. I speak from personal experience that the bulk of our educational problems stem from state and local governments. Infrastructure vs operating Budgets, redistribution of property taxes collected to other counties, borrowing from education rainy day fund to balance state general budget, and legislating educational content within science classes are but a few problems that education in my state suffer from and it is all self inflicted.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42959029)

Personal experience isn't peer reviewed. If you ask someone to cite, you should be willing to do the same. This is as anecdotal as the parent

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958913)

Maybe not. But it does make sense to force someone in South Dakota to send their tax money to the Fed and for the government to send it back to them, along with stipulations on XX or YY. At some point, education becomes a national security concern. Should the Fed not step in when the states fail?

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958497)

"The Market" is as a force of nature. It does what it does in all human interactions whether you want it to or not. You'd might was well fight the tides. "The Market" isn't like the Illuminati or the Trilateral Commission. It's not a group of people meeting in a swank hotel and plotting the course of great events. It's not an interest group. It's not political. It's the effect that people in the affairs of their daily affairs have on each other. Even the Soviet Union was not able to eliminate it, though they enslaved an entire empire. "The Market" doesn't need your loyalty, any more than gravity does.

Go to your local market (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958979)

Go to a market, a real one. Any kind, either one that has been going for centuries or a new one whatever the latest name is that it has gotten, swapmeet, farmers market, it is all the same.

Then stay a while if it is new. I guarentee you that by the time the 3rd market has been held, the rules WILL have been written down and by the end of the year it will be a booklet. Why?

Because people SUCK at working without rules. Just watch what happens when the traffic lights fail. And for every time when the community comes together when something unexpected happens like a flood or power failure, there are a dozen riots. The blitz is fondly remembered as a time when England came together but in reality it was a golden time for criminals who steal from bomb sites even from the dead and dying. That is to say nothing about clandestine trading.

Saying the "market" will fix things is the sure sign of a complete and utter waste of a human being. What is "the market"? Because I know how real markets operate, the got a commitee that decides on the rules and makes sure they are enforced. And the commitee is elected by the market people... so... how is this different from a government?

Or do you really want Apple, MS and Google to come together and among them decide how the Internet should be run?

Republicans are basically nuts. It is no wonder so many are Christians as well, you need a special kind of mind to see the real world every day and still believe in fairy tales.

If the markets could regulate themselves, they would have done so by now. They haven't.

Re:Stop (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957583)

Your loss. I'm not a fan of "the free market fixes everything" but that's not what he said (the key word here is "often") and despite my usually mdoerate position he had a lot of thoughtful and intelligent things to say.

Yeah, if you read the whole sentence he says:

Often times the market can sort it out, but if, and only if, you ensure that externalities are built in, and you ensure that the government hasn’t already messed with the incentive structures.

Which is one of the chestnuts I tire of when debating ultra Conservatives and Libertarians. Because "messed with the incentive structure" can mean a lot of things. For most Libertarians, any taxation at all is "messing with the incentive structure." One I'm fond of is when (anarcho?) Libertarians argue against police forces and propose that if we weren't taxed to pay for the budgetary mess that is the local police, we would all be swimming in so much cash we could have ten guns in each house and our own state of the art security systems and entire neighborhoods would be locked down so tight that criminals would all but disappear -- if there even were any criminals after they got all that tax money back!

So yeah, it sounded to me like his "if and only if" the government hasn't messed with "incentive structures" statement was to say that "well the government's charging you property tax so it's already not a free market and anything that goes wrong is clearly the fault of the government. Hell, you'd be knee deep in cash and that drinking water pollution problem would evaporate but instead the EPA is just wasting money."

Re:Stop (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957767)

One I'm fond of is when (anarcho?) Libertarians argue against police forces and propose that if we weren't taxed to pay for the budgetary mess that is the local police, we would all be swimming in so much cash we could have ten guns in each house and our own state of the art security systems and entire neighborhoods would be locked down so tight that criminals would all but disappear -- if there even were any criminals after they got all that tax money back!

One thing I'm fond of is when Liberals(?) put words into other people's mouths and then beat them up for what comes out.

Re:Stop (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957799)

One I'm fond of is when (anarcho?) Libertarians argue against police forces and propose that if we weren't taxed to pay for the budgetary mess that is the local police, we would all be swimming in so much cash we could have ten guns in each house and our own state of the art security systems and entire neighborhoods would be locked down so tight that criminals would all but disappear -- if there even were any criminals after they got all that tax money back!

One thing I'm fond of is when Liberals(?) put words into other people's mouths and then beat them up for what comes out.

Right this way, sir [libertarianism.com] .

Re:Stop (1)

Artraze (600366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958697)

That article is entirely supportive of AC's position that the original remark is made up BS:

" A libertarian society would certainly have police to protect citizens from gangs and criminals, they just wouldn't be tax-supported.
One way of providing this would be government provision, similar to today, but funded by donations, user fees, fee-based charges, or similar methods or combinations. ...
So we already have a mixed public-private police system, and the private sector part is the largest, and is growing."

Only at the very end does it throw out:
"Of course, some people might decide to go without such protection and rely on their trusty handguns."
As an option for people that decided to not involve themselves in a subscription based police service.

It makes clear arguments _for_ a police force, just not a tax funded one and makes no claim about money saved from lower taxes having anything to do with increased self-defense. If you don't think that would work, that's a valid opinion. Regardless, the original statement from the GP is indeed crap... Thanks for proving it.

(For completeness I will also point out that, being a third party, Libertarianism shows more ideological that the main stream liberalism and conservatism. Saying that libertarianism means no taxes and poliece is as reasonable as saying the same for conservatism or that liberalism means 100% taxes. It doesn't. In the real world it means both less taxation like conservatism and less social control like liberalism. The idealistic stuff is just as sane as you'll see from hardline liberal socialists or hardline conservative puritans, and riffing on it is just a productive:
Fantastic for shutting up people you disagree with.)

Re:Stop (4, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957857)

As for the police, I think what many of us libertarians believe is that the FEDERAL government should not be involved in LOCAL police offices. The state and locality are more than ok taxing us to fund the police. The issue we have is when the federal government gives departments money for example, for hitting drug bust quotas.

Re:Stop (5, Insightful)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957861)

Which is one of the chestnuts I tire of when debating ultra Conservatives and Libertarians. Because "messed with the incentive structure" can mean a lot of things. For most Libertarians, any taxation at all is "messing with the incentive structure."

In your opinion, what level of taxation is not "messing with the incentive structure"?

How complicated is your tax return? Is it complicated because it has to be for the gov't to collect enough money? Or is it complicated because there are hundreds of different tax rules to encourage certain economic behaviors?

Re:Stop (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958151)

How complicated is your tax return? Is it complicated because it has to be for the gov't to collect enough money? Or is it complicated because there are hundreds of different tax rules to encourage certain economic behaviors?

Taxation should be VERY simple.

You make $x, then you pay y% of it....no deductions, no loopholes, etc.

That way it would be fair, everyone would pay lower (for the most part), and taxation would be what it should be for, funding necessary govt. operations.

It should NOT be used to try to mold human behavior....I don't believe that is a constitutionally mandated role the govt (state or federal) is supposed to play, is it? I thought it was only there to ensure you had the freedom to live as you wished...?

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42959157)

Taxes have been used to influence behavior since Hammurabi's Code specified one on beer.

Re:Stop (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42959323)

Taxation should be VERY simple.

You make $x, then you pay y% of it....no deductions, no loopholes, etc.

That way it would be fair, everyone would pay lower (for the most part), and taxation would be what it should be for, funding necessary govt. operations.

The problem with such a simple model is that current pay structures aren't set up for it; the transition period will hurt a sufficiently large number of people that it is "politically difficult" to make the change. Another problem is that a lot of people don't earn very much either; the cost of taxing them is likely to exceed the income received. A relatively simple variation on it is to use a basic banded taxation system. For example, allow everyone to make some minimum without being taxed (which is set fairly low) and then pay y% on everything earned over that. Yes, the formula in the spreadsheet is slightly more complex, but it's still damn close to trivial.

What's really complex though is when you have different rates for different types of income. Want to really do tax reform? Work on that and you'll get ordinary people on all sides of the spectrum on your side.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42959375)

"Promote the general welfare.." If it is believed to do this, it is constitutional.

Re:Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958115)

"is one of the chestnuts I tire of when debating ultra Conservatives..."

Fucking moron.

Ultra-conservative here. Booga Booga! Boo!

Bwahahahahaahahahahahaa.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958235)

>Libertarians argue against police forces

Libertarians want a free market in security services. Here's an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_Government_Services

"Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired Pinkerton agents for his personal security during the Civil War.[2] Pinkerton's agents performed services ranging from security guarding to private military contracting work. At its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than there were members of the standing army of the United States of America"

Competing entrepeneurs are better than the government at providing every kind of service, except perhaps the "service" of shoving people into ovens.

Re:Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958259)

Competing entrepeneurs are better than the government at providing every kind of service, except perhaps the "service" of shoving people into ovens.

Hear hear! More privatized security like the infallible Blackwater and less Nazis like President Obama!

Re:Stop (2)

capnchicken (664317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958641)

>During the labor unrest of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, businessmen hired the Pinkerton Agency to infiltrate unions, to supply guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and sometimes to recruit goon squads to intimidate workers.

Great example ...

Re:Stop (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958577)

I think you are missing, a bit, the point about regulation verse incentive structure – and I think you should broaden your horizons. Take smoking as an example.

You can regulate it. You have to 18, limiting to where you can smoke, banning sports advertisements. etc. (I know somebody who’s job is to directly market chewing tobacco. They have to ask the person if they are over 18, chew, etc. – then offer coupons / sample. A very odd job.) Yes minors still sneak cigarettes.

Or you can incentivizes against it – that is – to lay a very large, heavy tax. This has been more effective then all of the other regulation combined.

My 2 cents – it would be cheaper and faster to reduce greenhouse gasses by leaving a carbon tax then by regulating industries.

Re:Stop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957449)

"Often times the market can sort it out"

I stopped reading right there.

If you can't even take 10 minutes to read a different opinion you are obviously a moron.

Re:Stop (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957515)

If you take 10 minutes to read every opinion with a fundamentally flimsy premise, you'll be wasting decades.

Re:Stop (1)

mac1235 (962716) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958619)

This is Slashdot!

Re:Stop (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958579)

It just makes him close minded, not necessarily a moron. Flinging ad hominems like 'you're obviously a moron' is more likely to identify a moron than just being close minded.

Re:Stop (1)

Paul Pierce (739303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957471)

Would you rather:

It's better when the government does it?

Re:Stop (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957493)

I stopped reading right there.

As per your training.

Re:Stop (0)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957543)

I stopped reading right there.

As per your training.

How dare you speak in favor of double plus ungood thoughtcrime.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957617)

speak in favor of double plus ungood thoughtcrime.

Except the OP was speaking against the free market...

Re:Stop (0)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958073)

Except the OP was speaking against the free market...

Yes, he has successfully shut down his brain to avoid thoughtcrime. His dedication to the State has been noted.

You, on the other hand, have earned a trip to the re-education camps.

Re:Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957539)

That makes you part of the problem.

Re:Stop (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957601)

"Often times the market can sort it out"

"but if, and only if, you ensure that externalities are built in, "

I don't really see how you can ensure that externalities are "built in" (or priced in) without regulation.
And even if you can, IMO, it's better to prevent negative externalities than to pay off the afflicted bystanders afterwards.

Re:Stop (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957785)

I don't really see how you can ensure that externalities are "built in" (or priced in) without regulation.

A market works best with a little regulation. For example, to break up monopolies.

IMO, it's better to prevent negative externalities than to pay off the afflicted bystanders afterwards.

Telling someone he can't do something restricts freedom more than telling him he can do it but he has to clean up the mess.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958799)

Also, telling someone they can't do something will make even people of normal intelligence act like idiots, and refuse to comply even with good ideas because they don't like being told what to do.

Re:Stop (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957927)

"better to prevent negative externalities than to pay off the afflicted bystanders afterwards."

Do you even measure the cost of "prevent negative extenalities" vs "pay off afflicted bystanders"? If it cost $3 to prevent something and only $1 to pay off instead, would it not be better to charge the $1 than the $3?

I am of the opinion, that bad things are going to happen. Period. We cannot prevent all bad things from happening through laws, policies and regulations. And trying to, ends up being worse for everyone. We have to be able to accept that "shit happens" and deal with the shit that happens rather than trying to prevent all shit in the first place.

Re:Stop (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958231)

This is like when a car company discovers a flaw in their vehicle which affects 1/10,000 by causing a large, fiery explosion, but their bean counters tell them it is cheaper to pay off the families than recall all of the vehicles for a service. Just because it saves money doesn't mean it is the right thing to do, and often any form of monetary compensation isn't sufficient for the loss caused.

Re:Stop (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958363)

The bean counters were wrong about how much it cost to pay off the families.

It would have been cheaper to recall the Pinto. They all know that now.

Re:Stop (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958369)

How much is death worth? Nothing, or priceless (basically the same thing). You make the payoff more expensive than the repairs and all of that goes away. BUT then you have a basis for giving a cost, which then gives Government the power to regulate should the car company negate to fix it.

There is a law firm out there right now, advertising Table saws that don't have a new "system" in place that can save thousands of lost fingers and other body damage. Do we mandate the new system be installed on ALL table saws because a few idiots don't know how to operate a table saw safely? I mean table saws have been around forever, do we change our liability laws simply because technology CAN make something safer than it was before?

Right now, people have the CHOICE of what kind of table saw to buy, whether they want the system or not, do we change that with a law?

Re:Stop (1)

Artraze (600366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958205)

> I don't really see how you can ensure that externalities are "built in" (or priced in) without regulation.

He was discussing "regulation and forbidding conduct" and said nothing about total deregulation. Especially taken with the context of the question he was pretty clearly discussing regulation in terms of, say, 'no you can't do that unless you file the right paper work and we approve it *wink*' for the EPA case.

For the copyright case, he was probably interpreting the question along the lines of Canada's blank media tax which theoretically allows people to copy and ensures the artists get paid. That doesn't allow the market to sort it out, but instead has the government take money from people and give it to some select artists based on regulatory decisions rather than market forces.

> And even if you can, IMO, it's better to prevent negative externalities than to pay off the afflicted bystanders afterwards.

What's a negative externality, exactly? If I don't shower for a week and I stink, is that a negative externality of saving water and thus I should be mandated to shower? Or, is water usage a negative externality of cleanliness so I should be mandated to not shower? How does this change if I'm renting a place where water is a fixed cost included in the rent?

The point is, most things in this world require tradeoffs. "Negative externalizes" is just a buzzword for those tradeoffs where the cost is borne by a different party than receives the benefit. The thought of disallowing such things in general shows a complete understanding of the workings of a world with limited resources. Trying to implement such laws is an exercise in futility and is necessarily going to be over politicized and fundamentally unfair. By ensuring that the externalities are internalized than we can then let normal market forces dictate what tradeoffs are fair.

And keep in mind that's not to say that certain activities cannot be made illegal (e.g. you don't charge a hitman the cost of a life). "Negative externalities" pretty much by definition is referring to legal (and non-ideal) economic behavior. However, a free market solution _does_ mean that you don't have a regulatory agency saying that something is sort-of illegal depending on who you are or how much of it you are doing.

Re:Stop (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957623)

I was tempted to, but if you keep reading pretty soon you get past the boilerplate Libertarian rhetoric and onto the interesting stuff.

Re:Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957687)

He's like 24 years old. Just another kid with The Fountainhead dancing around in his head.

Re:Stop (2)

raydobbs (99133) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957701)

Many a travesty has been justified by the uttering that exact, hand-washing excuse 'The free market can fix it' and its ilk. It's like hearing 'I was just following orders' - we don't buy it anymore, take some personal responsibility for pitching a potentially awful idea.

It's a shame that people who have a lot of intriguing and thoughtful ideas still use this catch-phrase, since it just causes people to tune it out.

Skimming the interview, its clear that there is a LOT of thing wrong with the way the government is run, who pulls the strings, and what ideas get the airtime while others rot on the shelves. It's also clear that WE, the people, put them there and apparently approve of it since we KEEP electing them. In one way, at least, the government works like a large business - if you rock the boat, you get thrown to the sharks less you potentially tip the boat over.

Re:Stop (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958251)

Of course going the other way, many a travesty has been justified by uttering, "we need to Do Something, for the Children!!!"

In fact I think that's caused far more travesties to happen than the Free Market has.

Re:Stop (1)

raydobbs (99133) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958909)

Of course - "For the Children' basically is a ticket to disable logic and make decisions based solely on emotion, be damned the side-effects later on.

Decisions need to be made on logical analysis and observation, considering precedence and legality. Sometimes, you -do- need to reel in the free market though, else we'd be working ourselves to death for the glory of the company store. Framework helps businesses compete on a known playing field, where some behavior is recognized as being bad for civilized society in general, even if feasible according to private industry. No rules is as bad as too many rules, or stupid rules.

Re:Stop (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957829)

The contrary (liberal) view is that "government is the only solution" is equally bad, for the exact same reason.

A truly free market CAN sort out a great deal. Keeping a market free is Government's role. However do-gooding people (both D and R), create all sorts of laws and policies that are contrary to a truly free marketplace. In these cases, Government interference is just as bad as a market that is not truly free. In fact, I would suggest that unnecessary government interference and not free are the exact same problem.

This is not to say that we should live in a anarchistic state, where there is no government oversight, because that doesn't work eitther. The correct balance is that we create laws to punish people who do bad things. We must also realize that we cannot prevent BAD THINGS (tm) from happening. This means we stop trying to protect people from themselves, because that affects people who don't need to be micro managed by tyranical governments.

Re:Stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957955)

The contrary (liberal) view

Yes! It's the black and white, false dichotomy, my team vs other team, bi-partisan bickering!

*takes a sip*

I'll be plastered before I get home (just like every other night)!

Re:Stop (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958671)

Yes! It's the black and white, false dichotomy, my team vs other team, bi-partisan bickering!

Maybe you should read the rest of his post. Pointing out two extremes and advocating a balance between the two is not a "false dichotomy" in any meaningful sense.

You might call his characterization of the liberal position a strawman, but "false dichotomy" is so wrong that you need to take a refresher on Logical Fallacies 101.

Re:Stop (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42959297)

How about the nuanced view: Sometimes, government is the best solution. Sometimes, a free market is the best solution. There's a range of policies between free-for-all and complete-government-control, and the best solution will vary depending on what's being bought or sold and on the wider context the market is operating in (e.g. rationing rubber or gasoline might have been wise in 1942 and stupid in 1948).

Some sort of scale here might be in order, ranging from 0 (no government control) to 9 (complete government control):

0. A market with no rules at all is best demonstrated by the current markets for illegal drugs. Those markets function, sort of, but also have built into them murders, assaults, robberies, and other serious crimes.

1. You add some basic criminal rules that prevent murder, assaults, robberies, etc. This functions a bit better, but there's also no protection against a monopoly / monopsony that distorts the price in favor of the one company.

2. You outlaw monopoly or monopsony, at least on products that are critical to human life like water or food, this functions a bit better, but you still have the problem of a group of sellers or buyers getting together and controlling the prices that way at a cost to everyone else.

3. You now add a law against collusion between buyers and sellers. You still have the problem that sellers can falsely advertise their products or adulterate them in some way so that while they appear to be OK they're really quite dangerous.

4. You now add a law with either government inspections or civil penalties to prevent false advertising and adulteration. You still have the problem of the effects of the transaction on a third party. For example, if I contract with you to dump all my trash in your back yard, your next-door neighbor is effectively getting cheated, especially if the nasty stuff in that trash is seeping into his water supply.

5. You now add laws to require externalities (like the trash in your neighbor's water supply) either be stopped or be paid for (via contracts or civil penalties). But you still have a problem with price comparisons, because everyone's offering different wildly products to solve the same problem. So you might consider forcing everyone to offer similar or even identical products and differing only on price.

6. You now add laws that specify, in detail, what can be sold as a particular product. The price for the product is getting too high or too low for sellers and buyers.

7. You add price controls to your product, demanding that it can't get above or below a particular point. However, this is too unpredictable for some sellers or buyers.

8. You mandate a particular price for a product, and outlaw all attempts to sell higher or lower than that price. However, this means that people are adjusting the quantities sold due to the price, which may not be what the government wants or needs.

9. You mandate that buyers and sellers sell exactly a particular quantity of a product, at a particular price, to particular specifications, only transacting with particular parties. This is obviously the "complete government control" end of the spectrum.

Current policy in the US, EU, Canada, and other wealthy countries typically falls somewhere between 3 and 9, and varies a lot based on product. For instance, there are very few rules about selling word processing software, but the government can force you to sell particular parcels of land at what they decide is the prevailing market price.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958001)

Often times, the government makes it worse.

Re:Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958217)

Then you are anti-intellectual filth and a waste of resources. Go wallow in your close minded pig ignorance, you useless shitrag.

Couldn't read (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957415)

I couldn't read past the first two. "I don't like the Republicans (for how they treated me, for how some of my beliefs align with them), but I guess, without ever really looking, that my conservative views are more closely aligned with Republican, so I'm a Republican for life, no matter how bad they treat me or the rest of the country."

Does nobody in politics have the ability to think? It's no better than fans beating each other up because someone is in a red shirt sitting in the Cowboys section, or wearing blue in the Redskins.

When the best defense he can come up with is that his party at least let him write the paper before firing him, and he thinks that it would never have been written on the other side of the isle, then we are truly screwed. Our values are all for sale, so long as we don't ever do anything that might help "the other side" Regardless of what's "best" for anyone.

Re:Couldn't read (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957731)

"...I'm a Republican for life, no matter how bad they treat me or the rest of the country."

This is a typical symptom of people who don't think for themselves, no matter how eloquently they can speak.. It's the same psychological principle used by authoritarians of all types to suppress rebellion.

Re:Couldn't read (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958335)

No, the problem isn't not seeing individuals. He was fired by individuals (Steve Scalise and some handful of reps who made the request), not by everyone on the Republican Party. And he flat out says the current Republican Party is broken. What more do you want?

Hell, it's *your* type of thinking, advocating dislike or distrust for an entire group because of the actions of individuals, that is often used by authoritarians to divide and conquer opposition.

Re:Couldn't read (4, Insightful)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957763)

) I couldn't read past the first two. "I don't like the Republicans (for how they treated me, for how some of my beliefs align with them), but I guess, without ever really looking, that my conservative views are more closely aligned with Republican, so I'm a Republican for life, no matter how bad they treat me or the rest of the country."

Funny how you feel the need to make up words to put in his mouth.

Democrats are anti-conservative. Republicans are a mix of conservative and anti-conservative. Both suck, but one sucks much more.

Whether you're a social conservative or a fiscal conservative, the past 6 years of majority Democrat rule is adequate evidence for a conservative to dismiss them as an option. Others are free to hold out hope, but hope doesn't mean much in politics. Votes do.

Furthermore, our political system favors two parties, so influencing one of the main two parties is the easiest path to political success.

Given that Democrats are not an option, it is completely rational to focus efforts on the other party. If conservative ideas are any good, the other party will start winning elections and force the Democratic party to shift their stance if they want to stay in power.

Re:Couldn't read (1, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958125)

The insanity here is not in choosing a R or D, but the absolutist manner in which he identified himself as a conservative. Its like saying that I'll always believe that the theories of Issac Newton for life are absolutely true, regardless of what experiments show. You should always be willing to recalibrate your theories in light of new information. I suspect there is something else behind the conservativisim that is his real goal in life, politics, economics,etc that is unspoken. That is what the focus should be rather than the generic conversation stopper of "conservativisim".

Re:Couldn't read (2)

Artraze (600366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958503)

> The insanity here is not in choosing a R or D, but the absolutist manner in which he identified himself as a conservative

You're putting words into his mouth too. And not just a little, but completely:
"... but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology."

He's not labeling himself. He is establishing an identity here. He is simply using a word to describe his opinions. One word. The insanity here is you claiming it's "insane" that he would provide a one word summary of his political position when it is immaterial anyways. This isn't his biography or manifesto. It's an article on copyright. There are plenty on places where you can see that he is clearly thinking for himself when you actually bother to read what he has to say about the main points of discussion.

> You should always be willing to recalibrate your theories in light of new information

Um, no, that's stupid. You should recalibrate your theories based on new substantial evidence. Recalibrating based on new information requires about as much introspection as one would expect from a goldfish. What does that have to do the topic at hand anyways? Are you claiming that getting fired for releasing a memo that follows your beliefs should make you change your beliefs? Like, 'man I was so wrong about my thoughts on copyright I got fired; I better reevaluate that'. Friggin goldfish.

(And if you bothered to read TFA, he provides evidence to support his opinions and considers them to be in line with conservatism and thus only somewhat in line with Republicanism. So if he's not supposed to follow the path I parodied above, that what is the new evidence he failed to consider and/or what recalibration did he fail to make?)

Finally, with regards to party membership (more related to the GGP and this thread in general), there too he is clearly not blindly following, but has decided to be a member of the Republican party because it better matches his opinions. You can argue that membership in a party is not the best thing, but he has obviously given it some thought and decided it was best for him. Honestly, I think that's far more introspective than the rage-against-everything individuality-at-all-costs challenge-everything nonsense that you're spouting.

Re:Couldn't read (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958611)

The absolutist manner in which you criticize his absolutism is ... interesting. You do realize you've applied a foot bullet to your own argument, right?

If he knows what principles he stands for, why should he not proudly claim them? Moral questions are not in the same category as scientific questions.

For example, is "do not murder other people" a result of scientific experimentation, or is it based on principles? Is it subject to change and revision?

The answer should be obvious - there is no improving on it. There may be difficult questions on whether a specific incident was a murder or not, but the rule itself does not change nor should it. (I should also point out that scientific experiments cannot tell us what people ought to do; it can only tell us what results to expect from a given action)

Your philosophy does not properly handle moral issues. Are you willing to recalibrate your theories, or do you still hold onto your absolute enmity towards absolute stances?

Re:Couldn't read (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957779)

That started with "I’m not really qualified to assess what happens on the other side of the aisle."

I was actually rather pleased by how up-front he was in saying when he didn't really understand things. If a person follows such a sentence, with a "...but", and you happen to understand "the other side" better than he does, its your own damn fault if you bother to read on.

OTOH, you'd hope a (former) political operative would make it their business to try to understand "the other side". If nothing else, you don't want to be blind-sided by their reactions to things you are trying to do. If that's the typical level of understanding of Democrats possessed by the Republican staff running their side of the government, its no wonder at all that they've managed to get themselves into the current situation they are in.

Re:Couldn't read (3, Informative)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958179)

While claiming correctly that he didn't exactly know what happens on the other side of the isle, he did in fact later guess in the same answer that the Democrats would likely not even have written a position paper on copyright in the first place.

I think he's correct in that assessment.

Re:Couldn't read (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957979)

I don't know, do you ever question the constant "crisis mongering" that is going on in Washington these days. I mean the world is going to end if you listen the likes of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, and (R) want to eat babies and kill puppies, starve grandma and polute the world, rape women and dolphins, all because Obama is getting the sequestration he asked for.

You see, it is all how you look at things and whether or not you like the (D) or (R) better to start. I mean if NDAA happened under GWB, you bet the leftwingnut branch of the DNC party would be going crazy over it (rightfully so). But as it stands it is "meh, at least he's not GWB". I don't get it.

Wait, What? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957453)

I believe your paper would have been unpopular on both sides of the isle but did the Republican knee jerk reaction to it negatively affect your affinity with the Republican party and your efforts to further their cause? Setting aside your differences on Copyright Law with that party, are you still Republican?

Khanna: Absolutely still a Republican. In fact I actually quibble a bit with your premise. The conservative position is that our current system of copyright is not consistent with the Constitution and inhibits innovation by choosing winners and losers– and pretty much all conservative organizations have come out with that opinion. There is a difference between Republican and Conservative that I won’t get into here, but my opinions are conservative and the Republican Party reflects more of the conservative ideology.

Your response was very confusing to me. So if the Republican Party fired you for saying exactly what "all conservative organizations" opine on the topic of copyright ... then the Republican Party is not a conservative organization? But your opinions are conservative ... but you're still a Republican ... which is a party that has "more of the conservative ideology" but they still fire you for saying what all conservative organizations believe? Do you see where I'm having a hard time grasping how your three sentence response logically adds up? I sorta wish you would have gotten into the difference between Republican and Conservative. I guess that's the key to understanding how they fired you? My assumption is that money trumps ideology in politics.

Why retain the label of Republican when you could just call yourself Conservative and identify the problems with the Republicans or side with Libertarians or Tea Party? I mean, you sell your idea as core Conservatism and publish it for Republicans yet you're fired for it. And then you still continue to call yourself Republican? Why?

Like it Or Not (4, Interesting)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957597)

The levers of Power are held by two competing teams.

And just like NFL franchises, changing the owners of the teams takes a lot of money.

If you want to play, then you have to pick a team (Republican or Democrat).

If you want to watch, then you can root for each team equally depending on their field position or which down they are on (independent).

Re:Wait, What? (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957599)

Wish I hadn't spent all my modpoints weeding out trolls. A+ sir.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958479)

Stick to weeding out trolls.

eldavojohn goes off the rails in his first sentence. Khanna was not fired by "the Republican Party." He was fired by *one* guy at the request of a handful of others. That's what you want to give A+ to? Don't ever go into teaching, please.

Overall the Republicans are still more conservative, so a conservative like Khanna will have the best luck working within the GOP, perhaps with, you know, one of the *thousands* of others who didn't fire him.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958989)

Have you been paying attention to American Politics, you know, at all? Traditional conservatives are flocking away from "their party" at a pace not seen since the Democrats started being nice to black people.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957609)

When I read the question, I knew that is exactly what the answer would be, already knowing those were exactly the problems with that response. That sounds like I'm bullshitting after the fact, but this is a repeating response to republicans doing something a republican finds distasteful throughout the last couple decades.

As a similar example, ask someone you know who voted for Bush twice what they think of him now. About 60% of them will give exactly this response.

And before anyone gets on my case, it's not a partisan flaw, many people who've formed a strong opinion about politics don't change in the face of evidence.

Re:Wait, What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957637)

So now that Obama is fucking up everything in sight, you'll be changing your support for him...ohh...wait, it doesn't really matter now, does it?

Re:Wait, What? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957705)

Obama has done pretty well considering intentional sabotage. I'd replace him with an identical candidate opposed to warrantless wiretaps and oversightless drone strikes in an instant, but he's otherwise done quite well.

Re:Wait, What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958075)

"he's otherwise done quite well"

At what exactly?

Obamacare, a lie.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/os-universal-part-time-insurance-20130219,0,4887679.story

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
Barack Obama on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Lies. So you get drones, wiretaps and lies. Aren't you happy, drone?

Re:Wait, What? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958309)

I kept my health care plan. I'm only reading a seething moronic disdain from you without any real intellectual substance. You don't like Obama, therefor I must not either? What's the point of this line of reasoning?

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958927)

"I kept my health care plan."

Fool, Obamacare has barely begun to take effect. Tell me the same thing 5 years, 10 years from now.

The statist is well organized, patient and clever. *Fundamentally*changing* a nation takes time.

You will note that conservatives and others who were against ACA from the start have predicted all of these things that we are now seeing start to occur. The logical progression will be that you get yours when your turn is up.

You have kept nothing, you just haven't been singled out, yet.

An Exercise for You (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957893)

So now that Obama is fucking up everything in sight, you'll be changing your support for him...ohh...wait, it doesn't really matter now, does it?

Here's an exercise for you. Get out a sheet a paper. Draw a two by two grid. On one side put "Wars Started" and "Wars Stopped." On the other side put "Bush" and "Obama." Fill it in. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Re:An Exercise for You (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958469)

You don't know, nobody does. Wait 20 years.

Risking Godwin. You would give Nevil Chamberlain credit for preventing WWII in 1937.

Lets wait until we can discuss actual reasons for going into Iraq, not the fiction we have to maintain for our erstwhile 'allies' (Saudi and Paki).

Re:An Exercise for You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958975)

Well I don't know about you, but I fully expect to be facing blowback from the friends and family of the 100,000 dead civilians due to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Read that number again. [wikipedia.org] Think about it. How many died on 9/11/01?

Don't you think they're moderately angry? Possibly as angry as certain mujahideen freedom fighters?

Blow back is a bitch. Let's say that invading nations and fueling war is a stupid idea.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958045)

Whew, that got my head spinning almost as much as the first answer. "That sounds like I'm bullshitting after the fact, " Indeed, but you continue here with a distracting example about Bush that in its self, does not make sense. that last sentence then implies you aren't intelligent to be able to change opinion even in the face of facts...doesn't that negate your whole copyright approach?

When politics becomes religion, when dogma, not reason rules the day it does not matter what the party, it is a path to brittleness and eventual destruction. You espouse idea that many democrats would support yet in the same thought process, dismiss them because they are not "conservative". Stop it. Step away from the dogma and really listen to people like I listened (read) to you. I agree with a number of your ideas, I'm going to sign that petition and I do so overlooking some current political ideologue, but because they are good ideas.

Something I read recently by Thomas Jefferson is something I wish we'd so work towards, in short, Though we may differ on opinion, we agree on principle. He used that approach to help a young nation grow and survive. So stop with the pablum political statements defending political dogma; use your intelligence to help shape ideas that may come from all sides.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957639)

Republicans are not the same as conservative, what is so hard to understand about that? It appears he wants to help the Republicans to become more conservative so he is sticking with them.

The Democrats do not stand for liberty, you do understand this don't you?

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958247)

Define liberty.

Republican definition:
Freedom to own guns
Freedom to incorporate their religion into government entities ( schools, courts of law, ect)
Freedom to not pay taxes
Freedom to work

Democratic definition:
equal opportunity as a precondition to Freedom
Freedom over bodies
Freedom to marry whom ever
Freedom from religion in government entities
Freedom to organize labor

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42959017)

THE natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule. The liberty of man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in it.

TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT - BY JOHN LOCKE

You drones really need to grow up from your Democrats good Republicans bad bullshit, nothing is ever that simple. Do you really think the Democrats give a shit about your freedoms? Wake up, they do not. Neither do the Republicans. You know what does? The constitution. So how about you morons get with the program for once and call on those "leaders" in power who violate the constitution? Huh?

Wake up you dumb shits.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958013)

Why retain the label of Republican when you could just call yourself Conservative and identify the problems with the Republicans or side with Libertarians or Tea Party? I mean, you sell your idea as core Conservatism and publish it for Republicans yet you're fired for it. And then you still continue to call yourself Republican? Why?

US politics encourages a two party system.

I would also guess he feels connected to the historical Republican Party. It was anti-slavery on principle, because it believed in a nation of ideals, not race.

Wiki has some good quotes from Lincoln, but especially read the ones from the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1958). http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln [wikiquote.org]

If they [immigrants from other nations] look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none [...] but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" and then they feel that [...] they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration; and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958233)

Politics is partially about popularity. And the GOP is still the most popular conservative party by far. And make no mistake, there are a large amount of Republicans out there that are in fact interested in small government (*ahem* Ron Paul *ahem*). They're just not the dominating faction.

Of course, this is really all a symptom of the two party system. If he doesn't identify as a Republican, he's not going to go anywhere. The Libertarian party, while it exists, isn't exactly the most well-known. And the Tea party is merely a faction within the GOP. It's not exactly its own party.

Re:Wait, What? (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958405)

Because his firing was the result of a small handful of Republicans, not everyone in the Party. Maybe he feels he can still work with the larger Party and change it from within?

Honestly, this absolute lack of ability a lot of you have to perceive that actions are carried out by individuals and not groups is more disturbing than anything discussed in the answers.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958723)

The reason is one that he's very politely not making public: there's a serious schism within the Republican party right now, similar to the one the Democrats experienced in the Progressive era.

As Republican party leadership moves farther away from conservative principles, many Republicans are becoming increasingly disaffected with the party. The Libertarian party isn't a safe umbrella to run to, they've spent too many years being "shock-jock" type attention whores, so few people take them seriously (I say this as an honest evaluation, I'm a libertarian - note the little 'L'). This is why the Tea Party exists, but as you know, it's isn't an 'official' political party - yet.

It wouldn't surprise me to see the Tea Party formalize and start running candidates. They aren't ready to make this leap yet because of close alliances with the Republicans, but tensions continue to increase as voters elect more "true" conservatives into the party. Republican leadership is having a difficult/impossible time "playing ball" like they have in the past, because many of the newly elected congress critters are speaking a language they don't understand - principles and ethics.

Re:Wait, What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42959395)

Interesting, here we have some actually correct analysis on the pages of slashdot, what a freaking surprise.

Here is what people who do not understand these things (most of the audience in this place that is clear) need to understand. There are two parties in the US that will recieve the vast majority of votes, like it or not it really does not matter, this is the way it is. If you do not like the direction the Republican party is taking you have basically two choices, change the Republican party or work towards pushing the Republican party out of the way and starting a new party that does support your ideals.

Neither is an easy task to accomplish, the power structure int he Republican party is very powerful and well funded - they are in positions of high power in federal government you understand (frankly I doubt most readers here do understand that but whatever). You do not just shut these people out overnight and replace them with principled men, these politicians are smart, well connected, have lots of money and are willing to go to great lengths to preserve power - power is fun.

However starting an alternate party (Tea Party or whatever it may be) is also problematic. It's easy to start a party more or less if you can get enough people motivated, but here is what will happen; If this new party is truly conservative it is going to take votes away from the *actual* Republican party, meaning neither the Republicans nor the new party will be able to win *any* elections for a long time. Pushing this new party means years and years of failure and money spent, lost election after lost election, ruined reputations and lives, and maybe 10, 20 or 30 years down the road things will start to really change.

Going third party virtually guarantees that the statist elements of the Democrat party will have full control of the government for like as not at least 1 generation, if not more.

This is serious shit and directly affects you - all of you, but more immediately if you are in the US. If you believe in the constitution, individual liberty and limited government (how in the world you cannot support those things I cannot even fathom) you need to understand these things and stop acting like trained lab rats automatically pulling the lever for Democrat, frothing at the mouth muttering Bush Bad, Obama Good. We are in deep doo doo people, 16 trillion in debt, the media acts as an arm of the Democrat party effectively making them a fourth branch of the federal government, we lose constitutional rights and protections near every day, taxes going up, welfare use going up, unemployment going up. And Obama stands there and blames Bush and the Republicans every time and every time he is as full of shit as the speech before it and yet all you drones just suck it all up as the commenter above notes, just like you were trained.

Wake up drones, it's not Republicans bad Democrats good, that's just continuing the same old shit and heading us straight for the cliff (which is real and we are heading for and no they aren't telling you the truth about it), it's Constitution Good and that's where it ends.

But we know exactly what you lot are going to do and say, it's a predictable as saying the sun will come up in the morning.

boat people (1)

zuki (845560) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957483)

"side of the isle" ... yeah... congress as an island... I'd float this idea.

The limited time should be even shorter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957641)

"But I think we have to make arguments for why longer than the Founder term is sound. Arguments like, “Our Founder system of 28 years was premised upon a market of x, and today the market is y, which requires a longer recoupment period for the content producer etc.”"

I don't think you could ever argue that the term should be longer than the Founder term. In the Founder market of x, the fastest form of distributing works or even communicating was to write it down and then have someone on horseback or a boat transport it. In that era, where it took weeks or even months for people to correspond and even longer for works to be produced and distributed, the Founders still thought 28 years was enough.

So how can you possibly argue for a longer term when people on opposite sides of the world can correspond in real time and when works can be produced and distributed almost instantly.

At the time of the Founders, no musical performer could ever hope to perform a song for the entire world. Today, it's commonplace.

Re:The limited time should be even shorter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957759)

I suggest you actually read his entire response before kneejerking. He didn't argue for a longer term. In fact, he said there was absolutely no reason to have a longer term.

Re:The limited time should be even shorter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958553)

He didn't just say that there is no need for a longer term. He said there is no need for a longer term solely because the current market does not show that a longer term would beneficial. That argument leaves open the possibility that at some point a longer term could be justified if the market at that time shows that a longer term would be necessary to incentivize content producers.

He is basically saying he would agree with a term longer than the Founder term if a convincing argument were made that a longer term is necessary for content producers to profit from their works. I'm contending that unless modern communication or distribution channels collapse to what they were over 200 years ago then I don't think anyone could ever possibly make such an argument.

You blew it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957691)

You had a chance to be the underdog and garner real support from real humans, maybe even make some real progress (I loathe the word by now, but I'm short on un-abused synonyms). Your own party and masters threw you under the bus. What makes you think you're ever getting back in their good graces?

You blew it. Sorry guy. Definitely not voting for you now, even if you do run. You've shown yourself to be the same weak-knee'd, ball-sucking variety of vermin as the rest of them. And now, you can't even suck up the the corporate overlords. Have a nice life.

Re:You blew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957739)

Same AC here, but I'd like to apologize to all the sex workers who make an honest living sucking balls. I'd rather elect you than this cretin.

Re:You blew it. (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957855)

A guy who worked as a staffer for the Republican party gave answers that generally fell in line with Republican beliefs. What, you thought his entire worldview would've been overturned because of a single issue?

Re:You blew it. (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958273)

What, you thought his entire worldview would've been overturned because of a single issue?

Exactly. Especially when those in the other party are even more firmly against the positions from his paper than the party that fired him.

Re:You blew it. (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958285)

One could hope...

Re:You blew it. (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958567)

It's really pathetic. People like the AC cannot see individuals. They simply can't. To them, Khanna was fired but "THE PARTY" and not one politician like actually happened. I think they are neurologically incapable of it, like how some people can't recognize faces.

The geekverse has become a complete intellectual wasteland riddled with batshit ideology and absolutely no critical thinking at all.

What this guy is trying to say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957809)

This is the republican conservative point of view. I got fired because I didn't want to toe the party line. The party is bad, but I still believe in the original definition of what I wanted to represent.

Its a shame this guy got fired and is exactly the reason we never get to vote on good politicians that actually represent the peoples ideals.

When in Rome, be Roman, but if our politicians follow this creed just for a job with nice cushy benefits we are screwed. It's akin to there being no good soldiers left in the military. There are, but their few and far between and there's more bad ones ascending the ranks then good ones.

whydidnobodysayit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958751)

Khannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ;lsajduisyduiagsiudtu9sayfidfu898eyaruihkjsafoisyuifdk,jfiosyaudgjksdyuisad

*facepalm* (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958993)

One complaint conservatives about liberals is that they tend to try to outlaw stuff reactively. The EPA comes to mind, forbidding property owners certain uses of their land.

Oh yeah, that wacky liberal who gave us the EPA. What was his name again, that pot smoking, Grateful Dead following hippie?

Richard Nixon.

That Nixon is now considered a liberal is all the proof I need that US politics are truely farked beyond all recognition.

National Pirate a Disney Moive Day (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42959037)

but it should be particularly when the industry comes knocking in 2019 to ask for life + 90 to keep Steamboat Willy from entering the public domain.

I feel it's important to have a good copyright system. At the same time, this whole life + 70 nonsense is, as we've discussed, counterproductive. To that end, I propose a national day of piracy every year. Perhaps on April 1st, although I'm open to other ideas (September 19th?). The goal being to declare a specific day of civil disobediance where we openly pirate something that should be public domain and then declare what you pirated on a social network.

Would be good to have a designated target for copyright reform. 20 years, 30 years? 20 is adequate, I personally wouldn't support anything over 30.

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