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Phil Zimmermann Replies To CNet On Biden

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the setting-the-record-straight dept.

Democrats 371

A couple of days ago we discussed a CNet article on the tech voting record of Joe Biden, Barack Obama's running mate. Philip Zimmermann, who was mentioned in that piece, sends the following note to set the record straight. "In his 23 August opinion piece in CNet, Declan McCullagh wrote on Joe Biden's suitability as the Democratic VP nominee, Declan quotes me, creating the impression I criticized Biden for some legislation that Biden introduced in 1991. Declan's quote from me is out of context because it does not make it clear that I never mentioned Biden in my original quote at all when I wrote about Senate Bill 266. Second, Declan's quote is drawn from remarks I wrote in 1999. Declan seems to be trying to draft me in his opposition to Biden, and, by extension, makes it seem as if I am against the Democratic ticket. I take issue with this." Read below for the rest of Phil's comments.

When someone serves in the Senate for 30 years, we have to judge them by their whole body of work. Much has happened since 1991. I don't know what Biden's position would be today on the issue of encryption, but I would imagine it has changed, because I can't think of any politicians today who would try to roll back our hard-won gains in our right to use strong crypto. In fact, considering the disastrous erosion in our privacy and civil liberties under the current administration, I feel positively nostalgic about Biden's quaint little non-binding resolution of 1991.

Declan's article seems to imply that I would prefer McCain over the Democratic ticket. But McCain's stated policies on wiretapping, the Patriot Act and other policies that undermine privacy and civil liberties are a seamless continuation on the current administration's policies.

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371 comments

Pot kettle (5, Informative)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757429)

But McCain's stated policies on wiretapping, the Patriot Act and other policies that undermine privacy and civil liberties are a seamless continuation on the current administration's policies.

And what of Obama's support for illegal wiretapping indemnity?!?

Re:Pot kettle (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757505)

maybe Obama feels they deserve a second chance? I mean if some scary guys in suits came to your business and demanded all your customers info for the sake of hunting "terrorists" how many people would have the balls to stand up and deny them because they know its covered by the constitution?

Re:Pot kettle (2, Insightful)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757817)

Hmm. Perhaps people (read: corporations) who have an entire army of lawyers at their disposal?

Re:Pot kettle (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757851)

I'd tell them to shove it and get a warrant. Especially if they used quotes around the word terrorist.

And I don't even have the benefit of permanent, in-house legal counsel, to which any government requests were almost certainly referred!

Re:Pot kettle (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757887)

maybe Obama feels they deserve a second chance? I mean if some scary guys in suits came to your business and demanded all your customers info for the sake of hunting "terrorists" how many people would have the balls to stand up and deny them because they know its covered by the constitution?

Okay, so does everyone get a second chance when they break the US constitution, or is this just for corporations?

Phone companies aren't violating the Constitution (4, Informative)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758559)

What part of the constitution are you saying the CORPORATIONS violated? People's right against unreasonable searches and seizures? Because that's not something the corporations are violating -- they already have data. They don't need to search you for it. What may be unlawful on the side of the phone companies is that they gave out private information, which maybe that violates privacy laws, but it's not what the 4th amendment is talking about. The 4th amendment specifies what the government is not allowed to do.

Re:Pot kettle (5, Interesting)

anwaya (574190) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758355)

Until Obama and other Democratic congress critters gave in to the Bush Administration and telco lobbying this summer, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) outlawed wiretaps without a warrant, and had done for over 30 years. The rules were well-known to the telcos and their attorneys.

Several telcos were asked to break the law by the Bush Administration; one, Qwest, responded by asking for documentation that the request was constitutional. It was not provided, and they did not tap. They were also excluded from certain lucrative federal contracts.

Consider the AT&T Fulsom Street tap: all traffic passing through AT&T's Fulsom Street, SFO CO passed through a splitter into a room controlled by the Feds. Consider that an individual unwarranted wiretap has a $1500 penalty, and multiply that by the number of customers whose traffic they carry in a day.

Why do you think the telcos lobbied for immunity?

Why are they paying for the Democratic convention in Denver?

Re:Pot kettle (5, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757509)

And what of Obama's support for illegal wiretapping indemnity?!?

Folk got way to over-excited about it. Unfortunately the telcos probably had a viable defense that they were acting (1) on government instructions and (2) on government advice that their action was legal.

The original objective in bringing the lawsuits was to uncover the criminal behavior by the Bush administration so that they could be held accountable for it. Suing the telcos was the only way to force the documents into the open.

Do not confuse the tactics adopted by people trying to stop the abuse with the objectives of the perpetrators. Phil Z. is pointing out that on civil liberties issues McCain is every bit as bad as Bush, we can expect a continuatio of the same lawless behavior.

Re:Pot kettle (5, Informative)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757549)

Unfortunately the telcos probably had a viable defense that they were acting (1) on government instructions and (2) on government advice that their action was legal.

This isn't very hard to understand--the entire reason for the existence of the FISA law is that it explicitly states that the telcos are not to listen to the executive branch, even if it makes such an order. They blatantly ignored the law that was written exactly to stop this sort of situation.

Re:Pot kettle (4, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757831)

This isn't very hard to understand--the entire reason for the existence of the FISA law is that it explicitly states that the telcos are not to listen to the executive branch, even if it makes such an order. They blatantly ignored the law that was written exactly to stop this sort of situation.

You might think that, I might think that.

Unfortunately the current federal bench has been largely appointed by Republicans and in particular the DC Circuit has a bunch of very partisan judges - the folk who brought us the infamous Kenneth Starr and is unable to get the fact that the constitution absolutely prohibits any number of criminal activities of the Bush regime: torture, imprisonment without trial, wiretapping, etc. etc.

The problem with FISA was that the 'lawyers' for the Bush regime had purportedly found that the President could disregard any law he liked by exercising the 'inherent powers' of the Presidency. FISA did not have a sufficiently strong exclusivity clause to absolutely knock that defense out. So the compromise reached was to let the telcos off the hook in return for the administration allowing the replacement bill to specify exclusivity.

It is not a great result, but it was the best that could be obtained with the Republicans holding the Whitehouse and the Democrats only holding the Senate on the vote of Joe Lieberman. Throughout the process it was the Republicans in general and John McCain in particular who were arguing to trash civil liberties and the Democrats who were arguing to restore them. The only exception was on torture where John McCain claimed that he was going to be tough with the administration, fooled everyone into believing he was being honest then agreed to everything the administration asked for. If you care about civil liberties it makes no sense to vote for John McCain on the basis that the Democrats were unable to stop the Republicans!

Civil liberties are not just a moral issue, they are essential if you are going to have an effective government. The torture of three Al Qaeda operatives was not just bad morally, it was a total disaster from the point of view of stopping terrorism. The administration got absolutely no useful information as a result: they got a series a bogus leads that all turned out to be wild goose chases. And now that the use of torture is known there is no prospect of getting any criminal convictions in a real court of law.

We tried the Bush administration tactics against terrorism in the UK at the start of the Northern Ireland troubles. To say they were a disaster is an understatement. First off the troops originally went in to protect the Catholics from the Protestant terrorists. The Provisional IRA was essentially a product of the British Internment policy. And the use of aggressive interrogation techniques that fall far short of the Bush administration torture lost popular sympathy abroad, here we are talking about 'hooding', not the sleep deprevation, shaking or such that the Bushies are still using. Folk like Rudy Giuliani were so disgusted by these tactics that they headed numerous IRA fundraisers and Rudy even gave Gerry Adams a humanitarian award.

McCain is simply more of the same, he thinks that the solution to every problem is the use of more force. He is completely unable to comprehend that force might create more problems than it can solve.

That's absurd. (1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758423)

Fighting terrorists is like getting hit by a woman. If she hits you like a man, you hit her back like a man. If a terrorist hits you like a nation state, then you hit them back, like a nation state. That means, no courts, no tribunals, only war and death for them.

So yeah, I would almost agree that the torture of three Al Qaeda operatives was bad morally. We should have killed them on site!

You need to stop pretending that terrorism is a criminal act. Criminals don't seek to destroy a government or a people - as they ultimately are a sort of parasite that needs its host to live. Terrorists want to destroy the state and take over. You seem to want to live in a fantasy world where boundaries of the world's nations matter. They don't. They don't matter to software developers, corporations, leftists, rightists, and they certainly don't matter to terrorists.

You and your kind keep intimidating that the best course for the USA is to cut some sort of a deal with radical Islam. Perhaps we should reason with them. Well, maybe you should have spared everyone 50 million dead and not guaranteed Polish neutrality in 1939 or perhaps just handed Singapore over to the Imperial Japanese Army. Quite often, people that want to kill you and take your stuff aren't interested in reason, they are only interested in your stuff, and your life is just a trouble to them. But be that as it may, what sort of compromises with Al Qaeda should we make? Where was the criminal court for the WTC occupants, for Daniel Pearl and for all the Iraqi people they beheaded? There wasn't any. These people are evil and there's no negotiating with them.

So tell us, what compromise in the name of peace in our time should we make with Al Qaeda and other radical islamic groups? Shall we permit men to beat their wives? Shall we allow polygamy? Maybe we should encourage illiteracy. What other book do you need besides the Koran. I've read enough of your police state + compromise with Islam crap in the UK and I can see that it is absolute crap. You can turn London into Al London if you like, but I prefer Washington DC to stay Washington DC, and if the Muzzies don't like it, then fuck them. They've already shit up their own part of the world and can't even put together a meaningful economy despite loads of oil money, and we're supposed to adopt elements of that failed culture?

Get real.

Re:Pot kettle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758471)

The problem with FISA was that the 'lawyers' for the Bush regime had purportedly found that the President could disregard any law he liked by exercising the 'inherent powers' of the Presidency. FISA did not have a sufficiently strong exclusivity clause to absolutely knock that defense out. So the compromise reached was to let the telcos off the hook in return for the administration allowing the replacement bill to specify exclusivity.

Yeah, I just want to point out to all those who question whether the President's actions were legal that he has never claimed to have followed the law as written. Since he obviously can't; FISA specifies that if any party to a tapped conversation is a U.S. citizen or legally within the U.S. then a warrant is required. The only legal justification put forward is this "the President doesn't have to obey the law if he thinks it's important that he not do so" theory, a theory which by the way is nothing more than a suggestion of Bush's Justice Department which has not been tested in court (and would almost certainly fail like every other one of the Bush DoJ's "creative" theories when presented to a judge).

If you care about civil liberties it makes no sense to vote for John McCain on the basis that the Democrats were unable to stop the Republicans!

Exactly. I certainly have no love lost for the spineless Democrats elected on a mandate of "stop this bull shit!". But I can tell the difference between those who are to cowardly to stand up for civil liberties and those who bravely tear them down. This is why although highly disappointing, Obama's vote for the bill with telecom immunity on the basis that he disagreed with that provision but felt the rest of the bill should be passed, wasn't as big a deal to me as it is to others. Compromises happen; those who actually wanted telecom immunity to protect the practices of the President are the big deal.

Also, while Bush's DoJ says the President et. al. broke no laws, that's in no way a binding decision and the Obama DoJ would be free to change their minds. So at least hypothetically the whole reason for the telco lawsuits (other than justifiable punishment for their compliance) which is to investigate the Bush program would be moot. Hypothetically. Not holding my breath or anything.

Re:Pot kettle (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757561)

The telcom immunity blocks civil suits from being made. To be honest, I fully expect the telcos to let a couple of their employee sheep to get locked up in criminal trials with out even shedding a tear. However, if you hit the telcos with a $200 billion civil judgment for their bad behavior (and make sure they cannot weasel out of it) they will think twice before doing it again. No civil trials now. That is why Obama's vote for FISA and telecom immunity was so bad.

The fight isn't over! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757693)

I'm no fan of the immunity. Far from it. But you do realize that that bill was going to pass even without him, right? And Obama did try to remove that part of the bill.

But there were enough Republicans & "blue dog" Democrats in this election year that they would have been painted as "terrorist sympathizers" for voting against FISA at all (indeed, that is exactly what the right-wing forums tend to call them).

And it doesn't help that McCain wholeheartedly supports this. He voted for FISA before he voted against it, and he's supported it many, many times on the campaign trail.

Finally, it's not over. The EFF is now suing the government directly. I'm not happy with this state of affairs, but Obama is still the better of the two when it comes to this issue.

Re:The fight isn't over! (4, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757891)

Finally, it's not over. The EFF is now suing the government directly. I'm not happy with this state of affairs, but Obama is still the better of the two when it comes to this issue.

Bingo,

The EFF could not sue the government directly before as the government was claiming that all the information was classified.

Now we have the necessary proof that the illegal conduct occurred and that it was authorized by the government officers. That was the objective from the start.

The suits against the telcos are not completely over yet, nor will they be over until the next government takes office. The EFF will continue to litigate them in order to prevent the destruction of the evidence.

Re:The fight isn't over! (3, Insightful)

Myshkin (34701) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757911)

You say the bill would have passed without him, like he only had a single vote to use. That is incorrect. He had a single vote, and one of the most effective bully pulpits we've seen in this country in a long time. He should have turned it into a campaign issue and beat McCain over the head with his cow towing to big corporate interests for the rest of the campaign. I was really hoping for more of a fighting spirit from the guy.

Re:The fight isn't over! (2, Insightful)

joggle (594025) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758043)

He should have turned it into a campaign issue and beat McCain over the head with his cow towing to big corporate interests for the rest of the campaign.

It's probably a hard argument to make. McCain's people probably could find plenty of other bills that Obama has voted in favor of that support various corporate interests (this could probably be done for any senator) and respond with an attack ad to the effect that he's being a hypocrite and also not being tough on terrorists as well. Given that after 9/11 polls showed many (the majority?) Americans were indifferent at best about terrorist suspects being tortured I'm not sure how well Obama could counter such an ad.

I think his initial attempt to remove that provision was genuine but he's also a smart enough politician to know to pick his battles wisely.

On a side note: way to go Qwest for not cow-towing to the government and refusing their illegal wire tapping requests. Probably the one and only thing Qwest has ever done right but still, kudos to you!

Re:The fight isn't over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758021)

I'm no fan of the immunity. Far from it. But you do realize that that bill was going to pass even without him, right?

Then he had no reason to avoid taking a stand on principal. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that he is spineless. The only Hope from him is False Hope.

Re:Pot kettle (2, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757595)

The original objective in bringing the lawsuits was to uncover the criminal behavior by the Bush administration so that they could be held accountable for it. Suing the telcos was the only way to force the documents into the open.

How is that not all the more reason to proceed with the lawsuits?

I'm sorry, but this is a little scary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757793)

I'm not attacking you, but it you'd said something like that 3 months ago, you'd have been skewered, and your moderations would reflect it.

Do not confuse the tactics adopted by people trying to stop the abuse with the objectives of the perpetrators.

That reads to me as a version of "the ends justify the means", which doesn't sit well with me, and probably a lot of other people too. I bring this up because 3 months ago, there's no way you'd have any insightful mods, but now, you're flying high.

I have to wonder, is that because people's minds have changed that much, or because they're more interested in their guy winning?

Re:I'm sorry, but this is a little scary (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758469)

I'm not attacking you, but it you'd said something like that 3 months ago, you'd have been skewered, and your moderations would reflect it.

Actually I did.

The point of Karma is to weed out trolls, not to get worried about losing it. I don't think that my karma score has ever been much below 40 even when I was pointing out that we might well find out Napster's legal case was phony. There are some folk who abuse the moderation system to block unpopular points of view but they are nowhere near as big a problem as you might imagine.

Re:Pot kettle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757803)

"The original objective in bringing the lawsuits was to uncover the criminal behavior by the Bush administration so that they could be held accountable for it. Suing the telcos was the only way to force the documents into the open. "

This is it, in a nutshell. Basically there is no WAY the telcos need liability cover, because they have scary lawyers and can argue the points above.

Ask yourself when, in all this campaigning for this indemnity law, you ever heard a telco lobbying for it, or a telco shill arguing for it?

The liability shield stops the cases ever getting much beyond the clerk, which stops any evidence being heard.

It is the actions of the US government that the telco indemnification really protects. The telcos don't need it.

Re:Pot kettle (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758421)

"Unfortunately the telcos probably had a viable defense that they were acting (1) on government instructions and (2) on government advice that their action was legal."

Ignorance of the law -or the constitutionality of U.S. government requests- is no excuse.

Re:Pot kettle (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757573)

And what of Obama's support for illegal wiretapping indemnity?!?

I think Obama's "yea" vote on the bill that contained the wiretapping indemnity was more a problem of our current system of multi-issue bills than a true expression of Obama's ideals. There was a lot of content in that bill that was quality, but the indemnity was stuck in much the same way that any other earmark or pet project is stuck in, this one just got more publicity. That said, if Obama is really about change as much as he claims to be, he will take steps to amend this flaw in our government, either through line-item veto power or much tighter restrictions on the breadth of any given bill, I would prefer the latter as a restriction of Congressional power will serve us better in the long term over an expansion of Executive power.

Re:Pot kettle (2, Insightful)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757721)

I think Obama's "yea" vote on the bill that contained the wiretapping indemnity was more a problem of our current system of multi-issue bills than a true expression of Obama's ideals.

I agree that multi-issue bills are a problem, but I think it's better to just not pass a mixed-bag bill than to live with the results of it.

If a majority in Congress agreed, it might keep the bills that are introduced more focused.

Re:Pot kettle (2, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757939)

I agree that multi-issue bills are a problem, but I think it's better to just not pass a mixed-bag bill than to live with the results of it.

Unfortunately, that also makes great fodder for one's political opponents. "Look, he voted against the Ice Cream For Orphans (And Some Other Stuff) Act! Why does he hate children so much?"

Re:Pot kettle (2, Insightful)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758033)

They put emotional issues in those bills, like "Ban child murder", then when you vote against it, you are pro killing children.

I don't know that this is the case with this bill. I believe I heard that GWB was actually threatening to veto some other bills critical to the dems if it wasn't passed, and I think democrat party leadership was therefore exerting pressure as well.

Honestly I hate dems as much as republicans. These days I'll vote on a democrat for president, but then every single person, down the line, from judges to school administrators to senators, I vote independent wherever it's possible, Green, Libertarian, heck--for a city/state position I'd probably vote for someone running on a communist ticket before a republicrat.

Re:Pot kettle (1)

gznork26 (1195943) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758097)

Narrowing the possible scope of legislation makes a lot more sense than a line-item veto. The provisions of a bill are what was hammered out through negotiation, which means that the votes it gets to pass are based on the combination of features. Congresscritters agree to vote for it because of those provisions, so then allowing the President to strike portions defeats the intent of the negotiated agreement. Worse, it is no different from using a signing statement to declare which provisions will be adhered to and which will be ignored.

A far better solution is to restrict the nature of what may be added to a bill. Simple bills are the legislative equivalent of modular design in code. What we have now is worse than spaghetti code, because nobody debugs the things, or even points out the lack of else conditions to cover all situations.

---
I write pointed political and business short stories at http://klurgsheld.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]
If you find something you like, pass the word...

Re:Pot kettle (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758105)

There was a lot of content in that bill that was quality, but the indemnity was stuck in much the same way that any other earmark or pet project is stuck in, this one just got more publicity

Every person in that room not only had the right, but the responsibility to vote "Nay" for a bill that tacks on [more than] one blatant violation of our Bill of Rights. If there are good things that are written in a bill, but it's caked in unconstitutionality, you vote "Nay" and then write your own bill with just the good things.

Bills aren't copyrighted or patented. They don't come with EULAs, NDAs, or any DRM. In that room, they are alterable. They can, and should be fixed before being passed. Obama didn't have the balls to stand up for the only thing he's paid to stand up for. McCain didn't vote against it either, and that leaves him just as guilty. The FISA bill did one good thing, it proved to the entire country that neither man is capable or qualified to take oath as president at this point. It's juts too bad that doesn't seem to have even slowed the machine.

Can I be honest. (1)

QZTR (1351145) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758427)

I think Obama's "yea" vote on the bill that contained the wiretapping indemnity was more a problem of our current system of multi-issue bills than a true expression of Obama's ideals.

I hear what you're saying, but that just isn't good enough. The importance of the lesson to the Telecoms and the administration outweighs the quality you speak of. The price was too high.

Re:Pot kettle (2, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757789)

Let's compare Democrats and Republicans.

DMCA 1.0 - Repub congress, Dem President (Clinton) signed on gleefully.
DMCA provisions 2.0 (slipped in the various years), about evenly split between repub/dem congresses and repub/dem presidents.

Wiretapping indemnity? Just as much the fault of both sides of the aisle.

Running roughshod over the 1st amendment? Pretty much even. Republicans and Democrats seem to hate that pesky "free speech" thing when their problems are being exposed. "Middle of the Roaders" like Joe LIEberman are friends of censorship-mongers like the Parents' Television Council and Jack "About to lose his law license" Thompson. Democrat and Republican state legislatures and governors alike love to shove protesters into "free speech zones" where they can neither be seen nor heard.

Corruption? McCain takes lobbyist money, and I don't think anyone here doesn't have something to say about him. Obama takes lobbyist money. I lived in Chicago when Obama was connected to the Daly political machine, who make Louisiana corruption like William Jefferson look squeaky clean in comparison. Democrats run dirty tricks, Republicans run dirty tricks, and it doesn't really matter - both parties are dirty.

My question is: would Obama or Biden really be helpful to us? Are McCain and whoever he picks, either? And if not, why not? Because none of us are able to get in their faces and demand they actually represent the people.

But on the whole, I think I have a better shot at affecting the process with McCain in the WH and the Dem opposition in Congress. It beats the hell out of letting one party control all three sections - and that way, I'm reasonably sure at least one of them is working for me, or at least working against the other two that aren't working for me.

Re:Pot kettle (4, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757937)

Opposing parties in control of different branches seems to be a good thing. When it's a choice of either a little being done through compromise or nothing being done through vitriol, politicians will generally choose the former, if only to claim that they are the ones that can cross the aisle to get things done.

I've said for a long time that I value the role that those on the far right and far left play. They are the anchors for their respective realms that keep the country generally on the right path. We do veer off on occasion, and sometimes badly so, but generally, the US does the right thing, especially when the requirement is that a given party compromise with the other to get a portion of its agenda past.

I don't believe that the Republican platform is the best for the United States, but I agree with some parts of it. Likewise, I don't believe that the Democratic platform is the best for the United States, but I agree with some parts of it. There are members of Congress that I approve of and respect on both sides of the aisle, and sometimes they are in the far corners but they actually believe that they're doing the right thing, and not just being shrill naysayers of those not in their party.

It seems to me that we get the least good done when it's all one party or when the process degenerates to "We're not them!", and the most good done when we are forced to work together. Someone always feels left out in the latter case because their preferred position got cut out of the final deal, but that's how our system -- with or without parties -- was always intended to work.

Re:Pot kettle (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758299)

A sane, rational discussion of the US-ian political spectrum????

What are you trying to do, destroy any flamewar?

Re:Pot kettle (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757985)

Please. I'm disappointed as much as any other reasonable geek in Obama's vote, but you and I both know he didn't support indemnity, ever. He simply failed to take strong action against it and vote down a complex bill with many non-related provisions. Please stop helping politicians exaggerate every vote into an unconditional affirmation of support for every aspect of a bill.

Oh for crying out loud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758019)

How is this still getting modded up? For the last time, Obama voted AGAINST telecom immunity. Read that again: he voted AGAINST telecom immunity. He has always been against it and probably will always be against it. If it were up to Obama (and most Democrats), the immunity provision would have been stripped from the legislation.

Re:Pot kettle (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758379)

And what of Obama's support for illegal wiretapping indemnity?!?

One thing to keep in mind about the two wings of the Ruling Party, is that they will lament each others' abuse of power, but never take any steps to reduce the power of any federal office, because they hope to be in a position to abuse that power themselves come the next election cycle.

-jcr

Re:Pot kettle (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758403)

And what of Obama's support for illegal wiretapping indemnity?!?

Right! As you so astutely observe, there's absolutely no difference between caving in to an authoritarian policy when under intense political pressure and drafting said policies with the plan of getting them passed via creating said political pressure.

Not the first, not the last (4, Informative)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757431)

Phil is not the first person to feel that they have been deliberately misquoted by Declan 'make it up' MuCullagh, he probably won't be the last.

Sorry, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757439)

But this is an election. Taking statements in context has been in strict violation of the law since the Roman Republic.

Wow, tech media uses last shred of credibility (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757443)

After they failed to pan microsoft.

ROFL.

lusers

kdawson, stuff it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757449)

kdawson, no one gives a flying fck about you. who told you that you are important? you're a stupid slashdot moderator.

Substitution cipher (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757453)

fr0sty p1ss!!!1!

The above uses a substitution cipher for...uhhh...something. But you'll need to find out for yourself.

The actual quote (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757475)

Since the summary neglected to include it, here's the actual quote from the CNet article [cnet.com] :

Zimmermann, who's now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden's legislation "that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."

Oh, yes, that REALLY makes it sound like Zimmermann is a McCain man, and not just someone who Biden tried to screw over in the past.

In short, this article is yet another poor excuse for Slashkos to continue pushing Obama. Guarantee you'll never see an article on Slashdot from a McCain supporter.

Re:The actual quote (2, Funny)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757493)

That's because they don't understand how to use computers, let alone how to get on the Internet.

Re:The actual quote (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757909)

The fact that you were able to post that comment disproves the comment.

Re:The actual quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758129)

Fuck you.

Re:The actual quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757677)

Guarantee you'll never see an article on Slashdot from a McCain supporter.

Can you substantiate that claim? Denying equal opportunity to the mentally-challenged may be grounds for a lawsuit.

Re:The actual quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757809)

Your post might explain why this site is so infested with libtards.

I didn't know early mammals could use computers... (1)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757779)

Let alone view Slashdot.

"Must... crawl... out of ooze... evolve lungs..."

rt

Re:The actual quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757893)

Well I used to be a Republican, I voted for Bush in 2000. but ya know what? I was had. We were all had. You were had.
Some of us can admit it and move on, you'll be a happier person if you get it out of you.

Re:The actual quote (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758083)

That's because you'd have to be a moron to support McCain. Try Digg.

Why you never see articles from McCain supporters (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758315)

> Guarantee you'll never see an article on Slashdot from a McCain supporter.

You're absolutely right. You don't get points for posting on Slashdot!

McCain Asks Supporters To Campaign On Blogs [slashdot.org]

Declan has done this before (4, Interesting)

prakslash (681585) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757483)

For some reason, Declan thrives on trashing Dem candidates and gaining publicity for it.

Declan was responsible for the media misinterpretation of Al Gore's statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet."

McCullagh himself once claimed [wired.com] that "If it's true that Al Gore created the Internet, then I created the 'Al Gore created the Internet' story

Re:Declan has done this before (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757513)

For some reason, Declan thrives on trashing Dem candidates and gaining publicity for it.

Gee. Maybe Declan is a Republican.

Re:Declan has done this before (3, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757541)

Gee. Maybe Declan is a Republican.

Actually he is a libertarian, he once told me that he was just interested in knocking down both sides.

His original piece was classic Declan: he used references to two previous non-stories he wrote to create another non-story. The C-Net rankings he referred to were a piece he wrote himself as was his complaint about not being allowed to attend the invitation only W3C workshop on use of the Web in government.

It won't matter to the Dems (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757697)

"Actually he is a libertarian"

For the Dems, this is the same thing. Their worldview doesn't accomodate any political thinking more complex than us vs. them.

Which is strange, from a group of people who claim to appreciate diversity, you'd think they would bother to understand the differences.

Re:It won't matter to the Dems (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757813)

From someone who is inherently claiming to appreciate diversity, you seem to lack the understanding that Democrats do not all share the exact same worldview as each other.

Declan's worldview seems to be "Let me make up a whole bunch of shit about other people so I can sell copy/ads without any regard for the truth." If we're to take him as a proper representative of the Libertarians, then the Libertarians deserves to remain a fringe group. (Btw, I don't think we should take Declan as a proper representative of all Libertarians - I know some of them who are capable of making intelligent and honest assessments. Declan swims in similar waters as Ann Coulter.)

Re:It won't matter to the Dems (2, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757931)

Declan's worldview seems to be "Let me make up a whole bunch of shit about other people so I can sell copy/ads without any regard for the truth." If we're to take him as a proper representative of the Libertarians, then the Libertarians deserves to remain a fringe group. (Btw, I don't think we should take Declan as a proper representative of all Libertarians - I know some of them who are capable of making intelligent and honest assessments. Declan swims in similar waters as Ann Coulter.)

I don't think he is really thinking about how to sell ads, the Ann Coulter comment is more on target.

Declan is a libertarian, not a Libertarian. I would certainly not consider him a partisan booster for anything other than himself and his own career.

Re:It won't matter to the Dems (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757821)

I would hazard to say that many party-thinking followers have a problem seeing beyond "us vs. them." I'd put the Republicans right in that boat along side the Democrats.

Having said that - I realize I'm pigeon-holing the two parties firmly in "them" territory. I'm just not sure what affiliation I'm associated with to make up "us."

Re:It won't matter to the Dems (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757989)

For the Dems, this is the same thing. Their worldview doesn't accomodate any political thinking more complex than us vs. them.

Some Dems, sure, but of course the same is true of many libertarians. In most of the political threads here, for example, you'll find folks saying the Democrats and Republicans are the same because they both support things like the concept of taxation. If you're not an anarcho-libertarian, you're "one of them".

That depends (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758555)

If by "libertarian" he only cares about eliminating taxes, but doesn't care about other liberties and turns a blind eye to the moral majority legislating in our bedroom and so on. Then he's probably really just a Republican who is unwilling to call himself such.

There's a lot of them out there, people who claim to be libertarian who aren't. I don't know why? For the shock value, or they think it sounds more intellectual or something.

Re:Declan has done this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758015)

He *calls himself* a libertarian, but that doesn't mean he's a libertarian. Looks like a muckraker to me, not a good example of intelligent libertarianism.

I meet plenty of people who call themselves "libertarian" for the shock value. In reality, they just want lower taxes. But they don't promote social liberty (Gay couples should have second class marriage rights, marijuana should remain illegal, 18-year olds shouldn't drink, etc), believe in the War in Iraq, and follow the same tax-and-spend strategies as the Republican party.

Republican Examples? (3, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758147)

Actually he is a libertarian, he once told me that he was just interested in knocking down both sides.

Perhaps someone in the know could bolster this claim with examples of his hit pieces on Republicans.

Not that the absence of these things means he's necessarily a Republican. Many economic libertarians -- especially the capital-L sort that genuinely believe that markets are the transcendant mediating social institution -- tend to see the Democrats as the greater of two evils because Dems have a greater tendency to also see state/public institutions as part of the toolset of active policy, while Republicans tend to at least pay lip service in opposition to this.

At any rate, the problem with knocking down both sides is that human society really doesn't allow for a power vacuum. You create something else to fill it first, or you reckon with the unintended consequences of whatever emerges. And you either have private power checked only by other private power, or you come up with a mediating public social institution. I'd be fascinated to hear what Declan's particular proposal is, if he's not so busy manipulating things that he's taken the time to genuinely think things through.

Re:Declan has done this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758509)

According to the article you linked to, McCullagh himself says that he made up the whole Al-Gore-created-the-internet line? That's insane! What else has he made up? Bad journalism ought to, and can be squashed before it gets taken as truth. It has nothing to do with politics. It's just not right.

Obama - Biden (-1, Flamebait)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757521)

Is it just me, or does the "Obama - Biden" ticket sound alot like "Osama BinLaden"? I have to question Obama's choice. It seems like that last thing he would want is the names on his ticket invoking images of the islamic terrorist that allegedly masterminded the twin towers attacks...

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757569)

Sure does.. Well remember Bush and Dick vs. Gore and Clitton? Colin was in the mix too.. Who's mccain's running mate? I'm expecting someone named Abel.

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757587)

I have to question Obama's choice.

I have to, also, but not because of anyone's name. The problem is that he chose a corrupt long-time senator, which cancels out Obama's advantage over corrupt long-time senator McCain (unless McCain also chooses a corrupt senator as his running mate).

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757903)

Are you calling these candidates corrupt simply because they've been in the senate for a long time, or do you have some other reason to believe this. Biden was chosen because he has experience, political experience means being involved in politics for a long time. It's not fair to say that he (or McCain) is corrupt simply because he's been around a while.

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757967)

I have to, also, but not because of anyone's name. The problem is that he chose a corrupt long-time senator, which cancels out Obama's advantage over corrupt long-time senator McCain (unless McCain also chooses a corrupt senator as his running mate).

I'm assuming you consider "corrupt long-time senator" to be synonymous with "long-time senator", and running from there; otherwise, you'd be expected to actually come up with some backing for your assertions. (Biden may have been around for a while, but he's no Ted Stevens).

Don't you mean, unless McCain chooses someone perceived as fresh and new? Otherwise, you've got plank with a fresh face and one old face, and another plank with two old faces... and that's assuming that President and VP are given equal weighting, which obviously isn't the case.

Re:Obama - Biden (2, Informative)

nyet (19118) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757591)

FoxNews agrees [gawker.com]

Re:Obama - Biden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757919)

Each and every time I'm reminded that people not only watch that garbage, but take it seriously, I bleed a little from my anus.

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757599)

Is it just me,

Yes

Re:Obama - Biden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757663)

It seems like that last thing he would want is the names on his ticket invoking images of the islamic terrorist that allegedly masterminded the twin towers attacks...

That's right, allegedly masterminded. Everyone with a clue knows that it was a CIA/Israeli Mossad joint black op.

Compare to Bayh (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757667)

At least it's marginally better than Evan Bayh (pronounced like "bye"). Imagine: "Obama-Bayh. McCain: hello."

Re:Obama - Biden (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757717)

Or maybe it's a good idea to have the names on his ticket invoke images of the Islamic terrorist that the Republicans failed to deal with.

kdawson, shut up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757523)

kdawson - you're not important enough for anyone to give a fuck about what you said.

you are a stupid gaydot editor.

Re:kdawson, shut up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758439)

Hey kdawson! Keep the posting to piss the right-tards off. It's fun to watch them froth at the mouth! lolz

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757531)

So what he's saying is that he rescinds his criticism because he wants Obama to win. Ends justify means?

Exaggerate much? (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757539)

Here is what McCullagh said: "Biden's bill -- and the threat of encryption being outlawed -- is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who's now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden's legislation "that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."

I think Zimmermann is reading too much into the words above. I just don't see how that can be interpreted as saying that Zimmermann opposes Biden himself.

When someone has been in the senate 30 years (4, Insightful)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757565)

When someone serves in the Senate for 30 years, we have to..

assume they have been bought and sold so many times, that they don't really have any position on any issue. If they were your foe 15 years ago, that doesn't mean they're your foe today. Nor your friend.

Re:When someone has been in the senate 30 years (1)

Wills (242929) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757969)

When someone serves in the Senate for 30 years, we have to..

assume they have been bought and sold so many times, that they don't really have any position on any issue.

Help me to understand, when regard for all senior politicians has fallen to such extreme cynicism, I wonder what sort of feasible measures would help restore trust in the politicians?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24757611)

"I take issue with this."

No one cares.

McCullagh was right (5, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757631)

Declan's quote from me is out of context because it does not make it clear that I never mentioned Biden in my original quote at all when I wrote about Senate Bill 266.

Speaking of misquoting, here's what McCullagh actually wrote:

Biden's bill -- and the threat of encryption being outlawed -- is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who's now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden's legislation "that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."

Here "Biden's legislation" is "Senate Bill 266". So Zimmermann really did say that it was a law, proposed and advanced by Sen. Biden, that led him to preemptively publishing PGP.

The paragraph quoted above is correct in fact and in spirit. I'm not exactly sure what Zimmermann is opposed to. While I'm blissfully ignorant of who this McCullagh guy is outside of the recent Slashdot stories about him, I'd say he's right at least this one time.

Re:McCullagh was right (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757791)

The paragraph quoted above is correct in fact and in spirit. I'm not exactly sure what Zimmermann is opposed to.

Probably exactly what he says: "Second, Declan's quote is drawn from remarks I wrote in 1999. Declan seems to be trying to draft me in his opposition to Biden, and, by extension, makes it seem as if I am against the Democratic ticket. I take issue with this." What's so confusing here?

Re:McCullagh was right (2, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757835)

What's so confusing here?

The fact that Zimmermann's on record as being against Biden's legislation, which is all that McCullagh ever said in the first place.

Re:McCullagh was right (0, Redundant)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757853)

Right. Off the top of my head, some phrases to describe this story and Zimmerman's reaction:
  • much ado about nothing
  • a tempest in a teapot
  • making a mountain out of a molehill

Re:McCullagh was right (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758075)

Not to mention:

  • WTF?

If you get bored sometime, read Zimmermann's Senate testimony regarding Senate Bill 1726. It's lucid and eloquent, and he names names:

Recently, we've seen the images and sounds of the Rodney King beatings, Detective Mark Fuhrman's tapes boasting of police abuses, and the disturbing events of the Ruby Ridge case. And now Congress and the Clinton administration seem intent on passing laws curtailing our civil liberties on the Internet. At no time in the past century has public distrust of the government been so broadly distributed across the political spectrum, as it is today.

The Clinton Administration seems to be attempting to deploy and entrench a communications infrastructure that would deny the citizenry the ability to protect its privacy. This is unsettling because in a democracy, it is possible for bad people to occasionally get elected-- sometimes very bad people. Normally, a well-functioning democracy has ways to remove these people from power. But the wrong technology infrastructure could allow such a future government to watch every move anyone makes to oppose it. It could very well be the last government we ever elect.

Now, I can totally understand something along the lines of "I believe that their positions have changed", or "I still disagree, but McCain's stance is even worse". But he cautiously backpedal against senate testimony were he says that legislation of the sort that Biden drafted "could allow such a future government to watch every move anyone makes to oppose it. It could very well be the last government we ever elect." I just don't get it. Zimmermann's always kind of been a hero of mine. What happened to make him back off so strongly?

Attributing comments (2, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757635)

Maybe Phil should have digitally signed his original comment :-)

On Biden (5, Insightful)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757747)

Biden's political record is fairly typical of strong government Democrats. It's really the Republicans who are supposed to be more on the side of smaller government and stronger civil liberties.

Unfortunately, Republicans largely have abandoned their libertarian positions. They have deregulated the economy, but it has led to a financial disaster in the banking and housing sectors.

Had the Republicans taken a stronger stand on civil liberties while advocating a well regulated economy with noninflationary fiscal policies, and consistently low-interest monetary policies, they would not be in the situation they are in right now.

Re:On Biden (2, Funny)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757977)

"Had the Republicans taken a stronger stand on civil liberties while advocating a well regulated economy"

They would be democrats.

P.S. If you don't have economic freedom, you don't really have civil liberties. Have you ever heard someone say "they should legalize drugs and then tax and regulate them?" They might as well not say anything. I don't want to buy some government bureaucrat a limousine every-time I want some mary-jane. What is the point of that?

McCullagh misquoting! (4, Funny)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757761)

Shock! Horror! Next we'll be hearing of ursine defecation in arboreal settings.

Re:McCullagh misquoting! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758357)

Or perhaps a shocking confirmation that His Holiness the Pope is in fact a strong adherent to the state religion of Vatican City?

Telcom immunity (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24757981)

I have been thinking about the telcom immunity issue. What they did is illegal, sure, but who is "breaking the law?"

If a police officer commands you to rob a bank, who is more criminal? You or the cop? Of course you are guilty of the crime, but the cop is the one who created the scenario and motivation. You would not have broken the law had the officer not compelled you to do so.

So, BushCo should be charged with the crime and the telcos are accessories.

Response is political and counterintuitive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758227)

John grows a tree. Someone puts forward a tree-cutting proposal. Paul votes for it. John criticises the tree-cutting proposal.

Years later, someone makes what they say is an overview of Paul's voting record on tree-cutting proposals. They quote John's criticism.

John feels however that he has come to like Paul, and likes him more than the alternatives. John therefore says that he never intended to criticise Paul.

The herring in this case is that the question on order is Paul's voting record on tree-cutting proposals. Whether John now likes Paul or not is not as relevant. Pulling back criticism by saying it was directed at the legislation (that Paul voted against) rather than at Paul himself, is a herring.

I know a much better Zimmerman... (1)

HungSoLow (809760) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758245)

For Politics, I trust THIS Zimmerman:
Youtube Channel [youtube.com]
Personal Website [royzimmerman.com]

Who? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758323)

I must be out of the club because I don't know who Phil Zimmerman is. And I don't know who Declan is. And I don't read CNet any more. And I don't know anything about this bill. (And I don't really care about Biden because VP is a "nothing" job, but I can't see how Biden is going to help Barack get any votes.)

I feel fine though.

First time I became aware of Joe Biden... (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#24758349)

Was back in the mid-1980s, when he was beating the drum for protectionism to keep TI and Intel in the DRAM business. His plan was basically to fuck over the entire computer industry to protect two vendors from competitors who were doing a far better job. He's why we had that period of memory prices actually going up for a short while. That's when I decided he was a pig-ignorant, big-government interventionist that we'd all be far better off without.

In the years since then, he's been one of the assholes who promoted the DMCA, he voted for the Iraq war and the Patriot act, (in fact, he bragged quite a bit at the time that the patriot act was based on a similar attack on the bill of rights that he'd written shortly after the Oklahoma City attack.)

So, when faced with his first major decision, the guy spewing all this hogwash about "change we can believe in" chooses an apparatchik who's spent half of his life in the senate, voting for anything that could possible increase the power of the federal government.

-jcr

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24758523)

What does any of this matter? Joe Schmoe's vote counts just as much as any of ours, even if he has a 48 IQ, dropped out of fifth grade and believes the earth is flat. The vast majority of voters don't give a fuck about things like privacy or freedom or abstract things like information and intellectual property. Most of them aren't even capable of abstract concepts - PERIOD.

All people care about is that a candidate believe in baby jesus and will give them free stuff - be it health care, tax breaks for breeding, free medicine, early retirement, free education, etc.

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