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Bush And The Tech Nation

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the -tech-issues-and-the-new-govt- dept.

United States 486

How will the new President affect the tech universe? In short: Fat times in the Corporate Republic, and possible abandonment of the Microsoft prosecution. Big media, telcom and chip-maker CEO's: go out and play, boys. The feds may go after "hackers" again, as Bush I did. Digital civil liberties issues will heat up as the Net Culture Wars return with a vengeance. Scientific research and politics will mix, as with RU-486 and some gene mapping issues. Open, de-centralized, bottom-up Net media will mushroom. Good times for tech defense workers and the makers of blocking software. Jump in with your own predictions.

If recent statements by George W. Bush and his advisers give any indication, we're in for a bumpy flight. The new regime may signal a new era by walking away from the antitrust victory the Justice Department won against Microsoft last year. And that's just one of the questions about how the new administration, particularly its distinctly non-tech, old-school, ferociously ideological Attorney General-designate will view technology, morality and cyberspace.

The handful of Presidents recent enough to experience it have held distinctly different attitudes about online technology, especially the Net and the Web -- and those views have had demonstrable impact. There hasn't been a President yet who spent much time online, or whose life and work was shaped by it, even as it becomes more central to the lives of millions of people. Clinton, according to several profiles of him, barely used a computer at all.

"If you think the Clinton/Gore crowd struggled with technology, wait till you get a load of these people," a Washington Post reporter who covers tech issues told me last week. "They think the Net is another planet. There is absolutely nobody high up in this new administration who is familiar with the Net, and when they do hear about it, it's all hackers and perverts. It's going to be weird, I promise you."

It's not hard to believe.

The Reaganauts (and their Bush II successors) tended to see technology as an alien, menacing new reality -- especially in terms of moral danger and challenge to authority. They were particularly phobic about hacking and online porn. Ed Meese's Justice Department conducted an infamous series of raids on suspected hackers while repeatedly characterizing the Net as a haven for perverts and thieves.

Kevin Mitnick and his demonized colleagues scared the wits out of these people, who tried to make an example of him and others by funding federal computer law enforcement projects and by treating them as vicious criminals. Bush Sr. was, by many accounts, a technophobe who saw the Net as a curious playground for academics, hippies and errant teenagers.

The Clinton administration had a spotty record on copyright and certain free speech issues, but was more sophisticated. If nothing else, they grasped the business implications of the Net and Web, and decided to do nothing to impede the new global economy they envisioned and benefited from politically. Al Gore may have overstated his commitment to universal technology -- the administration sure didn't build any true info superhighway, or even try -- but they did get that the Net was an especially free environment that didn't need much regulation, and would grow and prosper on its own.

The Clinton people did plenty of posturing for phobic Boomer parents and right-wing Luddites. If they were sympathetic to the Net's business possibilities, their commitment to digital civil liberties was less consistent.

They paid lip service to a couple of blatantly-unconstitutional Communications Decency Acts, and promoted V-chips, TV and movie ratings systems, and the equally idiotic Clipper Chip, knowing the courts would laugh them down. They pandered a lot, and they probably knew better. It also didn't seem to bother them that corporations were agressively moving to control cyberspace, wantonly invading privacy and altering the free architecture of the Net in the process.

Further, because of the administration's close Hollywood ties, it backed the noxious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to help rescue the record companies. In the context of the Net, this is a huge black mark against the outgoing administration, as was the FTC's rolling over for the hideously anti-competitive AOL/Time-Warner marger.

Still, the Clintonians came to have a comparatively sophisticated grasp of tech issues -- a number of Clinton cabinet appointees were online quite a bit -- and little real relish for undermining free speech. They really never seemed to fall the idea that games, movies and the Net were destroying the young and spawning violence. And they kept politics out of science.

The vibes from the Bush administrations seem to suggest otherwise. President Bush and his appointees have made clear that they do see technology primarily in moral terms -- as something children need protection from more than exposure to. Bush's HUD secretary has already ordered a safety review of the much safety-reviewed anti-abortion pill, RU-486. It will be interesting to see how they reconcile thise "pro-life" view with their policies towards the bio-tech industry, which is enthusiastically going about the business of altering (and pre-selecting) forms of human life in fertilization proceedures.

Crusaders like Bush-buddy William Bennett and Vice-President Cheney have long and loudly argued that the Net is rife with pornography and violent imagery, that it is addictive and obsessive, that popular culture promotes immorality and violence. The new Attorney General agrees. Predators and pornographers and rare acts of violence will be seized on and exploited. A key element of the reviving Net culture was is the idea that video games -- along with sexual imagery and a whole range of other things online -- are literally dangerous, even responsible for tragedies like Columbine. Look for the FBI to be given broader authority to track dangerous and illegal activities online and creater a "safer" environment in which businesses can operate.

Universal access to technology is not a Bush administration priority. Gore talked about it, but didn't do much. Only one fifth of kids in families with incomes of less than $20,000 had access to a home computer, compared with 91% of those in families with oncomes of more than $75,000, according to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (study not yet online). Neither Gore nor Bush mentioned this issue during the presidential campaign, or in any of their debates. Bush's education reforms, both in Texas, and as outlined in Washington this week, centered on literary and standardized testing and accountability. They don't deal with technology, perhaps more educationally significant in the long run.

In the past, the likely new attorney general has been a leader of this brainless brigade, along with Bennett and Cheney (and the ex-Labor Secretary Designate Linda Chavez, who withdrew her nomination last week after a controversy involving an illegal immigrant working in her home). Attorney General Ashcroft was a leader in the Congressional movement to post the Ten Commandments in the country's public schools in response to the Columbine massacre. So was Cheney, and,his wife Lynn, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

If the past culture wars are any indication, the new administration will make access to violent and "unsavory" imagery and information online a centerpiece of their law enforcement initiatives. It's been politically popular for years. They will also hammer entertainment companies, online and off, to generate more "wholesome" entertainment programming, especially for the young.

For them, cyberspace poses a threat to traditional moral values, since it empowers individuals -- especially younger ones -- to access information that once required approval by educators, religious leaders and parents. Now anyone with a modem can find his peers. Now wonder they don't like the idea.

Of course, there's been another twist involving the tech universe and this administration -- Bush got a ton of money from Silicon Valley business leaders, once presumed to be either apolitical or Democratic in orientation. Look for a Bush administration to go after dirty pictures and music-thieves while taking a more generous approach to corporate positions on telecommunications, antitrust and copyright.

Even so, the cabinet as formulated doesn't have a single representative from Silicon valley, or any technological industy. What does that mean for the tech world?

An example of the sort of issue digital civil libertarians will have to fight is the ongoing furor over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) placing of limitations on the number of general domains. This, say critics like the ACLU and others, threaten free speech for individual Net users and noncommercial organizations. This pro-business decision -- overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce -- is a perfect example of the kind of issue this administration is likely to resolve on the side of commercial use, not individual users.

The good news: the new administration is unlikely to curb business or technological innovation and expansion. These are not antitrust gunslingers fighting for the right of the little guy to survive. They would never have brought suit against Microsoft, as several Bush administration executives have inferred.

The bad news: Digital civil liberties will be a hot political issue online. The social conservatives returning to power are highly selective about what sort of free speech stays free. Until the Reagan years, classic conservatives equated free speech with patriotism. But in the 80's, conservatism fused with religious and other moralistic ideologies. They absolutely dread the notion of a free and open Net, for all of the obvious reasons -- it's a dogma killer.

Ever since the social conservatives came to power -- and they are especially close to the Republican congress and this new administration -- libraries, schools, kids and coders have had to content with a wide array of challenges to their rights to a free and open Net. This is the crowd that supported legislation recently enacted by Congress requiring all public institutions that receive federal aid -- mostly schools and libraries -- to install blocking and filtering computer software to protect kids from the dangerous Web. Last month, supporters of such legislation controlled Congress. Now they control the White House, cabinet, and federal agencies as well.

What we can expect:

  • Bush's campaign statements suggested he wasn't in agreement with the Justice Department's action against Microsoft, or with the court-ordered remedy of dividing the company and enforcing restrictions on its competitive practices. Ashcroft's Justice Department may drop the case or settle under terms more generous than Janet Reno's would agree to. Both Joel Klein, who prosecuted the case for the Justice Department, and David Boies, the attorney who skewered Bill Gates and worked for the Al Gore post-election, will be scarce now.
  • Some Washington columnists, editorialists and insiders are already referring to the new administration as Bush, Inc., it's so pro-business. The Corporate Republic just got a lot more corporate.
  • So, expect good times for conglomerates. Microsoft, AOL/Time-Warner, Disney, Sony all have good friends in this administration (as they did in the last one). Bush got so much money from these and other companies that he rejected matching federal funds for his campaign in order to avoid cumbersome federal regulations and disclosure rules, an electoral first. We may see a proliferation of government-supported legal challenges, patent and copyright suits, decency acts and other provisions designed to make life on the Net safe and profitable for big companies. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been pleading for years for more money to go after hackers, crackers and script kiddies on the Net. They'll probably get it.
  • Perhaps even more than the previous administration, the Bush team will be sympathetic to publishing, record and movie companies worried about copyright protection. Also to doctors, lawyers and othe well-lobbied professional groups who'd love to curb Websites offering specialized information that used to come, at considerable cost, from them.
  • Good times, too, for de-centralized softare programs -- like Linux, Gnutella, freenet and other P2P systems. As government tightens copyright and intellectual property enforcement, which this administration has said it will do, the individualistic point-to-point, peer-to-peer programs already coming of age will become more popular, more necessary, perhaps quite political.

    The movement away from top-down, agenda setting media entities has mushroomed online, from instant messaging services to the many thousands of individual Web pages given away for free by search engines and others to sites like this one,, the, freenet, that turn editorial space and story agendas over to readers and citizens. They are inherently political, consciously or not. The open media movement may accelerate rapidly, and for all sorts of reasons, one being they are much freeer and more open than mainstream media, and nearly impervious to the monitoring of government or other authority.

  • The new President himself warned that under certain circumstances, the Net could turn a child's heart "dark." Look for the gaming culture to come under particular fire for promoting violence and other unwholesome behavior.
  • Of course, there are certain types of technology the Bush camp will embrace, particularly the kind related to defense industries. Donald Rumsfeld, the new secretary of Defense, and Colin Powell, the new secretary of State, are both pushing for development and deployment of an anti-missile shield around the United States. Claiming the military has been weakened by Defense cuts and needs to be upgraded, they're going to commission the kinds of jazzy weapons systems any 16-year-old Doom player would drool over.

By and large, this is an administration unlikely to focus much on the Net or to pay much attention to the broader, more complex issues affecting Americans and technology in the coming years. If so, this will widen the chasm between younger, technologically-centered citizens and their government, a gap that's already big and getting bigger by the day. Politicians can always surprise us, true, but more often, and especially lately, they seem to play to our worst instincts.

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Net issues (2)

milgram (104453) | more than 13 years ago | (#487970)

I see 1st Ammendment rights coming under fire, but the tech. side doing well.

Microsoft case must be abandoned (4)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#487971)

No government that approves the merger of AOL and Time Warner can possibly propose the breakup of Micorosft.

Most important change (2)

athmanb (100367) | more than 13 years ago | (#487972)

Sales of spell checking software will skyrocket!


Your own predictions, please.. (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#487973)

...are especially welcome. Slashdot is getting widely read these days by journalists and some pols, and here's a genuine chance to get the agenda out that you think might be -- or ought to be -- on the table.

Nope (1)

Trucidation (304916) | more than 13 years ago | (#487974)

It's Taco's right to ban you from his forum. The first ammendment only applies to the GOVERNMENT.

Re:Net issues (2)

qqaz (33114) | more than 13 years ago | (#487975)

"There ought to be limits to, uh, to freedom"

-Emperor Bush

microsoft suit (1)

smilbandit (132099) | more than 13 years ago | (#487976)

I doubt the bush administration would drop the microsoft suit. it's a close senate and house, dropping something like that wouldn't be good. Bush has to pick his stuff very carefully. I do see the bush administration help in keeping the verdict of spliting them up from ever really happening. microsoft has enough money to keep it going for the foreseeable future.

Backpeddling (5)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#487977)

This may be the first time I agreed with Katz. It should be wildly amusing to watch as the party of personal responsibility tries to explain government censorship of the internet. They support holding parents responsible for the crimes of the children for crying out loud. How can they possibly reconcile that with Net Nanny and making the gummint responsible instead.

I'm sick and tired of the right ranting about small government and then pulling shit like that. The only way to stop it is to vote for personal freedoms. Sadly only a few dozen people seem to have done that in the last election so we are stuck with the same old song...


imports... (1)

mattsmigs (302544) | more than 13 years ago | (#487978)

They will try to enforce a ban on European sites, so that less content(imports) will come from abroad.

My Predictions (5)

stepson (33039) | more than 13 years ago | (#487979)

Pres. Bush loads up Linux Kernel 2.4 on his home PC, says "Where's my Ricky Martin MP3s? Where's my winamp? How come I can't get this so-called 'Stateful Inspection'. Damn strange firewalling syntax if you ask me" - Switches to OpenBSD.

Feds go to hunt down Jon Katz - "Goddamn he's annoying" One secret service agent is heard to say.

IBM bought by Microsoft for there OS/2 technology - Balmer says "Maybe Bill was right after all!" - Bush says "OK!"

Linus has another Kid, declares "Sex is good!" - Big slump in patches to 2.5 kernel, as geeks everywhere discover the wonderful world of sex.

Anti-trust. (4)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 13 years ago | (#487980)

If Bush is really going to carry out his mandates, most of which I don't agree with, then he will drop the case against Microsoft, something I do agree with.

Why? Because it's a waste of taxpayers money at best, and at worst it's a clumsy and dangerous artificial attempt at "making things right." The government tried to sue IBM for something like 20 years, and by the time they got ready to do so, the market had done the work it is supposed to do and IBM was on it's way out. What was the result? Millions of dollars in wasted legal fees.

Microsoft is already less important in many critical ways (data interchange formats, server and web server market share, etc.) and if any of us are ANY good at what we do then that trend will continue.

The estimates on the lifespan of this case are ten years, we've been through three. By the time any rememdies could be in place if they are still necessary then WE should be sued for letting Microsoft sit on a decaying monopoly and doing nothing about it. THAT's anti-competitive.

Oh so now you get around to it... (3)

Dj (224) | more than 13 years ago | (#487981)

Wait for the idiot to be sworn in and then start prattling on about how shite Bush-baby is going to be for tech and free speech et al.

I hope that that "Al gore invented the internet" jokers choke on their own words. Hell, there's my prediction... Large parts of America slap their forehead and go "We elected a what?"!

George H. W. Bush went after hackers? (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#487982)

Yeah right. What did he crack down on, the "naughty chat rooms" on AOL? The Gopher abuses? Back in the timeframe of 1988 to 1992, there wasn't much of an Internet to hack; back then, they were still calling it the "Information Superhighway". That was back when DOS and the 486 were king, and the Mac's popularity was in the usage of multimedia encyclopedias. Those were the bad old days, back when PCs only had one IDE channel, and it could only handle hard drives. I don't miss those days at all.

Something I fail to see (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 13 years ago | (#487983)

I fail to see why trying to align technology to moral standards should a bad thing, which JK seems to suggest.

Of course, there is still the right to free speech, and I am definitely in favour of a right to information as well, but still it can't hurt to consider the moral, social etc. implications of technological development every now and then.

bush (vs. gore) on tech issues (4)

Jim Madison (133196) | more than 13 years ago | (#487984)

According to this concise statement of principles [] , Bush is for:
  • Investing "$400 million to create and maintain more than 2,000 community technology centers every year" (, 9/23)
  • a "five year extension of the Internet tax moratorium" (, 9/23)
  • Expanding efforts to bring government services onto the Internet (, 9/23)
This is what I expect from him, although he is not off to a good start [] on the third point.

Bush demands end to ftps (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#487985)

"It's the 21st centurion, and we must end ftps. Native Americans should be able to live in ranch houses and department buildings, not these ftps and wigwams."

Re:Your own predictions, please.. (5)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#487986)

I have to say I disagree, Jon. Our predictions are of little value to anybody, because nobody here (including you) has any clue what John Ashcroft's view of the Microsoft case will be. In fact, even John Ashcroft probably does not know what his opinion will be... he just got the job, and needs to view the facts of the case.

Everything you had to say in your column is the speculation of a journalist in the trenches, one with no more insight into the minds of the Bush team than any other journalist who might be reading this.

Rather than an informed prediction of what is soon to come, your column seems to be an attempt to drum up hysteria about the worst-case scenario. Perhaps you hope that by rousing up the activist spirits of the typical Slashdot reader, we will all be more prepared to throw our cabbages should Bush displease us. That is a reasonable goal, but at least be honest about it if that is what you are trying to do.

Online Gaming Incites Violence? (1)

John_Prophet (78703) | more than 13 years ago | (#487988)

And I suppose the NRA and pro-gun lobbies have absolutely NOTHING to do with the proliferation of guns in schools.

Parenting ought to belong to the realm of parents. If you're not willing to pay attention and respect to your children during their formative years and beyond, how can you possibly expect any government program or law to have any effect on them? If the parents themselves are giving up their responsibility to the government by saying "YOU MUST MAKE OUR CHILDREN RESPONSIBLE!" how can it possibly succeed? Children don't limit their learning to the few moral lessons that they are occassionally exposed to, they learn from every action (or inaction) of their parents, their community leaders and their heros.

If you want to fix these problems (which are the effect) you must deal with the underlying CAUSES, rather than trying to constantly invent new ways of battling the SYMPTOMS.

Cancer isn't cured by chemotherapy. It can be effective in TREATING cancer, but in order to be 100% effective, the cancer ITSELF must be REMOVED.

If we continue to come up with solutions to the SYMPTOMS of our societal illness, we will succeed only in changing the FORM in which these symptoms present themselves.

-The Reverend (I am not a Nazi nor a Troll)

Rather gloomy if you ask me. (3)

hrieke (126185) | more than 13 years ago | (#487989)

So, then let's wait and see.
Mr Katz, would you be willing to return to your predictions say every year and see what has and what has not been done on this list?
My own predictions are that Bush will blow too much into defensive spending, not enough in education, California will be a major topic as that state continues to meltdown annd effects the rest of the nation, and the leadership that we've enjoyed on the world stage will face some serious challages (how's that for being vague!).

Re:Your own predictions, please.. (1)

Jetifi (188285) | more than 13 years ago | (#487990)

It will also be interesting to hear your responses to the predictions made in response to your predictions :-)

But seriously, when replying to posts (as you have chosen to do in the past), click "Reply to this" under the post, as opposed to the "Reply" button at the top.

HUD secretary reviewing pill? (1)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | more than 13 years ago | (#487991)

What does the secretary of Housing and Urban Development have to do with the RU-486 pill?

Proofreading Jon, it's not just for breakfast anymore.

RU? (5)

Docrates (148350) | more than 13 years ago | (#487992)

I can't possible make myself read 2 hours of katz again, so i read the the first few lines and a thought jumped in my head. Thought I'd share it with you, knowing that by know you're probably somewhat bored (you know why):


No, I'm Pentium.

Fight back (1)

G-Spot (72524) | more than 13 years ago | (#487993)

It doesn't have to be this way. Remember, we are the ones with the real knowledge, so we are the ones with the real power. We have an army, and we could bring down the governement. Everything that the country is built upon is dependant upon us hackers. The President is merely a figurehead. No matter how hard he tries, he'll never succeed in bringing down equality and democracy in America.

Uh-huh.... (2)

grovertime (237798) | more than 13 years ago | (#487994)

Like every administration before it, this one will dabble in tech issues but never really get its feet wet because it doesn't put a high value on the community. People, people! Wars! - that's what gets a Republican administration salivating. Katz's rambling 100000000 word piece only underlines the self-important feeling techies give off, while ignoring the rest of the government's issues, and thus it should be perfectly understandable why a government built to service the hundreds of millions NOT in IT (and the few million of us involved), ranks these issues at about 196th on the list of things to squelch or postpone or mandate. And one other thing JonJon - learn to use the word "affect". Sometimes it is less effective.

  1. humor for the clinically insane []

Encryption and Privacy (5)

coats (1068) | more than 13 years ago | (#487995)

One good thing will happen if Ashcroft is the Attorney General: he is known to be an advocate both of encryption and increased support/protection for personal privacy.

Dubya Dubya Dubya dot EEK dot com (3)

Zaphod B (94313) | more than 13 years ago | (#487996)

One thing to mention... when I was in college, I had a professor of history who said that when she arrived in the US from India, she was amazed to see that the reins of power were calmly, peacefully handed over every four years, with no revolutions, etc., until she realized that they really don't change hands. If you think about other countries, she's right. The power shifts back and forth between two groups who are basically centrists.

I think perhaps the immigration controls will be tightened somewhat (less H1B visas, etc.) in a raw display of power. Other than that, I don't see any drastic changes, mostly because they would negatively affect the economy, which would forevermore be labelled George W. Bush's fault.

Just my $0.02.

Ridiculous pandering (1)

pwinn (215044) | more than 13 years ago | (#487997)

This article is foolishness at best. The previous administration's repeated attempts to squash freedoms are seen as "pandering, and they probable should have known better" but are excused because they knew the courts would laugh at them. News flash: The same courts are in place now!

Plenty of geeks think MS should be punished, maybe even broken up. Plenty of geeks think that there is altogether too much pr0n on the net. Plenty of geeks have political that aren't knee-jerk liberal, but you would never know it from reading "official" /. posts.

There are a bunch of things I'm unhappy about, that doesn't mean I would do anything about them if I suddenly became President. The presidency of the US is first and foremost a "bully pulpit" and I would expect someone who believes as Bush believe (and as lots of other people believe) to talk loudly and often about the things he doesn't like, including the bad stuff on the net. But it's just talk. Does that mean he'll act to stomp on civil liberties?

Ridiculous. He'd have a way to go to match the previous administration, and so far he hasn't done anything.

Hacking does not require the Internet (2)

Tyrannosaurus (203173) | more than 13 years ago | (#487998)

Remember the movie Wargames? That came out in 1980, well before the Internet as we know it came to be. I believe that's the kind of hacking Katz was referring to.


Witch hunt (2)

y6y6y6 (84925) | more than 13 years ago | (#487999)

I think one of the things Bush could do to overcome the lack of a popular mandate would be to get people all worked up over knee-jerk issues such as online pornography, hacking and copyright issues.

This worked well for McCarthy and Nixon. And even Dubya's dad with the Gulf war. Give people something to hate and they'll forgive your weaknesses.

I don't trust the bastard. Especially since his first actions as president have basically been a slap in the face to the moderates who got him elected.

Jon Sullivan

Re:Something I fail to see (4)

Smallest (26153) | more than 13 years ago | (#488000)

I fail to see why trying to align technology to moral standards should a bad thing

Who's morals get to be the standard?

Remember, if the morals aren't mine, then they suck. (repeat 6 billion times)


Some things never change (2)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 13 years ago | (#488001)

From the article:
Ed Meese's Justice Department conducted an infamous series of raids on suspected hackers while repeatedly characterizing the Net as a haven for perverts and thieves.

How was this worse than Janet Reno's Justice department cracking down on suspected DoS kiddees implementing carnivore, raiding the home of a hacker in a foriegn country (the deCSS author) subjegating free speech to the financial intrests of the big media conglomerates, and characterizing the internet as a haven for vandals, perverts, and kids who shoot up schools?

Bush Inc. goes for freetalkers... (1)

Marketolog (161923) | more than 13 years ago | (#488002)

Looks like slashdot would have to change its physical location...

But seriously, Bush has given an impression of political whore, who is willing to be ignorant enough just for the sake of winning.

Good bye, USA. You are not a super-nation anymore!

Bush should take on Hollywood, RIAA (2)

YIAAL (129110) | more than 13 years ago | (#488003)

He should push for repeal of DMCA, have DoJ argue that it's unconstitutional. Why not? Hollywood and the record industry hate him and give lots of money to the Democrats. He could split off some civil libertarians and cut down on the revenue stream for the Democrats all at once.

Online fundraising and the Net (1)

scotay (195240) | more than 13 years ago | (#488004)

Hmm, I wonder whom Katz didn't vote for?

I didn't vote for either of the majors and don't expect much of a difference in the post-Clinton era. I don't see much civil liberty protection coming from either of the majors. I expect things will get worse with the anti-abortion nonsense though.

The one area of the Net that I expect the old guard politicians to embrace is online fundraising. Didn't John McCain raise US$500K in one day over the Net? Expect any new limitations to Net freedom to exclude online fundraising.

Bet on the fact that politicians will stop seeing the Net as a threat if it ever becomes a major source of campaign revenue.

Your prejudices are showing (3)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 13 years ago | (#488005)

Where do yoiu guys get these ideas, anyway? The Democrats are just as big a bunch of paleolithic dweebs as the Republicans. Recall that it was Zoe Lofgren (Democrat House Member, CA) who introduced HR 774, the "Internet Freedom and Child Protection Act of 1997" requiring filtering software. It was Diane Feinstein (Democrat Senator CA) who added language to a counter-terrorism bill to ban "bomb-making instructtions" on websites. There were plenty of Democrat sponsors and votes for the Communications Decency Act as well.

As for the top people having had no contact with the net, that's mostly a function of their age. Many of the CEO-level people today came up in an environment where it was beneath them to even know how to type (I know of one 55-year-old guy who just assumed management of an organization, and his first act was to buy a dictating machine because he can't type and secretaries these days don't know shorthand). Those people are retiring now and dying out. Keep in mind that the lower-level folks, down where the policy recommendations come from, tend to be younger and will be much more familiar with the net.

Calm down JonKatz (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 13 years ago | (#488006)

hey calm down dude, Bush might sue you for corrupting the fragile little minds of innocent slahdotters. He probably sees you as a cult leader or something.

My predictions (2)

FrostedChaos (231468) | more than 13 years ago | (#488007)

Bush will try to enforce laws that are now on the books, like the DMCA. (Kind of like Clinton did.) But Bush will be evil and conservative and nasty while he does it!

The trial against microsoft will go on forever and nothing will happen! (Kind of like it did under Clinton.) But Bush will be evil and conservative and nasty because of it! One thing is certain: under Bush, corporations will often make money, undermining the open source model through their existence.

How long until we no longer enjoy the freedoms we have come to take for granted, like the right to read crappy leftist propaganda from Jon Katz? Nobody knows....

What the hell do people keep mentioning DOOM for? (1)

LtFiend (232003) | more than 13 years ago | (#488008)

Why is it everytime we hear of a game that is excessivly violent or is the cornerstone of the 3d gaming community (strictly in government and press related issues) they mention Doom? I mean really has nobody played Quake? If your going to use Doom as an example then you might as well use Wolfenstein 3d as an example. Lets get into the 21st century here. I mean you don't use 286 computers to give an example of todays processing power Anyhow that just pisses me off. As for this bush administration - 2 words - WE'RE FUCKED

Re:Ridiculous pandering (1)

1024x768 (113033) | more than 13 years ago | (#488009)

Plenty of geeks think that there is altogether too much pr0n on the net.

Yes, but a whole lot fewer of them think that censorship is good idea.

Re:Something I fail to see (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 13 years ago | (#488010)

Two points:
  • Almost any moral system is preferable to having none.
  • Up to the 20th century, most civilizations were able to at least formally agree on something called ethics
Discourse on the respective standard is itself part of a productive, "good" moral system.

Re:Yawn (1)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | more than 13 years ago | (#488011)

This comment is NOT offtopic!

Juvenile, yes.

Unintelligent? Definitely.

Without any redeeming social value? Absolutely.

Which makes it completely appropriate for a Jon Katz article!

Re:Oh so now you get around to it... (1)

nsanit (153392) | more than 13 years ago | (#488012)

Wait for the idiot to be sworn in and then start prattling on about how shite Bush-baby is going to be for tech and free speech et al.

Where have you been? He was sworn in on the 20th!

I've grown sick of the world and its people's mindless games

Re:Your own predictions, please.. (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#488013)

Well my predictions are that This [] , rubberhose [] and this [] will all be very usefull for those of use who don't want to conform in the next few years. Also brush up on PGP, GNUPG, and any other cyrpto schemes that you think might be cool. Privacy is key. Also key is throwing out the numbers on violence among say football players vs. Unreal players. (I'll have to look those numbers up.) They will try alot of thing but mostly due to the situation in Congress they won't do alot. Mostly if you are interested in security or anything that is not "normal" use crypto lots of it and watch them squirm.

Whine, bitch, complain (1)

Potent (47920) | more than 13 years ago | (#488014)

Today is the day that I erase Slashdot from my bookmarks.

What Admin created DMCA (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 13 years ago | (#488015)

Although his views on MS scare me, don't forget what administration was in power when DMCA was created. give him a chance. don't hang him until he puts his own head in the noose.

I love Bush. (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 13 years ago | (#488016)

No. Really I do. Saw some sound bite on the news about how he's planning to rescind paying for other countries' healthcare if they have legal abortions.
Glad to know that in a country where church and state are supposedly divorced, someone who the majority (plurality?) of the country didn't vote for is free to enforce his myopic morals on other countries. Doubly glad knowing that it's OK for his mistresses to have abortions, just not other people's actual wives.
Laws on hacking are inexplicably awful (if i steal from a supermarket, am i not allowed in supermarket or anywhere that has foodstuffs in it for years afterwords i've repaid my debt to society with prison time?) and I really hope that he just makes them worse.
I'm just really hoping that he vomits up enough moral atrocities in his 4 years that people think twice before voting for one of the Big Two parties again. Bush could be the best thing that ever happened to this country.
I love that richkid cokewhore chimptwin bumbling mongoloid.

Just a note (1)

renderguy (258967) | more than 13 years ago | (#488017)

This story [] from is worth noting. Briefly, it mentions how very rich most of Bush's nominees are (even more so then I thought) and how this is likely to create more apathy among lower income people who feel that the government is filled with wealthy politicions who don't care about them.

I think it's a bad thing, (3)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 13 years ago | (#488018)

Because the technology is being aligned to Dubya's morals. Remember, just because he was elected, that doesn't mean we're all protestant Christians who take the bible as literal truth.

On Subject... finally! (1)

gkbarr (124078) | more than 13 years ago | (#488019)

Here are a couple of my predictions for the next four years:

  • - No new taxes on internet sales. Sound familiar?

  • - Microsoft will still be one company in 4 years time. One big, bloated, government contracting company.
    - More coverage of the Presidential Daughters (cha-ching!)
    - Not a chance in hell that hemp will be legalized. Got Nader?
    - Roe v. Wade -- not gonna touch it with a 10-gallon hat.
and finally...

  • - A steady increase will be seen in sales of $3 crack.
--G Barr

Guess, is the author Republican or Democrat? (1)

Petrus (17053) | more than 13 years ago | (#488020)

Note that this says much less about tech and freedoms as it is an expression of Jon's political denomination. Perhaps, if the "Inventor of Internet" won the elections, a similar article would appear.

The above mentioned "Bad news" would be on our plate no matter which party would win. Some if them are going to happen, some not.

How can anyobdy seriously challenge moralism as such, while criticizing comming morals and substitutes his own moralism about liberties or morality of unbroken Microsoft? A bit contradictory.
For instance, I would wish for the net censoware at the school. If my kid wants to see some porn, let him do it at home, so that I can watch with him.

AG elect Ashcroft and privacy (2)

thesparkle (174382) | more than 13 years ago | (#488021)

Read John Ashcroft's statements on privacy, security and encryption. Despite the issues the mainstream media is pushing on us, Ashcroft has some very interesting viewpoints on privacy and security that have yet to be reported here. You might be surprised,(I was) especially coming from the most likely, future chief law enforcement person in the nation.

(Not sure, but I don't think Katz voted for Bush in 2000. Just a hunch.) :)

Re:Online Gaming Incites Violence? (3)

Saige (53303) | more than 13 years ago | (#488022)

If you want to fix these problems (which are the effect) you must deal with the underlying CAUSES, rather than trying to constantly invent new ways of battling the SYMPTOMS.

Well, if you haven't figured it out, the majority in America prefer to be reactionary. They prefer quick fixes to the visible symptoms, without really caring about going after the root cause.

Solve crime by throwing people in jail quicker and longer. (But don't bother trying to figure out what makes them turn to crime) Solve drugs by locking people up all the time. Ban abortion. (But don't try and figure out how to make it so people don't get as many unwanted pregnancies) And if violence in schools seems to come from the outcasts, go after the outcasts (and never figure out what makes them so angry in the first place).

Solving problems is not the way of this country.

Re:Backpeddling (2)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#488023)

To the mo' who marked that flame bait.

Let me explain the difference.


"I hate the GOP. There mothers are all Birchies and their fathers smell of Elderberries. Oh yeah, and all they want is Natalie Portman [insert favorite Portmanian statement here]"

Honest to God complaint:

It sucks that the GOP campaigns on a platform of small government, then turns around and wants to give my hard earned money to church's (through vouchers and such), to the military industrial complex (through a defence budget seven times the size of all the nations we list as hostile combined) and to censorship (through filtering software and lawsuits against webmasters).

If you don't agree, fine! I hope you voted for Bush and got what you wanted. I didn't get what I wanted and fully intend to exercise my right to free speech despite your tagging me as a master baiter.


Come on, Katz, you actually have to do research (3)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#488024)

"The new regime may signal a new era by walking away from the antitrust victory the Justice Department won against Microsoft last year"
Says Katz.

To quote a cnet article "Given the political and practical realities, the new administration is not going to tamper with the case in the short term," said Bill Kovacic, a professor at the George Washington University Law School."

I actually used to like Katz. I thought some of his Columbine-era stuff was pretty brilliant. But now he's just a scare-monger. He knows what scares geeks, and yells "fire" with no facts backing him up. Everything I've heard and read says that GW Bush does not particularly think MS should be broken up, but doesn't want to interfere with an issue that really isn't his deal. Katz comes in, thinks to himself, "Bush is a conservative, conservatives are pro-business. Dubya must be on the phone right now putting a stop the the Microsoft trial". It's just bad reporting. There are so many things GW has actually done and said for us to rag about. Don't make up stuff.

Here is the article I quoted above: l


Scariest of all: (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#488025)

The scariest thing about Bush being elected is his proposal that he create a "Office of Faith Based Services". In my mind that kind of equates to an officially sanctioned religious entity.

The question this brings to mind is, when you tie the religious nature of Bush (either of them) and you realize that the Bushes see religion only a Christianity (everything else is a cult, how was that "A real American believes in God" or some such non-sense) with the idea that technology is an evil, terrible curse that we must protect our children from and fight at all costs, what exactly will the outcome be?

I see the possibility that this "Faith Based Services" office (or the United States Christianity Office) will be aligned with Bush's anti-technology propoganda and technologies that people enjoy will slowly be outlawed and gone after by the USCO (previously mentioned) police forces (let's face it, any office of power eventually gets some sort of police/security team). Now, when it hurts a company that is Bush friendly, they will probably be pulled back, but when it pisses off the common people (that are evil scum for even thinking of technology) I really doubt that Bush would lift his finger to stop the um, persecution (whoah! I mean arrests of these criminal elements) of these people (namely people like us slashdotters).

I don't know, I thought from the start that Bush Jr is just stupid enough to fuck the country into a bloody oblivion, and the more I hear of his "cabinet" choices, the more scary it seems. If this faith based services garbage goes through I just sort of see it quickly evolving into a KGB'esque police force with the ultimate authority to destroy the evil technology (like take people's laptops/computers and destroy their ability to use the Internet, or as they will put it, the Evil Diseased Hive of Villiany).

Bush is a wacko. And it seems we are about to find out just how much power the office of president really does grant. Bush will do everything he can to exploit that power for the "greater good" (or for better ways to make more people criminals).

Just out of curiosity, if we keep finding new things to make illegal (as I'm sure certain forms of Internet entertainment soon will be) and we make nearly everyone a criminal in the eyes of our precious government, isn't there a point where they can't possibly have the manpower to take out all of us evil scumbags that are trying to "disrupt" things by using technology (oh the horror!)? Just a thought.

I know the above seems like an extermist/alarmist position, but something tells me that Bush is one completely wacked dofus. He's got some major problems (mental), and it's only a matter of time before he goes completely off the deep end and takes the country with him. I'm no fan of Gore, but I would have rather seen him in power than George "dumb as I wanna be" W. Bush. But, we've made our bed, now all we can do is sit back and see what creeps out from under the blankets.

Re:Microsoft case must be abandoned (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#488026)

Uh-huh. And I suppose that your subscription to Time magazine comes with a bundled TV which replaces your current one, is unremovable and only broadcasts CNN, 24 hours a day?

Not to mention that your AOL subscription came with the modem you bought and you had to pay for it even though you use a totally different service provider?

ASnd let's not forget all those furniture shops that were forced to sell seperate copies of the Time-Life series of books with every book-case that was sold, since a book-case had to have legally-obtained books in it, of course.

PLease - do not equate two totally different levels of nastiness. Yes big mega-conglomerates are evil, but no company outside of the petroleum/oil cartels and tobacco companies have caused as much damage as M$. Stop to consider the cost of each new Word macro virus alone. Factor in licencing fees bordering on ridiculous, extremely unethical business practices and an ex-CEO with about as much (IT) vision as a skinny dipper in crocodile-infested water [] and you've got a huge problem that needs .gov intervention before the power base shifts entirely into the hands of this company. Do you really want to be a citizen of Microsoftland?

You really can't be paranoid enough of the intentions of Billy-boy. He doesn't want your money anymore - he wants you.

Walters interview (1)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | more than 13 years ago | (#488027)

Any of you see this interview that George had with Barbara Walters the night before George was sworn in? When asked directly if Russia was an enemy or friend, George said, "I don't know, I hope they're a friend." He hopes? Well doesn't he know?

When asked about the Cuba and Iraq situations he said for both "We'll keep the pressure on that situation." What does that mean? What kind of pressure?

If the above examples are any indication, the Net might survive the Bush administration out of ignorance!

Re:Backpeddling (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 13 years ago | (#488028)

It should be wildly amusing to watch as the party of personal responsibility tries to explain government censorship of the internet. [...] I'm sick and tired of the right ranting about small government and then pulling shit like that. The only way to stop it is to vote for personal freedoms.

That's because the Republican party is not truly about small government any more. Both the Dems and Reps are centrists, the only difference is the rhetoric they spew.

If you really want smaller government, you should be voting Libertarian [] or Constitution [] . While they differ in philosophy, they agree on this point. If you don't vote for what you believe, you won't get what you want.

Rapid replies, more Comm Decency (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 13 years ago | (#488029)

Given the penchant Bush has shown for campaigning (Back in Texas he spent the majority of his day out pressing the flesh rather than working) and his conservative bent I predict more CDA (Communications Decency Act) style legislation. Such legslation has the advantage of appealing to conservative groups and rallying people around simple concepts by appearing to solve complex problems with simple homolies (kiddie porn bad, bible good).

The fact that such legislation is terrible both in the short term and the long term is unimportant. If Bush is anything like his father the goal of his domestic agenda will be the maintenance of popularity more than anything else. If the legislation is struck down for being unconsititutional, who cares. The purpose of it is to maike points.

This is, perhaps an overly simply view but given Bush's past activities and recent ones (Sudden stoppage of all Federal Aid that may have something to do with Abortion) That appears to be the tack he will take with technology and free speech issues.

My prediction is that Bush will:

  1. Attempt to revive the CDA in one form or fashion.
  2. Stop the DOJ suit against Microsoft.
  3. Direct DOJ efforts agains Porn websites and violent videogame makers.
  4. Provide strong support for suits such as Nintendo's attacks against game reviewers.
  5. Provide stronger support for mandatory censoship in schools, etc.
  6. Provide additional support for Microsoft and others in their suits against temp employees.


Dubya might let MS fry (2)

small_dick (127697) | more than 13 years ago | (#488030)

after all, IBM and AMD are two very powerful constituents in his state, and Orrin Hatch is quite a bit more powerful now.

it's amazing how obsessed right wing conservative men are with women's vaginas. well, not that amazing, i guess, when all things are considered.

i'm a little in favor of school vouchers...i actually think private schools could do a better job. well, not better than this high school [] . I definately would demand any voucher program force all teachers be CBEST certified (or some other reasonable standard), and that the school have some type of certification as well.

I'd hate to see tax dollars getting funneled off to a bunch of religious schools.

Err, my prediction is : more interference in our private lives, more taxes (they'll probably raise a bunch of fees to compensate for tax cuts, or some other revenue enhancing scheme, so we pay more overall). There will be another huge feed by right wingers in either the insurance or banking industries. Once again, the DOJ will be told to "look the other way" while Bush's cronies rob us blind.

But no sex scandals.

Re:I think it's a bad thing, (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 13 years ago | (#488031)

But just because Dubya is a protestant Christian who takes the bible as literal Truth, which I am not and which I disagree with, it does not mean that giving moral considerations any thought at all was not an improvement. Effectively, I'll probably disagree with most that Dubya does, but the idea as such that technology is something that should be valued against moral standards (whichever particular moral standard, is a matter for different discussion) beyond primitive Darwinian/genetic explanation of social phenomena to which it shouldn't be applied sounds good to me.

Re:Anti-trust - it's about business practices (2)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 13 years ago | (#488032)

The comment that "it's a clumsy and dangerous attempt at 'making things right'" ignores the fact that Justice Department attacks on Microsoft were brought on by Microsoft's own predatory business practices

Many companies, consisting of people with bright ideas, sound business strategies, and clever products, were buried by Microsoft in such a rutheless fashion that Justice was forced, against their will seemingly, to take action.

It's not just about M$ being a monopoly, it's about blatant abuse of the rules of fair business. You can be as cynical as you want and say that every big company operates this way, but there's a huge difference between competing vigorously and taking out your competitors in a dark alleyway.

Microsoft has been hit hard by the Justice Department activity. It has taken their top people's attention away from important tasks, it has changed the public's opinion of them (which makes them less likely to blithely believe all claims of M$ technical superiority), and perhaps more importantly, it has sent the signal that illegal business practices will get you in serious hot water.

Come on, do you really think that Microsoft is just some company that makes software? They're a huge force in the business world, and for better or for worse, many many smaller businesses emulate their practices. We need to show all those other businesses that acting as Microsoft has is not something to be admired and repeated.

Give the guy a week (1)

stubob (204064) | more than 13 years ago | (#488033)

I for one am really tired of speculation about what W "might" do in office and compare it to what Clinton, Bush, whoever DID do. Katz seems especially adept at spinning Clinton's achievements vs Bush's potential failures. Examples:
Universal access to technology is not a Bush administration priority. Gore talked about it, but didn't do much.
So which is better? To talk about something because that's what people want to hear, or not talk about somthing you have no plan to do?
If the past culture wars are any indication, the new administration will make access to violent and "unsavory" imagery and information online a centerpiece of their law enforcement initiatives.
Let's see, who has been in office for the last 8 years, requiring libraries to install filtering software and installed V-CHiPs (:)) on our t.v.'s?
Bush's campaign statements suggested he wasn't in agreement with the Justice Department's action against Microsoft, or with the court-ordered remedy of dividing the company and enforcing restrictions on its competitive practices.
Evidence? Regardless of what he said in his campaign, this is a moot point. 1. Last week, Ken Starr was added to the prosecution team. 2. Anyone who didn't sleep through high school government will realize that the judicial branch is separate from the legislative branch, so just because Bush doesn't like it doesn't necessarily mean it will be stopped. I imagine Clinton didn't like the impeachment, but there wasn't anything he could do to stop it.

Jon, as always, please provide some verification for these wild, inflamatory statements you make.

I had a feeling you were going to say that.

Come on, give the guy a chance (5)

bluGill (862) | more than 13 years ago | (#488034)

It becomes obvious from that you are unwilling to give Bush a chance. He has been in office 3 days, and you are already perdicting doom and gloom, even your good points are worded in such a way as to cast doupt on how good they are.

Bush has officially been in office for 3 days. It takes longer then that for it to become clear what he is really about. There will be "bad" things that he does, and "good" things. Of course there is always anouther side, and so I might like what you dislike and vis-versa.

I remember quite clearly all the doom the right wing spread about Clinton in office. Well, it didn't happen like that. Mind you to the right wingers things should be better today (by their definition, which isn't just christian fundamentalist) if their guy was in charge.

Clinton was one of the few democrats who supported NAFTA, a complete surprize to the right wing that supported NAFTA - they once thought of Clinton as too left wing to support it, much less be a leader in getting it adopted.

Clinton also raised taxes (in 1993 if I remember right), which was perdicted by the right wingers with much doom and gloom. There are several implications of a tax cut, some affect the ecconomy (which has done well), and some just a philosophy of what goverment should do. Perdicted by the right wingers with much doom and gloom.

Both sides are claiming a balanced budget under the Clinton years, with many giving credit to rebublicans having congress - gridlock making it difficult to spend more money as each side has their own ideas of where to spend it. (Never mind that if you take the socal security ficasco out there isn't a balanced budget)

Clinton signed the Communications Decency act, the DMCA, and several others. Who would have thought a democrat would restrict freedom like that?

At the very least this proves that polititions are not always friendly to their side. Most likely Bush will not be anything close to the worst president in history. He probably won't be impeached. I will gaurentiee that he will never be considered the best or worst president. (I know people who like Nixon despite that scandol, Slient Cal has his fans, FDR, Lincon, and all Washington have critics - those are the obvious canidates for worst/best, and there is no concensious)

So give the guy a chance. Support him when he is right (and he will be). Be an opponant when he is wrong (and he will be). Remember there are two sides of every issue, try to see the other side even if you disagree. Keep the discussion civil.

Very true, what are the editors doing? (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#488035)

Holiday season is gone but the holiday mood seems to continue, because the editors out there were too lazy to edit and make the same info concise. It was too long, maybe someone got carried away with the style. Well if the guy can be lazy we aare are not far behind.

We all knew it didn't we? (1)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | more than 13 years ago | (#488036)

What amuses me most is that even fore-knowing these issues, Bush still got his share of votes EVEN ON SLASHDOT POLL! [] . Now, don't blame me. I was wishing hard it had been the other way. (BTW, I am among the 24% of non US citizens)

Life isn't perfect (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#488037)

I don't totally agree with most people that have posted so far about Bush being all bad. Sure he is pro-corporations, and pro-morality laws that can be often-times constricting, but that's not why I voted for him. I voted for him because I think he will at least do these 3 things:

1) He has stated numerous times that he trusts people. I think this makes a big difference in his beliefs on what the governent should and should not be involved in.
2) He knows one of the government's primary jobs is to provide defense for the nation. I am extraordinarily pleased that Bush has vowed to increase spending on the military. Yes, it will mean less social programs at home, but I'd rather have fewer social programs than having China, North Korea, or any other sufficiently armed country knocking on our door with nukes because they think they can beat on us without repercussions. Besides, the fewer money the feds have to spend on running people's lives in social programs (like Social Security), the more individual freedoms we are able to have.
3) Although I disagree with some of his agenda's, he is more trustworthy to do what he says. Gore reversed his opinions on things so many times it was beginning to make me sick to my stomach.

This is all meant to say that while I do not think that Bush was the best candidate for the Presidency (especially with respect to individual freedoms and the internet in particular), I do think he was the best choice for the nation as a whole. I'm sure their will be people that mod me down for my "pro-Bush" stance, but it's important to realize that you cannot have your cake and eat it to - so to speak. We all have to make compromises, and unfortunately, I chose the compromise that could potentially limit some of my freedoms in exchange for a stronger country overall. I think this is important because I am not voting out of selfishness for what I want, but rather what I thought would be best for *everyone*.

I'm sick of the stigmas here ... please leave ... (1)

BitMan (15055) | more than 13 years ago | (#488038)

I don't like Republicans any more than Democrats, but I'm sick of the common stigmas presented here. Pro-Democrats people like to talk about how the Republicans "ignore the issues," but never talk about how the Democrats spend a crapload of money on programs that do didley. And Democrats like to give Clinton credit, yet a simple glance at the balance sheets will tell you when and why the "recovery" started (happened in mid-1994 -- wonder why? ;-).

I'm a voter registered "no party." And for good reasons. I vote mainly Libertarian, occassionally Republican, rarely Democrat. Let's face it, the federal government should not only stay out of most affairs, they can do little to affect them! I argue this against both sides, be it Republicans on "family values" or Democrats on "taxing the rich." Both are dead wrong.

Most Amercians live with the following ignorances that simple do NOT exist:

  • Republicans: "Liberals Are Bad" -- a mega-oversimplification of a single issue that is irrelevant to 90% of Americans
  • Republican: "Family Values" -- means I'm going to preach how you should live, yet half of us are hypocrites
  • Both: "Internet Filters" -- instead of arguing how to empower parents to filter content, Democrats and Republicans argue politically. All we need is a standardized framework so parents can choose who's list to subscribe to
  • Both: "School Prayer" -- another political arguement that is simply used to "hide" a "real issue" between conflicting parties in schools
  • Both: "Health Care" -- The real issue is that people who pay do NOT have choice! The government should allow you to get your health insurance pre-tax from anyone. I'd love to get it from the IEEE (as a member), but it is post-tax so I use my employer. [ And I clearly remember Hillary Clinton's proposal for "socialized medicine" was to take away the pre-tax benefit -- i.e. penalize those who pay for their own insurance!!! Fuck her on that one! ]
  • Both: "Tax Credits" -- Government handouts at the expense of others, creating yet more taxes
  • Democrats: "George W. will raise taxes like his father" -- Al Gore was one of the sponsors of that bill, let alone one of the political back-stabbers using the media to get it passed every time the government "ran out of money" because a new budget had not been passed (remember that in 1992? I did came election time!)
  • Democrats: "Tax Breaks for Millionaires" -- even more of a mega-oversimplification that people bad at basic economics like
  • Democrats: "Tax the Wealthy" -- there is a different between "wealthy" and "high income" -- you canNOT tax the former, only the later. So we canNOT tax millionaries who've already made their money with income tax (hence why the Democrats talk about how the richest pay little "income" tax) and we, instead, tax the middle to upper-middle class who funds most of this country. More political BS for those economically ignorant!
  • Democrats: "Trickle Down Theory Is Bad" -- everything is "trickle down", whether it goes through the government or private industry! [ more economic ignorance ]
  • Democrats: "Redistribution of Wealth" -- again, everything is "redistribution of wealth", whether it goes through the government or private industry! [ did I mention basic economics? ]

And there are many others. If you see things "my way"(TM), please respond and let it be known that you are sick of the stigmas of this whole Democrat v. Republican world.

-- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

Re:Some things never change (1)

Maryck (84) | more than 13 years ago | (#488039)

Katz never claimed that the Clinton administration was particularly net-friendly. He is just stating that he expects to see the Bush admin pursue a much more active policy than Clinton did.

Re:Anti-trust. (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 13 years ago | (#488040)

If IBM hadn't been seen to be under threat, their hegemony would've lasted longer - although not necessarily for ever.

It may cost millions of dollars and yet never happen, but the case against MS will achieve its aim even if they are never broken up. A million journalists writing "MS is/isn't bad" and "alternatives to MS are..." can only be good (provided that you, like me, Linus and every other geek think that a single badly written OS isn't good enough).

A dumb move will signal "Reality Cramps." (2)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 13 years ago | (#488041)

My guess is that if Bush and company try anything stupid, they're going to get smacked in the face b harsh reality, as will many other people.

Censorship? Good luck enforcing it, and you may just annoy some campaign contributors. Also, prepare for the Court Cases From Hell.

Moral Values? Why not stick a sign on your back reading "please investigate my past and humiliate me?" This is especially bad coming from a president with a background that includes alchohol and possible drug use and whose victory is in doubt.

Net Regulation? The Corporate Republic wants their money, and they won't like changes that affect that. Tech regulation is an ugly minefield.

Enforcement? Good luck - let's see people handle the complex logistical nightmare of the internet. Where's the money going to come from in the age where people are proposing tax cuts.

Finally, there's simply the backfire effect - anyone that gets pious and self-rigtheous ends up creating their own opposition. Twenty years ago, no one would suggest ending the drug war, but now I hear it in regular conversation.

Imagine such a political backfire happening in internet time . . .

Me, I expect some self-rigtheous posturing, some dumb new laws few people can enforce, and a lot of pussyfooting to avoid annoying people.

Re:George H. W. Bush went after hackers? (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 13 years ago | (#488042)

Ask Steve Jackson Games [] about that.

Reversal of crypto liberalization? (1)

David Jao (2759) | more than 13 years ago | (#488043)

Is anyone else even slightly worried that Dubya will reverse the executive order legalizing export of encryption software from the United States? Crypto liberalization has been a great thing; I hate to see it taken away.

Personal Insight...Thanks, Jon (2)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 13 years ago | (#488044)

I talked about becoming stupid, but I've always been stupid. Fortunately I've been just smart enough to realize that I'm stupid.

I think it's great that Jon can admit to this. Wait... wrong article. I guess Jon is still not smart enough to realize he doesn't know it all.


Re:Whine, bitch, complain (1)

mi5key (99969) | more than 13 years ago | (#488045)

Take care, have fun, we'll miss you.

My views (2)

Tony Blair (166553) | more than 13 years ago | (#488046)

The good news: the new administration is unlikely to curb business or technological innovation and expansion. These are not antitrust gunslingers fighting for the right of the little guy to survive. They would never have brought suit against Microsoft, as several Bush administration executives have inferred.

The bad news: Digital civil liberties will be a hot political issue online. The social conservatives returning to power are highly selective about what sort of free speech stays free. Until the Reagan years, classic conservatives equated free speech with patriotism. But in the 80's, conservatism fused with religious and other moralistic ideologies. They absolutely dread the notion of a free and open Net, for all of the obvious reasons -- it's a dogma killer.

Re:Proof Read (1)

Anonymous._.Coward (119202) | more than 13 years ago | (#488047)

Sounds like a football (soccer) score:

Bush I : Gore 0

18 and already tired of politics... (1)

Raccoo (305822) | more than 13 years ago | (#488048)

I wonder what would've happened to technology if Nader had won the election instead... =\

Free Speech - not in the U.S. (2)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 13 years ago | (#488049)

*Sigh* I love the U.S. Heck, I live here, so I should. But it saddens me to think that because of one leader, one person, we could lose the ability to do the things that we love, such as hacking and programming. I have at home a PC and a Big Mouth Billy Bass that I am splicing together. Why? Because it is fun. And while I want to use it for a fun, light-hearted purpose (say, when I get an email, for it to flop it's tail and say EMAIL!), I suppose I could program it to say something not-so-pleasant. Does that make it illegal?

Here is my challenge. I am a christian, supporting some of the views of Bush. However, I am not perfect. I do things that some may view as immoral, or not perfect, or a whole host of other things (my girlfriend finds it disgusting that I am hacking a Billy Bass). But since when does my immorality become a part of public policy? I may not agree with abortion, but does that mean we should cut off funding for a group that does? I don't think so, especially if they might be doing valuable research to help those in distress.

Privacy is, of course, a genuine concern of mine. Being that this is the U.S., and that we are a free, democratic society, we have to accept the fact that we can catch 'em all. How many times have you been passed by someone doing 90 mph on the freeway, and wondered where the nearest police officer was at? Does that mean that because the police can not be everywhere, we should track everyone and automatically write them a ticket? How many times have you broken the law? Maybe it was speeding, maybe it was theft (accendantely taking a pen), maybe it was, heaven forbid, running two copies of NT at one time with only one license, or making a PEREFECTLY LEGAL COPY of your music that you own for your pleasure.

America is the great country, the one I pride myself to live in and be a part of. I love being a part of the technological revelution. In fact, I work as the webmaster for one of the largest counties in Florida. I see the stupidity (14 servers to run one web site that sees maybe 15,000 hits a day), the waste, the policies and decisions based on spur-of-the moment ideas, or because it is what they know. And while I can accept that to some degree, and realize that it will be there, it does not mean that I want that from our country's leader.

My immorality, my religion, and my programming are just that, mine. It is no one's business if I choose to engage in an activity that, while may be 'illegal', I find acceptable. Laws were designed to be challenged, that is the point of the judicial system. Instead of worrying about what kids are seeing, lets focus on the parents. Why limit those that are lucky to have internet access, such as people using it at a public library, to seeing the predetermined sites that are deemed 'moral' and 'acceptable'? Because I can afford 39.95 a month, does that give me more rights than someone who prefers the surroundings of a public area, such as a library? Not in this country, I think. Right?

Sorry for the ramble, but I am so sick of being told what is acceptable, what is right, what is moral. I am a web designer and programmer, and I get enough of that from Netscape and Microsoft. I don't want to deal with that in every aspect of my life. Just don't stay quiet, don't sit idlely by and watch this unravel. Be active, be strong, and be heard. Stand by your beliefs, and by your actions. I am proud to be a /. member for those very reasons. Let's keep this ours, and not a predetermined state of bliss.

Re:Microsoft case must be abandoned (1)

tommyServ0 (266153) | more than 13 years ago | (#488050)

Good point. I just want to point out that the AOL-Time Warner merger was approved on Clinton's watch: Monday January 8, 2001.


Re:microsoft suit (1)

Homebrewed (154837) | more than 13 years ago | (#488051)

Yes, but you have to realize George W. would come in a distant second in a cluetrain race with Homer Simpson.

Re:RU? (1)

MKalus (72765) | more than 13 years ago | (#488052)

I guess here you want to know what that is?

It's an abortion pill (or rather the code name for it), it kicks in some hormons and so no surgery is required.

My predication: stone age (1)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#488053)

The guy immediately signs a paper that denies basic rights to hundred of thousands of women. If that doesn't send us back to the stone age, I don't know what will.

-Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

Re:I love Bush. (1)

Petrus (17053) | more than 13 years ago | (#488054)

Mixing some things:

Not paying other countries is not about imposing your morals on them. Quite opposite. Not paying = not imposing anything.

Why the hell should I pay their abortions? I am not scared of their babies!

And another illogical comment assomes incorrectly that non/abortion = church. What has the separation of church and state to do with me paying for aborting somebody's child?

Murder trials are a waste of time (4)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#488055)

After all, the victim is dead, he's not comming back, the trial is just a clumsy and dangerous artificial attempt at "making things right." Oh wait! That's right, we enforce the law to stop them from doing it again. Sheesh, hang your flamebait head in shame.

Re:Just a note (2)

bluGill (862) | more than 13 years ago | (#488056)

Why should the wealth of his appointies affect him? Clinton had a lot fo millionairs in his cabinet, and that didn't seem to affect his popularity. Or maybe it did, Clinton got less votes then bush did.

So, what are you saying (2)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 13 years ago | (#488057)

Crusaders like Bush-buddy William Bennett and Vice-President Cheney have long and loudly argued that the Net is rife with pornography and violent imagery,

And how is this false? About the only dot coms making any money are the ones selling porn. Why would anyone looking at the situation from the outside think anything different that what the Bush clan think? Hell, why would anyone from the inside think anything different?

Look for the FBI to be given broader authority to track dangerous and illegal activities online and creater a "safer" environment in which businesses can operate.

And how is tracking dangerous and illegal activities a disaster? If you mean that the FBI will be given leave to offend civil liberties, then say so. I personally think the FBI will be called out by civil liberty groups when they break the law.

Bush's education reforms, both in Texas, and as outlined in Washington this week, centered on literary and standardized testing and accountability. They don't deal with technology, perhaps more educationally significant in the long run.

Jon, are you stupid. How is giving a kid a computer more important than make damn sure that he can read. Yeah, that is just what we need; more kids who think they are journalist because they can use a spelling and grammar checker.

Re:Anti-trust - Agreed, run OSS, quite whining (3)

BitMan (15055) | more than 13 years ago | (#488058)


Open Source Software (OSS) -- you don't have to switch entirely over the Linux. Just try out various OSS programs for Windows -- keep your data out of proprietary application hands.

I'm sick of even "officiers" in my local LUGs, with users of 3+ years still running MS IE and Office (at meetings for God's sake!). God, could they please try StarOffice, or even the MS-IE-like KMelon browser? And there are many other application ports to Windows as well.

I write books and technical documentation just fine with LyX [] , which I switched to Word 97, from Word 95 and lost half my technical report styles. I had had enough of putting my data at risk with proprietary software. Never again, never again.

The people bitching the loudest are "so-called Linux advocates," who after years of running Linux for some niche purposes, haven't really spent a good 3 months using it as a serious desktop. They keep saying it is "not ready." I say BS! Get serious! Quit bitching.

-- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

Re:More "hackers" busted under Clinton than Bush. (1)

schwanerhill (135840) | more than 13 years ago | (#488059)

Come on; Bush Sr. was president for 4 years relatively early in the 'PC boom.' Clinton was president for 8 years when practically every teenager from a moderately wealthy family (read: time on his hands) had a computer with net access. Of course Clinton's administration busted more hackers than Bush Sr.'s; there were a lot more hackers to bust.

Predictions (1)

Tetard (202140) | more than 13 years ago | (#488060)

1) Massive migration of asylum-seeking US citizens to Cuba ? 2) Time to start the Foundation, as Asimov saw it. Don't need to go light years away. Just put it in Europe were we still have, umm, political responsibility. Wait for the collapse of American civilization, then restart. One large CVS should do.

Privacy (1)

Boomer3000 (147681) | more than 13 years ago | (#488061)

Being a libertarian, I fear that the Bush administration will enforce restrictions, but Ashcroft seems to be a big advocate of privacy, and this is good for me. And after all, I live in Italy, so I care less than the rest of you. :)

May not be all bad (1)

TarPitt (217247) | more than 13 years ago | (#488062)

Recent stories in Wired & an article by Kevin Poulsen (forget where - SecurityFocus? ZDnet?) indicate Ashcroft may not be all bad for techies. He seems to have a good position on crypto controls and a healthy suspicion of carnivore. Of course this all may change once in office...

Also, as one distant from and critical of the Major Media Machines, he may be less eager to inflict/enforce onerous copyright laws in an overzealous manner.

BTW, I didn't vote for Bush either. There is sometimes good in the positions of folks I don't generally support, and often bad in the ones I do.

First Big Power Failure in Washington DC (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#488063)

Ok, every new president is entitled to a few gaffs. Currently Bush's attitude is the power shortages and supply chain problems are California's problems to sort out. To a degree he's correct, but in the long term he's leaving Tech and Manufacturing (and traditionally republican farmers) in Central California (the area most affected) to twist in the wind.

Meanwhile utility rates soar and pensioners and other stockholders in PG&E are screwed out of dividends they rely on for income, Enron profits are up. This may seem isolated to California, but power is going to be a growing issue as natural gas prices climb.

"It's the economy, Stupid" Bushes apparent lack of interest in these matters, which will impact the economy, the welfare of the people, etc.


Re:Oh so now you get around to it... (2)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#488064)

Wait for the idiot to be sworn in and then start prattling on about how shite Bush-baby is going to be for tech and free speech et al.

Maybe everyone was hoping there'd be an "accident" on the way to the inauguration.

Re:Walters interview (2)

bluGill (862) | more than 13 years ago | (#488065)

So, is Russia a friend? n Tarditionally they were not. Now they are an unknown. We hope they are a friend, but their goverment isn't exactly stable.

Bush bad? compared to what? (2)

woggo (11781) | more than 13 years ago | (#488066)

Katz, this is way off base, and it seems that this is just another excuse for you to get on your "napster is good and video games don't make criminals out of kids" soapbox. Are you capable of writing an opinion piece that doesn't allude to Columbine and the surrounding fracas?

In any case, I can't see how a Bush administration would be any worse for tech policy than the Clinton administration, which decided right away (in 1993) that criminal copyright infringement needed no profit motive, beginning the steady stream of fair use erosion since; or any worse than the administration of an Al Gore who has spoken at the Microsoft campus three times since 1996, hailing them as "great innovators" and as deserving champions of the new economy. ( for more.) Furthermore, "pro-business" necessarily means "anti-monopoly", and Ashcroft spoke out against Microsoft when he was on hte Senate Judiciary Committee.

I'm not saying that there's a lot to like about Bush (or Ashcroft). But blaming bad tech law on him -- or on any president -- is hiding your head in the sand and missing the point. Don't bitch about the president -- he is (with a few historical exceptions) little more than a cheerleader for the nation. Write your representatives, since THEY MAKE THE LAW. If you're in academia, make sure to list all of the initials after your name -- they might just make a difference. People need to know that if they support UCITA, then they won't get your vote.

You also need to educate others; if just the technoliterati complain, that's too small a fraction of the electorate to make a dent. We need to educate the general public to these issues to insure that Joe Six-Pack knows that shrink-wrapped software manufacturers may as well be "licensing" him a shrink-wrapped, steaming plate of fecal matter, to ensure that Joe knows that an electronic bnook is artificially, legally different from a dead-trees book. When Joe and all his friend write outraged letters, maybe your representation will think twice about being bought by media and software lobbies.


Intellectual Property will be a big issue (2)

scruffy (29773) | more than 13 years ago | (#488067)

Without thinking too hard about it, I think copyright protection will become a hotter issue. Clinton/Gore was a friend to copyright protectionists, but Bush will be even a better buddy. At some point, the two sides will square off, and civil disobedience will be the order of the day. The question is whether Bush will pursue those evil copyright protection violators as criminals, or just let the media sic their lawyers on them.

Re:Dubya Dubya Dubya dot EEK dot com (1)

jacoplane (78110) | more than 13 years ago | (#488068)

Exactly. Which is why I always felt that the US cannot really be called a true democracy. The only people that can get elected are from the two parties.

Basically, corporations are in control: the one they give the most funding to will probably get elected.

It's really annoying to see all those people on /. who diss JK without even reading his articles: you know you don't have to read them if you don't want them. And if you need to make a comment, make it something worth reading, not just a bunch of whining.

Ok that'll be -1 Flamebate

Re:Dubya might let MS fry (1)

Squid (3420) | more than 13 years ago | (#488069)

But no sex scandals.

Unless they find Dubya's collection of sheep porn.
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