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Phil Zimmermann Replies To CNet On Biden 371

Posted by kdawson
from the setting-the-record-straight dept.
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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Phil Zimmermann Replies To CNet On Biden

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  • Pot kettle (Score:5, Informative)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:41PM (#24757429) Homepage

    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FunWithKnives (775464)
        Hmm. Perhaps people (read: corporations) who have an entire army of lawyers at their disposal?
      • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

        by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:23PM (#24757851) Journal

        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Naughty Bob (1004174) * on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:27PM (#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?

        • by panaceaa (205396) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @08:28PM (#24758559) Homepage Journal

          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 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by anwaya (574190) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @08:10PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

        I, for one, would ask them if their suits were waterproof. If they asked "why" I'd say something to the effect of "Otherwise, you might want to change your clothes before you go jump in the lake" and tell them, in no uncertain terms, to leave the property.

        Being confrontational with imposing authority is a family trait. Outward threats, of course, only make it worse. There are places for teachers, but not for bullies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by witherstaff (713820)

        Where's the second chances for those hurt by illegal actions? Qwest told the feds to screw themselves if they didn't have a warrant. This cost Qwest a 2 billion dollar Pentagon contract [rockymountainnews.com]. We should feel sorry and give a pass to major players in the legalized monopoly which is the telecommunications industry?

        A second chance would be to claim in a trial that it wasn't their fault, it was the suits. Then if the telcos lost some lawsuit, sue the suits who asked them to knowingly break the law for whatever damag

      • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dwarg (1352059) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @03:54AM (#24761951)

        Only one major corporation refused to go along with Bush's little wiretapping plan, Qwest. The CEO of Qwest, at that time, just happens to be in jail now (theoretically for a backdating scandal). During his trial and in his counter suit he claimed not only that he was being punished for not cooperating with the Patriot Act, but that the wire tapping system was being implemented by NSA 7 months before 9/11. [wired.com]

        Most people dismissed his claims assuming he was grasping at straws, trying to stay out of jail. But employees at several other telcos have confirmed his story. [wired.com]

    • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:49PM (#24757509) Homepage
      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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Silverlancer (786390) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:54PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:20PM (#24757831) Homepage
          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.

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            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 Pres

      • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:56PM (#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.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          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 vot

          • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:27PM (#24757891) Homepage
            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.

          • by Myshkin (34701) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:28PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by joggle (594025)

              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 su

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by seanadams.com (463190) *

        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?

    • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:57PM (#24757573) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rcw-home (122017)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mr2001 (90979)

          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bill_kress (99356)

          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 l

          • by geekoid (135745)

            voting independent: Same as voting republican, but with no guilt...or success.

          • by rcw-home (122017)

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

            Then make it your platform to vote against any duplicitously-titled bill too.

            I believe I heard that GWB was actually threatening to veto some other bills critical to the dems if it wasn't passed,

            Who cares. He won't be in office forever. If a bill is a good idea and it's written properly and it has widespread support, it'll eventually get passed, regardless of who's wiping who else'

      • 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

      • by sheldon (2322)

        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.

        Both issues require a Constitutional Amendment.

        Line Item veto was struck down by the supreme court when it was tried before. If we're going to go through all that trouble I'd rather see the Balanced Budget Amendment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moryath (553296)

      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 L

      • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:32PM (#24757937) Journal

        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.

        • by sconeu (64226)

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

          What are you trying to do, destroy any flamewar?

    • 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.

    • Re:Pot kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @08:12PM (#24758379) Journal

      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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rei (128717) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @08:15PM (#24758403) Homepage

      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.

  • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:41PM (#24757431) Homepage
    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.
  • by prakslash (681585) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:46PM (#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
  • Exaggerate much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:53PM (#24757539) Homepage

    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.

  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @06:56PM (#24757565) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by Wills (242929)

      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?

  • McCullagh was right (Score:5, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:02PM (#24757631) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by oGMo (379)

      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        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.

    • by TheSync (5291)

      While I'm blissfully ignorant of who this McCullagh guy is

      Declan is a neat guy!

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:03PM (#24757635) Journal

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

  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:11PM (#24757737)
    that Biden is a shill for the media cartels who also hates encryption and Net Neutrality? To wit: Joe Biden Loves RIAA [zdnet.com] Biden loves RIAA, FBI tech [cnet.com] Biden: Pro-Copyright Friend of RIAA, MPAA [washingtonpost.com]
  • On Biden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anik315 (585913) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:12PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mosb1000 (710161)

      "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?

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        What is the point of that?

        Uh, the point is that free market price + tax would still be a lot less than black market prices, and you wouldn't go to prison and lose your house if you got caught with over [insert tiny amount that means you are legally a drug dealer].

        I mean sure "legal but no tax" would be better, but to get it legal you gotta make the pitch to the law makers.

        Oh, and I do want some regulation like at minimum a rule that you could not cut the product with anything else, especially not tobacco, c

    • Where's Dick Armey and Jack Kemp, when you need them? When those two got out of politics, that's really when the Republican Party went to the shitter.

      The thing is, the deregulation of the banking market was well intended. The Republicans wanted to see everyone who wanted to have a house, get a house. To do that required money. To get that money, without raising taxes, they allowed investment banks to get into the mortgage business. Since mortgages promise a guaranteed return on the investment to a lend

  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @07:14PM (#24757761)
    Shock! Horror! Next we'll be hearing of ursine defecation in arboreal settings.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Or perhaps a shocking confirmation that His Holiness the Pope is in fact a strong adherent to the state religion of Vatican City?
  • 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.

  • For Politics, I trust THIS Zimmerman:
    Youtube Channel [youtube.com]
    Personal Website [royzimmerman.com]
  • by Kohath (38547)

    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.

  • 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

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