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Bush And The Tech Nation 486

Posted by JonKatz
from the -tech-issues-and-the-new-govt- dept.
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, Everything2.com, the vines.com, freenet, Plastic.com 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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Bush and Tech, Inaugural Edition

Comments Filter:
  • I see 1st Ammendment rights coming under fire, but the tech. side doing well.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:32AM (#487971)
    No government that approves the merger of AOL and Time Warner can possibly propose the breakup of Micorosft.
  • Sales of spell checking software will skyrocket!

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

    -Emperor Bush

  • by rw2 (17419) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:38AM (#487977) Homepage
    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...

    --

  • by stepson (33039) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:39AM (#487979) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Matt2000 (29624) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:40AM (#487980) Homepage

    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.

  • by Dj (224) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:41AM (#487981) Homepage
    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?"!

  • According to this concise statement of principles [quorum.org], Bush is for:
    • Investing "$400 million to create and maintain more than 2,000 community technology centers every year" (georgewbush.com, 9/23)
    • a "five year extension of the Internet tax moratorium" (georgewbush.com, 9/23)
    • Expanding efforts to bring government services onto the Internet (georgewbush.com, 9/23)
    This is what I expect from him, although he is not off to a good start [wired.com] on the third point.
  • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:42AM (#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.

  • here is a zdnet article from last September.
    they also talk about Bush's Information Technology Steering Committee

    see http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2630 070,00.html [zdnet.com]
  • by hrieke (126185) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:44AM (#487989) Homepage
    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!).
  • by Docrates (148350) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:46AM (#487992) Homepage
    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):

    RU-486?

    No, I'm Pentium.

  • 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 [mikegallay.com]
  • by coats (1068) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:46AM (#487995) Homepage
    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.
  • by Zaphod B (94313) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:46AM (#487996) Journal

    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.

  • 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.

    ---
  • 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
  • by Smallest (26153) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:47AM (#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)

    -c

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:50AM (#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.

  • 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....

  • Well my predictions are that This [uni-bielefeld.de], rubberhose [rubberhose.org] and this [google.com] 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.
  • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:55AM (#488018) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.) :)

  • 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.
    ---
  • To the mo' who marked that flame bait.

    Let me explain the difference.

    Flamebait:

    "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.

    --

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:58AM (#488024) Homepage
    "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:
    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-4288788.htm l

    -B
  • 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 [tjhsst.edu]. 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.

  • 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.

  • by bluGill (862) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:00AM (#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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    IHBT

  • 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.

  • *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.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:09AM (#488055) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by BitMan (15055) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:10AM (#488058) Homepage

    Agreed.

    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 [lyx.org], 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

  • 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.

    --

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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. (http://www.vote-smart.org 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.


    ~wog

  • 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.
  • by photon317 (208409) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:17AM (#488072)
    It bothers me that the Free Software Hacker world is so incredibly anti-Repbulican. I understand the reasons stated in the article, and certainly both political parties make a lot of mistakes in our eyes, but let me remind you of what my political ideals are, and why that makes me vote republican, even though I'm a slashdot-reading, FSF-supporting, Kernel-modifying fool:

    To me, one of the metrics of political ideology in a America (and perhaps the most important one) is the Left/Right one. Of the many issues that seperate the two, one large, overriding issue is how power and morality are controlled.

    Overall, the Left moves in the direction of a lot of personal Liberty in the areas of Morality, but a lot of centralized power/money in the government. The Right, of course, moves in the direction of a lot of centralized control of the nation's Morality in the government, and a lot of personal freedom/liberty/power, thus reducing that of the government. Please don't argue this with me unless you are sure you know what you're talking about, I've researched extensively without listnening to anyone's propoganda.

    My personal political ideology of choice is Libertarian. The gist of that view is that this country is founded upon the rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" so long as you don't infringe on the same rights of another person. I feel that the Constitution was designed to protect these ideals. I feel that in respect to our current state, the Libertarian view would want us to reduce laws against drugs, gun ownership, crypto use, and many others - as wells get rid of the IRS and try to find some sane way for the reduced government to get the money it needs.

    However, the Libertarian Party hs never produced a candidate I would call anything but ridiculuous, and the Republican party is far closer to my ideals than the Democrats, so I vote for them (in general... I will always vote against a complete loser, regardless of party).

    I feel that it is vitally important that if we want our Hacker ways to get out to the world, we have to stop the concentration of power and money in the government. We also need to stop the execessive restrictions on our freedoms.

    The reason that those in the Right direction of politics has made many bad decisions for the techies of world is because the individual people in power are ignorant of our thoughts. I fully believe that their ideology is the one we can benefit from the most... but they are still stuck in an old world. They'll come around and see what we have in common with them in time. If you leave the Left in power, they _will_ take your freedom to program, they will take your freedom to encrypt, and they will turn us into the world's newest socialist/fascist country if given enough rope to hang us with.

    I believe too much of our community has been blinded by a Left that has been in power and infiltrating media organizations. CNN is their lapdog. Even if you are of Left ideology and don't much care, be realistic and realize that fact.

    Please don't respond just to flame me, or to start some political science debate. This is my opinion, and I think I'm in the minority enough here that I can make a good one-sided rant without providing the other side's view - it has been expressed enough.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:17AM (#488074) Homepage Journal
    am I wrong here or does it matter about didly squat what you're newly elected officials over at the whitehouse give a shit about a decision that has already been passed down even if it is in appeal? If so, I truely have to fear for your system of government where the courts are bought and sold so readily.
  • Hum I think he is not even smart enough to be evil. Being evil requires a minimum of intelligence. Bush is probably not evil, but his ignorance and stupidy will cause great evil (and let evil people like Ashcroft do their dirty work).

    Anyone remember the movie "Los Angeles 2019" from John Carpenter ? A biggot (obviously republican) president has taken over America, suppresed civil liberties and imposed an heavy religious control over the country... Bush & Ashcroft are a bit early but will nicely make this scenario possible.
    • Democrats: "All Guns Should Come With Trigger Locks" -- because consumers are "too stupid" to decide for themselves whether or not to buy one of the numerous, existing handguns with a trigger lock

    -- Bryan "TheBS" Smith

  • Wow, I think the last of the people to actual look at slashdot for journalism was converted.

    Welcome to the slashdot-isn't-journalism club ;)

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

    I don't know if that's necessarily true; it's not against the law to have a monopoly, it's just against the law to use it to drive out competition. I think it would be perfectly logical to allow the merger, with the understanding if they abused it the Justice Department would come down hard on them.

    Of course, now that the Republicans stole the Presidency, they have much smoother sailing.
    --
  • I'm not as much worried about the tech side of things as I am about abortion and the death penalty in America. I heard recently that Emperor Bush stopped funds going to countries that allow abortion -- um, hello, look in your backyard, asshole. It isn't the President's place to make moral decisions for the American people, and we should keep it that way. I don't agree with late-term abortion - but I also don't think it's my place to decide what happens in a perfect stranger's uterus. Past this, if we make abortion illegal, then it'll still happen - except it won't be in a sterile, healthy environment, it will be in a back alley with a coat hanger. It happened before it was legalized (decriminalized? I forget.)

    Yeah, sorry about the rant... just needed a forum to express my views.

  • by Apotsy (84148)
    Gore talked about it, but didn't do much.

    That pretty much sums up the way Gore dealt with every issue. By the time this election came around, many people had had enough of his sorry ass. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why he lost the election (and yes, he did lose -- the ongoing press/student recounts in Florida have not given him the victory everyone thought he had).

  • I'm sure you'll be more than happy to elucidate exactly what's going on in Putin's mind.

    Frankly, things are getting a bit too interesting over there. Consider, for instance, NTV -- the only major private television network in Russia, apparently. Gusinksy, NTV's CEO is currently being held in, IIRC, Spain, under embezzlement charges; in the current situation, it rather looks like Gazprom, the Government-dominated gas company, will end up with the lion's share of NTV.

    A former spook with what could amount to a state television network? Interesting. But there's more.

    They're still opposing the sanctions on Iraq, they've been active trying to regain influence via arms trading, they're defaulting on loan payments while not being particularly cooperative with embezzlement and corruption issues of their own (such as the official who was recently apprehended by the FBI, on a Swiss warrant), and so forth.

    You can safely bet that they'll continue trying to regain stature, opposing U.S. and NATO policy wherever convenient, and always looking out for their own interests -- which are often NOT coincident with our own.

    The President, therefore, cannot be sure that they are really a friendly state.

    As for Cuba and Iraq, have you not heard of sanctions, for instance? Helms-Burton, the no-fly zone (over northern and southern parts of Iraq), and so forth? Aarrrrgh. You must not read newspapers at ALL...
  • not to mention the ex-CEO who claims he is not a monopoly to every newspaper in town and at a congressional hearing. Even though he controls 90% marketshare and, well, read the tag line: They make 24% profits on sales. Everyone else in free competitive markets is making 3 to 5% profit on sales.
  • Governments SHOULD be run by boring, rich old men. Perhaps the apathy felt by the lower income folks will inspire them to stop waiting for the next miracle hand-out and get on with their lives. Is it so much better to have an Office full of Beautiful People dazzling them with empty promises of miraculous hand-outs in return for their votes?

  • Drop what charges?!?! The case is over! Man, what is the deal with you people. They've been found guilty, they have received sentence. You're not saying this government is going to drop any charges, what you are saying is that this newly elected government is going to pardon them. So basically what you're saying is that you can buy pardons in your country? Man, now that's capitialism.
  • Jon, while I know you're pretty gloomy about the prospects of 'net freedom under Bush, I think you're forgetting two things.

    First, the ultimate protector of free speech (the first principle of 'net freedom) is the Supreme Court. Even if Congress passes stupid laws abridging freedom, the Supreme Court can strike them down.

    Second, Bush has stated that he will appoint justices who take a strict, constructionist view of the Constitution. In other words, freedom of speech means freedom of speech. None of this "except when it might offend people" crap...

    The Constitution and a Supreme Court willing to enforce it are all the 'net really needs.
  • If nothing else, they [The Clinton administration] 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.

    They seemed to be grasping more than implications 'round the West Wing [worldnetdaily.com]

    "You mean I can get pictures of Britney Spears nekkid? That there Inter-web-thingy is great!"

  • by knurr (161310) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:44AM (#488114) Homepage
    And I quote "there's Dubya, the self-proclaimed "Great Uniter," who's not even inaugurated yet, making the surprisingly underreported statement before a collection of rights groups, "You people have to understand we're the ones in power now and we're going to do what we want." (Apparently Dubya thinks "president" is synonymous with "king.") Who wants to be known as "the law and order president" in an era when crime is way down from the heights it was at during the last Republican administration. Who has stated, in the face of parodies, that there ought to be limits to freedom. Who wants to turn the foreign aid budget entirely over to private groups like Worldvision to dispense, unanswerable, per their own agenda. Whose candidate for secretary of the interior favors the far right (and misnamed) "property rights" movement, at the expense of our national parks. Who's pushing an extremist attorney general who has proclaimed the king of America is Jesus (I'm sure the Jews, Moslems, Buddhists and Hindus will be happy to hear about that), who cut the legs out from under the appointment of a black judge because the man questioned one death penalty conviction in his entire bench career, who has consistently promoted the most devisive form of states rights against the power of the federal government yet wants to use federal power to universally banish abortion in the country, whose favors for political cronies have been a consistent argument for campaign finances reform, and who, the President-Elect insists is "a model of integrity." While we get this little song and dance about unity, you can hardly miss the background scritching of power broker knives being sharpened to carve up the government in a frenzy unheard of... well, since the Reagan-Bush era, because, like Reagan, Jr. is going to be perfectly happy to let his amok advisors do his thinking for him, the exact same way he ran his campaign. (And, hanging chads aside, anyone who doesn't get a considerable jolt of suspicion from the fact that his brother runs the state that squeaked him in just hasn't been living in this country since 1963.) " Master Of The Obvious [Commentary] - 1-17-01 by Steven Grant With this current administration there are going to be so many limits we will be crying for clinton, sure he may have had some 'isssues' but she did not want to silence people. I mean the whole jessie jackson thing, why before the ignauguration.???
  • You clearly haven't read or thought much about this.

    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.
    This statement is false in every one of its clauses.

    The Gov't sued IBM as early as the 50s and were hard at it again in the 70s for violations of IBMs earlier consent decree. Result: a very cautious IBM that legally had to create their personal computer platform as open to participation by other companies as possible, specifically OS + software.

    The tying of hardware and software was what IBM was in legal trouble for. Further missteps could have brought about the split up of the company. This is why the door was open to a nonentity like Microsoft. IBM had to have software participation from outside.
    Without antitrust litigation against big blue, you probably would never have even heard of Bill Gates.

    Don't think Bill doesn't thank God every morning for antitrust law - it has made him the richest man in the world.

    And don't think IBM didn't benefit from antitrust law as well, without repeated antitrust prosecutions of National Cash Register co. IBM would have never got its start. Thos. J. Watson, founder of IBM, was a lifer at NCR having come up from the bottom as a clerk. NCR's unwillingness to learn from past legal brushes with antitrust laws -which was in no small part Watson's own unwillingness since he was one of the top dogs there- created an opportunity for new startup companies. NCR was placed under a restraining judgement that only expired in the 1980s. Interesting sidenote - the principle shareholder John Patterson and Thom Watson were initially sentenced to jail terms for their predatory anticompetitive practices. Watson jumped in 1918 and started the company later called IBM (for the first few years it had a long name like International Recording and Calculating Machine Company). Notice that IBM did not repeat NCR's mistake in believing it could safely ignore court judgements. IBMs own consent decree is almost over and they have survived in far better shape than NCR.

    Antitrust litigations like the case against MS are not wasted money. Far from it. They generally are brought only in extreme cases and result in a re-vitalized marketplace with actual competition between players. How many times have you heard people say that, absent the prosecution against MS it would be highly unlikely that OEMs like Dell and Compaq would dare to do anything with the Linux OS for the enterprise market (which is so coveted by Billgatus)?

    So unless you like the idea of:
    One oil company that supplies your gasoline, heating oil, natural gas and raw materials for plastics and fertilizers, and decides what they cost.
    One phone company that supplies long distance as well as local, and meters your internet access.
    One computer company that owns your data and decides how often you pay to replace every piece of equipment you operate.
    One copier company that decides independently what you will pay for copying and electronic forms of printing.
    ....And so on,
    Respect your country's time-tested antitrust laws and see to it the are properly applied when warranted and not undermined.

  • Call me a non-realist in a state of bliss, but I just don't see something like that happening. If not just because the world of technology is a lot different now then it was a decade ago when a different Bush was president, then most certainly because technology as a whole is embedded in our culture, our lifestyle, and our commerce.
    ________
  • by small_dick (127697) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:46AM (#488120)
    wroooooooooong.

    IBM settled with the government, and had to accept severe resrictions on their behavior (which was even worse than MS').

    Sun, SGI, Microsoft and Apple would not have existed without that case.

    Microsoft has refused to settle, even though the evidence is overwhelming.

    IBM is doing fine today, and there is a lot of choice.

    The last part of your post is also wrong...you imply the population is responsible for monopolies, which is backwards. The population can't opt out of a monopoly if there is no choice.

    Example : if many employers force employees to log in from home, as part of their job, and have an exchange server, the choices are : use MS at work and home or starve. And that, my friend, is exactly what Bill Gates wants, and what the government must stop.

  • what case? What are you talking about? The "case" is over. Are they going to drop the appeal? Good! Are you trying to tell us that on his first week in office dubya is gunna stand up on national television and sign a pardon for Microsoft? Please tell me in what, actual, legal, constitutional way Bush's administration is going to reverse the wheels of justice that have declared Microsoft to be a monopoly that has violated anti-trust laws?
  • Yes, you're bang-on here.

    If everyone would read the Constitution and learn a little economics, the world would be a much better place...
  • Under Clinton/Gore, most techies thought they could achieve something, so they waited. Under Bush/Cheney, they will reroute around the damage, do cloning and genetic research in the UK, France, and other countries, and hackers will take no quarter.

    The great Privacy Wars will start, as the idealistic Freemen start their CyberJihad against the Old Fogies of the Cheneyites, resulting in the sidelining of politics as a useful social class and the resurgance of Americans as those who fight against all odds for Freedom.

    At first betrayed by the CipherMole Jon of the Katz, who shall rival Benedict Arnold in his duplicity when he takes a job as staff tech policy writer for the Bush/Cheney White House, the movement shall reorganize around a truer and cleaner Open Source Revolutionary Model and ultimately triumph.

    Don't compile until you see the bytes of their i++ statements!

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:55AM (#488127)
    Normally I like Katz articles. However, in this case he seems to have the same failing that many other posters here have - that because you understand technology, you have its best interests at heart.

    He kind of struggles around this issue, noting that under Clinton we got the DMCA - "but at least they understood techology!" He cries. So what? Gore FULLY supported the Clipper chip (which Katz shrugs off as being obviosuly unconstitutional, so it didn't even matter that it was supported), do you think our personal privacy would have been in better shape under a Gore administration who knew technically how to take away our rights, of under a Bush administration who may not quite understand how best to keep them?

    Bush has always been a strong advocate for personal privacy, and I expect that to continue. Perhaps corperations might have an easier time overall (though I'm not yet sure that's true) but at least there might be tougher laws about companies storing data about us.

    Of course, I really wish Brown would have won but given the options, we have the next best thing to ensure some degree of electronic rights and privacy.

    Also - one last dig. Look at this quote from the article:

    They don't deal with technology, perhaps more educationally significant [than literacy] in the long run.

    Now I'm a huge fan of technology in schools and education. But even I will admit that it's probably better that kids understand what all those squiggly lines are on the screen before they learn how to flash-update a bios.

    Sure, we might see more huffing about "morality" on the internet - but what has that really done before? Also remember that we have a very balanced congress and house now, so any truly wacky proposials are unlikley to go anywhere.

  • Nothing came of the IBM case? Wrong! During the course of the case, IBM was forced to be very careful about abusing its monopoly power. Were it not for that the invisible hand may not have been able to force its will, or could have taken much longer to do so.

    Even if Microsoft isn't broken up, this case has forced them to cool their heels for a few years, and in that time competition has started to gain at least a foothold in the market. It will still be difficult to topple this giant just as it was with IBM, but the power of the Justice Department to prosecute monopoly abuse will help keep that abuse in check. Microsoft was a bit more arrogant than IBM was, and they got bitchsmacked in court. Now they're taking it much more carefully. The warning has been made, and every market-controlling company out there knows that if they get too greedy and don't back down when the government comes after them, they could suffer an even worse fate.
  • by MrBud (261721) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:58AM (#488130)
    The Right, of course, moves in the direction of a lot of centralized control of the nation's Morality in the government, and a lot of personal freedom/liberty/power, thus reducing that of the government.

    I really don't understand how you see this. Do you not realise, that any Forced "Morality" comes at a loss of individual freedom?

    I feel that it is vitally important that if we want our Hacker ways to get out to the world, we have to stop the concentration of power and money in the government. We also need to stop the execessive restrictions on our freedoms.

    Are you sure you voted for the right canidate? Now, I could understand if you were comparing Democrats and Republicans, in which case, you might be right. But you're comparing liberals and republicans. Reps. and Dems. don't exactly have the best rack record on leaving us be. The balence of freedom depends on The right of person A to annoy, and the right of person B NOT to BE annoyed. The trend with republicans tends to be to restrict what annoys them (Violence and Nuditiy) and push what they like (Christianity, nuking seperation of church and state).

    bah.

  • He talks about being a uniter. Traditionally the way politicans did this was to create something that distracted people away from politics and got them arguing over something else.

    Thatcher did this in Britan by blowing a small diplomatic incident in the Falklands into a war. Before this she was deemed to be one of the worst prime ministers Britan had, and was about to lose an election so bad, the liberals would probably have been the second party.

    I see this in Bush's missile shield plan. Who exactly is he trying to shield America from? USSR is split up; most of those countries don't have the money to keep thier people fed never mind developing and upkeeping ICBMs. China needs the US to keep money going into the country. It's a ploy to distract people from the more thorny issues.

    Bush may well prove to be the bait and switch president.
  • by Masem (1171) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:06AM (#488137)
    It bothers me that the Free Software Hacker world is so incredibly anti-Repbulican.

    It's not that most OSS advocates are anti-Republican, but it's just that we are anti-partisian politics. We carry no party label, and only identify with candidates based on issues and not a word or title.

    Last election, most people that read /. probably votes for Nader, Browne, or one of the independant parties. I voted for Nader, not because I consider myself a Green party person (as I do have qualms with some of their ideals), but because I believe that Nader would fix issues that I have with our current government in terms of corruption and outside influences from corporate America, based on the various platform speeches that he gave. Others chose their own candidates in the same way. Unfortunately, the other 95% of voters in the states tend to identify with a party and go straight ticket, even if the ticket conflicts with ideals.

    Like I and others have said, political parties are akin to organized religion : it's equivalent of mass mind control. People want the easy way to success, whether in this life or the next, and to completely identity with one of a few alternative choices out there is much easier than having to decide for yourself how to vote or to think.

  • by Ruger (237212) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:06AM (#488138) Homepage
    ...you missed the mark here:

    IBM bought by Microsoft for there OS/2 technology - Balmer says "Maybe Bill was right after all!" - Bush says "OK!" - Funny, but very unlikely.

    In 2000 Micro$oft's Revenue was only $23B (Income=$9B), while IBM's Revenue in 2000 was $88B. I suggest the following, possibly as funny, certainly more possible...bear in mind I didn't say likely, scenerio... :^)

    IBM buys Microsoft and halts all shipments of Windows to Dell and Gateway. IBM becomes the #1 PC manufacturer and supplier. The justice department thanks IBM for taking care of their Microsoft problem.

    Ruger
  • by JeffL (5070) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:09AM (#488140) Homepage
    Hollywood and the record industry hate him and give lots of money to the Democrats.

    This is only partially true. According to Open Secrets [opensecrets.org] the TV/Movie/Music industry gave $21.6 million to the Dems and $13.4 million to the GOP in 2000.

    The breakdown of the contributors is also interesting TV/Movie/Music "production" groups gave much more heavily to the Dems than the GOP, but Cable/TV/Radio stations/owners gave more heavily to the GOP than the Dems.

    Basically, this industry is doing what many others have done for many years, which is give to both parties, that way they are covered no matter who wins.

  • not to mention the ex-CEO who claims he is not a monopoly to every newspaper in town and at a congressional hearing. Even though he controls 90% marketshare and, well, read the tag line: They make 24% profits on sales. Everyone else in free competitive markets is making 3 to 5% profit on sales.

    Book stores make 40-60% profit on sales.

    Grocery stores tend to make 20-30%.

    Nice try, though.

    --

  • When a truly enlightened dissident is faced with such a seemly insurmountable political foe as John Katz sees the new administration as being, they do the honorable thing and protest. Those truly devoted to the cause set themselves on fire ala Falun Gong. Please Jon set yourself on fire.
  • when i say "religious schools" i mean "schools that teach religion".

    in many cases, these schools are exempt from state certification.

    i would be adamantly against such schools receiving any dollars from taxpayers.

    OTOH, if the instructors and school meet (or hopefully exceed) the same kind of certification requirements as public schools, i'm fine with that.

  • It's merely a symbolic gesture. The US has not given money to groups outside the US who perform or endorse abortions since 1973. The media is falsly implying that this gesture actually has an effect. It does not.

    'Uniting not Dividing' means bringing the two sides together on issues where there is some common ground. It doesn't mean ignoring controversial issues or pandering to the left.

    One side or another is going to see this as a 'slap in the face', it's logical and expected that Bush did this because it goes along with his beliefs.
  • Unfortunately, the other 95% of voters in the states tend to identify with a party and go straight ticket, even if the ticket conflicts with ideals. Like I and others have said, political parties are akin to organized religion : it's equivalent of mass mind control. People want the easy way to success, whether in this life or the next, and to completely identity with one of a few alternative choices out there is much easier than having to decide for yourself how to vote or to think.

    I agree, well said

    However, I don't believe we have a choice. The political power structures in this country are very well established, and I don't believe the grass-roots parties will ever overtake them. That in mind, I pick the best of the two for my ideology, hoping to get them in better power, since they would be easier swayed in my direction.

  • >it always cracks me up that the people willing to cast aspersions on Bush's intellect are the same people
    who were bitching and moaning that the florida ballots were too confusing.
    Where did I mention the Florida ballots? I know who *I* voted for...

    it always amuses me that people who pick on other people around here are the same people that aren't willing to back up their comments. Stupid ACs.
    --
  • One of my great frustrations is that the Right, as you call it, is still able to convince people that it fights for "a lot of personal freedom/liberty/power, thus reducing that of the government" just by saying it's so. It seems clear to me that the Right is just lying in this regard. The Right is always fond of tougher drug laws, bigger prisons, more spying technologies, fewer available abortion options, and less free access to the 'Net. The Left, exemplified by Gore, cut a record amount of beauracratic regulations and gets no credit for it. If the Right wants more people in federally-run prisons, and the Left wants more people in fedrally-run health care programs, I'll take the latter every time.

    Look, I used to be a registered Libertarian myself. I could never vote for a Republican, because I just don't ever see them actually taking action to increase personal freedoms... just the opposite. And regardless of their rhetoric.

    Furthermore, it's amazing that you think CNN is a leftie lapdog. Did you see the live inauguration coverage this weekend? It's apparent they fawned over Bush's ceremony, dismissing and even muting out the protestors in DC during the parade footage.

    Frankly, I've always thought that the critical weakness of the Left is its inability to really lie without shame. In this regard it will always be at a tactical disadvantage.

  • Once again, the spectre of silly cyberlibertarianism raises its wooly head. You know, you can't hide behind the word "opinion" and expect people to take you seriously. If you weren't interested in getting a response, why the hell did you post?

    Anyway, you're not in the minority on /.--there are plenty of opinionated folks on here who voted for Harry Browne and can't explain why. Also - "a Left that has been in power and infiltrating media organizations" ? How can you even write that with a straight face?! Check the policy record, and you'll find that Bill Clinton's policies over the past eight years are more conservative than Richard Nixon's were!! Moreover, the television media organizations are owned by a few multinationals who have a much greater effect on editorial slant than the shmoe reporters who you see on CNN--witness the coverage of the Bush inauguration vs. the noncoverage of the huge inagural protests. And hey, if you don't like CNN, check out *MS*NBC (Microsoft owned and ergo slanted slightly pro-Bush) or Fox News Network (owned by RUPERT MURDOCH, noted rabid right-wing nut). If you can't stand Ted Turner's faux-left network, there are plenty of conservative voices for you to choose from.

    Finally, I'm glad you think your "freedom to encrypt" is safer now that "the Left" is out of "power" -- you should probably note, though, that the export controls on PGP were lifted *well before* Bush was handed the election by the Supreme Court.

    --J
  • I expect that this is exactly what will happen. The moment he gets into ecomomic or other difficulties that weaken his chances of reelection, the US will find a reason to go to war against some small, relatively weak nation (so there is no chance of loosing - bad PR) and that will draw the public's attention away. It worked for his dad in the Gulf and it worked for Clinton in the Balkans, and it will work for the latest American Emperor "Dubya". Its beginning to look like US Big Business has bought just the politician it wanted.

  • by WillSeattle (239206) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:27AM (#488166) Homepage
    A number of reasons for this:

    1. Tech stocks are priced too high. Even now. Look, when I buy a stock, I expect a P/E (future) of between 12 and 30. Stocks with P/E of 60 or more are priced to the concept that they will explode geometrically, with nary a hiccup.

    2. Tech CEOs gave equally to Dems and Republicans, unlike other industries which gave mostly to Republicans. For this reason they must pay. Even Bill G did this. No easy access to the gravy train for them.

    3. The True West (California, Oregon, Washington) voted against Bush. They must pay, and Cheney will make sure they do. Never mind that they're 25 to 30 percent of the US population and create more than half the goods we export. They will suffer.

  • I'm sick and tired of the right ranting about small government and then pulling shit like that.

    In [backhanded] defense of dubya, the right wasn't even pushing small government this election. In his campaign, dubya did not propose to cut a single government program. Smaller government has been a major campaign issue of Republicans in the past, but they seem to have dropped it completely in the 2000 election.

    Of course, this caused many people (such as myself) who do want smaller government to vote for Harry Browne.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:30AM (#488170) Homepage Journal
    Gee, U.S. Senator Herbert Kohl doesn't seem to think so. You can read it for yourself:

    KOHL: Mr. Gates, last year, what were your company's sales? Was it 14 billion roughly?

    GATES: Well, which 12-month period are you asking about?

    KOHL: Any -- just, what your last fiscal year.

    GATES: Well, 12.4 annual.

    KOHL: And what were your profits?

    GATES: Let's see. I don't know off the top of my head.

    (LAUGHTER)

    KOHL: Do you know what your percentage on sales were, the profit on percentage on sales?

    GATES: Yeah. It would be something like 24 percent.

    KOHL: Right.

    Now, for the information of the people who are listening. That is an extraordinary profit level in America. I would defy you to come up with any major company in any major industry that makes that kind of money. In the retailing industry, for example, if you make 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 percent on sales, it's considered to be very successful. And other industries are not that dissimilar.

    Now, I would suggest that as reasonable as you consider your prices to be, you could cut your profit in half and still make an awful lot of money on sales and give that money to your customers and still be a very successful company.

    Do you have a response?

    GATES: We -- Microsoft software prices -- the average price we get for our software packages has come down quite substantially over the years. And I think, you know, we do have competitors who wish our prices weren't so low. But I tend to favor your approach which is to get the prices to be even lower. I think that's absolutely right.

    BARKSDALE: Mr. Kohl, excuse me.

    You have quite a bit of margin there to work with, Mr. Gates, at 24.5 percent on sales. You can do an awful lot of price cutting yet.

    Could it possibly be that the senator was talking about real companies in real industries that make billions of dollars a year and not two bit dime stores? I've shown my cards, where's yours?

  • by drox (18559) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:31AM (#488172)
    I fail to see why trying to align technology to moral standards should a bad thing...

    When you do it, it's not a bad thing.

    When I do it, it's not a bad thing.

    When you do it, and try to force me to adopt those same moral standards, it's a bad thing.

    When the government (or Microsoft) does it, it's a very bad thing, because they're quite capable of forcing people to do their bidding.
  • by west (39918) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @09:32AM (#488174)

    >> They make 24% profits on sales. Everyone else in free competitive markets is making 3 to 5% profit on sales.


    > Book stores make 40-60% profit on sales. Grocery stores tend to make 20-30%.


    I'm going to assume stupidity instead of malice.

    You are quoting gross margins. i.e. a books costs a bookstore between 40 and 60% of the price that it sells it for.
    The previous poster is quoting profit, i.e. what's left after you pay rent, employees, marketing and everything else.

    The two are in no way comparable, except that they are both quoted in dollars :-).
    Most bookstores I know about are making between -3% to +5% profit. I don't know about groceries. As for software, gross margins are about 95%. Software boxes don't cost an awful lot.

  • > let me remind you of what my political ideals are, and why that makes me vote republican, even though I'm a slashdot-reading, FSF-supporting, Kernel-modifying fool:

    I'll throw in one more thing to support the guy's argument: Government-imposed moral codes require the threat of force. The force requires human (cops, judges, etc.) backing. Human backing requires money.

    It doesn't matter whether the moral code to be imposed is that of the left ("You will show compassion to the idle poor by paying higher taxes to support them") or the right ("You will obey the Laws of the Most High God"), it all comes down to government programmes, and those all require funding.

    The current left-wing agenda (Clinton/Gore) is self-reinforcing because it's self-financing. Most of the rhetoric about the "responsibility" that the Haves have towards the Have-Nots centers about how to expand government's financial take, in order to fill some dream of a great utopian wonderland. The take has to expand; the expanding take is a means to an end.

    The current right-wing agenda (Bush/umm...Shrub :-) is not self-reinforcing. Cutting taxes and government programmes eventually leaves a government starved for cash. A cash-starved government is inherently less able to bring about social change of any type; it costs money to put the Ten Commandments in every school, or whatever other idiocy comes to mind, damnit. But if the government seriously starts to reduce its take, it will ultimately find itself faced with the choice of funding (some Left-wing "enemy" like the military) or the goofy morality programmes.

    But if (as the left suggests) the end goal of the evil corporatist bastidges is to increase social inequiality through cutting government spending, the total take has to drop. (And speaking as one of them eeeevul corporatist bastidges, I know where I'd cut first... and it ain't the military that's gettin' cut when it comes to that choice ;-)

  • _Which_ bookstores? Certainly not the little local ones with the weird collections of books - most of them are living hand to mouth.
  • The public backlash of squashing the breakup would lead to Gore in 2004.

    Bush can't abandon something that has received so much popular media attention, and has been so well received by the general public. Microsoft's high-tech opponents would also lend their own PR to the campaign to continue the breakup plans.

    Money and lobbying is one thing - going against public opinion is another, and makes politicians think twice. Bush is a politician as much as anyone else; he wants to save his backside for the next election.

    Besides - doesn't everyone realize that breaking up large companies like Microsoft actually creates far more value than it destroys? Gates is playing the public for suckers - he WANTS the breakup.

    E.g. Standard Oil. AT&T and regional bells.

    In both cases, the pieces came to represent market value far in excess of the assembled whole. When it comes to market cap of monopolistic companies, market value works opposite of Gestalt.

    The only reason why Gates is fighting the breakup, is because of the sheep-mentality that investors have, thinking that one company is more valuable. They do not realize the truth, so unless Gates wants a market value collapse and shaken confidence in his leadership abilities, he will continue to hide his cards, pretend to fight the breakup, and just coast into his new, greater wealth.

    Even AT&T is breaking itself up again, and already the parts are more valuable than when the company was one.

    Remember one more thing: Gates is an incredibly cunning businessman, and has acted in precisely this two-faced manner before... he wants the breakup, and he knows how to make it happen while still making him look like the martyr.
  • Right now, and for the next concievable 20 years, you won't have a 'choice' between the Dem or Rep party. For all pratical purposes, the presidental election is the only time where the American public will wake up to party politics and possibly listen to other points of view, but those other points of view need to have a strong presence to be heard during that election. So you're talking about 4 to 5 election periods that you need to invoke change.

    There's two things working for us (the anti-partisan folks), the fact that the party platforms of the Rep and Dem are getting too large and self-conflicting, and that the 2000 election problems along with a most-likely ineffectualy or disappointing Dubya adminstartion, means that 2004 will be an interesting year for elections. I don't expect a third party to break through any major ground, but at that junction , they just may have the needed 5% to get the funds for 2008. And if they have those funds, assuming they continue to pick strong candidates, that 5% might get to 10% by 2012, and 25% by 2016...

    Which is why if you don't feel you can support either the Dem or Rep candidate in an election, you need to vote for a third party, regardless if he has a chance to win, because it's what will lead us away from a 2party system and a more open government.

  • Bush has officially been in office for 3 days. It takes longer then that for it to become clear what he is really about.

    But during those three days he's already reinstated the global "gag rule" on abortion and declared Jan 21 as a "national day of thanksgiving and prayer".

    To quote the guy on the news last night (sorry, don't know his name): "Bush calls himself a uniter, not a divider, and then runs straight out and takes on the biggest hot-button issue in American politics: abortion."

    He may have only been in for a few days, but he's making a hell of a first impression...

  • Dubya is off to a roaring start. His vision of high-tech social policy comes from the cleaners.

    Gotta love the Republican hippocracy.

    First came the Reagan drug policy. The ultimate in cost reduction. Nancy telling all the kids to"Just Say NO!" Oooo, like THAT was gonna work!

    Now I guess women all over the third world will have to "Just say NO!" Or "NON!" or jabber whatever it is in the "patoi" they use for communication.

    Or maybe we should teach them the virtues of blow jobs: "Just Say MFFF MFFF!"
  • You can find an mp3 clip of Bush saying this here [georgebush2k.org]. This came from an interview on May 21, 1999, during which Bush bitched about a web site [gwbush.com] that was making fun of him. Here is the Dallas Morning News article that reported this:

    Bush criticizes Web site as malicious
    Owner calls it a parody of White House bid
    05/22/99

    By Wayne Slater / The Dallas Morning News

    AUSTIN - Saying "there ought to be limits to freedom," Gov. George W. Bush has filed a legal complaint against the owners of a Web site that lampoons his White House bid.

    The designer of the unofficial Bush site described it on Friday as a parody and said the governor is trying to limit what is written about him on the Internet.

    But Mr. Bush, a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, had harsh words Friday for the site (www.gwbush.com), which offers mock interviews and policy initiatives on drugs and crime.

    "There's a lot of garbage in politics, and, obviously, this is a garbage man," said Mr. Bush.

    Attorneys for the Bush presidential exploratory committee have filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission seeking to have the owners post a disclaimer identifying who built the site and who is paying for it.

    "It [the site] is filled with libelous and untrue statements whose aim is to damage Governor Bush," the campaign said in its letter to the FEC. "The headline of the site is, 'Just Say No to Former Cocaine User for President.' This site's innuendoes and false statements attack the governor's positions on tough standards for convicted drug dealers."

    Karen Hughes, a Bush campaign spokeswoman, said the site so closely resembles the official Bush campaign site (www.georgewbush.com) that people could be confused. Ms. Hughes said the unofficial site urges people to vote against Mr. Bush, making it subject to federal disclosure requirements.

    Sites that are strongly critical of candidates but do not urge voters to take action are exempt from federal rules.

    Frank Guerrero, a spokesman for the designer, said the site is meant to poke fun at Mr. Bush by comparing what he calls his "youthful indiscretions" with his tough-on-crime policies as an adult.

    He said the site does not advocate the defeat of any candidate and is such a clear parody that no one would confuse it for the real Bush campaign Web page.

    "We're not affiliated with any other campaign," said Mr. Guerrero of the site's designer, Rtmark, a loose-knit group of corporate critics. "In fact, we see ourselves as completely nonpartisan."

    The FEC confirmed Friday that it had received a complaint but declined to discuss the case, citing agency rules.

    Ron Harris, an FEC spokesman, said the commission has not dealt with many Internet-related complaints and the current case could break new legal ground on how the Web is governed under campaign laws.

    The unofficial Bush site has a photo of Mr. Bush and a banner that reads, "Presidential Exploratory Committee."

    It includes a mock initiative dubbed "Amnesty 2000," which suggests Mr. Bush would pardon prisoners convicted of drug crimes if they have "grown up."

    As a potential presidential candidate, Mr. Bush has declined "to catalogue my youthful indiscretions," saying that he has learned from his mistakes.

    The site also pokes fun at Mr. Bush's characterization of himself as a "compassionate conservative."

    "G.W. Bush has indeed been forgiven again and again by others. First there was his rambunctious youth," the site says.

    "Then, as an unsuccessful Texas businessman, he was bailed out with millions of dollars from friends of his vice president father. As president, G.W. Bush wants to create an America in which everyone gets as much forgiveness and as many chances to grow up as he had."

    The Bush campaign filed an initial complaint about the look-alike Bush site in April. Mr. Guerrero said changes were made so it would look less like the official site, but Bush campaign lawyers filed a second complaint with the FEC this month demanding a disclaimer and disclosure of funding sources.

    "We appreciate humor. We appreciate parody. George Bush is known for his sense of humor," said Ms. Hughes. "But there's a difference between expressing opinion, poking fun and breaking the law."

    Mr. Guerrero estimated about $70 had been spent to construct the site. He said the money came from Zack Exley, a Massachusetts computer consultant who initially registered and maintains the gwbush.com site.

    Bush campaign political consultant Karl Rove has purchased at least 60 domain names that include the Bush name in an apparent attempt to curtail other anti-Bush site-makers.

    "We've put out a request for domain names for [Vice President Al] Gore as well," said Mr. Guerrero. "We're trying to be bipartisan."

    Staff writer Andy Dworkin in Dallas contributed to this story.

  • I am not scared of their babies!

    You should be. They will breathe your air and eat your food. When they grow up they will need a place to live and try to eke out a living, so they will cut down rainforests. They will need water to drink and for irrigation, so they will drain aquifers. Maybe they will hear about how much better things are in your country, move there, and start doing your job for 1/4 the pay. Be afraid of their babies. Be very afraid.

    There are too many people on this rock now, and revoking funds for population control (contraception too, not just abortions!) is the worst thing that could be done.

    Ironically, Bush's policy will probably result in more abortions. Without readily available contraception (most of which is distributed by organizations that support legal abortion) third-world women will risk their lives obtaining unsafe, illegal abortions. Many will die in the process (complications from unsafe abortions are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age in many parts of the world). How "pro-life" is that?
  • Those truly devoted to the cause set themselves on fire ala Falun Gong. Please Jon set yourself on fire.

    Jon would never set himself on fire - it would cause too much air pollution and might cut down the length of his posts to the point that they become readable.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @11:59AM (#488285) Homepage Journal
    This is the most moronic arguement I have ever heard. Ever. I should frame this. You my friend, are a dickhead. Ok. Let me explain economics 101 to you. The Free Market. The free market encourages competition because it is good for consumers. For example, soap company A sells a product effectively the same as soap company B. Soap company A wants you to buy their product so being that they can't really differentiate their product they reduce their price. You, being a smart consumer, decide to buy A's soap because they are cheaper than B. B see's this and lowers his prices resulting in you buying his product. This little war continues until A and B are selling soap at the bare minimum that they can see it and still make a reasonable profit. Basically the price is forced down until neither A nor B can lower it anymore. You, as a consumer, now have a choice between A's soap or B's soap at a very low price. Whew. Now, let's say that company A becomes the prefered soap company. Consumers have chosen to use company A's soap is the best and that they dont want to buy company B's soap. Company A is said to have a monopoly. That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Now company A knows that they have a monopoly and that people dont care about price anymore. So they start to raise their prices. Some people dont like this and go and buy company B's soap but most people dont care. They're happy with company A's soap and will pay whatever it costs. This is still fine. It's no big deal and it is normal for monopolies to do this. In fact, it is so normal that people claim this is one indicator that a company is "monopolistic" - that is, they are aware of their monopoly and they use this market position. Still fine. This is great. Now that we're up to speed.

    Microsoft claims that they are not a monopoly. They claim this dispite the fact that 90% of PC's have their product installed (ie, they have a dominate market position like soap company A) and they price their product monopolisticly. So do you get it now? The good senator is asking Mr Gates "well if you claim that you're not a monopoly, why is it that you have a market dominance of 90% and you price things so high and make so much profit?"

    Welcome to the conversation, bonehead.
  • by cje (33931) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @12:01PM (#488287) Homepage
    Can you provide a concrete example that conclusively demonstrates the assertation that CNN is "left-leaning?" This is a network, after all, that is home to conservatives like Robert Novak, Tucker Carlson, Rich Lowery, etc. Hell, this is a network that was home to Pat Buchanan, for Christ's sake. It has become clear to me that outraged shouts of "liberal media!" are a knee-jerk reaction from conservatives who cannot believe that respectable media outlets aren't reporting the same things that they heard on Rush Limbaugh or saw on the Drudge Report.

    If you want to hear reports from a former friend of the neighbor of Hillary Clinton's hairdresser about how she once kicked a helpless, sickly dog in anger and then spit on the grave of Abraham Lincoln, you know where to find it. Most of us want a little bit more substance in our news.
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @12:31PM (#488300) Homepage
    But, the media, being Big D Democrats for the most part, will be gunning for Bush.

    OOOooo! That's a bonus I hadn't thought of...

    I personally think the "checks and balances" will be working better than ever this administration:

    • The Legislature is almost exactly divided between lefties and righties. They'll be so busy arguing with each other, they won't have much time to take away as many freedoms over the next four years.
    • The righties know that the very narrow victory Bush got means they'd better be careful or there'll be an outright voting-tantrum next election and we'll be tipped way over to the left, so I suspect most of their "anti-"whatever policies will be mostly limited to "not supporting" rather than "actively resisting/criminalizing".
    • And, as cathryn pointed out, the distinctly left-leaning mainstream media will be scrutinizing the Bush administration VERY closely, so they won't be getting away with nearly as much as the administration they're replacing.

    So, in short, I think US Federal Gov't, inc. will probably be less actively oppressive for the next four years. My opinion, anyway.


    ---
    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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