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Current Topic: Politics and Law

U.S. State Department cringes as presidential hopefuls muddy diplomatic waters - International Herald Tribune
Topic: Politics and Law 9:44 pm EDT, Aug 13, 2007

The State Department has a message for White House candidates wanting to expound on sensitive diplomatic issues: Shut up...

First it was Barack Obama's talk of dialogue with dictators and invading Pakistan to kill Islamist militants, then it was Hillary Rodham Clinton refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to that end. Now, the Democratic front-runners have been joined by radical Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who threatened to bomb Muslim holy sites to stop terror attacks....

"To somehow suggest that an appropriate response to terrorism would be to attack sites that are holy and sacred to more than a billion people throughout the world is just absolutely crazy," he said, denouncing "any suggestion that the defense of the American homeland or the defense of American interests would ever justify attacking holy sites."

Amen....I shudder at the fact that Tom Tancredo actually got elected to Congress.

U.S. State Department cringes as presidential hopefuls muddy diplomatic waters - International Herald Tribune

Schiavo case
Topic: Politics and Law 3:39 pm EST, Mar 21, 2005


Schiavo case

Yahoo! News - Pentagon Stands by Internet Voting System
Topic: Politics and Law 11:26 am EST, Jan 22, 2004

] "Internet voting presents far too many opportunities for
] hackers or even terrorists to interfere with fair and
] accurate voting, potentially in ways impossible to detect,"
] the computer experts said in a statement. "Such tampering
] could alter election results, particularly in close contests."

] "Not only could a political party attempt to manipulate
] an election by attacking SERVE, but so could individual
] hackers, criminals, terrorists, organizations such as the
] Mafia and even other countries," the report said.

... but it seems they are continuing with plans anyway.

I don't get the logic in play here.. If you had asked me several years ago what I thought would happen if these situations came up, I would have said that I'd expect the government to be very conservative when it came to the voting system. I would have though that they would have resisted all this Internet/electronic based voting system stuff way beyond the point where security professionals had given it a clean bill of health.

Why is it so important to have Internet voting systems? If there is reason to believe they are flawed, why still push? There is either a complete disconnect of logic, or other motives in play. I don't see how Florida changed the logic you'd apply to the problem..

Integrity of the voting system should take precedence over connivence, in all cases. No one seems to think any of these systems are secure, except for the people who make them.

Yahoo! News - Pentagon Stands by Internet Voting System

Highly redacted SAIC report on Diebold security
Topic: Politics and Law 12:41 pm EDT, Sep 25, 2003

well the parts they didnt censor are pretty damn Im really worried about the parts they removed...

why again does this need to be censored, if they're going to spend tax payers money on something that is broken, why are we spending tax payers money to cover it up...


Highly redacted SAIC report on Diebold security

Art Watch - September 7, 2003 - MP3s Are Not the Devil - The Ornery American
Topic: Politics and Law 3:46 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2003

Orson Scott Card eloquently summarizes the issues at hand...

Art Watch - September 7, 2003 - MP3s Are Not the Devil - The Ornery American

Electronic Frontier Foundation Action Center
Topic: Politics and Law 4:26 pm EST, Nov 14, 2002

] "Use your voice to protect your digital fair use rights!
] After several years on legislative defense, this is your
] opportunity to let Congress know that we want positive
] changes to the DMCA. Tell your friends, tell your family,
] but first TELL CONGRESS!"

Electronic Frontier Foundation Action Center

NewsForge: The Online Newspaper of Record for Linux and Open Source
Topic: Politics and Law 2:37 pm EDT, Oct 24, 2002

Who should your computer take its orders from? Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. With a plan they call "trusted computing," large media corporations (including the movie companies and record companies), together with computer companies such as Microsoft and Intel, are planning to make your computer obey them instead of you. Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but this plan would make it universal.


Programs that use treacherous computing will continually download new authorization rules through the Internet, and impose those rules automatically on your work. If Microsoft, or the U.S. government, does not like what you said in a document you wrote, they could post new instructions telling all computers to refuse to let anyone read that document. Each computer would obey when it downloads the new instructions. Your writing would be subject to 1984-style retroactive erasure. You might be unable to read it yourself.

From Hijexx:

I'm trying to think of the small things we can do to get the word out about TCPA. Taking an ad out in the Nashville scene and writing to all of the TCPA board members are the first two things that come to mind.

If you didn't already know, this so called "trusted computing" initiative is a very bad thing. If we start to allow it into our computers, we start to lose the war.


The digital world has been here for a while now. How do you like it so far? I started exploring it in 1981 with a Texas Instruments TI-99/4a. Things have changed a lot over the last two decades since.

I read the book '1984' in 8th grade as required reading. This was the same time that the Gulf War was being played 24/7 on the Channel One provided televisions in my high school. Two minute hate, anyone?

Being a tech head, the most striking feature of '1984' was the memory hole. History could be created, edited, revised, and destroyed at will by the state. The parallels between what Orwell envisioned and my BBS were too striking for me to ignore. The ephemeral nature of electromagnetic charges as opposed to the physical construct of ink and paper. I took solace in the fact that I could back things up and make perfect copies instantly.

If the TCPA folks get their way, all that goes out the door. Your computer becomes a closed system meant for one purpose: Consumption. Want to develop an application? Pay your fare.

TCPA stands for Trusted Computing Platform Alliance. The Steering Committee consists of Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. There are over 170 member companies.

Their website is I suggest learning as much as you can about their initiative. The PC is only their first stop, they are after all consumer electronics. Learn the enemy, think like the enemy, befriend the enemy, become the enemy. This is the only way to subvert the enemy.

Oh, and by the way, AMD and nVidia are playing ball too. Sleep tight.

[ This is just wrong. Its interesting that Hijexx brought up "1984". In "Our Posthuman Future", Francis Fukuyama makes parallels between the books "1984" and "Brave New World" to aid him in making points about where the biotech revolution is headed. He brings up an interesting point made by Peter Huber about how computers are the realization of the telescreen, except instead of big brother watching us, we use computers to monitor big brother. Computers and the internet are about the "democratization of access to information". With this treacherous computing stuff, information won't flow freely every again, because it looks as though there will be restrictions everywhere. Sometimes, books like "1984" don't seem so fictional. - Nano]

NewsForge: The Online Newspaper of Record for Linux and Open Source

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Britney's Pears warns against piracy
Topic: Politics and Law 5:02 pm EDT, Sep 26, 2002

[Originally from Decius:]

"Britney Spears is among the pop stars fronting a new advertising campaign aimed at warning people against online piracy."


The TV adverts will be shown at a Congressional hearing on piracy in Washington on Thursday before making their debut on US screens a few weeks later.


"We want to hit fans with the message that downloading music illegally is, as Britney Spears explains, the same as going into a CD store and stealing the CD," said Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA)


[Hijexx's Commentary]

piracy (from

1. a) Robbery committed at sea. b) A similar act of robbery, as the hijacking of an airplane.
2. The unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material: software piracy.
3. The operation of an unlicensed, illegal radio or television station.

I agree, begrudingly, that downloading and using copyrighted music does, in fact, break the law. That is not to say that the law is just (thanks to Walt Disney's palm greasing.) If all the RIAA can muster is Britney's Pears (sorry little girl, it's all about your tits, always has been) and Missy Elliot to preach to the masses, I'd say we have not a thing to worry about on that front.

What is disconcerting to me is the Nazi style, Joseph Goebbels inspired propaganda being spewed by Hilary Rosen. Two times in this article the idea of an "unlicensed internet service" is mentioned. I am not making this up. Folks, there is NO SUCH THING as an "unlicensed internet service" in the context of peer to peer networking. It's a glorified telephone with theoretically unlimited conferencing abilities, that's about it.

As Goebbels proved, if you repeat a lie enough, eventually people believe it. This is especially the case when said people are unwashed (dare I say brainwashed?) mass consumers.


[I was just about to meme this article, but then I came to memestreams, and here it was. Someone sure missed the boat at the RIAA. I mean, having Britany Spears, Nelly, and Missy Elliot shake their fingers at me for downloading music isn't going to make me stop. Its going to make me change the channel while laughing. When are they going to realize that online music is a consumer demand these days, and realize that they are going to have to change something? - Nano]

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Britney's Pears warns against piracy

HHS Seeks Science Advice to Match Bush Views (
Topic: Politics and Law 6:32 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2002

"The Bush administration has begun a broad restructuring of the scientific advisory committees that guide federal policy in areas such as patients' rights and public health, eliminating some committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views and in other cases replacing members with handpicked choices."


HHS Seeks Science Advice to Match Bush Views (

Key Senator Bends on Cloning
Topic: Politics and Law 2:17 am EDT, Jun 16, 2002

"Under legislation by Brownback and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) human cloning for all purposes, including medical research, would be outlawed."

If this happens...America could lose some of its great scientists. If scientists can't do the research they want to do/think needs to be done in one place, they will move to a place where they can do it. For example...I don't agree with cloning just to clone. But I do think that therapeutic cloning may be important, and its something that I may choose to do research in. If I can't do it in America, I will do it elsewhere.

Key Senator Bends on Cloning

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