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Re: politics aren't all or nothing

At 15:16 -0700 9/18/97, Mark Hedges wrote:
>My problem with the "it's hopeless, politicians are idiots" approach is
>the same as my problem with Tim May's approach

Sure, not all DC politicans are idiots. Most are damn smart. All are
cunning. But just because they understand the technology doesn't mean
they're going to vote the right way.

In fact, I could see Tim May arguing if they understand the implications of
crypto, they'll //definitely// vote the wrong way.

>I got a personal reply from a Senator to whom I sent that last release
>(the one interviewing Michael Wilson of 7Pillars). It wasn't one of those
>autoresponders -- it just said "Thank you for your views" with bad text
>formatting. At least it did get someone's attention. It might be negative

Sure, you got //someone's// attention. From an $18,000-a-year
just-out-of-college staffer who lives in a group house in Arlington, VA
with three other people who gets paid to answer phones, open letters,
address envelopes, and reply to email. You think it was "a a personal reply
from a Senator?" Not a chance.

>their place. They're really well educated people, for the most part ---
>somewhere along the line they must have gotten that stuff about
>"considering that you are incorrect" and the rest.

Sure, but educated people still have to pander to get elected, and to get
money to get elected. Civil liberties are anti-majoritarian by their very
nature; they and legislatures are enemies.

>While skimming their web pages looking for information, I found one or two
>senators and congress reps who actually offer PGP keys on their web pages!

So they have well-informed staffers. So what?

>Senator Leahy, for one, is a vocal proponent of strong crypto. There is
>hope! Some of those people do see "the light" on this issue. It's a matter

Senator Leahy is also the fellow who brokered the Digital Telephony deal
that ensures all are phone conversations are readily wiretappable by the
Feds. And his wacky criminal copyright proposals. And what about his crypto
bill that encourages a key escrow infrastructure? With "friends" like him
who "see the light..."

>him. I think a lot of them know they're being manipulated, but they get
>only a limited set of information from the "authoritative" defense and
>intelligence people who give them the "secret classified briefings", and

>they simply can't confront the spooks because they think they'd get kicked
>from their positions of power in a few years. If they have in their
>possession a testimony that a defense and intelligence _scholar_ says that
>the spooks are wrong, they may be able to start turning the tide.

Not quite. Even if they have it, it is (a) difficult to vote against
national security and child porn and (b) even more difficult to get
anywhere in this town if you offend law enforcement, national security, or
the defense communities. Let alone all three.

Besides, they've had the NRC report for a year and a half. It's hardly in
favor of mandatory key escrow rules, and it's co-authored by some spooks.
Think that changed anything? Guess again.

>Mostly, I just don't want to get nuked. I don't want the people in
>Washington to get nuked.

Hear, hear!


Washington, DC