A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...
Amazing events in the world of politics come rarely.
If you read the editorial before reading this section, then you'll already
be aware of my displeasure with the Canadian federal government over the
future use of a hypothetical budget surplus.
Canadians are in site of the government's first experience with fiscal
responsibility in nearly three decades. After a heinous level of over
spending and taxation, the feds promise a balanced budget in about 18
months and tax cuts at some future, a vague, date.
Armed with this new weapon what did our federal government do? Within
days of the "good news" Throne Speech, it announced billions
of dollars of new spending, effectively wiping out a few years of progress,
and a larger surplus down the line. It also had the gall to nearly double
Canada Pension Plan "contributions", rather than undertake a
badly needed reform of the system. A system which has not been repaired,
and which will see the youth of today finance the lives of others.
The battle against the deficit was tough, it was a pity that the governing
Liberals weren't as tough.
The government does not have to wait for this one, I have an Earth is
Flat Award just for them.
There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom
tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and
people I consider to be positive.
This month's Vinegar in Freedom Award goes to the United States House
Commerce Committee for rejected a far-reaching proposal requiring all
data scrambling products to include a backdoor allowing government access
to otherwise secure computer files and communications.
On a vote of 35-16 on September 24, members of the panel voted against
an amendment from Mike Oxley, Republican of Ohio, to impose such controls.
The vote followed several hours of heated debate and weeks of lobbying
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies
backing the Oxley amendment and high-tech companies and Internet and civil
liberties groups opposing the plan.
The amendment came on a bill by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte to relax
strict U.S. export controls on encryption products and prohibit mandatory
back-door access for government agencies.
As much as I condemn politicians for the self-serving wastes of flesh
that they very often are, they in this case performed a valuable boon
to freedom and the future.
This not the last step though. The House variations of the Goodlatte bill
next go to the Rules Committee which will decide whether to send the proposal
to the full House for a vote, and in what form. Rules Committee Chairman
Gerald Solomon, Republican of New York, said he would not send the bill
to the House floor unless it contained domestic restrictions on encryption
like those in the Oxley amendment.
While the Commerce Committee did not approve such restrictions, the House
Select Intelligence Committee attached similar controls to its version
of the Goodlatte bill.
Whether the Commerce Committee thought of future electronic commerce,
the freedom of citizens to converse in privacy, or they vainly flattered
themselves as modern day George Washingtons (who built his own cyphermachine
once), the end result is the same. Government might be held back and secured
communications may yet take a step forward.
Make sure to download PGP today!
No decryption is necessary on the following statement: A Vinegar in Freedom
Award to 35 members of the House Commerce Committee!