Monday, October 22, 2007

Security Politicized

I think Schneier may be right that this is a good essay, except that he completely misses the fact that the so-called target is only one side of the political spectrum. If McCullagh had actually taken a bit of time to think and realize that both parties are pandering a vote all of the time he may have provided a more intelligent essay.
Politicians of both major parties wield this as the ultimate political threat. Its invocation typically predicts that if a certain piece of legislation is passed (or not passed) Americans will die. Variations may warn that children will die or troops will die. Any version is difficult for the target to combat.

This leads me to propose McCullagh's Law of Politics:

As the certainty that legislation violates the U.S. Constitution increases, so does the probability of predictions that severe harm or death will come to Americans if the proposal is not swiftly enacted.

McCullagh's Law describes a promise of political violence. It goes like this: "If you, my esteemed political adversary, are insufficiently wise as to heed my advice, I will direct my staff and members of my political apparatus to unearth examples of dead {Americans|women|children|troops} so I can later accuse you of responsibility for their deaths."

Which is nice except for his lead in statement is:
Republicans are so eager to sink a wiretapping bill that includes some privacy safeguards that they're invoking what amounts to a do-this-or-Americans-will-die argument.
So, does he really miss the most common Democratic screech? Rememeber "IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN." Nothing related to a security issue there now is there? Children's health care, gun control and the rest are all commonly bolstered security topics that the Dems rail about, yet McCullagh seems to miss their relevance to his topic.

Matt in CT comments at Schneier is right on the mark.
Mr. McCullagh fell into the bias trap with:

"While Republicans are more likely to invoke the threat, Democrats are not immune from the temptation."

That's hogwash.

The current examples are from the Republicans for the same reason most of the corruption is -- they are in power. Democrats do both just as well in proportion to their power.

In a subtle way, it is exactly what he his writing about -- in this case, "Fear them both...but especially those dirty, no good Republicans." Ignoring a long and equal history by both political parties of trampling over liberties in pursuit of small slices of the electoral pie.

This is issue will not be settled by partisanship of "Vote for Democrats. We're not as bad!"

Today the Repugs are throwing around the FISA and the Patriot act type trodding on rights. Though it appears the Dems are walking the same walk by voting in the same allowances without taking the time to do it right. But that's because their too busy trying to condemn the war in Iraq rather than spending the time to discuss security.

To take it all a step further, politicians are always willing to lessen your enumerated rights depending if they are a "good" right or one that they view as bad. Dems and Repugs stomped on free speech when they enacted the McCain-Feingold repression of political speech act. Dems generally view guns as evil so it's a right that is left on the side of the road. Etc. Repugs are bad, Dems ain't any better.

Another commenter (Straight Shooter) at Schneier got me laughing with this:
> how does one measure the certainty

> that legislation is unconstitutional?

10) ACLU's decibel level

9) EFF's decibel level

8) Schneirosmograph

7) Reciprocal of time mainstream media spends covering the issue

6) Reciprocal of Popularity of the legislation at stock-car races

5) Reciprocal of Level of applause for its passage

4) PSI of Executive support

3) Taxpayer dollars spent implementing the program before the Legislature was aware it existed

2) Reciprocal of Minutes spent debating it in Congress

1) The number of politicians and corporate executives it immunizes from prosecution.

Posted by: Straight Shooter at October 22, 2007 04:07 PM


Funny that the comments there are quite heavily against Schneier. Not that he has tended to have BDS, but oh wait, he does.

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