T H E  N E T W O R K  O B S E R V E R

  VOLUME 2, NUMBER 2                                 FEBRUARY 1995


  This month: The industrial organization of public debate
              How can we make Free-Nets free?
              Democratic politics in a networked society


  Welcome to TNO 2(2).

  This issue includes two articles by guest authors.  Peter Harter
  of the National Public Telecomputing Network explains how NPTN
  thinks about the future of Free-Nets, given that computers and
  the skills to maintain them are not free.  No single answer
  suffices, but it's important to map out the whole range of
  options so that the people who really need free access can
  get it, and so that the whole community can benefit from the
  beneficial effects of free electronic information services, just
  as they benefit now from libraries.

  Also in this issue, Joe Costello calls for political progressives
  to abandon the doomed bureaucracies of Washington and rediscover
  the original spirit of democracy in movements for decentralized
  self-governance.  Information technology, Joe argues, makes such
  changes both necessary and possible.  Joe is best known for the
  famous 800 number in Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign,
  and he has a lot to say about the role technology can play in
  restoring the health of our political system.

  Opening the issue is an article of my own, the first installment
  in a planned series of reflections on what I greatly enjoy
  calling "the industrial organization of public debate".  Talk
  radio hosts don't just come up with those arguments off the tops
  of their heads.  No way -- they have a whole elaborate industry
  backing them up.  This industry isn't a conspiracy any more than
  the auto industry is -- it produces things that paying customers
  want, it obeys the laws of supply and demand, it is fiercely
  competitive, and it is undergoing rapid changes that are partly
  technological and partly not.  Once we see political arguments as
  industrial artifacts -- even the ones your friends use at parties
  -- the whole world looks different.


  Notes on the industrial organization of public debate.

  One day in the mid 1980's I was passing through a shop, the Tech
  Coop at MIT to be precise, when I heard two shop clerks debating
  one of the major issues of the day, nuclear weapons.  One had a
  liberal perspective and the other had a conservative perspective.
  What struck me was that none of their arguments was original.
  All of them were, seemingly word-for-word, arguments that I
  had heard in other settings -- in the newspaper, on the radio,
  in protest meetings, debates among other people, and so forth.
  This is not to deprecate these clerks.  To the contrary, it
  struck me that most political debate is like this.  Since we
  are all finite creatures, we usually cannot come up with good
  arguments off the tops of our heads.  If we wish to debate
  the issues of our day, we need a source of arguments.  And it
  seemed to me that the success of a political movement depends
  to some extent on its ability to produce a steady stream of
  arguments and distribute them to its followers.  When highly
  developed in the context of a market economy, the production and
  distribution of arguments becomes an industry that we can analyze
  like any other.

  This article begins a series of sociological meditations on
  the industrial organization of public debate.  The relevance of
  this topic to The Network Observer is that, as I will get around
  to arguing at some point, new technologies are playing a role
  in ongoing changes in the conduct of public debate.  At the
  same time, though, industrially organized public debate has an
  underlying grammar that new technology does remarkably little to

  One of the reasons I noticed the debate about nuclear weapons in
  the Tech Coop was that, during that same period, I was the holder
  of a fellowship from the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.  John
  Hertz became wealthy through Hertz Rent-a-Car, and being a strong
  anti-communist he left his fortune to the support of military
  research.  In practice the fellowships are administered by a
  group of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
  working with Edward Teller.  These are the people who have pushed
  the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or "Star Wars", recently
  renamed to something innocuous and no doubt to be renamed again
  under the terms of the new Republican congressional agenda).
  You'll surely recall that SDI was the subject of a prominent
  public controversy during this period.

  The Hertz Fellowships paid well and had few strings attached, and
  I don't feel particularly bad about taking the money.  One of the
  strings, though, was an invitation to attend an annual lunch with
  the people from the Foundation.  I vividly recall one such lunch,
  at which Edward Teller spoke.  The substance of his remarks was a
  defense of SDI against various common criticisms.  Now the people
  in the room were largely supportive of SDI, and in fact many of
  them actually worked on it, so they did not need to be convinced.
  And they were not stupid people by any means.  Yet I was struck
  by how much credence the audience gave the arguments, given how
  little sense they made when considered logically.  I realize that
  it's easier to see the fallacies in arguments you disagree with.
  But it seemed to me at the time that the purpose of the arguments
  was not to convince anybody in the room, or even to stand up
  under logical scrutiny, but to be adequate weapons on actual
  occasions in which audience members might find themselves
  defending SDI against critics.  The arguments were, in common
  parlance, rhetorical "ammo".  The metaphor is apt: ammo doesn't
  have to make sense; it just has to disable or kill.

  I expect that many people, in reading this story, will regard me
  as cynical, or as setting out to trash my patrons by denigrating
  their motives for feeding me a free lunch.  But this is not my
  intention at all.  I first began to formulate my ideas about
  these phenomena in the context of military technology issues in
  the 1980's because those were the issues that most affected my
  life -- being someone who occasionally walked around the corner
  from my military funded research lab to get risk arrest while
  protesting on the front steps of the military funded research lab
  next door.  The irony here was never lost on me, and I spent a
  great deal of time thinking about it.

  Yet I do not imagine that the phenomena I'm describing are
  limited to the military, or to the political right, or to
  people I disagree with.  To the contrary, I think that virtually
  all political debate works this way.  A speech at a reproductive
  rights demonstration on the state capitol steps serves the
  function of distributing debating points to the faithful, just
  as Edward Teller's speech did at the Hyatt.  These speeches serve
  a variety of other functions, of course, but the distribution
  of debating points is one of them, regardless of whether the
  participants think of it in those terms.  The larger question
  is, how does the system of distribution of political arguments
  work?  How has it evolved?  What determines its form and its
  effectiveness?  How does it interact with technology?  And does
  it have an inherent political bias?

  One test of a good idea is, once you hear it you start to see
  examples of it everywhere.  And at first I did see many examples.
  But it took real work before I came to see whole world as
  pervaded by industrially organized public debate.  Much of the
  phenomenon is hidden by several effects.  One such effect is that
  people who believe in a point of view generally do not stop to
  scrutinize sympathetic arguments as industrial artifacts; to the
  contrary, they nod their agreement and then maybe reproduce the
  argument themselves when the occasion arises later on.  Another
  factor tending to hide the phenomenon is that public relations,
  one major component of the industry, frequently operates behind
  the scenes, for example through articles that public relations
  practitioners persuade reporters to write.  Yet another factor
  is that pundits and talk show hosts generally maintain an image
  of themselves as wholly individual voices, when in fact they are
  supplied by a considerable infrastructure of think tanks, wire
  services, activists pushing particular stories, and so forth.
  A final factor is that both liberals and conservatives invest
  tremendous energy articulating the hundred reasons why the other
  side has an unfair advantage in all things, so that it takes real
  intellectual work to see them as participants in a logic that, I
  would argue, is somewhat independent of the particular political
  points of view being conveyed.  Which side has the resources to
  create a larger and more effective infrastructure, of course, is
  another question.  But once you know about such infrastructures,
  the whole world looks different.

  Consider, for example, the institutions known (at least in the
  United States) as "think tanks".  Think tanks are businesses.
  They generally have nonprofit legal status, but they still have
  to take in money to pay their staff, and their customers will
  want something for that money.  Think tanks thus compete for
  customers, have an interest in knowing those customers' needs,
  necessarily seek to innovate in their means of serving those
  needs, face strategic questions such as vertical integration,
  deal with organizational issues of centralization and
  decentralization, and so forth -- like any business.

  But what do the customers of think tanks get for their money?
  They do get some physical objects, namely "studies" of certain
  policy questions.  But these studies are not ends in themselves.
  Ultimately, the customers want to bring about certain material
  effects in the world by arranging for certain groups of people to
  hold certain beliefs.  Customers who are private individuals most
  often want to propagate their own beliefs.  Corporate customers
  want to propagate beliefs that will lead to actions that permit
  them to strengthen their competitive positions.  Foundations work
  on agendas created through the social networks that govern them.
  In any case these "studies", then, are intermediate products in a
  longer pipeline whose ultimate intended product is other people's

  The public debate industry produces a wide variety of these
  intermediate products.  For example, take the lists of "talking
  points" that each major political party faxes to a long list of
  its followers each day.  Or political action alerts distributed
  on computer networks.  Or the thumb-indexed handbooks that
  trade associations often distribute to their members, containing
  facts and figures and quotes that can be used in assembling an
  argument on a given topic.  Or press packets.  Or speeches at
  conventions.  Or scripted spiels delivered through telemarketing
  with the goal of generating phone calls to Congress.  Or many
  varieties of books and other print publications like newsletters
  for special audiences.  In each case, we have a some kind of
  preaching to the converted, providing ammo for arguments aimed at
  persuading others down the line.  When the preaching is organized
  professionally, through paid research staff and public relations
  people, we are clearly justified in calling it an "industry".
  But even when it's done by amateurs on their own time, it still
  has an economics and a social organization that have consequences
  and that deserve to be understood.

  Future issues of TNO will have more to say about the industrial
  organization of public debate.  We need to know a lot more
  about the logic of this industry before we can start to reason
  about the role of technology, much less the likely "effects" of
  technologies such as the Internet.  As I keep saying, we cannot
  understand what role a technology will play in the world until
  we have enough good concepts to enable us to see the complicated
  interactions in enters into with everything else.


  In defense of progress(ives).

  Joe Costello
  Foundation Communications

       "Accelerated change invokes the gyroscopic or principles
       of rigidity.  Also, to high-speed change no adjustment
       is possible.  We become spectators only, and must escape
       into understanding.  This may be why the conservative
       has an advantage in such an age of speedy change and
       is frequently more radical in his suggestions and
       insights than the progressive who is trying to adjust.
       The practical progressive trying to make realistic
       adjustments to change exhausts himself in minor matters
       and has no energy to contemplate the overall."

       Marshall McLuhan, 1960

  The Congress was the last bastion of liberal strength for an
  increasingly weak and fractured American progressive movement.
  The New Deal coalition captured and held Washington D.C. for over
  half a century.  Forged in the economic crisis of the 1930's, the
  American progressive movement worked to create a society more
  politically, socially, and economically democratic.  Over the past
  two decades, the foundation of this coalition has decayed.  Cut
  off from its body, the head of the progressive movement floated
  in the giant glass jar of Washington.  Clinging to increasingly
  archaic ideas of a fast-fading industrial era, the progressive
  community tried to push the central control levers of a factory
  that no longer functioned.  In the last quarter century, the
  progressive community became a victim of its own inertia.

  In this century, the progressive movement has been closely allied
  with the Democratic Party.  It would do well for all progressives
  to go back and study the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, founder of
  the Democratic Party.  Jefferson was one of the finest offspring
  of the Enlightenment.  He implicitly understood the implications
  of the continuing growth of human knowledge, and that human
  society would have to evolve to metabolize the growth of human
  experience.  As Jefferson wrote:

       "I know also that the laws and institutions must
       go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.
       As that becomes more developed and enlightened as new
       discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners
       and opinions change with the change of circumstances,
       institutions must advance and keep pace with the times."

  This remains a radical view of the structure of human society.
  For millennia, human institutions gained a great measure of
  their authority through the simple feat of longevity, of passing
  on the past.  Jefferson lived in an age of great discovery
  and innovation.  He saw and participated in the deposing of
  institutions and thought that were grounded in millennia of
  tradition.  Jefferson understood that the "progress of the human
  mind" was continuous.

  Though the twentieth century has seen an unprecedented rate of
  transformation in human society, it is simply a branch in the
  tree of human history, which has roots deeper than the existence
  of the species.  One of the greatest consequences of the
  industrial era was the ubiquity of centralization.  The mechanical
  nature of industry fostered centralization in all aspects of
  society.  As the industrial barons created their empires, the
  means to counter balance this power increasingly fell on the
  Federal Government.

  As in the other ages a philosophy or theology was established
  to justify the power structure.  The theology of economics has
  penetrated all aspects of society and has become the determinant
  of most of our actions both public and private.  As John Kenneth
  Galbraith wrote in Economic Perspectives:

       "The continuing survival of classical (economic) beliefs
       protects business autonomy and its income and serve
       to obscure the economic power exercised as a matter of
       course by the modern enterprise by declaring that all
       power rests, in fact, with the market."

  Money has become the principal medium of communication and
  command in all aspects of society.  Monetary means of control and
  distribution are extremely undemocratic.  Economic theologians
  can best be compared to Neoplatonists, spewing their elaborate
  economic treatises and formulas about perfect economic forms
  existing somewhere in the ether.  In medieval times at the height
  of the Church's power, the congregation sat facing the alter
  while the priest stood with his back turned to them, chanting in
  unintelligible Latin.  Similarly today, the economic congregation
  believes economics must have meaning because it has such a
  powerful control on their lives.  Luther wasn't necessary, he was

  Humanity is rapidly approaching the end of the industrial era.
  Economic philosophy is increasingly unable to find answers to
  chronic problems and societal institutions are cracking at their
  foundations.  Human society is being affected by the advancement
  of knowledge at a pace of unprecedented speed; human life is
  being impacted on every level.  As the industrial era brought in
  new philosophies and tools of organization, so too will this new

  The tools of this new era are being constructed from electronic
  media.  Simply, the ability to move information at the speed of
  light.  Electronic media are relatively new, but their impact upon
  the institutions of American society has exploded with nuclear
  force.  The reformation which electronic media will bring has just
  begun and the greater the implementation the more exponential the
  rate of change.

       "No, my friend, the way to have good and safe government
       is not to trust it all to one but to divide it among the
       many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions he
       is competent to."  Thomas Jefferson

  The network structure, developing with electronic media, greatly
  differs from the centralized, hierarchical systems which have
  been the foundation of human organization for millennia.  At
  its core the network is participatory, allowing the individual
  to play a direct role in community affairs.  Individuals
  converge into communities or nodes on the network.  The network
  is simply the linking of all the nodes, allowing communication
  and interaction from any part of the network to any other part.
  Hierarchical vertical systems are being replaced by a horizontal
  network web, which allows for the greater utility of information.
  Archaic centralized systems are increasingly straining under the
  burden of an influx of information.

  Electronic media allow for global democracy, paradoxically
  creating a global community while at the same time strengthening
  locality.  The answer to globalization by the world has been to
  instill centralized institutions on a global scale: the United
  Nations, World Bank, etc.  Creating these institutions on a global
  scale will increasingly create less accountable, centralized,
  highly bureaucratic and thus undemocratic systems.

  What is a progressive philosophy faced with a global centralized
  hierarchy?  The answer is a global decentralized network, as
  national boundaries become permeable and geographic constraints
  dissolve at an ever increasing pace.  The old hierarchical,
  centralized institutions must evolve into decentralized,
  horizontal networks.  Representative republics evolve into a
  participatory democracy.

  In the last fifteen years, the political debate has been focused
  on the inefficiencies of the Federal Government.  A political
  movement has sprouted to bring the control of the Federal
  Government back into the hands of the citizenry.  Progressives
  have been caught in the indefensible position of vindicating
  the centralized Federal structure.  The popular movement to
  decentralize has been exclusively focused at the government,
  while the large corporate leviathans go unscathed.  Global
  corporations are striding unimpeded across a lilliputian
  political landscape.

  These great transnational corporations have become the first
  true residents of the developing global village.  In Adam Smith's
  1776 work The Wealth of Nations, he devotes a significant portion
  of his writing to the practice of mercantilism.  Today, Smith's
  mercantilism has been turned on its head.  The transnational
  corporations have little need for government protectors.  They
  are for the most part more powerful than national governments.
  These transnationals play one national government against another
  looking for the greatest profit.  They increasingly are beyond
  any democratic accountability.

  The information era is increasingly threatening many of the
  adhered-to economic faiths.  The value of information and its
  resulting societal structures will no more conform to the values
  and structures of the industrial era than the mores of agrarian
  society fitted into the industrial age.  Those who say we are
  replacing a manufacturing economy with a service economy would
  best be advised against this fallacy by the admonition of Adam
  Smith in The Wealth of Nations:

       "Thus the labor of a manufacturer adds, generally, to
       the value of the materials which he works upon, that
       of his own maintenance, and of his master's profit.
       The labor of a menial servant, on the contrary, adds to
       the value of nothing.  A man grows rich by employing a
       multitude of manufacturers; he grows poor by maintaining
       a multitude of menial servants."

  One of the great deficiency of economic thinking is the simple
  division of production and consumption.  In the next era, there
  will be no clear demarcation between these two acts.  Careering
  has become more important than living.  An individual's
  identification with society has been their job.  But today,
  the concept of a job is blurring and for many disappearing.
  Automation is replacing the worker.  The great migration of
  industrial jobs to cheaper labor markets will be short-lived,
  for automation will soon become less expensive than the cheapest
  of human labor.  The industrial era made humanity a cog in the
  machine; the information era removes us.

  Humanity still establishes our civilizations as though they are
  controlled by outside forces.  We have established an economic
  philosophy and the faults of the system can be blamed on the
  "natural forces of the market".  Yet the economy is entirely
  of our making.  In fact, in this new era, being involved in the
  designing of life will be where we receive meaning.  For we are
  now past the age of technology for technology's sake, and we must
  understand that how the future is designed is in our hands, which
  necessitates that it be in all hands.

  The road ahead lies filled with difficulties.  To bring order to
  the globe is an unprecedented act.  In the past, the rules between
  civilizations have always differed from the internal order of
  civilizations.  For the most part, the rule between civilizations
  has simply been the rule of might.  The next several decades will
  be a time of great turbulence as central order is besieged.

  The new era must begin with a democratic renaissance.  Democracy
  thrives on diversity.  It is through democracy that the most can
  be gained from the individual.  It is through democracy that each
  community will be empowered.  It is through democracy that society
  can progress.  So, progressives, reclaim your mantle.  We can
  do nothing about the past or the present.  In this time of great
  change the only means which exist are in creating the future.


  Universal access and Free-Nets.

  Peter F. Harter
  Executive Director & General Counsel
  The National Public Telecomputing Network

  The National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN) believes
  that improving and increasing access to computer mediated
  communications is integral to economic and societal progress.
  NPTN is the founding and parent organization of Free-Net(R)
  community computing systems of which there are 47 online
  Affiliates and 120 in various stages of organization.  Generally,
  a community computing system enables individuals to access
  local and global information by dialing in from their computer
  and modem, or public kiosk, to a centrally located multi-user
  computer, within which is contained databases and special
  interest groups, and telecommunications capabilities allowing
  users to access the Internet.

  NPTN received a 1994 NTIA-TIIAP Award to construct 30 Free-Nets
  in rural America as part of NPTN's Rural Information Network
  Program.  Through its work to provide the every day citizen
  with some means of access to electronic information and to
  participation in the creation and distribution of electronic
  information, NPTN supports individuals and institutions to
  realize the importance of furthering the growth of this medium.

  However, as demand for access continues to grow, the resources
  available for supplying the necessary infrastructure become
  constrained.  One of the difficult questions confronting
  Free-Nets and other community computer systems is how their
  growth should be paid for so that their good work may continue
  and grow.

  In spite of the name of NPTN's brand of community computing,
  "Free-Net", the medium and the messages it carries are not free
  of costs.  Typically, a Free-Net is built and operated by in-kind
  gifts, substantial volunteer time and resources, and grants.
  Only a few Free-Net systems charge users any kind of fee, and
  when they do, they provide free access for those who cannot
  afford the fee by waiving the fee.  Free-Nets know, perhaps
  more than others, that there are definite and substantial costs
  that must be financed in order to operate a basic community
  information and communications service.  Such costs are rising
  as the demand for Free-Nets increases both in terms of the
  number of users on existing systems and in terms of the number
  of online Free-Net Affiliates: In January of 1994, NPTN had fewer
  than 20 systems online; to date, NPTN has 47; by the end of 1995,
  NPTN estimates that we will have at least 100, and possibly 150
  systems online.

  Demand will continue to intensify as more people come to know and
  understand the power of this medium.  This power can be explained
  by examining the many dimensions of the name Free-Net: freedom of
  assembly in an electronic space; freedom to create information;
  freedom to access information; freedom to speak in an electronic
  town hall; freedom to contact others easily and readily via
  Internet e-mail; freedom of expression; freedom of association
  via the creation and use of the special interest group areas that
  are endemic to this medium.

  Walter Wriston, former Citicorp chairman, said that power
  used to relate to money; today, however, power lies in the
  information about money.  From banking in New York City to bumper
  crops in Nebraska, access to electronic information resources
  represents power.  For the farmer in rural Nebraska, access to
  U.S. Department of Agriculture information may help him produce
  a bumper crop; access to weather information already available on
  the Internet could do the same.  For the inner city youth, access
  to special interest groups and electronic libraries can mean a
  new path to pursue, an option from gangs, and a means to improve
  one's own life through self-determination and the information
  resources that are needed to fuel the growth of knowledge.

  At its heart, a Free-Net enables one to gain the literacy
  skills (i.e., traditional reading and writing literacy, computer
  literacy, and network literacy) necessary to be a productive
  citizen in the "Information Age".  Happily, the end result of
  a Free-Net is that the user is empowered.  Once empowered, the
  typical user sees the value of such a service and is willing to
  give their time and or money to see that the service grows so
  that others may benefit from it.

  The recent U.S. Department of Commerce Request for Comments on
  Universal Service asked whether services that benefit private
  businesses should be charged a higher rate to reduce the cost
  of services provided to ordinary citizens.  NPTN is not in favor
  of simply placing the entire cost of access onto one sector
  of the economy.  Private businesses have a vested interest in
  seeing more citizens become computer and network literate: more
  users implies more potential consumers.  Private businesses may
  participate via a voluntary rate charge and or in the form of
  development and or planning fund support of access projects in
  their own communities.  NPTN does not favor electronic welfare
  if such is defined to mean complete subsidization of individual

  NPTN is of the belief that funding for access should come from
  a variety of sources and means that are subject to change so
  that economic models may compete against one another.  In such a
  paradigm one community can compare its model to that of another
  and see what lessons may be learned.  In this way, individuals
  can have a role in forming how their electronic community is
  run as they will have some stake in how it is funded, be it
  through a surcharge on local telephone or cable service (i.e.,
  similar to funding for 911 service), through user fees, through
  municipalities, through commercial services rates, or some other

  Citizens should be encouraged to pay their fair share and should
  be provided with access and services that they feel they receive
  value by using and thus obligated to pay something for what they
  receive.  However, they should also have a say in how the access
  and services are provided if they are to pay either directly and
  or indirectly.  This may be best achieved by not arriving at one,
  singular, uniform cost and funding structure for access.  If a
  stable economic model is achieved, provisions for subsidizing
  access for those who cannot afford it can be made readily and

  Access and its costs are critical issues for discussion and
  decision during the continuing construction of the world's
  information superhighways.  Cliches aside, the interest in
  building information networks has been intense in recent times;
  hopefully, the interest will not wane as the difficult matters
  of access and costs are dealt with in Washington and at the
  local level.  Importantly, the most significant decisions
  are being made by those individuals and institutions building
  networks; those who are building and running Free-Net systems
  are dedicated to providing access at little or no cost to the
  end user.  1995 may prove to be a watershed year for Free-Nets as
  access increases and NPTN contends with how it may be supported

  (Free-Net is a service mark of The National Public Telecomputing
  Network (NPTN), registered in the U.S. and other countries.)


  This month's recommendations.

  PR Watch.  The public relations industry has been around since
  the turn of the century, but it has been growing and changing
  rapidly since American industry began to respond to the surge
  of progressive political movements in the 1970's.  While much
  PR work is mundane and unexceptionable, many feel that the more
  aggressive and ambitious types of PR have gone too far.  John
  Stauber is one such person, and he started PR Watch in late
  1993 to inform the public, and especially journalists, about a
  wide range of PR practices, for example intelligence-gathering
  on grassroots groups.  Quarterly -- $200 a year for businesses,
  $60 a year for individuals and nonprofit organizations, and $35
  a year for working journalists and people with limited incomes.
  The address is 3318 Gregory Street, Madison WI 53711, phone (608)
  233-3346, fax (608) 238-2236.



  Response was generally positive to my article on the conservative
  movement in TNO 2(1), which seems to have been clipped out of the
  TNO issue and forwarded to half the planet.  One reader, however,
  pointed that it was unfair to describe a prospective recurrence
  of the social chaos of the laissez-faire 1880's, even jokingly,
  as a "leftist's dream" (the idea being that chaos is a good
  opportunity for a revolution) in that only a tiny fringe of the
  left would be so perverse as to embrace such circumstances, given
  the suffering they would entail.  A number of other readers took
  me to be arguing that the whole American population has converted
  to conservatism, which is not my view.  I was simply arguing that
  the conservative electoral coalition, consisting of those people
  who vote for conservatives and the institutions that organize
  them and that intend to reorganize the government and much of the
  rest of society along conservative lines, is in for the long haul.

  My article in TNO 2(1) listing my ten least favorite electronic
  mail phenomena elicited little comment until it was reprinted in
  the Risks Digest, whereupon I received a great deal of response.
  Most of it was supportive, including several lists of additional
  e-mail pathologies provided by people who have greater technical
  understanding of Internet mail than I do.  Several readers also
  pointed out, though, that my complaint #9, about the Errors-To:
  field, was misguided.  These folks, all ardent enemies of the
  Unix sendmail program, argued that Errors-To: was invented by
  Unix people who didn't understand e-mail error handling, and
  that the e-mail standards do include a much better approach to
  indicating where mailers should send bouncemail messages, based
  on the message's envelope rather than on its header.  I have to
  admit that this is more technical information about electronic
  mail than I really care to possess, or that I ought to have to
  possess in order to run a large mailing list.  One person told
  me that the IETF is trying to standardize bouncemail, though I
  haven't followed up on the comment.  If it is true then I will
  sprinkle rose petals at the feet of the IETF membership because
  I regard the current situation as completely unacceptable.

  The Benton Foundation has published a useful on-line report about
  prospects for public-interest information infrastructure politics
  in the new Congress, and especially on the state and local level.
  The URL is http://cdinet.com/benton

  For information about the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, look at:

  I don't know if it was Newt Gingrich's idea originally, but he
  supports it and it's real -- the Thomas legislative information
  service on WWW.  Check it out.  The URL is http://thomas.loc.gov/
  Right now it's not all that impressive, but it's a start anyway.
  Next step -- figure out what features and documents it's missing,
  make sure everyone on the net knows to want them, and make sure
  everyone in Washington knows that everyone on the net wants them.
  By the way, the House gopher is at gopher://gopher.house.gov/

  An extensive guide called "Internet Resources for Not-for-Profits
  in Housing and Human Services" is available through WWW at

  Lindsay Marshall <Lindsay.Marshall@newcastle.ac.uk> has put the
  complete Risks Digest on the web.  He says that individual issues
  look like http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/16.01.html where 16.01
  is the volume and issue number, and the most recent issue is at

  The proceedings of the 1994 Digital Libraries conference is on
  the web at http://atg1.wustl.edu/DL94/   And information on the
  1995 conference is at http://bush.cs.tamu.edu/dl95/README.html

  The web pages for the Ninth Annual Symposium on Geographic
  Information Systems for Natural Resources, Environment and Land
  Information Management, 27-30 March 1995, Vancouver, British
  Columbia are at http://www.wimsey.com:80/~jdcates/gis95/

  One big file containing the whole Federalist Papers is available
  through anonymous ftp to mrcnext.cso.uiuc.edu.  The files are
  pub/etext/etext91/feder16.txt and pub/etext/etext91/feder16.zip
  It's over 1MB in .txt form and something like .6MB in .zip form.

  Ol' Newt is everywhere.  Mother Jones printed some of the first
  useful articles on the guy, and now they've put them on-line
  on their web server http://www.mojones.com/  The first of these
  articles, from 1984 -- and that's 1984, not 1994 -- tells us,
  among many other things, "Gingrich told several intimates in 1974
  that his goal was to be Speaker of the House".  It can be found
  at http://www.mojones.com/N84/osborne.html

  What?  You haven't had enough of Newt yet?  The Newt Gingrich
  WWW Fan Club is at http://www.clark.net/pub/jeffd/mr_newt.html
  This page includes a pointer to the under-construction Progress
  and Freedom Foundation home page, whose erstwhile nonexistence
  I remarked upon in TNO 1(12).

  You can even read the Heritage Foundation's theoretical journal,
  Policy Review, on gopher.  This is the best place to find out
  where the highly organized forces of the conservative movement
  are headed next.  Required reading for all liberals.  The URL is

  And if that isn't enough, the National Rifle Association is on
  the web at http://www.nra.org

  Phil Agre, editor                                pagre@ucla.edu
  Department of Information Studies
  University of California, Los Angeles         +1 (310) 825-7154
  Los Angeles, California  90095-1520                FAX 206-4460
  Copyright 1995 by the editor.  You may forward this issue of The
  Network Observer electronically to anyone for any non-commercial
  purpose.  Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

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