Google Was Gagged For Four Years From Talking About Fighting The Wikileaks Investigation

from the harassment-all-the-way dept

Reporter, activity and security guy Jacob Appelbaum has been harassed by the government for years for helping with Wikileaks. We've written before about how he gets detained at the border and is ordered to hand over all of his electronic equipment. A few years ago, we wrote about the ridiculous legal fight in which the Justice Department demanded that Twitter hand over Appelbaum's messages without telling anyone, as part of the still ridiculous grand jury investigation into Wikileaks (which still isn't over!).

If you recall, as part of that discussion about the legal fight with Twitter -- in which we gave kudos to Twitter for standing up for its users' privacy -- it also came out that similar demands for information were also sent to Google and Sonic.net in trying to access Appelbaum's details. Sonic.net quickly said that it fought the request -- but Google gave no comment. We found this to be disappointing at the time.

However, late last week, it was finally revealed -- four years later -- that Google not only fought the order, but was gagged from talking about it until just recently. Reading through the full set of released documents (300 pages) is quite incredible -- as are Appelbaum's own comments as he reads through the document himself.

If you don't recall the big legal fight with Twitter, the DOJ refused to get a warrant, but instead got what's known as a 2703(d) order, which has a much lower privacy protection standard. A warrant, as you know, requires probable cause. A 2703(d) order just requires "reasonable grounds to believe that the contents [of the email] are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."

This whole thing started in late 2010 when the grand jury investigation sent those 2703(d) orders out -- each accompanied by a gag order. Twitter fought the gag order and was able to get a judge to unseal it in early January 2011 for the sake of alerting the users in question, to see if they would protest (which they did, though unsuccessfully). Twitter alerted a few users, including Appelbaum, that the feds had requested information. While many had assumed the feds had used a warrant or a traditional subpoena, it was quickly revealed that it was the 2703(d) process, raising many more concerns. The fact that there were also a number of mistakes in the order raised further concerns. The revelation of this order got a lot of press attention, which the DOJ hated.

In fact, that's what much of the (now revealed) argument between Google and the DOJ is discussing. Google points out that the identical order in the identical investigation was made public concerning Twitter's involvement, and thus, there is no reason not to make it public for Google too. The DOJ responds about just how incredibly harmful the press attention of the Twitter order is... though they fail to explain a single way it is harmful, other than that some online internet commenters were kinda mean to them. First, the DOJ insisted that it was important that Google be gagged, and then said that Twitter's ungagging "seriously jeopardized the investigation."
The Order should remain sealed at this time. The Order satisfies all statutory and constitutional requirements, and the [REDACTED] subscriber would not have a valid basis for challenging it even if Google did provide him with notice. Furthermore, unsealing and permitting disclosure at this time is not in the best interest of the investigation. Unsealing and permitting disclosure of the Twitter Order has already seriously jeopardized the investigation and the government believes that further disclosures at this time will exacerbate this problem.
Of course, the DOJ never actually goes into any detail about how revealing that it was digging for information jeopardized the investigation at all. It just makes these baseless claims. Later, it further argues that unsealing the Twitter order (which it had agreed to allow) was a mistake in hindsight:
Indeed, in light of the events that followed the unsealing and disclosure of the Twitter Order, had the government known then what it does now, it would not have voluntarily filed the motion to authorize it.
Why is that? Well, the only argument the government seems to make is that once the Twitter Order was public, people got mad and said not nice things about the DOJ. First, it points to this Glenn Greenwald article from 2011, in which he revealed more details of the original Twitter Order, including the name of the magistrate judge who signed off on it. The DOJ presents this as if it's harassment, though read the article and see if that's reasonable. And then it further claims that the US Attorneys were "harassed on the internet." But the only evidence it provides is this:
So some kid gets angry and fires off an angry email to the DOJ with the Anonymous tagline at the end, and the DOJ gets all weak-kneed? Really?

Even more bizarre, the DOJ includes a long paragraph talking about how all of the praise that Twitter got after the Twitter Order was revealed explains why the Google Order shouldn't be revealed. That is, the DOJ is explicitly saying "man, it would suck if actually protecting the privacy of users became contagious":

That does not seem like a legitimate reason for a gag order. It sounds like the DOJ is unwilling to support due process and is afraid to actually have to defend its actions.

In response to this, Google quite reasonably points out that the government's argument cancels out its own argument. At one point, for example, the DOJ pointed to one of the people it was seeking information on Tweeting to followers not to send direct messages, and another saying that it's likely that Google and Facebook received similar orders. As Google points out, given that, the targets already suspect what is going on and thus it couldn't possibly make sense to maintain the gag order. As for the "parade of horribles" above, Google rightly points out that none of them show how revealing the Google Order will exacerbate any of the "problems" it outlined.

The fight was put on hold while the individuals in question (including Appelbaum) fought the Twitter Order. And, when that failed, the case picked up again, with the DOJ saying "look, that failed, so this case is over." Google responded, quite reasonably, that whether or not the individuals succeeded in stopping the information disclosure is a wholly separate issue from whether or not the gag order makes sense. Unfortunately, in the end, the court rejected all of Google's arguments. The court relies heavily on the fact that Appelbaum (though, bizarrely, his name is redacted here) tweeted the following: "Do not send me Direct Messages - My twitter account contents have apparently been invited to the (presumably-Grand Jury) in Alexandria."
To the court, this is evidence that any disclosure will lead to a change in behavior.

Furthermore, the court ridiculously buys into the claims by the DOJ that the "public campaign" supporting Twitter for standing up for the rights of its users is a form of witness intimidation. Really:
That concluding line is really incredible:
If the Google Order were unsealed, future service providers may do precisely what Google has done in this instance, namely resist compliance with a lawful §2703(d) order by bringing baseless legal challenges that have the effect of impeding the government's progress in the Wikileaks investigation.
In other words, merely challenging the legitimacy of a gag order with an associated court order to hand over someone's info -- in other words protecting a user's privacy is somehow seen as evidence of impeding an investigation. This is ridiculous.

Finally, as Lauren Weinstein points out in his own analysis of these newly released documents, this does show just how strongly Google fought the government to block the government from getting access to user info. There is this false belief out there that Google, in particular, has given the government free access to its servers (in part because of an incorrect interpretation of a Snowden document early on). Yet, this highlights how Google actually fought quite hard to protect its users' info (and this all happened more than two years before the Snowden leaks). Indeed, in my original post, about the revelation that Google had received a similar order, we were disappointed that unlike Twitter and Sonic, Google refused to comment. We had no way of knowing that the company had been gagged.

Even Appelbaum -- not exactly one to cheer on Google in most settings -- now admits that he's impressed by how strongly Google fought. A few of his tweets explaining this:




Separately, he notes that while we know about Twitter, Sonic and Google... we don't know about Facebook or Yahoo, leading him to wonder what happened there:


No matter what, this seems like yet another example of the DOJ being out of control and trying to cover up its own actions to keep them out of the public debate, rather than for any legitimate purpose.

Filed Under: doj, free speech, gag order, jacob appelbaum
Companies: google, twitter, wikileaks


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  1. icon
    rw (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 9:55am

    "...this seems like yet another example of the DOJ being out of control..."

    I think restricting this statement to the DOJ is a possible mistake. Shouldn't that have said "example of the Executive branch being out of control?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2015 @ 10:51am

    Sounds like the gag order was to hide the blatant illegality of the whole thing. We have no real legal standing so here is an order not a warrant mind you, and a gag order not to reveal it. Time to start over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 10:58am

    DoJ is Judicial Branch

    And it's not exactly like Congress is in control either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:00am

    A note for the next iteration of civilization:

    No gag orders on the existence of gag orders.

    (And no cheating: No classifying gag orders or gagging the existence of classified data. I'm watching you, future!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:03am

    I suppose a temporary work-around...

    would be to include a gag-order clause in warrant-canary statements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    wec, 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:10am

    I am now assuming refusal of any request from the government will be followed by having to answer for 'impeding the investigation'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:22am

    Re: 'impeding the investigation'

    Respect their authoritah!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dave Xanatos, 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:36am

    Re: DoJ is Judicial Branch

    Well actually: the DoJ is Executive. Easy mistake, though, as they like to pretend they are Judge, Jury, and Executioner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    tqk (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:49am

    Just a suggestion ...

    Stories like this would be far more entertaining, and possibly less mindblowing, if you'd first search and replace "DoJ" with "Gestapo." Call a spade a fsckin' shovel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Brian (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:51am

    What if Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc setup "profile canaries" for each user. That way, each user can see if the government is snooping around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:55am

    I'M SO CONFUSED

    Wait...I thought the courts, the police and the attorneys were all under one roof.

    GAAAAH!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    tqk (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:57am

    Re: DoJ is Judicial Branch

    And it's not exactly like Congress is in control either.

    What of the "Establishment" in the US is "in control", as in "under the control of the citizenry?" They're controlled by campaign funding donations, not by the needs of citizens.


    You (and we) are mere pawns in their eyes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Dave Xanatos, 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:12pm

    To overuse a metaphore:

    They are under separate roofs, but the buildings all share walls with big holes in them so they can scratch each others' backs. Or something. Maybe it's a communal sink. Now I'm confused.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Just a suggestion ...

    That would endorse Godwin's Law and nobody wants to do that.

    Call them "Stasi", or "Checka" instead.

    See, isn't that better?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Mr. Oizo, 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:23pm

    How about

    How about: google was in bed with the DOJ, and agreed _freely_ not to talk about this, as long as they could later act as if they were unwilling. Up to now it has always been the same with Google: after the facts pulling some good PR out of it, while in reality they piss on your privacy.

    Open your eyes: this is a poney and dog ride. Google = NSA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Ken Riel (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:30pm

    Grammatically Correct

    This is OUR government, regardless of how bad things may have gotten DC, this is still our representative democracy we're talking about, a government of, by, and for the people, to paraphrase Mr Lincoln.

    Why then, do we allow ourselves to say or write "the government", when that shows about as much respect as calling your mother "the mom"?

    I love my government! I don't want be disrespectful at all.

    When talking about OUR government, it might make some sense to tighten up the grammar that we use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:31pm

    Re: How about

    This post rips your argument to shreds:

    http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/001110.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Grammatically Correct

    ...this is still our representative democracy we're talking about, a government of, by, and for the people...

    Your naivete warms the cockles of one's heart.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:53pm

    THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    This is an alleged drmocracy. It behaves as a corporate oligarchy. A plutocracy.

    We the people have very little say, especially in contrast to monied interests.

    Rome has already been sacked. The system is throughly corrupt. The government has very little to do what our Constitutional framers intended. Though they did warn us that this would happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:57pm

    Secret police and secret courts.

    In twentieth cemtury speculative fiction, they were elements to communicate to the readers an oppressive dystopia.

    Someone gets disappeared to drive the point home.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Ken Riel (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 1:02pm

    Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    Time to grab for the truth then. The mechanism is still in place for us to do so in a peaceful and orderly fashion.

    Cynicism doesn't help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Quiet Lurcker, 24 Jun 2015 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    If given a choice of 'truth', I'll opt for the .5-inch diameter variety, thank you all the same. Preferably in a fully automatic variety, but semi-automatic will do in a pinch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2015 @ 2:32pm

    You might want to rethink your redaction policies...

    http: //www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/08/(blank)-calls-google-facebook-us-supoenas

    Guys... you do know that gurdian.co.uk is still a working web site, and that they have archives online that make your pathetic redaction pointless, don't you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Ken Riel (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    The bluster won't serve us, it is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    This being the 21st century and all, your Tommy gun fantasy seems a little outdated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    crade (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    Grabbing for the truth is not only illegal, but worse.. The gov't doesn't like you doing it. Be realistic. The cause is lost. Get out while you can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Ken Riel (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    OUR gov't! ...sheesh, this ain't gunna be easy.

    The truth is not illegal, and all is not lost.

    OUR government is 100% malleable.

    Silly as all of this sounds it's the truest (truthiest) stuff many of you have ever seen.

    True dat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 4:40pm

    Which mechanism would that be?

    The courts and offices are corporate owned. Remember that Obama was the Hope and Change guy before he was the pro-mass-surveilance guy and the torturers-are-patriots guy. Bush before him was the compassionate conservative before he started warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation and that whole business in Iraq that had something to do with Al-qaida ajd WMDs.

    {breathe, breathe}

    Third party candidates only serve to spoil the the election for the less evil primary party. See Ross Perot. (Though, I for one, was glad for Clinton over Bush or Dole)

    Protests require hundreds of thousands before they are noticed and then have to face brutal crowd control. (Which, granted, bolsters public support when the press sees it, but no-one wants to be the guy who gets shot for the cause) And then, like OWS, they still can get forgotten and ignored

    Much as with Gwiz, your optimism warms my heart. But my cynicism comes from history not even long ago and forgotten, merely disregarded.

    Feel free to work towards a peaceful solution, or even one within the system. I suspect you will encounter the same frustrations that have those before you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 4:59pm

    Okay, either you are making no sense or I cannot parse.

    So please, elaborate what your plan is specifically.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    Well, revolution and the violence thereof is probably inevitable, but we're all open to non-violent solutions that are plausible. Do enlighten us.

    But guns are incidental (and 50-calibur guns less useful than 5.56 x 45mm NATO). The early revolution is probably going to be a mischief and sabotage campaign.

    To be fair, I hypothesize that our recent rash of rampage killers has to do with people seeing society falling apart and feel powerless to do anything about it (and in the case of Dylann Roof, blaming and going after his preferred scapegoat). This might be symptomatic of the kind of general discontent that fuels revolution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Which mechanism would that be?

    You know, I voted for GW Bush the first time because I liked his talk about a "humbler" foreign policy.

    And I voted for our current Fuhrer the first time because I liked the talk about transparency, closing GitMo, etc.

    In each case I was betrayed (OK, I was a sucker in the first place).

    But here's the thing - I voted against both of them the second time around.

    Yet they won.

    So, obviously, most voters didn't feel betrayed. By either of them.

    I could go into a long analysis of why, but as long as the majority of voters keep supporting these monsters, nothing will change.

    And anybody attempting revolution will lose.

    It's not about team blue vs. team red. It's about honest vs. liars. Until the voters get it, we're stuck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 24 Jun 2015 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Grammatically Correct

    You're entitled to your fantasy, but please understand no one else wants to be dragged in with you. This is no longer a government by the people, and it is most certainly not for the people. There is a massive outcry against NSA warrantless bulk data collection, and yet the NSA continues to slurp out data largely unabated. (We did have a minor victory with the USA FREEDOM act, but that barely scratches the surface) The text of the TPP is heavil guarded, and in one article on this very site the reason for its withholding is to keep the public from getting angry and debating it. On this very article the DOJ uses gag orders to keep the truth from the public. If you're happy with the spying and you voted for more secrecy, feel free to refer to the government as "my government". The rest of us will continue being ashamed of/fighting against what "our" government is doing in our name, and will probably disrespect the government as much as we damn well please. After all, that's one of the best parts of the First Amendment, it would be a shame to waste it.
    Wake up and smell the Orwell,
    Just Another Anonymous Troll

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 24 Jun 2015 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    Do you mean the mechanism that returns pages covered in gallons of black ink, the mechanism that is intentionally prohibitively expensive and difficult to use, or the mechanism that gets straight-up ignored?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 7:50pm

    As long as the majority of voters keep doing X

    I can assure you that the majority of voters will keep doing X.

    Forever and ever and ever.

    Because we are not reasonable men. We are not rational beings. We are not, as Madison observed, angels or privileged to be governed by angels.

    Some people will vote based on a single issue. Some people will vote for their team regardless of platform. Some people will vote for the handsomest. Some people will vote for the easiest name to remember. Some will vote for the incumbent regardless of how awful he is.

    Most people voted against Obama because he was a Kenyan Muslim terrorist. Yes. The US is teeming with people who are exactly that bright.

    And until we can create a system that won't exploit their stupidity, or will get them to participate effectively in the electorate process despite themselves, we're going to have a plutocracy that shits on most of us. Maybe until China overruns us, or maybe until we just lose it and shoot each other.

    We build civilization with the people we have. Not the people we wish we had.

    ...or, we don't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jun 2015 @ 7:56pm

    Oh and thanks for reminding me.

    Yes, Obama was the Total transparency guy. Until his became the most opaque administration ever.

    He was also the protect whistleblowers guy until he became the bury whistleblowers alive guy.

    I got to thinking about Bush and my head rushed with Valerie Plame and Halliburton and the Judge apologizing to Cheney because Cheney shot him and my everything went red and hazy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2015 @ 11:52pm

    It sounds like the DOJ wanted to keep this case hushed up in a secret court of law. Probably afraid of the public backlash it would likely face if the case proceeded in a public court of law.

    Google's not the only one gagging from this case. There's a lot to gag about after reading through all the distasteful things the DOJ has been up too in their secret court rooms.

    They even refused to acknowledge Jacob Appelbaum as a journalist. Probably because he's not a government approved journalist like those working at the Sunday Times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    "To be fair, I hypothesize that our recent rash of rampage killers has to do with people seeing society falling apart and feel powerless to do anything about it (and in the case of Dylann Roof, blaming and going after his preferred scapegoat). This might be symptomatic of the kind of general discontent that fuels revolution."

    *BINGO*
    we have a winner ! ! !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    5.56 x 45mm NATO is utterly illegal in war or armed conflict.
    International Committee of the Red Cross:Hague Declaration concerning Expanding Bullets
    The 1899 Hague Declaration concerning Expanding Bullets states:
    The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions.
    ICC Statute
    Pursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(xix) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[e]mploying bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

    5.56 x 45mm NATO is made to fragment inside humans, on purpose!
    Nobody gives a shit anymore though. It puzzles me!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 4:59am

    Voting in USA

    The elections themselves seam to be nonfunctional. This is clearly demonstrated by Bev Harris and her team at black box voting, with election machines made for fake accounting, actually demonstrating that the elections is fake, getting "original" printouts from election machines and comparing them with the real original in the trash (and they don't match), and so on...

    It is also clearly demonstrated by minus votes, impossible slanting curves in the counting of the RNC's nominating election, and so on ...

    It is also demonstrated by quite large groups voting deliberately "uncommon" to check that their votes didn't shop up in the results.

    If the citizens organized elections by themselves, to be executed according the Scandinavian model with paper in envelope and double actual counting that has to match, then the elections would give the correct result. But as even exit polls is met with force in USA, an actual election is an utopian dream.

    Functional elections does not solve the problem with lying nominees, nor with lying MSM. It is absolutely necessary to restore the democracy though"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: How about

    I'm unconvinced by Laurens post.

    Most of it is claims that Google is such a very special snowflake. That if Google were forced to do such unethical acts it would cause "very public, mass resignations of Googlers". Except it didn't.

    Google were forced to be unethical, and the mass resignation is absent. Google were forced to be mum about it, and the mass resignation is absent. They resisted, but complied. Quietly.

    Why should we believe that it would be different for other immoral acts they are forced too do?

    If they they had been Rosa Parks no Montgomery Bus Boycott would have happened!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: How about

    There's a very simple solution to your dilemma. Don't use Google; problem solved. Yes, it is possible to exist sans Google.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: How about

    That if Google were forced to do such unethical acts it would cause "very public, mass resignations of Googlers". Except it didn't.

    The paragraph you quoted from was in reference to the rumor that Google gave total access to their data to the NSA. I also believe that such an egregious violation of the users privacy wouldn't have been done without a single peep from all of the engineers and coders that would have known about it.


    Google were forced to be unethical, and the mass resignation is absent. Google were forced to be mum about it, and the mass resignation is absent. They resisted, but complied. Quietly.

    I'm not sure I would classify complying with court orders concerning a limited number of users as "unethical". What other option would be available? Google resisted as best they could to preserve the privacy of their users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Ken Riel (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 8:32am

    Moving On

    A couple of points, just as a matter of record.

    The only way any kind of real and survivable change can take place is by our existing democratic process, legally and as safely as possible. Attempts from outside of our system would be squashed like a bug.

    Any oligarchs or nefarious 'powers that be' in our system hold their grip on power mostly through manipulation of the public narrative. This public narrative is far from impenetrable and unchanging. With hard work and a little 'luck', there is definitely a chance that we can pull this off.

    Those of you who think that it's too late now or that nobody wants to hear any of this... ya'll are very wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    They outlawed tumbling bullets for the same reason, for causing more damage than a rifled bullet. It's merely convenient that rifled bullets are far more accurate than tumbling bullets, but that's irrelevant, yes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 9:13am

    Re: Moving On

    Any oligarchs or nefarious 'powers that be' in our system hold their grip on power mostly through manipulation of the public narrative.


    Nope, not at all. It's done through the manipulation of campaign funding.

    If you really want to instigate change in the government, it will need to start with campaign funding reform. Unfortunately, those who actually have a say on such things are the very same ones who benefit from such things. It's an uphill battle.

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  45. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 9:38am

    Re: How about

    How about: google was in bed with the DOJ, and agreed _freely_ not to talk about this, as long as they could later act as if they were unwilling.

    What's interesting about this theory is that there is no possible evidence that could convince you it's not true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    5.56 x 45mm NATO is made to fragment inside humans, on purpose!

    This citation tends to indicate otherwise:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO#Performance

    While it can fragment under some circumstances, it's just a lead core, and I don't see any reason to think the fragmentation is on purpose, just a result of very high impact velocities (from some weapons). Besides all that, fragmenting isn't the same thing as expanding or flattening.

    That also seems like a really weird thing to classify as a war crime. Expanding (or frangible) rounds reduce overpenetration, which makes collateral damage less likely. Yes, it makes killing the target more likely, but you're talking about shooting someone - seems silly to allow shooting someone in a war as long as you don't try too hard to kill him.

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  47. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 10:19am

    5.56 x 45mm NATO rounds

    I recommended for their ubiquity, not based on whether they're Geneva-Convention compliant.

    My understanding is that 5.56 x 45mm NATO is a standard for a shell that fits into a huge number of assault rifles. Like any gauge, they can be made to be lead slugs, tungsten slugs (very sexy), hollowpoint, frangible, mercury-filled, High-explosive, incendiary, or simply FMJ.

    And yes, slugs and FMJ are approved for combat by the Geneva Convention, but frangible and hollowpoint are used in law enforcement to reduce penetration for sake of bystanders behind walls.

    Depleted Uranium would be right out, but I'm pretty sure you have to order those special.

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  48. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 10:25am

    That just indicates a lack of creativity.

    The only way any kind of real and survivable change can take place is by our existing democratic process, legally and as safely as possible. Attempts from outside of our system would be squashed like a bug.

    [citation needed]

    You're speculating. I could just as easily speculate that the system is to broken to fix and decaying faster than reform could be implemented, and that the suffering of the people is extreme enough to fuel a revolution for centuries if need be.

    And I could site not only US history in the middle east (and that of the USSR) but also numerous COIN experts throughout history to back my point.

    That's the problem with speculating. It's speculating.

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  49. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 10:41am

    Re: 5.56 x 45mm NATO rounds

    Like any gauge, they can be made to be lead slugs, tungsten slugs (very sexy), hollowpoint, frangible, mercury-filled, High-explosive, incendiary, or simply FMJ.

    Are you sure there is 5.56 HE and incendiary ammo? I couldn't find anything more credible than online sales, and who knows what they might be selling.

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  50. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: 5.56 x 45mm NATO rounds

    I'm not sure at all. And what you do get might be dangerous home-brew concoctions.

    Caveat Emptor!

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  51. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: 5.56 x 45mm NATO rounds

    Yeah I would think for the sort of target you want to use HE on you would probably want a bigger caliber anyway. I was surprised to see a Barrett .50 rifle at my local sporting goods store the other day. That would have a wide range of uses in the upcoming revolution...

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  52. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    5.56 x 45mm NATO were designed to be as lethal as 7.62 x 51mm NATO at ranges up to 300m (by by being designed to fragment) and being lighter (very important), more compact (volume), and having more rounds pr. clip (diameter at the end).

    The link you provided say this at the next paragraph:
    Criticism

    There has been much debate of the allegedly poor performance of the bullet on target, especially the first-shot kill rate when the muzzle velocity of the firearms used and the downrange bullet deceleration do not achieve the minimally required terminal velocity of over 750 m/s (2,500 ft/s) at the target to cause fragmentation.


    The criticism is that it doesn't fragment easily enough at range!


    7.62 x 51mm NATO rifles tend to have significantly longer barrels, something that improves bullet speed and therefore ballistics. The "east block" cartridge 5.45 × 39mm is also fast. None of them is made to fragment. Quote from the wikipedia relating to 5.45 × 39mm:
    5.45 × 39mm Wounding effects
    Martin Fackler conducted a study with an AK-74 assault rifle using live pigs and ballistic gelatin; "The result of our preset test indicate that the AK-74 bullet acts in the manner expected of a full-metal-cased military ammunition - it does not deform or fragment when striking soft tissues".


    nasch:..., fragmenting isn't the same thing as expanding or flattening.

    No it is much much worse!

    nasch:That also seems like a really weird thing to classify as a war crime. Expanding (or frangible) rounds reduce overpenetration, which makes collateral damage less likely.

    The police may freely use it for that very reason.

    nasch:Yes, it makes killing the target more likely, but you're talking about shooting someone - seems silly to allow shooting someone in a war as long as you don't try too hard to kill him.

    Many find it queer that there is rules for war. I don't. It is just that we (the western nations) really don't care anymore. Fragmentation is heinous, it causes surgery to take vastly longer and causes needless suffering.


    I hope our eagerness to do atrocities soon abate.

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  53. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 11:42am

    Re: Voting in USA

    show up not shop up

    sorry for the spelling mistake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Moving On

    ... hold their grip on power mostly through manipulation of the public narrative.

    Nope, not at all. It's done through the manipulation of campaign funding.

    I doubt that the NY Times, WaPo, or LA Times are much affected by campaign funding. There's lots of stuff that's broken, including the MSM having been captured by gov't functionaries, and campaign financing. The FEC itself admits it's incapable of enforcing honest elections. Add in gerrymandered to death constituencies and apathetic to a fault voters (if they're even allowed to vote), and we'll never dig our way out of this hole.

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  55. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 11:54am

    Re: That just indicates a lack of creativity.

    I could just as easily speculate that the system is to broken to fix and decaying faster than reform could be implemented, and that the suffering of the people is extreme enough to fuel a revolution for centuries if need be.

    At this point, I'm just grateful it's a slow motion train wreck. I'm planning to be dead before it all finally comes to a sickening halt. You young 'uns are not so blessed, sadly.

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  56. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 12:09pm

    It's not a very severe war crime.

    Using frangible or expanding ammo is much less of a war crime when chosen to do so by an individual soldier, rather than when such bullets are general issue. And yeah, in tactical situations where you don't want overpenetration, such bullets are justified.

    But the point of such regulations is not to stop bullets from being less lethal, but for the lethality of war machines to not cause undue suffering.

    It's fuzzy logic from the study of Jus Bellum, and yeah, it fails to recognize that war is such a big ball of suck that it's hubris to try and regulate suffering within it.

    On the other hand, we've seen flamethrowers in action in WWII, and we know that that kind of thing is way to cruel and horrifying -- but not enough to stop us from using napalm in Vietnam.

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  57. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: How about

    How about: google was in bed with the DOJ, and agreed _freely_ not to talk about this, as long as they could later act as if they were unwilling.

    What's interesting about this theory is that there is no possible evidence that could convince you it's not true.

    Even if it is true, so what? Google is a business. It's nominally controlled by Brin and Paige, and they're controlled by stockholders. Businesses don't need to care about morality and ethics. That's for humans, not businesses. If they do care about them, it's because it's good for business (PR).

    I like and respect Brin and Paige, but that's irrelevant as far as the corp Google's concerned. Google's job is to make money for its shareholders while staying within the law. It's hardly their fault that the regime in power at the moment happens to be verging on tyranical.

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  58. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    The criticism is that it doesn't fragment easily enough at range!

    That doesn't imply that it's designed to fragment.

    Many find it queer that there is rules for war. I don't.

    I don't either.

    Fragmentation is heinous, it causes surgery to take vastly longer and causes needless suffering.

    What about expanding ammunition, which is what's banned?

    I hope our eagerness to do atrocities soon abate.

    I would love it if we could make the laws of war obsolete. Like laws regulating tying up horses outside saloons.

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  59. icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THE government hasn't been behaving as OUR government for decades.

    Many find it queer that there is rules for war. I don't.

    Nor I. How can anyone expect the losing side might follow such rules?
    Fragmentation is heinous, it causes surgery to take vastly longer and causes needless suffering.

    That also sounds like more likely lethal, obviating any need for surgery. In war, survivors can be a drain on the war effort.

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  60. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 1:00pm

    Peace

    I would love it if we could make the laws of war obsolete. Like laws regulating tying up horses outside saloons.

    Point taken

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  61. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 2:07pm

    Fragmentation

    Socrates:The criticism is that it doesn't fragment easily enough at range!

    nasch:That doesn't imply that it's designed to fragment.

    The systematic labeling of non-fragmenting as failure imply that it's designed to fragment. As these quotes by Doctor Martin Fackler himself show:
    If 5.56 mm bullets fail to upset (yaw, fragment, or deform) within tissue, the results are relatively insignificant wounds

    This failure to yaw and fragment can be caused by reduced impact velocities as when fired from short barrel weapons or when the range increases

    Failure to yaw and fragment can also occur when the bullets pass through only minimal tissue, such as a limb or the chest of a thin, small statured individual, as the bullet may exit the body before it has a chance to yaw and fragment

    The opening sentence under Alternatives is:
    If the 5.56 mm bullet is moving too slowly to reliably fragment on impact,...
    Notice reliably fragment. It is deliberate.

    And as Mk318 Improvements:
    The tip and lead core fragments consistently even when using short barrels
    Notice fragments consistently. It is completely deliberate.


    You may also take a look on the Wound profiles, with splinters all over the place.

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  62. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Fragmentation

    The systematic labeling of non-fragmenting as failure imply that it's designed to fragment.

    If that labeling is from the designer, yes. I could complain that my van consistently fails to do a quarter mile drag race in under 13 seconds, but that doesn't mean it's designed to do that.

    The "improvements" section does indicate that fragmentation is one of the design goals, though apparently just for ammo used by special forces, not general military use.

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  63. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 2:37pm

    Existing sans google

    I have used DuckDuckGo almost exclusively for years. I might still care for other people though, also for issues that don't affect me personally.

    Also, I might be affected by spying on government officials; I might receive mail from someone affected; or having to send to someone affected; or it might get forwarded later. I might be harmed like a fellow student that got his advanced stereo destroyed by a random person's infected Sony CD at a party.

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  64. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Fragmentation

    It were all over the place in official documentation of the ammunition that I saw years ago. Fragmentation were the method used to make the guns and ammunition smaller and lighter, being just as lethal, and making the wounds worse; for ranges up to 300 meters. It were compared to larger calibers, mainly 7.62x51mm. The wikipedia article reflect this.

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  65. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Fragmentation

    Doctor Martin Fackler were a colonel in the US Army's Medical Corps. He was the head of the Wound Ballistics Laboratory and postulated and researched how to make wounds "efficient". His "work" were a large part of the basis for the designers. Some of his "work" have been contested later. He were a large fan of fragmenting bullets!

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  66. identicon
    Socrates, 25 Jun 2015 @ 4:12pm

    Lauren Weinstein conjectures

    Gwiz:The paragraph you quoted from was in reference to the rumor that Google gave total access to their data to the NSA. I also believe that such an egregious violation of the users privacy wouldn't have been done without a single peep from all of the engineers and coders that would have known about it.

    The number of engineers that would know is quite limited. NSA is just one more replication point in "the cloud". And the replicating can be done from any of the other points. Or perhaps just access to a single replication point.

    Socrates:Google were forced to be unethical, and the mass resignation is absent. Google were forced to be mum about it, and the mass resignation is absent. They resisted, but complied. Quietly.

    Gwiz:I'm not sure I would classify complying with court orders concerning a limited number of users as "unethical". What other option would be available? Google resisted as best they could to preserve the privacy of their users.

    Depends, and possibly. Google might have resisted because the governments effort against Jacob Appelbaum is heinous. In my opinion it is. Is this a sentiment not shared by Google engineers? For real? If they do share the sentiment, where is the exodus?

    Would Google distribute something that would make it look bad, I doubt it. Does Google put the same effort in for all "requests"? As long as we have to trust Google and the US government to give us a objective assessment we will never know. Perhaps Google really is the very special snowflake Lauren Weinstein claim, or not.

    Lauren Weinstein says things like "stolen NSA documents cache were touted by various commercial parties" and thus mimics untrustworthy actors very closely. His post also comes across as very anti transparent and very anti Snowden. It is dripping with connotations and is fact free. This is in stark contrast to Snowden and those he trusted.

    IMHO It does not instill any confidence in Lauren Weinstein conjectures.

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  67. identicon
    GEMont, 25 Jun 2015 @ 7:19pm

    Someone drugged the Sleeping Giant.

    The DOJ does not work for the American People and I can prove it.

    How?

    Simple.

    Just go ahead and try and fire the bastards.

    Surprise!

    ---

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  68. identicon
    GEMont, 25 Jun 2015 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Which mechanism would that be?

    "But here's the thing - I voted against both of them the second time around."

    So did everyone else.

    But you and they all think that everyone else betrayed you by voting the same ass-hats back into power.

    However, no votes have actually been counted for the election of POTUS for over twenty years now.

    Its called divide and conquer and it works like a charm.

    Everyone now blames everyone else (but not the government) for voting the crooks back into office.

    You and they are of course assuming that the vote itself is still an effective way to choose good government.

    In a system that is now very obviously rife with cronyism, corruption, fascism and secret crimes, which part do you think would have been the very first part to be corrupted?

    The Vote.

    Like so many other American myths, people will cling to the notion that the Vote is Blessed with Justice and Truth and cannot be broken or bent to the will of evil men, because to think otherwise is to face the devil that is eating your soul, and he is a very, very scary sumbitch to face.

    As long as people pretend the world is still whole and sane and not being run by crooks hell bent on personal gain, it will only get worse, until it collapses, like so many civilizations before it.

    ---

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  69. identicon
    james, 26 Jun 2015 @ 5:15am

    Re:

    i agree with you,move on and let go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Voting in USA

    @socrates and @Uriel-238:

    I live in a medium-sized town in New England. I personally know many of the people who run the elections and compute the results. They're honest. (Not often terribly bright, but honest.)

    Maybe you're correct and there is massive corruption higher up the chain of tallying results, or elsewhere in the US.

    But never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    Beware of basing your revolution on the assumption that the majority is with you, despite vote totals indicating otherwise. You may be mistaken.

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  71. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:44am

    I'm actally pretty sure the folks at the polling sites are honest.

    My complaint is that we've had two presidents in a row whose administrations veered widely from their original campaigns.

    That strongly suggests we can't trust our candidates to do anything close to what we voted them in to do (e.g. UNDO EVERYTHING THE LAST GUY DID!)

    And my complaint is all of our representatives are owned by the lobbyists of their contributors, so very often their position is totally opposite of what the people want.

    This is why we can't stop the torture program.

    This is why we can't stop the surveillance program.

    This is why we can't stop police overreach and brutality, nor can we serve justice to those who gun down unarmed innocents.

    These are my complaints.

    Regarding the revolution, one generally needs the support of about 5% of the population (which is huge and yes, hard to achieve). But one starts a revolution the way one eats an elephant, one bite at a time.

    I've mentioned before that were I writing a script for a moving featuring some kids engaging in partisan activity, they might first start by sabotaging the stationary cell-phone spoofing towers, which is technology that law enforcement doesn't even want to admit they have.

    Kinda like sap gloves with knuckles filled with fine shot.

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  72. icon
    nasch (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:58am

    Re: I'm actally pretty sure the folks at the polling sites are honest.

    My complaint is that we've had two presidents in a row whose administrations veered widely from their original campaigns.

    Only two?

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  73. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 12:31pm

    "Only two?"

    Plenty more than two, but conspicuously the last two right in a row. Right when we were desperate for the new guy to be different than the old guy. He wasn't.

    Fun story: Sometimes it happens in reverse. Chester A Arthur was notorious for being an owned man (by Roscoe Conkling). But when Garfield was assassinated and Arthur took office he grew a conscience (maybe visited by the Ghost of Thomas Becket of Canterbury) and pushed the civil service reform agenda which was totally contrary to the will of his patrons. Kinda like Wheeler today in the FCC.

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  74. icon
    tqk (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:13pm

    Re: I'm actally pretty sure the folks at the polling sites are honest.

    I've mentioned before that were I writing a script for a moving featuring some kids engaging in partisan activity, they might first start by sabotaging the stationary cell-phone spoofing towers ...

    Great idea, and yet another proof that guns are merely tools. You don't have to shoot people with them. Cell APs are just as vulnerable to bullets as are biologicals.

    It helps that APs can generally be found on the tallest buildings in the area. No chance of friendly fire hurting people.

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  75. icon
    nasch (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: I'm actally pretty sure the folks at the polling sites are honest.

    It helps that APs can generally be found on the tallest buildings in the area. No chance of friendly fire hurting people.

    Well, not no chance. If you fire up at an angle and miss, that bullet could definitely kill someone.

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  76. icon
    tqk (profile), 26 Jun 2015 @ 3:02pm

    Re: "Only two?"

    But when Garfield was assassinated and Arthur took office he grew a conscience ...

    Or, he was released from the necessity of caring about his (former?) employers' priorities, and thus felt himself free to speak his mind (to our benefit)?

    In olden days, turncoats were considered unreliable (at the least) for good reason. Secrets were no longer secrets if they were in the hands of turncoats.

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  77. identicon
    GEMont, 26 Jun 2015 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re: That just indicates a lack of creativity.

    Reminds me of the Chinese Curse:

    "May your children live in interesting times."

    I'm only 65 so I'll very likely witness the children of this generation die in the civil wars of procurement and extermination, during the final years of the USA.

    Slow train wreck it may be, but once fascists get a foothold, dissolution is almost guaranteed, because they know no limits to their greed, and the longer they hold court inside the walls, the quicker the process of corruption and decay becomes and the greater the permanent damage to the nation and its people.

    Since very, very few people have realized that the US has been conquered from within, and even fewer are willing to do anything about it anyways, I see little hope of any kind of remedy, short of an invasion by Martians, and I do not see this Phoenix rising from its ashes thereafter.

    But then again, I'm a pessimist by nature. :)

    ---

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  78. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 27 Jun 2015 @ 8:17am

    Re: This is why

    I share the goals you mention - stopping the torture, the surveillance, police overreach and brutality. And probably more.

    But I don't diagnose the problem the same way.

    My point is that despite the fact that our elected politicians "veer widely" from their promises, they still get re-elected.

    Which seems to show that the majority of voters don't care.

    Or, at least, that they care more about the team red vs. team blue contest than they do about their own civil rights and liberties.

    I think the problem is the obsession with "red vs. blue" that blinds the vast majority to the real issues.

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  79. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 11:59am

    "Voters don't care."

    One of the problems with our system (and with the one-person-one-vote, first past the post system in general) is that it fails to reveal the nuances of how people vote.

    ~ Most people vote defensively, which is to say their primary intent is to vote against the other guy. It's not a vote for the lesser evil so much as voting for the greater evil. And this is why third-party votes fail: if enough people try to vote in a third party, it tends to be a spoiler for the lesser evil, putting the worst guy into office.

    ~ Many people buy into the Kenyan Muslim Terrorist rhetoric (or whatever plausible blood-libel, baby-eating, occult-worshipping-incest-cannibalism rumors are going on about the greater evil), which is why negative campaigning works so well. They don't educate themselves regarding the real issues or reasons to vote for / against someone (and maybe couldn't even comprehend if they tried.)

    ~ There's also people for whom only a single issue matters, and this is the illusion by which we convince people that we're doing something. Some people really hate gays or really hate guns or really hate abortion, and so long as a representative closes a few clinics or runs a few gun-control bills they can cancel all the benefits of their constituency they want and still get those votes.

    ~ And yes, there's plenty of the red team / blue team crowd, who vote GOP / DNC no matter what because those are their colors, much like sports teams.

    But as I said above, we can't change this. People are people are people, not just in the US but worldwide. So the only solution is to system to accommodate the stupidity of the people.


    We have to adjust our election systems to accommodate for people being disinterested in their own self interests, or easily distracted, or unable to think for themselves. No this won't be easy, and I don't know what it would look like or if it is even possible (in which case we're just doomed to exist as hateful tribal apes for another thousand generations).

    One first step is to change our electoral systems to one of several that aren't first past the post to allow for more than just two parties. That's a first step.

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  80. icon
    tqk (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 1:51pm

    Re: "Voters don't care."

    One first step is to change our electoral systems to one of several that aren't first past the post to allow for more than just two parties.

    Who would have the power to decide to make such a change? Congress. Never going to happen. That thought dies stillborn.

    The states in the US will need to line up together opposite DC for anything to be done about this. That might be a way forward. Canadian provinces tend to do well playing that card (but we've only got (?) ten provinces, whereas the US is saddled with over fifty when you add in things like Guam and Puerto Rico).

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  81. icon
    nasch (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: "Voters don't care."

    whereas the US is saddled with over fifty when you add in things like Guam and Puerto Rico).

    I don't think they would get a vote.

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  82. icon
    tqk (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: "Voters don't care."

    whereas the US is saddled with over fifty when you add in things like Guam and Puerto Rico).

    I don't think they would get a vote.

    Maybe you should ask the other states for their opinion. In this situation, DC (fed) rules don't apply.

    Hell, Texas might want to realign with Central America, and Wash. State and Oregon with BC, Canada for all we know. The future's wierd. Stranger things have happened.

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  83. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: "Voters don't care."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 9:25pm

    "That thought dies stillborn."

    You presume that I would intend to make change from within the system.

    We will live in our disenfranchised state until the people choose not to. And with bread and circuses, that could last for a while, if only the corporations who own the government wouldn't keep skimping on the bread and overcharging for the circuses.

    At the point that we're joking about our lost human rights on the Tonight Show, we can expect that people are feeling it.

    An extra-procedural change will happen if a procedural one doesn't soon, and a violent change will happen if a non-violent one doesn't soon.

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  85. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 29 Jun 2015 @ 7:03am

    Re: "Voters don't care."

    Well, I agree that FPTP is a horribly poor reflection of real voter sentiments, and that a better system would be an improvement.

    (Personally, I find the idea of "delegative representation"; similar to what they call "liquid democracy" in Europe, intriguing. Tho I think I wouldn't support changes in delegation between elections.)

    But the larger question is - even if we have a system that accurately reflects voter sentiment - is the voting public smart enough to make reasonable decisions? Does the majority even care about the erosion of their liberties?

    Just talking to my neighbors, there are a huge number of people who fundamentally don't understand or support the idea of "rights" at all - except for the right of a majority (50% plus one) to impose its arbitrary will on a minority.

    Revolutions famously eat their young. And are bloody. Looking around the world, I see few places that are doing substantially better than the US. It is far from clear to me that a revolution would (a) succeed, or (b) result in an improvement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86. icon
    nasch (profile), 29 Jun 2015 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "Voters don't care."

    Maybe you should ask the other states for their opinion. In this situation, DC (fed) rules don't apply.

    The Constitution controls. Article 5 specifies "states" can initiate constitutional amendments, and Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico aren't states.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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