back to article Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

Master spy blabbermouth Edward Snowden defended his NSA whistleblowing actions to the Council of Europe today. He told the human rights' parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, via video link from Moscow, that he had a "personal duty to country, government and family" to reveal details about snooping methods employed by the US …

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  1. NoneSuch

    Last Saturday was Snowden's birthday.

    I hope he can spend the next one back in the states with a Presidential pardon in his pocket. He has exposed chronic and continuing abuses in constitutional power and deserves to live his life freely.

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Coat

      "and deserves to live his life freely."

      Of course he does... but don't hold your breath...

      1. h3

        Re: "and deserves to live his life freely."

        It is strange how the BBC have completely changed their tune from when they first went into East Germany.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course he does, once he has served his jail term for treason etc. Then he can live free,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        jail sentence

        "Of course he does, once he has served his jail term for treason etc. Then he can live free,"

        Well said.. I've said this before (and been flamed for it) but I'll say it again (and surely be flamed again) but what he did was an act of betrayal and he should be punished for it, not publicly lauded as some sort of hero.

        Here's a timely thought....just over 60 years ago, the British government covertly acquired holiday photographs from members of the public, under the guise of a photography competition. The real reason was to get intelligence on what the beaches of Normandy looked like up close.

        Let's say that you were alive back then, and knew about this ruse. What would you do? Shout about it in public? "It's a lie! There's no photography competition! The government are secretly gathering information to help them plan an invasion of Normandy!"

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: jail sentence

          So AC, you think that today's world is just like WWII when Hitler was crushing people across Europe and committing genocide on those groups he did not like?

          If you feel so happy about mass surveillance and gov organisations that act as if they are beyond the reach of the law, why are you posting as AC? Fancy a bit of privacy, perhaps?

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: jail sentence

          Suppose the government in the 1930s had been gathering holiday photos so it had evidence of you kissing somebody in public.

          Just so that if you said anything nasty about the Germans ( and so compromised the chances of British industry getting the contracts for those new shower blocks) it would have something to leak to the tabloids.

          1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            Re: jail sentence

            @YAAC

            Your comment would hold if the authorities were specifically looking at somebody. The mass surveillance is not actively looking at people by the million, just establishing a cache of information.

            If Mr Snowden were really in full disclosure mode, he would tell us how the authorities use that cache of information when the need arises.How do they search efficiently? How do the distinguish J Smith (Jack) from J Smith (John). Or Mahomet from Mohammed from Muhamed?

            Lots of interesting data processing questions here, and there is a genuine public interest in how well it is being done.

        3. Psyx

          Re: jail sentence

          "Let's say that you were alive back then, and knew about this ruse. What would you do? Shout about it in public?"

          No, because we were in a shooting war, the details would be specific and the operation gathered crucial military intelligence on the enemy.

          Whereas Snowdon revealed fairly non-specific details of a government spying on its own people during peacetime.

          Apples != Oranges.

        4. David 45

          Re: jail sentence

          Hardly the same, is it? Chalk and cheese come to mind. Next time, make sure there is a valid comparison. I won't waste my time explaining if you can't see the difference. Doesn't take much intelligence.

        5. Chad H.

          Re: jail sentence

          Whom did he betray?

          Let's stop blaming the witness for the crime. That crap went out with the godfather.

        6. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: jail sentence

          Here's a timely thought....just over 60 years ago, the British government covertly acquired holiday photographs from members of the public, under the guise of a photography competition. The real reason was to get intelligence on what the beaches of Normandy looked like up close.

          You are incorrect: there was no fake photography competition and there was nothing covert about the way the photographs were acquired - quite the opposite - the Government broadcast an appeal over the radio. Of course the German forces knew exactly what was going on, however they were unable to determine which were the intended invasion beaches because the public were asked for photographs of any French beach. And if you think about it for a moment, this makes perfect sense, because then there would be pictures of secondary choices should the main ones have turned out to be unsuitable for whatever reason.

        7. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: jail sentence

          @ Jail sentence AC,

          Right, because Snowden gave away to Al Qaeda a combat operation involving thousands if our troops. No wait, he didn't do that. Well, then he gave away an operation devoted to penetrating major terror groups communications. Well, actually he didn't do that either.

          What he did give away was a worldwide network of surveillance that looks at and records the communication of ALL people, ostensibly in the hopes it can find a few terrorists. That network, and the secrecy around how it is used and can be used is a far more grave threat to our democracy than Al Qaeda can ever hope to be.

        8. Faye Kane, homeless brain

          Re: jail sentence

          ==-

          The votes on your post are 6 for, 25 against.

          And the 6 votes were the other NSA spooks who are here to spin hate against the guy who should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

          Fu ck you.

          faye Kane ♀ girl brain

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Faye Kane, indoctrinated brain Re: jail sentence

            Thanks for your eloquent though unintentional evidence to support my position.

            /BTW, is gaz alseep again?

        9. Faye Kane, homeless brain

          Snowden deserves the Nobel Peace prize

          Disingenuous, false-analogy, NSA bast ard!

          The "war on terrorism" is like the "war on drugs:" unnecessary, politically-motivated bullsh it. There is no "Normandy invasion" that Snowden damaged.

          All he did was tell us that you record all our Google searches, record where we are every day, all the time using our cell phones, record everything we say online, keep records of everyone we call on the telephone, and inject spyware viruses into our computers.

          I also happen to know that you that you read every one of our emails with a computer and analyze it t see if we say anything "interesting" to the government. I know because I did work in natural language recognition and I was almost hired to reduce the flood of false positives forwarded to your human secret agents. The guy who interviewed me took me to a bar that night, got real drunk, talked too much while bragging about his work, and wanted to fu ck me. (He could have, if he had been direct about it and not so drunk. Any man can do literally anything he wants to me).

          After ten years of this illegal outrage, not a single terrorist has been stopped.

          That's not "Normandy," assh ole. That's unconstitutional domestic spying. You people belong in PRISON.

          Tell the NSA disinformation section to try harder.

          -faye kane ♀ girl brain

          1. Psyx

            Re: Snowden deserves the Nobel Peace prize

            "Disingenuous, false-analogy, NSA bast ard!"

            Y'know that not everyone who disagrees with your standpoint works for the NSA, right? It's a fairly empty accusation which weakens your point.

      2. veti Silver badge
        Stop

        On a simple point of fact - Snowden isn't charged with treason. The indictment against him doesn't mention that. And given the constitutional definition, it would be really hard to make such a charge stick.

        By all means try him for "theft of gov't property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful [sic] communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person". Let's have that trial - in public, with a jury. Then if he's convicted on those charges, the president can pardon him and we can all get on with our lives with a clearer conscience.

      3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        "Of course he does, once he has served his jail term for treason etc"

        He's not the one that should be in jail for treason. start with Bush the lesser, Obama, Alexander, Clapper and work your way down.

    3. Cipher

      Presidential Pardon?

      Not from the current administration, abuse of the Constitution is rampant there. Tapping AP reporters phones, putting the IRS to work onpolitical enemies, the bonuses to the VA managers while vets died because of cooked lists, the Benghazi lies where Americans died, trading 5 top terrorists for a deserter, it goes on...

      And with each new scandal, Obama claims he just heard about it, is mad as hell and he will get to the bottom of it...

      Let the downvote orgy begin, but Snowden will never get a pardon...

      But he did the right thing, I applaud him!

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    What has changed since

    Now tha the Snowden affair is dimming into the past it would be intersting to know if the NSA/GCHQ/etc have actually changed anything at all about their respective methods or procedures for large data collection, or is it still BAU.

    1. Dramoth

      Re: What has changed since

      Unfortunately, with the NSA/GCHQ and other intelligence agencies thinking themselves above the law, its going to be BAU for them and their surveillance methods. After all, if they can twist their laws around to assassinate one of their own citizens, they are basically free to do what they want.

      1. Psyx

        Re: What has changed since

        "Unfortunately, with the NSA/GCHQ and other intelligence agencies thinking themselves above the law, its going to be BAU for them"

        That is NOT the problem, nor the case.

        The Agencies do not consider themselves ABOVE the law: They consider themselves working fully inside it and have been cleared to do so by the judiciary.

        And THAT is the problem.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: What has changed since

        NAS and the rest don't care and don't think they can do anything wrong. So BAU as far as they can manage.

        The only thing that has changed is companies that were happy to install a secret NSA tap in exchange for a bag of money now find that it's costing them money and even if they say there is no tap no one will believe them since that is what they would have to say if there was a tap. So we have US companies fighting the secret gag orders because it's costing them money.

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: What has changed since

        There is no evidence of any consequence in the documents released either by Edward Snowden or later by the U. S. government that the NSA thinks it is above the law. Taken as a whole they reveal extensive surveillance programs, some of them applied to domestic communications, that in addition to being approved within by the agency's legal counsel were approved by the Department of Justice (and presumably, in general terms, by the President). The programs were held by the FISC to be lawful in most cases, and appear to have been terminated or modified when not. Program operation, including errors and excesses, were reported regularly to the DoJ and FISC.

        In the search for bad guys we have tended to narrow the search rather too early and too much. To the extent there is a problem, it affects a major part of the Executive branch, a rotating and rather extensive group of Federal judges who serve on the FISC and its appeals court as additional duty. And that is before even considering the Legislative branch, which passed and re-passed the enabling laws. Whether they did so unknowingly, as some of the members now claim is largely immaterial, although I respect them less, as such statements show rather clearly that they were insufficiently attentive to their proper duties.

        Last, of course, are the voters who elected both the President and the legislators, mainly on the basis of largely hollow promises to distribute benefits to all. And the voters are the same, more or less, as those who cheerfully share their personal information with Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, and other social media sites.

        Things may be different in the UK with GCHQ, but aside from relatively inconsequential details I rather doubt it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    conCERN 2

    We begin therefore where they are determined not to end, with the question whether any form of democratic self-government, anywhere, is consistent with the kind of massive, pervasive, surveillance into which the Unites States government has led not only us but the world.

    This should not actually be a complicated inquiry.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/27/-sp-privacy-under-attack-nsa-files-revealed-new-threats-democracy

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/europe-24385999

    Surveillance is not an end toward totalitarianism, it is totalitarianism itself.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowdon is basically saying..

    Russia is scary and worse by far than the country I left after commitng treason. Can I come home now and get away with it all?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      Why on Earth would you post AC? Are you concerned your post might attract some down-votes or something?

    2. Creamy-G00dness

      AC pattern forming

      Guys if you are indeed in favour of intelligence gathering en masse and think that Snowden is a traitor, then why is every negative post in this thread AC? and every Pro Snowden comment from someone who isn't scared of using their name?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Creamy-G00dness Re: AC pattern forming

        Hey, I'm quite happy to put my name (well, nom de plume) to a statement saying that, IMHO, Snowjob is a traitor and a criminal. I also don't care how many sheeple downvote it. Indeed, I would encourage them for three reasons - first, it is democratic for them to bleat their opinions; secondly, it is amusing; and thirdly, it simply confirms the following theory.

        Simply put, the more intelligent and better earning a couple in the West are the less children they have (even the Lefties have noticed http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/07/smart-women-not-having-kids). Meanwhile, those of lower intelligence and limited or no income breed away with abandon. Socialism is always the politics of the low-income earners (and slackers), and as they outbreed and outnumber the intelligent so increases the levels of sheepleness. As the average level of intelligence drops so increases the levels of Leftiness. Such sheeple are always envying those that simply do better than them and therefore jump at the opportunity to rail at 'The Establishment'/ 'The Man'/ 'the bankers', etc, who they blame for all their failures. Hence their support for Snowjob and hence the large number of sheeple that will down vote this post, even though in doing so they are merely confirming their intellectual deficit.

        Enjoy!

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: @Matt Bryant

          I think you will find it is the smart ones who are concerned by the over-reaching mind set of NSA/GCHQ/etc.

          The dumb one of which you speak are too busy watching Big Brother/TOWIE/Geordie-whatever to care about that is being done in their name.

          Have a down-vote, we all know you need some masochistic pleasure now you don't have Sun Microsystems to rant about.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Paul Crawford Re: @Matt Bryant

            "I think you will find it is the smart ones who are concerned by the over-reaching mind set of NSA/GCHQ/etc....." Definitely not going by the hysterical bleating you find on all the NSA related threads. Snowjob himself has always maintained the program's were all targeted and filtered, yet the sheeple post here such silliness as 'we are all being SPIED ON', 'we are all being HARMED'.

            "....Have a down-vote, we all know you need some masochistic pleasure now you don't have Sun Microsystems to rant about." Did you miss Snoreacle's recent attempt to boost flagging software sales by buying a till vendor, in an attempt to force more of the same unpopular software on companies? Any of the Sun hardware engineers still left there must be crying at the idea of their decline from enterprise server designers to cashier 'specialists'. There's still plenty of post-Sun fun to be had with the ongoing tales of Snoreacle's hardware woes!

        2. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

          Downvoted.

          Specific genetic disorders excepted, there is no real evidence that the less well-off whom you assume to be of below standard intelligence have children inherently less intelligent than the successful and well-off of whom you assume high intelligence.

          And clearly worth another few downvotes for "Snowjob", "sheeple", and similar.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: tom dial Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

            "....there is no real evidence that the less well-off whom you assume to be of below standard intelligence have children inherently less intelligent than the successful and well-off of whom you assume high intelligence....." Not so, your IQ is primarily inherited, just like looks and physical capability. Upbringing and education can be a minor factor, but not really enough to change the fact that if your parents are below the curve then you're just about guaranteed to be. And then there is a correlation between IQ and earnings - simply put, smarter people usually earn more. Don't worry, it's drummed into people at school nowadays to be anti-elitist, that we're all 'born equal', that all kids 'can be winners', but the reality is some kids are going to be smarter and grow up to earn more money just as some can run faster or are simply better looking. Think back to your school days, do you deny there were smarter kids in your class and those you simply never expected to amount to much? Nature simply doesn't do equal, it would be counter to evolution if we were all created actually equally capable.

            So, if you accept evolution and genetic inheritance, and therefore that we are all not equal and do inherit many if our traits from our parents, then we are going to see smarter people earning more and in turn having smarter offspring who will also grow up to be higher earners. These are the people for whom the system works, therefore they are usually also the ones who have least interest in changing the system. However, those below the curve often seem to think the system 'fails them' (rather than they just failing to take best advantage of what the system offers), so for them the idea of 'tearing down' the system finds greatest appeal. Anything they can relate to 'The Man' or 'The Establishment' automatically becomes a tool of oppression in their conviction that they are being 'oppressed'. Being able to blame everything on 'oppressors' means they don't have to take personal responsibility for their choices. What better way to explain how you just can't get ahead than a 'secret system' that spies on you and is designed to keep you down?

            So, as the high earners are breeding at a slower rate than the less able, unless those under the curve can be educated to be more capable then the average level of intelligence falls with every generation. The problem is we have also given in to a social meme that education is 'not cool', that to be smart or work hard is to be a 'geek' or 'nerd'. Hence we end up with a load of trendy herd-followers that simply bleat what they have been told is 'cool', as evidenced by many of the posts in these forums.

            1. tom dial Silver badge

              Re: tom dial Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

              Earning is a distinctly imperfect proxy for intelligence. Of the many reasons that individuals have different incomes, intelligence is one. Others include personal choice of occupation, education and its availability, obligations assumed, e. g., to care for spouse, siblings, or parents, various kinds of discrimination (favorable and unfavorable), ambition (or its lack), luck, and doubtless others.

              And while the genetic component of intelligence appears to be rather high, IQ, which is the basis for most studies that reach this conclusion, does not by quite a ways measure everything we can reasonably think part of "intelligence".

              The point about uncoolness of eduction is well taken, but over the first 20 or 30 years of adulthood might not correlate well with either intelligence or economic success.

            2. TopOnePercent Silver badge

              Re: tom dial Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

              Matt,

              I've upvoted you because I think you're largely right that IQ typically follows family lines. Continuous lifetime exposure to highly intelligent people should logically ensure you gather more of your potential IQ; conitnuous exposure to chavs that hate education, disrespect intelligence, and have no greater ambition than a slot on big brother is unlikely to help the same child fulfill as much of their potential.

              However, IQ is not truly an indicator of likely lifetime earnings. I'd argue my dad is smarter than I am - he's certainly better at maths. He broke his arm on the way to the 11+, so spent most of his years as a factory worker.

              I had supportive parents, and was lucky enough to pick a hobby that later became a highly paid career. I pay more in taxes than my parents ever earned.... But I'll never be smarter than my dad.

              Equally, I'll not earn as much per year as Jade Goody did, but I'd have put good money on my being smarter.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: tom dial Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

                "....I'd argue my dad is smarter than I am - he's certainly better at maths. He broke his arm on the way to the 11+, so spent most of his years as a factory worker....." In that case, what do you think he could have achieved if he hadn't broken his arm? You also mention that you had supportive parents, I'm guessing they also encouraged you to stand on your own two feet?

                ".....I'll not earn as much per year as Jade Goody did...." Not really a good comparison as, when their fifteen minutes are up, such 'celebs' face having to live off the income from their fifteens minutes or be declared bankrupt. Even relative stars, such as Martine McClutcheon, who had a musical career as well as TV, films, stage acting and even as an authoress, can slip up and end up bankrupt (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21429928).

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: tom denial Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

            ".....there is no real evidence that the less well-off whom you assume to be of below standard intelligence have children inherently less intelligent than the successful and well-off of whom you assume high intelligence....." Read more factual matter and less of the socio-political blogs.

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_of_intelligence

            http://www.brainskills.co.uk/IsIntelligenceInherited.html

            http://haileyburypsychology.edublogs.org/files/2012/02/Genetic-Inheritance-and-Intelligence-2bc8o5q.doc

            Intelligence is inherited. If you follow the nature-vs-nurture argument, if you inherit a low IQ then you stand a chance of increasing it by 'nurturing' (such as encouraging education). Now, do you want to try and deny thick people are less likely to get a good job than smart people? And if thick kids grow up in an environment where the attitude is 'study is for nerds', they are not going to progress through 'nurturing' and will therefore have less economic opportunities as kids from better off families that will expect and encourage their kids to study and make something of themselves. So, those at the bottom will breed kids that will stay at the bottom, those that encourage their kids to take advantage of the opportunities offered by education should push them up the ladder, but it's more likely the kids at the top will stay at the top (unless Daddy marries a model). If the smart Mums at the top end are not having as many kids as those at the bottom, it's a simple mathematical fact that the population's average intelligence will decline over time.

            Yes, I know, it's just not PC and you really want it to not to be true, but it still is. Nature doesn't give a fudge about being PC. Have a down vote for being a sheeple.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

          If average income and lower intelligence correlates with political stance, how come the Red states have lower average incomes and worse educational outcomes than the Blue states?

        4. cynic56

          Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

          @Matt,

          Sorry, I've got to ask. Are you a loathsome @rse - or quite a good troll?

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: cynic56 Re: Creamy-G00dness AC pattern forming

            So, if you want to call me an arse, which bit of the theory do you wish to disagree with? I do notice you seemed a bit short on actual counter theorems.

            Do you really want to pretend all the kids at your school were equally good runners, were the same height, or were equally good looking? That some kids worked hard in class and others jerked around and played the fool instead? If you can't deny that then why do you find it so hard to accept that some of those kids were also smarter and destined to make better lives for themselves? More amusingly, why is it that you wouldn't want to accept that idea? Some people seem to be very ingrained with the strange idea that they should be guilty of their own successes and make excuses for the failings of others. If you can accept that smart people are going to have smarter kids as a simple genetic fact, and that smarter people are having less kids than those under the curve, then it is simple mathematics to see that can only mean an overall decline in IQ with time.

            Or do you wish to dispute that Socialism is primarily a 'faith' of the poor? Sure, there are some rich types that pay lip service to the faith, such as Al Gore, but they seem more intent on making money off the gullibility of the faithful. So, the population gets less intellectually-capable as the 'underclass' outgrows the smarter and richer, and therefore you get the growth in Socialism. More Socialist sheeple means more likelihood of them flocking to these forums, especially seeing as the site has moved from being a primarily technical one.

            1. Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen

              Matt, I think you raise some valid points, but you come across as an arse. This detracts from the intellectual validity of your arguments.

              One of the things you find if you care to look past labels such as Socialism, or as you prefer, 'Lefties' is that poorer people tend to care more about the people around them than wealthy people do. Wealthier people tend to be more focused on themselves, their family, and their firm than their community. These are generalisations, true, but they drive the behaviours that you describe. People thinking solely about their own situation, you might describe as free thinkers and intelligent, whereas you label those who have a different perspective with a demeaning title such as Sheeple. (Or, it may be that demeaning other people makes you feel temporarily superior, I don't know). People who care only about themselves will often forgo children to "get ahead" in their careers. In my opinion, this shows a lack of the intelligence you claim for them, as unless they are doing it for themselves, they're being cruelly exploited by the truly wealthy with the lure of success.

              To assert that poor people are less intelligent or uglier than the wealthy is laughable at best and insulting in reality, and smacks of eugenics. My children went to private schools and I can tell you that there were some remarkably stupid and/or ugly children (and parents) at those schools. I'm a self-made man from an "underclass" background and according to your theory, there's no way my daughter would have been proxime accessit at the most prestigious girl's school in this country. I, as a now relatively well-off man, would also be expected to eschew any notions of wacky leftiness so that I don't become a Sheeple. On the contrary, I am a firm believer that we need to look after one another as a society, and that selfishness, narcissism, and a 'greed is good' mentality is what builds divisions and divisiveness in societies. Thankfully there are still lots of intelligent people having children - even if they don't fit into the social strata you'd expect them to.

              I agree with you that people are not born the same. However, people also get different opportunities in life. I started out in your fiscal underclass but was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time more than once, and worked really hard to achieve what I wanted to. Other people I know made bad choices or didn't get a choice, and thereby are less well off financially but are not necessarily less happy. You seem to be stuck in this 'poor people are dumb, and dumb people are lefties' mentality. I challenge you to look harder. Loads of dumb people buy into capitalism, and loads of very dumb people buy into extreme 'right wing' ideology.

              I also see a different outcome to what you term a growth in Socialism. What you really describe is a growth in inequality, and historically when inequality gets too great bad things happen to the wealthy.

              To your final gripe (about this forum), I think you miss the point entirely. This is definitely a technology issue, and perhaps the most important technology issue of our time. That is why it is right and proper that those with an interest should comment.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Smitty

                ".....poorer people tend to care more about the people around them than wealthy people do....." Ah, another myth, I'm afraid. Simple proof to the opposite - charity is most common amongst the rich (and that was even before the tax advantages came into existence); street crime is most common in poor areas and is the poor preying on the poor. I'm sure there are many caring types in poorer communities (I've met plenty of them), but to say they are therefore more caring than the upwardly mobile is just a self-delusional, class warfare myth. Charity is an almost universal concept in human societies, probably due to our ancestors being group hunters/gatherers, and the success of capitalism has not diminished that urge.

                "....People who care only about themselves will often forgo children to "get ahead" in their careers. In my opinion, this shows a lack of the intelligence you claim for them, as unless they are doing it for themselves, they're being cruelly exploited by the truly wealthy with the lure of success....." You could argue the exact opposite - that the poor that have umpteen children they cannot afford are exploited by the Socialist mantra that they 'deserve' to have children and it is 'only fair' that others pay for their recklessness. Surely it is more intelligent to limit your procreation to your circumstances rather than just have kids and hope someone else will pay all the bills? That's not eugenics, it's just commonsense.

                "....To assert that poor people are less intelligent or uglier than the wealthy is laughable at best...." Did I say uglier? No I didn't, I just used looks as an example of how we are all born different and unique, that we inherit certain traits (looks, height, intelligence) from our parents, as an example of how genetic inheritance means we will also all have differing levels of IQ. I definitely did not say or even imply poor people were likely to be uglier than rich people, thanks. People usually have to achieve something to get rich, and whilst their offspring may inherit that money, if those offspring are not smart then that money will be frittered away and they will return to the lower end of the scale.

                "....and smacks of eugenics...." Ah, standard response to unwelcome facts - accuse the messenger of being an 'intellectual fascist'! Full eugenics would be impossible in a modern, democratic society seeing as we cannot accept the idea of suppressing the breeding of those below the curve. Even in the tiny number of extreme cases where the courts take children from 'unsuitable' mothers or homes, the courts do not have the power to forcibly stops those same mothers having more children. But the only thing stopping us encouraging positive eugenics are outdated class warfare myths and socially-crippling mindsets that insist we must all be 'equal', despite the evidence that we most certainly are not.

                "..... I'm a self-made man from an "underclass" background...." So what separated you from the others around you, what made you different? The answer is attitude and capability. In the West there is nothing to stop one of those from parents below the curve making a success by working hard. That is social evolution through education and opportunity, something I support, as opposed to the current welfare systems that almost lock people into staying 'at the bottom'. It doesn't help when society has trendy, self-crippling social concepts, such as the current prevalence of the 'being smart is uncool' and the 'They owe me benefits' excuse mindset. I'm betting that you had a very different mindset to those around you, that you worked harder and seized opportunities that others around you could not be bothered with or did not even see. In essence, you were smarter than them, and I bet you have a higher IQ than them too. After all, IQ is the measure of the ability to apply intelligence.

                "....On the contrary, I am a firm believer that we need to look after one another as a society, and that selfishness, narcissism, and a 'greed is good' mentality is what builds divisions and divisiveness in societies....." Which is more of the myth that only Lefties care, that the Right are solely driven by greed. But, if you bothered to check, you would find the idea of Conservatism also involves caring about the community, about helping those that make an effort to get ahead. You'll often find a direct correlation between Conservatism and a patriotic desire to make their community and country 'better'.

                "...Thankfully there are still lots of intelligent people having children - even if they don't fit into the social strata you'd expect them to...." Yeah, keep on fighting that class war, it's not like it's so last century. And the empirical fact is that women with higher IQs that achieve more are not having as many children as those with low IQs in poorer situations. Denial is not a good solution.

                ".... You seem to be stuck in this 'poor people are dumb, and dumb people are lefties' mentality...." Nope, it is a scientific FACT that poorer people in a society with opportunities are more likely to be of lower IQ than those that make a success of themselves. Like I said, think back to your school years and think about how even then you could spot which kids were going nowhere and which were more likely to 'get out'. The smarter ones - like you - take advantage of their opportunities and work themselves out of poverty. Making excuses for those that made 'bad choices' (what, was there no-one around to tell them it was a bad choice in your 'much-more-caring' community?) is just avoiding reality. There is also a very clear correlation between the popularity for envy politics such as Socialism and levels of income and social development. The poor are much more likely to be Socialists (or even Communists), and those that are making their way up more supportive of the system that has given them the opportunities (especially education) to move up. I can accept the idea of a poverty trap in countries where lack of educational opportunities does really limit the ability for even the hard-working to make it up the ladder, but in the modern West the educational opportunities have been in place for decades, what is lacking in some people is the will to take advantage of them.

                "....I also see a different outcome to what you term a growth in Socialism. What you really describe is a growth in inequality...." What we are seeing is an increase in the number at the lower end of the gap if they do not take advantage of the opportunities offered to them. Telling them it is OK to stay at the bottom because 'it is all the fault of them rich people, look at the gap' is just denying the obvious. Think of two cars driving away from a stop, one car accelerates faster and will continue to stretch the gap, the gap grows with time simply because one car is faster. But Socialism does not say make the slower car faster, it wants to cripple the faster car down to the speed of the slowest or even the cars that remain parked. There is nothing to say a person from a poorer background cannot cross the gap to be at the top end of the scale, to be a 'faster car', as shown by yourself or people such as barrow-boy-to-billionaire Sir Alan Sugar. Surely the aim should be to move everyone up the scale rather than ranting on about how few people there are at the top end and how 'bad' it is that they can 'out-accelerate' the rest? Envy-driven politics just focus attention on the wrong bit of the problem.

                "....and historically when inequality gets too great bad things happen to the wealthy....." And when that happens, it is not the poor that prosper, as shown by the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, any of the many African 'Revolutions', or North Korea. What usually happens in one of those 'glorious Socialist revolutions' is that the people at the top end of the gap are replaced by people from the middle or lower ranges, who are simply smarter but more exploitative than their peers and dupe the masses into thinking 'we can all have cake'. The end result is usually no improvement for the poor masses who bear the brunt of any fighting, and usually an actual slow-down in development (such as in Russia and China) compared to capitalist democracies. Please do try and deny it is so. The fact is only democratic capitalism offers everyone the opportunity to have cake, it just doesn't guarantee it, but it is happy to teach everyone that wants to learn how to be a 'baker'. Not all the bakers will make it, some will end up with much more cake than others, and some will simply not ever be equipped to make their own cake, but will spend all their time moaning about those that can. The problem is the best bakers are not having children as fast as those that can't bake or won't bake, and people like you are blinkered by political correctness into not seeing that as an issue. If the point is reached where the bakers can't or won't give free cake to the growing number of non-bakers then you may get your 'glorious Socialist revolution', but what is more likely is the top bakers will see it coming and simply take their cake somewhere else. After all, plenty of the rich escaped the French, Russian and even Chinese Revolutions, who is to say the same won't happen elsewhere when the free cake slices start to get too thin?

            2. Faye Kane, homeless brain

              self-delusional loudmouth

              ==-

              You make the same error as Ayn Rand—confusing "smart" with "greedy." I imagine you believe your own bullsh it, but I know it is not true.

              Per 5 hours of psychometric tests, I am smarter than 99.94 percent of the people. I am definitely a socialist. All my smart friends (maybe 10) except one is a Liberal and about half are socialists. Two don't want to think about it. Go to any college not run by retards (like Falwell) or that have an agenda to push (like the LDS college), and you'll find that an overwhelming percentage of the professors are Liberals and many I've met are socialists (whether they use that word or not).

              And if by "socialist" you mean, for instance, universal health care, I'd wager that virtually ALL college professors are "socialists." Every civilized country but the US and Burma have universal healthcare: it costs half as much when you cut out the insurance companies, the care has been shown to be better in study after study, and the other countries all wonder why America still clings to inefficient, adversarial healthcare financing in which only the rich get what everyone deserves and which society can afford.

              The only way the repiglican party even manages to still exist is through a massive, cynical lies campaign by the rich via Faux News and AM radio (e.g., death panels), aimed specifically at American dimwits.

              ► The stupid people in this country are nearly ALL repuglican, just like almost all the intellectuals are Liberals.

              Go ahead, don't respond to that, arrogant self-deluding loudmouth. Continue to believe that only dummies are liberal and smart people are all right-wing. Believing things that aren't true leads one to fu ck up, to make choices that don't yield the intended result, and I'd like very much for you to do that.

              -faye kane ♀ girl brain

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Faye Kane, unused brain Re: self-delusional loudmouth

                "....confusing "smart" with "greedy."...." So the poor thief that breaks into their poor neighbour's house is not greedy? How about the drug dealers in the poor neighbourhoods? How about the benefits cheats? Greed is not a bye-product of earning potential.

                ".....All my smart friends (maybe 10) except one is a Liberal and about half are socialists....." Gosh, and I bet you have a really wide group of acquaintances from all walks of life. Not. The sheeple tend to huddle together, so simply looking at your fellow sheeple is not really a valid sample.

                ".....I am definitely a socialist....." Are you, or are you really just a trendy follower of political fashion?

                "....Every civilized country but the US and Burma have universal healthcare....." Oops! All those people you were smarter than (99.94%?) but you were too dumb to use Wikipedia to even check your facts before bleating (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_coverage_by_country). A lot of countries claiming 'universal healthcare' are actually using private insurance. I'm guessing the everyone but 'US and Burma' was spoonfed to you by someone you considered trendy and 'right on', and you unquestioningly swallowed it.

                "....The only way the repiglican party even manages to still exist is through a massive, cynical lies campaign by the rich via Faux News and AM radio (e.g., death panels), aimed specifically at American dimwits...." Puh-leeez, leave the canned propaganda at the door. IIRC, Fox News is not the news channel in the States by a long margin, and there was an overwhelming tendency to pro-Obambi bias in the press during his first election, as shown by MSNBC's Chris Mathhews' notorious 'shiver up my leg' article. Though even that infatuation seems to have chilled - http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/28/did-chris-matthews-epiphany-send-a-chill-up-obamas-leg/

                "....The stupid people in this country are nearly ALL repuglican, just like almost all the intellectuals are Liberals...." Apart from asking what proof you have for that, it is a long way from saying all those Liberals are also Socialists.

                "....Go ahead, don't respond to that, arrogant self-deluding loudmouth....." Are you kidding!?!? You make such an easy target with you claims of being 'smarter than 99.94 percent of the people' yet being unable to do even simple fact-checking, your mindless rebleating of canned propaganda, and your complete failure to counter the actual points I raised. If you really did test out as smarter than 99.94 percent of the people I assume either the sample group of 'other people' were the comatose or that was when you still had the use of the left side of your brain. I should give you the 'Fail' icon but you're making me laugh so hard.

                1. HippyFreetard

                  Re: Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                  It's funny, though, how us Greenies actually check out as having the highest IQs. We're a leftie bunch. Not surprisingly, the lowest IQs are among the BNP voters. Seems the left/right divide corresponds to the high/low scale of IQ testing.

                  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2008/nov/03/greenpolitics-liberaldemocrats

                  Most modern democracies are a mix of capitalism and socialism. Even that flagship of the capitalist world, the USA, has a system of food stamps and social care.

                  Similarly, a nation like Norway, who has high taxes and high public spending still allows a socially responsible form of capitalism.

                  If you look at the Corruption Perceptions Index, you'll see that Norwegians also feel themselves to be in one of the most democratic nations in the world. So their socialism is a democratic constitutional consensus. They pay tons of taxes, and they have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, and have the lowest crime rates and the lowest levels of poverty. They're not exactly "lefties", though.

                  In some parts of Switzerland, they have a system of Direct Democracy, where the citizens vote on decisions in a system of weekly referenda polls. They still vote to raise their own taxes when they feel they need to.

                  I wouldn't exactly call Switzerland and Norway anti-capitalist, though! They're not struggling nations. Sometimes the socialist thing is the best thing, whether you're a capitalist or not. Utah have recently found out that simply housing the poor - ie giving them houses unconditionally, forever - actually works out lower in cost for the taxpayer, when given the crime, health, and other costs of homelessness. Also, welfare concepts that seem almost communist, such as Guaranteed Basic Income, have been championed by right-wingers like Sarah Palin and even my personal arch-enemy, Milton Friedman himself.

                  Being smart can certainly help one become rich. So can confidence, a posh accent, and good posture, if truth be told. But being smart doesn't necessarily mean one desires to be wealthy. Many of the world's top scientists (and lefties) prefer to give what they can to humanity and do what they enjoy rather than accumulate wealth.

                  Studies have shown that the more wealth one accumulates, even in a divisive unequal system where the odds are stacked in your favour from the start, it is a psychological phenomenon that one will always believe it is due to one's own skill and intelligence.

                  http://nymag.com/news/features/money-brain-2012-7/

                  There is very little evidence sociologically, psychologically, politically, or economically, that you are smart because you are right wing, or even that your success is due to your own intelligence.

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: DippyFreetard Re: Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                    "....how us Greenies actually check out as having the highest IQs...." Given that the Greens I have met over the last few decades have been the least of all political groups able to even outline there so-called political beliefs (beyond a lot of anti-capitalist bleating), I'd have to suggest the sample group were either skewed or lying. And as for the Liberals, given that as much as 35% of their so-called support turned out to be tactical voters from either Labour or the Conservative Parties (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8658694.stm), I would have to suggest a lot of the high-IQ 'Liberals' were also nothing of the sort.

                    ".....a nation like Norway...." Norway is awash with oil revenue, which is how they fund their social program's and also the reason for their high levels of income. The problem the Norwegians face is what happens when the oil runs out - will their politicians take measures in advance or will they echo pre-crash Greece and keep fiddling whilst Oslo burns? When the oil revenue disappears, along with the high level of income, you'll probably find the Norwegians will not be quite so happy to fund extravagant social programs through high taxation.

                    "....In some parts of Switzerland.... vote to raise their own taxes when they feel they need to....." I suggest you read this (http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/temperatures-rise-as-rich-face-tax-vote/28796356) before you carry on with that naive view of all the Swiss happily voting in high taxes.

                    Now, have you got anything that can't be debunked in five seconds or are you going to get back in your wigwam and leave the conversation to the adults?

                    1. HippyFreetard
                      Mushroom

                      Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                      Let me know when you debunk something :)

                      The Green Party manifesto is online and has been for years. They're not anti-capitalist, they're just social capitalists. They believe in higher taxes and higher public spending, not the abolition of the monetary system. It's a valid stance in a democratic system. Also, the Greens you met don't count as a debunk!

                      Norway and Switzerland are the more affluent side of Social Democratic Capitalism, I'll admit. But bear in mind that Norway's economy isn't based solely on oil. The money they've made so far puts them at one of the richest nations in the world per capita, and when the oil economy needs to change, they'll be one of the most ready nations.

                      However, over in Iceland, they chose democratically to abandon the austerity measures that were recommended by the IMF, and support a ground-up growth. It's been tough for them, but now their economy is back on the rise again, so it was definitely a valid decision, and one the population are largely pleased with. Even the IMF later admitted that the austerity measures had negative effects. It's not really anybody's fault, we hadn't had a crash like this before, and economists were just making educated guesses. They couldn't have done that without their president giving them the choice in referendum, and for that the IMF and austerity nations called him a terrorist. They love their president in Iceland, they won't let him retire!

                      In 2010, Labour voters abandoned Labour because they were too right-wing after the Iraq war. The Lib-Dems were the next hope. Up in Scotland, they got the SNP in, who are another Social Democratic party, run by a successful oil and banking economist.

                      As for Switzerland, again, we're talking about a democracy that the rich have to share with the poor. So unless you instigate a fascist government that's only there to serve a small percentage of the population, what can you do about it? Good or bad economically, they're making a democratic decision. As we saw in the 70s when people like the Beatles and Pink Floyd buggered off to America, there's only so high you can tax the rich. This is something the people who fill in their referenda every week have to learn, and if it doesn't work (and their elevator guy clears off), they will have to make that decision themselves.

                      Also, thanks to modern technology, I can talk to you directly from my wigwam. I'm there right now eating hemp and weaving beans with my pet whale. I know you right-wingers can be a little slow sometimes, but we're all special in our own way, right ;)

                      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                        Facepalm

                        Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                        "Let me know when you debunk something...." I fear the only way would be to first get you to take a lot of anti-hallucinogenics, followed by you re-entering the education system from year one.

                        ".....The Green Party manifesto is online and has been for years....." Which just enhances the fact that the Green Party and their deluded supporters are just a mish-mash of left-over Lefties, old-age hippies, and tactical voters, seeing as - despite that manifesto being online - NONE of them can tell you what their party's policies are. What, were they all 'saving too much energy' to go online?

                        "...They're not anti-capitalist, they're just social capitalists...." Funny then how they all fall back on 'redistribution' and 'social fairness' when asked anything about economics. There is a reason they're called Watermelons.

                        "....It's a valid stance in a democratic system...." Which their members can't actually talk about due to their not having a clue. The core Greens just like voting for whichever party they see as the most 'anti-establishment'.

                        "....the Greens you met don't count as a debunk!...." Oh, the usual 'ignore those Greens and only look at the Greens I want you to see' routine. You must have missed the bit where ecologist and former Greenpeace Canada president Patrick Moore described the Green movement (and Greenpeace in particular) as having long-since been hijacked by the extreme Left (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_%28environmentalist%29#After_Greenpeace). As for the Green Party themselves, they have long spouted so much male bovine manure about science as to be permanently on the backfoot trying to pretend they haven't (http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/06/09/is-the-green-party-anti-science/). It's really fun when you run into some avid Greenie and he insists that interview never took place, or the answers were all 'taken out of context' - probably your next claim, right?

                        I have a respect for Lefties like Bob Crow, the old RMT union boss, because he openly and honestly spoke his mind and practiced (quite artfully) what he preached. But the Greens just strike me as a party in denial, zig-zagging desperately to whichever point they think will get them votes and hide their Leftie roots and real ideals.

                        1. HippyFreetard

                          Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                          Ad hominem. Contains no rebuttal, only insult.

                          Straw man. Ask me, I'll tell you.

                          Again, just rubbish. Socialist economics are proven to work. Redistribution creates growth.

                          Once again, nonsense. Their members talk about it all the time.

                          No, I can't ignore people I can't see. They are not in a position to be evidence in this debate on account of the fact that you could have just made them up, or exaggerated their position, or be falling for confirmation bias. I cannot accept people you claim to know as evidence, therefore you cannot use them to debunk me in this debate. That you didn't even know this speaks volumes about you.

                          Again, they are Social Capitalists, not scientists. Feeding the poor and mitigating damage to the environment are their priorities. This is a natural way to feel about your fellow citizens, so it is a valid democratic stance.

                          If you ask a scientist to name a party that is often ignorant of science, he may name the Green party. But there are really right-wing people (a lot of them) who believe that 6-day creation talking snake thing. It's right-wingers that are suppressing scientific teaching in schools, and medical procedures from being researched. Greenies often believe in gods and goddesses and angels, but it wasn't a Greenie who stood in front of the world and said "God is on my side." before invading the living shit out of Iraq.

                          The right-wing are the anti-science people. Sure, we may get the odd homeopathy care centre, and restrict animal testing, but this is not on the same scale or level of damage. To be actually anti-science is to decry the scientific method itself, preferring the dogma of a Palestinian cult, with it's talking snakes and it's Revelations brimstone.

                          That is anti-science. That is the realm of the right wing.

                          The most intelligent people go left. Fact. Because I know smart lefties? No, only an idiot would use unverifiable people he "met" as an argument!

                          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289609000051

                          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                            FAIL

                            Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                            "....Socialist economics are proven to work. Redistribution creates growth....." Like in the Soviet Union? Pure, unadulterated socialism led to pure, unadulterated bread queues and economic collapse.

                            "....Their members talk about it all the time....." Their members talk a load of rubbish, just like you. And their leadership spend most of their time trying to think of scams to get elected, including focusing on stealing votes form their so-called 'ideological allies' (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/green-party-leader-caroline-lucas-steps-aside-to-aid-fight-against-lib-dems-7743513.html). Indeed, there are many that contend the UK Greens have never recovered credibility after the mass-influx of anarchists and left-wingers into PEOPLE (forerunner to the UK Green Party) after the February 1974 election, leading to a move away from real politics and into protest politics with a rename as the Ecology Party in 1975. That disastrous inclusion of the hippies and left-over Marxists/Trotyskyites nearly led to the political demise of the Greens in the UK altogether in the Seventies, they were so unpopular (http://another-green-world.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/green-party-hist-ch1-pt-2.html). The problem for the Greens today is that they are mainly a 'protest vote' party, a tactical voters choice, or the last recourse of the hard Left in disguise. The idea that they represent 'more intelligent voters' is therefore invalid as they actually represent no-one.

                            "....They are not in a position to be evidence in this debate on account of the fact that you could have just made them up...." I 'made up' Patrick Moore?!?!?!? OMG, you really are the poster-boy for denial! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_%28environmentalist%29

                            "....Again, they are Social Capitalists, not scientists. Feeding the poor and mitigating damage to the environment are their priorities...." Yeah, and science plays no part in either of those two? ROFL! And that would make them 'ecologists' not 'Social Capitalists' - so easy to lift the lid of attempted respectable politics and expose the raving, protest activist beneath!

                            "....But there are really right-wing people...." Trying to point to examples of right-wingers with a questionable grasp of science does not excuse those of the Green Party, but I could see why you would be happier to try and divert attention rather than deal with your Party's failings.

                            "....The most intelligent people go left...." And your evidence for this is some paper form a widely recognised science body? No, it's a student paper from an unknown hidden behind a paywall - not very convincing. Even the summary admits it was a tiny sampling, and not even of UK voters. I suggest you should look around for some reasons why trendies end up fooling themselves into voting for the Greens, such as this article on 'champagne socialists' (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100047245/why-middle-class-lefties-believe-stupid-things-because-their-friends-do/). It has a very simple (possibly even you can follow it) explanation for the advent of sheeple politics. Enjoy!

                            1. HippyFreetard

                              Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                              "?!?!?!? OMG"

                              Clearly from context I was referring to your use of "The Greens I met" as an argument.

                              Patrick Moore is one person, and you accuse me of cherry-picking my support? Well done. Do you want me to list names of right-wing politicians who are in power, forming policy based on their belief in an ancient Mesopotamian deity? I have more than one.

                              "ROFL"

                              Yes, they are ecologists and social capitalists. You haven't lifted any lid at all. And yes, science helps us out here. But like I said, the Greenies aren't anti-science-itself. That's the realm of the Christian right-wing, who believe science is wrong because the bible says. The Greens are anti-some-science, in particular, fracking and animal testing, but are pro-some-other-sciences, such as sustainable energy, and ethical agriculture and horticulture. There isn't a Science Party. All parties have religious people who belong to them. There isn't even a Science-based political stance out there, except perhaps Fresco's techno-communism, which is impossible under current technology.

                              I haven't tried to divert the failings of my party. I have laid them out myself and always do. But they are paltry in comparison to the delusions that the right wing are under, and which form the backbone of their policies.

                              Soviet Russia was not a Social Capitalist state like Norway or Iceland. The Social Capitalist model is economically viable.

                              Also, a paywall is how most peer-reviewed science journals operate. I do my research on Google Scholar, and my subscriptions often lead me to forget this, so my apologies for the link.

                              Here's a more recent article that you won't need to dip into your pocket money or pester your dad for.

                              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/intelligence-study-links-prejudice_n_1237796.html

                              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                                FAIL

                                Re: DippyFreetard Faye Kane, unused brain self-delusional loudmouth

                                "....Patrick Moore is one person....." I'd say he's a pretty important person in both the history of ecological activism and Green politics, but you obviously don't want to admit that or his statements as to the 'invasion of the Lefties'.

                                "....Do you want me to list names of right-wing politicians who are in power, forming policy based on their belief in an ancient Mesopotamian deity?...." Again, attempting to divert attention from the failings of your Party by pointing at another is just a desperate attempt at denial.

                                "....Yes, they are ecologists and social capitalists...." LOL, what next, are they going to be ecologists and social capitalists and anything-else-that-we-can-call-ourselves-that-we-think-will-get-us-elected-ists?

                                "....You haven't lifted any lid at all....." What, apart from their complete failure on science? Their very obvious inability to form a policy on anything other than hemp farming? And you want to trust them with the economy?

                                "....the Greenies aren't anti-science-itself....." The article I linked to proved the complete opposite - they view science as something to be thrown out the window.

                                "....That's the realm of the Christian right-wing...." And again, YET AGAIN, trying to divert attention from your Party's failures by pointing at others is just denial. Grow up!

                                "....sustainable energy, and ethical agriculture and horticulture...." So they want to return us to the Dark Ages, and you view that as a good thing!?!?!

                                "....I haven't tried to divert the failings of my party...." You want me to recount the number of times you have tried to point at 'right-wing Christians' instead of admitting the failings of the Greens? It's even funnier that you follow that stupid statement with yet another attempt to insist the 'right' has it worse! Your whole post is just denial and desperate diversion.

                                "....Soviet Russia was not a Social Capitalist state like Norway or Iceland. The Social Capitalist model is economically viable....." When you have Norway's oil money, you mean? Soviet Russia was the pre-eminant model of Socialism is its purist form, your attempt to ignore that and its failure is just more desperate denial.

                                "....Also, a paywall is how most peer-reviewed science journals operate...." So, there's no way any journal or other article could be found outside a paywall? LOL! There are millions of such articles out on the Web, many of which are frequently linked to in articles here on El Reg and the forums. What is more likely is you couldn't find anything to support your desperate silliness anywhere else. And you're still avoiding admitting the paper in question had nothing to do with UK voters nor that it was a tiny sample.

                                As for the Huffpuff article, it glosses over a few pertinent points. The first is that Professor Hodson was focusing on extreme right-wing ideologies, not Conservativism. That bit was added by the Liberals racing to bleat the news. The actual paper is entitled "Hodson, G., & Busseri, M.A. (2012). Bright minds and dark attitudes: Lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice through right-wing ideology and low intergroup contact" (http://www.brocku.ca/psychology/people/hodson.htm). And Professor Hodson's previous work found a link between low levels of education and racism as a stronger correlation. Of course, low education is prevalent amongst the poor who also regularly vote for Socialist parties, so if you want to claim Hodson's work on extreme right-wing groups then you also have to admit the earlier work and admit racism is therefore more prevalent amongst Socialists. You might also want to read this article on the paper here (http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html), where Hodson makes this qualifying statement - "There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals." Petard moment?

            3. Faye Kane, homeless brain

              Ayn Rand and the world you want

              ==-

              The intelligent position is that the country ought to be run as a functioning SYSTEM rather than as a permanently-unstable, vicious jungle based on people fighting, duplicating efforts, treating customers as rubes to be fooled, and sabotaging each other on Amazon reviews.

              Crazy homeless people shouldn't wander through our cities talking to themselves. Old people shouldn't have to eat dog food because their pension was stolen by the rich guy who owns the company. Little kids shouldn't suffer and die from easily preventable diseases. No child should be denied a free, quality education. But all these things are okay with you. Multimillionaires paying a smaller tax rate than everyone else is still "socialist looting" to you. Look up "market failure" in Wikipedia. It's the filthy secret that you crapitalists sweep under the rug.

              The rich aren't Noble Creators of Value like Howard Roark, they're parasitic billionaires who buy undervalued businesses, fire all the employees, destroy the company, and absorb the worth of the wreckage. They didn't produce wealth; they stole it from everyone else and destroyed lives while producing exactly NOTHING. When the hardworking people who lost their jobs can't pay rent and are thrown out in the street, that's OKAY with you because it's all "free enterprise."

              Businessmen are not Hank Rearden, Wealth-Producing Captains of Industry, they're the Worldcom and Enron scum who lie to their shareholders, employees, and customers as their mismanaged empire collapses. They're the S&Ls who knowingly make bad loans which they sell to the government. They're the Wall Street coke-heads who gamble away the entire U.S. economy through their psychotic greed and plunge the whole world into economic ruin. They're the companies that conspire together to keep prices high rather than compete. They're McDonalds buying the Roy Rogers chain so they can close all the stores and deny everyone real roast beef sandwiches at the same price as McDonalds' horse meat. They're the drug companies that charge Americans three times as much as Canadians because they bribe politicians. Galt's Gulch is where banks fu ck up, then suddenly become socialists with their hands out for free money which they stuff in their pockets as million-dollar bonuses for doing such a good job.

              That's your "free enterprise."

              Innovation? Bill Gates is a nice guy, but he didn't do anything worth 50 thousand million dollars. He just bought an operating system from someone else and licensed it to IBM right before the microprocessor explosion, which he did nothing to cause. It was one contract and LUCK. But Gates could walk from Redmond to Miami, laying dollar bills end-to-end, then turn around and walk back, laying down TEN dollar bills. This, while little kids go to school hungry every morning and old people freeze to death.

              If the government hadn't made Ford and GM install seat belts and safety glass, there still wouldn't be any today. People die horribly because a drunk hits them head-on? You don't care, because selfishness is a virtue!

              No, ruthless, selfish, Gordon Gecko lizard Ferengi, greed is NOT "good." COMPASSION is good. Helping feeble old people is good. Basic science research is good. Public libraries are good. Exploring space is good. Providing medicine for suffering crazy people is good.

              Preventing mass disease is good. Emergency rooms that don't turn anyone away are good. Public education is good.

              Single-source neighborhood trash pickup with standardized bins is cheaper, more efficient, and less disruptive of the neighborhood than making everyone find their own (or failing to). But it's socialist interference with citizens who pay more but are FREE to live with loud trucks every day and festering trash strewn everywhere from dented, uncovered garbage cans.

              Taxpayer-financed free highways are MUCH easier for drivers, and cheaper since there is no toll infrastructure to continuously pay for and no rich guy pocketing the unnecessary tolls for all eternity. But if you had your way, all land would be privately owned with a toll booth at every corner. That happens when you fail to operating the system as a system.

              Extorting $80,000 for the shot that cures fatal Hepatitis C is bad. A government lab should have created the cure and given it to everyone with the disease. That's running the country as a coherent SYSTEM rather than letting everything fall into the polluted, chaotic suffering of economic fistfights, where the goal is to make the cheapest, sleaziest products you can, then snatch every single dollar you see from everyone you can strongarm, fool or extort.

              People like you want to make the country like in Soylent Green. That's perfectly okay with you and your friends, as long as your house has an electric fence and someone keeps you in strawberries.

              You, greed, and crapitalism are EVIL; and society is evolving away from it. Ayn Rand told her followers to smoke because it symbolizes man's conquering of nature (fire). She said that all that "cancer" stuff was lying government propaganda to scare voters and senators into passing socialized medicine (Medicare). She died a bitter, angry old woman, alone in her apartment, of lung cancer.

              Ayn Rand was WRONG, and now, you're wrong.

              Hurry up and die, pig.

              --faye kane ♀ girl brain

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Faye Kan't use her brain Re: Ayn Rand and the world you want

                "The intelligent position is that the country ought to be run as a functioning SYSTEM rather than as a permanently-unstable, vicious jungle based on people fighting, duplicating efforts, treating customers as rubes to be fooled, and sabotaging each other on Amazon reviews....." Oh, so you want to take choice away form the electorate and impose a system of government upon them, a supposed technocracy? So you're not a Liberal, you're a Communist. That does explain a lot about your confused bleating.

                "...Crazy homeless people shouldn't wander through our cities talking to themselves. Old people shouldn't have to eat dog food because their pension was stolen by the rich guy who owns the company. Little kids shouldn't suffer and die from easily preventable diseases. No child should be denied a free, quality education. But all these things are okay with you....." Did I say they were OK with me? Please so say where I said such a thing. I'm all for law and order, so if anyone's pension has been stolen I would expect the law to lock up the thief and give the pensioner their savings back. And I've already posted I'm all for education to help those that want to get ahead. The rest of your posts is a childish mix of lovely social aspirations (but the problem is who do you expect to pay for all of them?) and Leftie propaganda past off as fact, or outright lies such as "But if you had your way, all land would be privately owned with a toll booth at every corner" - again, where did I say that?

                But the big point is, once again, you are too busy rebleating your Leftie mantra to realise you have not dealt with the simple points I raised, namely that women of higher achievement and IQs are not having as many children as the underachievers, and that can only lead to a downward shift over time of the average IQ for the population as a whole. That downward shift will increase the popularity of Socialism as the underachievers look for someone else to fund their cake. Otherwise you are providing plenty of unintended humour and giving a splendid example of why Lefties should stop spouting propaganda and excuses and try looking at the realities of the World for a change.

                "....Hurry up and die, pig." Sorry, I have no intention of complying with your request. How about you try growing up?

                /Can we have a 'ROFLMAO @ your fail' icon please?

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm quite happy to put my name

          If you were quite happy to put your name, it would read Mr Clapper. The one who lied to congress.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    We owe this man a debt of gratitude

    for providing the evidence of what the spooks were up to in a form that is hard for them to deny and available to the general public.

    However: let us not forget others who have helped to expose the malfaisance of governments, eg: Bradley/Chelsea Manning and those who have helped them, eg Wikileaks. Here is a list that may be of interest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers

  6. Steve Knox Silver badge

    Willing to Pay the Price?

    The one-time NSA sysadmin added that he was "willing to pay the price" for leaking that information even if it did damage national security interests.

    Good. All you need to do is head to your nearest US embassy, Mr. Snowden.

    Forgive me if I don't hold my breath in anticipation of your return, but your statement rings exceedingly hollow when all of your actions to date have been designed to avoid paying that price.

    You may aspire to the moral high ground when you hold others to the rule of law, but you cede that high ground when you yourself avoid that same rule of law.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Willing to Pay the Price?

      Still waiting for Blair and Bush to turn up at the Hague.

      Funny that in 70years the international criminal court had convicted 2 world leaders; Donitz for ending WWII and some guy from a little tin pot African country that forget to sign minerals for weapons deals with a superpower.

      1. veti Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Willing to Pay the Price?

        Last I heard, neither Bush nor Blair has been indicted by the ICC. When they are, then you can start criticising them for not going to the Hague. Until then, there's not much point.

        Your indignation would be better directed at the ICC itself, for failing to issue indictments. Or you could wax outraged against the ICC's own rules, which prevent it from issuing indictments based purely on aggression, which is the only international-level "crime" you could meaningfully try to pin on either one of them. Or you could accept that Saddam Hussein was a monster, that the pre-invasion sanctions regime was killing tens of thousands of Iraqis - mostly children - per year, and the invasion was at least arguably a net good even without the WMD nonsense. Whatever.

    2. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Willing to Pay the Price?

      "All you need to do is head to your nearest US embassy, Mr. Snowden."

      You are confused. He didn't say he's insane and he WANTS to rot in jail without even a chance for a proper trial.

      "You may aspire to the moral high ground when you hold others to the rule of law, but you cede that high ground when you yourself avoid that same rule of law."

      Except that's utter BS and we all know that - due to the distorted preference in US law he CANNOT EVEN CONTEST statements made by prosecution against him, cannot use evidence, nothing. You know, TOTALLY UNLIKE under your so-called "RULE OF LAW", that does NOT apply to his case.

      In short please, shut it if you clearly don't know what you are talking about.,

  7. Bluenose

    Snowden is neither a whistleblower or hero

    Snowden revealed what most people believed anyway so he wasn't a whistleblower. A whistleblower discloses what you don't know and cannot guess for example that the tobacco industry knew in the 50s that cigarettes killed people.

    As for a hero; well let's think about that he spilled the beans on an employer who he had a contract with (breach of contract is a civil offence) and damaged the national security of both the UK & US (he may claim there has been no damage but he is not really in a position to judge sitting outside of those countries) and that is a criminal offence. On top of this his disclosure is unilateral and one sided in scope which means that Russia, China and Israel amongst many others now have a lot of detail of how the US and UK spy on them but the UK and US have no public visibility of how those countries are spying on us (not I don't say them because the likelihood is that those countries also undertake mass surveillance of both their own citizens and the citizens of other countries).

    As for his defence that he went through the official channels at NSA to complain about what he believed where breaches of the law, does no one stop to wonder why the e-mails he claims to have sent have not been produced by the newspapers who supplied this material too? Surely he took a copy of his own e-mail file? But then perhaps the reality is as the NSA says, he never uttered a word to them.

    I hate the idea that I am being spied on and I also dispute that you can spot patterns in the general population without having at least one person in whom you are interested but at the same time I dislike people who claim the high moral ground when actually they are simply a spy for the other side whether deliberately or by accident.

    Please note this is not an AC post.

    1. The Mole

      Re: Snowden is neither a whistleblower or hero

      "Snowden revealed what most people believed anyway so he wasn't a whistleblower. A whistleblower discloses what you don't know and cannot guess for example that the tobacco industry knew in the 50s that cigarettes killed people."

      Interesting definition, but I'm clueless as where you got it from.

      "A person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity." (Oxford English Dictionary:)

      "a person who tells police, reporters, etc., about something (such as a crime) that has been kept secret" (Merriam Webster)

      "a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing." (dictionary.com)

      In none of these definitions does it come close to adding criteria that it is something that you "cannot guess". Suspecting what the NSA/CIA/GCHQ were up to is meaningless, I can guess at lots of things they were doing, some of them would have been right, some of them wrong, what Snowdon provided was whistle-blowing evidence as to which of the guesses were on the mark. Before the relevations most guesses would just have been dismissed as conspiracy theories and couldn't have been printed seriously in reputable sources such as newspapers or academic papers (editors like a level of proof).

      As for your other comments, I'd need a whistle-blower to confirm it but I'd assume both China and Russia already knew all the details of what the US and UK were up to, they have decent intelligence agencies after all doing much of the same stuff (probably even more in reality) I doubt anything that Snowden revealed is news to them. The only people who didn't know is the public who payed for it and are violated by it. It would be fantastic if we got visibility of what the other countries are also doing but lack of that visibility shouldn't mean that we don't know about what our own governments are doing.

      As to damaging the national security, I agree the national security has been damaged, the people who allowed such broad unrestricted spying, particularly the reciprocal relationships designed purely to get round the letter of the law should be brought to justice for breaking those laws, not the person who reveals the wrong doing.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Snowden is neither a whistleblower or hero

        In fact, most of the "revelations", at least those that bear on civil liberties both in and out of the US, were tolerably well known to those with any interest no later than 2006 or 2007. Many of the programs were known by name, and it was widely assumed that NSA's Utah data center had the purpose of storing "all" communications despite the manifest impossibility of that.

        What Snowden did, like it or not, was arrange for mass media publication of this information, largely in the form of PowerPoint presentations that at best provided little information about the programs' structure and operation but generated and fanned a moral panic. It probably has not done great damage to national security, but certainly has enhanced general distrust of government motives and activities that already was substantial due to previous missteps dating back two or more decades.

  8. Robin Bradshaw

    If only a country had thought to protect the public's privacy.

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    If only somebody had had the foresight to enshrine the people right to privacy by including some text such as that above in the country's basic principles of law, and had the foresight to predict the invention of the telegraph/telephone/internet and stipulate they were extensions of paper based communication so future dullards wouldn't try to weasel the people out of this protection.

  9. Adair

    It is interesting, and sad,

    that there seem to be so many people who apparently would not recognise Freedom, even if it came up and opened the door of their prison cell, and told them to go.

    The prison has become their home and they are too frightened and too institutionalised to dare to leave, or even to want to.

    Whatever the 'rights' and 'wrongs' of what Snowden has done, no one can complain that he has not lifted the lid on a can of worms that many have long known of or suspected, but been quite happy to leave unopened, and carefully filed in the 'Too difficult and embarrassing' tray.

    It is less and less tenable to talk about 'patriotism' and 'nationhood' as the ultimate goals of human loyalty and identity---if they ever were---with any kind of intellectual credibility. Many today are more loyal to their global corporate employers than to any political expression of nationhood.

    Snowden's expose really has less to do with any kind of patriotic allegiance to a nation state, than with seeing overweening 'state/corporate' power in relation to how ordinary human beings, in the conduct of normal day to day domestic relationships, can go about their affairs without being spied on as though they are the property/slaves of 'the state', or its equivalent corporate entity.

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Questions still unanswered.... yet hinted at.

    Yes, he's whistleblower/traitor/rat fink. He's also confirmed what many (but not all) have suspected for a long time and which the average FB user won't care. There's also revelations in industry that are just as troubling (credential stealing, tracking by Google etc., and security of information in general).

    He (Snowden) claims that the West is no worse than the Russians and the Chinese in their information gathering from citizens and foreign powers alike.

    Does all this make any one of us safer? Does it make any one of us more or less of a target by either government, business, or miscreant? Posting AC... you really think that's safer?

    The founding fathers of the US were very explicit in their fears of government and society. Perhaps too explicit as the courts take things very literally without looking ahead and seeing the implications from way technology is going. Maybe they should. But the people still have the real power even if they waste it on politicians full of BS, corruption, greed, and stupidity.

    Sadly, Jefferson was right. People generally get the government they deserve. And that applies world-wide. Not just to the US.

  11. LeeH

    Too Many Mixed Arguments Going on Here

    Is this about law?

    Is this about being a traitor?

    Is this about democracy?

    Is this about responsible individual liberty?

    Is this about privacy?

    If this is about the law then the law is pretty damn wrong, isn't it? How can anyone agree with a legal system that turns people into serfs?

    Anyone who argues for a return to serfdom doesn't deserve to live in a democracy and should pack up his/her bags now and kindly f-off and leave the rest of us to restore individual liberty and privacy to the democracy we want to live within.

    Who are the traitors? The people trusted to protect our democracy and our rights, those very people who little-by-little eroded our rights and destroyed our democracy; or are the traitors the people who expose those incursions into our lives?

    Get a bit of perspective and begin thinking of your rights and your children's rights and your grand-children's rights. Yes, ACs and GCHQ/NSA supporters of this world, I'm throwing that one right back at you. Do you really want your children to be dominated by a political class of trough-hoggers?

    Point 1: The law has to change to ensure the law respects the common man

    Point 2: Politicians need to live the lives they preach and force onto the common man. How can you support a group of people who willing put their own agendas ahead of the people's wishes?

    Point 3: Stop excusing bad behaviour for the sake of patriotism or for the sake of some wild thought that you are part of the group you are defending. The intelligence gathering agencies of government do not care one bit about you. In fact, you are probably being laughed at by the very people you defend.

    Point 4: Stop assuming that law is automatically right, just and correct by virtue of it being law. Laws are made by man. Man is not infallible, man is not without fears, man is not without envy and man is known to not be consistently just in judgement. The idea that law is law is law is befitting of a serf; even a slave has more dignity than to follow laws blindly.

    So, to the ACs and other supporters of invasive mass surveillance, supporters of the erosion of liberty and supporters of the removal of individuality, what are you: serf, brainwashed or just deluded?

    Think I'm being offensive? I'd rather offend you than to offend humanity and dignity by not defending our right to live free, the right to live as leaders of our own lives, the right to die free and the right not to have decisions forced onto us.

    If I choose to give up my rights, then that is my choice; do not force that choice onto me. Give up your own rights as you wish, do not drag others from their rights in the process of you giving up yours..

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: BLeetH Re: Too Many Mixed Arguments Going on Here

      ".....How can anyone agree with a legal system that turns people into serfs?..." So how were you 'turned into a serf'? Is this like the imaginary 'harm' your fellow sheeple blather on about? Don't tell me, you've been 'oppressed', right? ROFL, you're just making my point.

  12. Mitoo Bobsworth
    Stop

    Less talk about the messenger ...

    ... and more focus on the message.

    Snowden has effectively sacrificed any chance of a secure or 'normal' future by his action of conscience, and any rants or attacks on the man only reveal the emotional and/or intellectual deficiency of those attacking him - any moron can hurl insults & insinuations.

    Lack of concern as to the veracity of what has so far been disclosed is of far more concern to me. Secrecy does have it's place in governance - However, secrecy unchecked enables corruption, coercion, unaccountability, abuse, deception - the list goes on.

    To quote an old friend - "Nothing is wrong - everything matters."

  13. OrsonX

    "Master spy blabbermouth"*

    That's a bit derogatory isn't it?

    I thought El Reg loved Edward for revealing all the Top Secret information?

    *the word you were looking for was Traitor.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: "Master spy blabbermouth"*

      Look: whatever else Snowden is, he's not a traitor.

      This is what treason is, in US law.

      And this is what Snowden is accused of.

      All clear now? I hope you appreciate the 2+ minutes it took me to find those links.

      1. Psyx

        Re: "Master spy blabbermouth"*

        No, they just hit 'downvote'.

        You don't expect to go changing opinions via reasoned and cited facts, do you?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Last Sat was Snowden's birthday. I hope he can spend the next one back in the states"

    Agree with the sentiment, he is a true selfless hero unlike 'James Bond JA'! But for all our sakes maybe he shouldn't return. His situation should be constant thorn in the side of the US and the Five-Eyes, and a constant reminder that we must always remain vigilant...

  15. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Food for thought...

    i'm sure I'll get massively down voted, even if I am saying something that is factual.

    "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

    Thats right. For one to put Snowden's actions in perspective, one must look back on history and the reasons why things are kept secret. Unfortunately when you look at history, you'll find that its against Snowden. Go back over the past several hundred years of recorded history...

    We look at Manning and Snowden, there is no whistleblowing. No purpose, but a smash and grab of confidential (top secret) data and then an eventual dump of data. No crimes were ever shown from the data breech. To use Manning as an example... all of the war documents... not one evidence of a war crime. (And I should point out that war crimes do happen in every war on both sides. The US was guilty on several crimes, however none of them were reported by Manning.) Snowden? No crimes were found also. Note that the current law(s) support the assertion that the NSA could capture the metadata of the phone calls, yet they had to be careful when combining that data. The NSA actually had better security and protocols for data access management than the companies that produced the data itself.

    The point is that like Manning, Snowden is a criminal. He joined the company as a subcontractor specifically to go to the NSA and steal their data.

    Now Snowden is attempting to defend his actions.

    Sorry, but he can rot in Russia. No sympathy here.

  16. rav

    Everybody is guilty of something....

    Everybody at one time or other is guilty of something, an indiscretion a subversive word or thought. So it's good that the government records everything that folks do and say. So when the time comes to arrest folks they will have the recorded evidence.

    Rules for living in a surveillance state:

    1. Say nothing, ever.

    2. Do nothing, ever.

    3. Wear a disguise for the CCTV; hats, sunglasses, false mustaches. etc.

    4. Get rid of your cell phone or use burners and change them weekly.

    5. Do not carry credits cards with rfid chips or put ALL ID in lead lined case.

    6. Wear tin foil under your hat 24/7.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: rav Re: Everybody is guilty of something....

      You forgot...

      7. Always sleep in a different place each night.

      8. Only ever use a PC or any mobile phone inside a Faraday cage.

      9. Never use a landline.

      Of course, that advice has nothing to do with the fact I've bought shares in several motel chains, mobile telcos, and a chicken-wire manufacturer. Hey, why should Al Gore be the only one allowed to make money off the sheeple?

  17. smartypants

    Is this the end of intelligence?

    I agree in general with the sentiments of not wanting to be spied on.

    But I wonder if what we're effectively saying is that this is an end to intelligence gathering by states serious about being democracies. I think it is.

    It turns out to be a historical quirk that there was a time when the 'baddies' (whomever a state decided they were at the time) used either their own technology to communicate (e.g. Nazi Enigma broadcasts over radio) or forms of public communication which, by their nature, were specific to the suspect (e.g. mail, GPO telephones with dedicated wires from the exchange).

    I think most people on here would support targetted interception of intelligence possible with these technologies, assuming the cause was 'just'... e.g. stopping another 7/7 bomb on a bus.

    But today, the 'baddies' (whoever they be) just use the same anonymous, shared (and now at least!) encrypted channels of communication (aka the internet).

    So the intelligence bods, no doubt seeing their mission as being the same as that during the irish 'troubles', or the Nazi occupation of Europe, or the Cold War, see only one way forward to intercept the messages of the 'baddies': Listen to everything and apply algorithms to identify material of interest.

    This is *why* we are where we are. Should we be there? No? Possibly... but then we should be fully aware of what we're saying: no intelligence.

    I'm not saying this *is* a bad thing. I'm just trying to grasp the full extent of the consequences.

    Sure, I don't want details of my life searchable by my government, in case the government turns into one run by the likes of Putin or some supreme religious leader.

    But I also can't help feeling bad that if none of those things are likely, that my being precious (perhaps rightly so) of the security of my lolcat pics (and, of course, more private things) in my comfortable free democracy makes me a bit more vulnerable to the baddies.

    So, maybe, let it be. But I can't feel wholly happy about it. Such is the world... one full of compromises. So difficult to draw a clear line in the sand which separates right from wrong!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dunno...

    I make quite a bit of money out of the greed and stupidity of rich people that call themselves investors. They obviously get a return on their investments but not as much as if they didnt have to rely on me.

    I also know plenty of rich dumb people that get fucked by their trust managers on a regular basis.

    I think what Matt is describing is the upper middle class.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: AC Re: I dunno...

      "I make quite a bit of money out of the greed and stupidity of rich people...." So, did you get into the position where you could make that money by sitting on your arse or by applying yourself, learning a 'trade', and then working hard at it? And what happens to those rich that make stupid investments and lose all their money?

      "....I think what Matt is describing is the upper middle class....." IMHO, I think the concept of class is outdated in the modern West, though some people seem to cling to it as an easy way to differentiate themselves or to allow them to exploit those with imaginary grievances.

  19. mhenriday
    FAIL

    OK, Kelly ;

    we know where you're coming from - «Master spy blabbermouth ...» «The infamous whistleblower ...». But you might want to remember that the removing superfluous and misleading adjectives - and even ill-considered nouns - is the first duty of an essayist or, for that matter, a Reg blogger....

    Henri

  20. HippyFreetard

    If it had been really necessary, we might have deliberately voted in a statist government. We would have turned out our pockets and allowed cameras into our homes. We'd be making cups of tea for the engineers who installed our spyware and everything.

    This is a completely different situation. We gave no government mandate to be spied on. Our democratically elected leaders did it completely and utterly behind our backs. The collection was unwarranted and against regulation, even for post-9/11, torture-legalising, Patriot-Act USA. They were wrong, and Snowden was right to reveal that. It is wrong to criminalise whistleblowers who reveal illegal activity.

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