back to article No crypto backdoors, more immigration ... says Republican head of House Committee on Homeland Security

Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), head of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, seemed a tad off-message today at the RSA USA security conference. He told an audience in San Francisco this morning that his committee had examined proposals to demand mandatory backdoors in encryption products and software to help …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

    ...using the finest minds in the security industry and "government."

    FIFY. Yes, no one said all Republicans are spray-tanned, racist, misogynists without any idea on how to do anything other than "Make American Great Again For Me And My Billionaire Man-Buddies To Steal Anything And Everything That Is Not Nailed To The White House Floor!" Some are normal folks camped near the "middle of the road" like most normal folks. It's the fringe-idiot-muggles in charge that are a problem for the US and the world. A LOT of very questionable characters are setting up their own fiefdoms within the US Government. So much garbage to take out at the next election! And all the media fails to point out the hypocrisy with the plutocracy. Messy times indeed.

    Google would be a better caretaker of the US than any criminal politician, or ones pretending to "not be politicians." The latter are the worst. Own up to your ilk. All politicians are criminals. You have to be prepared to choose the least criminal among the lot, and that is not easy for many who are confused by where real news comes from. And where it does not. Fucking muggles and their "two party system."

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Google would be a better caretaker of the US"

      Hope you're kidding....

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "Google would be a better caretaker of the US"

        "Hope you're kidding...."

        Yeah, Anon had me up until that line...

    2. MNGrrrl

      Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

      > Yes, no one said all Republicans are spray-tanned, racist, misogynists without any idea on how to do anything other than "Make American Great Again For Me And My Billionaire Man-Buddies To Steal Anything And Everything That Is Not Nailed To The White House Floor!"

      I'll buy that for a dollar. They aren't spray-tanned, but everything else is spot on. The Republicans are the outgrowth of the losing side of the civil war and you may remember what kicked that off: Racism. And the Republicans were there during the race riots of Omaha where they burned black people in the public square. They were against interracial marriage, women's sufferage, and categorically every civil rights advancement in this country has been over their objections. So maybe nobody said it here, but sure as hell it can be said!

      > It's the fringe-idiot-muggles in charge that are a problem for the US and the world.

      That's a comfortable lie we tell ourselves. Yes, it's the fringe. It's a crazy minority. That, my friend, is a lie. These people don't keep getting elected year over year because they are "fringe". This *is* the face of the Republican party and best you square with that. They're on the party ticket. Those endorsements didn't just land on them by accident anymore than a penis lands on a vagina by accident.

      > Google would be a better caretaker of the US than any criminal politician,

      A criminal one? Maybe. A regular one? No. Google is a business and you do not want a government that is only motivated by profit. We've had a few of those in human history. It ended badly.

      > All politicians are criminals.

      Another comfortable lie we tell ourselves. Politics is the same everywhere; There are three rules and they are invariate. They are not limited to government but apply to every hierarchical social organization, everywhere, ever. And those rules are:

      1. No Man Rules Alone

      You need people to work for you. Governments need bureaucrats, police, military, tax collectors... Rulers don't do that, but they need it. These are your keys to power. They can be generals, business owners, the influencers (social elite). Whoever they are, they exist, and you need them on your side. Aaaand you do that by giving them gold, money, resources. And if someone else is doing that... then you need to make a compelling case to sway enough of them to support you; Aaand you do that by promising them *more* gold, money, resources than the other guy is giving them. It's that simple.

      2. Control the treasure

      Remember those resources you need to feed your keys to power? You need control over it to do that. You need the key to the treasury. You need control of the taxes, the wealth, the resources. If you lose control of it, you will be replaced.

      3. Minimize key supporters

      The more keys to power you have... the less treasure there is to go around. Which in the ever-shifting web of alliances and people jockeying for position means it's easier for someone to sway them to their side. The fewer there are, the more you can give to them, and the stronger your position. If you are giving resources to someone who isn't going to keep you in power, you're throwing it away. It's the same thing as giving it away to the people -- and it makes it that much easier for someone else to come in promising NOT to do that... and replace you.

      Everything else is irrelevant. Your job as a politician is about these three things, and only these three things. What we think of as "criminal" or "corrupt" is, in reality, politicians doing their job. They're recruiting new keys, redistributing the wealth they control, and are trying to kick out people that are a drain on those resources. People who call politicians criminal or corrupt are, bluntly, people too stupid to understand how the game is played, or refuse to. And of those who refuse... well, someone's going to do it and why shouldn't it be you? You're choosing not to play and in so doing are allowing the very thing you claim to despise continue to happen. The only way to change the system is to play it. And who knows... maybe you are The Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force or whatever, and change a pattern that has continued for the past twenty thousand years, and is seen even amongst non-primates in some form.

      > Fucking muggles and their "two party system."

      The two party system is an inescapable, statistically inevitable, consequence of how we vote: First past the post voting. It's too complicated to get into, and this post is already too long, but go lookup alternative voting systems. Until we change how we vote, it will always be a two party system. Even if by miracle a third party rises up and comes into power... it will only be to displace one of the other two and return to a two party system... and then *that* party will, because of statistical inevitability, shift politically to occupy the former's position. This *cannot* be changed. It is very nearly like gravity in that it will happen. It has always happened. And it will continue to happen. It's the only possible long-term outcome of a first past the post voting system.

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

        Revisionist history: Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Stopped reading after that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

          It makes perfect sense if you buy into the self-serving Democrat lie that all the horrible racists that constituted the core if the Dem party somehow transmigrated over the the Rep side during the last century. It's a shameless attempt to explain away their party's disgraceful history. And this brazen bullshit came from the party that allowed very high ranked KKK member Senator Robert Byrd to remain in congress until quite recently.

          That party is still deeply racist (but they hide it better now), and they try hard to keep the minority votes on their side thru fear mongering about the "evil, racist Republicans." It's sickening to behold, yet millions are so clueless about history that they buy it hook line and sinker, and then they swallow the rod too. It's hard to fight ignorance like that when most of the media likes keeping things the way they are. And the government schools, packed with liberal Democrats at all levels, is determined not to let the peepul learn too much of that dangerous history thing, except for the kind that glorifies non-whites while demonizing those whites. There's PLENTY of that kind of history being taught to innocent kids of all colours.

        2. strum

          Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

          >Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

          who'd be shunned by the modern Republicans

          The Dixiecrats turned into Republicans after Nixon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

            > "The Dixiecrats turned into Republicans after Nixon."

            Oh, You mean like the honourable Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, who served his party in Congress until 2010, and once wrote these words:

            I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd#Ku_Klux_Klan

            Yes, the Dixiecrats changed into Republicans. Or something. Now children, it's time for bed so off you go!

            1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

              Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

              Big John

              You know, I was in total disagreement with you, right up to the Wikipedia reference you used. You convinced me that you were right and I was wrong by using the most irrefutable source of reliable information.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

                > "You convinced me that you were right and I was wrong by using the most irrefutable source of reliable information."

                I know, Wikipedia is not very good at impartiality in politics, but I figure if that if they go against their instincts to protect Democrats and actually have damaging info on a major Democrat senator, it can probably be trusted to be real. If it were controversial at all, they would just censor it. Unless of course it were a Republican's behavior at issue, in which case they would keep it and just mention briefly that "some Republicans disagree" with the charges.

                1. Rattus Rattus

                  Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

                  "Their instincts to protect Democrats" xD

                  John's either trolling us magnificently, or is dangerously deluded.

                  John, mate, the world's not all about "my team vs yours".

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

              @Big John

              "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd#Ku_Klux_Klan"

              Perhaps BJ, you should read this also - in it's entirety, not just the first bit which no doubt would support your views.

              http://www.snopes.com/clinton-byrd-photo-klan/

              In other words, a brief flirtation with the KKK, subsequently apologised for the rest of his career.

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

        "The Republicans are the outgrowth of the losing side of the civil war and you may remember what kicked that off: Racism. And the Republicans were there during the race riots of Omaha where they burned black people in the public square. They were against interracial marriage, women's sufferage, and categorically every civil rights advancement in this country has been over their objections. So maybe nobody said it here, but sure as hell it can be said!"

        I don't think there is a single claim here that is true...

    3. Rattus Rattus

      Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

      "Some are normal folks camped near the "middle of the road""

      There is nothing remotely "middle-of-the-road" about anyone with the slightest connection to the Republican Party. In fact, that's almost the same for the Democrats, too. By the standards of the wider western world they're both parties of right-wing nutjobs, it's just the Republicans are further over the insanity event horizon.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

        Not only are republicans the party of Lincoln (who WON the civil war and didn't inherit the racists from the southern democrats until LBJ signed the civil rights act in 1964) but trying to apply something that happened literally a century and a half ago to today's politicians is ludicrous - politicians have and have always had a time horizon that never stretches further than the next election.

        The issue of backdoored encryption seems to cross party boundaries, there are democrats on each side and republicans on each side. More republicans on the pro backdoor side than democrats, but only because they are the traditional "law and order" party that tends to defer to the wishes of law enforcement. The real battle is convincing law enforcement that the idea is stupid, once they accept that, even an executive order happy orange president won't be able to enact such a terrible idea.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

        > "By the standards of the wider western world they're both parties of right-wing nutjobs..."

        And Lenin/Stalin were arch right wingers too. Oh, if only the stupid Americans would just get a clue and institute 100% taxation, confiscate all guns, clubs, and bread knives, and pass a law that only women are allowed to run for office! Non-white womyn, of course.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

          Big John, buddy, not sure what you're on but it seems to be pretty strong stuff. Nonetheless, it is true that by world standards, BOTH US parties are rightwing nutters. The rest of your dribble... That's between you and whatever you're drinking.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: These aren't the Republicans you're looking for

            > "Big John, buddy, not sure what you're on..."

            Rattus Rattus, I appreciate the solicitous tone, but I would have preferred you respond to my points rather than attempt a sophmoronic put down. Still, it does indicate that you had no good response other than to attack me personally. I feel good about that. :-)

            PS - I know you will say that my points were not worth responding to, but you did respond. In a childish way, true, but still.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        "By the standards of the wider western world they're both parties of right-wing nutjobs,"

        Something tells me you are not an American.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: "Something tells me you are not an American"

          That's right, and I am extremely thankful for that. That's why I said the wider world - screwed up as politics can be everywhere, from the outsire we can all clearly see the US is its own special brand of political insanity.

          @Big John - "would have preferred you respond to my points": You had no points to respond to, why would I address a series of strawman nonsense remarks?

  2. vir
    Alien

    It's Fluoride

    That stuff'll rot your brain.

    1. O RLY

      Re: It's Fluoride

      "Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we've ever had to face?"

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr2bSL5VQgM

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: It's Fluoride

      Fortunately this stuff is guaranteed to get your bodily essences right where they should be >>>>>>>>>>>>

      (you might feel like it's rotted your brain the next morning though)

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    I seem to have woken up in some alternative reality where politicians speak some sense. Sadly I doubt it will last long enough for the ink to dry...

    1. MalIlluminated

      Either that, or you're living in the same-old reality where politicians will say whatever they think most impressive to the particular group they're addressing at the moment. This one has seemingly learned to properly judge his audience, and I suppose that's a start.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Not all politicians are the same. Film at 11.

      The Powers That Be have always found it useful to keep a few nutters around, that way the general populace feels better represented. It's called "the big tent".

      Doesn't mean those people will win the debates. The thing to watch next is how hard they try to win this particular fight. And what they do about it if/when they lose.

      However, I must point out that - this is Comey's "adult conversation", right here. "Backdooring - no. So what else is there?" - is quite an adult thing to say.

  4. MNGrrrl
    Angel

    Knock, Knock. American here.

    Dear Europeans,

    First, an apology: We didn't actually elect Trump. Thanks to a horribly broken system called the Electoral College our Founding Fathers created during a weekend bender before writing the Constitution, only 28% of voters decide who becomes President. Put another way: A candidate could have a 72% majority for the popular vote... and lose. In fact, about 1 in 4 Presidents we elect have lost the popular vote but got into office anyway. Trump was another such example. And, possibly because they just clicked okay and didn't read the terms and conditions, almost all of the other states modeled their system of government on the federal model as well. Now, add to that rampant gerrymandering and you begin to understand the scope of our problems in actually *being* a democracy. I know we'd like to think we're the beacon of western democracy but... we're actually the ugly step-sister of it. The *very* ugly one. We apologize: Over 20 states have tried to banish this blight called the electoral college, but for *some* reason, the so-called "red" states, which benefit heavily from this system, won't ratify it. These are all the most populous states, naturally.

    So please understand that the Republican party is actually a minority voice amongst all Americans. They would categorically lose nearly every seat, in every election, in the entire country, state and federal level, if we were *actually* a democracy and the popular vote alone was the deciding factor -- and our voting districts were fair. The problem is, when this country was founded, most of it was rural farmland. We all lived on farms. Now, we all live in cities. This urbanization has meant that the people who live in the city, which represents over 70% of the population, are rational, sane people... and being that, they vote Democrat. Unfortunately, there's that remaining 30%... and because of the way our system is designed, those votes count for more. A lot more.

    Yes, Trump is our President. But Trump is not the man we wanted for President. In fact, most of our political offices are held by people who lost the popular vote, and we do not want them. We're not stupid: We see the man for what he is: An egotistical dictator whose saving grace is that because he's on a power trip most of his Presidency is going to be spent making childish gestures, gloating over others, and (unfortunately) unzipping and dropping his dick-shaped missiles, bombs, and other weapons on countries that have no way to defend themselves because that's what bullies do, and a bully is most certainly what this man is. And if you don't like my characterization of the man well, you're entitled to your opinion and I don't blame you: Our media has fallen into a ruinous state and unless you're making a very active and determined effort to self-educate on the issues, you will be misled. You... have been misled, and I am sorry for you but I do not blame you.

    All this said: Believe it or not, the Republicans are well aware of Trump's, achem, shortcomings. You will notice they are dragging their feet on repealing the Affordable Care Act. They've rounded the wagons and cancelled all the town hall meetings. They've barricaded their office doors. They *know* there's an angry mob out there, and they're not about to inflame them by actually trying to impliment a lot of Trump's very, very bad ideas. But, appreciate their position: Like Brexxit, they never thought it would happen. They were happy to ride the bull of a Trump campaign because it got them more power at the state and federal level. But the campaigns are over, and what you need to say and do to *get* into office is *not* the same as staying in office. They're all sitting in Congress right now. They can vote in any of the legislation Trump wants, and know he'll sign it.

    The inbox is empty.

    Mind you, they will kick some puppies. LGBT rights? Toast. Muslims? Easy scapegoats. Immigration? It's mostly lip-service -- they know full-well the corporations that fill their campaign coffers want those H1-B visas, and that's exactly what they're going to get. Because that's how politics is played: Your job as a politician is solely, and almost exclusively, to give resources to the people who will keep you in office. That slants heavily towards corporations, but there's also key voting blocks you'll be seeing get a windfall over the next couple of years: Farmers, for one. Many will number the farming subsidies coming, because they live in places where their votes really count (unlike the irrelevant masses living in the city, who can be screwed over with impunity). Stuff like that.

    Do NOT listen to what's coming out of Trump's mouth. It's a torrent of lies, misdirection, and ill-informed half-baked ideas. And... it doesn't matter. He's just a smoke screen to tire out Republican detractors and the media, while the Republicans set to work on their agenda... which will proceed regardless of what the President says or does, because the real power of this country is in the legislative branch. What this man is saying matters, because he represents the will of the Republican party, not the President. What he's saying is what will actually be policy for the next four years. What Trump says... don't even bother quoting or listening to him. Just replace everything he says with static. It'll matter again in 4 years, but until then... ignore him.

    Unless he decides to bomb your country, in which case, I am so, so sorry.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. MNGrrrl

        Re: Dear Europeans and at least one American

        > A tyranny of the majority was one of the things they worried about, hence the Electoral College.

        Yes, but let's be honest with ourselves: No other country has a system like this. It was a totally new, and untested idea. The drafters knew this. The electoral college was supposed to prevent exactly what just happened: An unqualified man taking office. We had more unfaithful electors in this election than all previous elections in this country's history... and it didn't amount to anything. States can, and do, replace them when they actually *do* vote their conscience. And it's a system with a critical flaw in it anyway: *any* senator can contest *any* electoral vote and have it discarded from counting. Let me be clear: No other country, anywhere, ever, has a system remotely like this. And it is very, very clear it has failed by any sane metric. It has failed even in its own goals: It's not just vulnerable to a tyranny of the majority, but a tyranny of the minority as well. It's a system so thoroughly corruptible and plyable as to make voting itself superfluous to the process.

        And yes, I'm abundantly aware of the difference between a republic and a democracy but it's a distinction only a pedant makes in good discourse. The plain truth is, we didn't just fail at being a democracy, we failed at being a republic too. We do not have representatives "by, for, and of" the people. Our fundamental promises to the public are hollow. And if we're talking about our founding fathers -- who by the by were bona fide terrorists of their era -- they pointedly told us what to do about it: Revolt and replace the Constitution with a new document, and start over. The Constitution *itself* was the result of that having happened!

        That is, for reasons any rational person can deduce, a terrible idea -- and one you'd expect from a pile of terrori--er, I mean "revolutionaries" (that term we use when the former succeeds, as opposed to failing). But the citizens of the world should be concerned at this state of affairs -- the country with the largest military and enough firepower to wipe out all life on Earth -- has a safety valve for this problem labelled "Blow it up and start over." We talk about foreign influences like it's a bad thing? We *need* those influences -- but we need them putting a concerted effort into giving the people what they were promised over two hundred years ago: Representation that is by, for, and of the people.

        What we have now, is nearly diametric to that.

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Dear Europeans and at least one American

          By reasonable standards, the US has a quite decently representative government. Gerrymandering aside (it has been going on for well over 200 years and been practiced assiduously by any political party that could do so) Representatives are chosen by plurality* in their districts, and nearly always by a majority, since most districts are meaningfully contested only by Democrats and Republicans. The same is true for the Senate. And in presidential elections, the candidate with a plurality or majority of the vote usually is elected President, although it has turned out otherwise several times in recent presidential elections.

          The fundamental problem of the national legislature is to reconcile a very large number of competing interests that are as fully legitimate to those who advance them as different interests are to their opponents. Many of these interests are local or regional, or break on other criteria such as degree of urbanization. The disagreements at the national level are real, not a matter of perversity, and will not be settled by being more democratic or otherwise fudging the electoral process. Many or most would be largely unchanged if gerrymandering were discontinued.

          The national political parties are weak organizations that coalesce for presidential elections and revert to regional characteristics between. Democrats and Republicans from prairie states, for instance, are likely to resemble each other more than they do members of their own party from another state or region, especially a heavily urban coastal area. That is because, whether gerrymandered or not, they do represent the voters in their districts in matters important to those voters, although they have considerable freedom in other matters. It is significant that the Congress has a seriously unfavorable rating with most survey respondents, but most representatives and senators get a favorable rating from respondents in their state or district.

          * Of the actual vote, and in most states.

          1. MNGrrrl

            Re: Dear Europeans and at least one American

            Oh man, this is rationalization at its finest. Let us now begin the autopsy...

            > By reasonable standards, the US has a quite decently representative government. Gerrymandering aside [...]

            "By reasonable standards, Chernobyl was a decent nuclear reactor. The explosion part aside [...]" And something going on for "over 200" years is not an argument for its legitimacy or continuancy. We had slavery for about that long too.

            > "And in presidential elections, the candidate with a plurality or majority of the vote usually is elected President"

            Okay, imagine if 25% of football games declared the team with fewer points the winner, due to an odd quirk in how refereeing worked. Do you think anyone would just shrug that off?

            > "The disagreements at the national level are real, not a matter of perversity, and will not be settled by being more democratic or otherwise fudging the electoral process."

            The disagreements are of course real, we can watch them on TV. And I don't know what a "matter of perversity" would even be. Do they drag goats in late at night after the cameras are shut off and have some fun? And as a matter of fact, it *would* be settled by being more democratic, because maybe then the government wouldn't grind to a halt every couple of years due to those aforementioned disagreements, which again is thanks to an unnatural gulf between the political parties. In other countries with a first past the post voting system, the two major political parties are not as polarized, with more members on each side willing to "cross the aisle". Bipartisanship is common everywhere else. And "otherwise fudging the electoral process" is how we got here... replacing that broken system with a better one isn't fudging, it's unfudging.

            > The national political parties are weak organizations that coalesce for presidential elections and revert to regional characteristics between.

            Last year the *national* democratic party received $1.2 billion dollars in funding. The Republican party received about $980 million. This excludes other affiliated organizations such as the Democratic and Republican National Committies, which provide fundraising services to state-level candidates (each spending about $330 million, roughly, last year). And continuing that, a second tier of fundraising organizations provide funds to the house and senate races, weighing in at $179 and $138 million each, respectively. For "weak organizations", they sure do have a lot of money.

            > It is significant that the Congress has a seriously unfavorable rating with most survey respondents, but most representatives and senators get a favorable rating from respondents in their state or district.

            Yeah, just not for the reasons you expect: Most people have become disenfranchised. They know showing up to vote is pointless. We have senators that have been re-elected repeatedly for 30 years straight. That's a strong indicator of poor representation. And regardless, the spread between who votes democrat and who votes republican is in most places 10% or less. Which means anywhere from 40-50% of voters go without representation with each election cycle under this system of governance.

            A winner-takes-all system is massively disenfranchising.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

      Nope. *I* voted for Trump.

      I watched Congress fight Obama every step of the way for 8 years. He'd say "the sky is blue" and they'd jump up and down and scream "NO! IT'S GREEN!"

      He was willing compromise and deal, and hit nothing but a brick wall. Nobody was willing to work together for the good of the nation. Literally the only action Congress took was to block the President.

      I figured "Hey, you want to gum up government? You want to waste time and money? You want to see the country go down the drain? You want to see political bullshit and infighting? Sure! I'll vote for TRUMP. F*CK you all!"

      I saw Hillary as another 4-8 years of wasted time trying to deal with these idiots. She'd try the same avenue of compromise and dealing to no avail.

      I figured Trump was the best way to sow chaos and pain and sorrow, and hey, I was right!

      Now Congress is in just as much pain as the rest of the nation.

      I'm just sitting back and eating the popcorn.

      1. MNGrrrl

        Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

        > I'm just sitting back and eating the popcorn.

        And this pretty much describes why American politics is like American culture: Everyone but us thinks it would be a good idea. We're deluded enough to think this *is* politics and culture. We're largely uneducated, have no grasp of history, an obsession with youth, suspicious of intelligence, value our own individuality but mistrust everyone who isn't like us, and think a document written over 200 years ago should be kept sitting right next to our Bibles. Despite this we've been pushing the state of the art; The cell phone, internet, car, plane... pretty much every major advance in the last 80 years has been by Americans. And yet, something like 7% of us think lizard people secretly run the government, the Apollo moon landings are a hoax, that one of our presidential nominees, while under constant guard by the Secret Service and hounded by hundreds of reporters, somehow managed to start a child sex ring in a non-existent basement of a pizzeria... and was later shot up by a guy searching for it. We practically hand out guns in specially-marked boxes of cereal, and as much as the rest of the world bitches about how many our military kills every year, it pales in comparison to the carnage in our streets and homes. Our international diplomat is a Predator drone, and yet we're afraid of Muslims and are about three steps away from creating another holocaust over it. And all of this has led to the highest rates of mental illness and incarceration anywhere on Earth.

        I don't have to wonder why you voted Trump... we've not only demonstrated both technological and military superiority, but also a remarkable lack of morality, common sense, or even the slightest level of critical thinking, in using what we've built. But... don't worry... our infrastructure is crumbling to bits, the middle class is practically dead, and the planet is literally burning up while we continue to try to live beyond our means. The question America faces now isn't whether we can survive... but what kind of life is possible in an era where numbers increase and resources diminish.

        And we're answering that question: We're killing ourselves, and cheering on our own demise.

    3. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

      I almost stopped reading at this point: "Over 20 states have tried to banish this blight called the electoral college." The legislatures of those states have signed on to a misbegotten scheme whereby they would, quite possibly, render the vote of a clear majority of their voters irrelevant. They can do this under the constitution, as some states did into the early part of the nineteenth century.

      In this context, it is worth noting that, like him or not (I do not), Donald Trump was the choice of an absolute majority of the voters in 21 states, and of a plurality in 9 more. By contrast, Hillary Clinton received a majority vote in only 13 states and the District of Columbia and a plurality in only 7 more.

      The US is no longer a largely agrarian country, but the notion that the 70% (your figure) who are city dwellers should should have largely unrestricted power over the remaining 30% is utter rubbish, and one of the reasons the designers of the government chose not to establish a democracy.

      1. strum

        Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

        >The US is no longer a largely agrarian country, but the notion that the 70% (your figure) who are city dwellers should should have largely unrestricted power over the remaining 30% is utter rubbish, and one of the reasons the designers of the government chose not to establish a democracy.

        That is utter twaddle. The Founders didn't (couldn't) have a clue that, one day, most Americans would live in cities, that non-property-holding men, women and black men would be able to vote.

        Why the hell should country-dwellers' votes count more than urban-dwellers?

    4. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

      "Thanks to a horribly broken system called the Electoral College our Founding Fathers created during a weekend bender before writing the Constitution..."

      A complete failure to understand the Electoral College and your own Constitution. Sad.

    5. steve 124

      Re: Knock, Knock. American here.

      Jesus man, that's a wall (all your posts are walls). Your facts are completely wrong on each post so far (you obviously learned your party history from public school). You can't be a work because no one in IT has THIS much time during a work day, so I'll let you wipe the foam from your mouth before you hang up your obama phone so you can go cash in some more EBT credits for your current opioid.

      Republican party lost the civil war... lol... what the hell are they teaching these kids...

      <drops mic>

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    H1-Bs just need to be used properly

    The problem with H1-B visas isn't the visa itself but the way that crafty outsourcing firms have found to use loopholes in it to undercut local labor, one of the things its specifically not supposed to be able to do.

    FWIW I came to the US 30+ years ago on an H-1. I was genuinely supplying significant skills that were difficult to find locally. The deal worked out for both the US and myself. That's why I'm particularly annoyed by the way the system is currently being abused -- its not only hurting American workers but by abusing the system American companies, especially smaller ones, are unable to recruit needed talent.

    1. Velodrome

      Re: H1-Bs just need to be used properly

      This. I'm a native born US citizen but recognize the importance of immigration. I want smart people to come work in the US and maybe even decide to stay. Some of best friends have followed that path. However, the way the H1-B is used now is predominantly to supply cheap labor for Indian based outsourcing companies. H1-B needs to be amended to bring people like martinusher in and not as a way to undermine the existing labor force with indentured servants.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    OMG. Rep head of a key relevant committee (from Texas) sounds quite sensible

    F**k me sideways.

    Do I dare nurture the possibility of a hope that this level of sanity might carry over into action?

  8. Milton Silver badge

    Watch the sky ...

    I thought I was a bit rattled by further revelations of Team Trumpty's cosy relationship with the Russkies, but now ... good heavens, a *politician* ... an *American* politician ... a *Republican*, American politician ... actually talking well-informed sense on a topic??

    I would advise the exterminators to take a look in this guy's cellar. I reckon there's a hideously slimy alien sac nurturing its eggs in there—no, it isn't Steve Bannon—and the chap we're looking at is some kind of biological replicant. Nothing else, I declare, can explain this outburst of honest sanity from such an unlikely source.

  9. nijam

    > We’re fighting 21st century threats with 20th century technology and a 19th century bureaucracy...

    ... and a medieval leader.

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Medieval, I would have thought Neanderthal would be closer...

  10. EnviableOne Silver badge
    Coat

    You're getting sacked in the morning

    I wonder, any bets on whether McCaul Will be sad or overrated?

    Just a thought on H1-Bs, would a cap on %of employees on them not stop the Skin merchants that are driving prices down and keep the rest of SV happy?

  11. steve 124

    Doesn't matter

    If D-wave actually ships a 2000 qubit quantum computer this year like they say, then this will not matter at all. Since the current standard RSA key is only 2048bit, then current encryption techniques are going to be a moot point very quickly. God help us all.

    I'm really glad to hear someone in Government finally say something about encryption that doesn't sound like my 6 year old nephew taught them how to keep their bank records safe using pig latin.

    We're going to need a new way to encrypt data very soon, regardless of what governments make software vendors do. My concern over the last year has been that nothing is really secret (except self generated priv RSA keys) and if any software company bakes in a backdoor, the folks you don't want to have it will definitely get it. I'm sure there are already some of the major flavors of encryption compromised by backdoor deals with shady organizations. Hopefully, we will eventually learn which ones have and they will stop being used, but the thought of "universal" backdoor policies of encryption schemas scares the bejesus out of me.

    At some point, Govs are just going to have to accept that technology is neutral. It can be used for good or ill, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Breaking it all isn't really an option. I'd say the solution to baddies encrypting stuff is to use different ways to find out who they are and not rely on electronic intercepts for everything. You know, like we used to do before the internet.

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