back to article Welcome. You're now in a timeline in which US presidential hopeful Beto was a member of a legendary hacker crew

Newly minted US presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke says he was a member of Cult of the Dead Cow, one of the most legendary hacking groups in cyber-history. And multiple folks within the US-based crew, most active in the 1980s and 1990s, have confirmed that O'Rourke, during his adolescence in El Paso, Texas, was one of their …

  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice

    I am pretty lukewarm about Beto, but his stock just went up significantly in my eyes.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nice

      I agree, I didn't think that he had much of a chance but now I'd have to say that he's in the running. The best thing about him is that he's not another old fart running for office. I was taught when I was younger that age = experience and wisdom but now that I'm older I realise that age == stupidity in the political world.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Age can go either way for wisdom. Some are like the proverbial mule who was in everyone of Frederick the Great's campaigns. He still has the military knowledge of a mule. Some actually learn from their experience and can give good advice. Now with Congress critters they get stupider with age very rapidly so even those that had an IQ somewhere north of single digits drop rapidly into the single digit range.

        1. davenewman

          Re: Nice

          Bernie Sanders learned with age, although not as much as his older brother Larry who is now the health and social care spokesperson of the Green Party of England and Wales.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        As the Fools warns King Lear:

        "Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise"

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          Definitely - Shakespeare lived it times as mess as ours and illustrate the issues well in King Lear, we should quiz all potential candidates and ask them what they have learned from history.

      3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        "Do not let me hear of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly" - T S Eliot, in his sixties.

        I'm older than he was then and I tend to agree. I wouldn't put myself in charge of anything.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Nice

          I think it was in "Thief of Time" that Lu Tse comments that wisdom and age don't always go together, some people just become stupid with more authority

        2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          "'Do not let me hear of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly' - T S Eliot, in his sixties.

          I'm older than he was then and I tend to agree. I wouldn't put myself in charge of anything."

          --------------------

          I'm torn: I was probably in my thirties when I decided that I had no business being anybody's role model. Now that I'm in my sixties, my opinion has only solidified.

          Was I preternaturally wise back then, or has age only ossified a young man's follies...?

          I'M SO CONFUSED!!

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          "I wouldn't put myself in charge of anything."

          Which is a good sign. A very long time ago, I came to think that desire for office should be automatic disqualification for that office, as it's a warning sign of mental or emotional issues.

      4. Halfmad

        Re: Nice

        but now that I'm older I realise that age == stupidity in the political world.

        Perhaps in a few years you'll realise that grouping people by how long they've been on the planet makes little sense. Age doesn't = stupid, there are plenty very clever and wise older people. Just as there are plenty young and stupid people. There's little use in grouping by age when it comes to intellectual capacity and ability to look at problems from differing perspectives.

        1. John Sager

          Re: Nice

          But the wise ones tend not to become politicians, as they can satisfy their wants in other ways and are carefully avoiding the bearpit that is the political selection process.

          1. KBeee

            Re: Nice

            It seems like the people that want to be politicians are the very people that shouldn't be allowed to be politicians.

          2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            Political parties should be banned as being inherently undemocratic. The party selection process favours only those people that are ruthless and essentially psychopathic. Anyone should be able to stand in an election, and voters decide based on what each individual says. Voting based on party is lazy.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          To quote: "Youth and enthusiasm* are no match for old age and treachery." Not sure who said it, but it applies.

          *I've also heard it as "youth and innocence".... there's other variations I'm sure.

    2. notamole

      Re: Nice

      Be wary of Beto. During the primaries last year he made Medicare for all and refusing corporate donations his two biggest selling points. As soon as he got the nomination he dropped both of them like a hot stone. He's a conniving politician like the rest. The media and Democratic establishment have just anointed him the chosen one because he plays into their 90s vision of the electorate, willing to elect anyone with a good haircut who toes the company line.

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Funny, he still espouses a single payer medical insurance as far as I can tell. He disagreed with some other proposals put forward by others for medical cover, but still thinks we need single payer and a drastically revised medical care in this country, for the benefit of we the recipients, not for the insurance companies.

        1. notamole

          Re: Nice

          He watered down his position from medicare for all to the now popular centrist position of 'medicare for some and maybe more later if we get round to it'.

          1. MiguelC Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            There's quite a difference between immediately dropping his promises and watering them down.

            Do you know any politician who straight away implements their campaign promises without any nuances?

            (just as an example, how's the "swamp draining" going?)

            1. Youngone Silver badge

              Re: Nice

              Do you know any politician who straight away implements their campaign promises without any nuances?

              Yes, just not any American ones.

              1. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: Yes, just not any American ones.

                citation reqd.

                1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

                  Re: Sabroni: citation reqd

                  I seem to recall something about a German chap in the first third of the 20th century. Granted, not an ideal example...

            2. notamole

              Re: Nice

              What do you mean "implements"? This was still during the campaign. He won the nomination saying one thing, then walked it back straight away. To put it another way, he lied to get picked.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            As I understand it, the problem with the US "medicare for all" situation is that it's perceived as "compulsary medical insurance which many low age earners can't afford to have taken out of their pay packet"

            How much of that is FUD I don't know, but It's certainly been put that way to me on a number of occasions.

            The thing that's never mentioned is how those same low wage earners can afford medical expenses if they're not insured and the apparent answer in the USA is "They can't" - this is like the 1850s UK Liberal party view of the world where the poor were expected to die quietly (At the same time, London alone had a murder rate of at least 30/day and the rich cowered behind 12 foot walls topped with broken glass. I think I prefer the current situation and would prefer not to go back to the "good old days", thanks)

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nice

              It's complete FUD. MFA as proposed in actual, existing, legislation that's on file for everyone to read, will make health care a right without premiums, deductibles or co-pays for the services it covers (which will be much broader than the current Medicare program for the elderly). People will not have to carry insurance because providers will be entitled to payment for treating anyone who comes through their door. Of course they'll be regulation and oversight. The big different with the UK will be that it will remain mostly a privately owned system -- providers won't be on the government payroll, just those cutting the checks. Sort of like the police (without the mad rush to privatize public services that has been part of the conservative program in the UK).

            3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

              Re: Alan Brown

              You are confusing Medicare with Medicaid. Medicare is quasi-government health care for pensioners. Medicaid is the program for the indigent. Medicaid definitely fits your description of "compulsary medical insurance which many low age earners can't afford to have taken out of their pay packet".

              My own opinion is that we probably won't see an NHS-like system for the same reason we'll never see a simplified Federal tax code: because it takes power out of the hands of the politicians and those who stuff the politicians' pockets.

            4. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Nice

              "The thing that's never mentioned is how those same low wage earners can afford medical expenses if they're not insured and the apparent answer in the USA is "They can't""

              This is correct. There is a small backstop in that if you're in dire need of medical care, hospitals can't turn you away because you can't pay them. However, this results in terrible care for the patient, at a (monetary and other) cost to society that is orders of magnitude higher than is necessary.

              This is a strong argument for single payer -- in the end, it would result in better outcomes for less cost to taxpayers than what our current "system" results in.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice

            For some others we at least have actual legislation they've introduced in this session of Congress.

            Beto's proposal appears to be still at the "thinking about it" stage.

            Does not inspire confidence in anything but the assessment of others up-thread that he's probably just another con man. He ticks off a bunch of traditional liberal boxes in his record, but there are votes in there that don't bode well. Sort of looks like a Rubio on the centrist left.

            My real concern is that he's going make us techies look bad, but at least he doesn't have a grey beard.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice

            So you mean he watered down his proposal to something which is practical and might stand a chance of being enacted. The horror.

      2. danR2

        Re: Nice

        I'm wary of the Kremlin's well-aged policy of targeting the values of a site's typical demographic whichever way it injures its victim.

        That is to say, not "whiny libbie leftie Beto' screed (which would be suitable in Fox comments), but 'Dem in name only'...

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        I'm wary of all politicians, Beto included.

        That said, I have no real opinion of him right now, and I don't think one is required yet. I'll wait until we get closer to the primaries when we have a better idea of who is still in the running by then.

        However, this news does give him extra points.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        "willing to elect anyone with a good haircut who toes the company line."

        Yes, if that really is him in the photo, then he's gone for the standard "look". Business shirt, open neck, no tie and sleeves rolled up. Just like they all do when they want to show they just like the "common people". With his pedigree of punk and hacking, I'd think he might try just a little harder to not look quite so much like a cookie cutter establishment pol.

      5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Nice

        Be wary of ALL politicians.

        That's why they're called "politicians"

        http://www.gballard.net/lifes_lessons/girl_rattlesnake/

      6. Whiznot

        Re: Nice

        Beto's votes with republicans and talks progressive. The man is a fraud.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Nice

      Meh, he's still a DEMO[C,N}RAT and deserves to lose whatever election he runs in, particularly if it's against Trump.

      Also read the Reuters article, and it seems he likely engaged in LONG DISTANCE PHONE FRAUD back in the 80's as a teenager. Since we're now vetting politicians (and supreme court justices) based on ACTIONS TAKEN WHILE A TEENAGER (whether actual or alleged only), I think this is pretty significant.

      From what I read, he was probably more of a 'Script Kiddie' than a REAL hacker anyway. Real hackers solve unsolvable problems through unconventional means, not necessarily breaking into things nor acting like a counter-culture wannabe. You usually find them doing kernel-level stuff, devices, file systems, and network security.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Nice

        If you refuse to vote for somebody just because of that, you deserve all you get.

        Don't forget, your Lord God Trump used to be a Democrat when it suited him. I'm sure you'll remember that during the election nominations, he threatened to run as an independent if the Republicans didn't choose him.

        Loyal Republican he is not, so spare us your partisian bullshit when your hero is a 2-bit grifter.

        1. A.P. Veening

          Re: Nice

          When did he get promoted to 2-bit?

      2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        RE: Our friend Bob...

        Yeah, and you're still a knee jerk REPU[G P]LI-C[A O]N and thus it's advisable to take your opinions with a [pinch lump] of [rock] salt.

        Have a nice day, y'all.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        "Meh, he's still a DEMO[C,N}RAT and deserves to lose whatever election he runs in"

        For someone who claims to be so clever, that's a pretty sad indictment of your thought processes.

      4. ratfox Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Nice

        Dude, just calm down with the capitals. It's hard to take you seriously when you act like a caricature. If you want to emphasize, your silver badge gives you the right to write in italics or bold; it's much better for everybody.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          you cant have a politics discussion online without people on both sides working terrible nasty puns into the names of the parties or the people.

          even here at the Reg , see above , it just happened.

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          Irregular capitalisation FTW

          It provides a simple visual branding scheme for deciding which of Bob's posts are worth reading (it is left as an exercise for the reader to decide whether to subscribe to the CAPS or lower-case feed)

        3. theOtherJT

          Re: Nice

          It just wouldn't be Bob any more then tho, would it? Gotta give the man that - his comments are always immediately recognizable.

        4. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Nice

          I routinely reject "life advice"

          1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            Life advice...When crossing the street, be sure to keep your eyes open at all times.

      5. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Wasn't even a real hacker, just a noisy hanger-on. So we know his act..but then, being a pol, we kinda already did. Just good at the "look at me me me" game.

      6. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Can you show me one teenager who didn't rebel or break any laws or conventions? I can't. It's part of growing up and finding one's self.

        I'll leave this here: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I somehow think that none of us qualify.

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Nice

      O'Rourke is all style and no substance. He orignally ran with a progressive agenda, and said he'd refuse corporate donations... That went out of the window after the primaries.

      He also voted for TPP, and has voted with Trump 30% of the time. One example, he voted with republicans to undermine the consumer financial protection bureau, and has voted twice to weaken Obamacare.

      He's a republican in democrat clothes pretending to be a progressive.

      Here's a good breakdown of his record: https://youtu.be/lF93q-kmoRY

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Christ! I'm not going to take advice and opinion from someone who characterises Beto as #BetonMyStork. That's almost as good as our Bob's characterisations.

        I'd rather listen to Bubba The Love Sponge. (Not really)

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          That is a stupid thing to do, I agree. And if I'd only just discovered him, I'd say the same, but he has form as an intelligent researcher and commentator.

    5. Whiznot

      Re: Nice

      Would you feel differently if it turned out that Beto infiltrated the group to spy on them?

  2. cirby

    Well...

    He was a teenager who wanted to get free cracked games, and needed free long distance to get them because that's how it was back then.

    Pretty normal, really. Especially in the small BBS world of the time.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      oh well thats alright then.

    2. NonyaDB

      Re: Well...

      Exactly. he was not a "hacker". He did the same thing all of us kids in the 80s did, which was dial-up a BBS or two and download games/cracks and post cringy stuff.

      He was *not* a real member of that group, just a user of some of their boards like the rest of us.

  3. Robert Moore
    Happy

    Is the "fix" in?

    Maybe he still has some contacts in the hacking world. Since Americans seem to think electronic voting is a good idea (It is not!) maybe someone could give him a little hacky "help"

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Is the "fix" in?

      Just about every state (except Georgia I think?) has abandoned electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Is the "fix" in?

        Louisiana voting machines leave no paper trail, you just push buttons and press vote - I think that turns a light on, and it might record the vote too?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Is the "fix" in?

      hmmm, perhaps you explained why there wasn't a wider margin for Ted Cruz!!!

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Is the "fix" in?

        In your mind it couldn't possibly have anything to do with Ted Cruz being universally hated, even by senators in his own party?

        If Beto had run against a "generic" conservative republican instead of Cruz, he wouldn't have come as close. Winning in Texas is going to be a tough ask for any democrat, but the small handed orange traitor is doing his best to drive women and independents away so who knows by 2020?

        1. Clem H. Fandango

          Re: Is the "fix" in?

          Eh, it's Texas. Cruz is still polls +5 in approval rating, better than Cornyn.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Is the "fix" in?

      Americans don't think electronic voting machines are a good idea, electronic voting machine companies, the politicians they've bought and people who want to control elections think they're a good idea.

      The sane states are using paper ballots, counted electronically. Still room for hanky-panky, but the paper trail of original, voter-marked ballots makes it harder (see NC-09)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Is the "fix" in?

        Yes, the only thing missing from the states that are doing it right and using paper ballots that are optically read is not mandating random recount of a small number of precincts (with a statistician deciding the value of "small", not politicians or appointees) with a full recount mandated if the it differs from the machine count by enough (with a statistician also responsible for the value of "enough")

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's also using a hispanic nickname to hide the fact that he's celtic in a region that doesn't vote for celts.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Stop

      I have nothing but pejoratives to describe people who actually use "identity politics" to cast their votes. Voting because someone has a particular sex, race, religion, whatever, is all the same kind of [insert profanity here]. Or, voting AGAINST based on the same [lack of] reason. It's worse than a single-issue voter.

      Seriously, does ANYBODY look at POLICIES any more? Gotta use THINK instead of FEEL...

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Seriously, does ANYBODY look at POLICIES any more? Gotta use THINK instead of FEEL...

        I agree with you there. Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a post from someone who wouldn't vote for a Democrat. I was thinking when I read it, "Gee Bob, don't you look at POLICIES? Gotta use THINK instead of FEEL..."

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "I agree with you there. Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a post from someone who wouldn't vote for a Democrat. I was thinking when I read it, "Gee Bob, don't you look at POLICIES? Gotta use THINK instead of FEEL..."

          Bob would vote for a Goat if it was standing against a Dem. Screw policies. Colour is all important whether it be Blue, Red or Orange!

          1. jake Silver badge

            "Bob would vote for a Goat"

            Of course he would. Strangely, he's already voted for an ass. Daft thing is, Bob WOULDN'T have voted for Trump when he was a Democrat, despite being exactly the same person then and now. Well, to be honest Trump probably wasn't senile before he switched parties. Coincidence? You decide ...

            (Apologies to any donkeys and other Democratic symbols I have offended.)

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Trump was calling for the execution of the Central Park 5 back when he claimed to be a democrat (and to this day he still believes they were guilty even though they were exonerated by DNA evidence) so his views didn't line up with the views of democrats back then anymore than his views line up with republicans now (i.e. tariffs, negotiating with Kim Jung Un as an equal, etc. were anathema to the party until Trump came along and the ones without principles looked the other way)

              Trump became a republican because the "angry conservative" types Fox News and right wing web sites have bred were going to be more receptive to his divisive messaging. If he thought he could have fared better as a democrat he would have run as that, and have been nominating liberals to the court. He doesn't give a shit about judges, or any conservative principles beyond "what helps me personally". It is stunning that conservatives like bombastic bob don't see that, or if they do they simply don't care.

              Unfortunately for him federal judges are appointed for life, so they have no reason to be "loyal" to the president who appointed them once they are on the bench. Especially on the Supreme Court, since they can't go any higher. If he loses in 2020 and resigns the day before with a deal from Pence to pardon him, I'll bet Pence doesn't do it. He may be an ass kisser, but I don't think he will want to go down in history as the man who pardoned the biggest criminal ever to sit in the oval office. Even if he gets pardoned, the state of New York will have enough to put him to prison for life, and his criminal spawn for a good portion of theirs. Shouldn't have become president if you didn't want people to start looking into your decades of criminal behavior, Donny boy.

              1. jake Silver badge

                "Central Park 5"

                Ah, yes. The final straw that made John McCain see sense and break ranks with the Republicans over Trump. One wonders what it'll take for the rest of the myopic bunch to see sense.

                1. DCFusor Silver badge

                  Yeah

                  As if the bipartisan McCain-Feingold isn't how the government was handed over to anyone with the bucks. McCain was always a traitor and a loser, given too much credit.

                  What insight! So much corruption enabling - a true American Hero for supporting the MIC by losing lots of planes. With friends like that...

                  A man who never saw a war he didn't like. How good for all the cannon fodder, foreign and domestic. What a guy.

              2. DCFusor Silver badge

                Divisie messaging?

                Really? Identity politics - which needs to know what victim groups(s) you are a member of (using racism, sexism and all other isms), is the divisive one for most of the people I know.

                I'd prefer Martin Luther King's vision - judge someone by the content of their character.

                Thing is, there's not simpleton drop-down list for that, you need to be able to think critically, and have some judgement.

                Obviously too tricky for the "progressives" who still pay attention to those isms while projecting that others are worse. This is not what I find as far as facts on the ground to.

                1. JohnFen Silver badge

                  Re: Divisie messaging?

                  I was with you until you singled out a single political subgroup when in fact your point applies to all of them.

        2. Comments are attributed to your handle
          Thumb Up

          If Bob had any self awareness he'd just leave El Reg forever after this post. But unfortunately I doubt it.

          1. jake Silver badge

            What an 'orrible attitude!

            bob's alright ... as long as you ignore his politics. And he's such a caricature that I'm not all that certain he believes all the bullshit he posts.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            no I'll stay because of my "fan club". you're welcome.

            strangely a good number of posts seem to involve me. I guess O'Rourke is a pretty boring topic.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Happy

              ... have to agree. O'Rourke is a boring topic. We can't say that about you!

          3. RyokuMas Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Wishful thinking

            "... he'd just leave El Reg forever..."

            Unlikely. This is the sort that just thrives on attention, like the five-year old who's learned his first swear-word from his elder sibling and knows it gets a reaction.

            The best we can hope for here is some kind of Eadon-esque meltdown where trolling eventually spills over into the realms of libel - and a similar end result. Openly admitting to staying in order to troll people seems like a good start down this road though.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: hispanic name?

      >he's celtic in a region that doesn't vote for celts....

      The history of immigration to the border region isn't just "whites north, others south". A lot of Europeans moved to northern Mexico (the 'banda' music that you find in the western border area is derived from German 'oompah' polka style introduced by immigrants from Germany, for example).

      So its quite possible that an O'Rourke could have been Mexican.

      Incidentally, one of the major Indian nations that straddles the border in Arizona is called the Tohono O'odham. I don't think they're from Ireland, though.

  5. JohnFen Silver badge

    This is awesome

    I have to say, that he was part of cDc in his youth has noticeably increased my opinion of him.

    1. Leedos

      Re: This is awesome

      Agreed. Even better if he personally coded BO2K and all the plugins. I enjoyed experimenting with the software and remember being impressed with what could be delivered in a relatively small payload.

      1. Peter X

        Re: This is awesome

        I had no experience of Back Orifice myself, but I seem to recall reading ( IN A COMPUTER MAGAZINE!!! Imagine that! ;-) ) that it was exceedingly well coded and that the big names in software could learn a lot back light-weight, clean installations from it.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: This is awesome

      I never really thought of 'Cult of the Dead Cow' with any kind of favorable opinion. Nor their members. It seems to have spawned some of what you see in the 'War Games' movie from the 80's though, or the 'Hackers' movie from the 90's. The truth is far less glamorous...

      Don't forget, O'Rourke seems to have acknowledged how he STOLE PHONE TIME to access BBSs via long distance calls, as reported in the Reuters article linked from this one.

      "Like thousands of others, though, he said he pilfered long-distance service 'so I wouldn’t run up the phone bill.'"

      I guess _some_ of what cDc did might be considered "cool" - BackOrifice, the Tor version of the Firefox browser, stuff to scan for steganography, etc. - but O'Rourke's involvement was probably more "social" than actual learning/coding. Yeah, I'm challenging the validity of his "skillz".

      And the idea that most hackers are really libertarians, and not socialists, leaves me to wonder why he plays this "both sides of the fence" game, unless he's trying to SOCIAL ENGINEER EVERYBODY into voting for him...

      And, THAT would make him DISINGENUOUS, DISHONEST. Well, POLITICIAN at least.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: This is awesome

        In this day and age, it's incredible that people attempt to use "socialist" as an insult.

        I'd love to know how'd you'd react to this news if he was a Republican.

        By the way, most people think that the abuse of women in college is a greater crime... Just sayin'

      2. M.V. Lipvig

        Re: This is awesome

        Of course he's a dishonest thief, he used to steal phone service and video games. Back then phone companies were paying through the nose to provide LD (yes, really, been in the industry more than 30 years now), and thieves like him ran up the costs which made LD service more expensive for the rest of us.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          Re: This is awesome

          trying to drum up sympathy for the comms industry is a bit of a lost cause, especially around here, or anywhere to be honest.

      3. Dog11

        Re: This is awesome

        He "STOLE PHONE TIME"? Eh, Steve Jobs SOLD BLUE BOXES. (See, my caps lock sticks, too!) It gives me hope that there may be a politician who's more conversant with technology than merely being able to make 4 AM tweets on his phone. He doesn't need to be current, but at least will know what a supermarket scanner is, and what the Internet is. Guess I need to find out more about him.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: This is awesome

          "Steve Jobs SOLD BLUE BOXES."

          To skiddies like Beto. Those of us who had built our own just looked on in awe as Steve fleeced the suckers. John Draper laughed.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is awesome

        Cult of the Dead Cow were (sometimes clever) punks, and from what Beto has revealed, he was more a groupie than a serious participant.

      5. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: This is awesome

        "I never really thought of 'Cult of the Dead Cow' with any kind of favorable opinion"

        It's not so much that I view the cDc as some kind of virtuous group. It's that his involvement with them indicates that he has some measure of tech literacy and (more importantly) the tricky issues around tech. Also, that he owned up to his cDc past speaks well of him.

        Of course, just being a member of a hacking group in your youth doesn't really indicate whether or not you'd be a good president. At this point, however, I'm not even looking for a "good" president. I'm just looking for one that won't be gleefully destroying the nation.

  6. Len Silver badge
    Meh

    I'd be wary of letting this sort of stuff influence your decision

    Ultimately what makes someone a good politician to vote for is their ideas, policy suggestions and ethics. Not whether they share a similar hobby.

    Remember how we used to think brain surgeons had to be very smart people? And then Ben Carson went into politics?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'd be wary of letting this sort of stuff influence your decision

      It influenced my decision - from NO to HELL NO.

  7. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Those guys infected my beautiful dual socket Supermicro with a BIOS eating virus. The cadaver remains in a box; UltraSCSI disks, CPUs and all minus the dead board... Bastards.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The trolls are in the air

    Oh so funny how a Trump troll is filling up the comments section with bollocks on Beto, like nobody would notice...

    1. Garymrrsn

      Re: The trolls are in the air

      Troll is but another word for the rank and file attempting to emulate their leaders.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: The trolls are in the air

      Fortunately, what Trumpeters think about any non-Republican candidate means nothing, because their opinion of any non-Trump-loving candidate is the same and already well established.

  9. jake Silver badge

    IF, and I stress the IF ...

    ... in the coming election my option is either Senile Trump or a skiddie, I'd have to vote for the skiddie.

    Fortunately, the skiddie hasn't got a chance in hell of getting the nomination.

    That's not to say that I'm impressed with any of the other Democrats who have thrown their hats into the ring. Useless lot, all of 'em. Better than Senile Trump, yes, but that is a rather low bar. Hopefully somebody with clues and a backbone will step forward.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: IF, and I stress the IF ...

      No one thought Trump had a hope in hell of becoming President, including Trump himself and Melania who reportedly burst into tears when she heard the worst, so your opinion as to the skiddie doesn't really fly very high.

      You may not like Trump, for which I applaud you, but you are obviously a Republican who doesn't really like any Democrat, and if you're hoping for someone with clues, backbone, and character to emerge from the current Republican bloc then you may be in for a bit of a wait. Good luck. I mean that most sincerely.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: IF, and I stress the IF ...

        Trump had exposure through various LCD television programs. He had recognition with the GreatUnwashed. Beto doesn't, and won't, have that kind of exposure. Combine that little detail with the huge crowd that is running, and I'd place his chances of drawing the Dem nomination at somewhere lower than Gavin Newsom, who (probably) won't be running this time around.

        I am not now, and I never have been, registered Republican. I am a registered Democrat (at the moment[0]), and just calling it as I see it. The current crop of hopefuls are all fucking useless; hopefully somebody worthwhile will step up.

        [0] Subject to change according to the issues and the needs of me & mine.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          Re: IF, and I stress the IF ...

          Apologies for jumping to assumptions.

          Obama was really only known in Chicago, and he won. I guess we'll see when it happens. Interesting times, huh?

        2. ST Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: IF, and I stress the IF ...

          > Subject to change according to the issues and the needs of me & mine.

          Best description of a Republican I've heard in at least a decade.

          1. DCFusor Silver badge

            Re: IF, and I stress the IF ...

            So, any human, then? Don't know of one not diagnosed with mental problems that don't care about me and mine.

            As a conservative, watch Tulsi Gabbard, the only anti-war candidate - being suppressed by her own party (no doubt the MICC in general). I'd probable vote for her myself, but - you'll see the corruption on both sides of the aisle if you pay attention to how they smear and attempt to destroy her.

            Despite a perfect record of intervening at great cost in blood and treasure to create failed states worse off than before (including us!) - even the libs insist we must intervene in all states with dictators (would that include our own?).

            What a circus, you can't make this stuff up. I feel sorry for the Onion as reality has overtaken them.

  10. ST Silver badge
    Meh

    I'd like a better understanding of why Beto O'Rourke is running for Prez

    I am looking at his presidential aspirations web site and I can't find a single thing about his policy proposals. Or views for that matter.

    I see a photo of Beto, a photo of Beto with a little boy wearing a NASA t-shirt, a Shop link, a Jobs link with no jobs listed, and a Donations link. And that's about it.

    I expected some minimal information on Beto's concrete policy proposals. What are they? Does anyone know?

    I don't think Beto Is Running! is enough. He has never won a single statewide race, let alone a national one.

    Disclaimer: I am a registered Democrat, and have been so for many years.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: I'd like a better understanding of why Beto O'Rourke is running for Prez

      Hmmm, I see nothing. Just a black screen. It's one of those sites that if you have a script blocker enabled then you get nothing. Or perhaps he's flying under the invisible flag and stands for nothing. Vote for King Mob!

      Being serious for a bit; the site is obviously written by some back room intern with no real information, or knowledge, to hand. If you really want to know more about him then, as the popular saying goes, Google|Bing|DDG is your friend. There's tons out there about what he stands for, not least of all (gag) face book.

      Agree though, if he's serious then he needs a serious web designer. Perhaps the dead cow folk could help out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd like a better understanding of why Beto O'Rourke is running for Prez

        Sounds like Beto should code the website himself. Supposedly he has the creds to do it.

  11. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    This is interesting. It raises O'Rourke above the mundane level of candidate to actual character! It's a claim that doesn't seem to hurt him and is really true and "Authentic", as opposed to candidates claiming to like [select your own cultural icon] as so many candidates do. It elevates him to the same level as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez where attempts to defame her have re-bounded and made her seem even more adorable. Obama had a similar level of personality.

    AOC or Beto. Anyone else? Do the republicans have anyone of similar stature? I cannot see any.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure, the Rethuglicans have got cultural icons. It's just that they're all supervillain caricatures.

      But you missed one for the Democrats, AOC's mentor.

      Bernie Sanders is absolutely a cultural icon.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        I think Sanders has managed to poison his own well. Plenty of Democrat voters hate him for spoiling the 2016 election (whether or to what extent he can reasonably be blamed for that is irrelevant; the minority of voters who are willing to try to evaluate candidates rationally is too small to have much effect). Plenty of others dislike him for failing to rein in his more offensive supporters, or for one or more policy positions, or for some other sin.

        He's too thoroughly inscribed to be a viable US candidate at this point, unless he can achieve the level of demagoguery Trump has - and I don't see him doing that. To be honest, I don't see any Democrat candidate winning using Trump's approach. The Democratic Party had masters of populism a century ago, but they let that set of tactics fall fallow.1 Meanwhile, Republicans and Republican sympathizers took them up starting around the time of Carter's election in the '70s, after seeing that in a post-Nixon era the electorate was no longer keen on stiff managerial types. They've dominated a number of media - talk radio, pop policy books - since, and at least achieved a draw in a number of cultural conflicts since.

        These days Democrat culture icons generally have to try to occupy the moral high ground - a precipitous position. It's a lot easier to win over your audience shouting from the gutter than it is preaching from the pulpit.

        1Not that I think that's a bad thing. Appealing to the baser instincts often succeeds, but there's a limit to the realpolitik I'm going to endorse.

  12. DrBobK
    Holmes

    Hawkwind and cDc - how good can it get.

    I assume 'Psychedelic Warlord' is a reference to the first track on Hawkwind's truly excellent 'Hall of the Mountain Grill'. I thought Beto had the making of good candidate before, now he's absolutely my man. You'd better believe it!

  13. jason 7

    Americans need to look hard at the Democrat 'contestants'.

    Do they offer -

    Platitudes and slogans for the status quo and 'Not Trump'?

    or

    Bread on the table policies that will actually improve the life of you and your family?

    Choose wisely.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Americans need to look hard at the Democrat 'contestants'.

      To the exact same degree, Americans need to look hard at the Republican (and any other party) candidates and ask the very same questions.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Americans need to look hard at the Democrat 'contestants'.

        Well the situation there is the second option has not applied to a Republican for 50+ years.

        It's almost as long for a Democrat.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Americans need to look hard at the Democrat 'contestants'.

      This is approximately as useful a piece of advice as "buy a car which will never need repairs" or "don't get sick".

      The idea that any candidate has any chance of getting elected without a campaign filled with "platitudes and slogans" is marvelously naive. As for policies, no president can enforce major policy changes without the cooperation of the other branches; and history has shown it is notoriously difficult to create policy which reliably improves the situation for those not already advantaged, much less predict whether proposed policies will be successful at doing so.

      And, of course, some of us are concerned about things outside us and our families. (Yes, you can take the Randian position that altruism is just seeking an intangible psychological or social reward, but even so, it's rather a stretch to say that the bulk of my political choices are intended to improve my life, for example.)

      1. jason 7

        Re: Americans need to look hard at the Democrat 'contestants'.

        So just keep on voting for the status quo so nothing ever has a chance of changing?

        Are you Chuck Schumer?

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    Well if Trump can do and say anything

    Then you need not have worried

    "who feared it would hurt the Democrat's political aspirations"

    Trump can be recorded during his campaign about grabbing women by the ...... yet still get elected. How did that happen!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Well if Trump can do and say anything

      How did that happen!

      Really? You don't get it? Look at two things.. his base and at what he does. He tweets, he tosses out whatever is on his mind that will obscure any real issues. Hell, he's still ranting over Clinton and others including McCain. The guy is a good example of applied misdirection.

  15. david 64

    Ah BackOrifice

    Popping open some random guy's CD-ROM drive, waiting 60 seconds, the opening it again, repeatedly, imagining the look on their face on the other side of the Internet.

    The innocent and simple pleasures in life :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he doesn't stand a chance...

    Beto is a white male in a party that views white males as the enemy. One only has to look at the hit pieces from the LA times, the daily beast and the like to figure out that the Democratic guns are aiming early to put him down.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: he doesn't stand a chance...

      "in a party that views white males as the enemy"

      That's not the Democratic party you're describing. That's the cartoon caricature of it that the radical right fabricates.

    2. jason 7

      Re: he doesn't stand a chance...

      It will be rigged and cheated down to Biden, Booker or Harris (I'd go with the later two)

      Debbie Wasserman-Schultz etc. will do her usual vote rigging act.

      1. jason 7

        Re: he doesn't stand a chance...

        Oh so two folks are in denial here!

        Enraged Hillary Supporters?

  17. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    The "oldest hacker group"?

    I see Menn claims that cDc is "the country's oldest hacking group". Some would disagree.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: The "oldest hacker group"?

      "Some would find the claim ludicrous."

      FTFY.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: The "oldest hacker group"?

      Yup. And the TMRC isn't even the oldest, it's just the oldest (I think) that gained any sort of national recognition.

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: The "oldest hacker group"?

        When you think about it, the alchemists were hackers. I could make a case that the first people trying to make beer/wine/mead taste better were hackers. Same for bread. Same for the folks growing grain ... ThePress maty have perverted the title "hacker" in the minds of the GreatUnwashed, but not all of us have forgotten ...

        This round's on me. To hackers past!

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: The "oldest hacker group"?

          I'll drink to that!

          Yes, people forget what "hacker" means. A hacker is someone who enjoys figuring out how things work and how to use them in imaginative ways. Whether those things are related to computers or not isn't meaningful. Some of the most legendary TMRC hacks had nothing at all do to with computers or networks.

          But, these days, people think "hacker" is synonymous with "computer criminal". That's a linguistic battle that has long been lost, sadly.

  18. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    What is the big deal?

    I fail to see the excitement in him being in cDc, for good or bad.

  19. martin777

    A Poem By Beto O'Rourke

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ikwq575nD8

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