Easing Wiretaps on the Internet
September 27, 2010 4:02 AM   Subscribe

“They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.” The administration plans to submit legislation to Congress in 2011 which would mandate any communications technology operating in the United States to include technical measures to comply with wiretap orders.

This is the latest of many attempts to build backdoors for law enforcement into any technology that can be used to communicate; those who have paid attention to the subject for a while may remember Clipper, one notable carrot in a long line of sticks. What's different now is that it pushes the responsibility of getting to the unencrypted message onto the operator: it would in effect be illegal to operate strong cryptography without some form of key escrow or other law-enforcement-friendly weakness built in. Though this is not quite the level of control on crypto mandated by more authoritarian regimes, it represents a new restriction on the freedom of information within the United States.

It is unclear how the proposed penalties could be applied to systems without a single operator, and questions of jurisdiction naturally present themselves in an international Internet. More certain is opposition to the measure from an engineering community that has allergy to wiretapping encoded in its DNA.
posted by Vetinari (198 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
No.
posted by phrontist at 4:07 AM on September 27, 2010 [29 favorites]


Yes, phrontist, I must agree: NO.
posted by teatime at 4:13 AM on September 27, 2010


"When we propose legislation that erodes privacy and the public says 'You cannot do that', we will say 'Yes, we can.'"
posted by DWRoelands at 4:26 AM on September 27, 2010 [31 favorites]


President: Could you people please make it super easy for us to spy on you?
People: Go to hell. Sir.

(that's how I hope this is going to go)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:35 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


This will certainly be a boost to the economies of non-proto-fascist countries.
posted by unSane at 4:38 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”
First reaction: "ugh".

While I'm sure the Obama administration received some pretty shocking information on the daily threats facing the U.S., there is repeated demonstration that they just don't "get" technology, privacy and the digital side of security. Installing Drupal for content publishing and creating XML feeds for government data does not count as understanding and embracing the complexities and nuances of the internet as we know it today.

However, it may just be continuing a theme: centralize the economy, centralize healthcare, centralize the internet.

Sadly, this topic is too complex for the media to cover widely. If it does pass, administration critics will have one more issue they can use as a case against a second term.
posted by hrbrmstr at 4:38 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Two words: President Palin.
posted by unSane at 4:38 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, good luck with that.
posted by empath at 4:41 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The headline should be: "Congress demands massive security hole in all internet systems, plans to make it easier for foreign spies and hackers to steal vital data"
posted by Grimgrin at 4:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [29 favorites]


Actually, I'm pretty confident that for any piece of communication software which puts in a law enforcement backdoor, there will exist plenty of alternatives without them.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tbqqnzzvg gurl ner fb snagnfgvpnyyl jebat ba guvf jvergnccvat fghss vg'f vaperqvoyr. (Note to the White House: try ROT13)
posted by graventy at 4:46 AM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I was just starting to like Obama and now his administration starts with more big-brother-tech bull shit. I didn't vote for him because of his stance on telecome immunity, but now after the health care thing, and some other stuff, he earned my vote.

Now I will not vote for him. I don't give me vote to people who want to take my privacy.
posted by fuq at 4:46 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Two words: President Palin.

iyay otgay ouryay alinpay oofpray odecay ightray erehay
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 AM on September 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


It would be nice (for once) to see the tea party get worked up about this.

This is essentially the same as every household being forced to leave a key under the mat in case the gummint ever needs to come in and rummage through your stuff while you're out.
posted by unSane at 4:56 AM on September 27, 2010 [22 favorites]


Maybe the whole point of this is to get more people to realize the insanity of the stuff we've already done in the name of national security. But it probably isn't.
posted by clorox at 5:00 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

This would put the United States in the company of freedom-loving monarchies like UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia who have complained about the encryption on the Blackberry. (RIM caved.)

Someone is gonna have to show me where in the Constitution it says that Congress can make a law like this.
posted by three blind mice at 5:05 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


While we're putting genies back into bottles maybe we can institute a law that says it's illegal to crack encryption on DVDs?

Oh wait...
posted by Talez at 5:10 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

If you had been doing that from the beginning instead of trying to illegally spy on us then perhaps we wouldn't be as goddamned suspicious of this as we are.
posted by armage at 5:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


The sheer level of stupid here is appalling. All this will do is destroy the domestic crypto providers. Who's going to buy crypto with known backdoors, when you can get perfectly functional cryptography by buying from another country?

The only way they can make this stick is if they make the actual use of cryptography illegal, which would be a fucking bonanza for all those other spy agencies. Like, say, China's. Hey, lawmakers, you remember China, right?

If the actual use isn't illegal, even if it's illegal to sell non-backdoored crypto into the country, then everyone will move to freeware. There's tons of really good freeware crypto already out. It's not always all that easy to use, but I think that could and probably would change very quickly indeed. OpenVPN, for instance, is already pretty darn straightforward if you use the included TinyCA scripts, and putting GUI wrappers on that wouldn't be difficult at all.

(the underlying software, OpenSSL, is an absolute clusterfuck in terms of usability -- it's not quite Sendmail-level obscure, but it is goddamn difficult to figure out. But the TinyCA wrapper scripts are all kinds of awesome. )

It is a very, very, VERY GOOD THING that all those Free Software guys are out there, beavering away at stuff like this. If you want good crypto, you will still be able to get it no matter what the government does, and it's all thanks to them. There are very, very good reasons not to cede too much control over your computing environment to ANY commercial provider, because any entity that needs money can be squeezed.
posted by Malor at 5:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [18 favorites]


If you don't have anything to hide, you've got nothing to worry about. /sarcasm

Our leaders have an average IQ of 6. We're apparently not much brighter if a proposal this blatantly unconstitutional gets any legs at all.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:21 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, they expect that the liberal base is going to enthusiastically go to the polls in November, for this?
posted by orthogonality at 5:22 AM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Someone is gonna have to show me where in the Constitution it says that Congress can make a law like this.

Playing devil's advocate here,

Article the sixth ...... 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.

The government has explicit authorization in the constitution to execute a warrant based on probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation. Should a government not be allowed to compel that all landlords keep a copy of keys to allow a government agent to search a premises on the basis of executing a lawfully obtained warrant? By extension, shouldn't the government be allowed to compel a service provider to give it open access to an individual's communications pursuant to said warrant?

Don't get me wrong it's ludicrous from a technical standpoint but I'm pretty sure the Bill of Rights says nothing about a right allowing you to try and stop the government from executing a perfectly legal warrant. Especially since the government only means to compel service providers and not individuals to release the keys thereby sidestepping any messy 5th amendment issues.
posted by Talez at 5:30 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dear Governments of America/China,

We understand that the upcoming global superpower battle for economic and military supremacy won't give a particularly large shit about the rights of the individual.

But there's no need to make this a race to the bottom.

Sincerely,

F. Reedom
posted by MuffinMan at 5:34 AM on September 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


I assume this would apply to https, right? Which means your web browser: firefox - chrome would need to somehow be patched to spy on you.
Wait, they expect that the liberal base is going to enthusiastically go to the polls in November, for this?
Look how many Obama supporters not only forgave his vote for telecom immunity, but actually went around insulting and condescending to anyone who complained. "The perfect is the enemy of the good! blah blah blah"

The interesting thing is that while the Clipper chip was an actual chip, it sounds like this would just be a mandate for software developers.
Our leaders have an average IQ of 6. We're apparently not much brighter if a proposal this blatantly unconstitutional gets any legs at all.
What's unconstitutional about it? Remember the commerce clause. The government probably pass a law saying that if you sell or otherwise profit from software with crypto, you have to provide and intercept mechanism of some sort. The Supreme court has actually decided that the commerce clause applies to things you do as an individual by yourself (The test case for this was growing wheat)

Remember Elana Kagen's confirmation hearing? She was asked by Tom Colbern if the government had the power under the commerce clause to force you to eat vegetables. Kagen didn't have a clear answer.

The political situation in the mid-1990s was pretty different. Back then the "terrorists" the government wanted to spy on where rightwing nutters like McVeigh. Now it's "the Muslims" who rightwingers are also terrified of. And we've been living in a society where almost all phone calls can be tapped without a warrant, etc for years.

Pretty fucked up situation.

Does anyone know any good public key crypto software I should grab now? I know about GnuPG, which is a totally open source version of PGP - public key Crypto. Does anyone know about any real time chat programs that use high quality crypto?
posted by delmoi at 5:52 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The sheer level of stupid here is appalling. All this will do is destroy the domestic crypto providers. Who's going to buy crypto with known backdoors, when you can get perfectly functional cryptography by buying from another country?

The next step would be to ban the import of non-compliant cryptographic software and prevent the sale of any software that includes non-compliant crypto, I imagine. Which would strike me as the ultimate irony for the "leader of the free world" if it occurred.
posted by armage at 6:02 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

Good luck with that. Logically this could only ever apply to service providers who have unencrypted copies of the messages in question. RIM for instance reached a deal with the Saudi and UAE governments to base servers storing BIS messages in-country. (contrary to typically sloppy reporting, RIM already complies with warrants from those governments to turn over messages between their residents). Those BIS messages are SSL encrypted between the handset and RIM's servers but stored in plaintext on RIM's machines.

BES will continue to be impossible to intercept because the content is end to end encrypted between the handset and the BES server owned by the client. Of course you can intercept if you can get to the server.

This gets complicated though, say that the BES server is located in The Netherlands and used by American citizens in the US to communicate? The messages are routed through RIM's NOCs in Canada, but not decrypted there. Who is the service provider? Is it RIM for selling the product and maintaining the network, or whoever controls the BES servers. If it is RIM, then all that will happen is that they or a competitor will modify their architecture to prevent being defined as a service provider. Net result of law: destruction of invested capital, inconvenience, no change to amount of encrypted internet traffic.

In their battle with Research in Motion, countries like Dubai...

Thank God for fact checkers.
posted by atrazine at 6:10 AM on September 27, 2010


I thought this was what the NSA was for.
posted by hwestiii at 6:10 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The next step would be to ban the import of non-compliant cryptographic software and prevent the sale of any software that includes non-compliant crypto
The next step is to get the EU on board -- they seem to love spying on their populace. And then Crypto products come from where, exactly? China?
posted by delmoi at 6:11 AM on September 27, 2010


"Compliant" and "cryptography" are antonyms.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:14 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This gets complicated though, say that the BES server is located in The Netherlands and used by American citizens in the US to communicate? The messages are routed through RIM's NOCs in Canada, but not decrypted there. Who is the service provider? Is it RIM for selling the product and maintaining the network, or whoever controls the BES servers. If it is RIM, then all that will happen is that they or a competitor will modify their architecture to prevent being defined as a service provider.
Those are technical problems and ones that wouldn't be too hard to solve. The idea that because this is somehow "hard to do" with existing infrastructure is some kind of protection is absurd. Look at Sarbanes Oxley, which cost businesses a ton of money to implement. Or the additional burdens that the Patriot Act placed on banks and financial institutions.

As far as blackberries, well, first of all I Guarantee you that blackberry already provides intercepts to the government when they ask. Remember, US providers were more then happy to allow mass warrentless taps, do you really think Blackberry held out?

Anyway, beyond that. Lets say blackberry decided they didn't want to play along. After all you have the "who is the provider" question. Well, the government just has to pick someone and make them comply. No compliance, no selling of Blackberry devices in the U.S. Why wouldn't they comply? If the government picks the wireless providers like AT&T, then those service providers would have to pressure RIM to make their products spyable -- or just switch to selling something else
posted by delmoi at 6:18 AM on September 27, 2010


It will be interesting to see how the right (and the left, for that matter) tries to resolve the tension between accusing the Obama administration of attempting to expand its quest for a full neo-fascist state which peers into all our communication media, with its demands that our law enforcement state keep us hermetically protected from all possible terrorist actions.
posted by hwestiii at 6:26 AM on September 27, 2010


If you can't crack a message, can you prove it's a message? (That a string of bits is an encrypted message and not simply someone's favorite string of bits?)
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suggest you all send encrypted letters to your congress people. That way you can be sure they will try and read them.
posted by srboisvert at 6:34 AM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


Look how many Obama supporters not only forgave his vote for telecom immunity, but actually went around insulting and condescending to anyone who complained. "The perfect is the enemy of the good! blah blah blah"

You don't say.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:44 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Which committee would this go through first? Intelligence?
posted by Fuka at 6:44 AM on September 27, 2010


Does anyone know about any real time chat programs that use high quality crypto?

If you are running Windows, Pidgin, an open source multi-protocol (AIM, MSN, GChat, etc.) has a plugin for the OTR encryption scheme which is also open-source and has some novel features like deniability and perfect forward secrecy.

Although there are other IM encryption schemes, OTR is almost certainly the most widely used, because the developers of Adium -- basically a very high-quality Mac port of Pidgin -- baked the plugin right into the baseline code. So if you use Adium, all you need to do is turn encryption on and generate a key, and it will secure conversations to other Adium (and Pidgin+OTR) users automatically.

In older versions it did not use any of the usual PKI systems, and instead relies on its own keys. To perform authentication the first time, you need an authenticatable (although not necessarily secure) channel. For example, if you know the other party's voice, you could use a phone call to verify their identity and exchange key fingerprints, and then with those fingerprints exchanged move to text chat for the secure conversation. (Some may notice that this looks very similar to how SSH works. It is.)

However, newer versions of the library -- which I'm not sure have been included into Adium yet; not sure about the OTR plugin either -- use the Socialist Millionaire protocol for authentication over the insecure channel. I still think you might need to compare fingerprints by hand the first time, but after that it should automatically detect MITMing without need for side-channels.

There are some other encryption plugins that leverage GPG, but I would strongly recommend against their use: the problem with IM encryption right now isn't technical, it's the lack of a widely-accepted standard. OTR is the closest to a standard out there, at least on the open-source side (Skype is probably the most widely deployed, but it's a black box and therefore a joke in terms of security), and quite usable.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:51 AM on September 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


Imho, our biggest problem is that not enough people are using basic encrypted communications protocols like GnuPG/PGP and SRTP/ZRTP. Zfone is open source, just start using this stuff.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:58 AM on September 27, 2010


HOPE AND CHANGE, BABY!!! HOPE ... AND ... CHANGE ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:00 AM on September 27, 2010


The historical argument seems a bit flimsy to me. So they want to be able to tap internet communications like they do telephones, specifically because they can tap telephones. The argument being that anything else would be a step backwards.

My question is, how did it come about that they can tap telephones? Was it a given from the start, or was that a significant step in curtailing individual freedom and privacy in the first place? Maybe in not being able to monitor all internet communications instantly and easily, they're simply ending up where they started.

(Whoever "they" may be. I realize I'm being imprecise and vague)
posted by labberdasher at 7:07 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are five political issues that are of critical importance to me: 1) healthcare. 2) gay rights. 3) the economy. 4) personal freedoms/privacy. 5) ending American militarism

I realize it's very uncouth to suggest that Obama is a bad president here on Metafilter, but even as a good liberal I must recognize that Obama has utterly floundered in areas 1-3 and is arguably MORE conservative than his predecessor in areas 4 & 5. I realize that the alternative is much worse, it's just at some point we need to recognize that we can do better and hold our leaders accountable for their actions.
posted by Avenger at 7:10 AM on September 27, 2010 [21 favorites]


Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”
What could possibly go wrong?
posted by warbaby at 7:16 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The government has explicit authorization in the constitution to execute a warrant based on probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation. Should a government not be allowed to compel that all landlords keep a copy of keys to allow a government agent to search a premises on the basis of executing a lawfully obtained warrant? By extension, shouldn't the government be allowed to compel a service provider to give it open access to an individual's communications pursuant to said warrant?

But my landlord does not have keys to my personal safe. Now what?
posted by _Lasar at 7:19 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you can't crack a message, can you prove it's a message? (That a string of bits is an encrypted message and not simply someone's favorite string of bits?)
In a perfect world, (mathematically speaking), no. One of the properties of strong crypto is that the ciphertext is indistinguishable from random data. In reality, there still has to be some method to transport those bits to the intended recipient, even if that method doesn't explicitly specify the recipient. (Like a public-key encrypted message posted on a message board, for instance.)

In practice, the fact that you sent "bits" to someone, is probably enough to assume you sent a message. (IANAL, etc.)

I want to see how they define "service provider", and "encryption technology". Would this cover steganography? Snail mail encoded by hand? They want to cover peer-to-peer software, but there's no 'service' there, just a product. They want to force companies that don't run key escrow services to start doing so (and in the process, redesign the entire product to require it)? Who's gonna pay for that? Who's going to pay for the resulting bankruptcy when those companies lose all their customers?

The idiocy and lack of understanding cryptography here comes down to that first quote: “They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.” If they can do the latter, they cannot do the former.

This whole thing is just more authoritarian bullshit. I have a right to privacy, and if necessary, I will protect it with Math.
posted by mrgoat at 7:19 AM on September 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


The problem with this isn't giving the government access to encrypted data, which I honestly assume they can get if they really want it, through a variety of methods: installing key loggers, root kits, or the old fashioned method of just throwing peoiple in jail until they get the password.

The problem is that if there is a backdoor in crypto, then it will be found and abused by pirates and criminals in about 24 hours.
posted by empath at 7:23 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Talez wrote: "By extension, shouldn't the government be allowed to compel a service provider to give it open access to an individual's communications pursuant to said warrant?"

No, but it should be allowed to compel me to give up my password/key/whatever with a warrant. There are no messy 5th amendment issues, unless your argument is that the password or key itself constitutes an admission of guilt.

atrazine wrote: "Thank God for fact checkers."

The sultanates operate largely independently. While they're not "nations" in the "United Nations" sense, they've got more autonomy than, say, US states.
posted by wierdo at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Send Bernard out for some more burners.

I know the theory is that criminals are too lazy to take even basic precautions, but this is absurd. Is the idea to get every law abiding geek annoyed enough to encrypt everything?
posted by ecurtz at 7:37 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I screamed about this sort of thing coming as soon as CALEA came down the pipe. This is such a natural extension, it looks like CALEA got knocked up and had a baby when it was sixteen years old.
posted by adipocere at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


In practice, the fact that you sent "bits" to someone, is probably enough to assume you sent a message. (IANAL, etc.)

What if everyone -- as a matter of principle -- started attaching blocks of random bits (pretty pictures! wacky alien sounds!) to their email. Is the government going to demand that ISPs filter out those random blocks in case some of them have uncrackable messages written by bad guys?
posted by pracowity at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep - Clipper redux. I read it and that was the first thing that popped into my mind. Back when John Ashcroft was a "civil libertarian" -- I'm sure the Right pressured by Glenn Beck with his fears of FASCIST NAZI OBAMA will be all over this.

But boy, in reality, they'd love to get their hands on this. Thankfully - Just like it took Nixon in China, it takes Dems for "Welfare Reform", Repeal of Glass-Steagal Regulations and attempts to make ever more authoritarian proposals for spying on us, and since hey, they're dems, they can't be bad, and at least they're not republicans... The "moderate"/"sensible" folks will gladly defend it and rally around their leader as he's attacked by right and left.
posted by symbioid at 7:40 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


By extension, shouldn't the government be allowed to compel a service provider to give it open access to an individual's communications pursuant to said warrant?
The problem is, what if there is no service provider? How would it work then? The government would need the ability to undetectably decrypt all communications between individuals.
posted by delmoi at 7:44 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The fact that they want to legislate for it won't make it work.

1) The genie is already out of the bottle. You can already get email clients and plugins that will happily encrypt your emails to a standard that cannot be broken, even by hyper-computers in the future. These plugins/programs won't simply disappear because one country legislates for it. They will just become downloadable from other providers in other countries. Let's face it, if you believe your emails are being "tapped", there's pretty much a million options that you can choose to make them secure, and if you are being "tapped", you probably aren't going to have any qualms about getting hold of illegal software to encrypt it.

2) You can't make the ISPs liable. At the end of the day, they're just bit-shifters - they can see activity on port 25, but have no clue if it's encrypted. They pick it up, and move it on. It's rather like trying to make a trucking company liable for faulty goods - it's not the trucking company's fault that the goods were faulty - they don't even know what's in the boxes so they're holding the wrong people responsible.

So, don't worry people. Even if it becomes illegal, it'll be as easy to get round as the >40-bit encryption legislation from a few years back.
posted by BigCalm at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


What if everyone -- as a matter of principle -- started attaching blocks of random bits (pretty pictures! wacky alien sounds!) to their email.

I think they're called signatures.
posted by unSane at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2010


orthogonality: "Wait, they expect that the liberal base is going to enthusiastically go to the polls in November, for this?"

Well, we are the girl under the bleachers and all...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/liberal_blogger_directly_confr.html

(I love that metaphor)
posted by symbioid at 7:54 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


* embeds all his emails in jpegs
posted by fistynuts at 7:58 AM on September 27, 2010


In practice, the fact that you sent "bits" to someone, is probably enough to assume you sent a message. (IANAL, etc.)

I can't recommend Kahn's definitive history on the subject enough. Kahn documents multiple cases where critical intelligence involved identifying who was sending what kinds of messages even if the ability to crack the cyphertext was unknown. He claims that even with advances in decryption, radio triangulation and identification of individual signals were as critical to winning the Battle of the Atlantic as cracking the Navy code. According to Kahn, the Soviets used one-time-pads early during the Cold War. Although American codebreakers were rarely able to crack entire cyphertexts, they often were able to deliver critical intelligence about the structure of Soviet spy networks.

So the bottom line is that unless you absolutely, positively have an entirely anonymous and secure channel, spooks can get useful intelligence from the messages you send.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:06 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't see any serious way we can hold Obama and the Democrats accountable for crap like this. When the alternative is President Thune or President Romney (Palin isn't electable, not even in Republican primaries), I don't see much that can be done. Maybe I just have a complete lack of imagination but there's no alternatives. None which have any chance at the moment of getting elected.

The only one I can think of, who would probably do a good job of restoring civil liberties and avoiding this sort of nonsense is President Doctor Ron Paul, but his presidency would be disastrous in so many other ways that we'd possibly long for the proto-fascist days of Cheney/Bush.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:12 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suspect it’s only the corporations can save us from this power grab. Not only are corporations doing business in the US not going to want all their transactions accessible by the government (we’ve already stolen enough corporate secrets), but banks aren’t going to want to track transactions at that level.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:16 AM on September 27, 2010


This is aimed at services like Skype. Skype already cooperates with law enforcement, but the FBI is terrified that if they didn't, there would be nothing they could do about it.

However, once this fuzzy language is in the law, using PGP, SSL, etc. could easily become illegal.
posted by miyabo at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2010


Yeah, honestly at this point, I'm just not voting or donating money. I know this came back to bite me in the ass with the VA attorney general last year, but whatever.

There are a lot of middle of the road democrats that need to be driven out of politics this cycle. And if that means that Sharon Angle beats Harry Reid than so be it. The Senate is a fucking disaster and I hope every single incumbent loses, for both parties.
posted by empath at 8:20 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


proto-fascist

What's all this proto talk? Basically the Democrats are the less fascist wing of the corporatist/oligarchist party of the United States, but they are definitely fascist with no proto about it. First we have the fpp about the FBI kicking in doors and now this fpp perfectly illustrating what a fucking farce our government is and it seems most mefites are content to stick their heads in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. Or worse make justifications for the governments actions.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:41 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


But they are definitely fascist with no proto about it.

Oh, grow up. You have no idea what fascism is.
posted by empath at 8:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Damn. I'll have to start using EIGHT proxies now for my hacking.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, fuck, people, can you think of a better word for governments you don't like besides "fascists?" It is a fucking insult to the people that lived and died under actual real fascist rule.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:48 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, grow up. You have no idea what fascism is.

Ah but you do? And you know that we are definitely not living in a fascist society?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:51 AM on September 27, 2010


Also, fuck, people, can you think of a better word for governments you don't like besides "fascists?"

Ok. How about corporatist with a penchant for spying on its citizens and harassing ones that don't agree with it's policies. Is that acceptable to you?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2010


Oh, Christ people why don't you just get it over with and begin arguing about Nader again?
posted by charred husk at 8:54 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


At this point, throwing around 'fascist' is like calling people a Monarchist or a Communist. It's a historical phenomenon that's not that relevant to what's happening now. It's a cliche, but The Internet Changes Everything.

What's happening now is we're developing complex systems that are not even under human control, which may be more frightening than pure fascism.
posted by empath at 8:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok. How about corporatist with a penchant for spying on its citizens and harassing ones that don't agree with it's policies. Is that acceptable to you?

Yeah, which is pretty much every country on earth, and always has been.
posted by empath at 8:56 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


President: Could you people please make it super easy for us to spy on you? And the rest of this legislation removes NFL blackouts and saves a puppy.

People: Uh ... oh yeah, sure!

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:57 AM on September 27, 2010


Oh, Christ people why don't you just get it over with and begin arguing about Nader again?

Let's not and say we did.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:58 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's not throw the word "fascist" around lightly. Instead, let's have a look at Umberto Eco's Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt
and go down the list:

1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.

The Democrats are somewhere in the middle here. While they're entirely beholden to some pretty awful ideas about economics (and usually not the exact same awful ideas the GOP has, though they share a lot of them), I don't think they view these ideas as having been handed down from on high. The Dems also seem a lot less likely to haul out nonsense about the Founders' intent.

2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.

Surely you jest.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

The Democrats are afraid to do just about anything for fear of angering the GOP and the conservative base. They can hardly be said to prize action for action's sake.

4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.

The Dems can't even manage the slightest party discipline. Nope.

5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.

While the Democratic Party does tend to fall down on the issue a lot, I don't think they're any worse as a group then the nation as a whole.

6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.

Now this might look kind of interesting, but it's the conservative right who are, through the proto-fascist Tea Party movement, getting in on this action. One of the major failings of the Democratic Party in the current electoral climate is their ongoingfailure to provide a solid alternative to the Tea Party madness that they can point to, falling back instead on their default "Well, we're like the Republicans, but we're not as bad!" position.

7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.

You know what, I'll give you that one. Nationalist bullshit doesn't appear to be constrained by party lines. I often wonder if the Belgians condemn things as "un-Belgian".

8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.

I don't even know where to go with this one.

9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.

I'm pretty sure this isn't something you could easily pin to the party of the welfare state.

10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.

And again, it's kind of hard to suggest that the party which mounts defenses of social services, however pathetic, are acting out of "aristocratic and militaristic elitism" which "cruelly implies contempt for the weak".

11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.

I'll give you this one- the Democrats as a whole aren't very good at avoiding the military-worship which infests the American consciousness.

12. Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.

I don't really think so.

13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.

Yeah, I don't really see the Democrats stirring up popular sentiment against democracy. I do see a fair bit of that in the GOP, which seems to be running on the platform of "Government is evil! Vote me for government!"

14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.

The right likes to take "political correctness", an idea which was taken seriously for like a week twenty years ago, and claim that it's a form of Newspeak (it is in fact nothing more than the proposition that maybe we shouldn't call people by derogatory names), but that's a silly charge. I don't see it here.

So the Democrats score two and a half out of fourteen. Gee, what fascists!

Seriously, stop using "fascist" to mean "authoritarian" or "evil". It's a specific kind of movement which arises from time to time. While it tends to arise from liberal capitalism (and here I use the word "liberal" in the classical sense rather than in the American sense), liberal capitalism is not in and of itself fascism. Yes, both are bad things. No, that does not make them the same thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:00 AM on September 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


What's happening now is we're developing complex systems that are not even under human control, which may be more frightening than pure fascism.

*snicker*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:01 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


At this point, throwing around 'fascist' is like calling people a Monarchist or a Communist. It's a historical phenomenon that's not that relevant to what's happening now.

I don't want to do another huge enumeration, so I'll keep this as short as possible, but the right-wing Tea Party movement definitely hits all of Umberto Eco's points except possibly number 14, the one about Newspeak. Fascism is alive and well, and one of the major parties in the US thinks it can ride that tiger and send it into battle against its enemies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:02 AM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Fascism is alive and well, and one of the major parties in the US thinks it can ride that tiger and send it into battle against its enemies.

Yep. We forget the lessons of the past at our peril.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:04 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, stop using "fascist" to mean "authoritarian" or "evil".

Fine from now on just to appease the Democrats here I will use some variation of the terms corporatist/militarist/oligarchist.

As an aside I wasn't aware that fascism was a monolithic concept. I was under the impression that like most -isms it evolves over time and exists in a series of degrees.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2010


Related:

The Obama administration wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. ... critics have called it part of a disturbing trend by government security agencies in the wake of the 2001 attacks to seek more access to personal data without adequately demonstrating its utility.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The irony is that while there was huge outcry about Clipper the status quo that Clipper was trying to mitigate against (IE: unencrypted voice communications) is still the status quo. So instead of just law enforcement being able to listen in on the average citizen's1 communications after filling a warrant everyone can listen in because the infrastructure sends messages in the clear. Good news for well funded Echelon Sites. Whew! Good thing we dodged that bullet to our communication privacy. I sometimes wonder if the Anti-Clipper side wasn't covertly funded by the CIA and NSA.

1When was the last time you made an end to end encrypted phone call? I know I never have. Even something simple like PGP encrypted email is too difficult or too much trouble for all but a handful of people I communicate with.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fine from now on just to appease the Democrats here I will use some variation of the terms corporatist/militarist/oligarchist.

I am not a Democrat.

As an aside I wasn't aware that fascism was a monolithic concept. I was under the impression that like most -isms it evolves over time and exists in a series of degrees.

"Ideas change over time" is not the same thing as "this group that has almost none of the classic characteristics of fascism is fascist".

I understand that fascism is an appealing word- it feels so good! It's the political equivalent of hurling a racist slur at a minority- it lets you condemn a person or group without recourse or hope of redemption, and it lets you suggest an identity between the group you dislike and what may be the most hated ideology in the world. So it's natural that you would look for excuses to yell it at everyone whose politics excite your disapproval.

But fascism is a real ideology, one which motivated real people who committed real atrocities, and when you throw the word "fascist" around like an angry child flinging his blocks at the other kids in the daycare, you are pissing on the graves of the people murdered by fascists. The dead of the Holocaust, the dead of Spain, the dead of Chile, those murdered by neo-Nazis in America? Pissing on their graves.

Knock it off.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:17 AM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Ok. How about corporatist with a penchant for spying on its citizens and harassing ones that don't agree with it's policies. Is that acceptable to you?

Seriously, name one country that this does not describe.
posted by empath at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2010


Any back door that is put into cryptography will absolutely be abused. It will happen, it is inevitable.

And I'd be really upset about this were it not for the fact that every thing I say is automatically encrypted by the fact that no one, including myself, has any kind of clue what the hell I'm talking about.

Try cracking insane nonsense, it's unbeatable.
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on September 27, 2010


From now on, I am just cc'ing the local DA with all my email. Including email received. They are going to be really sick of all that stupid Fedmarket spam.
posted by Xoebe at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Depending on the subject I'm either relatively moderate or hilariously liberal. I vote. I vote in primaries. I drove several hours to go door-to-door in a swing state for Obama in '08. I like the majority of his positions and actions and I think he'll go down in history as an exceptional president even if he only serves one term.

That said, if this passes and he signs it I will actively campaign against everyone who voted for it including Obama. I didn't realize I was a single-issue voter until someone found my single issue.
posted by Skorgu at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


American fascism: by political definition the US is now fascist, not a constitutional republic

But fascism is a real ideology, one which motivated real people who committed real atrocities, and when you throw the word "fascist" around like an angry child flinging his blocks at the other kids in the daycare, you are pissing on the graves of the people murdered by fascists. The dead of the Holocaust, the dead of Spain, the dead of Chile, those murdered by neo-Nazis in America? Pissing on their graves.

Fascism can exist without atrocities. How about we make a deal I'll knock off the fascism talk and you knock off the drama queen bit where you use fallacies of appealing to emotion with the holocaust and the pissing on graves bit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


empath: Yeah, honestly at this point, I'm just not voting or donating money. I know this came back to bite me in the ass with the VA attorney general last year, but whatever.

That bit all of us in VA in the ass, not just you, buddy.

If not voting and not donating prevented this sort of thing from happening, you might have a point. In reality, we have a choice between the Dems with this kind of thing and the crazies ALSO with this kind of thing and a whole bunch of other, crazier things.

Withholding your vote is no more effective at preventing this kind of thing than throwing a 2-year-old-style tantrum in your living room would be, while not voting and not donating is 100% effective (in the aggregate) at letting the crazier crazies win.

I'll never understand this mindset. Can't you vote for the less-bad AND work against the crazy?
posted by callmejay at 9:41 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't you vote for the less-bad AND work against the crazy?

You can not work against totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party by voting for Democrats.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll never understand this mindset. Can't you vote for the less-bad AND work against the crazy?

Once someone is in office, the only way to get them out is for them to lose. I want bad democrats out of office. Incumbents almost never lose primaries. I'd rather have 2 years of bad Republicans in congress while we have a democratic president.

Are there any good Democrats in tough races right now in danger of losing their seats?
posted by empath at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2010


empath: "I'll never understand this mindset. Can't you vote for the less-bad AND work against the crazy?

Once someone is in office, the only way to get them out is for them to lose. I want bad democrats out of office. Incumbents almost never lose primaries. I'd rather have 2 years of bad Republicans in congress while we have a democratic president.

Are there any good Democrats in tough races right now in danger of losing their seats?
"

Feingold :( It's really not looking good, and he's facing a stupid shithead teabagger. Orthogonality is putting his money where his mouth is (gotta give props to when it's due!) and I encourage everyone else to help support him. I think almost everyone here agrees we need Feingold. He's one of the few politicians I can support (yes, no-one's perfect) but he's still pretty damn good.

And this election is scary to me... This Johnson guy is a phony fraud - not even a grassroots type of teabagger.
posted by symbioid at 9:58 AM on September 27, 2010


> I'll never understand this mindset. Can't you vote for the less-bad AND work against the crazy?

For many things, of course. That's essentially the mission statement of the Democratic party nowadays. I wasn't OK with the wiretapping or the 'assasination of us citizen' outrage-filters but they were in a universe where reasonable people could disagree. That's crazy i can try to work against.

This? Not so much. Reductio ad absurdum I couldn't agree with a party that did 99% of what I wanted them to do but also advocated for torturing babies, there's no relevant 'working against the crazy' that would be sane in that situation.

To me, personally, making strong encryption illegal is just as much of a dealbreaker. Others may disagree.

I get that politics is politics and proposing bills is often done with goals other than establishing law. That's fine and if this is theater so be it. But if it's serious and comes anywhere near passing the Senate I'm done with the Democratic party.
posted by Skorgu at 10:00 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I work on secure communications software in use by both Feds and civilian industry. I wonder if we would have to have two products, always-secure-for-feds and sometimes-secure-for-civilians, or just move our team outside the U.S. I vote for somewhere tropical.
posted by nomisxid at 10:05 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I understand the uproar when terms like "FASCISM!" and "SOCIALISM!" are tossed about inappropriately, but, the fact is, fascism and socialism do have generally accepted definitions.

Corporations and government colluding to abrogate citizens' privacy with appeals to patriotism and without due process is, by definition, fascism. Whether the players here intend to pay more than lip service to due process remains to be seen, but recent history doesn't paint a very rosy picture.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:07 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are there any good Democrats in tough races right now in danger of losing their seats?

Russ Feingold.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:08 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are there any good Democrats in tough races right now in danger of losing their seats?

Certainly not Russ Feingold, that sniveling milquetoast prevaricator.
posted by [citation needed] at 10:11 AM on September 27, 2010


Okay, that would be bad. I'd definitely vote if I lived in his state.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on September 27, 2010


Barbara Boxer's race is closer than it has any right to be, but she is currently polling ahead.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:25 AM on September 27, 2010


You can not work against totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party by voting for Democrats.

Does this really have to happen in every thread?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does this really have to happen in every thread?

Only until election day, then we'll have a few months of finger pointing and blaming each other for not pressing that touchscreen with enough emphasis or irony.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

I think two George W. Bush quotes sum up my reaction here perfectly:

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order."

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — You can't get fooled again."
posted by roystgnr at 10:45 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


[[You can not work against totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party by voting for Democrats.]]

Does this really have to happen in every thread?


If this post is not about totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party, what would you say this post is about?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:50 AM on September 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


It is a fucking insult to the people that lived and died under actual real fascist rule.

Actually, the insult is not trying to stop it from happening here. Part of that is calling it what it is going to [or has] become. You don't like the label? Come up with one with the same connotation and weight - I'll consider using it. Otherwise, fascist stays.
posted by Fuka at 10:53 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, considering this is a thread that explicitly discusses direct attempts at eroding our rights to privacy and it just so happens that the party currently in power happens to be teh Democrats, then, yes, I'd argue that this discussion does merit this reaction.

I understand sometimes some threads are derailed by this topic, and sometimes, even, sadly, by myself (or I join in). But this is not a derail, it's a discussion of the topic at hand.

Let's talk about it this way, shall we: The Overton Window. The right has ever shifted rightward this past decade, or two. Or rather, the acceptance of the further right has become acceptable. They existed and called Eisenhower a communist sympathizer in the 50s, but they weren't in power. But we see the ever rightward shift of our society where these ideals that were once fringe are now "mainstream".

In the meantime, those of us on the left who stand steadfast against against this righward shift are castigated. The sensible moderates say "oh this isn't fascism" (and I do agree, we're not there, and yes, slippery slope can be flawed reasoning, but to be aware of potential shifts in the landscape and attempting to ameliorate the effects of such shifts is a prudent and wise thing to do, IMHO -- hence me calling it proto-fascism)... But in their attempts to get us on the left to just "shut up already" instead of actively resisting the pull rightward, the window/center is shifting. And it continues to shift. Which is why it's important to take stands in our principles and not just do things for political expediency.

At the same time, it's frustrating. Because I can empathize and understand with a desire to prevent rabid discourse and a loss of critical thinking. But so long as the window keeps moving to the right (and believe me, if we do not make a concerted effort to resist the changes, it will) the "center" will always be more and more rightward, and so called "left" will be what was once "sensible"

Granted we were never a radically leftist country, but even so... it seems to me that dynamics are happening right now that indicate a dangerous trend, and if we don't start to really think about what this means, if we cede the ground to forces that want ever more rights to rule in an authoritarian manner merely because their name is followed by (D), then...

We get what we pay for, I guess.
posted by symbioid at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — You can't get fooled again."

I think they have a variation on that saying in Great Britian.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2010


If this post is not about totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party, what would you say this post is about?

The problem is that you and aelfwine finally have a post where this sort of talk is completely warranted, but I find myself completely burnt out on hearing it. Super-saturated.

Where's the light-hearted DC vs. Marvel fanfic derail squad?

COME, I BESEECH THEE!
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:57 AM on September 27, 2010


We get what we pay for, I guess.

Or rather what our corporate overlords pay for. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:58 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem is that you and aelfwine finally have a post where this sort of talk is completely warranted, but I find myself completely burnt out on hearing it.

I apologize, next time I am discussing an issue vitally relevant to our democracy I will remember to take your sensibilities into consideration.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:01 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem is that you and aelfwine finally have a post where this sort of talk is completely warranted, but I find myself completely burnt out on hearing it.

I'm not unsympathetic. But rather than complaining about MeFi members having an on-topic discussion of a subject you're personally tired of, why not try visiting a thread on a different subject?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:02 AM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: Pissing on their graves.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 11:07 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not unsympathetic. But rather than complaining about MeFi members having an on-topic discussion of a subject you're personally tired of, why not try visiting a thread on a different subject?

Point taken.

/bitching
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:09 AM on September 27, 2010


thsmchnekllsfascists: "I'm not unsympathetic. But rather than complaining about MeFi members having an on-topic discussion of a subject you're personally tired of, why not try visiting a thread on a different subject?

Point taken.

/bitching
"

And then complain in that one when it IS legitimately derailed by us (hey, I can laugh out our propensities to derail).
posted by symbioid at 11:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually, the insult is not trying to stop it from happening here. Part of that is calling it what it is going to [or has] become. You don't like the label? Come up with one with the same connotation and weight - I'll consider using it. Otherwise, fascist stays.

NO, goddammit. This is not fascism. Your total abdication of your responsibility to be a critically thinking human being and your complete intellectual laziness is not an excuse to misuse language.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


You can not work against totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party by voting for Democrats.

I don't care about reducing totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party per se, I just want to reduce totalitarian abuses period.

Show me how to get someone elected who will commit fewer such abuses than the current administration, and I'll gladly work & vote for them.
posted by straight at 11:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


And then complain in that one when it IS legitimately derailed by us (hey, I can laugh out our propensities to derail).

Look at it this way. If you're tired of your puppy pissing all over the house, when he finally pisses on the training pad, you should reinforce rather than correct.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone needs a puppy treat.
posted by Zed at 11:34 AM on September 27, 2010


Why is this news? Network operators have always had to comply with subpoenas and court orders. The only difference now is formally requiring those network operators to be able to decrypt their own encryption (which is kind of dumb, since encryption is useless without the decryption key).

Still, you can always apply your own encryption on top of anything the network adds. The 5th amendment guarantees you can't be required to give up your own encryption key, but those same protections don't apply to network operators; they're mere middlemen.

Use a minimum of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES and your communications are secure from eavesdropping. SSL/TLS FTW.
posted by kenotron at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2010


Zed: "Everyone needs a puppy treat."

Puppies are tasty - especially of the Blue Dog variety.
posted by symbioid at 11:39 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


your complete intellectual laziness is not an excuse to misuse language.

Just popping in to point out that accusing anyone -- for any reason -- of intellectual laziness is true intellectual laziness.

If you'd like to prove someone wrong, do it. Otherwise you're just engaging in the internet pseudo-intellectual's version of childish name-calling.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:43 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's intellectual laziness all the way down.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 11:47 AM on September 27, 2010


NO, goddammit. This is not fascism. Your total abdication of your responsibility to be a critically thinking human being and your complete intellectual laziness is not an excuse to misuse language.

If I am understanding your position, pope, you only allow fascism to exist in the presence of atrocities and death camps. My position is that fascism can and indeed does exist outside of your narrow definition. Furthermore, you emotional grandstanding pertaining to fascism's historical atrocities is fallacious and is in fact the only intellectual laziness going on in this thread. Some people are trying to have a discussion and all you are intent on doing is arguing that the conversation shouldn't take place because our current political climate doesn't fit within your narrow definition of fascism.(If I understand you definition, that is. If my understanding is in error please correct me.)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:49 AM on September 27, 2010


"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — You can't get fooled again."

You know, I focused so heavily on the latter half of that utterance that I only now realized that the first half is almost as goofy.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:56 AM on September 27, 2010


I think I agree w/popeguilty in the sense that we throw the word "Fascism" around when we hear things like "Fascism is more properly called Corporatism" -- except that represents a misunderstanding of the term "Corporatism" because in the original ideology (not necessarily what it became) the concept of "corporations" as he was using it is not our current understanding.

Mussolini's thoughts (as far as I understand it) was that politics was defined by several interest groups/bodies (corporate), and they must be banded together (fasces). So the original ideology was one where things like unions, business, civil groups (boy scouts, KC, Churches, etc...) all worked together towards furtherance of the national State. But the state reigns supreme.

I don't like using fascist quite yet, because i don't think that our sense of Corporate identity as individual groupings exists in the same way. I also think it's prudent to say that fascism isn't necessarily the best word to be throwing around (it's kind of like Nazi in that way).

Statist. Totalitarian Tendencies, something along those lines, perhaps. Nationalist. Jingoists. Regardless of the name, though, I think most of us in this thread tend to agree that this is a path that we should not be going down.
posted by symbioid at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can not work against totalitarian abuses by the Democratic Party by NOT voting for Democrats.

We just tested your theory 10 years ago. People on the left made a futile symbolic gesture by throwing their votes away and it cost Dems the election. Did they say to themselves, holy shit, we'd better get more Green? Hell no! It didn't change a damn thing except giving us 8 years of Bush and costing the world something on the order of 100,000 unnecessary deaths. (I'm referring to the Iraq war, of course.)

Not voting for them doesn't work. It's always going to make more sense to play to the center than to play to the base. The harder you make it for them to get the base, the further right they have to go to win.

I don't have any good answers on how to prevent this kind of thing. I don't know if there are any. But this nonsense about not voting for them is idiotic. It just puts the even worse guys in there.

Write your congresspeople. Throw a rally. Engage in civil disobedience. Just don't throw your friggin' vote away by turning it into a futile protest. It's not the right tool for the job.
posted by callmejay at 12:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometime in the last decade, I figured out that no one really gives a shit about your principles in the ballot box. There's no way to distinguish an principled non-voter from an apathetic non-voter. There's no line-item veto at the touchscreen. Or worse, you'll get the usual suspects scapegoating you for their own campaign failures.

On a variety of issues--peace, criminal justice, poverty, health care, and gay rights--I've become resigned to the fact that electoral politics are not the way forward, and if I want to see action on those issues, I'm better off giving time and energy to gay rights organizations, the ACLU, the EFF, or Amnesty International.

But, while I rarely expect the Democrats to do the right thing without putting legal and popular pressure on them, I fully expect Republicans to do the criminal thing and laugh about it when caught. Which is why I already voted for candidates that I'm certain will gravely disappoint me at some point in the future.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:21 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


(If your vote is irrelevant, e.g. a presidential vote in a swing state, feel free to vote for mathowie or Jon Stewart. If it is relevant, you're costing other people dearly if you don't make the game-theoretically correct play of voting less-bad.)
posted by callmejay at 12:23 PM on September 27, 2010


Still, you can always apply your own encryption on top of anything the network adds. The 5th amendment guarantees you can't be required to give up your own encryption key, but those same protections don't apply to network operators; they're mere middlemen.

Use a minimum of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES and your communications are secure from eavesdropping. SSL/TLS FTW.
Unless I read this wrong, that's not what this is suggesting. According to what the linked article suggests, the idea is that they would require "Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception." You apply your own encryption with what software? That software company would be required to maintain a mechanism by which your messages could be decrypted, in the event of a wiretap order. I guess you can implement your 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES with a pencil and paper, but honestly, I don't have that kind of time.

So yeah, you get 5th amendment rights. This attempts an end-run around them, by requiring, for instance, PGP corp to maintain copies of your (and everyone's) private keys, and redesign the software such that you cannot generate a private key that the government can't get from PGP corp. Or that all email would have to go through a middleman, where it gets de- and re-encrypted.
posted by mrgoat at 12:27 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you'd like to prove someone wrong, do it. Otherwise you're just engaging in the internet pseudo-intellectual's version of childish name-calling.

I already did, and the dipshit comment I was responding to came after that. It's laziness.


If I am understanding your position, pope, you only allow fascism to exist in the presence of atrocities and death camps.

You don't understand my position because you are not reading my fucking posts but instead are responding to the straw man that exists solely within your head. I went point by fucking point on the Democrats to show why I don't think they're fascists, and then noted that I do believe that the Tea Party movement are themselves a fascist movement. There are fascists all over the goddamn country- neo-nazi shitbags have been a presence all over the world since the end of World War 2. You are responding to pathetic liberal antifascism that refuses to acknowledge fascism until it's too late, and that would be great, except I am not espousing that brand of antifascism. If somebody else is, great! Yell at them! Stop lying about what I'm saying, and stop being dumb enough to lie about what I'm saying a couple of hundred pixels below what I said.

Some people are trying to have a discussion and all you are intent on doing is arguing that the conversation shouldn't take place because our current political climate doesn't fit within your narrow definition of fascism.

I'm not saying the discussion shouldn't happen, I'm saying it shouldn't be the shrill, intellectually lazy "lol america is a fascist state" horseshit you're pushing. I want the discussion to be intelligent and informed, and you're fucking mistaken if you think I'm going to just sit back and watch you try to drag it down into inanitytown.


We just tested your theory 10 years ago. People on the left made a futile symbolic gesture by throwing their votes away and it cost Dems the election.

We have been over the fact that this is a filthy fucking lie over and over again, but asking the Democrats to accept even an iota of responsibility for the outcomes of their actions remains futile. If you blame Nader for Bush, you are stupid and/or ignorant. End of story. There is no argument here; there is only reality and denial.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


We just tested your theory 10 years ago. People on the left made a futile symbolic gesture by throwing their votes away and it cost Dems the election.

You knew this would happen.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:46 PM on September 27, 2010


responding to the straw man that exists solely within your head

No need to get worked up. What strawman are you referring to? Mabye this one which is also a fallacy of appeal to emotion:

But fascism is a real ideology, one which motivated real people who committed real atrocities, and when you throw the word "fascist" around like an angry child flinging his blocks at the other kids in the daycare, you are pissing on the graves of the people murdered by fascists. The dead of the Holocaust, the dead of Spain, the dead of Chile, those murdered by neo-Nazis in America? Pissing on their graves.


This is what I was responding to. I was also not ignoring your use of Eco's definition. It is a narrow definition. Which is what exactly what I said. I merely disagree with your definition that doesn't equate to a strawman. There is no reason to throw a temper tantrum about it and telling me that I am "dumb" because I disagree with your position. I also take offense to the accusation that I am lying about what you said. I clearly asked you to clarify your postion but instead you decided to throw a tantrum...that's your choice I guess.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:17 PM on September 27, 2010


My position is that fascism can and indeed does exist outside of your narrow definition.

“When I use a word,” AElfwine Evenstar said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

Fascism has a fairly specific meaning. You want to stretch it to cover all sorts of bad things that you don't like. But it simply doesn't apply. Where is the fusion of state and society? Where is the single-party state? Where is the rejection of materialism? Where is the unity between capital and labor?

You're free to call this fascism if you like, just as sensible people are free to point out the ridiculousness of your doing this. But you're not helping your own cause. I think this is a bad act by the administration - not surprising, since every administration attempts to extend its own power - but definitely bad. But calling this fascism just makes you shrill and more easily ignored.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:23 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese: "You knew this would happen."

Yes, I did. This discussion always ends up there. It's like the Godwin of Democrat/liberal political discussion but without the discussion ending properties.
Maybe we should just repeal the 17th amendment and stop worrying about it.
posted by charred husk at 1:27 PM on September 27, 2010


“When I use a word,” AElfwine Evenstar said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

Really is that what I said? Meanings change over time. Pope Guilty is free to define fascism as he wants; I just disagree with his narrow definition. This obviously implies that words mean different things to different people. I am not claiming that the definition I ascribe to is authoritative, but obviously if I ascribe to it I am probably going to argue for and defend it. Fascism as defined by Mussolini does not exist anymore. Surely you're not going to claim that China isn't communist because it has significant structural differences from what the soviet system was or from Marx's original idea. Surely you're not going to claim that the British Empire wasn't an Empire because it was structured completely different from the Roman empire. Just as the fascism of the early 20th century is radically different from what I define as modern American fascism.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:36 PM on September 27, 2010


Is this one of those things that the internet will interpret as damage and route around?
posted by bz at 1:36 PM on September 27, 2010


Is this one of those things that the internet will interpret as damage and route around?

PEBKAC
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:40 PM on September 27, 2010


Is this one of those things that the internet will interpret as damage and route around?

I remember when I thought that was true. I also remember thinking that at some point in the not-too-distant future we'd all be trading some sort of post-national cryptographic eGold currency.

Turns out that when you push nations, they push back.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:05 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just as the fascism of the early 20th century is radically different from what I define as modern American fascism.

Well, I guess we'll all just have to pick up the AE dictionary instead of MW. What exactly makes fascism "fascism" to you? There really aren't any aspects of what we English-speakers mean by "fascism" in the current US government. There are all sorts of bad things, but fascism != badness.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:05 PM on September 27, 2010


In other news there's new legislation to create an internet blacklist that would require US ISPs to ban IP addresses that the government declares associated with "Piracy" (i.e. the pirate bay)

(via reddit)
posted by delmoi at 2:18 PM on September 27, 2010


You know who else wasn't a fascist? Stalin.

Seriously people things can be 'bad' and also not 'fascist'.
posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I find this need to define, exactly, "fascism" puzzling. Does it make a difference? Are things all better (or worse, justified) if we have proto-fascism, or corporatist-leaning, or whatever term may be just-that-more-exacting-and descriptive?

I submit that it is undeniable that this country has shifted rightward, and in some cases significantly rightward, over the last 40 years. For example, do you think Richard Nixon would qualify as a Republican today? Or, for that matter, would Ronald Reagan? No, and no.

Some indication (to me, at least) that fascism may, indeed, be the direction:

1. Severe rise in the power of corporations, and their influence in our government. Oil companies writing energy policy, insurance companies orchestrating health care debate, the absolutely incestuous relationship between Wall Street monoliths and our government in monetary matters. The list goes on.

2. A surge in the demand for patriotism from "real" Americans, along with the well-defined whipping-boy outsiders of Muslims and Mexicans.

3. A virulent opposition of liberalism in any form, to the point that any vaguely liberal philosophy is un-American.

I think you can see where I'm going here. You can call it a road, or a highway, or a boulevard - if it ends up in the same place it doesn't really matter what you call it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:31 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The inability to label correctly is the inability to categorize correctly. The inability to categorize correctly is the inability to comprehend.

If you have any doubt of what I say in those two sentences, simply reread the thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:34 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, perhaps it would be interesting if we each shared what we perceive Fascism to mean. Even if we can't come to an agreement, we can at least understand where we're coming from. I already gave mine upthread, mostly.

Secondly - No, I don't think China is a Communist country anymore than I think the Soviet Union was communist. State Capitalist, definitely...

On the one hand meanings change with time, on the other, we need to have some sort of standard when we discuss things so we know just what it is we're talking about, otherwise, we end up sounding like Teabaggers, slinging mud every which way and calling Obama a Nazi. (Which I think is Pope Guilty's point - and me & my monkey's point -- we can't just throw words out as synonyms for "baddies").

Was Mussolini's "Fascism" de facto what his Manifestos actually called for? Is *any* political ideology as it manifests ultimately representative of its ideals?

And here, we come to the same problem in this thread that's sort of the issue in general - we're bickering about definitions. We're not proposing solutions. I think it's essential to know our enemy (hence definitions *are* important), and I think we generally have a good grasp of what we're fighting for (with minor variances, I'm guessing), but what the hell are we gonna do about it?

(And then this is where my pessimism comes into play: whatever we do -- we're fucked). Anybody have any sensible realistic plausible solutions???
posted by symbioid at 2:38 PM on September 27, 2010


Anybody have any sensible realistic plausible solutions???

Kick money towards groups that will oppose this legislation. Start asking exactly what's being proposed here, and look at ways to educate your congresscritters on why it's a bad idea.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:42 PM on September 27, 2010


I find this need to define, exactly, "fascism" puzzling. Does it make a difference?

Yes. Words matter. I can't believe that this needs to be stated, but I guess it does.

I submit that it is undeniable that this country has shifted rightward, and in some cases significantly rightward, over the last 40 years.

Really? That explains why I could marry my same-sex partner 40 years ago, but can't now. That also explains the giant step backwards for womens' rights and minority rights.

Severe rise in the power of corporations, and their influence in our government. Oil companies writing energy policy, insurance companies orchestrating health care debate, the absolutely incestuous relationship between Wall Street monoliths and our government in monetary matters. The list goes on.

I have news for you. First, that's not what "corporatism" means. Our current system is quite a bit away from "corporatism" - business is not subject to the will of state and society, but rather it's the other way around! Second, the power of corporations, or more accurately moneyed interests, has always been great in the US. When have, for example, energy companies not strongly guided US energy policy?

A surge in the demand for patriotism from "real" Americans, along with the well-defined whipping-boy outsiders of Muslims and Mexicans.

Again, this is nothing new, beyond the specific identity of the "other" - now it's Muslims for many people. Were you even alive during the Cold War?

A virulent opposition of liberalism in any form, to the point that any vaguely liberal philosophy is un-American.

... according to one fairly large segment of the American populace - which is deeply divided. In comparison, I give you the '50s (HUAC) and the '60s (COINTELPRO).

You can call it a road, or a highway, or a boulevard - if it ends up in the same place it doesn't really matter what you call it.

Well, yes it does matter, because they don't all end up in the "same place" - there's more than one bad outcome possible. Fascism and communism are both arguably bad, but they are different, and the steps to avoid one aren't necessarily the same steps to avoid the other.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:49 PM on September 27, 2010


The inability to label correctly is the inability to categorize correctly. The inability to categorize correctly is the inability to comprehend.

I agree completely. But in most discussions, shorthand is used to some degree. It's not necessary to define every term, unless someone asks for clarification. I really think the issue in most of these conversations is not that we vary so much in the general definitions of these terms (although sometimes there are big differences), but that we differ as to whether the application is correct or not.

I gave some examples showing that I think that fascism is a defendable term here. You are welcome to disagree.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:56 PM on September 27, 2010


Metafiler: I want the discussion to be intelligent and informed, and you're fucking mistaken
posted by nomisxid at 3:03 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


We have been over the fact that this is a filthy fucking lie over and over again, but asking the Democrats to accept even an iota of responsibility for the outcomes of their actions remains futile. If you blame Nader for Bush, you are stupid and/or ignorant. End of story. There is no argument here; there is only reality and denial.

It's not a lie, it's indisputable. If Nader voters had voted for Gore, Gore would have won. You can point the finger at a million other people who also could have changed the election, starting with the Democrats and Gore himself, but it doesn't change that inconvenient little truth.

There is a right move and a wrong move in the voting booth and voting for anybody other than the least-bad candidate with a chance is a wrong move if you care more about what happens to the country than about getting a little emotional charge.
posted by callmejay at 3:03 PM on September 27, 2010


I hate to be a thread Nazi here but this "definition of facism" stuff is really an irrelevant derail.

(Also, it's kind of interesting that on Reddit there ended up being a huge argument about the definition of a "police state" -- but there they have threaded discussion and 'derails' are less of a problem.)
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really? That explains why I could marry my same-sex partner 40 years ago, but can't now. That also explains the giant step backwards for womens' rights and minority rights.

I never said we haven't done good and right things. And I'm the first one to trumpet it when our country lives up to its ideals.


I have news for you. First, that's not what "corporatism" means.

I know that. I didn't call it corporatism, you did. One of the facets of fascism is a close working relationship between government and business. Quid pro quo between what is presumably a regulator and a regulatee is to be avoided, supposedly. With Labor no longer represented to any great degree, the big business/government relationship has seemed to get chummier. You may see it differently.

Were you even alive during the Cold War? In comparison, I give you the '50s (HUAC) and the '60s (COINTELPRO).

Yes, I was alive. And HUAC and Cointelpro was way right of center. I submit they wouldn't be so far right today. And, really, just because we did stupid shit before doesn't justify doing stupid shit today.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:19 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Nader Tennessee voters had voted for Gore, Gore would have won.

FTFY
posted by Joe Beese at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]




delmoi: "I hate to be a thread Nazi here but this "definition of facism" stuff is really an irrelevant derail. "

See, there you go, delmoi, misappropriating the term Nazi!

No, but really , I agree -- so aside from writing to Senators and voting for the "less bad" shit... Is there anything else we can do? How do we fuckin' organize? Why the fuck are the Tea Party assholes the one who are organizing and not us? Is it just cuz hey - we can laugh ironically with Colbert and Stewart and that lets us off the hook?
posted by symbioid at 3:22 PM on September 27, 2010


In reality, we have a choice between the Dems with this kind of thing and the crazies ALSO with this kind of thing and a whole bunch of other, crazier things.

you know, if i was one of the corporate class overlords, rather than dictate my will upon the people, this would be exactly the kind of "choice" i would give them - that way, people could choose "freely" between the bad and the utterly screwball

and here we are in a country where corporations have much control, and lo and behold, this is the sort of choice we are faced with, repeatedly

hmmm
posted by pyramid termite at 3:23 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I will work with leading legislators, privacy advocates, and business leaders to strengthen both voluntary and legally required privacy protections."
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Muh—ther—fucker!
posted by ob1quixote at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2010


The question I want to ask is this: if you are not referencing the historical definition of fascism, why are you using the word fascism? If you want to use language that calls the target of your ire authoritarian, there's words like "authoritarian" and "totalitarian" and so on. The use of "fascism" to mean something other than what is historically meant by "fascism" is nothing more than a sick, cheap attempt to appropriate the emotional load attached to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. It is dishonest and manipulative, and it appropriates the myriad atrocities and miseries caused by actual fascists to give unwarranted weight to the arguments of people who don't have actual strong arguments. It is, to my mind, wrong- not false. Wrong.


It's not a lie, it's indisputable. If Nader voters had voted for Gore, Gore would have won. You can point the finger at a million other people who also could have changed the election, starting with the Democrats and Gore himself, but it doesn't change that inconvenient little truth.

If Bush voters had voted for Gore, Gore would have won!

Now why, exactly, do you think those are different statements? Is it because you think all Left votes are the property of the Democrats? Is it because you can't understand that being against the Republicans doesn't mean you don't think the Democrats are scum as well?

I find the Democrats generally reprehensible, but I vote strategically- I vote Democratic every slot, every time. But the idea that not doing so would make me complicit in the GOP's work is disgusting and reflects the moral bankruptcy of liberal democracy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fascism is a collusion among corporatocracy, authoritarian government, and controlled media and education. This is made possible by a nationalistic public accepting policies of war, empire, and limited civil and political rights.

A constitutional republic is a political system of limited government, separated powers with checks and balances to ensure the federal government’s power stays limited within the Constitution, protected civil liberties, and elected representatives responsible to the people who retain the most political power.

Those are the definitions I ascribe to. Now which one more accurately describes the U.S.A.? Not which one describes the power structure's narrative(ie the narrative of the public schools, mass media, and government), but which one is more factual. Notice that the first definition can exist within the second. Fascism isn't something that just sprang fully formed from the wreck of Europe after WWI. It has ancient roots. Ever read Plato's Republic? I guess to some of you his eugenics progrom and military control of society doesn't count as fascism because Plato's statues don't show him sporting a toothbrush mustache.

Have you actually read "Eternal Fascism" pope guilty? I would hope that you have since you are using it as your definition. Here is an excerpt:

There was only one Nazism. We cannot label Francoís hyper-Catholic Falangism as Nazism, since Nazism is fundamentally pagan, polytheistic, and anti-Christian. But the fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change. The notion of fascism is not unlike Wittgensteinís notion of a game. A game can be either competitive or not, it can interest one or more persons, it can require some special skill or none, it can or cannot involve money. Games are different activities that display only some "family resemblance," as Wittgenstein put it. Consider the following sequence:

1. abc 2. bcd 3. cde 4 def

Suppose there is a series of political groups in which group one is characterized by the features abc, group two by the features bcd, and so on. Group two is similar to group one since they have two features in common; for the same reasons three is similar to two and four is similar to three. Notice that three is also similar to one (they have in common the feature c). The most curious case is presented by four, obviously similar to three and two, but with no feature in common with one. However, owing to the uninterrupted series of decreasing similarities between one and four, there remains, by a sort of illusory transitivity, a family resemblance between four and one....But in spite of this fuzziness, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.....It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, "I want to reopen Auschwitz. I want the Black Shirts to parade again in the Italian squares." Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instancesóevery day, in every part of the world. Franklin Rooseveltís words of November 4,1938, are worth recalling: "I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land." Freedom and liberation are an unending task.

See that part I bolded? So even your own definition admits that only one of these need to be present for fascism to "coagulate". You already admitted that the democrats have at least 2.5 characteristics. So by your own definition it is possible that fascism may be present in the democratic party. With the threads in the last two day detailing the fbi raids and this one. How many warning signs do you need. Maybe the continuation of Bush era policies by the Obama administration will wake you up since you seem to be of the opinion the only right wingers can be fascist. Or are you going to wait until you wake up some morning and find ashes on your windowsill to admit the fact that you live in a fascist state?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:28 PM on September 27, 2010


God dammit I fucked that post up is there a way for the mods to go in and italicize the quote like it was supposed to be:( Part that I said was bolded but wasn't actually bolded:

But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it

and link to essay in its entirety.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:31 PM on September 27, 2010


On further review, I've taken to calling the kind of government that the people who own this country want as Feudal. As in, they won't be happy until we're literally serfs.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:33 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see little point in talking about a 10-year-old disaster who has no presence in downticket or midterm races, or a party that got 0.3% of the vote in California and 0.1% elsewhere in 2010. That's not the big threat this year.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2010


Germany lost the Second World War; fascism won it. Believe me my friend.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:28 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh shit, George Carlin said it. I didn't realize that you had serious political science on your side.
posted by empath at 5:51 PM on September 27, 2010


I'm gonna skip to the bottom to note: No fucking way. You can pry my OpenSSH from my cold dead fingers. Also, one-time pad... assholes.
posted by odinsdream at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2010


If Nader Tennessee voters had voted for Gore, Gore would have won.

FTFY


You didn't FTFM, you just identified another group who could have voted for Gore but didn't. They're not mutually exclusive.
posted by callmejay at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2010


serious political science

You are aware that the definition of fascism is one of the more hotly debated topics in political philosophy aren't you? Apparently neither you nor old popey are aware of this hence the denial that there are other valid definitions than the ones you guys have constructed in your heads. I'm not saying your definitions are not valid just that they are less accurate and outdated when analyzing the United State of America. Here is Sir Karl Popper, from his classic work "The Open Society and its Enemies", on interpreting history and differences between competing interpretations and how competing definitions actually give us a wider perspective on not only history but our current situation.

I said before that interpretations may be incompatible; but as long as we consider them merely as crystallizations of points of view, then they are not. For example, the interpretation that man steadily progresses (towards the open society or some other aim) is incompatible with the interpretation that he steadily slips back or retrogresses. But the ‘point of view’ of one who looks on human history as a history of progress is not necessarily incompatible with that of one who looks on it as a history of retrogression; that is to say, we could write a history of human progress towards freedom (containing, for example, the story of the fight against slavery) and another history of human retrogression and oppression (containing perhaps such things as the impact of the white race upon the coloured races); and these two histories need not be in conflict; rather, they may be complementary to each other, as would be two views of the same landscape seen from two different points. This consideration is of considerable importance. For since each generation has its own troubles and problems, and therefore its own interests and its own point of view, it follows that each generation has a right to look upon and re-interpret history in its own way, which is complementary to that of previous generations. After all, we study history because we are interested in it, and perhaps because we wish to learn something about our own problems.

You guys selectively choose the examples that fit your narrow definition and discard the ones that do not. (ie the tea-baggers are fascist but democrats who support Obama's fascist policies are not) This is bullshit and I'm calling you on it. The same goes for your emphasis on he historical incarnations of fascism as if modern day fascism is going to look anything like Nazi Germany. Umberto Eco basically says this in his essay and that's the definition that Pope is using as his argument. So either Pope wasn't aware of what the essay actually said or he was being intellectually dishonest when he said this:

So the Democrats score two and a half out of fourteen. Gee, what fascists! Seriously, stop using "fascist" to mean "authoritarian" or "evil". It's a specific kind of movement which arises from time to time. While it tends to arise from liberal capitalism (and here I use the word "liberal" in the classical sense rather than in the American sense), liberal capitalism is not in and of itself fascism. Yes, both are bad things. No, that does not make them the same thing.

I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he just hadn't read the entire essay which clearly states that only one characteristic need be present for fascism to be present. I am kind of losing interest with you guys and your amatuer hour here on metafilter where you think that just because you've been around a long time you get to hold court and tell other people, who have actually read quite extensively on the topic, to basically go to the back of the class just because you think you're right instead of actually engaging what people are saying. If you disagree with my definition tell me why I'm wrong don't try and shout me down with shit like this:

The use of "fascism" to mean something other than what is historically meant by "fascism" is nothing more than a sick, cheap attempt to appropriate the emotional load attached to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. It is dishonest and manipulative, and it appropriates the myriad atrocities and miseries caused by actual fascists to give unwarranted weight to the arguments of people who don't have actual strong arguments. It is, to my mind, wrong- not false. Wrong.

It doesn't matter what has historically been meant by the word fascism we aren't discussing it in a historical context we are discussing shit that is happening here and now in our own fucking country. Vital shit, elementary shit, fundamental shit, systemic failure shit that if it isn't fixed soon will fucking end this country as a functioning democracy. My use of the word fascism IS NOT a "sick, cheap attempt to appropriate emotional load attached to the atrocities of Nazi Germany." It is used because that is what is fucking happening. You don't get to dictate to people what words they can and can't use. So in closing if you disagree with my definition of fascism by all means pick it apart. I linked to it several times and I also finally put it plainly out there for you to see since none of you ballyhooing me actually took the time to read it. Or maybe you did you just thought it would be more constructive to engage me on a grade school level than actually tell me how and why my definition doesn't match up with what we are seeing in modern America.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:50 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's time to log out and go for a walk.
posted by june made him a gemini at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2010


To symbioid's question, if I may --

Is there anything else we can do? How do we fuckin' organize? Why the fuck are the Tea Party assholes the one who are organizing and not us? Is it just cuz hey - we can laugh ironically with Colbert and Stewart and that lets us off the hook?

To the first part: I've been spending a lot of time trying to think about this, and I don't have a good answer.

But to the second part: regardless of how you view them, the Tea Party organizations benefit from massive amounts of funding and have their own TV network doing active promotion, scheduling, and booster work for their efforts.

(I have often wondered too why they're comfortable with that -- I'd be really worried if I found myself lobbying for local library funding and Halliburton and Xe were doing everything they could to help)

Those are huge, huge advantages, and it doesn't do to beat yourself up for not having them. How to be successful by bettering them, that's the question.
posted by dmz at 8:36 PM on September 27, 2010


No, I think I'm done engaging with your high school logorrhea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:46 PM on September 27, 2010


since none of you ballyhooing me actually took the time to read it

that's not what "ballyhoo" means. You want "heckling" or maybe "jeering." It's important to use the right words for things. Otherwise people get all worked up about it.

I know, you're using ballyhoo in a real vital elementary systemic sense, and I'm being fascist. But your points would be much better taken if you weren't so strident, and you might find them a little clearer if you looked into the distinctions PG and others are attempting to point you to.

Take that for what you will.
posted by dmz at 8:50 PM on September 27, 2010


AElfwine, I actually think the Carlin remark was directed at me. "The people who own this country" is a Carlin riff. I make no claims on the rest of my comment being original thought either. It does accurately state my opinion.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:07 PM on September 27, 2010


No, I think I'm done engaging with your high school logorrhea.

ditto.

You don't get to dictate to people what words they can and can't use.

You can use whatever words you want to use, and I'm free to tell you that you're using them wrong. Isn't it great how America works that way?
posted by empath at 9:17 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the internet, not America. Just so you know.
posted by unSane at 9:33 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


delmoi wrote: "The problem is, what if there is no service provider? How would it work then? The government would need the ability to undetectably decrypt all communications between individuals."

Yeah, it occurred to me earlier today that this would put an end to the whole "running your own mail server" thing unless you have some sort of key escrow thing going.

Fuka wrote: "Actually, the insult is not trying to stop it from happening here."

Has anyone in this thread expressed any sort of agreement with this proposed law?

Pope Guilty wrote: "reflects the moral bankruptcy of liberal democracy."

Well, it reflects the moral bankruptcy of our particular brand of voting more than anything.
posted by wierdo at 9:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It doesn't matter what has historically been meant by the word fascism we aren't discussing it in a historical context we are discussing shit that is happening here and now in our own fucking country."

Actually, linguistic fights about prescriptivism aside, words tend to mean what they have been previously been used to mean.

I agree with you that Bad Things are going on, but that doesn't mean that you get to describe them using any terms you want. You can't just argue that the language is imprecise, so you can label things at your leisure.

But you cannot expect people to broaden the scope of a precise term just to encompass your argument. If you want to debate, use the common language of the debate.
posted by nicething at 10:25 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"But you cannot expect people to broaden the scope of a precise term ... use the common language of the debate"

But is it really that precise of a term? Everyone seems to be linking to exhaustive essays and long, contradictory lists of criteria, it seriously doesn't seem to be all that precise to me.

I also haven't seen anybody attempt to rebut this part of AE's argument:
"You are aware that the definition of fascism is one of the more hotly debated topics in political philosophy aren't you?"

Unfortunately, I'm not a political philosopher, and I'm not aware of the ongoing arguments in the field. Can somebody who is actually familiar with the literature give a brief (and preferably balanced) overview of the competing claims, or a link that describes the debate? If there really is no debate, a link to the precise, authoritative (no pun intended) definition of fascism would be fantastic (really, not being sarcastic). This is the list of 14 defining characteristics of fascism I am most familiar with, though I have no idea how well it is regarded within the field. All I know is that people sure loved it during the Bush years.

In any case, I do agree with AE that this line from the Eco essay bears repeating, especially if that text is going to be the source of our working definition:
"These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it."
posted by pikachulolita at 11:13 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


To expand on delmoi's post: unrelated to the wiretap legislation, there's legislation to require ISPs to break name resolution for any domains on an AG-maintained index prohibitorum. EFF's page. Full text of the bill. Techdirt.
posted by hattifattener at 11:51 PM on September 27, 2010


</i>
posted by hattifattener at 11:51 PM on September 27, 2010


that's not what "ballyhoo" means.

Definition of BALLYHOO

1: a noisy attention-getting demonstration or talk
2: flamboyant, exaggerated, or sensational promotion or publicity
3: excited commotion

Yes it is. I think definition 1, 2, and 3 accurately describe Pope Guilty's raving; more specifically 2 though. So, pray tell, what is your definition of ballyhoo?

the distinctions PG and others are attempting to point you to.

What would those be? I haven't see any. No one has touched my definition they have been too busy raving about historical fascism.

No, I think I'm done engaging

Maybe that's better as you can't seem to string together a coherent argument besides spewing shit about Nazi atrocities and me pissing on people's graves.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:19 AM on September 28, 2010


I also haven't seen anybody attempt to rebut this part of AE's argument:

"You are aware that the definition of fascism is one of the more hotly debated topics in political philosophy aren't you?"

Unfortunately, I'm not a political philosopher, and I'm not aware of the ongoing arguments in the field.


Well most of the relevant debates are in obscure journals and behind academic paywalls, but Wikipedia should do in this situation. In short, no one can rebut my point.(about the definition of fascism being hotly debated)

Definitions of fascism

Again, let me be clear, my definition of fascism is in no way definitive. It is in my opinion the correct definition when applied to the current political situation in the United States, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other just as valid definitions that can be applied to historical or other forms of fascism that may currently exist. For those interested in a more academic analysis here as selection from an investigation of fascism and its relationship to capitalist societies:

Authoritarian populism as incipient fascism

Before proceeding, what is meant by authoritarian populism should be clarified. In earlier research, I developed what proved to be a useful concept of populism, which included the following criteria: an emphasis in the ideology on the common people and their virtue; a stress on a direct relationship between leader and mass base of the movement; the direction of hostility against an out-group during a period of crisis; and a social policy, which, in a capitalist social context, was reformist rather than revolutionary.

The question of a direct relationship between leader and mass arises because existing institutions are thought to subvert the true interests of the people. Because the people are treated as a homogeneous category, the organization may take the form of a plebiscitarian democracy, in which the leader is thought to reflect the general will and is accorded authoritarian powers on the basis of a belief in his special capacity to achieve the goals of the people. In these cases, one can speak of an authoritarian populism. (Populism can also take a democratic form in which a direct relationship is sought by creating institutional controls over organizational leaders.)

From authoritarian populism to fascism

The point of transition from incipient to developed fascism is hard to fix. If populists are determined to occupy the state, rather than merely attack it, they have no choice but to win over the ruling strata, given the lack of a revolutionary strategy and their alienation from most of the working class.

Historically, Italian Fascism and German Nazism are the two clearest cases of authoritarian populism which actually developed into a totalitarian conservative practice. What were the characteristics of Italian and German society after World War I which permitted this development?

a) There must be a general social crisis which radicalizes all the subordinate classes. Rapid inflation or unemployment are key economic indicators of this crisis, which may be exacerbated by political factors. These crises radicalize the mass base of populism among the declining petty capitalists and create the threat to the social status of the non-manual workers which draws them to the same movement. At the same time, the deprivations of the working class increase, and with them the appeal of socialist movements.

b) This leads to a second indispensable condition: the existence of a socialist movement which is perceived as a threat by both middle and ruling strata. Paradoxically, it is only when the threat is an illusion that fascism arises. In these circumstances, the aggressive, terroristic, anti-socialist forces batter the working class organizations in the name of national unity, but are really propping up a weakened capitalism.

c) Crisis and a weakened but significant socialist movement will not suffice for the emergence of fascism unless the authoritarian populist movements have a significant mass base.

d) Fascism is not the only solution to crisis, and even when incipient fascisms are quite popular. Hence, fascism also requires a bourgeoisie which is of recent origin and has lost faith in its ability to control through the democratic state apparatus. This removes the possibility of using political and welfare reforms to cool off working class antagonism. As compared with certain other authors I do not consider the recency of democratic institutions themselves to be that critical. More important than the length of democracy is the character of the particular state in question. When parliamentary institutions are controlled by compromisers and sympathizers with fascist goals, this encourages an assault on the state, if it is felt by fascists that the enemies of the people are not being handled firmly enough; the assault is based, paradoxically, on the recognition that it will be aided by the
state officials themselves.

(Sinclair, Peter, "Fascism and Crisis in Capitalist Society," New German Critique, No. 9 (Autumn, 1976), pp. 87-112)

It seems to me that this analysis perfectly fits with the current political and social situation in which we(Americans) currently find ourselves. If you disagree I would appreciate it if you would, in a reasonable manner, critique this definition and illustrate to me and everyone else reading how this selection does not apply to both the Republican and Democratic parties as they currently exist in the United States. Raving about Nazi atrocities and such does not count as reasonable. That is all.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:40 AM on September 28, 2010


hattifattener: "To expand on delmoi's post: unrelated to the wiretap legislation, there's legislation to require ISPs to break name resolution for any domains on an AG-maintained index prohibitorum. EFF's page. Full text of the bill. Techdirt."

I wrote to my Senator (Feingold - and I guess I should write to Kohl, while I'm at it... ugh, hate that guy) to let him know my opposition. What bullshit. Anyways, does this mean one could still access by IP address? Is it just DNS resolution or is it actually shutting off access to the servers?
posted by symbioid at 7:29 AM on September 28, 2010


the window/center is shifting. And it continues to shift. Which is why it's important to take stands in our principles and not just do things for political expediency.

You won't move the Overton Window to the left by allowing people to the right of it to take power. It's always an incremental motion, and the only way to get that incremental motion to go in the way you want is to look at every contest and try to help the person closer to your side of the window to win. We can object all we want to this particular issue, but if we reject people who are with us on every other issue, and then people who are 100% against us win, then the window has moved away, and moving it back becomes that much harder.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:00 AM on September 28, 2010


We can object all we want to this particular issue, but if we reject people who are with us on every other issue, and then people who are 100% against us win

It is precisely on this issue where I lose most people. My argument is that, while they have cosmetic differences, the democrat and republican parties are one and the same, i.e. corporatists. The frustration expressed by the tea party about the republican party is the exact same frustration being expressed in this thread and elsewhere on Metafilter about the presidency of Barack Obama and democratic party in general. I don't believe the narrative constructed by the MSM that the tea party/republicans are 100% against us. I believe that there are just as many democracy loving Americans in the republican party as there are in the democratic party. The idea that they are your enemy is a lie perpetrated by the power structure as to better control the masses. Divide and conquer is a time proven strategy. Until both the left and right are able to come together despite their differences and collectively see and confront the fascist elements of both parties and the current system as a whole nothing will ever change. The window will keep moving to the right until one day we wake up and realize that we no longer live in a democracy. I would argue that this day is fast approaching. I disagree with a lot of what the tea party stands for but I do stand with them on one point: the responsibility of the government to be beholden to the people. Neither party respects their base and discards them as soon as they get into office. What does this tell you about the current system? See point D of the selection I quoted above. Specifically this:

I do not consider the recency of democratic institutions themselves to be that critical. More important than the length of democracy is the character of the particular state in question. When parliamentary institutions are controlled by compromisers and sympathizers with fascist goals, this encourages an assault on the state, if it is felt by fascists that the enemies of the people are not being handled firmly enough; the assault is based, paradoxically, on the recognition that it will be aided by the
state officials themselves.


Both parties prey on this fear to further their own fascist goals like the one that is the topic of this thread. For republicans the enemy of the people are the "socialists" and "terrorists". For the democrats the enemy is the "right-wing/tea party" and "terrorists". Some may argue that they don't see "terrorists" as enemy of the people. Well to this I can only ask you why this democratic regime is currently prosecuting a war on 2 continents and 12 different countries, while only "officially" prosecuting a war in 2.5 countries(Afghanistan, Iraq, and .5=Pakistan), and why is this seen as acceptable by the majority of Americans? If his is not acceptable to the majority of Americans then again I must ask: what does that say about our current system?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:11 AM on September 28, 2010


My argument is that, while they have cosmetic differences, the democrat and republican parties are one and the same, i.e. corporatists.

If you don't see any difference, you are so far from the window that it will never ever approach you. I believe I have advised you to retire to your 10x15 cabin before, and this is probably the right place to do it again, since that is the most politically effective action available to you.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:17 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me clarify my position Jimmy. When I use the term party I am referring to the national leadership and the politicians not the "base" or citizens who vote for a particular party in an election cycle.

There are many differences, many created and inflamed by the MSM(see mosque controversy), between the American citizens who identify with the respective parties; of this I have no doubt. But on a national level when it comes to pushing this fascist bullshit agenda, like the topic of this thread, both parties are basically the same. As I said before this type of rightward shift can't be stopped by electing democrats. Again see the topic of the thread. We voted in a Democratic president and he is still instituting fascist policies.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:30 AM on September 29, 2010


rretire to your 10x15 cabin

I already have my spot, and lots and lots of guns, in good old North Dakota :) But the "cabin" is a bit bigger than 10x15, and I don't need canned food as we grow our own. Not to mention our herd of Bison and all the fucking deer meat we could ever want. As far as "going unabomber" on everybody's ass I hope that that is not the only politically effective action available to me. I have to be honest, though, I don't have an answer anymore than anybody else does in this thread. I don't know where we go from here. We are in a unfamiliar place between action and non-action. In a place where calling you congressman and participating in the democratic process doesn't work but not quite yet to the taking up of the arms the nasty shit that comes with all that. So I have no fucking clue where to begin and what we can do as citizens to affect change.

Speaking of cabins.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:48 AM on September 29, 2010


I'm assuming it gets cold in Ohio because the builder talks about putting in wood heat. If so he's sited his cabin incorrectly for WSHTF.
posted by Mitheral at 7:01 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I already have my spot, and lots and lots of guns, in good old North Dakota :) But the "cabin" is a bit bigger than 10x15, and I don't need canned food as we grow our own.

Uh, yeah. Alrighty then.
posted by empath at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, yeah. Alrighty then.

What's your problem? What you or your family doesn't own land in North Dakota? I thought everybody did. You care to analyze the posited operational definition of fascism and tell me how it is not characteristic of the current US of A? If not you can critique the first broad brushed definition. No? Some people sure like to shitpost and favorite a lot but when it comes down to the nitty gritty it's just epic fail after epic fail. What with the not knowing what one's own definition actually is and the straw men and the appeals to emotion.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:00 AM on September 29, 2010


The problem, AE, is that you are saying that 98% of the population (minimum) is ideologically flawed. A cabin is the only possible solution.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:16 PM on September 29, 2010


I don't see what aquatic birds have to do with anything. :) What are you even responding to? Maybe try and compose a coherent response next time that actually addresses something I've said rather than continuing to try and bait me. I kind of doubt that will happen, though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:31 PM on September 29, 2010


The problem, AE, is that you are saying that 98% of the population (minimum) is ideologically flawed. A cabin is the only possible solution.

How is a cabin a solution? Either way I don't think that 98% of the population is ideologically flawed I think that most people believe in the same types of democratic ideals as I do. The problem isn't the large majority of the people the problem is the political power structure and their cronies in the mass media. The current system forces people to buy into one of two sides of the same coin with no other option. Both the Republican and Democrats tout very noble ideas during the election cycles and both claim to stand for liberty and democracy but the truth is they are both pursuing fascist agendas.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:56 PM on September 29, 2010


Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:13 PM on September 29, 2010


Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments.

What is your point Jimmy? I don't follow.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:27 PM on September 29, 2010


He's saying that you're a fascist. It's fun to use overly broad categories to tar your enemies, isn't it.
posted by empath at 5:01 PM on September 29, 2010


Actually he's using a very narrow category that was cherry picked out of a much broader definition. But keep on with the pithy comments if you must; they are actually getting to be quite entertaining.

It's fun to use overly broad categories to tar your enemies

Hmmmm. I would quote something about tea parties and how they are all racists but that would be breaking the guidelines, and we don't want to do that do we. If you think that I consider anyone in this thread my enemy or am tarring anyone in this thread with the label fascist you are seriously mistaken. I guess I do consider politicians and talking heads my enemy, but who doesn't really?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:10 PM on September 29, 2010


Oh and, Jimmy, you would have a point except that my populism isn't qualitative; it's pretty all encompassing actually. Whites, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Socialists, Christians, Atheists, Wiccans, Buddhists, Sikhs, Physicists, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Bahá'ís, Sufis, Straight, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Woman, Man, One and All Americans to rise up and reject the incipient fascism that has been growing in this country since the end of WWII. But on a depressing note I don't see that happening anytime soon.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:39 PM on September 29, 2010


Actually he's using a very narrow category that was cherry picked out of a much broader definition.

Oh, if we go through the list I'm sure we'll find some others.

Since even I'm not lefty enough for you, I'm wondering where you'll find all these people to rise up and throw off the shackles of fascism.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:14 PM on September 29, 2010


I think they've all got compounds in Montana and the Dakotas, loaded with guns, gold bullion and canned food.
posted by empath at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2010


When TSHTF people who work together will do a lot better than people cowering in cabins with shotguns and cans of beans. Y'all are invited to come to my farm and work the fields. We'll be OK.
posted by unSane at 7:26 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow you guys are really getting desperate now. The bait is strong in you but you are not a jedi yet.

When TSHTF people who work together will do a lot better than people cowering in cabins with shotguns and cans of beans. Y'all are invited to come to my farm and work the fields. We'll be OK.

I agree. But I don't think we have to worry about TSHTF any time soon. If I did I sure as hell wouldn't be living anywhere near a coast, let alone a major metropolis like NYC for that matter. Or as I like to call them: kill zones.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:45 PM on September 29, 2010


[few comments removed - folks should consider wrapping up the AElfwine Evenstar vs everyone discussion at some point. MetaTalk is an option.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:04 PM on September 29, 2010


I just wanted an honest critique of the posited definition. After all the bluster about how the definition was wrong and why I personally was a horrible person for positing it I had hoped someone would have had the courtesy to point out why that is. I can see, as you pointed out, that the focus and issue under discussion has become me so I shall bow out. If anyone cares to carry on the discussion in a reasonable matter feel free to mefi mail me.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:15 PM on September 29, 2010


Why aren't you already encrypting your communications? It's free and easy.
Thunderbird/Mozilla has this for example. Takes about 2 minutes to set up. I bet there's similar plugins for most other popular mail clients.
posted by Hastur at 3:57 AM on October 9, 2010


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