Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Censorship The Almighty Buck The Internet News

WikiLeaks, Money, and Ron Paul 565

Another day, another dozen WikiLeaks stories, several of which revolve around money. PayPal has given in to pressure to release WikiLeaks funds, though they still won't do further transactions. Mobile payment firm Xipwire is attempting to take PayPal's place. "We do think people should be able to make their own decisions as to who they donate to." PCWorld wonders if the WikiLeaks' money woes could lead to great adoption of Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer currency system we've discussed in the past. Meanwhile, Representative Ron Paul spoke in defense of WikiLeaks on the House floor Thursday, asking a number of questions, including, "Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on WikiLeaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?" The current uproar over WikiLeaks has prompted Paul Vixie to call for an end to the DDoS attacks and Vladimir Putin to break out a metaphor involving cows and hockey pucks.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

WikiLeaks, Money, and Ron Paul

Comments Filter:
  • Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:24AM (#34528346) Homepage Journal

    We don't have to wonder, since the SecDef has said that no US soldiers, missions, or security were harmed or jeapordized by the Wikileaks releases.

    So what are they so mad about?

    Being made to look like spoiled children, that's what. Being shown to be backstabbing hypocrites. This is the political equivalent of being pantsed on the world stage.

    There are a small handful of votes where Ron Paul has voted in a way that would be upsetting to left-liberals (gay adoption in DC comes to mind), but aside from that, I don't think there is anyone in DC more passionately committed to personal freedom than Ron Paul. The strong support for Wikileaks is just another example.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      'This is the political equivalent of being pantsed on the world stage.

      For once it's the bully who got a wedgie.

    • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:34AM (#34528382)

      If there's one thing Tron Paul gets it's the Constitution. I personal freedom (construed broadly) is a misnomer, I think, when it comes to Paul, but at least someone in there realizes that this is about freedom of speech, the integrity of the press, and human rights.

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Informative)

        by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:53AM (#34528440)

        If there's one thing Tron Paul gets it's the Constitution.

        Without getting into a debate over RP views, he did make one (minor) constitutional flaw:

        The Pentagon Papers were also inserted into the Congressional record by Senator Mike Gravel, with no charges of any kind being made of breaking any national security laws.

        Senators and Congressmen are specifically not prosecutable for any remarks on the House or Senate floor; which would mean remarks in the record would be protected.

        Per Article I, Sec 6:

        They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

        While some might argue that except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace would not be restricted, the ; and makes it a separate clause. The Senate could have chosen to take action based on Senate rules; but those aren't laws.

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:4, Informative)

        by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:19PM (#34529318) Homepage

        I think you have misunderstood Ron Paul's political position and his political objectives.

        When you compare Ron Paul's speeches to his legislative record there are some glaring inconsistencies. What most people listening to Ron's speeches don't realise though is that the purpose of his speeches on Wikileaks, the Iraq war, etc. are not necessarily in defence or opposition to those causes, he is only taking advantage of what he sees an an opportunity to induce distrust, confusion and anger into the public mind when dealing with anything in the Federal government because Ron Paul wants to place state governments at the forefront of law and governance in the United States.

        In 1997 Ron tried to pass a constitutional amendment [] that would allow states to make it illegal for citizens to deface the flag of the United States. Clearly an infringement of citizens rights to freedom of speech that are now protected by the Constitution of the United States.

        In 1999 Ron tried to pass a congressional bill [] that would declare the land in Panama on which the Panama Canal resides as sovereign United States territory. This appears contradictory to statements he has made about recent wars but in reviewing his statements I think people misunderstand what he is saying, Ron Paul is not against Imperialist actions by the United States but he believes they are only legal if they are initiated by the Congress and not by the Executive Branch.

        And the real humdinger, in 2003 Ron tried to remove the check and balance of the Supreme Court with legislation [] that would bar the Supreme Court from addressing citizen's grievances against unconstitutional state laws that arose from religious dogma. I think Ron dreamt this one up after a few Texas state laws were struck down by the Supreme Court like the Texas sodomy law that tried to outlaw gay sex.

        The reality is that Ron Paul is against Constitutional law and wants nothing short of a return to the Articles of Confederation that allowed individual states to determine for themselves what rights would be protected and when it is okay for the majority to oppress the minority.

        • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @03:21PM (#34529962) Journal

          not against Imperialist actions by the United States but he believes they are only legal if they are initiated by the Congress and not by the Executive Branch.

          And technically, he's right. The Executive branch is there to execute the law, not make policy, declare wars, or make laws.

          There are some flaws with his staunch religious views, but that's what makes him human. I agree with a good portion of Ron's voting record, but I'd never support him to be king. Anyone that would place 100% faith in any one person should be analyzed for insanity. Anyone that would 100% oppose someone should be analyzed as well.

          • Re:Ron Paul (Score:4, Insightful)

            by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @03:35PM (#34530048) Homepage

            Technically Ron Paul is correct, I am not questioning the accuracy of his statements about declaring war and I fully support his stopping these illegal activities.

            However, I think there is a great deal of naivety about his stance on nation building and intervention into foreign nations. Which is why I think it is important to read his congressional record and note his position on Panama.

    • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#34528452)

      Hold on, hold on, you think it's the cables that led the arrests? 'scuse me? That cat is out of the bag and it's not like there's anything that can be done about it.

      The big leap upon Assange and the attempt to squelch Wikileaks came when they announced they got material that would make an important bank go keel up.

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

        by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:38AM (#34528592) Homepage

        We know this. Ron Paul knows this. Ron Paul is calling BS on the current excitement which is, in short, nothing to get excited about.

        Ron Paul is showing in clear detail that the Vietnam war, and the current wars were based on lies and disinformation. He is also alluding to the fact that the pursuit/persecution of Assange and the "outrage" over Wikileaks is also a distraction from the real intent and future actions.

        Yes, it's the banking industry that is most threatened here. It's what really makes the world go round. Throw the switch, Wikileaks! Throw the switch! It's time we started the new year with something better than this.

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:41PM (#34529440) Homepage

        Hold on, hold on, you think it's the cables that led the arrests? 'scuse me? That cat is out of the bag and it's not like there's anything that can be done about it.

        Actually as has been pointed out several times on this page, only about 2,000 of the 250,000 cables have been released so far. So only 1% of the cats are out of the bag. Though I agree that the bank leaks have been a big motivating factor in the rest of the world's institutional powers takings sides against wikileaks.

        • Re:Ron Paul (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @03:08PM (#34529876)

          That's not the point now. The point is to assassinate Assange's credibility so when the bank data shit finally gets to hit the fan, the involved bank will stand up and do whatever it can to get news outlets to shut up about it, lest they side with a "criminal". Do you want to release that info and side with someone accused of rape, hunted like an animal and (insert random other slander here)?

          Wikileaks' "power" and its threat hinges on its credibility. If that can be eroded away, it doesn't matter anymore that they leak the bank data. Nobody will care. Nobody will believe it. Nobody will report it.

    • Re:Ron Paul (Score:4, Interesting)

      by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:02AM (#34528472) Homepage

      Ron Paul is committed to personal freedom from Federal government interference. State and local government, on the other hand...

      • by bmajik ( 96670 )

        Well, he works in the federal government. And that's where most of the trouble is.

        One of Jefferson's ideas was that each of the states would be its own experiment in democracy; with different laws and customs and implementations of governance.

        I don't know where Paul stands on various BOR amendment incorporations into/upon the several states. It will be a wonderful time in American politics when all of the other problems of federal overreach are solved and we are arguing about if the feds have the power to

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shark ( 78448 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:22PM (#34529334)

        Keep in mind that with state and local governments, you have an extra voting option: your feet. It may sound silly but it is quite significant. It is (relatively) easy to move out of a state if you don't like the laws and states will ultimately have to compete with each-other to come up with good laws or face exodus of their tax income.

      • Re:Ron Paul (Score:4, Insightful)

        by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:35PM (#34529406) Homepage


        Ron Paul makes popular statements about the big bad Federal government but gets a free pass on the real legislation he tries to ram through Congress that is designed specifically to give state government the right to infringe on citizens rights. Ron Paul is no friend of freedom nor the Constitution of the United States. In fact, James Madison noted that the infringement of citizen's rights by these "State's Rights" goons was likely the sole driving factor that made the Constitution of the United States possible...

        James Madison, October 24 1787 []

        A constitutional negative on the laws of the States seems equally necessary to secure individuals agst. encroachments on their rights. The mutability of the laws of the States is found to be a serious evil. The injustice of them has been so frequent and so flagrant as to alarm the most stedfast friends of Republicanism. I am persuaded I do not err in saying that the evils issuing from these sources contributed more to that uneasiness which produced the Convention, and prepared the public mind for a general reform, than those which accrued to our national character and interest from the inadequacy of the Confederation to its immediate objects.

        The Constitution of the United States was meant to protect against the flagrant oppression of mob democracy that was practised at the state level and that is exactly what Ron Paul wants to bring back. And whether they realise it or not Ron Paul supporters are supporting establishment of a Christian State Theocracy with oppressive religion based laws.

        These are some pertinent Ron Paul bills that highlight his true political nature:
        Religious Freedom Restoration Act []
        Expressing the sense of the Congress that the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Zone should be considered to be the sovereign territory of the United States. []
        Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the States to prohibit the physical destruction of the flag of the United States and authorizing Congress... []

    • by Shark ( 78448 )

      Just a note on his voting record: If he voted against gay adoption in DC, it most likely was because he thinks the federal government has no business deciding on such things, not because he may (or may not) agree with them personally. He explained his stance on abortion the same way. Now that's not to say he doesn't state his personal view on that last matter to gain political support among people who share it but if any politician can be trusted to vote on constitutional principle rather than personal b

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

      There are a small handful of votes where Ron Paul has voted in a way that would be upsetting to left-liberals (gay adoption in DC comes to mind), but aside from that, I don't think there is anyone in DC more passionately committed to personal freedom than Ron Paul.

      Ron Paul is anti-science [], anti-choice [], anti-separation of church and state [], a liar [] (in that he's given two contradictory stories about the controversial racist statements that appeared in his newsletter), and either a racist or incompetent to run []

    • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Informative)

      by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:43PM (#34529444)

      We don't have to wonder, since the SecDef has said that no US soldiers, missions, or security were harmed or jeapordized by the Wikileaks releases.

      Not quite. Secretary of Defense Gates said that the release of the stolen classified documents by Wikileaks is "likely to cause significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States".

      Washington (CNN) -- The online leak of thousands of secret military documents from the war in Afghanistan by the website WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded.

      Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said there is still concern Afghans named in the published documents could be retaliated against by the Taliban, though a NATO official said there has been no indication that this has happened. (Re: NATO comment, see below. -CF) " We assess this risk as likely to cause significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States and are examining mitigation options," Gates wrote in the letter. "We are working closely with our allies to determine what risks our mission partners may face as a result of the disclosure."...

      Over the summer, the Pentagon created a team of more than 100 personnel made up of mostly intelligence analysts from various branches of the Defense Department as well as the FBI, who were involved in the round-the-clock review. Gates: Leaked documents don't reveal key intel, but risks remain []

      The phrase, "sensitive intelligence sources or methods" is primarily referring to satellites & signal intelligence. Allies and informants, key resources when fighting a counter-insurgency, have been put at risk by being named.

      “My attitude on this is that there are two areas of culpability,” Gates said on ABC’s This Week. “One is legal culpability. And that's up to the Justice Department and others -- that's not my arena.

      “But there's also a moral culpability,” he added. “And that's where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks. They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.”

      Those consequences could be the loss of innocent lives, Gates said, and not just those of American troops.

      If I'm angry, it is because I believe that this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk. It puts our soldiers at risk because they can learn a lot -- our adversaries can learn a lot about our techniques, tactics and procedures from the body of these leaked documents,” the secretary said.

      Gates said that having an intelligence background, he knows that “protecting your sources is sacrosanct.” He noted that “there was no sense of responsibility or accountability” associated with the leak of information. WikiLeaks Guilty on Moral Grounds, Gates Says []

      With apologies to an unnamed NATO official (what sort of job did he have?) the Taliban are starting to hunt down people. [] (The Taliban have assembled a group to examine the Wikileaks documents [].)

      After WikiLeaks published a trove of U.S. intelligence documents—some of which listed the names and villages of Afghans who had been secretly cooperating with the American military—it didn’t take long for the Taliban to react. A spokesman for the group quickly threatened to “punish” any Afghan listed as having “collaborated” with the U.S. and the Kabul authorities against the growing Taliban insurgency. In recent days, the Taliban has demonstrated

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:27AM (#34528354)

    Ron Paul, Julian Assange, cows, hockey, Vladimir Putin and PayPal?

    I'm sorry, that's one orgy I don't want to be invited to.

  • by igreaterthanu ( 1942456 ) * on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:28AM (#34528356)

    BitCoin's creator and it's forum members don't want to be associated with WikiLeaks for fear of becoming associated with money laundering, so why is this article pushing it?

    Anyway, if there is to be some future electronic currency then IMHO it should be based on IOUs traded between trusted "friends", to send to someone who is not your friend then the network could make a path between nodes with whatever has the best exchange rate and tah-dah, a currency based on trust, not on wasting cpu cycles (as how BitCoin works). I did see a project like this once but the name escapes me. From memory I also think it was centralized which is a big no.

    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:06AM (#34528480)

      You are thinking of a project called "Ripple" by Ryan Fugger. It is another P2P currency system, except not quite the same as BitCoin. I looked into some of these alternative currency systems some time back - they tend to be academically interesting but have weak justifications.

      BitCoin is a variant of a system called HashCash. The basic insight behind hash based coins are that they are portable proofs of work, and thus easily checkable as being scarce. Any attempt to create electronic coins needs scarcity so that's a useful property.

      Briefly, to create a hash coin you find some data that when run through SHA1 or whatever results in a hash with some easily checkable property. BitCoin uses "N leading digits are all zeros" where N varies over time. The nice thing about this is that the only way to find this data is brute force, so finding them represents real "work" in the sense of burned electricity and CPU time costs. It might seem arbitrary but it's really no less stupid than digging shiny metal out of the ground then putting it in a central bank.

      Hash coins are not, by themselves, enough to create an electronic currency. They distribute and decentralize the minting process, but obviously to "spend" such a coin you need to transfer it in such a way that you lose it and the other person now has it. Some systems use a centralized registry to do this. I forget the name but one researcher was using a trusted computing/TPM style approach to that, so the registry could prove its trustworthyness to the participants remotely.

      BitCoin attempts to decentralize the movement of coins as well via some clever cryptographic tricks. Essentially, to transfer a coin from A to B, the transaction is broadcast and incorporated into a constantly moving proof of work chain. The chain becomes a difficult to forge or tamper with public record of all transactions that have occurred.

      So BitCoin can be seen as fundamentally the same idea as metal coins, but transferred into the digital realm and entirely decentralized - no banks required.

      Ripple is a very different beast. Ripple networks are also P2P and decentralized but that's where the similarities end. In Ripple, if I do work for you, say I mow your lawn, the fact that you owe me a debt is marked in our Ripple accounts ... and that's it. Now let's say I go to the grocery store and want to buy some food. My debt to the grocery store is recorded in our accounts. I can run up as much debt to the grocery store as they will allow. Finally, the owner of the grocery store goes to your shop and gets a haircut. The owner of the store now has a debt marked to you.

      We now have a debt cycle .... you owe me, I owe the grocer and the grocer owes you. Ripple seeks out and destroys this circular debt, thus resetting the system to zero. In a Ripple network, the ideal state of an account is empty: you owe nothing and nobody owes you. The system attempts to trend towards that state.

      If Ryan were to read this description he would undoubtably say it was inaccurate, as Ripples design is much more focussed on finding paths of debt.... for instance, if I don't know you why should I merely accept that you owe me $50 for mowing your lawn, when I might not ever get that back? So Ripple attempts to find social connections between people and locate a path of credit lines that can make the transaction possible, eg, maybe you know Bob and I also know Bob, Bob trusts you and I trust Bob thus Bob is willing to automatically back your debt.

      • by oiron ( 697563 )

        Thanks for explaining, but honestly, didn't all that give anyone a headache?

        Real-world currency works because it's bloody simple to use: give the shopkeeper a few coins or notes, and he gives you an ice-cream. Unless you can simplify it down to something like that, where I don't have to worry about hashes and debt chains, I doubt it's going to really gain traction.

        But experimenting with such systems does give us a really good idea of what's actually going on behind those bits of green/blue/brown paper and s

        • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:36AM (#34528584)

          BitCoin is conceptually simple to use, not much different to what we do today. The headache inducing part is the implementation :-)

          But if you want to spend some BitCoins it's actually not that hard. You just fire up the software, select who you want to send coins to (eg from the programs built in address book), how much you want to send and hit go. If the receivers P2P node is online at the time you can also include a message. If it's not, you can still send the money but without a message.

          And that's it. That's all it takes. Receiving coins is likewise easy - you just fire up the software, let it synchronize with the network and now you have the coins that were sent to you.

          There is one (big) catch. By the very definition of what BitCoin is, all transactions are public []. It seems the latest versions attempt to obfuscate the size of the transactions, and there is a discussion in the linked page of how to go further - but nonetheless, the fact that an address you control transacted with somebody is a matter of public record. This is very different to today, where financial transactions are assumed to be secret unless otherwise published.

          Ripple is much harder to understand and that's why I doubt it'll ever go anywhere. It's an excellent intellectual exercise but in a series of debates with Ryan I had back in 2008 (?) he admitted that a lot of the justifications for Ripple were post-hoc, and the fractional reserve did not have many of the flaws often cited.

    • by Seth Kriticos ( 1227934 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:12AM (#34528500)

      Please, for the love of the written text: read the damn FAQ [] *before* you engage in a discussion about the topic!

      The generation of BitCoins is just part of the bootstrapping process, and it's not economically viable to do that to get wealthy (you'd set up an Amazon cluster to make them, you'd pay more than you'd earn). Generation also slows and will cap out at around 21 million BitCoins.

      The primary value of BitCoins is defined by how much people are ready to exchange it for, and what you can buy/sell with it, not unlike real currency.

      The primary differences are that there is no central bank that can print more money on a whim, and that the transactions are anonymous (kind of, the numbers are broadcasted, but they are not attached to names, only cryptographic keys anyone can make).

      In that sense, it is an interesting and promising thing. Could use some broader adoption though, but that's not an over night thing. The current structures are stable enough to use it for practical things already and maybe we'll see it in broader adoption in the future.

    • by diablo-d3 ( 175104 ) <> on Sunday December 12, 2010 @11:06AM (#34528704) Homepage

      I'm one of the major third party developers (I wrote DiabloMiner [], a OpenCL miner written in Java), and at no point has anyone in the community said they don't want to be associated with Wikileaks.

      If anything, many of us have asked Julian and his associates to accept Bitcoin so we can donate to Wikileaks.

      So, please, don't spread FUD.

  • Trust Xipwire? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:32AM (#34528374) Homepage Journal

    I don't trust PayPal: it's an unregulated global banking monopoly, that routinely abuses its monopoly to steal money from people. It's not insured by the FDIC like a regular bank, so if it goes bust any money in there is going to disappear.

    What about Xipwire? Has it demonstrated theft, dishonesty or any other reason not to trust it with money and private info? Is there any reason to believe it won't just do like PayPal (or worse) once it does become big enough not to care, like PayPal?

    If I don't trust PayPal, is there any reason I should use Xipwire instead?

    • Re:Trust Xipwire? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @02:39PM (#34529720) Journal

      I don't trust PayPal: it's an unregulated global banking monopoly, that routinely abuses its monopoly to steal money from people. It's not insured by the FDIC like a regular bank, so if it goes bust any money in there is going to disappear.

      Exactly. I am fairly certain PayPal employs people to look over accounts with lots of money in them for any excuse to freeze them. That way, even if they can't steal the money outright, they've been able to freeze it for a month and make interest on the cash. Dirtiest company ever.

  • Oh my gosh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:32AM (#34528378)

    Ron Paul is my biggest... fucking... hero.

    My only regret is that he's not 30 years younger, so that he'd have the energy and lifespan needed to better advance his goals.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's why Rand Paul has arrived on the scene to take-over for his dad when he retires from politics. And of course there's other Ron Paul types in congress, just not as visible (they didn't make three attempts to become president).

      The reporters who revealed the Watergate scandal were protected.
      Ditto Edward R Murrow when he revealed secret documents of the Unamerican Committee.
      Likewise the reporters at wikileaks should be protected. Arrest the government employees that stole the documents, not the press.

      • Re:Oh my gosh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mattcsn ( 1592281 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:20AM (#34528534)

        Ron Paul is a nutcase of the most epic sort, but at least he's an honest and self-consistent nutcase. He believes in personal freedom from government interference, and self-sufficiency. I disagree with 99% of his opinions, and I think that his policies are both deeply flawed and deeply stupid, but at least I can respect him for his sincerity and conviction.

        Rand Paul is a hypocrite of the worst sort. He's a full-scale moralizing dipshit who believes that the role of government is to enforce the will of the religious-right, both domestically and internationally. He has no convictions, no intellectual honesty, no respect for individual rights, and no policies that weren't bought and paid for by lobbyists.

        I respect Ron Paul, even though I disagree with him. I have no respect for his idiot son.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          >>>Rand Paul...believes that the role of government is to enforce the will of the religious-right

          Completely false.

          If you think it's true then go-ahead and cite where Rand wants to act like a tyrant and force us all to become "religious"..... else your statement has zero validity and is just a lie.

        • Re:Oh my gosh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @03:27PM (#34530004) Homepage Journal

          Yeah, Ron Paul is a total loon. He's so crazy that I've heard him consistently espouse:

          1. Having a government that operates within its budget.
          2. Having a government that respects personal freedoms by not subjecting airline passengers to being irradiated and/or fondled.
          3. Being honest about the Iraq war and how we got into it.
          4. Ending our country's imperialistic bent by drawing down on our military deployments.
          5. Taking a serious look at the secretive central banking system that is given extraordinary power to fuck with our economy with little oversight. ...

          Just to get it straight, you're 99% against crazy whacky shit like this, right?

          Given what you've posted so far, I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit on your seeming out-of-left-field attack on Rand Paul. Didn't his recent political opponent actually dig up some dirt that Rand Paul was ANTI-CHRISTIAN? I think that Rand Paul then gave the required "I'm a good Christian" response to that, but my guess is the guy is probably an agnostic.

  • by Duncan J Murray ( 1678632 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:33AM (#34528380) Homepage

    These recent events have shown how reliant we are, in the West, on American companies which do not necessarily hold the same values as us. Unless you want to return to living in a cage, boycotting both VISA and Mastercard is simply not an option, and the same goes to some extent to using paypal. It's surely not a good idea that the American government have such power over money transactions of all countries in the West.

    I wonder if this will be recognised by governments in the West, and a new form of electronic transfer be supported as an alternative, as the article mentions, or whether this will blow over and we'll find ourselves in a similar position in the future, but it could involve an entire country that displeases the US government rather just a small organisation.

    • by Gonoff ( 88518 )

      Sounds like a good idea to me but I have this thought that, if it ends up doing things that US Spooks/Corporations don't like, it may be accused of bad things or something. Rather like Wikileaks has been.
      I am aware that Wikileaks is not perfect - it has human beings in it, but what it is doing is excellent. The big problem is that it has offended rich and powerful criminals. Any alternatives to US control could do the same.

      The only thing that will save us from the US Global hedgemony is the same thing t

    • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:52AM (#34528436)

      I've never understood why America doesn't seem to have an EFTPOS (electronic funds at point of sale) system that doesn't rely on Mastercard/Visa etc. From what I've seen all your 'debit' cards over there are essentially just masquerading as credit cards (i.e. are Visa or Mastercard, with a 16 digit number and an expiry date etc.), just that the funds come from your bank account, not from credit.

      In my country EFTPOS is a completely separate thing from MC/Visa debit cards. You get to the checkout, swipe your standard ATM card, type your PIN and you are good to go. But there's no Visa or MC logo on the cards and they don't have a credit-card-like number or expiry date etc. (Note that you CAN also get the Visa/MC debit cards - they are useful for shopping online and overseas trips - but they aren't the only type of cashless payment card).

      So where I live it's perfectly possible to have nothing to do with those companies. I don't really use them for anything, other than having one credit card that I basically never use ... just there for complete emergencies etc.

  • by Error27 ( 100234 ) < minus language> on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:37AM (#34528394) Homepage Journal points out that if you want to make a donation to the KKK [] then Visa is everywhere you want to be.

    • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:46AM (#34528416) Journal points out that if you want to make a donation to the KKK then Visa is everywhere you want to be.

      Wow, best example ever. I disagree with many of Wikileak's methods, but I fully support their right to do it. If you want to punish anyone, you find and punish the person who released the information to begin with, where the law is clear and what it was designed to cover.

      As an exUSAF guy, I'm hating the direction our country is going. Facist methods of controlling corporations by publicly financing business losses, while the profits are still private. Using the threat of force to get other countries to create trumped up charges to silence someone. Completely unacceptable methods of security in airports that are not only effective and degrading, but are ILLEGAL if outside the airport, and likely inside as well. A corrupt judicial system that favors the rich and corporations.

  • by leromarinvit ( 1462031 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:54AM (#34528446)

    Vixie makes some good points about the rule of law and how DDOS attacks both by supporters and enemies of Wikilieaks are unjustified. Yet I can't help but wonder what the outcome would be if everyone just went back to business and let the courts settle everything out. Wouldn't this mean that Wikileaks is taken down for now, Assange's ass is ripped up in court for the next ten years, and even if he wins in the end (in the unlikely case he manages to afford a year-long court battle), Wikileaks will have utterly failed to reach its goals?

    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
      - Desmond Tutu

  • The Dark Side (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lyinhart ( 1352173 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:20AM (#34528528)
    If you don't know what Ron Paul's foreign policy views are, here is a handy summary from his book "Revolution": Leave everybody else alone. Some might call it isolationism. Not sure how well that would work, but if that was our policy, then there obviously wouldn't be much to leak about it.
    • Re:The Dark Side (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:23AM (#34528546)

      I like that guy more by the minute.

      Seriously, the US has caused enough trouble around the globe for a century, let someone else fuck up the planet for a change.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      Some might call it isolationism.

      And some would be very wrong.

      Paul isn't saying we should go all turtle and not interact with the world. He's saying stop being a dick to the rest of planet by forcing our ways and desires on other countries. He's saying we should become a self-sufficient nation such that we don't need to fight resource wars half a planet away. He's saying stop spending a metric assload of cash on our "defense"and international empire and focus more on what we need in our own country.

      I don't agree with everything Ron Paul st

    • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:07PM (#34528988) Homepage

      From his Inaugural address, formatted for clarity. Notice how many times he uses the word "peace" and how he describes that we should have "honest friendship with all nations".

      . . .it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations:

      Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political;

      peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;

      the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad;

      a jealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided;

      absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism;

      a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority;

      economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid;

      the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.

      These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

  • by MrQuacker ( 1938262 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:33AM (#34528574)
    Please explain, as I have no idea what I just read.

    I can use a credit card or paypal to "buy" coins at $0.20/ea. (Dec/12th price)
    I can also download a program that gives me a free coin every three weeks if I let it run constantly on my computer.
    There are sites out there I can trade bitcoins in for cash or prepaid credit cards.

    How does this work then? Why does it give money for processor time? What's it doing that merits payment, and who is paying it? And wont the first botnet operator who signs up end up the richest, simply because of the massive amount of stolen cpu cycles? Doesnt that in turn make the whole system worthless?

    As someone sells stuff online (like etsy/ebay) why would I benefit from this? Sure, I save 4% by skipping paypal, but how do I get actual cold hard cash I can buy liquor with? This whole thing involves too much trust into a system that appears real easy to game. It also relies on people I can't trust, and who have no incentive to keep their side of the deal. When I get a paypal payment, I know I have money I can spend. But with this bit stuff, I just dont understand how one gets from worthless digi-bits online, to something I can buy groceries with.

    • The point is, it's chicken and egg. Money has value when people think it has a value. Paper money has a value because people will accept it for goods and services - if people accept bitcoins, then they have value. The idea of giving away free money is that it has to be there to begin with for people to use it. Using CPU time to generate bitcoins is a good way of distributing them to begin with. I suggest you go and read 'Making Money' by Terry Pratchett - for a fictional novel it's good at giving you the
    • Re:Bitwhat? (Score:4, Informative)

      by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @11:22AM (#34528756)
      BitCoin is a little complicated to understand the internals of. See the discussion of it further up the thread for what it's doing and why it needs to burn so much CPU time. The thing to understand is that BitCoin eliminates the need for banks to mediate currency transactions on the internet (or at all), and it does so by forming a public, never ending story of money flows in the economy. That story (called the block chain) is extended by having public nodes perform large computations, the fact that coins are generated as a side effect of this process is basically a reward for donating CPU time to the system.
    • Re:Bitwhat? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ribuck ( 943217 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:15PM (#34529024) Homepage
      Seriously, read the Bitcoin technical paper []. It's short and easy to read.
    • If you can use a credit card to buy them then clearly someone else on the other end of that deal getting something they can buy groceries with.

      It's just currency, it is inherently worthless just like all the other currencies we use today. If other people accept it in exchange for goods and services than it has a value, if they don't then it is worthless - just like other currencies.

      Of course government backed currencies have the rather large benefit that the government forces their use (requiring taxes to p

  • by devent ( 1627873 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:53AM (#34528646) Homepage
    We are lucky for the stupidity of the US government to give Wikileaks so much publicity. They could just say that they working hard to make sure no more secret documents are leaked and nothing more. But instead the US government pressures US companies, US politicians give talks about Wikileaks and Assange, the press is all over how Wikileaks is bad, etc. etc. The members of Wikileaks should be proud to get so much publicity, I hope the politic in USA will polarize about Wikileaks some more and thus give Wikileaks even more publicity.
  • it's simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:15PM (#34529022)
    A government will advocate for freedom of the press as long as that freedom is used to embarrass other governments and further it's own interests. Once the those things get turned around and focused on the advocate country they quickly call it espionage and treason. If Wikileaks focused on China and their members were hunted down in other countries and then Jailed in China, the state department would call them political prisoners and demand their release. Citizens of the United States should listen very carefully to what their representative have to say about this issue. It will show exactly what kind of freedom they support. Freedom of speech or freedom to agree.
    • Re:it's simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:59PM (#34529218)

      You're quite right, but I think that it's a huge misconception to think of WikiLeaks as being an organization that focuses on American transgressions. Their first huge story uncovered sickening, systematic corruption in the Kenyan government. They've leaked evidence of corruption in Swiss banks. They've done lots more []. Of course the US only inflates the story into a big stink when it's their shit that's smeared everywhere, but that's not because WikiLeaks ignores non-US corruption.

      What Assange really needs right now are leaks about human rights abuses in China, as you say - something serious enough that the Chinese would be calling for his head using exactly the same words used by US Republicans. I think that would make the cognitive dissonance complete.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:52PM (#34529188)
    This New Yorker article from the more innocent days of June [] is something that everyone needs to read before they can really make sense of WikiLeaks. It's about what those people actually do, and it's an excellent read. Even if you've read a hundred stories about WikiLeaks, you probably don't have this background and it will change the way you look at their work.
  • Food for thought (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZDRuX ( 1010435 ) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @03:08PM (#34529878)
    Questions to consider:

    Below text is quoted, not my own
    Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?
    Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?
    Number 3: Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?
    Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?
    Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?
    Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?
    Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?
    Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?
    Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

    Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised ‘Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed.’

System checkpoint complete.