UK foreign secretary: stop talking about Snowden, let spies get on with it


#1

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#2

Christ, what an asshole


#3

I don’t really see what’s wrong with this? Do we not want to settle the question of how much power spies should have?


#4

If somebody in an ostensibly ‘representative’ position ever says that a debate ‘cannot be allowed to run on’, a giant comedy hammer should immediately descend from the ceiling and squish them.

I realize that practice is…rather less noble… but debate isn’t actually a ‘little people making mouth noises and distracting Serious Authorities from Serious Business’; it’s, y’know, what separates free societies from dictatorships with technocratic aspirations.

It’s perfectly possible to get lousy results from debate, of course; but if you lose sight of debate’s value you simply aren’t in a position to not get lousy results.


#5

The problem is in his (implicit; but not exactly covert) formulation of who will get to do the settling and how the settling will occur.

Yes, unlimited wrangling without any resolution is not the favored outcome. However, his position is ‘it’s cute and all that people want to talk; but I’ve decided that what we are doing is just ducky; and it’s time for them to admit that they’ve had their fun, shut up, and let me get back to doing what I want.’

That’s not a terribly satisfactory settlement. That’s actual public debate being treated as a purely palliative sideshow, to be dropped as soon as it inconveniences the already-determined powers that be.


#6

If we don’t let our spies violate our rights, they will loose their ability to effectively violate our rights… Is that the argument?


#7

We have to give the US Republicans some competition, and fortunately we have not one but two political parties ready to stand up and be counted among the idiocracy. The sad thing is that there also sensible Conservatives, but they all seem to get driven gradually out of the government by the loonies - the political equivalent of Gresham’s Law.


#8

What a moron. Part of making people feel heard before going on and doing what you were going to do anyway is not telling them that is what you are doing. This guy doesn’t know how to machiavell (sic) right.


#9

Kinder, gentler Thatcherism. In ye olde days he’d just come out and say, ‘There is no alternative!’


#10

Machiavelli is so 15th century.
Nerd Sniping is where its at.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

Talking about how stupid his comments are is the expected response. Because now you’re not talking about anything else.


#11

Not if the answer is “all of it.”


#12

I was making a cynical comment about government "consultation’ and “public debate” in general - when the government says we need “public debate” on something like Snowden they mean they need to wait a few news cycles before doing whatever they were going to do anyway.

But yes, I’m prone to criticize politicians I don’t agree with for their poor tactics as a way of putting them down, which doesn’t really contribute to anything and is getting tired (though I swear I was doing it before it was cool). I’m part of the angry cynical subculture that is functionally indistinguishable from the passive complacent subculture.


#13

“I am quite clear that the ability to intercept ‘bulk communications data’, to subject that metadata to electronic analysis and to seek to extract the tiny percentage of communications data that may be of any direct security interest, does not represent an enhancement of the agencies’ powers,” he said."

Seems like he IS telling us what he is doing.


#14

“the ability to intercept ‘bulk communications data’, to subject that metadata to electronic analysis and to seek to extract the tiny percentage of communications data that may be of any direct security interest, does not represent an enhancement of the agencies’ powers,” he said."

Funny thing is, I actually agree with that statement, I just don’t see how he draws his preferred conclusion from it.


#15

Philip Hammond has equated gay marriage with incest, so factor that into how seriously you take his point of view.


#16

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