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WikiLeaks, Money, and Ron Paul

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the headlines-that-will-make-some-people-mad dept.

Censorship 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.

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Ron Paul (5, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528346)

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:Ron Paul (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528376)

'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 (5, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (0, Troll)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528532)

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.

Once again, how is this about freedom of speech? Whose speech is being suppressed? Whose newspapers have been shutdown? Whose radio stations have been shut down? Just who isn't able to say what they want to say here? Certainly not Julian Assange. On the contrary, he won't shut up.

This isn't about free speech, period. This is about a giant classified document dump. The only original writings involved are of government employees and officials. No one is suppressing the writings of Assange or any other protester.

If you want to make the argument that governments should have no secrets at all, that diplomats should have no confidential communications at all, then say that. But quit saying that this is a freedom of speech case.

Re:Ron Paul (5, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528580)

Governments absolutely should keep confidential secrets, but trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube once the cat is out of the bag is not only futile, but plainly wrong and, for yet another odd saying, shutting the barn door after the horse. Without evidence that they aided Manning in performing the GaGa transfer, the Wikileaks crew has broken no laws in the US and trying to shut them down/string Assange up is exactly that - trying to limit speech. Our First Amendment rights allow me to recite something that I didn't write - it's copyright I come up against. This is the Government, so no copyright and no foul. The military has the right idea re: removable media - we dun goofed, so let's learn and not do it again.

Re:Ron Paul (2)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528722)

Do you seriously believe that The US gov't is behind everything happening with Wikileaks? Obviously pissing off everyone hasn't helped Assange, but him being put(or rather forcing himself) into the public eye sure motivates Sweden to get on the ball over the (probably legitimate, or at least not politically motivated) rape charges. But the reason most of these companies are refusing to do business with wikileaks is because it's just bad press for them. Most people realise the tactlessness of the cable releases, and doubt not whether they can do this, but whether they should. Trying to say what's happening to Wikileaks is only government coersion is of an arrogance probably only equal to Assange himself.

I hope Wikileaks can fight through this, so they can be responsible about what they leak, instead of being some sort of diplomatic tabloid, and maybe have somebody who isn't a power maniac running the shop.

Re:Ron Paul (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528708)

>>>No one is suppressing the writings of Assange or any other protester

Yes. Yes they are.
They wish to silence him via arrest.

Re:Ron Paul (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528592)

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 (3, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528472)

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

Re:Ron Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528498)

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.

*cough*Abortion*cough*

Re:Ron Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528554)

yup. most important casualty of wikileaks: politicians egos. and possibly reelection efforts. that's what is driving them into a freaking whirlwhind.

pols: OMG - they know what we are doing; we have to stop this right away.

Re:Ron Paul (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528626)

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.

There absolutely is. Unfortunately, he got voted out so he's leaving DC in January. Goodbye, Russ Feingold. WTG Wisconsin.

Re:Ron Paul (4, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528736)

Feingold was part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, which I would say makes him a limiter of free speech. In essence, your right to mention an incumbent is contingent upon who funded you, and how close we are to the election. The Supreme Court has struck parts of this law out, but protecting incumbents so blatantly hardly earns him a gold star for defense of freedom. His opposition to the PATRIOT Act is noted, however.

Re:Ron Paul (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528630)

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?

Wounded, stupid national pride. Some of our knuckle-dragging citizens take great pride in our military strength, as if an obscene amount of their tax dollars spent on defending against largely imagined enemies somehow makes them great. The idea that one somewhat effete-looking foreigner beat the military is confusing and upsetting to them. That pride is already hurt because we were unable to pull off decisive victories in both the wars we started.

It's kind of like if the math geek the varsity football team looked down on took the quarterback's lunch money right after they lost to a junior team. Whether or not the QB had stolen that money from someone in the first place, even though the math geek stealing the money had nothing to do with their inability to win, and even though nothing bad came about the money stolen has little to do with it.

Re:Ron Paul (-1, Troll)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528676)

Except that all too often he says one thing, but votes another. Let's take earmarks. Paul is quoted as saying that earmarks do not increase spending, as the simply direct budgeted amounts. The problem is that when budgeted amounts are spent, then they get budgeted again in the next cycle, with increases, which increases the size of government and increases the government distortion on the free market. This distortion goes beyond the budgeting cycle.

Look at one example where Ron Paul demanded that 3/4 of million dollars be used for a bus stop. If the money had not be spent, this could have been cut from the next budget. Furthermore, the bus stop distorts the free market by forcing the taxpayer rather than the individual to cover the individuals commuter costs. Some would say that by building a bus statin we don't have to build freeways, but that assumes we have to build freeways to reduce congestion, which we do not. We can allow the free market to operate. If people can't get to work, then they will find other jobs. If they can't find a job, then they will move to a location where they can find a job. Individuals are no entitled to a lake front home or a high paying job, and Paul should not take from the the taxpayer cover these individual expenses. This is the way that the free market operates. Not by government subsiding infrastructure that favors certain individuals, but by individuals making choices of how to use their personal resources in a most efficient fashion.

Then, of course, there is conservative get-out-of-jail-free card that even he uses. Out of the 17 million dollars he stole from taxpayers, mostly for gifts to his buddies in the name of socialist job creation for his constituents. Almost 10 million went to defense contractors. For those who do not know, firms go into defense contracting when they cannot run a legitimate free market business

It is also interesting to note, that as far as I can tell, while he gave huge sums to the dying petrochemical industry, he did not earmark a penny to help NASA and the space industry, something that could help his district in a post-oil world.

All this wasteful spending, which by itself is not a huge problem, has be to be taken in the context of his contempt for the IRS. I know of at least one case where the IRS tried to collect from a family in which all indicators suggested that they were tax cheats. Paul's office helped them, and it turned out they probably not tax cheats, but Paul gave no credit to the IRS. Now, if Paul were not building million dollar bus stops and paying 3 million dollars to his friends for 'defense' such attack on the IRS would be ok. But rational people understand that many of our current deficit problems result from offering services that every agrees we need, like payments to the old, defense, etc, while not taxing for those services. Taxing the families in Pauls districts under the pre-bush-era tax cuts would more than cover the bribes that Paul gives his friends through earmarks, but without these taxes we go into debt. Going into debt for bribes is the reason so many want earmarks to go away.

Re:Ron Paul (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528730)

Ron Paul considers it Congresses' job to designate where the money will be spent, because if it's not designated, the president will spend the money randomly.

His son Rand disagrees with his dad, and I don't think it matters because earmarks represents just 1/100th of 1% of the total budget. There are more important expenditures that need to be reduced like the military and SS (exclude the rich from getting benefits) which represent over one-half of the budget.

Okaaaaayyyy... (5, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528466)

If there is a god, Rule34 will pass on this one.

I think one should avoid the various furry art pages the next days even more than usually.

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (2)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528632)

If there is a god, Rule34 will pass on this one.

I think the mere existence of Rule 34 is already proof there's not a god.

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (1)

spec8472 (241410) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528474)

Why not? I hear Julian Assange knows a few hot swedish chicks...

*ahem*

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528570)

These chicks will have you charged with rape, however.
But on the bright side, they will also write on their blogs how much they admire you and how amazing you are.

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528638)

I don't know man. Judging by the pictures, it looks like Assange can score some good looking ladies. If we can assume he'll be with an entourage, I might be willing to put up with RP, VP, and a cow.

Re:Okaaaaayyyy... (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528668)

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.

Why not!?! I don't know how conversations usually go before, during, or after interspecies orgies usually go, but I'm guessing the most interesting ones ever would be at THAT orgy. The book deal alone would probably cover the therapy bills.

It goes like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528754)

Ron Paul, Julian Assange, Vladmir Putin, and a cow walk into a bar.

Then a hockey puck says, "what is this, some kind of joke?"

Electronic currency (2)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528398)

It exists and it's called valuable metals , gold and silver come to mind.
When it comes to money , fuck digital bullshit.

Re:Electronic currency (5, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Electronic currency (2)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528518)

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 shiny circular pieces of metal we keep exchanging for goods and services.

Re:Electronic currency (3, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 [bitcoin.org]. 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.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528690)

Bitcoin never really interested me but I have to say, wierd or not ripple actually sounds like a really neat idea.

I imagine that it also would require that information be publicly available about financial transactions in order to work, our currency is already mostly trust based so it's not that big a leap in real terms though people might find it a bit odd.

It could also be a headache in terms of tax, governments aren't going to leave transactions untaxed unless they're trivial so I'd wonder what the tax liabilities of the various parties would be under such a system.

Re:Electronic currency (4, Informative)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528500)

Please, for the love of the written text: read the damn FAQ http://www.bitcoin.org/faq [bitcoin.org] *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.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528516)

The computing proof-of-work is a way to make the money non-free for the purpose of initial allocation _without any central authority_. Once a unit of currency exists, that processing is over and done with. And eventually the whole space is allocated.

Do you have a better way to do it? I'm not following how your proposal works.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528598)

That's not quite correct. The proof of work must continue for as long as BitCoins is in use. There is another proof of work that's used for "mining" coins and eventually that will stop, but for transactions to take place securely there must be lots of CPU power being burned - enough combined power to prevent a big botnet herder taking over the network.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

doublec (891422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528634)

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?

That's not completely correct IMHO. Many forum members have no problems with Bitcoin being used by groups like WikiLeaks. The reasons for those who don't want them to use it vary but the most common I've seen is that they're worried that it's too soon for Bitcoin. There may be implementation issues or existing limits in Bitcoin that are large influx of users would make it difficult to fix or workaround. For these reasons some members seem to be preferring a slow and cautious approach to promoting Bitcoin.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528660)

Bitcoin is a scam.

According to the article, you can earn "up to 50 bitcoins in 3 weeks". That's 3 weeks of cumputation-intensive work.

So, your 504 hours of "work" yields you 50 bitcoins, worth ... wait for it - "about 20 cents each." $10.00. That's less than 2 cents an hour. It won't even cover the electric bill. And that's IF you can get 20 cents a coin.

Let's face it - computers are cheap. If businesses are buying your cpu cycles, it's because it costs them less than the ongoing costs of running a bank of boxes, not the initial capital costs.

This was done to death years ago when bitcoin first came out. It wasn't viable then, and with rising energy costs, it's even less viable now,

Re:Electronic currency (1)

wcoenen (1274706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528678)

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.

You might be thinking of Ripple [ripple-project.org]. It is not centralized though.

Re:Electronic currency (5, Interesting)

diablo-d3 (175104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528704)

I'm one of the major third party developers (I wrote DiabloMiner [github.com], 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.

Re:Electronic currency (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528738)

Bitcoin doesn't understand economics.

The total eventual circulation will be 21 million bitcoins. There will never be more coins than that.

So if a Bitcoin is eventually worth $100 US Dollars, it'll be useless for most transactions? Not a good plan.

Are my Bitcoins safe? As long as you make backups of your Bitcoin wallet, protect it with a strong password and keep keyloggers away from your computer.

The plan for protecting accounts is... you're on your own!

Re:Electronic currency (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528776)

Bitcoins can be split up into much smaller pieces. A "coin" is a fairly arbitrary sized unit of value. So, the limited number of coins really isn't a big deal.

Trust Xipwire? (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528374)

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? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528612)

I don't trust PayPal: it's an unregulated global banking monopoly

[...]

What about Xipwire?

This is a pet peeve of mine. If Paypal is a monopoly then there is no competition, by definition. There would be no Xipwire to fill in the gap when Paypal drops a customer.

Oh my gosh... (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Oh my gosh... (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528458)

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... (5, Interesting)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Oh my gosh... (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528760)

>>>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... (-1, Flamebait)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528560)

The reporters who reveled the watergate scandal, also kept lots of it secrets and didn't divulge into every piece of paper the republican's created that year, only the parts that referenced the scandal.

Wikileaks simply dumped the entire contents onto the web. So far there hasn't been anything really damning about them, except the fact that diplomatic relationships are now shattered across the world.

How would you like every note you passed in class, every text you have sent, and every conversation where you said something bad about a friend to be posted to your facebook wall? how many fights would you get into? That is what wikileaks did. They didn't post scandalous behavior, they didn't post wrong doing or corruption, they posted everything said between two private parties, in private conversations.

Right now go look through your IM logs, text logs, and emails, between you and your friends and figure out just how damning some of them are.

Re:Oh my gosh... (4, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528620)

You have no idea what you're talking about. Please stop.

You say nothing damning? What cables have you been reading?

In July 2009, a confidential originating from the U.S. State Department ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on the leader of the United Nations, Secretary general Ban Ki-moon, and other top U.N. officials.[1] The intelligence info the diplomats were ordered to gather included biometric information, passwords, and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications.

In 2009, the U.S. manipulated — via spying, threats, and bribes — the Copenhagen global climate change summit to prevent any agreement to be reached leading to the overall failure of summit.

According to a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul, Vice President of Afghanistan, Ahmad Zia Massoud, was found carrying $52 million in cash that he “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.”

There's more but that's what I found in about 2 minutes on wikipedia.

And the government works for us, they have no right to secrets. It is completely different from a private citizen's communications being leaked.

Re:Oh my gosh... (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528748)

a diplomats very job is to be a legal spy in a given country. he won't run around with a gun, but he will be learning anything and everything he can to make sure his country has the information they may or may not need. Most diplomats are also in charge of real spies. either directly or indirectly.

2009 global climate, sound like normal diplomacy to me. See China manipulating people to boycott the nobel peace prize.

no american has a right to detain or control the leader of another country if he is carrying armed weapons, cash, or even illegal drugs. now proper authorities might be contacted so he can be limited movements, but he had to be let go as he wasn't a threat to the Embassy or it's personnel. Are you saying that it is right for American's to interrupt and arrest foreign officials, because that is what it is you are saying.

Do you have any idea what diplomats actually do? or are you another moron. Do you have any idea on the limits of their abilities? Because it sounds like you are just another moron shouting out that it is wrong when you can't even under stand the concept of sovereign foreign countries.

Re:Oh my gosh... (4, Insightful)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528658)

The reporters who reveled the watergate scandal, also kept lots of it secrets and didn't divulge into every piece of paper the republican's created that year, only the parts that referenced the scandal.

Wikileaks simply dumped the entire contents onto the web. So far there hasn't been anything really damning about them, except the fact that diplomatic relationships are now shattered across the world.

That's why those of us who are paying attention compare Wikileaks to the Pentagon Papers, not to Watergate. The Pentagon Papers were also a verbatim dump of masses of documents which contained a lot of mundane stuff which Beacon Press published, in addition to the juicier excerpts published by the NYT.

Re:Oh my gosh... (2)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528698)

So far there hasn't been anything really damning about them

It has, but its fine that you feel happy thinking the contrary.

Re:Oh my gosh... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528716)

Wikileaks did not dump the entire contents onto the web. It released less than 2000 out of the 250,000 it holds and those it did release were redacted and published first in the newspapers.

The claim that Wikileaks simply dumped everything is a lie spread by the media.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/10/wikileaks_media/index.html

Re:Oh my gosh... (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528478)

He could be 60 years younger and still have no chance of advancing his goals, since most people are not willing to go back to a pre-industrial revolution society, which is what would be necessary under his approach to environmental protection.

Re:Oh my gosh... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528614)

Need I remind you that we are in, what some would call, a "post industrial" stage? After all, a big part of our industry is now outside of U.S. borders not employing or being operated by U.S. people. Hell, even a lot of our intellectual activities are being done overseas, so what are we actually being left with?

Re:Oh my gosh... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528526)

Ron Paul has been in office for 30 years. Another 30 years wouldn't be any more productive than the 30 years he's already had. Our system has problems that cannot be fixed from within.

The West is too reliant on American services (5, Interesting)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528380)

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.

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528396)

I was actually thinking about this. Forget government control of the internet - the true people who control all web commerce are private credit card companies. If the large ones all say - abandoned support for paypal - the ramnifications for e-commerce would be devastating.

We need a government-controlled internet money please.

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528424)

government-controlled internet money

I don't know how is it supposed to be better...

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (4, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528464)

Redundant Array of Inexpensive Developers

I believe the correct technical term for this is offshoring

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528588)

You mean like 'government-controlled paper money' which we have already?

What's the alternative? Owned by a private company? At least the government has to pretend its doing whatever it does for the good of the people - companies are there to maximise profit.

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (2)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528430)

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 that saved us from the USSR. It collapsed under the weight of internal problems. The west didn't do it. It wasn't the fact that "communism doesn't work" - they never tried it. Neither was it violence - the violent people were in charge anyway.
What broke it up was thousands of different groups pulling their own way, There was ethnic division, political strife, economic carnage, and total dissolusionment with the whole idea of their empire.

Sounds like nowadays doesn't it?

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (1, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528470)

I've never understood why the rest of the world doesn't seem to have an EFTPOS system that doesn't rely on America

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (3, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528548)

It does (well in quite a few countries). That's precisely what I've just outlined (in response to the OP's assertion that all other Western countries are reliant on Visa/MC - it's not true).

Having said that, it varies by country a lot...

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528636)

Easy, Because the United States of America is the richest, mightiest, most powerful, and most influential nation on Earth.

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528442)

In all honesty, I am more concerned about the Swedish banks locking the Wikileaks account(s). Aren't they suppose to be the most neutral state in all affairs? Sure, they may not want to open accounts to the children of Jewish people that died in WW2 by working to hide accounts... but they are suppose to have some semblance of trustworthiness if the people are still alive.

[offtopic]
"A wise man can see more from a mountain top than a fool can from the bottom of a well." -- Isn't that backwards?

Re:The West is too reliant on American services (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528486)

Its perfectly possible to live and buy stuff without ever having anything to do with PayPal. (I do it)

Although the problem in the US is that electronic transfers between accounts are expensive. (here in .au, I make them all the time and it doesn't const me a cent)

VISA supports the KKK (4, Informative)

Error27 (100234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528394)

2600.org points out that if you want to make a donation to the KKK [kkk.org] then Visa is everywhere you want to be.

Re:VISA supports the KKK (5, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528416)

2600.org 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.

Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528400)

“So, you know, as they say in the countryside, some people’s cows can moo, but yours should keep quiet. So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues,"

Its all russian to me.

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (2)

Calydor (739835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528444)

My perception of it, and to be fair I'm not Russian nor do I know a lot about the mentality of Russian farmers, is this:

When your neighbors' animals are making noises that are completely natural to them, this be cows mooing or dogs barking, you don't really pay attention to it. The sound is just there. But if it's your own making the noise you start trying to make them keep quiet through a strange perception that it will reflect badly on you that your animals are noisy.

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (3, Interesting)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528522)

Almost, though I think it's more like: when your animals start making noise, your neighbor starts complaining that you're too noisy, which is hypocritical of them 'cause their animals make just as much noise. The part about the puck is just a colorful way of saying "right back at ya!", i.e. you shouldn't lecture us about free press if you're arresting the only real journalist the West has left (I'm extrapolating a little bit, but that was the spirit of what he said).

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (1)

Grapplebeam (1892878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528680)

I thought when it said "break out" in the summary, that they literally keep metaphors in gulags made of ice in Siberia. In this case, it was more like a new pop star found on Youtube: Confusing, mildly embarassing, and someone needed to explain it.

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (1)

ninja59 (1029474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528494)

No, no clue what that was supposed to mean. Guessing, I would say that it refers to either the hypocrisy of arresting someone for charges (we assume) are false to avoid arresting him (illegally) for what they want to arrest him for, or a kind of "taste of your own medicine" type thing; as in the US makes a lot of noise about the bad stuff others do but hey look you guys do it too with a hockey playing cow.

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528616)

as in the US makes a lot of noise about the bad stuff others do but hey look you guys do it too with a hockey playing cow.

I never thought Canadian cow-tippers would have anything to do with international politics!

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528504)

I'm not Russian, but I think I understand what he means. Mostly because my country has quite odd social standards and norms sometimes. Let me explain.

You don't care if your neighbors cows make noise, but you want yours to be quiet. So you can strut and brag how well trained your cows are, compared to the dumb animals your neighbor has. The noise doesn't really bother you, but the common agreement is that it is bothering. I admit that's not easy to grasp as a concept.

There are certain "norms", also in my country, where certain things are supposedly "annoying", while others are supposedly "pleasant". Even though few people actually feel that way. If any at all. But convention dictates that it should be like this. Russian convention apparently dictates that you should be annoyed by cows mooing. So if your cows moo, you feel bad and feel like you should apologize to everyone around, because your mooing cows supposedly annoy everyone. Again: Nobody is really bothered by it, but everything is supposed to be. In turn, you don't care that your neighbors cows moo because they don't "really" bother you and you don't really care too much that it "should" bother you.

Of course, he could mean something completely different and it's just lost in translation.

Re:Did anyone understand Putin's Metaphor? (1)

Hobbes_2100 (171980) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528728)

I think the portion about cows is mostly clear -- there's different standard that the US applies to US cows (media) and that the US applies to non-US cows (media).

The puck *ahem* probably refers to the biological excrement of a cow used in a "sporting" fashion. So, foreign cow deposits US dirt and it gets a slap shot back in the US's face.

Best,
Mark

Paul Vixie is an hypocrite (1, Insightful)

luca (6883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528434)

  1. 1. both sides are willing to inflict collateral damage on innocent third parties and can offer arguments as to why their cause warrants this;
  2. 2. each side thinks the other is evil and must be opposed and that the rule of law is neither fast enough nor effective enough to get the job done;
  3. 3. both sides believe that the other side must not be allowed to communicate normally with customers, suppliers, supporters, etc.

How can the man that created maps [mail-abuse.com], to which all of the above applies, say these things with a straight face?.

Mob rule justified? (3, Insightful)

leromarinvit (1462031) | more than 3 years ago | (#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

Re:Mob rule justified? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528536)

Vixie's fallacy is that the law is impartial, and that the rule of law does not favor either side but instead wants to distribute "justice".

That's not the case.

The law always supports the side that makes the law.

Vladimir Putin to break out a metaphor (1)

Reality Master 301 (1462839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528450)

"In soviet russia, even cows play hockey"?

Re:Vladimir Putin to break out a metaphor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528490)

well, they do have a women's national hockey team http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia_women%27s_national_ice_hockey_team

Re:Vladimir Putin to break out a metaphor (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528542)

Read the title - It says "ICE hockey team", not "Hockey team". Ice hockey is played on ice, hockey is not.

Re:Vladimir Putin to break out a metaphor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528514)

"In Soviet Russia, even hockey plays cow!"

The Dark Side (3, Interesting)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:The Dark Side (2)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528726)

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 stands for, but he's got this one right.

Bitwhat? (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Bitwhat? (2)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528720)

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 right thought process about money.

Re:Bitwhat? (3, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Good publicity (2)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528646)

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.

they whole story.. (1, Redundant)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528734)

These articles comments always seem to turn into an America bashing session (which, I have to admit is not only really cliche, but the obvious and easy target, and yes, there is plenty the US does wrong). But that fact is, the US, in this case, is the first ones to get caught. Does anyone really think that the US government is the ONLY ONE playing these kinds of diplomatic games? Gathering this kind of Intel? The stories that have come out about these cables are not really that surprising at all. What concerns me most is that PFC McDumbass was able to access these files and release them. Our (the US) security for these types of documents really needs to be fixed...
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