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Beto O'Rourke's membership in America's oldest hacking group (reuters.com)
498 points by mpiedrav 41 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 370 comments



He named his BBS "TacoLand". He should definitely play up this angle...maybe campaign on a taco cart on every corner. I know people who will vote for him for that alone.

This piece is a disaster. It's an excerpt from a soon to be released book, it's light on facts about O'Rourke and is at least equally about Cult of the Dead Cow, it's trying to make things sound more nefarious than they were, and it's playing the guilt by association card. The only questionable activities by O'Rourke are:

- he dialed long distance without paying for it.

- he used pirated software.

(Not that I'm defending this behavior, but so did I.)

And he wrote fiction that barely rises to the level of a really bad Stephen King'esque short story.

That's it.


>it's trying to make things sound more nefarious than they were, and it's playing the guilt by association card

Are we reading the same article? If anything this article seems like a submarine PR puff piece to me, made to increase the image of Beto by making him seem "cool" and "hip" by associating him with the typically-seen-as-sexy "hacker" scene. This article is very similar to the pro-Beto stuff that was all over Texas during his senate campaign.


We are in a world where the exact same video of Beto skateboarding was posted by both opponents and supporters and each saw what they wanted in it.

I would challenge the idea that being a “hacker” polls well for a presidential candidate. Recall that “hacking” was a bit of a problem in 2016.


Fox News: "Young Beto O'Rourke wrote 'murder fantasy' about running over children, was part of famed hacking group: report"

CNET: "Beto O'Rourke has serious hacker credentials. The presidential candidate was a member of hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow"

WaPo: "'Psychedelic Warlord': Beto O'Rourke's past life as a teenage hacker" and "Beto O’Rourke’s hacking universe, explained."

Sources:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/beto-orourke-wrote-murder-f...

https://www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/beto-orourke-has-seriou...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/psychedelic-wa...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/15/beto-orou...


I thought you made these headlines up to show how the same news might hypothetically be presented by different outlets and thought you got them pretty spot on. Then I saw the sources. What a sad world we live in.


You forgot buzzfeed ... you won't believe the ten things Beto O'Rourke did to win the White House.


There's another side of that "hacking was a bit of a problem in 2016" - namely that tech savvy politicians are in short supply[1]. Associating Beto with a well known hacker group boosts his credibility wrt tech.

[1] particularly when combined with tonedeaf and heavy handed legislation/regulation about the internet.


This will be an interesting conversation (tech savvy vs tech dumb) to play out this round.

The current president argued during his campaign that the problems with the country arose from "bad deals" and his experience and expertise at "deal making" was the solution to this problem.

Beto might argue during his campaign that the problems with the country arise from unacknowledged cyber warfare in both social media and voting systems. He could then argue that he is uniquely qualified to lead the government to a more solid footing in that regard and protect the democracy.

Both are simplistic arguments of the form problem is X, I'm an expert in X, I can lead a group to fix X.

Opponents will of course spin up the fear of X and especially if X can be used to achieve the goals of the proponent, try to paint them as being part of the problem not the solution.

Unlike the current administrations "Space" force, I could see a justification for a "Cyber" force if such a force provided protection against, and options for maneuver in an algorithmically generated battlefield.


We already have a "Cyber force", offensive operations legally fall under the overview of the D.o.D (Cyber Command & the NSA components (TAO)).


Only among people (as here) who have much greater than average tech knowledge, and probably a far more nuanced understanding of the various possible meanings of "hacker".

Elsewhere, the words "hacker" and "hacking" have an almost universally negative connotation.


>Only among people (as here) who have much greater than average tech knowledge

Which might be the whole point of this piece:

>But the political balance allows him to appeal to both main strands of political thought in Silicon Valley – a key source of campaign money and cultural influence.


> I would challenge the idea that being a “hacker” polls well for a presidential candidate

He’s a candidate in a primary. Big difference in the audiences.


> He’s a candidate in a primary. Big difference in the audiences.

The Democratic primary electorate is probably the segment of the population with the strongest negative impact around the 2016 election hacking that was evoked in the grandparent post, so while true your comment reinforces rather than negates the point.


It gives him at least a touch of credibility in a time where the Democratic primary voters increasingly turn on CSPAN to watch Congressional Committee hearings and watch as a vast majority of their 535 representatives butcher basic facts about technology that they internalized since teenagers. Given the rapid pace of technological development, I don't see this as a negative, assuming he didn't do anything more nefarious than phreak or pirate as a kid.


And he's just somebody new. Parties seem to have a tendency to wheel out old candidates who have tried and failed to get past the primaries multiple times already (thinking of Biden, in particular here, but that's just one example). Not sure why that is.


> Parties seem to have a tendency to wheel out old candidates

Parties don't wheel out candidates, candidates seek the party nomination. Candidates who have done so in the past and whose on-paper qualifications and public esteem have increased since then often remain inclined to do so and have a basis for expecting they might do better.

Many party voters are also inclined to vote for these candidates; some of these are long time supporters.

I'm more surprised that candidates whose resume includes only some local politics, a few terms in the House, and a failed Senate bid throw their hat in to the Presidential ring than that those that spent 36 years in the Senate and run for President twice before, serving for eight years as Vice President after his most recent Presidential run, do so.


Highly politicized voters tend to see things through a tribal lense: our tribe resists bad people with fists if necessary, their tribe does violence. Our leader has a freethinking stance to sex, their leader is sexual predator. There are of course a few of universally bad, and universally good things, but "hacker" certainly doesn't fall to these categories.


This sort of thing where both fans and haters have to talk about the same thing has been very good to AOC and Trump.


>I would challenge the idea that being a “hacker” polls well for a presidential candidate.

I agree with this. It seems an odd stance to take (assuming O'Rourke commissioned, or was at least okay with, this piece) given how other candidates are taking an explicitly hostile stance toward Big Tech. The media has done a fantastic job of convincing people that "election hacking" was a huge problem in 2016 (it wasn't), so it's curious why whatever consultant is working for this campaign decided this was good positioning.


From the article:

Still, it’s unclear whether the United States is ready for a presidential contender who, as a teenager, stole long-distance phone service for his dial-up modem, wrote a murder fantasy in which the narrator drives over children on the street, and mused about a society without money.

This doesn't read as very pro-Beto to me.


A single sentence in an otherwise glamorizing and embellishing article does not a anti-Beto piece make.

That sentence doesn't even read as not pro-Beto to me, either. It's more of a neutral "this guy is really cool, but is he cool enough?" rhetorical.


"wrote a murder fantasy in which the narrator drives over children on the street" doesn't sound particularly pro-Beto to me?


"Wrote a fantasy-novel equivalent of GTA", how about that?


It seems beto-safe to me. Of all the details in this story, this child death fiction no doubt required a strategic approach. It's the weirdest of the bunch and the sort of thing that an opponent would love.

In this case, it seems the best way to play it was to just cut to the chase. Summarize it as brutally as Trump could and just be the first to say it. Get it out there so that an opponent can't ride it's energy.


It depends on how it's it's spun. They could be trying to sell his cool "bad boy" image. Some polling research must have shown them this is appealing to enough voters and others are not paying too much attention. He already has the DUI thing and apparently wrote a fantasy novel about running over children with his car. So maybe they don't have much to lose and might as well go for the cool troublemaker / hacker thing.


It's unclear why the author of the article is unsure what type of president the US is ready for, right after they elected Donald Trump.


'typically-seen-as-sexy "hacker" scene'? By who?

His association with At The Drive-In gives him more street cred than any tenuous relationship with hacking.


Society glamorizes hackers hard. Have you ever seen War Games? The Matrix? Live Free or Die Hard? Mr Robot? Blackhat? Any recent spy movie? What about the multitude of other movies/shows where hackers aren't the focus, but are certainly glamorized, a la NCIS, CSI, Limitless, etc. There's an entire genre of film & television about hackers and they are almost always portrayed as cool, attractive, powerful people with the world at their fingertips.


It's almost an exact copy-paste of the "spy / secret agent" mythos of the cold war.

They don't use their real names, they have gadgets and mysterious power, not from magic but from skill. They operate outside traditional power structures and governments, you don't know who's working for whom, and they never seem far from a trenchcoat.


I'm sad that you failed to mention the original /Hackers/ movie as well as /Swordfish/ -- two staples of Defcon movie nights.


Ah! I had Swordfish in mind but my brain blanked and I couldn't think of the name. For Hackers, I have no excuse.


Sneakers with Robert Redford


Yes! Another great classic Hacker flick.


Sneakers worked well because it had A-list actors playing up the social engineering aspect, which an A-list actor can do. It had comparatively little meditation on the hardware and technical aspects and from a plot and longevity perspective I think that was a particular strength of the movie.


> Society glamorizes hackers hard.

Hollywood glamorizes hackers, like violence, crime, rock n roll, space travel, and just about everything else hard.

At the risk of hyperbole, if society glamorized hackers hard, Aaron Swartz might still be with us.


This was what I was going to say. I'm not sure society itself has internalized Hollywood's glamorization of hackers, and the glamorization is more a product of trying to make something mundane seem more interesting in the context of a film.


... have you seen War Games?


You mean the movie where a quirky-but-lovable nerd garners the attention of an attractive and popular girl who is fascinated by his hacking abilities and then goes on to kiss the girl, outsmart the FBI, and save the entire world from nuclear annihilation by typing stuff into a computer terminal? That WarGames?

Yea, I've seen it.


War Games is what made me want to get a modem, back in the 80's!


This 100%. It's obviously tidying up a situation which could break bad in somebody else's hands.


Agreed. Beto’s biggest concern is the Dem primary, and his biggest criticism is being too centrist and status quo. Appearing to be ahead of the tech curve and walking the edge of hacker-disobedience makes him more palatable to his critics during the primary phase.


> He named his BBS "TacoLand".

It certainly wouldn't have been unusual for a young Beto O'Rourke (or any other Texan) to have tacos on his mind for any number of reasons, but "Taco Land" was the name of a punk bar in San Antonio. It was well known to Texas punks and their ilk and was immortalized by the Dead Milkmen in the late 80s by their song "Tacoland".


Indeed. "You'll understand, when you go on down to tacoland." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsDmUcvrCbI


This feels like someone trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and link connections that really don't exist.

According to the article O'Rourke left the CDC boards turned 18 and went to college. He's 46, so we are talking 1989 or 1990.

The article then talks up all the Back Orifice/Hacktavism stuff which was a solid decade after he left. It's not like Beto's helping Virus and Sir Dystic write SMBRelay...


The article itself has Beto at Beyond HOPE in 1997.


Honestly the drunk driving was the worst takeaway from the story. Maybe he is the next Kennedy haha.


The fact that this is coming out so early in the presidential cycle is a good thing for him though. Lots of time for it to become old news. Lots of time for him to spin it. He seems to be good at spin.

Anyway this makes me respect him more.

Anyone know his handle btw?


Hah same for me. Though a politician who actually knows how to use a computer can probably do a lot more for democracy in the Senate than the oval office.


This was intentionally pushed by his campaign precisely for that reason - to get all the dirt out while they can control the spin. Better to burn the story now that he’s “just” a primary candidate.


Do you have evidence for that or are you guessing? (I have nothing against guessing, but I'd like to know when that's what people are doing)


I mean that would make sense but source?


The way it's stated, to me, indicates clear coordination: "Members of the group have protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O’Rourke as one of their own. In all, more than a dozen members of the group agreed to be named for the first time in a book about the hacking group by this reporter that is scheduled to be published in June by Public Affairs. O’Rourke was interviewed early in his run for the Senate".

So the reporter interviewed him first then went to the other members, who somehow "flipped" uncharacteristically (unlike they had done before). The book will be published in June but the reporter decided to start banging the drum much earlier, which is more convenient for O'Rourke than for his sales (he's basically given all the good bits away already). If he wanted to maximize exposure and sales, he would have waited for the eve of a primary; like this, it helps O'Rourke get the dirt out early.

Speculation? I'd just call it realism.


Don't forget that he was also quite a wordsmith (NSFW) -

http://textfiles.com/groups/CDC/cDc-0050.txt


Warning: NSFW ^

(though cool, NSFW)


Taco Trucks on every corner. God I loved that quote. https://youtu.be/PzbusRK7YKM?t=360


Heres a TextFile listing his old BBS number if it is TacoLand:

http://www.textfiles.com/groups/CDC/cDc-0080.txt

Also whats up with textfiles.com having so many broken links on Google? So much for that whole "Archive Team" angle.


What are you talking about?


http://bbslist.textfiles.com/ -> COLLECTED COPIES OF BBS LISTS -> 404


That's the so many broken links? OK


Thats the most obvious I've several I've found but OK.


I can't even connect to textfiles.com at all right now.


I agree the piece isn't very informative and is very scattered. That being said, this is definitely the most questionable thing:

> "When he was younger, he was arrested on drunk-driving charges"

That will follow him into the campaign far more than his CDC membership.


That will certainly be brought up in the campaign, but it was brought up in his House races and the Senate race and didn't seem to have much of an impact.


> That will certainly be brought up in the campaign, but it was brought up in his House races and the Senate race and didn't seem to have much of an impact.

A very actively contested Presidential primary isn't the same thing as a House or Senate race, and he didn't win the Senate race, either.


That's true. I mostly meant that it isn't a new development, it's been in the news before.


It was a close race, and he lost. That seems like an impact.


A Democrat losing in a race in Texas isn't exactly a shocking development.


And he did significantly better than most people and polls expected he'd do. 3 points, getting more votes than Hillary and Obama in a midterm year through persuasion more than turnout.


This after that, therefore because of that-you say?


>> "When he was younger, he was arrested on drunk-driving charges"

>That will follow him into the campaign far more than his CDC membership.

Will it? It didn't hurt George W. Bush.

Admitting to smoking pot didn't hurt Obama.

And Donald Trump... Jesus wept, Donald Trump.


Smoking pot is not the same as endangering lives. Also Donald Trump doesn't drink, let-alone drink and drive.

There's few crimes that are more dangerous than drinking and driving.


The point is that these people all have incidents in their past which should, in theory, have hurt them politically, but which in practice, didn't.


And my point is not all past incidents are created equal. So it's hard to compare the effects.


Is being arrested for drunken driving materially different than having not been arrested while drunken driving?

And hasn’t pretty much almost anyone driven drunk at least once?


> And hasn’t pretty much almost anyone driven drunk at least once?

No...


By drunk I mean above the legal BAC. It’s pretty easy to have a few beers and be above the legal limit.


It's also pretty easy to have a few beers and not drive


I wouldn’t call it very easy. You drive to a place and have some beers. Then you have the choice of leaving your car or drive above the BAC. Most people choose the latter.


> I wouldn’t call it very easy

Yes it is.

> You drive to a place and have some beers.

It's quite easy to decide not to drive to a place if you are going to have a few beers over too short of a time to safely and legally drive home, or to choose not to have too many beers if you need to drive to and from the place.


To your second question, no. To your first — it seems likelier that Beto had more than one drunk driving occasion before the time he was arrested. The circumstances of his arrest don’t look the best for him, with one witness claiming he attempted to leave the scene of the accident: https://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2018/sep/25/beto...


>And hasn’t pretty much almost anyone driven drunk at least once?

Not once ever. That's super irresponsible.

To be honest, I do think a little less of Beto for it. Is it enough to move a vote, probably not - but it's not helpful.


dialed long distance without paying for it.

In the right generation, isn't that practically a job requirement for a CSO?


> In the right generation, isn't that practically a job requirement for a CSO?

Which, were he applying for a job as a CSO, might be relevant.


> (Not that I'm defending this behavior, but so did I.)

Same. I bet every one of us in this thread did, too! At least the pirated software part.


I think "TacoLand" has a meaning that could be awkward.

The food can be a metaphor for genitalia or for the attached humans. For example a tacofest, much like a sausagefest, is a gathering in which one sex is greatly overrepresented compared to the other. Meat goes in a taco.

So, one can guess what was featured on his BBS.


This comment says more about you than Beto.


You can look up his textfiles if you want to see what was on the BBS.


He wrote this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20041214030544/http://www.cultde...

That at least somewhat supports my interpretation. I was thinking more along the lines of image files.


That he was an edgy teenager? Yeah.

Image files back in the 80s weren't super common because everybody was on slow dialup and had crappy CGA graphics. There was a fair bit of risque ANSI crawls from groups like ACID and ICE, but they were usually too artistic to be considered just porn.


Why are all the articles about Beto about how cool and antiestablishment he is? Just absolutely nothing about what he really intends to do, how he intends to do it, and most importantly, how do we reconcile his conservative voting record with this contrary image he presents?


> how do we reconcile his conservative voting record with this contrary image he presents?

Because a good representative represents their people. And as a Texan, I can assure you that his left-leaning constituents weren't always the majority he had to represent.

Any politician who blindly ignores a large segment of their constituents (even the ones that didn't vote for them) isn't someone you want in office. I don't have to name specific examples for you to know who I'm talking about.


>I can assure you that his left-leaning constituents weren't always the majority he had to represent.

This is definitely the case. It's interesting to watch Texas, as demographically it shifts from a traditionally conservative white voting block to a much more diverse state that will naturally vote democratic. Give it another election cycle or two and turning at least one Senate seat blue is almost assured.


He represented an urban district which was overwhelming blue. Are you sure his constituents were holding him back in this regard?


Blue doesn't mean far left progressive. Being a Democrat in Texas isn't necessarily the same as being a Democrat in a more progressive state. So "blue" is an ambiguous term here.


It's very possible it's an artifact of two things:

(1) Having risen to national fame by being a not-Ted-Cruz candidate.

(2) How Texas culture works.

How do you contrast yourself with Ted Cruz? Well, Cruz is a very common type of character in Texas. Baptist, often wears a suit, a little stodgy and uptight but apparently earnest in his beliefs, probably watches football and has very innocuous / safe musical tastes, and casts his lot with the traditional Southern social fabric that exists here. I know a million guys like Cruz.

But as big as that cultural bubble is, there are also tons of people who live outside it. You could almost go so far as saying that every Texan decides at some point whether they're going to live in that bubble.

In the language of Texas culture, Beto is basically saying, hey, I'm not one of these traditionalists. I'm different than that. And he is, even if he has some conservative views. The message makes sense to a Texan.

Whether it will translate to a national audience is another question entirely, and I think it probably won't. He'll have to change his message. Also, he got a lot of momentum because people wanted to support whoever opposed Cruz, and he'll need something else to create that kind of energy now.


Because on the questions of what he intends to do and how he intends to do it, he has been maddeningly vague. It's hard to write about what somebody is going to do when they refuse to tell you.

(In his defense, this vagueness can actually be read as strategic. Barack Obama took a similar tack in 2008, and it let people project onto him pretty much any profile they wanted. In politics, specificity can be a career limiter.)


Obama's strategy was good for his time, in 2020 I think candidates will need to be much more specific and forceful about their policy intents.


It's how the establishment pushes new politicians on you. Why should this person receive any coverage at all?


> Why should this person receive any coverage at all?

In most polling (see https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/democr...), if the poll includes O'Rourke he consistently pulls about the same amount of support as Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and more than Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand. So there's definitely enough demand for him out there to make him worth covering.


He's one of the more charismatic contenders, is young, and has a large cult following both in a deeply red state and online. Those factors naturally lead to coverage, at least in today's press.


Because politics is about feelings. The aim is for you to empathize and identify the politician. Conversely, evoke disgust and fear against your opponent. It’s the weakness of humanity being exploited.


He has to vote as to what his constituents want. Also having more swing votes in each party is exactly what we need. We don't complain about Susan Collins voting with the democrats on occasion. The fact that we have parties overwhelmingly voting 100% lockstep on issues that affect localities different is troubling. I am not a binary person that goes left/liberal on every issue myself, so why should I expect anyone else to?


>> what he really intends to do

Doesn't matter to his voting base. See e.g. Obama. Obama did very little of what he promised in the first term, got re-elected anyway (heck, even I voted for the guy). But unlike Obama, Beto is not going to be the president, not after losing the race to one of the least likeable candidates in his own state, and not with a DWI on his criminal record.


Cruz is only unlikable in the liberal bubble, most Texans approve of him and he still only won by < 3 in a state Trump won by 9 and Romney won by 15.


  > he still only won by < 3 in a state Trump 
  > won by 9 and Romney won by 15
Now read that again and tell me where it contradicts my point.


It says more about the changing coalitions than anything else because Democrats lost the congressional ballot in Texas by a little over 3 without Ted Cruz in every district.


This is why he lost in Texas IMO. While from the outside looking in it can feel like it was unwinnable due to party-politics, from what I've gathered a lack of focus on issues also hurt (that and general disagreement with issues he did reference).

One can imagine at a national level his stance on issues would be more accepted, but he'll need to harp on them much more than focusing on who he's not. That "contrary image" is actually a positive and not a negative for many.


He lost in Texas because he ran as a democrat in Texas. I doubt talking about issues would have made much of a difference.

Issues make a much larger difference in the primaries than the general elections for two reasons. The policy gap between Cruz and Beto are vast compared to differences between any two democratic candidates. And independents tend to be less driven by issues and more by character and charisma.


Political articles are becoming increasingly more popular on HN and collect more fake internet points for posters.


Because Trump mainly won for being anti-establishment. The Dems hope to get those voters for their next candidate. It's a decent play, because Hillary was definitely establishment.


It's part of his PR campaign. His political team and the PR firms he hired probably did a lot of research and polling and decided this was a great way to appeal to younger voters.

Politics is all about image and appeal. And it's not just Beto. Every politician from Trump to Beto plays this game. People vote on their image of you rather than who you really are. I think Black Mirror had a great episode on how image and messaging defines a political campaign.


He ran a very publicized Senate race. And all his policies and intentions are well documented.


Somebody is still running Beto's campaign to the old (Clinton/Bush era) standard of use the media to build up brand and brand.

Meanwhile there is a crop of new-style politicians, all over the spectrum, that run via the new (AOC/Trump era) standard of use the social media+memes to build up brand and support.


I don't think their style is as new as it appears. Yes, they are more active on social media, but most Americans are not on Twitter directly; there is a whole genre of news story now that revolve around things politicians say on Twitter.

AOC didn't really have a national brand until after she won, and she got there mostly through traditional retail politics. Trump had a media brand to begin with so he was able to create traditional media coverage whenever he wanted.


The difference is that AOC/Trump use social media to drive the news, bottom up.

Old-school politicians use the news to try and drive social media and public sentiment, top down.

Right now Beto seems a lot like Hillary, using the traditional approach of PR driven puff pieces to try and capture attention. Meanwhile the AOC/Trump populists use a direct channel (Twitter) to bypass the media and have a conversation directly with their hardcore fans. And then that conversation works its way out into the mainstream media.


I see what you mean. I thought you meant they were able to bypass the media as gatekeepers, rather than just using the media in a different way.

I'd also add that AOC is able to use social media now to build national support, but she won her primary with old-fashioned shoe leather politics. Even local NYC press didn't run a lot of stories until after she won the primary (I was closely tracking a race in a neighboring district so I think I saw most of what was out there.)


For real. Dude sided with republicans against his own party even though he was in a solidly blue district. Even campaigned all over the state for a republican!

I love what he did for downballot dems in 2016 and he had that great speech on youtube. But c'mon. Mr GOP Lovefest is not who we need in 2020.


I didn't know much about his voting record, so I searched a bit and found this: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/21/18150359/...

That indicates O'Rourke votes slightly conservative for a Democrat, but is still far more liberal than any Republican. The data cited there shows him pretty squarely in the "slightly conservative Democrat" range: https://voteview.com/person/21361/beto-o-rourke

Is that an inaccurate assessment? I'm wondering where "Mr GOP Lovefest" comes from.


Purity testing. Kind of like how Republicans dismiss moderates as "RINOs".


Having been involved in the community for most of my life, my very first thought was "oh that's cool he's one of us" and then I remembered that historically hackers have been phenomenally bad people to give any kind of real power to.


~80/90s hackers aren't really the same thing as most post 00 hackers. A lot of people were in it because they were curious about this new thing and the opportunities to explore something and express themselves. The same way you would in other emerging cultures. Those aren't bad qualities.


> A lot of people were in it because they were curious about this new thing and the opportunities to explore something and express themselves. The same way you would in other emerging cultures. Those aren't bad qualities.

Can confirm. For me in the 80s it was about the writing and the friends, some of which I'm lucky to say I still have. Indulging in some phreaking when needed was about the extent of our "misuse" of technology.


> ~80/90s hackers aren't really the same thing as most post 00 hackers.

Yeah, no hackers from the 80s and 90s ever had any bad intents. /sarcasm


The meaning of the word has changed somewhat; it was mostly about curiosity and exploration in the 80s/90s. Less of the economy was reliant on computers so there wasn't much crime to commit beyond mere unauthorized access. Heck, "2600: The Hacker Quarterly" could be found on the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble back then.


And minor celebrities within 2600's culture, namely Emmanuel and Cpt. Crunch used that celebrity to creep on teenaged dudes.


I listened to Off The Hook for years. Is that true about Emmanuel? Dude used to own an old Bell van, super creepy if he was a phreak creep.


That is not the meaning of "hacker" that attaches to security hackers and the EFnet #hack scene.

(I was a part of that scene as well).


Largely regardless of ones definition of a hacker it was a subculture in the '80s, '90s and even early '00s. Because of the scarcity of information and resources there was motivation to organize, form groups and publish things in a way that you don't have today. A hacker was therefor at the time (regardless of the underlying activity) largely defined as someone who took part in hacker culture. In that sense it was about curiosity and exploration. You are trying to learn things that aren't readily available or necessarily considered worthwhile.

Once the Internet became widely available there wasn't the same need for a culture to being able to do that (at least in theory). Who is considered a hacker therefor changes from people engaged in hacker culture to people who for example do information security. You can to some extent go to university, never talk to anyone and come out of there being considered a hacker. While previously being a hacker would be quite distinct from academia (though there would of course be overlap among people). As the point was that you were doing something different from what was already established. Whether that was coding, security or community.

I wouldn't personally judge someone who was consider a nefarious hacker when hackers were more of a subculture, as most of the activities would be considered relatively mundane today and there motivations often benign. I would judge someone for running a dark market, distributing malware or even just run an unethical data business today however.

As a further tangent, I do think it is curious how most people (myself included) thought that the plot of the movie "Hackers" was a bit ridiculous. But then 20 years later Maersk gets hit by ransomware.


I come from the same scene Beto O'Rourke comes from (though, not having grown up in Texas or Boston, I only had cDc friends, not "membership" myself).

I'm saying: there's the Steven Levy notion of "hackers", about exploration and getting extra slots on time-sharing computers and ordering sweet-and-sour bitter melon, and there's the Markoff and Hafner notion, about breaking into DEC for source code and owning up a sizable portion of the NSFnet Internet.

cDc is from the Markoff/Hafner side of "hackerdom".

(That's not a moral argument; there were good people among the Markoff/Hafner-type hackers, and holy shit were some of the white hats in the mid-1990s complete pricks).


Why can't both of these groups be considered hackers?


They both are, with differing connotations.


So then what point are you even trying to make? If the lowest common denominator here is still a hacker, trying to make the argument that they aren't technically "hackers" doesn't make sense.


I'm sorry, I'm not going to let you pretend like this is unclear. The debate over the meaning of the word "hacker" is the most famous semantic debate in this community, and one of the most famous on the Internet. The meaning connoted by the title of this site derives from the MIT hacker community. The meaning connoted by cDc is the the one from the movie Wargames. And this hasn't "changed since the 1980s"; the debate itself dates back that far.

The argument isn't about whether Beto was a part of hacker culture at all. Clearly, he was. It just wasn't the hacker culture the OP was referring to.


I'm not pretending anything, and if you think I'm deceitfully engaging in this discussion you need to step back and consider that I have my own understanding of this matter and it may or may not be flawed.

> The meaning connoted by cDc is the the one from the movie Wargames

cDc engaged in much more than run-of-the-mill systems exploits. They produced a lot of literature and overall espoused hacker culture as an inclusive one. I'd be very interested to hear what each of them think about how broadly the term "hacker" can be applied, and I'm willing to bet they don't all share the same view.

> The argument isn't about whether Beto was a part of hacker culture at all. Clearly, he was. It just wasn't the hacker culture the OP was referring to.

You can't do that. You can't say "both definitions are valid" and then bristle up when someone doesn't use your preferred definition.


You are making up a debate that nobody else is having, and then putting me on the opposite side of it as yourself. We're thus talking past each other.

For what it's worth, and not apropos whatever that debate is, I'm very comfortable with how I'm characterizing cDc and what cDc members would in general think about what I'm saying, albeit that the Boston ones would claim that I am not giving them enough credit for also going to weird Boston nerd culture places like the MIT hackers did.


Making up a debate? I walked into a debate. Why are you so fixated on making my motives out to be sinister?

What debate exactly do you think I'm making up? This entire discussion stems from a disagreement about what qualifies as a "hacker", which is all that I have addressed.


2600 was on the B&N newsracks for many many years. I think most people passed over it as a nerdy nerd thing.


> he was hunting for video games that had been “cracked,” or stripped from digital rights protections, so that he could play them for free on his Apple.

What a monster!


I like the idea of a politician who doesn't need someone to hand them a Fisher-Price 'My first iPhone' and explain to them how a computer works in a congressional session.


There have been a few bad hackers, and thousands upon thousands of ones that haven't done anything bad at all.

The knowledge that hackers have is immensely powerful. Hackers know how to root boxes, take down networks, pick locks, impersonate people, infiltrate virtually any secure area, falsify records, circumvent protection devices... They can steal from banks, screw with the phone system... hell, they can hack into cars on the highway. The ones with government jobs can screw with entire countries' telecom systems, disable satellites, jam telecommunications, spoof and reroute individual communications, and cause rolling waves of disruption to the power grid across entire regions of a country. Hackers have the knowledge to systematically destabilize virtually all the infrastructure of our civilization.

But a small handful of people do dumb shit and suddenly all hackers aren't trustworthy? The fact that the world still operates at all is testament to the fact that they aren't abusing their power.


>then I remembered that historically hackers have been phenomenally bad people to give any kind of real power to.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'm a hacker, and I'd make a terrible president. I might make an excelled trusted advisor on matters of my expertise, but that doesn't mean I'd be a good president.


There's a wonderful glamorization of hackers and so forth. It's so appealing to think of some folks fighting the man from their keyboards and doing good things.

So much so we have seen tech enthusiasts fawn over hacking groups from time to time and ignore less desirable behavior ... until we realize in the end they're just not what we want them / imagine them to be.

I still like to think of there being some idealistic hackers one day that will change the world for the better, but I recognize they're still going to be just, people.


IMHO, the best hackers aren't forming groups and vying for "cred". They're quietly building their skills and exploring, while avoiding the spotlight at all costs.


It seems like everyone who gets caught is because they're talking about it online.


or living a lavish lifestyle ala Paul Le Roux

https://magazine.atavist.com/he-always-had-a-dark-side


> and then I remembered that historically hackers have been phenomenally bad people to give any kind of real power to.

I'm confused... Doesn't that also apply to career lawmakers? Is there any statistically meaningful data to suggest it's better to have a lawyer or a judge than a hacker in a position of power?


> then I remembered that historically hackers have been phenomenally bad people to give any kind of real power to.

As opposed to the paragons of virtue who wield power now.


> historically hackers have been phenomenally bad people to give any kind of real power to

Do you have any examples?


Paul Leroux comes to mind. It also really depends on who you consider to be a "hacker". To some people, Zuckerberg fits the description (though he is a different type of hacker, moreso the "hacker" of "Hacker News"), and I think most would agree he would be a terrible politician.


Was Leroux given power or did he take it, though? I'd posit that there may be differences between hackers that are given power and "power hungry" hackers that crave/seek/take power. There are then further differences between those power hungry hackers that only operate legally and those that are willing to do illegal things. I guess I'm just trying to say that Beto doesn't seem to be trying to take power the way that Leroux did so the comparison may not be as valid.


The laundry list of drama, infighting, bullying, sexual assaults, forcing people to take drugs, stealing research, etc., probably wouldn't have any context to an outsider.

And most of what happens to people in this community occurs behind their backs.


The guy behind The Daily Stormer, Andrew Auernheimer?


hackers generally dont like rules, as a start. the ethos for most is not really in line with positions of authority


To my mind, Mark Zuckerberg fits here. (He wasn't "given" power, but the end result is much the same.)


(He wasn't "given" power, but the end result is much the same.)

"slowly amassed", perhaps?



Feels like it would be no worse than the current group of morally bankrupt, easily bribed, self-centered politicians in power.


It seems unlikely that the new group would be more moral, less easily bribed, and less self-centered. There's nothing unique to the generation of politicians currently in power.


I hope nobody uncovers the naruto fan fiction I wrote in my teens when I run for political office.


You joke about it, but it is kind of scary that some obscure tweet or facebook post one did in their teens might be used against them when running for (whatever) public office...


We’re in a weird transition period where all this information is now available but we’re not used to it yet. The illusion that people had a clean past is still prevalent. I suspect that in another decade or two, we’ll finally internalize the fact that everybody does stupid crap and nobody will care about it anymore.


I'd like to think so, but when I look at the disparity between how society treats the mistakes of one class of people ("He was no angel, he stole a cigar"), and another class of people ("Standard freshman behaviour, and besides, what is 'consent' anyways?")...

My fear is that more transparency will simply widen the disparity in treatment, because there will be more ammunition to use against the weak, while the strong are protected from accountability no matter what is dug up from their past.

——

Major edit: This is why I am an advocate for privacy, rather than radical transparency. I think a level playing field is a prerequisite for transparency.


Or people will realize that the internet is forever and will stop posting even slightly controversially things publicly, unless under a pseudonym. My generation may be the first and last to publicly post all of their stupid teenage thoughts on the internet for anyone to dig up later.


I feel like it's more likely that someone will just automate private intelligence gathering and sell it as "generating a reputation score for job/relationship/political candidates". Like the social credit system in China.


It's probably a lot like having a diary you wrote when you were a dumb kid in high school being picked apart by the media and senate as a measure of your ability to do a job as 50+ yr old.


Conversely, his supporters will use this as a measure of how "in touch" he is with "tech culture."

So, on the one hand the stupid stuff will be touted as him being just a dumb kid, but the non-stupid stuff will be touted as revolutionary and ahead of his time.


I mean just look at what happened to some professional athletes. They get tweets dug up from when they were like 14.


The fact that their agents aren't forcing them to delete everything from before they were adults or even making a brand new account is malpractice at this point IMO.


It's even worse it seems: last year showed us people will manufacture accusations out of thin air, leaving you to try to defend yourself using whatever is left of your diaries and planners from 40 years ago.

Someone, I guess here on HN quoted something along the lines of: "the more noble the goal is the less the truth matters" (I'd like to know the original quote but I didn't write it down and now I vannot find it.


One of my college roommates was considering running for office one day. He spent a lot of effort to keep his social media presence clean including avoiding group photos at parties. This was in 2004-2009, and at the time I thought that he was being overly paranoid. It turns out that he was right. Even if you painstakingly prune your social media history today there is always the chance that someone will be able to dig it up. The internet rarely forgets.


Its a double edge sword. Given a right narrative you can turn almost anything to your advantage. In the privacy less society, this an important skill to have.


It really concerns me that my generation will have a smaller pool of politicians to choose from because of precisely this factor.


Or people will get to a point where nobody cares that someone sent noodz, or said stupid things when they were younger, since pretty much everything everyone does or says is now online, maybe we'll all start to realize that we're all in the same boat, and we should stop sweating the insignificant things


Keep dreaming.

The people tasked with spying on people daily -- the people who should know better and be more tolerant -- simply believe everyone is a hypocrite or some kind of monster.

In practice, no secrets means everyone will hate each other, not be more tolerant. People can't live with knowing certain things, and if everyone's secrets are in the open, what actually happens is that people can't live each other. It's stupid, they're stupid, but that's how they act.


That's why I built https://github.com/Nick-Gottschlich/Social-Amnesia

Sure as hell ain't perfect but can potentially clean up some of what you have out there.


Just be glad you're not a furry!

(He says, remembering all the times he's had fun hanging out with furries... those guys know how to party!)


We're also pretty cool when we're not partying. 24/7 cool.

Not Zero Cool


If you run for office, everything you've ever posted on social media or that can be traced to you will be raked through. Right the way back to your birth certificate. That's simply how it's done now.


Somebody please find my Guilty Gear fan fiction. I'm pretty proud of it.


Not exactly the same, but see cases of young professional athletes getting in trouble for things they tweeted when they were 15. They're generation that grew up from the start with complete proliferation of modern social media aligning with their formative teen years. I suspect we'll see more when people born around the turn of the millennium start running for office in their 30s (or sooner!).


Hahaha oooh boy... my terrible poem celebrating coffee is on the WWW archive... embarrassing.


link?


My initial thought is this is quite provocative in the realm of federal political campaigns. I can imagine some interesting one liners during his future campaign, especially from the opposition, that will likely rile us all up.

I enjoyed the story, and if any of it is legitimate and honest insight into O'Rourke's inclinations then I'm interested to see more of his policy proposals.

Furthermore, I think the article's point about O'Rourke's technical literacy giving him an edge in obtaining support from the tech sector is interesting, and if at all valid, potentially a huge factor. Not that this really needs elaboration on HN.

In regards to the CDC, I haven't heard of any members ever being convicted of a crime? I'm not confident enough to say it hasn't happened, but if so I'll take any good light to bring to the hacker culture that we can get these days.


Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to have any actual policy platform related to the presidential run; at least, the other day when I visited the site I saw only merchandising.


To be fair, this is true of many of the candidates. Bernie's got a store, a donate button, and a big animated gif of Bernie looking cheerful. Gillibrand explains what she cares about, but doesn't have any serious policy platform. Etc.


Bernie doesn't really have a short term need to put his platform on a website. His platform is clearly visible in his political activities, the bills he presents, and a multi-decade history. Candidates who lack that, like Beto, should be putting up a policy platform.


Yes his platform is literally "I'm bored"


He shares the most important thought of any candidate that is running. That guy of a certain color is unethical.


Is he late in this sort of thing? Is it typical for candidates to have their own platforms put forth outside of the incumbent party platforms by this point?


> Is it typical for candidates to have their own platforms put forth outside of the incumbent party platforms by this point?

Most of the top tier (by current polling) 2020 candidates don't have much beside donations and merchandising on their website yet; Harris has some things that are at about the level of a stump speech and Warren has actual issue pages.

Those currently in Congress (e.g., Sanders, Harris, Warren, Gillibrand, Klobuchar) can (and do) signal platform positions concretely through sponsored legislation, even they don't have issues pages on their website.


They don't necessarily have an entire platform fleshed out, but they usually have one or two Big Ideas that (in theory, anyway) motivated them to run.


Yes, at least verbal. Even Warren is throwing pitches. Albeit not ones I agree with fully, but still she and others highlight specifics


- Was member of a punk band

- Arrested when sneaking into private property.

- Member of cDc

- Co founded a small Internet services and software company.

- published an tiny online newspaper,

Any hacker born in 70's can relate.


Except for the actual hacking part. When everyone is a hacker, no one is. But let's put facts aside, for Beto makes us all feel really good with the inaccurate "hacker" moniker attached for political mileage.

I personally would love to anoint him with the "Doctor" moniker, for his active contributions to WebMD.


If anyone can show that Beto has a hard copy of the Anarchists' Cookbook I'll vote for him twice.


Why would he? I'm sure he downloaded it so he didn't have to pay for it, like all of the cracked games he was getting. Sounds like he was phreaking and stealing from long distance companies, too. I wonder what war dialer he was using.

> At the time, people connected to bulletin boards by dialing in to the phone lines through a modem. Heavy use of long-distance modem calls could add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Savvy teens learned techniques for getting around the charges, such as using other people’s phone-company credit card numbers and five-digit calling codes to place free calls.


Interestingly the Anarchists Cookbook may be unlawful[0] due to the way anti-terrorism laws are written.

[0] https://theintercept.com/2017/10/28/josh-walker-anarchist-co...


That's in the UK. Such a law would run afoul of the First Amendment in the US.


Do texts that contain bomb-making information really fall under the first amendment in the US?


According to Wikipedia[1] the legal status of the book has been challenged or been brought up by politicians over the years but that it is still readily available from online retailers like Amazon.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchist_Cookbook#Legalit...


I think this book in particular is not serious in that respect, it's something written by an angry teenager (who became a communicant member of the Church of England five years later!). The person in the article above was acquitted on the basis that he was just a prankster, and that's mostly the audience of the book. I'm more interested in the general principle.


The government can't exactly ban chemistry textbooks, can it?

Anyway, for this type of censorship to be effective to prevent dissemination of knowledge, it would need to happen before distribution, and prior restraint is generally considered unconstitutional in the US, except in matters of national security. National security could likely include planned troop movements and nuclear weapons manufacturing procedures (although, you can figure out a lot by reading physics textbooks).


There's a pretty big difference between a chemistry textbook on the one hand, and a step by step layman's guide on how to make a bomb, avoid detection and so on on the other. And then of course beyond that you can go into progressively more dangerous weapons. Would a guide to building IED's with shaped explosives fall under the protections, for instance? I was just watching a documentary yesterday about Iran taught these techniques to Shia militia in Iraq. And then you can get into progressively more dangerous weapons.

The interesting thing is where the line is drawn, how far 'national security' is interpreted.


The I in IED stands for improvised. I'm sure there's better or worse ones, but put some stuff that goes boom in a tight container is a pretty good start.

If your society is held together by a lack of available knowledge on how to blow stuff up (or take other dangerous actions), I don't expect it will be held together for very long. Motivated people can figure this out pretty quickly.


The Chemistry textbook is more dangerous, because it isn't full of errors and bullshit like the Anarchists Cookbook.


Yes. In fact you'll find the better ones on the shelves of technical libraries [1], both in the US and in other English-speaking countries.

Introductory:

The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives by Tenney L. Davis.

Advanced:

Chemistry and Technology of Explosives by Tadeusz Urbanski (English translation by M. Jurecki).

Encyclopedic:

Encyclopedia of Explosives and Related Items by Basil T. Federoff.

Advanced applications of explosives, toward the destruction of materiel and human beings:

Tactical Missile Warheads by Joseph Carleone.

When I was an undergraduate I even found a book about nerve gas on the shelves -- Some aspects of the chemistry and toxic action of organic compounds containing phosphorus and fluorine by Bernard Charles Saunders. Dig into the citations and you find a further wealth of detail, papers now universally accessible through sci-hub.

The main obstacle to making effective bombs isn't restrictions on information. It's that most people inclined to violence [2] can't or won't teach themselves something new even if given a wealth of high quality literature to do it with.

[1] And on Amazon and Library Genesis.

[2] Most non-violent people too have trouble with learning on their own. People who keep learning new things may overestimate how common that ability is in general.


Of course they do.

It's horrifying to me that there's places where that isn't allowed.


"Imminent lawless action" is the current constitutional standard.


That seems to be about incitement, do that apply to technical documentation? As described above, instructions to build a nuclear bomb, to take an extreme example, are restricted, but surely not on that basis.


I should probably disclaim at this point that I'm not a lawyer, let alone a constitutional law scholar. I'm also not a physicist.

Here's some instructions to build a nuclear bomb, right off the top of my head:

1. Take a mass of U-235 about half the critical mass of U-235 and shape it into a rod.

2. Take another equal mass of U-235 and form it into a hollow cylinder, into which the rod will fit. DO NOT PUT THE MASSES OF URANIUM TOGETHER!

3. Put some kind of inert material between the two masses of uranium to keep them separated, and also to keep the rod lined up with the center of the cylinder. Place the separated uranium in a tight cylinder with room left on top of the rod.

4. Put a charge on top of the cylinder, behind the rod. Connect the fuse for this charge to whatever detonation mechanism you like--igniting this charge will also ignite the bomb.

You might say, "hey, that's cheating! Where do you get all that U-235 in the first place?". You're right, that is a hard problem. The entire US managed to scrape together enough U-235 for one of these bombs and just dropped it on Hiroshima completely untested because getting U-235 is a pain in the ass.

Instead, you'll want to have concentric shells of plutonium that implode together into a critical mass with the use of shape charges. Plutonium isn't even a naturally occurring element, but it's still easier to get than U-235. The shape charges are a little harder to figure out (this is one of many things John von Neumann is known for) but enough of it has been documented that it can't be that hard to work out. This is the design of the bombs tested at Trinity and later dropped on Nagasaki.

So, yeah. Some details of specific, advanced nuclear bomb designs are restricted, but largely because the information is currently classified and virtually everybody with that information works in a government position where the laws surrounding classified information and the non-proliferation treaty are binding to them personally. Also, actually putting the information into practice requires lots and lots of hard, large-scale work to get enough fissile material in the first place. I'm pretty sure the physics and engineering faculty of the average American university could build working nuclear bombs if they had unlimited budgets and resources, it's just that once you start trying to refine weapons-grade plutonium, it's kind of obvious and then someone from the Department of Energy shows up and confiscates all your plutonium and you probably end up on some sort of watchlist somewhere.


just dropped it on Hiroshima completely untested because getting U-235 is a pain in the ass.

Somewhat more related to your argument, it was also because the device was simple enough not to require explody testing.

I'm pretty sure the physics and engineering faculty of the average American university could build working nuclear bombs

Not quite building but the design part of this was, in fact, done.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nth_Country_Experiment

Spawned a relevant court case as well.


> Somewhat more related to your argument, it was also because the device was simple enough not to require explody testing.

That's not only less funny, but it's also a little hard to believe. I mean, I know how simple the design is, but for something as innovative and novel as the first atomic bomb, you'd think you'd still want to test it. Although I guess if it didn't work, that would have been fine since they had another tested design by then anyway.


They actually didn't do it that way. The rod was held in place, and the hollow cylinder got fired towards it.


My way would work too! Although...yes, that actually makes a lot more sense.


Um. So - if by "lawless" you mean: "reading a book about making bombs" . . .


IANAL, but I don't see anything like that here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce.... So, decent chance it's protected speech.


Yes, except possibly when containing classified information.


Publishing and/or otherwise mishandling classified information isn't a crime unless you have (or had) a security clearance.


IANAL, but pretty sure that this is not true. There is not a blanket ban on prior-restraint for national security reasons, but New York Times Co. v. United States did establish limits on it.

One takeaway from that case could be that it did at least partly imply that the burden of proof is on the government, not the press. However, since all 9 justices had differing opinions, there's a lot of uncertainty over what is and isn't legal.


Of course it does, and it would be a fundamental insult to the history and legacy of Western culture if it wasn’t protected speech.


Yes, however I bet it might fall under 'providing material aid' if provided to a foreign "terrorist" entity.


Oh, that's interesting. Difficult to see how such a link could be demonstrated with online publishing though.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_th...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Munitions_List

It seems distributing TAC online should be fine, I thought it might fall under some kind of ITAR requirement but I am just ignorant of the truth.


It's for sale on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Anarchist-Cookbook-William-Powell/dp/... I think it falls within the margins.


What if he had the digital copy, stored on floppy disk?


Then he is some compression wizard too!

Edit: I guess that could be read as plural...


It was both a book and a series of tfiles. Most HPAV boards had copies. They would not have come close to filling a floppy.


To be fair, we had not and have not stipulated what we mean when we say "floppy". Maybe you were a rich kid but a lot of us were still on some pretty low density stuff into the late 80's. Embarrassingly, I was still on cassette for most of the decade.


There is no PC, Mac, or Amiga floppy drive that could not have held the tfile Anarchist's Cookbook (the tfile cookbook is not the same as the book, which fits easily on a single-density 3.5 but not on a 5.25).


Anyways, Beto will always be a wizard in my book.


how floppy?


3.5


8" or bust!


Voting twice seems like some kind of vote stuffing scheme.

Probably best not to telegraph such intentions.


> Voting twice seems like some kind of vote stuffing scheme

Sounds like a commitment to do so in the primary and general election both, which is quite legal.


Or just someone being an anarchist. ;)


Ah, good point!

As an independent I don't participate in primaries typically.


You should; lack of moderate voices in primaries only helps fringe candidates.


Except when you're not allowed to, which happens a lot if you're registered as an Independent...

> In a closed primary, only voters registered with a given party can vote in that party's primary. States with closed primaries include party affiliation in voter registration so that the state has an official record of what party each voter is registered as.

https://www.fairvote.org/open_and_closed_primaries

The system isn't nearly as open as people seem to think.


I don’t understand arguments for open primaries. If you’re not a member of a political party what business do you have in voting who they want to represent them in the presidential election?

What stops people voting for unpopular candidates in order to sabotage the party?

Isn’t it basically the same as entryism?


This has happened before. In the 2008 primaries, Rush Limbaugh ran an "Operation Chaos" campaign where he called on his listeners to vote in late, open primaries for the then-losing Hillary Clinton in order to extend the Democratic primary season. In 2016, even in some closed primaries like West Virginia, a majority of voters who supported Sanders in the primary, according to exit polls, still planned to vote for Trump in the general election.


In some states, like PA where I live, you have to be registered with one party or the other to vote in primaries. I changed my registration from independent recently due to this. There is talk of legislation to change it but I'm not sure of it's current status.


Exactly; this is why we frequently get such lousy candidates winning in the primaries, who then go to the general election for everyone to vote on.


I tend to credit the two party system for there being a general lack of good candidates who make it into the general election with only two having more than a remote chance of winning.


Duverger's Law only applies to the general election, where each main party only fields one candidate. It doesn't work for primaries, where the party has lots of candidates running. There's nothing really stopping the parties from selecting better candidates in their primaries, since the parties have control over who they select anyway (they're not actually bound by the results of the election, and can rig it if they want, such as with "superdelegates").


Plenty of people want nothing to do with either major political party, even as a "moderate".


Not allowed to here in MA AFAIK; have to register with a party to vote in the primaries.


Unfortunately, his politics are not nearly as progressive as his public posture.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/my-advice-to-progres...


He might just be the guy who understands technology, privacy and cryptography. Or is that too much to ask for?


Andrew Yang knows about it, check him out https://www.yang2020.com


Isn't this the guy that just said that within a generation white people will be shooting up Asians?

I'm not sure how writing off a demographic of people not even born yet is going to go for his campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWQNiiC0AzA


That doesn't sound like him writing off a demographic but criticizing the path the nation is treading on. Unfortunately, he's using fear to do that.


Not to disagree with you, I think writing off a certain demographic is a terrible idea specially if you are running an inclusive platform like his, but what he said was clearly taken out of context.


Yang is going to gain steam. Might give Kamala a run for her money. I recommend you check out the Joe Rogan interview.


> Yang is going to gain steam. Might give Kamala a run for her money.

While it's extremely early (though in most recent elections, the eventual primary winner was at this point in first or second place, more often second), Harris is only polling third (consistently, across polls) and is way behind Biden (first) and Sanders (second, so arguably the most likely nominee).


>Sanders (second, so arguably the most likely nominee).

I wonderfully interested that you think the DNC would allow that to happen after just two year of being shown explicitly that they will do whatever is needed to make sure that does not happen.


> I wonderfully interested that you think the DNC would allow that to happen after just two year of being shown explicitly that they will do whatever is needed to make sure that does not happen.

It's not the same DNC. While the Sanders faction didn't gain control after the 2016 election, they essentially got a power-sharing agreement and, more importantly, they've gotten a bunch of reforms, including mostly neutralizing the power of superdelegates. And Sanders is starting 2020 in a much stronger position than 2016, and doing so without an opponent with anywhere close to the establishment power of Clinton, whose partisans also were in charge of the DNC at the time.


I don't at all agree. The DNC had a system to allow rigging, and I'd willing to bet my lunch they still do. If they had a system of rigging - why do you think they would give that up what would their incentive be to do that? They didn't want Bernie then, they don't now, it's the same people in the organization.

But... Because neither of us can possibly prove it. I guess we'll just wait and see. I believe they just won't let him and they'll either do it by rigging more subtly this time, or have Warren there only to split his votes. Either way, it'll be more interesting than the "show" they put on last time with Webb and Chafey bowing before Hillary.


> The DNC had a system to allow rigging,

No, it didn't have a “system to allow rigging”, beyond partisans of one candidate being in near-total control of the DNC.

They did have and leverage a system which helped promote a public inevitability narrative for a candidate that sewed up institutional support early by way of superdelegate voting rights, which led to then being included by media in delegate counts, reinforcing an artificial image of momentum which is demonstrated to drive subsequent voting behavior. This was dismantled when superdelegates voting privileges were reformed.


What "system" did the DNC have to allow "rigging"? How did it work? Who operated it? What evidence is there that it existed, much less that it was used?


Here is enough background information [0] [1] [2] [3] quoted directly from people involved that should get you started. Unless Warren, Brazile, DWS and others are all wrong with their statements about it.

[0] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/donna-brazile-i-found-proof...

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/02/politics/elizabeth-warren-dnc...

[2] https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-b...

[3] https://observer.com/2016/07/wikileaks-proves-primary-was-ri...


Neither Brazile, Warren, nor any of the leaked DNC emails provide even the slightest bit of evidence that any voting process was manipulated, any vote totals falsified, or anything else of that nature. They also do not show any evidence of any kind of adverse action against Clinton's opponents. There is a compelling argument that DNC staff were too partial to Clinton, who they viewed as the presumptive nominee. There is also evidence of animus against the Sanders campaign, although that animus must be viewed in the context that the Sanders campaign had previously _sued_ the DNC.

Party organizations involved in the primary process need to avoid even the appearance of favoritism. The DNC under DWS failed in this, and it also demonstrated other forms of unprofessionalism (such as passing around credit card information in unencrypted email!). Cleaning house was necessary. Furthermore, superdelegates had been a controversial issue in the last two contested nomination contest, and were clearly perceived by a substantial number of party supporters as undemocratic. Reforming them was also necessary. But none of that changes the fact that there is no evidence of any form of rigging of the nomination process.

If it's obvious there was some sort of corrupt manipulation of the process, it should be possible to point to at least one single state where there is evidence of electoral manipulation.


Insofar as those things provide any description of anything that might even loosely be described as a “system to allow rigging” it's the joint fundraising agreement between the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

Which hardly, even if viewed as such a system, can support your suggestion that such a system not only existed but should be suspected to still be in place.


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Putting words in “downvoters” mouths is a rhetorical move quite below the standards of this site, no matter what kind of bleak subthread we're in. The guidelines ask us not to do it—please don't.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Didn't a white guy just shoot up a middle eastern church yesterday?


What's your point?

I'm not certain of my inferences from your comment, but you seem to be missing the context of what he's saying.

He's leading into that with the underlying (and very valid IMO) assumptions that economic trends can yield predictive power for cultural outcomes, and that China (and thus Chinese people to the more homogeneous populations of the US) will be heavily demonized due to the ongoing economic show down between China and the US.


It's an fairly divisive comment to accuse some group of people of the futurecrime of murdering your own people in churches. That's a serious accusation of something that hasn't happened yet.

I don't remember anyone blaming "Asians" for Virginia Tech, and rightfully so.


His general point is that economic inequality leads to social distress leads to violence, often targeting scapegoated groups, such as those belonging to demographics shared by rival foreign powers. Is that so objectionable?


Nice to see Andrew brought up. I'm excited to see him in the debates. He's the first candidate that has me excited about politics due to his methodical, analytical, and logical mindset rather than the others that make decisions based on nothing but beliefs.


Yang doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell. He’s posturing just to raise his own public profile.


Why would he though? He doesn’t have a brand like Trump does.


Not yet


He also rides a bike.


And also drives drunk.


*Drove.

We don't know factually what he's currently doing, but we can say he did in the past.


It's still a really irresponsible thing to do. One of the most dangerous crimes you can do.

If pussygate was a big deal to people, driving drunk would be even worse, but it's not like it'll get the same coverage.


but did he black face?


If he did, he’s still qualified for governor.


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