back to article Ex-prez Carter: 'America has no functioning democracy' with PRISM

Former US President Jimmy Carter has applauded the whistle-blowing of Edward Snowden and says the current surveillance state means the US is in dire political straits. "America has no functioning democracy," Carter told a meeting of The Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta on Tuesday, Der Speigel reports. Carter said that Snowden's …

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  1. dogged

    "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

    Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

    1. Levente Szileszky
      Trollface

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      Ahh but that was pre-PRISM, y'know.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      >Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

      He reminded them of Kissenger

      1. BillG
        WTF?

        Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

        Although Obama got most US troops out of Iraq

        No Bush's plan got the US troops out of Iraq. Obama just followed Bush's timetable.

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      "Remind me, what did Obama get it for?"

      As far as I can tell he got it for turning up and not being Bush.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

        ...Or for turning up and not being YET ANOTHER Bush....

        1. Euripides Pants
          Unhappy

          Re: "he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

          "Or for turning up and not being YET ANOTHER Bush"

          Looks like he might be worse.

          1. Killraven

            Re: "he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

            Not worse, but almost as bad as.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

        He got it coz he's black innit.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

          Yeah. He got a black guy elected President.

          For a short while afterwards, it looked like the Republican counterplan was to get a conspicuously incompetent and unqualified black guy elected President, which in my opinion would be a more significant event, but he peaked too early scandalwise. I forget his name...

        2. Jaybus

          Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

          I believe he got it because he's black, even though he's half white. Either that or, looking at the rest of the World leaders, they figured a random lottery drawing would do just as well and his number came up.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

      As far as I can tell, merely for not being George Bush, which actually said a lot more about the lack of esteem Bush was held in than about a then as yet unproven Obama.

      However, if you have any hopes of Obama having to give back that prize in the light of recent revelations I have bad news (and I am quoting this literally from a reply I had from the Norwegian Nobel Institute):

      The statutes of the Nobel Committee do not open for the withdrawal of a prize, once awarded.

    5. Beau
      Unhappy

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      Obama got it for at least trying to change the statuesque, and I think he honestly believed he could.

      The problem was, with the lack of support, and the amount of $ involved, He never actually stood a bats chance in hell of succeeding.

      1. Don Jefe
        Unhappy

        Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

        Especially when the GOP states publicly that their main goal is to stop him from doing anything. They've even gone so far as to lock up the entire country to satisfy their little egos.

        1. henrydddd

          Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

          Considering the Republican party is controlled by the ultra radical right wing tea party which was formed and funded by the Koch brothers and big tobacco with the sole purpose in enriching big business. Koch industries said that if Obama was elected president, they would fire 50,000 of their employees!

          With that kind of mentality representing the US, do you think that any Republican cares even a little bit about what happens to this country?

          1. IglooDude

            Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

            You're painting with a brush broader than... um what's the official Reg unit of length again? Pretty damned broad, anyway. So I confess to being a little bit curious as to what your opinion of US Democrats is.

      2. hplasm
        Coat

        Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

        "Obama got it for at least trying to change the statuesque..."

        Not an easy task- have you seen the size of some of the 'Statuesque'? They're bloody enormous!

        O the huge manatees!

        1. dogged

          Statuesque

          iPhone autocorrect, I suspect.

    6. BillG
      Happy

      Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

      Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

      These days I think you can get it for $25Million. The officials are easier to bribe.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spy on the Spies

    Let us compensate for the invasion of our privacy by demanding fully open government. All expense accounts, donor, list, speaking engagements, part or full-time jobs, gifts, and meetings attended for every elected representative, their families out to three degrees of closeness would be a good start.

    An who guards the guardians. A separate ethics oversight operation with an elected head, a large budget, and the power to arrest would be a start, and they would have the right and obligation to investigate all regulation, government acts and law enforcement activity for proper behaviour.

    I am sick of police overstepping the line, corrupt politicians, and lobby-driven voting. I am afraid that giving the power we have already ceded might allow the NSA to throw me in Guantanamo "to protect the state", assuming that the Director or the President wished to act with malice. Just ask Nixon, or all the people we renditioned!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Spy on the Spies

      But then, who oversees the overseer? As for the budget, by Constitutional Law, only the House can set the budget, and what do you think they would do to any potential overseer? Nothing short of an Amendment could make this possible, plus even if you give this overseer the budget, who's going to pay for all this ON TOP of everything else Joe American has to pay now?

      1. Jacksonville

        Re: Spy on the Spies

        - "Who polices the police?"

        - "Er....Coast Guard??"

        -HJS

      2. dogged

        Re: Spy on the Spies

        But then, who oversees the overseer?

        The electorate, in an elected position?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Spy on the Spies

          "The electorate, in an elected position?"

          Don't seem to be doing much for the current situation in American government, are they? The trouble with the electorate is that you can't assume they will act rationally, and once a majority of the electorate are acting IRrationally, you can game the system by playing to their emotions. That's what's happening now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Carter was an obnoxious incompetent, but

    Obama is a hypocrite and morally bad person.

    1. LaeMing
      Unhappy

      Re: Obama is a hypocrite and morally bad person.

      Obama is a 21st century politician. That goes without saying?

    2. Killraven

      Re: Carter was an obnoxious incompetent, but

      Carter made great progress on improving a royal mess that was handed to him. But just like today, the Republican's took a statement of "he didn't get rid of 100% of our mess" and translated it into a battlecry of "look what a bad job he's done".

      1. Grikath
        Meh

        Re: republican v/s democratic presidents.

        That has been the cycle of US american politics for the past decades, hasn't it? With a generally republican majority in the Houses over the past decades, the republican presidents get away with whatever they want to do, and basically make a right royal mess of things, while any democratic president is actively cock-blocked "just because". And shouted down for Not Accomplishing Anything by the very people that actively sabotage any attempt at efficiency and, you know, sensible government.

        The few voices of reason are drowned out by the puppets from the "interest groups" aka. large sponsors, and the net effect is that the US is rapidly going bankrupt morally and financially.

        Ah well... Within the next decade or two that perticular card-house will come down, and then the US will be left nothing but banging its' wardum in senile reminiscene and impotency.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    He's right

    Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out.

    And the surveillance system set up by the NSA under it and other FISA, plus the data sharing arrangements with other agencies mean that and serious effort to set up debate, protest or resistance to this system is already under surveillance.

    So that's both a "representative" democracy and a grass roots democracy fail.

    This only stops when Congress and Senators start losing elections because of their stance on privacy (or rather their grovelling on their knees before President Bush which got the US here) that this will start to change.

    Might I also suggest that unlimited terms for both Con-gressmen and Senators is a truly bad idea.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: He's right

      The no term limit thing really is the core of the issue. Both parties hold the internal rules of both houses in higher regard than the Constitution or the country. They do that because they know they can live above the law forever as long as they hide in their offices.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: He's right

        Term limits wouldn't do a thing.

        1. Experience counts, and if it's not the Congressmen themselves, then it'll be the congressional staff that sticks around after the congressman leaves.

        2. People aware of term limits can plan for them by grooming proteges.

        1. Don Jefe
          Thumb Down

          Re: Achievement Unlocked: New Cadillac

          Yes. It takes quite a bit of experience to forge the lasting relationships with constituents and peers that allow them to gorge themselves on pork kickbacks and donations for decades. That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements.

          The Congressmen hire their own personal staff (Representatives have 14 full time personal staff each and Senators have 34). It is a common for political hopefuls to work as Congressional staff but almost none of them ever become Congressmen, they can actually do something so they don't really fit in with Congress.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Meh

            Re: Achievement Unlocked: New Cadillac

            "That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements."

            It takes a few terms to get the gravy train in gear and up to speed.

            How terrible to have to give it up so soon.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: He's right

          How do you support term limits in a democracy?

          " I demand that I not be allowed to vote for this candidate next time !"

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: He's right

            The US supports term limits right in the Constitution. The 22nd amendment imposes limits on the Presidency, just add Representative and Senator and that's sorted.

            1. tom dial Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: He's right

              It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free.

              There is by now, as a result of various initiatives, a fair amount of experience with term limits in state and local government. It would be interesting to see how they have worked out. My impression, from Ohio, is that they have not led to improved governance or reduced graft. The least damaging effect there probably has been that Representatives, who reach their limit may run for the Senate, and Senators, in the same bind, may take a temporary vacation in the House if they cannot obtain make a run for promotion to a statewide office or the US Congress or Senate, or obtain a political appointment. The default probably is to join a lobbying firm, reinforcing the ability of the lobbyists to provide much of the institutional memory required for government to operate.

              This pretty clearly is less than optimal.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: He's right

                "It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free."

                The problem was that FDR was gaining increasing support throughout his terms, not the least because of his political clout (boosted by experience), causing something of a feedback loop. Your experience makes you a better choice over the challenger, winning you another term and MORE experience, etc. And it resulted in a president-for-life that lasted longer than probably even the Founding Fathers would've been comfortable with. If FDR had been in better health, there was a fair chance he'd have the leverage to continue being President even after World War II.

                You see that these days with some of the most veteran congresspeople. It takes something quite extraordinary on either side to unseat one of them unwillingly.

            2. Jaybus

              Re: He's right

              Because the Presidency was the only office that needed to be stipulated in the Constitution. Well, and also that federal court judges are appointed for life. The election of representatives and senators are completely up to the individual states, as is proper since it is the state that they are supposed to represent, eh? Each state may set their own term limits if they so choose. None have done so, but it is not a constitutional issue. Naturally, it will never be done at the fed level by Congress. I doubt that the fox will limit how long he may watch the hen house. Most likely a state legislature is unsure if it is a good idea to term limit their representatives if other states do not limit theirs. They fear the other state's representatives always getting the juicy committee appointments, meaning their representative would bring home as much pork.

              1. Don Jefe

                Re: He's right

                The election of Congressmen may be up to the States, to some degree, but nearly everything other than that is a Federal rule or law that governs/empowers them. They certainly are quick to act as a Federal body when the time comes for voting themselves a pay raise, additional staff, etc... They only play the 'representative of the State' card when to get out of doing something they don't want to do.

    2. paulc
      Black Helicopters

      Re: He's right

      "Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."

      I think you'll find that that's why they had the interception stuff in place already so that they could target senators and congressmen to blackmail them...

      Funny also how the people who were in a position to lead the others into throwing out the PATRIOT act were the recipients of the weaponised Anthrax letters...

      Just Google Anthrax Congress and you'll get plenty of links

      "Two more anthrax letters, bearing the same Trenton postmark, were dated October 9, three weeks after the first mailing. The letters were addressed to two Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont. At the time, Daschle was the Senate Majority leader and Leahy was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. " From the Wikipedia link

    3. Red Bren
      Unhappy

      Re: He's right

      "Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."

      The beauty of the PATRIOT act was the way it ammended existing legislation, in some cases negating the original intent, rather than explicitly making new law. This made it much harder to work out its full scope, especially in a climate of fear where something had to be seen to be done.

      But the master stroke was the convoluted bacronym "PATRIOT". What politician could risk going into the next election facing accusations of not being a patriot because they opposed the PATRIOT act? Dubya could have introduced conscription and it still would have passed.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: He's right

        Almost like the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and the State" who could oppose protection of the people and the state?

        Sometimes you have to read beyond the title

    4. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: He's right

      Lest we forget: one of the major criticisms of US intelligence agencies in about September - October 2001 was that they didn't share enough, the somewhat doubtful claim being that if they had done they could have prevented the 9/11 attack.

      Well, they collected more and shared more, and it got us Prism and other possibly undesirable things.

    5. Vic

      Re: He's right

      > unlimited terms for both Con-gressmen and Senators is a truly bad idea.

      I disagree. It's an excellent thing.

      Why the hell should they get either parole or early release?

      Vic.

  5. Thing

    Where is the fourth estate?

    Is this true or a mistranslation? Why are no mainstream U.S. media outlet picking up on this story?

    Do we all have to go out and buy tin foil hats now?

    1. Efros

      Re: Where is the fourth estate?

      The media sold out to commercial concern over a decade ago. It took 3 weeks for the Occupy Wall Street demos to make it onto mainstream News Channels in the US.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Where is the fourth estate?

      Because Carter has pissed off every political personage in DC over the years by speaking too much truth. No matter what the press would like you to think they are too scared to piss off their current pet Congressmen and staffers by talking him up. It's a shame really.

      1. OzBob
        Big Brother

        Re: Where is the fourth estate?

        Too much of the fourth estate is tied to commercial interests in the US. However I was there last year during election run-up and Rachel Maddow (from MSNBC) used to get really irate when other networks misrepresented the facts, and would sometimes throw her notes at the camera in frustration. It was very refreshing to watch, I tuned in most nights to hear what she had to say.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuBdYVHqn00

    3. Ian Bush
      Devil

      Re: Where is the fourth estate?

      It was killed by Ronnie

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

  6. Gray
    Boffin

    Whoever controls the secrets, controls the government

    J.E. Hoover used the power of the FBI against all enemies, personal and political. He held dossiers on presidents, et. al. No one dared oppose him, lest closets open and skeletons be exposed. His agency attacks on Dr. Martin Luther King are legendary.

    Now that the NSA/CIA/FBI have TIA (total invasive authority) I suspect there is no one in Washington DC or any state capitol who dares oppose the power of the Alphabet Agencies.

    "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." President Carter said.

    He is wrong, of course. It is too late for "beneficial" effect. Bradley Manning is as good as dead; Julian Assuange is rotting in limbo; and Edward Snowden is a man without a country. America's politicians have only one care: permanent incumbency. The American people are divided against themselves, and Congress -- like pigs in a muckpit -- wallows in gridlock.

    Democracy no longer.

    1. D-tech

      Democracy no more

      Two things I find extraordinary about this Snowden whistle-blowing episode.

      1) How little Americans seem to care that their government has turned into Big Brother, listening to their every word, blatantly ignoring legal restrictions and privacy concerns. "If keeping us under 24x7 surveillance means that we will be safe, it must be OK?"

      2) How blatantly the USA has been showing disregard for democracy and foreign sovereignty, by publicly pressuring numerous countries against providing asylum. Even those like Russia that we would expect to stand up against USA bullying are seen to flinch.

      All gloves are off - the USA is dropping any pretence of being the democratic land of the free and a champion of human rights.

      How can we return to the kindler, gentler world that we would like?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Democracy no more

        No matter how much I hated Bush and his inability to control spending (he was one of the biggest Liberal spenders in American history), at least when he attempted to take our privacy away he did it in the open. Obama is a hypocrite! "Open government" my ass. This is the most closed government I can remember.

        Would you rather be captured by Bush's government and detained (regardless of their questionable means), or would you rather be killed from the air along with your family and friends that may or may not be involved in your questionable activities?

        Bush was wrong in what he did. Obama is a hypocrite! Extending what Bush did and going much, much further. Take off your Socialist blinders and see him for the Fascist he is!

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Democracy no more

        "How can we return to the kindler, gentler world that we would like?"

        Two words: WE CAN'T.

        We're entering a world where one bad man can ruin the rest of us. Knowledge is power, but now knowledge is cheap, too, because we're in an AGE of information. Meanwhile, humans come in all types of personalities: including the homicidal maniac and the paranoid lunatic. Put one of the latter together with the vast sum of human knowledge, and imagine the possibilities. They probably won't be pretty.

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Whoever controls the secrets, controls the government

      Not that the NSA actions are correct, but is there any actual evidence that the NSA, the CIA, or, for that matter, the FBI are blackmailing government officials? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So far I have seen claims with little or no support beyond "Hoover did it." Hoover has been gone for over 40 years, and most of his enemies likewise are no longer with us.

      Former President Carter is mistaken, of course. Snowden's spying has stimulated some reexamination, and the US is not a police state. Bradley Manning, no matter how badly treated during pretrial confinement, will not be sentenced to more than life in prison. Julian Assange is free to leave the Ecuadorean embassy any time he is willing answer police questions in Sweden. Edward Snowden could return to the US to face charges; given the publicity and the publicity of Manning's pretrial confinement, it is unlikely he would be tortured or even treated badly, as there is no reason and plenty of people would be watching.

      As for the Congress, we get what we elect, fairly freely. If, as a group, they barely exceed mediocrity, perhaps that is because they represent their constituents rather well.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    How Carter now as an ex-prez can speak up and be honest. Have a look at him about Israel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUt7P55DIRc

    1. James12345
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Interesting

      Watch out, here come the crackpots.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      Responding to my own post. Less down voted than I expected, try this to calm you down.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUt7P55DIRc

      It is not about being a Jew, it is not about religion, it is about a government. It is about land. It is very much about domestic policy, like every where, sadly. Peace talks (if ever sincere) have stopped because of domestic policy. Peace would define borders, and right now there is nobody strong enough to do it. And I am damned nice to put it this nicely.

      Carter can speak about it now. And I hope, and think, Obama feels the same, but again domestic policy prevents him from being outspoken. What makes me happy, however, is that there is a growing number of people in Israel who understand and seriously want to end a "conflict of no reason". (less so in the USA)

      There was somebody here who told us he thought Carter was a week president. I did so too then. But we compared Carter to previous presidents. The situation now is different, sadly.

      To my mind comes a sentence "If your opinion when 50 is the same as when 20, you have lost 30 years of your life". I think Muhammed Ali is quoted for this. As far as I am concerned it could as well have been Plato.

  8. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Joke

    Malaise Forever!

    "He's history's greatest monster!"

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. dogged
      Stop

      Re: When it comes to the direction of America 'The Simpsons' say it best :-

      May I refer you to the opening nine minutes of The Newsroom?

      "Greatest Country in the World" relies heavily on your definition of "Greatest". During the space race? Possibly. Before or since? Not even slightly.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: When it comes to the direction of America 'The Simpsons' say it best :-

        "Four things we do best: music, movies,microcode (software), high-speed pizza delivery”

        Well one out of four ain't bad

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When it comes to the delusion of Americans 'The Simpsons' say it best :-

      D'oh!

  10. perlcat

    "Carter", "non-functioning" -- in the same sentence.

    You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

    I used to think he was a weathervane for crackpot ideas -- I'm not so sure anymore that there's even that much consistency to his babble.

    1. Killraven

      Re: "Carter", "non-functioning" -- in the same sentence.

      Realizing that it's not saying a lot, but Carter still speaks more intelligently than 98% of Congress.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Greatest Country in the World' or 'The Fall of Rome'...... On Today's News:

    ..............."Detroit becomes largest US city to file for bankruptcy"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23369573

    ..............."Ex-CIA Milan chief held in Panama over cleric abduction" (Extraordinary Rendition)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23367401

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Greatest Country in the World' or 'The Fall of Rome'...... On Today's News:

      What is very amusing is that the CIA in Italy were condemned by a combination of loose talk and the re-use of both SIMS and a mobile with a different SIM but same IMEI (duhhhhhhhhh)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: 'Greatest Country in the World' or 'The Fall of Rome'...... On Today's News:

        Although wearing black polyester suits only speaking English and eating a Big Mac while in Rome probably tipped somebody off.

  12. CCCP
    Joke

    Damn you interwebs. Battle lines are too blurred..

    Americans, or us Europeans, were never politically wired for this opaqueness... Bring us an enemy and the hords will unite..

    Aliens, we need you! Just a teeny plasma shot at Buenos Aires will do, as in the film. Nothing really bad you understand. Please.

  13. Rol Silver badge

    Carry on regardless

    "Oh, what a f##king disaster this is turning out to be"

    "Yes, sir"

    "Cheer me up Smith, tell me you have the next election results ready"

    "Here they are sir"

    "Who the f##k is this?"

    "He's our man sir, totally respects the law, hasn't even got a parking ticket to his name"

    "Yeah, so what have we got on him? Juicy videos? Illicit encounters?"

    "Well nothing sir, he has total respect for the law"

    "Smith you f##king idiot, when I said respect for the law around here, what dim light went on in your turgid little mind? Need I have to remind you WE are the law around here"

    "Sorry sir. Yes you're right, we are the law around here"

    "So, go and find me the next president who would rather see the world turned to irradiated dust, than have his wife see our video of him shagging goats.

    "Err sir, could we go with a foreigner?"

    "What?"

    "I mean, we have loads of nasty videos of British politicians already on file, sir"

    "Mmm, pass me the constitution and our special privileges redaction marker pen"

    "Straight away sir!"

  14. Naughtyhorse

    While President Carter is a man known for speaking his mind....

    Whereas bush is a chimp known to be a mindless sockpuppet.

    and the carter centre has always been critical of the electoral system used in the states. The article seems to present it as if it's a recent development. I recall when bush stole the first election the cater centre stated that it would never get involved in overseeing an american election [anyway], as the process was fundamentally flawed and open to widespread abuse. This was in 2000 and clearly reflects a position that was long established then.

  15. TXITMAN
    FAIL

    I had to live through the Carter administration embarrassment and the aftermath. Carter signed into Law FISA. Carter started the secret courts, secret laws, and greatly expanded the secret budget of the NSA.

    1. 0_Flybert_0

      yup .. it's the republica ... oh wait ..

      correct you are sir ! .. and also the Democrats held a super majority ( over 60% ) in both houses in 1978

      IIRC .. shortly after these secret courts were established .. Carter revealed the existence of the Top Secret SR-71 Spy plane .. Air Force intel and the CIA were not happy ..

      In that context .. can understand Carter having empathy with Snowden

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      FAIL

      Not your father's FISA

      FISA's role was greatly expanded and made dramatically more covert with the PATRIOT Act. The original FISA was brought in as a a result of the Church Committee's report on the criminal activities of the CIA & NSA, and was an honest attempt to oversee them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_committee

      Carter was dealt a shitty hand, post-Watergate, oil crisis, stagflation and Iran. Few people could have been re-elected in those circumstances. Still, in terms of standards of living and income inequality, we've not had it so good since his time. See for example:

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html

  16. FutureShock999

    CARTER 2016!!!

    You read it here first - he still has a term to serve!!!

    Seriously, my uncle, a US Army Colonel from Georgia (WWII to Vietnam) knew him personally. And of James Carter, he said "he is the smartest man I have ever met, and certainly the smartest President we have ever had". Considering how well travelled my uncle was in his career, that SAYS something (particularly as so many Republican chicken hawks hated Carter - a REAL military man thought the world of him).

    Carter is old, out of favour, and will never be elected. But RIGHT NOW - the US could use a brilliant, moralistic leader that is beyond reproach....what would have happened if he had won a second term?

    1. keithpeter
      Pint

      Re: CARTER 2016!!!

      "Seriously, my uncle, a US Army Colonel from Georgia (WWII to Vietnam) knew him personally. And of James Carter, he said "he is the smartest man I have ever met, and certainly the smartest President we have ever had"."

      Well, your uncle migjt like to know that Hunter S Thompson felt the same. HSTs account of hearing Carter speak before his nomination at a ceremony to honour Dean Acheson is hilarious. BUT HST thought it was the best speech he had heard.

      Seriously, 'three hops' means n^4 where n is the number of contacts in your phone. A quick survey around the office suggests that is 160000 third hop contacts per person...

      As there is no Wild Turkey icon, I'll use the beer one.

  17. Tony Green

    Carter's one of very few Americans for whom I have ANY respect

    Not only the only post WW2 US president to never attack another country, but apparently still virtually the only US politician with even the slightest vestige of human decency and honesty.

    Though somewhat deluded if he believes the US has ever had any "moral authority".

    1. James12345

      Re: Carter's one of very few Americans for whom I have ANY respect

      Stop being a bigot and work on your superiority complex.

  18. Tomato42

    Where did I put this , wait a second... damn, I was sure I left it here.... Oh, here it is, just under the "rational religious extremist", must have used it more recently.. .

    Suddenoutbreakofcommonsense

    Seriously, if people run away from your country and ask for asylum in China and Russia, something went horribly wrong.

    1. SleepyJohn
      Black Helicopters

      An American seeking Political Asylum in Russia? You couldn't make it up

      "Seriously, if people run away from your country and ask for asylum in China and Russia, something went horribly wrong"

      I recently read a comment somewhere about American 'justice' in response to someone saying that in civilised countries you are considered innocent until proven guilty:

      "In America you are considered guilty until proven rich"

      Snowden get a fair trial in America? I certainly wouldn't put my money on it. I don't know much about Carter but "America has no functioning democracy" certainly gels with my reading of the news in recent years. The people running that country exhibit the mentality of street-corner gangsters.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    Functional what?

    We haven't had representative anything since the 1980s.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Functional what?

      What did we have in 80's?

      1. Blain Hamon

        Re: Functional what?

        Huey Lewis and the News?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get Carter!

    A true gentleman and an example of what US politics lacks.

  21. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Dubya : "it's going to take awhile for the objective historians to show up"

    And when they do, they will objectively tear you a new one. You are going down as the hinging point that turned the USA from a democratic state to a police state.

    Your conscience is clear ? A Muppet doesn't have a conscience !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dubya : "it's going to take awhile for the objective historians to show up"

      He meant, It's going to take a while for the propaganda 'historians' that usually rewrite history to suit the rich & powerful make me look good. And he's right but it will happen. Look at some of the things they teach kids today about not questioning the official version of events.

      1. Peladon

        Re: Dubya : "it's going to take awhile for the objective historians to show up"

        Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.

        —Herodotus, The History of Herodotus

        Isn't it amazing the way the future succeeds in creating an appropriate past?

        —John Leonard

        History. Just a big damn pot, and sometimes it needs stirring. Me? I'm a spoon.

        —Jack Shadow

    2. Grikath

      Re: Dubya : "it's going to take awhile for the objective historians to show up"

      it is the modern equivalent of "Wir haben es nicht gewusst.."

      There are plenty of objective historians and observers around nowadays. But since they're mostly non-US historians, they do not count, of course..

  22. BornToWin

    no surprise here

    Carter was booted from office because he is a highly educated individual who is an idealist and out of touch with reality. He lives in a 1950's world, not the modern world.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: no surprise here

      "Carter was booted from office because he is a highly educated individual who is an idealist and out of touch with reality. He lives in a 1950's world, not the modern world."

      The big thing was the almighty clusterf**k that was the Iranian embassy siege when 33 Americans got held hostage and the rescue attempt when sideways.

      Rumours that Bush Snr paid off the Ayatollahs to hang onto the them until after the election are of course no doubt just a conspiracy theory from his long service with the CIA.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: no surprise here

      And we can't have educated idealists running things, can we? Who knows what might happen!

      The world needs some idealistic statesmen who have a view of the world that doesn't revolve around cynicism and selfishness. People with the strange (to you) notion that things can be better. The USA had the moral authority and the resources to make the world a better place, but it spaffed it up the wall with the first Iraq, and consolidated it with the second excursion.

    3. Geoffrey W

      Re: no surprise here

      That 1950's world is a fantasy. That was the time when policemen could easily kill people and there was much of that strange fruit hanging from the trees. And reds around every corner and under all the beds.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Ultimately, history will judge the decisions I made," Bush said earlier this month

    Yes, you are now history and the vast majorty of the world think you are a war-monogering, self centred, ignorant prick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Ultimately, history will judge the decisions I made," Bush said earlier this month

      Only if it suits those that control 'history'. If it doesn't suit them to make it appear like he was an aberration rather than a useful tool he'll be made to look like he did the right thing under difficult circumstances.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Ultimately, history will judge the decisions I made," Bush said earlier this month

      @Lost all faith...

      "Yes, you are now history and the vast majorty of the world think you are a war-monogering, self centred, ignorant prick."

      Very true yet he is still better than obama. Bush did wrong because he is an idiot. Obama does wrong and knows exactly what he is doing.

      If 2 people do something very wrong, one because he doesnt understand and one because he is that malicious which is the most wrong?

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: "Ultimately, history will judge the decisions I made," Bush said earlier this month

        "Bush did wrong because he is an idiot."

        Bullshit!

        Are you seriously claiming that the fuckwit bush accidentally transferred a trillion dollars from the treasury into cheney's back pocket?

        Fuckwit by all accounts(well blair thought he was a genius.. but blair is pathologically incapable of telling the truth about anything ), and installed as the fall guy just in case the coup went shit shaped. But nothing in cheneys presidency happened by accident.

  24. Ben Rosenthal

    " I did what I did. I know the spirit in which I did it."

    No you slack jawed yokel. You will be judged on the results of your actions, not the woolly headed notion you had in mind while you were fucking your people without lube.

  25. Evan Essence
    Thumb Up

    One of the good guys

    Jimmy Carter is still working strongly for the public good, and he's 88! He gets a huge amount of respect from this Brit.

  26. James12345

    A sandwich short of a picnic

    Carter lost the plot years ago and anybody listening to what he has to say now needs to wake up and return to reality.

  27. Rampant Spaniel

    Irony?

    The US submarine named after Carter is alledged to be used by the NSA for 'listening' to undersea cables.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Irony?

      No it is not. The USS Jimmy Carter is deployed for scientific communications research.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Irony?

        Ah yes, in the same way the Japanese conduct 'scientific whaling' ? :-)

  28. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Like G.W. Bush would know what damaging the country entailed.

    I've heard it said by political critics who have skin in the game that Carter is, perhaps, the only moral man we've had in the oval office in decades. He's certainly the only one putting his money and person where his mouth is when it comes to using his political name to good purpose.

    And you have to respect anyone who willingly and voluntarily lets go of their Secret Service escort so they can get on with useful work. I'll start to respect Team Bush/Cheney (another loudmouth who won't fade into the scenery like a good boy) a little when they do the same.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Bah!

      I attended a dinner at the Carter Center in 2005 and the Secret Service was most definitely there.

      But yes, he is likely the finest man that has ever been U.S. President. Certainly too 'good' and intelligent for the job.

  29. Brian Allan

    Democracy is close to dead in the USA... Maybe not, but the ongoing Republican/Democrat war is making government by the people look awful bad!!

    1. Don Jefe

      "We The People" are steadily being pushed further over the horizon as the asshats in Congress focus more and more on the issues that keep the contributions rolling in, instead of doing their jobs, both parties are guilty. A pox on the lot of them.

  30. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    President Carter is smart ... the American public dumb

    President Carter stands out amongst presidents as he didn't go around starting wars, he pursued a very 'quiet' US policy. Carter fought the economic woes of inflation and unemployment. By the end of his administration, he could claim an increase of almost 8,000,000 jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit, measured in percentage of the GNP.

    He reformed the civil service, he expanded the national park system including 103 million acres of Alaska territory. He created the Department of Education, strengthened the pension system, and imported record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics into Government. He also deregulated the trucking and airline industries.

    BUT he made no wars.

    He has used his retirement for the betterment of others - no subsequent president can claim THAT!

    And what he said about Snowden is so right.

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