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Mar 28 2013

Gohmert and the Internet

This is a hilarious video of Rep. Louis Gohmert, quite possibly the dumbest man in Congress, questioning an attorney from Google about how the company uses keywords and context to feed ads to people as they browse the web. Gohmert has absolutely no idea how this works and seems to think that Google gives the email addresses of people and that it would be discrimination not to give those addresses to the government.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    azportsider

    Gohmert has a lot of competition, but if he isn’t the stupidest person in Congress, he’s among ‘em.

  2. 2
    brianwestley

    He should just go ahead and remove the ‘h’ and ‘t’.

  3. 3
    matthewhodson

    Let me get this straight. Are these people are larpers or are they actually involved in the governance of a real life country?

  4. 4
    janiceintoronto

    If this is the level of intelligence of the people running your government, you are in deep trouble.

    It scares the sh*t out of the rest of the world that you have nuclear weapons and idiots like this running your country.

    Hugs and kisses from Canada. Please don’t bomb us.

  5. 5
    slc1

    Re janiceintoronto @ #4

    Given that one Gary Goodyear, a creationist and a chiropractor, is Canada’s Minister for Science and Technology, I would suggest not pointing a finger at your southern neighbor.

  6. 6
    janiceintoronto

    #5

    True, we have our wingnuts, but we don’t bomb the shit out of brown people worldwide based on the intelligent decisions of our legislators.

    Also, please check out who’s running ‘merikas science and technology subcommittee.

    You guys are in deep caca.

    On the other hand, you have Starbucks.

  7. 7
    mandyjane

    I like how he worked Benghazi in there, lol. Surely this guy knows that the government already has access to all our electronic communications and could easily search for any keyword it wants to.

  8. 8
    Gretchen

    It makes me think of Kennedy’s (I think?) statement in the Prop 8 hearing that gay marriage is “newer than cell phones and the internet.”

    By which he implied– whether he intended such or not– that you must understand something in order to legislate it. And that technology which dates back to the mid-90′s is still too complex to understand, and so is gay marriage. Which means he would have been more to the point to simply wave a big sign reading “I’M OLD AND SET IN MY WAYS AND HAVE GIVEN UP LEARNING.”

    Whereas with Gohmert….I’m not sure he ever started.

  9. 9
    AsqJames

    So it’s a series of tubes, right? ;)

    Clearly Gohmert’s ignorant of the difference between adverts served up on web pages and spam email messages. Ignorance is not stupidity – the cleverest people in the world are ignorant of much more than they have knowledge of. On the other hand, if you’re a member of Congress and you sit on a committee which is looking at this kind of stuff, you really ought to make sure you get briefed on the fundamentals of the subject being investigated.

    So Mr Gohmert is culpable for his ignorance in this area in that sense.

    However, there were several points in that video when I thought the witness could have provided an answer which would have resolved the confusion. For example, when asked if the government could purchase the Benghazi keyword in the same way commercial entities purchase other keywords, he could have simply said “Yes, but the government would not get access to any person’s email address, and nobody would receive any emails, automated or otherwise from the government, Google or anybody else if such a deal were struck. What would happen is that the people identified by our automated systems would see the government sponsored advert on some of the web pages they visit when they’re browsing the internet.”

    In short, the Google representative failed to understand and adequately respond to Gohmert’s ignorance. I don’t doubt that he’s intelligent, highly educated and has a deep knowledge of technical issues, but for me he fails almost as much as Gohmert in that clip.

  10. 10
    Chiroptera

    janiceintoronto, #4: If this is the level of intelligence of the people running your government, you are in deep trouble.

    Yes, it is, and yes, we are.

  11. 11
    slc1

    Re Janiceintoronto @ #6

    I would also point out that the administration’s Energy Secretary in its first term was Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu and the co-heads of the president’s science advisory committee were noted physicist John Holdren and Nobel Prize winning research physician Harold Varmus. The fact that there are a number lunkheads in the Congress is only half the story. The problem here is the inordinate influence of the religious right in US politics, particularly in the Southern States, which is absent in Canada (except in Alberta, the Alabama of Canada). Hell, even Dubya, who is as big a religious nutcase as Harper, had a respectable science adviser, physicist John Marburger, who he mostly ignored.

  12. 12
    janiceintoronto

    Point made. Sometimes it seems the ignoramuses outnumber the bright ones.

    Reading blogs really doesn’t help bolster my confidence in humankind.

    Perhaps a good book…

  13. 13
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “Scroogle” people. Lolololol!

  14. 14
    janiceintoronto

    Oh, also I’m very cranky today.

  15. 15
    slc1

    Re Gretchen @ #8

    I believe it was Alito who made that statement.

  16. 16
    Gretchen

    Oh! Yes, I think you’re right, slc1, thanks. That sounds more like him.

  17. 17
    lofgren

    To me the real problem is that he is wasting Congress’ time. These hearings are not supposed to be basic primers on how the big scary world works. He could sit in on a 7th grade computer class if he needs this level of information. One of the most powerful institutions on the planet, and Gohmert turns it into a bulshit seminar where nobody has done the reading. I’m thinking of running for Congress with the tagline “I will do some basic reading about my committee’s subject the night before I am slated to hold a hearing about it.” It seems like that would make me one of the most well-informed members of Congress, even compared to some long-time members on both sides of the bench.

  18. 18
    some bastard on the internet

    And just so that the simpletons (pot, meet kettle) that sometimes write for the Huffington Post understand, I don’t want the government having that information.

    Well, since Google wasn’t giving/selling it to the government, what exactly was the point of the question in the first place?

  19. 19
    baal

    Gohmert hasn’t heard about the NSA? WTH, Google does marginally care about privacy but that’s an almost irrelevant detail. There are FEDGOV blackbox servers in all the telecoms that have full access to all of the data on the internet and not just emails. The telecoms even got retro active immunity for crimes and felonies done associated with the Bush the Lesser admin (and it’s still there under Obama).

  20. 20
    alanb

    For those of you wondering about the purposes of this hearing see http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/03/26/andrew_weissmann_fbi_wants_real_time_gmail_dropbox_spying_power.html. Or, at least, I assume that’s what it is about. I refuse to watch the video.

  21. 21
    Dr X

    AsqJames,

    I had similar thoughts, though I wonder if any effort to offer useful clarification would have been effectively shut down by Gohmert. I’m sure it’s tough from the witness chair to cut through the bullshit when these ignorant grandstanders with their own agendas are determined to make some counterfactual point.

    For all his anti-government baloney, Gohmert is a power-mad asshole who loves his government supported power. He loves it so much that he has taken it upon himself to exceed the powers he’s actually granted under the law.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/louie-gohmert-cops-parking-ticket-89375.html

  22. 22
    Chiroptera

    Gohmert … seems to think that … it would be discrimination not to give those addresses to the government.

    You know, you’d think that people who are so afraid of an Islamist take over of the government would work to protect rights to privacy and freedom of religion and avoid creating a police state infrastructure that the totalitarians could take advantage of.

  23. 23
    Leo Buzalsky

    @13 thumper1990

    My thoughts, too. Perhaps Gohmert has seen this ad and has just failed to understand how it actually works?

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63u-RG-31B0&w=560&h=315

  24. 24
    skinnercitycyclist

    aztopsider:

    Gohmert has a lot of competition, but if he isn’t the stupidest person in Congress, he’s among ‘em.

    I am beginning to think Gohmert is the stupidest person in Texas. Think of the competition for that….

  25. 25
    scienceavenger

    Mr. Gohmert might be interested to know that “Benghazi” is one of my personal keywords that signals it is time to change the channel.

  26. 26
    gshelley

    I thought the witness didn’t deal with the email question well either. I was left wondering if Google do actually somehow allow companies to send targeted emails, without actually giving the email address.

  27. 27
    schweinhundt

    Matthewhodson @3: A funny and apt analogy/question.

    AsqJames @9: It could be reasonably claimed that the original question was rooted in ignorance and not stupidity. By the end, though, it was either stupidity or obstinacy. When the Google rep talked about an apples and organs comparison, Gohmert objected that he was “not asking for a fruit comparison.” Gut Gauss! I’m not sure that anyone could’ve gotten through to the man.

  28. 28
    democommie

    Gohmert’s a bully and an asshole. If the Googledude had simply stated that fact, you can bet that Louie the Teabaggist whose prolly got the Gadsden flag for a lapel pin would’ve had him up for “contempt of congress”.

  29. 29
    caseloweraz

    See, this is why I could never testify before Congress. In this case, I’d wind up shouting “what part of ‘not the same deal’ do you fail to understand?” Then I’d be cited for contempt.

  30. 30
    escuerd

    Tyler’s gift to America.

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