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Comment: Re:If true. If. (Score 5, Insightful) 153

So the REAL question is what WILL stop it. Saying that "This one is a bad person and did nothing to change it" doesn't work. Saying "The previous one did nothing to change it" doesn't work.
Voting for "The other party" doesn't work.

No, I do not have the answer, because if I did I would be giving it.

What must be done to change the status-quo with minimal violence or bloodshed is to unite people under common values, such as the massive & ongoing civil rights violations/infringements that most people agree are wrong, regardless of what political stripe they self-identify as.

Likewise, the militarization of domestic police forces and their gradual shift from a community law enforcement role to more resemble a national occupation force complete with armored vehicles and heavy crew-served weapons.

Start focusing on what we have in common, not what divides us. Despite what those with power would like you to believe, we have much more in common than we have differences. Those commonalities are also those of a much more fundamental and essential nature than our differences.

Extremely few on any side of the political spectrum in the US (barring government & MIC) wants an Orwellian surveillance//security/police state.

I'd have no problem at all standing side by side in public protests and demonstrations with almost anyone from TEA Party member to PETA and/or LGBT activist and beyond who also was willing to postpone our arguments for our common interests in a free and open society without mass domestic surveillance & data analysis and a militarized police force performing military-occupation and wealth-confiscation roles more than any sort of community-based & controlled "officer of the peace" roles.

Look, people, yes we have beefs over stuff *BUT*, unless we unite and curb government power and size, it won't matter because very soon none of us will have any choices about anything nor any meaningful rights at all.

Strat

Government

Journalist Sues NSA For Keeping Keith Alexander's Financial History Secret 153

Posted by timothy
from the public-officials-should-be-on-public-record dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes Now the NSA has yet another dilemma on its hands: Investigative journalist Jason Leopold is suing the agency for denying him the release of financial disclosure statements attributable to its former director. According to a report by Bloomberg , prospective clients of Alexander's, namely large banks, will be billed $1 million a month for his cyber-consulting services. Recode.net quipped that for an extra million, Alexander would show them the back door (state-installed spyware mechanisms) that the NSA put in consumer routers.

Comment: Re:Third Amendment Violations, dead ahead (Score 1) 54

by BlueStrat (#47563967) Attached to: Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness

The fiction that our second amendment rights are "under assault" is a kind of strange delusion bordering on mass hysteria that has no relationship to reality. Across the country gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

Michael Bloomberg, is that you?

Strat

Comment: O RLY? (Score 3, Interesting) 54

by BlueStrat (#47563843) Attached to: Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness

Today, city officials in San Francisco and Portland announced a partnership with peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb to work out some disaster-preparedness plans ahead of time.

As opposed to trying to shut them down, along with the various ride-sharing services, as we've seen them try in recent times? Ride-sharing could work the same way in transporting disaster victims/refugees.

I wonder what other services the government might want to shut down that could be helpful in a disaster ::cough::quadcopter drones::cough::?

Good to see at least some in government aren't totally blinded by monied interests intent on stifling the advance of technology to preserve obsolete businesses and business models.

Strat

Comment: Re:What's it going to take? (Score 1) 120

by BlueStrat (#47542109) Attached to: When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

The Constitution starts to become a little like the Bible: Once a pretty good idea, born out of its time and back then a great set of rules to live by to ensure that everyone can survive and thrive.

It's just that times change, stuff gets invented and certain things ain't as simple as they used to be, while others got way simpler. Plus in both cases people who kept reading the stuff over and over trying hard to find loopholes and, of course, finding them to subvert the original idea.

In other words, rules and regulations have to keep up with time. Else they become a relic and a tool for mocking them.

Except that the US Constitution is based on a set of basic and nearly-timeless principles of human nature and how they interact with and within governments that have proved themselves over history spanning from biblical times until the 1700s when it was written.

Human nature and the nature of government corruption and politicians' lust for ever-more power & control have not changed since the 1700s.

There is already a process included in the Constitution for any necessary modifications. That's what the Amendment process is. It's slow and difficult, and requires an overwhelming majority of people to approve for good reason. If it can be changed by whatever short-term political winds that blow, then it become useless as a standard and/or as protection against government oppression of citizens.

Strat

Earth

Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation' 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
mspohr writes: A special issue of Science magazine devoted to 'Vanishing Fauna' publishes a series of articles about the man-caused extinction of species and the implications for ecosystems and the climate. Quoting: "During the Pleistocene epoch, only tens of thousands of years ago, our planet supported large, spectacular animals. Mammoths, terror birds, giant tortoises, and saber-toothed cats, as well as many less familiar species such as giant ground sloths (some of which reached 7 meters in height) and glyptodonts (which resembled car-sized armadillos), roamed freely. Since then, however, the number and diversity of animal species on Earth have consistently and steadily declined. Today we are left with a relatively depauperate fauna, and we continue to lose animal species to extinction rapidly. Although some debate persists, most of the evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extinction of this Pleistocene fauna, and we continue to drive animal extinctions today through the destruction of wild lands, consumption of animals as a resource or a luxury, and persecution of species we see as threats or competitors." Unfortunately, most of the detail is behind a paywall, but the summary should be enough to get the point across.
United States

Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department 296

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-science-flow dept.
Lasrick writes Physicist Lawrence Krauss blasts Congress for their passage of the 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that cut funding for renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency, and even worse, had amendments that targeted scientists at the Department of Energy: He writes that this action from the US Congress is worse even than the Australian government's move to cancel their carbon tax, because the action of Congress is far more insidious: "Each (amendment) would, in its own way, specifically prohibit scientists at the Energy Department from doing precisely what Congress should mandate them to do—namely perform the best possible scientific research to illuminate, for policymakers, the likelihood and possible consequences of climate change." Although the bill isn't likely to become law, Krauss is fed up with Congress burying its head in the sand: The fact that those amendments "...could pass a house of Congress, should concern everyone interested in the appropriate support of scientific research as a basis for sound public policy."
Privacy

Black Hat Presentation On Tor Cancelled, Developers Working on Bug Fix 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-say-that-on-television dept.
alphadogg writes A presentation on a low-budget method to unmask users of a popular online privacy tool Tor will no longer go ahead at the Black Hat security conference early next month. The talk was nixed by the legal counsel with Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute after a finding that materials from researcher Alexander Volynkin were not approved for public release, according to a notice on the conference's website. Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said, "I think I have a handle on what they did, and how to fix it. ... Based on our current plans, we'll be putting out a fix that relays can apply that should close the particular bug they found. The bug is a nice bug, but it isn't the end of the world." Tor's developers were "informally" shown materials about the bug, but never saw any details about what would be presented in the talk.

Comment: Re:Why oppose this? (Score 1) 82

The government has every right to determine whom and what is coming into the United States.

The notion of governments having rights is doubly complex.

The Federal government in the case of the US has no rights, it has duties & obligations, and powers granted by the governed specifically to carry out those duties & obligations, and only those duties & obligations included specifically in the US Constitution.

It also includes a list of specific restrictions upon what powers the government may or may not exercise and how in areas that were felt to be particularly critical to creating and maintaining a society designed for maximum individual freedom, general order & prosperity, personal responsibility, and the protection of private property rights.

In my nearly 6 decades of experiencing firsthand the changes and the impact they had at the time that many younger people here only read about in wikipedia, I've seen and continue to see more than a correlative relationship between the trend away from the restrictions on government power from the early 1900s up to current times and it's resultant explosion of government spending/debt, abuse/abridgment of civil rights, the surveillance state, and the overall general trend of decline of the US domestically, socially, and internationally in nearly every way.

Government is in some ways similar to a nuclear fission reactor-based national power grid. You only place enough fissionable material in each reaction vessel of a number of reactors to achieve critical-but-stable output to power a limited area, you don't try to place all the fissionable material in one reactor at once to avoid the costs of building multiple reactors. Well, you'd only do it once, and very, very briefly at any rate, heh!

Once government power exceeds "critical mass" and the chain reaction of growth of power cascades, an authoritarian government is the inevitable outcome. I believe there's still time to at least avert the worst scenarios, but not much time. And the longer we delay, the worse things will become and the more people that will suffer.

Strat

Comment: Re:Barbara Streisand award (Score 2) 424

by BlueStrat (#47464943) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

What you can do is write a review that is so incredible positive, that the irony is so obvious that nobody will miss it. I don't have the time, and don't have the inspiration and my ironic food dictionary is offline at the moment. So if anyone can think of a review of Il Giardino [tripadvisor.fr] that will make me really curious - go ahead and make my day! ;-)

Uh, this is the interwebs where there exists a near-singularity composed entirely of missed obvious sarcasm & irony. It's similar to Relativity theory regarding the increase of energy required as a mass is accelerated to a significant fraction of C. The amount of irony and obviousness required would approach infinity and might even cause a tear in the very fabric of the Multiverse itself.

Besides, this is France we're discussing. If the review causes the French restaurant to be swamped with too many customers in the judgment of the restaurant and the court, you might get sued for damages because of a *good* review!

Strat

Social Networks

Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+ 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the finally-batman-can-set-up-a-profile dept.
An anonymous reader writes When Google+ launched, it received criticism across the internet for requiring that users register with their real names. Now, Google has finally relented and removed all restrictions on what usernames people are allowed to use. The company said, "We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."

Comment: Re:Last century stuff (Score 1) 753

by BlueStrat (#47447753) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

tracked? no one cares about your beer, pizza, gamer video card, lap dance and dime bag purchases

What about that AR-15 bought from a friend? Or what about those electrical/electronic parts you ordered that could either become the heart of an IED timer/detonator device or fix the controls on grandma's hobby-ceramics firing-kiln in her garage that she's been after you to fix, after some nutcase phones in a bomb threat?

Or what about bus/train/plane tickets to a city where an anti-government protest is scheduled, coupled with your purchase of spray paint and other sign-making supplies?

If all such data is so uninteresting and worthless, why is it authoritarian governments historically make such a priority out of obtaining as much as possible from everyone they can force to comply?

Strat

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 4, Interesting) 170

by BlueStrat (#47373769) Attached to: Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

Why do you think it is sudden? Congress, with the courts approval, have been infringing on Constitutional rights since the Constitution was written. They make exceptions all the time: when you can speak (no "fire" in a crowded theater); when you can assemble (Sorry "Occupy", move along... move along...); which guns you're allowed to buy (all without infringing on your right to keep & bear!); and when a warrant is required to execute you (Drone, zooooom, boom!).

The ends justify the means in each of those cases, so it does now too, and will again in the future.

All that shows is that we're not the 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' and never have been. Of course, things like slavery made that obvious anyway. Our government is and always was full of freedom-hating scumbags.

Nothing is ever perfect. The US Constitution sets the standard, or the bar against which the government must constantly be measured against and corrected when government strays/errs.

Through the history of the US, it has been both closer to that ideal and farther away, and in different areas and in different ways to different people at different times. Since government size has expanded so greatly since the 1920s, likewise so has its' power and control over ever more aspects of our lives and control of ever more US business, health, resource, & economic infrastructure. That expands the severity and scope of such bad government behavior.

We are in yet another moment in US history where we must decide how far we allow government power to reach, how many of our choices it can eliminate/control, and how much monitoring & control over our speech and communications it can be allowed to achieve.

Remember; If the capability exists, it will be misused regardless of any laws or oversight put in place. It's human nature, and especially human political nature.

Strat

Comment: Re: They're infringing my Second-Amendment drone r (Score 2) 268

by BlueStrat (#47342023) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

Note that the amendment does not presume to be granting the right to keep and bear arms. It acknowledges the right as pre-existing, and explicitly prohibits the government from infringing it.

NO, it doesn't, and had NEVER been interpreted that way until the 1970s/80s.

Learn some damn history before talking about it.

It is YOU who needs to learn some history.

The Rights outlined in the US Constitution are the Rights every person is born with as they are the rights of "Nature and Nature's God" (as described by the founders).

Every person has a natural right to protect themselves. Every person has a right to voice their opinion. The US Constitution merely highlights and emphasizes what the Founders considered some of the most important of these rights in order to emphasize that the government may not infringe upon them.

The Constitution incorporates a negative list of Rights, that is, it is a non-exclusive list of some of the natural individual Rights that every person is born with that the government may not infringe upon.

It is always disturbing when the ignorant speak out with such vehemence and confidence upon matters in which they have no clue. Such public ignorance is what allows tyranny to take root.

Please, for all our sakes and for your own, educate yourself rather than parroting partisan political talking points.

Strat

Comment: Re:True in theory (Score 1) 186

by BlueStrat (#47339641) Attached to: Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

I would *presume* that any large-scale collection and analysis of medical information will eventually be abused by someone. That still leaves the question of whether its a reasonable tradeoff.

Data is power. The more data that is collected about people, the easier they are to control. Just look at every single authoritarian police state and how they always gather as much data on people as possible. It's a means of control.

I don't know about you, but I don't feel like I have any surplus freedom. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.

A free and open society is not without risks and responsibilities for the individuals in it. Data collection and mining to the extent that people like Larry Page desire is incompatible with a free and open society. He's just trying to convince people that the freedom you have is not that important, heck you barely use it and "look! ooooh, shiny!".

Every nation that became an authoritarian state that arose from within, started with convincing the people the freedoms they were losing were for the "greater good".

I'll take my chances with a free and open society where so much data about me is not collected & mined, and in the control of others with power over me who do not necessarily have my personal best interests in mind, thanks anyway Mr. Page.

No sale.

Strat

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