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Comment: Re:perception (Score 1) 318

Actually, the total tax burden for the working and middle classes in the USA is not that different from much of Europe. If you deduct the amount that the US citizen pays for health insurance from the amount that the EU citizen pays in taxes (while receiving socialised medical coverage), it's often quite a lot more. Part of the reason that the US has what appears from the outside to be an irrational distrust of government is that they get such poor value for money from their taxes. This leads to a nasty feedback loop (population expects the government to be incompetent, so it's hard to get competent people to want to work for the government, so the government becomes more incompetent, so the population expects...).

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46772825) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The rights protected by the 2nd amendment are rights retained by the people and, in my opinion, are not subject to regulation by states under their powers.

In your opinion. I clearly disagree, finding more agreement with Breyer's dissent in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that incorporation under the 14th was inappropriate because it is not a fundamental, individual right.

The Second is the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights that explicitly explains the intent behind the right enumerated there -- that the ownership of firearms is intended for the establishment of well functioning militias. That means the right is limited and not fundamental, and the government should have a free hand to regulate so long as that purpose is not thwarted. To hold otherwise is to regulate the militia clause meaningless. I do not think any phrase in the Constitution should be treated so.

If you're implying that the 2nd amendment grants a power to the states then I'd like to understand what structure in the Constitution would give you the impression that anything in the Bill of Rights grants any power to a state.

Well, if you're going to completely disregard the Second, then you must at least look to the Tenth, which held that powers not reserved by the federal government belong to the States or to the people. Note that "the States" is capitalized as a formal term in the same way that "State" is in the Second and in the rest of the Constitution. Once again, this points to the explicit, focused intent of the Amendment to address state and local concerns.

Furthermore, its very clear from the rest of the Constitution that the founders intended the States to still have a large role in the life of their citizens. The structure of the Senate is the clearest expression of that intent, giving an entire house of the legislature over to (originally) state-appointed representatives, balanced between the states.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46770967) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I say that is a completely different topic and I'm not sure why you brought it up other than to try to be a smart-ass. What you mentioned is not undermining the constitution, and as such, is completely off-topic.

Yes, it is. Any misinterpretation of the constitution is an undermining of its intent and effect, regardless of whether that results in a situation you like or not, and the pure individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment undermines states' rights.

A militia was a force of the proletariat. Every man that was able to take up arms was expected to do so. Therefor, the common man was considered militia and did *not* need to join the army nor any other organization to be considered such.

Yes, it was made up of the people, but the whole phrase "well-regulated" is not mere puffery. It means a militia in proper and working order, and it explicitly referenced as "being necessary to the security of a free State." The governments of the states have long been held to have the right to regulate arms within that context, and the federal government has the right to regulate firearms that do not have a purpose in a militia. (See US v. Miller (1939) on regulation of sawed-off shotguns.)

Anything not specifically outlawed by the constitution or the state is defaulted to being a right. Therefor, yes, you would have the right to own a gun even if the 2nd amendment didn't exist.

Unless a state passed a law saying that you didn't, by your own statement.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46770779) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

You want to use the phrase "well-regulated militia" as a way of allowing the national government to regulate firearms.

Actually, I view the Second Amendment as a state's right and support the right of the states to regulate arms, seeing at the concept of a militia is directly tied to the state power and not individual power. If a state wants to ban handguns and keep only a professional militia (e.g. the National Guard), that should be their right.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46770731) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Larger "ordnance" is not illegal to own or use in the US. One may privately own fighter jets, tanks, cannons, rocket launchers, etc. While there are some restirtions they are hardly banned, and never have been. So what is your point?

Title II weapons are heavily regulated in ways that handguns cannot be, under current standards. The federal government as the power to regulate them -- even the power to outright ban them. The fact that they have not exercised that power is no proof that they don't. Even DC v. Heller (2008), the case that nailed down the notion that firearm ownership was an individual right, upheld the notion that it only applies to certain types of weapons (referring to US v. Miller (1939).

And that's my point. A strict reading of the Second Amendment in no way forbids the government from preventing private citizens from having ordnance. It only guarantees the right to bear arms, not ordnance.

Comment: Re:But what is a militia? (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46768471) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

All a state would have to do is amend their constitution to proclaim that all their able bodied citizens are members of the state militia for defense of their lives, property, and the state if mustered into action. What can the feds do then?

Not much, if the militia clause is given effect as a state's right instead of an individual one. Then again, there's not much for the citizens to say if a state wanted to define its militia as a purely professional force and outright ban private ownership either under that scenario.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1571

by Valdrax (#46768419) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The most literal interpretation of that 2nd amendment means I could possess nuclear weapons, bacterial weapons, chemical weapons, and were I wealthy enough, my own tanks, APCs, fighter jets, bombers, etc.

No, in the 18th century there was already a clear separation between man-portable "arms" and larger "ordnance," and all the examples you mention would definitely qualify as ordnance. You *might* be able to make an argument for chemical & biological weapons, but any sane court would by long precedence consider those to be outside of the realm of what a citizen's militia should possess.

Comment: Re:So basically... (Score 1) 286

by Znork (#46748327) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

If he reached the same position as you did in with less effort, chances are he'll continue reaching the targets he has faster and with less effort. Learn from it, or you're going to be angry and resentful the rest of your career, and as the biggest companies in the industry are run by drop outs you may very well end up working for them.

Comment: Re:Like "Anansi boys" better than "American Gods" (Score 1) 35

by TheRaven64 (#46744917) Attached to: Neil Gaiman Confirms Movie Talks For Sandman, American Gods
I enjoyed both, but I cringe at the thought of a movie version of either. If you have a description-heavy novel that's about 100 pages long, you can just about cram it into a movie. Anything longer, and you have to be quite aggressive about the cutting. Both Anansi Boys and American Gods have splits that would let them work quite well as a miniseries, but I can't imagine them as films without so much abridgement that they may as well be different stories. I've also not read Sandman, so I can't comment on that.

Comment: Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (Score 2) 214

Is it to do with wanting to reduce emissions? I'd have thought it was a much more pragmatic requirement. Fossil fuel extraction costs are going to keep increasing. The costs of alternatives are going to keep decreasing. At some point, they will cross over and at this point the value of stocks in a fossil fuels will suddenly drop. Currently, they are quite high and probably will be for quite a few more years (although increased difficulty in extraction is going to make expensive accidents more common, which won't help). Harvard expects endowments to last a period measured in hundreds of years. Now is probably a good time to start selling off the shares in fossil fuel companies, while there are still people who want to buy them at a high price.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.

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