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Comment: Re:VFW? Military Intelligence? IE what, sonny? (Score 1) 58

Not necessarily. A lot of our membership is still in the Reserves or National Guard. If they can get inside the military network, they can have a little bit of fun. When I was in, all of the truly classified stuff was on an internal network that was actually physically separated from the Real World. I can't swear that this is still the case, but I'd be greatly surprised if it wasn't.

Comment: Re:VFW? (Score 2) 58

Uhh... No.

At least, not my post. And our post (and district, and department) are trying really really hard to break this old stereotype. Now, I'm not going to tell you that ethanol isn't ingested in a VFW club. But there's no drinking at a meeting, and many of the posts in our district are finding that those that live by the drinking club, die by the drinking club. Our post doesn't have a club, and we're in a much better financial position to help needy veterans and their families because of it.

And leadership? Fully half the leadership of my post and district are Gulf War (or later) veterans.

We exist to help each other and help other veterans. Period.

The problem is that those stereotypes still persist, because people enjoy perpetuating them. And because, in a lot of instances, the VFW (and the American Legion) don't really go out of their way to announce what they're doing. They just do what needs to be done and walk away.

We just don't drop the money on the advertising campaigns that Wounded Warrior Project does. If you take a look, though, at how much the CEO of WWP makes and compare that to the salary of the VFW National Commander (and American Legion National Commander), you'll see why most veterans' organizations are pretty irritated with WWP.

Comment: Re:Smart guns... (Score 1) 814

by ValentineMSmith (#44301589) Attached to: Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

I'm going to make the assumption from your username that you're a subject of Her Majesty's government. FYI: here in the States, when using lethal force (be it firearm, slingshot, katana, whatever), current legal doctrine is such that, if you shoot a warning shot or shoot specifically to only wound, you are almost guaranteed to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for attempted murder/reckless endangerment/reckless discharge of a firearm/whatever. In the concealed carry class I took, we were told that the ONLY legally allowed reason to use deadly force is to stop a forcible felony from being perpetrated against yourself or a 3rd party. So, it logically follows that you cannot guarantee stoppage of the threat if you're shooting warning shots or shooting to wound rather than to stop the perpetrator.

All of which means that if you had time to shoot to wound or give some sort of warning shot, the threat was not violent enough to justify shooting at all.

Comment: Re:Who's going to pay for it? (Score 1) 366

by ValentineMSmith (#43984139) Attached to: FAA Wants All Aircraft Flying On Unleaded Fuel By 2018

I went to a local airshow a couple of weeks ago, and saw a brand new Cessna 180. They're moving to Jet A now as a fuel.

http://www.cessna.com/single-engine/turbo-skylane-jta

I expect that they're really going to start trying to push engine manufacturers to develop drop-in replacements for older engines, and then just force replacement of the engine during annual.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 761

by ValentineMSmith (#43282511) Attached to: Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Actually, I was agreeing with you. It's unfortunate that the illiterate folks doing the interpreting right now are doing it in a silly, stupid way. And it's actually Congress that's the bigger problem. They're the ones that are writing these laws. I'm surprised more of them aren't challenged than they are.

But then, when they ARE challenged, the appellate courts turn a blind eye to it, so in that case your comment about the courts is on point.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 761

by ValentineMSmith (#43282051) Attached to: Man Who Pointed Laser At Aircraft Gets 30-Month Sentence

Frankly, I agree with you, but there's that pesky old Eighth Amendment:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Frankly, I don't think that a few days in the stocks (as opposed to 10 years in prison) would be cruel. In this day, however, it would be very "unusual".

And yeah, I know that they weren't using "unusual" in that sense. The problem in this country is that the 8th Amendment has been the most pesky of the amendments to work with. When it first came out, they were trying to ban things like breaking someone on the wheel.

Unfortunately, its got to the point now that people complain that capitol punishment using the same anesthesia used during surgeries is "cruel and unusual", because the condemned might suffer a tiny bit of discomfort somewhere.

I'm sure at this point, Franklin and Jefferson are looking down at us and sadly shaking their heads.

Comment: Re:And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (Score 1) 243

by ValentineMSmith (#43139929) Attached to: Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

I'd very much like you to use the real Constitution. Either you skimmed my post and misread what I said, or are misreading the Constitution yourself. Start with Article 1, section 8. That section very clearly delineates what CONGRESS can do, and Congress very clearly did not have the authority to give the handouts out the way they were given. That's why Congress appropriated the money and gave it to the President. Unfortunately, Article 2 (which governs the Executive) is not nearly as specific. So, in this instance, everything that was done was "Constitutional" in that Congress didn't appropriate the money and give it directly to everyone with their hat out. They used the Executive branch as a cutout to do it.

However, if you read Article 1, sections 8 and 9, you'll get a sense of where the founding fathers expected the Federal government to take the country. Heck, even read the 10th Amendment while your at it. Arguably, those three items together should produce a much weaker Federal government than we have now. But instead, folks like you, and your Congressmen and -women, have managed to convince youselves (and enough of the Supreme Court) that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people", along with "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" to get a situation where we have people fined under the interstate commerce clause because the grew too much wheat for their own use.

To a certain extent, I'll admit that the example above was a bit of a straw man in that it didn't deal directly with case at hand. But it's an example of the abuse that the Constitution sees on an ongoing basis. And while the bailouts didn't violate the word of the Constitution (due to the unregulation of the executive branch), I maintain they violated the spirit.

Comment: Re:And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (Score 1) 243

by ValentineMSmith (#43119695) Attached to: Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

Well, I'm glad you think that actually holding the government of the U.S. to the concepts expressed at its founding is "sheer stupidity."

Regardless of what you think (and frankly, regardless of what has happened historically with any of the active parties going back to the Whigs and Democrats), it is not the business of the government to invest, or to make a profit based on any perceived return on investment. There are several reasons for that:

1: It ain't Congress' job. See the Constitution (but we've covered that).
2: Once the government (in whichever branch) starts doing things like this, it's going to, by definition, be picking winners and losers. Let's say Larry Ellison decided to start up a new electric car company. Do we give him money as well? If we do, how far down the chain do we go when Bill Gates and the ghost of Steve Jobs show up with their new companies as well? If not, then we've given one (or more, depending on how far down the chain we got) an unfair advantage over the have-nots at taxpayer expense. Given all the squawking about making sure government is "fair" these days, that seems a bit counterproductive.
3: As romanval said, "traditional investors stayed away from" Musk. Why? Because it was a very risky investment. Great. We got our money back (and some profit to boot). In theory (this was just the press release: Musk hasn't actually paid us back yet). It does not strike me that loaning money to an entity that traditional investors are avoiding is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

Frankly, this is like a mother frog-marching her son back into a store to return the candy he stole, and then try to say, "It's all okay now. You got it all back, and here's a dime for your trouble."

Comment: And this is why DOE needs to be defunded (Score 0) 243

by ValentineMSmith (#43118021) Attached to: Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early

The US Government has no business playing venture capitalist to Elon Musk or anyone else. The power to act give loans to business ventures is NOT in the powers enumerated in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution. So, they went to the executive branch instead, and managed to get some money from DoE's slush fund. If they want money, they should be doing it the old-fashioned way: going to REAL venture capitalists, selling common or preferred stock, or raiding Elon's piggy bank. I'm happy that they're gonna pay back the loan 5 years early, but that doesn't change the fact that the loan should never have been made in the first place.

Comment: Re:North Korea (Score 3, Informative) 223

by ValentineMSmith (#42404171) Attached to: What Debris From North Korea's Rocket Launch Shows

China wasn't really that interested in saving Kim Il Sung's hiney back in the '50's. China got involved in the Korean war because 1) they felt they needed a buffer zone between a US-sponsored South Korea and their borders, and, perhaps more to the point, 2) Mao Zedong didn't just hold grudges. He cherished them, and he was still nine kinds of annoyed at the US for backing Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War. Yeah, Koreans fought during the Chinese Civil War, but Mao was never one to be grateful enough for someone to do something against his interest in thanks.

Comment: Re:How to get safer guns to the market (Score 2) 1013

by ValentineMSmith (#42350677) Attached to: Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

The irony of this post, along with your signature about DRM, is absolutely staggering.

As you state, we can't come with a technology that effectively prevents unlawful use of a frigging MP3 while not overburdening the lawful licensor thereof, and yet you turn right around and think you can do the EXACT SAME THING with a firearm?

No thanks. I'll keep my 110 year old design.

Comment: Re:... likely outcome (Score 1) 369

That comes with caveats as well. The service member CANNOT do so in an official capacity or in uniform (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch_Act_of_1939 for more information). Political speech is even more restricted by tradition. Technically, as long as the service member is on his own time, in civvies, and not attempting to attach his/her political work to his/her office or station in the military, everything is okay.

For enlisted service members, that's what generally occurs.

For officers, there's an unwritten code (and, like most unwritten codes, fairly rigorously - if unofficially - enforced) that the officers' corp should be apolitical, to the extent that there's a pretty strict inverse correlation between the grade of officer and the likelihood that they even vote. Civillian control of the military is drummed in from the first to the last, and, for an officer, voting comes uncomfortably close to having the military take control of itself.

All of which is beside the point, of course. PFC Manning's right to free speech stopped when he publicly leaked classified information. If he had problems with the morality of what he was doing, he should have addressed them through the chain of command. If that failed, he should have addressed them through his local congresscritter. If that failed, then maybe he should have realized that he was a PFC in a war zone, and maybe not privy to all of the information required to make an intelligent disposition of the classified data of which he was a custodian.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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