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Comment: Re:Carter (Score 1) 748

by bussdriver (#46777063) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

I would agree; however, Carter did come out from nowhere and upset all the wrong people. Lucky for him he wasn't powerful enough to do much against the rotten system because he would have ended up like JFK (and if you believe in magic bullets just stop now and go back to reality TV.)

I think Carter was decent and I think he was of the same character then as he is today but put in an impossible situation. Eisenhower was much earlier and his "Industrial Military Complex" was unstoppable.

Carter is how the last President should look. When the system falls apart, it is going to not look good for everybody involved in it whether or not they helped or harmed demise. Rome's fall involved a lot of assassinations and failures as the corrupt system fought to maintain the status quo. It is far easier than trying to make a broken system work while controlling it enough so nothing might actually change.

While the public fights "culture wars," essentially fighting over which brand of cigarette is better, both sides get cancer.

Comment: Carter (Score 4, Insightful) 748

by bussdriver (#46764885) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Carter was the last President; after him, it has been a complete sham. One reason he had it so bad is because he went up stream against a system that was near death.

You only have power in a corrupt system as long as you go with the flow; it's empty power but it is enough to still attract tools. Like a C or B movie villain's 2nd in command, the second he falls out of line all that power does nothing to stop a dramatic (and cliche) example from being made of them.

Comment: But it won't happen to me... (Score 1) 108

by bussdriver (#46764791) Attached to: 52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

You might think it won't happen to you but it only takes a few decades for things to go horribly horribly wrong (see German history...Nazi...) You might think your modern citizens are somehow wiser or smarter or more evolved-- well, maybe so (debatable) but the techniques used HAVE evolved.

People escaped, people resisted, and underground networks were extremely important in winning WW2. Will such things even be possible in the future? If your nation has the system already active and in place, it is just another weapon which can be turned against you in the worst of situations. People probably can't imagine the creative abuses that can be done now and will become possible.

Chaos and insecurity must be tolerated -- you'll never get completely safe and the risk of it going bad is so great long term it is an extremely foolish move to box people in. People are so easy to scare and so extremely cowardly - some fear is ok but a lot of it these days it is BS and people need to "grow a pair". Perhaps if everybody had to spend a few years commuting by bicycle to work among the traffic they'd learn to manage some risk.

Go ahead and buy many guns....useless move. does not prevent anything and it can't resist much either.

Comment: Re:power honeypot (Score 1) 114

There are these things called cars, they let people travel between cities and this is especially easy in a metro area made up of suburbs. Walmart can do just fine with no citizens in my town supporting them. Frankly, I think the majority were against Walmart because it is trashy and while they may go there they don't want one in their backyard. Not that the reason matters-- most people didn't want it and their liberty (government in this case) was taken from them. Sadly, most people will not think beyond their own selfish and short term interests which is why Walmart and China can destroy the economy here - it's no more their fault than it is a drug dealer's fault his clients slowly die or overdose.

Crony capitalism happens when citizens neglect their civic duty. It is true that a democratic system is going to create majorities who look out for their own interests but that is not crony capitalism... which requires "cronies" it does produce somewhat similar situations where you have for example, senators fighting for the F-22 because of the economic hit to their state. They are doing their jobs in that case and the majority of their state is probably along with them and the crony... It's not simplistically crony capitalism, it is also democracy. A functioning system would make it impossible to wield unwarranted power. Two pro F-22 senators will lose such a fight... unless the crony / corp is too big and can undermine democracy-- 100% of a single state's people would still be a minority at a national level. Again back to the point, a functioning system MUST limit and somewhat balance power. city, state, fed, etc. If the majority wants it, it is not cronyism. duh.

Me a control freak? huh... You must be much further towards anarchism than I am. Perhaps you should go to and see where you rank. I'm quite far from authoritarian. This is like arguing with Anarchists. You should try that sometime... I have... except you will probably be right at home with them.

YOU can move to another country. It is not much worse than having to move between cities or states. Not that the world has many places left out of the reach of the expanding US backed policies / laws... I suppose... you could be reacting to finally learning the evils of the American Empire which is causing a natural over reaction fueling your anti-authority positions; ironically, fighting for the cronies who've hijacked the system... when it's a strong system that is necessary to reign them in.

As far as being a quitter. sometimes, yes that is the right choice. Other times it is too important to let 1-2 jerks ruin it for everybody else.

Comment: Re:power honeypot (Score 2) 114

I only have local gov experience. It doesn't take much money before the game is all about power. I don't assume that all the wealthy are distracted by the money game; some realize it's just a means to power and power is what they really are addicted to. Luckily, it seems that many are stuck on their money addiction or things would be so much worse than they are. Bigger government isn't much different than little government; similar organizational problems and human nature - I doubt you have significantly more insight.

Public funding of the press: A flawed society will produce flawed results no matter how perfect the system is - it runs on human power. Public funding of the press is not a big problem. If you can't do it right then you are already SOL. Funding the press today in the USA isn't going to save this sinking ship. It is too late. This is how democracies die, they are slowly undermined and people don't notice problems until things are too far gone... so patches appease them and prolong the inevitable fall into despotism in the cycle of life for all democracies. My point is, the founders were wise to fund the press with no strings attached and to separate it as much as they could from government power. Today we have a completely separate press that is still a corrupt lapdog, so arguing that complete separation works should feel really foolish. Citing already failed societies as an example of why something doesn't work is a poor argument. Well, Linux really sucks -- because on my old computer it crashes all the time.... (never mind that nothing runs well on it because it's practically dead.)

Walmart - my city didn't want one; it was our right to not want them. My city fought them and LOST because ultimately it came down to a lawsuit that we would likely win AFTER bankrupting the city. The point is you don't have real freedom if you can be squished at will. No, Walmart doesn't have more rights than the citizens of my city.

I am a participant, an active responsible citizen and any civil society has a government by which the citizens' collective power is manifest. We the people give the government it's power; and that applies to all kinds - the oppressive tyrants only rule at the submission of their citizens (until they rise up - the power always is theirs.) If people do not participate and good people don't get involved then ONLY the self-motivated parties seeking power will run the show. My theory is that the more successful the democracy the shorter lived it will be until it starts into despotism; a happy content citizenry is not vigilant. Politics is not pleasant. never will be. reality sucks; so suck it up stop escaping to the TV people!

Surely you must have volunteered or been part of things where nobody cared to be in charge except the jerk everybody hated because they were a control freak? Next time others having learned their lesson step up. Same kind of thing but a smaller scale. Often, if it's not bad enough people will just tolerate the bad situation because to unseat the jerk is more effort than it would have to stepped up in the 1st place.

Comment: Flying madness continues... (Score 1) 157

by bussdriver (#46750599) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

Ok, you get all the issues resolved. Then comes the physics and economics... so you get your Mr. Fusion to power all these flying cars from bits of trash thrown into the affordable reaction chamber, then you have to find a way to transform all that waste heat the things are going to give off in huge amounts times the number of cars. Remember, nothing is going to be 100% efficient and anything using propellers... Then you have the majority of horizontal movement energy wasted because after 60mph most of that is put into pushing against the wind...

All this so you can save some money and time on roads? It takes almost nothing by comparison to roll you around on the ground at slower speeds. We have troubles funding the cheap individual vehicles today... or at least people complain a whole lot about the costs and it's not so bad that we are driving at half speed to save on gas which costs less than bottled water.... but the energy costs for flying are just much greater.

Insurance... imagine the insurance... and all the GM recalls not performed...because the death toll doesn't cost them enough $ (and the likely continuation of tort reform means they can afford even more damage.)

Comment: Re:power honeypot (Score 2) 114

Until you realize the error of your beliefs, you will just be another tool. Do some thinking and stop adhering to a simplistic religious world view (unsurprisingly one which is promoted by the power elite.)

A functional democracy will reflect the flaws of it's people; as Franklin said, all democracies fall into despotism. It is not an eternal system, it is bound to fail and have to be rebuilt because it runs on humans. Nothing you do can create a perfect system as long as it runs on humans. Sure, someday a computer could take over and then it would be "perfect" and everlasting but humans don't like being dictated to for that long... even if the outcome is as close to utopia as possible. Humans require struggle and will create one if need be (unless you can create a "Brave New World" of distraction and avoidance. Then only a small % will revolt and the computer can then breed those people out.)

It is true that power has migrated towards the top; but that is only a problem with corruption which in turn is the peoples' collective fault. You can't fix things by rebooting to more localized power because the flaws that led to this remain and will just continue. Power mad people will by their nature migrate power to themselves. In addition, it doesn't matter a whole lot if my state or federal government goes too far; it still impacts me the same (other than it being easier to relocate to another state than another country; moving isn't that easy.) I for one, was never a big fan of the change to have the public elect Senators. They should have remained appointed by state legislators; the argument was that it was less corrupt to have the public do it... well, if states were so easily corrupted... all the popular vote did was to delay the spread of corruption (and in some ways increase it by making the fed less responsive to the states.)

What I thought was the obvious conclusion to my statement is that we need a salary cap and severe limits on corporate power. Your local government if you didn't realize it yet, is at the mercy of every rich person or large corporation; your state government is easily overpowered by a national corp and not hard to corrupt by local state businesses. If you want local government, you need limit the size of the threats opposing them. Today, our "all powerful" federal government has been lost to multinational private entities; it wasn't even powerful enough to maintain integrity - and the public not competent enough to defend it... You must not know much about your local gov, same issues go on there and just because they are small targets doesn't mean they are anymore immune. When Walmart wants something your city will lose; until that time you can go ahead and feel that it works better. Naturally, being smaller, they are not targeted as much... give them more power... then they would be bigger targets AND weaker.

The 4th branch, the press, was publicly funded with 3% of the GDP and afforded a semi-non profit status up to the civil war. Some minor changes would be needed today but the founding path was the correct one.

Comment: power honeypot (Score 4, Insightful) 114

No, removing power from the democracy is only empowering the same anti-democratic forces that always seek greater power. They will seek power by any means available to them; take away law and order and they'll become war lords. Anything that limits their means to power is going to have to be more powerful than they are; therefore, it'll become a target for acquisition or undermining. Minimal regulations still require a government powerful enough to enforce them and therefore an equally tempting target for the power mad. You CANT avoid the problem by weakening government; any functioning government will be powerful enough to be the primary target for corrupting forces.

The only solution is to separate powers and limit them to the extent they are stuck in a permanent battle that is evenly matched. This is the basic concept upon which the constitution of the US was created as well as most other constitutions. The flaws and failures come from not properly balancing and separating the powers at play. The obvious flaw in the US system is that it only has 3 branches it limits and it was outside factors that overpowered and functionally destroyed the democracy. Sure, it will be just fine as a republic all the way into oligarchy, plutocracy, fascism and/or dictatorship... but the democracy aspect; the most important part, is dying off.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

Are you joking?

200+ million Americans drive somewhere - DAILY. look it up.
Flying? I bet it is around 200,000 per day.

That is 1000 times more people fly. Concept doesn't sound big enough.... In better words: 199,800,000 Americans drive more than fly every day.

Miles traveled is a bad metric for comparison; hours traveling would be better. but my point is that car accidents are minor because few result in death. Something like 5+ million accidents and only 40,000 are fatal. I wish more things were that safe... cancer... 50% ...fatal cancer... 25% (men)

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

You say that as if it was easy. Try having a 3rd party online service handle the gas cost splitting and drawing the scrutiny of the FAA towards the online service. Something I'd not want to happen to me personally even if I'm not doing anything wrong. (especially if it's informal and we round numbers etc. some stickler could make that a pain.) Plus if the 3rd party online service includes fees for the service I'm sure some lawyer can make an issue out of it no longer being strictly fuel. (but if the pilot doesn't get paid extra it should be ok.) Some people break rules; if you have communications between people on such a service would the FAA want to monitor it to catch people breaking the rules? We know it happens somewhere sometimes but how much?? xmas gift... larger than usual... card... "thanks for the lift"...

Ultralites are for crazy people; why have an age limit or license? it'll help the gene-pool.

I like the idea of the service. I still think there are organizations that will oppose it even if it doesn't pose a realistic threat.
Taxi's would be hurt but they'd not die from ride sharing apps either (they might finally get with it and serve you better instead of make you wait so a Taxi far away can get their share of customers instead of the one a block away.)

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 2) 269

Well, I wasn't intending to talk about MORE flying. I'm not one who supports heavy flying and don't think there should ever be flying cars either. (By the time any such thing is realistic-- if it would ever be-- robots should be doing it all for us. Unless energy is free, land transport is a cheaper use of energy.)

The point is, flying is really dangerous stuff. This is why so much care and precaution is taken and I think the pilot's exam includes enough complexity to double as an IQ test as well. As you likely have noticed, we let any moron drive a car. If we were as strict with cars they would be much safer. Regulation makes flying as safe as it is - but IT IS extremely dangerous by nature. Hell, before requiring checklists the pros made errors and the accident levels dropped 30-40% lower after adding them! No, we'd not have that impact with car checklists; it seems silly to consider it... that is because cars are simple.

In the air, plenty of things can go wrong. If something does, a landing will be attempted if at all possible-- in which case that crash will be during landing.

They've been working on new traffic control since I was a teen. It never moves forward; I don't know why... We could have computers take it all over today with probably fewer problems but then we'd wipe out a lot of jobs...

Comment: Having a private pilots license (Score 5, Insightful) 269

Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT. If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities. It is true when you compare apples to oranges driving is more dangerous; but if you want to even get close to a fair comparison you would compare jets to buses and you'd compare fatalities and injuries separately... since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

The FAA has strong rules about flying others around and the FAA never changes the regulations, they only add, never remove. The exchange of money at all for any connected reason is going to cause trouble.

Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

Money is the root of all wealth.