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Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48937501) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Name calling is not shunning or shaming. It is attaching the person and not the argument and therefore has no place on civil discourse.

By the way, now that I re-read this during a spare moment and once again think about it, I can again respond to you in what I hope to be a worthy way, yet this time focus on a different dimension of the thing at hand.

I would ask you to consider, simply, this other and possibly alien point of view: the "name-calling" types are simply enacting the lower (or if you like, "gutter") form of an idea that is nonetheless technically true. The name-callers are merely those who recognize this but also have a need to make you look worse in order that they know better, or otherwise focus on what they think is wrong with you, with little or no serious constructive suggestion concerning what precisely is wrong with your view and how better to regard the situation. Liike the thinking individuals, they see what the problem is; otherwise, they lack the clarity and objectivity to identify the problem and suggest a sensible solution. By contrast, they're simply bitching. But even those people are correctly identifying that somethng is amiss. They're just the least clever and easiest to ridicule among those who all arrive at the same conclusion.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48931289) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Today, all one needs to do is say the government wants it and many will assume it is bad. It is the flip side of the same coin.

That's because there is a limit to how many times they can lie to people, blatantly and without remorse, before the people stop trusting them. My grandparents grew up during a time when this went on, like it does today, but not nearly as much and was not well known (consider Hoover's FBI, or the involuntary radiation exposure experiments carried out against black people, or the use of the CIA to overthrow democratically elected foreign leaders). They saw it as a matter of honor or duty to have trust and faith in the republic and the leaders its processes have put there. That's been shattered and won't be repaired any time soon.

In the personal realm, most people become suspicious of everything someone says after the very first confirmed deliberate deception. The amazing part is that government is given so many chances, that people are so impressed with official symbols and pomp and circumstance that they would ever believe known liars who have never faced any serious consequences for their deceptions.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929977) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

And how does one find those targets in the first place if they have no connection with known targets? How does one find the group to infiltrate? The point is that there are many new cells that are popping up that have no connection what so ever with known terrorists. How do you find those new cells?

The idea is that limiting police powers in order to safeguard freedoms (and with them, the balance of power between the individual and the government) is acknowledged as making the job of police harder. The polices' job being harder does, in fact, mean that some number of criminals will go free some of the time, criminals who otherwise would have been caught and prosecuted. This is why absolute security is the antithesis of absolute freedom, so the question then is how to balance the two. When you safeguard liberty as your first priority and assign a lower priority to the effectiveness of law enforcement, you understand that you are taking a higher risk that you yourself will be harmed by a criminal that law enforcement could have stopped.

That's why freedom is not for cowards. The problems you worry about are well known to people who understand and value freedom. They choose freedom anyway. They also realize that the danger with which you're so concerned has been overstated. You're much more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, and any factual inquiry into that based on facts would lead you to the same conclusion. Incidentally, you're also more likely to be injured by lightning. In the last 100 years, many, many more people were killed by their own governments than by any foreign enemy, so the credibility of this danger has been well established. Limited, transparent government is a time-tested manner of managing this danger.

As an aside, if terrorism is truly such a great problem and we want to reduce it in a real and effective manner, we should also stop giving excuses to the people who hate us. It's much easier for an enemy to justify their position, raise their troops' morale, and recruit new members into their brand of exteremism when they can point to concrete acts of ruthless domination the USA has actually committed. Law enforcement would certainly be more effective if its list of potential suspects could be reduced, facilitating a more focused approach on those that remain.

Anyway, the real spirit of freedom, the more value-based, individual, and courageous part that you and so many others keep failing to even recognize, let alone try to understand, is that those who understand freedom realize that a few more guilty men may go free. They consider that a small price to pay, an exchange of a finite quantity that numbers can describe in order go gain something priceless and worthwhile. It's yet another instance of failing to comprehend a viewpoint because you do not personally share it, therefore you get sidetracked by related but irrelevant issues because you have no idea how to articulate a meaningful response to it.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929619) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Berating me is doing nothing to change my mind. I do not respond well to bullies.

Actually, the social shunning/shaming of those who advocate positions that are detrimental to society does serve a useful and positive function. Consider the way most people would respond to someone who openly advocates racism, for example. The response such a person receives would not be a pleasant one and really would discourage them. This is a good thing and it's a service to everyone else.

The only difference between racist views and pro-authoritarian views is the method by which they damage society for everyone else. Honestly the idea that your safety is in terrible danger from terrorism, and that giving up freedom and privacy is an acceptable solution, is a form of cowardice. It enables tyranny and those who advocate it are enablers. It's also inconsistent with reality: you're more likely to be injured by lightning than by terrorists, and you're very much more likely to be harmed by police or other members of your own government than any terrorist. If you were truly interested in your safety you would religiously monitor weather reports and you would advocate that the federal government be reduced in size and power.

Meanwhile, it's a fact of life that not all opinions are equally valid. Some, like yours, are rooted in ignorance and cowardice and have proven extremely dangerous each time they are put into practice, as an honest reading of history would reveal to you. Yes, the USA is not the first nation to use the idea of a foreign threat as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. The delusional among us seem to believe that it does happen to be the very first nation that will do this without causing a complete disaster (which has always taken the form of a totalitarian government under which human life is without value). Neither an understanding of history nor of human nature could possibly support this delusion.

I'd like to leave you with two quotations that this conversation reminds me of. You see, we (collectively) keep rehashing these same old debates not realizing that great effort has already been poured into thinking about what are not new issues. The first is from C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

The other is a dialog between Hermann Goring, a leading member of the Nazi Party, and a man named Gilbert, during an interview conduced in Goering's prison cell during the Nuremburg trials, on April 18, 1946:


Goring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.


Something I hope you will consider.

Comment: Re:Pope Francis - fuck your mother (Score 1) 894

by causality (#48842231) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

I'm all for the Pope telling his followers how to be better people, and not say unnecessary things that are patently offensive to other people, like "Fuck the Pope". That's kind of the point of religion, now, isn't it?

Well, he could have said it better. If I were the Pope (yeah, like that's ever going to happen!) I would have said something like this:

"Don't be rude to others. Looking for ways to intentionally offend, just for the sake of offense, is not the way of Christ. As Christians we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors do not look for ways to offends those to whom they are sent. At the same time, the Lord also commanded us to turn the other cheek. Even more, He told us that we must pray for those who persecute us. If we are commanded to pray for our persecutors, surely we can turn the other cheek and pray for those who make petty insults of our cherished beliefs!"

*Sigh* Apparently, even the Pope could stand to have a few lessons on how to be a good Christian.

If only I had mod points, I'd mod you up, sir or madam. At least you understand what this belief is supposed to advocate, whether or not you personally practice it.

Comment: Re:And locks too! (Score 1) 562

by causality (#48842173) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

I for one am tired of the government from being slowed by locks whenever they need to find a terrorist suspect, I think the government needs a master key that can open any lock, and everyone combination lock needs to have a master unlock code to unlock it.

Since the master keys would only be available to a few thousand (ok, maybe a few hundred thousand) law enforcement personnel, I fail to see how the "bad guys" would ever get access to them. The government has our best interests at heart, and they carefully screen employees to ensure that none of them are the "bad guys".

I appreciate your sarcasm.

Comment: Re:Statism for the WIN (Score 1) 562

by causality (#48841725) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Interesting point. That said, I am interested in any takers and will honestly address any argment people want to make.

Of course you are quite correct, all I am getting is the odd insult and pathetic verbal jab, no one has even tried to support their failed system of tyranny with logic.

Telling, isn't it? Afraid they are, of facing the truth.

The political elite class that had anything to do with making those decisions likely doesn't actively participate in this site. The most you're likely to find here are people in denial who are clinging to the idea that by voting within the two-party system, they are somehow exercising anything resembling real choice. That doesn't remotely fit your description of what you're looking for.

I agree that the personal insults are pathetic. A lot of people choose things which are (or should be) beneath them.

Comment: Re:Hope and change (Score 5, Insightful) 562

by causality (#48841651) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Fake as all the others.

The man acted like a redneck idiot. He used deliberately common-folk language, avoided long words. Soundbite quotes wherever possible. But his educational record is very good, and he even graduated Harvard business. He knew that a popular, everyman president would play well, and an intellectual would be regarded as 'elitist' - so he put on the act he knew would give the best advantage in his career.

Yes, Heaven forbid the man occupying the highest office of the land and charged with making important decisions be known as an intellectual. I mean, this IS America...

Comment: Re:Communication has never been secure (Score 1) 562

by causality (#48841625) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Snail mail and land line phones were never secure, all it took was a search warrant/court order (really easy to get) and the police had it. Email is no different. All the ranting about the NSA and government intrusion just diverts from the fact that; 1) if you don't want anyone to hear what you say, don't say it. 2) if you don't want anyone to read what you write, don't write it down. The USA founding fathers lived with the knowledge that they would be held accountable for what they said and wrote, and today it's no different.

"Being held accountable" is supposed to mean something along the lines of "people might decide they don't like you, or at least don't agree with you". It's not supposed to mean things like "you mysteriously end up on the no-fly list", or "the IRS gives you lots of special attention", or any other methods by which your government -- that's nominally supposed to be serving you -- is going to find a way to screw with your life.

Comment: Re:I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free... (Score 2) 562

by causality (#48841257) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

I dont like the scumbags that shoot up chocolate shops and newspaper offices or crash airplanes into buildings or blow up nightclubs but I would rather see 1000 terrorists go free than to see a single innocent person have their privacy, security, civil liberties or constitutional rights violated.

This is more generally known as refusing to be a coward.

Comment: Re:Statism for the WIN (Score 2) 562

by causality (#48841223) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

I will debate any statist on any argument whatsoever, and I will destroy them (the argument that is!), and what is more, I will do so not only with real actual logic but as and when warranted with facts and references. And what is more I will be polite and will not resort to name calling or personal attacks at all, but will of course expect that same consideration in return. And I will win the argument, always, and completely. There is no argument for big government statism that can defeat me - because I am right and you are wrong.

Statists generally prefer one-to-many broadcast methods like the evening news to spread their (largely emotional, fear-based) propaganda. This way they know there will be no equal airtime given to someone who logically questions their proposals and looks at them with a critical view. They are too welcome in too many other, much more convenient forums to actually take up your challenge on anything like a level playing field.

Although, a favorite trick of some flavors of statist is to invite dissenters to call into the show. The host will mute the caller, talk over them, refuse to answer inconvenient questions, and usually entirely take over the asking of questions, respond to complex and nuanced issues by badgering the caller with a series of yes/no questions designed to lead to a predetermined conclusion (an abuse of the Socratic method), changing the subject ("We had no justification to be in Iraq." "Saddam was a dictator! Do you support dictators?!"), and use other propaganda techniques designed to appear legitimate. This will convince the naive that any debate is happening, and that no one can successfully get the host to admit fault because the host is always right.

In summary, you're not going to get an honest debate because these people are afraid of honest debate and go to great lengths to avoid it. With a mere five corporations controlling every major newspaper, broadcast TV news service, radio news service, cable news service, and online news outlets, there simply isn't enough diversity to allow for anything in the mainstream other than an echo chamber. It comes in two flavors: "left" and "right", which are two slightly different methods of reaching the same conclusion that the solution to our problems is to concentrate more wealth and power into fewer hands.

Comment: Re:Precedence? (Score 5, Insightful) 562

by causality (#48841123) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

Doesn't the precedence of the clipper chip fiasco in the 90s already dictate this can't be done? Or am I misunderstanding?

They try again and again to implement the same bad ideas, knowing that defeats don't matter, understanding that they only need to score a single victory and their maladaptive proposals will be forever enshrined in law, never to be repealed. These are people who play chess and as such they learned to take a long view of things, realizing that most Americans have incredibly short memories and are only considering the here and now.

Comment: Re: what about spectrums rights? (Score 1) 104

by causality (#48812283) Attached to: Where Cellular Networks Don't Exist, People Are Building Their Own

I am all for legalizing cannabis. I have no interest in legalising heroine, crack, meth, PCP, etc.

I'd rather abusers spend time in jail than around me and mine.

We have to draw a line somewhere, and crossing that line is how the black market makes money. Taking away that line altogether is akin to anarchy.

Stealing it without paying for it would still be a crime. Fraud would still be a crime. It wouldn't be anarchy, no not nearly.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell