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Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 677

by clong83 (#49540175) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
I don't wish to tolerate it. I also want it to go away. I question whether or not Snowden really did anything to further that goal or not. If you listen carefully, there were plenty of hints that this was happening long before SNowden came around. He merely provided some confirmation.

The CIA was recently skewered in a Senate report as being essentially a rogue, overreaching agency that violated many people's rights. Everybody knew about waterboarding and torture without any Snowden to blow the whistle. It's hard to keep 'secrets' this large.

I guess I am content to put some faith in the system. Things like CIA torture and the NSA happen. It has happenned before and it will surely happen again. It's not "okay", but as long as the citizenry control the levers of government (and we do), then I am content that the right thing will be done in the end. The problems happen when the will of the people do not match "the right thing". When it came out that the CIA was torturing people illegally, people actually defended it wholeheartedly. Same with the NSA. Joe McCarthy was pretty popular for a long while, and he was pretty blatantly violating people's rights out in the open.

What is needed is a sea change in the way that the general population thinks about these things, and that change will be reflected by government leaders who want to stay in office. Democracy is actually pretty efficient that way. That tide will turn as it always does, but it is hard to effect change when most of the population, and therefore the leaders they elect, are complicit. Snowden is not a villian, but I do think of him as a fool.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 2) 677

by clong83 (#49540079) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
There will no doubt be a moral objection to pretty much every conceivable state secret by someone. Does someone who philosophically abhors taxes and believes them to be illegal get to release critical information that might bring down IRS servers?

I'll absolutely agree that the "Only following orders" defense is NOT a defense. There is a difference between keeping a secret, and actively enabling a governmental policy. The German higher-ups weren't charged for leaking secret information about what was happening, they were charged with enabling atrocities. If Snowden had a moral/ethical problem, he could have (and did) quit, just as those German generals could have quit in 1941 when they saw where everything was headed.

There will always be secrets from pretty much every government, ever, that you find objectionable. Part of holding a clearance is being loyal enough that you agree not to divulge that information. If the state is really that rotten, then your loyalty itself becomes guilt, because why are you loyal when someone is committing crimes against humanity? That is to say, Nazi Germany would inspire no loyalty from me.

Bad analogy: Say your spouse does something embarassing and possibly illegal. Do you help them cover it up? Or do you divorce them and air all their dirty laundry? Something in between? It depends on the situation, right? If my spouse were a prolific serial killer (your Germany example), I wouldn't feel bad about divorce and airing of dirty laundry. If I found out my spouse had been illegally spying on the neighbors and recording phone calls, well, I might walk out if he/she was resistant to change. But telling the neighbors? It's a bit of a gray area. I am not completely unsympathetic to Snowden. But if I had previously sworn to not reveal details of our relationship under penalty of law, I would probably not go running and telling the neighbors abotu my spouse's proclivities, other than in vague (read:unclassified) warnings about how their privacy was vulnerable.

There have been plenty of hints that this was going on long before Snowden, his revelations were completely unsurprising if you had been paying any attention, merely confirmation. The public is complicit. So I think what he did helped nobody, was unnecessary. But he did it anyways. My chief objection now is that lauding him as a hero sets a dangerous precedent regarding the sanctity of classified information.

Comment: Re:I don't know what to think (Score 1) 395

by clong83 (#49538425) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead
Iteresting response. Thank you for taking that time.

I still think that for some drugs, such as heroin and opium, tight state control is not a bad thing and is in the purview of their charter, which is to "Provide for the common welfare". I hope I am quoting from memory correctly. We could debate if abolition is actually the best approach to do that all day long and not get anywhere, but I respect your opinion.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 677

by clong83 (#49538281) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
Fair enough, it was a cheap political jab.

I guess it's a matter of compromise on issues no matter who the candidate is. I just happen to think that many of those issues you mentioned are secondary to the surveillance problem. You apparently disagree (as do many others), and that's fine.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 677

by clong83 (#49536943) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
Mod Parent Up!

This is what people don't understand. If I hold a clearance, I can disagree with some things that are deemed "classified". But it is not my place to choose to release it. Ask yourself if you think it would be okay for nuclear scientists to unilaterally decide that certain aspects of their work should not be classified and just released it to a newspaper? THere is a very good reason why doing so is expressly and hugely illegal. What he did is no different.

I get that he is something of a whistleblower, and that the NSA programs are hugely controversial. I disagree with what they are doing. Public knowledge has created outrage, but has public knowledge actually changed any of that? Could it? DO you really think, even if the director of the NSA stepped down, and they officially abandoned all the projects that Snowden leaked, that they wouldn't just rebrand it all and start again in secret if they wanted to? There are those in congress opposed to such things (ironically, one of the most stalwart voices against such programs was Sen. Udall in Colorado, who was voted out last election in favor of a tea partier who has nothing to say about it. You know, the tea party people who say they are all against government overreach?), and I actually believe this stuff will die at some point. But I don't think Snowden helped at all.

Comment: Re:I don't know what to think (Score 1) 395

by clong83 (#49536787) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead
For once, I agree with circle.

Taking a hard drug isn't really a big deal until it is. At a moment of weakness, (not necessarily teenagers) pretty much anyone could try them. And many people may even never try them again. But a few people will think, "Hey, that was fun, and I'm not even lying in a gutter. I can keep control of that, let's do that again". And that's the trap.

You are right that drugs have always been with us, but you are wrong that they have never led to severe and crippling effects on society as a whole. Opium was available in China for centuries, but in the early 19th century availability (due to increased trade with the rest of the world) skyrocketed. Chinese civilization was paralyzed for the better part of a century, and a huge outpouring of its wealth occurred. They traded away most of their valuable resources at the time to keep the juice coming. Their leaders recognized the problem and tried to stop the importation of opium, leading the "Opium Wars", which they were ill-equiped to fight, and led to the British seizure of Hong Kong. It wasn't until the Maost revolution that Chinese leaders were able rid the country of its opium dependence.

Comment: Natural variation? (Score 2) 617

by clong83 (#49529271) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs
My immediate thought is that perhaps the 1st gen users are just cycling to their next car? Why do we assume that people will always buy the exact same type of car again? THat actually seems unreasonable to me... Hybrids and EVs tend to be smaller vehicles, and there is some natural tendency to get something "different" when you get a new car. How many people who last owned a compact car bought the same class of vehicle again? How many went on to buy SUVs/trucks? That is important info if we want to make a proper comparison.

Anecdotal example: I drive a pickup truck, and I have owned it for 11 years. It is on its way out soon, and I can't wait to get a small car as I am tired of having something that costs so much to fill up, has bad traction on snow/ice, and is hard to navigate in tight parking lots. But then maybe after xx years in a compact, I'll buy another truck...

Comment: Re:I don't know what to think (Score 1) 395

by clong83 (#49528979) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead
Caveat: I don't usually agree with you much.

However, I've honestly never thought about the war on drugs in this way, and your comments are insightful. I'm not 100% sure I agree with it, but mod parent up as a point of view that is certainly worthwhile of discussion.

I think the whole point though, is how do we reduce the number of people who become 'imprisoned' in this way. I believe that most people who try harder drugs do so with the attitude of "That won't happen to me", and so the imprisonment, while self-inflicted, is not wholly voluntary. We should, as a society, try to help these people and prevent future victime.

Some countries with looser drug laws provide data which seems to suggest that legalization actually decreases addiction. More studies needed, I know. Would you support legalization if it was conclusively shown to actually decrease abuse and addiction? Truly curious.

Further caveat: I'm a daily adderall user, for legit reasons. I hate taking it and will welcome with open arms any other treatment for ADD that works half as well. If they told me standing on my head for an hour every day would have the same effect on my ability to complete work and not forget half the stuff I'm supposed to do every day, I'd be more than willing to try that instead.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 349

by clong83 (#49373729) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You
Possibly, but it would depend on how the law was written.

The purchase of 10000 shares of company X, or even the outright purchase of a corner bicycle shop, could very well be considered "consumption". Granted this class of "consumption" could be given special tax status (much like capital gains already does) due to the risk inherent and the general societal desire to encourage this kind of investment. Profit would be gravy if we no longer tax income, and losses could be weighted against future purchases to lower tax burden. It could actually work, but we'd still be arguing over the same old stuff. How much should the rate be set at? Should there be different tax rates for different amounts of annual stock/bond purchases? Should the tax rate be different for private vs. public company purchases? What if you sold shares immediately after a purchase and took a loss? SHould you get refunded your tax, as if you returned a shirt to the Gap? Sould you still get to use that loss as a weight against a future purchase? But that might encourage short-term trading and micro-trading, which is probably not what anybody wants... I could go on.

So in the end, it might be just as complex, and a long and complicated form for anyone who has non-trivial finances might still be necessary. It's why I'm generally against changing everything to a federal sales/consumption tax. It would certainly change things, and it could very well work, but I'm not sure it would actually make much difference in the end.

Comment: Re:Bummer (Score 1) 326

by clong83 (#49355081) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"
I went to a Society of Petroleum Engineering conference once where there was a booth from a major oil services firm staffed exclusively by blond women in bikinis. In Denver, on a 60 degree day. So yeah, I think your dictionary definition actually fits. Let's see:

Especially in regards to a woman? Check.

sexually promiscuous OR provocative? Don't know about promiscuous, but double check on the provocative. DOn't care how things are in your country. This is the US, and whether you think we are puritanical or not, context matter, and it is out of the ordinary and provocative to wear revealing swimsuits indoors in a land-locked state at a trade show that is not for hot tubs.

especially in a manner regarded as vulgar or distasteful? Interestingly, the definition appeals to a cultural sense of vulgarity. So, again, context matters and your opinion/norms of your culture is moot. Whether YOU regard their attire as appropriate does not matter. Would it be okay to say they were dressed 'slutty' if it was a random person near the beach in Miami or San Diego? Culturally that attire in those places is perfectly acceptable, so no, you couldn't say that. But inside a trade conference in Denver? They are blatantly appealing to the women's sexuality to sell product. It is not *ME* who looks at the woman and sees only sex and shame on me for being a dirty pervert man who can't see past attire choices I disagree with. It is THEM who are blatantly bringing sex into the equation and forcing me to think about it. So vulgar or distasteful? Check on both.

So what is your problem again? You think it is disrepectful to women to say a woman is dressed "slutty" at a major trade expo when the textbook definition fits? But you think major corporations using young women's bodies and paying them probably only a few hundred dollars to attract a dominantly male customer base which has huge purchasing power is OK in a supposedly professional setting? Are you sure you are complaining about the right thing? Why is it assumed that the men will primarily be making product purchasing decisions? Even if it is a good assumption, WHY is that the case? Isn't that a bigger problem? And isn't it possible that this type of behavior reinforces that problem?

Just FYI, I am a man, and I find this stuff very insulting to all of the professional men and women that attend these things. I can get my kicks on my own time.

Comment: Re:Happy President (Score 1) 569

I'm sort of with you... And I am all for election reform, maybe 'ranking' your choices or something of that nature that has been described. But you are negelecting that many people in many states/voting districts really don't have a choice.

For example, in Oklahoma (I lived there for a time), they only have two candidates for president on the ballot. One democrat, one republican. No write-ins. You simply MUST pick, or leave it blank. There are literally no third-party options (there is a law on how a third party candidate can get on the ballot, but it is so onerous that nobody has done it since maybe Ross Perot). So what is someone supposed to do in this case? Not vote at all? Cede the last remnant of puny power that they have?

I have always thought that the primary process and local elections are where the real power is. Voting for people at that level that are amenable to changing these broken processes. And yet, these are precisely the elections that usually don't generate much interest.

I don't live in Oklahoma anymore, and typically I have a few more options. But tell me exactly why I should vote for someone who is only even on the ballot in 36 states?? I may as well write in Mickey Mouse in that case. It's just not going to happen without changing the way that elections are held. I really don't think it's worthwhile to blame voters for doing the most logical thing by voting for their favorite of the two candidates who are 100% guaranteed to win, rather than who they would like to have in some fantasy world...

Comment: Re:IT'S NOT FAKE! (Score 1) 218

by clong83 (#44373021) Attached to: Fake "Speed Enforced By Drones" Signs On California Freeways
Me too. I see cops all the time by abandoned roadside gas stations in the desert. Do they really think they are incospicuous there? I don't intentionally speed, but I know if I see a car a mile up the road at the deserted gas station that it is a cop, and I double-check my speedometer.

On the article... I've always thought these aircraft enforcement signs were usually baloney anyways. There's one of these signs on Interstate 8 outside of San Diego up in the mountains. The road is windy, in a deep canyon, and has a heck of a grade on it for an interstate. I always thought that the idea of an aircraft flying around up there reliably tracking cars past markers and getting plate numbers was kind of fishy.

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.