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Comment: Nonesense (Score 1) 385

by dumky2 (#47491769) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'
Putting two words together does an argument make.
Pollution is an externality, whereby bystanders are harmed. Technically, it's a form of trespass on those people's property. But advertisement on the internet is no such thing.
YouTube does not belong to you, it belongs to Google. If you choose to use that service, then you don't get to call the costs or downsides "pollution". Similarly, if you don't like the music that is played in a restaurant, or you don't like their drink minimum rule, you do not get to call those parts of the deal "pollution". Either you go there or you don't.

"When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom." -- Confucius

Comment: Seen jobs created, unseen jobs destroyed (Score 1) 171

As a general note, it is easy to count and publicize jobs created by government spending. But it is hard to count the jobs that would have been created had the resources been left un-taxed.
Of course, politicians like to emphasize the easily seen "created" jobs, but never mention the opportunity cost (jobs destroyed are the unseen).

Comment: Re:Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46965077) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
Sorry, I forgot to address your last point (regarding Congress). Economic analysis of the political process (so-called public choice theory) shows that government officials have little incentive to constrain the number of laws (or regulations) or their ambiguity and complexity.
Consider the facts of the complexity of the tax code, the growth in the Federal Register, or the size of some recent laws and regulations (ACA, Dodd-Frank, etc).
Because the State is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts including those involving itself, there is a conflict of interest (bias against the ruled). Having the ability to for citizens to sue government for bad/oversize/unclear law would probably not fix that, but might help mitigate and expose the problem.

Comment: Re:Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46965003) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
I don't know what more will convince you.
You think "commerce" is clearly defined (thanks for the quote, but source would be good), but if you read it you should see it's not (again, barter, dating, marriage fit the first interpretation, walking or riding a bike fit the third).
You think the law is generally clear, I think it's not that clear, as the present and other recent articles show (Uber participants unclear, AirBnB participants unclear, etc) and case history reveal (see numerous Supreme Court rulings as an illustration). That's not to say all law is absolutely unclear or completely unknowable, but that it's a real problem.
You think the law is well-known and reasonable (ie. most non-criminal people do read it and could follow it), and I've referenced a thorough analysis which shows it's not.

Finally, I've pointed out that if the article suggests suing Uber, then it should also suggest suing the government, which is a logically consistent position. You seemed to partly agree on that, so at least that's something ;-)

Your main response is that commercial law is clear, that it's not that complicated overall, that people are supposed to know it anyways (regardless of whether that is realistic or reasonable) and that it is clear what is commerce or not (in your interpretation).
If you don't see that such assertions do not rebut my arguments, I see no point in spending time discussing.

Comment: Re:Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46955327) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
By your own argument you should see the irony I was pointing out. If law is messed up by being unreasonably large (hard to know) and ambiguous, there is no redress against government and the ruled are always at fault. But I think there should (thus suing government back).

Since law is supposed to be known, please cite 3 laws that you read before you took your first job (selling your labor for money would be "commercial" for you wouldn't it, and you surely educated yourself as to the laws relevant to your engaging in a commercial activity, didn't you?).

If you are interested in this topic (complexity of law), you should read "Three Felonies a Day". If that doesn't bother you because "the law is known and clear" and "ignorance of the law is no excuse", then nothing I tell you will convince you. http://kottke.org/13/06/you-co...
Finally, your point about people having to know the law and the law being clear have nothing to do with commercial or non-commercial activities. However the ambiguity of what counts as commercial is resolved (you still assume that what counts as "commerce" is clear, but didn't say why even when I pointed you to the definition of "commerce"), that is irrelevant to whether people should know the law or it is ambiguous or whether there should be redress against government for making bad law.

Comment: Re:Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46953531) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
Again, let me point you to Merriam-Webster. Here's "obscure":
: not well-known : not known to most people
: difficult to understand : likely to be understood by only a few people
: difficult or impossible to know completely and with certainty

The second and third usages are perfectly acceptable. I did not mean "not well-known", but uncertain or difficult to know.

Instead of acknowledging that laws require definitions and definitions are often unclear and ambiguous (case in point above), you simply said the only thing that matters is the law. That's only pushing the problem elsewhere (what is considered "commerce" or "taxable"), not resolving the uncertainty.
The point is legislation is not so clear as you think, and is subject to multiple interpretations (and not just your own), as is the proof that a regulatory agency had to make a ruling. There are many instances that demonstrate this interpretation problem, from a seemingly simple document like Constitutions to the piles of legislations and regulations. My example of "manufacturing" is not moving the goalpost but providing another illustration of the same problem.

Comment: Re:Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46951821) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
1) If the law is as clear as you suggest, then drivers should not be able to sue Uber. The drivers themselves are responsible.

2) The problem is the definition of "commercial". If you carpool with a friend, is it commercial? If you barter a car lift for some other good, is it commercial? If you occasionally give people lifts for money, is it commercial? Those are all gray, contrary to what you are suggesting.

Another example of how regulations are ambiguous is those that require a good to be "manufactured" in a certain place. For instance, the Chinese government contemplated having such restriction when it lifted its game console ban. The question is how much manufacture counts. Does putting the label on count as "manufacturing"? The point is that such categories are not as easy to define as you suggest.
Yes, the definition of "commercial" is superficially clear, but in reality it is not.

See Merriam-Webster's full definition of "commerce":
1: social intercourse : interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments
2: the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place
3: sexual intercourse

Giving a friend a lift in exchange for a dinner can be seen as "relating to buying or selling goods or services". Dating and marriage can be seen as a form of trade and commerce.

Comment: Re:Libertarian view... (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46949121) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
As a libertarian, I have to point out why the question of regulating businesses on roads is not as easy as you suggest (just de-regulate). The State owns the roads.

If you want to offer some service on private property, the analysis you described works. Consumers should be cautious, which in the presence of competition (ie. competition is not forbidden) leads to better quality over time. Voluntary solutions (insurance, auditing, etc) can appear to address the brunt of the problems faced.

But the vast majority of roads are not private property, they are government-owned, government-managed and tax-funded.
Thus the dynamics of choice and improvement are mostly lacking (there remains competition between government jurisdictions). It is very difficult to explore and discover trade-offs that are closer to optimal.

Comment: Or sue the government (Score 1) 255

by dumky2 (#46949001) Attached to: Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down
I find it somewhat ironic that the only recourse mentioned in the summary is for the drivers to sue Uber. What about suing the government instead?
It seems ridiculous to have legislation which is so obscure that you can't know for sure if something is legal or illegal until some regulatory agency made a ruling.

Comment: Preservation and incentives (Score 1) 712

In principle, ownership by environmental groups is a good way to preserve a resource. There have been multiple instances of environmental groups buying property they wanted to protect. One that comes to mind is Ducks Unlimited, which buys wetlands to preserve them.
But there are at least two issues with buying coal mines: (1) as they buy more mines, the value of the mines that are left goes up; (2) as the price of coal is driven up by lowered supply, mining becomes more profitable and new mines are likely to open.
So they could certainly buy the mines, but they cannot buy the coal industry.

Comment: Re:Can a bitcoin advocate explain.... (Score 1) 149

by dumky2 (#46207123) Attached to: Florida Arrests High-Dollar Bitcoin Exchangers For Money Laundering
Right, so you agree that the monetary exchange per se is not a crime. Only the crime should be illegal, not the monetary exchange. But anti-money laundering laws are targeting the monetary exchanges, not the crimes that are "disguised".
My point is simply that anti-money laundering laws break the presumption of innocence, as they assume that you have a certain type of monetary exchange, then you must be disguising a crime. It does not matter that there is no evidence of an actual crime.

Comment: Funny, but compared to what? (Score 1) 253

by dumky2 (#46206917) Attached to: A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back
That'd be good anti-free-market humor if those types of problems weren't worse, way worse, with people who get in the way of governments, such as whisteblowers.

What can this company do to this guy who has some results the company doesn't like? Some things may not be pleasant, but overall, not that much.
What can the government do to whisteblowers who has evidence that the government (or that cronies of those in power) wants to hide? It turns out, quite a bit.
So, comparatively speaking, I will take the free-market smear, thank you very much.

You are an insult to my intelligence! I demand that you log off immediately.

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