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Comment: Re:Another great Scalia line (Score 1) 1069 1069

While I know it's bad form to use Wikipedia as a scholarly reference, the article on the Founding Fathers does indicate that the term is a broad one, and specifically references the group that signed the Declaration as being encompassed by the term.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Additionally, I would assume that putting your signature on something that would mean your death sentence for treason against the crown means that you agree with it so wholeheartedly that you may as well have written it for yourself.

Comment: Re:Another great Scalia line (Score 1) 1069 1069

*sigh*

I'm not sure why there's so much vitriol coming my way. I am sincerely sorry that I, personally, am responsible for your anger at "religion".

By the way, I'm a religion major; I'm pretty sure I know a good bit about both my own religion and many others that you probably are not familiar with.

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 1) 1069 1069

Again, friend, these aren't my words (though I do agree with them). These are the words of the people who decided that maybe it's a good thing to start a new country and this is how it should run. Please re-read the declaration of independence. Not a legally binding document, of course, but it does demonstrate what was going through the head of those to whom you owe a great debt.

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 2) 1069 1069

Let's start at the beginning. The declaration of independence says that among our rights are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The 14th amendment says that a state shall not deprive anyone of "life, liberty or property"....essentially their rights.

And again, I reiterate what I said earlier. Where do rights come from?

If they come from God, well, the religions practiced by virtually all people worldwide have consistently said throughout their history that such a marriage is not a marriage.

If they do not come from God, then they are simply a social construct, freely defined by humans. And the humans in many states said that such a marriage is not a marriage.

Comment: Re:Another great Scalia line (Score 1, Troll) 1069 1069

Nowhere does it say "as defined by a bigoted interpretation of a specific god".

It sure as fuck doesn't say "unalienable rights except as overruled by a ratified vote".

And yet the "three great religions" practiced by the vast majority of the people who inhabit your biosphere have for their entire collective history said that this same creator says that such a marriage is not a marriage.

Where do rights come from again? If you do not subscribe to any sort of God (and it sounds like you may not), then you have to say that rights are a social construct made up by people. And then you're back to square one with prop 8 and all the constitutional amendments.

Comment: Re:Another great Scalia line (Score 1) 1069 1069

The religious argument is irrelevant here, because marriage has legal rights and protections which have nothing at all to do with any church.

The declaration of independence would seem to disagree with you: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". It's not me saying that...it's the founding fathers.

Comment: No, they are categorically NOT doing that... (Score -1) 164 164

...and your comment represents the absolutely fundamental misunderstanding that pervades this discussion.

The truth no one wants to hear:

The distinction is no longer the technology or the place, but the person(s) using a capability: the target. In a free society based on the rule of law, it is not the technological capability to do a thing, but the law, that is paramount.

Gone are the days where the US targeted foreign communications on distant shores, or cracked codes used only by our enemies. No one would have questioned the legitimacy of the US and its allies breaking the German or Japanese codes or exploiting enemy communications equipment during WWII. The difference today is that US adversaries -- from terrorists to nation-states -- use many of the same systems, services, networks, operating systems, devices, software, hardware, cloud services, encryption standards, and so on, as Americans and much of the rest of the world. They use iPhones, Windows, Dell servers, Android tablets, Cisco routers, Netgear wireless access points, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, and so on.

US adversaries now often use the very same technologies we use. The fact that Americans or others also use them does not suddenly or magically mean that no element of the US Intelligence Community should ever target them. When a terrorist in Somalia is using Hotmail or an iPhone instead of a walkie-talkie, that cannot mean we pack our bags and go home. That means that, within clear and specific legal authorities and duly authorized statutory missions of the Intelligence Community, we aggressively pursue any and all possible avenues, within the law, that allow us to intercept and exploit the communications of foreign intelligence targets.

If they are using hand couriers, we target them. If they are using walkie-talkies, we target them. If they are using their own custom methods for protecting their communications, we target them. If they are using HF radios, VSATs, satellite phones, or smoke signals, we target them. If they are using Gmail, Windows, OS X, Facebook, iPhone, Android, SSL, web forums running on Amazon Web Services, etc., we target them -- within clear and specific legal frameworks that govern the way our intelligence agencies operate, including with regard to US Persons.

That doesn't mean it's always perfect; that doesn't mean things are not up for debate; that doesn't mean everyone will agree with every possible legal interpretation; that doesn't mean that some may not fundamentally disagree with the US approach to, e.g., counterterrorism. But the intelligence agencies do not make the rules, and while they may inform issues, they do not define national policy or priorities.

Without the authorities granted by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the United States cannot target non-US Persons who are foreign intelligence targets if their communications enters, traverses, or otherwise touches the United States, a system within the United States, or, arguably, a system or network operated by a US corporation (i.e., a US Person) anywhere in the world. FAA in particular is almost exclusively focused on non-US Persons outside the US, who now exist in the same global web of digital communications as innocent Americans.

Without FAA, the very same Constitutional protections and warrant requirements reserved for US Persons would extend to foreign nations and foreign terrorists simply by using US networks and services â" whether intentionally or not. Without FAA, an individualized warrant would be required to collect on a foreign intelligence target using, say, Facebook, Gmail, or Yahoo!, or even exclusively foreign providers if their communications happens to enter the United States, as 70% of international internet traffic does. If you do not think there is a problem with this, there might be an even greater and more basic misunderstanding about how foreign SIGINT and cyber activities fundamentally must work.

If you believe NSA should not have these capabilities, what you are saying is that you do not believe the United States should be able to target foreign intelligence targets outside the United States who, by coincidence or by design, ever utilize or enter US systems and services. If you believe the solution is an individualized warrant every time the US wishes to target a foreign adversary using Gmail, then you are advocating the protection of foreign adversaries with the very same legal protections reserved for US citizens -- while turning foreign SIGINT, which is not and never has been subject to those restrictions, on its head.

These are the facts and realities of the situation. Any government capability is imperfect, and any government capability can be abused. But the United States is the only nation on earth which has jammed intelligence capabilities into as sophisticated and extensive a legal framework as we have. When the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, multiple executive agencies under two diametrically opposite Presidential administrations, armies of lawyers within offices of general counsel and and inspectors general, and federal judges on the very court whose only purpose is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of foreign intelligence collection are all in agreement, then you have the judgment of every mechanism of our free civil society.

Or we could just keep laying our intelligence sources, methods, techniques, and capabilities bare to our enemies.

âMany forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947

"The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged â" all that remains for me to add, is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in most Enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned and promising a favourable issue.â â" George Washington, our nation's first spymaster, in a letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 26 July 1777

Comment: The ultimate "man made earthquake" (Score 3, Interesting) 166 166

Russian analyst urges nuclear attack on Yellowstone National Park and San Andreas fault line

A Russian geopolitical analyst says the best way to attack the United States is to detonate nuclear weapons to trigger a supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park or along the San Andreas fault line on California's coast.

The president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems based in Moscow, Konstantin Sivkov said in an article for a Russian trade newspaper on Wednesday, VPK News, that Russia needed to increase its military weapons and strategies against the "West" which was "moving to the borders or Russia".

He has a conspiracy theory that NATO - a political and military alliance which counts the US, UK, Canada and many countries in western Europe as members - was amassing strength against Russia and the only way to combat that problem was to attack America's vulnerabilities to ensure a "complete destruction of the enemy".

"Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munition megaton class to initiate an eruption. The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States - a country just disappears," he said.

"Another vulnerable area of the United States from the geophysical point of view, is the San Andreas fault - 1300 kilometers between the Pacific and North American plates ... a detonation of a nuclear weapon there can trigger catastrophic events like a coast-scale tsunami which can completely destroy the infrastructure of the United States."

Full story

Comment: And why not? (Score 4, Insightful) 227 227

Considering that nuclear power is the safest form of power the world has ever known, I'd say it's worthy of recognition for offsetting carbon more than anything else. To borrow a phrase, "It's the energy density, stupid."

There's a reason why China has 30 nuclear plants under construction, while the US just approved its first new plant in 30 years.

Comment: Re:Facts not in evidence (Score 1) 406 406

Your (and my, and any individual citizen's) personal interpretation of the Constitution is not the measure. It is the interpretation and implementation by our three branches of government. I realize that some reading this believe they have all been compromised, or that they think some particular thing is "obviously unconstitutional" (even though the judicial, legislative, and executive branches say otherwise), but the fact is we have the system of government we have. So how about you consider the alternative: one where you don't assume that everyone working at every/any level of government, e.g., NSA, doesn't have the worst motivations and is actually trying to do their best to honorably, legally, and Constitutionally, protect our nation and its people instead of the opposite. How about that?

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.

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