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Comment: Re:One word: Cloud (Score 2) 237

But if you want to be scientific about it, there are lots of statistics that show that black people are more likely to be stopped by the cops

Yeah, and if you want to be scientific about that, and be honest, you'll see that cops stop a lot more people in high crime areas, and that poor urban areas tend to have lots of crime. And that some of those poor areas have a larger black population. If those areas weren't marinated in serious crime, there wouldn't be so many warrants out, stolen cars, cars full of contraband, and the rest.

In Baltimore, New York, and most other urban areas, the cops and DA are under a lot of pressure to get "results," i.e., mess up somebody's life.

What? The people whose lives are messed up are those who have to live in areas like west Baltimore where local thugs make daily life miserable for everyone else who lives there or tries to run a business there. So yes, the cops are asked to "get results," because the absence of any results would make those areas completely lost to civilization, rather than just sucking generally. Would you rather that the cops were told NOT to arrest known violent gang members, serial assault and battery specialists, and the like? What would you have them do?

Comment: Re:Innate Value (Score 1) 250

by khallow (#49608485) Attached to: Bitcoin Is Disrupting the Argentine Economy

Bitcoin miners are performing work, specifically, they are validating transactions. If they were doing something else instead the blockchain wouldn't be guaranteed to be valid and bitcoin could be counterfeited.

You aren't arguing what you think you're arguing. There's no reason that performing work means that the work can't be useful in its own right.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 2) 382

by ScentCone (#49608045) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

how much do they pay you to write this shit for them?

That's a very insightful way to address the substance of the matter. Obviously you're not willing to say the actual numbers or description of the situation is incorrect ... you're just mad at someone for pointing it out? I get that. But you're not really making any sort of lucid point.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 1) 382

by ScentCone (#49608035) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

SS and Medicare do not transfer wealth.

What? Each year, people's wages are taxed into those programs, and funds are transferred, that year, to the people who receive it. There is no "savings account." There is no "I paid into Social Security, so I'll get X when I retire." The amount that retired/disabled people get from that entitlement program is determined legislatively each year, and if you bother to read the fine print in your SS statement, you'll see that they explicitly remind you that there is no guarantee you'll get any future benefits.

Each year, funds are transferred from the people who pay to the people who collect.

Comment: Re:Ah Free Market Capitalism (Score 1) 382

by khallow (#49607575) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

The way I see Free Market Capitalism is this: When have you ever had a difficult problem that got better by leaving it the fsck alone?

I think this is the core question. The answer is that these problems happen all the time. For example, there's a large category of perceived problems which aren't actual problems. For example, your claim that power companies don't "add value" when in the next sentence you state exactly the value they provide - power that _everyone_ wants. Since they are actually adding considerable value, the difficult problem of the valueless power companies is easily adverted by not having existed in the first place.

Second, there are the very difficult problems that aren't your problems. I find letting people work their difficult problems out on their own is the best solution here. Among other things, it's an educational experience that allows people to solve other difficult problems they face over the course of their lives.

`Then there's the difficult problem that one makes works by messing with it. For example:

Socialists basically say: Hey, the world is _fsckin'_ complex and it takes real hard work to make things run smoothly, and then a Socialist will start blathering on about all the things you need to do to make a system work.

In other words, the Socialist takes their one tool in the box and whacks on the problem happily. Then when the problem results in more problems (such as your DMV example where the supposed "anti-gov't types" fail to behave according to script), there's more targets to whack on. The top-down strategy common to socialism results in all sorts of problems due to both the ignorance and venality of the policy makers as well as the crude nature of the tools.

There is a standard destructive spiral that socialism gets in. First, they create a public good. Then when the rest of the world behaves in a way as to overconsume the public good, the standard tragedy of the commons phenomenon, then a bureaucracy is set up to regulate the consumption of the public good and starts doing its own thing. Then the cycle repeats, this time with a sliver of the society trapped in this bit of waste. This is exactly a place where relatively free markets excel.

Finally, there is the continued contradiction of growing an ever more complex, opaque, powerful, and unaccountable government while saying "Sure, you have to keep an eye on things". No, you aren't keeping an eye on things. You are growing one of the largest problems of societies, known since we first had civilizations. You don't have to "keep an eye" on markets like you do on bureaucracies, whether government-based or otherwise, who have little stake in doing their job.

Comment: Re:Bernie Sanders (any real shot at winning?) (Score 1) 382

by khallow (#49605201) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

He calls himself a socialist, but most self-avowed socialist wouldn't consider him one because he doesn't favor compulsory worker ownership, production for use, or any of the usual socialist agenda.

Don't confuse private opinion with public stance. Most of those self-avowed socialists don't hold an elected position in a moderately conservative electorate.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 1) 382

by ScentCone (#49604709) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

it's a distraction by statistic

Nonsense. It's not a distraction, it's different topic than the ebb and flow of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare (which are transfer welfare taxes). Income taxes are what pay for all discretionary spending (the military, federal agencies like the EPA, the FAA, the FCC and a jillion other activities). There's a good reason we look at all of those differently than we do the entitlement programs.

And ... capital gains? You do realize that a whole lot of middle class people also earn capital gains, right? Directly or indirectly, through things like mutual funds. Warren Buffet's secretary can put a pizza's worth of cash every month into some investments when she's young, and can and should be looking forward to earning some money from that. You know, just like him: taking money on which she's already paid taxes, and putting it entirely at risk in an investment that stimulates the economy and if and when it happens to pay off, paying more taxes on that activity.

If Warren Buffet loses money in an investment? He doesn't get to write that off against his income taxes - he just loses it, plain and simple. But he's smart, and usually makes good investments. If he's making money, the money he risked is being put to very good use in an active economy. That's the entire reason why we reward that risk taking with a lower tax rate - because we want more of that risk taking to happen.

All of which has nothing to do with transfer entitlement taxes.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 1, Informative) 382

by ScentCone (#49604033) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

they never actually do pay the taxes they claim

Nonsense. Well-off people pay the vast majority of the income taxes in this country. Nearly half the people in the country pay no income taxes at all (though they still get to vote on what happens to the money collected from the other people who do).

The top 5% of earners pay almost 60% of the taxes. The top 25% of earners pay over 86% of the taxes. The bottom HALF of the country pays under 3% of those taxes. So how do you come up with "never actually do pay" - ? These numbers come from the IRS. The people who cash the checks you say aren't being written.

Comment: Re:THINK (Score 1) 382

by ScentCone (#49604017) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Gore won by the most conservative count

Gore LOST in every carefully examined recount conducted in exhaustive after-the-fact tests run by a panel of journalism outlets (including some that actively opposed Bush and worked to get Gore in office). Most importantly, Gore lost in studied recounts that followed the capricious guidelines he tried to get the Florida supreme court to enforce.

The supreme court made a corrupt ruling and appointed Bush the winner.

No, the Supreme Court stopped a corrupt recount process, aided by a partisan state court, from continuing under unreasonable and unfair conditions. They didn't "appoint" Bush the winner, they called out Gore's cherry-picking, standards-shifting strategy for being the craven election-grab it was trying to be.

Comment: Re:We should be studying this now (Score 1) 105

by khallow (#49602785) Attached to: Climatologist Speaks On the Effects of Geoengineering
An obvious one is small scale experiments on oceanic plants, possibly engineered, that could sequester carbon dioxide. For example, the ideal plant would be a carbon-fixing plant that has relatively small iron and phosphorus needs and sinks once it dies. You could drop a lot of carbon into the bottom of the ocean fast with a plant like that. And if it's a huge monoculture, then eventually something will figure out how to eat it.

Comment: Re:They are burning down a city (Score 1, Funny) 194


So, the corruption you're worried about is something that you think will be fixed by trashing a liquor store? By looting and burning the local CVS? By burning down an almost completely senior center being built specifically to improve the local quality of life in that crappy neighborhood?

Yes, the democrats that have been running that city for decades have plenty to answer for in the way of imperfect services being rendered. But unless you think it's the city government's role to step in between two people and prevent pregnancy from occurring, or to follow thousands of kids around to make sure they actually bother to go to school, then what exactly is it you're proposing? Who is it that starts and populates violent local gangs? Who is it that kills the vast majority of those who die in that area, and scares those who aren't involved out of doing anything about it? Why is it that businesses don't see any point in risking their money to launch a venture in such a neighborhood - perhaps because they can't find employable local people to actually work there, and can't find a market for their goods and services in an area that's filled with abandoned buildings and fatherless kids running drug markets?

The problem isn't government corruption, the problem is in thinking that what amounts to a poisonous local culture is the government's area of responsibility. Those neighborhoods are crap because the people that live there can't keep their own kids under control long enough to turn them into viable members of human civilization. And those that do have the wherewithal to do so leave (along with whatever economic activity they might have represented) because the local culture is completely toxic to their kids' success.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents