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Journal: Can Capitalism and Democracy Co-Exist? 1

Journal by PopeRatzo

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/10/can-capitalism-democracy-co-exist.html

I'm going to say that no, finance-driven capitalism like we see in the US and UK cannot exist is inherently anti-democratic. Industrial driven capitalism has a better chance.

User Journal

Journal: Not a Racist Country? Really? 23

Journal by PopeRatzo

A black man is gunned down by police for handling a toy gun in a Walmart. A gun that Walmart was selling.

http://www.vox.com/2014/9/24/6839953/video-john-crawford-walmart-police-beavercreek-ohio-toy-gun

But this white guy can carry a real, loaded rifle (and body armor) in front of a school, refuses to show ID to police and nothing happens.

http://politix.topix.com/story/14304-was-this-man-wrong-to-demonstrate-open-carry-in-front-of-a-high-school

Open Carry laws are clearly meant just for white people. Laws that only apply to one race are the definition of racist.

User Journal

Journal: More Than Enough - Comcast declares war on Tor 31

Journal by PopeRatzo

If you haven't dumped Comcast yet, you better hurry:

http://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/09/13/comcast-declares-war-tor/

Reports have surfaced (Via /r/darknetmarkets and another one submitted to us) that Comcast agents have contacted customers using Tor and instructed them to stop using the browser or risk termination of service. A Comcast agent named Jeremy allegedly called Tor an âoeillegal service.â The Comcast agent told its customer that such activity is against usage policies.
The Comcast agent then repeatedly asked the customer to tell him what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. The customer refused to answer.
The next day the customer called Comcast and spoke to another agent named Kelly who reiterated that Comcast does not want its customers using Tor. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer:

"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that arenâ(TM)t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day."

User Journal

Journal: Privacy and Secrecy 9

Journal by ShieldW0lf

These two concepts are presented as being synonymous in popular discussion. A "You can't have one without the other." kind of thing.

This concerns me greatly.

I could write at great length about the threat secrecy poses to human culture, and have before, but that's not what I'm going to do right now.

I've had conversations in the past where I claimed people never had privacy in the first place, that between the government and the schools and the banks and credit card companies and whatnot, their movements and activities have been monitored since the day they were born.

But this was never precisely right. Because privacy doesn't require secrecy. That is what I want to talk about.

First, a couple of illustrations:

When you go to the bathroom, it's not a secret what you're going in there for. We know you're going in there to release waste. You know that we know. But we would generally agree that this gives you privacy.

When you live with roommates, and you take your special someone to your room and hang a tie on the door, we know what you're in there for. You know that we know. But you still feel a sense of privacy, and you still do what you went in there to do.

So. What makes these situations private, when they're not even vaguely secret?

The lack of a requirement to interact.

It's a matter of social decorum. Good manners.

At the end of the day, I don't really care that you know I took a dump. What I care about is that I don't have to carry on a conversation about it. I don't even want to have the "conversation of the eyes". I want to forget, for a moment, that you exist.

I don't think I'm exceptional in this regard.

So, clearly, you can have privacy without secrecy.

Let's examine something a little more pervasive.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years, you're probably familiar with the "Reality TV" concept.

These people are living in a fishbowl. They have no secrets, and they know it.

But you can clearly see that, despite this, they will seek out a space where they are physically alone so they can have some privacy. And you can clearly see them relax, because their need for privacy has been fulfilled.

Why? There are likely more people observing them that ever before... how can they possibly feel like they have privacy?

The answer is, they don't need to react to you. They don't need to respond to things you say. That automatic reflex we have to decipher what your eyes are saying never kicks in. That is what they really crave.

So. One more illustration. Not even anecdotal. Could not tell you when or where I heard this, but here goes:

The story is, there is an Asian culture where everyone is packed in so tightly, and their building construction affords them no secrecy because their walls are so thin that a man walking past your house can see and hear right through your rice paper walls.

Nevertheless, these people successfully find the privacy they need. Because they do not react to things that are none of their business. They know their place.

There is a lesson here for us.

We are grappling with a real problem in our civilization. We have forged tools with the power to extend our senses further than our great grandparents could have ever dreamed. But we have not yet demonstrated the maturity to handle it.

The result of this is that there is a small class of people who have access to vast amounts of information about everyone, and a large class of people who have very little access and what access they have has been carefully chosen to control their opinions.

The small class of people and the large class of people are both fighting to preserve this state of affairs. The large class are defending the "right to secrecy" because they feel they are fighting to protect their privacy from their ill mannered fellows. The small class are defending the right to secrecy because they have an unfair advantage over their fellows and they wish to preserve that state of affairs.

Simultaneously, you have people who are fighting for "transparency", because they recognize the unfair advantage that is held by a group that seeks to control them, and they wish that unfair advantage erased.

In this way, we are turned against ourselves by those who would rule us.

I've argued this point exhaustively in online forums under my standard pseudonym, and have been jeered at, and invited to publish my real name, address and banking information.

This is what we're up against. I've got skeletons in my closet, same as everyone. I'm flawed, but I'm confident I'm no more flawed than any of you. If the veils of secrecy came crashing down for one and all, I'm confident that it would be impossible for anyone to attack my character and reputation without being seen for a gross hypocrite.

But, to go first is to allow hypocrites to destroy you, and to fail in your attempt to address the problem.

It's a difficult problem. I'm not sure how to get from where we are to where I believe we need to be. I see it as a real possibility that we will destroy our own potential to grow beyond the limitations of our fragile flesh rather than develop the maturity to cope with this situation.

However, I think that creating a sense of the distinction between privacy and secrecy is an essential step towards having a dialog that will lead us there.

Thank you for reading.

User Journal

Journal: In praise of e-cigs 9

Journal by hairyfeet

I had tried everything. I tried the patch, the gum, the pill that made the smokes taste nasty, and nothing. No matter what I kept on smoking. Now after 30 years I FINALLY was able to throw away the cigarette...thanks to e-cigs.

For anyone who wishes to try quitting using e-cigs some advice. 1.- Do NOT use the ones that look like a cigarette, not only are the batteries VERY weak but trying to get one of those to drag like a cigarette will just leave you frustrated. 2.- Get what is called a "510 thread" or "Ego style" unit, these can be had for as little as $25 online. 3.- Watch some of the excellent tutorials to find which tips are right for you, a good place to start would be "indoor smoking" on Youtube.

Hopefully this will inspire at least one other person to give it a try and if this old dog can learn a new trick and give up the butts? Then you can too!

User Journal

Journal: Over 9000?

Journal by hairyfeet

You ever wonder what would happen to privdog privacy guard if it went over 9999? Well if you want to see for yourself head over to "musicvideosthatsuck.net" as so far my privdog has managed to roll over TWICE and IT IS STILL GOING. I think I may have found the spammiest spammy spam of sites in all of creation. Anybody find any worse?

User Journal

Journal: Tapering..... in China. 5

Journal by roman_mir

and so it starts. The Chinese government decided to stop buying up US Treasuries and they are likely not going to roll over the US bonds that they already own, that would be Trillions of dollars that the Fed will have to print to buy up this incoming flood of the old Treasuries and without the Chinese in the US bond market, the Fed will have to buy up all of the new issued debt as well.

In this case what is good for the Chinese is bad for the Americans, Chinese are going to see a long needed deflation finally, while the Americans will see massive amounts of inflation, so much of which was exported to China previously, coming back.

User Journal

Journal: A new democratic model 4

Journal by ShieldW0lf

This is a work in progress, which I will continue to expand upon. I feel it is important to share it in it's unfinished, because I am frequently misunderstood when I attempt to communicate my ideas in conversation, and am attacked by people based on a false understanding of what I propose. This is intended to be a tool which I deliver as a gift to mankind, to use or ignore as they see fit, and not something I impose upon anyone.

The Principles:

Any person who wishes to participate in the running of society has the right to do so. They operate in the fashion that suits them best in each sector, and they do as they will with their spare time. They have the right to vote in the operation of the society they participate in and have their vote counted.

Some people cannot choose to actively participate in society. Children who are too immature to be safe, invalids who are unable because they are in too much pain, those too elderly to function properly.

People need to be involved to have the right to make decisions. If they are not involved, their vote should not count. To allow their vote to count is to those who are ignorant to rule. When one man knows, and another does not, the second should bow his head, and the first should take responsibility.

However, people who are not involved should still have the right to cast votes, propose changes to the system and express themselves just as any other. Wisdom can come from those who are young, elderly and infirm, and it is important that we respect that fact. We can all remember bearing witness to hidebound foolishness amongst our elders at some point in our youth, and those of us who are not yet elderly and infirm can rest assured that we most likely will be.

Those who are not involved and cast votes should not have their vote counted towards a decision, however, those who are involved are free to assign their vote to them, and those votes will count. Thus, a wise elder or visionary invalid who cannot participate through deeds may still be the voice of those who do participate through deeds, for as long as they believe his leadership is wise.

Children should be treated as a special case.

It is important that children continue to be born and that the system should treat them as future citizens of vital importance to us all and not the same as mature or invalid dependents who are cared for out of compassion.

Therefore, parents should be considered to have an additional vote that represents their child, for so long as they continue to nurture to them.

Children should still continue to be able to cast a vote for themselves when they are mature enough to understand what that means, participate in the process and develop their voice, and if mature adults choose to appoint a child as their representative, those votes should be assigned according to the choices of the child and not automatically be passed along to the childs parent.

All data and information should be available to everyone in principle, and it shall be an ongoing goal of society to see that all measures available to make it accessible in practice are implemented. Transparency of information shall never be compromised in support of other concerns, because it is essential to the sane and wise operation of a democratic society.

Where secrecy exists, the act of participating in democracy is itself insane and unwise. It is through exploitation of this truth that those with arcane knowledge make themselves parasites of the ignorant, leading to weakness and suffering of those kept ignorant, the inevitable execution of the parasitic ruler, and often the destruction of the entire human culture.

Preventing this situation from arising is the responsibility of all humanity.

The Tools:

The Watchers - A sensor network, intended to gather data and allow all people to be aware of the environment to the maximum practical degree

The Testaments - Personal mesh networked voting devices with record keeping and personal sensors, intended to allow a person to demonstrate their votes to their peers, review the ongoing operations of the culture and propose changes to the way things are run.

The Witnesses - Stationary mesh networked recording devices, intended to decentralize vote archives and create enough forensic evidence to make wide scale vote tampering impossible

The Web - Wired network, intended to act in a supporting role to the Watchers, Testaments and Witnesses where it is advantageous to use Artifacts of Mankind to analyze data and discover patterns.

The Transition:

This presupposes that the infrastructure for the new model for representative democracy has been designed and distributed and the vast majority agree in principle with its use.

I started writing this proposal with the idea of applying it strictly to legal systems, but realized that it really should govern all common systems, which would include all large scale infrastructure and commonly used systems for governing human affairs. This is a statement with far reaching implication and is going to have to be expanded upon significantly for it to make sense.

1) Cataloging:

We should create a catalogue of laws and systems, together with the justification for those laws and systems, an articulation of the sacrifice they represent, and an articulation of any conditions which would justify their being revoked.

The population should have x number of days to create a catalogue of the laws and systems which exist, together with the justification for those laws and systems continued existance.

2) Judgement:

The population should vote to determine if the closing period for contributions to the catalogue should be extended.

Any laws and systems which are not indexed after the closing period will be judged to be unsupported by anyone and therefore eliminated (there being no reason why they cannot be re-introduced at the end of the migration process)

The laws and systems should be indexed in terms of those which are justified by core values and those which are justified because of how they affect other laws and systems, and a map created that articulates these justifications.

The laws and systems sould then be considered in terms of the relevance of their stated purpose, how well they fulfil their stated purpose, and a consideration of how and if the current conditions are right for them to exist. The population should vote to keep them or remove them on this basis.

At the conclusion of this process, there should be no laws and systems which do not have justification, common support, and some thought put to the time when they might cease to be sane and wise.

3) Ongoing Operation

Any person may:

    a) Propose a new law or system with novel justification

    b) Propose that a new contraindication be ratified for an existing system
                  When the conditions of our culture are x, this rule will cease to be wise.

    c) Propose that a new sacrifice be ratified for an existing system
                  This rule causes hardship in x way, and that hardship should be acknowledged.

    d) Propose that the conditions for revoking an existing system have been met
                  This contraindication was set down long ago when this rule was made, and I propose that it now applies

    e) Propose a new law or system to supersede an existing system by meeting it's justification with:

                - less sacrifice (demonstratable justification)
                          We can meet need x with this different system, and hardship x which the previous system demanded
                          would cease to be necessary
                - less contraindications (deductive justification)
                          Existing system x will become a poor and unwise tool when condition x occurs, and this new system will meet
                          the need without the risk of becoming defunct under condition x.
                - both

A system will have to be agreed upon to determine at what point a proposal must be put to a vote. Possibilities might be that a certain critical number of people must "second" the proposal, or perhaps a critical percentage of the population.

User Journal

Journal: Keystone XL Pipeline Will Raise Gas Prices for US Consumers

Journal by PopeRatzo

Unintended consequences:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/keystonexl_cwd.pdf

There is no shortage of available crude oil, domestic or imported, in the
United States, and for the last few years there has been a glut at the nationâ(TM)s
largest crude oil terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Canadian tar sands oil
would be processed for greater use in the U.S. only as other imported or domestic
sources are reduced. Replacing Mexican oil with Canadian oil would
only trade the closer source for the more distant.

User Journal

Journal: Ho Hos are back, no word on the Ding Dongs 5

Journal by roman_mir

On November 21, 2012, Hostess Brands was shut down and went through a bankruptcy procedure to restructure its debts. On June 7, 2013, Hostess is open for business again under the new management.

This is an example of what free market based restructuring looks like after a company goes through normal bankruptcy due to no longer being able to operate and carry on with its fiscal responsibilities to the lenders, bond and share holders. Obviously the restructuring made the company profitable again, the plants and equipment were bought at auctions, the unions and various obligations to those unions written off as they should be.

The socialist/fascist/collectivist media is complaining full force that many people lost their jobs, of-course that was the point - restructuring debts, restructuring operations, streamlining operations, ensuring that the business can continue without impossible liabilities.

If it were up to the socialists/fascists/collectivists, the government would have stepped in (right into it) and bailed out the unions as it did in case of GM and some others. Of-course GM is going to fail again because it is still structurally unsound, even more so than before.

Had GM been allowed to go through the same bankruptcy procedures, the plants would have been bought up in auctions by more responsible owners at large discounts and made profitable again, plants and equipment don't go to waste, capitalism reclaims discarded pieces of business to rebuild them specifically because they have no liability baggage attached to them after restructuring.

Instead when the government steps in, it ensures that the business continues as usual, the only way governments know how - by stealing from actual owners and loading business with more liability and debt ensured by the tax payers.

It is a good thing that Hostess was allowed to go bankrupt, GM and all the banks should have also been allowed to go bankrupt, they would have re-emerged, clean slate, made profitable again in a sustainable manner.

This time capitalism won, the brand is back in business and people can enjoy their wonder breads and whatever other products named with plenty of sexual innuendo.

User Journal

Journal: Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists 5

Journal by PopeRatzo

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities

User Journal

Journal: Interpreting the Constitution = breaking the law. 2

Journal by roman_mir

I think it is funny what is happening on /. in terms of comment moderation, it seems like a very dedicated and coordinated approach. So I think that comment should get its own journal entry, here it is.
---

I make the argument that the Constitution is not in fact a "living, breathing, malleable document", that it is to the government what criminal code is to an individual.

The Constitution is the law and when the government officials say that the law needs to be interpreted rather than clarified and amended if it is unclear on something, what they are saying and doing is they are breaking it.

A murder trial involves figuring out whether murder was committed and whether the individual in front of the judge and jury did it and what the punishment should be. Of-course jury can nullify the law, but so far I hear that nobody tried doing that during a murder trial. So the trial does not include figuring out whether murdering people is bad, whether the legislature that set the law meant for people to be murdered under certain circumstances, if the person murdering them was doing it while pursuing criminals (or terrorists) as a government official for example.

Same thing must be done in case of the Constitutional law, same thing exactly - if something is unclear in the Constitution it needs to be clarified IN the Constitution.

However the Constitution must be followed, it is the chains around the hands and the legs of the government. It is supposed to be the chains that hold government within its limits. But what happened to that idea? The politicians figured out that amending the Constitution is too damn hard, they would rather break the law and call that "an interpretation".

User Journal

Journal: Gerard Depardieu, Bernard Arnault, Tina Turner... there's a theme there 4

Journal by roman_mir

Tina Turner is getting her Swiss citizenship after spending the last 20 years living in Switzerland, in itself this is not news, what is interesting is the fact that she is renouncing her USA citizenship. USA is one of very few countries in the world that taxes foreign incomes of its citizens, even if they are not actually residents in America. For the singer this means millions in saved taxes obviously, good for her.

Gerard Depardieu renounced his French citizenship and moved to Belgium (though now he also has his new Russian passport, that's an weird turn of events given that in Russia the real taxes on individual entrepreneurs are ridiculously high, one needs to be connected to government to be able to keep his gains, the rest are living under constant threat of government violence against them, there are really no property rights in that country).

Bernard Arnault, probably the wealthiest businessman in France, owner of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy applied for Belgian citizenship, he is probably worried about his income but also wealth and death taxes in France.

There is a theme there, and that theme is: for people who hate the rich so much, they certainly like to rely on them for productivity and tax money. Another thing that comes to mind has something to do with geese and golden eggs, but I am not sure socialists are quite verse in such esoteric matters.

Funny enough, Bill Maher said something a couple of days ago that was actually mildly correct. Of-course he doesn't understand that he is part of the problem, when he talks about the 'dirtbags', he is enabling people to be 'dirtbags' by promoting socialist, collectivist, fascist ideas. He is correctly noticing that the number of people 'pulling the wagon' is shrinking and the number of people 'riding in the wagon' is growing. Well, Bill, you are part of the reason that so many people decided they will not pull the wagon, that it is much more comfortable sitting in the wagon, and worse yet, yapping from the wagon at the people that are pulling it to pull harder.

The people in the wagon are yelling that the ones pulling the wagon are 'not doing their fair share'.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

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