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Comment: Who was *really* hurt? (Score 1) 223

by plnix0 (#29098877) Attached to: BetOnSports Founder Pleads Guilty To Racketeering
The people really hurt by this were the proprietor, his sister (the government stole $7-million from her, according to the article I read (not this FA)), and the close to one million customers who had accounts with BetOnSports. All told, the US government stole about $50-million from about a million people.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 207

by plnix0 (#29033411) Attached to: Schneier On Self-Enforcing Protocols
So according to your political theory of America, the Constitution explicitly specifies several things as within the domain of Congress and implicitly specifies every other imaginable issue as within Congress's domain? I wonder, then, why did they bother to explicitly enumerate a list of things within Congress's power? Wouldn't it have been enough just to write the "general welfare clause" and "the interstate commerce clause" and head home, since their goal was to give all powers to Congress? They could have saved quite a bit of time that way, couldn't they? And all that paper wasted on printed copies of debates and printed copies of the Constitution and whatnot?

Comment: Re:Show of hands not self-enforcing (Score 1) 207

by plnix0 (#29033315) Attached to: Schneier On Self-Enforcing Protocols

Of course, cheaters might rely on the fact that voters will be annoyed by the wasted time of a revote, but there will be enough civic-minded individuals there (they wouldn't be voting at all if they didn't care about the process to some degree) to keep people honest.

Actually, this is exactly the method (well, one of them) used to push committee decisions through party conventions in the United States, and presumably the people that make up the conventions at large are among the most civic-minded individuals in the county/state/country.

Comment: It's not stupid at all (Score 1) 207

by plnix0 (#29033247) Attached to: Schneier On Self-Enforcing Protocols

But it's harder to rig an election if the votes are counted in the open. Plus, electronic voting is not stupid. It makes it so much easier to obscure the fact that they're manipulating the votes when no one can actually watch the process in action. It might be "stupid" on account of the fact that their dishonestly is so obvious, but governments generally take the gamble that they can get away with fooling the majority of people, and most of those who see what's happening them will be too afraid to oppose them openly. It's worked far too many times in the past. Why would they stop doing it?

One would be a fool to believe that office-holders running for re-election -- and the people who support and use them -- want honest elections. Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by malice.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 207

by plnix0 (#29033219) Attached to: Schneier On Self-Enforcing Protocols
No, he's not overstating the uniformity between the Two Parties. The are united in their will to rule the rest of us. He is, however, understating the degree to which the United States are unique in this respect. Government everywhere is united against the people. A glance at recent events in Britain and the rest of Europe reveals as much.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 207

by plnix0 (#29033183) Attached to: Schneier On Self-Enforcing Protocols

Hardly a joke, but rather an important insight.

The differences within the parties are larger than the differences between the parties.

I agree. Here's an even greater insight: The differences between the people and the government are greater than the differences between the parties. This is true no matter what country you live in.

Comment: The problem of calculation (Score 1) 2

by plnix0 (#29032549) Attached to: On government regulation and lobbying

Actually, it's government regulation that requires perfect information. When there's a single entity regulating the business of an entire society, that entity would need perfect information about all aspects of society in order to achieve the optimal regulation. This is what's known as the 'economic calculation' problem, and it's part of the reason centrally planned economies are weak ones.

On the other hand, if property rights are respected, each individual is free to choose how best to utilize his own assets.

Do people want to verify that produce was not sprayed with pesticides? Many people certainly do, and you hint at a solution: bring your own lab kit to the market. Of course it's not practical for everyone to do this, but one of the wonders of the market is that it permits specialists to do just that kind of thing.

I hope you're not going to bother pointing out that such specialists might commit fraud or collude with deceitful growers in some way. If you were planning to, consider this fact first: it's your position that assumes an absolutely honest arbiter, while the market approach allows multiple independent specialists to compete on the basis of their honesty.

Comment: Re:Krugman's prognostication skills aren't all tha (Score 0, Troll) 127

by plnix0 (#29019413) Attached to: Charlie Stross, Paul Krugman Discuss the Future

Of course, Krugman actually advocated created a housing bubble in 2002.

For anyone who thinks parent might be exaggerating, it's no joke. Krugman is quite literally insane. Here's a direct quote from the linked article (emphasis added):

The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn't a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.

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