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Comment: Re:Nope! (Score 2, Insightful) 404 404

A functional democracy?

Are you fucking kidding?

A democracy requires a free and open market of ideas. Do you really believe such a market exists in Iran?

Iranian Chain Murders
Internet Censorship in Iran
Blogger jailed for "propaganda against the state"

It doesn't take much of a Google search to find examples of suppression of free speech in Iran.

I'm sure the Iranian regime has deserved "better press [than] they have tended to get since Khomeiny toppled the puppet shah." "Better press" would have made the pure evilness of the regime much better known.

The "demented ravings of some of their past leaders?" How about the demented ravings of their current leaders (and here)?

- The west is plotting to "arouse the sexual desires" in Islamic Iran
- Israel is run by sub-human leaders
- Death to America
- Israel is the sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region
- Every Muslim who does not want to fight Israel is violating religious law
- The destruction of Israel ... is one of the pillars of the Iranian Islamic regime

+ - U.S. Office of Personnel Management Hacked - Again

tranquilidad writes: According to a story in the Washington Post, China hacked into the computer system of the United States' Office of Personnel Management last December. This was the second major intrusion in less than a year. According to an AP story, personally identifiable information of approximately 4 million individuals may have been compromised. The compromised information was related to security clearances and employee records. Using new tools, the breach was discovered in April. The agency's director said, "Protecting our federal employee data from malicious cyber incidents is of the highest priority at [Office of Personnel Management]."

Comment: Re:Because he made it one (Score 4, Informative) 510 510

Dennis Hastert was 6 years old when the current version of the law making it illegal to lie to the FBI was created. It's origin goes back to the False Claims Act of 1863, long before the FBI existed.

His big issue, as was Martha Stewart's and a bunch of other folks, was lying about it.

The secondary issue of reporting financial transactions is based on a law from 1970, the Bank Secrecy Act. The requirement of the bank to report suspicious activity was part of the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act from 1992.

While it might be nice to claim that Hastert was hoisted by his own petard with the Patriot Act, the fact is the Patriot Act's expansion of these previously existing money laundering and bank secrecy acts were related, primarily, to international money transfers. In fact, the title of that section is, "International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001."

Although the Patriot Act expanded the reporting requirements of a structured transaction, the banks were already required to report such structured transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network by the 1992 law as part of a Suspicious Activity Report. The IRS already had authority to seize monies given a warrant based on Suspicious Activity Reports.

The big changes found in the Patriot Act were related to making it easier to recognize structured transactions, the expansion of the definition of a financial institution and a number of changes to the infrastructure and reporting mechanisms related to the reporting requirements.

What Hastert did was illegal long before the Patriot Act.

(There is a section of Wikipedia that claims that the Patriot Act made it illegal to to structure transactions in a manner that evades reporting requirements. However, that was already illegal and the wording in Wikipedia is more probably related to the structuring of foreign transactions or transactions that involve foreign currency and coin.)

I won't defend either Hastert or the Patriot Act - they both suck. But the fact is, these reporting requirements go back a long way and they sucked just as much before 2001 as they do now. This case is another example of why you don't answer the FBI's questions about anything without an attorney.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1094 1094

Someone doesn't want to work more than 40 hours then they shouldn't. That's their choice. They don't want to pool their resources with others, then don't.

Make the choices you want but stop looking for society to "make them whole" when they make choices that fail to deliver the standard of living you or they desire.

If you want people to be reasonably comfortable and secure in their lives then stop making them victims, remove the incentives that keep them from doing more for themselves and stop forcing me at gunpoint to support their lifestyle. Yes, it is as simple as that.

Every mandate you place on a business or impose from the government further limits choices and opportunities for people to succeed.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1094 1094

Rest, spending time with family and friends, having enough to support yourself means dignity, means lower stress and from there [much] lower health costs [include here the better food that you can afford], lower crime [lower cost of security], lower suicide rate....the benefits for SOCIETY are enormous. I am sorry but anyone who argues against this is not living in reality and is bringing more water for the mill of evil..

All of the above is your perception of what is valued and your reason for why it is of value.

I am not willing to tie my choices to someone else's value system. Nor am I willing to tie my choices to a single company and single job so that I can become a cog in someone else's idea of Utopia.

I know a lot of people who work more than 8 hours a day very productively. I did that for many years. I am not willing to trade away the benefits to me as an individual for someone else's idea of societal benefits. No one, including you, is in a position to decide what is best for me.

You can not create a world where you mandate this much in the economy without additionally mandating many things even you would not like to have.

Comment: Re:Wrong answer to the wrong question (Score 1) 1094 1094

What the fuck is a living wage?

Why should taxpayers subsidize big business more than it already does?

Indeed, they shouldn't.

If an individual feels they want a better standard of living than they get from their lower-skilled job then they should either pool their resources or get an additional job, or both. This concept that individuals should be able to get a "living wage" by working a single job and living alone is absurd.

First, you would have to define a "living wage" by also defining what an individual is allowed to purchase. Does a living wage include the ability to have a cell phone? Cable TV? An automobile? Steak vs. tofu? Abortions? Nice clothes or just so-so clothes? A shared room in a flop house, a one-bedroom apartment or a house?

Secondly, you can't have this world of a guaranteed "living wage" without taking away individual choice. You want to work part-time? Sorry, you must earn your living wage. You want to work two jobs? Sorry, that other job is required by another person so that person can earn their "living wage."

People make choices every day. They choose whether or not to improve their skills in order to earn more. They choose the items for which they will trade their currency. They choose the labor they are willing to provide in exchange for currency or barter.

There is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize big business because the mean, old businesses won't pay a "living wage."

If you can't earn a living wage from your job then choose a lower standard of living, choose to work more than one job or choose to pool your resources with another person.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 0) 1094 1094

This argument about government subsidies is way too fucking idiotic to have picked up this much steam.

Since when was it a good idea to mandate that a job, any job, that an individual holds must enable that person to be self-sufficient in and of itself?

What do you have against someone willing to work more than one job?
What do you have against someone willing to pool their resources with another person?

This argument is essentially an argument that everyone should be guaranteed a certain amount of leisure time. Workers of the world, unite; you can, as an individual, work only 40 hours per week and have all of your dreams come true.

There are plenty of people on minimum-wage who don't get government services. You seem very willing to trade away individual liberty and choice in order to reach your Utopian world that every job provide self-sufficiency.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1, Insightful) 1094 1094

Megacorps, minicorps or individuals who hire service providers should pay the value of the service provided - no more, no less.

If an individual can't support themselves working full-time or any other-time job then they should either pool their resources or work more than full-time.

Your position essentially argues that individuals have a right to a certain amount of leisure time; basically that an individual shouldn't have to work more than 40 hours per week and that each individual should be able to independently live "self-sufficiently," whatever the fuck that means, by working no more than 40 hours a week.

If an individual makes a choice to have more leisure time or less leisure time, to work more hours or fewer hours, to work one job or more than one job then it is their choice. Mandating that companies pay a wage sufficient to satisfy some arbitrary definition of self-sufficiency destroys the market and requires mandates across the entire spectrum of choices that heretofore were individual in nature.

Furthermore, if your opening statement that there should be no jobs that don't allow for the worker to be self-sufficient were to become true then we would destroy a huge swath of the economy. Someone wants to work on the weekends to save for a luxury item? Sorry, no jobs for you because you couldn't be self-sufficient on a weekend-only job. Someone wants to work a couple of hours a day while their children are in school? Sorry, no jobs for you. Someone want's to do independent work as a handyman? Would you have them prove that they can be self-sufficient before being allowed to take on that job?

Comment: Re:Defund Amtrak NOW. (Score 0) 393 393

Is it really so difficult for you to distinguish between subsidizing infrastructure and operating expenses?

Let's have a debate about public support of infrastructure. I have no issue with user fees to cover it and could rather easily be convinced to use general tax dollars to build and maintain infrastructure.

I have a huge issue with subsidizing operating expenses, especially when a 1997 law required Amtrak to be operationally profitable by 2002.

Comment: Re:Defund Amtrak NOW. (Score 0) 393 393

I focus on passenger rail as the problem because we're subsidizing a lot more than the rail-line infrastructure. We are subsidizing operating expenses for a bloated inefficient organization.

There's a legitimate debate regarding the role of taxpayers subsidizing infrastructure such as roads and rails.

Give me a legitimate argument why we should be subsidizing Amtrak's daily operating expenses. Because of Congressional interference and failure to follow the 1997 law we have a situation where taxpayers are paying up to half the cost of a ticket for those almost 1 million riders who ride the northeast corridor on a daily basis.

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