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Comment: Uber should be stopped (Score 4, Informative) 273

Uber is abusing its drivers. It advertises "1 million dollars!" of insurance. But that insurance only covers your passengers and victims, and only if you're at fault. It doesn't cover you, or our vehicle, or anyone at all if you got struck by another vehicle, perhaps one without insurance. And your private insurance on your car will not cover a thing if you're driving the car for hire.

There are perfectly good reasons for regulating taxis. As well, there are good reasons for building solid mass transit options so taxis won't be so needed. Allowing Uber to operate puts the public, and its drivers, at risk for no reason beyond the desire to drive down pay below the already barely-subsistence rates that taxi drivers earn. If you don't have a commercial drivers license, and you're not driving a licensed commercial vehicle, and you don't have full commercial insurance, you shouldn't be taking fares. If you are, that's criminal in many places, as it should be. Uber's executives should be arrested for criminal conspiracy.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 1) 222

by wytcld (#47298417) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

a diplomat can say "we don't need the unions to have disproportionate control over production costs"

Good example. Let's posit a world where we do need the unions to have a large say in production costs. This is a world which is rapidly sliding to political and social instability because the gains in GDP over the last 40 years have not been shared with the working and middle classes, due in large part to concerted, successful efforts to undermine the unions. Let's further posit that the results of prior transnational treaties have led to the political destabilization of many nations, and the rise of neofascist populist parties there.

Where are the union representatives at these treaty negotiations? Where are the consumer advocates? If they're not there, this whole process isn't just bogus, it's a threat to future political and economic stability. Heavy-handed, opaque rule always leads to either collapse or revolution, or both.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 1) 222

by wytcld (#47298313) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Why not? It would only create additional, unnecessary public anxiety about stuff that might never even see the paper.

As long as the final version (release candidate would be a better expression here) is properly publically analysed (and, if needed, rewritten), there's no problem.

Stuff that "will never see the paper" can be implicit in the terms which end up in the public release. A lot of negotiation is in the form of, first, defining the goals (removing laws in various nations that limit the power and profits of transnational corporations), and then finding terms which enable those goals while presenting a veneer of respectability for the public. The consequences of the treaty language, if put into effect, are implicit, not stated plainly on the surface of the treaty. Of those in the US Senate who can follow through on the implications, most are complicit in the goals, effectively paid off. The rest are either too lazy or stupid to work it out, or will find their only route to a wider public audience through being interviewed on prime oulets like Russia Today.

Comment: Re:This is just fucked up (Score 1) 222

by wytcld (#47298233) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Do you really think it would be effective for every draft to be gone over and commented on by every "expert" in the world? The group would spend all it's time fixing misunderstanding and misrepresentations.

Yes. Yes I do. The group should fix misunderstandings and misrepresentations. This sort of treaty impinges on the rights of people across much of the world. It needs to be written in clear terms that average citizens who want to study it can comprehend. We should not be surrendering our rights without clearly knowing what we're getting in return. Even better, we should not be surrendering our rights at all, as individuals or as nations.

Comment: The bigger picture (Score 2, Insightful) 765

by wytcld (#46980141) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology

The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high. The odds of your toddler picking up your gun and using it on family or friend are significant - it happens at least several times a week in this country. So any instances of this new tech failing and depriving you of use of your gun when you need it should be balanced against the lives saved, including your own, by the tech working as designed.

Comment: Re:Don't Misunderstand Me... (Score 1) 548

by wytcld (#46908647) Attached to: Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

Ron Paul's newsletter a couple of decades back was fuil of writing over his signature about how a race war is coming. They guy was in KKK territory. His son recently had to fire someone from his staff who was famous for similar views. These guys are largely against federal powers because they share the ideology of the Confederacy. The "liberty" they want is the liberty to refuse to do business with blacks, and the liberty in which the feds get out of the way of the power of billionaires like the Koch brothers, also "libertarians," whose father was famously a Bircher.

Comment: A prominent Republican campaign director ... (Score 1) 465

by wytcld (#46901089) Attached to: Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs

who believes in "centrism" and "civility" sits on the board. I'm sorry. No. I love Lessig, but "centrism" is the essence of corruption. It means that whatever the rich Republican backers and the rich Democratic backers want in common, we get. While everything that the broad majority of normal Americans want, when it doesn't align with what the rich agree one, gets ignored. A vast majority favors more equal income distribution, legal marijuana, affordable higher education, active job creation programs, higher minimum wage, prosecution of criminal bankers ... we are basically, a majority of us, to the left of most of the Democratic Party, and far to the left of the Grand Oligarch Party.

Comment: Re:Tech workers only? (Score 1) 220

by wytcld (#46796707) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

Ya know, I have utmost respect for Indian civilization. I'm a Buddhist. I have India-raised Hindu and Jain friends. But in practical terms their IT workers, who I've been dealing with extensively in several contexts in recent years, are a disaster. It's not a matter of lack of whiteness. It's a matter of a culture where excuses and laziness outweigh any sort of responsibility. Often I've been dealing with very bright people, often eloquent. But they have no idea how to solve problems in IT of the sort that Americans and Europeans may stumble around with a bit, but get solved. Some cultures are just bad at some things. For Indian culture, it's IT.

Comment: Re:"Obamacare Enrollment"? (Score 1) 723

by wytcld (#46720789) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

The number of people who have actually paid, out of these 7 million, remains a closely-guarded secret.

It's not a secret. It simply isn't a figure anyone has at hand. Generally you can pay for a policy up to 30 days late. The final enrollment date was the end of March. It's not the end of April yet. Even when it is, they will need to time to compile all the different figures from across the country.

Meanwhile:

More than 9 million Americans have gotten health insurance for the first time thanks to Obamacare, according to a new report from the Rand Corporation.

Most of the people who got new insurance didn’t buy it on the Obamacare exchanges but rather signed up with an employer, the survey found. Rand says that 8.2 million people have gained insurance from an employer since September — more than 7 million of them who had no health insurance before.

NBC

So that $95 maximum penalty this year, plus all the increased awareness of the availability and desirability of health insurance, has led to millions more signing up for health insurance. This is bad ... why?

Comment: Re:one warning came to pass (Score 1) 230

by wytcld (#46610151) Attached to: Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades

Well, you could either conclude "Too many warnings! I'll shut my ears and hum." Or you could not build homes under a mountain famous for its mudslides. If you build on an earthquake fault, you can build to handle a quake. You can fund repair of bridges, buildings and transit systems before they fail. You can avoid taking in too much sugar (salt it turns out is mostly good for you; low-salt dieters don't live as long, on average).

We do have the resources to vastly improve the odds. We mostly aren't investing to do that because we're committed to the joy of watching billionaires jaunt around in their personal jets and submarines, so are unwilling to tax them, because a hereditary aristocracy was such a good idea when Europe did it. We know our place as peasants. When the preventable disasters come, we won't even scream, because we know Jesus will take us directly to Heaven.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.

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