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Comment Re:Reverse Santa? (Score 2) 418

Don't blame Disney. This evil starts with Amazon, they're the ones that allow your purchased products to be stolen back again on a whim.

So, the article says that Amazon said that this was a glitch and has now been corrected... so perhaps we could get a real story with some actual verification that users have access to their purchases again. Seems like this story is way way overblown. If it were true, then obviously people are due refunds... but it doesn't appear to be true.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

We are arguing different points. I am arguing for a workable compromise. You are arguing for the ideal. Which is fine, but if we don't find a workable compromise then the status quo means certain death to our Liberty and our democratic form of government. I think it is important to try and find a compromise that preserves Liberty yet still means that when investigators identify a terrorist that they can then go back and search their past business records. Right now we have an NSA chief saying the only way they can do that sort of search is to collect every single piece of data they can about everyone up front in as close to real time as possible and then they can sort it out later. Which he is 100% correct that that is the only way they can do that sort of search of past communications, purchases and movements, if and only if you presume that companies are going to destroy their own records. With a simple requirement to preserve records, records companies are most likely already preserving to some degree, then you undermine the argument that the dragnet of business records is necessary. Then they are left with the only legitimate argument for why they want the records that don't have any links to terrorism or espionage which is to do pattern analysis and big data mining. Once you remove the logical flow of an investigation from a known terrorist to their co conspirators, then most of the reasons for doing dragnet collections of business records are not mission critical and the "needle in the haystack" of finding a lone person planning something big becomes less believable. I get that you would choose privacy over security.. That is great. If you (and I) were in the majority then the debate would be unnecessary. But many people are willing to make some compromises, to them I am suggesting a compromise that is more secure yet still respects the constitution.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Agreed. It would be better not to have to make such a compromise in the name of security. But I would rather see a compromise that results in an intrusive requirement that businesses keep certain types of records for 5 years with some sort of standardized way of transferring specific records rather than the current situation which fundamentally violates a constitutional right that generations have fought to preserve.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Yes, but hard to see how a requirement to keep certain records for a certain period of time and hand them over if presented with a constitutionally valid warrant violates the constitution. Versus just ordering companies (and presumably individuals if they operate a business as an individual) to hand over all their business records without a warrant on an ongoing basis which should be seen as a clear violation of the 4th amendment.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Companies already have to keep a variety of business records for periods of time for regulatory purposes, so requiring companies keep additional specific business records for a period of time would be nothing new. Yes, it is somewhat worrisome, but it actually preserves the 4th amendment by keeping the records in situ until there is a warrant. And people would know exactly how long their records were required to be kept because it would be a law or published regulation so there would be transparency where now the only transparency is from leaks.

Comment Re:Metadata data (Score 1) 509

The difference with the mail is that you are giving your letter to a Federal agency to deliver it to the intended recipient. They know the sender and recipient because you are voluntarily telling them.

In the case of "business records" kept by a private company or an individual I say they have a right to keep those records private unless the government obtains a warrant.

Whether it is an individual or a business it doesn't matter. If I have a letter from you in my possession then it is my fourth amendment right to keep that private unless the government has a warrant. But it would also be my right to surrender that letter to the government at their request.

The parts I object to regarding current practices are the government demanding that letter and forcing me to turn it over and the fact that congress has interfered with private contracts between companies or individuals and other individuals by saying that companies or people are not liable for violating their privacy agreements by complying with government requests for data. If I have an agreement with you that you will not give my letter to anyone without a warrant, then courts should uphold that as a legal contract.

Companies should be free to refuse demands for data that don't come with a warrant and customers should be free to sue companies if they violate their privacy agreements by conveying specified business records to the government. And therefore companies should be able to compete on the strength of their privacy agreements and customers can decide what level of privacy they want.

Comment Re:duh (Score 1) 509

you obtain the necessary warrant and then perform whatever action is necessary without breaking the law. was that so hard?

No it shouldn't be. As long as the businesses keep the records for a period of time, then you can leave them in place with the businesses until you have enough for a warrant.

Data mining for suspicious patterns on the communications and records of millions of Americans that otherwise aren't related to any targeted persons or haven't accessed any targeted websites should be off limits.

Also, even if we lowered the standard to something less than a warrant for foreign intelligence and terrorism cases, you don't "connect the dots" by collecting all the dots first and then sorting them out later. Target known terrorists, suspected terrorists and connect the dots from there using a network approach starting with the originally targeted and monitored persons or web sites.

The only thing you might miss from the approach of only requesting data relevant to an ongoing investigation with particular named targets is the random lone terrorist that doesn't communicate with known terrorists or access terrorist websites that are being monitored. Or perhaps fit some sort of e-profile for some sort of targeted behavior. But that is the line where creepy and big brother meet the road and we shouldn't be treading in those waters... to mix metaphors.

As it stands now everything that is being discussed publicly is about catching people that interact with known terrorists or terrorist web sites which means you should be monitoring all the communications of known terrorists already based on a warrant for a named person and can spider out your monitoring based on frequency, type and content of communications with additional requests based on information derived from the first warrant. The result should also be of higher quality because investigators will be dealing with less noise.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 414

I say there should be no guns. I think that is an ideal situation. But the point is that if it is good enough for a traffic cop, then it should be good enough for any individual that hasn't been disqualified because of crime or mental status. If cops need guns then so do we.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 414

And you will change your view if you have a drugged out guy pounding on your door threatening to kill you after he assaulted your neighbor and was vandalizing your apartment building. Luckily the door held and he eventually gave up. And frankly I am glad I didn't have a gun because I don't really want to shoot anyone even in self defense. But as it was my roommates and I were prepared to defend ourselves as best we could with blunt objects... speaking of "caveman thinking". It wasn't even a high crime area.

Then the police show up 45 minutes later after you call 911 and don't bother getting out of their patrol car to take a statement or even verify that you are the person that had called, then perhaps you might feel differently about the need for armed self defense. Guns are rarely a good means of self defense and they are a last resort. Most gun owners I know understand that. But there are unfortunate times when they might be necessary.

When those around you act like cavemen and threaten or use force against you or your family, then "caveman thinking" is all we have left to survive with. Most people can't hire private security or have a protection detail like many politicians and notable proponents of ever greater gun control. For many a gun is what would allow them to defend themselves in a terrible situation.

People in high crime areas get guns to protect themselves because the police can't or simply don't protect them. Moving forward in a logical way to me would be to make sure that our laws protect the second amendment right to keep and bear arms and that includes the universal and basic right to the same kinds of guns that every traffic cop might have. While focusing on making sure those whose crimes or mental conditions make them ineligible don't actually get guns. When we reduce crime, violence and social injustice then fewer people will want or need guns and that would be a good thing. Until then asking law abiding people to disarm themselves before the criminals is a non-starter and we have already gone too far in that direction in some states and localities.

Comment Re:Obama (Score 1) 425

Um, this started under GWB -- it's even in the summary.

I think this is entirely misleading. June 1, 2009 was when GM filed for Bankruptcy protection. The terms of their bankruptcy and government bailout investments were largely negotiated in the months immediately before that during the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Bailouts happened under the Bush administration (just with the support of Senator/Candidate/President-Elect Obama).

By comparison, the bankruptcy restructuring and government investments in GM and Chrysler were relatively smooth because they essentially used well established bankruptcy law to perform the restructuring. But I recall the debate at the time, it took a big political fight to prevent just another Wall Street style bailout.

Comment Re:How? (Score 4, Insightful) 414

Right now you can be a law abiding gun owner in one town, but drive over the city or state line and you are a criminal.We need better and fewer gun control regulations that make it easier for law abiding people to own guns for self defense and comply with the law and yet keeps guns out of the hands of felons and the dangerously insane.

The fundamental, if not always stated, purpose of most of these gun laws is to make it harder for law abiding people to own guns. With the goal of reducing the number of guns in circulation. By creating a climate of fear and uncertainty, about compliance with gun laws, gun control advocates are trying to isolate gun owners politically through attrition in their numbers over time.

I do agree that a society with fewer guns will in fact reduce the overall number of gun deaths. My concern is that the trade off between the short term goal of safety which would trade away an enduring Liberty just isn't worth it. And will ultimately lead to a less safe and secure society as the people that control the guns both legally through the government or illegally through criminal gangs will feel more emboldened to oppress and threaten those without effective means of self defense.

My ideal is a society where people don't threaten to take away people's second amendment rights and fewer and fewer people feel the need to exercise the right to keep and bear arms. The only thing that the recent push to further regulate guns (on top of layer upon layer of current gun control laws) has done is increase the number of guns in society. Not only is gun control a failure, it is counter-productive to its own express goals.

People that are willing and able to take on the responsibility of gun ownership should do so and our government should support them with reasonable regulations and laws and not burden them with unnecessary, redundant and conflicting laws as is the case now.

Comment Free Solution (Score 1) 1251

Just sell, transfer or exchange the immediate plot of land that the ten commandments monument is on to a private non-profit with appropriate deeded restrictions and then don't allow religious monuments on the public land that remains.

This is essentially what was done to settle the White Cross Monument dispute at the Mojave National Preserve.

I agree that religious and other forms of speech should not be biased or endorsed by government on public land. Doesn't mean there can't be a tasteful compromise to still allow religious monuments that are visible from public land.

Comment NSA by and large does good work, policy is wrong. (Score 1) 841

The NSA is likely doing the best job it can with the resources at its disposal. Intelligence gathering aimed at our adversaries, competitors, allies and terrorists likely makes the world safer by allowing the president and key decision makers to make more informed decisions.

That said, the NSA has been used to cross too many constitutional lines. You can't have such massive unbridled spying on our own citizens without undermining a democratic form of government and a free society. We are losing our Freedom under these policies.

It just needs to stop, so the NSA and all of our government can again focus on protecting our rights, freedoms and lives instead of undermining them. Then we can all be proud of the work we do as a nation and as a free people.

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