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Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 1) 356

The US Govt (at least on the Federal level) is mandated by the US Constitution to provide for defense...that is one of its few enumerated responsibilities and powers.

That's for *defense*. We send almost half our budget on defense, but maybe about 5% of our budget actually goes to defense. The remaining 45% is for buying expensive toys from defense contractors to assuage our tribal concerns that the country is undefended. Although we pay our soldiers burger-flipping wages (partly to justify not raising the minimum wage for actual burger flippers), the Pentagon is actually complaining about being overloaded with so much expensive equipment that they can't even keep all of it out of the rain. We aren't safe if our military can only end life on the planet- it should be capable of destroying three or four planets, and at least ten by 2030. That's not defense, it's a parasitic industry that gobbles up nearly half the budget. But people are so entranced by it- guys like Brian Williams who ejaculate when they see a couple dozen Tomahawks being fired- that's almost always a cheap political win. Every government that does nothing for its citizens (e.g. North Korea) resorts to military displays. It's an opiate for the masses.

The Constitution was written when health care costs were not even a conceivable issue at all. For most of American history the Constitution has been considered a working document, designed to be amended as times change in ways that could not have been forseen. That was the 18th-20th century view of the Constitution, but it went out the window several decades ago. At this point, Americans have fetishized the U.S. Constitution like it's an appendix to the Bible, and they quote the Founding Fathers like they were apostles. When amending it is now considered sacrilege, it has completely lost its usefulness. You have the rights you have (and might have needed) up until this originalist attitude set in during the 80s. Now you will never be given any more Constitutional rights, no matter what changes in the near or distant future. Since health care only emerged as a serious problem in more recent decades, you'll never have a Constitutional right to free health care. But you can always kick a British soldier out of your house. That's fucked.

Comment Re:Troglodytes (Score 2) 128

All of them, and make no mistake Hillary would have been just as bad.

No, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have been. I think it's reasonable to assume she would have continued the same kind of policies as Obama. And it was Obama's FCC that started to take Network Neutrality seriously to begin with.

There is no justification for claiming a "Both sides" position here, just as there isn't with 90% of what Trump is doing.

Comment Well (Score 1) 356

We've been living in an economic climate that actually punishes savers for almost a generation now. This is to be expected. I honestly don't care because I will be dead soon. But those robots had better get good at making stuff extremely cheaply because hungry people are the surest way to tear a civilization apart.

Comment Sure, Uber is evil. (Score 2) 255

It's an anti-social company that's a horrible place to work. Everybody knows that by now.

What nobody can know for sure is why an individual takes his life, or what circumstances would have to be different.

Take Google, which in several recent lists is the best company in America to work for. Google has just shy of 60,000 employees. Given the US suicide rate of 46/100,000, if Google were largely reflective of that you'd expect 28 suicides/year among Google employees. Of course (a) not all Google employees are Americans and (b) Google employees are economically better off than most people in their societies, so you'd expect there to be a lower rate of suicide. But it's safe to assume a dozen Google employees a year take their lives.

And if you look at them as individuals, you'd inevitably suspect work stress was involved, and if you'd look you'd probably find it -- because it's a chicken-or-egg thing. Suicide is a catastrophic loss of coping ability; when you head that way you will find trouble everywhere you turn.

When something like this happens to an individual, everyone feels the need to know why -- even strangers. But that's the one thing you can never know for certain. Now if suicide rates were high for Uber, then statistically you could determine to what degree you should be certain that Uber is a killing its employees with a bad work environment (or perhaps selecting at-risk employees).

I think its inevitable and understandable that this man's family blames Uber. And it's very likely that this will be yet another PR debacle for the company. But the skeptic in me says we just can't know whether Uber has any responsibility for the result.

Comment It is true (Score 2) 376

However, like everything, if a technology comes along to supplant it, in this case, the cost of greener alternatives is lower than coal, it'll simply dwindle and fade over time, with absolutely no need for liberals trying to regulate the crap out of it.

This flawed argument ignores the incontrovertible fact that allowing coal to continue to provide energy on equal terms with other energy supplies rather than pressuring the market to switch to less environmentally damaging sources of energy would do real and substantial harm to us all. The bottom line is: the less energy produced from burning coal and supplied instead from less polluting resources, the better off the world is.

So in fact, there is a need for it to have the crap regulated out of it in a context where it can be replaced with (considerably) less polluting energy sources, which is exactly where we are today.

Comment Re:It's pretty simple (Score 3, Insightful) 239

common measuring stick

Here is your valuable program certifying a gasoline powered alarm clock as compliant.

It's a pencil whipping operation. Nothing of value is being lost here. The 'ceritification' is just a bit of red tape everyone has to go through to sell to certain customers, leech federal grants and other stuff. The red tape employs a bunch of lawyers and adds another hurdle for anyone that might try to compete with GE et al. This is precisely the crap that Trump was elected to kill.

Comment Re:Music and film are essential in two senses (Score 1) 66

I'm not sure we should be dictating commercial restrictions on the supply of all creative content to an entire continent based on the three people in that continent who are studying film or music analysis.

In any case, lots of people are commenting here as if forcing sales to the entire EU to be at the same price will bring the cheaper prices to the richer nations. It seems far more likely that it will bring the more expensive prices to the poorer nations. Your "background music" licence is exactly the kind of expendable luxury that could suffer under the more uniform regime.

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