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Comment Re:Are billboards illegal in your parts ? (Score 1) 110

There are entire countries where billboards are illegal (Brazil), countries where they are illegal outside of cities (France), and many cities where they are forbidden (like my own). Why ? Well, it breaks down to this: either they work or they don't work. If they don't work, then what's the point ? Get rid of them. If they work, then it means they steal some of your attention span while you should be paying attention to your driving, so they should be illegal. And they are ugly.

On a more fundamental level, Billboards are coerced participation in advertising - something that is contrary to basic notions of freedom, and thus inconsistent with fundamental rights in any society that claims to be free.

Just as it is appropriate to prevent businesses from releasing chemical pollutants into the environment, so too is it appropriate to prevent businesses from releasing marketing pollution into the social environment. Even the size and nature of business signs intended to identify a business location can and should be regulated.

ALL advertising - to be consistent with fundamental rights - should be opt in - and something that is very easy to opt out of.

This includes political advertising, and advertising for social causes.

In the USA, rights to this effect can be asserted as arising under the 9th Amendment (unspecified rights retained by the people).

Comment Re:BULLSHIT US saved Russia (Score 1) 1028

Please dont tell me bullshit about LL. LL was arranged in late 41, just a few months later Russia won the biggest fight in history, involving about 4 -5 million soldiers - the battle of Stalingrad. That was the start of the end of the NAZIS. Befor eyou jump... theres no way anythign got thru to Russia by the time of Stalingrad.

You've mastered the party line comrade. Decades of Cold War propaganda agrees with you. But the facts are otherwise - and those facts are revealed by Soviet records declassified after the Cold War. Large numbers of British tanks and aircraft played a critical role in the defense of Moscow, and both British and American tanks and aircraft - in large numbers - played a critical role in 1942. To give just one example, Soviet Ace Alexander Ivanovich Pokryshkin flew the American P-39 Airacobra during 1942 (starting well before the Soviet offense at Stalingrad) and shot down many German aircraft in that plane (mostly ME-109 fighters). The fuel processing equipment and additives needed to support such high performance aircraft - which the Soviets could not yet manufacture themselves - were also supplied.

So yes, LL (Lend Lease) did get through well before Stalingrad - and early enough for Soviet personnel to learn to use the new equipment - and it played a major role, not only supplying direct military aid, but providing Soviet industry with critical components it could not manufacture in sufficient numbers and quality by itself, thus providing the long term foundation for Soviet wartime industry (and the supply of critical materials would continue through the end of the war, in staggering quantities).

Russia contribute man power and equipment like tanks that the west has no concept of.

Russian tanks and equipment have been studied in detail by the West. They had a lot of great engineers - and had the benefit of being able to learn from their mistakes during the Spanish Civil War and at Kalkin Gol. At the same time - they paid a lot of attention to paper specs, and missed some of the critical aspects of design. Good armor, decent guns, but major misses on the other stuff. The communications systems for early war T-34 and KV-1 tanks, for example, were abysmal. The tanks were also poorly organized for crew efficiency, and extremely unreliable. All this led to massive (and bloody) disasters. Fortunately, the USA was able to supply enough aluminum to build huge numbers of replacement tanks (the T-34 engines depended on this, as did Soviet fighters). The US Sherman tanks were vastly more reliable - in many battles the majority of Soviet tanks were lost to mechanical problems long before they saw the enemy.

Eventually the Soviet tank designs would be corrected, but it is noteworthy that - in Korea and during the early Arab-Isreali wars - upgunned versions of US Sherman tanks generally beat the T-34s operated by their opponents (the tanks were pretty equal by that point, but the crews were not).

For example there were literally 10x more Russian armies when Germany surrended.

Soviet armies were far smaller than their Western counterparts, so the "army count" is misleading. The USA had 12 million personnel in the Armed Forces at the end of WW2, Britain had another 5 million (not sure if that counts Commonwealth forces), and the other Allies had smaller (but still important) contingents. The Soviets had about 11.3 million personnel at the end of the war.

The truth is Russia WON ww2 by blood and guts.

False. WW2 was a team effort. The Soviet role was important - but so was that of the Western Allies. During 1943, the majority of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) would be operating in the West (eventually 95% of the fighter squadrons, and a much higher percentage of operational aircraft), and during 1944 the majority of German tanks would end up in the West. The Bomber War occupied another million German military personnel, huge number of guns, and huge amounts of fuel, ammo, and other material - all of which were not available for use against the Soviets. The Luftwaffe died in the Mediterranean and over Western Europe, incidentally - 2/3s of Axis aircraft lost for all reasons were lost in those theaters, and the percentage of combat losses is even higher. The major Soviet victories after Stalingrad owed a great deal to this - and to the consequences of Allied strategic bombing in Europe.

For a concrete example, you might consider that the British faced roughly 33 German vehicles per mile of front in Normandy - while for the great Soviet victory against Army Group Center in June 1944 there were only 2 German vehicles per mile of front. Even then, the battle was won as much by Soviet control of the air as much as anything else. The IL-2 was a superb ground attack aircraft - and could operate very effectively during that battle as a consequence of the destruction of the Luftwaffe in the West.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 331

You forgot one more attribute of your den: Control over the volume button.

The last time I went to a theater, (and I do mean the LAST time!), the morons had the volume cranked so high that not only was it painful to the ears, the amplifiers were well up into the distortion range, making half the dialog unintelligible.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem in Western society, and not just in theaters. It doesn't just affect the elderly, either - there are many people, even children, with hearing damage. Hearing impairment among 14 year olds is up 30% since just the 1990s. Our technology has vastly outraced our ability to regulate that technology.

The really sad thing is that this is almost always already illegal. Cinemas are workplaces, and most countries have laws regarding safety in the workplace. There are also laws regarding assault that are written broadly enough to cover this, and laws on negligence on the part of business operators leading to harm to the public. Whatever the police are doing, it's not enforcing these laws, perhaps because there are more lucrative laws to be enforcing (especially in those many jurisdictions that don't require fines from things like "traffic violations" or "parking violations" to be handled ethically).

Most people don't realize when they are exposed to damaging levels of sound, because the brain reduces the perceived noise level, and because duration is a factor. I'd like to see cell phones required to be able to make reasonably accurate sound level measurements, so they can warn the people carrying them (with the feature able to be turned off). Some flexibility in configuration would be required, since modern studies have suggested that the thresholds for negative physiological and psychological consequences are at far lower levels than the old industrial standards allow for, but that's just a software task - easy for a company like Apple to implement (assuming the hardware requirements for the measurement are already met - figuring out how to do the hardware would be a great project for government research funding).

Comment Re:Question (Score 3, Informative) 519

No centralized, planned economy has ever outperformed a free market, capitalist one. Ever.

You would be wrong. There are several examples of this happening. One case would be the War Communism period of the USSR. They had double digit growth rates that outperformed every other economy in the world. How else do you think a country which was known for most of its population being indentured serfs not so long ago came go to being the power that produced the most tanks in WWII even while it was being bombed in the process?

The WWII example is completely invalid from a military history perspective. See "Feeding the Bear" by Van Tuyll for an introduction.

Truly staggering amounts of military and industrial aid were provided to the USSR during the war. This was very carefully planned in close coordination with Soviet officials: the Soviets had good weapon designs in many basic categories, so a major concern was to support Soviet manufacturing of those weapons: this allowed the Soviets to shut down many peacetime production processes, and convert others over to weapons. Huge amounts of goods were shipped via the Arctic convoys, and directly from the USA to the Soviet Union on Soviet flag ships (the USSR and Japan had a treaty that permitted this, but only for "nonmilitary" goods). Any single Arctic convoy would be typically carrying a billion dollars (in today's money) worth of aid. Over 20k US citizens were sent to the Middle East to build a railroad from Iran to the Soviet Union allowing additional goods to be shipped to the Indian Ocean and then transported by rail to the Soviets (this was for military goods that could not be shipped directly: it allowed the extremely dangerous Arctic route to be avoided).

It is estimated that 90-95% of certain critical goods used by Soviet Industry in the war, such as ball bearings, were provided to the Soviet Union from imports. Ball bearings are used in every piece of rotating machinery, including many places in tanks, artillery, aircraft, not to mention the machine tools used to make these and the ammunition they use, plus a wide variety of other industrial processing and fabrication equipment. Huge amounts of machine tools were shipped as well, and since many of the Soviet factories had been designed by US engineers prior to the war, this equipment could be used directly: it was already familiar. It is also estimated that 90% of Soviet aviation fuel for high performance aircraft was processed using US made equipment and chemical additives.

It's worth noting that both Britain and Germany actually needed to import much of their ball bearing production (the Germans imported from Sweden). Standard machine tools can't easily produce round objects, so producing these in large numbers is hard, and while the British attempted to build new assembly lines to produce these, they had lots of problems and production was never sufficient. Ball bearings were such critical components that major air raids were attempted to attack German production.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of vehicles were shipped to the Soviet Union. The vast majority of these were non-combat vehicles: they played a critical role in the logistics required to support modern warfare, not to mention manufacturing logistics. See Martin van Creveld's book for a general introduction to the logistics issues of warfare: basically in modern war attrition of equipment and supplies is huge, yet at the same time a wide variety of parts, fuels, lubricants, and other chemicals is required. This in turn means a nation needs a solid train network to get equipment near the front, and huge numbers of trunks to get equipment from the train depots to the units (both are also required to get goods to factories for refining and assembling). The Soviets were under-equipped with trucks to begin with, and most of these were lost in the first few months. As another example, the Soviets only produced 92 locomotives between 1942 and 1945: they received 1,911 locomotives and 11,225 railcars as Lend-Lease imports.

As Soviet tank production barely got ahead of losses until the last year of the war, it is clear that the Soviets did not have the manufacturing reserve (facilities, manpower, steel production, machine tools, and so forth) to also create hundreds of thousands of additional vehicles.

Also, huge amounts of food and winter clothing were shipped to the Soviets. This was critical, because the most productive agricultural land in the Soviet Union was in German hands for much of the war. Further, production of both types of goods was labor intensive (and worse, a lot of the machinery that could otherwise be used to support farming had been taken for military use!), and the Soviets had a huge labor problem - they had such a huge labor problem that they were the only nation in the war to resort to using significant numbers of women in the military.

The majority of this stuff was produced in the USA and Britian, with a highly capitalist approach. See Arthur Herman's book for a detailed discussion of how that was done, which goes into detail about many largely unknown people who played critical roles, such as Danish immigrant William Knudsen (who gave up his job as CEO of General Motors to work for $1 a year organizing the US wartime production effort!).

During the Cold War, a lot of Soviet propaganda was produced to try to conceal the Soviet dependence on the West (North Korea has done similar stuff in recent decades). After the Cold War ended, this went away, and many former-Soviet sources have written about this topic. From a logistics and manufacturing perspective, it seems likely that - without Western aid - the Soviets would only have had about 10-20% of the forces they were actually able to deploy (tanks, artillery, aircraft), and their soldiers would have been hungry, under-clothed, and lacking in ammunition - which clearly would have been a huge disaster.

Not to mention that arguably the T-34 and KV-1 were among the most advanced tank designs in WWII when they went into active service (gun, armor, engine, suspension, etc).

These designs were good designs in many respects. At the same time, the evidence suggests that Soviet engineers were forced to produce them by being threatened with having themselves and their families sent to the gold mines - a death sentence. Note that the suspension of the T-34 was initially designed by an American. Many of the factory designs used to make these, in turn, came from US engineers hired to work in the Soviet Union before the war. Also, the Soviets benefited from the Kalkin Gol conflict with Japan pre-war: they were the only nation to have combat experience to test their designs in a modern setting (as opposed to WWI, already ancient history). The T-34 in particular went through massive revision as a result. Soviet participation in the Spanish Civil War helped as well (though primarily in terms of aircraft production).

Comment Re:Fighters becoming an anachronism, like horse ca (Score 2) 441

Fighters becoming a romantic anachronism, like horse cavalry. And like horse cavalry they will last longer than people expect. My local National Guard unit is cavalry, reconnaissance, and had horse as late as the 1930s. In certain terrain guys sneaking around on horse was still more effective than vehicles. They were just the eyes for armored formations and not expect to fight themselves.

The Soviets used horses very effectively during WW2. More of a mounted infantry role than a cavalry one, of course, with troops dismounting to fight. The horses apparently worked out quite well given the vast distances and poor roads - better in some situations than mechanized units. Cavalry was used to exploit breakthroughs achieved by regular infantry and armor units.

Ivan Yakushin's book (2005) describes his experiences in one such unit (the 24th Guards Cavalry Regiment), as a junior officer in charge of a platoon of anti-tank guns.

The USA went mechanized as WW2 approached, only to find out that mules were more useful than trucks in the mountains of Italy. Today that role would typically be replaced by the helicopter, but a mule has the advantage it can't be shot out of the air, doesn't make a lot of noise, and has no radar signature, so perhaps there will someday still be a role for pack animals in war, under special circumstances.

Comment Re:Really?? (Score 1) 120

I still do not see how one dreadnought and it's bodyguard would have caused more trouble than the U-boats. The Bismarck was tracked by reckon aircraft it's departure would have been quickly detected and even if the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen had gotten into a couple of convoys they were still sitting ducks once they were tracked down by a carrier group.

The Scharnhost and Gneisenau repeatedly sortied prior to the Bismark. They weren't tracked down by a carrier group on any of these occasions, and weren't sunk by air power. It was a LOT harder to track ships back then than one might suppose. The most famous commerce raider, Atlantis, would survive for over 600 days. (Scharnhorst would later be sunk by the battleship Duke of York and her escorting destroyers, Gneisenau would survive the war: carrier groups again did not play the dominant role one would suppose).

The U-Boats were a danger, but they were slow, had poor visibility, and were greatly hampered by radar. They also had a dependency on radio communications that made them quite vulnerable to intercept: the Battle of the Atlantic went through periods where one side or the other was dominant depending on who was doing a better job of reading the other side's communications.

The big problem posed by the major surface combatants was that they invalidated the entire convoy strategy. That strategy depended critically on having large numbers of small vessels to fight the U-boats. Even full size fleet destroyers were too large in some respects for maximal efficiency in this role, which fell to the smaller sloops, corvettes, and DEs. Cruisers would supplement the smaller ships when attack by smaller enemy surface combatants was possible, or when greater anti-air defense was needed. But none of these ships had much chance against a well-handled battlewagon, which could annihilate (or capture!) an entire convoy in a matter of hours - a major disaster. Just the goods alone could amount to over a billion dollars in today's money, and the ships would be a lot more. Then there's the loss of life, and the corresponding negative effects on morale to consider ...

This meant that major surface combatants had to be kept close enough to respond to a sortie by their opposing counterparts, which was very expensive in terms of fuel and normal wear-and-tear, and also exposed the big (and very expensive) ships to subs, aircraft, and mines: a lucky hit could result in the loss of a big ship, with huge casualties (such as happened when the battleship Barham was torpedoed by a German sub). Worse, there simply weren't enough big surface warships to do the job, given the huge number of convoys that were needed.

Aircraft carriers could and would be used in this role as well, but the weather might not permit using the aircraft (especially during the long Northern nights and frequently-bad North Sea weather). Several of the carriers were sunk by subs as well.

Hence, the big warships posed a serious problem, and the Germans had to be taught that using them was not a workable option.

I would be happy to agree with you in the conclusion that purchasing the battleships was a bad investment for Germany, but they certainly tied up a huge amount of Allied resources for most of the war.

Comment Re:Really?? (Score 1) 120

The Norwegian campaign proved once and for all that he who rules the seas is he who can project the most air power over strategic distances, not he who owns lots of battleships because aircraft will slaughter dreadnoughts in the absence of carrier cover; so why build dreadnoughts?

Not at all true.

In fact, during the Norwegian campaign the British aircraft carrier Glorious was sunk by two unaccompanied German battleships, with huge loss of life.

The battleships won that one (aided by radar controlled anti-surface guns, allowing them to achieve some of the most remarkable shooting of any navy during the entire war).

The most decisive naval battles of the Norwegian campaign were actually fought by surface units at Narvik - including a British battleship, which an incredibly ballsy admiral took into the fjords. These battles devastated the German destroyer force, crippling it for the rest of the war.

As the war went on, the Germans repeatedly attacked the conveys to Russia - which didn't even have battleships defending them, at least not in close escort - with air units, and were never all that successful. They certainly didn't rule the seas, despite their superior strategic air power. They actually did much better with naval units, particularly the submarines.

It was very difficult to sink warships with good anti-aircraft capabilities. The British anti-aircraft cruisers were particularly formidable. This was especially true when a large number of ships were present, and it got even harder when radar was combined with anti-aircraft guns.

Worse, lots of highly trained pilots would inevitably be lost when going up against good defenses, which meant that it wasn't an operation that could be attempted too often - terrible for morale and disastrous in terms of lost experience. That was especially true in Northern waters, where pilots could be sure that going down meant inevitable death from the chill waters: otherwise minor damage could result in sure and certain death.

Finally, aircraft of that era simply couldn't operate under as many conditions where ships could - even night flying was problematic, let alone bad weather. In the Northern regions, huge numbers of aircraft were lost due to bad weather, far more than in combat.

Look up the campaigns in the Solomon Islands, and the Aleutians, for more examples of situations where ships played an important role. The ships still had a critical role, as they do today. Combined arms wins wars, not air power.

Comment Re:Historically accurate = Boring game (Score 1) 74

The buff didn't even know that Blimps went out of use the moment airplanes became popular.

There's a nice museum at Moffet Field Naval Air Station in California, documenting the use of blimps in WW2, by the US Navy, to hunt submarines. It's in the most enormous hanger (height-wise) that you'll probably ever see. Very impressive.

In addition to covering convoys near North America, South America, and the Caribbean, the blimps were used over Gibraltar (launching from Africa) to cover the straight at night, when it was too dangerous for aircraft to perform that mission (which required flying at low level to operate MAD equipment).

Barrage balloons - also called blimps, presumably in British English - were used extensively in Britain during WW2 to defend against German night air raids. These were unmanned.

Even in WW1, it took a long time for aircraft pilots to learn how to shoot down a dirigible, and these were used until quite late in the war for some missions.

Comment Re:Subversion of the West (Score 1) 1080

If you believe in property rights, the person who mixes his labor with goods or land owns it---he retains exclusive use of the property for his own productivity or enjoyment.

Not true. Many societies that recognize property rights have recognized a variety of versions of the right to roam, which gives others the right to cross private property for any of a number of different reasons. The traditions that lead to these rights sometimes go back centuries.

In general, the idea is to protect the primary natural resources of the property for the owner, and protect a small region around homes for privacy.

Thus, a hiker could cross somebody else's land for their own enjoyment, and could even keep an interesting stone they find, but they wouldn't be able to do anything that would be considering actively mining minerals. Fishing is a bit of an open area - sometimes it's allowed, sometimes not, but certainly fishing on a commercial scale would be unlikely to be permitted. Long term stay ('squatting') is generally not allowed, but some forms of overnight stay would certainly be reasonable.

Travelers on others land can certainly be expected to be courteous as well: making loud noise or littering would be a violation of others rights.

Similarly, a photographer would be able to take pictures on another person's land - within reasonable limits - and even sell those pictures. Thus, some forms of 'use for productivity' are permitted under typical versions of the right to roam.

In Britain, there was a multi-decades long civil rights movement to secure formal recognition of the right of roam, which finally succeeded in a limited sense in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000.

In a sense, the old property law rules in English Common Law can be viewed as resulting from legal ethics problems: those rules were enacted during historical periods in which wealth was concentrated in the form of land, and the lawyers creating the rules either were land-owners themselves, or expected to have land-owners as their primary clients in the future, thus creating what is known as an "ethical conflict of interest". This led to rules which favored land owners, and the new rules are a good start in correcting this long outstanding ethics problem.

A similar legal ethics problem led to the continuation of slavery in the USA: the lawyers from the South that forced the continuation of slavery were either slave owners themselves, or expected their primary future employers to be slave owners (since the slave owners had most of the wealth).

Unfortunately, this is far from being the only legal ethics problem in US history or even today. The USA still generally uses the old, unethical system for property law, as a result of state property laws inheriting from English Common Law. This is one of the reasons why so much land is 'posted' or fenced off, even when not in use.

These laws are certainly in violation of fundamental rights arising under the 9th and 10th Amendments: in the Land of the Free, any individual right or freedom that other modern civilized states choose to recognize must be equally applicable to Americans. This makes a lot of trespassing arrests illegal, of course: the police officers making these illegal arrests, and the judges that violate their oaths by upholding these illegal laws might benefit from studying the historical events at a place called Nuremberg.

Governments at various levels in the USA sometimes infringe the right to travel in various other illegal ways, such as closing highways during storms (preventing good Samaritans from helping others, and preventing people from helping their families), or closing wilderness areas to 'protect' endangered species (hikers aren't going to be any more of a problem to a fish - for example - than the bears and birds are).

Navigable waterways are protected in US law, but even here unethical lawyers create a lot of problems by quibbling over the definition of navigable (and completely ignoring the right to roam).

Unfortunately, the US legal profession - while no longer beholden to large property owners - has a number of ethical conflicts of interest with respect to recognizing the 9th and 10th Amendments, and this tends to interfere with the recognition of the right to roam. Worse, the legal ethics problems associated with abuses in tort law have led people to fence off their land to try to protect themselves from lawsuits (in some cases, insurance companies actually require this), which also interferes with the right to roam. Unfortunately, at least one of the major political parties appears to be accepting campaign contributions from associations of lawyers seeking to block tort reform.

Capitalism, in the form presented by Adam Smith (1776), needs regulation to be of benefit to society, and that including limiting the rights of property owners. Given how badly the USA has failed at that and so many other things, it's not surprising that Millennials don't trust capitalism.

Comment Re:That's actually really surprising... (Score 1) 135

I have to wonder how this all worked logistically: ~1,200BC wasn't exactly renowned for its medical technology, regular agricultural surpluses, or food storage capabilities. Aside from motivating this many guys to slog all the way to this site, simply keeping them healthy and fed long enough so they could kill one another before disease or starvation got them must have been a real trick.

In the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9CE), a Roman army (three legions, around 15k soldiers) was slaughtered by 'primitive' German tribes, who presumably had to have at least as many troops as the Romans.

In all likelihood, the Germanic tribes of that era weren't much better off logistically than the folks at 1200 B.C. They were drawing from a heavily forested region with rough terrain, poor roads and limited crops. So if they managed it, there's no reason to suppose bronze age folks couldn't manage a few thousand.

At the Battle of Kadesh in 1304 B.C. between the Hittites and the Egyptians, according to Egyptian records the Egyptians had 20,000 men against the Hittite army of 17,000.

Many records of ancient battles are unreliable in terms of the number of troops present, viewed from the perspective of a modern understanding of logistics. Ancient authors have a tendency to give numbers that don't fit with modern calculations regarding food volume, weight, and consumption. Beyond a certain point, your pack animals simply eat too much food. There's a tendency for ancient authors to massively exaggerate for effect, compounded by the likely fact that they had no idea what was actually reasonable.

But 20k troops on a side isn't too improbable. It's when you push up to 30k-50k or more that you start to seriously need extremely well organized logistics, and probably some water transport. A few thousand troops in a Bronze Age battle is not at all surprising.

Don't get me wrong: logistics for 20k people is really hard! There's a reason they say "professionals study logistics, amateurs study tactics"! But 20k is not pushing the limits of what is possible.

Martin van Creveld's book on military logistics is a good starting point if you want more detail on the calculations.

Disease effects tended to happen over the long term, not within the scope of a short campaign. Humans are much tougher than you might expect.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy (Score 1) 341

So, there is no personal right to privacy to be found in the US Constitution, nor are there any other personal rights established. On the contrary: the rights of the /government/ are limited and everything else is, almost by definition, allowed.

There is no limitation to the government's ability to invade your personal property, space, etc. except for the slew of amendments that directly do so.

Lots of errors in your understanding of this matter.

The original Constitution was strongly opposed by the Anti-Federalists. To address the objections raised, a number of folks whose honor was trusted promised that a Bill of Rights would be added. People accepted this, because anybody with a functioning brain knew that it was neither militarily nor politically possible (at that time, and for the foreseeable future) to force states to remain in the Union if they didn't like the way those promises were satisfied.

As the British discovered, military logistics in the vast lands of the 13 colonies was a nightmare, even with about 1/3 of the population on their side. It took the early stages of the industrial revolution, with huge improvements in things like railroads, and the ability to build huge numbers of ships, to make a military victory over a significant number of opposing states possible for the other states.

Hence, the Constitution was for all intents and purposes accepted conditionally by pretty much everybody. Shortly thereafter, James Madison wrote a Bill of Rights, and made it open-ended to deal with the Anti-Federalist objection that any finite list of rights would be seriously incomplete and leave out really important rights (a remarkable forecast, and one that has repeatedly proven true, with the right to ethical practice of law being probably the most important right that was omitted, since it effects so many others!).

This is why the 9th Amendment provides for unspecified rights "retained by the people", and the 10th Amendment unspecified rights "reserved to the people".

Hence, there was no need to be explicit about a right to privacy: it was already covered under the umbrella of the 9th and 10th Amendments. Further, it was covered as an individual right. As with any right, of course, there can be limitations (the distinction some people make between right and privilege is largely an artificial one).

In summary, Congress gets to pass the laws, but those laws are only valid if the people decide the rights "retained by them" are not infringed.

Thus, it false to say "there is no limitation to the government's ability to ", and the amendments that "directly" limit rights are certainly not the only one's applicable.

If some courts have claimed that they consider the "right to privacy" to be a construct inferred from sources other than the 9th Amendment, this probably follows from discomfort felt by legal professionals with respect to the existence of the 9th and 10th Amendments. The idea that ordinary folks have a say is often anathema to the priests of any religion, and many judges (and other lawyers) seem to view themselves as priests of the law.

Putting this in other terms, all legal professionals are in a position of ethical conflict of interest which respect to recognizing these retained rights, and one should look at this conflict of interest as being the determinant of outcomes and language in many situations (especially those situations where legal professionals are not acting as they should with respect to fundamental rights, something that seems to happen an awful lot these days).

Comment Re:Doh! Preventative measure COST. (Score 1) 92

But that is only a small fraction of the cost. The REAL cost is in the TIME it takes to deal with all those things. Time is money in corporate speak, and their lax security measures is now directly resulting in these affected people to invest hours of their time setting up new credit monitoring, reviewing all recent credit reports (and future ones), replace their cards, change passwords, etc. If they were like a corporation, they would even hire consultants and remediation teams and charge their costs as part of the cost to be made whole when they (the corporation) sues the people responsible (look at what the City of San Francisco included in the charges/lawsuit against Terry Childs).

Exactly. The value of a person's time is the issue here, and that's something our society often doesn't handle well.

It seems like the legal profession has in the past followed a double standard.

The time of lawyers is valuable, therefore they must get paid lots of money for (almost) everything they do.

However, the time of the public is not, since if the law is structured in such a way as to be able to steal that time, then people will tend to hire lawyers to protect them from the their own legal system.

In short, this is a legal ethics issue. When they argue that there is no standing on matters like this, the lawyers representing the companies that have failed in their responsibilities, and any judges ruling in their favor, are engaging in unethical practice of law.

This contempt for the value of people's time is - in part - why we still have such obscene practices as junk mail, unsolicited sales or political calls, door-to-door solicitation, and so forth. The lawyers have little incentive to recognize the value of other people's time, so they do little to effectively protect that time.

Worse, it's been known since the 1950's that stress has negative physiological consequences. Expose mice to long term stress, and they develop plaques in the arteries, and have higher rates of heart attack! That means that wasting people's time is not just a matter of time and money, but also likely a matter of doing physical harm.

Certainly identity theft (and most other things that involve stealing a portion of a person's life) can be a lengthy and stressful experience (especially when dealing with incompetent bank officials who insist one owes a huge amount of money for a bogus account, almost certainly one created as a result of the bank's own negligence).

We can view kidnapping as stealing a portion of somebody else's life. Resolving an identity theft can take months (and essentially requires spending money on credit monitoring for the rest of one's life!), and the long term stress involved could lead to health issues such as a heart attack or stroke.

If one is wrong, the other must be as well.

In the USA, it follows that stealing a portion of somebody's life is a violation of fundamental rights "retained by the people" under the 9th Amendment, and "reserved to the people" under the 10th. It doesn't matter what type of negligence or misconduct resulted in the theft of that time.

As such, practices like sending junk mail, and the other items mentioned above, are violations of the highest law in the land. The same can be said for other things that waste time, such as excessive bureaucracy, whether on the part of private businesses or government. This includes a lot of the hassles that go on in the medical domain, such as the hoops one has to go through to deal with errors in bills.

Similarly, one has a right to expect reasonable competence on the part of businesses holding private data.

Comment Re: Hoax (Score 2) 1105

Yes a huge returning labor force taking advantage of major increases in production methods and materials research probably didn't factor in nearly as much as regulations, taxes, and government spending.

Entirely discounting having the only developed economy in the world that hadn't been bombed back 2 decades...

Not true.

Britain's industrial capacity was vastly greater after WW2 then it had been before. Large numbers of new factories were built during the war, and large numbers of people trained to work in them. British industrial production soared once German bombing stopped being effective (which was early in the Battle of Britain).

They were not in any sense "bombed back 2 decades", but actually far ahead of where they had been. Further, they were not only producing goods for the British war effort, they were also supplying the Soviets with huge amounts of critical industrial supplies!

Remember, Britain entered the war with a Victorian-era economy and an education system that heavily inherited from earlier systems that were largely run by the church (that's where we get the idea of "liberal arts" and "humanities" education - it was originally training for the priesthood). There were lots of inefficiencies caused by old equipment, and far too few scientists and engineers (though the ones they had were generally superb). A lot of the issues were corrected during the war.

British military historian Corelli Barnett has several books on this, such as The Audit of War, which are worth reading for the details.

Unfortunately for Britain, the experiment with socialism post-war undid most of their advantages.

Similarly, Australia had a developed economy, and that economy got far stronger as a result of wartime development.

Sweden also had a modern economy, and was never bombed. They were actually far better at producing some modern goods, such as ball bearings, an industrial good with very tight tolerances, then the British were during WW2. Both Britain and Germany would import large amounts of Swedish ball bearings during the war.

Comment Re:Its always been like this (Score 1) 508

You're conflating Socialism with Communism.

Not so. As a result of the dismal failure of the many 20th century socialist experiments, there have been attempts by modern socialists to distance themselves from the failures, and claims that the communist states were not actually socialist are one way that is being attempted. Unfortunately those claims founder on the definition of socialist.

For example, you can look at the Wikipedia definition:

"Socialism is a variety of social and economic systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production;[7] as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.[8] Social ownership may refer to forms of public, cooperative, or collective ownership; to citizen ownership of equity; or to any combination of these.[9] Although there are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them,[10] social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms."

Also, note the words "all socialist nations at one time" in the previous post.

The Soviet Union was certainly a socialist state at one point -- look at their rhetoric: the concept of the workers owning the means of production was central, and also look at their actions: they did seize private production and in theory the workers controlled it by means of their elected party representatives. Arguably, the Soviet state morphed into something else, but I expect most people would say that's inevitable in such cases. Power corrupts.

Much the same can be said of China and Vietnam.

In short, the communist system was one way of attempting socialism, one of many that were made in the 20th Century.

If you want a programming language analogy, think of socialism as a class, with communism as child class that specializes certain aspects of the parent class.

India, and some of the cases in Africa and South America were a bit different, but still failures.

Comment Re:Its always been like this (Score 1) 508

I'm awfully sorry, this might come as a shock to you..
Sitting down? Comfy? "Regulated capitalism" is... socialism. It's exactly what all the "Social democratic" parties in Europe have been up to since the beginning of the 1900's.

Not true.

It has been known since Adam Smith published the first major work on capitalism (in 1776) that regulation is an essential part of capitalism. Go read his book, it's long been out of copyright, even by Disney standards.

If you read a biography on Adam Smith, you'll find that he was deeply troubled by the issue of slavery, which to some extent was funding the ongoing industrial revolution in Britain. Slavery is a prime example of the consequences of unregulated capitalism. In other words, unregulated capitalism is the same as allowing slavery. A reasonable level of regulation is a highly desirable thing for a society.

Socialism, on the other hand -- by definition -- means the workers control the means of production. It was tried lots of times during the 20th century, in Africa, South America, and Asia. It's never worked as the primary rule for any economy. When China, India, and the Soviet Union -- all socialist nations at one time -- experimented with allowed small, controlled capitalism, they found it was enormously more efficient, which is why they are no longer socialist.

From what I can tell -- I'm not a citizen of these countries -- even in Norway and Sweden, the majority of businesses are privately owned. Further, even those that are publicly held seem to be run in pretty similar ways to their private counterparts. If somebody out there can correct me on that, or elaborate on what I've said, then please do so ...

Most people who label themselves as "socialist" are more concerned with reforming welfare systems then they are with having the workers own the means of production. A lot of people think that one implies the other (and would probably be shocked if they knew the real meaning of the word "socialist").

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