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Comment Re:Politics aside, is this a copyright violation? (Score 1) 433

each email is a creative work by the author

Yes, good point! Without the government sticking their guns in everyone's faces and enforcing the email-writer's monopoly on commercially profiting from their blood, sweat, and tears, what incentive would party members have to communicate with each other?

If we don't properly enforce this monopoly, party members will give up and stop emailing each other! Then where will be be?

Comment Re:There in good company. (Score 1) 70

mail account .. with a paltry 1TB of storage.

Which just goes to show, FUSE makes it viable for people to use any protocol, even IMAP, as a filesystem.

/home/dude# cd /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com# mpv attachment1/Robocop\ \(1987\).mkv

Comment Re:QL'EB? (Score 1) 409

EVERY device sold is carrier locked

That shouldn't be a problem so long as the SIM cards are from the same carrier. Moreover, I know that statement isn't true universally because I bought my own phone with no carrier lock (a Nexus 5 purchased directly from Google). There may be markets where it's impossible to buy unlocked phones, in which case your only realistic option is to move somewhere less oppressive.

Especially if you want to be able to use a phone number as well which doesn't change with each SIM swap.

That is a bigger problem. I'm not sure whether the dual-SIM phones are capable of using both SIM cards at once, one for voice and one for data. If not, the only option would be to get some mobile WiFi hotspots and use those instead of mobile data. While not exactly cheap, they would more than pay for themselves in avoided overage charges within the first month.

Comment Re:QL'EB? (Score 1) 409

Where I live the absolute largest data plan you can even buy is 40GB and that costs $150/mo.

Can you switch SIM cards easily? If so, just buy the 40GB plan for three different SIMs and switch cards when you get close to the limit. That would give you 120GB for $450/mo.

For that matter, even using three separate devices would be cheaper than paying those overage fees. You could make two of them dedicated WiFi hotspots to avoid paying for extra voice packages.

Comment Re:There's an excellent reason for that. (Score 1) 92

We all agreed to the law

We certainly did not all agree to the law. I'm one of those who never agreed to it; I'm certain there are plenty more.

or at least, in theory a majority of us enacted this law

Closer, but still not accurate. There was no popular vote on this specific issue, and no expression of active support by a majority of the population.

Now, we have the DMCA - a law we must collectively have agreed to, as it is no long merely a bill but a law.

Only if by "must collectively have agreed to" you actually mean "supported by a majority of voting representatives, selected in many cases by a plurality (not majority) of voters in their districts on the basis of a variety of issues having nothing to do with the DMCA".

The public never agreed to this law. The public was never consulted. Our role in the process was merely a lack of active resistence to a law introduced by and supported by a vocal minority of copyright maximalists, back at a time when this seemed like a niche issue of little concern to the average person—before computers (and DRM) had invaded every aspect of everyday life.

If you put copyright—the whole system—up to a straightforward single-issue popular referendum right now, there is a decent chance that it would be repealed, or at least severely curtailed. For the DMCA in particular that probability goes from "likely" to "almost certainly". A significant portion of many politician's jobs (from their employers in the pro-copyright lobby, not their nominal constituents) comes down to making sure the issue is never put before the public in such simple terms.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 334

Sure - if Greece had actually collected the taxes due, rather than just saying "meh" and relying on debt, they'd be in a better situation than they are now.

You could say the same for reducing spending, rather than collecting more taxes. The problem was going into debt.

If they had raised the taxes it would have required a corresponding reduction in private spending. There is little evidence for (and plenty of economics against) the idea that it would have been better to spend this money on the public programs selected by the government rather than what the citizens chose to spend their money on voluntarily, or would have chosen to spend it on had those programs not existed.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 3, Insightful) 334

The problem is that we have accepted, in a large number of cases, ignoring laws we don't like, and people think that is how it is supposed to work for all laws. You cannot say we are going to ignore laws we don't like, and at the same time want people to uphold / follow laws we like, but they don't.

No, the real problem is that there are far too many laws. The law is supposed to be something that nearly everyone actively agrees with, in its entirety. It also needs to prescribe responses which are proportional to the offense; that's where its legitimacy comes from. Things like "if you commit murder you can be locked up (and maybe killed)", "if you steal then the property can be taken back and you can be fined"... these are accepted by almost everyone, being impossible to dispute coherently. Turn about is fair play; the murderer or thief can hardly object to being subjected to the same treatment they practiced against others.

What we have, however, is a vast array of laws too large for any one person to comprehend, most of which carry disproportionate punishments. Most of which, in fact, have no proportional punishment, because there is no victim whose rights were violated, and thus nothing to be proportional to. Such laws have no legitimacy.

This isn't a matter of laws we like or don't like. Treating the law as if it were determined by some sort of popularity contest is actually part of the problem. The distinction is between laws which have a sound moral and ethical basis, vs. ones that have merely been made up by legislators for reasons of social engineering, demogogy, and/or personal profit.

Comment Re:Where did the money come from? (Score 2) 159

If it's not poorly defined then why can't people who are supposed to be professionals in preventing money laundering patently unable to explain it effectively?

Briefer: "Be on the lookout for money laundering!"
Me: "Ok, so what should we be on the lookout for?"
Briefer: "Suspicious transactions."
Me: "Suspicious how?"
Briefer: "Next slide!" ...

Comment Re:Where did the money come from? (Score 1, Insightful) 159

OK, but what made them illegal? I don't believe the government when they bring charges like this, because someone discovered ex post facto that something broke the law. When they say "3.5 billion money laundering scheme", I want to know what the original money came from and why the transaction was supposedly illegal. And we rarely get that information.

Inherently not trusting the government and the huge power such 'money laundering' accusations seem to have - no one ever seems to ask the question I am asking, and the article sure as hell doesn't say a damned thing about where the 3.5 billion came from - make me very suspicious.

Comment Where did the money come from? (Score 4, Insightful) 159

Money laundering is the most opaque concept ever. I used to be an officer at a bank (they made all of the network guys exempt bank officers) and had to go through repeated briefings on this, and no one could explain money laundering to my satisfaction. It appears to be "transactions the government doesn't like" rather than anything in particular.

Comment Re: Justice? (Score 0) 298

Please explain what makes some land your property? Because you say so?

Because he put it to productive use at a time when no one else had any prior claim to it, or someone else did so and then voluntarily transferred their rights to him. (The process is called "homesteading"; look it up. It's the basis for any legitimate claim to ownership of private property.)

The idea of property pre-dates government; they didn't invent the concept, and are not necessary for its implementation.

Why should anyone else care about that? Because you'll kill them if they don't?

Mostly because if you choose to ignore others' property claims, they'll be free to ignore yours. It's extremely difficult to argue that someone else is wrong to do to you what you did to them first. Of course if you want to engage in war then that's your decision, but don't expect to receive a lot of help. Alliances among aggressors tend to be fleeting at best. The majority who prefer a more stable and civilized environment will band together to fight you, and you'll probably lose. In the end you'll most likely find that it would have been easier and more productive to simply earn what you wanted instead of trying to take it by force.

Because, in the absence of a government, what's stopping them?

Natural law. Going to war is expensive, and ultimately self-defeating. Even the more successful empires founded on conquest tend to self-destruct when they inevitably run out of "barbarians" to pillage. Civilizations based on voluntary coexistence are more stable and sustainable, and thus tend to dominate over the long term.

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