A couple decades ago there was a controversy in Pennsylvania regarding concealed carry permits. (Or, hell, it could have been nationwide, I didn't pay close attention, and my memory isn't clear.) The media were invariably calling such a permit a "license to kill". In fact, I think the only thing you could hear on TV for weeks was the phrase "License to kill", just repeated over and over. Now, no matter where you stand on the second amendment, I'm pretty sure that if you're being rational you'll understand the difference between "legal permission to carry your weapon out of sight" and "legal permission to use your weapon to kill at whim". But hey, let's not let sanity or perspective get in the way of using a clever turn of phrase borrowed from your favorite spy thriller.
I don't see that anything has changed since then. Seems like the brainless monkeys that run this country are waving their genitals around and throwing their poop more than ever.
n.b. The "Pepsi Challenge" taste test that was started in 1975 is not research, it's a marketing ploy in research's clothing. The whole point wasn't to determine which was more popular, Coke or Pepsi, but to get you thinking in terms of "Coke or Pepsi" exclusive of any other brand of cola. A false dilemma writ planet-sized. We are being manipulated.
(Not that this detracts from your argument in any way, and could possibly reinforce it. I just thought I'd toss in a bit of tangential tinfoil hattism for anybody who wasn't feeling paranoid enough. Carry on.)
Dump these guys into downtown Davis without a native guide.
I know, it's a terrible thing to do to a New Yorker. The carnage will be horrible! But the survivors will come out hardened, more liberal and with a healthy respect for the all-powerful bicycle enterprise. (Also a craving for Thai food and sushi.)
My take is that rather than SSL being an indicator of possible quality of the underlying web site, they may be thinking of it being a quality in and of itself. IOW, all other things being equal, an encrypted site is of higher quality than an non-encrypted site because it's encrypted.
The problem with the First Rule of Holes is that it starts with "If you find yourself at the bottom of one...". Finding yourself anywhere requires a modicum of situational- and self-awareness. I suspect Mr. Queen hasn't looked up lately.