Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Aug 1st, 2015 @ 2:33pm

    Something I'm not clear on...

    How can anything wipe out the consititution?

    Even if the president, who now has the power to pass law through fast-track trade authority, implements the TPP, he doesn't have the power to amend the US Constitution. And SCOTUS can still rule that elements of the TPP are unconstitutional, yes?

    For this to not be would be to nullify one of the checks that SCOTUS has over law, in which case the US Constitution is broken already, or rather Fast Track itself may be ruled unconstitutional by any court.

    I'm not sure if a law or method that is ruled as unconstitutional can retroactively affect changes (If a man is in prison for violating a crime later ruled unconstitional, is he freed or does he continue to rot in prison?) So if TPA is rendered unconstitional would that nullify any ratification of TPP via the TPA?

    The fact that the TPP remains secret from the public and will do so until -- and even after -- it is passed has opened an asp basket of problems. This form of secrecy should delegitimize the TPP as a trade agreement that the US can enter into, and that it doesn't makes for a critical hack of the US Constitutional separation of powers.

    Of course, IMNAL, but if I need to be a lawyer to understand how the Constitution can be hacked, something is critically wrong.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 10:03pm

    Kidnapped children in cars

    How many lives per capita are we talking about here? Most kidnappings are parental. Giving the police everyone's travel information seems a high price to pay for a couple hundred lives.

    And in today's clime, I wouldn't expect law enforcement to actually persue missing persons in time enough to rescue them when drug raids are far more profitable.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 9:50pm

    The King of a Nation Should Be Its Citizens.

    Useful tip for the next iteration. You'll save time and lives by drawing up a charter now.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 1:23pm

    Apparently you didn't notice the "In an ideal world" caveat.

    In the real world, the current regime needs to be replaced, by force if necessary, even considering the possibility of the loss of life and infrastructure.

    And we'd be better off with IP abolished than with what we have.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 12:18pm

    As a (raging) liberal...

    My positions tend to lean towards social liberties, social equality and diffusion of wealth and power.

    I'm pretty sure these are the bits that differentiated the nation our constitutional framers were trying to form from the prior monarchies. Even the constitutional monarchy that was England.

    The problem we've been having is making sure everyone gets their share, and preventing the system from reverting to centralized power, since that's the direction the ball always rolls.

    (The US Republic was a short step from feudal monarchy. We didn't expect it to work perfectly).

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

    Part of the problem is that they're not being trained very much at all.

    Traditional (late 20th century) SWAT teams were highly trained and brought out once or twice a year specifically for hostage-barricade situations. I remember the game SWAT 4 (2004, I think -- done with consultation from LAPD SWAT) you lost points for even a justified suspect kill. (I eventually armed myself with less lethal weapons only and relied on the computer controlled teammates to determine that narrow zone of time when shooting to kill was acceptable.)

    These days, US precincts like to SWAT people for the stupidest reasons, I think because regular suburban officers really want to be able to handle the cool guns and raid someone's house and bag them a bad-guy. And hazard pay, probably.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 11:56am

    I am totally not a chatbot.

    Sorry. I miss-parsed they. My bad. A human error, obviously.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 11:39am

    It sounds like the NHTSA grants were merely mislabeled.

    Given that the National Highway Transportation Safety Association's oversight of their grants is allowing for law enforcement agencies to buy license plate readers, there are obviously some exceptions to the for highway safety only provision.

    I wonder if they provide grants for Las Vegas junkets too.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 11:35am

    In an ideal world...

    I'm not sure that sovereign immunity should be the defense for using IP for innovation and development.

    Considering that the whole patent / copyright thing is to promote science and useful arts there should be protections for violating the temporary monopoly that these offer when doing so also promotes science and useful arts.

    By placing defense of activities according to the intention, we don't have to rely on the laboratories being part of a state-sponsored (and therefore protected) university. Everyone should be allowed to tinker.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 11:22am

    Re: this is where one world goverment starts

    This isn't world rule. This is chopping up the world into bunches of tiny warlord kingdoms. Only the kingdoms are corporations instead of territorial monarchies.

    Once the power of the nations are nullified, the corporations will be happy to wage war upon each other, sometimes literal war with real guns and tanks and bombs and infantry.

    This is a return to plutocratic feudalism.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 11:05am

    The abyss also gazes into you.

    What it's going to come down to, is how many undue swat raids, how many asset forfeitures ruining lives, how many fatalities due to police escalation, how many flashbangs tossed into occupied cradles is it going to take before we justify monstrosity.

    Especially if things are not going to change until we retaliate in kind?

    I, for one, am open to other solutions especially if they can be done with less loss of life (on both sides), but right now I'm seeing no solution. And considering how tough on crime and pro-death-penalty the US is, we appear to be really big on revenge.

    The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
    The answer is blowing in the wind.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unless you're talking about a metropolitan SWAT team such as in San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, they are not well trained.

    Typically, they get, above the common blue-shirt officer training, a weekend workshop on big guns and busting down doors.

    Which is how we get pictures of cops with rifles with their scopes on backwards.

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 12:24pm


    SWAT teams will be directed to empty houses furnished with proximity firebombs.

    Maybe that only happens in the movies.

    Or maybe someone should make a film in which that happens.

    This is not a suggestion that someone should do such a thing. Is everyone getting that?

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 11:13am

    Reminds me of our multiple detection dog programs

    Many of which still produce dogs trained to detect substances (narcotics, explosives, whathaveyou) but many are just trained to signal when the handler indicates to do so.

    These dogs are derisively called trick horse dogs.

    Most detection dogs are used as a pre-warrant search in order to justify a probable cause search, for which trick horse dogs serve better than actual detection dogs.

    As a result we have stats like 82% of the positive signals from Chicago police dogs sniffing Hispanics prove to be false.

    Even regular detection dogs have about a 58% false positive rate used by US law enforcement.

    I'm pretty sure that without a major reform, we're not going to see redundant tests, given that the prosecutors are going to prefer labs that yield more positive results. Even ones that are false.

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 10:56am

    We've already long since established that Justice in the US is not served.

    Every prisoner in the states is a political prisoner. It's time for Bastille Day, US.

    That some of the people who walk are genuinely monstrous is the price the society pays for letting our justice system rot to ruin.

    Of course this won't happen today. But it will eventually have to happen.

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 10:49am

    This sounds conspicuously like the zero-gays-in-Iran thing.

    Where is this alleged nation you live where tyranny is an unwelcome alien?

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 10:39am

    Pointing guns = "Intimidation"

    The Ferguson footage showed police officers pointing their guns at the general public, which I remember seeming dangerous and peculiar. I was trained like Horton that you only point a firearm at something you intend to shoot, and all these officers pointing their guns into crowds seemed like something right out of Bizarro World.

    I still don't understand it. I'd expect trigger slips to be a regular thing. I assume during the Ferguson standoff that a trigger slip was exactly what the administrators were hoping for, so they could have a justified massacre.

    Maybe it's easier on the paperwork when all the parties of an encounter have no more tales to tell.

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Unlawful orders

    I would not expect the average officer to know what to do with a written order, let alone figure out what may be lawful or not.

    According to the UCMJ every soldier and sailor is supposed to be thoroughly educated regarding the Geneva Convention rules of warfare during their training, and in preparation for entering any theater of combat, be briefed as to the rules of engagement.

    This isn't for the soldiers' protection but the officers'. When a war crime is committed and brought to justice the fingers can point downward as far as possible.

    Allegedly, soldiers are supposed to refuse illegal orders. In reality that's a good way to get arrested or shot so illegal orders put troopers in a bit of a dilemma. I want to believe this is a rare occurrence, but ever since the Bush administration and all the scandals of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I can't really say.

  • Jul 30th, 2015 @ 10:15am

    Re: The doofus who called the police...

    There's still a large section of the US public who still believe that the police are to be called to investigate and resolve even minor commotions.

    They're still regarded as first responders, rather than last resort.

    Perhaps we need to educate the public as to the appropriate time to call law enforcement: when it's time to scorch the earth.

  • Jul 29th, 2015 @ 10:19pm

    Re: What the law actually says...

    Well when there's a common belief that says one thing and in reality the law says another, it should raise question about the validity of the law. Especially if there is a law proscribing x and the common belief is that x is legal, and a juror is being asked to convict someone of x.

    Of course, right now, with prosecutory discretion and ridiculous levels of criminalization we just have a system where if someone important doesn't like you, you go to prison. For a long time.

    Makes me think of the Espionage act and how the law (somehow) dictates that the defense cannot justify the act, or even discuss it with the jury. We have laws like that?

    So yeah, when we talk about whistleblowers having their day in court or facing the consequences, it's not the same day in court one gets when (say) charged with murder.

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