Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 19th, 2018 @ 1:22pm

    Conspiracies happen all the time.

    A recent review of the JFK assassination acknowledged that just because we misguessed at what the conspiracies were doesn't mean conspiracies weren't happening. Rather what happens is that the public picks up on things going wrong, and then tries to piece together the plots from the few facts available. And we're bad at it.

    9/11 was a conspiracy. A handful of Osama Bin Laden's Mujaheddin organized a handful of suicide hijack teams to capture airliners and use them as weapons. In a couple cases, it worked. We can only speculate whether Bin Laden meant this to be a Doolittle raid, or if this was part of a greater plot. But that's the difference between a conspiracy and an even bigger conspiracy.

    Regardless, most of human civilizations went through thousands of years of monarchy by force not because they deserved it but because they never had an opportunity to change it. Also they were told for 1500 years that they'd go to Hell for eternity if they tried.

    I don't think we get the government we deserve, rather we get the worst government we cannot prevent from holding power. And then we have to wait again for opportunity to choose differently.

    That's not deserved justice. That's jungle law. That's the biggest monster eating and fucking its way through the rest of the jungle because nothing else stops it.

  • Jan 18th, 2018 @ 11:47am

    The Parallel between Guns and Encryption

    Both are tools that, in the hands of the public, empower it against the state.

    The FBI won't say that disarming the public would serve its interest in preserving the current regime, but plenty of law enforcement have said exactly that.

    FBI's fear over encryption is that it would facilitate organization of resistance even when that resistance becomes a threat, and while a lone gunman isn't a real threat to law enforcement, a company of militia are. (And yes, some organized militia exist in the US.)

    Incidentally, guns occupy the same spot, whether we call them tools or weapons. Our constitutional framers didn't specify guns but general arms that is, weapons, knowing that even firearms may someday become obsolete. The point is the public cannot trust the state to keep something that the public is forbidden from having, including bioagents and nukes.

    (Which is a good reason, incidentally, for the military to stop making bioagents and nukes, and yet they still do.)

    And yes, you can argue that the people are not mature enough to be trusted with guns. But the same is true for the police and the military. Frankly, we can't be trusted with the responsibility of voting or knowing our best interests, but then who can we trust?

    And that's why the people should have full access to guns, even if they're useless.

    And this very same argument can be made regarding encryption. And secret communication can be as deadly as guns, if not worse.

  • Jan 17th, 2018 @ 4:34pm

    "Fascism is like cancer"

    More like an immunodeficiency virus, but I get you.

    I don't think 9/11 was contrived from within. I think it was an opportunity.

    Ultimately it's the same phenomenon when a rat population runs out of food to sustain it. They turn on each other. Those who are left feast on the dead.

    The thing is, knowing from our position doesn't change our fate.

  • Jan 16th, 2018 @ 9:38pm

    Subcontracting torture to other countries...

    That's the CIA and the military.

    ICE is more than happy to use old fashioned J.-Edgar-Hoover-era police interrogation techniques, and at this point they have carte blanche to do so from the President of the United States.

    And no-one outside the Department of Justice is overseeing their efforts.

  • Jan 16th, 2018 @ 9:35pm

    Trump doesn't know how to use the intelligence sector...

    But sooner or later we're going to elect an authoritarian purge-hungry bigot who does.

    And we're doing nothing to stop it from happening.

  • Jan 12th, 2018 @ 3:54pm

    You first, fed.

    The government (which is to say practically all departments) over classify and intentionally obstruct FOIA requests. They act to prevent public oversight and they like to keep it that way.

    Once we establish thorough public oversight of our state's departments at every level, and all things that are not current operational secrets, are transparent and easily accessible to an American citizen Then and not one day sooner should we talking about making private entities more transparent to the government. The government in general and the FBI specifically are completely corrupt, and we have no reason to trust them with private information, even when they threaten to beat it out of us (which they will).

    So, no. The feds can have my encryption codes and my private files when it figures out how to pry them from my cold dead brain.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 4:24pm


    We send Americans who have nothing to do with wars abroad to be tortured. We do so without trial or review. It's extrajudicial.

    This has been going on since 2003. We don't get to read the 6000 page review on it. The CIA is still trying to bury it. And it hasn't stopped.

    When we care -- which we sometimes don't -- we render our victims to foreign mercenaries where their agents do it for us, so we can say The US didn't torture this guy No, we outsourced it.

    2003 was the year I realized that America was unexceptional. Before that, I believed we don't do that in America. Where that one of any number of heinous, monstrous deeds.

    Now I'm sure we do anything.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 4:17pm

    Useful notes on Human Trafficking

    Kidnapping kids into trafficking is rare in industrialized nations. Typically, they don't grab children piecemeal, rather capture entire villages, children and adults alike, and selling those not viable for sexual slavery into labor (and killing anyone not viable). It happens quite a bit in Central and South America, and abduction for trafficking is a common end to many who are deported from the United States if they don't have sufficient roots in their destination country. (Exasperated when many get deported to an entirely non-native country.)

    From there, children are sold to brothels in places like Thailand, Indonesia or Columbia (to name a couple). Trafficked prostitutes average a lifespan of seven years in captivity. No they aren't treated well.

    In the United States, teens are trafficked from broken homes and lower class neighborhoods in which parents don't have the time or means to watch over them. Groomers watch for kids for symptoms of dysfunction and then promise them a better life. A few gifts and restaurant meals are commonly enough to seal the deal.

    That's when the victim is driven to another town and forced to work. Sometimes they're broken in via a drug addiction, but in many cases, threats, promises and the beat-down/honeymooning routine will keep them in line. Then they typically make for their respective pimps about a $1000 a day while on duty.

    Human Trafficking in the US is a symptom of our system of debt-servitude, where a person needs to work full time to sustain themselves, let alone sustain children. Parents have to work full time and come home exhausted and unable to parent. But we're not going to change that without major society reform:

    Create a society where a parents can raise kids with part time work, and not come home exhausted, so they have both time and energy to engage their progeny.

    Create a society in which the community watches over and cares about kids not their own, so it confronts bullies and mischief, so it addresses dysfunctional homes.

    Do that, and sex trafficking vanish.

    But right now our society puts people into debt and forces them to work themselves exhausted just to live.

    Our entire society is based on servitude. Human Sex Trafficking is par for the course. It just happens to be one that we can't bare to look at. But that is the course our nation chose, much like letting Trump and the GOP get into office.

    Portman is anti ACA, anti-abortion, anti-maternity, anti-contraception, pro-school-voucher Senator. He gives zero fucks about children and mothers.

    So frankly, by his actions and policy choices he has chosen to make his a pro-Human-Trafficking state.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 12:30pm

    Human Traffickers

    Nope. They're real. And they've found trafficking reaches more paying johns through free-ad sites like Craigslist and Backpage.

    But charging Craigslist and Backpage (both of whom have been more than happy to cooperate with law enforcement to track down pimps) is like charging car companies for supplying bank robbers with getaway cars.

    Yes, trafficking is a real problem (though it is difficult to determine how many unreported incidents there are). This is just a really bad way to approach it. It's not going to catch pimps, but it will kill a lot of legitimate internet businesses that are useful to a lot of people. And it will do so on the grounds that those businesses might be useful to pimps.

    So yeah, the getaway cars proverb applies: We're shutting down the automotive industry because criminals may find cars useful.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 10:58am

    Doing their jobs instead of campaigning

    Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy seems to apply here, in which the functions of protecting jobs becomes more important than the functions of doing jobs.

    Hence for our elected officials, campaigning is their job. Actually governing is not, except how it relates to campaigning.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 10:46am

    "Soft on terrorism"

    So much like tough on crime which really means tough on poor people and marginalized groups...

    ...hard on terrorism really means dismissive on constitutional rights.

    Got it.

  • Jan 10th, 2018 @ 6:44pm

    Refusing to unlock your device.

    I suspect CBP and any other US law enforcement agency have ways of making your stay super-uncomfortable if you don't comply with an open request.

    Their methods are very likely to be unconstitutional and inhumane, potentially violating international law regarding the treatment of prisoners, but they'll totally get away with it anyway. Even if they kill you in the process.

  • Jan 10th, 2018 @ 12:26am

    There is no solution to the problem of monkeys throwing their own poop...

    ...at least if you want to interact with monkeys. Sometimes they're going to throw poop.

    Some people who like monkeys are willing to tolerate that sometimes there will be poop-throwing.

    Others who can't stand monkey poop keep clear of monkeys, and only observe them behind glass or from a safe distance.

    And we can train monkeys (more or less) to behave sometimes so that some people can interact with monkeys on good behavior with low risk of poop.

    But I don't think we want to resort to massacring all the monkeys so that some people can feel safe from monkey poop.

  • Jan 10th, 2018 @ 12:17am

    Vile, hurtful things said loudly in a public square...

    Is something we're getting a lot of lately given we have presidents and other officials who are free to express their bigotry in public.

    And yeah, when they do, it creates plenty of uproar, but so far no one is doing much towards electoral reform. No one is doing anything to stop the next wave of hateful candidates from demagoging their way into office, where they will get to preach their own style of hate with impunity.

    This new German law is a petty law meant to punish little people for being powerless. Not for being hateful, but just for saying something that offended a bureaucrat.

    And yet hate is paraded around by elites to secure approval and votes from their base.

  • Jan 9th, 2018 @ 7:48pm

    "It's my nature..."

    A wave of outrage in the frog communities over Scorpion-Rivergate turns into a frog cultural movement towards authoritarianism and nationalism. Scorpions in frog nations are rounded up into concentration camps and put to work. Soon all arachnids are classified as scorpions de facto and interned.

    Frog Supreme Directorship (FSD) publishes a list of under-frogs, persons within frog society or interact with frogs who are either too meek or too dangerous to be tolerated. A bounty is offered to identify underfrogs so they can be be captured and interned. Non-amphians are quickly classified as underfrogs causing a refugee crisis of tens of thousands on the shores of Morocco.

    Soon disabled frogs, frogs with deviant predilections, purple frogs, countercultural frogs, communist frogs, snake sympathizers and state dissenters are counted as underfrogs and rounded up. Supreme Frog announces a New World Order in which Frog Society will prevail and rule over all species for a thousand years.

    Soon, the fifty Frogmacht armor divisions mobilize on the first day of the Great Eastward Frog Offensive to secure Europe and Asia.

    Meanwhile The Secret Frog Administration (SFA) contends with the rising overpopulation of its workcamps and ghettos. Under the new budget, the Frog state can no longer afford to feed and maintain the camps, and a more permanent solution to underfrog redundancy must be found.

    ...or maybe I'm reading too much into the parable.

  • Jan 9th, 2018 @ 2:09pm

    Fake news award ceremony

    Colbert, Noah and Bee (maybe even Meyers) are scrambling for nominations as part of their promotionals.

  • Jan 9th, 2018 @ 2:05pm

    Good satire is plausible

    My father, who is Trump's generation, is a Trump true-believer and even shares a few too many character dispositions with Trump was throughout my childhood obsessed with American football and would religiously approach and shout at the screen when stuff got exciting.

    I suspect he still watches and shouts.

    So for me that behavior is rather believable.

  • Jan 8th, 2018 @ 11:11pm

    How can any judge can treat the FBI as credible?

    When both have the common cause of putting warm bodies into prison, FBI witnesses can say they saw the accused starting the Chicago Fire, and the judge will believe them.

  • Jan 8th, 2018 @ 11:01pm

    My partner told me about the Gorilla Channel thing.

    It seemed plausible and outrageous but none of the Wolff stuff I had heard about (e.g. 6pm bedtime, three televisions, cheeseburger) included the Gorilla Channel story.

    So I DuckDuckGo'd it. The Snopes debunking story was on the top of the list.

    On the other hand, I suspect there's enough primatology material that we could have a gorilla channel and it'd have a decent viewership for a specialty channel.

  • Jan 8th, 2018 @ 1:03pm

    Choosing between Satan and Cthulhu

    This is and has been one of the problems of the US two-party system. It presents a race to the bottom. No-one needs to be a good candidate, just slightly less bad than the other guy.

    Sadly, our two-party system, while leaving the public voting for a lesser evil that will not actually serve the public, it is really great for monied interests that want their pawn in power (in some cases, not caring that they have to buy two pawns).

    Would Clinton have been a good president? Doubtful. I think she'd continue all of Obama's worst policies, such as continuing drone strikes and perpetual war. Expanding the surveillance sector. Letting the police state continue to gain power, letting law enforcement departments turn into espionage departments, allow overclassification to continue so that more and more of the nation's government works out of public oversight and so on.

    But all of that was also going to happen on Trump's watch. Only Trump has really made it clear that he only values white Christian affluent red-voters as real Americans and the rest of us are the enemy.

    Clinton would at least run the country and not fuck up all the quotidian things a president is supposed to do. Trump is wrecking the US standing in the international sector.

    Yes, Clinton has a few scandals. Trump has hundreds, many of which are still in court, and many of which he hired enforcers to intimidate away.

    What moved me is Clinton can be petitioned. We can actually talk to her. Trump believes global warming is a Chinese Hoax, and that Obama literally founded the Islamic State (I guess on a secret trip to Iraq while President). Trump can't understand problems, let alone be petitioned to address them.

    We would have been better off with Satan than Trump. Or Cthulhu.

    Ultimately, Trump is the watch the world burn president. If you voted for Trump, whatever you thought you were doing, what you got was a flaming wrecking ball that is unmaking the United States. Whether or not this causes the nation to fragment, it's going to take over a century to recover, and all of the elites that are bleeding us dry will try to escape abroad before it collapses.

    And we're going to be left to war on each other like starving rats.

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