Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jul 22nd, 2017 @ 11:32am

    Redistribution of wealth by force

    People who don't agree with the taxes they have to pay would argue that the money is taken at the point of a gun. The IRS is happy to deploy SWAT teams where subpoenas fail.

    I expect, ultimately, more intervention will be needed with the coming robot revolution, in which delivery, clerical and even professional jobs will be replaced with robots and computers, many of which are available today, and those that aren't are in late development stages.

    Regardless, human nature is what makes these problems complicated. We can't solve tragedized commons, dehumanization of everyone outside our close circles or predilections for hoarding wealth by Just say no campaigns any more than we can solve teenage pregnancy or drug addiction epidemics.

    We work with human nature, or we work around human nature, but trying to convince the public to ignore human nature only serves to march progress backwards.

  • Jul 21st, 2017 @ 1:01pm

    "You're Doing It Wrong"

    I have to disagree.

    You're doing it wrong is, granted, not as complete an answer as providing a better alternative. But in some cases, we just don't have better alternatives. In some cases, we're just guessing at better alternatives. In some cases, the better alternatives are super complex, and we need string of think tanks to explore how to approach the problem. (Think tanks now come in strings.)

    In the case of intellectual property (for instance), I can say with confidence no IP licenses is better than what we have today, but that's not great either. We need reasonable and regulated licenses, and we need someone who speaks for the public and lobbies for a robust public domain when we're looking to craft IP law.

    (To cite another example) Occupy Wall Street (and the subsequent Occupy movements) made a very relevant point: Wealth disparity is too extreme, and too many poor people leads to some very severe problems. We've been conditioned via a lot of rich-people propaganda to ignore wealth disparity, to deride redistribution, and to risk general want reaching critical mass. The few efforts we have to redistribute wealth to the poorer half (those that haven't been dismantled) are not only insufficient, but practically symbolic.

    But wealth disparity is a complicated problem, and we are doing it wrong, but when someone other than schooled economists look at the problem, the solution always devolves to massacre the people we don't like and take their stuff. Because that's easy, and there's always someone we don't like that deserves genocide.

    So there's two messages here:

    ~ There's a problem

    ~ This may be a solution

    They're separate messages and both are valid. That a commenter does not have the latter message doesn't mean the former is invalid.

  • Jul 21st, 2017 @ 6:43am

    "a victory is the department AGREEING TO FOLLOW THE LAW."

    I think a victory will be the department actually complying with the law.

    If, in a year, we see a sound record of them consistently responding to FOIL requests with provided records, that's victory. That's progress.

    But until their words are followed with action, their agreement is probably a lie.

  • Jul 10th, 2017 @ 9:59pm

    "Illegal is illegal"

    illegal is illegal is a total bullshit argument so long as we keep laws for which everyone is guilty, and then give DAs prosecutory discretion. It's essentially an engine for officials to imprison folks they hate but not folks they like.

    Then there's the matter that we can indict a ham sandwich, but not a ham sandwich with a badge. And then we have a 90% conviction rate (regardless of the facts of cases) because the police will testify falsely with impunity, because the prosecution doesn't have to give the defense its discovery. And because public defenders are grossly overworked and under-budgeted.

    So our entire justice system is bullshit. You and I are already illegal, alien or otherwise, and it's only because we don't have brown skin or speak with a funny accent that we aren't in jail or exiled with them.

  • Jul 10th, 2017 @ 5:52pm

    Re: The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

    This was my first glean of it. They'd assume I'm American because I'm white and talk like a California beach bum. But our hispanic friends don't have that advantage.

    By federal law Americans are not required to carry state-issued identity, but that isn't going to stop ICE or the CBT from deporting anyone who doesn't have a card that says they're American.

    And then the officers can easily lose the cards or dismiss them as fake.

  • Jul 10th, 2017 @ 5:49pm

    Deportation vs. Genocide

    From what I understand we're sending people back to some places in which they would be persecuted, or captured by criminal agencies and made either into slave labor or sexual slaves. Either way, they'll average less than seven years to live under those conditions.

    ICE had already been deporting people to dangerous zones before with limited concern for those they deported, but now they're including people who were non-criminal here in the states, were brought here as children or are children now, but will be forced to follow their parents.

    Is it an not an atrocity if the numbers massacred are not yet in the millions? Is it not an atrocity if we aren't the ones doing the gassing?

    Hint: In Barbarossa, the German death squads would annihilate Jews and other Untermenschen by enlisting captured civilians to do it for them, usually by beating them to death. They'd be paid if they did, and punished for not doing so. Then the Nazis would scoff to themselves at the same peoples to for happily massacring their own. Fun history!

  • Jul 10th, 2017 @ 1:37pm

    "The numbers absolutely are worse"

    I'm assuming of the rest of the homes, many haven't actually tried to get faster internet only to find its unavailable or controlled by a regional monopoly.

  • Jul 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

    Geheime Staatspolizei? Weltanschauungen? Untermenschen?

    Is it an appropriate time for a Godwin moment?

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 3:05pm

    "If I made it from poverty, everyone else can too!"

    I'm not saying you didn't work hard. I'm saying there are tens of millions working as hard as you did, if not harder, and are going to stay impoverished, not because of bad life choices, but because of circumstances.

    I'm saying you got lucky. You got opportunities to rise that many, many people do not get. You won where most people lose.

    I get it's easier to digest our nation's poverty and misery when we imagine that they somehow deserve it for being short of character, but that genuinely isn't the case.

    Also conspicuous is that the groups that love fetuses (or at least hate people who abort them) also seem to be not-too-fond of children, as most of our children are impoverished, and children tend to lock families into poverty, and they don't care one whit about children's welfare except when saying so furthers their own agenda.

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 2:55pm

    fair dealing? a good reputation?

    Trump is renowned for breaking contracts and refusing to pay his workers throughout his business career. There are still dozens, if not hundreds of cases from before Trump's presidency for his fraud.

    At this point I have to assume you've been isolated form the outside world, or you are outright delusional.

    So why are you commenting on this site again? Are you trolling?

    Go catch up on current events, pal.

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 2:37pm

    "Prisons full of maladjusted"

    Any criminal is a failure of the state to relate to the individual as well as vice versa. Our high numbers of prisoners do not indicate a higher rate of maladjustment, nor that we're better at getting criminals off the streets (we still have plenty of crime).

    Considering our scathingly high conviction rate, our system that rewards conviction (rather than determining the truth and seeing justice done) our tolerance for perjury by officers of the DoJ, especially in court testimony, and our inability to convict officers for even murder caught on video, our justice system is such a failure that it is possible (though impossible to confirm) that we have more innocent civilians in prison than guilty. We certainly have more people in jail for minor crimes such as possession than convicts of major crimes, such as bank robbers, rapists and first-degree murderers.

    Meanwhile we've witnessed ongoing rulings that indicate clearly that judges cannot be impartial. Their entire job is to be able to divorce themselves of bias and provide opinions that are entirely rational, and they fail to do that.

    Most famously is Antonin Scalia's opinion that Jack Bauer's use of torture (in the TV series 24) justifies its use by the United States, never mind that torture doesn't yield sound intel, never mind that it's heinous and inhumane. Never mind that we've never used it for anything as desperate as a ticking time-bomb scenario, nor could our torture program resolve an imminent-crisis situation such as a ticking time-bomb. A US Supreme Court justice was swayed by a fictional television program to justify torture.

    I can't get past that. To me, that right there is an indictment of the fallibility of human beings, and their incompetence to adjudicate.

    Our prisoners have all been convicted under a failed justice system, and in that regard, they are all political prisoners. And yet, to this day we regard them as maladjusted and revel in mistreatment of them. To us on the outside, prison rape is even a joke that we'll allude to on children's cartoons.

    So yes, absolutely the United States could do better. But we don't even try.

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 2:04pm

    "They can seize all the meth they want"

    Except contraband is not what is being seized. In fact, the police have been favoring stopping vehicles that are more likely to be flush with cash than potential mules.

    And in some counties, if a police officer spies a sweet ride he wishes was his own? Seized. The news is chock full of incidents in which innocent people had their savings taken based on a dubious probable-cause justification and are now wending their way through the super-tedious appeal process.

    The police are seizing more money than is stolen in all the burglaries in the US, to the tune of about five billion a year, and it's changed the outright purpose of much of our law enforcement to literal highway robbery. It just happens to be endorsed by the state.

    I get that you want to believe that you are safe, that our law enforcement are on your side, and that's generally so if you're white and affluent enough to afford your own lawyer, and manage to retain one before your assets are frozen.

    But for the rest of us, no, the Department of Justice is as self serving as the Sicilian mafia, much to the chagrin of local chiefs who are witnessing the trust between the people and their precincts dissolve like coral reefs.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:56pm

    "help and proper recourse for your grievances"

    In a lot of places in the US, this is a false promise. Police called may take a statement but they have little interest in investigating crimes against people they don't like. Many communities instead rely on neighborhood communities for aid and streetgangs to provide protection from violent crime. In short, urban feudalism.

    Granted, many precincts, at least out here in the west, are looking to curb bad policing (e.g. brutality, abuse of probable cause, even asset forfeiture) because of the rifts of distrust that have formed between law enforcement and the public. But these are nucleations in a solution of corruption, exceptions to the rule, and even in public-rights-savvy regions like San Francisco, we'll still see overreach and excessive, sometimes lethal, use of force.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Getting wealthy takes luck.

    That Russia is worse doesn't make the US better. If we were looking for economic policies to emulate, I'd look to Germany or Sweden, but I don't have the numbers on hand.

    Regardless, we treat our impoverished and working class like shit. We draw the poverty line way below living expenses, and then we begrudge those on welfare basics like a working refrigerator or running water.

    And upward mobility is accessible only to those well connected with those above them. Intra-office promotion depends on connections within the office. The startup route presumes that your job means something over time, which is to say your company rises and beats out competitors. But that means either there are no competitors (thanks to anti-competitive practices) or all those competing companies have workers whose careers are tanking.

    To borrow a parable from Cracked if you toss a bottle of whiskey into a box car full of transients, only one of them is going to end up drunk.

    (That's not actually true according to the transients I know. In transient society, most of them share what they got when they got it, so everyone would end up tipsy.)

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: LEO may be a local shorthand.

    The law doesn't work on ambiguous terms like that. If we could count on jurists to interpret the law reasonably, decide what behavior is or isn't a danger to society and proceed from there, then yes.

    But instead our judges have just as much bias as the rest of us and are eager to secure convictions rather than see justice done, even if it means putting innocent people in prison.

    Our impacted prisons, our sky-high incarceration rates (in comparison to other nations) and our disproportionate minority prison population are all evidence that law is not enforced equally or fairly.

    For me, it's the whistleblowers and hacktivists getting put way for murder-length sentences thanks to the CFAA and Espionage acts, both of which overreach into very common practices.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:21pm

    "Assimilate better"

    The US was founded on the premise that we don't assimilate very well.

    Or maybe you only accept true Americans, id est, Americans that look like you, act like you, talk like you and worship the same gods as you do.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Wanna put a fast end to this?

    ...and according to Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, why bother enforcing the law, then? Apparently a yearly salary isn't enough.

    If I recall my history correctly, the holy inquisition and witchhunts really got going once the prosecutors were allowed to seize and keep the assets of the accused.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:12pm

    "I love the idea of the Police taking money from Criminals."

    What about the police taking money from innocent civilians? That's the problem. They're not seizing the assets of convicts, they're seizing the assets of unconvicted suspects, and then often not even bothering charging them with a crime.

    Remember you too are a criminal who, but for the notice of an ambitious prosecutor, has so far escaped investigation and indictment.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Getting wealthy takes luck.

    Okay at Disney movies alone are better than nearly any other product is when I realized you're being satirical.

    Well done!

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 6:53am

    Getting wealthy takes luck.

    More than any other factor, attaining any reasonable amount of wealth in US society takes a considerable amount of luck. As one presentation put it, each project, each small business, each new innovative project is a lottery ticket, and the odds are not in the favor of a startup strapped for capital.

    But in the United States, minorities are harassed by the police for non-major crimes (e.g. staying past curfew, loitering) way more per capita than whites. People without lawyers have a 90% chance of getting convicted regardless of guilt. Most are driven to plea-bargain. And public defense is underbudgeted in every state, so that ever public defender's case load is grossly impacted.

    If you are affluent enough to afford your own lawyer, and if your assets are not seized before you retain one (very common) then you might get to see the kind of justice we are allegedly guaranteed in the US. (Still, expect the police to lie and for judges and juries to hold the honor of the police in higher esteem than clear video evidence to the contrary). Most of us fall through the cracks if we are ever unfortunate enough to cross paths with a police officer on a bad day.

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