Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


About Uriel-238

Uriel-238’s Comments comment rss

  • 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.

  • Jun 20th, 2017 @ 6:41am

    LEO may be a local shorthand.

    I will often refer to law enforcement officers, but I don't expect the acronym to be understood except by those accustomed to talking about this topic.

    But judges are not LEOs. Members of the Department of Justice are, which would include those within law enforcement agencies: local precincts, the Sheriff's department, marshals, FBI, ATFE, DEA and so on.

    CIA is its own thing, not law enforcement but intelligence and espionage (and counter-espionage). Interestingly, the FBI is no longer officially law enforcement but instead seeks to preserve national security, a goal which gives it a much wider range of latitude.

    Regardless, they all do align when it comes to wrangling property via asset forfeiture. We've seen articles here about how the TSA discovered someone transporting cash, reported it to the DHS who then relayed the intel to local law enforcement. The (completely legal) money was seized and they all profited. Law enforcement agencies will gladly cooperate when there is mutual benefit for all of them.

    Remember that we all are criminals. You are guilty of numerous crimes that would, on conviction, put you in prison for over ten years. It is only prosecutorial discretion that keeps you free. The average American commits about three felonies a day.

    Is it degrading? I don't think so. I tend to avoid degrading language when being critical, as I want the focus on the critique, not the disparagement. But I find cop to be degrading, where I find law enforcement or police or officer to be neutral.

  • Jun 14th, 2017 @ 12:45pm

    Unicorn math

    If Unicorns can do the magic math, then clapper can go find a unicorn to do it and leave us nerds alone.

    You can't have three lines on a plane perpendicular to each other.

  • Jun 8th, 2017 @ 5:21pm


    Getting hit with pepper spray does count as participating in violence.

  • Jun 4th, 2017 @ 6:29pm


    That will be a refreshing change of pace

  • Jun 4th, 2017 @ 6:09pm

    We have to earn our white hats. But we don't.

    We have demonized terrorist organizations enough as it is. That they choose to act like savages, that they have ideologies that conflict with mine, that they enslave their own and those people they conquer is not lost on me. That our captured soldiers can expect poor quarter from them only steels the resolve of our own soldiers.

    But how we treat those that surrender to us is not about justice. It's about who we are, and how we treat the least of us. When we treat enemy combatants well, they're going to be more willing to surrender. But when we torture them, when we kill their civilians, when we replace their democracies with puppet dictatorships, this only steels their resolves. It sends more desperate young people into recruitment.

    It also makes ours a nation that tortures. It's hard to pretend we're the good guys when we don't behave like good guys. You seem to be of the opinion that we're good guys just because our hats are white. No, we're good guys because we treat people well. And if we don't treat people well, we cease to be good guys.

    Given the policies of the US, they have good cause to hate us, because we're reckless brutal bullies who torture and kill indiscriminately. They don't hate us for our freedom, they hate us because we're assholes.

    And I'd really rather live in a nation of non-assholes. It was what I was taught as a kid we were supposed to be.

    What do you teach your kids?

  • Jun 4th, 2017 @ 5:51pm

    valor, bravery, dedication and love of country

    Torture is none of these things.

    Harming your captives is none of these things.

    It's curious how eager you are to decide that others are actual barbarians when you are the one advocating savagery.

    Perhaps these words mean something different than what you imagine them to mean.

  • Jun 4th, 2017 @ 1:55pm

    Good Moral Men

    So in other words we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads because real men with real morals are acting in good faith are taking care of business and keeping us safe?

    Have you learned nothing on this site?

    Remember that proclaimed men of God engineered the CIA torture program. We've seen how easy it is for the morals the well-meaning can be twisted to accommodate atrocity. Especially when lured by sweet, sweet well-paid government contracts.

    Regarding our drone strike programs, in actuality they are wrecking the hearts and minds of the pilot teams who fly them. The pilots spend days (in shifts) monitoring a neighborhood from drones, watching the individuals within them getting on with life. And then a decision comes from someone they never met that all those people have to be burned. And they're left pulling the trigger that launches the Hellfires. And then they get to fly down close to make sure all the little girls are adequately dead.

    It doesn't help they're treated like trash by their superiors in ways that no jet pilot ever was.

    The drone strike program is the end result of our no-assassinations policy as established in the 60s. Instead we do targeted killings. That is to say rather than hitting someone with a sniper bullet or a covert operative with poison or a silencer, we hit them instead with a bomb that destroys three blocks around them.

    It doesn't help that we have the technology to make drone snipers, and instead we still bombard civilian areas with Hellfires.

    That's not moral. That's not doing their best. That's how we treat brown-skins we know we can bully, rather than opposing superpowers with nukes pointed at us.

    You may be happy to live in an America where we piss wherever we want and beat down anyone smaller than us who objects, Anonymous Coward, but that's not my America. It's certainly not an America that Jesus would bless.

  • Jun 4th, 2017 @ 12:55pm

    Ticking Time Bomb

    Yes, the infamous ticking time bomb scenario, the pro-torture equivalent of It's only a theory. It was made popular to the public by the TV series 24, and even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that we wouldn't convict Jack Bauer for saving the world, would we? We even have a Wikipedia page for the Ticking Time Bomb.

    Firstly, since incidents of Abu Graib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003 we have encountered not one ticking time bomb scenario. Zero. Nada. Zilch. The way the CIA used torture in its black sites didn't even try to render short-term operational intelligence in the first place, so US torture programs would have been useless in the Ticking Time Bomb.

    Secondly, the scenario presumes that torture consistently produces reliable intel (quite the opposite), that the enemy combatant in question has the intel you want (e.g. the location of the TTB or it's defusing protocol). We've tortured a lot of people who didn't know crap, and who didn't do anything, and in some cases were citizens of the United States who got mistaken for the enemy. And we kept torturing them even when it was evident that they were the wrong guy for much the same reasons prisons like to obstruct the efforts of wrongfully convicted inmates trying to prove their innocence.

    What would I do regarding our hypothetical captured terrorist leader? I would make him comfortable. I'd make sure he was cared for and got what he needed. I'd show him that here in this society we treat people with respect, even if they are a sworn enemy. This process does turn hearts and minds. And it is consistent with Geneva protocols regarding POWs. And we've had forty years of cold war Soviet captives who we did treat this way to hone this process so that it yields intel rather quickly.

    Yes, the temptation is there to beat the crap out of our enemies and throw them in a dank dungeon. But mind you that's a temptation. That's something someone does out of rage and frustration and hatred. It's not what a nation does. It's the antithesis of the America that I was raised to believe in.

More comments from Uriel-238 >>