Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • May 28th, 2016 @ 10:33am

    How much time before this incident of contempt is peculiar or conspicuous?

    I think the question becomes, then, how much longer before Doe's incarceration because an unusual use of a Contempt ruling and is regarded as abusive.

    And then what can be done. If there is no legitimate means to counter a contempt, does that mean illegitimate means are necessary to curb a judge?

    H. Beatty Chadwick was held in contempt for fourteen years, the current record-holder for longest imprisonment based on contempt. He was held for failing to release money to his ex-wife that the judge was sure he had. Only after fourteen years was it decided that the judge guessed wrong.

    That's a long time for a judge's mistake.

  • May 27th, 2016 @ 3:12pm

    "Germans are weak and at fault for not fighting the allied front line to the death."

    The American people are not special. They're not better or more noble than anyone else. Nor are we lazier, fatter degenerates any more than anyone else.

    We're just people. Homo-sapiens. Naked apes. Any other humans would be under the same circumstances.

    We build a civilization with the people we have, not the people we wish we had.

    Humans can be deceived. They can be hacked. They can be manipulated. And there is no way around that. We just failed to find, this time around, a way to protect the ordinary citizen against such manipulation.

    That's not the fault of the voter. It's the fault of not having done this enough times.

    So if you know how to build a better country, go publish. But blaming the common people is just needless scapegoating.

  • May 27th, 2016 @ 9:28am

    Quoth Wikipedia

    As of 2015 more than thirty emergencies under the IEEPA remain active regarding various subjects, the oldest of which was declared in 1979 with regard to the government of Iran.


    The United States declared a national emergency in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks that remains in effect. This emergency suspends certain provisions of law that limit the size of the military and the duration of military service.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 10:51pm

    (untitled comment)

    I was the one who said scary and what I said was scary was your presumption that divine command is necessary for us to have morals at all.

    The Decalogue is not a very good source of morality. It's a popular one, but it does make some very specific demands of faith and thought, around which people are often incapable. It also conspicuously doesn't preclude rape, child abuse, usury / graft, or letting your neighbors starve to death or freeze from the elements.

    The ethic of reciprocity on its own does more than that, but it doesn't have the Yahweh-only provision that Hang-tenners are hot to work in there somewhere.

    Also Judaeo-Christian authority and its aversion to human sexuality has a direct hand in the sexual hangups of pretty much the entire western world (and much of the east).

    I'd rather the people around me had morality on no basis, or morality on their own bases than had no morality at all unless it was dictated to them by another authority. That latter category are the kind that will engage in torture and genocide for god and king. The former sort might actually object.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 8:58pm

    The natural order

    If you are saying if there is no divine accountability then some people will have committed atrocity without justice, and that is awful. I agree with you.

    Josef Mengle, the angel of death who conducted human experiments, died old and free, having escaped justice his entire life.

    It happens. But it being awful doesn't mean that there's some invisible thing to make it all better. It means that happened and we get to feel awful about it. Same with torture and drone strikes and police brutality. All of that stuff sucks.

    But no one is going to Hell for any of it. You can pretend and believe all you want, but there is no indication anywhere of Hell or divine justice or anything but what is here.

    That desire for change is what causes us to strive for a better world. It's not a divine thing. Eons of evolution have created an ape with a hypertrophied cerebellum for the specific purpose of organizing to create a better world where children rarely die in car crashes or of polio or from remote-control warfare.

    A human being that is godless doesn't necessarily we take terrible things sitting down. It means she considers material solutions for prevent those terrible things.

    A godless person doesn't go without greater purpose, but finds it in the society she lives in, rather than the musings of some ancient scholars.

    I understand how it can be terribly frightening for ordinary people to consider that life might be meaningless, that the universe doesn't even notice our us or even the blue speck we live on. Some people have to make believe in the supernatural because that is the only way they can cope with such solitude.

    But for those of us who cannot trust that some invisible parent is there to kiss our booboos and make everything all better, the world we build is here. Our purpose in life is here. The heaven we hope for is here.

    No freebies.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Fairly specific

    Backdoor Sluts #9?

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Morals and evolution

    Evolution excuses individuals or groups perpetrating heinous acts on other individuals or groups!

    You made a leap of logic that I did not.

    You'll have to explain it in step by step detail.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 5:49pm

    I don't think "evolutionists" think the way you think they do.

    Do you know how scary it is hearing that you only have morals based on the notion of God or of divine accountability?

    You do understand that that isn't normal, yes? For most of us, we're not living in constant fear of divine reprisal lest we sin. For most of us, we carry on our lives and regard others, even strangers, as fellow citizens only because they are part of a common society. When we do wrong, it is typically not out of menace but insecurity or desperation.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Read and spin, then do it again, and not a thing will change

    Do you know the bible?

    Does your god endorse the CIA extrajudicial detention and interrogation program? the CIA drone strike programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan? The NSA surveillance state? The FBI police state?

    I suspect you know your bible less and apologies more. Every faith functions on interpretations of scripture, selections of which ones are more important than others, decisions of what is allegory, and what is literal.

    They have to, lest you think firebombing a city or annihilation of the entire world might be just.

    Who do you let make those decisions for you?

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 4:39pm

    Morals and evolution

    Actually morals are based on evolution, but not in the way imagined by those who regard evolution as the enemy of (their) religious faith.

    Reciprocity is a fundamental of cooperative groups. It's an instinct we share with most mammals to regard our own, at least to not regard them as hostile. Cooperation is a powerful force multiplier, and allows small pack animals to prey on even large fauna that are capable of fighting back.

    One of the problems with divine command remains that there are too many authorities claiming theirs is the one true god (And all others are false). When so many churches claim extra ecclesiam nulla salus, who is to say which one is correct? How many other denominations of Christianity does your church declare are false and damned to eternal Hellfire?

    From an external point of view, it's also conspicuous that an awful lot of churches are far more interested in the continued subjugation of women (e.g. denial of contraception and abortion access, not to mention tiny details like speaking in church) and the persecution of gays. Contrast to the wars against poverty and hunger, both of which have become only auxiliary to missionary projects. (If someone is starving, they'll convert to whatever you demand for a modicum of food.)

    Regardless of what morals think I am or am not capable of holding without belief in a deity, I want a society in which there is no position I would resent being in. And that means I want a social equality beyond that which is advocated by those who speak for the majority of Christendom. (Who do not necessarily represent accurately what Christians actually believe. 95% of Catholic women in the US use contraceptives much to the chagrin of the USCCB. Women and the Church do not get along much.)

    It turns out that the Religious Right here in the US like the pro-hatred guy who wants to build walls and ban Muslims. (Not that you had much in the way of better choices.) I don't know how that reflects on the position of the Church you devoted your faith.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 3:23pm

    Christians come in 40,000 flavors.

    As with atheists or feminists or conservatives, Christiandom is a very wide net with very diverse opinions. You can't fairly judge them all based on encounters with a few.

    Anonymous Coward is born again, which is to say he went through an identity crisis and found coping methods in his current belief system, so of course he is invested in retaining his current position.

    Faith is a position of deferment, a surrender of his own agency for that of a higher authority, in this case, a specific church and a specific interpretation of Judeo-Christian scripture. There is no accomodation for further reason or consideration on that basis.

    But not all Christians are like that. By far.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 12:12pm

    Hitler's master race.

    Darwinism doesn't indicate a master race either, rather his finches show diversity according to their means of foraging. His master race notion was a derivation of thule occult dogma, and the notion that selective breeding (eugenics) could be applied to human beings the way it is to cattle.

    Social Darwinism was the notion that we could treat our fellows brutally so that they'd evolve to become stronger through natural selection, but that was ignoring one of humanity's greatest strengths, our ability to organize and cooperate. Really, it was an excuse for industrialists to treat their labor like shit. Kinda like Randian revivalist objectivism today.

    There are plenty of species who function better than we do as solitary specimens. Human strength is in our ability to organize and collaborate to solve collective problems (e.g. barn raising). But that requires acknowledging that everyone is a part of that collective, and deserves respect, acknowledgement and reciprocity.

    You can derive your morals from wherever, but it really depends on the outcome you wish, the society you want to make. I want a society with advanced tech and hundreds of kinds of beer and cheese for everyone where all the hard work is done by robots. Even if that dooms the human species to a plump and sleepy physique.

    It's one of the things I don't understand from those who justify extrajudicial torture: even if it does make us safer, we now live in a society that doesn't recognize do process, and who tortures (doesn't minimize harm). That's not a society I would condone.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 11:53am

    The sperical earth model is Helenist circa 600 BCE

    Early evidence of it was the circular shape of the Earth's shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse.

    The Earth being a flat disc surrounded by water was a model before that, and was commonly regarded in the early middle ages, though dismissed by scholars within and outside of the Church.

    The Church like any other hierarchical organization never lined notions that might challenge its authority, hence the whole messy Galileo affair. Heliocentrism was a religious controversy into the 20th century.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 10:58am

    How evolution works.

    Actually fish did grow legs where before they had fins. Across generations, the advantage of fins that could be used as struts to push against the sand allowed them to traverse more of the beach (for purposes of foraging or mating). The ones who could use more of the beach had an advantage over those who didn't, and would populate more.

    Across many many generations, advantages that could utilize land prevailed until later species still no longer returned to the sea.

    And yes, we have extensive species histories as to this process and more than a few science shows that explain it.

    As for genetics, we actually have established predictability, and the astounding similarity that humans have to our other hominid cousins. We've even located where one of our genes fused together, which is why we have twenty-three to their twenty-four.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 10:37am

    Child Marriage

    Actually child marriage has only been recognized as a problem recently, with the pedo-witchhunt triggered ironically by an incident without merit.

    The early eighties saw a moral panic due to Repressed Memory Therapy (a dubious use of hypnosis to resurface repressed memories and as we discovered, add suggestions by the therapist) which lead to the McMartin preschool trial and the scare over Satanic Ritual Abuse.

    Before that we were less concerned about presexualizing our kids, and throughout the twentieth century, Christian marriages to girls as young as nine years old were acceptable and practiced. (Which, yes, included obligating them to their bridal duties.)

    It was only in the nineties that US state laws were revised to preclude child marriage except in special cases, say, when overseen by a family judge. But until recently, some states had no lower age.

    Sadly, of course, we've swung the other way, now with parents freaking out and kids going to jail for playing doctor or experimenting around below the Romeo-and-Juliette window. Our scare about teen sexting is influenced by the SRA scare. It's one of the reasons that brass boobs aren't allowed on Facebook and sex in video games (already rated for adults) is frowned upon.

    I can't speak for the UK or the EU, but yeah, forcing children into marriages before they could legally consent is a long standing tradition with church backing here in the US.

  • May 26th, 2016 @ 2:15am

    Re: Regarding porn involvement as a negative...

    Because I'm dumb sometimes.

    Western culture is generally uneasy about sexuality...

  • May 25th, 2016 @ 10:34pm

    Regarding porn involvement as a negative...

    I think that Senator Todd Weiler may regard porn consumption as a bad thing. There are plenty of people, including, evidently, a large number of Utahns who seem to not regard porn use as a bad thing.

    Western culture is generally easy about sexuality, a product of The Church being uneasy about sexuality and influencing culture for fifteen-plus centuries. And as a result expressions of sexuality, including porn, serve not just for its prurient functions but also as an expression of liberty.

    Hence, Spain's stripping years after the fall of Franco's regime, in which gratuitous sex scenes in otherwise mainstream Spanish cinema were included in celebration of finally being free of Franco's strict censorship regimen.

    Denmark, similarly has the most extensive rights to free speech, and so Danes are pretty proud that their nation features the greatest, most diverse selection of available porn. They also sex up their movies because they can.

    Here in California we celebrate California v. Freeman which explicitly enshrined the right to create pornographic film and video, and to have performers engage in sexual acts for the process. As a result California is the porn capital of the world and shows that if anti-porn pushes too hard in a society that wants free speech, you may end up with law that specifies that you can make porn, and what kind of porn you can make.

    Which is something that a lot of prudish legislators would rather not explicitly on the books.

  • May 25th, 2016 @ 9:44pm

    Last I checked, especially regarding telecoms...

    The G-men usually offer companies monetary incentives to cooperate in the first place. AT&T and Verizon are notorious for taking huge payoffs from the United States for cooperating with the NSA mass surveillance program.

    So yeah, some companies will sabotage the integrity of their product for sake of the government when the price is right.

    Really, it's a short term gain for a long term loss.

  • May 25th, 2016 @ 9:42pm

    The more it tightens its grip...

    ...the more star systems will slip through its fingers.

  • May 25th, 2016 @ 11:21am

    "The kind of ethic that's being taught"

    Which then raises the additional question of what kind of ethics class these DOJ lawyers being forced to take?

    And how is this expected to improve their performance?

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