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When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

BlueStrat Re:What's it going to take? (120 comments)

The Constitution starts to become a little like the Bible: Once a pretty good idea, born out of its time and back then a great set of rules to live by to ensure that everyone can survive and thrive.

It's just that times change, stuff gets invented and certain things ain't as simple as they used to be, while others got way simpler. Plus in both cases people who kept reading the stuff over and over trying hard to find loopholes and, of course, finding them to subvert the original idea.

In other words, rules and regulations have to keep up with time. Else they become a relic and a tool for mocking them.

Except that the US Constitution is based on a set of basic and nearly-timeless principles of human nature and how they interact with and within governments that have proved themselves over history spanning from biblical times until the 1700s when it was written.

Human nature and the nature of government corruption and politicians' lust for ever-more power & control have not changed since the 1700s.

There is already a process included in the Constitution for any necessary modifications. That's what the Amendment process is. It's slow and difficult, and requires an overwhelming majority of people to approve for good reason. If it can be changed by whatever short-term political winds that blow, then it become useless as a standard and/or as protection against government oppression of citizens.


2 days ago

Activist Group Sues US Border Agency Over New, Vast Intelligence System

BlueStrat Re:Why oppose this? (82 comments)

The government has every right to determine whom and what is coming into the United States.

The notion of governments having rights is doubly complex.

The Federal government in the case of the US has no rights, it has duties & obligations, and powers granted by the governed specifically to carry out those duties & obligations, and only those duties & obligations included specifically in the US Constitution.

It also includes a list of specific restrictions upon what powers the government may or may not exercise and how in areas that were felt to be particularly critical to creating and maintaining a society designed for maximum individual freedom, general order & prosperity, personal responsibility, and the protection of private property rights.

In my nearly 6 decades of experiencing firsthand the changes and the impact they had at the time that many younger people here only read about in wikipedia, I've seen and continue to see more than a correlative relationship between the trend away from the restrictions on government power from the early 1900s up to current times and it's resultant explosion of government spending/debt, abuse/abridgment of civil rights, the surveillance state, and the overall general trend of decline of the US domestically, socially, and internationally in nearly every way.

Government is in some ways similar to a nuclear fission reactor-based national power grid. You only place enough fissionable material in each reaction vessel of a number of reactors to achieve critical-but-stable output to power a limited area, you don't try to place all the fissionable material in one reactor at once to avoid the costs of building multiple reactors. Well, you'd only do it once, and very, very briefly at any rate, heh!

Once government power exceeds "critical mass" and the chain reaction of growth of power cascades, an authoritarian government is the inevitable outcome. I believe there's still time to at least avert the worst scenarios, but not much time. And the longer we delay, the worse things will become and the more people that will suffer.


about a week ago

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

BlueStrat Re:Barbara Streisand award (424 comments)

What you can do is write a review that is so incredible positive, that the irony is so obvious that nobody will miss it. I don't have the time, and don't have the inspiration and my ironic food dictionary is offline at the moment. So if anyone can think of a review of Il Giardino [] that will make me really curious - go ahead and make my day! ;-)

Uh, this is the interwebs where there exists a near-singularity composed entirely of missed obvious sarcasm & irony. It's similar to Relativity theory regarding the increase of energy required as a mass is accelerated to a significant fraction of C. The amount of irony and obviousness required would approach infinity and might even cause a tear in the very fabric of the Multiverse itself.

Besides, this is France we're discussing. If the review causes the French restaurant to be swamped with too many customers in the judgment of the restaurant and the court, you might get sued for damages because of a *good* review!


about two weeks ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

BlueStrat Re:Last century stuff (753 comments)

tracked? no one cares about your beer, pizza, gamer video card, lap dance and dime bag purchases

What about that AR-15 bought from a friend? Or what about those electrical/electronic parts you ordered that could either become the heart of an IED timer/detonator device or fix the controls on grandma's hobby-ceramics firing-kiln in her garage that she's been after you to fix, after some nutcase phones in a bomb threat?

Or what about bus/train/plane tickets to a city where an anti-government protest is scheduled, coupled with your purchase of spray paint and other sign-making supplies?

If all such data is so uninteresting and worthless, why is it authoritarian governments historically make such a priority out of obtaining as much as possible from everyone they can force to comply?


about two weeks ago

Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

BlueStrat Re:Not surprised (170 comments)

Why do you think it is sudden? Congress, with the courts approval, have been infringing on Constitutional rights since the Constitution was written. They make exceptions all the time: when you can speak (no "fire" in a crowded theater); when you can assemble (Sorry "Occupy", move along... move along...); which guns you're allowed to buy (all without infringing on your right to keep & bear!); and when a warrant is required to execute you (Drone, zooooom, boom!).

The ends justify the means in each of those cases, so it does now too, and will again in the future.

All that shows is that we're not the 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' and never have been. Of course, things like slavery made that obvious anyway. Our government is and always was full of freedom-hating scumbags.

Nothing is ever perfect. The US Constitution sets the standard, or the bar against which the government must constantly be measured against and corrected when government strays/errs.

Through the history of the US, it has been both closer to that ideal and farther away, and in different areas and in different ways to different people at different times. Since government size has expanded so greatly since the 1920s, likewise so has its' power and control over ever more aspects of our lives and control of ever more US business, health, resource, & economic infrastructure. That expands the severity and scope of such bad government behavior.

We are in yet another moment in US history where we must decide how far we allow government power to reach, how many of our choices it can eliminate/control, and how much monitoring & control over our speech and communications it can be allowed to achieve.

Remember; If the capability exists, it will be misused regardless of any laws or oversight put in place. It's human nature, and especially human political nature.


about a month ago

That Toy Is Now a Drone

BlueStrat Re: They're infringing my Second-Amendment drone r (268 comments)

Note that the amendment does not presume to be granting the right to keep and bear arms. It acknowledges the right as pre-existing, and explicitly prohibits the government from infringing it.

NO, it doesn't, and had NEVER been interpreted that way until the 1970s/80s.

Learn some damn history before talking about it.

It is YOU who needs to learn some history.

The Rights outlined in the US Constitution are the Rights every person is born with as they are the rights of "Nature and Nature's God" (as described by the founders).

Every person has a natural right to protect themselves. Every person has a right to voice their opinion. The US Constitution merely highlights and emphasizes what the Founders considered some of the most important of these rights in order to emphasize that the government may not infringe upon them.

The Constitution incorporates a negative list of Rights, that is, it is a non-exclusive list of some of the natural individual Rights that every person is born with that the government may not infringe upon.

It is always disturbing when the ignorant speak out with such vehemence and confidence upon matters in which they have no clue. Such public ignorance is what allows tyranny to take root.

Please, for all our sakes and for your own, educate yourself rather than parroting partisan political talking points.


about 1 month ago

Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

BlueStrat Re:True in theory (186 comments)

I would *presume* that any large-scale collection and analysis of medical information will eventually be abused by someone. That still leaves the question of whether its a reasonable tradeoff.

Data is power. The more data that is collected about people, the easier they are to control. Just look at every single authoritarian police state and how they always gather as much data on people as possible. It's a means of control.

I don't know about you, but I don't feel like I have any surplus freedom. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.

A free and open society is not without risks and responsibilities for the individuals in it. Data collection and mining to the extent that people like Larry Page desire is incompatible with a free and open society. He's just trying to convince people that the freedom you have is not that important, heck you barely use it and "look! ooooh, shiny!".

Every nation that became an authoritarian state that arose from within, started with convincing the people the freedoms they were losing were for the "greater good".

I'll take my chances with a free and open society where so much data about me is not collected & mined, and in the control of others with power over me who do not necessarily have my personal best interests in mind, thanks anyway Mr. Page.

No sale.


about a month ago

Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

BlueStrat Re:Double speak (249 comments)

As far as we know at this time, subject to further revelations/leaks which may challenge this, FBI, NSA, etc. are searching communications, not data stored on cellphones.



about a month ago

UK Man Sentenced To 16 Months For Exporting 'E-Waste' Despite 91% Reuse

BlueStrat Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (212 comments)

Hmm, I just now replaced a TV that was15 years old, only replaced because it was breaking down. (I still have it though, it's too heavy to drag down to the recyclers)

Remember several decades back when there were still television repair shops, so you'd go to have it fixed, replace the picture tubes, tune the chokes, etc?

There's a perfectly functional Sanyo TV, matching DVD player, and VHS tape deck from 2002 sitting in my entertainment center.

Right next to a 1970s Lafayette Electronics (remember their electronics kits and Ham/CB radios?) analog stereo receiver, the kind with slide-rule AM/FM dial for the tuner portion, and an analog signal-strength/FM-stereo-signal-centering meter. That powers two pairs of 12"-woofer Rat-Shack "Optimus" speakers from the early 1980s. Still sounds great, and easily powerful/loud enough to rattle the windows and bring the local constabulary.

I also feed video/audio to the system from my 2001 and 2006 PCs, as well as my SGI Octane system from ~1998.

My cellphone is a 'soapbar' style basic LG from 2005.

*I* and people like me who do not throw money at them every other year for the latest "Oooh, shiny!" are their enemy and their target. Africa just has a higher proportion who don't (and/or can't afford to) buy their products according to an "optimum upgrade schedule" designed to maximize their profits.

The e-waste angle is just another tool being (mis-)used to "nudge" people to keep paying them over and over, and not repair, reuse, and/or re-sell their products.

A *government* tool that would not exist, or at least not in a form that would allow the corrupt politicians to use in this way, if we did not allow governments to grow large enough to have so much power and control over everything and everybody's life that holding those in government accountable becomes impossible as a practical, peaceful matter. We've seen this recently with the DoJ, IRS, NSA, GCHQ, etc etc.


about a month ago

Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

BlueStrat Re:Simple (275 comments)

Kill. Freeze-dry. Compress. Ship. See?

You and all the politicians first. We'll be right behind you.

Honest. :)


about a month ago

Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

BlueStrat Re:Logical Consequences (398 comments)

There are US bases in Japan as well as South Korea. Any attack by China on either would be the launching point for another World War. Ukraine doesn't rank in the same region of US interests as Japan does. Not in the same Galaxy.

All true.

Except that the current US administration would do nothing except make PR statements and call for sanctions. Maybe.

"I just heard about the Chinese attack on Japan in the news just like you did. I will make a strongly-worded soon as my teleprompter tells me what it is."

I wonder which YouTube video would be blamed? Or would those emails suddenly disappear like 2 years of IRS emails just conveniently did?

And both the major US political Parties are equally as deceitful, corrupt, and power-hungry. There really is only one US political Party, the Government Party vs We the People.


about a month ago

Gen. Keith Alexander On Metadata, Snowden, and the NSA: "We're At Greater Risk"

BlueStrat Re:Boo hoo. (238 comments)

Cry me a river. I'm sure that we could reduce that possibility ten fold if we placed cameras and microphones inside everyone's house. Does that mean we should do it? Absolutely not.

But, but...we have to destroy freedom in order to protect Freedom(tm)!

Why do you hate Freedom(tm) and America(tm)??

"Those who would give up essential liberties for..."

Ah, screw it! Apparently most people are fine with sacrificing any and all of their individual liberties and rights as long as the talking heads tell them it makes them more safe. Or, that changing this slide into totalitarianism in America is someone else's job.

There will always be the risk of people doing bad things in a free and open society. If there was not the ability for individuals and groups in a society to do bad things, then that society by definition would be neither free nor open.


about 2 months ago

Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

BlueStrat Re:It's a pipe dream. (193 comments)

Or howsabout an entire carbecue raging away on the surface?

Thank you.

That great new word was just added to my casual vocabulary and simultaneously made today's time-wasting on /. worthwhile!


about 2 months ago

Zuckerberg's $100 Million Education Gift Solved Little

BlueStrat Re:Proverb (335 comments)

Ed, what an ugly thing to say.

I abhor ugliness.

Does this mean we're not friends any more?

Ah, Val Kilmer as ""Doc Holiday" in the movie "Tombstone".

"Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone just...walked over your grave!"

IMHO that was Val Kilmer's best performance and best character portrayal to date. His "charming and lovable, but deadly scoundrel" Doc Holiday character just "nailed it" on so many levels. It almost makes up for his "Batman" (sorry, Kilmer-as-Batman fans).

Really, for me at least, Kilmer's "Doc Holiday" character in "Tombstone" is the one truly good role and performance I remember when "Tombstone" and/or Val Kilmer come up in conversation.


about 2 months ago

US Government To Study Bitcoin As Possible Terrorist Threat

BlueStrat Re:Sounds UNreasonable (210 comments)

quite unreasonable.

don't you know the drill, by now?

if this competes with the existing power-brokers (and yes, it does) then it can't be allowed.

to stop things we don't like, we label them as child pron or terrorism.

nothing new about this; we've seen this old play redone hundreds of times during the last 10+ yrs.

this is just about controlling currency and stopping anonymity. has absolutely nothing to do with 'terror'. only an moran would buy that story.

It's about control and destroying a free and open society..

Terrorism, rebellion against the government, and being able to move wealth without government knowledge is only preventable in an authoritarian police-state type of society.

A free and open society only exists when it is possible to keep one's finances a secret from government and organize without the governments' knowledge to commit acts of terrorism and rebellion.

More government "Safety" = Less Freedom, Less Actual Safety, and Less Money for You.


about 3 months ago

Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

BlueStrat Re:Communist revolution is needed (548 comments)

The Nazis allowed Germans civilian to have long guns too.

That should read "German civilians who were members in good standing in the Nazi Party, or the family member or friend of someone with authority in the Nazi Party. If that Party member happened to fall into political disfavor, or the citizen's personal enemy(s) reported him for some betrayal or politically-forbidden speech etc, those individuals were suddenly instantaneously prohibited from possessing a firearm.

This status-change was often announced by way of a Luger or MP40 discharged into the unlucky formerly-legal-gun-owner for the offense of illegally possessing a firearm.

Every single person ever born or who will ever be born has the natural right to self defense. How much any particular government recognizes this natural individual right varies greatly, however. Until basic human nature deeply and fundamentally changes, people will always need an effective means of self defense against other humans attempting to do them great harm, and therefor have the natural right to that defense.

Every tyranny and authoritarian state down through history where individual freedom was severely restricted also severely restricted and onerously-regulated, or prohibited outright, common people from possessing effective personal weapons for self defense.

Failing to learn such important lessons from history leads people into de-facto slavery if not actual, outright slavery. That is, if they are lucky enough that the powers-that-be haven't included good old genocide of "*those* people" (whoever is politically-inconvenient or convenient, as the case may be) as part of their goals.


about 3 months ago

Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

BlueStrat Re:What if we overcorrect? (343 comments)

Any scientists care to produce data on how much cooling that hunting the large numbers of truly enormous herds of buffalo that covered many square miles to near-extinction produced? The temperature records I've seen do not show any such corresponding result.

There are about twice as many bovines in the US now. Estimates of the population of bison in the 1500s are 30-60million. There are 90million cattle in the country now. The biomass of a bison was commonly 300-1000kg. The biomass of a beef cow at slaughter is about 600kg average: So I what you're seeing is a replacement of one bovine with another, with a increase in population and biomass.

So you're saying in effect that if the buffalo herds had grown to ~30% larger that it would have had a significant effect on global warming? That's quite a leap.

If global climate is so delicate we're all doomed no matter what we do.

I'm all for solidly-based, practical, cost-effective, common sense, and pragmatic efforts to protect the environment. This whole CO2 and climate-change alarmism is not any of that.

The Earth is in a warming cycle that will continue until it peaks and reverses back towards another ice age, no matter what we puny humans do. We can only make tiny-to-the-point-of-irrelevance changes in the rates of those changes.

Rather than attempt to put chains on the growth of civilization and the freedom of men, why not trust that humans will do what they've always done? Adapt, survive, overcome, and prosper. With the growth of civilization also comes a growth in our ability to adapt, overcome, and mitigate.

Also, with the growth of civilization will be a growth in our ability and desire to move problem-making industries like energy production and many other types of industrial operations. Once humans start moving such activities off-planet, there will be a chance for Earth's natural processes to abate and recover from the damage we may have done on our way to maturity. Humans can't advance as a civilization and live like they're afraid to walk on the grass.

You can't have humans totally proscribed from causing any potential damage to the environment or climate. It's going to happen no matter what, and no matter how many laws are passed or treaties that are signed. Not saying I favor a free-for-all. As I stated above, pragmatic and cost-effective rules that can reasonably be enforced, and that don't do more damage than they're intended to mitigate.

"The secret is to bang the two rocks together, kiddies!" - MC at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.


about 3 months ago

Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

BlueStrat Re:What if we overcorrect? (343 comments)

Point of precision: Cow flatulence isn't a significant source of greenhouse gasses. Cow digestion makes methane, but it is released at the front end of said bovine.

We must work to eliminate the large numbers of carbon-producing buffalo immediately!

Oh, wait...

Any scientists care to produce data on how much cooling that hunting the large numbers of truly enormous herds of buffalo that covered many square miles to near-extinction produced? The temperature records I've seen do not show any such corresponding result.

If curbing the bovine population were to have any meaningful effect on warming, we should be able to identify and quantify the data that would tend to confirm or disprove this from the time periods before and after the time of the disappearance of the buffalo herds.

As a matter of fact, I find the lack of this comparison being used to bolster the case for bovine carbon regulations/laws conspicuous by it's very absence.


about 3 months ago

Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

BlueStrat Ah, Crony-Capitalism! (223 comments)

Where government creates regulations and laws to favor "connected" businesses and interests. That's how the established ISPs have come to have so much power.

." has to wonder how long before the U.S. recognizes the internet as a utility and passes laws and regulations accordingly."

Now the author of TFS thinks *more* laws & regulations from the *same* crooks that have intentionally worked long and hard to *create* this situation are suddenly going to help!?

If there's enough crap stirred up to occupy the news cycle for more than a day or two, they'll do what they always do. Put together some Bill with a great-sounding name and at a quick glance looks good, but there will be sub-clauses and sub-paragraphs buried deep in the weeds of the Bill that actually make things *worse*.

Hmm, on second thought, where did I put that property title to that bridge? I may have found a prospect!


about 4 months ago

Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

BlueStrat Re:Freedom of Speech? (328 comments)

It's not defamation of character if what you say is true.

Basically, if you're not photoshopping someone's head onto another body, revenge porn is not defamation.


I would think that simply requiring a signed & notarized release form to release video/photographs of individuals nude and/or engaged in sexual acts would reduce the amount and viciousness in many cases of these revenge videos and those who upload them, and the damage they often inflict on women whose biggest crime was choosing to trust a sleazy and heartless SOB.

I see no need to pass legislation which impacts basic civil rights. There are already numerous legal precedents and laws/regulations on the books that could be slightly tweaked, possibly as I outlined above, to solve this type of attack and violation of privacy.

What has been proposed in this Bill is nothing but a power grab by government.


about 4 months ago



Apple Patent May Pose iPhone Privacy Threat

BlueStrat BlueStrat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

BlueStrat (756137) writes "MacWorld reports that Apple has submitted a patent application for remotely and stealthily activating features like the camera as well as using other features remotely without giving any visual or audible indication to attempt to identify users by voice and even heartbeat. Even the accelerometer, combined with other features, are envisioned as being used to identify if the phone is traveling, in which direction, how fast, and even the type of transport (train, plane, car, etc). The concept is said to be aimed at recovering stolen iPhones, but the possibility exists for many other more-invasive uses to which these features could be put, particularly by domestic intelligence, security, drug enforcement, and local/state law enforcement agencies.

From the MacWorld article regarding hacking/jailbreaking/etc prevention possibilities:

"While the proposed system could appeal to businesses concerned about securing data that workers access on their iPhones, it could also potentially be used by Apple to prevent so-called jailbreaking, which lets users load unauthorized software onto the phone. The patent application says that ways the technology would determine if an unauthorized user had the phone include identifying activities such as hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking, removing the SIM card and moving a predetermined distance from a synced device""

Link to Original Source

Legal Threats From A Company On A Forum?

BlueStrat BlueStrat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BlueStrat (756137) writes "A company or business owner threatening lawsuits against posters to an online 3rd-party community forum doesn't seem like a productive marketing move. I recently came across a possible example that got really, really ugly!

Being a builder of custom vacuum-tube musical instrument amplifiers, I frequent many online forums and specific tech sites. During a typical browse today, I came across this forum thread in Harmony-Central

Apparently, the owner of Sozo capacitors a maker of "boutique" tube-amp capacitors got into a flame-war with some of the denizens. Accusations of re-labeling of other manufacturers' parts were followed by legal threats to the posters. Which, being the 'net, naturally escalated to profanity and beyond.

Even if this fellow from Sozo was totally legitimate and his companies' products were everything he claimed and more, is it worth this kind of display in defense of your company & products?



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