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Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

DavidTC Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (457 comments)

No shit.

I'm all for warning drivers to be legal (Which, it must be pointed out, is applicable to situations besides the police, and can be for all sorts of warnings of road conditions.), but flashing brights at people is *itself* dangerous.

What we need a precedent that turning your lights off for a split second is free speech, not 'driving with your lights off'. (Probably need some sort of threshold of about a quarter second.)

about a year ago

Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

DavidTC Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (457 comments)

Actually, because you have no real way to figure out if they're specifically speeding anyway, it's more like warning *everyone* there's a neighborhood watch in a certain place.

...which, uh, happens at all the time with signs, and appears to be legal.

about a year ago

NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove

DavidTC Re:And so, it begins (383 comments)

Yeah. I always found it funny that the conspiracy theory brought in the British news media. I mean, it's absurd to give anyone a script, but the British news media?

<sarcasm>Because if there's any group that would just fall in line with the Bush administration murdering thousands of people, it's the British news media.</sarcasm>

I remember when the assertion that one of the terrorists was actually still alive showed up...and my response was 'So you assert the US government, instead of just making up Iraqi terrorists to pin this on to invent a war, used pre-existing Saudi terrorists that they could not confirm were already dead?'

And the less said about the 'using missiles instead of planes' theory the better. Man, was that one silly or what?

There are two kinds of conspiracy theories out there. One that postulates plausible causes for actual events. I mean, Jack Ruby _did_ have mob ties, and the Kennedy administration was cracking down on the mob, so if you want to assert that Oswald did a mob hit of JFK, and then was taken out, hey, I don't quite believe you, but you're not _insane_. That is indeed plausible.

The other kind of conspiracy theory is where you take some event and randomly find 'inconsistencies', which are usually just things said in confusion that are untrue, or misunderstandings of what is going on, or things that are completely normal but don't look normal to people who don't understand disaster, and try to build a massive conspiracy using every single one of them. None of which will hold up to the single question of 'Why the hell would anyone running that conspiracy actually do that?'

Which, in the context of the Kennedy assassination, is basically trying to make there be more other active shooters beside Oswald, elaborate conspiracy theories about misunderstanding of physics and bullets instead of just saying 'Yes, Oswald shot him...but _why_?', which is a much better question.

about a year ago

NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove

DavidTC Re:They have *worse* to hide? (383 comments)

I'm suspecting it's doublespeak. He used other people's credentials...in the sense that they didn't even bother giving each individual person their own login. I'm sure he wasn't technically 'supposed' to have access to some of that information, but that probably means he just copied it directly from some accessible file share instead of using their crappy web UI.

The intelligence infrastructure is a joke. It is a giant uncontrolled operation flailing around randomly sucking up all the data it can, with no controls on anything internally.

And Snowden did a huge service for this country. Not in the information he stole, not in the operations he revealed. That as nice to know, and to all those asshats who assert that intelligence operations need to be kept secret...sure, individual operations should be secret, yes. Not what type of operations and spying exist.

But, anyway, the truely great service is that Snowden demonstrated that literally every intelligence agency in the world already has that information. Trust me, they are, at least, communally, as smart as Snowden, and as it is apparently fucking easy to just be invited to b given access to everything, everyone else already has it.

In fact, considering how shitty the controls apparently are, it makes much more sense for other intelligence agencies to spend their time and effort subverting subdivisions of contractors of our intelligence services than trying to run their own network, letting them use our intelligence resources in real time. Without Snowden, the public at large would have no idea this was happening.

The question is not 'Do you trust our government with all your private information', or even 'Morally, think about how would you feel if you knew the Chinese were doing the esame thing to you, and you'll understand how this makes other countries feel.'...it's 'How do you like the fact that the Chinese are spying on you, right now, using your own tax money and your own government agencies.'

Because they are. Or, at least, could be if they thought you were the least bit interesting. (Incidentally, 'interesting' to intelligence services is not as high a threshold as people think. Do you, for example, work in the technology field and could conceivably be a useful asset to get malware somewhere they want it? Or have access to proprietary business secrets? Or medical information?)

about a year ago

Researchers Build Covert Acoustical Mesh Networks In Air

DavidTC Re:Air Gaps are Evil (107 comments)

Erm, okay, you're talking about something completely different...

...but still not making much sense to me.

The problem is that 'If you instead had a wire to the machine in the room, you could monitor the transactions over the wire. You could ensure a non turing complete language is used in the wire protocol. You can deny humans access. You can apply defense in depth to a wire. No so much to a room full of humans.' you can do _on an air-gapped machine_.

What you have just proposed doing is to put the UI of the secure machine outside the secure machine, and locking down interactions between it and the secure machine...which is fine, but there's no reason you can't put that UI _inside the air gap_. And in fact that makes much more sense.

You, uh, just need two of them in the room. One that people can physically access, and one, locked behind bars, that they cannot, connected via a wire, with an air-gap between that system and the outside world.

This is a bit of an overkill, though. If you are worried about the people who access the air-gapped computer being a weak link, in actuality you _build the UI with security_ (Just like your hypothetical wire protocol, but much easier.) and then don't let them physically access the CPU or disks. (I recommend a external CD-RW drive.)

And you 'analyze' what they do by simply recording the screen and keyboard. Which you can do by either unidirectional wiring or by literally recording it with a camera. Or having watchers.

Or, alternately, if you want, you can do it like I said and just put a UI computer in the air-gap room also. You can even render the UI computer fairly difficult to hijack by building it solely out of read-only storage. It would be the perfect place for some sort of dumb terminal that is just running a web browser connected to the actual secure machine, which is locked up inside a box inside the air-gap and none of the users can get to it.

about a year ago

Researchers Build Covert Acoustical Mesh Networks In Air

DavidTC Re: Some Technical Details. (107 comments)

Now I'm imagining someone trying transmit a Skype conversation over the air-gap via audio. Or just the audio, at least.

It seems extremely silly, but then I started thinking about a hypothetical audio bug that literally just relayed the audio _as_ encoded audio...but in a way that was easier to hear through walls and windows and stuff. Like pumping it at higher volume, but at frequencies we couldn't hear. Or doing it much slower (Presumably with some sort of voice activation so it would only record 8 hours of audio a day, or whatever, and could take 24 to play it back.) which would allow more error correction.

Everyone always talks about the high-than-human audio frequencies, but I wonder...if you encode it tight enough, and can transmit audio 24/7 and it's not recording that much, could you possibly transmit it on _lower_ frequencies?

Of course, no one actually knows if this is workable but the CIA.

But transmitting data is easy if you can get someone inside where the data is. For example, I once had a weird idea for an bug that pretended to be CFL bulb, but it would slightly modulate the light frequency in response to audio. I think intelligence services have actually done that sort of thing before, but it was amplitude modulation whereas I'm talking about frequency modulation.

about a year ago

Researchers Build Covert Acoustical Mesh Networks In Air

DavidTC Re:Air Gaps are Evil (107 comments)

Do you even have the slightest idea how key signing works?

People sign keys on their own computer. Because you signs someone's _public_ key (Which of course you is freely available over the internet, although obviously you should confirm it is their key before signing it.) with your _private_ key.

There's no reason for _anyone_ to access anyone else's computer while signing keys.

But none of that has anything to do with air-gapped computers, which have exactly no role to play in this. Why? Because people do not take air-gapped computers places and leave them unattended. Hell, they probably don't ever take them places, period. That entire concept is perhaps the ultimate in absurdity.

I know it allows you to feel extremely smug imagining some sort of universe where some other smug idiots take air-gapped computers and set them up and _leave them unattended_ while running around handing out keys at a key signing party, and now you're smarter than them.

However, I am sad to say, you have literally just invented those people out of thin air.

There probably are people who have their PGP private keys on some air-gapped computer...and that air-gapped computer is almost certainly stashed in a safe at their house and otherwise never out of their sight. When they sign a key, they get handed it on CD or USB, and it's carried home with them, signed, and carried back out.(1)

Those people are key signing parties? _Those_ people are not air-gapped, and 99% of the time they're downloading everyone's key off the internet and everyone's just wandering by and confirming their hash.

1) Now, they do have to get the key from somewhere, which I guess in theory introduces some sort of security issue in that they are accessing something externally...but if their computer is so insecure as to be exploitable via inserted CD or USB than their computer is probably already hacked, and it's hard to imagine how that is a security issue while transferring things around a random network is not. You actually can confirm a USB device is legit. (Granted, there are firmware hacks and other fake USB things...but that's why you find some old random flash drive somewhere and use _that_ to actually transfer the files in and out. Or just get a DVD-RW.)

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:End of November (250 comments)

Only true of the government offerings. You can sign up for private health insurance anytime you damn well please. And none of them can turn you down.

Firstly, there are no 'government offering'. Everything on the exchange is private insurance.

Secondly, none of them can turn me down because of the ACA's preexisting condition ban. You know, the ACA, the thing you just hoped would fail.

The important part of ACA is the mandate and the ban on preexisting conditions. The only thing that can possibly cause the ACA to collapse is if the mandate doesn't work and health people choose not to sign up for insurance. Which would cause the ban on preexisting conditions to threaten to destroy insurance companies, as people would only sign up when sick.

The idea that you think 'none of them can turn me down' but you 'hope they don't vote for any extensions and let this thing collapse and fail under its own weight.' show you really have very little idea of what's going. The fact that none of them can turn me down is exactly what could cause this thing to collapse under its own weight, as it tries to insure only unhealthy people. So if it does collapse, I sure as fuck won't continue to be allowed to sign up!

The exchanges are basically a non-important part of the ACA. Every single aspect of it could have been the same without them. The exchanges are just to provide an easy place to purchase insurance, because insurance companies never bothered to set up any sort of place for people to shop before. (Because they did not particularly want individual customers.) And it provides an easy way for the government to verify subsidies.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:This will only fix the shiny object (250 comments)

You can fiddle with the numbers some, but as long as the truly big cities vote more strongly Dem then vast amounts of GOP real estate vote GOP the GOP is gonna have an edge in House districts.

No. What you're saying was true, in the past.

However, at this point, Democrats are so far ahead it wouldn't actually give the GOP enough of an edge to retain the majority. 'Rural' counties have cities also, and right now cities are being chopped up..by Republicans. They draw a vast rural area, and then a single tiny line into the city to 'eat up' some of the city's Democrats...and do that over and over.

If the districts were actually as compact as possible, following pre-existing political boundaries as much as possible, than the GOP would, indeed, have a slight bias towards them (Both from urban vs. rural and from the fact each state has at least one Representative)...but they'd still lose their majority.

In mid-January if we don't have 7-8 million people signed up on the exchange ObamaCare could look like a total disaster. The GOP could look like saviors for a) getting that annoying website news off our damn screens and b) having a potential solution to the website problem. Moreover in January if the problems aren't fixed Manchin/Landriue/etc. will be under intense pressure to throw Obama under the bus. The GOP will need six Dems to force Obama to veto a plan that solves the debt/budget problems while gutting ObamaCare, and under those circumstances they could get it. Especially if they do a brilliant thing and include some bribes like immigration reform.


Sure, the 2007 Republicans could do that, no problem.

In 2013? Fuck no. That would be compromise and compromise is, I believe, actually unconstitutional at this point, according to the Republican base. I'm pretty certain just speaking to Democrats can be considered treason.

In mid-January if we don't have 7-8 million people signed up on the exchange ObamaCare could look like a total disaster.

A lot of the 'failure of people to sign up' has been completely exaggerate by the simple fact that insurance companies don't count people as 'enrolled' until people have already paid. And, of course, no one is going to pay now for health insurance they don't get until January. They're going to pay for it a few days before the deadline to get insurance by Jan 1, which is December 15th.

This why 'enrollment is in the single digits' and nonsense like that.

And, on top of that, low enrollment is only a disaster if the people who don't sign up are the healthy people. Interestingly, young people are a higher percentage of early signups than predicted. If only 1 million people sign up, but half of them are young health people, I'm sure the right will try to paint that as a failure, but they're going to do that regardless. It sure as hell won't be a failure in any objective sense, as it will drive rates down.

And, uh, 7-8 million is too high in the first place. There were only 50 million uninsured, and a large portion of those are supposed to be covered (But won't in many states) by the Medicaid expansion, and another few million by their employers. And 11 million are undocumented, who deliberately aren't covered.

There are only about 25 million who are supposed to be covered by the health care exchange, and assuming that a full third of them will already have signed up for insurance by the first day it's provided is a bit silly.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:End of November (250 comments)

The pain it causes will reflect on what a true piece of crap the Obama administration has foisted upon the US, and hopefully, that will be reflected in the next election cycle.

Yes, that piece of crap that will allow me, for the first time in my life, to actually purchase insurance.

That's what I'd do if I didn't have insurance.

Only you deserve to have insurance, apparently.

I don't think the penalties at this point, are worse than paying for the insuranceâ¦so, it would make sense to anyone that does the numbers for themselves, and for many, that is EXACTLY what is going to be the best for them expense-wise.

Which is, uh, why you can't do that. You can only sign up from January to March. (Well, you can sign up early, but you only get insurance Jan 1.)

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re: Raft of failures (250 comments)

Do about what? The untrue allegation the CGI Federal was the sole bidder on a contract?

You want to reform the actual problems government contracting, feel free to propose something.

You want to stop this idiotic gibberish of subcontracting out every single fucking thing the government does, count me in. I'll bring the posterboard and stapler to the protest, you bring the markers and wooden sticks.

You want to pretend that the fact that someone in government contracting went to an elite college and happened to be in the same year as the first lady?

Well, first off all, you better have some sort of evidence that that is even statistically relevant, considering that over 1000 people a year graduate from Princeton, and I suspect that rather a lot of them are vice presidents of something or other, and the US government issues a fuckload of government contracts each year.

And just as many graduate from the other colleges and high schools that the president and his wife go to. Together, the president and his wife have been in three colleges and four graduating classes, probably with a total amount of 'classmates' somewhere near 3000. Care to guess how many of those elite college graduates of Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard Law are vice presidents at some company or another?

Care to guess how many of those vice presidents are vice presidents of the tens of thousands of companies that are federal contractors?

Statistically, this is a coincidence. It is noise. It's like Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore being roommates, except not actually interesting.

And then second, you have to demonstrate that somehow the president actually did influence that decision in some way. (If that is true, I won't even make you prove that this was at his wife's urging.)

It might be fun to find those four contractors who supposedly didn't get a chance to bid (Which is completely unsubstantiated, and not how government bidding works anyway.) and figure out they link to Obama. I bet at least once of them has as close a connection as 'one of their CEOs happened to go the same college as a relative of Obama's'.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:This will only fix the shiny object (250 comments)

The geography means that voting base would give them the House without any work.

If by 'work', you don't mean gerrymandering.

If districts were assigned randomly, or groups by political boundaries, or even deliberately grouped evenly...the Republicans would lose their majority.

They win whites, they win older people, and they win rural areas.

Actually, there real problem is that they actually aren't winning whites and older people so much anymore. They still have an advantage, but it's fairly weak. (Especially you include 'white women', which the GOP is losing by droves.)

They are still winning rural areas, but the secret that no one wants to talk about is that rural areas are massively losing population, while urban areas are gaining. This has always been a general trend, but has now been accelerated by recession. (Just like it was during the great depression.)

Hence the requirement to gerrymander.

Altho if the Federal Exchange still isn't working in January the political environment might be better for a shutdown.

I have no idea what you mean by 'the political climate'. You are correct in that the exact same Republicans might want a shutdown again. (Although I actually think we're all good until February so that's when it would happen, but that doesn't change your point.)

This would be even more of a disaster for the GOP, though.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:Raft of failures (250 comments)

LOL. Are you serious?

Do you have any idea the sheer levels of nepotism and cronyism on the right?

President Bush, under the direction of VP Cheney, awarded contracts to the company Cheney previously was CEO of.

CGI Federal, while apparently rather incompetent, has actually been a government contractor for decades.

Not to mention the completely idiotic 'fact' that the president of CGI Federal became a donor to Obama after he got the contract. Yeah, and he became one to Mitt Romney also. Obama, apparently you got scammed there, he's playing both sides!


about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:It may all be for naught (250 comments)

I'm not sure that actually matters.

Who has standing to sue that the government can't offer tax credits to people? I don't see any standing at all, either on part of the states or individuals. (Individuals who don't get the tax credit are irrelevant, individuals who do can't sue over something they can just refuse.)

Also, there are people arguing that the Federal government can't give health insurance subsidies to people because the law doesn't say it can, but somehow the Federal government can just ignore the mandate, which the law actually says?! That makes no sense at all. If the government doesn't give them subsidies, then they're _possibly_ excluded from the mandate because they can't find insurance cheap enough, but it still exists as a general rule and people will fall under it.

And, as an aside: Wow, Republicans really are determined to bring the building down on themselves, aren't they?

1. Do not let people in Republican-lead states have Medicare.
2. Do not let people in Republican-lead states have subsidies.
3. ????
4. PROFIT!!!

<sarcasm>That is a really good way to stay in power. It's completely impossible that people without insurance in said Republican-lead states will notice an adjective phrase in common and work to change that.</sarcasm>

Here's a hint, Republicans: You could just ignore the law, or attempt to replace it. But this is the point where you have to stop fighting it, because people can already see how helpful it is.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:This will only fix the shiny object (250 comments)

According Matty Yglesias a lot of people he met blamed the websites failure on the shutdown, which isn't true but makes sense in a weird sort of way. The GOP shutdown the government on pretty much the exact day the website failed to launch claiming that the program the website represents was the reason they were shutting the government down. I can see how a reasonable person, paying a normal amount of attention to politics, would reach that conclusion.

There are very few times the phrase 'epic fail' is actually correct. Especially in politics. The Republican's shutdown is one of them. And not just doing it, but every single part of it.

1) Scheduling it right as the ACA exchanges opened, completely drowning out the failure of them to work. Wow, really? Just...really?
2) Scheduling it two weeks before the debt ceiling and threatening that, so that all the corporate interests woke up and said 'Uh, no.' and started pushing back.
3) Running about talking about national monuments being closed, while head start programs closed and government workers sat at home without a paycheck. (This happened to me three times: 'And Obama's shutting down the monuments out of spite!' 'Right, only unimportant things should be shut down, like military contractor sitting at home and police officers working without pay! How dare Obama take away the national monuments!'. Republicans always became _very_ quiet after that.)
4) Had literally no plan at all. I mean, no plan at all. And no escape plan if their first...uh...'plan' failed?

They tried for something that any rational person could have told them couldn't be obtained, and they did it such a way to drown out the actual problems in the thing they would attacking, and they did it in such a destructive way that even their own party hated it, and they had no idea what to do when the impossible thing they wanted did not happen.

'Epic fail' doesn't even start to cover it. It is quite possibly the dumbest conceivable thing they could have done.

...unless you're Ted Cruz or some other Tea Party Republican, of course, in which case it was a great fundraising opportunity.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

DavidTC Re:End of November (250 comments)

They're up against their deadlines though for penalties (which they've waived thru March, which is logical, but not legal, as there is no Constitutional authority for the president to flat-out decline to enforce laws.)

Firstly, you're confused. No one needed to waive anything till March. To avoid paying penalties under the law, you must have health insurance 9 months of the year, which means if you bought insurance by the last day of March, you were fine. And, 'coincidentally', the last day of open enrollment in the exchanges is, indeed, the last day of March. (The intent is also that most non-exchange plans will also eventually rotate their open enrollment periods around to be the start of the year, but that's not required by law.)

That was how the law worked to start with.

Secondly, Obama hasn't done anything at all. Some Congressional Democrats have asked him to extend open enrollment, but he hasn't. And, yes, he has that power under the law. (I don't know if he has the power to reduce the 'nine months' rule for penalties, but he doesn't need to do that..penalties are proportional to time. So if someone is a week or so late in getting insurance, their penalty is rather small.)

It's rather doubtful he will extend it. That would make insurance companies nervous, and they might end up hiking their rates. (If it was up to them, open enrollment would be a day, and you'd have to sign up a year in advance. They _really_ worry about people signing up the second they get sick.)

about a year ago

A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?

DavidTC Re:News Flash: Partisan Caricature Found Incorrect (668 comments)

Hey, moron, reread my post.

As I pointed out, almost everything the government pays out is 'debt' in one form or another, as in, things it owes people by law. You managed to complete ignore the entire fucking post, and have started yammering about the 14th amendment yet.

The 14th amendment requires that we pay all debt. (Well, not really, but, as I said, I won't argue that.) I will, again, point out as part of the debt we have to pay it gives examples of pensions and bounties. It does not say we have to repay 'bonds', it says we have to repay 'debts'. All of them. Bonds, pensions, bounties, back pay, social security, medicare owed to doctors, all debts.

You, while yammering that we have to repay all debts, have managed to completely fucking ignore is that almost everything is debt.

All those things are, equally, debt, and they have to be paid on time. By law. (And, you assert, by the constitution, to which I say 'Whatever.')

We cannot decide not to pay social security debts because we have bond repayment debts coming up tomorrow. (In fact, under your logic, it would be unconstitutional to try to do that.)

The laws about automatic spending can not be constitutional if the congress does not appropriate funding for it. Otherwise during a budget impass, none of the government would shut down at all.

This is a large part of why, under the budget shutdown, only 13% of the spending stopped, you idiot. Thank you for pretty much proving my point.

You seem to think the government is somehow deciding to spend money in real time, that it pays money and gets things in return.

Uh, no. Like all businesses, it hires people and they work for free for two week (Or however long) and then they get paid. Those people are owed their wages. Those wages are debts the government owes them.

Likewise, the government does not go out and buy bridges. It enters a contract with a company to build a bridge, and then when the bridge is done, the government owes that money.

(I won't argue social security in this post, because that is much more complicated, but people really are owed social security benefits under the law. But even without social security, we're still screwed.)

If we stop raising the debt ceiling, we still owe all that money, and, as you keep insisting, government debts shall not be questioned.

You can yammer about 'Not creating debt' all you want, but the fact is the government has billions and billions of outstanding debt that isn't bonds, right now, already existing, and the government must pay them, which means at some point, many debts payment are going to be missed, including bond repayment.

This is even accepting the dubious preposition it is legal for the president to 'choose' not to make new debt in violation of the laws saying he has to. The constitution says all debts are valid, but it does not logically follow from that 'And thus if the president thinks the government won't pay debts when they come up, he has the power to ignore current law and not create them.'! There's nothing in that amendment about the government not having the power to create debt, or the president to override the creation of debt.

But even in that rather surreal world which gives the president nearly unlimited power, the US would slide over a frozen debt ceiling almost immediately due to fucking payroll, even if the president instantly laid everyone off in violation of the law. (Because, duh, even laid off people get paid for the time they already put in.)

If the debt limit wasn'T increased, it would be a duty of the president to chose which spending continued within the bounds of the capabilities of what is availible.

No, it's not. It's the duty of the president to do what the laws and constitution say.

In the actual world, if Congress has allocated $40 million for a library in Dover, the president (That is, the executive branch, presumably not him personally.) is required by law to actually hire people to build it, even if we're near the debt limit. And when it is built, the executive is required by law (And, you assert, by the constitution) to pay the debt incurred by that. Even if the very next day there are bonds maturing that must be paid.

Not raising the debt ceiling creates some conflicting laws, but a) none of those conflict are in 'creating debt', he has to continue to do that exactly as much as the law requires, and b) if the president is able to follow any of them (For example, if $40 million in revenues) have just come in, he's required to actually follow the fucking law and spend the money. Regardless of whether or not it would have been better to save the money for tomorrow.

about a year ago

Books With "Questionable Content" Being Deleted From ebookstores In Sweeping Ban

DavidTC Re:Facts please. (548 comments)

And just as relevantly, no one appears to be selling it. The entire premise of a snuff film is that there is a market for watching people get murdered, so someone kidnaps a person, kills them, and records it, and sells the film. That is not what happened here, and is a hard-to-believe premise.

We do know such a market could exist, as such a market sorta exists with child porn. In fact, snuff films are the fictional analogies of child porn, when you think about it.

But with snuff films, it is very hard to tell a simulation from the real thing, so there is really no point in making the real thing. No one's going to pay a premium for a 'real' snuff film, because they have no ability to prove it's a real one. (Which really does imply that it is best not to try to ban fake child porn, I guess?)

about a year ago

A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?

DavidTC Re:News Flash: Partisan Caricature Found Incorrect (668 comments)

You know, sometimes after I make a post, I can psychically predict sumdumass's response, and this time I predict, drumroll please, that he will attempt to argue that the 14th's amendment is relevant here, despite the fact I pointed out it doesn't matter.

So, I will preemptively respond by conceding that point, for the purpose of this argument. The 14th amendment does apply here.

So now sumdumass will have to address my actual point, in that almost all government spending is to repay debts, so anyone who thinks the 14th somehow means 'bondholders get paid first' is an idiot. There's nothing special about their debt vs. everyone else's under the constitution or the law. It doesn't say 'US bonds shall not be questioned'. It says the debt can't.

In fact, let's look at the actual wording of that part of the 14th:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

...holy fuck, look at that. 'including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion,'

And before you try to argue that some specific thing isn't listed there, as I also psychically(1) predict you will do, please notice that 'bonds' are not in that list either. The list is not inclusive. I was just pointing out the amendment lists two specific examples of public debts, and neither of them is bonds...one is a retirement system, and one is wages!

1) It is very easy to psychically predict sumdumass's responses to things. He will pick a completely irrelevant thing said and argue as if it's important. Notice I didn't say an incorrect irrelevant thing...if sumdumass were to start accurately nitpicking responses, people would go 'By gum, you're right!' No, sumdumass will find something that is, indeed, completely correct, but completely irrelevant to the point, and argue about that, like he just did with the 14th amendment. That way other people will argue back over the pointless thing, and the original point will completely lost.

Don't fall for it. Ask yourself 'If sumdumass was right, would my point still stand? Yes, I know he's wrong, but if weren't, would my actual point be correct anyway?' If the answer is 'Yes', then just concede his idiotic position and repeat your actual point as if he's right. He'll keep trying to argue the point and come across as a complete idiot.

(For example, see his followup post, where he will try to argue somehow that 'public debt' only means bonds, despite the fact the 14th amendment just explained that 'bounties' and 'pensions' count as it!)

about a year ago

A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?

DavidTC Re:News Flash: Partisan Caricature Found Incorrect (668 comments)

I know it is a problem for most of you on the left when the constitution gets in your way, but constitutionally, he is obligated to honor the debts before any spending by law. that means even if congress passed a law saying all money appropriated either by entitlement law or whatever must be spent on anything other then the debt, it would be unconstitutional to do so.

Hey, look, it's the complete dumbass who has no reading comprehension but constantly pops up to defend whatever fucking stupid thing the right believes.

You just repeated exactly what I said...that the president must pay any currently outstanding debt. I just additionally pointed out that if there's an outstanding debt, he has to pay it, period, he can't save the money for a more important debt that's going to happen later.

And, despite what is going on in your fevered imagination, he is, in fact, required by law to pay social security, for example. If the president could just decide not to pay social security, I have a feeling some Republican president would have actually tried that at some point, don't you?

You did notice I used the word 'obligations' in my post, right? What the hell do you think that means? The government owes that money to people on social security. The government owes defense contractors. The government owes its employees their wages. Those are debts. They must be paid, on the schedule laid out in law. (Only if the executive has money, presumably.)

You, along with the right, have decided that the only 'debts' are 'issued bonds'. Or, rather, you idiots have spent absolutely no time thinking about this.

If someone comes and works on your house for an agreed on amount, and you haven't paid them yet, you are in debt to them. Um, duh. If you are a company, and pay employees your wages on Friday, and it's Thursday, the wages you owe for the week so far are debts and will be reflected as such on your balance sheet. Um, double-duh.

Bonds, are, rather obviously, just one of the many ways to be in debt...if they were the only way, uh, no human being would be personally in debt, because human beings usually don't issue bonds. We should try that with banks. 'No, I don't owe you any money. To owe money is to be in debt, and according to the Republicans the only sort of debt that exists is bonds. I have never issued you or anyone else any bonds, thus I am not in debt.'(1)

Now, you say we must pay debts because of the 14th amendment, and I don't think the 14th is that relevant, and assert that's just basic law, but whatever, that's rather moot. The point is, 95% of money that exits the Federal government is to pay obligations, aka debts, created by the law. (And the other 5% is to pay obligations created by entities under the executive's control that he could stop, but are still obligations once created...but he could stop making more obligations.)

The President is required, by law (And possibly by the constitution, whatever.), to pay all those debts, not to just the ones to bondholders.

1) Hilariously, this logic makes the entire debt ceiling rather pointless, because if 'bonds' are the only 'debt', the president could just get loans some other way, like via credit cards and other unsecured bank loans. Heh. Actually, money owed to the social security trust isn't 'real' bonds (We call them bonds, but they are not, really.), so we're already a good deal under the debt ceiling if you only count 'bonds'.

about a year ago


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