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TSA Finishes Removing "Virtual Nude" X-Ray Devices From US Airports

commandermonkey Re:Misleading summary, as usual (172 comments)

Depends on where you are. Flying though Amsterdam there was no opt-out; even for the preggers wife.

Even in the US you an face absurd pressure from the TSA to go through the machine. I have had to wait 15 min+ on an opt-out(causing a run through ORD barefooted to make the flight); insinuations/outright declarations that I must be a "funny man" to want another man touching his "junk" and I must be some sort of queer(the TSA screeners words, not mine; this was ATL); all the opt out point are right next to the input of the X-Ray bag scanner leading a TSA agent(I think at SFO) to tell me that i was exposed to far more radiation waiting here then going through the scanner.

(TL;DR) It's easy to say you opt-out, but it's not alwsy an option and there is still tremendous pressure for you to go though the security theater.

about a year and a half ago

Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

commandermonkey Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

I sometimes wonder what real change could occur if people channeled all their energy into the real issues instead of getting lost in divisive political spin.


about 2 years ago

Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

commandermonkey Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

My bad, I did misread your prior statement. Nice to see the ad hominems though.

Page 6 drops the whole al-Qa'ida part and just says a U.S. citizen who is an operational leader. But guess we can chalk this up to a typo.

To split hairs, which I don't think was either of our original intent, it says a

senior operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force

This distinction is kind-of important as AQAP is not an organization designated by the AUMF(that was for 9/11 participants,) and the U.S. citizens we know were murdered, al-Aulaqi and son(so unless your going to argue that a 16 year old boy from Denver is a senior operational leader with AQ we already know that killings occur when even the low bar set by this whitepaper is not met), was part of a co-belligerent force, not AQ. Problem here is associated forces is pretty vague. A link to the circuit court decision about associated forces can be found here. The conclusion of the ruling talks about how determining who is and isn't a member when they are not actively armed is something that needs to be adjudicated on a case by case basis, something those who are assassinated will never get. This is where it comes down to your a member of AQ because we say you are.

I will point out that this document contains

As stated earlier, this paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful

so basically as long as you meet these requirements your all set to go killing(at least until a court says you can't at which point, much like the torture memos, this document will be used a legal shield.)

about 2 years ago

Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

commandermonkey Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

I can't believe I am responding to this but, yes, yes it does. There aren't more items in quote tags because I didn't really want to retype from image verbatim, but I gave page numbers for you if you choose to read it your self. here's the link

It doesn't seem like you are disputing the whole you a member of al-Qa'ida, because we say so. So i'll skip the down to the part i have in quote tags.

Here is where we get to the whole imminent threat part. The quote

The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future

is directly lifted from the document that you don't need clear evidence. 9/11 was used right after this statement as an example of why you can't wait for clear details, except there was evidence of a clear and imminent threat in this case as the 9-11 report details. I used the whole "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" document as an example since it is well known. You are correct that the document asserts that

certain members if al-Qa'ida (including any potential targets of lethal force) are continually plotting attacks against he United States

what you miss is the rest of the rational in the same sentance

; that al-Qa'ida would engage in such attacks regularly to the extent it were able to do so; that the U.S. government may not be aware of all al-Qu'ida plots as they are developing and thus cannot be confident that none is about to occur

. Think about this argument, even if you accept that whole "they are always plotting against us" thing, the rest is there is always an imminent threat because there may be a secret threat that we don't know anything about. By this logic, any time a "sovereign citizen" leaves the country can they be assassinated since that group has a track record of plotting against the US and has engaged in terrorists acts? How about survivalists, another group with a track record of terrorist activities? KKK member leaves the country can we kill them, their certainly they are a terrorism organization who actively plots against the US? Let's set aside the US citizen thing, if someone post to a message board from outside the US how they would like to see the US government fall is the US justified in murdering them? After all, they are outside of the US, probably can't be captured, and to their extent possible would be plotting against the US.

At the top of page 10 we get there is not proper court to adjudicate this.

Finally, the Department notes that under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations...Were a court to intervene here, it might be required to inappropriately issue an ex ante command.

Basiclly, there is not court with jurisdiction to adjudicate and if one were to intervene their ruling may not be proper.

And in section III on the same page

Section 1119, however, incorporates the federal murder and manslaughter statutes, and thus its prohibition extends only to "unlawful killing[s]"

Killing someone is only murder or manslaughter if it's unlawful

Section 1119 is best construed to incorporate the "public authority" justification

There is a "public authority" justification that can be used to exempt someone fro the letter of the law

As this paper explains below, a lethal operation of the kind discussed here would fall within the public authority exception

This paper is going to tell you that killing someone falls within this exception

It therefore would not result in an unlawful killing

Therefore it's OK to kill someone(as we saw before the authors already believe there is no court to adjudicate this claim)

In some instances, therefore, the best interpretation of a criminal prohibition is that Congress intended to distinguish persons who are acting pursuant to public authority from those who are not...for example, the application of a speed law to a policeman pursing a criminal or the driver of a fire engine responding to an alarm

An example of the public authority exception is emergency workers speeding.

about 2 years ago

Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

commandermonkey Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

Not really this is lifted from the document itself.

The first paragraph says the only burden to someone being a member of al-Qu'ida is a informed, high-level official of the U.S. government. It was only a decade ago that we had "informed" high-level officials claiming Iraq had a stockpile of WMDs and was producing more. So, if an entire weapons program could be missed/fabricated, what are the odds of the classsification being screwed up. Further, on page 10 we get that judicial over site is unconstitutional. So you can be placed on the kill list because a high-level offical says you are a member of a group and there is no appeal or review process permitted."

Paragraph 2 on page 7:

The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future

Although it goes on to cite 9/11 as reason why immanence cannot be used, it does not address the whole issue of clear evidence. In the case of 9-11 there was clear evidence of "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." (Not that the US didn't already try to kill him after the USS Cole and Embassy bombings) Top of page 8 gets even more specific with, and i am paraphrasing, [because some leaders may always be plotting, and the US government may not be aware of all al-Qu'ida plots, and thus cannot be confident none are about to occur]. The logical inference here is that, without clear evidence, we can assume they are always scheming for an imminent plot so an imminent threat always exists.

The paragraph at the top of page 10 lays out that because the military may do the killing, in response to the hypothetical threat, judicial over site would be unconstitutional.

Later in page 10(under III) we get the rational that these killings would not be unlawful because this paper says they and not unlawful, and as we just discussed not subject to judicial review. And at the bottom of page 12 we get the suggestion that we should think of this like a speeding by a fire engine responding to an alarm.

about 2 years ago

Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

commandermonkey Re:Oh, the surprise. (800 comments)

No. Try reading the memo. From the very first page it mentions it is for high level ranking al-Qa'ida located outside of the US.

I think the ACLU summed up your statement nicely with:

[T]he white paper assumes a key conclusion: It takes as a given that the target of the strike will be a “senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or an associated force of al-Qa’ida,” and it reasons from that premise that judicial process is unnecessary. This is a little bit like assuming that the defendant is guilty and then asking whether it’s useful to have a trial.

So, basically all it takes is the government/president to say your al-Qa'ida and they are allowed to murder you far from any battle field and as the original NBC piece put it:

The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future

They don't even need to have clear evidence you are a member of al-Qa'ida or planning anything.

Remember, as a result of signature strikes any male "of military age" is declared to be a combatant and can therefore be murdered regardless of what they are doing or where they are. And they don't even have to be of militay age as evdinced by the killing of three children who were gathering firewood last Decmber

Three individuals hit were 12, 10 and 8 years old, leading the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul to say it may have “accidentally killed three innocent Afghan civilians.

So yes, it is for high level ranking al-Qa'ida located outside of the US, but the government, who is then conducting the assassination, gets to decided who is al-Qa'ida. Nobody get to review the decision and no evidence ever has to be put forth before or after the killing.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: The Search For the Ultimate Engineer's Pen

commandermonkey Re:Papermate (712 comments)

I had the same problem as OP, and used to use far more expensive drafting pens. My brother gave me a few PaperMate InkJoy 500 RT 0.5 XF a few years ago and I have used nothing else since. A given pen last for months, never clogs on me, at .5 I can write as small as I want(typically 3 to 4 lines per college ruled line), and at under <$1 per pen I am not too worried about breaking or losing it.

I know this may sound a little overboard, but I really like these pens.

more than 2 years ago

Beer Is Cheaper In the US Than Anywhere Else In the World

commandermonkey Re:...and half the comments make the same dumb jok (633 comments)

But Standard American Lager is a recognized type of Beer, like IPA or Pilsner Although not the only type of beer produced in the US (and one I prefer not to drink), it is the style most commonly associated with US beer. Do all American beers suck? Defintally not. Does the beer type closely associated with the US, bears the name America, and the top 3 brands, BudLite, Budwiser, and CoorLite, which account for 50.1% of the US market, suck? Depends on your taste.

But like it or not, and I am guessing you do not, this popular(in the US) style of beer is what is meant by American beer.

BJCP Standards for judging American Standard Lagers

more than 2 years ago

Climate Scientists Ask For Help Fighting Somali Pirates

commandermonkey Re:Does this relate to... (300 comments)

Yes, I am aware of the issues with starvation in poverty in most of Africa and other parts of the non-industrialized world. Somalia also covers the Horn of Africa and is a prime staging ground for pirates attacking ships heading through the Suez. I also have seen sporadic coverage throughout the years that tends to peak when some sexy news story hits about pirates or something else, black hawk downs incident was what, 2 decades ago?

Point taken though, this was probably the wrong story to comment on this about. I think I am just confused that a non-story about the relaties of maritime activity in the region, that probably would have been ignored a few weeks ago, happens to rise to a point of note.

more than 3 years ago

Climate Scientists Ask For Help Fighting Somali Pirates

commandermonkey Does this relate to... (300 comments)

The Nation's article on CIA black sites? I may have been in a bubble, but I don't recall many articles mentioning Somalia until The Nation ran their article about the US Torture camps in Somalia.

Now I see article, after article, about how there is a humanitarian crisis in that country is caused by people the US want to torture/murder and now an article about how climate change research is being hampered by evil people in the area. It all seems a little much.

I really want to stay away from tinfoil hat material but, when a story about torture camps run by the US gov seems to be ignored and then humanization problems seems to appear at the same time, I can't help but wonder if a counter information campaign, like what the hack on HBGary help to expose may be responsible.

more than 3 years ago

Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile'

commandermonkey Re:Yep, not the change I voted for (892 comments)

I cant really agree with either of you. Killing poor people because they were born in the wrong part of the world is EVIL. Kidnapping, torturing and, in some cases, killing people because they share the same name/alias(in that a guys alias is actually their name)/religion/sold to by tribal rivals is EVIL.

Both acts are disgusting.

To be clear, the Bush torture program found some random low ranking lawyer to sign off, but we haven't seen reports that his attorneys general, office of legal counsel and [major governing agency] disagreed. To equate this asinine legal opinion to Bush we would have to go to the domestic spying program.

This illegal wiretap program had the counsel of the FBI, OLC and the attorneys general saying that its incredibly illegal. You know, the program that Ashcroft refused to sign off on and was visited in a hospital room and refused to sign? The one that Bush modified to get Ashcroft to sign off on, that the NYT sat on until the end of the election, and that even after being modified(so that Ashcroft would signoff on)was still illegal.

Like Bush's unmodified wiretap program, Obama had his OLC, Pentagon Legal Counsel and (as the NYT buries on A6 in the second to last paragraph of a 21 paragraph article) the Attorneys General.

tl;dr Both obscene decisions come at the objection of the Attorneys General;OLC and [major governing agency],

more than 3 years ago

Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile'

commandermonkey If drone strikes are in fact hostile??!? (892 comments)

I am at a loss for words. That has to be one of the stupidest thoughts I have ever read.

I can't wait until the first poor defendant goes before a judge as says "If crack was in fact a drug" then of course id be a drug dealer.

It makes me sad to begin thinking that the set of birthers who think Obama never went to law school may be on to something.

more than 3 years ago

Daily Sony Hacking Occurs On Schedule

commandermonkey Re:Sounds like they're got inside access (353 comments)

Maybe, I think the leading causes will be debated by historians for decades. Wired has a summary(wordpress link to the same story, after wireds part in Bradley Manning and their smear job of Bruce Ives I have a hard time sending traffic there) and a google search will pull open more debates and comments about the link between anthrax and the Iraq War.

From what I remember about late 2001, the events of 9/11 were traumatic and confusing, but not really fear inspiring. It felt more like a one off, more similar to the Cole, embassy bombings or all the hijackings/bombings of planes in the decade before. Getting on a plane was scary for a few months, but that was about it. The anthrax was completely different.

With the anthrax we had a few weeks of new reports that people were getting sick or dying. And unlike working in a fancy highrise in New York City, everyone gets the mail and everyone could be a potential victim. Anthrax brought about a sustained fear of terrorism where anyone could be a victim, and made people afraid that they could be the victim of WMD's that would kill, not a few thousand, but millions.

I am sure the discussion as to the major cause of Iraq will continue for decades for many reasons least of which is probably not that the national science foundation doesn't accept the FBIs conclusions where the science is concerned, and that aside from Bruce Ives was creepy the anthrax investigation pointed back to government labs.

tl;dr Powell didn't go before the security council with a toy plane but with a vial of anthrax.

more than 3 years ago

Daily Sony Hacking Occurs On Schedule

commandermonkey Re:Sounds like they're got inside access (353 comments)

One of the few times? Seriously??

Can you name one "terrorist" attack that hasn't been severly one sided in terms of cost?

  • Oklahoma city - for less than $5k there was 82.5Million in investigative cost alone
  • 9/11 -4 Planes, Several buildings, more expensive airport security, loss of jobs, etc have been estimated at over 2 trillion. +10 years of expensive war in Afghanistan
  • Anthrax Attacks - for the cost of 7 letters we got a clean up that the FBI put over 1billion and the war in Iraq
  • Liquid bombers - didn't even happen and we got more security theater and still have restrictions on liquids
  • Times square bomber - unsuccessful attack that got politically elites talking about suspending Miranda
  • Underwear bomb - Super expensive scanners and more security theater.

Seriously, what "terrorist" attack in the last 10 years were you thinking of that hasn't caused a serous disproportionate response? Why do you think there seem to be more attacks in the last few years? For every couple thousand spent blowing, or attempting to blow, something up we spend hundreds or millions/billions/trillions reacting to it and every few large attacks causes the US to give away more of the "freedom(s)" that the terrorists hate. Over the last decade

the "terrorists", so to speak, [have] won.

more than 3 years ago

Duke Nukem Forever Goes Gold

commandermonkey Is it true...no (277 comments)

Looks like it'll be on shelves around June 10th... Can it really be true?

No, its not true. The Ars, Amazon and EBGames all list the release date nearly a week later on June 14th.

more than 3 years ago

Bill Clinton Suggests Internet Fact Agency

commandermonkey Re:No precednet for what he suggests (336 comments)

I don't understand your PBS link. The article mentions that MoveOn advocated for public funding of Public Broadcasting, not PBS advocating for MoveOn. Some how you take an organizations(MoveOn) advocacy for a third party(PBS) and use that as evidence that the third party(PBS) is advocating for the other group(MoveOn.)

If this logic holds up does that mean that Palin supports neo-Nazi's as many of those groups supported her and McCain in the last election cycle?

more than 3 years ago

AP Files FOIA Request For Bin Laden Photos

commandermonkey Re:that didnt stop his staff from leaking (518 comments)

I know most people are looking for snuff porn and other want conformation (really???) and if those were the only reason for not releasing the photos I would totally understand; but, they are not the only reason.

Like it or not the US is supposed to be a country governed by law not by fiat. Over the past decade we have been compelled to listen to tortured rhetoric that [The "war" on terror is justified because they don't respect out freedom(s).] To use that logic, to say that the US is the greatest country ever, to say we have a constitution that protects people from the government and that is "why they hate us" requires us to live up to our ideals. This means:
you CANNOT wiretap everyone(4th amendment)
you CANNOT torture(5th and 8th amendments)
you CANNOT order the assassination of a US Citizen(and possibly not really anyone) because they said something mean(1st; 5th; 6th; 8th amendments)
you CANNOT convict someone in a secret trial where they are unable to defend themselves(5th and 6th amendments.)

Why I would like a few groups like Amnesty, UNOHCHR, maybe ACLU to examine the photos, and more importantly the videos, is to verify that despite the "misstatements" by the US government and witness at the compound, bin Laden was NOT captured and executed.

I know that many of you don't care and that any trial would have only been for show and achieved the same outcome. But if we are going to pretend to be a nation governed by laws, and if we are going to be forced to listen to our tea party (republican) friends go on and on about the supremacy of the constitution, and we continue to spout "they hate us for our freedoms", then shouldn't we at least pay lip service to that founding document?

tl;dr: Release the video to have reputable NGOs verify that bin laden was killed while in a frantic shootout; err using a human shield; I mean lunging for a weapon(but that doesn't make too much sense since the combatants shot one of his wives in the calf while she was lunging at them(I guess UBL hasn't been running much and has small calves?))how about: doing anything other than look confused while and armed force descended on his house.

more than 3 years ago

Osama Bin Laden Reported Dead, Body In US Hands

commandermonkey Re:Mission Accomplished (1855 comments)

Do you think that just by killing bin laden Al Queda will just magically vanish?

And do you really think that the reason people are willing to be martyrs for their cause is because of bin laden? More importantly do you really think the threat of "terrorism" will ever go away? Every drone strike, every "hunting party", every time a coalition (read: US) soldier kills another person you create more people willing to pick up the standard of anti-western imperialism. The US has done far more to foment the anti-Western cause than bin laden ever could. But don't take my word for it, General McChrystal has spoken numerous times on the subject.

Declare mission accomplished and an end to combat operations, make up some BS about a duty to the region, etc. To appease the militant masses in the US you can leave a bunch of "security advisers" who will stay there forever (see Korea, Germany, Japan, Cuba, Philippines or Iraq for examples.) The death of bin laden is the golden opportunity to get out of the Afghan quagmire and stop wasting money and lives for the sake of looking tough.

more than 3 years ago

Need a Receipt On Taxes? The Federal Tax Receipt

commandermonkey Re:The fine line (642 comments)

Seriously? Promote the general Welfare is right after after provide for the common defence in the preamble to the constitution. You could also probably catagorize public health care in to insuring domestic Tranquility(prevent epidemics) and establishing Justice(break your back doing manual labor, organization you got hurt working for has to pick up the tab.)

Also,I am not sure how publicly invading three other countries, and having "secret" bombing campaigns in several others, counts as defense.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

more than 3 years ago

Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

commandermonkey Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (716 comments)

The summary draws the conclusion: that despite the Xoom being a good product, what moves tablets isn't the product but the marketing and hype. And despite how long tablets have been around the average person on a sales floor can't really tell you what their good for, where as at the apple store they know their talking points about the device and are able to make a more convincing sale.

The jump I made when I read the article is that:
a) the average person can't articulate what a tablet is good for and what it can do for you, unlike a phone, pc, tv, microwave, etc. Since the average store clerk can't vocalize the benefit of a tablet people don't buy the Xoom, but because Apple will tell you why a tablet is so awesome people buy the iPad. If this long after a product launch, the average person can't tell you anything benefit to the device other than you hipster friends will think you are cool, it could be an indicator of a fad.

b) People aren't buying tablets from Apple because they have a need for a tablet, or because it fits a niche that their otehr computing platforms lack, they are buying because its Apple and a new thing. If that is true than it's even more of an indicator that its a fad, and much like furby there is not a large market for them past one or two generations.

What would have made the article much better would be trending numbers for sales of both Xoom and the iPad. What rate are they currently selling at? What is the conversion rate between the two? Did iPad and Xoom have similar sales before the launch of iPad2? How do sales of iPad2 compare with the original? Really any hard information would have been better than Apple stores look cool.

more than 3 years ago


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