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Comment Two points ... (Score 4, Insightful) 394

(1) On reading reports of the transcripts on Fox news and CNN it's striking how moderate and sensible Mrs. Clinton's remarks are. If these transcripts are "news" I think they're good publicity for Mrs. Clinton. It shows that she'll think twice before laying into Wall Street. Regardless of whether or not you like her, her opinions and policies are well thought through and make sense.


People bashing Wall Street forget the following :

(a) we (the electorate) have busily shaped the societal and legal environment in which Wall Street could become what it is now. Republicans have always vigorously supported business *in all of its facets) and Wall Street, with Democrats coming in closely behind. That policy has served us well, but is now starting to show some cracks. Time to figure out the minimum change required to fix that. That requires ingenuity. Lots of people see their personal interest compromised (job loss, no perspectives, feeling of not being needed by society, etc.), get "as mad as hell" and demand instant action. Well, they won't get it. Not with either candidate. One tells then they won't get instant gratification (but more of the same instead), the other does (sort of), but is so obviously clueless that his word is worth nothing.

(b) the idea of "Give Enterprise a Free Run and only regulate when the body count becomes too high to ignore" is part and parcel of our society and our culture. There certainly is a lot of anger and an appetite for "change", but I still can't get my head around what it actually wants. It's not prepared to accept the consequence that more prevention means less freedom. Being proactive with policy, (or even enforcing existing laws aimed at e.g. environmental protection) is violently opposed (sometime literally with guns in hand). Take for example that Bundy fellow. In violation of federal laws. Lost several court cases. Shouts his head off in the counterculture media, assembles a band of rogue hillbillies that actually point guns as federal officers. Is cheered on by a certain segment of society, and actually gets away with it. Unlike a steady trickle of you-know-who's who are shot dead in or near their car by police officers for making a false move or not complying fast enough or clearly enough with officers' commands..

(c)" Wall street is the nexus of how we as a country manage wealth. It's a giant market that can (and does) set a price on goods, services, policies, and lives. In doing that, it is a forum that co-shapes a certain part of our national decision making. In that sense it's what has always set the US apart from e.g. the Soviet Union (plan economy) or China. You don't steer or reform a market like that by dropping corporate taxes to 10% as some Republicans (among which a presidential candidate) propose, prohibiting municipalities from offering public services that compete with private enterprise (think broadband initiatives), or annulling wide swaths of environmental protection laws. You might be able to steer it by imposing regulations. Not so much regulations on how it's supposed to trade, but laws that regulate what it's trading in. Well ... try that and watch the (mostly conservative) nay-sayers come out of the woodwork in force. It's also a major source of our wealth. We need it and we should regulate it only with care and insight. To dump on a presidential candidate for displaying that insight is beyond ridiculous. It's adversarial politics.

(d) It so happens I would have preferred Sen. Sanders to be the Democratic candidate. Or at least see a substantial part of his views acted upon and some of his policies enacted. But there is simply no support for that. The inertia of mainstream politics (well, lets be thankful for that) and Wall-street related views. So it's compromise time. We're going to get a much more business-friendly candidate. Oh, and in case anyone wishes to cavil about Wall Street's influence on politics, remember the rulings those fine Conservative gents on the Supreme Court handed down? Companies have now assumed much the same rights as people (see e.g. the "Citizens United" and the "Hobby Lobby" ruling [ http://www.motherjones.com/pol... ]) to air political views and to have "religious" sensibilities. Business had enormous influence on politics before, but this makes it official (and expands it enormously).

(2) In my opinion, Wikileaks have now left the path of "public service" and either taken the one of "trying to impact an election just to get some limelight" or outright politics (as in selling publicity and mindshare to interested parties).

Comment Re:Great (Score 5, Interesting) 689

That's what worrying me. It is as if people (especially his voters and journalists) have totally given up on holding mr. Trump to account on anything he says, much less on whether his words are true or reasonable. Mr. Trump has turned politics into a "reality show". Substance doesn't matter, but tone and appearance do. And personal attacks. Mr. Trump's one area of competence is personal attacks.

It seems as if mrs. Clinton is held to a different standard of decency and veracity. One that simply doesn't apply to Mr. Trump because he's so far off the scale all of the time.

Like mr Trump's constant tendency to say whatever sounds good at the time, no matter how misleading, counter-factual or how much it contradicts what he said earlier (Putin comes to mind: first he calls him his buddy, now he says he doesn't know).

Most Trump supporters overlook all of that all of the time. What they forget is that no-one else in the world will.

Especially foreign powers. And that's dangerous because the US's strength has irrevocably decreased compared to the rest of the world. Therefore consistent policy and competent diplomacy is the only way to safeguard US interests ... and security. Mr. Trump's volatile character will ensure he'll scupper whatever policy framework his GOP aides erect. And this time, if he tries to bankrupt his way out of trouble again, it's the entire US that will be saddled with his debts.

Only a video tape with tacky (and in my opinion largely irrelevant because we already knew he's a nasty piece of work) locker room banter and a review of several years' worth of appearance on the Howard Stern show seem to be able to somehow get through to them where obvious deficiencies in competence and intelligence don't.

Comment Re:What's the problem, really? (Score 1) 277

See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

There are really excellent reasons to view this possibility to sell guns between citizens as a loophole.

Think of it this way: it's illegal so to sell prescription drugs (say Oxycontin) outside of licensed retail channels shops (chemists, apothecaries) especially if it's between private persons. Notwithstanding the fact that prescription drugs of course aren't illegal in and by themselves. Just like firearms.

As you say, the NICS is a simple process. Besides it's the absolute rock-bottom minimum safeguard against the unhinged and nefarious stocking up on guns. Can you think of any reason why it shouldn't be mandatory for gun sales between private citizens?

Unfortunately your assertion that "the media frenzy" of their loophole confirms my ideas about the refusal of of gun-show organisers to take responsibility. Only the threat of public denouncement seems to be influencing their stance. Not their sense of responsibility or their conscience.

If they were at all serious about the need to conduct background checks they would have welcomed a statutory obligation to have such checks in place.

Comment Re:What's the problem, really? (Score 1) 277


See e.g. here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... and here: http://www.governing.com/gov-d...

Some states don't require background checks {see http://www.governing.com/gov-d...

It's clear that gun shows are venues that concentrate and facilitate non-dealer gun sales. Therefore (despite nitpicking that doesn't affect the essence of the issue) the net effect of gun shows really is to facilitate gun sales that bypass background checks. That alone makes them eligible for police scrutiny.

Therefore it's reasonable for e.g. the FBI to trace people who attend such shows.

I agree that there are mental health issues that won't cause a red flag in a NICS check. I believe this should be reviewed more carefully. It's not as if the existing oversights mean that it's the way things should be.

Comment What's the problem, really? (Score 0) 277


Gun shows are often exempt from requirements to conduct background checks on people who buy a gun. All that's needed is that you buy from a private individual (not a dealer).

So if I had a history of being mentally unstable or had a criminal conviction and wanted to buy a gun anyway (for my next visit to movies perhaps) I couldn't go to a normal gun shop, right? Couldn't risk having a background check run on me. But visiting a gun show with a wad of cash in my pocket would be a neat way to sidestep that pesky background check thing, right?.

If it's OK for the FBI to keep track of people who exercise their First Amendment rights to make radical undemocratic leftist noises, come out in favour of violence to protect animal rights, or to profess support for radical Islam (all cases in which I would consider surveillance reasonable), then why shouldn't it be OK for the FBI to keep track of people who may well be trying to avoid the normal background check when buying a gun?

I know people are a bit touchy about their second amendment rights, but defending loopholes that let you avoid background checks is ridiculous,

Comment Some Clinton-bashers are beyond reason (Score -1) 459


For some people (e.g. partisans) no fact, outcome, or thought is acceptable that doesn't trash Clinton.

There's no room for the outcome of an FBI investigation that concludes the technician in question was engaged in legitimate work.

There's no room for the fact that of all emails that passed through Mrs. Clinton's email server only a minority seem to have been classified as the time they were sent. See e.g. http://www.politifact.com/trut...

The FBI called the setup "extremely careless" but noted "Comey said the Justice Department shouldnâ(TM)t prosecute Clinton because there isnâ(TM)t enough evidence that she intentionally mishandled classified information. FBI investigators didnâ(TM)t find vast quantities of exposed classified material, and they also did not turn up evidence that Clinton intended to be disloyal to the United States or that she intended to obstruct justice."

Well ... no such nuance will ever be accepted in a political contest. That tells me how to interpret the snide and insinuating remarks by AC.

I don't blame the Trump campaign (and Fox News) for bashing away at this single point ... but let's at least see it for what it is: political ammunition for someone who doesn't have all that much leverage aside from insinuations and mud-slinging.

Mrs. Clinton is as competent as Dick Cheney. If we can put up with him, we can put up with Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Trump however is another kettle of fish altogether. Intellectually he's in the same league as Sarah Palin. And he's the kind of guy you cannot tell that a stove is hot. He has to put his finger on it before he believes it. That's fine for a businessman, but it's a terrible liability in a prospective president because in international politics you don't often get a second chance, so you'd best be extremely careful and self-controlled.

As I see it, that rules out Mr. Trump no mater who he's running against.

Comment Re:Questions to Hillary's fans (Score 2) 375


Anyone interested in answers or policies has made up his mind long ago.

The ones such debates are aimed at are those who don't have a clue about or care a fig for policy issues but will go with whoever comes off as the most dominant, competent, knowledgeable, self-assured.

One quote from a voter inanother presidential election years ago sticks in my mind: "I just turn off the sound and watch their body language".

That's a big part of what this debate is all about, Ok? And both candidates know it.

In the mean time, while confidently spouting nonsense does not damage a candidate (well, one candidate at least) obvious waffling, stuttering, embarrassment at being caught out in contradictions does.

So no candidate will ever cooperate with him or herself being painted into a corner. Confidently brushing off a question is just one of the skills a candidate must have. So, regardless of whether a candidate knows anything worth telling about a question, they must be able to brush it off if it makes them look stupid (for not knowing anything about it) or forces them to say something that makes them look unpopular or less than likable..

Sorry, but that's how the game works. Like it or not, that's how we (collectively) set it up.

Comment Goal-focused CEO (Score 1) 129

There's absolutely nothing "bad" about a CEO putting the interests of a company first. I think we can all agree about that.

If blame is to be dispensed, we can blame this CEO for doing a poor job of keeping the high-profile CIO under control and for being insufficiently aggressive and proactive on the publicity angle.

With hindsight she might have been better advised to leverage the good reputation of the CIO by stroking him into sponsoring an "innovative and systemic approach" towards security.

For example convince him to commission an AI system to look after security against modest cost. That would have staved off disaster on the PR front for the time being, it might have kept the reputable CIO in place, and it would have prevented any really disruptive measures.

That would have been the American Way ... because who knows ... maybe some nerd would have come up with an effective AI system. That would have been a great cost-saving, a potential new profit centre and a PR bonanza.

Comment See why China needs censorship? (Score 1) 141

For any doubters among you, this is why China really needs the untiring services of its patriotic censors.

With one message an unauthorised non-party member held up the entirety of the Chinese scientific leadership to ridicule! One can only suspect that his motives are thoroughly un-patriottic, aimed at fomenting dissent, perhaps even sedition, unrest, and a dispute of the Mandate of Heaven currently held by the Communist Party.

We must support China's censors and help them to monitor private communications more closely. Slip-throughs like this must be avoided!

Comment What I miss here ... (Score 0) 63

What I miss in this thread is are excited posts from Angry White Men or Libertarians telling us that this is Yet Another Example of "Da Gubbamint" stifling private anterprise and a ploy to promote Big Government.

What happend to those good folks?

Busy? Distracted? Overslept? Tired? Despirited? Think they're all right? Should we worry?

Comment Really? (Score 1) 541

And there was me thinking that Systemd enjoyed acceptance among many distro maintainers and end-users (me for example).

I'm not a kernel programmer and I don't particularly care about whether functionality is spread across binaries or integrated. I want it to "just work" on my desktop and server machine with minimum fuss. I have more than enough to do when the underlying system "just works" without being bogged down by sysadmin details. Ok?

Plus I'm persuaded by the automatic filesystem cleanup this wrapper does for USB sticks, which I happen to use on a regular basis.

As a matter of fact, I think that each and every commenter who howls about systemd being the work of the devil should sit a (modest) examination in kernel programming and a basic one in system administration. Those who fail to obtain at least 70% marks should have all their slashdot posts and comments on the subject wiped.

Call it a professional deformation: in my workplace I (and most of my colleagues) like to shut up people who don't know what the hick they're talking about. Our time is too precious to allow it to be wasted in that way. We're truly authoritarian and fascist in that respect, and we've obtained excellent results with, and broad support for, that policy for over 15 years.

Comment Goto: Knuth (Score 1) 674


I agree. Just look at Donald Knuth's algorithms and see how "while structured" they are. Well ... they aren't.

I thoroughly understand the need to keep vast wodges of code structured, modular, and (if possible) even while-structured. But when it comes to the core algorithms (numerical or non-numerical) buried deep in library routines, CSC dogmatism should (and usually does) go out of the window.

Comment It's not just the fact checking (Score 1) 330

The problem with news outlets isn't just the fact-checking. Although I agree with you it's important. I'd be willing to pay for stories carrying the label: "this story has been fact-checked and all reported statements either check out as true or have been marked as unconfirmed". Unfortunately It's also the selection and filtering of news.

Compare for example the stories on Fox news with those CNN for a day. I do that once in a while and I get the distinct impression they're reporting on different worlds.

Fox News for example reports everything that might possible be used to call global warming into question (and omits everything that supports it), and goes on and on and on about Mrs. Clinton's emails. And stubbornly try to pin blame on her for the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. They've put it firmly into their minds that it's their job to spin those affairs out, keep them alive (at least until the elections), and milk them for all they're worth. Fact-checking Mrs. Clinton seems to be limited to one main subject: emails. Fox News commenting on Mrs. Clinton seems to focus on emails. Did I mention that Fox News seems to be particularly interested in her emails?

When it comes to Mr. Trump, Fox News steadfastily refuses to fact-check or to criticise him (well ... I can understand that: look what he did to Megyn Kelly and how he boycotted Fox News). No critical comment on Mr. Trump's allegations that Mrs. Clinton "plans to abolish the second amendment". No comment on his claims of seeing "secret footage" of cash-for-prisoners deals. No comment on his allegations that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton "founded ISIS". Even less (if possible) critical review of Mr. Trump's allegations that Mr. Obama is a "weak president" as far as ISIS is concerned. No comment on his mean-spirited dissing of the Khan's. No comment on his brinkmanship-like ramblings about leaving Nato (great move now that Russia is re-emerging as an aggressive power and EU countries are getting worried) and leaving Japan to fend for itself.

Then CNN. Lots of different topics being covered every day. But each time Mr. Trump ventilates some blatant, glaring untruth or a snide insinuation it's reported on CNN. Is that bias? Could be. It would be mine if I had to report. Does Mrs. Clinton come off scot-free? I shouldn't think so. The development of her email story is duly reported.

As a matter of fact, continued exposure to Fox News can be harmful to one's mental health. See e.g. http://www.thebrainwashingofmy... .

For a victim in an advanced state of over-exposure, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

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