Category Archives: POLITICS

Political Rants, I’m kinda into it….

Warren is great! But the “HOW” REALLY matters!!

Warren/Sanders!!

How is it that NO ONE seems to be able to pinpoint HOW this got into the spending bill, yet it’s consequences are enormous..!?!?!?!

Is the system for tracking developmental and incremental changes and access to the final draft so convoluted and arcane that truly it’s not trackable? If so, are we SURE it’s not Russian spies…??!?!

C’MON, this is ludicrous!!!

WHO PUT THIS SHIT INTO THE BILL, AND HOW?!?!?!?

I think this conversation needs to have this part, where there is light being shed on the fact that the provision was added and what it means, BUT, there needs to be a through explanation of HOW it was inserted without debate and/or opposition, and the people who put it in need to be exposed, and all of their ties to ANY kind of beneficiaries of it need to be described in clear detail.

Yes this speech is important, but why aren’t we hearing about HOW THIS WAS DONE?!?!?!

Heya, right-wangers!!!?!?!?

Ok.

So for the last few days we’ve all been inundated with the (mostly) right-wanger cries of vindication of their views having to do with the “left-wing” media portraying what happened the Ferguson events as “inciting” and “hyperbole” and “infotainment” and “sensationalizing” etc etc etc…

Which is of course, all true.

(Don’t even get me started on what I think is happening with the media, tho I vehemently disagree with the right-wang on *what* is wrong with the media, I definitely DO agree that *something* damn sure is.)

But not on this.

Now we have a pretty stark situation where the state of Missouri has systematically and for 29 years allowed to let stand a definition of how, why, and what circumstances allow the police to use deadly force, that has been struck down by the Supreme Court, 29 years ago!!!

So…if this is true, (and it definitely appears to be), then in order to believe that this isn’t a systematic and deliberate strategy to allow the police to be more “lax” with their freedom to kill, we would have to believe that for 29 YEARS, every single Attorney General and every legislator and every governor and in fact every single person involved on the prosecutorial side of the entire Missouri Judicial System just kinda  MISSED THAT LITTLE ITEM!!!

For 29 years.

That’s an awful lot of people at least smart enough to cheat their way through law school and/or get a job that pays way more than MINE to miss something THAT FUCKING HUGE!!

It’s my contention that when something like that happens, it’s no “accident” or “slipup”. (It’s like Facebook and their “Privacy Settings”. When a company has billions of dollars and some of the best legal and computer tech minds available in the world on their staff, it’s no damn accident that you can’t make heads or tails of what the hell to do with all that garbage they throw at you to protect yourself on Facebook, it’s because they WANT it that way, it’s EXACTLY how they want it to be, incomprehensible.)

It’s also my contention that if that is INDEED that case, then there needs to be kinda a whole SHITLOAD OF JOB OPENINGS IN MISSOURI, COMING RIGHT UP!! That kind of FUCK-UPPERY is historic……and anyone involved in it should be replaced and fined…retroactively.

Now, one immediately has the thought that “well, at least the defense side of the equation here should have been able to effect some sort of change”, but remember, the ACCUSED in these cases would  be COPS, not your average person. Someone who is part of that same Judicial System, being charged by that system. Not a single entity in that “contest” has any benefit in the law being upgraded to “non-prehistoric” status.

A reasonable person might think that this is the reason why it was never changed.

I’m a reasonable person.

I don’t know the stats, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess that not only are there very few to no convictions of police for shooting people in Missouri, but that any convictions of cops for such a thing were when the shootee was white, and UN-poor. UN-poor being WAY more important than skin color.

So do you think that guy Darren KNEW that the policy they were operating under was 29 YEARS out of date, or that the grand jury knew that too….? Or not….?

Did you buy that AG’s little song and dance at the Grand Jury decision announcement?

Especially when they DID kinda pull a little weasel on it? –

“There are two clear possibilities here.  Either the St. Louis County District Attorney’s Office was aware of this conflict and deliberately attempted to give the Grand Jury a false impression of the law, only to slip in a unclear, unexplained “correction” at the last minute which would be far too weak to override the prevailing impression gained from weeks of testimony which had been reviewed through a jaundiced lens…

Or…

The St. Louis County and other DA’s throughout the state have been regularly misleading juries and grand juries with the mistaken and wrong impression that probable cause is not required for law enforcement before deliberate deadly force can be deployed legally because they just don’t know any better.”

Look at these links, and definitely watch the O’Donnell clip.

O'Donnell show working over Missouri state AG.
O’Donnell show working over Missouri state AG.

Right-Wangers….?

Gun Thoughts….

I’ve been writing a lot around the web about what I feel about Gun Control and why I think it’s not the answer to the problem of mass shootings, but I’ve never really said what I think SHOULD be done with gun regulation, and since I’ve been saying I would and I’m on a flight to NYC, here we go….

First of all, I want to reiterate that I don’t believe ANY kind of GUN control will change the situation we have in America regarding large violent public attacks, be they with a gun or any other type of carnage. We have a culture of solving problems with violence in this country that extends from the very highest offices in the land, (both public and private), to every street in every city, and as long as we as a country continue to believe in the idea that you can solve problems with violence, we will continue to have violence. Guns are one way this easy “trigger-fixing” of problems is done, and an admittedly efficient one, but they aren’t THE problem.

The reason I argue so hard for not focusing on the gun part of the problem is simple, I believe it to be a distraction from the real problem. The real problem is our culture of violent problem-solving, and the gun-control distraction is not only counter-productive in terms of actual progress, but it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem that will waste YEARS in the social experiment of finding out that we won’t “fix” the problem by regulating guns, and many innocents will continue to die as a result.

Having said that, there ARE some things that I feel should be done in terms of regulation……and the NRA folks ain’t gonna like this very much…..

*Most importantly – REGULATE THE USERS, NOT THE GUNS!!

If you want to own a gun, fine. But you’re going to have to learn how to use it, and you’re going to have to prove that you can do so safely and responsibly. That means you’re going to have to have a license, and take a written as well as in-the-field test to prove that you understand the mechanics and safe use of the gun to get it. I’m not sure that means that you need to be a competent shot, (I think there are many people that will NEVER be able to shoot anything but their own feet with any degree of accuracy, and they should still be able to have one and do that if they want), but it DOES mean that you should be able to demonstrate functional familiarity with the workings of your gun and that you understand how to handle it safely and responsibly. (Which would likely cure the feet-shooting problem as well.)

Guns and ammo would be at least as easy as it is now to get, but you would have to show that license to even begin buying a gun, and you would have to be cleared on the particular weapon that you are buying before you can take it home. Obviously that would mean some kind of training/test before you go to buy it, and yes that would introduce a lot of extra work, but it would also get rid of the impulse/rage buying of guns that leads to bad choices about resolving your problems, and would stop a LOT of these events.

This scenario would also be less about tracking the actual guns. Instead it would shift to the owner’s competency to own a gun, and be much less about the gun’s serial number and anyone knowing who owns the gun and where it is. I DO have a problem with the government having a list of where all the guns in the population are, and I feel strongly that such a list is completely against the point of the 2nd amendment, which I believe to mean that the people have the right and even responsibility to defend themselves against a government that goes bad on them…historically the people rising up is one of the few consistent ways that governments gone bad are kept in check. (I’m going to sidestep for now the obvious issue with the current technologies and our government’s clear hunger to use that technology to control the population in ways that have never been seen before in human history, that’s outside the scope of what I’m dealing with here today, however relevant.)

*Households with children under at least 16 (and maybe 18 is fine) would have to show that there is a functional gun safe/locker on the premises, and households with ANY member of the household having a history of mental illness would have to show that not only is there a gun locker that is not available to that member of the household, but also that biometric measures are used to ensure that person is not able to make the guns in the home function (an Apple Touch ID type-system could work very well here).

*Persons convicted of ANY type of violent felony would NOT be allowed to own guns.
Period. Demonstrably violent people don’t get to own guns. (Sorry, learn to use your mouth/brain instead. Asshole.)

*As far as which TYPE of guns should be regulated, this is a trickier subject that gets in to some pretty grey areas, but I agree that people don’t need full-auto weapons in everyday life, and I come down on the side of not allowing private citizens to have them. I recognize that this position is somewhat at odds with the idea of defending yourself against a violent government, but I think that problem is overcome by sheer numbers, tho I agree this is something that ultimately comes down to my opinion, and is pretty tough to quantify.

*I’m on the fence about sniper-type weapons, which I’m going to qualify as being guns that are typically used by military snipers, a good example being the .50 caliber rifles that are capable of being accurate over huge distances. I have a hard time with this because I very much understand why this type of shooting is so much fun and attractive as a hobby. The kind of concentration, practice, and the development of skills, equipment, and technique that is involved in becoming proficient with this kind of shooting is very much akin to something like golf, meditation, yoga, or martial arts. All of these disciplines/hobbies require a clearing of the mental “table” and an almost zen-like clarity of mind that is difficult to achieve, but necessary to effectively pursue the activity, and that very much applies to this type of shooting as well. It can be extremely relaxing and meditative, which I know is hard to understand if you haven’t done it, nevertheless it’s true.
That being said there’s some very serious things to consider with this kind of weapon, they are capable of tremendous mayhem and in competent (but crazy) hands are capable of creating truly horrific situations like we had with the DC snipers, and that really does need to be considered.
I guess I could be ok with a solution that involves limiting access to those kind of extreme sniper weapons except to competitive shooters. In fact that could be a way to qualify it; if you can work your way up through the ranks of competitive shooting to the point where you reach that level of proficiency and can prove it, at that point you would be allowed to buy one.

*No one needs any kind of mounted or turreted type of high caliber machine gun, nor do they need tanks or grenades or rocket launchers or ANY of that kind of foolishness, and if there comes a time that the population DOES need them to protect themselves from the government, then I guess there’s gonna have to be some raids on the National Guard armories, because stockpiling those kind of weapons for THAT rainy day is going to cause way more havoc and problems than it will ever solve.

I think this level and type of regulation would solve a great deal of the practical problems surrounding guns and their use in our country, and introduce reasonable barriers to people who really shouldn’t have guns, much as we do the same to who should and shouldn’t be allowed to drive, or operate critical types of machinery etc without the appropriate training and screening.

So you see that my way of regulating would actually be MUCH more stringent than what is currently in place. I hope this reinforces the point that I don’t have a problem with dealing with the issue of violence in our society, I just have a huge problem with attributing that violence to guns.

The phrase “Gun Violence” itself drives me up a wall, there’s NO SUCH THING AS GUN VIOLENCE, however there IS violence with a gun. And I don’t care about arguments that use the premise of how much damage a given tool can do or what it’s designed for, there is NO tool anywhere that ever chose how it was used, that choice and how it gets made is what we need to be looking at.

Dealing with the how and why a weapon gets used in the ways that we have in our society is the only way we will stop these events in our country, and I really don’t want to legislate guns more only to find it didn’t change a thing except to make a few people feel like they did SOMETHING, when in fact they accomplished nothing but wasting time and lives going after the wrong thing.

TRACKING – If you have a smartphone, look at this and gimme some info?

ATT Skeksi
ATT Skeksi

VERIZON AND ATT ARE TRACKING SOME PHONES by inserting a piece of code into EVERY web request your phone makes. And the places you GO can track it, TOO.

Really, they are.

(CLICK ON THE LINKS, THEY’RE REALLY INFORMATIVE!)

First, a terminology correction….this thing isn’t an “advertising header” (ATT), it’s a “Unique Identifier Header” (Verizon), in the sense that it’s tracking everything you do on the web, and providing that info to ANYONE able to capture the header (everyone), and allowing those sites to gather that data in one place and get a VERY clear view of you and what you do with your phone on the web.

After reading a great article about this that really kinda shocked me, I went to this site to see if I was one of the Lucky People That Get that Crappy ID TAG.

(Quick plug for an app that I use to aggregate news stories I’m interested in called “Zite“, this thing is the bomb for finding news I care about and I recommend it highly, tho it appears to cause SOME memory leaks on my phone according to an Apple Genius who plugged some little doo-dad into my phone at the store that told him all kinda cool stuff about my phone, and presumably me, since he didn’t want me to look over his shoulder and would NOT send me the report about MY phone, which I found really interesting, but that’s a whole other deal.)

I am being tracked, shocker.

However……

When I sent that link around to a bunch of people, I got back word that some of them were NOT being tracked –

what he said - not getting it.
what he said

THAT got me wondering why.

Why NOT track some people and track others?

Hmmm….well, one thing might be our political views and how vociferous about them we are. I’m extremely motivated and aggressive about my political views (drrrr), the other fellow not so much….so would that play into it?

And honestly, I don’t know. But one could easily imagine that in this time of technology and NSA spying and corporate governmental takeover and erosion of free speech via erasing of privacy, that such a thing would be a trivial decision to make by those whose interests lie NOT with the public interest, but with their very very extremely rich overlords, in order to find yet one more way to track/commodify/ensnare/intimidate/control/restrain us/me/you/everyone/anyone.

One thing I know, this is NOT OK with me, and I want it to stop ASAP. So I’m gonna get in touch with ATT and let them know I’ll be moving to another provider if that thing isn’t turned off and I mean NOW.

I’ll let you know how that goes….

(Another BTW, just TRY reaching out to ATT if you’re on their GoPhone plan, and not a month to month contract plan. You’ll immediately understand that they REALLY don’t like you not allowing them to rape you for every nickel and dime they can, if you DON’T know what I mean, click that link to find out how hard you’re getting screwed, it’s a doozy that most people still don’t seem to know. Here’s another.)

So I think it’s going to be very tough to even get someone on the phone about this issue, much more so to get it changed.

Another related note….ATT wants you to think that this thing is about identifying and quantifying you and your preferences for their advertisers, (which, if truly their ONLY motivation, is still WAY NOT OK with me. I’m not the least bit interested in subsidizing them making money off of me by PAYING to be followed around everywhere I go just so someone can SELL me shit I don’t want/need!! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!)

“Take advertising, for example. The whole basis of that industry is to mislead and manipulate, to create desire where none existed before. The concept of a rational consumer may have made sense a hundred years ago, but it was posited before the advent of two essential advertising tools — mass media communications and public relations psychology.”

My last point being, if they plan on using my habits/needs/wants/interests/friends/family/sexual stuff/etc etc, then they can PAY ME FOR THAT, and TELL ME THEY’RE DOING IT!! Maybe we’ll make a deal, much like Google does; you give me a free phone that you can make money off of me with by selling my very specific info, or YOU DON’T SELL OR TRACK ANYTHING ABOUT ME, and I’ll pay for the phone.

THAT seems fair, and would allow everyone their own choice in the matter.

But I digress, usually, and often…

Something else to mention here, and that is that ATT  is ALLOWING you to “opt-out” of this tracking.

Well…….kinda…

ATT NON optout Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.28.12 PM

As you can see, that’s a complete farce.

But this another kind of tracking, that’s what I’m talking about.
ATT has something they call ATT AdWorks Relevant Advertising, which is what they say this bit they stick into your http requests is for, and you can *allegedly* opt out of that, so let’s look at that…

ATT's NON OptOut
ATT’s NON OptOut

As you see, it appears that this is a way to OptOut of their tracking you on sites….BUT…bullet points #2 and #3 make it clear that’s not the case, and that it will NOT get rid of the code they insert into your http requests, #2 because all it’s saying is that you’ll still be getting ads from them, they just won’t be designed to fit you based on the profile they will develop of you, (and NOT delete, I’d bet a finger on it), and #3 because they’re making it clear that whatever deal you make with ATT will NOT be honored by anyone else, so the implication is that the info will still be there in the header,  and that the info will still be gathered by others, and further that ATT might not be using THEIR profile to send you tailored ads, but I’ll bet they’ll happily use OTHER company’s profile of you….to send you tailored ads….

ATT NON Opt Out
ATT NON Opt Out

Net effect, you still get tracked all over Kingdom Come by everyone, but you feel like you aren’t being tracked because you “opted out”.

Nice.

And yes, a lot of people are that stupid or busy that they won’t pay attention.

So, you’re likely being tracked, in new ways that you haven’t been told about and likely wouldn’t allow if you were, and you can’t do a thing about it, unless you do.

Go to this site and find out if you have the tracker, then please let me know if you do or don’t will you? I have a feeling there’s more to this bit of code than just advertising, whatcha think?

 

UPDATE 5:15 pm 10/29 – It appears that opting out has worked for me at least, there is now nothing in my UID field at the testing site. YIPPEE!!