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Hua Guofang

Your data, privacy, surveillance and Social Media

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There are a number of threads on this website that overlap a little, the one on the social credit system, the one on social media and discussion, @Mercerthread on surfing the net without giving up who you are and what makes you tick, etc. To me they all have one thing in common, the future of privacy, the individual and ownership. So I'm keen, if @misteravenis happy for me to do so, to aggregate some of that discussion here.

 

I read and listen to a lot of this stuff and I most often link my positions to material you can reference for more information - also, because I don't want to be just another voice yelling personal opinion into the voud, I intend to back my positions up with consideration and research. I know reading is not something a few of you are big on but I ancourage you to pay attention to this stuff or you and your kids will be fucked before you know it.

 

Also, there's a bunch of tinfoil hat wearers up in here and you're chasing your tails whilst missing the real plays that are actually going on around you. I'm hoping this will assist in giving you something real to worry about!

 

To kick off, here are a few articles that give you the idea of where I'm going with this article that raises issues of consent, privacy, knowledge of where your data goes and who sees it and how it may be sold on, security of that data and how it may be used in the future in ways we don't yet think about:

 

Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans

Search giant is amassing health records from Ascension facilities in 21 states; patients not yet informed

https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-s-secret-project-nightingale-gathers-personal-health-data-on-millions-of-americans-11573496790

 

By
Rob Copeland
Updated Nov. 11, 2019 4:27 pm ET
 

Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states.

 

The initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale,” appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients’ medical data. Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven’t yet struck deals of this scope.

 

Google began Project Nightingale in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, a Catholic chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities, with the data sharing accelerating since summer, according to internal documents.

The data involved in the initiative encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.

 

Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents.

 

In a news release issued after The Wall Street Journal reported on Project Nightingale on Monday, the companies said the initiative is compliant with federal health law and includes robust protections for patient data.

 

Some Ascension employees have raised questions about the way the data is being collected and shared, both from a technological and ethical perspective, according to the people familiar with the project. But privacy experts said it appeared to be permissible under federal law. That law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, generally allows hospitals to share data with business partners without telling patients, as long as the information is used “only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions.”

 

Google in this case is using the data in part to design new software, underpinned by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care. Staffers across Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent, have access to the patient information, internal documents show, including some employees of Google Brain, a research science division credited with some of the company’s biggest breakthroughs.

 

Google Cloud President Tariq Shaukat said the company’s goal for health care is centered on “ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives.”

 

Eduardo Conrado, an executive vice president at Ascension, said: “As the health-care environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and health-care providers.”

 

Google and nonprofit Ascension have parallel financial motives. Google has assigned dozens of engineers to Project Nightingale so far without charging for the work because it hopes to use the framework to sell similar products to other health systems. Its end goal is to create an omnibus search tool to aggregate disparate patient data and host it all in one place, documents show.

 

The project is being developed under Google’s cloud division, which trails rivals like Amazon and Microsoft in market share. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has said repeatedly this year that finding new areas of growth for cloud is a priority.

 

Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S., aims in part to improve patient care. It also hopes to mine data to identify additional tests that could be necessary or other ways in which the system could generate more revenue from patients, documents show.

 

Ascension is also eager to have a system that is faster than its existing decentralized electronic record-keeping.

 

Google, like many of its Silicon Valley peers, has at times drawn criticism for not doing enough to protect user privacy. Its YouTube unit agreed in September to pay $170 million in fines and change its practices in response to complaints that it illegally collected data on children to sell ads. YouTube neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

 

Last year, the Journal reported that Google opted not to disclose to users a flaw that exposed hundreds of thousands of birth dates, contact information and other personal data of subscribers in its now-defunct social-networking website Google Plus, in part because of fears that the incident could trigger regulatory scrutiny. Google said at the time it went beyond legal requirements in determining not to inform users.

 

Regulators are now scrutinizing the company on a number of fronts. Federal and state investigators over the summer made public separate antitrust inquiries into Google. The federal probe is examining whether Google’s existing trove of data amassed from its flagship search engine, home speakers, free email service and numerous other arms give the company an unfair advantage over competitors, people familiar with the matter said.

 

Google has said its products increase consumer choice and that it is committed to cooperating with the inquiries. This year, Mr. Pichai has touted new privacy protections for Google’s billions of users.

 

The company made public this month a $2.1 billion deal for wearable fitness maker Fitbit Inc., which makes watches and bracelets that track health information like a person’s heart rate. Politicians of both parties quickly criticized the deal; Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.), chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, warned that the Fitbit deal would give Google “deep insights into Americans’ most sensitive information.”

 

The companies said they would be transparent about any Fitbit data they collect.

 

Google appears to be sharing information within Project Nightingale more broadly than in its other forays into health-care data. In September, Google announced a 10-year deal with the Mayo Clinic to store the hospital system’s genetic, medical and financial records. Mayo officials said at the time that any data used to develop new software would be stripped of any information that could identify individual patients before it is shared with the tech giant.

 

Google was founded with the goal of organizing the world’s information, and health has been a fascination of its top executives from the early days. Google Health, a fledgling effort to digitize existing medical records, was shut down in 2011 after three years of limited adoption. Alphabet has since poured millions of dollars into its under-the-radar Calico and Verily divisions, which aim to combat aging and manage disease, respectively.

 

Google co-founder Larry Page, in a 2014 interview, suggested that patients worried about the privacy of their medical records were too cautious. Mr. Page said: “We’re not really thinking about the tremendous good that can come from people sharing information with the right people in the right ways.”

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This article is not about Trump and is not about liberals versus conservatives.

 

This is about how technology can be targeted to the most receptive audiences, the deeply ingrained biases that we have (I bet if you did one that generated shock and outrage for so-called "PC" issues you'd fool more of the liberal-esque folk than conservative) and how the way the internet has shifted the way we accept truth and information.

 

It's also about how skepticism and critical thinking will have to become a bedrock of education from an early age (as it always should have been).

 

 

 

 

 

Conservatives most likely to be duped by scary new AI Text Generator released by Salesforce.

Text generated by Artificial Intelligence can now be used to replicate a specific speaker's style of writing. This technology represents great risk to those who are unaware of it's potential for manipulation and fake news generation.

 

https://lawsuit.org/robotrump-an-ai-trump-experiment/

 

 

 

So, that’s why I’ve been saying all along that, yes, I’d love to win. But, boy, do these guys want me to. These guys, they don’t talk about it. They say, “Donald Trump, please, please run.” Because they’ll take away your tax cuts, because they’ll take away your regulation cuts. They’ll take them away. And, frankly, really, really bad things will happen with our country. Our country would go down very quickly. Very quickly, very, very rapidly. The Democrats want to turn back the clock, which is, essentially, what they’ve done. They’ve turned back. We’ve gone much further left than anybody thought possible.

 

The above paragraph was written by an artificial intelligence. We call him “RoboTrump.”

Using this AI, it’s possible to generate an unlimited amount of convincing fake text. Literally millions of lines of text per hour can be generated.

What’s even scarier? Almost no one can tell it’s fake AI-generated text.

We asked 1,000 people to evaluate 20 paragraphs on 10 different political topics. Ten of the paragraphs were written by RoboTrump, and 10 were text from real Trump speeches.

 

 

On average, respondents guessed correctly only 40% of the time, or 10% worse than blindly guessing. This is proof of the massive danger presented by this new technology.

 

 

Thankfully, for most of our respondents, realizing their error sparked a deep change in their opinion on the dangers of AI-generated text. To understand their change in perspective, we asked them two questions. One before taking our quiz and one after.

  • How concerned are you that fake text, written by artificial intelligence, will be used to influence the 2020 election? (Asked before respondents took the quiz)
  • Half of the previous passages you read were written by an artificial intelligence trained on President Trump’s speeches. Given this, how concerned are you that fake text written by artificial intelligence will be used to influence the 2020 election? (Asked after the respondents took the quiz)

As you can see in the Sankey diagram below, many respondents changed their mind, moving from less concerned to significantly more concerned.

  • After taking the quiz, 432 of the 1,000 respondents (43%) said they were more concerned about the implications of AI-generated text on the 2020 election than prior to taking the quiz.
  • Only 116 of the 1,000 respondents (12%) said they were less concerned about the implications of AI-generated text on the 2020 election than before taking the quiz.

 

 

Did you do poorly? Don’t feel too bad. Remember, on average, our 1,000 respondents did worse than chance, guessing correctly only about 40% of the time. The chart below shows the distribution of correct/incorrect guesses for each category of text, as well as respondents’ overall “score.” To clarify, the survey respondents were quizzed on 20 samples, one real and one AI generated across 10 topical categories: Obamacare, Fake News, Hillary Clinton, Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats, The Economy, Terrorism, North Korea, Putin, The Wall.

 

image.thumb.png.49344871b0a937ed62c018dc621339f2.png

 

WTF – How Can an AI Possibly Write This Well?

So, what’s going on here? Has AI really gotten *that* good at generating realistic text, or does Trump speak in such unintelligible gibberish that he’s extremely easy to mimic?

The truth is likely a little bit of both. While Trump’s rambling style probably makes differentiating between real and fake more difficult than it would be for a more eloquent and talented speaker, today’s new natural language generation AI models have reached a tipping point in their ability to generate fake, real-sounding text.

In September, Salesforce released “CTRL,” a new, state-of-the-art natural language model. This model is larger (likely better), than the full-size GPT-2 model, which Elon Musk’s OpenAI said was “too dangerous to publicly release because of its potential for abuse.”

Then, a few weeks ago, the CTRL model code was updated to allow anyone to “fine-tune” the model. This enabled the ability to train the model on text written by an individual person, which the model could then mimic incredibly well when generating its own made-up text.

Some Populations Are More Vulnerable to Manipulation

Given that RoboTrump could crank out literally millions to billions of words per day, you can imagine how this technology could be used to manipulate opinion. Bots leveraging this tech could spam blogs, social media posts, etc. The volume of realistically generated text in Trump’s (or anyone else’s) style will enable massive disinformation campaigns of staggering volume and reach.

Digging deeper, we were curious if there were demographic or psychographic differences in the accuracy of the survey respondents we had take our quiz. Scarily, there were.

theoutput-01.png

Trump supporters were also more likely to think that AI-generated text was real, showing less overall skepticism than those unsupportive of Trump.

theoutput-03.png

Diving Deeper

Education also appeared to play a role in how believable respondents found the AI-generated text. Here, we see somewhat of a bi-modal distribution, with the least educated being the least skeptical (thinking most everything was real). There also seemed to be a slightly lower level of skepticism among the most educated as well (perhaps they overestimated their ability to differentiate).

theoutput-04.png

Similarly, we see that age also has an impact, with younger folks being less skeptical overall (thinking most everything was real). This was a somewhat counter-intuitive result, since you might think younger people would be more likely to know about emerging AI tech. Still, the result stands, showing even tech-savvy younger people were highly susceptible.

theoutput-05.png

Methodology

A survey and quiz were conducted with 1,000 respondents, where they were tested on their ability to correctly identify AI-generated text (RoboTrump) versus real text (from the real President Trump). Respondents were surveyed on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Platform. Liberal or Conservative affiliation was based on self report within the categories given as was Trump approval.

The text corpus of real Trump text can be found here. This corpus was used to fine-tune the Salesforce CTRL model, which was then used to generate the fake Trump text.

Quiz respondents were shown each sample of text (both real and fake) in randomized order. They were not shown in a head-to-head fashion.

Bonus*: RoboTrump on Why He Will Win in 2020

I am going to win the 2020 election by a landslide, and we are not even there yet. We have just started. And you know what? We’re doing great. But we’re getting there. You know, they say that if Trump doesn’t run, it’s over. It’s over, folks. If he runs, they’re never gonna beat him. They’re never gonna – he’s got such great support. He’s done an incredible job for us. So we’ll see what happens, but I’m telling you, this is one of those things.

This could be like 1980, where Ronald Reagan won it all. It was so close. He came in second. They said he had no chance. Then they said, “Oh, let’s give him another shot.” That didn’t work out too well. In fact, when I ran against John McCain four years ago, people were saying, “What happened to McCain?” Well, I’ll tell you. When I first started, nobody knew who Donald Trump was. Nobody knew. Now, everybody knows him, right? Everybody knows. That’s pretty good. Pretty good, actually. A lot better than being second place. Right? A lot.

So, that’s why I’ve been saying all along that, yes, I’d love to win. But, boy, do these guys want me to. These guys, they don’t talk about it. They say, “Donald Trump, please, please run.” Because they’ll take away your tax cuts, because they’ll take away your regulation cuts. They’ll take them away. And, frankly, really, really bad things will happen with our country. Our country would go down very quickly. Very quickly, very, very rapidly. The Democrats want to turn back the clock, which is, essentially, what they’ve done. They’ve turned back. We’ve gone much further left than anybody thought possible. And we’ve come way back, actually, since November 8. Remember that? Eight months ago. Remember? How many days ago did that happen? Oh, eight months. Since Election Day, we’ve added nearly half a million manufacturing jobs. Remember, during my campaign, I used to say, “You need steel mills, or you’re not going to make anything,” right? Now I say, “We need plants open up all over the place.” Plants aren’t opening up. Steel isn’t opening. Nucor, General Electric, Whirlpool – companies are moving jobs from other countries. Companies are coming into our country, bringing thousands upon thousands. Chrysler is now building Jeeps again. Big difference. Jeep is making big money. Chrysler’s brand-new plant in Michigan opened two weeks ago. Just opened. Two weeks. Made in America means jobs, jobs, jobs. And remember this: Every single Republican has signed legislation to reduce job-killing regulations, including myself.

Many Republicans have. Many, many. And every Democrat running on their platform wants more regulation, higher taxes, less freedom, and fewer American jobs … More regulation. Higher taxes. Less freedom. What does that mean? Fewer jobs. For years, you’ve heard politicians promise economic growth through massive government spending. You’ve seen how well that worked out. Politicians promised prosperity through massive increases in government. Today, Washington spends almost as much, maybe more, per capita than any place else anywhere on Earth. Think of that. Almost twice as much. Yet Americans get far less. Why? Why should we accept lower standards of living while receiving vastly greater benefits at virtually nothing? As long as we continue down this path, we can expect nothing short of spectacular failure. Nothing short. Not only will America’s economy fail – it’ll fail. It’ll collapse under its own weight.

You’ll lose everything. Your 401(k) plans, your pensions, everything; you’ll have nothing. You’re going to end up losing everything, believe me. No growth. Lower wages. Job loss. Economic stagnation. All gone. There’s nothing left. Nothing. There won’t be. And then there’s always the possibility of war. War brings instability. Chaos follows conflict. Conflict invites violence. Violence begets violence and, ultimately, total destruction. Wars sap resources, drain wealth, and destroy lives. Wars, however, bring opportunity. Opportunity leads to opportunity, and opportunity creates wealth. Opportunities lead to prosperity. Prosperity produces peace. Peace restores freedom and dignity to people. People become proud again, pride comes roaring back, confidence returns, optimism soars, dreams return, hope springs, and families flourish. Optimism springs eternal thanks to the miracle drug known as free trade. Free trade gives us the greatest market economies in history. Greatest in the history of the world. Largest economies. Biggest markets. Most competitive markets anywhere. And yet, despite this, millions still live paycheck to paycheck. Millions struggle day after day, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation.

Poverty traps entire communities, scars families, cripples individuals, and wastes precious human potential. Yet, poverty also represents progress. Progress toward a brighter tomorrow. Progress, indeed. Progress. One person struggling today may someday help lift up whole communities and nations. One person, today, helps build tomorrow’s economy. One person, right now, makes today’s world richer and stronger. One person, today, strengthens our union and enriches our communities. One person, right here, right now, contributes positively to our society and our culture. One person, right here today, plays a vital role in shaping the course of history, shapes the destiny of nations, and determines whether nations remain free, sovereign, independent, prosperous, safe, secure, united, strong, proud, free. Each of us, each of us, bears responsibility for ensuring that tomorrow becomes today. To achieve prosperity, justice, security, and peace, we must embrace trade, work, safety, family, faith, community, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, and friends.

Together, we share common hopes and aspirations. Together, we stand strong enough to defend ourselves and protect our citizens. Together, we celebrate our heritage together. Together, we care for our neighbors, and together, we honor God. Together, we strive for justice and respect for our fellow citizens and for our laws. Together, we face challenges and triumphs worthy of the best traditions of America. Together, we forge ahead to create a future bright beyond compare. Together, we shape destiny. Together, we choose greatness. Together, we form lasting bonds. Together, we rise above the failures of yesterday. Together, we defy the cynics and doubters and critics and haters and bullies. Together, we prove the pundits wrong. Together, we show the skeptics right. Together, we demonstrate that strength and courage and grit, and we prove again and again that America stands for something. Thank you. God bless you.

 

*Written by RoboTrump, a version of Salesforce’s “CTRL” transformer model, fine-tuned on Trump’s speeches

 

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That is massively disconcerting. 

 

My fear of ai  and agi matches the exponential curve with which it is developed. 

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@Fist 666Yep, each time I have engagements with folk working in these areas I feel like just shutting it all down and hiding in a cave. Technology and its applications are so far in advance of general awareness that I often feel overwhelmed and like there is nothing I can do to reduce my vulnerability. You can't defend against attacks if you don't know they are happening.

 

 

 

 

The issue has the same fear factor. Firstly, that there are such 'influencers' out there in society, that they can be easily impersonated by their tendency to over-share, that states like China, Russia, Iran, etc. are committing resources to strategies like this because they are successful and if they can build systems that can detect forgeries you'd expect that generative adversarial networks can be developed to defeat the detectors.

 

For the average person, I reckon the lesson is there regards to over-sharing on social media.

 

US Vets Targeted by Foreign Actors Aiming to Sway Elections, Experts Tell Congress

  •  
 

Actors from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and elsewhere gain access to online forums by impersonating vets they find online

U.S. veterans have for years been targeted by overseas actors aiming to sway political opinion, extract information, and, sometimes, run petty scams, experts from the veterans and tech communities told lawmakers on Wednesday.

 

Those actors — from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and elsewhere — often gain access to Facebook groups and other online forums by impersonating veterans they find online, Kristofer Goldsmith, chief investigator and associate director of policy and government affairs at the Vietnam Veterans of America, told the House Committee of Veterans Affairs.

 

“Since beginning our investigation, we’ve found and exposed election interference related to the 2020 presidential race by these foreign entities,” Goldsmith said. “These criminals frequently steal veterans’ deployment photos and use them to create online social media profiles. They then use those imposter profiles to enter online groups which are made for grieving Gold Star families.”

 

Goldsmith cited a Facebook group called “Vets for Trump,” run by a pair of Macedonian conmen currently under FBI investigation for ties to the Russian government. In August, when the Macedonian government seized control of the page , it had “110,000 Facebook followers, and while publishing vile racist, xenophobic, and islamophobic content, increased their following to around 131,000 followers. In this time, they posted disinformation regarding voter eligibility, attacked Democratic presidential candidates, and promoted the candidacy of President Donald Trump,” he said.

 

Vlad Barash, science director at Graphika, a network analysis startup that looks at disinformation, testified, “These operations are surgically precise, targeting influential people and organizations in the veteran community. Veterans-focused publications have unwittingly published articles authored by false personas created by foreign intelligence services.”

 

Barash said several foreign governments had been targeting the U.S. veterans community: most prominently Russia and Iran, but also China and Saudi Arabia, the latter a longtime U.S. security partner.

 

“These operations show no signs of stopping,” he said, citing still-rising activity by Russia’s Internet Research Agency since 2016.

 

Representatives from Facebook and Twitter testified about recent efforts to crack down on scammers who target veterans. Kevin Kane, public policy manager at Twitter, said his company intends to solicit public feedback as it builds a policy to address synthetic and manipulated media.  “We believe that we need to consider how synthetic media is shared on Twitter in potentially damaging contexts. We also want to listen and consider a variety of perspectives in our policy development process, and we want to be transparent about our approach and values,” Kane said.

 

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Facebook, said his company is trying to train software to better detect the tricks that imposters use to fake accounts based on real people. But the efforts are now very limited. “If, during this process, we detect that an account may be impersonating such an individual, we flag it for human review,” Gleicher said. “We are still testing these processes, but they have helped us more quickly detect the creation of impostor accounts and remove them shortly after their creation, often before people even see them.”

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The only solution is to reduce the scope of government. I mean if we didn't run to daddy (gov) for stupid shit like which bathrooms were appropriate for what people,  or how to redistribute the 30% of income that's confiscated we'd be forced to vote with our voluntary spending, and actions. Lessening the reach of elected officials reduces the opportunities for corruption, thus inviting less corrupt people into positions of power. We want less instances for politicians to decide how to spend the massive wealth confiscated, regardless of if they're caught or not, they're redirecting it into their own, or their sponsors pockets when the opportunities present themselves.

 

Circling back to this political misinformation topic, there's no rules you can slap on top of the pre-existing rules in place, that will fix what we're experiencing now with AI and media manipulation. Where this concern is heading is the agonizingly slow death of free speech, free press. I already see a desire for only "approved" sources to be allowed a platform. Never mind if those "approved sources" get caught burying stories about the rich/powerful pedo rings exploiting teenage girls, or manipulating the masses into a senseless war. Especially when those same sources immediately slap the "conspiracy theorist" label on anyone going against the government/wealth sponsored bullshit message.

 

It's to the point where people think Obama was some sort of saint, when he holds the record for the number of muslim children blown up via flying robot, and the number of whistleblowers prosecuted the the fullest extent. Meanwhile Trump tries to pull troops and the Orange man bad. They're both murderous turds, proven by the fact they're currently torturing Assange to death via proxy in England right now not even deciding what to charge him with because he's broken zero laws. Regardless of your personal opinion on him, his only crime was excellent investigative journalism exposing the massive misinformation scheme the powers that be are conducting. Covering up the death tolls, and effects of defensive/aggressive warfare and invasions. You're already being manipulated, and you always have been to more of an extent than you're willing to admit before AI became just another tool to use for these purposes.

 

I know some of you like to jerk yourselves off, and feel super smart by regurgitating details of current events which is cool and all. It's just vexing to me nobody in here seems to have, or even bothers to offer a solutions/personal opinions for anything we discuss in here in favor of sounding smart. It's just the same copout over and over, chiming in with the same NPC counterarguments you've been told to, arguing against people who actually have an opinion on a topic. Here's a fact none of you geniuses will never allow yourselves to admit: The only solution to ending government corruption/political misinformation is reducing the scope of government power, period. Increasing the motives for this behavior by granting even more power is the most retarded/common solution we all seem to jump towards.

 

Edited by Mercer
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Yeah, ok.

 

You see this as me jerking off and trying to look smart. I enjoy discussion about these issues but I am not an expert. So, I post stuff from people who are experts and comment on that.

 

You give your own opinion, you believe you are the expert yourself. Doesn't that mean it's actually you who is jerking off and acting smart?

 

 

Anyway, I'm gonna leave your emotion aside and try and discuss some points you raise because I despair that these conversations on 12OZ always end up so adversarial. We don't have to get angry when we disagree.

 

I agree with you that govt regulation and growth of govt should never be the first answer. I don't think that it should ever be immediately ruled out as that is putting the answer before the question. Yes, govt can be corrupt but so can business and coporations, etc. etc. For me, it's not about trashing govt because it isn't perfect and is susceptible to failure because that is true of everything around us - it feels like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. I'm more inclined to try and improve what we have than destroy it because it has problems.

 

Regards the misinformation issue, agree that regulation is not a good response at all. Education and awareness is most definitely the only way to combat it. And you're right, this is not a new challenge, it's been around since day dot. Propaganda has been used by invaders and colonisers as far back as we can see and even marketing and advertising is a form of social engineering. We teach children to understand what they see on TV isn't always real - when I was young my patents always used to say don't always believe what you read. the #1 rule I was taught doing my degrees was critical thinking. Always be critical of the information you receive. People who haven't studied sociology, IR, anthropology, history, etc. often seem to think that you go to university to learn what to think. It's actually the exact opposite, you learn to be critical of everything you hear and ask why, how, what, who, etc. You also try to disprove your position, not actively convince others of it (which is, unfortunately the way of most discussions on this website, not enough questions and too many rants).

 

On Obama and Trump, I also agree. Obama was charming and did a number of good things. But people want to forget the drome wars and what he did with whistle blowers. One thing I will disagree with you on is Trump and pulling soldiers out of the 'forever wars'. He has not done that. He pulled them out from supporting the Kurds but he redirected them to guard the oil, in some one else's country. The hit on ABA had to be rushed forward because Trump's pullout from northern Syria jeopardised the operation. This is not to be "orange man bad" - you should be able to critique some one's actions without being immediately labelled as attacking that person.

 

On Assange, he's not really a journalist, he's a leaker. And that has it's place, I supported what he did around the Iraq war and a lot of other whistleblowing but I do not agree with a lot of the other information that was leaked that has resulted in people getting hurt - I know he says that no one has been hurt but that has been proven untrue. I personally know one guy that was dragged out into the street and bashed in Istanbul because he was reporting on Turkish foreign affairs. He was a journalist, he was nothing else but Assange leaked his conversations with the Foreign Minister, which the Foreign Minister then had to act like they were lies to cover his own ass and my mate was bashed in the street, hospitalised for weeks and can now never return to his home town. Assange has definitely hurt people because he is careless with his leaks. I'd also keep an eye on the Roger Stone trial if you have an interest in Assange. Wikileaks was an top notch idea but I think Assange corrupted it, which is why a lot of the original staff left.

 

 

The vast amount of those positions have come about from listening to subject matter experts and professionals from relevant fields. Happy to post up relevant research and analysis if anyone is interested in looking at it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hua Guofang said:

Yes, govt can be corrupt but so can business and coporations, etc. etc.

No business and corporations can only take part in corruption if government has power, but without government they cannot. It's only when government enters the picture that the ability to corrupt takes place because for it to happen, there has to be someone to be corrupted. Only someone with power can be corrupted.

 

Without a government to lobby, an official to bribe, a campaign to help finance for a favor, a law, or regulation to have put in place in ones favor there can be no official corruption because there's no government to be corrupt. That's not to say a corporation is incapable of being unfair, committing fraud, and all sorts of other crimes for that matter, but a government/state or other type of entity with the monopoly on force/violence is needed for a wealthy person, or corporation to bribe, or trade favors with first. A government official can be corrupted even if businesses, wealthy people, and corporations are officially illegal as seen in communist countries.

 

Therefore the less power we give government, the less opportunities exist that would allow for corruption. If the government isn't allowed to regulate a particular economic sector that an individual, or group of individuals is acting within (for example surfboard manufacturing) there's no way a government can be used to favor one business, individual, or group over another n that sector (for example requiring surfboards be approved). 

 

4 hours ago, Hua Guofang said:

On Assange, he's not really a journalist, he's a leaker. And that has it's place, I supported what he did around the Iraq war and a lot of other whistleblowing but I do not agree with a lot of the other information that was leaked that has resulted in people getting hurt - I know he says that no one has been hurt but that has been proven untrue.

He had no obligation to not report on what''s taking place during a war, even if the release of said information has real life consequences. While I agree manning (who is also a hero anyway IMO) took a voluntary oath to secrecy, a journalist doesn't take the same oath, it's sort of the opposite with them. America's sovereignty over who's allowed to say what stops with it's own citizens, and within it's own borders. It's the people that Assange has exposed as liars through his work who are actually putting people in harms way, by initiating these wars/crimes to begin with.

 

If you don't agree with that your contrary opinion is unable to be applied with logical consistency. Who decides what journalists can investigate and report on, and what facts can be exposed? Do all governments have the power to determine what's reported on, even by non-citizens in foreign countries somehow? Where is the line drawn because the only thing I see being crossed is the line between freedom of the press, and totalitarianism.

 

I say Free Assange, he's no saint, but he's also not a criminal for reporting shit they'd rather keep quiet.

Edited by Mercer
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But there's a difference to reporting on something and investigations to simply leaking secret information in a way that causes innocent people to be harmed. Journalists constantly withhold information that can cause harm to innocent people, Assange didn't do that, he just dumped documents. Wikileaks is a clearing house for information that needs to see the light of day. I don't feel that everything he leaked needed to see the light of day. There was a lot of it that had little to no public interest other than entertainment (the diplomatic cables, the Stratfor leak, etc etc.) and some of that resulted in people getting hurt and disappearing.

 

But, in saying that, I'm not addressing the black letter legal questions about the charges he's being brought up on. I agree that there is some super-problematic issues there in regards to freedom of the press. In Australia, we have some big problems of the Govt constraining the press and raiding journo's houses for info related to national security. The big problem here is that the govt categorises anything controversial or problematic - like potential war crimes - as national security so they can cover it up with secrecy.

 

My opinion of Assange isn't based on the laws he's alleged to have breached but his activities as a whole. I'm glad he and Manning leaked the stuff about civilians being killed in Iraq but I think much of the other stuff he's leaked was for publicity and spurious reasons and innocent people have been hurt because of his actions. He's guilty of what he accuses others of doing

.

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This is what I'm referring to regards Australia - others were also raided for leaking info that one of Australia's most decorated soldiers is being investigated for war crimes/murder in Afghanistan (side note, I used to serve with the dude years ago and he seemed normal then, but that was a lifetime ago)

 

 

Documents name ex-intelligence officer as alleged source of leak to Smethurst

Fergus Hunter
By Fergus Hunter
November 14, 2019 — 6.25pm
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/documents-name-ex-intelligence-officer-as-alleged-source-of-leak-to-smethurst-20191114-p53aq5.html
 
 

 

The government is pursuing former intelligence official Cameron Gill as the alleged source for a story by News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst which revealed a secret proposal to expand the powers of electronic intelligence agency the Australian Signals Directorate.

 

Court documents confirm authorities believe Mr Gill leaked classified information to Smethurst for the April 2018 story which triggered an investigation and an Australian Federal Police raid on the journalist's home earlier this year. Police also executed a warrant at Mr Gill's house in September but have previously refused to confirm the reasons for the raid.

News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, whose home was raided by federal police.

News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, whose home was raided by federal police. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Smethurst, who is currently mounting a challenge in the High Court to prevent police from using the material seized from her home, has never identified her source. In a statement on Thursday, a spokesman for News Corp said: "Annika has never revealed her source publicly, privately, nor to her employer and we are not going to ask her."

 

The warrant for the raid on Gill's house, contained in documents filed to the court, states: "Between 1 February 2018 and 29 April 2018, Cameron Jon Gill being a staff member of the Australian Signals Directorate communicated Australian Signals Directorate information to Annika Claire Smethurst contrary to section 40 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001."

 

The warrant authorises police to access devices, documents and communications relating to Smethurst, her employer, ASD and the Department of Home Affairs.

 

The two warrants used against Smethurst also name Mr Gill.

 

In August, Michael Pezzullo, the secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, indicated police were "closing in" on the suspected leaker. Mr Pezzullo lashed out at the disclosure as "completely unacceptable" and said the person should go to jail.

 

The actions against Smethurst – along with raids at the ABC's Sydney headquarters as part of a separate leak investigation – have sparked concerns about creeping threats to press freedom in Australia. The "Australia's Right to Know" coalition of media organisations has since launched a national campaign for changes to the law to restrict government secrecy and protect journalists and whistleblowers.

 

News Corp Australia corporate affairs director Campbell Reid has warned the police raids were "not intended to intimidate journalists but the people who have the courage to talk to journalists".

 

Police have refused to rule out seeking charges against Smethurst. The prosecution would have to be approved by Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has said he is "seriously disinclined" to do so.

 

Smethurst's challenge against the warrant was heard by the full bench of the High Court in Canberra this week, with her lawyers seeking to have the evidence destroyed or prevent investigators from using it.

 

Stephen Lloyd SC, acting for Smethurst, argues the warrant for the search was invalid and the raid was therefore trespassing, with police unlawfully accessing and copying content from her phone. They contend the appropriate remedy for the actions is destruction of the evidence or preventing investigators from accessing it.

 

Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC defended the warrant as adequate. He argued that even if the court found it to be invalid, the evidence collected during the search should not be destroyed or kept from investigators, pending consideration in any criminal proceedings.

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3 minutes ago, Hua Guofang said:

 innocent people to be harmed.

This statement gives away the emotional nature of your perspective on this, and a clear failure in logical consistency. If someone is engaged in fighting in a war, or conducting espionage "innocence" is can only be determined by what side of the conflict you ask. In context to this situation, a consideration for innocence is simply inconsistent. There's only the facts that people may have been harmed that are relevant. These people are harmed during these conflicts mainly because of the conflict itself if we're determining innocence.

 

In my opinion the reporters, and the consequences of their reporting are protected here legally, and damn sure don't apply to foreign press. The 1st Amendment applies, in that it allows people to express themselves through publication AKA freedom of press.

 

3 minutes ago, Hua Guofang said:

Journalists constantly withhold information that can cause harm to innocent people,

Because they chose to voluntarily, or supported their own governments efforts, but nobody is legally obligated to do so because it breaks the law governing where government is allowed to encroach. The deaths of actual innocent people, and more can be a direct consequence to facts being published, even if a foreign government deems those facts state secrets. The spreading of facts in general tend to have many negative, and positive consequences in general.

 

Many otherwise unknown facts have been published in the press that had heavier real life consequences than what Assange has shared, legally. Again, not saying what he did was right or wrong here specifically. I'm just saying his so called type of Journalism (leaking), is journalism nonetheless. He's crossed no legal line, it's the government actors that are responsible for keeping state secrets, but it isn't the rest of the worlds responsibility, especially the foreign press's.

 

3 minutes ago, Hua Guofang said:

I don't feel that everything he leaked needed to see the light of day.

Feelings can often be misleading.

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Yeah, I don't get into the legalities of what Assange did because I don't know enough about the law. I agree that there are serious questions that have to be asked about what he's being charged with and why he's being extradited. But again, I'm way out of my depth on that stuff and can't really have an opinion because I just don't know enough.

 

Regards to innocent people, I'm not referring to anything in combat zones. I'm referring to other journos who were just doing their jobs, or people who were talking to journos that were then bashed or disappeared by govts after they dumped the cables, Stratfor emails and other similar stuff. They're people who were hurt as a result of Assange's carelessness. The leaks could have been made with enough care that these people didn't get hurt.

 

Is leaking journalism? Interesting question. Not sure on the answer but they're definitely just as important as each other, so any distinction is probably moot anyway.

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42 minutes ago, Hua Guofang said:

In Australia, we have some big problems of the Govt constraining the press and raiding journo's houses for info related to national security. The big problem here is that the govt categorises anything controversial or problematic - like potential war crimes - as national security so they can cover it up with secrecy.

Yes, I've read of this it's kind of a big deal in liberty circles and almost as Orwellian as the asylum seekers treatment. It' the same logically inconsistent "their team bad, mine good at all costs even freedom" attitude that that thinks it's OK Assange is slowly being tortured to death, now might as well give the Saudi Crown Prince's goons a pass for Jamal Khashoggi while your at it.

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It all breaks down to who has the responsibility to keep the secret, and in my opinion only someone who has voluntarily agreed to secrecy has that responsibility.

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30 minutes ago, Mercer said:

Yes, I've read of this it's kind of a big deal in liberty circles and almost as Orwellian as the asylum seekers treatment. It' the same logically inconsistent "their team bad, mine good at all costs even freedom" attitude that that thinks it's OK Assange is slowly being tortured to death, now might as well give the Saudi Crown Prince's goons a pass for Jamal Khashoggi while your at it.

It’s a huge deal here. I’m told that a good deal of my research and policy work will be related to this exact issue in 2020. There’s a lot of people in and around govt who are quite uncomfortable with the direction things are going. But, that was the same with the asylum seekers and we still treat them like shit. I wish I had cause to be more optimistic than I am. 

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On 11/14/2019 at 9:31 AM, Mercer said:

 

 

I know some of you like to jerk yourselves off, and feel super smart by regurgitating details of current events which is cool and all. It's just vexing to me nobody in here seems to have, or even bothers to offer a solutions/personal opinions for anything we discuss in here in favor of sounding smart. It's just the same copout over and over, chiming in with the same NPC counterarguments you've been told to, arguing against people who actually have an opinion on a topic. Here's a fact none of you geniuses will never allow yourselves to admit: The only solution to ending government corruption/political misinformation is reducing the scope of government power, period. Increasing the motives for this behavior by granting even more power is the most retarded/common solution we all seem to jump towards.

 

A clear differentiation between us is WHY we participate in these conversations. I don't have the answers and won't make a hard stance alliance to anything short of nihilism. I read, ask, comment, etc as a means of better understanding in hopes of maybe finding an answer or solution. If I take the energy to call something out, it isn't jerking off (hilarious, tho), it's pointing out inconsistency or outright bullshit. An argument or stance can only be strengthened by hardening processes of debate. If everything counter to your position is just dismissed as "pro big government" then there isn't merit in having conversations at all because you have ALL the answers..

 

I don't think there is a solution, no government will have just as problems as big government and humans /human nature are the problem. Imperfect actors cannot be forced into a perfect system, there will be sacrifices and error. 

 

Sure, deleting government will eliminate governmental corruption, but that will not change human nature and the abuses will just reappear in a different spectrum. I'd rather work on repairing a broken ship than abandon it. 

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Agree with working on the ship too.

 

I'm around politicians and govt all the time and most of the elected people I've come across are utter fucking pigs. But the people that work around them and beneath them, most of them are good people trying to do good things. Do some of them want to amass power and budget, absolutely. Do many of them, especially in the national security community want to reduce regulation and increase the public's ability to take care of themselves? Absolutely. The majority of people I've worked with in the US from the community are pro-gun as well.

 

I don't hold it against people who don't support govt. I definitely want to reduce govt and most conservative folk in govt do too. However, I have also watched many countries in the world where govt is removed and what fills the vacuum is far, far worse. I often wonder if govt is the best of a bad choice.

 

Agree with @Fist 666as well. Pretty bemused how people think posting interesting shit written by experts is a bad thing. I know @Mercerreads a good deal but I can't understand how others who don't read much think that they're smart enough to understand complex issues on merit of simply being themselves.

 

I also have to admit that part of the reason I post the articles I read is so people can forget using that bullshit cop out of "you just parrot the MSM". Not that this has stopped some of those who just want to attack instead of actually discuss with an open mind.

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I understand fully the want for smaller government, I don't understand the argument that no government means no corruption.

If everything was deregulated with free markets dictating everything, what's not to stop things like price fixing across services? Or a mega corporation taking over other business creating a huge monopoly and effectively being the only option?

I think there has to be regulations of some kind otherwise it is a free for all and while I certainly distrust government, I also highly distrust big business and there morals.

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5 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

I read, ask, comment, etc as a means of better understanding in hopes of maybe finding an answer or solution.

False, you clearly have your own opinions. The fact that you don't have a consistent ideology behind your opinions does not mean they don't exist.  Trust me, you have your own beliefs.

 

5 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

If I take the energy to call something out, it isn't jerking off (hilarious, tho), it's pointing out inconsistency or outright bullshit.

This statement is meaningless in the context of a formal conversation, any one of us could say this, and nothing about it differentiates, or defines your method. The statement was more aimed at@Hua Guofangoriginally.

 

5 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

An argument or stance can only be strengthened by hardening processes of debate. If everything counter to your position is just dismissed as "pro big government" then there isn't merit in having conversations at all because you have ALL the answers.

I never once claimed to have all the answers, fact is, I know 100% that I don't and never forget it. What I do have is a consistent ideology based on years of study, open debate, and extensive reading. I'll never applologise for this, in fact I like the fact it seems to bother people so much. It would be impossible for me to unlearn what I've learned so this will never change. I'm even reading Kaynes right now, an economist I hate, just to get a better understanding of Keynsianism ideology so I can fire back.

 

5 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

I don't think there is a solution, no government will have just as problems as big government and humans /human nature are the problem.

Here's where you're wrong. We've been advancing forward and finding solutions our entire existence as humans, it's actually worth finding answers to these seemingly impossible/tough problems.

 

If humans/human nature is flawed to the point where we cannot be trusted to govern ourselves without a threat of force/violence, why would you hand over power to some of these same flawed humans, to rule over others. There has never once been a system in place where power isn't abused.

 

 

5 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

Imperfect actors cannot be forced into a perfect system, there will be sacrifices and error. 

 

Sure, deleting government will eliminate governmental corruption, but that will not change human nature and the abuses will just reappear in a different spectrum. I'd rather work on repairing a broken ship than abandon it. 

So if you have no vision, no solutions, and no answers what is it you believe then? Repair this ship how? Cool analogy but you're basically saying nothing here outside of implying my solutions are wrong.

 

I say just following the status quo is wrong, the entire system is flawed to it's core and the ship has been slowly sinking. One hole gets gets plugged, and two more open. We may be able to hire a new captain every once in a while to steer this ship, but steering this ship to the left, or to the right won't fix the fact that it's sinking.

 

Every service a state can offer (security, roads, etc.) doesn't have to be provided by a state. It can be provided privately, or more importantly in a voluntary way where consumers have a choice, they're not stuck in a constant struggle against a monopoly that has zero incentives to improve it's services, or lower it's costs. The opposite is the norm with government, small departments bloat, rules/regulations are added , and never deleted, and the government becomes bigger, and bigger, never reducing. It's such an inefficient system.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Decyferon said:

I understand fully the want for smaller government, I don't understand the argument that no government means no corruption.

Without a person in power to be corrupted there is zero corruption.

 

2 hours ago, Decyferon said:

If everything was deregulated with free markets dictating everything, what's not to stop things like price fixing across services?

Or a mega corporation taking over other business creating a huge monopoly and effectively being the only option?

The free market takes care of this, if a good or service becomes to overpriced by a monopoly, market pressure builds inviting competitors into that market sector. For a great example of this read the breaking of a monopoly story of Dow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Henry_Dow#Breaking_a_monopoly At no point did he make an appeal to authority, he just outmaneuvered a state sanctioned monopoly. 

 

The term "monopoly" itself  comes from the crown granting "monopoly" to an individual, or group. There are almost zero examples of people building, and maintaining a monopoly without state interference.

 

2 hours ago, Decyferon said:

I think there has to be regulations of some kind otherwise it is a free for all and while I certainly distrust government, I also highly distrust big business and there morals.

Agreed, regulations must exist. How they're enforced now is OK, but private solutions to something like building code are almost always superior. It's much harder to have an insurance company scrutinize your property for example, than having a state organization do it. The insurance company has something to lose, the state doesn't and it's that simple.

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@Mercer

Quote

False, you clearly have your own opinions. The fact that you don't have a consistent ideology behind your opinions does not mean they don't exist.  Trust me, you have your own beliefs.

I would never state otherwise, I think (obviously) I'm an opinionated person, that I'm not willing to embrace a label is where we differ. I have never seen an ideology that I don't find flawed, hypocritical, or foolish. Ethics, economics, science, and often general morality are at odds with each other. This is why I end up falling into the "moderate" piece of the spectrum. Individual liberties are important, but if we destroy the planet's ability to support life, then liberty means nothing. My core disagreement with libertarian principles is this: There are actions that cannot be undone through economic consequence

 

Quote

This statement is meaningless in the context of a formal conversation, any one of us could say this, and nothing about it differentiates, or defines your method. The statement was more aimed at@Hua Guofangoriginally.

The onus to defend a stated ideology lies with the presenter of it, not on anyone questioning it. There is no need for me to defend my method as better than yours; shit stinks whether its on your shoes or mine.

 

Quote

I never once claimed to have all the answers, fact is, I know 100% that I don't and never forget it. What I do have is a consistent ideology based on years of study, open debate, and extensive reading. I'll never applologise for this, in fact I like the fact it seems to bother people so much. It would be impossible for me to unlearn what I've learned so this will never change. I'm even reading Kaynes right now, an economist I hate, just to get a better understanding of Keynsianism ideology so I can fire back.

The fact that you read is what sets you apart from the other participants in this channel, and I sincerely appreciate that. 

 

ALL the answers was hyperbolic, but fair response on your part. This is where @Hua Guofang's aphorism about "political ideology is putting the answer before the question" comes into play. It isn't a matter of unlearning, it's a matter of different perspectives and fields being at odds with each other and recognizing that an economic lens isn't the appropriate tool to analyze human value or preservation of the planet. Yes, markets may solve many of the problems we face, many of them too late (how many species have humans driven to extinction? what did free markets do for them?) Lead paint/pipes, PCBs, asbestos, etc are all now permanent fixtures on our planet; who ought to be paying for Flint's water? Pipe manufacturers? City Planners from decades ago? I believe government superfund sites and similar are absolutely necessary for situations as Flint's. And I accept that they come with there share of bureaucracy and bullshit. 

 

Another example of government necessity is what's happening in antibiotic development currently. It simply isn't profitable to develop new drugs, and companies are going bankrupt over it. Government funding of these absolutely necessary drugs is required for quality of life to maintain its trajectory, as the market is not answering the unprofitable call. (this could be an entire thread rife with back and forths, but I don't think any of us have the energy for it).

 

Quote

Here's where you're wrong. We've been advancing forward and finding solutions our entire existence as humans, it's actually worth finding answers to these seemingly impossible/tough problems.

 

If humans/human nature is flawed to the point where we cannot be trusted to govern ourselves without a threat of force/violence, why would you hand over power to some of these same flawed humans, to rule over others. There has never once been a system in place where power isn't abused.

We've been finding solutions at incredible cost to the planet. Yes it is worth finding answers, as it is required for future generations.

 

I wholly believe human nature is exactly that flawed. There is such variance in motivation, intelligence, morals, principles, ethics, etc that representative democracy is far more appealing than clan wars. To quote George Carlin, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider than that." You can swap stupid with greedy, shitty, unprincipled, etc. I would wholly prefer an elected official who (theoretically) exemplifies the best traits of humanity than robber barons and super wealthy making the decisions. (politicians as capitalist puppets is a different tangent). 

 

Quote

So if you have no vision, no solutions, and no answers what is it you believe then? Repair this ship how? Cool analogy but you're basically saying nothing here outside of implying my solutions are wrong.

More or less, yes, I think your solutions are wrong. Every time the US market is deregulated mass abuse occurs, and usually a recession or depression follows. Asking anyone to accept that we just have to trust them even more with the stability of our lives and those of future generations is foolhardy. 

 

Quote

say just following the status quo is wrong, the entire system is flawed to it's core 

The entire system isn't flawed--its brought us this far. Enlightenment Principles are necessary to continue progress. Bringing those to the forefront would be a great start to necessary solutions. Right and Left are both fighting these currently.

 

Quote

 and the ship has been slowly sinking. One hole gets gets plugged, and two more open. We may be able to hire a new captain every once in a while to steer this ship, but steering this ship to the left, or to the right won't fix the fact that it's sinking.

I don't disagree with this part.

 

But this is why I put environmental protection over every other value, a dying planet is no place for right or left. 

 

Quote

Every service a state can offer (security, roads, etc.) doesn't have to be provided by a state. It can be provided privately, or more importantly in a voluntary way where consumers have a choice, they're not stuck in a constant struggle against a monopoly that has zero incentives to improve it's services, or lower it's costs. The opposite is the norm with government, small departments bloat, rules/regulations are added , and never deleted, and the government becomes bigger, and bigger, never reducing. It's such an inefficient system.

 

Also, I don't disagree. But robber barons are actually much less appealing. Yup, lesser of two evils is still evil, but a dead planet will have neither good nor evil. (I understand the "dead planet" is hyperbolic, but if things don't change rapidly, its just a matter of generations).

 

I've stated before that my viewpoints are at odds with themselves. Misanthropy and nihilism with a focus on time means that none of this matters, however, whatever the experience and relevance or irrelevance of our consciousness it seems logical to keep human life going forward as long as possible, even if that means sacrifices of miscellaneous liberties. 

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On 11/11/2019 at 6:55 PM, Hua Guofang said:

Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.), chairman

Who am I? D. R.  I... 

 

Sorry, i have to read this entire thread and catch up, this gave me moment of pause to chuckle. 

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On 11/14/2019 at 9:51 PM, Mercer said:

No business and corporations can only take part in corruption if government has power, but without government they cannot. It's only when government enters the picture that the ability to corrupt takes place because for it to happen, there has to be someone to be corrupted. Only someone with power can be corrupted.

 

Without a government to lobby, an official to bribe, a campaign to help finance for a favor, a law, or regulation to have put in place in ones favor there can be no official corruption because there's no government to be corrupt. That's not to say a corporation is incapable of being unfair, committing fraud, and all sorts of other crimes for that matter, but a government/state or other type of entity with the monopoly on force/violence is needed for a wealthy person, or corporation to bribe, or trade favors with first. A government official can be corrupted even if businesses, wealthy people, and corporations are officially illegal as seen in communist countries.

 

Therefore the less power we give government, the less opportunities exist that would allow for corruption. If the government isn't allowed to regulate a particular economic sector that an individual, or group of individuals is acting within (for example surfboard manufacturing) there's no way a government can be used to favor one business, individual, or group over another n that sector (for example requiring surfboards be approved). 

Maybe i’m misunderstanding this, but i don’t agree at all. I can only believe in Free Market ideologies to a degree. With a total lack of govt. regulation corporations will become the government. As we already see in my aspects. They could, and would impose their own violence, and crush competitors and it’s workers, as does any organized crime outfit. Thus creating monopoly, corruption, crime, ect. For instance, Carnegie - Homestead Strike -  Pinkertons. 
 

Saying there’s no official corruption because there’s no government to be corrupt just sounds like saying there’s no official murder because we haven’t defined what a murderer is. 
 

edit: now back to reading. 

Edited by abrasivesaint
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10 hours ago, Mercer said:

Every service a state can offer (security, roads, etc.) doesn't have to be provided by a state. It can be provided privately, or more importantly in a voluntary way where consumers have a choice, they're not stuck in a constant struggle against a monopoly that has zero incentives to improve it's services, or lower it's costs. The opposite is the norm with government, small departments bloat, rules/regulations are added , and never deleted, and the government becomes bigger, and bigger, never reducing. It's such an inefficient system.

This already happens though. Private security is a very real thing. There are parts of the country where residents are responsible for the upkeep of their streets and sidewalks. For instance New Orleans.

 

The sidewalks here are a total shit show. They jut straight up a foot or two, then break off, slant sideways and downward at a 45 degree angle, jut back up, slant the other way, and so on down the road. The residents are responsible for maintenance and upkeep. Clearly many citizens of New Orleans have much larger issues, bills and concerns on their tables than the sidewalks, so they remain fucked.
 

On top of that, if the city does decide to fix it, they can bill the property owner. So say you have a spat with the government and they decide they’re going to fix the 20ft stretch of sidewalk in front of your house, and your house alone, you pay the bill.

 

There’s a nice piece of potential for some aforementioned systemic corruption. 
 

https://www.nola.gov/dpw/sidewalks/

 

Although i agree it doesn’t HAVE to be a service provided by the state, there should be some degree of social obligation from the system. 

 

Next time i go walking around i’ll take some photos of some good ones just for shits n giggles. 

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Lastly, i agree with Fist. It’s clear you seem well read Mercer, and a thinker, and it’s a breath of fresh air even if some of your opinions are contrary to mine. 
 

Something Hua said about critical thinking mixed with something you said about reading various idealogical systems refers me to this: It is the exact reason i didn’t read much about philosophy, economics, government systems, and so on, when i was younger. I did, but not heavily. I’d get the gist and move on. In hindsight it was to some detriment of myself, being uneducated in technical matters, (as shown in Raven pointing out the Bill of Rights can not be amended. Something i had long forgot.) It was not because i didn't want to, or couldn’t read them, I  wanted to form my own unbiased opinions, to as much of a degree as possible, based on what my own thoughts and rationale deemed logical. Not because i read a book that peaked my interest and i adopted the ideology because of a few good aspects, or because some professor forced their ideology into the classroom. (Good thing i couldn’t afford college and wasn’t about to cripple myself with debt.) 

 

After years of forming opinions based on what “I” thought, i challenged them. (Edit: and more importantly allow them to be challenged, externally and internally.) It has lead to various stance shifting on certain topics, for example my stance on guns, or capitalism, but also not shifting on others. This doesn’t mean the opinion or stance is necessarily weak, just that new evidence, or perspective can cause shifts.
 

I think the system in place is the best the world has seen yet, and is obviously still massively flawed. Corruption, over-regulation in certain areas, bureaucracy, and the list goes on.
 

Laws always being added but never removed is an issue i absolutely agree upon. When it does happen it doesn’t seem nearly as fast as when laws are put into place. I think despite everything happening in the world lately, we’re taking steps in the right directions for the most part. It might not seem it, but i have a little faith. The over correcting is emotional and reactionary, i believe it will calm down as a heated argument eventually does.
 

Unless we allow social media and news outlets to continue to control and focus our paths of thought. 

Edited by abrasivesaint
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23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

@Mercer

I have never seen an ideology that I don't find flawed, hypocritical, or foolish.

Most people would agree, but don't let that make you pessimistic, or close minded. Simply not knowing the truth, isn't proof that the truth can't exist basically.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

Ethics, economics, science, and often general morality are at odds with each other.

The logical consistency of Anarcho-Capitalism is staggering. It all boils down to one simple rule:

 

One cannot aggress against another's person, or property unless in self defense.

 

Any interpretation, definition, law, or it's application must remain 100% consistent with this rule. That's why libertarians say taxation is theft, it's basically property seized by threat of force, resulting in a loss of property without the owners consent.

 

If a band of armed robbers wish to conduct their trade legally, they only need to claim they're a state, and the capitol goods they demand is only a "tax". Laws concerning the legitimacy of a government can't be applied consistently to every government, and can only be decided randomly by either the sway of mass consent, indifference, or the outcome of political conflict. Hardly a consistent enough foundation to build upon.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

This is why I end up falling into the "moderate" piece of the spectrum.

There's nothing wrong with that, and it's only being realistic for most who haven't devoted much formal study into a specific political, economic, scientific, or religious ideology.  That doesn't make actually having convictions wrong, any more than it makes not having convictions wrong. The only thing I find issue with is when it's implied my opinion is invalid simply because I have convictions. It's a copout from actual debate. I'd prefer to debate the subject at hand, rather than go into a dead end conversation where I'm explaining why it's OK that I'm sure of my beliefs.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

Individual liberties are important, but if we destroy the planet's ability to support life, then liberty means nothing. My core disagreement with libertarian principles is this: There are actions that cannot be undone through economic consequence

In the system I advocate for: pollution is considered an aggression against person, if the pollutant being released it is proven to cause harm to humans. If a chemical plant releases a chlorine gas that harms me, I should be able to go into an arbitrator and file claim against the entity that has released it into the atmosphere. If I'm able to prove it has effected me, the court should find reasonable damages.

 

The same thing goes for any pollution that harms, causes damage to, and takes away from the rights of a property owner. There's a lot of discussion on how this should be handled regarding CO2. Most people with expertise in the subject agree it does to some extent cause losses on the part of some property owners. The cumulative effects of increased temperature on crop production, property values etc. could be translated into losses for land owners for example.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

 

The onus to defend a stated ideology lies with the presenter of it, not on anyone questioning it.

I do a pretty good job at defending my ideology myself, and never expected help.

 

Not having any ideology to defend is convenient, and very comfortable. Especially if you always want the person you're debating to be on the defensive. To me it's just a convenient cop out, it's basically admitting from the jump you're not sure what is correct, well then, why are you so sure I'm wrong then? Surely it's not ideal to be blissful in ignorance, unaware of what the truth is, bogged down by doubt on how to move. 

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

There is no need for me to defend my method as better than yours; shit stinks whether its on your shoes or mine.

How this relates to our conversation, or any debate n general makes absolutely no sense to me but I like the poop reference. If I see flaws in methods, I call them out, so do you.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

The fact that you read is what sets you apart from the other participants in this channel, and I sincerely appreciate that.

I appreciate this, and at the same time feel like I'm not the only person in here that reads. I don't think anyone else is down with reading economic magnum opuses, but outside of this specifically I'd say I'm no more well read on political matters than most in here. Many of other participants in the news thread have referenced some pretty heavy reading, serious authors and stuff I'm not up on, or end up looking into when they use it to make a great point.

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

 

ALL the answers was hyperbolic, but fair response on your part. This is where @Hua Guofang's aphorism about "political ideology is putting the answer before the question" comes into play.

The "answer before the question" thing isn't really fair if I'm explaining my position. Besides, one could say that you, and him are both "insisting my answer is wrong", while admitting you don't actually know the answer yourselves, or the question for that matter. Again, this is an unproductive argument but one I'm willing to take on occasionally, when I'm forced into it but I'd prefer to debate the actual topic at hand.

 

 

23 hours ago, Fist 666 said:

It isn't a matter of unlearning, it's a matter of different perspectives and fields being at odds with each other and recognizing that an economic lens isn't the appropriate tool to analyze human value or preservation of the planet. Yes, markets may solve many of the problems we face, many of them too late (how many species have humans driven to extinction? what did free markets do for them?) Lead paint/pipes, PCBs, asbestos, etc are all now permanent fixtures on our planet; who ought to be paying for Flint's water? Pipe manufacturers? City Planners from decades ago? I believe government superfund sites and similar are absolutely necessary for situations as Flint's. And I accept that they come with there share of bureaucracy and bullshit. 

 

Another example of government necessity is what's happening in antibiotic development currently. It simply isn't profitable to develop new drugs, and companies are going bankrupt over it. Government funding of these absolutely necessary drugs is required for quality of life to maintain its trajectory, as the market is not answering the unprofitable call. (this could be an entire thread rife with back and forths, but I don't think any of us have the energy for it).

 

We've been finding solutions at incredible cost to the planet. Yes it is worth finding answers, as it is required for future generations.

 

I wholly believe human nature is exactly that flawed. There is such variance in motivation, intelligence, morals, principles, ethics, etc that representative democracy is far more appealing than clan wars. To quote George Carlin, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider than that." You can swap stupid with greedy, shitty, unprincipled, etc. I would wholly prefer an elected official who (theoretically) exemplifies the best traits of humanity than robber barons and super wealthy making the decisions. (politicians as capitalist puppets is a different tangent). 

 

More or less, yes, I think your solutions are wrong. Every time the US market is deregulated mass abuse occurs, and usually a recession or depression follows. Asking anyone to accept that we just have to trust them even more with the stability of our lives and those of future generations is foolhardy. 

 

The entire system isn't flawed--its brought us this far. Enlightenment Principles are necessary to continue progress. Bringing those to the forefront would be a great start to necessary solutions. Right and Left are both fighting these currently.

 

I don't disagree with this part.

 

But this is why I put environmental protection over every other value, a dying planet is no place for right or left. 

 

Also, I don't disagree. But robber barons are actually much less appealing. Yup, lesser of two evils is still evil, but a dead planet will have neither good nor evil. (I understand the "dead planet" is hyperbolic, but if things don't change rapidly, its just a matter of generations).

 

I've stated before that my viewpoints are at odds with themselves. Misanthropy and nihilism with a focus on time means that none of this matters, however, whatever the experience and relevance or irrelevance of our consciousness it seems logical to keep human life going forward as long as possible, even if that means sacrifices of miscellaneous liberties. 

I can't really respond to the rest of this properly because it covers so much territory and I don't have enough time, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to continue the conversation. Appreciate you taking the time yourself to respond to everything though. I'd like to have a thread on environmentalism in here to discuss that topic though, maybe post and comment on news articles or something. 

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