Worthwhile intertubez finds

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Pham Nuwen
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Pham Nuwen » 14 Apr 2019, 10:53

Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

leave me to my mescaline smoothie in peace, please. dhex

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JD
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JD » 23 Apr 2019, 11:42

I don't really know what to make of this.
Marking tires to enforce parking rules declared unconstitutional in four states
Marking tires to enforce parking rules is like entering property without a search warrant, a federal court said Monday as it declared the practice unconstitutional in Michigan and three other states.

Alison Taylor had received more than a dozen $15 tickets for exceeding the two-hour parking limit in Saginaw. The city marks tires with chalk to keep track of how long a vehicle is parked. Her lawyer argued that a parking patrol officer violated the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

Taylor's attorney...argued that marking tires was similar to police secretly putting a GPS device on a vehicle without a proper warrant, which was the subject of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
I mean, I'm always glad to see the government get slapped down, but I can't really see the Fourth Amendment angle here, and I can think of much more obvious Constitutional violations that go on all the time.
"Millennials are lazy. They'd rather have avocado toast than cave in a man's skull with a tire iron!" -FFF

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JasonL
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JasonL » 23 Apr 2019, 12:06

I’m tired of abuses. The government should tread lightly. If we don’t defend liberty where the rubber meets the road, what good is our outrage?

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Warren
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Warren » 23 Apr 2019, 12:38

JasonL wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 12:06
I’m tired of abuses. The government should tread lightly. If we don’t defend liberty where the rubber meets the road, what good is our outrage?
You've been saving that up, haven't you?
We fucked up, so we're going to need more money. - Tuco

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JD
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JD » 23 Apr 2019, 13:34

A pretty horrifying piece on Pentagon accounting: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... ry-807276/

tl;dr Despite having been ordered for decades to clean up its financial house, the Pentagon can't and won't, and couldn't pass the most basic of audits, and has no real incentive to anyway, so billions of dollars just disappear and nobody has any real idea where they went.
"Millennials are lazy. They'd rather have avocado toast than cave in a man's skull with a tire iron!" -FFF

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Warren
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Warren » 23 Apr 2019, 14:30

JD wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 13:34
A pretty horrifying piece on Pentagon accounting: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... ry-807276/

tl;dr Despite having been ordered for decades to clean up its financial house, the Pentagon can't and won't, and couldn't pass the most basic of audits, and has no real incentive to anyway, so billions of dollars just disappear and nobody has any real idea where they went.
They're went to keep you safe! The pentagon has neither the time nor the inclination to explain itself to a public that rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom it provides, then questions the manner in which it provides it.
We fucked up, so we're going to need more money. - Tuco

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Painboy
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Painboy » 23 Apr 2019, 14:53

JD wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 13:34
A pretty horrifying piece on Pentagon accounting: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... ry-807276/

tl;dr Despite having been ordered for decades to clean up its financial house, the Pentagon can't and won't, and couldn't pass the most basic of audits, and has no real incentive to anyway, so billions of dollars just disappear and nobody has any real idea where they went.
Do you think our enemies care about audits hippie? Would you leave our country's military with a no audits gap? Your freedoms are paid for with the blood of patriots and a dearth of CPAs.

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JasonL
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JasonL » 23 Apr 2019, 15:23

I wish I believed it were lost money and not money spent intentionally off the record.

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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » 23 Apr 2019, 16:00

Intentionally off the record in the competent way, i.e. funding operations they can't talk about? Or intentionally off the record in the corrupt way, i.e. they could never admit how much money is being spent on contracts for family members of officials, companies that somebody wants a kickback from, etc.?
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Eric the .5b » 23 Apr 2019, 16:12

thoreau wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 16:00
Intentionally off the record in the competent way, i.e. funding operations they can't talk about? Or intentionally off the record in the corrupt way, i.e. they could never admit how much money is being spent on contracts for family members of officials, companies that somebody wants a kickback from, etc.?
I'd assume the latter; the DOD's black budgets are line items, just very non-specific ones.
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JasonL
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JasonL » 23 Apr 2019, 16:13

Intentionally off the record in the competent way, i.e. funding operations they can't talk about?
This is the one that bothers me most. I know black budget items are line items but I'm not sure I believe there aren't further activities.

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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » 23 Apr 2019, 16:34

JasonL wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 16:13
Intentionally off the record in the competent way, i.e. funding operations they can't talk about?
This is the one that bothers me most. I know black budget items are line items but I'm not sure I believe there aren't further activities.
I'd assume that if it's stuff they can't talk about they'd prefer to say "Sorry, can't talk about it" rather than admit that they allocated money for upgrades to some buildings but then the contract got moved around and honestly nobody is sure what actually happened because the sub-contractor got replaced at the last minute and then they decided to actually just replace the buildings but there was a contract in place and they think the buildings were upgraded to comply with code before being demolished but nobody knows for sure. Most people would prefer to believe that the money went to some Way-Above-Top-Secret operation involving super-ninjas killing terrorists in North Korea.

If anything, there's probably someone giving his brother-in-law contracts to "upgrade" boats that promptly get sold to the brother-in-law's company at discounted military surplus rates. If asked they'll say "Oh, no, those boats were totally special operations craft made to look like civilian luxury boats for a covert operation that we can't talk about" when in reality they're just civilian luxury boats that his brother-in-law is getting from the government at a discount.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Mo
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Mo » 23 Apr 2019, 18:19

JasonL wrote:
Intentionally off the record in the competent way, i.e. funding operations they can't talk about?
This is the one that bothers me most. I know black budget items are line items but I'm not sure I believe there aren't further activities.
Iran Contra was exactly about a budget neutral one of these items. And if you think it was the only one or that they no longer exist, you’re adorable.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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JD
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by JD » Yesterday, 10:12

I think you guys are getting way too conspiracy-theory about this. Yes, I'm certain that there is a certain amount of intentional fraud and secrecy. But if you read the article, the majority of it just seems like old-fashioned bureaucracy and incompetence, because there are multiple branches of the service each with its own multiple legacy accounting systems and no good way to reconcile them, and they just lose things like entire buildings because they have no good way to keep track of them.
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Jasper
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Jasper » Yesterday, 12:58

My father had an acquaintance years ago who claimed he worked for the FBI, and that a lot of his covert work was funded through benign-sounding items the DOEnergy budget. He also claimed he bought the marina he owned and operated through creative budgeting. This particular marina, while not exactly a high-society yachting type place, was probably still worth several millions of dollars at the time.

[/saltbae]
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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » Yesterday, 13:16

Jasper wrote:
Yesterday, 12:58
My father had an acquaintance years ago who claimed he worked for the FBI, and that a lot of his covert work was funded through benign-sounding items the DOEnergy budget. He also claimed he bought the marina he owned and operated through creative budgeting. This particular marina, while not exactly a high-society yachting type place, was probably still worth several millions of dollars at the time.

[/saltbae]
I never know what to make of stories like that. On the one hand, people who claim to be on secret government projects are almost always lying. On the other hand, I have no doubt that some stuff is hidden under boring-sounding items. But on the third hand, you can only hide a few sensitive programs under boring items, or else people will start to find those items interesting and pay attention and then they become bad hiding places.

So, no doubt, somewhere out there a DOE-funded company testing "energy efficient nautical transportation solutions" is actually a front for a marina used to monitor smuggling operations. But 99.9% of the DOE-funded companies testing "energy efficient transportation solutions" had better be exactly as dull as they sound, or people will start paying attention.

No doubt the DOD has at some point bought weapons for a guerrilla group that absolutely nobody in Congress would ever agree to fund*, and used a contractor who billed it as payment for repairs to a building that doesn't exist. But it also seems plausible that most of the repair jobs that they can't account for are the usually bureaucratic dumbfuckery.

And, again, if they really want to make the public happy, instead of hiding covert operations under sloppy accounting, hide sloppy accounting under the black budget. Just tell the public that the money they can't discuss is all being spent on super-ninjas fighting terrorists overseas. They'll sleep more soundly than if they find out that some irreparably damaged vehicles are still undergoing regular maintenance because somebody has a contract for the maintenance and nobody can figure out how to cancel it.

*Too sleazy for Congress is a high bar, but I'm sure that somebody has cleared it.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Hugh Akston
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Hugh Akston » Yesterday, 16:20

This would be a lot less of an issue if the government weren't allowed to keep secrets. #justsayin
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Kolohe
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Kolohe » Yesterday, 17:27

JD wrote:
Yesterday, 10:12
I think you guys are getting way too conspiracy-theory about this. Yes, I'm certain that there is a certain amount of intentional fraud and secrecy. But if you read the article, the majority of it just seems like old-fashioned bureaucracy and incompetence, because there are multiple branches of the service each with its own multiple legacy accounting systems and no good way to reconcile them, and they just lose things like entire buildings because they have no good way to keep track of them.
Yeah this.

Pentagon spending is about giving every little empire a piece of the action, because no one is capable of determining what is duplicative or even necessary.

For instance, the Pentagon orders more troops to Africa, and then the bureaucracy spins to get those people stuff and software* in the quickest way possible, which is rarely the most efficient way nor takes into account what capabilities may be sitting on the shelf somewhere either literally or figuratively.

And then there's stuff like the time I got a week and a half vacation to Pattaya Beach Thailand because the Cobra Gold HQ was at a resort hotel and they needed staff officers to fill billets. And sure enough, Thailand is still anti-communist and anti Islamic terrorists to this day.

*not just literal computer software, but stuff like org support and contracted services.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

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Aresen
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Aresen » Yesterday, 18:28

I'd be a lot more concerned if I thought the Pentagon was competent at conspiracies and intrigue.

OTOH, a 30% across-the-board shave to the DoD budget might help focus some attention.
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Painboy
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Painboy » Yesterday, 18:58

JD wrote:
Yesterday, 10:12
I think you guys are getting way too conspiracy-theory about this. Yes, I'm certain that there is a certain amount of intentional fraud and secrecy. But if you read the article, the majority of it just seems like old-fashioned bureaucracy and incompetence, because there are multiple branches of the service each with its own multiple legacy accounting systems and no good way to reconcile them, and they just lose things like entire buildings because they have no good way to keep track of them.
Having been in the military I'm definitely on the incompetence and bureaucratic inefficiency train. The amount of stuff that would get bought, used once, if at all, and then moldered in a shed somewhere (or ended up in someone's house) was prodigious.

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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by lunchstealer » Today, 00:42

That's not a Stryker in my back yard, that's just a kickass effects kit for my Elantra.
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thoreau
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by thoreau » Today, 01:05

If every accounting snafu or inventory error were actually a black ops program, spies and investigative journalists would have the easiest jobs in the world: Pick any seeming government fuck-up, investigate, and pretty soon you'll learn about some black ops cell that the public isn't supposed to know about.

I can believe that people sometimes hide something under a facade of normal waste, but they can only do that so often before it backfires.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Kolohe
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Re: Worthwhile intertubez finds

Post by Kolohe » Today, 11:43

Oh, yeah there's also the array matrix duplication game.

So, you're keeping your eye on Fredonia, Wakanda and Guilder, and you'll deal with them through ground warfare, air warfare, and info warfare.

So you may have one org chart where each of the three senior poobahs (just below the big poobah) are responsible for an individual country, and they have experts in each warfare speciality working for then

And you may have a complete separate organization in a separate part of the bureaucracy where the poobahs *are* the warfare specialists, and they have a country expert from each country working for them.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

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