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Comment: Re:Great... (Score 0) 556

by Archtech (#47550465) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

How on earth do you know who downed the airliner? (Or even that it was shot down at all). The rebels may have (briefly) had a BUK launcher, but they had no radar controller - without which they would have been unlikely to hit such a high-flying target.

Moreover, the usurping Ukrainian "government" - which had every motive to create a provocation - has many BUK batteries AND accompanying radar. The Ukrainian authorities were responsible for directing the airliner into the area where it was downed.

And what of the US spy satellite network, which reputedly can distinguish individual people and pieces of equipment from orbit? Presumably it is optimized for detecting aircraft, missiles, and missiles that shoot down aircraft. So why has the world not been shown this overwhelming evidence? Possibly because the satellite pictures do show that the airliner was shot down, and who was responsible.

Lastly, two words: "USS Vincennes". Whatever can be said about the wrongs of the present case, the "Vincennes" shoot-down was worse and more blameworthy in every way.

Comment: Please consider the facts (Score 1) 556

by Archtech (#47550397) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Anyone who is sincerely interested in understanding the current Ukraine situation, PLEASE READ THIS (published back in March):
http://www.counterpunch.org/20...

Also, please understand that the disputed Eastern part of Ukraine was part of Russia for most of its history. Indeed, in the 10th century, Kiev (the present-day capital of Ukraine) was the first capital of Rus, the forerunner of Russia.

in contrast, note that only a few centuries ago present-day Ukraine was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. (See the top map at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...). The Poles have historically been just as aggressive and territory-hungry as the Russians; possibly more so, as the Russians had many other directions in which to expand (notably the East). It's a serious mistake to think of Poles and Lithuanians as victims and underdogs just because that was their fate in the 20th century. The movie "Taras Bulba" (starring Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner) gives a somewhat Hollywoodized but substantially accurate impression of a time when the Polish nobility ruled and swaggered across the region, imposing their rule on Slavs and Cossacks. The movie was based on a largely factual story of the same name by Gogol.

I am amazed by the extent to which grossly deceptive and misleading accounts of the events in Ukraine have been accepted throughout the West. No one in this story has behaved in a saintly way, but the Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine who wish their areas to be taken back into Russia are surely within their rights. ("When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...") For decades, Americans supported the right of Northern Irish republicans to become part of the Republic of Ireland; and in a couple of months, citizens of Scotland will be voting on the question of independence. Under Russian law, anyone born in the USSR who speaks Russian has the right to Russian citizenship. And surely if a region is predominantly inhabited by Russian citizens, they have the right to become part of Russia (again)? Why should Russians be condemned to citizenship of a failed state run by violent neo-Nazis just because of an administrative decision taken in Moscow (without their consent) back in the days of the USSR?

Comment: Re:Real world consequences (Score 1) 190

The story about Chernobyl is far from clear. See, for example:

http://unconventionaltravel.co...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...

And, in my view most impressive:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffi...

Note that human beings are mammals; so, if other mammals thrive in an area, presumably human being would too (if not excluded by regulations).

Comment: Re:RUDEST PASSENGER EVER (Score 1) 875

"Companies can refuse service to anyone for practically any reason they want..."

Really? Why? I'm as ignorant of the relevant law as you seem to be, but it certainly doesn't sound reasonable that an airline should be able to tell a passenger who has paid his fare and boarded the plane with his children that he has to get off. Would they then be allowed on a later plane? If so, why not leave them on the originally booked plane which they had already boarded? If not, isn't the airline breaking a contract and committing something resembling theft?

The other issue is whether the passenger did anything wrong by tweeting. It seems possible that he broke some regulation, but if so what a terrible situation when a citizen is not allowed to express his opinion of someone who has treated him badly. Slander has been mentioned, but that is properly dealt with by bringing a civil lawsuit - not high-handedly refusing a customer service for which payment has been accepted and on which he is counting.

Lastly, reading these comments I can't help sensing a constant underlying ferment of resentment, entitlement, and contention for respect. It's as if, in a society where we are all expected to take it as axiomatic that we are strictly equal, every tiny difference in treatment becomes immensely magnified.

Comment: Re:Hope and Change (Score 1) 242

by Archtech (#47518515) Attached to: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

"This led to a situation where the only way the parties could get more voters was to compete for those ideologically between them leading to a race to the middle".

I think it's more that most active voters have come to believe that no candidate or party can be credible or viable unless it spends billions on PR.

Comment: Re:Terrorist is an impossible label (Score 2) 242

by Archtech (#47518491) Attached to: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

"You can't be a terrorist unless you've actually done something terrorizing, so what the authorities have to do is predict, based on association, what you're going to do".

Which is merely an extension to US citizens of US government policy for at least the past 20 years: the One Percent Doctrine. As enunciated by Dick Cheney, it ran as follows: "If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response".

In other words, it's better to kill lots of foreigners and destroy their country (with a 99% chance of doing so for no good reason) than to take a 1% chance that Americans might be hurt or incur loss.

Mind you, the logic becomes a bit less convincing if you replace "foreigners" with "Americans".

Comment: Re:Why fly over a war zone? (Score 1) 752

by Archtech (#47480887) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

'And as others have pointed out, the distinction you're making between a "fighter" and a "ground attack craft" are pretty hazy. From your description i thought you meant it was a helicopter, but after looking at a picture i would have called it a fighter myself'.

The distinction is by no means hazy. A modern fighter is optimized for aerial combat: it is designed to shoot down enemy bombers and fighters. (And ground attack aircraft). On the other hand, a ground attack aircraft is entirely optimized for that role. Compared to a fighter it is usually slow, relatively unmanoeuverable, heavily armoured, and equipped with air-to-ground weapons. True, it may have the capability to carry air-to-air missiles, but why would it do so at the expense of its proper mission payload? You can't destroy tanks if you are weighed down with air-to-air missiles.

To put it in context, the Stuka was a classic ground attack aircraft; while extremely formidable and terrifying to anyone on the ground, it was easy meat for any reasonably capable fighter. A few were even shot down by bombers. War resembles stone-scissors-paper in some ways: each weapon defeats other weapons, but every weapon has its own nemesis. The tank overruns infantry and artillery, but is defeated by the ground attack aircraft - which itself is defeated by the fighter.

I wrote nothing that suggested a helicopter. As for slang, as I said we should be aiming for accuracy. The media often refers to any warship as a "battleship" - for instance, the Argentine light cruiser "General Belgrano". But the difference between a battleship and a light cruiser is an important one, which should not be obscured either in the pursuit of sensationalism or through sheer ignorance.

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