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Comment: Re:One of those strange rules of war. (Score 1) 157

That brings up a good point. That is probably why the government automatically deducts taxes from the paychecks of most employees.

Then maybe your duty even extends to things like civil disobedience to try and obstruct you government from behaving in this way? I am not sure I actually agree with this, but I do understand people who do.

There is an interesting side point to this though with regard to Israel in that US taxpayers do help foot the bill to pay for their armed forces. They also pay a sizable amount to Egypt to keep the military there Israel friendly and maintain the blockade of Gaza.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrar...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl...

Does this make US citizens compliant also for the deeds of the Israeli armed forces? $3.1 billion is quite a lot after all.

Of course the problem with this argument is that in many cases the US taxpayer simply has no idea what their money is spent on.

Comment: Re:Not much different than the fire starting laser (Score 2) 157

Be that as it may, laws that are not enforced or do not have penalties for infraction that are enforced are meaningless.

Not true. Often laws are in place to provide cover for those who want to engage in activities the laws sound like they should prevent. For instance if you have a law that has a few well crafted loopholes then the people engaging in activities that may not fall under a technical definition of the law but are certainly against its spirit can point at the law and say "hey, we are following all relevant laws so we are the good guys".

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 460

by Ash Vince (#47885329) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

As far as i know, its the only Consitutions which specificly warns of giving excessive powers to government, and thus allso specifies a sollution for it via militias, and gun ownership etc.

i am not an amierican, so i may be wrong here.
Still, it doesnt seem to have helped them thus far ;)

Gun ownership is a big con when it comes to preventing crap like this. The problem is that the government will always have more people, who are better trained with bigger guns unless a sizeable part or the population come to their senses. Gun ownership might help prevent a foreign aggressor from taking over, but it does precious little to prevent a government from manipulating its own populace into putting up with their corruption.

The reality of the US is that the corporations have long since bought all the news media and are very adept at using it to push the population into electing the politicians who they want in power. Recently this has actually been accentuated with the complete relaxation of the campaign financing laws as politicians need lots of rich backers to get elected. This money is actually an investment though, as the politicians then have to pay the people who provide it far more attention than their own voters.

Comment: Re:The FSF/GNU folks overreached with GPL v3 ... (Score 2, Interesting) 99

by Ash Vince (#47838361) Attached to: LLVM 3.5 Brings C++1y Improvements, Unified 64-bit ARM Backend

The FSF/GNU folks overreached with GPL v3. They overestimated their importance, pushed a little too hard, and get spanked by Darwin. Both the scientist and the kernel.

Gcc being displaced was bound to happen. When politics guide engineering the long term is doubtful.

Unfortunately this is a pretty spot on assessment of the situation in my mind.

Ok, It was annoying that companies were starting to find ways to use OS technology as center pieces in their products and not opening all of their source code to let people tinker with it. The problem their though is that in some cases if they did that then they would reveal too much about things like the underlying hardware that might be under NDA's forced upon them by other companies

Given enough time this sort of problem might have solved itself as companies slowly moved away from doing business in this way and embracing ideas that ultimately gave them long term benefit (ie: free code), but the GPL3 seemed a crude attempt to force too much change too quickly on business executives who have too much to lose, so are by that point in their careers too conservative.

Comment: Re:Hamas are Terrorists (Score 2) 402

by Ash Vince (#47594599) Attached to: The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict

Is it Hamas, because the 'evil Jew' refuses to make peace? And because they were there before the Jews came? Is it the 'evil Jews", because they were there before the Ottoman Empire practically kicked them out if they didn't want to convert to Islam? At least here we know that Judaism existed first.

Just like the native american indians existed first in the US before they were fucked over by the european settlers who now rule the country and own all the land? if every country had to go back to the borders it had last time the Jewish people were actually in the promised land then the world would be very different. That is never going to happen though, and most people would not want it to.

The two state solution involves pretty much drawing the borders where they are now with the exception of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is sacred ground to Christianity, Islam and Judaism so the only fair option is that it is ruled by no single religion and is shared by all as the cradle of all religions. This is simply the only fair option.

Sure, there are extremists on the arab side who would like to drive into the sea, they have to realise that simply will not happen. There are also people within Israel though who view the promised land, as handed down to the Jews by god as sacred and that includes all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, these people also have to realise that driving that many Arabs from their current homes is also out of the question. Once all parties back away from these extremes only then will there be peace.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 868

by Ash Vince (#47559979) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Everyone can say whatever they want, but this much is worth repeating: If Hamas, etc., disarmed, there would be peace. If Israel disarmed, they would be utterly destroyed.

What utter crap. Who would destroy them?

Egypt is now a puppet state of the US, that is why the army threw the Muslim brotherhood out of power. Syria is too fucked to have a go at anyone, and most other countries nearby like Jordan would not want to do anything to upset the US. The only country that would consider attacking Israel now is Iran and they do not actually have a border with them.

The only people who still have a grievance with Israel are Gaza and Palestine, and they would never be in a position to use military force to take Israel back for the Arabs. The truth is that the only problem with Israel giving up its huge armed forces that the US subsidises is that they would have to stop expanding.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 778

by Ash Vince (#47503983) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Here in the UK we had a 50% tax rate imposed on the very richest a few years ago. There were lots of stories about how this was going to drive away people who were successful abroad but in the end it made very little difference

Was it a personal income tax, or a capital gains tax?

I suspect the latter, which would explain why the very richest were not actually bothered all that much.

Income tax actually, although over here is there is less difference than you would think.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 778

by Ash Vince (#47503973) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Even when people are supposedly more mobile, moving is a big thing for most people so they do not do it.

Here in the UK we had a 50% tax rate imposed on the very richest a few years ago. There were lots of stories about how this was going to drive away people who were successful abroad but in the end it made very little difference because while these sort of exceeding rich people might threaten to take their family somewhere else, but then when they talk to their wife and she refuses to move more than a 20 minute drive from her family and refuses to move the kids out of school and away from their friends.

as well as moving, people at that level can move their income elsewhere, pension it, or defer it to avoid the tax. Avoidance is not illegal (evasion is).

Key issue with the 50% rate is - did it raise 20% more money than the 40%, for incomes over 100k ? If not, then people _did_ move either themselves or their income, and the country's finances got less benefit.

HMRC reckons the income moved - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2... - chart on P28 is very interesting, 25% fall in total declared income over 150k, on the introduction of the tax. Other stats: before 50% tax rate 16,000 people with income over £1M, after - 6000. Gradually increased to 10,000 in following years, but that is still 6k people with 1M+ income who went somewhere else (at least 2Bn in tax they would have paid at 40% rate, gone).

Actually what happened was that many bankers deferred their bonus payments then took them after the rate was abolished. This means the stats are pretty worthless. If it had stayed on the books for a few more years it might have worked, but since people were allowed to just defer paying tax at the higher rate until after it was abolished we will never really know.

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 1) 778

by Ash Vince (#47494405) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

. Case in point, gas stations used to employ yonge ppl in usa to wipe your windshield, check tire pressure, oil level and of course pump gas for you. With the govt created inflation and its political game to make it look like it cares and thus raising minimum wage over time these jobs disappeared.

What utter crap.

Part of the reason those jobs disappeared because people filling their cars up started being driven to buy the cheapest gas they could, that often meant going to gas stations where you served yourself. The end of the gas station attendant probably had more to do with the price of oil going up sharply in the 80's than minimum wage. People were forced to economise, but when the prices started going down again by then they were used to filling their cars up themselves so few businesses bothered moving back to the old system.

The other huge factor now is trust, and this is probably more important than minimum wage and the reason above. Back in the late 70s the only indicator of how much fuel you bought was on the pump. That nice fella who wiped your wind shield was actually doing it because you the business could not do without him, they needed him to use the pump so they knew how much fuel you used and how much to charge you. Once technology enabled the till in the store to be connected to the pump and CCTV to monitor the whole place and record the licence plate of anyone who drove off without paying the businesses realised that customers could be trusted to serve themselves.

This is just another example of technology doing someone out of a job .

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 1) 778

by Ash Vince (#47494259) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Minimum wage is actually minimum ability. It cannot extract non-existing money from small business, but it can prevent people with abilities that are below minimum wage from finding jobs

The assumes that business hires people it does not really need, they don't. Any sensible business hire the minimum number of people they need at any one time, there is a little bit of slack as businesses hold on to people they might not need now but might need in a month or two but that is usually a symptom of the cost to train someone up again if you let them go.

In light of this, all that happens when you raise minimum wage is that employers pay more and then have to raise their prices a little to cover it. If a business lets someone go as a result of the minimum wage increasing then that business must be able to do with out them anyway, or they are right on the edge of bankruptcy and are letting someone go who they cannot do without, but in my experience businesses like that are doomed anyway since they are clearly not profitable anyway.

None of this is to say that large increases in the minimum wage would be a good idea, but a slight increase to cover inflation is not going to do anywhere near as much harm as the media make out. Of course very few news outlets in the US put this view across though because they are generally owned by people who are very rich and will have to pay their cleaners and nannies more if the minimum wage goes up.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 5, Informative) 778

by Ash Vince (#47494171) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Moving to the state whose laws work best for you may work for people who can move, but I expect the people affected by these laws are pretty closely representative of the set of people who can't move.

Even when people are supposedly more mobile, moving is a big thing for most people so they do not do it.

Here in the UK we had a 50% tax rate imposed on the very richest a few years ago. There were lots of stories about how this was going to drive away people who were successful abroad but in the end it made very little difference because while these sort of exceeding rich people might threaten to take their family somewhere else, but then when they talk to their wife and she refuses to move more than a 20 minute drive from her family and refuses to move the kids out of school and away from their friends.

A few years ago I wanted to move to the states as there were few companies that I could have worked for that might have appreciated a few niche skills I had picked up in their field. Although I would have been a ton financially better off in the states and we could have bought a much bigger house to start a family in than the 3 bedroom London house we have now, my wife would not have moved that far away from the family support. I could have explained how the US tax code would have benefited us until I was blue in the face but she simple wouldn't have cared enough to pay attention.

The idea that people will move is just a scare story that the rich use to try and maintain the ability to pay less in taxes or employers use to justify being able to pay as little in wages as possible.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 379

by Ash Vince (#47471203) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

The entire Israel is "land that has been stolen from others", depending on who you ask (e.g. Hamas believes that to be the case). So if Israel stops expanding, or even lets go of most of what it took after 1948, the rockets won't stop flying.

I personally think that if Israel stopped tearing down Palestinian homes and agreed to the immediate formation of a Palestinian state with borders that were where they are now then peace could be attainable. The huge problem though is that many Zionist Jews would find that utterly unacceptable as it as such a departure from the promised land as it was given to the Jews by god.

I don't think Israel needs to tear down a single settlement, just promise not to build any more and then actually live up to that promise for a year or two.

Comment: Re:I've always thought that the best way for Israe (Score 1) 379

by Ash Vince (#47445075) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Their not allowed to repair the buildings as concrete is on the list of goods that Israel prevents from being imported:

Seriously? Let's think about this:

He says if Hamas stops with the rockets, they can use the money to make repairs to buildings.
You say "but they can't fix stuff because they can't get concrete".
Israel says they can't import concrete because they keep launching rockets.

Hrm. I don't know about you, but I think I see a solution somewhere in there.

Even during the last ceasefire the blockade was still in effect so it is not as simple as you suggest.

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 3, Interesting) 309

Screw france and any other country that thinks they have a right to control how markets operate.

How about screw companies that want to do business in a local area without following local laws?

Does your same logic apply to columbians who want to sell crack in the US? That is just the good all free market too isn't it?

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson

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