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Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 427

by Calavar (#47510611) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

Maybe he is not a reporter but this guy [] is an American on al-Qaeda's side.

There is a huge difference between a fundamentalist terrorist nut and two law-abiding respected citizens of a nation that write for a major news outlet. I can't believe I have to explain that. This is your best counterexample? Really?

Sorry but the opinions if two biased people don't make what they say true.

Sure, they are "biased." And in my opinion, you are "biased." You can't just dismiss someone else's opinion as biased; you have to prove why it is wrong. Besides, if there is anyone who is likely to be biased in favor of a nation on the international stage, it would be two people who are residents of said nation.

They have not been told to leave all of the Gaza Strip. They have been told to leave certain areas where operations will be held.

I assume you are referring to knock on the roof warnings? Read this:

"Imagine you are in Gaza and there are airstrikes everywhere, and many families are in the bottom floor of their home," Abu Rahma added. "Families miss the sound of the 'warning' missile because it sounds like just another explosion."

But even in an era of precision targeting, the impact of missiles can't be restricted to one house in such a densely-populated area. Many of those injured in the strike on the al-Batsh compound were hit by shrapnel as they left an adjacent mosque. And the United Nations says some 70% of those killed in the current conflict have been civilians.

On July 8, eight civilians -- all members of the Kaware family -- were killed when their home in Khan Yunis was hit. According to the IDF, the family left the house after a phone warning but had returned home prematurely after a "knock on the roof." Perhaps they mistook it for the explosive missile.

You go to your mosque for daily prayer. No one warns you because the mosque itself is not the target for a bombing, but as you exit the mosque, you are killed by shrapnel from the next building. If you can be killed in this way, it is clear that remaining in Gaza is not safe. You cannot always avoid the places that will be bombed because you do not always know the places that will be bombed. The only safe thing would be to leave the city entirely. If the IDF really cared about minimizing civilian casualties, they would have allowed this. But they did not want to allow Hamas agents to slip into Egypt, so civilians be damned. Strategically, it would be better to strike empty military infrastructure in an abandoned city than what is happening now. Sure, because the IDF did not allow evactuation, 200 Hamas fighters are dead, but 200 is not enough to put a stopper on Hamas or even to inconvenience them very much.

So if Fatah is a sham then any coalition between Hamas and Fatah is also a sham. You can not have it both ways.

I never said anything about a coalition between Hamas and Fatah, but I agree. Any coalition between Hamas and Fatah is also a sham. The Palestinians don't have any "real" options on the table. They have a sham government (Fatah) or terrorists (Hamas). Israel allowed Palestinians to have a real option, they wouldn't vote for Hamas.

It is common law that any contract signed under duress is null and void. I would say "Sign or we keep your soldier" would be considered duress.

Then you have a very poor understanding of common law. Duress applies to individuals, not to governments. If the Palestinians has Netanyahu locked in a room with a gun to his head and said "sign this or we will kill you," that would have been null and void over duress. But when two countries are meeting at a civilized dialogue over a prisoner exchange, it is pretty much understood that not signing the agreement means that both sides will keep their prisoners. I mean are kidding me? Threatening to keep hold of a prisoner during prisoner exchange talks is putting someone under duress? Do you expect me to believe that Israel was going to release all the Palestinian prisoners even if the Palestinians didn't sign the agreement? Oh wait, no they wouldn't. Because even after both sides signed the agreement they rearrested the men anyway.

I see no problem with that. If the Palestinians vote for Hamas they are voting for more rocket attacks and more Israeli retaliation. If they vote for a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel they deserve to bear the consequences of that vote. Showing those consequences is not a bad thing.

So in your opinion, violence and intimidation against those who vote for the opposition are legitimate components of a democracy? That is exactly what is happening in Egypt right now, and that's what you call a democracy? That's what I call a military dictatorship. Look, I don't want Palestinians to vote for Hamas either, but Israel has no right to try to control the Palestinian populace through fear. In no circumstance is it okay to seek vengeance for the crimes of a government by attacking its people.

And arms and rockets into Gaza. They will also be used, as Hamas has stated and is doing now, to strike at Israel.

You totally missed my point. Sure, those tunnels are being used to funnel rockets into Gaza now but they were originally built because the residents of Gaza were literally dying of thirst thanks to draconian Israeli policies. Those tunnels would never have existed if the Israeli government had treated the residents like Gaza like people instead of animals. In a pattern that has been repeating itself since the 80s, Israel creates its own worst enemy by subjugating the Palestinians, and when that enemy festers and grows (into something like Hamas or the tunnel network that they are using) they punish Palestinian civilians for the thing that they themselves (Israel) forced the creation of.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hamas is a terrorist organization and should be treated as such. But just as France and the UK created their worst enemy in Germany when they demanded enormous reparations at Versailles in 1919, and just as the US created its worst enemy in Afghanistan when it left the Northern Alliance to fend for itself against the Taliban in the 1990s, Israel created Hamas through years of subverting Fatah. If the Israeli government had allowed Palestinians an outlet to express their political views peacefully through Fatah, they wouldn't have been so desperate as to elect Hamas in 2006. But Likud refused to give the PLC even a single inch, so they began a systematic oppression of the Palestinian political apparatus. If Likud hadn't strong-armed Fatah on every issue, if the Israeli government hadn't forced Palestinians to stick to three "Safe Passages" while allowing Israelis to wander the West Bank as they please, if Sharon hadn't supported the increased construction of settlements in the West Bank, if Netanyahu hadn't sabotaged the Oslo accords, then Hamas would have no power.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not blaming Israelis for these issues. First, there are some fundamentalist Arab agitators who seem to be in love with the idea of violence for its own sake. Second, even in those areas where Israel is at fault, a very small minority of Israelis (the extreme right of Likud) are the driving force.

I also don't think that the injustices against Palestinians justify the violence of Hamas. Nothing justifies terrorism. But Israel has to understand that Hamas isn't going to stop just because Israel has the moral high ground. Hamas will continue to have power as long as they have support of the Palestinian people, and they will have the support of the Palestinian people as long as Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens with a farce of a democracy. Some people would like to paint the conflict as Israel versus the terrorists, but it isn't that simple. It wasn't that simple in Nicaragua, it wasn't that simple in the Somalia, it wasn't that simple in Afghanistan, and it isn't that simple in Palestine. It never is.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 427

by Calavar (#47508519) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

Amira Hass [] and Gideon Levy [] are by no means unbiased reporters.

Okay, find me a biased American reporter who writes articles asking Americans to sympathize with Al-Qaeda. You won't, because no such reporter exists. That should be enough evidence to show that the Israeli attack on Gaza more morally ambiguous than the American attack on Afghanistan.

The swap which should never have been done as it rewards kidnappers.

Okay, maybe in your mind the prisoner swap was unjust. But it was still legally binding. By rearresting the prisoners, the Israeli government has violated its own laws and has clearly shown that Israeli law do not apply equally to Israelis and West Bankers. This only serves to add fuel to the fires of discontent that Hamas is trying to ignite. Seriously, what was Israel trying to accomplish with the rearrests?

So tunneling can be done without discovery.

You mean the tunnels that were built so that Gazans could smuggle in the fuel that they need to run their power plants and get enough electricity to power their desalinization plants so that they don't all die of thirst? These tunnels were not built for military purposes, and if Israel had not tried to convert Gaza into an "open air prison" with two closed borders no way out, they would have never been built in the first place. Then Hamas would not have pre-existing a tunnel network that it could easily expand into Israeli territory and Israel would have no need to further push the Gazans into destitution by shutting down their farms. First Israel removes Gaza's access to drinking water, and now its access to food. Tell me, who is trying to wipe who off the face of the earth?

Did the Palestinian Authority or Palestinian people do anything to catch the criminals?

Maybe the PLA would have caught the criminals if they had a real police force, but Israel will not allow them to maintain one. Likud doesn't want the PLA to have a police force capable of controlling the terrorists, because if they did, Israel would no longer have the excuse of occupying the West Bank for "security purposes." Besides, Abbas has already said that he supports the Israeli bombings in Gaza. (It is clear that he was strong armed into saying this, but if Israel could strong arm the PLA into that, they could have easily strong armed the Palestinian Police into searching for the criminals as well.)

According to this [] it was Fatah that cut off the funds and not Israel.

Let's be real. For all intents and purposes, Fatah = Israeli military government 2.0. It is a sham. It is nothing but a thin veil over the same IDF-run government that has been in power in the West Bank since the 40s.

All this ignores the fact that Israel, in retaliation for the killings of the Israeli civilians has killed 600 Palestinians. One of the US generals involved in the initial invasion of Afghanistan (I don't remember exactly who -- Dunford maybe) said that the US has achieved the lowest rate of civilian deaths in any war in history. About 15% of people killed by US forces in the initial invasion were civilians. Let's say that the IDF matched this rate and that 85% of the Palestinian deaths are Hamas and 15% are civilians. (Highly unlikely considering the dense urban environment of Gaza, but let's just assume this.) Then ninety Palestinian civilians are dead. Ninety for three. Gaza is a meat grinder right now. Israel has "warned" the civilians to leave, but the Egyptian border is closed, so where can they go? And the fact that the IDF is undertaking this action so close the the Palestinian General elections.... They are trying to send a message to West Bankers: This is what will happen to you if you vote for Hamas. This is what we will do to you. Some democracy those West Bankers have, eh?

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 427

by Calavar (#47508155) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures
I challenge you to find a "left wing" US news outlet that asks Americans to reconsider if the war on Al-Qaeda is just. Hint: There is none. The fact that there are Israelis who are against the military action in Gaza shows that there are a lot more shades of gray in Israel attacking Gaza than there were in the US attacking Afghanistan.

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 472

by Calavar (#47504279) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Okay, let me spell it out for you. First, it is clear that you did not read the page that I linked to because there are separate scores for "physical harm" and "social harm." The heroin related crime that you describe would fall under social harm, not physical harm, which is a measure of the deleterious medical effects only.

Second, even if we do look at the social harm scores, the fact that heroin scores so much higher than marijuana shows that there is a lot more involved than just the illegality of the drug. Why is the heroin social harm score 2.5x that of marijuana? Is heroin "more illegal" than marijuana? No, it isn't: in most states possession of a small amount of heroin, like possession of a small amount of marijuana, is only a misdemeanor, not a felony. So it stands to reason that there is another factor that is not related to illegality that causes heroin to be so much more socially harmful. It's the fact that heroin is so addictive compared to marijuana or even alcohol (again, see the link I posted earlier) and addicts go to desperate measures to get their fix. People rob stores for cigarettes, so why wouldn't they do it for heroin, which is more addictive than tobacco?

Getting back to the main point about physical harm: Yes, heroin is mostly more harmful because of the fact that it is injected. But the fact of the matter is that 99% of people in this country cannot be trusted with injecting themselves with anything. The other 1% are trained nurses and physicians. There is a reason that when you get sent home with pain meds after a surgery, they give you pills and not an IV drop. While an IV drop would reduce the amount of drug you need (because it goes directly into the blood instead of traveling through the digestive tract first) and would reduce the chance that you'd screw up the dosage (because with an IV drop you can't forget to take a pill or forget that you already took one), putting an IV in is not easy. Especially putting one into yourself. Especially when everything has to be 100% sterile lest you get a blood borne disease. If heroin was legalized, how many people would really buy an expensive autoclave for their syringes (and take the time to use it every time, even when they really need a rush but have to get to work in 30 minutes) or dispose of them in a sharps container (which must them be specially disposed of by an expensive biowaste service)?

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 472

by Calavar (#47504153) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use
Pretty much everything you say in your comment is wrong. Heroin is much more addictive than alcohol. (That same link shows that a survey of medical experts rated heroin as twice as physically harmful as alcohol.) People do die from heroin withdrawal. The long term effects of heroin use include gangrene near the injection site.

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 472

by Calavar (#47489447) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

It may not be a 'good' idea. It may simply be less bad that keeping them criminalized. Addiction is a medical diagnosis and it makes more sense to keep it in the medical sphere than the criminal one. Being addicted to anything is bad for you (that's inherent in the term). The consequences of that addiction can be modified by decriminalizing the drug (but keeping it regulated). Nobody but nobody is suggesting that we just drop cocaine packets from the sky. Well, perhaps a few folks might like that.....

I'll buy that. Arresting people for merely using drugs is probably not a good strategy. They should be enrolled in addiction prevention programs instead. But dealing such drugs should remain illegal, IMO. If it's illegal to buy penicillin or ketamine without a prescription from a doctor, I don't see why it should be legal to purchase drugs such as heroin.

Citation please.

"It is estimated that 32% of tobacco users will become addicted, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine users, and 15% of alcohol users." So I was a bit off. It's more like 1.5x. And you are right, nicotine is more addictive. But according to a survey of psychologists and medical providers, heroin is 2x as physically harmful to the user as alcohol or tobacco, so I still think that it deserves special status.

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 472

by Calavar (#47489381) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

While I see what you're trying to do, this sort of nonsense is not going to work on me.

So, in your opinion, are DUI bans reasonable or not? Are speeding bans reasonable or not? These are yes or no questions. Either you admit that there is such a thing as a reasonable ban (although you might draw the line at a different place than I would), or you say that you'd be fine driving on a highway where there are people darting by at 150 mph while chugging a beer.

You can have all the 'reasonable' bans you want in North Korea, where you belong.

On the contrary, you are the one who wants to live in a country without bans, which this country is not. Tickets to Somalia only cost a few hundred bucks, and once you're there, you don't have to pay taxes. Begone. But Somalia is in a civil war, you say? Fine, then live in North Waziristan, where the locals hate the government just as much as you do. Of course, the locals will probably beat you to death for being an infidel, but at least you'll die happy knowing that there were no police there to restrict their natural right to use their arms.

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 472

by Calavar (#47489293) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Interesting. I wish I could read the linked study, but it's blocked by a pay wall. The summary mentions that Portugal decriminalized all drugs, but then it goes on to just talk about marijuana. It does mention that there was drop in HIV transmission but concedes that these could have been due to expanded treatment instead of decriminalization. They also mentioned that there were "more drugs seized by law enforcement," which makes me wonder if drugs were completely decriminalized. Overall, I'm not sure that this article proves that decriminalizing narcotics would be a good thing, but maybe it shows that decriminalizing them wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

I feel like hard drugs should remain illegal because while a lot of marijuana related crime is largely artificial (i.e. it only exists because marijuana is illegal), not all hard drug related crime is. For example, one dealer could rob a rival dealer of his stash because he knows that his rival can't report the theft to the cops. But when it comes to heroin/meth related crimes, there are instances where people are so addicted to the drug that they rob stores just to come up with enough money for their next fix. Decriminalizing the drug wouldn't eliminate these kinds of crimes.

Comment: Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 2) 472

by Calavar (#47489211) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

But we have the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, constitution-free zones, free speech zones, protest permits, DUI checkpoints, mass warrantless surveillance, unrestricted border searches, and a number of other policiies or agencies that violate the constitution and people's fundamental rights (thanks to people like you)

So the fact that you need a prescription from a doctor to get penicillin, is that a violation of your fundamental rights? Hell yeah, I should be allowed to eat penicillin and Oxycontin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No goddamn elitist doctor is going to tell me otherwise. Same with BAC limits for driving. I know how much alcohol I can handle and no goddamn state trooper is going to tell me that .08 is the "legal limit." Lets do away with speed limits and other traffic regulations as well. All they do is provide a source of revenue for corrupt police departments. And what about nerve agents? Why can't I buy any? My right to mustard gas is protected under the second amendment dammit!

Don't accuse me of straw-manning because that is exactly what you did when you conflated a heroin ban with warrantless wiretapping. There is such a thing as a reasonable ban.

Comment: There is no magic bullet (Score 2) 472

by Calavar (#47488697) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Ending prohibition didn't kill the mob. They just switched from bootlegging to trafficking narcotics, and they reached the height of their power in the 50s and 60s, long after the prohibition ended. In the same way, while legalizing marijuana might reduce crime here in the US, cartels in Mexico are Too Big to Fail. They won't pack up their things and head home quietly if marijuana is legalized; they'll just start peddling something new.

As for legalizing highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin, I don't see how decriminalizing them good possibly be a good idea. The addiction rate for these drugs is 2.5 to 3 times that of alcohol. Heroin, etc. are dangerous and they weren't just banned because of moralizers.

Comment: Seriously? (Score 4, Insightful) 507

by Calavar (#47459715) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Are you kidding me? You're planning your daughter's career based on predictions from Kurzweil and Rifken? They both have notoriously bad track records. Kurzweil is the guy who predicted that we'd have automatic translation for phones ten years ago. (He claims that his prediction held true because 2004 smart phones shipped with crappy text translation apps, but it is obvious from context that he originally meant real time voice-to-voice translation.)

I have no doubt that much of what Kurzweil and Rifken predict will eventually happen, but their timelines are far too optimistic. IMO, the best advice you could give your daughter is to keep away from factory work (everyone will be replaced by robots relatively soon, even in China), law (far too many grads, far too few jobs -- you need to go to a top 10 school if you want any shot at a good job), and academia (same problem as law).

Comment: Re:Windows DLL injection attack vector. (Score 1) 75

by Calavar (#47446791) Attached to: Source Code Leaked For Tinba Banking Trojan

Proponents of the Linux desktop can't use the marketing excuse anymore: Ubuntu is commercially backed with plenty of advertising money, but it has not taken the desktop by storm. Why? Usability. The Linux ecosystem was designed by programmers for programmers, so Linux apps are built with a command line interface that works perfectly and a GUI that's tacked on as an afterthought.

Sure, you and I don't have a problem with messing ifconfig if the Wicd GUI crashes, but what about your grandma? Forget that, what about your non-programmer cousin? And let's not ignore the fact that the Wicd GUI, despite being a GUI, is still pretty complicated compared to the Windows network manager. If you want to connect to a network in Windows, you go to Networks and Sharing, click on the network you want, enter the password, and boom, you're done. With Wicd, the first option you see when you select a WPA network is "WPA Supplicant Driver" and below that you see "Use dBm to measure signal strength." When you enter the password, there is a box to "Use these settings for all networks sharing this essid." That's an awful lot of jargon, and it scares laypeople away.

Linux excels where usability for the layperson is not an issue. That's why it dominates the server market: sysadmins feel most at home on the terminal.

Comment: Re:Get rid of them all (Score 1) 155

by Calavar (#47445165) Attached to: Fighting Climate Change With Trade
The gospel has changed because the world has changed. In the 70s and 80s, India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. had only a fraction of the industry that they do now, so they were responsible for much less pollution. Back then the US was the worlds biggest polluter, followed by most of Western Europe. Over the past 30 years, things changed. This has very little to do with media bias.

Comment: Re:Eugenics? (Score 1) 561

by Calavar (#47330437) Attached to:, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses
J. Philippe Rushton jokes aside, if by "strawmaning and handwaving" you mean thoroughly rebutting your arguments, then yes, I've done plenty of "strawmaning and handwaving," and unless you can tell my why the patterns observed in the Netherlands and Virginia are inconclusive or why the papers I linked to are inaccurate, I think that brings this debate to a close.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo