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Comment: Re:bit coin doesn't solve the strategic issue. (Score 0) 358 358

Of course they're screwed. And for every Euro the Greeks owe, there's a banker in the rest of the EU that lend it to them, knowing full well that they could never pay it off, and that their government would bail them out when it would turn sour. And that's exactly what happened in 2010-2012. German Landesbanken were up in their necks in Greek debt and would topple en-masse if Greece would default. They were assuming that the German government would stand by Greece. Landesbanken are interesting banks. They are 'cooperative', meaning that they are largely controlled by German politicians. These would get into serious trouble if those banks would topple, so the German state decided that Greece could not default until the bad debt was removed from the Landesbanken and was completely socialized over the population. And then they added the rhetoric that every eurocent would be paid back to appease the populace.

Many people actually argued at the time that both Italy and Greece were not in any shape to join the Euro, but were overruled by the Germans that needed as large a Euro-zone as France desired, in order to 'pay' for their right of unification. And that's where the trouble started. Not with the Greek lies, but with the German desire to placate France.

Yes, the Greeks lied and cheated. The Germans did something worse. Rather than letting their banks take the hit, they let their population pay for it, and blame it on foreigners.

Comment: Re:Athens has a printing press. (Score 1) 358 358

No, I think the reaction would be much more subdued. All Euro notes with Greece's 'X' on it will be considered counterfeit money, and people holding those notes will be reimbursed. If Greece starts to really cheat and create notes with other countries initials on it, then the story changes. They could just as well print dollars at that time. The reaction would be much the same.

Comment: Re:Demographics (Score 1) 256 256

Don't feel like doing a full survey for the reading impaired, but here's an example: Crack bad, cocaine good. This reduced the weight ratio for federal punishment between possession of crack cocaine and cocaine powder from 100:1 to 18:1, and eliminated the minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years for possession of crack cocaine. Guess what population group was involved in crack, and which in powder when the original law was drafted?

As for organizations, you might want to do some reading into the way the American judicial system hands out sentences for black versus white for exactly the same offense. Check out this paragon of liberal reporting . Being black gives you a 20% longer sentence by default for similar crimes. An ongoing program of sentencing black harder than any other group.

This took me 2 minutes of googling. You might want to try this. It's all pretty well known and out in the open. I'm curious how come that you're not aware of this and think everything is equal and unbiased in the USA. Watch Fox a lot?

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

You make a couple of interesting points wrt arming the populace. I'll mull over that an possibly respond later. Wrt the electoral college however: please note that every state except swing states such as Ohio and Florida are currently flyover country, electorally speaking. There is no point for any candidate to show up in any non-swing state, so all efforts go to those few that are. This holds for traditional flyover country (red) and metro areas (blue). The swing states get all the attention, and therefore all the promises. It's a lot smaller group of states than would be served otherwise. Without the electoral college, any state that has a significant minority of voters for the other side becomes a battleground. Currently, the red guy in DC is as irrelevant as the blue guy in Idaho.

In the US, the top 20 cities contain about 33 Million people, a mere 10% of the population. Why do you think they will get all the attention? Also note that the electoral college composition itself is based on population density, so there's not a lot of interest in those few votes in any case.

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

Why does this makes sense you think? The US constitution is a pretty reasonable document that argues the choices therein. The only place where things are self-evident is in the declaration of independence, but also there the self-evidence are that men are created equal, endowed with inalienable rights. It seems you feel that these rights are LIfe, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and the the Right to Bear Arms. Unfortunately for your position, this is not the case. If the people that drafted the second amendment would have decided that bearing arms is something that doesn't need justification, they would have said so. But they didn't, and their original reason has expired. Clinging to the consequences of that reasoning is, although strictly speaking legal, also intellectual fraud. You might like the outcome of the second amendment, you might even fight tooth and nail to prevent it from being changed, but to claim that this is the intent of the document is pretty far fetched.

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

Yes, you are absolutely right that proving the first half false doesn't relax the commandment in the second half. Therefore I advocated in my original post that the second amendment should be rephrased loosely as: "For no discernable purpose whatsoever, the right of the people to bear arms should not be abridged".

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

Sounds like a load of cow manure to me. I love Penn&Teller, but frankly, much of their BS episodes are BS in their own right. They really needed to fill those seasons and when they run out of arguments, they start shouting.

A militia is, by definition, not a standing army. It is formed by civilians. Here's a definition: "Militia: a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency." Here's another: "a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army." There was a militia at the time, they were civilians. They bought their own weapons. That was considered the right way to defend the country. For the people, by the people. The standing army came later, and it wasn't called a militia.

Even on linguistic grounds, the argument doesn't make sense. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Now let's enter a definition of militia in there: "a military force raised from the people". Now the argument reads: "A well regulated military force raised from the people, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed". You're sure that the first people are not the same as the second people? Why would the people need to fight the people? Were the founding fathers advocating permanent civil war?

Your argument is, indeed, bullshit.

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

I think your parenthetical expression is a bit more than just word-fluff entered by a founding father in a flurry of poetic inspiration. It clearly describes the intent of the amendment. People need to be armed to defend the state. The US didn't have a big standing army at the time, and it was clear that to keep free, they would need to be able to call up their citizens if they were attacked, and those citizens better be armed. Given that the US currently has a larger army than the rest of the world combined, I don't think that calling up their citizens is very relevant at this point.

Same with the electoral college. In the good old days, the state would have a vote in November, and would select the person(s) that would get up on a horse and ride to Washington DC to represent the state in electing the president. There was simply no other way. The electoral college became obsolete with the telegraph, but it's still around.

The stated reasons for the second amendment are no longer relevant, yet the amendment stays. Maybe the amendment should be updated to: "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, for no reason whatsoever, shall not be infringed".

Comment: Re:Now what? (Score 3, Informative) 242 242

If the executive branch of government breaks the law, they will be judged. The legislative branch has the power to change the law, but that requires a majority in both houses. The current Dutch executive branch does not have a majority in both houses, so they are shit out of luck. The elected government is formed by the two houses, so I guess I would say that the elected government is not entirely in sync with the executive branch here. There are many subtleties here that have to do with how Dutch government is constructed, but the situation is by no means outrageous. It seems that Trias Politica is working here.

Comment: Re:Taxation too. (Score 2) 266 266

Think about that for a second. The ex-president was going to leave to avoid the taxes.

Thought about it, and came to the conclusion that the ex-president, who is now trying to get back into politics after being through many court-cases, is quite probably trying to get an upper-hand on his rival. Has he left? No. Will he leave? No chance.

Not saying that 75% tax rate is a good thing, but taking Sarkozy as an example is not very convincing.

At these prices, I lose money -- but I make it up in volume. -- Peter G. Alaquon