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Comment: Re:US Revelations vs. Confronting Putin (Score 2) 88

"The first thing that comes to mind is we wouldn't have even heard of this video if it didn't go according to script."

And this drivel gets +5 insightful?

It was a live call-in show. Yes, they have these things in Russia, and more amazingly, their President has the cajones to go on one and take callers. The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

Snowdens question was the first gambit in a line of attack that leads to parsing essentially the same lie the NSA still tries. They actually collect everything, and stick it in a database, but they arent really supposed to pull it back out without a reason, so since most of the stuff in the database never gets looked at by a human, they want to say they arent *really* collecting it all. They only want to admit to collecting the stuff they admit to going back and looking at later, and say it's not mass surveillance, it's targeted. But that's just not how the technology works.

If you want to be able to come back in 6 months and pick out a single call to listen to, you have to record ALL the calls and keep them stored for some time in order to enable this. And maybe there is one call in there that winds up being of use in a criminal investigation, great. Along with 200 that are useful for blackmail or extortion? Do we think the intelligence agents who have access to this information are angels who could never consider doing anything wrong, or incompetents who could work there every day for years but never find a way to get away with anything?

Comment: Re:3D Printing - Anachy ? (Score 3, Interesting) 183

by Arker (#46800491) Attached to: Cody Wilson Interview at Reason: Happiness Is a 3D Printed Gun
"I find it amusing that Anarchy will supposedly spring forth from a technology that depends on highly refined, multi-disciplinary engineering and built from precision materials that are only manufactured and sold at affordable pricing in the context of a highly ordered society."

Errr, why?

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 1) 25

"the pax Americana has been a great cost avoidance for the European social welfare states, who can maintain smaller, localized defense forces, knowing that the 800lb gorilla is there."

Sure the short term incentive for them is clear, but why should the US taxpayer be expected to go along with this?

Back in the day, it was because the Soviet Union was considered a credible and common threat. The Russian Federation is neither, yet the bill for confronting him only increases.

"Let's not be surprised at any of these unsurprising developments."

Not surprised at all, I caught onto the racket years ago. Just disappointed at how little the oath of office seems to mean these days.

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 1) 25

"I think that anecdote points to a broader, American Exceptionalism-based difficulty: we regularly hold peaceful revolutions at the ballot box. While the rest of the world, and Russians are arguably among the more egregious cases, have much greater policy time horizons, the U.S. has trouble remembering anything."

Too much truth to that, but it does not mean we should not try to do better.

"The State Department should provide a more "traditional" geo-political interface, but then you come to the question of to what degree agreements with the U.S.S.R. hold any sway. One might be tempted to pretend something like the referenced agreement never happened. Fine. But you really don't want the Russians weaponizing space, as we agreed to eschew in the Outer Space Treaty, do you?"


Now with that thought in mind think back on how the US government has in fact treated Russia since the Soviet Union dissolved. Is it just me or does it seem like our government as a whole actually WANTS to provoke them into something drastic like that? First off, why expand, instead of disband, NATO if we are not planning to attack Russia? And why pour all this 'democracy promotion' money into the likes of Svoboda if we are not actively scheming against Russia? I have no trouble believing this has been on the Russians minds all this time because it has certainly been on mine, and I cannot come up with another credible answer.

The Europeans were involved at first and they were thinking of expanding the EU to the Ukraine (which was probably a bad idea from the get-go given their economic woes) but they have since backed off quite a bit. Less because of their economic woes and more because of the sheer unsavoriness of the new regime.  You could see street protests bring down several EU governments if they even get close to admitting a country where the likes of Svoboda is in government, and I've started seeing admissions that there is no way in hell Ukraine will be invited to the EU for the foreseeable future.

"While I understand that paranoia is the Russian national sport, I still thing BHO was a complete fool for, inter alia, abandoning the missile shield in Poland."


What value would it have been?

I mean in general I think interceptors are a great idea, but there? Whose missiles would it ever have a chance to intercept, if not the Russians? The Iranians never had missiles with that range and are unlikely to develop them, and still less likely to actually use them. Turkey is a member of NATO after all, and who else outside of Europe has the range to hit that area? Seems like a damn short list.

It does not seem paranoid to me for them to worry that a missile site ostensibly aimed at Iran, yet not in range of Iran, but nicely in range of them, might actually be intended for use against them. Combine that with the color revolutions, the expansion of Nato, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the recent events in Libya (Russia agreed to a resolution with strict limitations only to see the limitations ignored basically from day one, and a regime friendly to them eliminated as a result,) and Syria (where the Russians have refused to agree to even a token resolution because after Libya they simply do not trust us not to do the same thing again) - I do not think it's paranoid for the Russians to feel a bit persecuted.

That's without even mentioning some of the cruder anti-russian propaganda that you can be sure is being rebroadcast for them with captions.

Comment: Suggestions (Score 1) 1

by Arker (#46789127) Attached to: Thrifty system for volume billed Internet. -HELP
I dont think OS matters too much, but I would recommend Slackware specifically, since most Linux based systems these days have a lot more automatic stuff to disable for what you want.  But you can do it with any OS if you take the time to customize.

For the web browser you want to disable loading of images, scripts, and other extraneous nonsense automatically. This could mean lynx or links or emacs-www but it could also be FF with no script and request policy.

Seems to me the most important thing would be to have your own meter running though, so you have a way to check where you are at on your quota. I dont have a solution there, offhand.

Comment: Re:Maybe if you understood the the business of war (Score 1) 25

"I will not endeavor to understand why, it's only to point out a factual observation that you are mirroring those blogs you read, and they get their crap from the same wire as the "liberal" press. I'll let you in on a little secret, the press releases hardly ever reflect what goes over secured communications. I believe you would need specific clearances to know what's happening. I'm going on the assumption you don't"

The logical conclusion to this argument is that you need a security clearance to form an opinion on policy and that is hogwash. In fact many people without such a clearance, including academics and others, have good track records of getting issue after issue right when the people with the clearances were getting it all wrong.

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 1) 25

"This is where I'm going with the argument. It's one thing to say "we cannot take any direct action now"."

THAT actually sounds very weak to me. The implication I would take is that you feel you should be taking action, but you've been deterred (for now.)

My position is really much stronger. If there were a good reason to be involved then fine, WWIII, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, I am down. I am one crazy mofo and I cannot be deterred when I choose to act.

But this? We have no vital interest to defend here, the only thing on the line for us is the prestige of the STUPID SOBs that started and continued the deliberate policy of antagonizing and encircling Russia.

Their personal prestige is on the line and deserves to take the hit. But that is not the same as our national prestige and we should be clarifying that line right now instead of trying to blur it.

But we are not doing that. Our government by its actions is making clear that it values these officials personal prestige more than it values many other things one might think would take precedence - including the well-being of our troops in Afghanistan. As I am sure you are aware, they have a bit of a supply chain problem, and Russia is being enormously helpful in regards to that. So far they have not withdrawn that help, but how much longer? What happens to our troops when both the southern and the northern route is cut? Is it not completely irresponsible to go around bear-baiting without at the very least getting our men out of Afghanistan first?

"As an example, we have NATO allies in the Baltics. Have we signaled anything to them other than "You are effed"?"

I think it's important to question WHY we've been violating our agreement with Russia and expanding NATO east before addressing that directly. This is a history of provocation that is part of the context here, and while it would be wonderful to have a time machine and just go back and avoid that error, the fact that we cannot do that should not be allowed to become an excuse to perpetuate the errors - to double down on bad bets. That's a road to ruin.

Now, we are here now, and yes we have NATO allies in the Baltics. And we have been sending both ships and planes into the area in the reports I have seen. Sounds like just enough to start a war but nowhere near enough to win one. And I think that's silly. I would advise taking a step back and asking whether or not there is any need to be worried about them, and I would have to say no. Russia has not threatened them, and seems highly unlikely to do so.

But then again bears ARE dangerous. Keep poking it and sooner or later you might well cause what you want to avoid.

It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes