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Comment: Re:I'm looking now (Score 1) 134

by erikkemperman (#47735213) Attached to: Finding an ISIS Training Camp Using Google Earth

What lead to a change in the Iraqi government was that Maliki refused to allow US troops to stay permanently. Word is the successor comes pre-agreed on that issue.

Meanwhile IS is the enemy in Iraq but somehow we're not supposed to notice that they are our allies in Syria. Who would have thought that they might use the same weapons we gave them in A suddenly in B?

And since they are additionally quite heavily funded mostly from Saudi Arabia, which is basically the most brutal theocratic dictatorship on the planet, not to mention our favorite client state in the region, killing IS supply lines really should just be a matter of saying the word.

Comment: Re:Too much surplus (Score 4, Insightful) 264

US Defense budgets and military personnel strength are in steep decline and will be for years to come due to sequestration and other cuts.

I assume you mean the 2013 cuts -- those have been matched, basically dollar for dollar, by increasing the "temporary" budget for Afghanistan. US military spending remains outrageous, at about the level of the rest of the world put together.

The US was attacked on 9/11 because of existing religious extremism and anti-Americanism, not the other way around, the US didn't cause it.

Fundamentalism is a part of it, yes, but would never amount to anything like what we've seen were it not for widespread anti-US sentiments stemming from more pragmatic reasons, such as US foreign policy for the last, oh, seven decades. 911 was a scandalous crime, no doubt about it, but to state that it is completely unrelated to your own actions is patently false.

It is baffling how you could get such simple questions so wrong. Substituting slogans for facts and thinking?

Coming from someone who apparently still believes the Iraq war had anything to do with 911 other than rhetoric, and somehow still manages to delude himself that anti-American sentiment somehow thrives in complete isolation of its international posturing -- yeah, baffling is what that is.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 264

I think the point is that when the police are shooting people in great numbers -- I don't think the US has a peer in that dept -- then it might not be a great idea to give them even more destructive weaponry. Sure it would be "contingency" equipment when anyone asks, but sooner or later it'll be standard issue.

Remember those billions (!) of rounds of ammo that DHS bought?

In combination with the, shall we say, questionable record of accountability of police actions, tooling up to this extent seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

Comment: Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (Score 1) 327

by erikkemperman (#47668937) Attached to: California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

Of course they are.

And how does anyone even pretend this is legal? They can just 'waive' laws for special people and leave them in place for us proles now?

This is not the American way. One law for everyone. If the law is wrong, repeal it, don't 'waive' it for your friends while the rest suffer.

Are you seriously surprised that Justice is not blind? She hasn't been for quite some time, as best I can tell, not to mention that someone rigged her scales.

"Two-tier justice", I think that's what they call it. The common practice of threatening outrageous sentences to pressure people into a plea bargain, which is to say be found guilty without a day in court -- but of course they only even attempt that when they estimate the cost of mounting a defense would prove problematic.

Actually it seems to me that now we ought to distinguish three- or even four-tier justice, accounting for cases such as this one where political considerations come into play and recently there have even been cases of corporations being found guilty of very serious offenses but deemed " to big to jail".

Comment: Re:"Isolating" by choosing open source? (Score 4, Insightful) 115

Presumably they are choosing not to get screwed by NSA, through proxies such as Apple and MS. But otherwise I agree entirely.

I wish headlines such as

China seems to be on a mission to isolate itself from the world, at least in terms of technology.

Would more often be accompanied by its root cause, something along the lines of

America seems to be on a mission to antagonize the rest of the world, not least in terms of technology.

Comment: Re:RACIST! (Score 0) 514

by erikkemperman (#47572579) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

This is +5 Insightful?

I get that some people feel that affirmative action has been taken too far. I also get that some feel that it actually has a detrimental effect on the supposed beneficiaries. I don't claim to know either way.

But it looks to me as if racism, the bad old ugly kind, is very much alive in the USA (and many other places). So it seems unhelpful, to say the least, to ridicule people who are attempting to fight it -- whether you agree with their particular approach or not, we need more of those people.

Comment: Re: Tag, you're it! (Score 1) 184

and if that means 100 civvies dead on the other side for each Israeli, so be it. It's the same shit we've done here in the US with Iraq and Afghanistan when we call in airstrikes, and it is justifiable.

So be it, huh? Serves those civvies right for having been born in the wrong country? That is an argument which betrays complete moral bankruptcy. And completely overlooks that the war in Iraq was not justifiable to begin with. Certainly it had nothing to do with protecting US citizens.

  The Nuremberg Tribunal ...

... called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil initiate a war of not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Comment: Re: Tag, you're it! (Score 1) 184

... who is the war criminal?

I think that the answer, in your hypothetical example, as well as the current Gaza conflict (and the previous three, actually), is both.

The tragedy is nothing will come of it. A UN report will determine that both sides committed war crimes. Israel will condemn this as anti-semitic, and Hamas will condemn it as depriving them of the only way they have left to resist Israeli military and economic warfare.

Even looking at root causes is futile, for a conflict this old. So an apparently simple question such as "who broke the ceasefire / truce?". For example, one might argue that it was Hamas, because they fired rockets from Gaza, before the first Israeli airstrike hit. But another might argue Israel, because it never even started implementing the conditions upon which the truce was achieved (settlement freeze, lifting the blockade, ...)

In any other case, the UN would send in peackeepers. But of course that is not possible here, because of the US' reflexive support for Israel (which, according to some, amounts to US legislators' mortal fear of AIPAC).

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 1) 139

Are you trying to say that those who demand gun control are the ones most likely to rebel against authority?

Well, I don't think anyone is likely to rebel against the US government -- not by force anyway, given that the latter is armed to the teeth. 1.6 billion bullets for DHS, was it?

But not everybody is claiming that the possibility of armed rebellion (preposterous though it may be) makes for a valid argument in support of the second amendment.

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 1) 139

I'm not right wing, but I have to call you out on that. Most extreme right-wingers that I know - the kind that likes to talk about right to keep and bear arms as "means to fight back against a tyrannical government" - are actually pretty skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff. Notice how a lot of recent attacks on the NSA came from Tea Party.

Actually I haven't said anything about left- or right-wing, though I suppose that generally speaking the need for the second amendment is felt more strongly by the right-wing. And the need to rid society of all those firearms is perhaps more strongly felt by the left. But, correct me if I am wrong, isn't the Tea Party a minority amongst right-wingers? And by extension, among pro-gun activists?

From the outside, the Ds and Rs don't actually seem all that different, and it would appear that they somehow agree on precisely those issues that are unpopular with both of their supporters. E.g., PATRIOT, domestic NSA transgressions, copyright and patent legislation, and the better part of the US foreign policy come to mind.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."