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Comment: Re:RACIST! (Score 0) 496

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) 182

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) 182

... 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.

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 4, Insightful) 139

(And fighting tooth and nail at every opportunity to outlaw any means the citizens have to resist.)

Oddly enough, some of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment claim to do so on the principle that an armed populace can keep a government in check -- and overthrow them by force if need be -- and yet those same people seem some of the least likely candidates to criticize the government for all these bogus measures and information black-outs in the name of "national security".

This instance is particularly shocking. They are required to make privacy assessments, presumably as a remnant of more enlightened times when the government still operated on the assumption that at least *some* members of the public are well-meaning, mostly harmless citizens. Times in which the folks who wrote up this requirement didn't even think, apparently, to include a demand that the results be made public.

And now they claim that the results of that assessment must be kept secret. For your own good, honestly. Well, that fact in itself should tell you all you need to know.

Comment: Re:Congress has its (collective) head buried... (Score 3, Informative) 298

Thats's cute and all, but not actually correct.

Con, as in "pros and cons" comes from "contra", meaning against.

But "con" in congress means basically the opposite, which is to say "with", "together". As in "concert", "consistent", "consonant", "contract" and so on.

But you know, it's still pretty funny.

In French I've heard it say that
on parle == they talk
on ment == they lie

But etymologically that is equally broken I guess.

Comment: Re:Just wow. (Score 2) 109

by erikkemperman (#47522735) Attached to: Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

Absolutely right.

I would only add that, in addition to worrying about an evil foreign power getting hold of such records, we should also worry about evil local groups who might be in government some time in the future.

Which is why, in my opinion, these records should be subject to strict time limitations and expire sooner rather than later -- if we decide we need them at all for, you know, only slightly evil purposes.

Comment: Re:Just wow. (Score 1) 109

by erikkemperman (#47522643) Attached to: Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

I'm not sure why you are surprised -- wasn't the main reason for these intra-agency deals mainly to circumvent the restrictions to spying on ones own citizens?

That said, we in the Netherlands have an absolutely terrible record -- no pun intended -- of evesdropping and phonetapping and so on.

Comment: Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (Score 1) 667

by erikkemperman (#47502433) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Geen punt joh, doe ik wel even.

Translation of parent post:

Where you live doesn't fucking matter, everyone can read the papers. Fact is that that cunt retard Rutte should have immediately sent in the marines to secure the crash site. Now those Russian swine have had the time to remove evidence and loot the victims' possessions.

Look, I understand the sentiment. I honestly do. Even the suggestion to send our own strong men, though it is preposterous and you know it.

It just seems to me that the surest way to guarantee that this tragedy will just keep on escalating from what should be first and foremost about the victims and their families, is this rush to conclusions and consequences in this volatile geopolitical powder keg. Except, you know, with nukes.

Comment: Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (Score 1) 667

by erikkemperman (#47501849) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

What we know doesn't seem to amount to much yet, sadly, if we disregard the he said / she said.

However, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said there is overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the incident

Until evidence is presented, this is no more credible than the overwhelming evidence of WMD in Iraq and of Assad being behind the sarin attacks.

Russia denies the claims.

Likewise, not credible. They would say this anyway.

Ukrainian authorities earlier released a recording they claimed was a conversation between pro-Russian militants admitting to shooting down the plane.

And this is also quite meaningless, as of now, because of the accuser is basically at war with the accused.

Incidentally I wonder if these militants are less pro-Russian than they are anti-Kiev (post coup).

Meanwhile, though, there are at least some relatively positive developments:

Pro-Russian separatists say they have found the plane's "black box" flight recorders and have agreed to hand them over to Malaysian investigators who are in Ukraine.

Dutch forensic scientists have also arrived to start work on identifying bodies.

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?