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Comment: Re:Good for greece (Score 1) 1228 1228

The profligate wastes of government are nothing new, but - especially in the US - citizens in general seem to feel almost completely disenfranchised. They can vote, but almost every single conversation I see indicates that they feel that their vote is worthless and that it won't change anything.

They are absolutely right, their vote doesn't matter The reality that has to be faced it that democracy has been owned as wholly as socialism was. It just took the powerful a little longer to rig the system is all. I forget who originally stated: "You may cast as many votes as you like as long as I get to choose the candidates". The candidates in *every* democracy are effectively chosen by the wealthy and powerful. They can guarantee that only candidates that support their policies ever get enough money to reach a larger audience than the candidates living room. As long as there exists the possibility of money in politics, there exists the ability of the rich and powerful gaming the system to perform their bidding.

Greece is a prime example of this process taken to its logical conclusion. The rich and powerful have stolen 300 Billion Euros from the greek people, and there is no easy way to even figure out who took the money, never mind getting any of it back. To be certain the Greek people deserve a little of the blame, as they voted for those in power, but to even suggest that the other parties would have been any different in the ways that matter is flying in the face of reason. After all, even a fringe party like Syriza has not lifted a finger to address the corruption and graft that is at the root of the Greek problem. At the end of the day, *ALL* of the candidates support the status quo of robbing the Greek treasury. If they didn't, they would never have accumulated enough money for you to have ever heard of them.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 1228 1228

You *must* be taking the piss, right? You can't honestly be saying with a straight face that the Syriza government, which has been in power for all of six months, was responsible for the wholesale destruction of the Greek economy, can you?

No, I am saying that the Greek People, who have consistently elected bad governments, most recently with Syriza, are responsible for the failure. They have consistently made bad choices, and its time for them to reap the consequences of those bad judgements. To do anything else simply absolves the Greek people of the responsibilities that comes with Democracy, and would encourage future problems in every other democracy on earth. Greece cannot be allowed to come out of this without an extreme amount of pain for the same reasons that a government can never be seen to negotiate with terrorists. The moment you ignore that rule, you're up to your ass in terrorists...

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 2) 266 266

Not really. Excluding someone from a restaurant they go by every day because of that person's race is a significant inconvenience for that person, yet serving black people isn't against anyone's reasonable interpretation of religious commandments. On the other hand, a baker who refuses to make a cake especially for a gay marriage causes a once-in-a-lifetime minor inconvenience for two people, yet participating in a gay wedding ceremony is very much against many people's reasonable interpretation of religious commandments.

The problem is that bigotry is enshrined in the religious belief. If ever there was an indication that religion is evil, that's it. A persons religious belief does not entitle them to engage in discrimination as part of their interactions with the world. Those that believe this to be acceptable behaviour need to be corrected. Failure to do so leads to two mutually incompatible religions squaring off and killing millions (That should sound familiar). One of the most fundamental tenets of many religions is exclusion and persecution. This is not always a direct facet of the religion itself, but is a fundamental aspect of human nature, and so many religious leaders use it to keep their flocks in line. The necessary consequence of this is bigotry, exclusion and ultimately war. Religion, as practiced, by the majority of the worlds population is an unconscionable excuse to exclude and discriminate, and should not be tolerated. I don’t give a damn what is written in any book or preached in any school, it doesn't give anyone the authority to deny me my rights.

Comment: Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 5, Informative) 1228 1228

Central banks are not funded by taxpayers. The IMF for example was funded by the US in a budget-neutral manner, as an exchange of assets. Translation: the IMF's money is created out of thin air. That the IMF won't give Greece any of their created money is shameful, sociopathic, criminal, and utterly unnecessary.

That is just plain asinine. Money doesn't come from nothing. Even wall street isn't that far out of touch with reality. If there is value there, it came from something. Consequently it is funded by something. Even if the money was printed and then given to the IMF, the moment the money was printed, the value it has came from devaluing all of the other money in circulation. In the case of the IMF, it is funded by the countries that are its members

Comment: Re: Drop the hammer on them. (Score 2) 1228 1228

Dude, I am greek and I work in Belgium, previously in the Netherlands, and you are so, but so wrong. If anything, the amount of time Belgians spend at work is ridiculous, even more compared to employees in Greece. They work so little, that we actually make fun of them. In fact, I don't even know where Belgium finds the money, as practically the state spends on everything there, from social security to public health. Second, in Greece there have been traffic budget cuts, and everything was fine according to what was asked, it's just that the European plan was futile. So, please spare me the melodrama, especially given that you come from Belgium. People used to say that Americans are ignorant. At least, the average American cannot afford to go to the uni, plus they're ignorant of things on different continents. What is the excuse of the Europeans, who seem to have been so brainwashed, without even traces of critical judgment?

The judgemental attitude comes from the same place it comes from in America. In the US, a large portion of the population is vehemently opposed to welfare of any kind. The idea being that if someone needs money, they can damn well work for it. If they don't earn as much per hour, as someone else, tough luck. At the end of the day, the idea is that the free market can and will sort things out. Long term, that attitude may or may not be good fiscal policy, but it is easy to understand, and even easier to justify, after all they are the people actually earning money...

In answer to your statement about time spent working, there is a measure for that.. Funny that the top 10 nations on that list have close to double the productivity of Greece, including France which has a huge handicap by virtue of unemployment rates that rival some third world nations. In spite of that, the Greek pensions are higher than the European average! The reality is that The Greek GDP does not justify those pensions. Good bad or indifferent, the Greek people should expect to take a 40% paycut (including pensioners) based on the numbers that I have been seeing. This is simple standard of living math, and this is the reason the IMF and EU have been so hell bent on austerity and have been targeting pensions specifically. The GDP numbers in the link above mean that the Greek pensioners on average should be getting 20% less per year than their counterparts in the "northern" European countries. That means they should expect to give up a very large portion of their income. One way or another, when the well spring of money dries up, they *will* be taking that paycut.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 5, Informative) 1228 1228

But it was all good-and-well when Greece, amongst 20 other nations, forgave Germany a massive swathe of her crushing debts following World War 2 [news.com.au]

The alternative was to set up the exact same conditions in Germany that lead to the rise of the Nazis. The German people are an industrial people. Much like the Americans, the harder you try to keep them down, the stronger they become. Had the Allies not saddled Germany with crushing debts post WWI (a war which Germany did not start mind you), there could have been no rise to power of the Nazi party, and would probably not have been a second world war.

Germany’s debts were unjustly forced upon them as a result of loosing a war for which they had only marginally more responsibility than any other nation. Greeces debts are the result of internal mismanagement. In spite of that, the other nations of Europe including Germany had made concerted attempts to help Greece. Like a concerned parent however, a condition of the assistance was / is demonstrating fiscal responsibility by not wasting the money. This was especially important given Greece's well earned reputation for corruption. The European nations had absolutely no desire to line the pockets of the corrupt in an attempt to help the Greek people. Greece promised a lot of things, but failed to deliver, and is being petulant about it to boot. Time for some tough love. Cut them off, and post signs at the borders: Let that be a lesson to you.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 2, Insightful) 1228 1228

Actually, they clearly understand that simple austerity isn't going to correct the situation.

Correcting the situation was never on the table. Greece F***ed up royal, and now the time has come to pay the piper. Their creditors insisted that they had to implement austerity to stop spending more money than they had in exchange for temporary loans. The alternative is enforced austerity vis-a-vis no more money to spend. Period. One way or another, the Greek people are going to balance their budget. Their apparent unwillingness does not change the fundamental reality they have to face. The other countries in EU, ECB, IMF are / were under no legal obligation to bailout Greece. Now, thanks to the Syriza governments popularly mandated behaviour, and their wholesale destruction of the Greek economy, Europe no longer has a moral obligation to Greece either, and there is nothing much more that Greece can do to financially harm Europe. The Damage has been done, let the Greeks drown in it.

Comment: Re:Good for greece (Score 3, Informative) 1228 1228

What do you think this referendum was about? A "no" vote is effectively the equivalent of Greece saying "We will not accept your bailout deal, so if you do not give us a better one we are leaving the Euro". Unless the EU caves, Greece could be off of the Euro this week.

This referendum was about Tsipras trying to save his political (and possibly literal) skin. His government botched this thing so thoroughly that people are comparing Greece to a third world nation. Make no mistake, The lack of a renewed bailout was what Tsipras and his Left wing group wanted. They are communists. They want the existing capitalist system to collapse so they can build a new communist organization where Greece once stood. Given all of the various options available to Greece, this might not be that bad an option all things considered, but make no mistake, The citizens of Greece are going to see a dramatic reduction in standard of living no matter what the deal on the table is, or who is doing the offering. The only things that can be done for Greece now, are to make some kind of attempt to get the money back from the wealthy Greeks who took it and subsequently tucked it away in foreign banks where the Greek government couldn’t get at it even if they weren't too corrupt to bother, and try to keep the runaway income inequality from becoming institutionalized.

The irony of all this is that the Greek people themselves created this mess by electing governments that would promise anything, and never deliver. They have demonstrated perfectly why democracy is a failure, even while being a shining beacon of it. Like any other kind of government, democracy is subject to the same corruption that is the hallmark of all bad governments. It is funny that the birthplace of democracy should be such a prime example of its most potent failures.

Comment: Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 72 72

I'm talking about average models, not massive ones. That one would hurt someone if it just fell on them, so there's already plenty of reason not to permit you to operate it in crowded areas even if it didn't have big fans on it.

Having actually built a large quad copter (15Lbs, 3 foot span), I can tell you the propellers are purpose designed to avoid damage to people. They have tremendous axial strength, but almost none in the direction of rotation. I have gotten fingers and limbs clipped by 14" blades, and didn't even draw blood for my trouble. A finger will smart a bit afterwards, but a limb wont even get a bruise for the trouble,

Comment: Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 72 72

If you can't understand the danger of flying an upside down lawnmower with no safety guards

You were doing all right until that piece of incendiary bullshit. Having actually designed and built a quad copter, There are several things you should understand before you start making sensationalist claims. First, Even the largest of these are only about 5 - 6 Lbs. From a height of 15 feet, it will cause some minor injuries but poses zero threat to life from falling alone. Second, the propellers on these devices are extremely light weight plastic, or sometimes even wood. They are designed to have strength in the lifting direction only. In the direction of rotation, they have very little strength. At 10,000 RPM, they will not even break skin. I can speak to this first hand. The first one I designed had guards, but they were useless and unnecessary. Since then, I have only seen a rare few that still bother with the guards.

Comment: Re:So paying more in the long run is better? (Score 1) 51 51

Note that if they are five year bulbs, the initial install needs to be replaced now.

These bulbs last 25 years, not 5 years. Leasing is an idiotic option that only an American mind could think of as being a good deal. If there is a private company leasing you the equipment, it is *by definition* going to be cheaper for you to buy it yourself, especially if you can get financing for less than the private company can.

Comment: Re:So paying more in the long run is better? (Score 2) 51 51

It still cost money to send guys out on bucket trucks to replace lights.

It was money you would have to spend on replacing them when they burn out anyways. When one burns out, you replace the two closest to it as well, that way you cut your replacement labor costs in roughly 1/3, and you don't have the huge up front expense of replacing them all at once. You just begin to reduce your monthly costs gradually. After a year or so, you're saving so much that the program pays for its own continuation. After 3 years you have a significant reduction in monthly maintenance costs as well as significant savings in energy costs...

Comment: Re:So paying more in the long run is better? (Score 3, Insightful) 51 51

installation costs might be a big factor purposely not discussed. It may be easy to lease the lights, but the costs of installation (and maybe even maintenance) drive the real cost up and potential benefit down.

There are no additional installation costs. These LED lights are designed to be drop in replacements for the older halogen and sulfur types. These elected officials are just that stupid.

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