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Comment: trust but verify (Score 1) 332

by PopeRatzo (#47938303) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

And we should believe Apple why? Who thinks that if Apple gets a national security letter that they're not going to comply? And what about access to the increasing proportion of data that is stored on Apple's servers instead of the local iPhone? Is Apple going to say no to the NSA/FBI/CIA on that, too?

We've heard these promises before.

Comment: Re:I've never understood this... (Score 1) 896

by Kjella (#47931359) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

They don't want the kids to learn science or even mention things like evolution... Is their religion on such shaky grounds that it can't stand up to some critical thinking?

Actually, most religions claim there's an abundance of ways to fall for temptation and sin while the path to God is straight and narrow. You make it sound like making it a challenge and pointing out all the alternatives and benefits would be a good thing, while the religious consider it trying to lead the children astray and trying to put a wedge between them and God. Like say their interpretation of the Bible means sex belongs only in the marriage - bear with me on this one - then pointing out that "if you're going to have sex anyway, use a condom" is kinda upselling a sin. It leaves the impression they don't really think you'll stick with plan A anyway. So a lot of parent don't want their children to know there even is a choice. You think in terms of pros and cons, they think it's one good choice and a lot of bad alternatives they don't need to know about..

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 5, Insightful) 896

by Kjella (#47930639) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

I think you need to distinguish between terrorism and reign of terror. Hit-and-run bombings like the IRA or ETA rarely succeed in people giving in to terror. Taking actual control of areas, waving the flags and killing off all that oppose you has a much better historical record, ask anyone from Pol Pot to Hitler and Lenin and Mao. In case you haven't noticed, they're using their brutal savagery primarily to quell resistance and internal dissent. The story they're selling is that they're too fucking crazy to pick a fight with and so far they seem more than willing to put that reputation to the test and post it on YouTube.

I mean, would you like to be in a resistance movement inside IS territory? Do they care that they can't find you? Heck no, they'll just round up a few civilians and shoot them in retaliation for your sabotage/assassination/sedition. Far more civilized occupants have used that tactic, all those millions of people they control are in practice hostages. You're fighting an enemy willing to overreact to any provocation, give them a push and you won't get a shove back they'll beat you to a bloody pulp. And given their history so far, I don't think they have a problem with human shields. You can not excise them without massive civilian casualties. Sadly I give them much better odds than you predict.

Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 896

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 896

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 2) 896

by Kjella (#47930067) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

if NK ever managed to actually detonate a nuclear bomb even China wouldn't hestitate to march in and take over. I think they'd be glad of the excuse, really.

FYI, North Korea has made three underground nuclear detonations in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Very few doubt that they now got a few nukes in the kiloton range - basically 1940s tech - and the means to deliver them to Seoul - a mere 35 miles away from the NK border. China doesn't care. They got a loyal ally, they could crush him at any moment and it'd only create hostility between Koreans and Chinese. And the country is not worth the trouble. I guess if China ever went on the offensive they'd gobble up NK - and probably SK too - but only if they're on the warpath anyway.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47929195) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Not really. Less than 20% Texans are polled to be in support of secession. That falls in line with the national average of all US citizens who want their states to cede

Well yes but watch out for that. When the independence campaign began in Scotland support for a Yes vote was sitting around 20% (I think?). After many months of campaigning it's reached about 50%.

So don't assume that the status quo in the USA will remain. The big difference is that when independence is not actually on offer, there's no real point to answering yes in the polls. Once it becomes possible and people start legitimately campaigning for it, opinions can change pretty fast.

Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 1) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47928915) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Imagine how the Scottish feel having to accept crippling austerity to prop up reckless English banks. Yes, obviously RBS is Scottish

Just going to quote this here so readers can ponder this contradiction. RBS was bailed out at huge expense. It is indeed based in Edinburgh and the S in RBS stands for Scotland. So this is a very strange argument to make.

but it's losses were all made in London under weak UK regulation from the Thatcher era.

Ye gods, here we go blaming Thatcher again. You realise she's died of old age, don't you? Labour was voted in on the back of Labour voting Scots multiple times since 1991 and any of them could have changed banking regulations. None of them did. What about "true Scotsmen" like Salmond? Well he strongly supported the disastrous takeover of ABN AMRO that was largely responsible for crippling the bank and directly contributed to tanking the UK economy. In fact not only did he support RBS politically, he actually worked for them for a good chunk of his career.

In short: blaming Thatcher, a dead woman who was not in power for the last 23 years, for the failure of a Scottish bank due to a deal strongly supported by the erstwhile future leader of Scotland, typifies the kind of thinking that is making the Yes campaign seem more and more unreal.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 4, Informative) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47928693) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Thatcher destroyed manufacturing and industry in the whole of the UK. The north of England and Wales were trashed just as badly. She did that to Scotland, as well as the Poll Tax which caused riots. All the stuff she privatised has gone to shit - energy companies, the railways, British Telecom... Now they see Cameron privatising Royal Mail and the NHS too. Her policies failed utterly and lead to the global financial crash a few years back.

That's the view that sums up the Yes campaign, indeed. But is it realistic?

Let's start with "Thatcher destroyed manufacturing and industry". I find it to be a very misleading way to phrase things. At the time Thatcher came to power, heavily nationalised UK industry was already destroying itself. It had high costs, low productivity, large chunks of it were unprofitable and it was dominated by incredibly militant unions who didn't care about any of this at all, because their wages were being subsidised by tax and the printing of money. Being unprofitable is not some minor debating point. Enormous numbers of people in the UK were being paid to uselessly dig holes in the ground. There was no purpose to this. In the absence of subsidies, nobody would have wanted the rocks that were being dug up. Other people in other countries were doing it better.

And it wasn't just mining. At the time Thatcher came to power the British state also owned shipyards, steel works, a furniture removal company and the Gleneagles Hotel ..... just to name a few.

None of this made any sense. It had happened because the post-war governments believed full employment mattered more than inflation. The result was openly Marxist trade unions realised a weak government with an addiction to money printing could be turned into an ATM via nationally organised strikes. By the 1970's the UK was a basket case. It was suffering electricity blackouts, trash was piling up on the streets uncollected, railways didn't work, even emergency services and hospitals were striking. The country was one of the poorest in Europe and being called "ungovernable". The strikes were wildly unpopular with over 80% disapproval ratings of the strikers being common.

There was no way these industries were ever going to be world-beating titans ever again.

Thatcher was elected to fix this state of affairs, and she did, by making the painful choice to take away the subsidies and start targeting inflation instead of employment.

By the time she left the UK was a stable and prosperous first world nation once again.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 2) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47928531) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I wonder with 4 million voters who tend to overwhelmingly prefer Labour to Tories gone will Labour eventually cease to be a factor in the UK elections?

Nah. I don't think it'll make much difference in the long run. Labour will simply continue to adopt the policies that make the Tories more popular, and then find other ways to differentiate themselves.

A big part of the reason for the widespread disillusionment with UK politics is that Labour and Conservatives were traditionally very different, with Labour representing the (to use obsolete lingo) proletariat and the Tories being the party of the bourgeoisie. When hard-left economics became totally discredited and abandoned by the mainstream, Labour had to find a new identity. Blair did the most to make the party electable again with his New Labour campaign, but he was only partially successful in his reforms. Once Brown replaced him the party immediately returned to the high spending policies old Labour was traditionally associated with. The public sector increased in size in a fairly short space of time and when the economic crisis hit, Labour couldn't credibly claim they had truly learned the lessons of the 70's. With Scotland's strong preference for voting anything-but-Tory, the result was a (rare, for the UK) coalition government in which the conservatives were left with the rum job of explaining to people why they were paying more to get less.

Ultimately, Labour will complete the reforms started under Blair and old Labour will be consigned to history. If Scotland leaves that process will happen much faster. I don't know what their primary differentiator would be in future but it looks like they might be trying to seize "Higher taxes to pay for the NHS" as their own territory - not a bad strategy, I'd think, although it's one that's easily replicated by other parties too if it proves popular. At any rate, they'll find some way to justify their existence and sometimes that'll be enough to win elections. Then the process will go into reverse and the Tories will struggle to justify why they should replace the incumbents given that their policies are pretty similar.

A lot of people find the new status quo of political parties that mostly agree on things to be somehow indicative of decline or moral decay. I don't really see it that way. I see the politics of the 20th century as utterly dysfunctional - riven with unresolvable ideological divides. Now that Marx has been put behind us, the new politics is about disagreement over relatively small things. This isn't a sign of a society in decline, it's a sign of a society that's largely at peace with itself.

Comment: Re:stupid fear mongering (Score 1) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47927415) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

He's obviously talking about the short term, not in some possibly long-term future where everything is sorted out.

Blowing off the guys legitimate worries for his business as scaremongering pretty much sums up the entire Yes campaign so far. It's not an argument like, "it's true that the split will be messy painful and could cause recession on both sides, but in the long term it'll be worth it". It's an argument like "everything will be peaches and cream immediately and anyone who says otherwise is a scaremongering bully".

Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 5, Informative) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47927351) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

You're mixing up currency and currency union. Salmond has been deliberately obfuscating this so the confusion is not surprising, but they are different things.

Post independence Scotland could continue to use the pieces of metal and paper we tend to think of as "the pound". It could still express prices in pounds. The UK cannot stop this nor would it care to do so, even if it could. Scotland can keep the currency.

Currency union is an entirely different matter. Currency union is about decision making and who pays for what in future should things go tits up again. This is not a physical object or landmass that can be split up. It's called a "union" because it involves people working together. This is categorically not on offer because Scotland has shown no preference for economic policies compatible with the rest of the UK, really it's shown the exact opposite. So English people working together with Scottish people to create unified economic policies on this wouldn't really be possible, the disagreements are too deep and English people outnumber Scottish quite significantly. Thus it'd only make sense if Scotland agreed to give up most of the independence it had just won. Otherwise it'd be Greece all over again. Profligate teenager wouldn't even begin to describe it.

There is one situation in which CU could actually make sense - if Scotland strongly and consistently voted for the same economic policies as the UK had, and could be trusted to do so for the forseeable future. However this isn't a Scotland that anyone has been seeing during the independence campaign, so it's hard to imagine things changing anytime soon.

With respect to the debt, I think in the event of independence all the opinion polls suggest the UK will take a firm line. No currency union and they split the debt equally too. It's not up for debate. This is actually a fair position - split the debts and financially each goes their own way - but I doubt Scotland will go for it, and the amount of pain that could result for both sides is quite astronomical. This is why such a large proportion of people don't think independence is worth it.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47927277) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

How Scotland voted is a matter of historical record - and they have consistently voted for policies so bad that no mainstream political party in any western country supports them any more. The same arguments crop up today, indeed "let's break away from the neoliberal consensus" is one of THE main arguments being made for independence.

When basically every political leader in every country has walked away from such policies because they didn't work, and bringing them back is a keystone of the whole campaign, what else are people supposed to think? Thatcher was decades ago, she is actually dead. People who still blame all their problems on her are as close to "incurable" as seems possible to describe.

BTW whatever happens it looks like at least half of Scotland is going to disagree with it. So even if the vote is for independence, they're hardly "unwilling subjects", especially as they want to keep large parts of the union.

Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 1) 484

by IamTheRealMike (#47927217) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I think this is one of the most absurd set of arguments I've ever seen.

You know that when Scotland was offered union and accepted it, it was bankrupt. It got wealthy as part of the union. So perhaps Scotland should pay large sums of money to the UK when it leaves for the privilege of being saved from poverty all those centuries ago?

That position makes about as much sense as yours.

It's the opposite of that, right? The UK still exists, so the UK owes those pensions.

To whom? Foreigners who don't have the right to vote any more? OK, then I guess the English will just seize the funds and put them back into a general pot to help offset the shared debt that wasn't taken on board by those same foreigners.

I really hope nobody in Scotland is stupid enough to try the arguments you just put forward for real. That would be a fail of truly epic proportions.

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