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Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 1) 541

by shutdown -p now (#47547387) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Oh, and the other aspect of it is who is going to come to power if Putin steps away. If you asked me that question in 2011, I still had hopes that pro-western liberals had a chance (at least in a coalition with moderate nationalists). Now, though, I'd say that the people who will use the opportunity will be the ones like Strelkov and Borodai - and Putin will be a sane angel in comparison.

In fact, given that there is seemingly some bickering between Kremlin and DNR/LNR leaders, I would say that the most likely (as in, more likely than anything else - still rather unlikely in general) possibility of Putin being ousted at this point is if Strelkov and his guard escape Ukrainian forces, cross the border to Russia, and announce that they're heading for Moscow to punish the traitors who backstabbed them. There's already plenty of talk going around about how Putin is "betraying the Russian Spring" by refusing to commit full support to the rebels. If a charismatic figure like Strelkov would formally voice such a complaint, and have several thousand battle-hardened fighters standing behind him, I honestly don't know how that would go - except that there would be a rush of volunteers (from extreme nationalists, monarchists, maybe even some Stalinist-type communists) to his ranks.

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 1) 541

by shutdown -p now (#47547377) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

You missed the point. It will not take 2 or 5 or 10 years to get rid of him. If the economy crashes now (or in 5 years), he'll just blame the West (cuz sanctions), and will use it as an excuse to crack down on the "fifth column" and the "national traitors", that he already identified as the enemies in his speech earlier this year, even more. If it gets really tight, why, time for another war, nothing like some shooting to make sure people don't grumble too much about rising prices and lack of goods. Georgia, perhaps?

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 3, Informative) 541

by shutdown -p now (#47546305) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

The problem with economic sanctions is that they, ironically, work to solidify Putin's power hold.

The original reason for strong popular support behind Putin was that he oversaw a decade of steady economic growth. For many people in Russia, it was the time where they saw their lives change from borderline poverty to something reasonable. It can be argued that he is not the one to take credit, and that it's all due to high oil prices etc, but either way he got to reap the benefits. It's also what triggered the entire "imperial revival" mentality: people see that their country is more prosperous, therefore it is stronger, therefore it is time to remember the old squabbles.

Now, Russian economy was already in recession as it is, and likely one from which it will not require. The sanctions will undeniably accelerate it, but at the same time they give Putin and his clique the ultimate excuse with respect to anything bad that happens with the economy: "Americans did it". Thus, all the rage will be channeled overseas, instead of the people in charge. And if economy does collapse, what you have now is a country of 140 million, raging, armed to teeth, with a history of willing and able to pile up the bodies two to one (and even higher) to win. Oh, and with nukes.

I strongly suspect that, if the sanctions are ultimately successful, the immediate consequence will be the full-on ground invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Not the present proxy war with subtle aid here and there, but Russian tanks on the streets of Kiev, that kind of thing.

If the West really wants to help Ukraine, it needs to give it direct military assistance.

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 1) 138

I do know a few right-wingers who discussed the subject even back in Bush days, long before Obama. For example, Matthew Bracken, who wrote "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" (it's basically a right-wing propaganda piece, with central theme being the govt cracking down on gun owners, but it also directly touches on surveillance and police militarization, and the use of terrorism as a pretext to curtail civil liberties; as I recall, it specifically mentions the PATRIOT Act). That book was written in 2003, back when Bush's reign was seen as uncontested, so effectively it targeted that administration.

You can also look at the Pauls. Say what you like about them, but they have been very consistent in arguing against all these things, and Rand at least counts himself as Tea Party affiliated (though many people in that movement would probably dislike him).

OTOH, yes, you also have large quantities of "I'm not racist, but why is he black?" guys there too, for whom it's just the convenient excuse of the day. But they're not all there is to it.

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 1) 138

Tea Party is a minority among right-wingers, but it's also the one that is most strongly pro-gun, and also the one that's most consistently emphasizing the "right to armed uprising". Mainstream Republicans are rather averse to such rhetoric (the politicians are another matter when they're pandering to electorate - they know that being seen as "pro-gun" will win them some fringe votes, but won't spook the mainstream enough to cost them more, especially when the other option is a Democrat).

Comment: Re:we doing it all wrong... (Score 1) 125

with a place like saudi arabia and all the bloody religious fanatic countries the ONLY thing we should export are BOOKS...books and fucking books again. And THEN after everyone damn reads them all and LEARN

What makes you think that Saudi Arabia would permit the kinds of books from which people might learn such things?

Remember how it went? "If these books contradict the Holy Qu'ran, then they are blasphemy - burn them. If these books are in agreement with the Holy Qu'ran, then they are superfluous - burn them."

Comment: Re:Heck, we probably already fund them (Score 1) 125

Yes. Thing is, if Israel really wanted to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties, they'd turn Gaza into rubble literally overnight, with casualties in hundreds of thousands. They certainly have the means - it being packed as dense as that, a few fuel-air bombs would cause immense casualties, without a single shot being fired in response.

Ironically, the fact that Palestinian casualties haven't even reached a thousand yet (and this includes the combatants) is ipso facto evidence that Israel is not deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy (though it doesn't mean that individual soldiers don't fire at civilians, by mistake or otherwise).

Comment: Re: Transparency (Score 1) 138

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.

Comment: Re:you mean you HEAR fireworks (Score 1) 379

The reason why Hamas rockets "didn't hit a single person" is because of a combination of interceptor systems, early launch detection, and well-developed civil defense in Israel. If rockets were fired in the same manner at Gaza, given the population density there, almost every single one would have found a target. Yet that would be exactly a tit-for-tat response.

You seem to be arguing that if a guy attacks me with a knife on the street, I can't use any force to defend myself until he actually manages to land a stab on me. If that's your notion of "proportional response", it's bullshit.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson