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Comment Re:And also... (Score 5, Informative) 247

Some questions:
.) Does pulling out of the Paris agreement prevent us from making as good or better climate decisions?

Yes it does, because it diminishes the ability of nations to coordinate their actions. It leaves US-based corporations (a large constituency among polluters) free to continue flouting established science and driving their aging, archaic business models along, dragging the American economy with it. This is bad for voters.

.) Is our participation important enough that the other countries are willing to renegotiate?

No. China and the EU see a strategic opportunity here to use technological advances to do the the USA in the 21st Century what the USA did to Britain in the 19th Century—use newer industrial technology to out-compete the established corporate interests.

There is a global cost to this, but China especially is willing to suffer in order to win. Its more interventionist economic policies have already given it a strategic advantage in terms of alternative energy tech (especially solar), and if it has to accept a 1-2% mid-term drop in GDP in order to sideline the USA, it will happily pay that price.

.) Does the treaty lay out any penalty for non-compliance, or is it merely a feel-good PR stunt?

Fuck your straw man.

Just because you can't see the wisdom of a largely voluntary commitment process, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The Obama administration managed a near-miracle in the way this was structured, so that the bulk of the commitments came into the non-binding schedule 2 portion of the agreement. This meant that countries would not be straitjacketed into onerous commitments that they had no hope in honouring. By allowing signatories the right to choose how far they want to go, and when they'll get there, they made it possible for everybody to sign the same document. And the genius of that is because it allows recalcitrant countries to be singled out and cajoled into coming along for the ride without having to deal with corrupt, backward, reactionary legislatures like the American Senate, just to take a random example out of the air. But more on that in a moment....

.) Is the Paris agreement actually about climate, or redistribution of wealth?

Redistribution of the ability to survive. Because countries don't survive climate change, species do.

... or don't.

.) Did congress ratify our participation, or did the previous president cheat that democratic process?

You know what cheating is? Cheating is when simply fucking lying about climate change because you're fat and rich today and "fuck you that's why" becomes your ruling mantra. That is pretty much what the Republican party had done. Nowhere else in the world is the question of climate change a partisan platform issue.

The only other nations who didn't ratify the Accords are Nicaragua and Syria. Syria didn't attend COP21, because they were kind of distracted. Nicaragua refused to sign on because they didn't think the Accords went far enough. The USA is literally alone in this folly.

The Senate majority's willingness to put party before country (or species, for that matter) is the cheat. President Obama acted in the national and global interest, doing everything within his legal power to ensure that American came along, even if the Republican party didn't want to.

Comment Re:Fuck off america (Score 4, Informative) 1109

If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.

Context matters, dipshit.

Comment Re:Why would they? They will not. (Score 3, Informative) 153

It wasn't a harm but merely declining to bear the cost of Netflix's business model, and forcing even non-Netflix subscribers to pay for Netflix traffic in the process.

Comcast's customers were already paying for that traffic. Making Netflix/Level3 pay again is double-dipping.

Level3 offered to meet all costs involved in upgrading the connection. Comcast still refused. It was a bad faith interaction, and no amount of apologism and misconstruction will change that. Comcast wanted Netflix back on Akamai and other CDNs, and was willing to play dirty to get them back there.

Within a week of Netflix knuckling under and paying Comcast for access to its customers, video quality returned to pre-dispute levels. That means that this was never a hardware issue. It was Comcast deliberately slowing an information provider's traffic in order to extract more money from them.

Even if you grant—and I don't—that Comcast was right to demand more money, using artificial congestion to degrade their own customers' internet experience was an unethical move, and one that Net Neutrality would not allow. It's the business equivalent of holding a gun to the baby's head. Only an asshole would do that.

Comment Re:Why would they? They will not. (Score 4, Informative) 153

The Netflix incident was traced to a dispute over peering on a transit partner, not an issue of an ISP slowing traffic as so many have claimed.

So yeah, that was fake news.

No it wasn't, and stop using bullshit phrases to shut down the conversation. Netflix had to go to a peering partner because Comcast refused to discuss in good faith a direct linkage at the bandwidth levels that Comcast's own customers required. Then Comcast starved the peering partner by refusing to provide the proper throughput, even when the peering partner offered to pay all expenses related to it.

Comcast turned down offers of reasonable recompense and instead attacked the quality of the service in order to promote its own OTT video offering.

In short: They degraded another service in order to make it appear worse than of their own. This behaviour is exactly what Net Neutrality is designed to prevent.

News. Not Fake.

People who honestly question the need for Network Neutrality simply don't understand how an internet works. They latch onto a single convenient datum and ignore the system itself. Those who dishonestly question it are just assholes.

Comment Re:Ummm.... (Score 1) 115

No it is not. You still need a 'service provider'. That is the main problem, the weak link that can cut you off.

Strictly speaking, no you do not. All you need are a routable IP block and access to the network. But that doesn't imply what most people consider an ISP. You could, for example, easily establish a dedicated line to an IXP and buy transit straight from a provider. Or just piggyback on someone else's connection.

I'm not suggesting that it's easy—or even remotely reasonable for grandad—but what I am suggesting is that there are other models open to exploitation besides the hierarchical, centralised model we've got today.

(And to all of Vint Cerf's grandchildren: My sincere apologies for stereotyping.)

Comment Re:Normal people don't do that... (Score 1) 810

The distinction between being asked to resign and being dismissed is a purely academic one. You're still being fired.

Tell that to William Sessions, who was asked to resign, and did not, requiring Bill Clinton to fire him. Those are two very distinct actions.

But the point is that the people calling for his resignation were not in the same group as the people who ultimately fired him. They didn't have the power to make him step down.

Comment Re:Normal people don't do that... (Score 1) 810

TL;DR, if you think Comey acted inappropriately, you're a butthurt partisan hack and you've never had to make a hard decision in your life.

But he did break the rules, which is the fundamental point here. To claim that a letter to a Congressional Comittee was private and that it never entered Comey's mind that it might be leaked is utterly disingenuous. All he had to do was wait a week or so. His rationale was that there would be a political furore if it came out that he knew this information before the election. That's weak. He made assertions about the emails that were not borne out by the facts, and which took only a few more days to determine. I'm not saying he was lying; I'm saying that he spoke before he knew the facts.

For someone whom you defend as being good at making tough decisions, that's a bit of a rookie error. The most generous conclusion is that part of making tough decisions is living with their consequences, and that breaking precedent about non-interference with elections was an historically momentous decision. In hindsight, there was nothing in the actual emails that justified the decision. So he broke the rules, and he was wrong to do it. Whether he could have known in advance what the impact would be is moot. It's precisely because the results of such actions are unpredictable that Justice Department employees have a policy of simply not making statements about ongoing investigations—such as the Russia probe, for example—during an election campaign.

You can portray it as a partisan issue, but no other FBI director—not even Hoover, who was no wilting lily when it came to political shenanigans—ever actively intervened in a Presidential election. Ever.

There is strong empirical evidence that, had he not spoken up, the election could easily have gone the other way. The FBI are required to be non-partisan and apolitical. That is a fundamental precept of virtually all of the Justice Department's activities. Yes, Lynch made a mistake in allowing Bill Clinton onto the plane that day, but to revisit grammar school ethics for a moment: Two wrongs don't make a right.

I'm not butthurt, by the way. I don't even have a dog in this fight. I'm just deeply saddened that people are willing to play the same stupid fucking political games while your republic's democratic institutions circle the toilet. The point, you may recall, is not only whether Comey did right or wrong, but whether the President was right to fire him for what he did. And my point, as you might recall, is that the President was wrong to do so, even if, as the Justice Department memo claims, he handled the Clinton case in a way that undermined the integrity of the FBI as an apolitical and non-partisan organisation.

If the only way you can conceive of a differing opinion is in terms of butthurt partisanism... then I'm very sorry for you. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Comment Re:Investigation down the toilet. (Score 2) 810

The Benghazi hearings went on longer than that and produced nothing but smoke too... Remember Ken Star? Of course you do, how long was Clinton under investigation?

Yep, no argument from me. You're more or less making my point, which is that how long an investigation takes is no indication—one way or the other—of its outcome. I have no opinion on the likelihood of Donald Trump's personal involvement in corrupt collusion with a foreign power. I believe he's stupid enough to do it, but nobody has yet shown any plausible evidence that he actually did.

Comment Re:Normal people don't do that... (Score 5, Insightful) 810

The fact is that 99% of the people in the media now "defending" Comey would want his head if he were behaving as a good FBI director under Trump after what they blame him for with Clinton.

It can be perfectly consistent to say that someone should resign and then to object when someone fires them. If you can't imagine a scenario in which that makes sense, then we're not having a conversation; we're just talking at each other.

Look, just because someone is an asshole who doesn't play by the rules doesn't mean that the rules don't apply equally to them. That includes the protections they offer as well as the penalties they impose. James Comey broke the rules by circulating what turned out to be false news about a candidate during an election cycle. He shouldn't have done that. But the President was wrong to fire him, too, because Comey was actively investigating him for alleged corrupt ties to Russia.

So people in the media called foul in the first instance and called foul in the second. They're not defending the man; they're defending the notion that the FBI should be apolitical and independent. It would be inconsistent not to decry both abuses.

Comment Re:Highly unsual (Score 2) 810

FBI Directors are traditionally non-partisan, and serve a 10 year term that is not at the pleasure of the president, unlike political appointees. This isn't to say that the President doesn't have the power to fire the Director, but it hasn't been done before....

Yes it has. Clinton fired the FBI Director for abusing the corporate jet to visit friends. That was the first and only time that I'm aware of, however.

Comment Re:Investigation down the toilet. (Score 5, Insightful) 810

Well, the next director cannot do any worse for you... Comey has found NOTHING after over a year of trying to prove a link between Trump and the Russians.

The Watergate scandal took 26 months from the day the burglars were arrested to the President's resignation. Just because you watched it all in 140 minutes doesn't mean that's how it actually played out.

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