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Comment Re:I've heard that government moves slowly... (Score 1) 299

However remember that many officials basically get all their sources handed to them by aides. They don't need email per se if there's a stack of papers and summaries waiting for them in the morning, and half the day is spend sorting through those papers and the other half is spent watching the news or meeting with people. The secretaries and assistants of course have to know about email though.

So it's reasonable that a supreme court justice never actually uses email as part of the job. Similarly, remember how Obama had to fight to keep his Blackberry because it wasn't a typical part of presidential office equipment.

Comment Re:Just start the war already! (Score 2) 498

I'm not so sure about the coup. Because it really is not clear. First off, you can not trust one word that Yanukovych says, period. He basically engineered his own election by many accounts; of course whether that is true or not is debatable as well. Second, he was losing badly in negotiations when many of his MP allies were deserting. Third, he left quickly which surprised many in government. Yes things didn't follow all the rules (the rules were written to give president most of the power and to make sure parliament couldn't mess this up).

My theory is that he knew the end was coming. If he lost the elections later in the year (almost certain to happen) he'd have been exposed to a lot of recrimination and prosecution for various misdeeds (all that missing money). So he cut and ran. He wasn't going to stick around for an impeachment.

The constitution is a piece of paper. There is theory versus practice: the theory is the constitution, and the practice is what actually happens on the ground. The parliament reverted to an earlier constitution from last decade. Which is more legitimate than the other? The one he got rid of in order to consolidate more power or the one he replaced it with? Yes at one point there were enough parliamentary votes to bring in the new constitution that is true.

Yanukovych was not the entirety of the government. He has no authority to ask Russians to invade on his behalf. Even if he was still in office he did not have that power as a single person, even with the greatly expanded presidential powers that were added to the constitution while he was there. What he says now is irrelevant. You either assume the current government is legitimate or illegitimate, Yanukovych is out of the picture.

So maybe it was a coup. So what? It gives no extra power to Putin, except an excuse to use his military (I say "his" purposely, most people in his government appear to be his assistants rather than his limits to power). A coup gives no extra legitimacy to Yanukovych either.

Some part of the Crimea wants the Russians out of there too. There is no basis in any treaties for Russia to put troops outside their bases and surrounding zones in Crimea, the treaties are clear where the boundaries are. Going all the way up to the gates of Ukrainian military bases are most certainly not allowed in the treaties. It's clear that this will end badly. Tatar houses are being marked with the same symbol that Stalin used before deporting them, as an attempt by some people there to intimidate the minorities. No way are these pro-Russian fascists going to be singing kumbaya with their former neighbors (yes, people on both sides can be fascist), there are signs this could play out like the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Comment Re:correction (Score 1) 197

I have seen someone use std::map as in order to remember which one of a set was active (ie, there was never more than one element in the map at a time); and similarly I have seen someone use it to map from an enum of 8 adjacent constants to something else. The first could have been solved with just a pointer, and the second with an array of 8 pointers (or structs if someone is a fan of copy constructors).

I also saw someone convert from two C strings to C++ string, then compare using "==". This was defended by saying that a fix was needed quickly and he knew C++ better than C. (bringing in just that part of C++ string library also caused the program to become too large to fit in its memory region, so we had to spend time fixing that fix as well)

Yes I have had some people accuse me of trying to optimize too early, but in some cases it is useful to keep optimization in mind while coding, such as when you have a slow processor and limited memory. On the other hand I see many people who never bother about optimization, ever. Avoidance of pre-mature optimization should not mean avoidance of all optimization. It should not take that much effort to realize that writing "std::map" is a bad idea.

Comment Re:How are nuclear weapons going to help though? (Score 1) 498

Openly hostile? Ukraine has not been trying to aggravate Russia, it just happens that Russia is pissed because they're not best friends any more and that Russia's crony is no longer in power. Ukraine was not openly hostile; maybe some of the protesters were, but the protesters were formed from a broad cross section of people with various feelings. I think most Ukrainians before and after this crisis would vastly prefer to remain friends with both east and west instead of being forced to choose just one.

Comment Re:How are nuclear weapons going to help though? (Score 1) 498

Putin has actually denied that they're Russian soldiers. So either he's outright lying, or he's confused, or they're technically not soldiers but still under effective control and budget of Russian military, or he's telling the truth. However the most far-fetched hypothesis seems to be that he's telling the truth, and that there was a highly organized and equipped set of separatists just waiting and ready to go.

Comment Re:How are nuclear weapons going to help though? (Score 2) 498

Russian foreign minister Lavrov has accused Ukraine of violating treatries by not allowing in Russian citizens. So it seems to ignore the treaties on one hand but complains when the other side isn't abiding by them...

(Sort of a silly argument by Lavrov, given that there's effectively an existing state of occupation by either Russian soldiers or pro-Russian separatist militants, so Ukraine would have to be really really stupid to let in even more Russian citizens to undermine the state.)

Comment Re:How are nuclear weapons going to help though? (Score 2) 498

Many of those countries broke away too, and were only subject nations for a relatively short period of time (ie, the passed back and forth over time as the history of European wars went on). At the time of WWI, Soviet control of those countries was relatively weak as they had their own internal problems to finish sorting through, and in WWII most of those countries had been considered independent. USSR took the opportunity to claim some of countries after the war as its own.

The Baltic nations (or the land under them) had been part of Swedish empire for as long as they were a part of the Czarist Russian empire, so they were never really Russian any more than they were Swedish. Whenever they got a chance to get away from Russia or USSR they did so.

And yes, many of those countries did some minor allying with Germany during WWII, often grudgingly, but this was because they feared Stalin more than Hitler, because they remembered their bad history with Russia but Germany was an unknown. But Russia used this as a context for taking over the countries and subsequently punishing them (ie, the Tatars were kicked out of Crimea as punishment for alleged collaboration with Nazis).

Comment Re:US troops through Gitmo == invasion of Cuba? (Score 1) 498

Russia has a treaty regarding its military bases, not the entire province. Any family living outside those bases enjoy some smaller protections in some regions according to the treaty, but outside those regions they are just visitors. Right now though there are people who seem very obviously to be Russian soldiers w/o insignia who are occupying many places which are clearly not a part of the treaty. Of course Putin denies these are Russian soldiers. If they aren't Russian soldiers then the only alternative is that these are illegal militants and Russia theoretically should be opposed to them and instead supporting rule of law.

Similarly the US has a base in Guantanamo, but it does not have any rights whatsoever outside the borders of that base.

Comment Re:The importance of a strong military (Score 2) 498

Wait, how and when did Crimea become "Russian" anyway? Oh yea, when Stalin kicked the Tatars out and moved the Russians in.

It's SEMI-autonomous which reflects the fact that historically it hasn't been either Russian or Ukrainian for long periods of time.

As for racist assholes, I think you're believing too much of Putin's propaganda about nazis and fascists, which were only a small part of the protests and government. As for removing Russian as an official language (hardly "outlawing" it) that was indeed provocative, and intended to poke a finger, but is it really racist? Given that Tymoschenko herself is a native Russian speaker from a Russian speaking town in eastern Ukraine who is a very prominent figure in the anti-Yanukovych camp, so is she racist or a Russian traitor or...?

If Crimea wants to leave, then a legal referendum could help with that. However the current one is not. You may argue that the "coup" wasn't legal but that doesn't mean Russia gets to pick and choose with breaking of laws is allowed (those in its favor) and which can not (those opposed to Russia). Having only 10 days to set up and hold and election by itself is a ridiculous farce. Given the presence of foreign troops, with citizens being blockaded within their barracks, hospitals being overrun by troops, journalists being hassled, houses of Tatars being marked specially with paint, there is no possible way this will be a free and fair election.

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