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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

Actually Wikipedia has life expectancy in the USSR for two years. In 1926 it was 9 years lower then the US, but by the 50s it was a couple years higher. But you wouldn;t have bothered to find that out because that would be work. Which kinda indicates that if you're trying to blame any system for lack of life expectancy in Soviet times it should be the Czarist system, which was not totalitarian.

What ideology, precisely, do you think you're opposing? I haven't said I like either totalitarian system. I just said that, from my point of view, the systems are the opposite. I die within 20 minutes under Fascism, I get a raise under Communism. I never said I actually supported either system. Moreover I said actual slavery is worse then both. Given that under actual slavery there's a guy whose entire job is to work you to death before you reach retirement age (at which point you cost money but bring in no revenue), and you don't have any rights at all the only reason to claim slavery was equivalent to any totalitarian system is that you're too lazy to think.

And I think it's quite clear that you're too lazy to think.

yesterday
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

I provide as many numbers as you, my friend. The difference between us is that if you go after numbers you will quickly find out that in excess of 30 million people died from starvation and executions in the USSR, and more than a hundred million in China, against very few slaves in US. and that is because of the fact that when you have an endless supply of slaves and don't have even to pay for them eliminating them at a whim bears you no costs.

Your first number is wrong. 30 million is the Soviet death toll in WW2. Even the most ardent anti-Soviets give a death toll of 20 million for that system, over seven decades that's a couple hundred thousand a year. Even with your higher estimate we're only talking 500k a year.

Your second number is wrong. "More then a hundred million" is about 50% greater then any estimate you see when you do actual research.

Your third number shows you still haven't read anything about slavery. Very few slaves (something like 5%) made it to 65, at a time when most people who made it past infancy made it to 65. Which indicates that every enslaved death was a premature death, which can be blamed on the system. By 1865 we had roughly 5 million slaves, so our murder rate in the US alone was probably in the 100k range. Considering the entire Western hemisphere practiced slavery to varying degrees New World African slavery probably killed more people per year then the Soviet system.

I am not a troll, although I am quite sure that if you believe, in your madness, that troll is the standard definition of anyone who disagrees with you. Were i a troll, though, I would say that I would be a very successful one considering you are still arguing with the troll...

You're assuming I am not enjoying calling you stupid, you hare-brained son of a twit.

yesterday
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

And you still provide no facts, because facts require "research", which requires "work," whereas spewing Libertarian gobbledygook is pure intellectual masturbation.

As for hard numbers, the average slave in the South was sold once during his or her lifetime. If the average German had been shipped out to Dachau once there would have been nobody left to fight the Red Army. The Soviets had a much larger system, but it didn't include nearly as much sexual violence as actual slavery did. If it had the leaders of the USSR would have had a lot more kids.

As trolls go you just suck. You're absolutely terrible. At this point in the conversation I usually accuse my inept opponent of secretly being on my side, because nobody with an IQ above room temperature could have fucked up their position so badly accidentally; but I'm pretty sure your IQ isn't above room temperature.

Don't worry, you'll get better as you grow into your teens.

yesterday
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

The elite in a totalitarian regimen is a very restricted group, my friend and more so in a communist regimen. Your chances of joining it would be very slim, but if you dream of being a slave owner who and I to shatter your dreams?

You got any facts to back these assertions up? As in any, at all? Maybe a hard number, taken from actual data on these countries? Because if you seriously thing an elite the size you're describing could run anything you are a fucking moron. You need 2-5% of the country to be your administrators, and you need political support of at least 20%, or you die like Mubarak. Or Kruschev, who was un-done bny a vote of the Communist Party, most of whom couldn't be told the secret bits of the deal ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

At the moment my working theory is you're a troll. And you must be a really shitty one for the Aspie to notice by the third post. Yo gonna have to find a fact soon troll. An actual fact, not something you heard a Libertarian say once.

And yes the "citizens" in any authoritarian regimen are slaves, they work whenever and wherever their rulers order them to, they can't go away, they live wherever they are ordered to live and they own nothing the state can't take from them anytime it wishes. Their very lives are conditional to the whim of their owners. That is the very definition of slavery.

And how much of that do you think went on in either country?

Under the Soviet System if you weren't in a Gulag you could change jobs at will. A promotion would require party approval, but if you're an Auto-worker who just can't stand the third shift supervisor nobody was gonna stop you from moving to another shift. Moving to a better place generally required the approval of the Party, but the Party also didn't tend to evict people. That would have been dumb tactics. It would piss them off, creating a potential opponent of the regime, without actually controlling said opponent.

The Nazis had an actual free market. You could move house, quit your job, retire, unretire, etc. and you were fine.

Now in both systems you could rapidly lose all this freedom if you pissed off the ruling party, but there's a slight difference between "all economic freedom belongs to everyone who hasn't pissed off the Fuhrer," and "I'm sorry Bob, but I owed that man in Texas $1,500, and a pretty girl like your daughter is worth precisely that. You niggers won't even miss her next month. Hell I did a favor to you, giving her son to that auctioneer for $50, you won't have to raise him yourself."

2 days ago
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

I'd be dead if the Fascists or Nazis took over. I like Unions. The independent kind. They really, really, really don't like independent Unions.I am the first one on the damn death train if Fascism happens.

As for the Communists, joining the elite would be the reason I got the raise. Since the alternative to joining the elite would be an assassination in Mexico City, I'd almost certainly join the elite. If I could find some out-of-the-way, unimportant job nobody would notice my earnings would have tripled at very little risk.

And you really haven;t read anything on either system if you think of citizens of either Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union as "slaves." The USSR paid it's lowest earners more then they earn today, which is a major reason Putin can get away with Soviet nostalgia. The entire point of the Nazi system was that it was designed to loot all of Europe so that ordinary Germans would never have to sacrifice again. Poles were put on starvation rations. Literally. The ration card for an ethnic Pole did not supply enough calories to survive. In Greece the Germans simply confiscated all the food, causing a major famine. They made peace with the Vichy, then refused to return any French PoWs because those PoWs made really good slaves.

So yes, both systems had a lot of slaves, but they also had a lot of masters (all of Russia, and all of Germany). The ruling elites did even better then the favored nations, but they didn't do better then the current US Elite does. Especially the Soviet elites. They didn't have the money to buy an apartment in Manhattan until they got rid of Communism.

2 days ago
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:How does that sit with you, Snowden? (146 comments)

"Routinely assassinating?" That happened to one guy. Literally. The US has assassinated one US Citizen. And there was a lengthy, formal process to decide whether to nail him. It may not have been as lengthy as you'd like, or involve as many branches as you'd like (AFAIK only Obama's people were consulted), but it did actually happen.

Here's your core problem:
Nobody outside of the 1% or so of any Anglosphere country that reads Slashdot cares MORE about information security issues then they care about the other issues.

Please don't respond with anything including the word "Sheeple." Just because you think that everyone who prefers a government that provides universal healthcare (and spies on them) is better then a government that does neither that does not prove they've been brain-washed by the man.

2 days ago
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In the US, Rich Now Work Longer Hours Than the Poor

NicBenjamin Re:By what definition of "rich"? (310 comments)

I have literally never met an American who doesn't think they're Middle Class. Seriously. Somebody probably had to tell Mitt Romney that he shouldn't claim to be Upper-Middle Class. Class definitions are always difficult. On one hand, by a global standard pretty much everyone in America is rich, on the other if you make a half-mil and you work at a top-end bank in NYC you're probably spending all your income to keep up with your full-mil colleagues, and feel poor. Especially if you have a couple kids.

The people doing the defining in this case are The Economist magazine. The definition they're using for this particular piece of click-bait is "has a college degree," whereas poor is "does not have a college degree." So there's no room for a Middle Class in this article. You're either a rich motherfucker with a Bachelors of Something, or you're poor. So which is it Mr. UID 630, are you a rich college-degree-holder, or an impoverished High School Grad?

For the record I am officially rich according to the Economist, despite the fact that last year's income was only $14k.

2 days ago
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

That's a very superficial definition of "meaningful."

As a highly educated, under-employed left-wing with intellectual pretensions a CPUSA takeover would probably result in me getting a promotion and a raise. I might get purged by my new bosses eventually, but in the short term it would be great for me.

OTOH it's likely I'd be the first target of a Fascist government. "First they came for the Communists, then they came for the Trade Unionists," the Jews only get mentioned third.

So yes, if there was an Evil Party takeover of the US, 50 years after it was destroyed our descendents likely wouldn't care very much whether it was Fascist or Communist because either way a lot of innocents die and freedom goes away, but for those of us who actually have to live through the damn thing it is incredibly important which Evil Party takes over.

2 days ago
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

NicBenjamin Re:Surprised? (146 comments)

An Irishman, an American, and an Aussie are talking about republicans. The Irishman describes a bunch of pro-Soviet Socialists who never go to Church (but insist they're Catholic), and think the world would be a better place if someone blew the Royal Family into tiny little bits. The American is talking about a bunch of knee-jerk Anti-Soviets who describe everything they dislike as "socialist," go to religious services at least twice a week, are (mostly) Protestant, and secretly have a major crush on the Royal Family. The Aussie is somewhat generically left-wing in economic terms, doesn't give too shits about religion one way or the other, and thinks the Queen should stop being Queen of Australia but otherwise should be left alone because she's a nice old lady. Whose lying?

The answer is nobody. The word "Republican" has been used by so many political movements over the years that hearing someone is "Republican" without hearing a lot more context tells you precisely jack-squat. "Democrat," "Liberal," "Conservative," etc. are almost as bad.

It's gets even worse with Communism because Communists have never been able to agree on much beyond that one song.

2 days ago
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Declassified Papers Hint US Uranium May Have Ended Up In Israeli Arms

NicBenjamin Re:This article is Antisemitic, please delete (160 comments)

I actually would not blame the Israelis for this being funny. Same for non-Israeli Jews. Some of the more nationalistic strains of Orthodox Jews can be quite sensitive to criticism of Israel, but they are a definite minority and tend to get stared down by less unreasonable folks.

In my experience the people who conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism most often are actually white Conservative Catholics, and White Evangelicals. Stephen Harper pretty much said this flat-out while speaking in the Knesset. Sarah Palin, who knows so much about Anti-Semitism that she referred to criticism of herself as "blood libel" firmly supported him.

5 days ago
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Declassified Papers Hint US Uranium May Have Ended Up In Israeli Arms

NicBenjamin Re:This article is Antisemitic, please delete (160 comments)

The worst part of debating Israeli issues on the internet?

I have no idea whether this guy is kidding.

5 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Are you kidding (817 comments)

In the US System two-party system that kind of success is just ordinary politics. The Tea party, for example, would be a lot less influential if it was an actual party. Even under a PR system they'd be less influential. The GOP Establishment would much prefer to side with the Democrats on a whole host of issues (ie: debt ceiling, shutdowns, any non-symbolic opposition to ObamaCare prior to a GOP candidate being elected President). With 50-100 Tea Party guys* in the GOP Conference Boehnor literally can't do that because the Tea Party guys'd propose some new Speaker and Boehnor'd be fired. If they were in their own party they couldn't fire Boehnor without giving power to Pelosi, and every Conservative in the US has nightmares about former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It's why we love her so much.

It's true that the specific example of the Greens the countries with a party have a much better record on Green issues then those without, but is that because their Green movement is too weak to form a party or is it because a Green movement needs a party?

In the realm of North American anglophone countries there's actually a very good test case for that. The Canadians were leaders in the Global Warming fight until Harper got elected, and under Harper they have a Green Party that has a seat in Parliament. If the Greens voters had supported either the Liberals or the NDP it would be much more likely Harper couldn't do that because he would be running a minority government.

*It's impossible to accurately count the number of Tea party guys elected because on some issues all Republicans will side with them, pledge undying loyalty to the cause, etc. whereas on other issues most will send a big "Fuck you."

5 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Are you kidding (817 comments)

Whether the Greens count as a "success" really depends on your definition of "success." They can certainly influence policy by being in the governing coalition, but they will never supply a Chancellor. I'd say that puts the Germans in my second category -- highly exaggerating the odds a non-SDP/CDU candidate will win the Chancellorship. In terms of actual policy outcome there isn't much difference between the Green movement joining the SDP en masse and becoming a key element of the SDP Coalition and them having their own party. In a lot of ways they limited their effectiveness because they have guaranteed that no Green will ever run anything more important then the Foreign ministry.

In the US the problems with starting a new problem are all the same problem. It's incredibly risky, a hellacious amount of work, and even if you are more successful then any third party since the Republicans in the 1850s you haven't actually won much. The same effort probably would allowed you to hijack one of the two main parties.

about a week ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Are you kidding (817 comments)

Those countries tend to be really small, with fewer people then New York City; tend to highly exaggerate the odds that somebody from the #3 party will win the top job; or have parties based explicitly on increasing the share of the national budget devoted to their pet programs. The state with the most changeable partisan landscape in the entire world (Israel) actually manages all three.

The difficult thing about politics in a democracy is getting a large number of people to all agree on the same platform. If your country is small it's relatively easy for a guy with a new idea to actually tell everyone this idea, because he doesn't have to waste time hiring 50-state-level campaign directors, he can just buy an ad on the national TV station. Most people will be intrigued and visit his website. As the scale of the country goes up the new party becomes so much harder.

For example in the US a party based on the black vote, the Hispanic vote, the pro-life vote, and Gun Rights vote would probably get 20% of the national vote even if it only got 40% of it's target audience. It's platform would probably be more logically coherent then either big party's platform, because all you'd need to do would be ditch the GOP's economic conservatism and replace it with higher spending on the working class. That can be justified by saying the party exists to protect individuals from bullying, therefore no baby gets aborted, everyone has the right to the same firepower, the rich don't get to buy themselves things the poor can't even dream of, Mexican immigrants get easy access to legal rights, etc. In a a few decades this party would have the votes to totally dominate US Politics.

But just imagine the problem getting any of those people to leave their current parties. If they leave their current party, and nobody else joins them, they get their asses kicked and instead of having the party of the future they get to watch while the new President bans guns/adds six pro-choice seats to the Supreme Court/etc. And even if they win they only get some seats in Congress in the short term, because 20% doesn't get you much. Which means all the big parties have to do to stop the defections is change their platforms. In theory it could be done. But it would take an awful lot of organization, pulled together in a very short time-period, because you'd need 6,000-odd people just to have one spokesman in every County in the US.

It makes a lot more sense for our aspiring pol to join one of the big parties, and try to convince the Dems or Republicans to change their coalition.

about a week ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Revolt? (817 comments)

It would take tens of millions of Americans for the revolt to work. If tens of millions of Americans decided to vote for an independent slate to Congress next November then Obama would have to deal with a House dominated by that slate. No party has ever gotten 50 million votes in the mid-terms, and the 40-odd million both parties will probably get would almost certainly take a hit if millions decided to vote for the rebel slate, so a movement of 10% of the country dedicated to actually fucking voting would win.

The problem is that nobody actually wants change enough to do it, and if you don't want change enough to sign a couple petitions and show the fuck up on election day you ain't taking potshots at the Army.

about a week ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Are you kidding (817 comments)

Depends on which elite you're talking about.

The Elite in Brussels has to be far removed from any given ordinary citizen because it represents a half-billion people, and those half-billion are multi-national and multi-ethnic. Hell, most of the point of having this particular elite run things is that it's supposed to be far removed from the people. The elites in the capital are much closer to their people then the elites in DC.

The problem is that Europe's people don't seem to understand reality. Twenty-odd of the EU's 28 states would be much better-served by abolishing their own sovereignty in respect to foreign and defense affairs, and turning it all over to some central body; but God help the Hungarian, or Finnish pol who seriously proposes this. As is they're depending on NATO which is a fancy way of saying that if Putin decides to eat Finland Barack Obama decides whether Finland survives.

Hell look at GM foods. European leaders tend to understand that if GM foods were actually a health threat then the US would not have a life expectency in the 80s, and the Canadians wouldn't beat half of Europe.

about a week ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NicBenjamin Re:Are you kidding (817 comments)

The worst part of this post is that many Americans are so Euro-centric that they won't understand why it's ridonkulous BS. The difference between election in most European countries and America is that in most European countries the huge coalitions that dominate politics are divided into multiple political parties. Ultimately every vote in France is a vote for either a) the Gaullists or b) the Socialists. Every vote in Germany will support either a) the Christian Democrats or b) the Social Democrats. Voting Green in Germany or Communist in France influences the strength of of the Greens and Communists in their respective big coalitions, but it does not (in any meaningful sense of the word) make Green or Communist leaders credible candidates for the Big Job.

The US has the same exact system. The only difference is that the big coalitions are called "parties," and the way you strengthen the US equivalent of the Greens is by voting in the Democratic primary. It's a lot more work then the Germans, because you actually have to show up for the primary AND bother to learn which Democratic candidate is most Greenish, but it's no less small-d-democratic in outcome. It's a little more work then France because you actually have to know the names of the people you're voting for, but the French have to vote twice because there's a first round election and a subsequent run-off.

In all these systems alternatives to bland major candidates tend to be extremely unsavory. If you're too Euroskeptic to be a Gaullist coalition partner that's probably because you're racist. If you're too left-wing to be in the SDP's grouping you are almost certainly one of the guys who helped run the Stasi IRL. The last two US presidential candidates you mention in our system to have won states outside the big tent parties were Segregationists running on Segregationist platforms.

about a week ago
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Bill Would End US Govt's Sale of Already-Available Technical Papers To Itself

NicBenjamin Re:What the bill really is doing (32 comments)

That's not very convincing. $1.3 million a year is literally a rounding error of a rounding error in the context of a $Trillion budget. Since Senators make $174k each, and they have offices with dozens of people, it's likely the salary of the people who just wrote a proposal to defund this agency cost more then the agency did.

And if you read your source critically you'll note that it actually proved the agency has value. 26% of it's reports are not available to the government from free sources. The other 74% are clearly not in an easily searched place or nobody would pay the NTIS from their budget to access the damn things.

BTW, the source you link to is a reprint of the press release from McCaskill's office, not an independent take at the issue. And even in her press release McCaskill just doesn't supply a very convincing array of facts.

about two weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Constitutionality of Bulk Surveillance

NicBenjamin Re:Please NOTE... (141 comments)

They only got fire with tracer rounds, which are really bad to use against a defended military position. If the other guy knows where you're shooting from you die.

My point isn't that there are no tactical situations where a gun would be useful. After you rebel it illegally importing firearms is pretty much inevitable. Historically successful rebellions a long-ass time -- the VC started their rebellion in the 40s, and didn't fully succeed until Saigon fell in '75, our own Revolution took almost 8 years, etc.

So the question isn't "would these weapons be useful?" It's "are these weapons so useful that having them for all 100% of the rebellion, rather then merely having them for 85%, increases the odds of success?"

I'd say the answer is clearly no. They encourage your first wave to get itself killed in stupid shoot-outs, all of said first-wave is on multiple mailing lists in DC which would be trivial for the Army to get it's hands on (you seriously think the NRA can keep your name from a new Gestapo?), the weapons aren't useful for suppressive fire because they don't have a full-auto mode (altho it is fairly simple to add that in), without explosives and rockets (which you have to build yourself, because they're illegal even under the Second Amendment) they can't actually do damage to anybody, and by the time you have rockets built you could have a machine-shop churning out AKs, etc.

about two weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Constitutionality of Bulk Surveillance

NicBenjamin Re:Please NOTE... (141 comments)

Check out the Mythbusters numerous attempts to get fuel to blow up with bullets. It almost never works. When it does work instead of *boom* they get a fire. To get gasoline to explode you need a very specific fuel-air mixture, which is very difficult to get by accident. It's even harder to get it in military fuel tanks because the military isn;t gonna design fuel tanks that blow up.

If you want to stop a tank division dead in it's tracks by attacking the supply trucks guns aren't the best option. Some sort of land-mine is a much better. Highly illegal firearms like Rocket Propelled Grenades will also do the trick. The Iraqis and Taliban aren't stupid, they have firearms much more lethal then are available to America's Second Amendment advocates (they generally have actual MilSpec Kalishnakovs liberated" from actual military units, the problem was so bad in Iraq that the US stopped the Iraqis from buying RPG-29s for their Army for fear the damn things would end up in insurgent hands), but their main weapons are RPGs and remotely detonated landmines.

about two weeks ago

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