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Comments

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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (136 comments)

Are you trying to say that those who demand gun control are the ones most likely to rebel against authority?

Well, I don't think anyone is likely to rebel against the US government -- not by force anyway, given that the latter is armed to the teeth. 1.6 billion bullets for DHS, was it?

But not everybody is claiming that the possibility of armed rebellion (preposterous though it may be) makes for a valid argument in support of the second amendment.

2 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (136 comments)

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.

Actually I haven't said anything about left- or right-wing, though I suppose that generally speaking the need for the second amendment is felt more strongly by the right-wing. And the need to rid society of all those firearms is perhaps more strongly felt by the left. But, correct me if I am wrong, isn't the Tea Party a minority amongst right-wingers? And by extension, among pro-gun activists?

From the outside, the Ds and Rs don't actually seem all that different, and it would appear that they somehow agree on precisely those issues that are unpopular with both of their supporters. E.g., PATRIOT, domestic NSA transgressions, copyright and patent legislation, and the better part of the US foreign policy come to mind.

2 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (136 comments)

(And fighting tooth and nail at every opportunity to outlaw any means the citizens have to resist.)

Oddly enough, some of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment claim to do so on the principle that an armed populace can keep a government in check -- and overthrow them by force if need be -- and yet those same people seem some of the least likely candidates to criticize the government for all these bogus measures and information black-outs in the name of "national security".

This instance is particularly shocking. They are required to make privacy assessments, presumably as a remnant of more enlightened times when the government still operated on the assumption that at least *some* members of the public are well-meaning, mostly harmless citizens. Times in which the folks who wrote up this requirement didn't even think, apparently, to include a demand that the results be made public.

And now they claim that the results of that assessment must be kept secret. For your own good, honestly. Well, that fact in itself should tell you all you need to know.

2 days ago
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Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

erikkemperman Re:Congress has its (collective) head buried... (289 comments)

You must be a blast at parties...

Hehe, point taken. Actually I AM a blast at parties, provided I make a point of leaving my assorted linguistic obsessions at home... Anyway, I meant no offense, I trust you got that.

3 days ago
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Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

erikkemperman Re:Congress has its (collective) head buried... (289 comments)

Thats's cute and all, but not actually correct.

Con, as in "pros and cons" comes from "contra", meaning against.

But "con" in congress means basically the opposite, which is to say "with", "together". As in "concert", "consistent", "consonant", "contract" and so on.

But you know, it's still pretty funny.

In French I've heard it say that
on parle == they talk
on ment == they lie

But etymologically that is equally broken I guess.

3 days ago
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Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

erikkemperman Re:Just wow. (109 comments)

Absolutely right.

I would only add that, in addition to worrying about an evil foreign power getting hold of such records, we should also worry about evil local groups who might be in government some time in the future.

Which is why, in my opinion, these records should be subject to strict time limitations and expire sooner rather than later -- if we decide we need them at all for, you know, only slightly evil purposes.

4 days ago
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Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

erikkemperman Re:Just wow. (109 comments)

I'm not sure why you are surprised -- wasn't the main reason for these intra-agency deals mainly to circumvent the restrictions to spying on ones own citizens?

That said, we in the Netherlands have an absolutely terrible record -- no pun intended -- of evesdropping and phonetapping and so on.

4 days ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

Geen punt joh, doe ik wel even.

Translation of parent post:

Where you live doesn't fucking matter, everyone can read the papers. Fact is that that cunt retard Rutte should have immediately sent in the marines to secure the crash site. Now those Russian swine have had the time to remove evidence and loot the victims' possessions.

Look, I understand the sentiment. I honestly do. Even the suggestion to send our own strong men, though it is preposterous and you know it.

It just seems to me that the surest way to guarantee that this tragedy will just keep on escalating from what should be first and foremost about the victims and their families, is this rush to conclusions and consequences in this volatile geopolitical powder keg. Except, you know, with nukes.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

What we know doesn't seem to amount to much yet, sadly, if we disregard the he said / she said.

However, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said there is overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the incident

Until evidence is presented, this is no more credible than the overwhelming evidence of WMD in Iraq and of Assad being behind the sarin attacks.

Russia denies the claims.

Likewise, not credible. They would say this anyway.

Ukrainian authorities earlier released a recording they claimed was a conversation between pro-Russian militants admitting to shooting down the plane.

And this is also quite meaningless, as of now, because of the accuser is basically at war with the accused.

Incidentally I wonder if these militants are less pro-Russian than they are anti-Kiev (post coup).

Meanwhile, though, there are at least some relatively positive developments:

Pro-Russian separatists say they have found the plane's "black box" flight recorders and have agreed to hand them over to Malaysian investigators who are in Ukraine.

Dutch forensic scientists have also arrived to start work on identifying bodies.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

Time is critical. So until there's information otherwise, it's shameful to everyone involved to support anyone who is hindering an independent investigation.

Absolutely agreed, which is why I wasn't supporting anyone.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

I'm not insulted, though you are of course right not to care. One-line posts like "you're full of shit" don't exactly make you seem a reasonable commentator, which is why I don't care what you call me.

I'm not saying I'm Mr Reasonable either. But it is rather telling that you go around accusing people of being tools or "useful idiots" when those people aren't even stating any controversial opinion, but merely refuse to be drawn into a propaganda fest before any facts are in.

While, I might add, at the same time making various claims -- which may or may not turn out to be accurate -- but at any rate currently without a shred of evidence either way.

I despise Putin, but only slightly more than I despise the West's handling of this whole sordid affair. And that was even before this latest tragedy.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

You're full of shit erik.

And why is that Pino (*)?

Unlike you, I don't go around insulting people for disagreeing with me. In short one-line posts with no further references or links or even hints at an argument. Just conclusions and accusations out of thin air.

I haven't actually said anything remarkable here: just throwing out there that, in my opinion, the current mud slinging back and forth only adds to the hurt of the people who've lost friends and family in this catastrophe. I know, because I live among those people.

And yet that gets modded Troll, and you're cheap shot is somehow deemed Insightful.

Sad.

(*) Not that you should care, but Pino is the dutch name for Big Bird.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:It gets worse... (667 comments)

I obviously agree that Ukraine is to gain the most from this tragic event, and yet that's the only argument for a horrible accusation of UA army shooting down this plane. One really has to have good argumentation in place in order to suggest or proceed in this direction

That goes both ways, though, doesn't it? I don't think anybody has convincingly made any argument about what the separatists, much less Russia, has to gain from this tragic event.

As I've suggested above -- almost all these speculative accusations seems to emanate from one side or the other in a political/military dispute. Meanwhile the families of the casualties can't get closure, or even a credible account of what happened, because of all the propaganda flying back and forth.

Let's point fingers when we have at least some sense of direction.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

erikkemperman Re:Let us keep our thoughts with our Kremlin frien (667 comments)

I am from the Netherlands, where most of the casualties are from: can we PLEASE stop our uninformed finger pointing until at least some evidence turns up?

None of us know what happened.

Russia or the separatists in Eastern Ukraine might have done this -- although no-one is sure what they would stand to gain from it. Ukraine's own military might have done it (they've done it before and denied it vehemently until it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt).

For the moment though, we are doing the victims' families a shameful disservice by pretending to know what happened. Their loved ones are currently being cynically used, by both sides, as pawns in a game they had no part in.

about a week ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

erikkemperman Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

Well, you did say you think the UN are "anti-Jewish" in the context of Israel. And I have had some discussions which turned out to be pointless and frustrating because some people pretend they can not distinguish between criticism of Israel and hatred of Jews.

Which is regrettably still not completely gone, as is racism generally, but I don't think it is the reason why the UN condemns some Israeli actions and policies. Well, the general assembly. There hasn't been a meaningful security council resolution for ages because the US veto everything. Check out the UN voting records, it is rather shocking how many resolutions have overwhelming majorities and a single US veto.

In the 80s, there were various resolutions against South Africa during their Apartheid years. Would you say this is a sign of "anti-white" bias on the part of the UN? Of course not, it is a just the majority opinion of the member states.

I'm not sure what you mean when you write "if they were occupying". They ARE an occupying force, I don't think that is controversial. Some argue that this occupation is justified, or that this is somehow a special kind of occupation that exempts Israel from the Geneva rules -- in particular the one that says you can't move your own population into occupied territories, or provide military and economic support to individuals who move in of their own accord. I, and the vast majority of the "international community" disagree.

I'm going to assume you mean "condemnation" rather than "commendation". There is no shortage of condemnation of Egypt. Not just over their handling of the Palestinian issue, but you might remember there was a military coup that ousted the democratically elected government they had after the revolution. I despise the Muslim Brotherhood, but they did win fair elections.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

erikkemperman Re:To me it's pretty clear. (503 comments)

Given that your nice Kiev friends have recently burned 100 Russians in Odessa to death, I say you are either stupid or a tool.

The coverage I've seen of this event in mainstream Western media was abysmal. "The building caught fire" was an oft read phrase, while there were crystal clear videos of goons throwing Molotov cocktails inside.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

erikkemperman Re:It's Putin's fault (503 comments)

And his head should roll. Exactly the same way GWB's head should roll for Iraq.

I have no love for the man, but it is utterly hypocritical of Washington to say Russia is "destabilizing Ukraine". Which is not to say that they aren't trying to influence the situation, militarily and politically, but let's not forget that it were Western forces that backed, funded, armed the coup in Kiev -- and in so doing supported some decidedly unsavoury types (Svoboda, Right Sektor).

What exactly do we expect the Russians to do here, given that a majority of the population in the Eastern Ukraine self-identify as Russian? How are they supposed to take seriously any diplomatic efforts on the part of the West? Even if we with our luxury induced attention span deficiency have forgotten, they probably remember a promise by Bush I and Baker that NATO wouldn't expand "as much as a thumb’s width further to the East".

about two weeks ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

erikkemperman Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

I don't mind debating this with you here -- although I must admit to having taken us rather off topic -- but first we'll have to get one thing out of the way.

Do you accept that it is conceivable -- for reasons other than being "anti-jewish" -- to be critical of Israel's occupation of West Bank or their stranglehold on Gaza, and their treatment of the Palestinians in both the occupied territories and Israel proper?

Or are you of the opinion that any criticism of Israel is, somehow by definition, anti-semitic? (Disregarding, for a moment, the fact that Palestinians are Semites as well).

Because if that's the case, I don't see the point. And frankly I am not going to bother spending any effort toward convincing you I am not an anti-semite.

about two weeks ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

erikkemperman Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

Of course it is despicable to hide weapons in a school, or any civilian premises for that matter. But it is no less despicable, in my book, for the Israelis to withhold information about those three murdered teens -- enforced by a gag order no less -- allowing tensions to rise to the point where a Palestinian boy was burned alive in "retribution".

Or to blame Hamas without presenting a shred of evidence. Or to start a murderous bombing campaign, and now an invasion more or less, on one of the most densely populated cities based on that unproven assumption. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of the IDF, and collective punishment is a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions.

I think Hamas' tactics are deplorable, but like it or not they have won elections that observers have qualified as fair and open. If we are truly committed to democracy then we can't make exceptions when we don't like the outcome. The fact that they enjoy popular support certainly doesn't justify making the population as a whole a target. This applies equally to rockets fired into Israeli civilian territory, of course. But the capacity of the IDF to inflict damage is orders of magnitude larger.

People living under an illegal occupation have the right to resist, I firmly believe that. In fact there was almost a UN resolution about terrorism, but it was vetoed by the US because the definition of terrorism in that proposal explicitly stated that those who suffer under racist regimes or illegal occupation have this right to resist. Palestine and South Africa were mentioned.

about two weeks ago
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The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

erikkemperman Re: The Heartland Institute (552 comments)

I don't see what's so funny, they're one of the few groups untainted by the widespread liberal pro-warming bias the climatologists lean on to fill their coffers.

In stead, they are tainted (nay, funded) by the widespread corporate anti-science that big business inflict on the planet.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Statistical analysis of US politics: bedtime for democracy

erikkemperman erikkemperman writes  |  about 3 months ago

erikkemperman (252014) writes "Opinion pieces at BBC and the New Yorker, among many others, have discussed recent statistical analysis by Princeton and NorthWestern profs, leading them to report:

"In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."

The authors conclude that:

"Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."

I was not aware of this kind of statistical methods to exploring how politics functions in practice. So rather than just finding out just how obvious you think their results are, I would ask: Does their approach seem sensible? Has similar analysis been done for other nations?"
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Goatse.cx re-invented as mail provider

erikkemperman erikkemperman writes  |  about a year and a half ago

erikkemperman (252014) writes "As reported by El Reg, you can now obtain your own @goatse.cs e-mail address. As the article says, "Want absolutely NO ONE to read your mail?". While I'm pretty sure few will miss that guy, does this in some weird way mark the end of an era?"

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