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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

erikkemperman Re:No (264 comments)

Crap, hit submit prematurely by accident. I wanted to point out that the "first world" qualifier is not even necessary.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

erikkemperman Re:No (264 comments)

Actually, the drug addicts are the low hanging fruit, and the war on drugs is precisely why the US has imprisoned a far higher percentage of its population than any other first world nation.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

erikkemperman Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

I think you will find most Muslims are not actually preoccupied with world domination. It is kind if like how the average American probably doesn't really support their government's foreign policy aimed at global hegemony, by any means, at any cost.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

erikkemperman Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

US Defense budgets and military personnel strength are in steep decline and will be for years to come due to sequestration and other cuts.

I assume you mean the 2013 cuts -- those have been matched, basically dollar for dollar, by increasing the "temporary" budget for Afghanistan. US military spending remains outrageous, at about the level of the rest of the world put together.

The US was attacked on 9/11 because of existing religious extremism and anti-Americanism, not the other way around, the US didn't cause it.

Fundamentalism is a part of it, yes, but would never amount to anything like what we've seen were it not for widespread anti-US sentiments stemming from more pragmatic reasons, such as US foreign policy for the last, oh, seven decades. 911 was a scandalous crime, no doubt about it, but to state that it is completely unrelated to your own actions is patently false.

It is baffling how you could get such simple questions so wrong. Substituting slogans for facts and thinking?

Coming from someone who apparently still believes the Iraq war had anything to do with 911 other than rhetoric, and somehow still manages to delude himself that anti-American sentiment somehow thrives in complete isolation of its international posturing -- yeah, baffling is what that is.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

erikkemperman Re:No (264 comments)

I think the point is that when the police are shooting people in great numbers -- I don't think the US has a peer in that dept -- then it might not be a great idea to give them even more destructive weaponry. Sure it would be "contingency" equipment when anyone asks, but sooner or later it'll be standard issue.

Remember those billions (!) of rounds of ammo that DHS bought?

In combination with the, shall we say, questionable record of accountability of police actions, tooling up to this extent seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

4 days ago
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California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

erikkemperman Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (327 comments)

Of course they are.

And how does anyone even pretend this is legal? They can just 'waive' laws for special people and leave them in place for us proles now?

This is not the American way. One law for everyone. If the law is wrong, repeal it, don't 'waive' it for your friends while the rest suffer.

Are you seriously surprised that Justice is not blind? She hasn't been for quite some time, as best I can tell, not to mention that someone rigged her scales.

"Two-tier justice", I think that's what they call it. The common practice of threatening outrageous sentences to pressure people into a plea bargain, which is to say be found guilty without a day in court -- but of course they only even attempt that when they estimate the cost of mounting a defense would prove problematic.

Actually it seems to me that now we ought to distinguish three- or even four-tier justice, accounting for cases such as this one where political considerations come into play and recently there have even been cases of corporations being found guilty of very serious offenses but deemed " to big to jail".

about a week ago
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China Bans iPad, MacBook Pro, Other Apple Products For Government Use

erikkemperman Re:"Isolating" by choosing open source? (115 comments)

Presumably they are choosing not to get screwed by NSA, through proxies such as Apple and MS. But otherwise I agree entirely.

I wish headlines such as

China seems to be on a mission to isolate itself from the world, at least in terms of technology.

Would more often be accompanied by its root cause, something along the lines of

America seems to be on a mission to antagonize the rest of the world, not least in terms of technology.

about two weeks ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

erikkemperman Re:RACIST! (514 comments)

Ok, so who IS fighting racism? Because just looking at some of the posts in this thread, it needs fighting.

about three weeks ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

erikkemperman Re:RACIST! (514 comments)

This is +5 Insightful?

I get that some people feel that affirmative action has been taken too far. I also get that some feel that it actually has a detrimental effect on the supposed beneficiaries. I don't claim to know either way.

But it looks to me as if racism, the bad old ugly kind, is very much alive in the USA (and many other places). So it seems unhelpful, to say the least, to ridicule people who are attempting to fight it -- whether you agree with their particular approach or not, we need more of those people.

about three weeks ago
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Journalist Sues NSA For Keeping Keith Alexander's Financial History Secret

erikkemperman Re:If true. If. (200 comments)

Seems to me what you need is a political party that opposes this shit. Whenever Ds and Rs agree on anything, it is a pretty safe bet that the public at large do not.

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Plundered Israeli Defense Firms That Built 'Iron Dome' Missile Defense

erikkemperman Re: Tag, you're it! (184 comments)

and if that means 100 civvies dead on the other side for each Israeli, so be it. It's the same shit we've done here in the US with Iraq and Afghanistan when we call in airstrikes, and it is justifiable.

So be it, huh? Serves those civvies right for having been born in the wrong country? That is an argument which betrays complete moral bankruptcy. And completely overlooks that the war in Iraq was not justifiable to begin with. Certainly it had nothing to do with protecting US citizens.

  The Nuremberg Tribunal ...

... called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Plundered Israeli Defense Firms That Built 'Iron Dome' Missile Defense

erikkemperman Re: Tag, you're it! (184 comments)

... who is the war criminal?

I think that the answer, in your hypothetical example, as well as the current Gaza conflict (and the previous three, actually), is both.

The tragedy is nothing will come of it. A UN report will determine that both sides committed war crimes. Israel will condemn this as anti-semitic, and Hamas will condemn it as depriving them of the only way they have left to resist Israeli military and economic warfare.

Even looking at root causes is futile, for a conflict this old. So an apparently simple question such as "who broke the ceasefire / truce?". For example, one might argue that it was Hamas, because they fired rockets from Gaza, before the first Israeli airstrike hit. But another might argue Israel, because it never even started implementing the conditions upon which the truce was achieved (settlement freeze, lifting the blockade, ...)

In any other case, the UN would send in peackeepers. But of course that is not possible here, because of the US' reflexive support for Israel (which, according to some, amounts to US legislators' mortal fear of AIPAC).

about three weeks ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (139 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.

about a month ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (139 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.

about a month ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

erikkemperman Re: Transparency (139 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.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

erikkemperman Re:Congress has its (collective) head buried... (342 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.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

erikkemperman Re:Congress has its (collective) head buried... (342 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.

about a month 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.

about a month 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.

about a month 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 1 month ago

Submissions

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Statistical analysis of US politics: bedtime for democracy

erikkemperman erikkemperman writes  |  about 4 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 2 years 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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