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Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 307

"I don't care if the information about Hillary's lies are part of some Russian plot or not. If the truth is "destabilizing" well then fuck stability. Hillary admitting to having "public" and "private" positions is a piece of information that I, as a citizen, want to have."

Sure, but here's the question you need to ask yourself, given that, are you willing to completely and utterly disregard it when choosing a political candidate to back, given that you have absolutely no idea whether Trump shares the exact same trait due to a lack of similar leaks on his side of the spectrum?

Therein lies the problem, if you're only receiving one side of facts, and are deciding based on only a half-truth, then you're no better off than if someone had just outright lied to you. You're still exactly as likely to make an incorrect choice when you have half the information, as when you have all the information - Wikileaks is influencing the election with half-truths.

The English legal system originally changed it's court vow from "I promise to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth" to "I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" precisely because after a few shoddy court cases where the guilty went free it was realised that half-truths can be as misleading as outright lies.

So sure, transparency is great, but unless you're willing to completely disregard everything from transparency leaks that only tell half the story when forming an actual opinion and making a decision then there's a good chance you're actually making yourself more stupid by making decisions based upon those half-truths because you're letting them influence you into making decisions that do not benefit either your personal self-interest, or any hint of altruism you may have. For something like an election there is simply absolutely no benefit in making a decision based on transparency of one candidate over another with no transparency, and that works both ways - you may now believe you know, you have evidence that Hillary is corrupt, but what you don't know is whether Donald is even more corrupt, and that is a problem - you still have the exact same 50-50 chance of guessing which one is more corrupt that you had before you had any of that leaked information.

Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 307

You say that, but in the UK when libel laws last changed, there were actually papers sat on both sides of the argument. Typically the division was the red tops that libel and ruin people's lives on one side being pissed they wont get away with it anymore, and those who publish factual, well sourced information and that have some actual journalistic integrity and hence no threat of losing a libel suit anyway.

So yeah, even with stuff like that it makes no sense that absolutely every media outlet would oppose someone over it. Some are happy to see the sleezy lie-rags pulled into line and forced to compete on the same level by having to do real actual journalism rather than pedalling outright lies to make sales.

Comment Re:Pretty interesting (Score 1) 409

That theory assumes Ecuadorians are stupid.

It's also possible they're just as intelligent as the rest of us, and realising that someone is trying to interfere in the election of the world's largest superpower from their embassy could cause a whole lot of political shit that they don't need beyond that they're already willing to accept having given him refuge was sufficient all by itself.

Really, if my neighbour kicked her husband out and I let him stay at my place next door, but then he started throwing petrol bombs at her out the window every time she walked past, it wouldn't require her to come and threaten me. I'd just tell him to stop it or GTFO simply because I'm not a complete and utter ass. I suspect the same is true of Ecuador.

Comment Re:Is there more to this (Score 1) 130

I largely agree with you, but I'm not convinced it's a solveable problem, and you've kind of subconciously noted the problem with enforcing that strictly in your own post - what if someone has strong political views that most people find abhorrent, but the bank has to serve them anyway, but that person is also likely to get them in hot bother because they engage in money laundering, or because they simply cause the bank to take a loss? Can they close the account down?

If no, then what happens when everyone whose causing the bank a loss simply declares they have strong political views and uses that as a shield, causing the bank to collapse?

If yes, then what's to stop them just using that excuse to censor anyway - "Oh they're a fraud risk", or "Oh, they're not profitable enough", or "Oh, they cause reputational damage to the company causing a loss for us".

I absolutely agree with you that financial censorship is scary, whatever one may think of Wikileaks (I don't really like it nowadays, it's become a propaganda organisation rather than a transparency organisation) I thought it was always rather disturbing that the US tried to shut down the Iraq/Afghan war log leaks by strongarming Mastercard, Visa, Paypal et. al. to not work with them to censor them and send them offline. It's definitely a real concern, but on the same note how do you implement that legislation whilst also allowing such organisations to reasonably run their businesses?

Also, should it apply to just banks, all financial organisations, or every organisation? If it's just banks, then that means organisations like Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard can cut them off, if it's all financial organisations that's much more clear cut, but it doesn't change the fact other organisations can still censor - a communications infrastructure company could still choose to cut off their broadcast, so you could apply it to every organisation, but then you're right back to square one where businesses are having to potentially serve people that cause them loss and end up going out of businesses anyway.

Here's a semi-related thought experiment from the UK's recent Brexit vote, in the UK it's illegal to discriminate against employees based on political views, but, if a company is forced to make cuts due to Brexit, then shouldn't a company be allowed to fire those who voted for it first and foremost over those who voted against it? Why should some suffer for other's decisions when it would be fairly trivial to make people accountable for their own actions in this sort of case? Should people really be protected from facing the consequences of their actions, whilst expecting others who aren't responsible for their actions to suffer the consequences instead?

I don't know, or even pretend to know the answer to any of these questions - I'm just making the point that it's massively complex, and I'm not sure there really is a rationally objective answer. I think the answer is always going to be subjective and therein lies the problem - what you may view to be a reasonable approach may not be acceptable to the majority. That is unfortunately the reality of democracy, minority viewpoints often get fucked, and the sad reality is that many people don't actually have too much of a problem with censorship, as long as they're not the ones being censored - they're just too dumb to realise that one day it could be them.

Comment Re:Fascinating .... (Score 1) 312

Actually, Ecuador's willingness to make a point has only ever gone so far. Effectively all they've ever wanted to do is say "Look, you criticise us for playing fast and loose with the law when we tackle our political dissidents, but you do it too and we want that known".

There have been a number of occasions where Ecuador has sought to defuse the situation by using him as leverage as there have been extended talks on multiple occasions between Ecuador and the UK and Ecuador and Sweden, to try and end the situation - it's not like Ecuador has simply said "No point talking, we're making a point" - that's not a discussion that goes on for days, multiple times, they've just never actually ended it because presumably they've never got the deal they wanted.

Now that there's a view (real, or perceived) that Assange is involved in trying to sway the US election on behalf of the Russians, the calculus has presumably changed - either the UK or US is willing to offer a better deal to Ecuador as a result of this, or Ecuador is concerned that this is a step too far that's taking it far deeper into this quagmire than it ever intended to get.

I don't think Ecuador's stance has ever been "We must protect Assange at all costs", but more "We'll cover him whilst he's useful". The problem, ironically, is that it looks like it may have been Assange himself that's made himself stop being useful.

Comment Re:Is there more to this (Score 1) 130

"That said, it's hard to see how any of it is illegal and deserving of being closed down. Is there more to this story that isn't public? Or is this as simple as Britain shutting off RT just to quiet it. I hope there is more to this and not some overly sensitive clod high-up abusing his power."

On the contrary, it's none of these things. It's a private sector organisation refusing to provide banking services to another private sector organisation.

Businesses get to choose what other businesses they do business with, any decision to cease that needn't have anything to do with government enforced censorship - it could be anything from private censorship - i.e. the CEO deciding he wants his company to withdraw it's services to try and silence them, all the way through to RT constantly being in debt, not paying it's bills, or any such thing such that they're not a good customer to have.

It's none of these things though, I've explained what it is here:

Comment Re:Round 1, begin (Score 1) 130

"You have actual evidence of this or are just making shit up?"

Actually there's a shit load of evidence of this, if rather than simply trying to declare the other person's post false you could've simply Googled it. Given that an AC appears to have done that for you it appears I wont have to. Long story short though, some of it is covert, and some of it is overt. There's evidence of both, but the funding for France's national front for example wasn't even a secret:

Russia also holds an annual meeting of far right European leaders including people like Le Pen, Nick Griffin from the UK's BNP and so on and so forth. Interestingly these groups they host were the same people, and the only people they allowed into Crimea as "international observers" for their Crimean independence referendum - they wouldn't let any actual neutral observers in from the UN et. al. Make of that what you will, it's really not rocket science though.

Comment Re:For those wondering... (Score 3, Interesting) 130

No, this is part of a change to UK banking law. It occured a couple of years ago and it's effected all sorts of people and organisations including MPs themselves - the law of unintended consequences and all that.

Basically, the law now allows for banks to be held culpable if they facilitate money laundering, and as such banks have started pursuing a zero risk approach to the topic. Therefore everything from charities merely accused of corruption, funding terrorism and so forth, through to MPs that engage with corrupt foreign leaders even if simply engaging on political fact finding missions have had their and even their families bank accounts shutdown.

This is merely a continuance of that, Russia is basically the global capital of corruption. Given the rise of the many billionaire oligarchs post-soviet era I'm amazed it's actually taken the banks this long to decide that supplying banking for the a Russian government run organisation is too risky.

So no conspiracy theories are really necessary, nor would they make any sense. When the same law is resulting in MPs and their wives, kids, and grandmothers having their bank accounts closed down as it is RT it's a complete nonsense to suggest anything nefarious is going on. It really is just about a private company choosing to play it overly safe in the face of a change in the law.

Given the impact on MPs themselves, I'd be surprised if this particular law change lasts long at all. I believe this also enshrined into law US overreach too, as my father who has never had any link to, nor ever been to the US was asked to prove he was not a US citizen (I don't know how you prove you're not a US citizen, I can imagine how you prove you are one) and avoiding paying taxes whilst living overseas under the FATCA regulations. It rather sickens me that my father had to provide information on his personal finances as a British citzen to the US authorities to allow them to decide if he's evading American taxes or not when he's got nothing to do with America or face having his bank account shutdown in a similar manner.

Yeah, so long story short, basically they've gone over the top in trying to crackdown on fraud and tax evasion and everyone and their dog (probaby literally) in the UK is being hit right now. On the scale of organisations deserving to be hit by this law though because of probable real actual corruption I'd say RT is pretty high up the list relative to all the people who really are unquestionably innocent and are also suffering the same fate.

Really, despite all the rhetoric from Russia about censorship, sanctions and such there genuinely is no such story here. It's entirely about our banking regulations currently having been made a complete ass.

Comment Re:Does anybody ... (Score 1) 474

I've always been first to agree that the whole case against Assange is poorly handled, I wont say it's cooked up because I accept there is a possibility he is guilty, but there has clearly been a desperation to get him to Sweden when he could in fact have just been questioned via videolink, something even Sweden's highest court eventually declared criticising the Swedish prosecutor for not doing so.

But he did commit a crime in the UK, he skipped bail. This is a criminal offence in itself. Were the Swedish case dropped he may be able to get away with this because the case he was being bailed over turned out to have no case to answer, but whilst there is still a case to answer, and whilst he's skipping bail, he is a wanted fugitive under the UK justice system.

Comment Re:Influence the election (Score 1) 689

But have you also read the original Bible? I'll give you a hint, books from over a thousand years ago tend to be a little bit backwards.

That doesn't however mean their adherents follow them to the letter. There are 1.3billion Christians and 1.2billion muslims. By and large, the vast majority of all of them are perfectly peaceful, sensible, rational human beings. You'll have walked past many without a thought that they might be a "muslim" because they're just like everyone else.

You may hate the Clintons, but you still haven't explained why that justifies lurching all the way to the far-right to someone whose policies and rhetoric genuinely does match that of Hitlers in the early 30s. You've not explained why you think that extreme is ever justifiable, do you really believe that the German people did the right thing in the 1930s because they were in the same quandary you are now?

Comment Re:Okay then what do they suggest. (Score 1) 99

Actually it doesn't take that long for Earth to trap that carbon again, trees and plant life can do that incredibly quickly and efficiently. The problem is that right now we're both pumping out way more than they can trap, and cutting the amount of carbon dioxide absorbing biomass that existing by destroying forest (and producing more carbon dioxide) too.

The solution is to reduce the amount we churn out, and stop destroying Earth's natural sink in such a ridiculously unsustainable manner. Do that and we're talking about seeing correction well within a human lifespan.

When we stop repopulation will occur, so it's not simply about saving what's left, if we can halt the decline we can also achieve recovery for many not yet already extinct species.

Comment Re:Okay then what do they suggest. (Score 1) 99

That's kind of the point though, it's not the change that's the problem, it's the rate of change.

If it happens much more slowly then species can adapt through natural selection and evolution, the problem is right now that we're causing the change to happen too quickly for species to evolve, hence why this is regularly being referred to as a mass extinction event.

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