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Comment Re:there's always greed and the clintons (Score 1) 387

Do you have any evidence that President Clinton sold any pardons? That he benefited personally from any of them? And your sentence has to be very carefully parsed to be true: President Clinton did pardon more people ON HIS LAST day (140) than any other president has done ON THIER LAST DAY, but overall during his terms he was in-line with other presidents (450 vs Presidents Carter with 566 and Regan with 406). President Ford issued almost as many (409) in two years as Clinton did in his eight year term.

Since there seems to be no personal benefit involved in the pardons, it is hard to argue that there was any corruption here. Shame on you for making false accusations.

Comment Re:What's the big problem? (Score 1) 675

The important difference is not in the technical sphere, but in the legal one. With at chip-and-PIN card that legal assumption is that any transaction that had the right PIN was a valid one, and the user has to prove otherwise. With anything involving a signature the legal system puts the burden of proof on the merchant to prove that it was you making the purchase. Additionally the U.S. legal limitation of $50 of responsibility (commonly waved to $0 by most credit cards) applies only to signature transactions.

So from a legal standpoint having a signature involved is very advantageous for the consumer in the U.S., and in this one case the credit card companies have gone with the more consumer-friendly option.

Comment Re:It's Heartbreaking you're not in Jail (Score 3, Informative) 482

General Patreus gave his mistress 8 highly classified books with the full intention that she read them, and use them as a basis for writing a book (about him). The Justice Department called the information in those "exceptionally grave damage", and was looking at charging him under the Espionage Act. Additionally he lied to the FBI during the investigation (a grave offense in and of itself). Instead of going after him they negotiated that down to $100,000 fine and two years probation, and separately he was drummed out of the military. The final charge was "mishandling classified material"...

So not only was his offense of far larger scale, but it was deliberately giving someone classified material for personal gain, a deliberate offense rather than one of lack of care. Even the most hyperbolic accusations of Hillary Clinton come nowhere near that.

You can argue that someone with a lesser position than Secretary Clinton might have been disciplined for this, but both the FBI and Justice Department have said that there is not enough evidence for charging under one statue that requires malice, or another that has only ever been used in treason cases.

What does smack of a two-tiered system is that both her predecessors in that office, and other contemporary cabinet members, had similar email setups and no-one is talking about trying to prosecute them. Nor are we talking about bringing charges in the Bush email scandal, where the law was clearly violated and 22 million governmental records were lost... including a number that were subpoenaed in investigations of the Bush White House. If we are going to hold people to this standard, why are we not spending $20 million dollars (estimated FBI costs of Clinton probe) investigating those?

Comment Re:The journalism.. (Score 1) 100

You have sited nearly all the examples that would tend to make this argument stronger, but just missed in tying them together:

1. There are enormous numbers of people who have essentially been participating in a study on radiation exposure. And rough numbers of people with cellphones of varying types are commercially available for pretty much any market you want them for.

2. There is a pretty good body of information on the number of people who develop cancer, with much the same availability over time and geography.

3. If cell-phone radiation posed a significant risk of causing cancer you should be able to tie changes in the rates of some form of cancer to the incidents recorded.

4. Your observations about cell phone mounting means that we have some reasonable expectation that we are going to have beginning and ending points for the curves we want inside the data. This should make finding patterns easier, since we have observable motion.

Of course this would be an indicator, rather than proof, but the total lack of these indicators (the incidence rate for cancers not budging during this time) is a pretty big indicator (again not proof) that cell phone radiation is not a significant cause of cancer.

Comment Re:Best Care in the World! (Score 1) 247

No, he wants to bring the best part of Medicaid to the rest of healthcare. You know, the most efficiently run insurance system in the country (seriously, they are head-and-shoulders above any private organization by any metric). This is not about replacing who controls hospitals, or makes the drugs. It is about who pays, and thus negotiates, for these things. If you look just at drug pricing, comparing the U.S. prices to anywhere else in the world (Canada is an easy example, and hard to argue that it is a meaningfully different environment) you will see how much that lack of negotiating power hurts us. Imagine how much more efficient Medicaid could be if they were not legally prevented from negotiating! Then remember that the insurance companies are not prevented from negotiating, and wonder why they are still less efficient.

Comment Re:So is he wrong? (Score 1) 866

Unemployment + Employed Income can be seen together as an equivalent of Universal Basic Income... just one divided into two segments. This of course assumes that you don't have time limits on Unemployment (as we do in the U.S.), and it assumes that the UBI income is always less than an Employed Income (again not always true, especially in the U.S.). Seen this way, it makes a lot more sense from a organizational principle to go with UBI, since it is a lot easier to manage. After all you don' have to track who is in what category (when).

Comment Re:Those countries... (Score 1) 1116

You are mistaking Communism for socialism. This has become a common mistake, mostly because spreading this concept has been a libertarian tactic for along time now. There is also the fact that especially around World War II a number of authoritarian governments (the Nazis are a great example) called themselves "Socialist". However, the actual socialists in their ranks were killed off in purges immediately. A few socialist programs were implemented (for example the building of national highways), but those sorts of things are not generally considered very socialist (remember: the US has them too). But those states were not any more "Socialist" than Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea) is Democratic.

You can tell that the Netherlands is socialist because they have a very well established welfare system, as well as state-funded healthcare. You can also look at their labor laws to see that as well.

Comment Re:Yawn. (Score 3, Informative) 476

You are almost right on all of your points, but miss out on facts:
- It is correct that criticizing Meg Kelly is not in and of itself misogynistic, but asserting that her (valid) question was wrong because she was having her period is.
- Wanting to enforce migration laws more forcefully is not necessarily racist. But Trump has been entirely focused on latin-american immigration, to the exclusion of all else. Mostly he has been talking directly about Mexicans... which is odd since there is a near-zero net migration between the US and Mexico (really, it is slightly tilted in favor of people leaving for Mexico). That was already the trend before President Obama became the most vigorous enforcer of migration laws ever (counting "removals" and "returns", like previous administrations did). Given the singular focus on a specific country of origin which has a neutral net migration rate it is difficult to see this as anything but racist.
- The debate about excluding Muslims has been entirely focused on their religion, to the point where at least one presidential candidate has called for explicitly letting in Syrian Christians while excluding their Muslim neighbors. Our constitution explicitly prohibits the government from having laws that favor or dis-favor any religion. So while it might not be explicitly racist or xenophobic (but the rhetoric makes the latter hard to argue), it is explicitly un-American in the most basic way.

Comment Re:If so, Petraeus was hosed for political reasons (Score 1) 554

General Petraeus did not give his mistress/biographer his memoir, he gave her 6 binders of Top-Secret material. Additionally, it was the FBI who first learned of the affair. They notified the Directory of National Intelligence, who advised him to resign and advised the White House of the reasons for this. General Petraeus resigned the next day. Trying to make this look like a personal grudge from the White House is not supported by the facts.

The fact that he avoided any real criminal prosecution or punishment (depute being apparently out-of-favor) is probably the most relevant part of this conversation.

Comment Re:It is DNC problem (Score 1) 554

I don't think you are looking at things objectively, and your first example is a goo place to start with some facts:
1. Nixon's resignation was after revelations that he had used all sorts of illegal intimidation and attempts to sabotage the Democratic party. To try and tag his resignation to using the IRS is a willful disregarding of the facts.
2. There is no reason to think that President Obama was in any way involved in the decision by one office (in Cincinnati) of the IRS to use a keyword list to give additional scrutiny to organizations claiming tax exemption. Why would something organized by President Obama only be happening in one office?
3. The list in question involved keywords used in both liberal and conservative groups. In fact organizations on both sides of that political line were investigated, and the ONLY time one was actually denied the exemption it was for a LIBERAL group.
4. The tax exemption in question specifically did not apply to political organizations, but many of the organizations applying were very political in nature (hence the making of the list)
5. The FBI investigated, but found no criminal wrongdoing. The same result in the DOJ investigation.
6. The Senate report concluded that the main problem was that what constituted "political advocacy organizations" was ill-defined, and there had been an inadequate reposes from the higher-ups in the IRS when this issue came up.
7. Despite a lot of attempts to somehow rope in the White House in any capacity, not evidence has ever turned up linking them to this at all.

So... you seem to have made a complete hash of your first bit, so I will not continue. Please get better sources of information in the future.

Comment Re:Thinking of the bright side.. (Score 1) 940

The recession is long over. The bottom was in early 2009, and we surpassed the pre-recession point in 2010. The economy is doing just fine, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

However, that has not helped many people because the increases have gone almost entirely to people at the top. Anyone who tells you that they are going to somehow cut taxes in a way that is going to magically fix this is clearly not a student of history for the last 40 years, where taxes have trended sharply down, while income disparity has trended sharp up.

Measuring the economy (i.e.: GPD or its relatives) is about as good a measure of the health of a nation as measuring average caloric intake. At some points it is a great measure: in sub-saharan Africa it is probably a great way of measuring progress. However, once you get to a certain point it is no longer a good measure.

Comment Re:Suggestions anyone? (Score 3, Informative) 457

From my understanding the County had an MDM system, and it was managing some settings but that they had not yet started putting an "enterprise" password setting yet. The password change that is in the link you posted was on the iCloud account, not on the phone. They probably just used Apple's automated system and asked it to send the password reset verification to his (work) email, which they already had control of.

That did not solve anything, but rather meant that there was now no way that the phone could be induced to backup to iCloud, where a parent could have produced the data (Apple had already given them older backups that were there). To this point I have not heard anyone in the position to know comment on whether this was a hair-brained scheme by someone who didn't know what they were doing, or a more cynical attempt by the FBI to setup a situation where they could fish for new powers. Generally I would tend to the incompetence explanation (especially since this was very shortly after the event), but the FBI directors sliminess in this episode makes me eye the other possibility more.

Comment Re: It is not a justification for more surveillanc (Score 3, Insightful) 1011

Just a reminder: the Old Testament is still part of the bible. Those books are full of God commanding the Israelites to kill their enemies. A prime example would be the genocide of the Canaanites: God commanded them to kill all of the Canaanites, but the Israelis took the women and children as concubines/slaves. God was then angry at them for not having slaughtered the women and children. That is only one example, and there are many.

You can argue that the Old Testament is no longer valid, but then you also have to throw out the ten commandments, the garden of eden, and almost everything used in the gay-marriage debates. You also have to question why those passages are still part of modern Christianity's holy book.

It is also silly to paint Christianity as a religion of pease, and Islam as one of war. Both from historical points (the Crusades being an easy example) and from general numbers: there are 2.75 million muslims living in the U.S. now, and 1.6 billion in the world. If Islam really was a religion of war, you would expect total chaos. But since we don't see that, it is a much more reasonable interpretation that these extremists don't represent the religion.

Comment Re:Technology continues its rapid advance (Score 1) 349

Third world lunatics don't need intercontinental ballistic missiles; those are only useful when you are in a shooting war and need to have it delivered in 40-minutes-or-less (or your money back). It would be much easier to sail a nuclear weapon into New York harbor on a personal yacht. It would not have quite the destructive effect since it would be at ground level, but for such a lunatic that would not be the point.

Comment Re:And by that he means (Score 3, Informative) 349

Your NY Times reference appears to be be disagreeing with you. You are technically correct in that there were things that could be called chemical weapons in Iraq, but "All munitions found were left over from pre-1991 Iraqi program". Many of the reports about these weapons were very clear that they were in no way serviceable, and were so dangerous to handle that they were often incinerated on-site to reduce the danger to those handling them.

That link says nothing about Iraq having the ability to ramp up production, and I have never seen any evidence that that was so. There is no denying that Sadam talked about wanting/having it, but that was just talk (and many intelligence agencies said so). And the Bush administration's main justification for going to war was that they had an active program (no evidence at the time, and we now know they did not), with some vague references to them talking to terrorists (al-Qaeda specifically) with the idea that Iraq would be arming them. At the time it was known that there had been a meeting, but all of the intelligence agencies were pretty sure that despite having common enemies, the two groups despised each other on basic grounds (e.g. the Suni vs. Shia strife that is playing out now).

No one is ever going to argue that Sadam Husain was a good man or leader, nor that his son's were going to be when he passed the reign over. But he was holding Iraq together (brutally), and without major civilian casualties. We destroyed the military that was holding it together, and then disbanded all of the local police forces on the theory that they were loyal to the previous regime. Only counting the first 4 years the estimates in Iraq are between 151,000 to over a million civilian deaths. If we had not invaded, those would not have happened.

There was really nothing for us to accomplish in Iraq, and the only thing we did was to open up a cesspool and set fire to the middle east for the next generation or so.

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