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* Posts by Tom Welsh

1420 posts • joined 2 Jul 2007

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

Tom Welsh
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Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

"It's awesome".

I can see why you chose to post anonymously.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

"To the people who have down voted my comments on Zimbra, I would be interested in knowing why".

I didn't vote on your comment, either way. But I was rather surprised to read it. Zimbra is SO BAD that someone would rather go back to Outhouse???

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Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet

Tom Welsh
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Eh?

"Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill..."

They do realize that the cloud itself is just a bunch of servers, don't they? (I hope).

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The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

Tom Welsh
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Re: QA

As at Natwest, so at M$: testers are laid off, PHBs get raises... then the software stops working. Too bad.

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Tom Welsh
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Re: My guess?

Maybe they should try DB2.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: And as the march to subscription (online) services goes on...

"I provide mobile lottery services to around 100K mobiles".

WHY? Do you agree with Phineas T Barnum that "there's one born every minute", and you should "never give a sucker an even break"?

I'd imagine you'd be as happy to come on here and admit to being a slave-owner as to pushing "lottery services".

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Tom Welsh
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Clever really...

...contriving to show up the unreliability of their cloud services, their database, and their company all at once.

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New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

Tom Welsh
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Re: Amazed...

Hmmm... "Virgin Media... weasel words..."

"Virgin Weasel" has a nice ring to it!

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Local Confusion

"I just went on the Gov website and registered to vote online, choosing the 'bugger off admen' box..."

Thank goodness central government can be trusted not to sell your details to the corporations, even though it was central government that created the "open register" at the request of the corporations.

Oh wait.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Derbyshire Dales are auto-opt-in

"Do councils make money from selling the Open Register or is it central guvmint that is making the money?"

A third possibility is that individuals in local government are getting most of it, having concluded their own arrangements with corporations. (See Private Eye's "Rotten Boroughs", passim).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: DPA

If I may venture to disagree, there should be no box at all. Information collected for the Electoral Register should be used for the Electoral Register, and nothing else whatsoever. Otherwise, jail sentences should be handed down.

If commercial enterprises want people's private information, they should be free to offer whatever inducements they see fit in return. (Provided they can get their spam delivered, which again they shouldn't).

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Tom Welsh
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@Alan Brown

"The utterly mindboggling thing in all this is that most groups (including the electoral commission) regard the open register as a privacy invasion and have been recommending it be abolished for several years..."

Welcome to "British representative democracy" - in which your MP represents his or her interests and that of big corporations. Your interests as a constituent and taxpayer? Don't make me laugh.

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Tom Welsh
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@DaLo

Under what circumstances do you think any private individual would WANT his or her details to be placed on the "open" register? If he wants to contribute to the council's coffers, he can just send them a cheque.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

Tom Welsh
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Re: yeah but what about the jobs...?

Not if everyone could get anything they wanted, without having to work or give anything in return. People could be exactly as promiscuous and perverse as they liked, but wouldn't ever have to do it for money or reward.

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Russia, China could ban western tech if they want to live in the PAST

Tom Welsh
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Re: alt

"I thought the jet engine was mainly developed with German help after the war..."

Read about Frank Whittle; for a start try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Whittle

"Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a British Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer air officer. He is credited with single handedly inventing the turbojet engine...

"With the W.2 design proceeding smoothly, Whittle was sent to Boston, Massachusetts in mid-1942 to help the General Electric jet programme".

The British Gloster Meteor and the German Me 262 were both in production and flying by early 1944, but the USA did not have operational jet fighters until after 1945. However German achievements are irrelevant to my original point, which was that the USA got a lot of help with jet technology from Britain.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: alt

Actually the British Empire was quietly replaced by the American Empire between 1917 and 1945. Shortly after the beginning of WW2, Britain's rulers realised that it was stony broke. So they did the obvious thing: they begged for help from the USA. This was generously given, on the usual terms: that every red cent be fully repaid, no matter how long it took. (From memory, we finished the repayments in 2003 or thereabouts).

As the imbalance was so grotesque, Churchill agreed to throw lots of scientific and technical information into the scales, as well as dozens of overseas military and naval bases. The basic engineering work on the atom bomb, radar, the jet engine, and many other incredibly valuable breakthroughs were given, free of charge and without restriction, to our American cousins. Who immediately declared them to be Top Secret, and refused to share them with us.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Seriously???

"You missed my sarcasm".

You missed that I deliberately missed your sarcasm. It didn't seem worth noticing.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: China and Russia: Tale of two developing nations

Who caused the 2004 tsunami? Putin.

Who is responsible for the spread of Ebola? Putin.

Who hates all human beings with a rabid, insane, insatiable hatred? Putin. (Oh no, that's the devil. I'm so confused).

Blaming one person for all the world's evils is much easier than learning and thinking, isn't it?

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Tom Welsh
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@ Richard Jones 1

That's just a silly troll. Your post has absolutely nothing to do with technology; it's a weak attempt to change the subject to politics. (As well as smuggling in a lot of unsound assumptions about life in modern Russia and China).

"See pussy riot photos for confirmation".

If Pussy Riot had tried some of their stunts in Britain, France, or the USA they would have wound up in prison. Do you actually know anything about those people? Do you perhaps like, or approve of, them? They have nothing whatsoever to do with freedom, and a great deal to do with exhibitionism and the profit motive.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: It's a tradeoff

"A computer that's a factor of 2 slower, but secure seems like a great tradeoff..."

Especially when you consider that it might be programmed carefully, professionally, and economically. In which case it might still provide a user experience several times FASTER. It's amazing what can be accomplished by radically eliminating bloatware and carefully optimizing for performance. (Instead of building on top of the last three generations' vast libraries, and rushing madly to market in case Wall Street gets upset and marks the stock down).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Seriously???

"What is the future, in your enlightened opinion?"

Obviously, open source software. For an operating system, Linux is a good start. The kernel and associated shells and tools are continuously being improved and tested by a huge global community. Even more important, open source provides a whole sheaf of overlapping stacks of software built by reusing freely available lower layers. This is unbelievably more efficient than the rather paleolithic approach of trying desperately to keep everything secret within a single organization.

Consider Joy's Law: "No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else". Microsoft certainly employs a large number of very smart and experienced people - but that is a tiny fraction of those who are working on open source. Moreover, many of the smartest people who work for Microsoft have their best research work ignored or hopelessly distorted when the marketroids who run the company try to shoehorn it into their profit-making "architectures" and "strategies". A good example lies in the contrast between the utopian vision of Longhorn originally offered to a wondering world, and the pathetic subset that eventually went on sale: Windows Vista.

As for the future, I am enlightened enough to know that I cannot predict it. That's really why we call it "the future". As John Kenneth Galbraith remarked, "There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don't know and those who don't know they don't know".

But I can tell you what is better than Windows right now. Apart from Linux and BSD for general and scientific use, and IBM software for large-scale data and transaction processing, OpenVMS is still better than Windows despite having been more or less completely neglected for the last 20 years. Bill Gates made a reasonably intelligent stab at making Windows stable and reliable when he hired David Cutler and his crew to write Windows NT - but Microsoft's values fatally outweighed the good engineering that Cutler injected.

http://www.vmssoftware.com/index.html

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Tom Welsh
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Seriously???

You really think that rejecting Windows 8 can be equated to "living in the past"? Windows IS the past.

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What's the point of the Internet of Things?

Tom Welsh
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Re: No, Trevor...

"I have an alarm on my freezer that will tell me if it gets too warm, and a max.min thermometer on it that will even let me see if it got too warm (extended power outage?) while I was away. I can check that when I get home".

Precisely. As the great Abraham Maslow put it, when your only tool is a hammer everything starts to look like a nail. And when you are deeply committed to Internet technology...

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Tom Welsh
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"The purpose of all of this technology isn't readily apparent those of us in peak physical and mental condition".

Sure it is, Trevor. It's the same as that of all manufacturing industry and related services: PR$$$O$$$FIT.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

Tom Welsh
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@Hans 1 (Re: No files ?)

"The article claims no file is executed to load the virus into memory each time the system reboots".

As I suspected, it is you who got it wrong. Please quote the exact words in which the article "claims no file is executed to load the virus into memory each time the system reboots".

The headline says, "Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots". Nope, that ain't it. Although, as several other comments have pointed out, the headline is inaccurate as the attack does use a file.

The first sentence reads, "Researchers have detailed a rare form of Windows malware that maintains infection on machines and steals data without installing files". Nope, not that either. It says nothing about execution or loading a virus. (Note that "installing files" is slightly different from somehow using a file, as the attack apparently does).

Paul Rascagneres is quoted as saying "All activities are stored in the registry. No file is ever created". However it is perfectly obvious that a file IS created: the Microsoft Word document. I have never heard of such a document that did not reside in a file. What he perhaps meant to say was that the exploit code persists across reboots by being stored in the registry, rather than in a newly created file.

Rascagneres then confuses the issue still more by continuing, "To prevent attacks like this, anti-virus solutions have to either catch the initial Word document before it is executed (if there is one)..." But the only attack he has described (according to the article, at least) is one that involves a Word document. If there is no Word document, then (a) he is talking about an entirely different attack, and (b) it apparently works by magic, with no vector.

I don't think I'm a smart ass. I just try to think logically and make sense of the facts and statements that I read. Thanks for explaining your train of thought; now I can see where we differ, although I wish you could have done so more politely.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: No files ?

Would the two down-voters please explain what they object to, or disagree with, in my post? These comment threads are, after all, meant to be a vehicle for reasoned discussion. There's no point down-voting a comment if no one knows why, or understands why you didn't like it.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: No files ?

"The Word document is just the infection route. Once the payload is in the Registry, no file is needed as the payload is run directly from the Registry".

Nevertheless, the original Word document presumably remains on the system. So there IS a file to look for, after all.

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Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Tom Welsh
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Re: If the US Government wants to nose around any HSBC account - no sweat...

"If you do a Traceroute on your HSBC InterNet banking account you will discover the traffic flows across US Government-friendly AT&T cables and thence to the HSBC facilities".

Ah, serendipity! Thanks for explaining so clearly why HSBC has suddenly discovered that giving bank accounts to Muslims "falls outside its risk appetite".

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Tom Welsh
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"Since the 90s if not before, the web has been a system..."

Certainly not before.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"...the parasites on Wall Street have instituted a Ponzi scheme".

FTFY.

(But I heartily agree with your post - just clarifying a little).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"if the answer is Microsoft then you have misunderstood the question".

Magnificent! I am afraid I shall be quoting that frequently for the rest of my life.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"If half of the world's 2.7 Bn Internet individual users voted with their keyboards..."

Unfortunately it turns out that thermonuclear weapons, napalm and cruise missiles trump keyboard votes.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"Most of the world's financial institutions count / compute / save their money in what is normally construed as US dollars. China may be an exception, however that is just one (albeit very large) country".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_BRICS_summit

In other words: Russia, China, India, Brazil... plus South Africa. The thin end of a wedge consisting of all of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"What would the US say about that?"

I imagine they would ignore it to start with. Then, if the Irish started actually to do something, they would have a quiet word with the Irish President. Along the lines of "how would you like your little island turned into a nice shiny lake of radioactive emerald glass?"

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

But what do you REALLY think, Trevor? 8-) 8-) 8-)

Nice rant - you told him. And I completely agree with you.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Doom for US tech companies

Although they have already got your person, so to all practical purposes they can get anything you own or know.

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

Tom Welsh
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Humphrys can make inadvertent fun out of anything

On this morning's Today programme, John Humphrys introduced the topic by reflecting that had things fallen out differently "the dinosaurs would still be with us today".

Made me chuckle, anyway. Reminds me of the carnival manager's comment about the "Lion and the Lamb" exhibit - "they get along just fine, but the lamb needs to be replaced pretty frequently". If the dinosaurs hadn't died out, our ancestors MIGHT have survived by hiding in the very tops of the biggest trees. But probably flying dinosaurs would have munched them even there. The idea that they would ever have come DOWN from the trees to hunt... well, it's just side-splitting.

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SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud

Tom Welsh
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Re: Amazon is a (brain dead) predator:

"They are a bubble company. The moment they are required (by circumstances - shareholders, the authorities and the like) to show a (sustained) profit then they are in the shit up to their necks".

Just like the USA, then.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Fundamental limits

Maybe they can move into the mass heating business...

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Hmmmmm

"In other words, it's already a fundamentally loss-making activity, with the loss currently foisted on the people at the bottom of the pile..."

Hello! Don't you people know ANYTHING about modern business strategy? That's called externalizing, and it's a crucial part of most successful corporate policies. Microsoft, to take the most glaring example, has made obscene fortunes by foisting the losses on its unfortunate users. (Well, they were unfortunate to be so dumb that they thought they could buy the cheapest software on the market and not pay in other ways - and so dumb they didn't even notice the other ways).

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Tom Welsh
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"You forgot: underpaying workers, underpaying suppliers and using tax numerous [sic] dodging strategies".

You seem to forget "a penny saved is a penny earned".

Which morally beautiful altruistic corporations do you have in mind as counter-examples? As far as I can see the American (and hence "Western") corporate philosophy is crisply summed up by Phineas T Barnum's maxims:

"Never give a sucker an even break" (whether customer, employee, partner, stockholder, or government)

and

"There's one born every minute" (so you needn't worry about alienating customers).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Amazon has a business model? Really?

"Rather than create a unique value chain, and protect that uniqueness and therefore command a premium on the price, they have always go 'it's books/music/compute but cheaper'. It cannot be sustained..."

And yet that is exactly what made Microsoft the biggest and most profitable IT company in the world. "It's software but cheaper".

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Tom Welsh
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Price of iron?

That doesn't make sense to me. If the market price of a given server is $X, that can't be affected by what anyone does with the servers after they buy them. On the contrary, the lower cloud service prices fall, the greater demand will presumably get - which means the cloud providers will need to buy MORE iron quickly, which if anything should drive up the prices manufacturers can ask.

Unless people like Google have found out how to build thousands of powerful servers much more cheaply than experienced manufacturers like IBM. If so, they could indulge in vertical integration and make their own servers instead of buying them. But that doesn't sound a very safe strategy in the long run.

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MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

Tom Welsh
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Re: unsurprised, but ...really?

"I did not vote for these politicians, I have no say in what they do".

A nice crisp definition of "Western democracy". As long as it's called democracy, though, you do retain responsibility for it - all of it. Nice setup, eh?

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Tom Welsh
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Re: Is it just me.....

"Yeah lets just say it won't be on anywhere you're planning to send in the troops to will it".

Ever since Vietnam - and even before that - the US government has done everything it possibly can to avoid, or minimize, American casualties. Spreading smallpox would cause terrible harm to the target nation, so there would be no need to send any troops.

Of course, the smallpox would eventually find its way back home. But politicians aren't smart enough to understand that; and besides, it wouldn't happen for weeks, so it would be way over their time horizon.

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UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Tom Welsh
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Re: What The Fuck is happening in this country

" On one hand they want to get rid of the current regime, and every little helps..."

Why do they want to get rid of the current "regime"? (Have you noticed that, whenever our masters want to overthrow another country's government, it mysteriously becomes a "regime"?)

OK, Assad and his government may have committed a lot of violent acts, and they may throw their weight around. BUT present-day Syria is (or was, before the violent revolutionaries started tearing it apart) the most secular, non-fundamentalist, tolerant country in the Middle East. As was Iraq, before it was literally destroyed in order to save it from Saddam. And Libya under Qaddafi wasn't that bad.

All these things are relative. Look, if you will, at Saudi Arabia - the most barbarous, extremist fundamentalist regime in the world. But their royal family, which runs the country in a literally medieval way, are our good buddies so no one can say a word against them. Virtually all the Gulf States are similar: absolute monarchies in which you can disappear permanently just for whispering any comment about the government, or for a wide range of offences against their religious law. Those are countries in which slavery is both widespread and officially approved of - indeed, they couldn't get by without it. Yet we line up on their side against countries that are relatively secular, liberal, and to a certain extent democratic. It's almost as if someone was trying to make (and keep) the Middle East as primitive, violent, and ghastly as possible.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Sunset clause

"The entire demographic of politics has shifted in ways unthinkable 30 years ago. The UK is no longer the easily partitioned LibLabCon landscape of days of yore".

For one thing - as I have been saying for years now - there is no longer any party that is conservative. The "Conservative" party could well be prosecuted under whatever has replaced the Trades Descriptions Act, except that of course, being politicians, they are immune to the law.

As a lifelong conservative (small "s"), I find it frustrating that there is literally no one I can vote for. In the meantime, UKIP will have to do. As far as I can see, they are broadly in favour of less government (and hence less government interference).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: What's the emergency?

"Are we suddenly under significantly increased threat of attack?"

We will be after Cameron joins the Yanks and Israelis in their next Middle Eastern massacre.

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Tom Welsh
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Those aren't "arms"! *These* are ARMS...

"Well the American model includes the right to bear arms..."

Well, yes... That would probably be why recent US governments have rejected the Founding Fathers' reluctance to allow standing armies - especially quartered in the USA itself - and their extreme hostility to any foreign wars.

That's why the DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (over five for every American man, woman, and child - no simple double tap for them!) plus war-surplus armoured cars. That, of course, is over and above the National Guard with its jet fighters, helicopter gunships, tanks, machine guns, mortars, artillery... and the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Special Forces) which spend as much on weapons every year as the rest of the world put together.

I don't think the armed citizens would be wise to try anything. As long as they just stick to shooting each other occasionally, everything will be just fine.

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