* Posts by h4rm0ny

4617 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Google sued for paying women less than men


Voland's Right Hand - I really strongly recommend the following article which discusses the Google Memo. It's the invariably excellent Slate Star Codex blog and though long, is really, really worth setting aside quarter of an hour to read through.


I don't agree with everything Devroe wrote. Especially the peculiarly American Left / Right muddled preconceptions at the start. However, to call it "drivel" as you do is not fair.

And again, I'm going to venture that the large number of downvotes is not because you claim there is sexism in the USA. There is and I've unfortunately encountered it first hand. No disagreement. (Though it was in the area of Upper Management rather than amongst the ranks where everyone was very friendly and I saw no sign of it). I think the downvotes are because you took the extreme position of calling the memo "utter drivel" when Devroe both supports his points and is also at pains to emphasize that women are as capable as men in Tech. Indeed, I've known a couple that are some of the best engineers I've ever worked with.


>>Front end is HTML, javascript and the ability to take artwork and turn it into a web page..

I think it's important to state in case it gets lost in all this, that front end work is still very skilled work. I was a back-end person (C++, then databases) who has transitioned into management, but I have plenty of respect for UI designers and implementers. If I were to draw a comparison it would be that between being a doctor and being a consultant. The latter may require deeper knowledge of the systems and take longer to become one, but the former is in no way not vital or not something where experience and skill make a huge difference. I've had the good fortune to manage some top-tier front end developers and they have a grasp of the constant churn of frameworks, libraries and standards that seem to change daily. One week AngularJS is the latest, greatest. The other it's Ember.js. And they keep up with whether to use CherryPy, Django or whatever.

There's no clear line where Front End development starts and a good front end engineer is hugely valuable and hard to find. I'm a hoary former C++ programmer and DB specialist who has a really solid grasp of how everything works. I'd say my understanding IS deeper than the average front end developer and my work IS more complex. But they're more like the canoeist who has to constantly keep their head above ever changing choppy rapids. Total respect for those people who live on my roof, as it were.


Google has a LOT of programmes and policy to support women in the company. Including female-only programmes. The plaintiff's claim is that the reason for their different position / pay is because they are women. I honestly find that unlikely given what I know of Google.

Because proving their different position / pay is down to their gender will be very, very difficult, their main recourse is to try and prove systemic sexism. What they can't prove on the individual level they can still win by default if they prove the environment is sexist.

I honestly think that, at least at Google, they'll fail at that.


>>As for the idiot who they rightly fired: the premise that women are not suitable for a technical career clearly demonstrates he's a moron.

That was not his premise. In fact, that runs counter to a number of things he wrote in the piece that he was fired for. You plainly haven't read it. I will link it here:


What he argues is (a) that sexism still exists, (b) women are equally capable as a group as men in technical fields and (c) that women have a tendency to prefer other fields. As a consequence of (c), Google is wrong to ascribe all gender imbalance in jobs to discrimination and programs that preferentially advance women in an effort to achieve parity are therefore misguided and actually harmful.

I have of course stripped it to its utter bare bones removing all of the supporting and cited studies. I suggest anyone who's understanding of the memo is so utterly wrong as yours, read it properly. One can agree with it or disagree with it, but do so based on what he actually wrote.

The many downvotes you are receiving are not because people disagree that equal performance should mean equal pay, it's because you have built a strawman so large that we could sacrifice Edward Woodward in it.

Homeland Security drops the hammer on Kaspersky Lab with preemptive ban


Re: I wonder who the real oppressor is here...

>>"Well, DUH! What else are you going to burn them with?!"

Acid? Re-entry friction? Scathing comebacks? :)


Re: RE: And I thought El Reg commentards hated Microsoft!

No bootable pen drive distro? You should keep one handy for emergencies.


Re: Oh, come on

>>Shirley, you meant "uploading something"? I know I did.

Poster I responded to was talking about it updating itself with something nefarious - either software updates or dodgy malware definitions. So yes, in this context it is downloading.


Re: Quite the planning process, this

It's not "bollocks". I had to remove McAfee from someone's shop-bought laptop years ago. Around six years ago? Firstly, Add / Remove programs didn't allow the removal of McAfee. They'd blocked that somehow. And your suggestion of searching the registry, manually killing processes, deleting install and operating directories and "a few reboots" is 'all that is required' isn't really making much of a case for removing McAfee being "not rocket science".

Seriously - why so angry?


Re: Quite the planning process, this

Sure. But re-imaging isn't always convenient and would you really be happy if you suddenly found you had to re-image all 8,000 PCs in your organization? :) Plus, there are the other issues I mentioned. Yep, I stand by my calling this a PITA for Enterprise.


Re: Oh, come on

>>"So some of you seem to be saying that a Government has no right or obligation to protect itself?"

I think rather that we are saying a government protecting itself is not necessarily the same as a government protecting us. As many have observed, not only are we more likely to be spied upon by our own state than a foreign one, but our own state is far more likely to act in a negative way to us as well. If I anonymously leak something the government wants not to be known, or associate with someone the government doesn't want me to associate with, it's not going to be the Russian police who show up at my house. And if secret information is used to prosecute me for something, it's going to be that acquired by my own government, not by Russia or China.

>>K[aspersky], as do most others, "phone home" quite often. Oh, not to worry, they are all "checking for updates", that's all. But who has a packet sniffer going constantly to examine such communication and, further, has the ability to decipher exactly what may be in the transfer?

Well actually, not only do independent security researchers do it privately but I'm also certain that if Kaspersky were downloading something it shouldn't that we would have heard about it. Companies like Norton or McAfee or TrendMicro would love to be able to report "Our rival spies on you! Buy from us!" And they have the expertise to find such malicious behaviour because they are industry experts themselves (Well, TrendMicro are, anyway. ;) ). Equally, the NSA would drool at the chance to expose evidence of Kaspersky wrong-doing if they actually had any. I guarantee we wouldn't just be hearing "banned because maybe they might" if the NSA could pin something on them. So definitely there are parties monitoring for the things you say and quite expert parties at that. And their motives would unarguably be to expose anything they found.


US government seems determined to make life hard for Microsoft! First they try to scupper any hopes for MS's AWS services in Europe by acting like they own MS's data servers in Ireland. They carry out mass-surveillance on European allies ("This is not what friends do" - Angela Merkel's beautiful summary). And they introduce laws that allow them to force US tech companies to assist them in surveillance and criminalise telling that they do so. And now they're practically asking Russia to use GNU/Linux more!

And I thought El Reg commentards hated Microsoft!


Re: If they do review the source code?

Honestly, I think Eugene Kaspersky would be mad to provide the Source Code to the USA. Remember that Kaspersky Labs exposed both the Equation Group (NSA) and Stuxnet (Israeli and USA targeted malware), so it's not like we can assume neutrality by the US government. Indeed, the Equation Group has attempted to penetrate Kaspersky Labs before. So Game Theory perspective we have the following possibilities:

1) Kaspersky software has sneaky backdoors in it.

2) Kaspersky software does not.

If it's #1 then obviously it's not in Kaspersky's interests to share source code. (Though you're right - proving executables match the source is a non-trivial task, I fully agree).

If it's #2 then Kaspersky knows that they are innocent and that this is likely for ulterior motives. In which case providing the source will only be giving away something of value for little likelihood of fair treatment.

So basically, there's no good reason for them to share source code. I suppose they might - because I suspect it's clean - but they'd have to be very optimistic to do so. And given the last hundred years of Russian history, I salute any Russian who is somehow an optimist. ;)


Re: Quite the planning process, this

>>Is it really that difficult?

Nah, it's a fairly simple operation. Unlike McAffee where I had to download and run a (well-hidden) executable from their website to get rid of their bloody "1 month free" install from a shop-bought laptop. :/

But seriously, it can be a pretty big headache in Enterprise. You've got to arrange its removal from x hundred PCs in your organization, you've got to find the budget and organize purchase orders of a replacement, deal with any process changes for distributing updates centrally to whatever new virus vendor you choose. And the necessary meetings, of course. ;)

Basically, US government has just handed down one more PITA to the busy sysadmins of America. For (I strongly suspect) political point scoring. Or perhaps just a quick buck for American AV vendors. Who knows? :/

Facebook posts put Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli in prison as a danger to society


Re: It's called deflection

>>He's trying to move his case from one of lying/stealing/raping to some un-prosecutable case of "just being a jerk".

Couldn't be bothered to look up what he was charged with, then. Raping? :/ He was sentenced for two counts of security fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit security fraud. He was found not guilty on five other counts of security fraud in the same case. His investors - who the state was acting on behalf of - actually made quite a lot of money from the investments so the case would probably never have come to trial if the State hadn't wanted to find him guilty of something. And this is accurate whether you like the guy or not. If the criminal actually gives you a three-fold return on your investment, you're unlikely to sue him and it never came up until he came to public attention and became a hated public figure. (The charges related to his career as a hedge-fund manager a couple of years before the drug price furore).

The fundamental rule of the rich is to pretend to care about the poor. It's the thing that stops outright revolution! And Skkreli broke that rule.


There are plenty who have done worse and got away with it. And for far less reward. Shkreli's great sin, is to be publically unapologetic and say if people didn't like what he did then they should make it illegal. He doesn't understand the vital role that hypocrisy plays in wrong-doing.

From the moment he smiled on camera and said he didn't care, it was inevitable he'd be put away for something and no jury in the land would acquit him. You can care about money more than people all you like... but you shouldn't say it!

Yet more British military drones crash, this time into the Irish Sea


West Wales...

Did they check to see if either of the crashed drones left a note?

Kaspersky shrugs off US government sales ban proposal


>>Kaspersky just came out with a product for running critical power infrastructure that can be wiped out with a single update from central command (or the FSB).

Well Kaspersky Labs were the people primarily responsible for finding and examining Stuxnet - a piece of malware designed for infiltrating and subverting hardware such as used in power infrastructure. So they have strong qualifications in this area. Alternately, I could go with a supplier actually based in one of the countries that created Stuxnet. ;)


>>I'm not talking about the U.S., I'm talking about Russia, and Kaspersky, which is the point of this article. Please save the "whataboutism" for someone who will fall for that.

Well firstly, this is a fairly casual place. If you go all anti-Russian zealot in your posts scattering the thread with one-line comments like "hope you got well-paid for that, Natasha", then you have to expect that somebody is going to point out the obvious fact that the USA meddles in foreign countries more than everyone else put together. ;)

And secondly, it's not entirely "whataboutism". Given the state of security of Windows, it's at least a little bold to fly without any AV at all. So you have to pick one. And if you're going to criticise Kaspersky for spying on its users (no evidence whatsoever of this, btw), then it's not whataboutism to observe likely risks in its competitors. I mean we know that the USA engages in surveillance on a staggering scale and that US companies are legally obliged to assist with this and subject to criminal prosecution if they reveal such assistance. So how is it "whataboutism" to compare with the USA if the attack on Kaspersky is because it is Russian?


Re: 3 reg.offices to be opened in 2018

>>Or should I read the whole article before posting?

Why break the habit of a lifetime?

Paris Hilton

Re: I wonder why that might be?

>>Neat story, but if you've already been condemned to death, the thing about the other guy being the aggressor has already been satisfied

Uhhh, it's not a story, it's a joke. And a joke that goes: "This chief said he was going to execute everyone so a Russian guy shot him" wouldn't be a very good one.


>>not any more... they got caught.

Oh, you, think, so?


In Capitalist Amerika, Bank robs you!



Re: I wonder why that might be?

What you say is quite true! It's a different set of cultural values. There's a joke about Russians that only really works if you know Russians / follow Russian politics, but I'll tell it anyway:

A German, an American and a Russian are all exploring the jungles of South America when they're captured by a long forgotten tribe who decide to execute them. But the chief says: "I am not a cruel man. I will grant each of you a last request." So the German thinks about it and says: "I would like to have sex with several women before I die." So the chief claps his hands and several beautiful, scantily dressed tribeswomen step forward and lead the German away to their hut. In the morning, the exhausted but happy German is led before the chief and executed. Meanwhile the American has asked for a last meal. So the chief claps his hands and all sorts of foods are brought before the American - roast jungle piglets and fruits and nuts and everything the tribe has. The American eats a stunning amount of food before finally getting up and waddling before the chief able to die happily having stuffed himself silly. At last, it is the Russian's turn and the chief asks what he would like, to which the Russian replies: "I would like you to punch me in the face." The chief is bemused but punches the Russian in the face. Immediately the Russian reaches into his bag and pulls out an AK-47 and begins shooting everybody. As the tribespeople flee and the chief lies bleeding on the ground, he looks up at the Russian and asks: "But if you had that all along, why didn't you pull it out earlier and save the German and the American?" To which the man replies: "Because Russians are not aggressors."


Not only are Western governments more likely to spy on Western citizens, but they are more likely to act on it. If you anonymously reveal some information the UK government wants its citizens not to know about, if you buy some or sell something forbidden, if you read something you're not supposed to read... It's not the Russian police you have to worry about showing up at your house.

Daily Stormer binned by yet another registrar, due to business risks


Re: Not censorship

>>Then next year, after a quiet word from the Whitehouse, they extend this policy to blocking Wikileaks, then the ACLU, then Greenpeace, then the democratic party.

I can give you a "this year" example. Criticism of Israel is legally part of the definition of anti-Semitism in the USA and the same definition was adopted in the UK.


So if you have legitimate criticism of Israel, that's legally Hate Speech. Which is blackly hilarious if you happen to be one of the many Jewish critics of Israel.


Re: Marketplace of ideas

>> It is dangerous to civilized societies to allow its presence or growth.

And which solution to that do we as a society prefer? Mockery and public refutation of its claims? Or saying: "Hey, government and companies - here's a big stick, please use it on the Bad Guys only". Also, the stick is a big can of paint that only covers over the problem.

It's a weird metaphor, but I think you see where I'm going.


Re: Dark Web Maybe

There's a concern here which is that these registrars are largely refusing service because of PR fallout and boycotts. The scenario where sufficient public pressure denies people the ability to purchase a service is a pretty concerning one. I'm sure everyone can think of something they wouldn't want bullied off the Internet by an angry twitter mob that is a likely target.


Re: The Paradox of Tolerance summarizes my opinion:

>>1 . EasyDNS is 100% entitled to decide for themselves who they do business with. The fact that they motivate that decision is nice and offers insight into the company's ethical stance, but. they. don't. have. to.

100% is a pretty high degree of certainty! If the principle of right to choose who you provide services to is an absolute, does it extend to people refusing service to people based on skin colour? Religious beliefs? Sexual orientation? Nationality? Could an email provider refuse service to an individual whose beliefs they disagreed with? Could a phone company? Once you decide, as you have done, that companies have a 100% right to choose who they provide service to, you've enabled a lot of behaviour I suspect you do not actually like.


Re: It beings.

>>This has nothing to do with censorship.

Of course it has something to do with censorship. As a legal definition, not so much. Because the laws on censorship were written in an age when it was the government that had the power to come down and shut down your printing press or handing out leaflets on the street. Those laws are outdated. Today, corporations have the power to stop you being heard. The world's eyeballs are controlled by Google and Facebook and Twitter. Increasingly places where people gather - malls, parks - are privately owned and their owners can and will throw you out. Google can and will de-monetize your channel on YouTube and Patreon can ban you. And sure, maybe you can put up your video on Daily Motion. How many of you reading this visit that compared to YouTube.

If you want to demand that everyone online speak only in terms of the US legal system, then sure - you can tell us this isn't censorship. But the rest of us trying to have a normal conversation will disregard it. In the modern day, corporations can and do censor you. To pretend not being able to get web-hosting or be shown on YouTube or Facebook isn't significant, is to be dishonest. And to insist it isn't censorship, is to insist we all accept US law makers as the arbiters of the English language.


Re: It beings.

>>I can't believe we're still having this debate about whether or not this ideology deserves free speech or not when history shows how it gains a foothold and what it does when it gets it.

Fun fact: The Weimar Republic (1930's Germany) introduced Hate Speech laws prohibiting "insulting religious communities" and use them to prosecute hundreds of Nazis. They're some of Europe's oldest Hate Speech laws. You know what happened? It boosted Nazi membership because people began to feel that the Nazis must have a point.

And you know what I see a lot of today? People getting angrier and angrier that they "aren't allowed to discuss things anymore" and finding themselves increasingly aligned with more extreme groups because they've nowhere else to go or be heard.


Re: It beings.

It's all well and good saying Nazis shouldn't have the right to Free Speech (though I believe the right to Free Speech is absolute), but are you unaware that people get labelled Nazis all the time without actually being such? That reasonable discussion gets labelled as Hate Speech and suppressed? Brigette Bardot has been sentenced multiple times for "Hate Speech" in France and fined substantially because she is a vocal animal rights campaigner and despises the Islamic practice of Halal slaughter. In Denmark it is illegal to "mock or scorn any established religious group". What if Sarah Champion - an MP who was heavily involved investigating the Rotherham child abuse cases talks about rape tolerance in Pakistani communities - gets labelled as Hate Speech, as some would like? In Germany, there's a good chance it would have been classed as Hate Speech and supressed. And in the UK, if she weren't an MP but just a local woman saying the same things, I could see her being prosecuted.

You can say Nazis shouldn't have Free Speech, but nobody gets to decide whether others view them as a Nazi or not. Hell, I've seen Antifa types marching with a hammer and sickle logo! How many Jewish people were killed by the Soviets? No doubt some wag will try to split the finest of hairs and argue that it's a communist symbol, not a Soviet one (despite being created in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution). But if that's the case, then the Swastika is a Hindu good luck symbol when American racists use it and my uncle is Xenu.

Allowing businesses to decide who gets to talk / assemble / promote themselves and who doesn't, is very, very dangerous. And yes - a slippery slope. Removing Free Speech is probably the slipperiest of slopes in fact.

Not to treat this whole topic lightly, but first they came for the Nazis, and I did nothing because I am not a Nazi...

我的天啊! China gives Weibo users a week to use their real names


Anonymity is necesary.

I think it's unarguable that sometimes anonymity is necessary in a free-functioning society. Without the capacity for whistleblowing or making a statement that the powers that be dislike, a society is doomed to corruption and oppression. There's a reason Martin Luther reputedly had to nail his theses to a church door in the dead of night.

I would also say that even when anonymity isn't necessary, its availability is a great facilitator for honest dialogue.

As to trying to restrict people from exposure to outside cultures, I find that disgusting just on principle. A government that does so, is a government that is afraid.


I don't think it's cultural imperialism if the people ask for it. If I watch a Korean movie, is that Korea being culturally imperialist? Cultural Imperialism would more accurately describe things like the English trying to stamp out Gaelic when they invaded Ireland, or China trying to stamp out Tibetan culture today, or pushing particular historical views in US schools, etc. Not people seeing a foreign movie and thinking "I want to watch that!"


>>Well, this is a step in the right direction

I can only assume that those who vote you up think you're being satirical and those that vote you down think you're being serious. Honestly, I can't tell but I agree with both of them.

HSBC biz banking crypto: The case of the vanishing green padlock and... what domain are we on again?


This is the bank that is now trying to push Voice Recognition as a way to authenticate yourself for online banking, so little in the way of security idiocy surprises me.

Facebook ran $100k of deliberately divisive Russian ads ahead of 2016 US election


Re: Just when you thought...

>>I freely admit I don't have the time to pick through every paragraph so I pick an easy one I that takes me 2 minutes.

The difference between you picking say Enron and saying 'but they were caught', and you picking Haliburton being involved in planning and profiting from the Iraq war, is not one of easiness though. It's one of convenience to your argument. I object to you trying to present your selectivity as some kind of 'best effort'. Ignoring easily checked facts isn't "picking an easy one". In many of these case, I actually provided references for you.

>>Rather than go down that road why not go back to the original point of the article.

This too is disingenuous. I have repeatedly drawn our discussion back to my original point. It is you that has built the road we have gone down with your repeated raising of new issues as you shift ground. My original point was that we need access to foreign viewpoints and I provided a fact about US sanctions which most American citizens probably don't know to illustrate that importance. But you chose to challenge that over and over and finally when unable to prove any of your points you say we should get back to the original argument. Well I never left it. This whole grand tour has been you attempting to shoot down that argument by challenging any example of why it matters. And they've all stood up to that so my original position remains supported and, imo, correct.

>>You express that Facebook should not be blocking access to 'foreign viewpoints'. Reportedly one of the adverts in question said: "Up to 5.8 million illegals may have voted in the 2008 election. Share if you think this is wrong."

Where did you find the ads that Facebook blocked? I have looked and looked and can't find them.

As to the specifics, there certainly are non-citizens who vote in the USA. Voter registration and verification in the USA is woeful. But I've no idea what the figures are. I'm not sure anyone does. But it's irrelevant to my point which is that we should be allowed to see counter-points and not have them censored. If the above is one of the ads (again, please tell me where you found the ads because I cannot), then ads should be discriminated against based on their truthfulness, not on where they originate. And in this case, they have been blocked because they are alleged to be from Russia. There are active efforts to discredit and block foreign news sources and viewpoints and this should be of great concern to all of us.

>>I'm not trying to prove that the US is perfect. I don't believe it is.

You put words in my mouth. You have not claimed the USA is perfect and I haven't said you did. But what you have done is repeatedly tried to make moral arguments of superiority in a number of matters along partisan lines and applied double standards to do so.

>>Please try reading the two books I recommended earlier. It is possible that you could learn too.

Aaaand we're back to the patronising. Also, this from someone who accuses me of "a war of attrition" and pleads lack of time as part of their argument! Maybe I will read the books. But everything I wrote is factually accurate and I've provided citations so the books aren't going to invalidate anything I wrote. They only carry weight in the argument that you are interested in, which is that of who is morally superior our of Russia and the USA. An argument that doesn't matter to those of us who simply want to be able to make our own minds up rather than have Facebook govern what we see.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>Actually I thought you'd have picked up on why I chose 'idiot' rather than any other pejorative term

Actually, I was simply noting that you use pejoratives in the first place. I repeatedly engage with your points and refute them whilst you selectively skip over most of mine and toss in a few arguments by assertion and attacks on credibility such as trying to dismiss counter-information as "a handful of pissed off Germans". I'm sorry that my citing such figures as Angela Merkel, the German trade minister and writers for respected financial journals don't compare with with the assertions of you the Random Poster on the Internet.

The repeated accusations that I am unaware / an idiot / biased would be a low tactic by themself. But to also make credibility attacks on innumerable respected political commentators and financial experts, is absurd.

>>A list of 'Whatabouts' of does not change the fact the the US still has Rule Of Law, as Trump finds out to his cost, whereas Russia has rule of Putin regardless of law or constitution.

If I were trying to prove that Russia had never done anything wrong, then yes, it would be whataboutism. But if someone starts trying to argue moral superiority of their side, then pointing out wrongs done by that side isn't whataboutism. It's an actual response to your position. Obviously.

Also, your argument was that Gazprom and Rosneft were "abnormal" in their wrong-doing. I provided a list of especially egregious behaviour by non-Russian oil companies. Including involvement in the Iraq war! I don't think your reply about Russian constitution is to the point, therefore. You appear to be attempting to subtly generalise where convenient. Or, let us call it whataboutery.

>>given the logistics in trying to get US gas over to Germany with the Atlantic Ocean in the way rather than building a pipeline to a different European or Asian country that would be a pretty weak strategy.

The USA exports oil currently. Mainly to Europe and China. An article by the FT (yes, I'm sorry you regard them as "hearsay" but I'm going to keep using them) predicts that by 2020, US exports will exceed that of most OPEC members. You seem to think the USA exporting to Europe is difficult because of "logistics", but they use things called oil tankers. Mainly out of ports in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is one of them:

Oil Tanker

Please note the teeny-tiny trucks next to it.

I mean you're right - it IS less efficient to ship oil from the USA than it is for Europe to import it by pipeline from Russia. Which is why the USA wants to stop the oil pipeline from being extended and us buying from Russia. But you would have this be coincidence even in the face of it being accepted fact by financial analysts and political commentators in both East and West. Sorry, correction - you have now conceded that it "may" have something to do with it.

>>That's a highly circuitous way of describing that Russians should be allowed to break US laws.

Or alternately, I'm just arguing what I say I'm arguing - that people should be allowed to read foreign viewpoints. Which is why I'd like to see these "divisive" ads that Facebook has banned on our behalf.

I'm going to ask you a question. Does it not bother you that you are now at the level of misrepresenting articles in the FT and The Economist and statements by Angela Merkel as "hearsay". That you are demonstrably engaging in exactly the things you accuse me of ("whataboutery") and making repeated character attacks?

To dismiss articles in the FT and others as "hearsay" is an absurd level of misrepresentation.

>>You even mention Enron which was a scandal in 2001, widely publicised in the so-called MSM, and which led to new legislation, Sarbannes-Oxley, to try to prevent it happening again. Would these sorts of things happen to Gazprom or Rosneft

So firstly, in a list that included actually formenting wars, support of vicious regimes and shielding US criminals from prosecution by foreign nationals, you've chosen to hone in on one favoured example. A tactic you have used repeatedly in the discussion as you selectively ignore many of my points. Secondly, you were trying to make the case that Gazprom and Rosneft were morally "abnormal". Pointing at one of the largest financial scandals in American history and saying we found out about it, doesn't make it not an example of oil companies engaging in massive wrong-doing. Oh, and the reason Enron was caught was because they went bankrupt and lost their investors money. Up until then, they continued with their massive fraud quite merrily. It's not as if the US government sought out and prosecuted criminal behaviour. It was a clean-up job. But my main rebuttal is the first one: That I presented you a list of examples of wrong-doing and you cherry-picked the one you could half-represent as having a silver lining.

Again, this thread is a sterling example of what happens when the narrative is controlled by one side. Any conflict with that narrative results in determined resistance to the new information. And attempts to fit it into a world view of "us and them" and moral winners and losers. The very fact that you see this in terms of who is a Good Guy and who is a Bad Guy is evidence of being invested in one particular narrative.


Re: Just when you thought...

>> I just won't put up with idiots pretending there's any moral equivalence between Putins mafia state and most western nations.

I come across as an "idiot," do I? As uninformed? Perhaps unable to write or reason well? I think I present a pretty solid case, actually. So I'm just going to file that away with all the other petty attacks. As to morality, do you really want to bring that into the discussion? I'm very much a Realpolitik sort of woman. Nearly everything I've written here has been based firmly in simple political reality. It's you who keeps forming arguments based on morality.

But if you do want to debate "moral equivalence" (which isn't much interest to me as a subject, but...), I'd suggest you begin by examining your own defences. Off the top of my head there is the support of vicious and women-hating regimes (Saudi Arabia), wars of aggression on false pretext for the sake of oil (Iraq), overthrow of democratically elected leaders and installation of totalitarian rulers (Iran), sponsoring uprisings that turn countries into humanitarian disasters (Libya), pumping billions of dollars into opposition groups in foreign countries (Ukraine), providing material support to terrorist groups (Al Quaeda in Syria)... Honestly, I'm not really interested in trying to argue Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. My whole point is that people should have the information to form their own views. But if that's really a debate you want to start, I'd think it very, very ill-advised.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>It may even BE a PART of the reasoning.

Wonderful. In the face of headlines in the FT such as "Nord Stream 2 pipeline targeted in US sanctions broadside" and in other journals, you finally concede that it "MAY" have something to do with it. It only took us four or five posts. This is why it's so important that groups like Facebook or the EU don't get away with restricting access to foreign viewpoints - because then people react as you do when confronted with outside narratives. The human brain is wired for it - to deny or rationalise anything that doesn't fit. And the more pervasive and longer held a narrative is, the more stubborn the effort to resist conflicting information.

Also, your assertion that the links I provided don't support my point isn't really worth picking apart. I provided the links so that people can see for themself and I encourage people to take a look. You shift ground when you say that some agree with the sanctions - of course some do. The point you challenged was what the sanctions were for. And I have backed that up many times over.

>>However it is not the stated reason or the primary reason. Gazprom and Rosneft are targets of sanctions because they are not normal oil companies.

Well no, it's not the "stated reason". And the stated reason for the invasion of Iraq wasn't to get cheaper oil, either. But lets dispense with the fig leaves of international politics. I hope you're not naive enough to confuse PR with reality. The fig leaf is there because baldly saying to the US public: "we're bullying Europeans into not buying oil from Russia" does not fly half so well as "Russia is interfering with our democracy."

Now, onto the less trivially dispensed with. Gazprom and Rosneft are "not normal oil companies". Do you have any familiarity with the world oil industry? Haliburton (US oil company) made over a hundred billion dollars from the Iraq war and were involved in planning it. Heritage Oil was carrying out negotiations with the Benghazi rebels in Libya before the civil war in Libya even started. Enron engages in financial irregularities that would shame a Cartel money launderer. Nigeria has begged the USA to help it prosecute Halliburton executives accused of crimes in Nigeria but the US government protects them. Again, this is the problem with selective narratives. They let you see the faults of others, but blind one to one's own.

Oh, and before we move on - Saudi Arabia, of course. ;)

They're not targets of sanctions because they are "criminal enterprises". The recent sanctions as demonstrated over and over, are because Germany would like to buy oil from them and this competes with the USA's Shale bonanza.

>>/edit: also I am not even remotely in a hole. Honest question. None of you are going to change my mind any more than I am going to change yours. Why do you still bother?

Well I'm open to new information, but most of what you've posted has been assertions such as "gas pipeline = criminals" so obviously that's not going to change anyone's mind. I support my position with articles in the FT, the Economist and others. You make bald statements like "That's not the purpose of sanctions", which simply isn't persuasive.

As to why I bother, there are two reasons. Firstly, every time I correct you on something, that provides information that others might find interesting. You may not be open to changing your mind, but less defensive parties might for a view based on my replies to you. Secondly, as I pointed out elsewhere, the debate with you illustrates my actual point which is that lack of exposure to outside narratives / information causes resistance to any information that conflicts with it. I.e. we shouldn't allow others to control our access to foreign viewpoints.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>(Oh, and accusing you of employing a misleading argument is not an ad hominem)

No, pointing out a misleading argument is not an ad hominem. Making the accusation in lieu of actually addressing my points is. You said I was using diversionary tactics again and again. When called on for examples you came up with my using the term "pro-Russian" instead of "Putin's cronies and gangsters". Wow! Other ad hominems are the repeated insinuations that I don't know what I'm talking about (twice now you've presumed to know what I do and don't read and told me I need to broaden my awareness), and accusations of dishonesty due to bias. Yes, all ad hominems. I.e. trying to discredit me whilst self-admittedly ignoring my actual points.

Sanctions are not only ever about the most recent cause or only ever about 1 cause

A bland truism doesn't make a specific argument of yours right. The recent sanctions in the news - which are explicitly the ones I was talking about to begin with - are for purposes of reducing Russia's competitiveness with the USA. You're not merely arguing with me here, this is the position espoused by Financial Times, The Economist, Angela Merkel, the German Minister for Trade, Stratfor. To pick English language sources alone. So it is a little hypocritical for you to respond with general statements of how causes are complex when this began by you trying to contradict me by saying that the cause of sanctions were conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine. It is accepted opinion that the recent US sanctions have the purpose of blocking the German and Russian partnership.

Nord Stream 2: a test of German power (FT)

Nord Stream 2 pipeline targeted in US sanctions broadside (FT)

Germany's Russian gas pipeline smells funny to America (The Economist)

I expect in the face of this overwhelming evidence some turn about, along the lines of pretending you weren't trying to cast the latest sanctions as solely about South Ossetia and the Ukraine. But it's clear that's what you were going for, rather than concede the USA has imposed sanctions on Russia because Russia is competing with US shale gas.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>Nordstrom 2 = Gazprom = Russian State = Criminal

Nordstream 2 is a joint project between Germany and Russia. And many German ministers and citizens are pretty pissed off at the USA blocking it for the sake of their own sales to Europe. Does this make the German State criminals as well? And what standard are we applying here? I could provide a long list of unethical behaviour by the US government. And by the UK. I can't think of a nation state that hasn't. And the USA has started wars for the sake of oil. So I repeat my point - it's vital that we resist efforts to present only favoured narratives to us by our governments. People who use logic such as "Russian involvement = Criminal" must not be allowed to control exposure or else people can't make up their own minds.

>>I'm not going point to point as I stated. I don't have time or inclination so yes sometimes I will have moved between different points. Really not a big deal.

Well actually what you have been doing is jumping between three different sets of sanctions and conflating them. One set (the ones we were initially talking about) happening two years after the annexation of the Ukraine and even longer after the South Ossetia conflict yet you implied they were in response to these things rather than Russia selling gas to Europe. And another set which were years before these events. You attempted to say that any pro-Russian Ukranians were "gangsters/cronies" by citing different US sanctions two years before the annexation took place against different people.

I don't know whether this is deliberate or if I'm arguing with a "Google Debater" (i.e. one who just types terms into Google as needed and selects anything that suits their position), but if 'moving between different points' means 'logical errors', then yes, it does matter.


Re: @Richard

>> I don't need to go into them point by point. Just google beyond your usual sources as you advocate.

So basically you don't need to find any flaws in what I wrote (hard to do as it's mostly statements of verifiable fact) because what I should do is "just google" to educate myself and refute myself. Hmmm. Nice little extra dig at the end there, too. How would you know what my "usual sources" are? My common reads are Stratfor - a paid, US-based strategic analyst company, the FT, online links from active forums, RT, Al Jazeera, BBC and, on rare occasions, The Economist. You'll find I've visited most of those during any given week.

But please, keep the character attacks coming. I really enjoy being accused of ignorance / partisanship / ignorance. :( Especially the last one - anyone who disagrees with you must clearly be doing so out of lack of your knowledge. Ironic, given I'm the one arguing repeatedly in favour of reading foreign news sources for widening ones views.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>Missing the point. Putin cronies are punished by the Magnitsky Act and such because they are criminals, complicit in a murderous regime, trying to use laundered money to live the high life in the west not because they are pro-Russian therefore your conflating the two is disingenuous and is a standard propaganda tactic used by RT, Sputnik and the like. I may also point out the usage of whataboutism. Another standard Kremlin-line.

Wonderful. Except I very clearly stated I was talking about the recent sanctions in response to the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline. Where the USA imposed sanctions in order to boost US business. You then started talking about sanctions in response to Russian annexation of the Crimea and so whilst stating clearly that you were switching topics, I did indulge this and pointed out that a Ukranian who is pro-Russian is also subject to the sanctions. Which 90% of people in The Crimea are. You then accused me of using "again and again" diversionary tactics when I objected to you making ad hominems against me. So I asked you for examples and all you came up with was that I had written "pro-Russian" instead of "cronies/gangsters". THAT is a "diversionary tactic"? And now you are doubling-down on trying to prove that by referencing even older sanctions from 2012 (the Magnitsky Act).

Does any of this chain of logic not bother you? I know I would be questioning if I had become partisan if I made it. You attack me rather than my argument. When called on it you claim my not using the term gangsters and cronies is a "diversionary tactic". Seriously? So I ask you if people in the Crimea are "gangsters and cronies" because they are pro-Russian and you start citing American sanctions that predate the Crimea annexation. Seemingly claiming that Crimean people are because Americans passed a bill against some different people two years before the annexation even took place; but this is valid because all sanctions are the same sanctions and if the USA calls the target of some sanctions gangsters then later targets of different sanctions must be so. And whales are mammals so all mammals are whales and mammals are hairy so whales are hairy. (Shave the whales?) That seems to be a rough approximation of your logic. All to try and support some ill-thought out ad hominems you don't want to back down on. :/

I think this has taken us way off-topic. However, it has afforded me a great opportunity to illustrate my point that people should not allow others to cut them off from foreign viewpoints. A point that you chose to reply to and in doing so, showed exactly why it is critical foreigners be allowed to present their case. Otherwise we'd be left with a bald and inaccurate belief that the recent sanctions against Russia are not to do with gas pipelines but to do with conflict in Georgia years before.


Re: Only 100K

If you want to see a real horror show involving Cambridge Analytica, look at the recent elections in Kenya. You had people creating fake videos from the BBC, mocking up counterfeit newspapers with partisan articles favourable to their candidate, social media manipulation on epic scale, election officials abducted and tortured, hints of voting machines being hacked... It was a shitstorm on all sides.

I don't know who was responsible for what in all that chaos, but Cambridge Analytica netted $6million from the President Kenyatta, reportedly. So nice paycheck for somebody!

Paris Hilton

Re: @Richard

So there's time for you to throw ad hominems at me, but not to address my points. Priorities? ;)


Re: Just when you thought...

>>Just as a quick example. pro-Russian being used instead of Putin's cronies/gangsters. Conflating the two.

Example of what? My using "diversionary tactics"? You're progressing from reasonable debate into repeated ad hominem now. My statement was correct. And you haven't actually changed it. You've just substituted your preferred phrasing of "cronies/gangsters" in place of "pro-Russian".

If you're Ukranian but you publically or materially support Russia, the USA will sanction you if you're big enough to get their attention. As I said, many Ukranians want re-unification with Russia. Especially in the Crimea. Is someone in the Crimea a "crony/gangster" because they are pro-Russian? The people there voted overwhelmingly for re-unification (and were attacked for it by pro-Western thugs on multiple occasions). All of this is easily verified.

My statement was accurate and it's not an example of my "again and again" using diversionary tactics just because I didn't choose to phrase it in a prejudicial and pejorative way that you choose. Attacking me as not arguing in good faith because I didn't is a low blow.


Re: Just when you thought...

>>This is the standard diversion tactic you are using again and again. Conflating dislike of Putin, cronies and his corrupt regime with anti-Russian sentiment

Oh come on - you made a blatant ad hominem at me, accusing me of bias when my entire argument is that we need to be exposed to alternate points of view. And yes, I'm illustrating that with a Russian perspective on events showing things the average American probably doesn't know. And what do you mean that I'm using diversion "again and again?" Where am I? I've responded to nearly everything you've said. And unlike a spoken conversation, people can easily scroll up and see if that's true. I'm pretty confident I'll come across fine. :)

>>In the spirit of 'free speech' and 'assessing all the viewpoints' why not read one or both of these:

Maybe I will. I'm interested in as many points of view as possible. That's what I've been arguing for.

>>(As typed in the brief interlude between work and getting kids ready for bed so sorry I don't have time for a point by point)

Well, make sure you check under the bed for a red, before you do. ;)

Big Brother

Re: Just when you thought...

>>So how effective is this propaganda. There used to be a saying in the People's Paradise: "I know it's not true. I read it in Pravda."

Ah, we've moved beyond simply lying to people in the modern era. The equivalent today is: "I know it's not important. It was covered in the MSM."

Red panic: Best Buy yanks Kaspersky antivirus from shelves


Re: Despite there being no concrete evidence to indicate that the security software is a threat

Well, it depends who you are. Kaspersky Labs do actual research and are the ones who unearthed the Equation Group (NSA) and provided most of what we know about Stuxnet. So yes, there is evidence that they are a threat... if you're American Intelligence. ;)

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