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Communist Western Europe

continues its assault on capitalism:

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1079419836897&p=1012571727088

Isolationism and socialism separately are bad enough, but Europe seems intent on combining the two to stamp out any hint of entreprenurial innovation that dares to encroach upon its borders.

No wonder the population of Europe is declining at catastrophic rates.  Anyone with half a brain can see the long soup and bread lines that will surely be a part of the E.U.S.S.R.'s future.     

EU Schmemoo
Monday, March 22, 2004

As much as I dislike Microsoft's business practices, I found this way overboard.  I suspect if Microsoft was a European company that the fines would have never be levied.   

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Monday, March 22, 2004

yeah, we all know that Microsoft never did anything wrong, and that the EU has never imposed fines on European companies anyway, right?

oh...hangon....Microsoft has been found guilty of abusing its monopoly status in both america and the EU, so maybe they _did_ do something wrong.

ah well....the EU has never imposed fines on European companies before so it must be anti-american, right?

oh, wait...yes they have.

hmm.

well, either way, they shouldn't be fining Microsoft for abusing its monopoly status because....ah....umm...

sorry..what was your original point again?

FullNameRequired
Monday, March 22, 2004

What is the example where the fines were in the same order of magnitude as these? 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Monday, March 22, 2004

do you mean "same order of magnitude" in an absolute sense, or relative to the companies income and savings?


or, to put it another way, slapping a $100000 fine on Microsoft is hardly a punishment..is it?

FullNameRequired
Monday, March 22, 2004

...the other thing that needs to be taken into account when comparing fines of course is the perceived seriousness of the crime...

FullNameRequired
Monday, March 22, 2004

How exactly does a fine of 1% of a company's net worth makes the EU communistic or socialistic ???

Scot
Monday, March 22, 2004

OK, I would still like to see a fine of 1% market value levied by the EU. 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Monday, March 22, 2004

Roughly 1% of general cash reserves, a number far less than what the company is actually worth.

Nigel
Monday, March 22, 2004

"Roughly 1% of general cash reserves, a number far less than what the company is actually worth."

interesting point :)

ok, anyone out there got any info on EU fines amounting to roughly 1% of a companies general cash reserves?

christopher?  do you want to go looking? I would but unfortunately I know nothing about the EU or their fines, and I dont really care enough one way or the other to go looking...

FullNameRequired
Monday, March 22, 2004

Either way, where are the other examples?

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Monday, March 22, 2004

good question :)  does anyone here care enough to spend time looking for them?


...I certainly do not...

FullNameRequired
Monday, March 22, 2004

MSFT earned $9b last year. I'm sure they'll cope with $613m.

Koz
Monday, March 22, 2004

It's quite amusing, really.

Apparantly it's inappropriate to base a fine on the companies entire global resources, but it's appropriate to use those resources to pay the fine. Anyone know how that works?

I would like to know one thing, though: does anyone know exactly what part of "Media Player" could realistically be called an essential part of an operating system?

"Windows won't work without a utility to play movies, CDs and music (but not that evil MP3 stuff)" just doesn't really strike me as particularly convincing.

No, seriously, next they'll be telling us that "Calculator" is used to do all maths in windows, that "Solitaire" is a critical part of the kernal (maybe it does task switching as well as card shuffling?), and the volume control does hard drive management as well as controlling the output sound levels and that these two features are intrinsically connected.

Ok, I'll admit the insistance on removing media player has me a little baffled too, but that doesn't mean I see any technical reason why it has to be part of the operating system.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Seeing the thread title, I thought that it's about those wimpy European leaders getting scared of the Madrid terrorist attack  and suggesting they should back off from Iraq and make a separate peace with terrorists and. Boo!

Even this thing would get closer to the title than the fine.
Big deal. It won't bring MS to bakruptcy, it would only teach them to lay-off monopolistic practices (although the media player thing accusation is wrong)

Cristian Cheran
Monday, March 22, 2004

These crazy threads.  For those readers who aren't American, if you ever visit, you'll know the justice system extracts a huge tax on companies.  For example, Las Vegas is plastered with billboards advertising personal injury lawyers.

I don't think I've ever seen lawyer TV ads in Europe.  But you will in every big US city, especially late at night or on those local TV stations.  I guess socialism in the US is more effective -- cash goes from evil corporations to the poor victims.  Like SCO and the guy who jumped on a spilled slurpee before someone could grab the yellow warning sign.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, March 22, 2004

> I guess socialism in the US is more effective -- cash goes from evil corporations to the poor victims. 

It's not the poor victims that get the cash; it's the evil lawyers.


Monday, March 22, 2004

> does anyone know exactly what part of "Media Player" could realistically be called an essential part of an operating system?

If that's what they're arguing, yes, it makes sense. Media Player is just a user interface to an underlying engine that shares its capabilities with other applications in Windows. That's stock standard software engineering.

Same with IE. Some stupid judge thought he was clever because he could delete the IE icon and still have Windows work, not realising the html engine was still there and still part of the platform. Quite properly so too.


Monday, March 22, 2004

"I thought that it's about those wimpy European leaders getting scared of the Madrid terrorist attack  and suggesting they should back off from Iraq"

umm..what?  in every country from spain to germany, to new zealand, britain and australia; the population was overwhelmingly _against_ participating in the first place.

For whatever reason a few countries went with the USA _against_ the wishes of their citizens.

democracy anyone?

Finally the governments are coming up against elections and now are starting to realise how badly they pissed everyone off.

say what you like, Iraq is _our_ mess to clean up, not theirs.
It was _our_ citizens who wanted to go to war in Iraq, not theirs.

Calling the governments of other countries 'wimpy' because they are finally accepting the dictates of their own citizens over that of the US government is just a _little_ unfair.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Out of intellectual curiosity, can someone explain the difference between the US liberating Europe from Hitler and liberating Iraq from Saddam?

I'll agree 100% the WMD thing was wrong-headed, and I said at the time it would end up biting GW in the ass. But that aside, why was the liberation of, say, Italy a good thing but the liberation of Iraq is a bad thing?

Next question, for extra credit - now that the deed is done and cannot be undone, isn't it in the best interests of the nation, its people, and the region for a stabilizing force to help a new representative government form properly then assume power in a gradual manner?

Going in, beating up people, then taking off is how we got the Taliban, IIRC.

It's like jumping in a lake to save a drowning man - maybe you shouldn't have done it in the first place, but once you're there it would be criminal to just let him drown.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

the difference between "liberating" Iraq vs "liberating germany" is that a) Allies of germany had attacked the US and b) were actively trying to conquer other countries, iraq kuwait not withstanding as that was settled was not. b) Liberating italy (which is not really true since it was an ally of germany not a conquered nation) was not done for the benefit of FDR's "friends"

as far as pulling out of Iraq, that would be crazy, but we can sure as hell hold the person responsible acountable for it.

the artist formerly known as prince
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

" can someone explain the difference between the US liberating Europe from Hitler and liberating Iraq from Saddam? "

come on, there is a pretty clear difference there if you are being honest.

"Next question, for extra credit - now that the deed is done and cannot be undone, isn't it in the best interests of the nation, its people, and the region for a stabilizing force to help a new representative government form properly then assume power in a gradual manner?"

in my opinion?  absolutely.

But surely you would grant to each of the citizens of those countries who have committed troops the right to decide for themselves?  and then push their governments into the 'right' decision?

Morally, we _cannot_ back out now, we've set the damn thing on fire and now we have to put it out, whatever it costs (lets hope like hell it doesn't cost more than we are willing to pay)
Also, of course, the majority of our citizens were bang alongside the idea of the invasion of iraq.

But the other countries?  not so much IMO, lets be honest...most of them were either bullied into it or were _also_ lied to by our great leader, and certainly they all joined pretty much entirely against the will of their citizens.


Id say that britain has a similar moral burden, since it seems quite likely that they also exaggerated things a little, but overall IMO countries like spain etc should never have been involved in the first place, and are showing real intelligence by getting the hell out before it totally turns to custard.

but maybe Im just being pessimistic :)

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

EU Schmemoo, you don't like Europe do you?

What is the root of your pain?

i like i
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Interesting diversion, from monopolistic business practices to illegal occupations.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Actually there are parallels between Britains entry into the Iraq war and USA's into the war in Europe.  In both cases the government took action to help an ally over internal opposition.  Interestingly in WW2 Germany rather stupidly declared war on the US in line with its alliance with Japan, which made things very much easier for Roosevelt. 

Anyway back to the main thread.  Would MS have been fined if they were a European company - almost certainly (see my comment on the previous thread for details).  Would some other company have been fined as much - doubtful (but in my view due to the way MS are viewed rather than the US).  Can they afford it - well yes. 

Let's be blunt - the fine is a shot across the bows.  It's big enough to hurt without being so big as to harm.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

OP > Do you honestly feel that an attack on MS is an attack on entreprenurial innovation? Because I bet the EU people behind it, is thinking the exact opposit.

I.E making the climat rougher for MS will create opportunities for new players to enter the arena, which will lead to competition, which stimulates innovation.

Ever noticed by the way, how if monopolies are allowed in capitalism, it becomes effectivly the same as communism?

Eric Debois
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

After 4 years of investigation a fine is being decided.  EU law allows for fines of up to 10% of a year's cashflow. That's more than 3 billion $ in the case of Microsoft, but it seems like they will settle for ~600M $.

An example of another company being charged for illegal monopoly issues: $566 million on Roche Holding, from Switzerland.

_
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The parallel is divergent in comparing any part of WWII and the Iraqi invasion. 

Preemptive invasion is entirely different to aiding an ally that is being attacked.  Actually, the only slight correspondence between anyone's entry into WWII and the Iraqi invasion is the attack on Pearl Harbor.

But it is very slight.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Oh, and the EU investigation was prompted by complaints made by Real Networks,  Apple and AOL as well as the server side complaints by Sun and Oracle.

Real Networks itself isn't shy about using certain monopolistic practices, try writing a codec to support Real streams for example.

There's something extremely tacky about most of the people that get involved in DRM, regardless of the original intellectual property issues you just get the feeling you're going to get nickle and dimed to death.  A bit like going to Blackpool or Hong Kong for a night out (ok or Vegas).

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Simon - I was thinking more of the help the US government gave to Britain on the quiet in the months prior to the Pearl Harbour attack - let's be honest it was clear which side Roosevelt was on.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I'd like to comment on a few matters:

1. It's my observation (via the internet, mass media and having visited the US) that many (but not all!) US citizens have a warped sense of geopolitics and history. When we talk about the Europe of today, we generally mean the European Union (see http://www.eurunion.org/infores/euguide/euguide.htm ), which is a group of 15 western European states (soon to be extended to 25). Most of the current members have been 'capitalist' states for 60 years -- most always were. Most of the 10 ascension states are much less 'westernised' than (for example) the UK, France or Germany, leading many in the EU to worry that the union is being expanded too quickly. The EU was formed on a very similar basis to the US. It is wrong to think about Europe as if it is a bunch of communist states; this is a convenient stereotype used by many in the US government and media to foster anti-European sentiment (c.f. Colin Powell's "old Europe", McDonalds' "Freedom Fries").

2. Many (not all!) Americans imply in their speech and writing (see the comments in this thread) that they single-handedly saved the world during WWII. This is not true. The UK received help from the US towards the end of the war in Europe, after the US doggedly followed a policy of non-intervention; some American companies even helped Nazi Germany (c.f. IBM and the business links of Prescott Bush, George W's grandfather). American soldiers helped the 'Allies' in Europe, just as the 'Allies' helped the US fight the Japanese.

3. Microsoft is a global company as well as being an American one. It is therefore subject to the laws of the countries in which it operates. The EU laws are much closer to those of the US than the laws of other countries in which it operates (e.g. China). Those that are so opposed to un-American thought ( http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html ), such as communism, might like to think about the actions of American companies in countries such as China (c.f. the implication of Microsoft, Cisco Systems and others in helping the Chinese government suppress Chinese citizens' access to the internet).

4. There are few parallels between the invasion of Iraq and WWII. The fight against Al-Qa'ida cannot be fought in the ways that wars have traditionally been -- the US and other countries are tooled-up against armies; stealth fighters and long-range missile are of little use against small cells of enemy agents that might live next door. Iraq was about the US and UK governments looking as if they were doing something as much as securing a plentiful supply of oil. The toppling of Saddam Hussein is probably a good thing, but the US, UK and others were happy to sell him weapons and train his troops for years (just as the US were happy to fund Osama Bin Laden) -- some believe that the recent war in Iraq was about recalling the huge debt owed to the west by Iraq for arms. We were all also happy to impose sanctions for 12 years after the first Gulf War that did nothing but hurt ordinary Iraqi people. The fight against Hitler in WWII was much more pressing (Nazi Germany was actually waging war, for one thing...).

C Rose
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

C Rose,

Your view of history is quite skewed.  You should ask for your money back from your history teachers!  In response to your points:

1. I never hear people calling the EU communists but instead socialists.  Big difference.  I don't think there is anything wrong with the way that, just don't want it here in the US.  It hurts competion in the global economy.
2. This remark is fascinating.  There is no way the allies would have won without the US!  Maybe not necessarily completely militarily but because of the US’s industrial capacity.  Then to say George Bush’s relatives helped the Nazis?! WTF?!  Be reasonable.
4. Iraq was for oil?!  There are sure cheaper and easier ways to get oil!  Let me remind you that on September 11 we lost thousands of friends and family to a horrible act of terrorism and we will do whatever is necessary to NEVER let something like that happening again.  Iraq was undoubtedly a threat to the US and we were not going to let thousands more die before action was taken.  At least once a week I drive through northern New Jersey and see a big hole in the skyline across the river where the World Trade Center used to be.  We will not let that happen again and deal with evil before it deals with us.

Bill Rushmore
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

> Iraq was undoubtedly a threat to the US

How was it a threat again?

_
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Iraq sponsered and supported terrorism, put a bounty on the head of standing US president, routinely attacked aircraft in the no fly zone, ...

Bill Rushmore
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"2. This remark is fascinating.  There is no way the allies would have won without the US!  Maybe not necessarily completely militarily but because of the US’s industrial capacity.  Then to say George Bush’s relatives helped the Nazis?! WTF?!  Be reasonable."

In all these "who did what" in WWII discussions it never ceases to amaze me how little credit the Russian people get (not communism/Stalin - the Russian people).  More casualties, more sacrifice, more damage in their own home country and yet there's this reality inversion that purports that the European war was won in the West.  I 'd have thought that the virtual obliteration of the German Eastern army in the 1944 summer offensive settled the European war.

Motown (AU)
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Yeah, we barely survived...

You put Iraq in direct relation to 9/11, though there is no connection.

_
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

>You put Iraq in direct relation to 9/11, though >there is no connection.

From what I have read there are connections but maybe no direct connections.  My sources aren't the US government or even the US press.  Take a look for yourself.

Bill Rushmore
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

If anyone makes it this far into the thread, where will that US$613m go?

joev
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My pocket.

Big pockets
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

You'd be hard pressed to find a Socialist government in the EU these days.

Unfortunately, political science isn't a well taught subject in US high schools given the misunderstandings about what socialism is and how it fits in with market economies, not that its especially well taught in english schools either given the popularity of the Murdoch press.

I can't see how Lend/Lease (which was as far as the US would go in support of Britain before 1942) could be said to have been unequivocal support, after all we only stopped paying for it in around 1985.  Its true Eisenhower was for entering the war in Europe, public opinion in the US was spread along the spectrum from isolationist to indifference however and he couldn't make that decision until after Pearl Harbor (which actually wasn't as unexpected an attack as presented at the time though I wouldn't go so far as some and say it was precipitated on purpose).

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Motown:

Perhaps the Eastern front is given short shrift in the histories because there is absolutely nothing "romantic" about two totalitarian regimes slugging it out, inflicting millions of casualties on each other. And it didn't help that our former allies in the USSR immediately became bitter rivals at the conclusion of WWII.

Rob VH
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Simon Lucy,

Your claims are bold. Pray, explain socialism to me.

Regards.

American Bumpkin
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Simon - how about these 3 from a site giving WW2 timelines:

"12/08/1941     US Navy takes over patrolling convoy routes in the North Atlantic and tracking German submarines for the Royal Navy in violation of Neutrality Act.
15/09/1941        The US Navy begins to take over the convoying of British ships as far as Iceland, which is seen as an un-neutral act by the German government.
31/10/1941       The US destroyer Reuben James escorting Convoy HX-156 is sunk by U-552 (Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp) with the loss of 100 of her crew. The destroyer is the first US naval casualty in the hitherto undeclared war between Germany and the United States that has existed after President Roosevelt authorised the use of American naval vessels to escort Lend-Lease convoys bound for Britain."

Actually, my original point *was* that US public opinion had generally been against entry into WW2 (what with all the Hitler-Hussein comparisons flying about)  but that appears to have been lost. 

I think it's got to the stage where we ought to all to do a Basil Fawlty and "Don't mention the war!".  I'll throw in an end to salad cream references as a bonus.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

We're still paying lend-lease back.

It's due to be complete on December 31, 2006. It's our only outstanding WWII debt.

The WWI debts basically look like never being settled. Technically we still owe the US money, but we're owed more than we owe from various other countries. No payments have been made since the moratorium in 1931 and no-one seems keen on making more payments....

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Bumpkin, there's a definition of socialism at http://www.bartleby.com/59/13/socialism.html

Most countries are not or are no longer socialist in that sense, because industries (like "British Steel" for example, British Railways, etc) are not State-owned.

The reason why governments may be seen as socialist could be because they try to have some control over private enterprise ... but, they do this by passing legislation on what private enterprise is not allowed to do (cook books, pollute, pay below minimum wage, abuse a monpoly position): but not by owning and therefore directly controlling enterprises.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

There are some exceptions to this, where the government (I should say governments because in many cases authority is decentralised from central to local governments and trustees) does have a more direct control over production and distribution, but I think these exceptions are fairly narrow: they include for example state schools, pensions, national security, and health care.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Simon Lucy:

You are absolutely correct in attributing the abysmal ignorance of history to the poor teaching of the subject in US schools.  The ruling classes, however, generally write (or ghost-write) the "accepted" versions of history.  When someone like Howard Zinn objects, he is derided as "revisionist", even though the conventional wisdom re history is the one that's been revised.

Throughout our history, the working class has objected initially to being dragged into war (because--surprise! those are the folks who get to fight the war).  This works up to the time that the leaders--like the president and media owners--agitate for war on the basis of patriotism, revenge, etc.  Then the workers get dragged into it anyway.  Lately this process has been speeded up because war is now just another reality TV show, and the military is all volunteer.

It's quite sad really.  Fully half of the US electorate seems unaware of how the Bush White House has scammed them in order to conduct a totally unjustifiable war.

  Not a Capitalist
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Close to 50 responses and no mention of out sourcing yet.  Is this a new record?

Bill Rushmore
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Actually, you brought outsourcing up when you said you were in favor:

'1. I never hear people calling the EU communists but instead socialists.  Big difference.  I don't think there is anything wrong with the way that, just don't want it here in the US.  It hurts competion in the global economy'

Hmm!
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

So. When a state decrees what applications a software maker may or may not include with their product (substantial control of the production of goods), would that qualify as socialism?

Reality Check
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

States decree what additives a food maker may or may not include with their product; whether you label that as "socialism " is up to you. Note too that monopolies are a special case, regulated by laws that don't apply to other entities.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"When a state decrees what applications a software maker may or may not include with their product"

That shouldn't be the issue, here. MS should be allowed to include whatever components they want, as long as they allow others (e.g., OEM) to remove them.

The problem is not what is *included* with the product, but rather what is considered to be *part of* the product.

I, for one, am worried at the amount of garbage that's being announced as "part of" the OS (and, therefore, impossible to remove), these days. Ridiculous, IMHO.

In summing - if you want your OS with everything *and* the kitchen sink, fine. I prefer mine with the basic necessary for desktop/network. I'll add the rest, if - and when - I need it. And, if you don't mind, I'll choose whose components I add.

Paulo Caetano
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Actually Simon, the President at the time of the second World War was Roosevelt, not Eisenhower. Wouldn't mention it if you weren't complaining about abysmal history knowledge among US students.

One minor point nobody seems to have picked up on is that it was Germany who declared war on the US. If they hadn't it is not at all clear how Roosevelt could have justifed war against Germany. As I said in an earlier thread the biggest Nazi rally in the world outside Germany was in Madison Square Gardens in 1939.

Hitler's declaring war on the States was considered a pre-emptive action. Wonder who we've heard that idea from lately :)

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Stephen I know we're at risk of becoming a pantomime when I say this:  "Oh yes I did" ;-)

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Bum I thought Lawson had paid off all the deficit debts in the 80's ah well.

I just love it when people use my  whole name when they reply.

A potted guide to modern socialism.  The OED defines socialism as "1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all."

This is socialism as espoused in the original British Labour Party under Rule 4 of its constitution.  Rule 4 was repealed in, I think, 1992, but well before then was seen as an underlying ideal and not a target.

Even in France, where the socialists are the purest of intent (or so they might tell you), socialism hs largely become communitarism, the community, not the commune.  In this private business, enterprise and such are encouraged the amount of state owned industry has declined, in Britain the state owns less than the US Government does in the USA.  The Royal Mint is about to become common and privatised.

From the 60's onwards something more like social democracy became the dominant political position, other than aberrations such as Thatcher who was almost entirely isolated in Europe at the time, Reagan and Pinochet her only two political bedfellows (I'll accept that's hyperbole).

Politics in the 'old' Europe has become more about managing the economy and its populations's expectations than any great political set of beliefs or philosophy.  This may well be a good thing, though it also tends to bore the electorate rigid.  The one major exception to this middle ground middle management politics is Italy and Berlosconi who is somewhat worse than Murdoch, in other times he would simply be labelled as Fascist.

On the convoy patrols, I may be wrong, but weren't they american ships that were being guarded?  The intent was the same though.

And yes, I don't know why I typed Eisenhower rather than Roosevelt, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa :-).

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Mr. Dubois, this is sig line material:

"[I]f monopolies are allowed in capitalism, it becomes effectivly the same as communism."

Sweet, precise and to the point.

Klodd the Insensitive
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Uggggh, Not Dubois, Debois. Sorry.

Klodd the Insensitive
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Mr Rushmore:

"Let me remind you that on September 11 we lost thousands of friends and family to a horrible act of
terrorism and we will do whatever is necessary to
NEVER let something like that happening again."

You can't have this. You can't guarantee that
something like that will "NEVER" happen again.

You can't guarantee another person's behaviour
without enslaving him.

Even if you wage war and kill all foreigners, and turn
your own country into a police state, and disarm the
population, you will not achieve this. All it takes is one
loony militiaman who knows how to make explosives,
and BOOM!

There is no security in nature. This "NEVER" idea is
totalitarian, "with-us-or-against-us" thinking that, if
followed, would lead the US to actually attack everybody
to try to enslave them. And it would be futile.

I live in Britain and here the IRA blow stuff up all the
time. Shit happens, we deal with it. Nobody launches
preventive warfare on Ireland. We have a "peace process"
instead, which YOUR government sponsored.

Though you can't eliminate the risk of terror, you can
reduce the probability of attack, by

1) Not arming loonies, like
    Ben Laden (before, cos he hated the Russians)
    or Dostum (now, cos he hates Ben Laden)
    or the Mojaheddin Khalq (now, cos they hate Iran)

2) Not backing Hitler-type criminals that are hated by
    large numbers of people, like Ariel Sharon (found
    guilty of running a death camp by an Israeli court,
    hated by Palestinians) or the Al-Saud monarchy
    (Regime based on militant Wahhabism of the
    Ben Laden variety, hated by any liberal Saudis)

If US policy had been "Regime change" in Saudi Arabia
rather than Iraq, that would be a more directly obvious
move against terrorism. The Baathists and Al Qaede
aren't buddies, they hate each other.

Ali
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Bill Rushmore,

"I never hear people calling the EU communists but instead socialists.  Big difference."

I have heard people calling member states of the EU communists. I considered writing "communists/socialists", but hoped that the spirit of what I was trying to say would get through.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with the way that, just don't want it here in the US. It hurts competion in the global economy."

If so, how?

"There is no way the allies would have won without the US!  Maybe not necessarily completely militarily but because of the US’s industrial capacity."

I didn't say that the war in Europe could not have been won without the US. The US was incredibly important before it entered the war in supplying Britain. The US was incredibly important in military terms after it entered the war. My complaint is the popular perception that the US was a spear of justice in WWII and cleaned up the Nazi scum. The truth of the matter is that, after the terrible effects of WWI, the US was enjoying a period of plenty, and public opinion did not want the US to enter the war. It was eventually forced into the war. I find it frustrating when I hear or read that the US singlehandedly won the war in Europe and somehow we all owe the US a debt of gratitude: few in the US wanted to enter the war, there was no spear of justice. I find it even more frustrating to see these myths perpetuated by the media and Hollywood (c.f. U-571, which rewrites a key British event, replacing the British with Americans).

"Then to say George Bush’s relatives helped the Nazis?! WTF?!  Be reasonable."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescott_Bush#War_seizures_controversy . It's true that Prescott Bush helped fund the Nazis -- whether this was due to any ideological affinity with the Nazis is immaterial: this highlights the problem with a social system that is predicated on purely capitalist grounds -- if you submit entirely to the forces of capitalism you will end up giving money to totalitarian states (Nazi Germany, today's China).

"Iraq was for oil?!  There are sure cheaper and easier ways to get oil!"

I didn't say that Iraq was just for oil, I said it was also so that the US and UK governments looked like they were doing something about terrorism. I think that the cost of Iraq will actually be quite small compared to the value extracted from Iraq in the years to come in terms of repayment of Iraq's debt, payment for the war (we've never removed dictators for free), payment in oil at reduced cost, and payment for the rebuilding of Iraq (although Iraq is a reasonably developed country with a large educated middle class, and in the face of mass unemplyment, it seems that it needs US companies to rebuilt it -- if they are supposed to be able to build nuclear weopons, you'd think they could build some hospitals and repair some basic utilities).

"Let me remind you that on September 11 we lost thousands of friends..."

I have huge sympathy for the victims, and their families, of the September 11 attacks. I think about the twin towers every time I see an aircraft. But you have to look at the event in perspective. About 3,000 people died from the September 11 attacks. 10,000 Iraqi civilians died during the recent Iraq war (and about 5,000 troops). 18,209 people were killed with guns in the US in 1997. 2.2 million Africans died from AIDS in 2001. US policy has a direct impact on the lives of people throughout the world. September 11, although extremely tragic, represents a small proportion of the preventable deaths of recent times. It also represents an awakening for the US that it is unpopular in many parts of the world -- not for its ideological views (although in the case of Al Quida this is central), but because of its actions on the world stage.

C Rose
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"EU to fine Microsoft a record $613m

Ha Ha

Mike
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Dear Ali,
            Bin Laden is strongly opposed to the Saudi monarchy, and Al-Quaeeda militants are having regular shoot-outs with the Saudi police. The Royal Family is massive (more than ten thousand princes and they breed like rabbits) and there are all shades of opinion among them. Nevertheless the present de facto head of state, Crown Prince Abdullah, has the support of a large number of the country's liberals because, since he took over the reins there has been a definite move towards openness, particularly in the media and education sectors. There is still a case of two steps forward and one back (and in Saudi this trend often altenates with phases of one step forward and two steps back) but the general consensus of opinion is that Abdullah, although long considered one of the conservatives in the Royal Family, has the support of a large swathe of Saudi society, and is serious about pushing forward his reforms.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Isreal should have nuked the funeral yesterday.

Mike
Tuesday, March 23, 2004


The sun is burning in the sky
Strands of clouds go slowly drifting by
In the park the lazy breeze
Are joining in the flowers, among the trees
And the sun burns in the sky

Now the sun is in the West
Little kids go home to take their rest
And the couples in the park
Are holdin' hands and waitin' for the dark
And the sun is in the West

Now the sun is sinking low
Children playin' know it's time to go
High above a spot appears
A little blossom blooms and then draws near
And the sun is sinking low

Now the sun has come to Earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
Death comes in a blinding flash
Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to Earth

Now the sun has disappeared
All is darkness, anger, pain and fear
Twisted, sightless wrecks of men
Go groping on their knees and cry in pain
And the sun has disappeared.

Lyrics courtesy of Simon & Garfunkel.

nuf said.

Ben
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Israel Will Continue Targeted Hamas Killings"


thank God....

apw
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

not that Im a great believer in God, but even so I suspect youd find that God is not the person responsible for those murders.

In fact I suspect that if God exists there is a very good chance he is against killing of any kind.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"C Rose,

Your view of history is quite skewed.  You should ask for your money back from your history teachers!  In response to your points:

1. I never hear people calling the EU communists ..."

Mr. Rushmore hasn't even bothered to look at the title of the thread; the rest of his comments are equally ill-informed and unreasoned.

As for "stamp out any hint of entreprenurial innovation" ... we're talking about Microsoft's monopolistic marketing practices, I believe.  Sheesh.

At least it's good to see that most people here are better informed than Bill Rushmore and "EU Schmemoo" and don't buy into their red baiting, chauvinism, and unreasoned ideology.

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"I live in Britain and here the IRA blow stuff up all the
time. Shit happens, we deal with it. Nobody launches
preventive warfare on Ireland. We have a "peace process"
instead, which YOUR government sponsored."

The ceasefire has been continuous (unless you count gangsterism, beatings and the like),  since the 31st August 1994, which is almost ten years.

So no, the IRA aren't blowing stuff up all the time.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"The ceasefire has been continuous (unless you count gangsterism, beatings and the like),  since the 31st August 1994, which is almost ten years."

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on the subject.

Haven't there been several during these years, carried out by more-radical factions who accused the IRA of selling out?

I distinctly remember a bombing on a supermarket in 1998.

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=528

http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/09/21/London.explosion.03/

there are more if you go looking :) 

its kind of funny when you think about it, britain has suffered from terrorist attacks for years, and yet has still maintained greater personal freedoms than the USA.  <g> in the USA these days we dont seem to be able to  give them up fast enough.
actually britains given them up recently as well...ever since the USA got attacked.
weird world we live in.

personally I think we'd be better off simply using nukes on the lot of them...clear out the mad irish, the mad arabs, the mad russians..hell why not the chinese as well.  pakistan, saudi arabia and afghanistan.  Morocco and turkey.
Id take out the french as well, ugly little swine of a country.
Where else?  africa, that'd take care of their sodding famines once and for all.
give a man a fish and he feeds for a day, teach him how to fish and he'll feed himself for a lifetime, raze him and his home into dust and the bludging swine wont ever bother you again.
Oh..definitely india as well, that'll teach the buggers to take our jobs.
Australia, lets take that out...nothing but boot lickers and arse kissers there anyway.

The only practical problem I can see with that plan is that it leaves george bloody bush in charge still.

ah well, he can be first against the wall when the revolution comes....lets hear it for a democratic revolution in America.
We'll stop voting spoiled rich pigs into power and letting them feed their cronies and give all the power to big business.
We'll split up the towns and cities, returning to small village lifestyle with shotloads of free bandwidth for networking.
Once a year we'll sacrifice a randomly selected politician...with any luck that'll keep the power mad apes in their place.

with no other countries to worry about the untold billions that we spend on the military each year can be redirected to spaceflight and research, medicine and health, education and the environment.

No more big bastard drug companies making a mint off their captive audience....drug research will be performed by universities and the givernment working together, and sharing the results with everyone who has an interest....meaning that drug manufacturing companies will actually have to compete in a capitalist market for a change.

lets hear it for the democratic revolution of america....freedom for the workers!

hiding behind a pseudonym
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

oh..and we'd ban actors from running for office.

hiding behind a pseudonym
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Simon Lucy,
I will be convinced about the "peace process" when
they bring back garbage cans to London underground
train stations. (for non-Brits: these were removed or else the IRA could hide bombs in them).

Stephen Jones,
I defer to your greater knowledge of Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps I was mistaken. However, the way it was
reported in the media went like this:

Step 1: Complaints of no progress in Saudi Arabia
            against Ben Laden for years

Step 2: RAND corporation releases a report saying
            "Forget Iraq, Dubya! Attack Saudi Arabia and
            annex the oild fields."

Step 3: Riyadh suddenly becomes keen to crack down
            on Al Qaede

To me, it doesn't look like the Saudis started this of their
own volition, it looks like they realized they might get
regime change if they didn't shape up.

Ali
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> Haven't there been several during these years, carried out by more-radical factions who accused the IRA of selling out?

There is more violence in NI than in mainland Britain, I believe.

> personally I think we'd be better off simply using nukes on the lot of them
[..]
> The only practical problem I can see with that plan is that it leaves george bloody bush in charge still.

Fairly easy solution to that, which is to nuke Texas. And the White House on the slim chance that he happens to be working that day. Oh, and the rest of the US in case he is somewhere in between.

That leaves me with... Switzerland. Cool.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

You're all a bunch of Nazis.

Godwin
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A European company would never be fined for monopolistic practices on this scale in the EU for one simple reason: US protectionism would never let it get large enough to establish any kind of monopoly.

The rest of this thread is lame, xenophobic nonsense on both sides.

Woodentongue
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Dear Ali,
            Most of what you read about the Middle East in the American Press or see on American TV is garbage.

            The Saudis took away Bin Laden's nationality in the early nineties. It didn't stop other Saudis going to join Al Qaeeda, but neither did any other country including western countries.

              The "Afhganis". as those who had fought against the Russians in Afghanistan were known had been trained by the Americans in an informal agreement with the Saudis that the Saudis would provide the volunteers and money and the Americans would provide the arms and trainng. After the collapse of the Russians in 91 a large number of the Egyptian "Afghanis" returned to Egypt where they were at least partially responsible for massacres such as that in Luxor, or the bombs in Tahrir Square. The Egyptian government managed to  crush them in the mid-nineties, but by that time there were two completely justified freedom movements for the militants to go and join in Chechnya and Bosnia (in fact the American government had encouraged the Saudis to covertly arm the Bosnian Muslims to counter the not so covert arminig of the Serbs by the Russians).

The fact that there have been three justiified freedom struggles in the nineties (Bosnia, Chechnya and Palestine) has meant that Muslims in Saudi and elsewhere have not been too picky if some of their charitable donations were channelled to them, And thus it is possible a small amount of money managed to find its way to Al-Qaeeda.

This however is no different from the situation with regard to the financing of terrorist groups by US citizens and residents. The case of the IRA has already been bought up; less well known is the case of the Tamil Tigers, who are the terrorist group who have produced the greatest number of suicide bombers so far. Among their crimes was the blowing up of the Bank of Ceylon Building and the bomb at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. They are the equivalent to blowing up the World Trade Centre or putting a bomb in Boston Cathedral. However brown-skinned third world stockbrokers lives are of much less importance than that of their WASP equivalents, and the group was not even made illegal in the US until the end of Clinton's mandate, and kept its headquarters in London until two years ago. After 9/11 the US government started to do something, and in fact present US foreign policy in Sri Lanka is a credit to the US people and its representatives (of course now the US is doing things right the Sinhalas and Tamils have decided to fuck things up to make up for it).

What has caused the crackdown has not been any pressure from the US but the realization among the Saudi government that the Islamists were a threat to themselves. The appointment of the King's brother as regent has dynamized things in other respects as well.

The terrorist attacks in Saudi itself were a wake up sign, and succeeded in alienating the majority of Saudis, none of whom are partial to US Middle Eastern policy in the normal course of events.

Incidentally, the only person I knew in Saudi who campaigned for Islamic Terrorists was a fellow teacher at one school I taught at. He went off to the Philpines to make contact with Abu Sayyaff, and was rather miffed when he returned to Saudi to find that the Saudi government had signed an anti-terrorist treaty with the Philipine government , and immediately deported him to his home country (which was the USA if anybody is curious).

The reason for the spate of attacks on the Saudi governmnent that occurred in the US about eighteen months back was that the Saudis had proposed a peace proposal with excellent chances of being adopted by all Arab states, which involved the recognition by Saudi and all other countries of Israel's pre-1967 bprders in return for withdrawal from the occupied territories, and the discussion of staggered implementation of the righ to return or compensation in lieu. This would have scuppered the Likud's plans for a Greater Israel, and coincidentally the independent free American media proceeded to launch an all out attack on Saudi credibility.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"hiding behind a pseudonym", the plan to nuke africa, russia, ireland, india, australia and the rest has been replaced by a much cleverer idea called Free Trade.

Under Free Trade, rich guys around the world get richer while everyone else suffers declining incomes and increasing dependency on the systems controlled by rich guys. So by the time the dumb schmucks realise they're getting screwed, it's too late.

Meantime rich guys jet between international hotels and island resorts and read business magazines about the virtues of Free Trade.

Learned this at MBA school
Thursday, March 25, 2004

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