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Mark Sweetman's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,812 posts (23,501 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 29 aliases.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Krensky - Exactly - on a base commercial level the initial re-fit costs (estimated on one site I read at ~$70,000) and ongoing maintenance on a behemoth that gets 5 miles to the gallon and tears up the streets it's driving on don't make fiscal sense.

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Krensky - after a bit more googling... I retract the K9 part of the argument (turns out it was a lovable looking labrador - recently retired but planned to be replaced) - but the SWAT and MRAP question are the bigger issue there.

Perhaps you'd like to explain the practical reasons for having an MRAP?

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When a town of 7,300 citizens with a below US average crime rate and only 10.5 police officers...

Has an MRAP (another article) and a SWAT Team and even a K9 unit... I would humbly suggest that something is very very wrong.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Meliski (Bard) looks interesting - any ability that allows re-rolls has the potential to be huge.

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Interested of course, and preferred type of adventure would be a space hulk or bug hunt.

I'll abstain, though I will note that Meowzebub is not on the boards anymore, so he would be missing from Riddles.

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Lamashtu is the only god in Golarion that actually gives me the heebie jeebies.

As far as the true believers:
Pregnant cultists can pray for Lamashtu’s blessing, transforming their unborn into monsters that claw their way free of the womb, leaving behind horrific scarring that the faithful view as signs of devotion and piety.
Some male worshipers of Lamashtu, jealous of the revered position of female clergy members, go to outlandish and repulsive lengths to mimic the ability to give birth, willingly becoming the vessels for rot grubs, xill eggs, vrock swarms, and other terrible parasites.

Dey crazy.

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Thomas Long 175 wrote:
No he is not, because the paladin class feature gives you an aura of good specifically, not an aura based on the alignment of your god. Dear lord, that's already been refuted straight from the core rule book.

Shake head, roll eyes, chuckle, close computer and walk away.

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The question I'm refuting is whether they can be a follower of an evil deity - which I would purport that they cannot.

As to whether they can be empowered by any other source that falls within the divine forces of law and good - then yes, go hog wild.

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RAW (from the fluff bit in the Magic section of PRD):
Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells.

That plus the Class description:
The paladin is the knight in shining armor, a devoted follower of law and good.

And lastly:
Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

As per the description of detect evil a 1st level Paladin/Cleric has a faint aura of the appropriate deity at 1st level. Ergo a follower of an evil deity is actually evil by definition.

So a Paladin can't follow an evil deity as by doing so they'd gain an evil aura, which violates their code of conduct.

Of course House 0 applies - but RAW: Paladin =/= worship evil deity.

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Statement from Netanyahu at Cabinet Meeting (twittered out by his account):
Operation Protective Edge is continuing. At no stage did we declare its conclusion. The operation will continue until its goal is met: restoring quiet for a long period. I said at its outset that it'll take time & patience. Israel will not negotiate under fire and will continue to take action to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens. We will stand together, untited and determined, until we complete the work.

Also - from the IDF twitter account:
Since July 8, Hamas has fired 3,488 rockets at Israel. Retweet if you think more people should be aware of this fact

What it doesn't highlight is that from January to June this year only 181 rockets were fired (for one death (Islamic Jihad militant) and seven injuries.

Interestingly though - Gaza isn't the source of 'most' of the terror attacks (as classified by Israel Security agency) in June (latest report on the site). Instead, of the 136 attacks, only 36 were from Gaza. 89 were in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and 11 were in Jerusalem.
May showed an even more marked difference - only 9 attacks from Gaza, compared to 107 in the West Bank and Jerusalem (majority firebombs).
I'll note that the Israel Security Agency does not track any figures for Israel strikes, or Palestinian injury / death.

I can only guess that the West Bank firebombs / stone throwing doesn't get airtime because it's constant, ineffective and isn't driven by Hamas?

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Lord Snow - I don't doubt there is some truth to that.

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Tim Minchin's Peace Anthem for Palestine:

You don't eat pigs,
We don't eat pigs,
It seems it's been that way forever

So if you don't eat pigs,
And we don't eat pigs,
Why not, not eat pigs together?

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zagnabbit wrote:
This is basically the exact same conflict that started in 1957 when Jordan, Egypt, and Syria invaded. It seems that that is being forgotten. This fight is basically perpetual.

Not quite - I think you're referring to the 'Six Day War'? - which was actually in 1967. At any rate the roots go way way back far further than that - back even as far as biblical times depending on how you view it.

ShadowcatX wrote:
I was actually referring to the protective edge, but it goes to the over all conflict as well.

Overall conflict - no argument.

Current conflict - I'm not going to use the word solely, but would assert that the flare-up was in a large part cynically driven from the Israeli side. All of the references have been previously written - but Lord Snow puts it pretty well.

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ShadowcatX wrote:
There is also a lack of proof that Israel is solely responsible for the war.

ShadowcatX - just for clarity, are you referring to the overall conflict, or specifically to Protective Edge here?

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Ripples through the world

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Slight aside - but Uri Avnery sounds like a interesting figure.

Lord Snow - is there much in the local media from Gush Shalom and similar groups?

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Hamas Gaza Leader's House

Mahmoud al-Zahar's House - quote from article: Israeli strikes also hit the home in western Gaza City of Mr Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, and those of former health minister Fathi Hammad and Hamas MP Ismail al-Ashqar, both in Jabalia in the north.

Gaza Police Chief's House

Doug - which of those is a 'luxury villa'?

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

A decent summary on the three months immediately after Pillar of Cloud

Edit: And a good UN report on what the gaza blockade means for those living there

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Freehold - wiki has an incredibly extensive and detailed list of the rocket fire:


In 2013 for example there were only 52 rockets in the entire year.

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Lord Snow wrote:
Just to clarify - I only wanted to say that specifically the acts of aggression carried by Palestinians in the early 20th century are their fault. They did it. Similarly acts of aggression by the Jews are the Jews' fault. Meaning, account every party to it's own actions.

Yep - looks like we were just arguing over nothing :P

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And I'll add as a post-script, to date neither group has shown any real intent to make concessions.

Hamas / Fatah / etc continue to maintain the fallacy that they can somehow remove Israel from history.

Israel continue to maintain the fallacy that they will pare back settlements, etc.

So yes Lord Snow, neither leadership group is really interested in peace right now... and they are both to blame for it.

But at least the Israeli people have a reasonably good quality of life in comparison to those living under the iron curtain in Gaza / West Bank.

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Lord Snow wrote:
Good. Then by the same logic you shouldn't absolve the Palestinians of the lion's share of the responsibility for their hostilities in the matter. Meaning, that if you were to blame only one involved party in their actions, it would be them. Agreed?

Nope - but I'll meet you halfway.

Israel has a share of responsibility for the hostilities.
Palestine has a share of responsibility for the hostilities.

I'm not going into saying one has a lion's share over the other, and I'm not going to blame only one party for it. Because as soon as you say that one is more responsible than the other, then you are in essence absolving the other (because they then become less responsible).

For any resolution to occur, both Israel and Palestine need to make serious concessions. And yes that includes Hamas and Fatah and the other Palestinian militant groups.

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Lord Snow wrote:
Yet you wouldn't for a moment suggest to absolve the Germans of the lion's share of the responsibility for world war 2, would you?

Nope - but neither would I absolve the Allies. I'm all for increasing the level of blame rather than absolving parties.

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Lord Snow wrote:
That is not the comment you made at all. You replied to me attributing the lion's share of early aggression between Jews and Arabs to the Arabs by saying that it's inaccurate, and that most blame should be on the British.

Technically what I said was that if you were going to blame one party - blame the British. In honesty I think you need to blame at least four parties - that is Israel, the Arab League (inclusive of the Palestinians), the British and the US.

And I actually agree in theorycrafting with what you've put up re: the circumstances post WWI contributing heavily to the rise of Nazi Germany. I think that there are many in the history world who would agree that the Treaty of Versailles laid down the fertile ground from which Nazi Germany would grow.

Lastly for clarity - I think that both the common Israeli and common Palestinian are helpless victims.

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Lord Snow - Which part of my comment stated that? - and even if it did, how is that racism?

As a statement of fact to appease you - Some of the Palestinians are reprehensible terrorists, and some of the Israelis are completely blameless.
Similarly some of the Israelis are reprehensible terrorists, and some of the Palestinians are completely blameless.

I stand by the comment I made though - that there is a history of war, and that the 1948 war cannot be placed solely at the feet of the Palestinians.

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Being that Palestine and India were the only areas I'd had the impetus to study up. Fear not, my 'blame Britain' folder is still open and has lots of space ;)

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Hah - keep a stiff upper lip Captain Brittannica, because I put the whole basket of kerfuffles in Pakistan, India, and the Kashmir on your doorstep as well :P

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Lord Snow wrote:
Israel and the Palestinians have a history of war, where most of the early aggression is attributed to Palestinians. They were also the ones who started the 1948 war.

Better stated as 'Israel and the Palestinians have a history of war.'

The timeline leading up to 1948 really started back in 1917 when the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was taken by Allied forces and eventually turned into Mandatory Palestine in 1920. Britain put the Viscount Samuel (a Zionist) in charge and without going into specifics it led to the Black Hand, which led to the Arab uprising, which led to the Israeli insurgency, Aliyah Bet fits in there somewhere as well, which ultimately led to the British withdrawal, which led to the Israeli declaration of independence which then led to the 1948 war.

If you're going to blame a single party for the 1948 war - blame Britain.

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Irontruth wrote:
What puzzles me though, is how you guys talk as if Israel is the only side doing anything wrong. They aren't. Other sides are actively engaged in perpetuating this conflict also.

Not sure if I'm a 'you guys' or not, but I'm under no illusions that it doesn't take at least two to tango.

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Arab citizens of Israel are as Irontruth states, are treated pretty well. Arab Israelis have served on the Knesset from the 1st right through to today; and an Arab Israeli sits on the Supreme Court of Israel. There are still complaints and issues - but that's true of any country anywhere in the world that has minorities in the demographics.

The disconnect comes only when you consider that the Arab citizens are the 150,000 out of the original 950,000 who didn't flee the country during the 1948 War. Right of Return, etc, etc, etc.

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thejeff - thats where we get into the grey area of rhetoric and response.

Operation Brother's Keeper - details are there for people to read / form their own opinions of.

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thejeff wrote:
They should have their own sovereign country and vote in it's elections.

While the sovereign country isn't there - Palestinians do get to vote in elections for representatives. If the agreement holds there will be an election within 6 months.

Problem was that after that agreement was signed - Israel stepped up the rhetoric and arguably agressively pushed for the conflict that's currently playing out.

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Lord Snow - on the whole I agree with you from the military perspective. The Israeli military does show a higher military responsibility... especially when you boil specifically down to explicitly military / militant actions.

However what I lament and question is whether what it does do is enough.

I'd state for an absolute speculative fact that in some cases Israel follows through on military action when there would be an expectation of multiple civilian casualties.

Actions like the Al-Dalu family strike in 2012, and the Abu Jame strike in 2014. Both struck families at home, and were aimed at a single combatant but killed over thirty civilians between the two.

A skerrick of honesty or ownership rather than the constant and relentless blame shifting at Hamas would make them more palatable and believable.

Quotes like:
“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Source
Israel did not choose to enter this campaign but from the moment it was forced on us...We regret every injury to innocents but insofar as they are harmed, Hamas – and Hamas alone – is to blame. Source
Don't help.

Edit - thanks for the work translating that Lord Snow, it's a decent read.

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ShadowcatX wrote:
Mark Sweetman wrote:
Situation for civilians in Gaza at present

So if rockets, launched from Pakistan damage the ability of Pakistan to receive electricity, it is Israel's obligation to fix it immediately. Yup, that's totally fair.

I wonder how many people in this thread would hold the same ideals if the government raised their taxes by 50 or so percent to pay for things for in Mexico.

Huh - you lost me at strawman? Palestinian rockets haven't been causing the massive infrastructure damage - that's been Israeli strikes.

Besides - the Israeli government has a vested interest in ensuring electricity and water supply continues. Because they own the companies that make money off supplying it.

And lastly - the issue of water and power politics is more pervasive than just related to Protective Edge.
Relevant Reference Information

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Situation for civilians in Gaza at present

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If you were in say, a polish ghetto during world war II I don't see any reason to keep ANY of the gloves on.

What is the Gaza blockade and embargo if not effectively turning it into a ghetto?

But at least you admit that we're no longer in black and white and into grey or gray.

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On the topic of inequitable warfare... there was a time back during the second world war where a minority group carried out an armed insurgency against the occupying force. Hotels were bombed, ambassadors were assassinated and blatantly terrorist tactics were used. A tidbit of that: In 1948 the Lehi assassinated the UN mediator Count Bernadotte in Jerusalem. Yitzak Shamir, future prime minister of Israel was one of the conspirators.

The occupying force in that case was Britain... and it was jewish extremists carrying out the terrorism.

I'm not posting that to demonize the resistance fighters / terrorists of that time, but more to show that in desperate times people tend to take desperate actions.

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Note: Jordan (population of 8 million) already has over 600 thousand refugees of the Syrian war, 2 million refugees from Palestine (descendants of the 1948 refugees), a whole lot of iraqi refugees (numbers aren't clear online).

How many are they meant to take? - is over a quarter of their population not enough already?

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Doug's Workshop wrote:
If neighboring countries really cared about the Palestinians, they would open their borders to refugees. But it's much better anti-Israeli propoganda to refuse to help refugees and instead blame Israel for the violence.

Note in this case that 'neighbouring countries' = Egypt... that's it. They are the only other country with a shared border with any Palestinian controlled territory. You'd think that Jordan would border Palestine... but Israel have claimed a strip of land that prevents that.

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On Qatar and Israel - wiki states:
In 2010, Qatar twice offered to restore trade relations with Israel and allow the reinstatement of the Israeli mission in Doha, on condition that Israel allow Qatar to send building materials and money to Gaza to help rehabilitate infrastructure, and that Israel make a public statement expressing appreciation for Qatar's role and acknowledging its standing in the Middle East. Israel refused on the grounds that Qatari supplies could be used by Hamas to build bunkers and reinforced positions from which to fire rockets at Israeli cities and towns, and that Israel did not want to get involved in the competition between Qatar and Egypt over the Middle East mediation.

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I take your point on the Anti-Hamas... but that only reinforces why they shouldn't be negotiating a peace treaty, as they are politically and emotively involved.

Qatar's only real benefit is that of distance, in that it doesn't share a border with Israel / Palestine. That and that it does have good ties with both the Arab world and the US (who have a military base there).

Note: I'd quip that Palestinians aren't generally allowed to cross Israel's borders either... but that would be in poor taste.

On the topic of right wing / left wing politics - the Knesset is controlled currently by a coalition: Likud (20), Yesh Atid (19), The Jewish Home (12), Yisrael Beiteinu (11), Hatnuah (6).

Within that (based solely on wiki - so able to be enlightened) I think Likud, Jewish Home and Yesh Atid are all strongly pro-settlement.

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It's worth noting that Egypt itself is dealing with a militant insurgency in the Sinai. The militant Islamists there have 'close ties' to similar groups in Gaza.

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Can Hamas / Palestine stop the rocket attacks?

A qualified Yes - After the Pillar of Cloud ceasefire the rockets dwindled to less than 10 a month for over a year.

Why doesn't Hamas want an Egyptian brokered ceasefire?

Because Egypt's goverment has changed to being pro-Israel and after their internal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt are no longer a 'neutral' party.

Qatar is a possible alternative, but Israel would obviously clearly prefer to mediate through Egypt.

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Slightly out of date as it's one to two days old

Israel 20 casualties - 2 civilian, 18 military

Palestine 448 casualties - 348 civilian, 75 militant, 25 unknown

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Lord Snow:

How does the Israeli media internally report on the rocket launches?

Do they ever bring up the other militant groups apart from Hamas like the Islamic Jihad Movement?

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Spite to Egypt... or solidarity with other persecuted Muslims? It's in the fine print I suppose (plus whatever the details of the cease-fire actually were...)

The could they would they argument is hard to get into... but I'd agree the tunnel incursion gave the IDF / Knesset a reason / excuse to push a ground invasion through.

But the rhetoric from Netanyahu and the IDF was brutal post the Palestinian Unity Government announcement. One could purport that the approach was to squeeze and squeeze until something popped and then use that as the trigger to escalate. You've intimated as much by agreeing that the current escalation was alot to do with how Operation Brother's Keeper went down.

*shrugs* None of us know for sure and I'm just aimlessly speculating, but my impression is that Netanyahu was pushing hard for a fight and he was going to get it one way or another.

Relevant Article

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The rejection of the Egyptian option might also be purely due to their recent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

A wiki-sound bite:
A day after the 2013 Mansoura bombing, the military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood movement a terrorist group—despite the fact that another group, the Sinai-based Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the blast. On 24 March 2014 An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, an act described by Amnesty International as "the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we've seen in recent years […] anywhere in the world." On 15 April 2014, an Egyptian court banned current and former members of the Muslim Brotherhood from running in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Hamas has stated that they prefer a Qatari intermediary now.

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A few of the latest updates from B'Tselem.

A quote from the second one:
Hamas makes no pretense to follow the laws of war. Israel does, but holds Hamas responsible for its own actions – the dead, the refugees, the destroyed homes. Yet unlawful actions by one party cannot justify unlawful actions by the other, and regardless, each party bears sole responsibility for the outcome of its actions. Israel may proclaim its actions in Gaza to be moral and lawful, but the horrifying reality on the ground makes it impossible to further countenance Israel’s cynical use of legal terms such as “proportionality”, “discriminate [attacks]” and “duty of care”. Israel is exploiting these words to justify the death and destruction it is wreaking on the Gaza Strip.

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Lucio - to a degree that's metagaming though. It's your out of character knowledge that's influencing your in character response.

What is a giant robot if not an iron golem?
What is a laser sword if not a brilliant energy longsword? - or even a flaming longsword?
What is a death ray if not a finger of death spell?

Would your character know enough to tell the difference?

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