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Prospect of a thaw?

Justin Webb | 06:17 UK time, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

This interview is a big deal. The tone is studiously non-belligerent. It will confuse some in the Middle East even further - in particular, perhaps, persuading Iran's most senior leaders that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not perhaps the best man to counter the Obama appeal. Obama will do nothing dramatic for a bit but if Ahmadinejad goes (or is not allowed to stand in the next Iranian election, which seems at least possible) then the prospect of a real thaw seems real. And a quiet acceptance by the US of Iran's domination of Iraq, which is a gloriously unintended consequence...

Comments

  • 1. At 07:44am on 27 Jan 2009, akaCuthbert wrote:

    It is vitally important that Obama’s approach to the Middle East is fair and consistent even if that means having difficult conversations with Israel. He appears to be dropping his predecessors approach to the Middle East which rid the region of a dictator and prepared the ground for the assimilation of Iraq by Iran. He needs to challenge the likes of Mubarak who for too long has dictatorially ruled Egypt with the assistance of the US. You cannot impose democracy!

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  • 2. At 07:45am on 27 Jan 2009, Friend_11 wrote:

    Here we go again. Obama made the same mistake about the Arabs and muslim world as do the American media.

    Mr president, The Arabs and Muslims DO NOT hate the American people or America as a country. Rather, the Arabs and muslims DON'T LIKE, the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT POLICIES about the middle east.

    Dear Obama, we don't hate the american values; BUT we only don't like your unfair foriegn policy on the middle east. We don't like the american BLIND support for ISRAEL for example.

    In short, THE ARABS AND MUSLIMS ARE LOOKING FOR JUSTICE AND FAIR TREATMENT BY THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. SHORT AND SIMPLE !!!!

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  • 3. At 07:47am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    'Unintended consequences'.

    More like 'unexploded consequences'. An awful lot of those have been left lying around over the last eight years, even over the last four weeks.

    Somehow I think the sort of thaw the rest of the world has been looking for isn't going to start until well after spring and a lot of demining has been done. . .


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  • 4. At 08:13am on 27 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    I didn't hear much change about Israel and Palestine in his speech. We live in hope . . .

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  • 5. At 08:16am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    2. Friend_11:

    Good try. Agreed.

    Glad you got in early with the voice of reason before this thread all goes pear-shaped again.

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  • 6. At 08:20am on 27 Jan 2009, R-Snail wrote:

    The moderate Muslim extremists will see POTUS's interview as weakness.

    The hard line Muslim extremists will not care as they view him as an infidel.

    The vast majority of non-extremist, Muslims of Iran are the subjugated, silent, majority whose views won't matter until their own government allows their voices to be heard.

    Iran's government just punished several citizen coaches for the crime of allowing girls to play football (soccer) with boys. That's not normal behaviour.

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  • 7. At 08:23am on 27 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #2 Friend_11

    Hear hear. This so called 'anti-Americanism' is really 'anti-US Foreign Policy'. The term 'anti-Americanism' is used to label critics of US policy as somehow irrational; while you could argue the opposite is nearer the truth.

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  • 8. At 08:24am on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    What a delight to read Obama's interview with Al-Arabiya. Already the international standing of the USA will be on the rise, simply for showing a lucid and intelligent leader, who can discuss complex political issues.

    And for me this says it all
    "And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating"


    After all the hype, he is already showing the sort of leadership that I would like the USA to show. Not a unilateral arrogance, but a genuine aim to open future dialogue.

    And how ironic if, after all the Republican mud-slinging, his middle name may be an asset, not an albatross!

    It gives me hope....

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  • 9. At 08:44am on 27 Jan 2009, Gerard_Espinas wrote:

    President Obama carries a heavy responsibilities from the American People.

    Let us hope that he do his job well and contribute to the peace of the world.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 10. At 09:09am on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Friend_11 # 2 . Well spoken.
    Good link to Ben Smith, Justin.
    Simple overtures and suggestions to test the water.
    The open mind of today instead of the empty head of yesterday, showing him to be his own man instead of a directed marionette.
    Obama with his background is showing a softer approach in the interview. Almost an "outsiders" reaction to a foreign journalist than the Red White and Blue , flagwaving orchestrated response given to the conservative press in the past.
    I do feel though you should not rule out Ahmadinejad as Iranian frontman. His rhetorical opposition , was just sabre rattling from his side of the fence and it worked. Would his rolling over and crying uncle have helped the situation in the past, or would we now be experiencing a further American expeditionary force attempting another imposition of "needed" guidance.
    BBC,s motto strikes again. "Nation shall speak peace unto Nation"

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  • 11. At 09:11am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    8. RomeStu wrote:

    What a delight to read Obama's interview with Al-Arabiya.

    The full text is here.

    I can see we are going to have to refer back to it often in the next few days the way the crazies usually pan out around here.

    Me, I think I'll be taking shelter with the squirrels for a while.

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  • 12. At 09:25am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    6. R-Snail wrote:

    'moderate Muslim extremists'

    Pardon? Could you run that one by me again?

    On second thoughts, please don't attempt it, you could do yourself a serious intellectual injury.

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  • 13. At 09:30am on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    I'm slightly dissappointed with what he said (or didn't say) about Palestine. Perhaps it is too soon?

    Peace

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  • 14. At 09:34am on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Forgive me, but I have read the full interview and I take back my previous comment. I think he said exactly what he needed to without going too far.

    Peace

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  • 15. At 09:44am on 27 Jan 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    #6 R-Snail

    Lumping all Moslems into three camps- moderate extremist, radical extremist, and and the oppressed- greatly oversimplifies the complex interrelationships in the Islamic World. The extremists to which you refer very well might describe the Wahabist sect of fundamentalist Sunni Islam, from which bin Ladin derives much of his personal philosophy adn large numbers of followers.

    But to conflate that with the Shia faith of Islam ignores over a thousand years of strife and division; the radicals of Shia and Sunni tradition view each other as barely better than non-believers, and (perhaps) temporary bedfellows.

    The bad habit of the U.S. of wading into conflict without knowing friend from foe, and creating much of the antipathy that fuels our enemies, has got to stop. Take away the provocation, and yes, some radicals might see it as weakness- but then it also removes one of their most effective recruiting tools.

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  • 16. At 10:15am on 27 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    “Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount,” he said. “But... "

    And that 'But' will be, for many commentators, the only word they take away from that whole interview...

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  • 17. At 10:17am on 27 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 18. At 10:33am on 27 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:


    6. At 08:20am on 27 Jan 2009, R-Snail wrote:
    The moderate Muslim extremists will see POTUS's interview as weakness.

    The hard line Muslim extremists will not care as they view him as an infidel. "


    Unlikely since the word "infidel" is a latin christian term (look at it closely) used during the crusades.



    "The vast majority of non-extremist, Muslims of Iran are the subjugated, silent, majority whose views won't matter until their own government allows their voices to be heard."


    Are they now? Have you ever met an Iranian moslem? Do they strike you as being struck dumb?

    "Iran's government just punished several citizen coaches for the crime of allowing girls to play football (soccer) with boys. That's not normal behaviour"


    Oh you ought to be careful about stating what is and isn't normal behaviour. The US claims to adhere to "family values" yet has the largest porn industry in the world (and it remains one of its most commerically successful).

    Not much normality there.

    Obama's undertaking to talk to rather then threaten the Iranians is at least worth trying.

    But it ought to be remembered nuclear technology is over 60 years old, there is no way ultimately any country can be prevented from acquiring it in due course. Especially those that border other countries with that technology.

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  • 19. At 10:36am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    14 SaintOne wrote:

    Forgive me, but I have read the full interview and I take back my previous comment. I think he said exactly what he needed to without going too far.

    Peace


    Exactly. You can hear the political landmines exploding under his feet in the US in the distance now, can't you?

    15. At 09:44am on 27 Jan 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    "Take away the provocation, and yes, some radicals might see it as weakness- but then it also removes one of their most effective recruiting tools."

    But not, alas, many think (in Britain, anyway) for at least one generation; probably two; perhaps more.

    And I think I can guarantee the next disastrous stumbling block (or 'enemy') will appear from a totally unexpected direction well before the next generation has even got into its teens.

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  • 20. At 10:48am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    16. At 10:15am on 27 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    And that 'But' will be, for many commentators, the only word they take away from that whole interview...

    Time Zone alert: we have just about four hours before much of the US wakes up and finds out what he said. . .A fair quantity of the brown stuff has already hit the CBS fan, I see.

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  • 21. At 10:52am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    18. At 10:33am on 27 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    "But it ought to be remembered nuclear technology is over 60 years old, there is no way ultimately any country can be prevented from acquiring it in due course. Especially those that border other countries with that technology."

    Except that Obama is taking the idea of multilateral disarmament on board, too; something buried in the White House website no-one seems to have picked up on yet.

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  • 22. At 10:55am on 27 Jan 2009, ray564k wrote:

    This speech has probably done more to harm Al-Qaeda's ability to recruit more followers than anything else in the last eight years.

    A good start.

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  • 23. At 10:56am on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    # 18, Simon,

    "Obama's undertaking to talk to rather then threaten the Iranians is at least worth trying."

    It's also more likely to create a more amicable response, than say, threatening to blow up stuff.

    To each his own though, eh?

    I think Obama can pull this off. The fact he has given his first post-inaguration interview (that I am aware of) to this particular news station is a big statement.

    Peace

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  • 24. At 11:02am on 27 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "He needs to challenge the likes of Mubarak who for too long has dictatorially ruled Egypt with the assistance of the US. You cannot impose democracy!"

    Seems to me like your second sentence somewhat contradicts the first, there.

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  • 25. At 11:04am on 27 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "moderate Muslim extremists"
    Another contradiction in terms. You can't be both moderate and extremist.

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  • 26. At 11:10am on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "#5
    Glad you got in early with the voice of reason before this thread all goes pear-shaped again.
    ..., and so it did happen/like it coulda been forseen,...
    # 6. At 08:20am on 27 Jan 2009, R-Snail wrote:

    The moderate Muslim extremists will see POTUS's interview as weakness. "
    Personally, almost every move Obama makes gives me more hope.

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace
    ed

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  • 27. At 11:29am on 27 Jan 2009, Ginger Warrior wrote:

    I'm not too surprised. Although his mantra during the Israel-Gaza conflict was "there is only one President at a time", his lack of blind, unconditional support for Israel was telling of a shift in American foreign policy in regards to the Middle East. Saying there could be no solution without a permanent Palestinian state was certainly different to Bush's "Israel's just fighting terrorism like we are" stance, which seemed to be a stance more based in ideology than pragmatism.

    In regards to anti-Americanism... I grew up in two schools where the majority of pupils were Muslims. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that all but one or two of them were tolerant of the US and certainly wouldn't wish death on any American. When people say the Islamic world is 'anti-American', what they mean is 'anti-interventionist'.

    The vast, vast majority of Muslims are perfectly rational, law-abiding humans like you and I.

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  • 28. At 11:38am on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    26. Ed Iglehart:

    Does that make me a prophet?

    "And it shall come to pass in this day that all they who follow not the true faith of the Raygun nor seeth the light of the Kristol that shineth from the burning Bush shall be mightily smitten; nay they shall be villified and cast into the outer darkness that is called Yerp."

    [From the Book of Ish]

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  • 29. At 11:44am on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #26, Ed

    It does indeed. Make me wish us Brits had someone like him in charge. I can't stand any of the politcal parties here!

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  • 30. At 11:58am on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    British-ish & Ed,

    I think R-Snail has been fairly tame really. I am preparing for the inevitable clash between logic, sense and reason against MAII. I'm sure he will be waking up sometime soon.

    Peace

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  • 31. At 12:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    29.
    SaintOne wrote:
    #26, Ed

    It does indeed. Make me wish us Brits had someone like him in charge.

    Well, in fairness David Milliband said something not too dissimilar ten days or so ago.

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  • 32. At 12:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, Typist wrote:

    Friend_11. Here we go again indeed. If you think Mr Obama is going to sort out the problems in Arab nations and the muslim world in general you are sorely mistaken. He can have an effect but really it is down to Arab people to end the misery caused by their own dreadful governments. If Arab leaders had democratic mandates from their people equal to the one given to Obama, the conversations between them would be much more fruitful. Don't blame the everyday problems of life on the Americans. The causes are much loser to home.

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  • 33. At 12:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    19 british-ish wrote:
    "You can hear the political landmines exploding under his feet in the US in the distance now, can't you?"


    Sadly I agree with you.

    Here is a man who has taken the boldest of political steps in a genuine attempt to heal wounds and build bridges between the USA and the Islamic world.
    There will undoubtedly be numerous people (the defeated "right") who will simply resort to the kind of half-truths, ambiguity and blatant untruth that we saw in the Republican campaign to feed an audience who already dislike Obama and who know nothing (nor wish to) of the wider world.

    I sincerely hope that short-term political capital is not sought to try to undermine Obama, simply for the sake of it.

    Greater issues are at stake, and there is finally a President educated, open and independent enough to attempt to resolve them.


    Pace

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  • 34. At 12:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    As an American who has been layed-off for the last two months, I would prefer Obama quit messing around with the middle East entirely.

    I think its time to start worrying more about our own people. At least for the time being.

    Further more, once we get our own mess straightened out, I myself would prefer that we stay out of other Countries business, unless it involves Humanitarian aid.

    A return to an isolationist stance, and the rebuilding of American Industry would suit me fine. Force the American based companies to quit using foriegn countries for cheap labor, and put a stop to our "Wal-Mart Economy"...

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  • 35. At 12:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, viorel1 wrote:

    Will Obama move America from it's entrenched stance of unquestioning, uncritical supporter of Israel? I doubt it.

    The interviewer brought up the issue of Israel's expanding illegal settlements, and Obama deftly avoided this issue. Obama went to Harvard Law School, he knows about international law, and he knows the occupation, Wall, settlements and blockade are all illegal.

    Cannot help but contrast Obama's line with that of Ron Paul or Denis Kucinic. both of whom criticised Israel's actions in Gaza and called for American even-handedness.

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  • 36. At 12:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ish,

    "Well, in fairness David Milliband said something not too dissimilar ten days or so ago."
    Indeed, and as his mum is "active" in Jews for Justice for Palestinians, we might hope that he has been well brought up....

    Here's hoping!
    ed

    P.S. Typist, Remember to listen first.

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  • 37. At 12:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    31 British-ish

    I also saw David Miliband's comments about the War on Terror. Nice to see some sense coming from a Nu-Lab politician for a change.

    At the risk of being cynical however, he is playing classic 20-20 hindsight, knowing he is a possible future labour leader, and seeking to distance himself from the Blair govt's actions.

    He was a cabinet minister from 2002 and if he is so wise (Alaistair Campbell nicknamed him "Brains" - as in Thunderbirds) what was his original position on the War on Terror.


    Still hindsight is better than no sight!!! There is hope.

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  • 38. At 12:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    32 Typist

    You are correct in that Obama cannot "solve" the problems of the Middle East.

    However by removing the USA as a convenient "bogeyman" for extremist recruiters, he can go along way to helping the situation.

    These things will take time, but the actions of the last 8 years will have set back the potential for democracy in the Middle East by years, or even decades. Tht is no reason not to begin with the smallest of steps right now.

    It will take years, but as people living under non-democratic govts see that other countries want to help their development not impose ideas then gradually a movement for reform will grow, and eventually win (I hope).

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  • 39. At 12:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    34.seanpmc1 wrote:
    "As an American who has been layed-off for the last two months, I would prefer Obama quit messing around with the middle East entirely."


    You have my greatest sympathy for having been laid off 2 months ago.

    However if, as is consistently stated, the greatest threat to the USA is Extremist Islamic terrorism, then it would be criminally negligent of Obama to "quit messing around with the middle East".

    By helping to stabilise the Middle East and reduce the terrorists' ability to recruit, Obama can thus reduce the amount of military spending and concentrate more on domestic issues.



    You also wrote....

    "I think its time to start worrying more about our own people."


    I understand from your previous posts that you are a non-donominational Christian minister, but that doesn't sound too "Christian" to me!!!! All God's children etc etc


    And Obama has just unvieled a $1 trillion economic package, which is seeing him savaged in the right-wing press.
    How much more worrying about your own people should he be doing?

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  • 40. At 1:00pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #34, Sean,

    Whilst I sympathize with your position, what you suggest would not benefit America. Labour costs alot in developed countries and so forcing firms to revert to this expensive labour won't help your country in the long term. Companies will just abandon America entirely. It's just not feasable, America does not have the infrastructure nor the willing labour to produce all the goods the country requires AND allow everyone to keep the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

    I would also like you to remember the great depression. The isloationist stance America took back then did not allow the country to recover. It wasn't until you joined the war and subsequently exported weapons, tanks and ammunition that you escaped the clutches of the depression.

    Whilst I feel for you and your current situation, isolationism does not work and you would not benefit from it.

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  • 41. At 1:00pm on 27 Jan 2009, smallfishinabigpond wrote:

    @ typist:

    "it is down to Arab people to end the misery caused by their own dreadful governments. If Arab leaders had democratic mandates from their people equal to the one given to Obama, the conversations between them would be much more fruitful."

    Wasn't that essentially the Bush/Blair doctrine?

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  • 42. At 1:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    35 viorel1 wrote:
    "The interviewer brought up the issue of Israel's expanding illegal settlements, and Obama deftly avoided this issue.

    Cannot help but contrast Obama's line with that of Ron Paul or Denis Kucinic. both of whom criticised Israel's actions in Gaza and called for American even-handedness."


    Neither Ron Paul or Denis Kucinic speak for the USA, as Obama does.
    The interviewer was trying to elicit a response to a question which Obama does not want to answer yet.

    He is engaging in diplomacy - a change from the last 8 years of "Here's how it's gonna be".
    Obama is in his 1st week in office, and already engaging in the single most emotive and difficult diplomatic scenario of the age, and you want him to come out with a "straight answer" just like that.

    The President is setting the tone for the future policy of the USA - already a major change from the previous incumbant - but it is the State Department who will carry out the fine details and diplomacy. To make a rash statement now would be foolish.

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  • 43. At 1:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Sean,

    "A return to an isolationist stance, and the rebuilding of American Industry would suit me fine."
    Like in the thirties, eh? "No man (nor even continent-spanning nation) is an island...
    "
    "We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations."
    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace
    ed

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  • 44. At 1:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Stu,

    " Still hindsight is better than no sight!!! There is hope."
    Iapetus' two sons:
    Prometheus brought us fire, but
    Epimetheus accepted Zeus' gift (Pandora), and then thought about it...
    ;-)
    ed

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  • 45. At 1:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    I expect President Obama to eventually take an active role in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it would surprise me if he spends too much political capital on this issue at a time when he needs bypartisan support to advance his domestic agenda.

    In any case, the latest - alleged - attack near the Israel-Gaza border with one soldier killed and others injured, and the immediate calls for retaliation, underscore the fragility of the ceasefire and the probability of military activities resuming at any moment.

    George Mitchell is an experienced mediator with an excellent reputation, but the task he is about to undertake involves more than two near irrational antagonists, it also involves going against public opinion in his own country. Don't expect too many cheerleaders if he exerts too much pressure on Israel to make concessions.

    As for Iran, I expect them to take a wait an see attitude during the next few months. They understand that a military conflict with the USA would be suicidal, and that improved relations could lead to prosperity and a more influential role in Persian Gulf politics and petroleum trade at a global level, without having to resort to the tactics they have employed during the past few decades.

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  • 46. At 1:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SaintOne,

    "America does not have the infrastructure nor the willing labour to produce all the goods the country requires AND allow everyone to keep the lifestyle they are accustomed to."
    One is immediately prompted tom ask whether said requirements and lifestyle are in any way sustainable...Personally, I think not
    ""Though I can see no way to defend the economy, I recognize the need
    to be concerned for the suffering that would be produced by its
    failure. But I ask if it is necessary for it to fail in order to
    change: I am assuming that if it does not change it must sooner or
    later fail, and that a great deal that is more valuable will fail
    with it. As a deity the economy is a sort of egotistical French
    monarch, for it apparently can see no alternative to itself except
    chaos, and perhaps that is its chief weakness. For, of course, chaos
    is not the only alternative to it. A better alternative is a better
    economy. But we will not conceive the possibility of a better
    economy, and therefore will not begin to change, until we quit
    deifying the present one."
    -- Wendell Berry in "A Continuous Harmony"
    Peace and prudence
    ed

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  • 47. At 1:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Wee Fishie,

    "Wasn't that essentially the Bush/Blair doctrine?"
    Well spotted!

    Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.
    Approach the universe with Tao,
    And evil is not powerful,
    But its power will not be used to harm others.
    Not only will it do no harm to others,
    But the sage himself will also be protected.
    They do not hurt each other,
    And the Virtue in each one refreshes both.
    --Lao Tzu

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  • 48. At 1:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    30., SaintOne wrote:
    British-ish & Ed,

    I think R-Snail has been fairly tame really. I am preparing for the inevitable clash between logic, sense and reason against MAII. I'm sure he will be waking up sometime soon.

    Peace


    See Post 11, I've run into a bit of bother with the mods vis-a-vis a certain supposed Roman. Might not be able to take up combat duty. Sigh.

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  • 49. At 1:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    StDom,

    "it would surprise me if he spends too much political capital on this issue at a time when he needs bypartisan support to advance his domestic agenda."
    Not much point until the Israeli election (and the main reason for the present aggression) is over.

    Peace and patience
    ed

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  • 50. At 1:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    #39

    "non-donominational Christian minister"

    Deist. There is a considerable difference between Deism and Christianity... ;-)

    #40

    "exported weapons, tanks and ammunition"

    Which we are constantly being "trashed" for nowdays.


    As for the Great Depression, you guys are right. It took a War to pull us out of it. But as far as Americans being able to continue their lifestyles, our War in the middle east doesn't seem to be helping matters. We are seeing people lose jobs by the thousands on nearly a daily basis now.

    I have light at the end of my tunnel since I am Union, and have unique skills shared by only a dozen or less people in our Local. One third of our entire local is setting on the bench right now, but if my skills are called for, I will be put to work no matter what my posistion is on the "Bench".

    Thats just me though. The vast majority of the people losing their jobs don't have the protection of a Union. They may have held a high position at their previous place of employment, but the chances of being hired by another company at that same level is slim.

    For the middle classes here, the change in lifestyle has already been forced, and isn't likely to recover for quite some time.

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  • 51. At 1:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    I think you can also see Obama's energy policy as another aspect of foreign policy; after all if the USA reduces its demand for Middle East oil, which would also make it easier to persuade others to follow suit, then that in itself will force countries like Iran to dial back their ambitions, and make regimes that have avoided domestic problems largely by oil fueled largesse a little less secure and perhaps more open to reason.

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  • 52. At 2:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, Typist wrote:

    smallfishinabigpond and others

    Re Bush / Blair doctrine -- essentially yes, although their methods were somewhat different and erm... rather botched, to say the least. There is no rule that says if you can see the benefits of a democratic Mashriq you have to start invading everywhere.

    My point was that all Obama can do is release some tension. The changes needed are essentially local ones. Will the political space created by Obama's overtures be filled with genuine and courageous changes on the Arab street or will the tradition of blaming outsiders continue—as expressed here by typing in capitals on a BBC blog. That can only leave Arabs as powerless and repressed as ever. For peace to prevail, the outrage of Arabs against Israel, for example, needs to be delivered through democratic instruments equal to those used in Israel. Then Mr O and the West will not be able to take sides...

    Without such democratic expressions, Mr O's team can do little more that have polite public chats with the mad and bad that rule the region -- and do yet more of the murky private deals (however well intentioned) that give the West a bad name.

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  • 53. At 2:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Charlie Rose interviewed Rep Lee Hamilton last night. Hamilton was the Chairman of the commission that investigated 9-11 and has been a close advisor to President Clinton and likely to Obama. When asked about Iran having nuclear weapons, Hamilton said there were three options, diplomacy, military action, and accepting Iran as a nuclear power. Diplomacy has been tried for years by Europe and even by Russia. It has failed completely. As we saw in Iraq, sanctions won't work and often they only invite corrupt nations to violate them for easy profits anyway. We also saw that in Iraq. Charlie Rose asked him if Iran having nuclear weapons was acceptable. Hamilton swallowed hard and said it would not be the end of the world using the USSR as an analogy. He may be wrong, dead wrong. Iran as a sponsor of state terrorism would act in character if it used a surrogate such as Hezbollah to smuggle nuclear weapona into the US or Israel as a means of attack. It might also simply attack Israel having called Israel a one atom bomb nation. In the logic of nuclear weapons, the only viable option, the one the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty was created to avert is a pre-emptive strike eliminating that possiblity before it can be used. Both the US and Israel, possibly other nations will give serious thought to this as Iran's capababilities grown and the threat appears to loom larger over time. Even France's Jacques Chirac, no friend of America or Israel said it would not be acceptable for Iran to possess nuclear weapons. For all of his insane threats and bellicose bluster, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the ruling power in Iran, the Ayatollahs are. They may stay quietly behind the scenes but in their isolated fanaticism, they are every bit as crazy, reckless, and dangerous as he is. Iran's nuclear technology development puts it in increasingly grave peril with every passing day.

    Senator George Mitchell will probably find the war the Arabs and Iran are waging against Israel as intractable as every one of his predecessors who tried to resolve it. Even after this recent attack on Gaza by Israel, only a slight taste of of what could happen to it, Hamas and its supporters all over the Islamic world seem undeterred in the slightest in their obsession to wipe Israel off the map. In Syria, and in Iran in particular, this seems part of their national strategy. Israel itself appears to have crossed the threshold of attacks it is willing to sustain without very sharp responses. Each step Israel has taken in the past to thwart its civilians being attacked and those aiming to destroy it has been incremental and each has failed. When one form of attack, suicide bombing for example has been prevented, their enemies find another method, in the current case rocket attacks. No matter what Israel does at the negotiating table, acceding to every one of Arafat's demands for example in 2000 during the last days of the Clinton administration, leaving Lebanon years ago with the committment that Hezboallah would not be allowed to re-arm, a committment the international community and the UN left completely unfulfilled, leaving Gaza in a hope of ceding land for peace only to find that the land was used for launching rocket attacks, Israel will inevitably come to the conclusion that its only choice is to use its current overwhelming military advantage to eliminate its enemies once and for all. That advantage will not last forever and if it is going to survive, it had better sieze the opportunity while it still can.

    Against this backdrop, the best efforts of American envoys will be up against overwhelming odds not in favor of peace. The inexorable drumbeat Israel's enemies have set for 61 years is to war. I don't think any American administration will make them change their tune. I'd say Mr. Obama, no you can't.

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  • 54. At 2:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso wrote:

    Mr. Obama did the right thing by allowing himself to be interviewed by Al Arabiya. Before him, previous Presidents allowed themselves to be interviewed by Western Media.

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  • 55. At 2:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    32. Typist:

    "If Arab leaders had democratic mandates from their people equal to the one given to Obama, the conversations between them would be much more fruitful."

    Ah, but you see, three times recently the USA has refused to converse because the government didn't like the election result.

    It's no good stating a principle then refusing to apply it because you don't like where it's led. I hate to tell you this, but the USA--and it's by no means alone--has a long history of 'conversing' with regimes that are not in the least democratic, or representative, or elected.

    And previous attempts at engineering revolutions, or 'putting the right man' in place have never turned out (and are not turning out) too well in the end, have they?

    It's not too difficult to see the flaw in the argument. That 'doctrine' was not a principle, or a policy, it was an excuse.

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  • 56. At 2:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #50, Sean

    Forgive me but I was not implying wars will solve the situation in America, but merely isolationism is not the solution. It was just because you had the opportunity to export a particular good (in this case weapons) that were in high demand, at a reasonable price.

    And I agree that weapons dealing is a venture that America should not partake in, however, I think most of western Europe is thankful that you guys decided to help us out in WWII (even if you were a bit late ;-) ).

    Glad to hear you are not totally at a loss now you are unemployed. You have my best wishes in obtaining a new job!

    Peace

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  • 57. At 2:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    50. seanpmc1 wrote:

    "non-donominational Christian minister"

    Deist. There is a considerable difference between Deism and Christianity... ;-)


    ___________________

    My apologies Sean. I have now looked up deism and see the difference.

    However, you have I believe stated that you are a minister. A "deist minister"? This I do not understand.

    Do deists have any sort of theological obligation to other creations of their god?

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  • 58. At 2:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, Pancha Chandra wrote:

    Obama could play a pragmatic role by engaging the Iranians in non-confrontational talks which would bring more lasting peace. If America and Iran could try and work on cooperation rather than belligerance, the world would be a safer place. Russia and Iran are reasonably chummy and that reduces the chances of war. In the same way if the name-calling between America and Iran could stop, there would be a better climate for more constructive talks. By calling Iran evil, one makes the possibility of talks more difficult. So why don't we try a different approach. It could work you know!

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  • 59. At 2:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 50, Sean

    I managed both union and "exempts" before I retired and I can assure you that when it comes to job security and decisions involving layoffs unique skills do play a role regardless of whether the person is a union member or not. In fact, during the government downsizing that took place in the 90s I reduced the union workforce more, in proportion, than the professional side, not because of sentiments against organized labor but because I needed highly qualified professionals with state-of-the-art skills to remain competitive and have a chance to win against companies bidding against us.

    From a management perspective retaining a qualified workforce, what we usually refer to as "essential personnel", is an imperative that must be preserved in order to guarantee the ability of the company to function and its competitiveness. It really does not matter if the employee is union or not. Obviously, when it involves union personnel there are other factors to be considered including the terms of the contract and, more often than not, seniority.

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  • 60. At 2:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    52. Typist:

    I suppose it's a forlorn hope, but I do wish people would stop referring to 'Arabs' as though there was some homogenous single country called 'Arabia'.

    Any more than there is a "Caucasia' populated by like-minded 'Caucasians'.

    There is a shared Arab philosophy and culture, as some parts of the 'West' share that of the Ancient Greece. There is a shared language (usually referred to as 'Classical' Arabic) but which also has national dialects more diverse than English. More like the difference between Ancient and demotic Greek.

    It exasperates my Arab friends and increasingly, me too. Perhaps my example above will help you, and others, I hope, to see why.

    And it does not help with any kind of dialogue.

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  • 61. At 2:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #53, MAII

    Marcus, you have assumed much in your post. It would be foolish for Iran to either use a nuclear weapon on America, or Israel, or hand one out to terrorists. It would quickly become apparant who provided it and Iran would swiftly face a nuclear barrage themselves. This is the same reason Russia didn't do anything with theirs.

    Secondly, given the previous 8 years of foreign policy Iran is, for lack of a more subtle term for now, anti-western. That is why diplomacy has failed thus far. Obama adopting this more diplomatic approach is, over time, going to change their stance towards the west. It won't happen overnight like a military solution, but it will save many more lives.

    A few points you may also wish to think about:

    1. Iranian elections are coming up soon, Obama is correct in the stance he is taking at the current time. Wait and see what happens, and until then don't knee-jerk and use military action. You could be surprised with the government in a years time.

    2. Israel also have elections coming up - the same applies there.

    There is no need for Obama to take action for now. He is saying the right thing and waiting out for a potentially better situation.

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  • 62. At 2:44pm on 27 Jan 2009, DeniseCullum222 wrote:

    Why should Obama solve the problem with Israel and its want of the whole of the Gazza Strip? he did not make it Bush and his father and those that voted them in did this with the backing of the UK and others we never know who the others are but were in it up to our necks.

    He has never said he could fix anything but what he can do he is doing unlike here were the Brown/Blair Govenment is helping to fleece its people our banking troubles are ours not world wide. And looking to Obama to set the stance to what do next, he has to stop the AIPAC as we do. And calling elected Governments names and not other Governments like Israel the same is taking sides. To me Obama talks common sense and is open and honest and does not care what other Government's want the only ones who do not like him are those who want to live in the dark the rest of us nod and agree.

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  • 63. At 2:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    30. SaintOne wrote:
    British-ish & Ed,

    I think R-Snail has been fairly tame really. I am preparing for the inevitable clash between logic, sense and reason against MAII. I'm sure he will be waking up sometime soon.

    Peace


    He has, and I quote him 'in his own write':

    "I love it when you people insult me"

    [Post 673. At 2:26pm on 27 Jan, in the 'No Bible for second oath' thread.]

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  • 64. At 2:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The key word in the entire interview was "listen".

    'nuff said.

    Peace
    ed

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  • 65. At 2:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    10 Water
    I agree ahmadinnasbad should be accepted and the power of persuasion tried before trying to alienate him totally.

    We have seen what happens if that is tried.
    The factions ,and there would be factions ,(unless there was a brutal crackdown(exactly what we are trying to avoid)) would hide and cause problems for years.

    try to change the ring master not the show.and certainly changing the marks may have little effect.
    " I do feel though you should not rule out Ahmadinejad as Iranian frontman. His rhetorical opposition , was just sabre rattling from his side of the fence and it worked. "

    The same sabre rattling Saddam made, same palestinians make.

    they rattle and we say terrorists.
    we rattle shake and burn and expect them to bow over because we are more rightous?



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  • 66. At 3:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    46 Ed Iglehart

    "Wendell Berry in "A Continuous Harmony""

    Do I understand he wrote that in 1971? Correct me if I am wrong.

    "can see no alternative to itself except
    chaos" Which is where we are now.

    34 seanpmc1

    As for stopping the Walmart economy - do not shop at Walmart!!

    The Supreme Court of Canada is to hear a case against Walmart as they closed two stores in Quebec after the workers unionized. They claim the stores were not profitable. To them as they were required to pay decent wages.

    60 british-ish

    I understand what you are saying. There does not seem to be a way to stop the Irish from referring to Canadians are Americans. The way they see it, we come from North America.

    You neglected to mention what would it be politically correct. "Arab/Muslim World?" or........?

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  • 67. At 3:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    12 Britishish
    (he's a big hairy bigot, no changing ).

    all muslims are radicals just a matter of how radical.

    or maybe he is genuinely talking about elements with in the radicals.

    Still looks like a bigot speaks like a biggot...

    HEY REPUBLICANS . DROP THE ELEPHANT.

    you don't do them justice . Find your inner ellie. They are compassionate to their group. they show caring and they remember.

    they are not just like elephants in a china shop.A very un natural elephant that looks for riches before food.

    Go get a new totem if you are going to ignore yours so much.

    I suggest the totem of Human. More in keeping seeing as america under republicans personifies all that humans have shown their strengths in
    war, destruction etc.inc.

    NAh I know Elleis aren't all sweet.

    but think about it, next time you try to excuse the weak being killed because your mind however wide you might think it is cannot begin to look at the possibility of not fighting.

    Having been tall at school I was taught because I did not like not reacting, but I was taught not to retaliate if the guy attacking was doing no harm.

    The turn the cheek theory on conflict resolution.

    It works.

    They hit, to no effect , they give up.

    We were taught to think that winning over a weak opponent was not a victory.

    In fact just by getting involved we showed our weakness.



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  • 68. At 3:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    In my opinion, President Obama's foreign policy, and its Middle East focus, is based on the need to promote stability in that part of the world, a goal that can only be achieved by talking to both sides and attempting to reach a compromise that satisfies the main objectives of those who for a variety of reasons have been fighting what seems like an interminable war of attrition.

    Regardless of whether the eventual settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves the creation of a State where Jews, Muslims, Christians and others share power and opportunities, and enjoy the same protection under the law, or whether a new sovereign nation is created that allows the Palestinians to live in freedom, prosperity and with the dignity that every human being deserves, it is clear that the current status quo is unsustainable and that a solution leading to the eradication of a Jewish presence in the Middle East is out of the question.

    Regarding the likelihood of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, I would say that such event, as worrisome as it may be, does not imply that they will launch a suicidal attack against the USA or Israel, as it would guarantee the total destruction of Iran. What it would produce is parity, from a military perspective, and - dubious - recognition from the international community. The Ayatollahs and people like Ahmadinejad act in ways that may seem irrational, and definitely counterproductive for their well being, but they don't strike me as people willing to sacrifice their nation so that they can enjoy the pleasure of those elusive 100 virgins anxiously awaiting their arrival in Heaven.

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  • 69. At 3:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    61 SaintOne wrote:

    #53, MAII

    The gist of that post appears to be, as usual, that Marcus is happy to see the extermination of every human being on the planet except for himself.

    (I assume there can't be any others like him?)

    When someone has reached that stage of cynicism about the human race, and the word 'hope' has no meaning for them, there is simply nothing to be gained by arguing with them.

    Except to add a few phrases to a well-worn taxonomy of insults.

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  • 70. At 3:20pm on 27 Jan 2009, Typist wrote:

    55 British ish

    Oh yes I agree completely. If they win fairly and are democrats -- i.e. they are available for re-election -- then give them a call.

    60 OK I take your point but I believe there has been a shift toward solidarity among Classical Arabic speakers (the Levantine Arabs) in recent times.

    But perhaps you are misunderstanding. I'm not talking about western-sponsored stoogery. Friends_11 was saying that Arabs and muslims (sic, I can only apologize on his behalf) were angry about the US foreign policy. Sure. A lot for them to be angry about. But does their anger not also stem from poverty and injustice at home. And their powerlessness to affect either issue. Attacking the US is easier and safer than attacking the government. Obama's overtures are one thing, but any tangible shifts in policy are likely to be tiny. So it'll still be all his fault.

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  • 71. At 3:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    R snail is constantly promoting racial hatred. constantly openly posting that he is only here to disrupt.
    that he likes to keep mods busy.

    I fail to see that he has a valid voice and screw your so called freedoms.

    Race baiting is not OK
    neither is joining the site Just to be a prick.


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  • 72. At 3:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    32 typist
    oh well done you can type. probably even work a spell check. now engage brain and think . it really helps.

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  • 73. At 3:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #69, British-ish,

    To keep my faith in humanity as a whole, I must assume that logic and reason can persaude him to see that perhaps his views are far too extreme.

    Either that or he is just someone that enjoys being obviously ignorant and self-righteous in an attempt to wind people up.

    If neither of those two possibilties exist, well, I can only hope he doesn't breed and teach his children such convoluted views.

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  • 74. At 3:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    MAII # 53 wrote
    "Iran as a sponsor of state terrorism"

    Nuclear weapons and under the counter arms shipments aside, you "good guys" seem to be doing brisk business yourselves, in trying to maintain that delicate "balance?" around the world.

    America as friend
    55% of global arms exports. Is there anywhere it does not export to???
    "Since 1990, the United States has transferred $7 billion of military equipment, including 3,900 heavy tanks and 500 ground attack jets, primarily to developing countries." Goliath

    Iran as enemy
    "Iran's military industry has taken great strides in the past 25 years, and now manufactures many types of arms and equipments. According to Iranian officials, the country sold $100 million worth of military equipment in 2003[1] and as of 2006 had exported weapons to 57 countries.[2][3]. Wiki
    David

    Any chance of a delicate and balanced response?

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  • 75. At 3:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    #57

    " A "deist minister"? This I do not understand."


    I don't know how things work in Europe, but being a legal Minister in the US only requires that you are listed as a Minister with a recognized Church. The highly controversial ULC provided me with a means to obtain that legal status.

    That is not however, the only reason I chose them. The Doctrine of the ULC is basically that of Religious Tolerance, which I believe strongly in.

    As for Deism, you probably looked up what is referred to as "Classical Deism" which is the form it took in the time of our founding fathers. Not only here either, I believe it actually originated in Europe.

    Deism today, just like most other belief systems has branched out into multiple subcategories.

    The form of Deism I follow is called "Process Deism". Use that as a search term and you should find websites that explain it.

    Unlike Classical Deism, we don't believe that "God" has abandoned us. We believe that God has an active part in our development as a Race, and we also understand the spiritual needs that are deeply ingrained in most people, even those like myself that cannot totally identify with any "single" Religion.

    The view that "No single religion has all the answers" is most readily identifiable within those of my generation (X). I thoroughly believe that is the reason behind so many non-denominational churches popping up within the last decade.

    As for the reason I did this? I know many people in my area that share that particular belief about Religions in general. When I became legally Ordained, it was because a friend of mine was dying from Terminal Cancer, and wanted to marry his long-time girlfriend before his death. He did not, however, want a Christian based ceremony.

    Like myself, when he looked at the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, etc., what he saw was the level of hypocrisy within each. He still felt a need for some form of spirituality though, so that is where someone like myself fits in.

    My wife has a friend that is Lesbian. Living right in the middle of the "Bible Belt", where only Non-Denom Churches will accept her, I am unbiased and am able to help her with the needs that a "normal" Church denies her.

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  • 76. At 3:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Timewaits,

    ""Wendell Berry in "A Continuous Harmony""

    Do I understand he wrote that in 1971? Correct me if I am wrong."
    Yes, or earlier, and it's as pertinent now as it was 38 years ago. It was written on "sabbatical" . I thoroughly recommend it to one and all, and the website linked here, which contains many essays online, including ironically, this one, which receives the most "hits" of all ;-)

    enjoy
    ed

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  • 77. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    53, MarcusAureliusII:

    As I understand it you are advocating the destruction of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of lives.

    In what way does this distinguish you from Heydrich and Eichmann, Pol Pot or Comrade Duch?

    If what you apparently desire comes to pass and you were to have had any instrumental part in it, then I would hope to see you in the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

    In the meantime, perhaps the court of humanitarian opinion will add its condemnation to mine.

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  • 78. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, Typist wrote:

    72. happylaze
    Thank you for the advice. From someone as articulate as you that means a lot.

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  • 79. At 3:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Typist,

    " If they win fairly and are democrats -- i.e. they are available for re-election -- then give them a call. "
    for those who won fairly in the Wet Bank, you'll have to "give them a call" by visiting (if allowed) an Israeli prison.

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 80. At 3:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "As an American who has been layed-off for the last two months, I would prefer Obama quit messing around with the middle East entirely."


    Wow > Now for years (60i sh) america has been involved as the biggest single source of bombs to the area.
    Over time having supplied and still supplying more bombs than anyone.
    Ok to the israeli's so we call it ok)

    We are in two wars that stem from the anti arab feeling that has led americans to accept anything happening to an Arab country. anything. installing and promoting dictators, what ever.

    We are in a war in Iraq that was fought ((supposedly) on the basis of stopping Iraq using WMD that were never in any intelligence reported as being able to hit the US or europe, but could hit Israel.
    There is no hiding we are fighting there on Israel's behalf and the reason they are not fighting along side is then it would be seen as the CJrusade it is.

    The official excuse was they may be able to attack our allies really. and that was Israel. Where there was no oil anyway.

    Now concentration on war rather than "greening" industry for the last 8 years is part of what left people with no industries relevant to this changing world, just dino's with MA thinking.

    This war lost you your JOB.

    This war distracted america from providing a gold mine of opportunity to its people for the last 6years.
    Allowed the right to push all their agenda's of not stimulating the green sector because we want the military sector to get more jobs.

    Every one else was told to wait. We have a war to fight first.

    Oregon had a rise in GPD "bucking" national trends for 2000-2008.
    The people received a falling wage packet the timber barons reaped some big dosh.

    Were the protester there as they were in 2000.
    NO
    why?
    because they were out protesting the war. The national energy was drained --for war.

    But at no time were the reasons for that attack on the trade towers dealt with.

    Ignore it and we will suffer for it.

    But after this disastrous past few decades of Mid east policy , finally someone tries to start a dialog.

    And you prats come in and say enough.

    we can talk war but not peace.

    then you say they are the brutal people.


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  • 81. At 3:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    70 thats better

    No.

    it is hard for them to calm down when we bomb so flippantly then complain if they blow up a rock.



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  • 82. At 3:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    36 he was not brought up in the states. that seems the defining problem.

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  • 83. At 3:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    #59

    "there are other factors to be considered including the terms of the contract and, more often than not, seniority."


    The Unions in large cities may be different, but in my Local, there is no such thing as Seniority once you reach the level of Journeyman.

    This allows the contractors we work for to get rid of the dead weight, and replace them with competent, and faster employees. By doing so, we retain the ability to compete with non-union shops, because increased efficiency obviously allows us to bid these jobs cheaper.

    IMO, the UAW and a handful of others give the Construction Trade unions a bad name. They do recognize Seniority, and because these member know that, they take advantage of the situation and do as little as they can get away with.

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  • 84. At 3:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, El Cid wrote:

    #66

    "I understand what you are saying. There does not seem to be a way to stop the Irish from referring to Canadians are Americans. The way they see it, we come from North America."

    Nope. Usually it's because, to Irish people, many Canadian and American accents sound similar. I doubt its out of wilful ignorance or contempt.

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  • 85. At 3:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    40 I'm less sympathetic

    As a non union worker I did the work but for half the pay with less benefits and all.
    Hell if he was a union boy he should be sitting pretty compared to the rest of working america.

    Give n Union wages for a bit I would be still sitting pretty and able to take advantage of this turnaround and expand.

    I hate wallyworld maybe more than him,but he had it good in the union so he did well.
    and he should remember that.

    Small fiddle squeeking

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  • 86. At 3:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    happylaze,

    Keep hoping that Ahmadinejad as mouthpiece is one of the good " bad guys"

    After 8 years of Bush as a bad "good guy" Jaw-Jaw and not War-War [or should that be Hee-Haw] sounds perfect for me.

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  • 87. At 3:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    I for one find it mind-boggling to read a transcript of an interview with the Pres that is coherent and logical, and doesn't contain any "heh-heh-heh's". I think he does a good job dumbing it down so the average guy in, for example, the US, Israel or Iran can hear the words. As for fights or discrimination over ethnic and religious differences, I say sod 'em - they all have a lot more in common than they have differences. Some people just like to pick fights and if you look deep enough you'll find its really about money .....every time.

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  • 88. At 3:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "For peace to prevail, the outrage of Arabs against Israel, for example, needs to be delivered through democratic instruments equal to those used in Israel. Then Mr O and the West will not be able to take sides"

    I really do agree with you on this.Sorry to jump on you.

    This is my view of this aspect you mention.

    Gazans voted for hamas.

    Hamas won.

    If we declare their voice illegal what are they to do.

    So is in not possible that by de declaring them as terrorists(or redifining Israel as terrorists, which would be more fair they both are) they might join in a conversation.

    Not saying no money now there is a blockade and you can all starve till you agree.


    Israel with our blessing did everything to trash any Hamas victory without thinking lets help them build legitimacy without bombing and screw the rhetoric about destruction,who cares, they wont so treat their people as people.

    But I forgot typing skills are more important than thought.

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  • 89. At 3:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    britches, did I advocate something? I observed and drew conclusions based on history, scientific and military realities, and human behavior. I never said what governments or people should do or what I would do. If I'd been given that power, all of these problems would have been solved a long time ago. The population of the earth would also be a lot lower...and global warming consequently wouldn't be the problem it is today.

    In a world of nuclear weapons, a pre-emptive strike is the only effective strategy when deterance won't work and there is no transparency, especially from an implacable enemy determined to wipe you off the map. Let's not forget, Iran's loudmouthpiece Mock-mud ah-mad-in-the-head has also threatened the United States directly. Obama can jaw jaw all he wants but when you are locked in a cage with a criminally insane man, all you can do to survive is kill him before he kills you. BTW, a military strike on the ICC is not out of the question either. Israel has already warned that its citizens will not be allowed to face political recrimination disguised as international justice. It may be more than time to merely write Europe off.

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  • 90. At 4:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jack (80),

    And someone just implied you were inarticulate!

    Spot On!

    Peace, man
    ed

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  • 91. At 4:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    79. At 3:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:
    Typist,

    " If they win fairly and are democrats -- i.e. they are available for re-election -- then give them a call. "
    for those who won fairly in the Wet Bank, you'll have to "give them a call" by visiting (if allowed) an Israeli prison.

    Salaam, etc.
    ed
    -----------------
    or assassinated in cross border summary executions .

    boom

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  • 92. At 4:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And it's just possible Obama's been reading a bit of Berry,

    "XXIII. We must not again allow public emotion or the public media to caricature our enemies. If our enemies are now to be some nations of Islam, then we should undertake to know those enemies. Our schools should begin to teach the histories, cultures, arts, and language of the Islamic nations. And our leaders should have the humility and the wisdom to ask the reasons some of those people have for hating us."
    Thoughts in the presence of Fear
    As the President says, we should listen.

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  • 93. At 4:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    73. SaintOne wrote:

    #69, British-ish. . .

    I have my own views on the likelihood of some people breeding, but it's the way their opinions multiply that bothers me.

    However, I've made mine pretty clear on this subject I think over the last few weeks; and I can see this thread is about to disintegrate into the usual chaos, so I'm off to commune with the squirrels.

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  • 94. At 4:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    #85

    "but he had it good in the union so he did well."

    Who said I left the Union? I don't know how it works where you're at, but our "Employer" is the Union. We are the pool of labor that the Contractors draw from.

    The company I last worked for has work on the books. The problem is, some of that work was funded by Bonds, and those Bonds have suffered so badly that the projects have been put on hold.

    They do have a 2 year job starting up in about a month or so, and I will be called back to that company. They have a 6 month period in which they can force me back, even if I'm working for another company at the time.

    I like this outfit though, so no "forcing" will be necessary.

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  • 95. At 4:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    90 Ed

    Emm where have I heard that before.

    I must be doing something right.

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  • 96. At 4:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:

    And happylaze... If you would put aside your obvious love of "Herb", you could be Union too.

    While I don't care what you do on your own time, the construction trades have little tolerance for drug use of any kind. Like it or not, thats just the way it is.

    You can thank the Lawyers and Insurance Companies for that...

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  • 97. At 4:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    89 MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    BTW, a military strike on the ICC is not out of the question either. Israel has already warned that its citizens will not be allowed to face political recrimination disguised as international justice.

    Eh? You what?

    I spoke just a moment too soon. . .I got referred before for questioning the state of your mental health, fairly politely, I thought, all things considered, but if you believe that, you really are deranged and there is no purpose whatsoever to be served in communicating with you.

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  • 98. At 4:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #93, British-ish

    Your probably right. I am 95% sure he is just a wind-up merchant.

    If he really feels Europe is so pointless I fail to understand why he spatters out all he does across the BBC boards.

    O well, you will probably get a more sensible and intelligent discussion going with the squirrels I suspect.

    Peace

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  • 99. At 4:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Serpent One #61

    It is dangerous for Iran to even foster the illusion that it is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. That's the same dumb mistake Saddam Hussein made and the response will be exactly the same. It won't be allowed to acquire them. If the US doesn't stop them, Israel will. They are virtually 100 percent certain to be targeted and wiped off the face of the earth if they continue on their present course.

    No amount of diplomacy or sanctions will deter Iran from its ambition to be THE regional military and political hegemon in the Middle East. Only a decisive military strike will stop them. The longer the delay, the more will die in the process.

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  • 100. At 4:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #99, MAII

    Name-calling Marcarse? Well if you want to play that game.....

    As I said, wait until the election in Iran before you jump to these conclusions. Their current leader is foul, yes, but no point in antagonizing him further. By taking this stance Obama has given the Iranian people a chance to vote for a more encouraging leader rather than one that will try and stand up to the US.

    Just wait and see how this plays out.

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  • 101. At 4:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    68 saintDominick

    Do not wish to disappoint but I believe it is 72 virgins. But I have always wondered, "Where are they all coming from?" This ratio 72 to 1.

    Were there that many virgins sacrificed in the past that there is a "stock pile" in Heaven? They must be running out of them by now.

    I do not mean to be sacrilegious. Just an inquiring mind!

    76 Ed Iglehart

    "WHY I AM NOT GOING TO BUY A COMPUTER"

    Most of his reasons now obsolete. Particularly liked how he used his wife as a source of energy. Wonder what her going rates was?

    P.S. Notice my bold and link? Pretty good eh?

    84 funglegunk

    "I doubt its out of willful ignorance or contempt."

    Oh no! I didn't mean that at all!! Even when pointed out, it does not seem to make a difference. It amuses us, we let it go as they do have a point. We are from North America and therefore Americans. We have been told they have relatives in America. "Oh where?" Toronto, Vancouver, etc. "Oh ok." We do not take it as an insult at all!

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  • 102. At 4:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Marcus, have you looked at a map? Do you rate our exercise in Iraq (relatively flat and one third the size of Iran) a success? Are you a fool?

    Sorry, I know the answers to all three. No, yes, yes.

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  • 103. At 4:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    53 MarcusAurelius11
    Unfortunately, most of what you've written here about the Middle East is true.
    There will not be lasting peace there. Religious beliefs, fanaticism, lack of trust, intolerance and refusal to accept Israel's existence, sets the parties far apart.
    Testifying to this reality is the report contained in an e-mail sent by a friend. It concerns the views of the son of Sheikh Jassan Yousef, one of Hamas's most influential leaders, himself once part of the Hamas organization and for a while imprisoned in Israel. I've posted this before and posters should heed that the man says instead of indulging in pipe dreams:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,475226,00.html

    Dceilar
    Israel would be foolish to return to the 1967 borders. It would be very convenient for Israel's neighbours who lost the ground after launching attacks on Israel. Among other things, it would involve returning to Syria the Golan Heights from where Syrian troops once used to make life hell for Israelis below. On what basis would Israel trust Syria not to do that again?

    61 SaintOne
    The "previous 8 years of foreign policy" had precious little to do with Iran's anti-western/anti-Americans attitudes and "why diplomacy failed". Their anti-western sentiment existed long before Bush hit the scene, spurred on by the Islamic fundamentalist extremism of its leaders, not least Ayatollah Khomeini who took control during the early 1960s.
    I also haven't any doubt that U.S. policies toward Iran, preceding the revolution that brought Khomeini to power, contributed to the distrust of the U.S. and the West, but almost 40 year passed between then and even the 2002 invasion of Iraq. If during those years Iraq had possessed a desire to improve relations it could have made serious efforts. Instead it was deeply mired in its Islamic revolution with accompanying hatred of the West and things non-Muslim, and exporting violence and terror - an activity with which it continues to this day.
    The notion that the West is primarily to blame for sour relations is pitiful.
    Re Obama: I truly marvel at the way endless numbers of individuals, among them commentators of note - who actually expect me to take them seriously - are now informing us of the wondrous, almost magical, wisdom of Barack Obama - who till being elected president had achieved pretty well nothing of note. We are now being drowned in pure bull! This is cult of the personality piffle and fit for the vacuous minds of zombies. Talk about an insult to intelligence. Evidently that is a waning commodity.
    But thanks for informing us what Obama intends doing.

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  • 104. At 4:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    75 Sean

    Thanks for your explanation. I don't know how that sort of thing works in Europe either - we seem to have far fewer "churches" than the USA.

    I'm an atheist, so I'll spare you my opinion on deism (although I would fight for your right to believe what you like ...).

    But I googled ULC and the first site that came up had the banner Catchphrase "Many Tribes, One People".

    Despite my ignorance of ULC, deism etc, my point still stands that your desire to see Obama....
    "quit messing around with the middle East entirely.
    I think its time to start worrying more about our own people."
    .... doesn't really square with those religious beliefs, if we really are "many tribes, one people".

    However saying that, this is probably not the place for this debate..... so I'm happy to get back on topic if you like.

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  • 105. At 5:03pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Time may wait for no man, but pride comes before a fall...

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 106. At 5:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Going back to the topic of Iran, it seems there actually is quite a strong pro-democracy underground. Obviously the problem is that they live in a theocratic dictatorship ..... are there possibly parallels with the fall of communism. Iran particularly of the middle eastern countries, has a large and well educated middle class, whose parents remember a secular state.

    And no, I'm not in any way advocating a return to the Shah - just opining that they are not all fundamentalists.
    Therefore the more diplomatic the USA can be, the more likely this movement is to flourish.
    Time is the key .... and let's hope Obama can think long term.

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  • 107. At 5:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    94

    Unions in Europe are not a Job agency with benefits, all job agencies have those.
    They have got holiday pay, redundancy pay and a healthcare system.

    PS I never said you left the Union, but you make Unions out to be some masonic order type club that happens to allow women.


    Oh and can you not see the stupidity in your statement here

    "96. At 4:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanpmc1 wrote:
    And happylaze... If you would put aside your obvious love of "Herb", you could be Union too.

    'While I don't care what you do on your own time, "

    (really but you condemn it ,)


    "the construction trades have little tolerance for drug use of any kind. Like it or not, thats just the way it is. "


    Blind compliant rats . that is what so many americans are.

    "You can thank the Lawyers and Insurance Companies for that..."


    So I can give up Herb so I can join you heartless weak minded lemmings down at the union hall.
    Trade something I like for nothing.

    A union that hires me out like their slave?

    I think I'm changing my mind. Maybe I do hate Unions.

    OBAY RULES NO MATTER HOW STUPID.


    I'm pot head what's your poison. Prozac?

    or religion.
    I'm mean you are a minister of not being able to make up my mind.

    PS I earn my own Dosh most of the time and still am.

    I'll live free and poor in the US before I join an american Union.

    Just because of what you have said about them.

    PS If I was hiring it would be a mexican probably.
    Not because of cost , but skills.

    Unions In the UK said no to Drug testing peoples weekends.

    OH BTW it is more likely you work with crackheads as a result.

    OH one more. You complained at being laid off. and thought that that was more important than the suffering in the middle east. Now you say you are on leave till the next job starts.

    Are you soulless?

    Which Deity is the God of that one.

    I think your are a dietist, more likely.




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  • 108. At 5:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    AArrrgghh

    Forgot to post the link about democracy movements in Iran

    http://www.ghandchi.com/344-Pro-DemocracyEng.htm

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  • 109. At 5:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    103, robloop:

    Oh dear, here we go again. Just because something is said three times doesn't make it true.

    I have pointed out before that the man who is the subject of your Fox link was:

    1) estranged from his father; (who is also in an Israeli prison but has actually been described by commentators in the US, one of them Jewish, no less, as "a moderate");
    2) arrested and imprisoned by the Israelis;
    3) converted to Christianity while in an Israeli prison;
    4) turned up in the USA;
    5) writes a book on how evil Hamas is;
    6) appears on Fox; and
    7) attends an evangelical church in San Francisco.

    Now: does not all this, in combination, seem just a trifle suspect?

    I think I can recognise someone who is bought, or subverted, for propagandistic purposes when I see it.

    This is a device that has been employed so often before I would have thought it was pretty transparent and inutile by now, but obviously not.

    I am not particularly enamoured of Hamas myself, but you cannot adduce this as any kind of reliable evidence.

    Now I really am going to go back to my squirrels, I really can't correct this sort of thing interminably.

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  • 110. At 5:26pm on 27 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    shorn

    religion(dietism) vs drugs(pot)



    "famous quote time
    religion is the Opium of the masses"


    bit they left out is because they can't afford the opium.

    So 'dietism' is your drug, enough to be a minister.

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  • 111. At 5:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    105 Ed Iglehart

    "pride comes before a fall.."

    Oh very witty! I was pointing out your extraordinary abilities as an instructor, not mine as a student! (Thanks also to seanspa and waterman.)

    I admit I cross my fingers each time I hit post. I believe that is the first thing I have written where "eh?" is appropriate, put in for your benefit BTW.

    I must think of something to say on the topic.

    "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

    Anything Obama can do to assist in the process has my support.

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  • 112. At 5:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 29. SaintOne :

    "It does indeed. Make me wish us Brits had someone like him in charge. I can't stand any of the politcal parties here!"

    You could always petition to join the Union. Just leave the EU and switch teams. No? Too bad. It would have opened our markets to all of those cookies that were discussed on another thread.

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  • 113. At 5:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    I certainly felt the region was safer with Khatami as Iranian president. Will he run again? Will he be allowed to?

    There would be some irony if Kahatami, or another reformer won the election in Iran at the same time Netanyahu wins in Israel. One step forward, two steps back.

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  • 114. At 5:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Eh?

    ;-)

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  • 115. At 5:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    As a schoolchild, on not hearing something clearly, I asked, "What?", and was promptly corrected by Teacher, "Say 'pardon?'" But my Canadian stepfather and colleagues all said, "Eh?". When we moved to Florida, I said "Pardon?" and was told to say "Ma'am?", and much later in polite Britain, I hear, "Sorry?"

    Huh? What's a body to do, eh?

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 116. At 5:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "And a quiet acceptance by the US of Iran's domination of Iraq, which is a gloriously unintended consequence..."

    Hmm, I think it is rather a quiet acceptance that the U.S. can't dominate Iraq forever. I don't think that means that Iran now has carte blanche to do whatever it wants in Iraq. I believe the situation will return to what it as been for millenia: Persians on one side of the border, Arabs on the other.

    I can't see the Arabs ever allowing Persian dominance over their lands. The Shiite Arabs are using the Persians as much if not more than the Persians are using them. Once the Shiites are convinced that they're standing in Iraq is safe and that the Ba'athists will not return to power, I believe that the Shiite Arabs will throw the Persians out as a matter of course. The Persians have no standing in the Arab world. Indeed, Americans may even be more trusted (counter-intuitive as that seems).

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  • 117. At 5:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    105 Ed Iglehart and 111, timewaitsfornoman:

    "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

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  • 118. At 6:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    60 british-ish

    Re 66 "You neglected to mention what would be politically correct. "Arab/Muslim World?" or........?"

    I am sincere in asking. Please advise.

    To all: Previously I asked happylaze to slow down so his posts would be legible - then reread mine to find many words that should not be there.
    I presume you are getting the drift, either that or ignoring my posts! Anyway thanks for not pointing out my errors - believe me I see them!

    114 Ed Iglehart

    Quite obviously those five years did you nothing but good.

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  • 119. At 6:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I wondered where that one had gone. He's just found out from Justin three of Obama's appointees went to the LSE. . .

    I really don't want to watch . . .

    (Shudders)

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  • 120. At 6:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    robloop, it wouldn't be foolish for Israel to return to its pre 1967 war borders, it would be suicide. Those borders are undefendable. It's a miracle Israel survived as long as it did under them, much to the chagrin of Jew hating Europeans. Besides, with half a million Israelis living beyond those borders, there is no going back. Facts on the ground have changed. That's the price the Arabs have paid for genocide. If it doesn't stop, it will only be the first installment.

    Iran was much better off under the Shah. Although it was a brutal military dictatorship, it was modern and prosperous and if you were not engaged in politics, you could get a good education, a good job, own a home, travel, and enjoy the benefits that are enjoyed in the west. Now all of that is gone and Iran is facing the prospect of a major war which will leave it a pile of burned out rubble. Iran may not have been a democracy under the Shah but it isn't anything remotely close to one today no matter what they call themselves. To believe otherwise, you'd have had to have lost all your marbles. Iran's prospects today are very bleak and getting worse by the day. The Islamic Revolution is insane, the Islamic republic a threat to the entire civilized world. Things can't go on much longer the way they've been going up to now.

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  • 121. At 6:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Er I didn't, btw. Go to the LSE. Went to another one.

    (Panicking.)

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  • 122. At 6:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 111

    Thank you, but you are confusing me with the organ-grinders seanspa and Ed.
    I was just the monkey following their instructions and repeating earlier advice.

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  • 123. At 6:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, jonnybullet wrote:

    31 “You, O king, happened to be beholding, and, look! a certain immense image. That image, which was large and the brightness of which was extraordinary, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was dreadful. 32 As regards that image, its head was of good gold, its breasts and its arms were of silver, its belly and its thighs were of copper, 33 its legs were of iron, its feet were partly of iron and partly of molded clay. 34 You kept on looking until a stone was cut out not by hands, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and of molded clay and crushed them. 35 At that time the iron, the molded clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were, all together, crushed and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace at all was found of them. And as for the stone that struck the image, it became a large mountain and filled the whole earth.

    36 “This is the dream, and its interpretation we shall say before the king. 37 You, O king, the king of kings, you to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the might, and the strength and the dignity, 38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever the sons of mankind are dwelling, the beasts of the field and the winged creatures of the heavens, and whom he has made ruler over all of them, you yourself are the head of gold.

    39 “And after you there will rise another kingdom inferior to you; and another kingdom, a third one, of copper, that will rule over the whole earth.

    40 “And as for the fourth kingdom, it will prove to be strong like iron. Forasmuch as iron is crushing and grinding everything else, so, like iron that shatters, it will crush and shatter even all these.

    41 “And whereas you beheld the feet and the toes to be partly of molded clay of a potter and partly of iron, the kingdom itself will prove to be divided, but somewhat of the hardness of iron will prove to be in it, forasmuch as you beheld the iron mixed with moist clay. 42 And as for the toes of the feet being partly of iron and partly of molded clay, the kingdom will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile. 43 Whereas you beheld iron mixed with moist clay, they will come to be mixed with the offspring of mankind; but they will not prove to be sticking together, this one to that one, just as iron is not mixing with molded clay.

    44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite; 45 forasmuch as you beheld that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and [that] it crushed the iron, the copper, the molded clay, the silver and the gold. The grand God himself has made known to the king what is to occur after this. And the dream is reliable, and the interpretation of it is trustworthy.”

    46 At that time King Neb·u·chad·nez´zar himself fell down upon his face, and to Daniel he paid homage, and he said to offer even a present and incense to him. 47 The king was answering Daniel and saying: “Truly the God of YOU men is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets, because you were able to reveal this secret.” 48 Consequently the king made Daniel someone great, and many big gifts he gave to him, and he made him the ruler over all the jurisdictional district of Babylon and the chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel, for his part, made a request of the king, and he appointed over the administration of the jurisdictional district of Babylon Sha´drach, Me´shach and A·bed´ne·go, but Daniel was in the court of the king.

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  • 124. At 6:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    115. Ed Iglehart wrote:

    As a schoolchild, on not hearing something clearly, I asked, "What?", and was promptly corrected by Teacher, "Say 'pardon?'" But my Canadian stepfather and colleagues all said, "Eh?". When we moved to Florida, I said "Pardon?" and was told to say "Ma'am?", and much later in polite Britain, I hear, "Sorry?"

    Huh? What's a body to do, eh?


    It's fairly simple really. To help others, "Eh?" is for close friends, siblings, or, pronounced with a long e, to express scepticism as to the veracity of what you heard. 'You what?" is derisory and dismissive (cf 97), "What?" rather rude.

    "Sorry?" is the polite form, almost ubiquitous; "excuse me?" heard, but often sarcastic in intent; "pardon?" almostl obsolete, I think, and pronounced "padden?" entirely so.

    "Sir?" or "Ma'am?" are only ever heard from US English speakers, I think. (Brits always do a doubletake hearing those, presumably wondering momentarily if they've been knghted and nobody told them.)

    Not sure about Scottish usage, though. . .

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  • 125. At 6:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, El Cid wrote:

    "famous quote time
    religion is the Opium of the masses"

    Nitpicking here, but thats a common misquote. Its 'Religion is the opium of the people'!

    #101 timewaitsfornoman

    Understood! It must be similar to the mild amusement we Irish get when well-meaning Americans, upon hearing where we are from, ask "Do you know Seamus O'Brien?" :)

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  • 126. At 6:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    117 british-ish

    Oh no are we about to start a quote-athon?
    Hang on a second while I find my Bartlett Familiar Quotations. I know I have a copy - just not within easy reach. Now where is it, when did I last use it? Must retrace my steps.

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  • 127. At 7:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    #122, waterman, I'm just repeating what I learned from Ed.

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  • 128. At 7:05pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    118. timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    60 british-ish

    Re 66 "You neglected to mention what would be politically correct. "Arab/Muslim World?" or........?"

    Sorry, I wanted to keep out from under that Roman's hooves.

    The currently accepted one in British usage for those countries in which Muslim Arab culture is predominant is "Islam", which is extended to cover historical Granada, but some of my Arab friends find it awkward since inevitably it comprehends Turkey, which is not populated by Arabs. . .

    Mostly they prefer to be referred to when politics and contemporary culture is concerned--which is the kind of distinction I was getting at--by their native country.

    Thus, Palestinians are people who live or lived in that geographical area pre-1948, Lebanese are from Lebanon, Moroccans from Morocco and so on.

    'Arab' has to be used as a racial distinguisher, though Arabs are actually 'Semitic" peoples. Unfortunately, that word has been appropriated, wrongly, really for political reasons.

    There are, of course, certain sub-divisions used as regards the Persian Gulf and North Africa, but I really don't want to get involved with that, it gets a bit fraught.

    I don't know if that really helps that much, but it's the best I can manage.

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  • 129. At 7:26pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    seanpmc1 # 96,
    Despite your doubts I do feel that happylaze with the "herb", is the spice necessary to drag out the flavours that are sometimes too subtly sprinkled in the prose.
    Happy without his vegetative substance would probably go from non-union to onion and we already have enough of those here.
    Give him thyme, his spelling may at times be fawlty, but few can hold him at bay.
    Cross blogging with a garlic necklace should be mandatory for all.

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  • 130. At 7:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    120. At 6:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    robloop, it wouldn't be foolish for Israel to return to its pre 1967 war borders, it would be suicide. Those borders are undefendable. It's a miracle Israel survived as long as it did under them, much to the chagrin of Jew hating Europeans. Besides, with half a million Israelis living beyond those borders, there is no going back. Facts on the ground have changed. That's the price the Arabs have paid for genocide. If it doesn't stop, it will only be the first installment."


    Sadly for anti-semites the number of Israeli jews is declining and the religion is dying out.

    All the phosphorus bombs, school shellings etc are not going to change that reality.

    The US will scale down its support,the vast majority of Americans do not care anyway.

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  • 131. At 7:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    "120. At 6:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Iran may not have been a democracy under the Shah but it isn't anything remotely close to one today no matter what they call themselves. To believe otherwise, you'd have had to have lost all your marbles. Iran's prospects today are very bleak and getting worse by the day. The Islamic Revolution is insane, the Islamic republic a threat to the entire civilized world. Things can't go on much longer the way they've been going up to now."


    Shoved it to the yanks though didn't they?

    Rumsfeld, Cheyney, Bush, where are they now?

    And the Iranians have oil, the US has mortgages. Which is the more valauble?

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  • 132. At 8:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    123 jonnybullett

    A quote from the Book of Daniel.


    But wht are you trying to add to this debate?

    Enlightenment, please?

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  • 133. At 8:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    124 British-ish

    Not being a Knight of the Realm, when I am addressed as "Sir" by respectful young Americans, I wonder whether I have suddenly become a teacher at a public (which means private) school!

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  • 134. At 8:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    125 funglegunk

    You got it! Canadians would never do that!!

    A good friend of mine, Irish born (whom I love dearly as he is so ...well, Irish!) has returned home many times and made it his business to look up as many relatives as possible. Long story... found himself in Paris telling this to an Irishman and that he had found all but one cousin.....turned out it was his cousin!! Paddy?..!! (No surprise his name is Patrick.) Maybe you know him?

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  • 135. At 8:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    #120 MAII:

    "robloop, it wouldn't be foolish for Israel to return to its pre 1967 war borders, it would be suicide. Those borders are undefendable."

    Utter nonsense, Israel is a nuclear armed state and unless the Arab nations are feeling suicidal it can defend any border it pleases.

    "That's the price the Arabs have paid for genocide. If it doesn't stop, it will only be the first installment."

    Genocide is a fairly specific term, simply going to war against Israel doesn't actually count. Again you seem to feel that simply not agreeing with the borders of the State of Israel is a capital offence. Luckily the USA seems to have fallen into the hands of people far smarter and saner than yourself and I for one will breathe a little easier.

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  • 136. At 8:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 101,
    If I may stray into the sacrilegious quagmire too, 72 per man is a lot. Why has this fallacy not been countered before. They are hopefully running out of possibilities to encourage the sad creatures that wish to serve, by offering them 'bribes" to commit atrocities.
    With virgin also referring to Olive oil and wool, we can but hope that the sheep and the nuts that follow the advice of the extremist svengalis will soon realise that sheep and nuts will be their only reward.
    All beliefs have a lot to answer for in promoting the idea that after death we arrive in wonderland.
    I believe when we pop our clogs we all go to hell, if we go anywhere at all.
    Our earth is the paradise, but unless we change our ways of respecting the planet, we will be experiencing the here-after hell on our own doorsteps.

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  • 137. At 8:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    seanspa, # 127,
    That is as maybe.
    But your silky words and thoughtful teachings had me mesmerised too.

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  • 138. At 8:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Ed and british-ish,

    Gentleman, please give it a rest with the grammar.
    Have spent the whole day learning the polite correct terminology here at my language school in the sun, and had hoped for a few hours rest from further stress.
    You are forgetting that in a short while David will join the fray and then we will all be ticked off for our sins.

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  • 139. At 8:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    Your worst enemy could be your best friend.
    And your best friend your worst enemy ...

    And a Frenemy is a blend of friend and enemy which can refer to either an enemy disguised as a friend or to a political partner who is also a competitor.

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  • 140. At 9:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    funglegunk # 125

    Happylaze writes
    "religion is the Opium of the masses"
    You reply
    " misquote Its 'Religion is the opium of the people'!"

    Shakespeare wrote- " Not on thy sole but on thy soul harsh "fellow" thou makest thy knife keen " [ or something similar]
    Something fishy there?

    Re think happy's words. Our language is the envy of the world.

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  • 141. At 9:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    "seanspa, # 127,
    That is as maybe.
    But your silky words and thoughtful teachings had me mesmerised too."

    That's it - that's what I meant.

    You too waterman. Are you sunning yourself in Spain?

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  • 142. At 10:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 141

    South Portugal, very much in the plus re temperature, but please do not let others know about it, because I am afraid they will want to come here too for the peace and tranquillity that abounds.
    Happy to be regarded as a crazy quiet nobody, gardening away, in the middle of the countryside.

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  • 143. At 10:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    timeswaits and waterman, thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated. I hope you don't mind my abbreviating your names, but the more I type, the more chance I have of making spelling mistakes, and no-one wants to see that!

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  • 144. At 11:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    140 waterman
    It was Karl Marx who said: "Religion is the opiate of the people." The fact is, just because some individual states something does not make it the truth, worth heeding or quoting - unless their words reflect the bias or prejudice of those who choose to use them. Then suddenly it becomes sound wisdom.
    Marx said some things I believe reflect reality, but he also talked a load of drivel and his atheistic ideology produced the Soviet Union's communist system that was responsible the miserably deaths of about one hundred million human beings. That is the calculation of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and Andre Sakharov.

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  • 145. At 11:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Must away to bed.
    All that "early bird catches the worm" stuff.

    No Marcus. It has nothing to do with you blogging at 5.30 am my time. It is just a saying.
    I do not mean you. Honestly.

    Goodnight all.

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  • 146. At 11:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    138.

    watermanaquarius wrote:

    "Ed and british-ish,

    Gentleman, please give it a rest with the grammar"

    David's ticking off Justin for accidentally inventing 'inciteful', which I really like, because it describes what Marcus, Vivaelcid and Roblop and one or two others write very neatly. . .

    I've got 'inciteable' too. I think Marcus especially is very inciteable.

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  • 147. At 00:03am on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Definitive Opiate

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 148. At 00:05am on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    WMA, Cork oak country, perchance?

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  • 149. At 00:31am on 28 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    ++1 to RomeStu, Ed and others re: the willingness to listen. Reading that interview it felt like someone threw open the curtains and lifted the window in a dark, musty room.

    Imagine, a real foreign policy instead of a bunch of ideological knee jerks!

    And to Robloop (and Marcus)--pay attention to the distinction Obama makes here:

    I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.

    And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda -- that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it -- and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.

    But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship.


    That, me hearties, is whachya call the power of discernment.

    Yours,
    Canadian Pinko

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  • 150. At 01:15am on 28 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    142 watermanaquarius

    Oh lucky you! How idyllic! I particularly like the gardening part.

    Do you read the Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell? He is always encouraging us to go to Portugal to visit the battle sites. It's on my list of things to do. I'll let you know my flight number. You do have a car?

    I promise not to tell. I am a "noman" of my word.

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  • 151. At 05:49am on 28 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    144, robloop.
    "...and his (Lenin's) atheistic ideology produced the Soviet Union's communist system that was responsible the miserably deaths of about one hundred million human beings."

    (1) Atheism does not equate with communism (which was actually socialism).

    (2) The reason the Russians lost so many people (and this is something no one talks about) is that it was their technique (if you can call it that) to rely on throwing vast numbers of ill-prepard soldiers at the enemy in lieu of strategic planning. They had little regard for human life and millions were lost this way.

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  • 152. At 05:56am on 28 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    marbles, I think you might find that, as well as many dying as cannon fodder, Stalin had a habit of killing people and peoples he didn't like. Millions were lost this way.

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  • 153. At 08:07am on 28 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    robloop # 144
    I am not sure if I understand from your gross remark, that you got what I was hinting at. Opiate , Opium I will settle for them both.
    I am the last person in the world to attempt to correct anybodies grammar spelling or punctuation, quotations too.
    I dropped a huge clue, but I fear it went over your head too, but believe with this reply if you cant see the wood for the trees, you will disappoint me.
    ps. I feel obliged to give out top marx for your spelling., and thank you for the info about Karl and friends. Everybody seems to enjoy russian about these days to stop and look at our world passing us by, and the humour in it.
    pps.[12x12=144{gross}]

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  • 154. At 08:14am on 28 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Ed # 148,

    Cork oak country a few kilometres away.
    Started with an impoverished piece of nothing 7-8 years ago and it is slowly coming along.
    The original impoverished soil prevents planting too many cork oaks now, but Aussie types have taken to it well.
    Jacaranda, Grevillea, and Eucalyptus Gums. Lots of local and foreign fruit trees, and talk to them all daily when I am not swinging in them.
    Know you will like this one :-
    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
    Henry David Thoreau

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  • 155. At 08:17am on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 156. At 08:28am on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    In my humble opinion tobacco is a harmful addictive killer. Obama should take note and free up the herb politically and legally.

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  • 157. At 10:11am on 28 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Lost all your marbles

    "(2) The reason the Russians lost so many people (and this is something no one talks about) is that it was their technique (if you can call it that) to rely on throwing vast numbers of ill-prepard soldiers at the enemy in lieu of strategic planning. They had little regard for human life and millions were lost this way."

    That's how the Iraniacs fought against the Iraqis, in human wave attacks. Only they sent out children, teen age boys mostly, to be sacrificed, many not even armed. There were so many, the Iraqis had to use poison gas on them, it was the only way to kill them fast enough. That's why America sold it to Iraq. That's how we knew they still had it. The military support America gave Saddam Hussein was intended to be used to kill Iraniacs. It was hoped it would be just enough to keep the war between them going as long as possible, hopefully indefinitely. Unfortunately, even people as stupid as Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini eventually realized the war was futile and ended it. Pity, had it continued on, America might never have had to fight in the Middle East.

    America sent about 900 million dollars worth of food and arms to Russia during WWII (of which not one cent was repaid.) The purpose was exactly what you described. The Russians were neither competent fighters nor brave but according to accounts in the Gulag Archipellago and elsewhere, the soldiers either marched forward to be killed by Germans or if they refused, to be shot by the KGB right behind them. There were so many of them, one German general said it felt like an elephant being eating by ants. If the Soviet soldiers were captured and taken prisoner by the Germans, when they were released, they were immediately imprisoned by the Soviets for having committed the crime of seeing the West. The contaigon of knowing that the outside world was entirely different from the way the Communist regime painted it for its citizens was something that frightened it very much. (this also according to Solzhenitsyn.) But decades later in the age of information, that was in part its fatal undoing, that and bankrupcy resulting from Reagan escalating the arms race.

    Iggy #102

    America's war against Iraq has been an unqualified success in every imaginable way. We could hardly have hoped for better. Iraq is a spent force, utterly impotent against its neighbors. When the US leaves, the factions in Iraq, each with their backers around the region will fight a huge civil war, they'll be at ech others throats for decades. The US will be forced into a long overdue war with Iran no matter who is President. There simply won't be any choice. At the very least, it will have to back the Arabs who in turn will back the Sunnis. This is the result of the legacy of the Carter administration which had no answer to the fall of the Shah. Allowing the Islamic Revolution to succeed was the worst thing that could have happened for the US. The end result many years from now will be American hegemony over the entire Middle East region. Peace will be imposed there on American terms just as it was in Europe. What's more, the cost to America has been insignificant. I can hardly think of a real war America has fought in, where it has lost fewer soldiers or cost less money. (I'm not counting Kosovo or Desert Storm which weren't really wars but turkey shoots.) The war cost the US under a trillioin dollars in 6 years, about 1% GDP. Not a bad investment. The 4000 soldiers who died, each a tragedy for their families, is around the number we lose in automobile accidents in any typical five week period. It will also force the Obama administration into a new round of major military spending to reload, an entirely welcome excuse for government contracts during a deep recession. If it has any brains at all, those contracts will be issued to domestic suppliers to stimulate the American economy. Raytheon and FMC will benefit. So will Boeing and Lockheed.


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  • 158. At 10:44am on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #157

    "America's war against Iraq has been an unqualified success in every imaginable way. We could hardly have hoped for better"

    Ignorance is bliss?

    Even Bush told of his dissapointment that no WMDs were found.

    "When the US leaves, the factions in Iraq, each with their backers around the region will fight a huge civil war"

    If you call leaving a mess such as that a success, rather than stabalizing a country and making it a valuable ally in a region full of enemies, you really must be flying with the kites.

    One can only hope that someday you are forced to live in a city in which you fear for your life, without food and any way to defend yourself. Perhaps then you will realize how utterly disgusting a human being you are.

    It is people like yourself in the states and Iran that cause this hostility.

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  • 159. At 10:47am on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    WMA,

    Now, where have I seen that?

    "AT A CERTAIN season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house. I have thus surveyed the country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live. In imagination I have bought all the farms in succession, for all were to be bought, and I knew their price. I walked over each farmer's premises, tasted his wild apples, discoursed on husbandry with him, took his farm at his price, at any price, mortgaging it to him in my mind; even put a higher price on it- took everything but a deed of it- took his word for his deed, for I dearly love to talk- ...."
    Henry
    And, I was just wondering whether Karl wrote in English or Deutsch....

    Remember that as soon as a girl discovers she isn't the only pebble on the beach, she becomes a little boulder...

    Slainte!!
    ed

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  • 160. At 10:54am on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    WMA,

    "MEANWHILE MY beans, the length of whose rows, added together, was seven miles already planted, were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground; indeed they were not easily to be put off. What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting, this small Herculean labor, I knew not. I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows. This was my curious labor all summer- to make this portion of the earth's surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse. What shall I learn of beans or beans of me?....."


    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 161. At 11:29am on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Ahmadinejad's recent comments aren't exactly encouraging. Let's hope Obama demands an apology for Iran exporting weapons and terrorism in return.

    Or that Ahmadinejad is not elected this year.

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  • 162. At 11:35am on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Speaking of becoming a little bolder....

    Pride and fall, and a' Mea culpa ;-(
    ed

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  • 163. At 11:48am on 28 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    157 Marcus
    "There were so many, the Iraqis had to use poison gas on them, it was the only way to kill them fast enough. That's why America sold it to Iraq."


    So America sold poison gas to Sadaam so that he could kill Iranian child soldiers faster.

    Do you think there should be an enquiry?

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  • 164. At 11:49am on 28 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    158. SaintOne:

    There is no point in trying to engage someone who displays such loathsome hatred for every human being but (I have to assume) himself.

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  • 165. At 11:53am on 28 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    157 Marcus
    "America sent about 900 million dollars worth of food and arms to Russia during WWII "


    In case you're unaware, Russian was our ally during the latter part of WW2.

    Without Russia we would not have won WW2.


    Incidentally, Churchill warned that as Nazi Germany crumbled and the Russians advanced from the east, that the western allies should run for Berlin. He knew not to trust Stalin, but was overruled by Eisenhower who dithered and let Stalin take Berlin and then consolidate his hold on Eastern Europe.

    Had Churchill not been overruled the Iron Curtain may never have been drawn.

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  • 166. At 11:58am on 28 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #144 Rob

    I don't think we can reduce Marxism as an atheistic ideology and that atheism was responsible for millions of deaths. The Nazis believed God was on their side, and in fact religion is responsible for many conflicts in the world. As far as I know, no-one has yet been killed in the name of Existentialism. Materialism does not just mean matter! There is also a rich metaphysics to it which I won't bore people with here

    I always thought that that quote was not by Marx, but by Lenin:

    Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.

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  • 167. At 12:04pm on 28 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    157. At 10:11am on 28 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "157. At 10:11am on 28 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    Lost all your marbles

    "(2) The reason the Russians lost so many people (and this is something no one talks about) is that it was their technique (if you can call it that) to rely on throwing vast numbers of ill-prepard soldiers at the enemy in lieu of strategic planning. They had little regard for human life and millions were lost this way."

    Yeh yeh very predictable but the Russians won WWII, no one doubts this.

    "America sent about 900 million dollars worth of food and arms to Russia during WWII (of which not one cent was repaid.) "

    More American stupidity

    " If the Soviet soldiers were captured and taken prisoner by the Germans, when they were released, they were immediately imprisoned by the Soviets for having committed the crime of seeing the West. "


    Did this include those gassed to death in experiments at Aushwitz? It took them 24 hours to die.


    "There were so many of them, one German general said it felt like an elephant being eating by ants."

    Hmm did the elephant win?


    The US owes the Russians its ultimate survival.

    This is now being acknowledged.




    America's war against Iraq has been an unqualified success in every imaginable way."

    I do so agree. But I am not sure whetehr all the relatives of the dead and wounded US soldiers would agree.

    Their concept of "unimaginable success" probably does not include the death of their love ones

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  • 168. At 12:16pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    Marvaless Marcus you inadvertently hit the nail on the head, all these war games are about theft of oil and gas and out of hand them get out of hand in all of them foreign land

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  • 169. At 12:37pm on 28 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    161. SaintOne wrote:

    Ahmadinejad's recent comments aren't exactly encouraging.

    They won't be, any more than what we are likely to hear from Netanyahu the next couple of weeks.

    If a thaw isn't gradual, we drown. Think more thaw after Ice Age.

    Just hope the next president thinks the same way.

    The "troubles" bedevilled my home country all of my life, after all, and it's still a bit early to be sure they're really over.

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  • 170. At 1:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #157
    Here is a quote taken from Wikipedia:
    A total of $50.1 billion (equivalent to nearly $700 billion at 2007 prices) worth of supplies were shipped: $31.4 billion to Britain, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France and $1.6 billion to China'.

    The USSR received three times less the supplies give to Britain but killed 20 times more Germans and destroyed 30 times more German equipment. I will not even compare that with the French effort. By the way, the USA with all its material wealth did not fare any better aginst Germany either. I think you should stop the cheap Hollywood propaganda.

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  • 171. At 1:11pm on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #164, British-ish

    Most certainly true, however, I wish to make it quite clear that the world has no place for someone with such an attitude towards fellow man. I refer to him as being a "man" generously. Of course, he is not the only one such as this in the world, but perhaps the only one that bothers to post such malice on this blog.

    I have no doubt he feels rather safe typing away at the keyboard, as opposed to being in the middle of a warzone, whether a combatant or otherwise.

    Peace

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  • 172. At 1:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    "He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot"

    Andrew Carnegie

    Something a certain poster should take on board?

    Peace

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  • 173. At 1:24pm on 28 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    #157 Marcus 'One-eye'

    Oh top work sir! Surely there must be an award for the 'best post rationalisation of a major cock-up'?

    "America's war in Iraq has been an unqualified success in every possible way".

    Golden - absolutely golden. I salute your awe inspiring rejection of mundane reality.

    If there is no such award in existence - I vote we create it. Let's call it the "Bushie"!

    oooh.....crumpets....lovely. Any tea in the pot?

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  • 174. At 1:27pm on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Looks like Russia are halting their missle deployment in response to Obama.

    A positive step indeed!

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  • 175. At 2:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #170, Isenhorn

    Game, set & match.

    Still, facts and evidence I doubt will make MAII even contemplate for a second he could possible be wrong

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  • 176. At 3:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SaintOne 174),

    Looks good:

    "The US envoy to Nato, Kurt Volker, said that if true, the suspension would be a "very positive step", the Reuters news agency reported."
    BBC
    "Volker"??? is that more "folksy" stuff?

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 177. At 3:15pm on 28 Jan 2009, Avigdor wrote:

    Notice Ahmadinejad's response, reported today (Wed.) by al Reuters. He's asking, not only for a withdrawal of US troops "from abroad," but for an American apology for "past crimes" against Tehran.

    Will the Obamessiah apologize?

    In the meantime, it's being predicted that Iran will have a nuclear bomb by the end of next year. I miss George Bush already.

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  • 178. At 3:26pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    see them come with the M16
    quick pass me the laser beam
    let me wipe then out the scene
    wipe out the wicked clean
    them come with 45
    but I know we got to survive

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  • 179. At 3:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, R-Snail wrote:

    18. Simon21

    I've met many Iranian moslems, in many places and capacities, and yes the majority strike me as being silent.

    Regarding my post 6, Ahmadinejad has just proven my point. A moderate Muslim extremist has obviously taken President Obama's conciliatory tone as weakness.

    Slow thaw indeed... I wonder how long until things really heat up?

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  • 180. At 3:47pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    It was Karl Marx who said: "Religion is the opiate of the people." The fact is, just because some individual states something does not make it the truth, worth heeding or quoting - unless their words reflect the bias or prejudice of those who choose to use them. Then suddenly it becomes sound wisdom.
    ------------------------
    Robby the not so wise.

    Are you doubting the truth behind this statement?

    It became considered worth noting by so many because it contained truth.
    (the people vs masses go get a wordasaurus)

    Just look at the states.
    A country dying for more drugs. so much so that they take them oxygotem drugs like vitamins.

    Look at Drinking. Not opium. But has a real grasp of society.
    look at recovery so often replaces drugs alcinthehole with religion.

    All that is often talked about .
    the bit that is missed is that at the time so many of the rich and influential people were opium junkies.

    They could afford it.

    But carry on thinking that there is no relevance. It is typical of you.


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  • 181. At 3:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    There seems to be among Europeans and the American left an irrational denial of history, geopolitical realities, an over sentimental view of the inevitable casualties of war, and a kind of anger when it is discussed with any dispassionate objectivity, esepcially when it puts them or one of their favorites in a bad light. This even though two world wars that were fought and a third that was almost fought and would have ended all human life on earth were the clear result of European dogma that was clung to tenaciously at the time. Europeans fought WWII against Germany because they had no choice. The USSR tried to stay out of it but was attacked and had no choice. It took them several years to manufacture their flimsy excuse for the secret Malankov-Von Ribbentroff pact after which the raped Poland from the East as the Nazis raped it from the West. None of this Euro-lunacy about real history surprises me one bit.

    Ironically, the oil that was protected from monopolistic control by one nation by supplying arms including poison gas to Iraq and later entering the war against Iraq was oil mostly destined not for the US but to other countries including Europe. American oil comes mostly from Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela and domestic production. Some comes from Saudi Arabia. Europeans who feel that it wasn't worth it should reflect on what it was like without gas for a week or two earlier this month. Perhaps the US should have allowed Europe to be held hostage by the Ayatollahs or the Baathists. I suppose a good case could be made for that.

    BTW, when is somenone going to demand an investigation of the use of poison gas against the Afghans by the USSR and the generals and political leaders who gave the orders to use it, many of whom are still alive today? Oops, I forgot, the Soviet Union was god to the European left, it can't be touched.

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  • 182. At 3:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    163 stu

    So America sold poison gas to Sadaam so that he could kill Iranian child soldiers faster.

    Do you think there should be an enquiry?


    ------------

    Hence the quick speedy execution of Saddam.

    Instead of a UN trial.

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  • 183. At 4:00pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    164. At 11:49am on 28 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:
    158. SaintOne:

    There is no point in trying to engage someone who displays such loathsome hatred for every human being but (I have to assume) himself.


    If you have read his "works " in the past you may notice that he must hate himself.
    It is the only reason someone would chose his wines and cars.
    Bit like a monk whipping himself for all those naughty thoughts, About Europe-the promised land.

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  • 184. At 4:08pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    166 dceiler

    It seems my original use of the phrase as a comment to shorn was spot on .
    As a dieter he is just someone who can't decide which drug to make his drug of choice.

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  • 185. At 4:11pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    happylaze

    to you this ones dedicated for you
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2009/01/green_light_for_weed.html

    (you may need to blow your cover again)

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  • 186. At 4:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    173 Feohme
    Yes milk?

    we have some digestives , would you like one?

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  • 187. At 4:13pm on 28 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Ed @ 176

    Thanks for that link ....
    especially this bit
    "A Russian military official said a change in US attitude had prompted the latest decision"



    O M G ....... it's working already!
    It must seem so simple in retrospect.

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  • 188. At 4:17pm on 28 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    161 , 169 British-ish and SaintOne


    I like your comments.

    It's also important to remember that both Ahmedinajad and Netanyahu are facing elections in the near future.

    What they say must be filtered through the lens of their own countries' political situation.

    Their comments will be primarily for domestic consumption, and therefore the "west" anbd especially the USA must read between the lines, as for the both of them, the primary objective will be re-election.

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  • 189. At 4:42pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    united we stand divided we fall

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  • 190. At 4:55pm on 28 Jan 2009, VictoriaBoston wrote:

    "And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating"

    Ahmadinejad would know about dictating, as would the leaders of most Arab nations. People in glass houses, and all that...This from the murderer of thousands of Iranian Bahai, and the oppressor of the Iranian people. I believe in Obama with everything I have, but he owes Ahmadinejad nothing at all. Flapping your lips about the icky thump that was GW Bush doesn't make you any kind of hero or voice of righteousness, it just makes you a sanctimonious cliche, sort of like, well...GW Bush.

    "Leaders" like Ahmadinejad rage that every American negotiation is a "demand," and every ally is a "puppet." Sometimes it's true, but other times it is simply rhetoric that is just as transparently idiotic as "they hate us for our freedom." Obama is the president of the U.S., not the servant of world leaders who are trying to shore up their image by "standing up" to the U.S. Not every single American foreign policy initiative is motivated by self-interest and greed, but many self-righteous criticisms of us are.

    I do not believe that Ahmadinejad speaks for the Iranian people, and I look forward to the day when they take back control of their country.

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  • 191. At 5:08pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    179. At 3:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, R-Snail wrote:
    18. Simon21

    I've met many Iranian moslems, in many places and capacities, and yes the majority strike me as being silent.
    --------------------
    (when standing next to a racist it is sometimes considered a good thing to keep quiet if you don't want to start a fight)

    -----------------
    Regarding my post 6, Ahmadinejad has just proven my point. A moderate Muslim extremist has obviously taken President Obama's conciliatory tone as weakness.
    ------------------------------

    Badmeal has done nothing of the sort. he has said. YOU SCREWED US FOR YEARS AND NOW WE ARE MEANT TO APOLOGISE TO YOU?


    Not as unreasonable as you.

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  • 192. At 5:10pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    classic example of coke head alcoholic turning to God to "get a life" was GW.

    What a shame he dried out.

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  • 193. At 5:16pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    All it takes is for america to admit it did wrong Iran in the past.

    But they do not have the courage to say it.
    Obvious as it is.

    Iran was not messed with because of this threat to Israel that is now the concern .

    it was messed with for oil. thats not the issue. It was messed with.
    And if america did say "OK we were wrong, but how are we going to resolve this,don't go taking the piss now boys" there might be a positive move.

    But no too big a boy to say when you got it wrong.Awww didums.

    Rather than say those words we are told by slow creatures here that we are better off standing firm and if need be start killing.


    And we want to call them crazy?

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  • 194. At 5:23pm on 28 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Wiki says it was Marx.

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  • 195. At 5:25pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "Oops, I forgot, the Soviet Union was god to the European left, it can't be touched."

    Oh yea.. good one marcus.

    PS the whole world now faces a really bad "economic downturn" that may leed to riots and revolution in so many places it is hard to fathom.

    Capitalism failed.

    To the extent it might very well have destroyed mans long term future .

    All the best solutions to Global warming may not happen because we are too busy fighting over the last scraps while the trekies all dream of heading to space.

    And you buddy if it happens too quick will be nothing but food to some creature(which we should all be if it weren't for pesky fires).
    Your lincon won't even get you far enough to escape on your last tank

    It was not the Soviet Union that brought us to this point.

    But the country we prefer(Russia ) will help now they are on our plan of"economy".



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  • 196. At 5:27pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    ED STU I saw it earlier and had to laugh at how easy de escalation is. And how some think it so hard.

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  • 197. At 5:31pm on 28 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "But Sky News also chose not to air it, saying it would be "incompatible" with its objective role. "


    Now Why would that be?;)

    that is a given but still the BBC?
    now IAEA chief cancels interviews with the BBC.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7856213.stm

    Seeing as the BBC is doing this to appease it's american audience and advertisers why not try to find out what the people of the states think about it.

    Or are we still trying to pretend the BBC is not bias on the Israeli side?

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  • 198. At 5:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    All,

    I discovered a way to undo the emboldening of some threads (actually worked on this thread).

    I simply complained about my own comment, to wit:

    "Because it includes a link without any descriptive text, the software's html parser has converted <b></b> into <strong />, and this has left the rest of the thread doomed to be emboldened.."
    It worked! Soon the post was marked as "referred to the moderators" and everything ceased being bold! Whoopeee!

    After a while, I received another email
    "Dear BBC Reader,

    Further to your complaint about some of the content on a BBC blog (reference number P23367024), we have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on site."
    And everything is back to bold

    Dearie me, what's a body to do?

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  • 199. At 6:42pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    HappyJack,

    "All it takes is for america to admit it did wrong Iran in the past.

    But they do not have the courage to say it.
    Obvious as it is."
    You got it in one!

    Peace, contrition and humility
    ed

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  • 200. At 7:25pm on 28 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    I'm seeing a lot of emboldened posts. Ed, is this your fault? It does seem to start from your sign-off in post #160. That would be ironic.

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  • 201. At 7:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    #193 happylaze:

    "All it takes is for america to admit it did wrong Iran in the past.

    But they do not have the courage to say it.
    Obvious as it is."

    Sorry but that's incredibly naive; Amadehijan isn't looking for an apology, he wants to provoke another GW Bush type rant he can use to justify his position and shore up his unpopular presidency. Perhaps an apology would be appropriate at some point but now is not the time, Obama should stick to his stance of talks without preconditions.

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  • 202. At 8:11pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #198

    Ed,

    You have strong ju ju.

    Voodoo Sam

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  • 203. At 8:50pm on 28 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    156, kiki.
    "In my humble opinion tobacco is a harmful addictive killer. Obama should take note and free up the herb politically and legally."

    I don't know what you mean by "free up the herb." If you are talking about prohibition, we tried that once. It was a big boost to the mob as I recall. I note you do not mention marijuana. I was at my brother's house some time ago and his daughter was berating him about smoking. A thought flicked throuh my head and I asked her if she smoked marijuana. She did and I accused her of selective morality. As concerns tobacco and marijuana it is a widespread ailment.

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  • 204. At 10:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    re 203 ms. allmymarbles

    don't quote me on this because I didn't say shh.
    I know the Fed's listen

    de-criminalisation would be better than locking up the youths in my humble opinion

    in order of danger I rank the following in ascending sequence, this also ties up with the level of addiction

    bush weed
    alcohol
    tobacco
    skunk
    mushrooms
    hard drugs (e,g, coke, lsd)
    killer drugs (e.g. heroin crack ice crystal meths)



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  • 205. At 10:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    just say no



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  • 206. At 11:10pm on 28 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Ed Iglehart

    We are all counting on you to do something about this site. Not saying it is your doing, but ....."Obewan, you are our only hope."

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  • 207. At 11:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Asa,

    "But they do not have the courage to say it.
    Obvious as it is."

    Sorry but that's incredibly naive; Amadehijan isn't looking for an apology, he wants to provoke another GW Bush type rant he can use to justify his position and shore up his unpopular presidency."
    So, don't give him what you say he wants....what's the harm in an apology? Obama's already indicated he wants to put the past behind him...what does it cost to admit the past was full of mistakes?

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace
    ed

    All,

    Yes, it's me what caused the emboldment, and it's me what asked the mods to remove the offending post as detailed in #198, but, Sam, my ju ju clearly ain't strong enough to convince the Mods (who are as Gods).....so we must go boldly ;-)

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  • 208. At 11:56pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I'm with Kiki on the matter of weed

    Ahhhhhh!
    ed

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  • 209. At 00:19am on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    151 allmymarbles
    Re your: "(1) Atheism does not equate with communism (which was actually socialism)."
    Oh yes it does! The communism that existed in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and China was based solely upon the ideology created by Karl Marx who was an athiest, hated religion which he said was 'the opiate of the people, and claimed that it destroyed creativity. It is a form of socialism. Lenin, at first a Bolshevik, came to refer to adherents of Marxism as
    'communists'.

    "(2) The reason the Russians lost so many people (and this is something no one talks about) is that it was their technique (if you can call it that) to rely on throwing vast numbers of ill-prepard soldiers at the enemy in lieu of strategic planning. They had little regard for human life and millions were lost this way."
    You are right about the Soviet's approach to fighting wars and they lost great numbers to the Germans, even placing commissars behind troops to shoot them dead when they tried to retreat.
    However, believe me Marbles, the greatest number of people the Soviet Union lost was not in WW11. The vast majority died in the vast network of slave camps that Alexandr Solzhenitsyn called the Gulag Archipelago. He spent nine or ten years in one before being placed in forced exile, later writing his book: 'One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich'. There were thousands of these camps littered all over the Soviet Union. Conditions were terrible and people died like flies. The movie 'Dr Zvargo' captures a little of what happened there after 1917. Then millions were murdered by the KGB and its military equivalent, the name of which eludes me right now. Solzhenitsyn wrote three other books on the the slave camps: Gulag Archipelago 1, 11 and 111. They graphically describe life and death in these camps.

    166 Dceilar
    Please read what I wrote above. I spent a lot of time over four years studying this stuff. Whatever ordinary German soldiers thought about God, Nazi leadership did not share their beliefs. They were atheists.
    Further, the atheistic system, Marxism, was responsible for the callous attitudes toward human life that existed in the Soviet Union and has done so in China, and accounted for their belief that human life without any hereafter, was expendable.

    153 Waterman
    Sorry, it was not my intention to correct your grammar or spelling. I can't even remember how the discussion got going, but I recall a couple of incorrect quotes, so gave it without intending a 'put-down' to you. Maybe in a hurry at that moment and not thinking of subtleties.

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  • 210. At 00:31am on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    ASA
    201
    "Sorry but that's incredibly naive; Amadehijan isn't looking for an apology, he wants to provoke another GW Bush type rant he can use to justify his position and shore up his unpopular presidency. Perhaps an apology would be appropriate at some point but now is not the time, Obama should stick to his stance of talks without preconditions."

    ----------------
    Which is exactly why you meet that condition. Which is only words, after all.

    No better time in a long time for it.
    If ahmadinnasbad turns that down.
    Be it on his own head. literally.
    If anything provoked the popular uprising that so many want, this would be it.
    Think about it.

    I would hope he could see the writing on the wall.I think he would.
    Gaddafi did.

    They do have a legitimate complaint about interference , some not all would say.

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  • 211. At 00:33am on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Agreed prohibition does not work.
    I'm living testimony to that.

    Prohibition does not take away the desire.
    and that is what has to be removed o get people to not use something.

    Same with cars.

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  • 212. At 00:41am on 29 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    Speaking of drugs, reading everything in bold like this makes me feel like I just ate some mushrooms. Everything is so the same, yet it's all different, man . . . whoaaa . . .

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  • 213. At 00:47am on 29 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 214. At 02:11am on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    213 chronophobe
    I see you've sinned!
    Just want you to know that I responded to your posting on the topic, now obliterated, in which you asked if I'd heard of or read the views on abortion of a George Grant. I thanked you for your courteous posting (so rare here!) and told you I hadn't, but would. Next morning that topic was gone. If you'd again give me the attachment, I'll be interested to read it.

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  • 215. At 02:37am on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    151 allmymarbles
    Re the huge number of deaths in Russia (which of course in time became the Soviet Union as it swallowed up its neighbours, began with Lenin who with the use of Cheka, forerunner to the KGB, he simply wiped out those who did not see things his way.
    Then, after Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin grabbed power and conducted a murderous program under the banner: "Liquidate the Kulaks as a class." These were land-owning peasants who resisted his land confiscation and collectivization program, so they had to go. I think about 2 millions died, mostly starved to death, but the fact is that about 5 million also 'disappeared', never to be heard of again.
    Stalin was then responsible for the deaths of 7 million Ukrainians who he had it in for after siding with Germany during WW1, and later resisting being part of Bolshevik Russia. His deliberately created famine was responsible for most of the deaths. And this was only the start!
    Later came the slave camps.

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  • 216. At 02:46am on 29 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    Re: Ahmadinejad, do any of you know how seriously one should take this "hidden Imam" business? (I hereby confess my own ignorance on the matter).

    Is Ahmadinejad really making policy decisions (esp. foreign policy) based on this stuff?

    robloop: that thread is still there. It is reached via the little calendar labeled 'Archive' up at the top of this and all threads. You can also see all my scrawlings on the BBC blogs by clicking on my user name at the top of each post.

    But for ease of access, the link is here. It's the only place I could find the essay online (it's originally from Journal of Canadian Studies, Oct. 2004).

    But I too have a request. Please argue politely with timewaitsfornoman over on the bible thread. Your fervour can be intimidating.

    Yours,
    Canadian Pinko

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  • 217. At 03:22am on 29 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    216 chronophobe

    "Please argue politely"

    Thank you, how very Canadian! Of course I would prefer he didn't argue at all, but I guess we can't have everything. When I was a child and my mother would say "don't argue" my response, "don't arg me!"

    Don't know how well that comes across in print. I would make the "me" bold, but I guess that's redundant!

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  • 218. At 04:10am on 29 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    209, robloop.

    That was THEIR socialism. It is not an ingredient in all socialistic concepts. Western nations all have a heavy dose of socialism, the dose continually getting bigger and bigger.

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  • 219. At 04:10am on 29 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    timewaits,

    Don't be put off too quickly by robloop. He and I don't see eye to eye on many things, but we can discuss our differences civilly.

    I think happy and simon were doing a tag team wind up on him over yonder.

    Anyway, take the font here to heart, and be bold, or boldly go, or something like that . . . you are doing just fine over there yourself!

    And now, to sleep . . .

    Yours,
    Pinko

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  • 220. At 04:51am on 29 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    207 Ed Iglehart wrote:

    All,

    Yes, it's me what caused the emboldment, and it's me what asked the mods to remove the offending post as detailed in #198, but, Sam, my ju ju clearly ain't strong enough to convince the Mods (who are as Gods).....so we must go boldly ;-)

    Can you do colours too? I was thinking that blue was getting a bit boring?

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  • 221. At 05:44am on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    lost all your marbles, it would really be more interesting if you knew what you were talking about instead of always spouting off about things you obviously don't understand.

    Even if the only thing you'd read about communism was the Communist Manifesto, you'd know that Karl Marx called communism "scientific socialism." He said that religion was the opiate of the people used by capitalist controlled governments to divert the proletariat's attention away from the class struggle. He predicted that communist revolution would occur in industrially advanced nations like Germany, not in backward agrarian nations like Tsarist Russia. In fact he detested Slavs, saw them as inferior people. I've noticed this racist attitude among all Germans born prior to WWII and those from the former East Germany born since as well. This was true even among German Jews I've met. It's found in all Europeans I've observed to one degree or another, a characteristic trait of their tribal mentality.

    All socialist systems have one thing in common which distinguishes them from other economic systems and that is that the government owns the means of production and distribution of wealth. In many western countries like the United States, the government engages in this to an extremely limited degree. Try to find examples and you will be hard pressed. The Post Office? We have private alternatives. Redistribution of wealth through for example progressive income tax and government charity is not socialism per se. When government starts buying shares of preferred stock in a private company, that is a socialist act. When it buys common stock, that is clearly a move towards socialism. When it nationalizes companies, even entire industries, that is clearly socialism. That is what is happening in Venezuela today, especially with the oil industry. Socialism has always failed disasterously everywhere it's ever been tried. Whatever does work, clearly socialism doesn't. Its naive Robin Hood mentality flies in the face of human nature which is invariably greedy and corrupt.

    It is ironic that in communist Cuba, Castro re-introduced religion to divert his population's attention away from the catastrophic economic failure his policies have resulted in. Apparently, just blaming the US boycott wasn't enough anymore. Clearly capitalists are not the only ones who have to administer opiates to keep the proletariat from revolting.

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  • 222. At 05:48am on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    216 chronophobe
    Thanks for the article. I smiled over your comment about timewaits. She shouldn't worry. I have a lot more humour than is apparent and get many a chuckle over things said in postings, but life conspired to make me fight hard for a few things and that sometimes comes through without intending harshness - unless of course, needled by my usual blog adversaries! But to be honest, even they don't bother me particularly.

    218 allmymarbles
    Of course that was 'THEIR' socialism and mighty harsh it was too. A far more gentle version, social democracy, is that of the U.K. and to a large extent Canada. You are right about it getting bigger and bigger, but what folk don't realize is that with this development government increasingly thinks it has the right to encroach on individual's lives and dictate what individuals can and cannot do. Taxes increase to pay for benefits and the incentive to work hard is diminished by extra productivity and earnings being taxed. Then in both the U.K. and Canada, and probably all over Europe, benefits and services are crumbling bit by bit. Since when is big government efficient?
    I believe in government helping individuals who have fallen through the cracks, and those who through no fault of their own have found themselves impoverished, but lazy people who expect others to fund their sloth, I would gladly tell to get stuffed.

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  • 223. At 06:18am on 29 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    222, robloop.

    I am with you in terms of big government, but I don't think it is a trend that will change. What I would really love is to get rid of health insurance altogether. (Remember it is a profit-making system.) Then we could all afford to go to doctors. No profiteering middlemen. What the employer pays for insurance would be returned to our salaries. Doctors would drop their fees. Unnecessary tests would be a thing of the past. Pharmaceutical companies would stop gouging. The forms and red tape and accounting would be gone. For the poor we could do what we did in the past - set up free clinics.

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  • 224. At 07:12am on 29 Jan 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    If Ahmadinejad also openly apologizes to the US (without censoring it in Iran) for the Iranian hostage crisis in the Carter years, the subsequent financing of Hamas and Hezbollah through the 80s to the present, and Iran's meddling in the war in Iraq I think we can call it even.

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  • 225. At 07:52am on 29 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    220:

    207 Ed Iglehart:

    Oh, and can you fix us up with a better font, as well please, if you would be so kind? I think Gill Sans would be nice.

    And, maybe a bit later, pictures?

    I hadn't realised the Beeb's blogs might be customisable.

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  • 226. At 08:03am on 29 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    224 BienvenueEnLouisiana

    The problem with this current fashion of demanding that descendants apologise for the mistakes of ancestors, is where do you stop?

    Should every descendant of Adam apologise to every descendant of Eve for eating that apple?

    It's not apologies (or recompense, even) anyone should be asking for, it's an amendment to behaviour in the future we want.

    (And I don't just mean on the part of Iran. This American obsession with what was really historically a trivial incident, btw, I shall never understand.)

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  • 227. At 08:37am on 29 Jan 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    224. BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "If Ahmadinejad also openly apologizes to the US (without censoring it in Iran) for the Iranian hostage crisis in the Carter years, the subsequent financing of Hamas and Hezbollah through the 80s to the present, and Iran's meddling in the war in Iraq I think we can call it even."



    Essentially in the "free" west, we see peace as a desirable situation (well, most of us).

    Often the people with whom we have problems (for example Iran) are not free, and their governments do not always act in their best interests.

    Thus someone has to make the first move. As Obama said it is about the future - not the past.

    An apology is just words, but if those words can help to move things along then they are well worth saying "without pre-conditions".

    To continue the tit-for-tat bickering over who started it, and then who did what for whom, is not going to resolve anything.

    Who knows, if we manage to encourage change in Iran by being terribly reasonable (without giving them free rein to do as they please), then perhaps in their future they may well decide to apologise to us for what they did.

    Someone has to start the ball rolling. The west generally claims the moral high ground, so we must make the first moves.

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  • 228. At 08:44am on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #226 Brit (following on from #224 WelcomeToLouisiana)

    Where will it end indeed! Should descendants of slaves receive an apology and compensation (or at least recognition) from the descendants of those that benefited financally from Slavery?

    BTW didn't Eve tempt Adam to eat the forbidden fruit?

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  • 229. At 10:39am on 29 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    228. At 08:44am on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:
    #226 Brit (following on from #224 WelcomeToLouisiana)

    "Where will it end indeed! Should descendants of slaves receive an apology and compensation (or at least recognition) from the descendants of those that benefited financally from Slavery?

    BTW didn't Eve tempt Adam to eat the forbidden fruit?"

    That's very sexist. He was the one who caused all the problems by eating it. You can't blame Eve or the serpent.

    The difficulty is, it goes on and on. I was brought up in the north of England. Should descendants of mill owners apologise/pay the descendants of the children who were killed in the cotton mills? The descendants of mine owners those whose ancestors' children died in the coal mines?

    Some of my ancestry is Viking; must I apologise or have to pay up to the descendants of some Celts or Anglo-Saxons for what mine may have done when they arrived? Heaven only knows what the Italian half might have got up to, but I daresay it could get a bit expensive.

    I only want a quid from every descendant of Adam for all the trouble he's caused me. Not bothered about the apology, I'll just take the money. It's not much to ask :-)

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  • 230. At 11:01am on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Test

    Normal text color different text color normal text color different background color



    ;-)
    ed

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  • 231. At 11:07am on 29 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #230, Ed,

    I can't see any difference on my monitor/browser

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  • 232. At 11:17am on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 233. At 11:25am on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    221. At 05:44am on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    lost all your marbles, it would really be more interesting if you knew what you were talking about instead of always spouting off about things you obviously don't understand.

    Even if the only thing you'd read about communism was the Communist Manifesto, you'd know that Karl Marx called communism "scientific socialism." He said that religion was the opiate of the people used by capitalist controlled governments to divert the proletariat's attention away from the class struggle. He predicted that communist revolution would occur in industrially advanced nations like Germany, not in backward agrarian nations like Tsarist Russia. In fact he detested Slavs, saw them as inferior people. I've noticed this racist attitude among all Germans born prior to WWII>


    This from someone with a hatred a of all Palestinians and a mysterious race he calls "Europeans".

    And probably not fond of native Americans, blacks, disabled, latinos, catholics etc in his own country.

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  • 234. At 11:36am on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    229. At 10:39am on 29 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:
    228. At 08:44am on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:
    #226 Brit (following on from #224 WelcomeToLouisiana)

    "Where will it end indeed! Should descendants of slaves receive an apology and compensation (or at least recognition) from the descendants of those that benefited financally from Slavery?

    BTW didn't Eve tempt Adam to eat the forbidden fruit?"

    That's very sexist. He was the one who caused all the problems by eating it. You can't blame Eve or the serpent.

    The difficulty is, it goes on and on. I was brought up in the north of England. Should descendants of mill owners apologise/pay the descendants of the children who were killed in the cotton mills? The descendants of mine owners those whose ancestors' children died in the coal mines?"


    But this is hardly the equivalent to slavery. And it was startling to realise that it was not until very recently that a statue was put up to commemorate this evil trade.

    It is also odd that we have recently started holocaust day and made denial of a historical ofence a criminal act (a bizzare and weird idea Austria imprisons "holocaust deniers," but then elects former Nazis to high office), but have no problems with slavery.

    Partof the answer to this is the way the descendants feel about the injustices they endured and the scale of these.

    We say sorry to people all the time, it is a civilised thing to do.

    Australia did it for its native people, and, despite predictions, the sky did not fall in.

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  • 235. At 11:44am on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In the interest of remaining on-topic, I shall just say that I welcome President Obama's efforts to promote a possible thaw in foreign relations. I have visited all of Justin's links above, and found them thoroughly enlightening.

    It seems "house rules" rule, and it's not possible to conduct tests

    Oh well, ;-((
    ed

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  • 236. At 11:50am on 29 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    I have just read the full text of President Ahmadinejad's speech in which he refers to President Obama's 'unclench fist' remarks.

    Well, that was a short-lived open window!

    Ahmidenajad was so clear-cut in his rebuttal it can only mean one of two things: He really is under pressure to get the re-election votes & ironically has taken the Dubya Bush approach of appealing to the conservative extremities within his public support-base.
    Or, and granted it is an incredulous or, Ahmidenajad is doing a Pres Nixon of talking as tough as possible (re Mao) in public whilst covertly setting in motion thawing conditions for a deal with Obama!

    The latter would be almost as spectacular as Ribbentropp-Molotov in August '39! Have to hope the consequences are lot less fraught for the world.

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  • 237. At 12:13pm on 29 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #234, Simon,

    "It is also odd that we have recently started holocaust day and made denial of a historical ofence a criminal act (a bizzare and weird idea Austria imprisons "holocaust deniers," but then elects former Nazis to high office), but have no problems with slavery."

    Slightly off your point here, but why is it noone ever mentions the fact that the Americans dropped two atom bombs on two civilan populations? And also, us Brits killed more German civilians than they ever did in the blitz.

    History seems to favour us as we are the ones writing the history.

    I'm not saying we are evil, but we should remember we didn't exactly play fair

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  • 238. At 12:21pm on 29 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #209
    'The communism that existed in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and China was based solely upon the ideology created by Karl Marx who was an athiest, hated religion which he said was 'the opiate of the people, and claimed that it destroyed creativity'

    And very right were they to hate religion! Just think of the Christian fanatics in the Bible belt in the USA and their equivalents, the Islamists. The comunists might have got many things wrong, but for giving a hard time to all the religious morons they have my respect!

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  • 239. At 12:26pm on 29 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #236, ikamaskeip

    I would expect the former.

    Let's hope he doesn't get re-elected.

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  • 240. At 12:26pm on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In the interest of remaining on-topic, I shall just say that I welcome President Obama's efforts to promote a possible thaw in foreign relations. I have visited all of Justin's links above, and found them thoroughly enlightening, but I have also discovered that, while the parser will accept comments containing such codes as

    <font color="FF0000">red text??</font>
    and
    <p>Normal text color <span style="color:green">different text color</span> normal text color <span style="background-color:yellow">different background color</span></p>
    it simply strips them out and thus ignores them (they don't appear in the page sourcecode). Try ctrl-U or view/source to have a look

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 241. At 1:14pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    simple simon, why would I hate people in my own country you mentioned or other people around the world for that matter. Only those so ignorant and malovalent that they represent a dire threat to their neighbors or the rest of the world, those so close minded that they don't even bother to read history and learn the real facts unpleasant as they may be, let alone learn its lessons, and those who have committed the most heinous crimes in the past and are likely to do it again given a chance. I've written those people off as incourageable. They happen to include Europeans, militant Moslems, communists, socialists, fascists, racists, and assorted other miscreants. Hatred is far too valuable an emotion to waste indiscriminately on those who haven't earned it.

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  • 242. At 1:56pm on 29 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Robloop, # 209,
    No offence taken.
    Quick explanation of my interjection with the quote "Religion is the opium/opiate of the masses'' ,#140,. which kicked into gear old teachings I received, and their specific actions on humans when I used to participate in the real world.
    1 Religion - no comment..
    2 Dissecting Opium / Opiate into it's simple relevant meanings and actions- --An addictive drug!, A narcotic! A medicine!. Relaxant!, Depressant!, Pain-reliever!, Sleep inducer!, Rarely a Stimulant ["trips"a la LSD]!, Causes Stress!, Factor for Digestive and Constipation problems!
    3 Meanings of Masses - Groups of people!, Volumes of solid bodies!, Tissue growths!, Eucharist religious services!, The common herd!
    Taking 1, and any explanation from each of 2 and 3, I came up with various comical possibilities.
    I wrote #140 "Re think happy's words. Our language is the envy of the world" to another blogger in an attempt to point him towards the ambiguity of the saying quoted, yet you lecture me # 144 somewhat along the same lines.
    My comment was not particularly humerous perhaps, but I saw no [h]arm in it. [Humerus] { I viewed Justin's "The Case for Brains in Politics" with the same irreverent thinking, pointing to a possible suggestion that a crate of "brew" would be of benefit} I must stop enjoying the nuances of languages.
    As others have previously mentioned their concerns about translation ambiguities on Ahmadinejad's earlier statements, the same may be suggested about the translation of Marx's to our present understanding Its was just my individual dissection of mis-quotes..
    Hope you read seanspa's link [Opium of the people /masses]. It shows Sade's original idea [in French] was probably rehashed by Marx [in German] for his own piece of the action. We English writers thankfully have 2 other languages to carry the can.
    Is life [with/without Religion] worth living?. That depends upon the liver!
    Throw stones at my comments, if you feel the need. As Ed suggests, greater problems only occur when one tries using boulders.

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  • 243. At 2:21pm on 29 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    MAII

    "...I hate people in my own country you mentioned or other people around the world for that matter. Only those so ignorant and malovalent that they represent a dire threat to their neighbors"

    You must really, realy hate yourself then.

    "They happen to include Europeans, militant Moslems, communists, socialists, fascists, racists, and assorted other miscreants."

    Leaving aside the rest of your ill-thought out arguement.....Racists?

    You hate racists but you hate (ALL) Europeans.

    You are a bigger hypocrit than I ever thought imaginable.

    However I am slightly encouraged that you used the phrase "militant" to describe muslims you dislike. Extremist would be better though.

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  • 244. At 2:37pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    218. At 04:10am on 29 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    209, robloop.

    That was THEIR socialism. It is not an ingredient in all socialistic concepts. Western nations all have a heavy dose of socialism, the dose continually getting bigger and bigger.
    ---------------------

    Well said marbles.
    It is said by some that there has never been a communist nation, just attempts.

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  • 245. At 2:43pm on 29 Jan 2009, MaryGabb wrote:

    How will Iran's domination of Iraq, be a gloriously unintended consequence?

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  • 246. At 2:49pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    219 Chrono .
    lol the tag team.
    You might have noticed I am no team player,HERE.

    it just ends up that way.
    He has shown racism in the past and as I point out he is blind to it because of his upbringing.
    Like others I know.

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  • 247. At 2:51pm on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    MaryGabb,

    The difference between an adverb and an adjective.

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  • 248. At 2:57pm on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    241. At 1:14pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    simple simon, why would I hate people in my own country"



    Misery Marcus - who knows? Maybe you are ignorant, maybe you belong to some supremacist organisation?

    Why hate any group en masse?

    There is no explaining the irrational.

    "Only those so ignorant and malovalent that they represent a dire threat to their neighbors or the rest of the world, those so close minded that they don't even bother to read history and learn the real facts unpleasant as they may be, let alone learn its lessons,"


    I would include ignorant, bigoted rascists who judge other ethnic groups and nations to be "inferiors" among these.

    Those like yourself, who have never read a history book in your life, but presume to damn millions of people who do not match your ysterious "standards".

    Individuals you see, not "races".

    You have made your views on "inferior" racial groups quite clear.

    You have even defined a new group -"the Europeans" who are apparently some kind of recycled 1930s jews - respsonsible for all the evils in the world.

    "and those who have committed the most heinous crimes in the past and are likely to do it again given a chance."


    Thank you Dr G, meaningless drivel as usual.

    Can you tell us how a baby (black or palestinian or Asian etc, take your pick) can commit a heinous crime?

    "I've written those people off as incourageable. They happen to include Europeans, militant Moslems, communists, socialists, fascists, racists, and assorted other miscreants."

    I notice you haven't written off the nazis.

    I think we can work out why.

    "Hatred is far too valuable an emotion to waste indiscriminately on those who haven't earned it."

    Doesn't seem to have done you a lot of good has it?

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  • 249. At 2:59pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "In the course of these escorts by the U.S. Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 with the loss of all 290 passengers and crew on 3 July 1988. "


    remember that
    because they used a missile from a plane does not make it less wrong.


    plus remember the huge losses in their wars encouraged by the US.

    Remember that Saddam used poison gasses on their people.
    supplied by someone.but encouraged by the US even if they didn't supply it as some will no doubt claim.

    they could legitimately look at the US as a state that has hounded them.

    They were not blowing up our soldiers until we took over next door to them and left a vacuum.

    They were worried.

    it's their country.
    mean while america fights wars the other side of the world.

    GW was paranoid, might have just as well been a crackhead to be that paranoid.

    The fear of Iraq was paranoia.
    the fear of Iran is paranoia
    And so many want to say
    " pot makes you paranoid.And did you hear them Iranians all want to kill us."


    lol what a joke.except the funny left when we talk of war.

    Apologise america . it's easy.

    When their right

    Or stand up tall and fluff your chest because there is no way in hell that america could admit that it did wrong.



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  • 250. At 3:01pm on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    223 allmymarbles
    I dislike intensely the idea of big government. Time has shown that it is mostly very inefficient and costs more than necessary to run. At university, as part of studies, I did a course on 'Bureaucracies'. Were it not for the British prof who had a great sense of humour it would have been as boring as hell, but it was useful. The fact is that bureacracies by their nature grow - and they usually grow unnecessarily. One thing that causes this is the need bureacracy managers feel to increase their importance in order to justify a salary increase. So they increase their staff. That in effect increases their importance ("I now have ten people working under me"), but it also increases cost of running and ignores of the reality of 'The law of diminishing returns'. For all this taxpayers pay.
    There is nothing wrong with profit. It is essential to run a free enterprise business, but the problem so often nowadays is the tendency of big corporations, in particular, to simply pass on the cost of their inefficiencies to consumers, rather than cleaning up their sloppy act.
    Then there is the lack of fair profit and plain old gouging. Greed is rampant and it seems increasingly so. Just consider the conduct of executives in the corporations that recently in this financial crunch have gone belly up. In particular the CEO of AIG is just plainly incredible. You'd think a lobotomy had played a role there!
    The large problem behind much of this new reality is a lack of ethics and integrity deeply ingrained in psyches. No conscience and it really is a case of 'all for ME.'
    So when next you consider the companies that provide health insurance, think of this. (I'm sure it will make you astoundingly happy!!) The reality is that the whole U.S. health system has gone crazy, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies - everyone just making too much money and impoverishing ordinary citizens. But may I say, don't have too many illusions about a public healthcare system. They are okay, but are a bit like a supermarket or lucky dip, if lucky you get good treatment, if not lucky pretty lousy.

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  • 251. At 3:10pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    suspect that with american pigheadedness the thaw can be turned to a deep freeze.

    It seems from some postings here they are too full of their collective selves to think, did we do some wrong.

    Disgusting nation I would say.


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  • 252. At 3:30pm on 29 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Happy Jack (249),

    Once again, Spot ON! As usual.

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace
    (and are we allowed to hope?) ed

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  • 253. At 3:39pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Rob I do agree that Greed is the root of all these problems we have today.
    Shell says "we lost in the last quarter""but made profit over the year.
    Just another example of unsustainable fleecing.
    same as insurance companies, health industry, lawyers. in fact most of the so called professional classes.and they are a class....act

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  • 254. At 3:42pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    simple simon, I've never said that there are inferior races. That notion is absurd. But there are inferior cultures that teach children from the earliest age to hate others and instill it in them over a lifetime. It is ultimately self destuctive of individuals and entire societies. And example, 5 year old Palestinian kids who learn to play suicide bomber. Another, the children's book I saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans. You can see the hatred all over Europe. Today, people in Northern Ireland are furious about money being handed out to families of people injured or killed in what they absurdly referr to as "the troubles." Why? Not because they feel they are not getting enough money themselves but because people they hate are getting anything at all. This goes to the heart of what Europe is about. Yes, there is a pan European culture and I find it detestable. I had a chance to witness it with my own eyes for almost two years. It is entirely alien, antithetical, and abhorrent to its American counterpart. That is why Europe will never come to terms with America. And ironically, it is one reason why America came from nowhere overnight and far surpased Europe in every meaningful way a long time ago.

    robloop, laissez-faire capitalism works brilliantly but the social consequences of the bust part of the cycle has social consequences so dire that it must be tempered by government regulation. This makes the booms lesser and shorter but the busts also lesser and shorter. This was the lesson of the great depression following the stock market crash of 1929 to 1932 that took a decade to recover from and shattered so many millions of American lives. It was the reason for the restrictive regulations that were imposed in the 1930s and the lesson that those who managed the US economy during the last 25 or 30 years forgot or never learned. If you want to gain real insight into the insanity of bureaucracy gone wild, I recommend you read Franz Kafka's book "The Castle."

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  • 255. At 3:47pm on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    251. At 3:10pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:
    suspect that with american pigheadedness the thaw can be turned to a deep freeze.

    It seems from some postings here they are too full of their collective selves to think, did we do some wrong.

    Disgusting nation I would say."


    The whole issue is too bizzare for words.

    Its time to stop this ludicrous game accept that Iran has or will easily get nuclear weapons and instead concentrate on giving them no reason to use them.

    As a very singular people with no territorial ambitions they would be in safer hands than the corrupt generals of Pakistan

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  • 256. At 4:11pm on 29 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    MAII,

    Rather than moaning about how much you hate Europe why don't you answer some of the points put forward by Simon and myself.

    "But there are inferior cultures that teach children from the earliest age to hate others and instill it in them over a lifetime. It is ultimately self destuctive of individuals and entire societies. And example, 5 year old Palestinian kids who learn to play suicide bomber. Another, the children's book I saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans. "

    One book, in France, and automatically everyone in Europe stereotypes Americans? I will say it again. Hypocrit.

    You make sweeing generalisations and are utterly absurd.

    I am how, convinced at this point, you are just someone that trolls these boards in an attempt to get some form of reaction/attention.

    Otherwise, why would you care what us Europeans think of your ridiculous views on ourselves. Why bother posting on a British news site?

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  • 257. At 4:33pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    " And example, 5 year old Palestinian kids who learn to play suicide bomber"


    where as our kids play soldier.
    pretend to kill "towel heads" because they heard Dad say we are at war with the ...


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  • 258. At 4:37pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    252 thanks Ed
    to some it will be another worthless comment especially because i wrote
    "When their right"

    do forgive me those who would I realise it should have been theyre;)

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  • 259. At 4:42pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    256 you have him down to a tee. now hit it hard and hope it ends up lost in the ruff.

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  • 260. At 4:48pm on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    simple simon, I've never said that there are inferior races. That notion is absurd. But there are inferior cultures that teach children from the earliest age to hate others and instill it in them over a lifetime. It is ultimately self destuctive of individuals and entire societies."

    Moaning Marcus, who instilled such hatred in you?

    You think hatred is a "very valuable commodity"

    Was it your parents? Were you badly treated as a child?

    You equate culture with race.

    "And example, 5 year old Palestinian kids who learn to play suicide bomber. Another, the children's book I saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans."



    The Klu Klux Klan is an American invention. Maybe you ought to read about it

    Or maybe you are quite close to it?

    "You can see the hatred all over Europe. Today, people in Northern Ireland are furious about money being handed out to families of people injured or killed in what they absurdly referr to as "the troubles."

    But they don't go into schools and shoot the children like your countrymen do. That's hatred.


    "Why? Not because they feel they are not getting enough money themselves but because people they hate are getting anything at all. This goes to the heart of what Europe is about. Yes, there is a pan European culture"


    Rascism again. Care to discuss "black culture" or jewish culture Dr G?

    " and I find it detestable. I had a chance to witness it with my own eyes for almost two years. It is entirely alien, antithetical, and abhorrent to its American counterpart. That is why Europe will never come to terms with America. And ironically, it is one reason why America came from nowhere overnight and far surpased Europe in every meaningful way a long time ago."


    Your full of hatred old man Now answer the point what are your views on "jewish culture" and "black culture"

    DO you think the chief rabbi is "detestable" because he lives in the UK?

    " I recommend you read Franz Kafka's book "The Castle."


    Which was written by a european jew I'm afraid Mad Marcus (I assume that makes him doubly "detestable").

    Plainly you have never read the book!

    Oh dear!

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  • 261. At 5:13pm on 29 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    254 MarcusAurelius11
    I contend that to work well the "laissez-faire capitalism" system depends to a large extent on individuals subscribing, to at least some degree (the more the better), to a code of ethics and with that some sense of decency and fairness that does not embrace the rampant greed we now witness.
    It seems to me that in business today increasingly we see amazing greed and dishonesty, and when people are caught lying or cheating it's evident they don't give a damn - there's no evidence of embarrassment, let alone shame. A few years back my young son told me of a t.v. program involving a former executive with G.M. who actually stated that they had knowingly "built some real crap" back in the 1960s and 1970s. They knew it, and didn't care.
    With a moral compass thrown out the window, for us the chickens are coming home to roost. Politicians lie and deceive, businesspeople lie and deceive. In the end who do we believe?

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  • 262. At 7:14pm on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #229 British-ish

    Point taken about Adam being in the wrong. If Eve told him to jump out a window . . .etc.

    Mind you, if God didn't say anything about eating the fruit from that particular tree in the first place Adam wouldn't had eaten it. So I blame Him!

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  • 263. At 7:31pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    262
    I'll have you for my lawyer

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  • 264. At 7:33pm on 29 Jan 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "Another, the children's book I saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans."

    What was a children's book with American's dressed in Klan outfitts doing on a supernarket shelf in France?

    --That is not a normal representation of American society and it is certainly not accurate.

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  • 265. At 7:54pm on 29 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    264. At 7:33pm on 29 Jan 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    "Another, the children's book I saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans."

    What was a children's book with American's dressed in Klan outfitts doing on a supernarket shelf in France?





    I think our moronic friend has got even more confused than normal (maybe the cashier was the wrong colour)

    The child's book he is probably referring to is Asterix in Spain which features a number of satirical jokes about Spanish holy days, in which penitents are shown wearing their robes which are reminiscent of the KKK. Stuart may have got his original idea from this.

    The penitients that is, not Asterix


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  • 266. At 8:55pm on 29 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana # 264
    Simon21 # 265
    Doubt whether Asterix, set in Roman times had much of a KKK scenario
    Probably Herge's TinTin, soon to be a Steven Spielberg film [ obviously without the original racist undertones].
    Herge's -Tintin and the Picaros, but more importantly his-Cigars of the Pharaoh- "The members within dress up in outfits that bear the symbol of Kih-Oskh and make them look rather like the Ku Klux Klan " - Wiki.
    Herge [ French speaking Belgian], his books would have been on the shelves in France. I believe they even had a newsagent's top shelf reading material - " The sex life of Tintin" with Captain Haddock and his dog Snowy? playing supporting rolls. Our Marcus knows where to look for historical reading facts or at least the other facts where necessary!

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  • 267. At 8:58pm on 29 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Just the facts, Mademoiselle. SVP.

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  • 268. At 9:03pm on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Robloop

    You must remember that the Soviet Union was a sick distortion of Marxism in the same way that Nazi Germany was a sick distortion of Capitalism. Socialism has it's roots in the Christian movement beginning in the 17th century. The Diggers, for example, believed that God's Earth should not be sold for private gain and turned wastelands into agrarian farms. We also have the Christian Socialist movement as well as a Islamic Socialist one.

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  • 269. At 9:48pm on 29 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    In 1649
    To St George's Hill
    A ragged band they called the Diggers
    Came to show the people' s will
    They defied the landlords
    They defied the laws
    They were the dispossessed
    Reclaiming what was theirs

    We come in peace, they said
    To dig and sow
    We come to work the land in common
    And to make the waste land grow
    This earth divided
    We will make whole
    So it can be
    A common treasury for all.

    The sin of property
    We do disdain
    No one has any right to buy and sell
    The earth for private gain
    By theft and murder
    They took the land
    Now everywhere the walls
    Rise up at their command.

    They make the laws
    To chain us well
    The clergy dazzle us with heaven
    Or they damn us into hell
    We will not worship
    The God they serve
    The God of greed who feeds the rich
    While poor men starve

    We work, we eat together
    We need no swords
    We will not bow to masters
    Or pay rent to the lords
    We are free men
    Though we are poor
    You Diggers all stand up for glory
    Stand up now

    From the men of property
    The orders came
    They sent the hired men and troopers
    To wipe out the Diggers' claim
    Tear down their cottages
    Destroy their corn
    They were dispersed -
    Only the vision lingers on

    You poor take courage
    You rich take care
    The earth was made a common treasury
    For everyone to share
    All things in common
    All people one
    We come in peace
    The order came to cut them down

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  • 270. At 11:11pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana

    "What was a children's book with American's dressed in Klan outfitts doing on a supernarket shelf in France?"

    Good question. Why not ask the people who managed the Suma Supermarket on Cours Gambetta in Talence France in 1973. IMO, the intention was to villify Americans among impressionable small French children. Judging from recent events and attitudes towards America, it worked.

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  • 271. At 11:47pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Simple Simon

    "The child's book he is probably referring to is Asterix in Spain which features a number of satirical jokes about Spanish holy days, in which penitents are shown wearing their robes which are reminiscent of the KKK. Stuart may have got his original idea from this."

    Really. And how do you explain a man in what was clearly a typical American policeman's uniform?

    And by the way, at that point I read french fluently enough to know what it was about. No mistake.






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  • 272. At 00:21am on 30 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    239, Saint.
    "Let's hope he (Ahmadinejad) doesn't get re-elected."

    Ahmadinejad is not the power in Iran. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is. Ahmadinejad's visibility accounts for the misconception.

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  • 273. At 00:30am on 30 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    245, Mary.
    "How will Iran's domination of Iraq, be a gloriously unintended consequence?"

    With us in Afghanistan on its eastern border and a government in Iraq with ties to America on its western, how can Iran, squeezed in the middle, dominate Iraq? There is only one way - if America wants it to. We have been playing off Iran against Iraq for decades. Will we stop now? Only Obama knows.

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  • 274. At 00:44am on 30 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    264, Bienvenue; 265, Simon.

    I have not seen the book you are talking about, but I was in Spain during holy week some years ago and was surprised to see men in a religious procession wearing outfits that looked just like those worn by the KKK. The only difference was that they were balck (or some very dark color).

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  • 275. At 00:48am on 30 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 276. At 03:10am on 30 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus 1973! If one book more than 30 years ago is your best example, I think you should quit this one while your behind.

    Will we be hearing about how cruel the Spanish are again? No wonder your views on Europe are so outrageously ridiculus if they're based on ancient memories from your clouded mind.

    Why not pay us another visit? Maybe you'll get chance to use the European welfare system that you're so obiously jealous of while your there.

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  • 277. At 03:32am on 30 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    268 dceilar
    Candidly, I think that Marxism is a system that just doesn't work. Nowhere has it existed without it in one way or another becoming either repressive or downright brutal. Russia after the 1917 revolution started out cruel and degenerated into a thoroughly brutal, heartless, system in which the 'individual' counted for nothing.
    The 'state' was all important.
    Maybe the people who were attracted to this ideology and the accompanying system, totally intolerant scumbags like Lenin, Trosky, Kamanev, Zienoviev, Stalin, Mao and a host of others, were the problem, but the fact is that people possessing their mentality were the one's who took the lead in embracing the system they claimed was Marxism.
    Lenin within three months of grabbing power in this new 'workers paradise' (where the much glorified 'proletariat' never ruled!) created Cheka, a secret police that replaced the Czars secret police, Okhrana, and for brutality quickly made the Okhrana seem like boy's scouts. Stalin then made Lenin appear almost a saint by comparison.
    Lenin ended his days in Mexico with an axe sunk in his skull, a little gift from the KGB!
    When reading about Karl Marx, nowhere did I ever get the impression of a happy man with pleasant characteristics. And at university, for good reason, I considered the Leninist, Troskyites and Maoist an obnoxious mob of confrontational, violence-inclined, dirtbags.
    The theory seems good, but in practise it has never worked and upon that I judge it.
    As to socialism's roots, you could say it existed among the Jews in Biblican days, when the practice was for farmers to leave some grain from harvests at the end of the fields, so that widows and the poor could get some food free. I believe they also had other customs that helped the less fortunate.
    In reality Nazism was not a capitalist system, it stood for 'National socialism' - in contrast to Communism which is
    'International socialism'.

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  • 278. At 03:56am on 30 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:

    268 dceilar
    I should have re-read more carefully what I had written. It was Trostky who ended up with a KGB axe in his head in Mexico. Lenin died in Russia. I think his heart packed in.

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  • 279. At 06:59am on 30 Jan 2009, Bryn-UK wrote:

    Oh mercy! Oh Lord! A foreign policy post from Webb! And yet just as soon as the new dawn shines its rays upon us, the Today programme lours, soon to snatch him away.

    I was Stourton to think foreign policy was verboten around here.

    Obama faces a real decider: if he will not condemn Israel's collective punishment of a defeated people, and if he dare not say that such behaviour makes Israel a pariah, an abomination, and a shame to the civilised free world, then much that his victory represents - equality, acceptance, humanity - is meaningless.

    He almost certainly won't condemn Israel, just like the UK government didn't & won't. So shame on all of us. We've become friends to bullies and it stinks.

    Bryn

    p.s. American readers of this blog should definitely follow Justin Webb to the Today programme if they fancy an eye (or ear)-opener. Come see how awkward and plain damn objectionable a real free media can (and should be) be..

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  • 280. At 09:52am on 30 Jan 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #272 Marbles,

    Thank you for that, I must admit I am fairly ignorant of the exact workings of the "politcal" system in Iran.

    Still ,it would be nice for Iran to elect someone that wasn't such a verbal **** so some diplomacy could get going. He should play his part in improving Irans image to the west, rather than demanding apologies I think.

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  • 281. At 10:17am on 30 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    277. At 03:32am on 30 Jan 2009, robloop wrote:
    268 dceilar
    Candidly, I think that Marxism is a system that just doesn't work. Nowhere has it existed without it in one way or another becoming either repressive or downright brutal. Russia after the 1917 revolution started out cruel and degenerated into a thoroughly brutal, heartless, system in which the 'individual' counted for nothing."


    Well one could also make the same point about Christianity.

    Where has it ever worked in transforming countries and nations etc for the better?

    Have christian nations been more peaceful, humane etc than non-christian?

    "Lenin ended his days in Mexico with an axe sunk in his skull, a little gift from the KGB! "


    Did he? Well here is the rest of the world thinking that was Trotsky and that Lenin's body was open for viewing in Red Square in the centre of Moscow having died from a series of strokes.

    What a ridiculous error.

    "When reading about Karl Marx, nowhere did I ever get the impression of a happy man with pleasant characteristics. "


    Does this matter? n fact Marx had a relatively happy home life, his partnership with Engels is one of the great intellectual partnerships of history.

    He was no saint, but who is?

    I believe Goebbels had quite a quiet homelife.

    Does that mean his ideas gain credibility?

    And at university, for good reason, I considered the Leninist, Troskyites and Maoist an obnoxious mob of confrontational, violence-inclined, dirtbags."

    Perhaps instead of politics you would have been happier studying cooking or home science?

    Poltics tends to be a confrontiational and vibrant area.

    Its about ideas of power you see, not how to dust effectively.





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  • 282. At 10:42am on 30 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    271. At 11:47pm on 29 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    Simple Simon

    "The child's book he is probably referring to is Asterix in Spain which features a number of satirical jokes about Spanish holy days, in which penitents are shown wearing their robes which are reminiscent of the KKK. Stuart may have got his original idea from this."

    "Really. And how do you explain a man in what was clearly a typical American policeman's uniform?"


    Misery, misanthropic Marcus, maybe it was a real photo of the Klu Klux Klan then.

    You know those US gentlemen that murdered over 3000 US citizens for the crimes of being black or jewish or catholic.

    And who apparently still exist.

    "And by the way, at that point I read french fluently enough to know what it was about. No mistake."

    That we can severely doubt. Why would you bother to learn the language of a "race" you openly admit "hating"

    If you know any European language at all, it is likely to be German.

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  • 283. At 10:55am on 30 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Robloop

    Actually Russia immediately after the October Revolution was going good in a true Marx sense. Workers took over factories, local Dumas were springing up, liberal law reforms (death penalty was abolished and homosexuality was legalised). Then 'War Communism' kicked in and the rest is history. Marx stated that to be Communist, a country needed to be Capitalist first.

    I think it was George Orwell who said that for a true revolution to happen, ordinary people need to be revolutionary; and for that to happen we'll need a revolution!

    I believe what Marx implied was that modernity (or Capitalism itself) is the only revolutionary force that can transform society. As far as I can see, no so called Marxist State allowed the dynamic of private enterprise to exist

    In reality Nazism was not a capitalist system, it stood for 'National socialism' - in contrast to Communism which is 'International socialism'.

    The Nazis would have never got into power without the support of the Capitalist class in Germany. Moreover, the role of capitalist industry in Nazi Germany, the concentration camps and the 'final solution' has been well documented. Just because the Nazis believed in greater State control in the economy it doesn't make them socialist. The welfare state in Germany pre-dated the Nazis, and was initiated by Bismarck in the 1880s. He wasn't a Socialist either!

    If the core principles of Socialism are Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, then not only do the Nazis fall short of these, they ideologically opposed them (the same applies IMO to the Soviet Union, especially after 'War Communism' and other 'Marxist systems'). Hitler, it has been documented, only used 'Socialism' in his party's title to garner working class support - the Nazis were anti-Socialist.

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  • 284. At 11:05am on 30 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #278 Rob

    I knew what you meant. Lenin died from a third stroke which stemmed from an assassination attempt which pre-empted the creation of the secret police and 'War Communism'. I believe Lenin spent the last years of his life with a bullet stuck in his neck. Still, no excuse.

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  • 285. At 6:14pm on 30 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    280, Saint.

    As with all politicians, you can't take what Ahmadinejad says at face value. In the first place we should keep in mind that his primary audience is not America, but the people of Iran. He can't afford to look like a wimp. But what does Ahmadinejad really want? War? Hah! He would have to be insane to challenge a superpower. And he is certainly not insane. My best guess is that he is looking for a dialog.

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  • 286. At 8:20pm on 30 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dcelia, every time you post something you prove just how much more ignorant you actuallly are than I had thought the previous time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kerensky

    Just after the Russian revolution of 1917, Marxists were not in control of the government. Russia had a brief spell of democracy under Karensky who led a socialist liberal coalition. It was a very weak government and fell to the Bolsheviks somewhat later. That's when the mass murder and reigns of terror began. The reason we don't look at Lenin as the mass murderer he was is because...he was eclipsed by Stalin who was even worse.

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  • 287. At 10:53pm on 30 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    230 Ed Iglehart:

    Oh. That's a shame. Never mind. I just thought it could do with brightening up.

    Marcus's posts, I thought, could all be black and white as usual, though white text on a white background would make life easier for all of us; Robloop could be apoplectic puce, and the rest of us could each have a pretty colour of our own. . .

    I see myself as a squirrelly red-brown, for example.

    And to everyone:

    ". . .the children's book I [Marcus Ridiculus II, who else] saw in a French supermarket that had cartoon images of people dressed in Klu Klux Klan sheets and were clearly represented as Americans."

    Druids? Assuming it was an Asterix book. He probably thinks Obelix's dolmens represent Hamas rockets.

    Thank god he didn't come across Lucky Luke. What would he make of that?

    254. Marcus Ridiculus wrote:

    " I've never said that there are inferior races."

    You won't--daren't--will you? That's definitely against the House Rules.

    "That notion is absurd. But there are inferior cultures."

    Now there I have to agree: especially the one you purport to defend all the time. At least how you represent it.

    But we know you continually conflate race and culture, don't we?

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  • 288. At 01:02am on 31 Jan 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    286. At 8:20pm on 30 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    dcelia, every time you post something you prove just how much more ignorant you actuallly are than I had thought the previous time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kerensky

    Just after the Russian revolution of 1917, Marxists were not in control of the government. Russia had a brief spell of democracy under Karensky who led a socialist liberal coalition. It was a very weak government and fell to the Bolsheviks somewhat later. That's when the mass murder and reigns of terror began. The reason we don't look at Lenin as the mass murderer he was is because...he was eclipsed by Stalin who was even worse. "


    Mad Marcus Wikipedia is not a creditable history source.

    And Lenin ended Russia's involvement in WW1 - you must have heard of that - big fuss 1914-1918 - over 1 million Russian casualties.

    Lenin stopped it (Brest Litovsk) Kerensky didnt. So thousands and thousands of Russians died needlessly due to Kerensky's blundering

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  • 289. At 10:28pm on 31 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #286 Marcus

    dcelia, every time you post something you prove just how much more ignorant you actuallly are than I had thought the previous time.

    LOL That's a bit rich coming from you of all people. Are you not aware that there were two completely disparate revolutions in 1917?
    Wikipedia's article on the February Revolution is poor imo. It sees both revolutions as part of a single event - this is not the case. The February Revolution was a completely separate event carried out by the nobility. The Tsar took control of the Army during the war and he was an utter disaster. The Russian ruling elite ousted the Tsar. Kerensky headed the new government, in that you are correct. That government support the continuation of the disastrous and unpopular war. Only one party opposed the war - the Bolsheviks. Kerensky's government was so weak that when the Bolsheviks gained power it wasn't through popular protest, but rather through protest by ordinary military personnel.

    The point I made that Russia being it's nearest to Marxism, democracy, and social liberalism between the October Revolution and War Communism is true regardless of what wikipedia says or doesn't say.

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  • 290. At 11:38pm on 31 Jan 2009, superiortruth wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 291. At 3:29pm on 02 Feb 2009, happylaze wrote:

    wow all that because I told a dieter that their religion was their addiction.

    though he does claim to be a deitist which is basically like the worst kinda drug used, one who has not discovered what their drug of choice is and so tries them all.

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  • 292. At 3:58pm on 02 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    For thos who don't know, the prospect of a thaw is quite relevant in Britain today, as 5cm (2 inches) of snow has clogged up the entire country, and even the Mods (who are as Gods) are snowbound....

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 293. At 11:40pm on 02 Feb 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    291, happy.
    "wow all that because I told a dieter that their religion was their addiction."

    I can't find your reference, but don't you think that a dieter's addiction is food? If he weren't fat he would not have to diet. I have a really cheap diet suggestion - eat less. And let's call obesity by its real name - gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins.

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  • 294. At 3:38pm on 03 Feb 2009, happylaze wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 295. At 3:39pm on 03 Feb 2009, happylaze wrote:

    We call them fatties and whales.

    "whale watching tours at all malls this year,just visit any american town.

    A new campaign for tourism.

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  • 296. At 3:53pm on 03 Feb 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    293 Marbles....

    Actually a group of British doctors just the other day came up with the exact diet plan that I have advocated for years ... "EAT LESS, MOVE MORE".

    However, not all dieters are fat. Many are just sadly insecure and have been convinced by advertising and celebrity culture that anything over a size 6 is obese. Much of the diet industry is keyed in to these "professional dieters".

    True obesity is a terrible thing, and I agree that it does no good to excuse it with talk of genetic pre-disposition etc.
    The problem, esp for young people today is that obesity often begins in young childhood with poor diet and lack of exercise, due to bad parenting.
    It is a form of child abuse to allow children to become obese.

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  • 297. At 4:11pm on 03 Feb 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    There is no intended reference to the KKK in Asterix in Spain .... just the paranoid "everyone hates us Americans" ranting of certain contributors.

    In Asterix In Spain the white hoods portrayed are an anachronistic dig at the custom of medieval Spanish Christians doing penance, who wore similar hoods, while carrying the images of saints in religious processions.

    The reason for the hoods was anonymity and the pointy-ness was to make all men the same height to make guessing the identity even harder.

    Of course the KKK chose the costume for the same reasons.

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  • 298. At 7:36pm on 03 Feb 2009, happylaze wrote:

    293 marbles

    110

    dieting is just strange to me .I pretty much only eat when I notice energy issues.

    I like my smoke though.

    Now if I said it was my religion would I be allowed to smoke freely as the constitution says.
    Prey to Shiva?
    Ganesh ?

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  • 299. At 04:16am on 25 Feb 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Justin:

    Maybe in the Administration of President Obama, maybe the prospect of a thaw in some international issues will be occurring...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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