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Tea Party seek purity and victory

Mark Mardell | 04:57 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Could the Democrats lose control of the House later this year, not to the Republicans, but to the Tea Party?

Some of the organisers of the conservative movement that took cable TV by storm last summer are in Washington to discuss where they go from here. Some say it was their below the radar organisation that took Massachusetts for the Republicans last week. They are on a roll.

About 60 of their organisers have been brought together by FreedomWorks in an office block a stone's throw from the White House to work out strategy.

How can a leaderless, grass roots movement hope to curb the man in the White House and the men and women on Capitol Hill? How can a radical movement keep pure when the party machines want to harness its power for their own benefit? These are a couple of the topics up for discussion.

But the key must be whether they can take the House and the Senate in November's mid-term elections. Not for Republicans, but for conservatives.

For once perhaps that cliche "only in America" is true. The fuel protest in Britain some time ago looked like a mass movement. But it fizzled to nothing. Only in America is there the peculiar system of primaries: the ultra-democratic system of internal party elections to decide on candidates, open to anyone who wants to register themselves as a supporter of that party.

Florida Governor Charlie CristThe Tea Party people say they are now a multi-million-dollar organisation that will have an impact on perhaps hundreds of such races all over the US. One of the most important will be in Florida, for senate seat where the Governor Charlie Crist was the front runner in opinion polls, but has been over taken by Marco Rubio (my man to watch in Radio Four's look-ahead to 2010). The Tea Party Patriots' Florida organiser Robin Stublen told me: "We believe Charlie Crist has not shown conservative values as governor. The man has recently said he's cut taxes yet every single fee has doubled or tripled across the state, everything from drivers' licences to voters' registration to property taxes have gone up. We believe we need to vote a person in with conservative values and that's what we base all of our judgements on."

The movement's name celebrates the Boston Tea p
Party
. There is a very deliberate constant reference to the values of the war of independence, the founding fathers and the Constitution. While the British Crown isn't now the enemy, taxation and representation do loom large. When I ask what they want freedom from, what they dislike about Big Government, the repeated answers are about taxation. Their conservatism has a capital E. E For Economic. If people want to talk about guns or gays or abortion they tell them there are plenty of other groups out there.

The Tea Party Patriots' national organiser Mark Meckler says it is about reining in all politicians, stopping them spending. He asks me if I have children and when I nod says: "I liken it to teenagers. If you left home to do some reporting and you left your credit card on the table and you left the keys to the liquor cabinet, you would come home and there would have been a party and the house will be trashed and there will be charges on your card. You can get as mad as you want with your children but that's your responsibility. The folk on the Hill there are like those teenagers, and we've left them the keys to the cabinet and the credit card and it is up to us to be responsible parents and hold them accountable."

But representation is as important as taxation. There is a constant refrain that the national politicians are ignoring the will of the people. It is clear their constant stress on the importance of Twitter and Facebook is not an attempt to be trendy, but that social networking has made them feel part of a huge movement.

Bill, an organiser from Maryland, told me: "For most of our lifetime we all feel like the child who always has his hand up in class. He has the answer and never gets called on. And eventually he just clams up and doesn't get involved anymore... But finally we've now found a way to keep in touch on the phone or via Facebook or e-mail and now can be heard. And now we have microphones and we can be heard 1,000 miles away."

There is no display of the visceral hatred that dripped from the cable networks last summer, and little of the sense that Obama's government is some how illegitimate, rather than just plain wrong. There is a feeling that the president promised to govern from the centre and he hasn't. But I have to ask, is this movement really of the people, or of largely white, largely well-off people?

Mark Mekler says: "Go to our protest and you can see people of all colours, all social strata, of all parties. This is a broadly-based people's movement representing what I call the great middle of America. The left will say those things to denigrate us and we've heard it for years. The bigger we get, the more powerful we get, the more you will hear those cries. They are cries of desperation by people who have pushed a political agenda on us for years and now find themselves falling from favour."

The Tea Party Patriots' main enemies may be the Democratic Party and the president, but Republicans will be pondering what the movement means for them in the mid-terms. It is a powerful machine for getting people to vote. But the people I spoke to had no intention of being a tool of the party hierarchy. Like many revolutionaries they prize purity over victory. But they think they can have both.

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  • 1. At 05:53am on 26 Jan 2010, Bill Grimes-Wyatt wrote:

    We must pick positive positions that are easy to defend. We can not stop earmarks by railing against them. We might be able to stop them (or at least reduce them by making them fair. A FAIR EARMARK BILL could state that all states get a equal per capitia (of citizens) share. When any state has less then their fair share of earmarks, they will receive the difference in a cash grant. It could be the form of an unrestricted grant to the various state treasurers payable within 30 days of passage or it could be restricted to Community Colleges, for example. If all states are treated fairly, then the permanent pols have no reason to trade votes. We can support other bills that will reduce the corruption in congress.

    The socialists (big government boys) have been winning the war of public relations because they have defined the terms we all use. They say health care reform when the issue is health care CONTROL. they don’t want change, they want control. Steny Hoyer has been in congress for 28 years and he is with the CHANGERS. We need to change him. He has represented his district almost as long as half of them have been alive. It must be pointed out that the Maryland 5th district has to have a change of bosses. We should pick out every possible misuse of power and use of government control.

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  • 2. At 06:00am on 26 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    Could the Democrats lose control of the House later this year, not to the Republicans, but to the Tea Party?

    The simple answer is 'no'. Consider how many viewers see Fox News as opposed to those who watch the three major networks. All they may do is to split the vote.

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  • 3. At 06:34am on 26 Jan 2010, Eddie wrote:

    There is no longer a true two party system. With a few exceptions, every politician is out for themselves. Demanding $100 million dollars to be tacked on the health care bill that benefits neither health care or the country at large shows that politicians only think of themselves. "Don't waste a good crisis" showed this. Hopefully something will be done before America is past the point of no return.

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  • 4. At 07:09am on 26 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    You seem to be having some trouble figuring this "tea party" phenomenon out. Here is a bit of unsolicited advice... just think Sarah Palin. In other words, don't try and read more into it than there is.. regardless what some of them might try and tell you. Sarah Palin/Dog Chapman ... 2012!!!

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  • 5. At 07:22am on 26 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Mark Mardell wrote: "How can a radical movement keep pure when the party machines want to harness its power for their own benefit?"

    How are they a "radical movement" Mr Mardell? Are you suggesting this is radical in regards to America's history and culture or "radical" for you?

    "But I have to ask, is this movement really of the people, or of largely white, largely well-off people?"

    The only reasons why a person would ask about skin color is if they suspected or thought the "radical movement" was somehow racist and/or they want others to think likewise.

    Why would you think that? Based on what?

    If you are against Obama's policies that somehow makes you racist?

    Would you ask blacks the same question in regards to a white president?

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  • 6. At 07:33am on 26 Jan 2010, Dr Ellen Brandt wrote:

    Centrists - Who We Are and What We Stand For

    Extremists have become so loud, they’re deafening. And because they shout in perfect sound bites, the media birddog their every rant, however irresponsible or outrageous.

    But we believe the political tide’s about to turn with a vengeance. No matter their party affiliation or lack thereof, Americans are disgusted with those who harass to harass, obstruct to obstruct, tear down to tear down. Compromise, consensus, bridge-building, and respect for differing viewpoints have been the hallmarks of American life as long as there’s been an America. We’re certain they will be again.

    Please read: The Rest of U.S. – Who We Are and What We Stand For

    http://newcentristera.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/the-rest-of-u-s-who-we-are-and-what-we-stand-for/

    If you like it, please circulate to your family, friends, and colleagues. Or perhaps to your favorite extremist!

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  • 7. At 07:38am on 26 Jan 2010, mikeymike143 wrote:

    So you want to consider Fox viewership as a measuring stick for Tea Party support. Let's do that. For instance, take Tuesday's election night coverage. Fox had six-times the viewers as MSNBC, five-times the viewers as CNN and Bill O'Reilly actually beat the entire ABC prime-time schedule, across all demographics. So the simple answer seems to be 'yes' to me.

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  • 8. At 08:18am on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "I liken it to teenagers. If you left home to do some reporting and you left your credit card on the table and you left the keys to the liquor cabinet, you would come home and there would have been a party and the house will be trashed and there will be charges on your card."

    So that's the kind of kids these guys have, then? Ah, family values: Steal, get drunk, wreck property. . .The analogies people choose are always telling. The teabaggers seem to base their appeal on distrust and suspicion. Revolutionary movements that are against things more than they are for seldom end well.

    And, AllenT2, of course they are 'radical': they want a profound change from the roots in how a country and its people are financed, supported and, when it comes down to it, governed. Their ideas would have consequences way beyond just paying less (or no) taxes . . .

    ('Radical' doesn't mean 'leftish revolutionary'. See Squirrel's Fourth Law.)

    So now they are a multi-million dollar political organisation. Money talks. . .

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  • 9. At 08:34am on 26 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    The Tea Party, Mark. Your commentary piece just now on the Today programme over her in Great Britain. It has just be thought on – I adopted the pose of a famous Rodin figurine to show the full seriousness I wanted to give the Tea Party members and their arguments. And I am listening to music via the Internet too, to help me ponder. “Get along without you…” and Postman Pat as options for ditties were ignored in interest of full fairness.
    So after a full 30 seconds of perusal of what the several – were they ALL men - spoke persons said – I raised my wise and getting older head and uttered the one word “nah!”
    Postman Pat and myopia. Joe the Plumber and less than full disclosure allegedly and Bob the Builder. “Yes We Can!” That was Bob the Builder first was it not? I bring all three professions into my argument as to why I disagree with the Tea Party and its members.
    You should not run an entire country on the wishes of one group – or several groups of vested interests. Or heaven forfend – one person. The USA, Britain or anywhere.
    The words “self-interest” and “selfish” are not too far from my thoughts if you do and have been noted well by me too! They sometime do – run an entire country - one group and it is allegedly called dictatorship.
    Their views – The Tea Party - by the way were all over the place in my opinion. Unfocus(s)ed. They want the Republican Party to reform into their image was it you said? Their image would then look rather like a kaleidoscope then in my view. Or broken eyeglasses. As clear as a JMW Turner painting of a foggy sea. What a way to run a railroad off its tracks.
    So Tea Party – I remain to be convinced by you and will now ignore your views. But if you find fresh arguments to get me thinking again – feel free to fetch them to my attention. I am better when I move but understand from hearing other stuff this morning - I am going nowhere.

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  • 10. At 08:37am on 26 Jan 2010, Karl wrote:

    My fellow countrymen continue to mystify me. They have the memory of the proverbial goldfish-in-a-bowl. You cannot expect any man to fix the mess that George Bush Jr left in office after only one year. As a general axiom, things are a lot easier to break then they are to fix. Consequently, yes... your taxes might go up but that's not such a bad thing if it means everyone gets health care. Just look at the alternative.

    I find it amusing that these people that don't want to pay taxes have picked "Tea Party" as their moniker. As I recall from US History, the original Tea Party was to protest taxes that the British Crown leveled on the Colonists to pay for the French and Indian war. A war that the Crown fought to protect the colonists and their interests. When the Crown asked the colonies to pay up, they refused to pay and eventually revolted. Far be it for me to suggest that the American Revolution wasn't some preordained holy crusade against tyranny that wasn't totally justified but, honestly, the historical similarities between past and current "Tea Party" movement are striking to say the least. These are just a bunch of people that don't want to pay taxes.

    This anti-tax position is fair enough but remember, if you don't want to pay your taxes then don't complain when the police don't show up when your house is being robbed, the fireman doesn't come when your house is burning down, and your kids are dumber than rocks because won't fund public education.

    Say it with me now people..... 'Government is not always a bad thing!' Yes they waist money, yes they are sometimes corrupt, but look at the alternative...anarchy (i.e. Free market). Yeah, that whole Free Market, deregulation BS worked really well for the past eight years. Oh wait, no it didn't because now we're in a recession! WAKE UP!

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  • 11. At 08:52am on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    And so Obama and his administration come knocking on the door asking of they can come to the party too:

    "President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs. . .The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks.

    "But it would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security. . ." Well, fancy that.

    [NYT, today.]

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  • 12. At 09:00am on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    10. At 08:37am on 26 Jan 2010, Karl wrote:

    This anti-tax position is fair enough but remember, if you don't want to pay your taxes then don't complain when the police don't show up when your house is being robbed, the fireman doesn't come when your house is burning down, and your kids are dumber than rocks because won't fund public education.


    As far as I can tell the anti-tax position works for the new (multi-million dollar) independent centrists because only the people who get robbed need to pay for police, only those with a house on fire need a fire service & only an underfunded school system is going to get them new recruits.

    PS: The Welsh economy is now out of recession (someone bought a Mars bar :)

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  • 13. At 09:01am on 26 Jan 2010, WhitewaterOregon wrote:

    Leaderless? Grassroots? Keep up, Mark! Most of the money behind these "spontaneous" gatherings came from Big Insurance to kill any meaningful health care reform. These fear-mongers play these people like fiddles. Should fit right in with the Republican Party.

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  • 14. At 09:04am on 26 Jan 2010, Ray wrote:

    The Tea Party is just a bunch of people usually Older Middle Class White Conservatives angry about their lack of perceived power. They tend to be the people who say "Real America" as if the rest of the Country is Fake America. And shout incoherent messages like Cut Taxes, Stop the Socialism and Welfare, Don't Touch my Social Security or Medicare, and Reduce the Deficit.

    Their rallies are mirrors of the Republican convention. Old, White, and Conservative, that's not a crack at them that's just the Demographic they're playing to. The protests they spark are hardly anything compared to the Anti-War protests of a few years ago which the Media quickly dismissed as radicals and refused to cover. The only reason anyone is talking to them is because they are promoted by a certain Cable News Network as the Astroturf movement needed to propel their Queen Sara forward.

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  • 15. At 09:18am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    I apologise in advance but I must admit that I find any political movement that calls themselves the Tea Party vaguely amusing. It brings to images to mind: 1) The blue rinse brigade sitting around sipping tea from porcelain cups with their pinkies stuck out. 2) A group of chimpanzees all dressed up at the zoo.

    This lot sound a bit like UKIP, a group of disgruntled conservatives with a one trick party. They will probably be as effective in the States as UKIP is in the UK. I remember that when UKIP came on the scene there was talk about them becoming a new political force, in the end most of the time they are more a political farce dominated more by in fighting than policies – I would humbly suggest the Tea Party will be the same.

    Also I know that the Boston fracas is an important part of history forming the psyche of America, a bit like the Storming of the Bastille is for France, but like the Bastille isn’t the dress up tax revolt been a little over blown. For those who don’t know the Bastille did not hold huge numbers of prisoners, but about six including one Marques De Sade (who by shouting from his prison window actually instigated the storming, he had been imprisoned for his general immorality rather than any crime), in the end the attack was only important for its symbolism.

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  • 16. At 09:30am on 26 Jan 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    10. At 08:37am on 26 Jan 2010, Karl wrote:
    "This anti-tax position is fair enough but remember, if you don't want to pay your taxes then don't complain when the police don't show up when your house is being robbed, the fireman doesn't come when your house is burning down, and your kids are dumber than rocks because won't fund public education."
    You see, I won't do any of those things because:
    1. I have my own guns (yes, we are actually allowed to defend ourselves in the US, and in some states (mostly in the South and West) we are actually allowed to defend our property agains lawless Cretans.
    2. In 53 years on this planet I've managed to not set my house on fire, but if I did, I would care id the fireman came since I would claim it on my insurance.
    3. I send my child remaining at home to private school since public school failed my other 3 even though it consumed more money per student than I pay in tuition.

    BTW, the protests are against the federal gov't. The services you mentioned are provided by the states/municipalities.

    So, yes I want to stop paying so much to the federal gov't and I would like to cut back on the state taxes, as well.

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  • 17. At 09:41am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Oldloadr – Ah so its along the lines of ‘I alright Jack and stuff the rest.’ Which of course is fine for you, unless something happens which means that you need the state to help you out.

    If it were possible I would agree to letting people drop out of paying taxes, as long as they also agree to lose all the benefits that go along with them, including having a say in how the country is run. In my personal view, citizenship requires certain responsibilities, including ensuring vital services are maintained, requiring the payment of tax.

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  • 18. At 09:46am on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    So many dangers facing the citizens of the United States, so much to defend oneself from, so few guns to do it with.

    'Lawless Cretans", eh? Immigration letting in all these naked illegal alien bull-back acrobats is it? Terrible. Don't know what the world's coming to. It'll be Greeks bearing gifts next.

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  • 19. At 10:02am on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Why is it that it always seems to be the people with guns who tell everyone how much to fear? It's paradoxical, since the argument always runs that if you have a gun you are safer . . .

    It does appear to me to be perfectly logical, however, that if you propose not to raise money through taxation to pay for services like law and order, then the anarchy that is likely to ensue really would be something to be frightened of.

    This isn't meant to be an invitation to go on and on about the right to bear arms and gun control again, I just want to know why so many Americans on the right appeal to fear so often.

    Why so afraid? Even the most run-down parts of Detroit can't be as bad as some places in Somalia or Sudan.

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  • 20. At 10:13am on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    19. At 10:02am on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    This isn't meant to be an invitation to go on and on about the right to bear arms and gun control again, I just want to know why so many Americans on the right appeal to fear so often.

    Why so afraid? Even the most run-down parts of Detroit can't be as bad as some places in Somalia or Sudan.


    It's a pointless question to ask it seems, many in America seem to have much & are afraid that it will be taken from them, presumably by those who have little, it is a democracy though so they ensure that both sides have guns, it's selfish but fair.

    As for those that subscribe to the "I'm alright Jack" attitude that David alluded to I'd like to think of them as hopelessly optimistic that everyone in America will some day be as well off as they are rather than narrow minded & selfish which is how they tend to appear.

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  • 21. At 10:14am on 26 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    Mark. It seems too apt. How to Avoid Huge Ships - a book of supposedly silly book titles - other books of silly book titles are available. I sometime wonder if people create volumes between me leaving my house and reaching my local library. Instant publishing I mean.
    I was chuckling at titles such as illustrated titles as "What to say when talking to yourself" and "People who do not know they are dead" - when I came across what looked like a book on kaleidoscopes. Title "Tea Bag Folding" by Tiny Van De Plas and Janet Wilson. No offence both authors - just making a point.
    I think I better rest my case there and not mention the book title of what looks like a picture of Rodin's Kiss on the front! A self-help manual on relationships for those with beliefs it seems. Authors Dr Renier Holtzhausen and Professor Hennie Stander.
    Yup and no offence last two authors - but they definitely do print it in the half hour it takes to reach here. lol

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  • 22. At 10:20am on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    I don't know where to begin with all of this. While I respect your efforts and opinions, Mark, I don't think you've delved deeply enough on this one.
    1) I have yet to see a major news organization to look into an honest, perhaps academic, assessment of the size and prevalence (perhaps by region) of the Tea Party participants. Yes, the movement has grown, and yes, I'm sure that in some areas there are many- but how many, exactly? I've seen the media report on too many so-called mass protests that turn out to have a handful of protesters, shouting loudly.

    2.) Last year I heard one report on the nascent movement that briefly dealt with its birth and the strong suspicion that it was in fact being fueled "top down." Rather than being a grass roots organization, the Tea Partiers were given direction from well-known ultra-conservatives (Norquist) to cause problems for the Democrats. To some extent if this is true they've grown in numbers beyond the size that could be controlled top-down, but it still brings into question the original goals...

    3.) Aside from the occasional token minority member trotted out for the national media, I give no credence to claims that this is a movement of all races.

    4.) Whether or not the movement is truly representative of large numbers of people, they have managed to tap into a true concern of many, regarding spending. This is a legitimate concern, and one that will require careful thought. But the Tea Party movement does not seem to be offering any thoughtful solutions, only rant and cant. Where are the legitimate solutions they're proposing?

    5.) If spending is a legitimate concern for large numbers of people, it is not the ONLY concern, and though many might agree that something needs done on spending- they simply do not identify with the rest of the Tea Partier's agenda. So the movement has perhaps tapped into this disquiet- but it does not control it, or those who feel it.

    6.) (Finally) I think that without study attributing the election results in Massachusetts to the Tea Party movement is completely unfounded. Pollsters and political scientists thus far seem to be taking it as possibly an unique situation- yes, the national decline of Democratic fortunes certainly played a part, but the biggest part of the loss goes to the tepid campaign and uninspiring personality of the Democratic contender; more people voted against Coakley than for Brown.

    Unless someone actually studies this movement, everything is speculation. The BBC would be perfect to do this as a disinterested outsider.

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  • 23. At 10:23am on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    18 Squirrelist

    "Lawless Cretans"- that's just full of bull. And weren't many of the bull acrobats young females (plus or Minos a few...)

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  • 24. At 10:25am on 26 Jan 2010, Schwerpunkt wrote:

    17. At 09:41am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    "If it were possible I would agree to letting people drop out of paying taxes, as long as they also agree to lose all the benefits that go along with them, including having a say in how the country is run. In my personal view, citizenship requires certain responsibilities, including ensuring vital services are maintained, requiring the payment of tax."

    You are aware of course that as of 2006 43.4 million tax returns, representing 91 million individuals, paid no tax. Are you suggesting that those people should be stripped of their political franchise?

    The tea party movement is not advocating the total elimination of taxes. There are things we all recognize as being under the remit of the Federal government which require funding. It is when they stray into areas, and expenses, that they should not, such as health care, that people object to providing the funding.

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  • 25. At 10:32am on 26 Jan 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    squirrelist - I guess you missed the fact that I was responding to Karl, who was afraid (or concerned) to live without police protection. I merely said I'm not afraid to live without police protection because:
    1. I can defend myself and my property and
    2. Police seldom show up in time to actually stop anything from happening anyway.
    3. I never mention the nationality in my reference to Cretans; I had hoped the literary term would have been neutral enough to not elicit another biased assumption from a lefty; I guess that’s impossible. BTW, I’m married to a foreigner…
    So, before you assume my level of paranoia, try reading the thread a little closer.

    David Murrell - Most on the right don't mind paying some tax for essential services. The argument is, "What do conservatives consider essential?" Our list is much smaller than the libs. For the federal gov't, provide for the common defense and interstate commerce are the only ones most conservatives agree are essential, and therefore willing to pay federal taxes to maintain. If New York wants cradle to grave social support, they can go for it, as long as only New Yorkers pay for it.

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  • 26. At 10:34am on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    5. AllenT2:

    "Mark Mardell wrote: "How can a radical movement keep pure when the party machines want to harness its power for their own benefit?"

    How are they a "radical movement" Mr Mardell?"

    *****************

    LOL. My thoughts exactly. They are "radical" because they think our federal government spends too freely or because they are organizing?

    People who attended rallies in NYC and Washington, DC, told me there were many democrats there. So, although it's easy to paint these people as rightwing this or that, the reality is that there are many independents and democrats among them.

    Remember those promises of responsible spending and line-by-line budget checks? Well, there are voters who still want those things.

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  • 27. At 10:51am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Schwerpunkt – I would like to clarify slightly, I recognise that there are those who do not pay tax, because they don’t do anything that would generate tax and I would not wish to penalise those. Students, the sick, house wives/husbands, the retired, the unemployed are different from those who would wish not to pay tax, even though some of them choose to be a position not to generate tax.

    However, for those (all of whom seem to be reasonably well off) who choose to work but rather than support the community of which they are a member would rather hoard their wealth, I would almost be persuaded to let them. The flip side as you say would be complete disenfranchisement, no right to vote, no right to donate to political organisations and parties, no expectation that the police or other emergency services would answer calls to their property (I accept that it would impossible elsewhere to differentiate between those who refuse to pay tax and everyone else).

    Why the difference between those who might not pay tax because they don’t create tax and those who wish to withdrawal from the tax system? Simple, either the former have or will pay tax (students and retired), or they may not choose their situation. While some may choose to be unemployed I don’t believe in punishing the majority for the sins of the minority. The latter group would all choose their position, which I believe is selfish, no one reaches the point where they can choose not to pay tax without using the resources of their community, if they wish to remove themselves from the responsibility of supporting that community then they should lose the corresponding rights as well.

    I understand that this not the Tea Party stance, but I have met enough people who have similar views to the Teas who wouldn’t mind avoiding tax all together.

    Personally I believe it is a fair and liberal response to some conservatives desires.

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  • 28. At 10:53am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Oldloadr – What Squirrel was getting at is that Cretans come from Greece, well more specifically Crete. I believe the word you were looking for was cretins.

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  • 29. At 11:00am on 26 Jan 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    The term "cretin" is derived from St. Paul's disparaging remarks towards "Cretans" in one of his epistles to Timothy.

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  • 30. At 11:17am on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Oldloadr – Well you have a different dictionary explanation than everyone else (including the OED). Cretin someone showing the traits of cretinism, a medical disorder where the sufferers are deformed and mentally retarded. The term comes from the 18th C French Alpine dialect where due to the diet the condition was prevalent, most dictionaries, including medical ones say the word comes from a regional word for Christian or poor fellow.

    Nothing I have read mentioned St Paul

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  • 31. At 11:36am on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    29 oldloadr

    Much as you may desire it, not everything comes from the bible.

    The etymoloy of cretin is uncertain, but none of the various hypotheses mention Paul or Timothy....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretinism


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  • 32. At 11:53am on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    31. RomeStu:

    29 oldloadr

    Much as you may desire it, not everything comes from the bible.

    ********************

    The stereotyping of someone who doesn't want to see taxes continuously rise is quite funny. Hard to stop those knee-jerk reactions.



    25. Oldloadr:

    "If New York wants cradle to grave social support, they can go for it, as long as only New Yorkers pay for it. "

    ********************

    Can't disagree with you there. Each state has its population to take care of. We have many politicians in our states who are responsible for this job.

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  • 33. At 11:58am on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    27. David Murrell:

    Most, not all, Americans seek to reduce the amount of taxes they pay. It's tax time now, meaning most Americans are preparing their tax returns. Over the next few months, Americans will realize exactly how much they are paying the government in taxes. It's the perfect time for Obama to introduce some tax credits.

    If you believe it's noble to pay for the greater good, go for it. Pay extra, in fact.

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  • 34. At 12:15pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    AndreaNY – So you don’t believe it is correct to pay for the ‘greater good’*? Well, okay then, lucky not everyone feels that way otherwise everything would grind to a halt. Ignoring the fact that I am a European and therefore pay more tax anyway, even if I was in the US my pay packet would mean that I pay a lot of tax. Am I happy that the tax man takes my cash? No, I would much rather waste it on booze and loose women, however, I accept it because it is the correct thing to do. I don’t like paying my electricity bill, or my cell phone bill, but I understand the fact that to get these services I have to pay for them.

    * Greater good, obviously including sanitation, roads, police (meaning that they might keep the cretins, or random Greek islanders, away from my door) and those other things that mean that I have a nice standard of living.

    Oh and Oldloadr brought up the Bible RomeStu (like I) just corrected him.

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  • 35. At 12:30pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    AndreaNY wrote: if you believe it's noble to pay for the greater good, go for it. Pay extra, in fact.

    Exactly. It is the great lie of the left that taxes are 'generous' or that those who advocate them are 'caring'. There is no more virtue in acqueiescing with compulsory taxes than there is modesty in an Iranian woman's decision to stay chaste for fear of being stoned. Putting a gun to someone's head and telling them to pay up is not the same thing as charity and it is certainly neither democratic nor liberal.

    As Andrea points out, if one believes in helping others then there is nothing to stop you from achieving your aims peacefully and voluntarily, by setting up charities and private structures, and by giving of your own volition.

    If your answer to that proposition is that, given the freedom to choose, you don't think people will do what you happen to believe is needed, then you are inevitably concluding that they should be forced to - at gunpoint - and you cannot claim that the taxes in question are democratic. At least some socialists have the honesty to admit that this is their position.

    Given that taxes are therefore the product of raw power, they should surely be limited to the absolute essentials? That is what the Tea Party people are arguing. It hardly makes them extremists.

    As David Boaz said, the difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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  • 36. At 12:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @17 (DM): "However, for those (all of whom seem to be reasonably well off) who choose to work but rather than support the community of which they are a member would rather hoard their wealth, I would almost be persuaded to let them. "

    David, this is beneath you. You do not normally prove the superiority of your thinking by setting up a cardboard enemy and then knocking it over.

    There may be a few folks in the Tea Party basket or elsewhere who are stupid enough to believe that government has no place in our society: we used to call them anarchists. Most of them, however, are not as concerned about taxation as they are about SPENDING.

    We are currently some $60 trillion in debt, counting unfunded obligations to SS/Medicare/Medicaid. Assuming 138 million taxpayers (the 2007 figure), and assuming we divide that debt equally, every citizen of this country that actually pays taxes has an additional target of about $435,000 to pay off. Most of that is going to be laid on the backs of our children and grandchildren. As a result they will no longer have the financial freedom of movement they will need to cope with the problems they have to solve; they will be busy making up for our lack of financial discipline instead. That's no legacy to leave "the children" (assuming we care more about them than we care about ourselves, but that's another discussion).

    It doesn't matter whether the spending is for a war, or for roads, or for health care, or for anything else: spending that is not firmly accounted for (e.g. declaring something "off budget") or that is not actually repaid according to a firm schedule is not compassionate, or patriotic, or anything else other than IRRESPONSIBLE. After between 50 and 80 years of irresponsible behavior, our ability to bail out this flooding boat is almost done.

    Numerous foundations and think tanks, in addition to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have been telling our Congress for several years that they are going to have to SIMULTANEOUSLY CUT SPENDING AND RAISE TAXES to get the job done. That means exactly what it says: We don't start big new programs with big price tags, AND we cut out a lot of existing programs as well, AND we get to pay more taxes to boot.

    How does the Congress respond? They ignore these warnings year after year after year. If they raise taxes, they raise spending by even more. If they cut taxes, they don't cut spending. This irresponsible behavior not only puts us further and further down a debt hole, but it does something else: It erodes the bonds between the citizens and the government. The citizens KNOW that this can't continue, but they see the Congress pretending that it's party time year after year. They finally get to the point that they say, "If the leadership doesn't care, why should I waste time caring either? Might as well get mine while the getting's good." Far too many Americans are already right there.

    It would be easy to point to the fact that Congress depends on its political contributors and conclude that the contributors own them, so nothing is going to change. Regardless, however, those folks taking the Congressional oath are pledging to "...support and defend the Constitution of the United States...". If that's the case, it's past time for them to behave responsibly regarding the budget, even if they have to tell their contributors to eat dirt in the process.

    I'm not a Tea Party supporter, or non-supporter. What I am is someone who sees the wreck approaching, and who doesn't want to the US default on its debt or fall apart, but who has seen absolutely no real, disciplined effort on the part of the Congress to put the nation on a sound financial footing since before I was born.

    If it takes a Tea Party to cause the Congress to change their ways, then so be it.

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  • 37. At 12:32pm on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    34. David Murrell:

    Did I say I didn't want to pay for the greater good? Did anyone, in fact, say they didn't want to pay any tax? I don't think so. I pay a great deal in taxes and try to minimize those taxes wherever possible.

    Do you notice how quickly the sentiment that a government spends too much is reduced to the sentiment that one doesn't care about anyone? A bit like how opposing health care is reduced to letting people die in the streets.

    There's a range of viewpoints in between those extremes.

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  • 38. At 12:37pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    David Murrell wrote: am I happy that the tax man takes my cash? No, I would much rather waste it on booze and loose women, however, I accept it because it is the correct thing to do.

    No, you accept it because you will be thrown in prison if you don't. If it were optional you wouldn't do it. Therefore it it's not a choice, it's the product of force. Anything you give to charity (and you may well do, and good on you if so) is real, nothing else can be classified as such.

    I don’t like paying my electricity bill, or my cell phone bill, but I understand the fact that to get these services I have to pay for them.

    Yes, but you choose to have both these services, you are not forced to. You could have both disconnected should you so wish and then the companies in question would not request payment, and they certainly wouldn't come to your house and put you in the dock if you chose to opt out.

    I'm not an anarchist, before someone throws that word at me and I'm not arguing against the need for taxation. I am, however, trying to establish that taxation, like the law, is power and fire and not charity; as such we should use it sparingly.

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  • 39. At 12:40pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "How can a leaderless, grass roots movement hope to curb the man in the White House and the men and women on Capitol Hill?"

    By creating a third party. It seems obvious, at least to me, that based on the results of the 2008 election and the recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts many Americans are disillusioned with the policies and actions of both the Republicans and Democrats.

    The so-called tea party movement, which I believe is comprised mostly of Independents, are voicing their opposition to the political corruption, lack of sensitivity, arrogance, partisanship and ineptness of the two major parties by choosing candidates from whomever happens to be the opposition to express their dissatisfaction.

    It remains to be seen whether or not a third party emerges and how much of a challenge it would present to the two major parties in the USA, but if it does it will change our politically landscape so dramatically that the big boys in Washington will have no choice but to change direction, strategies, tactics and behavior. Who knows, they may even decide to work together and focus on real solutions to solve our problems...

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  • 40. At 12:44pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Funny how none of these Tea Party fans were concerned about expensive federal spending when Bush was off invading other countries .....

    .... trillions to make us "feel" safe .... but nothing to give healthcare to the poor and needy.

    Hmmmm

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  • 41. At 12:51pm on 26 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    "Their conservatism has a capital E. E For Economic. If people want to talk about guns or gay or abortion they tell them there are plenty of other groups out there."

    At some point though, if they want to sway votes, they will have to give opinions on other issues. It's easy to draw mass support on a single issue. Very few people decide who to vote for based on just one issue though.
    Voters who don't vote republican because of their uncompromising stance on guns or abortion aren't going to vote for a candidate who just refuses to talk about those issues and voters who do vote republican will see little point in switching.

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  • 42. At 12:52pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    AndreaNY wrote Do you notice how quickly the sentiment that a government spends too much is reduced to the sentiment that one doesn't care about anyone? A bit like how opposing health care is reduced to letting people die in the streets.

    Absolutely. There is also a dangerous conflation of remedy and cause. It is true that a lack of socialised healthcare means that some people will not be covered, much as a lack of, say, action against child poverty will mean some children will go hungry.

    However, this does not mean that those who oppose the measures to remedy the social ill have caused it in the first place.

    The other trendy one is that anyone who opposes Obama is a racist. This would logically make 90% of African Americans who voted against John McCain racists. The best moment on this one in recent times was when it came down to Hillary vs. Obama in the Democratic primaries. On the sort of nonsense logic touted by the identity politics brigade, it was surely a referendum on whether America was more sexist or racist?

    RomeStu wrote Funny how none of these Tea Party fans were concerned about expensive federal spending when Bush was off invading other countries ..... trillions to make us "feel" safe .... but nothing to give healthcare to the poor and needy. Hmmmm

    Even if they weren't, the fact that the out-of-control spending started under Bush in no way justifies its continuation under Obama.

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  • 43. At 12:54pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Also funny how for many people it is all about the "American Way" the "American Dream" and so on ....

    ... but the moment it comes to using tax money for the benefit of everybody (ie healthcare) then it's "Oh no ... that's the role of the individual states".

    Should we have the "Pennsylvania Way" and the "Georgia Dream" instead?


    This idea from the right that thy would be ok with state-run public healthcare is just smoke and mirrors ....

    ... anyone with half an ounce of economic sense would realise the huge econoimies of scale of centrally funded healthcare, which again is why most european nations spend approximately 65% per capita on health of the USA and manage to cover everyone, have longerl ife expectancy and lower infant mortality.

    What part of that do people not understand?

    As to the argument that federal govt is incompetent etc - that's hardly a reason to not try.

    "Giving Up because it seems a bit hard" - the NEW American Way

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  • 44. At 12:59pm on 26 Jan 2010, arclightt wrote:

    All: I want to be clear that I think that David's comments are often very good. That's why his remarks today seemed unusual, and why I responded as I did.

    As a follow-on, I place so much of the blame on the Congress because they, of all the government players in this situation, are the best positioned to lead for the long haul. No President can be in office longer than eight years, and the courts have no business in any kind of lawmaking or executive function. Congress is the only entity in this country that has the authority and the time in office to do any kind of long-term planning, questioning, and thinking about the country and where it's going. This makes their failures on the budget, as well as on long-term strategic planning (e.g. US industrial policy, US education policy, etc.) even less excusable.

    Here's hoping we can gradually make that institution functional again, with all the benefits that that will bring.

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  • 45. At 1:00pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 33, Andrea

    "Most, not all, Americans seek to reduce the amount of taxes they pay."

    You are right, not all. There are some, such as I, who have this old habit of only buying what they can afford to pay for. Unfortunately, most Americans want a Cadillac when they can only afford a Chevette.

    We like to boast about personal responsibility, but when it comes to fiscal responsibility most of us don't even know how to spell it.

    Nobody likes to pay taxes, I certainly don't, but some of us understand that to get the services we get we must pay them, otherwise it is time to take ALL our government programs to the chopping block and start trimming...and that's where the fun would begin.

    Democrats, should such audacity become reality, would propose reductions in Defense, NASA, NOAA, elimination of agricultural subsidies, elimination of corporate tax loopholes, limits on executives compensation, etc. The Republicans would focus on reducing or privatizing Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, welfare and unemployment benefits, getting rid of unions, etc.

    The result? Nothing positive would come out of it. We love to be number one and will continue to take alms from China, sign IOU's, use plastic until the banks cut off our credit, and when interest on the debt exceed revenues we will call for long overdue retaliation against those naughty creditors that got us in trouble. So much for personal responsibility, let alone social or community responsibility!


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  • 46. At 1:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    38 charlie
    on tax ... "Therefore it it's not a choice, it's the product of force. Anything you give to charity (and you may well do, and good on you if so) is real, nothing else can be classified as such."

    This may well be true - but a country cannot run it's public services and infrastructure on charity.

    It is without doubt that Americans are very charitable, but the problem with citing charity as an alternative to tax is that charity rarely comes without a caveat or a condition on what it can be spent on.

    This leaves the funding of unpopular issues in dire straits, athough they may be integral to the functionning of the country.

    The bottom line of this reasoning is selfish - the idea that people want ot decide what their "donations" (tax or charity) are spent on, regardless of the actual need in society.

    Also, although many people of low income do give to charity, donation is predominently in the gift of the wealthy with excesses of disposable income, or of corporations - and we're back to vested interests.

    I'm not defending the current set-up of pork-barrel spending and earmarks and so on .... but the answers lie in the use of tax revenue, not in finding alternatives to federal taxes.

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  • 47. At 1:05pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    42 charlie
    "However, this does not mean that those who oppose the measures to remedy the social ill have caused it in the first place."

    Naughty Carlie, You are putting words in oter people's mouths.

    No one has said the "opposers" caused the social problems .... but they're not doing much to try to resolve them are they?

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  • 48. At 1:17pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    RomeStu wrote: Also funny how for many people it is all about the "American Way" the "American Dream" and so on .... but the moment it comes to using tax money for the benefit of everybody (ie healthcare) then it's "Oh no ... that's the role of the individual states".

    The 'American Way' and 'American Dream' is individual freedom and low taxes within a constitutional republic whose government is bound by the Bill of Rights.

    This idea from the right that thy would be ok with state-run public healthcare is just smoke and mirrors ....

    I don't think most conservatives or libertarians say that they would be 'OK' with it; but they do say that constitutionally - if is to exist - it has to be at the state level.

    ... anyone with half an ounce of economic sense would realise the huge econoimies of scale of centrally funded healthcare

    If this is the case then why have Democrats consistently blocked any moves to allow US citizens to buy health insurance across state lines?

    Naughty Carlie, You are putting words in oter people's mouths. No one has said the "opposers" caused the social problems .... but they're not doing much to try to resolve them are they?

    I think you've taken this out of context. I didn't say anyone had said this, I said it is commonly conflated. If it wasn't clear enough then I'm happy to apologise and state that no-one on this thread has said that.

    This may well be true - but a country cannot run it's public services and infrastructure on charity.

    Absolutely. Which is why a limited amount of authoritarian force is needed. But a limited amount it must be, and it must not be pretended that it is either liberal or democratic.

    Conversely, I am not denying that some taxes are popular, but just because one happens to like something which is illiberal does not make it liberal. There are Christians in England who like the established church that they are forced to support financially, and indeed the blasphemy laws, but that doesn't make the policies acceptable or make them liberal. Indeed many authoritarian policies are highly popular with those bound by them.

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  • 49. At 1:39pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Arclight & Charlie – I apologise for answering you both together. I am a very superior person, actually I think the word is arrogant, always have been always will be, in addition I am a snob, especially intellectually (this why people like the colonel and Marcus amuse me, no matter what they may feel on the matter). When I left university, I was unemployed for about two years and found it very difficult to get out of that trap, it is surprisingly easy just to just go with the flow and not bothering to try.

    From there it has been until recently a slow rise in salary and status, as I allowed myself to drift carried by inertia as much as anything. This year I earned the equivalent (counting for the irregularities in the exchange rate) of $97k, not a huge amount but enough to be more than reasonably comfortable and on average over three times more than my friends.

    Do I regret paying taxes? Not really, I earn a sufficient amount of money for a man in his mid-thirties with no significant ties (not married, no children) and I have benefited from the system I am paying into. I would be ungracious and extremely selfish if I tried to avoid doing my bit, at least giving a chance to others to get where I have got. I am fully aware that the system is abused, by people on all levels, but that doesn’t mean the system is wrong.

    From experience of people who work in the City, I suspect that many of the Teas do not have a similar history nor a similar sense of empathy. If you do not have the experience you lack the understanding.

    Do I feel superior to the Teas and their supporters? Yes, it is a character flaw, but I have enough of those that admitting another is not going to cost me any sleep. As a liberal I wish that the world was in a situation where people could do as they wanted, without restriction for the government. I would pay my part, another character flaw if someone needs money I will give it them without question or thought of paying it back. I am also a cynic and know that most people are selfish (I am very selfish, one of the reason I have not even really thought of having children) and need a push to do the right thing.

    Like many Teas I am white and relatively well off, if I can do my part with only slight complaint, so can they. As I said I am an arrogant sob at heart.

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  • 50. At 1:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    23. Via-Media:

    Ha, ha. Another one who thinks we're allowed a bit of fun here. . .However, I see Squirrel's Fourth Law seems to be holding up well.

    As for this "I don't want to pay taxes to help other people and if others want to, well they can find a charity to do it" seems like they're saying "I'll cut off minos to spite my face". I'm finding the arguments a bit labyrinthine and puzzling; still, I see David and RomeStu are putting what would mostly be the Squirrel view, so it won't matter if I lose the thread.

    (I suppose the Corinthians kept getting all those letters because they were too occupied with currant trends?)

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  • 51. At 1:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 14, Ray

    "The only reason anyone is talking to them is because they are promoted by a certain Cable News Network as the Astroturf movement needed to propel their Queen Sara forward."

    Don't under estimate the power, effectiveness and discipline of the GOP...or Sarah's charisma and appeal to religious and "social" conservatives.

    Judging by what I hear, including members of my own family, and the number of signs in houses and cars with messages such as Palin-12 to Go Sarah Go, it is apparent that she has loyal and enthusiastic supporters on her side determined to nominate her and vote for her in 2012.

    I realize the idea of someone like her running, let alone, being elected President is hard to conceive, but considering some of our choices the past several decades it certainly would not be unprecedented.

    I just wonder how the Independents would vote if she was nominated...




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  • 52. At 1:48pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    How about making deficit spending illegal?

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  • 53. At 1:51pm on 26 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    48. The 'American Way' and 'American Dream' is individual freedom and low taxes within a constitutional republic whose government is bound by the Bill of Rights.
    ________________
    At what point were low taxes forced into the equation? Or are you rewriting the American Dream?
    Taxes have to be paid, so the government can administer certain services that the public cannot obtain or safely regulate themselves. The argument is in deciding what services fall on either side of that definition.
    Education could reasonably be a mostly private run affair in the same way healthcare is. But the existence public schools does not make the taxes that pay for them oppressive. Or would you advocate the abolition of these programmes as contrary to "The Dream".

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  • 54. At 1:59pm on 26 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote: "And, AllenT2, of course they are 'radical': they want a profound change from the roots in how a country and its people are financed, supported and, when it comes down to it, governed. Their ideas would have consequences way beyond just paying less (or no) taxes . . .

    ('Radical' doesn't mean 'leftish revolutionary'. See Squirrel's Fourth Law.)"

    The Tea Party Americans are seen as being on the right so why would I, or Mr. Mardell, especially considering who he works for, think of them as like "leftish revolutionary?"

    You said "they want a profound change from the roots in how a country and its people are financed, supported and, when it comes down to it, governed."

    Sounds like the same things that were considered prior to America declaring independence.

    Considering America's history you tell me how they are "radical."

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  • 55. At 2:00pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    48. At 1:17pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    "There are Christians in England who like the established church that they are forced to support financially"

    Eh?

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  • 56. At 2:01pm on 26 Jan 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @45 (StD): "Nobody likes to pay taxes, I certainly don't, but some of us understand that to get the services we get we must pay them, otherwise it is time to take ALL our government programs to the chopping block and start trimming...and that's where the fun would begin."

    The ugly truth, Dominick, is that in order to save the ship we are going to have to raise taxes and cut spending at the same time, which seems to be what makes this essentially a non-starter for the Congress. They have to figure out some way to make Americans understand just how far in debt we really are, and what's really going to be required to deal with it.

    The Heritage Foundation (a right-wing think tank in the US) and the Pew Research Center (a left-wing counterpart) actually teamed up in about 2004 to deliver this message to the Congress (I read the article in the Chicago Tribune while on travel). Their joint report was well-received...and then nothing was done about it.

    The GAO has a boatload of information on this. Here is a link for those who are interested:

    http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/longtermproducts.html

    "Democrats, should such audacity become reality, would propose reductions in Defense, NASA, NOAA, elimination of agricultural subsidies, elimination of corporate tax loopholes, limits on executives compensation, etc. The Republicans would focus on reducing or privatizing Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, welfare and unemployment benefits, getting rid of unions, etc.

    All probably true, with more besides. Some of the positions you staked out for each party seem good to me; others don't. I suspect there are about 300 million different variations of what would be good and bad to cut; here's hoping that we can crystallize around a few.

    "The result? Nothing positive would come out of it. We love to be number one and will continue to take alms from China, sign IOU's, use plastic until the banks cut off our credit, and when interest on the debt exceed revenues we will call for long overdue retaliation against those naughty creditors that got us in trouble. So much for personal responsibility, let alone social or community responsibility!"

    Are there commercials where you live about "Federal programs to cut your credit card debt..."? We get that all the time here in the Washington area...just heard another spiel yesterday from yet another organization. Personal responsibility, indeed...

    All: Here's a question: To contribute to the "greater good", do I as a taxpayer have an obligation to pay off with my tax dollars some portion of credit card debt owed by another person? Why or why not?

    Arclight

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  • 57. At 2:04pm on 26 Jan 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @52: Absolutely, and the sooner the better!! You want it, you pay...

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  • 58. At 2:14pm on 26 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 38 charlieatlantic:

    No, you accept it because you will be thrown in prison if you don't. If it were optional you wouldn't do it. Therefore it it's not a choice, it's the product of force.

    Twaddle. I accept taxes as a rational choice. Taxes fund programs and institutions that have allowed society to grow and prosper. Large, complex, modern societies require large, complex, and modern administrative structures in order to function. How can people envisage modern nation states (let alone large metropolises) functioning without complex administration? And how can complex administrations function without significant tax revenue?

    We no longer live in a small, bucolic, rigidly stratified, ethically or ideologically homogeneous society. The large modern state in all its complexity has arisen because it has preserved capitalism from the social challenges capitalism itself generates.

    The college days socialist in me says to people like you, "hey, go ahead, destroy the state's ability to rationally redistribute wealth. It's digging your own grave." But I am bourgeois now, and I'd like to hang on to my little pile of beans. And as far as I can see, the best way to do that is to employ the state to mitigate the tendency of capital to accumulate in far too few hands.

    And you certainly don't have to be a Marxist to be wary of capitalism's tendency to monopoly and oligarchy ...

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  • 59. At 2:28pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    58 chronophobe

    "We no longer live in a small, bucolic, rigidly stratified, ethically or ideologically homogeneous society."


    And that, for alot of these teabaggers seems to be the problem ;-)

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  • 60. At 2:30pm on 26 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 52 St. D " How about making deficit spending illegal?"

    Even for war fighting?

    These things sound good, but the devil is in the details ...

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  • 61. At 2:32pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Oops. Lost something somewhere; got this message:

    "BBC Error 500: "We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network"

    Yes? So? Thought they'd be used to that by now, these blogs have been going long enough.

    Coincidentally (from CBS) :

    'One astrobiologist says the best place to look for aliens may be right here on Earth. Paul Davies of Arizona State University said Tuesday that extraterrestrial life may have found its way to this planet at several different times. Davies says, the aliens could be "right under or noses - or even in our noses." '

    No surprise to readers of BBC blogs who're well familiar with the ones from Planet PGT1pS in the Andromeda cluster already, but (see Squirrel's Fourth Law) the phrase is "up our noses".

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  • 62. At 2:34pm on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    56. arclightt:

    "All: Here's a question: To contribute to the "greater good", do I as a taxpayer have an obligation to pay off with my tax dollars some portion of credit card debt owed by another person? Why or why not?"

    ****************

    Only if they are poor, defenseless democrats and were hoodwinked into debt by evil, greedy banks. They need our protection, and I want to be their rescuer.

    If they are republicans, then, no, they get what they deserve. They have money for guns, don't they? That's what they get for being against big government. Go ask Sarah Palin for help.

    Seriously? No.

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  • 63. At 2:40pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    58 chrono
    "The college days socialist in me says to people like you, "hey, go ahead, destroy the state's ability to rationally redistribute wealth. It's digging your own grave." But I am bourgeois now, and I'd like to hang on to my little pile of beans. And as far as I can see, the best way to do that is to employ the state to mitigate the tendency of capital to accumulate in far too few hands."


    I agree.

    Unfortunately the aspirational nature of the will-o-the-wisp that is the American Dream has led many people of moderate means to "cut off their nose to spite their face", by constantly supporting the party that favours the rich in order that when they get rich the trough will be deep and full.

    Whether they are led by potential greed or blinded by dogma, they are doing themselves and other no favours at all.

    The great sadness is that people cannot see past the dogma to realise when they themselves would be better off.

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  • 64. At 2:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    54. AllenT2 :

    Just look up the meaning of the word 'radical' please. It doesn't mean the same as 'revolutionary' either. It is not a political label, which is how you're trying to use it. What was 'radical' in one place in 1576 might not have been in another in 1776 or 2006.

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  • 65. At 2:56pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    56. arclightt

    62.AndreaNY

    Some people are all too quick to jump on a bandwagon of misinformation and let it career down the mountain out of control with everyone aboard getting more carried away by the yard.

    Common sense tells me--as it should others--that there can be no Federal programme of the kind.

    I have a strong suspicion that these ads are probably about help and advice with 'debt restructuring' and avoiding bankruptcy, just like, well, American airlines and banks and car manufacturers do . . .except they do get given taxpayers' money.

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  • 66. At 2:58pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    At lunch I was reading a detective novel set in Victorian London, one of the characters is discussing the age and says while it is an age of immense change it is also an age of great inertia where some of the forces will only change if they are dragged kicking and screaming.

    Thinking about comparing Victorian Britain and Modern USA it does work: Both were or are at the height of the political economic might, existing in an age where there was great social and technological change and if not the social then they were/are at forefront of the technological one.

    The British military arguably had the strongest and best equipped military on the planet and held a belief (based partly on the victory at Waterloo) they unbeatable and failed to change their tactics even after meeting a reasonably undignified defeat in the Crimea. They also thought that they could easily handle a few insurgents and indeed won in South Africa but managed to lose both the peace and public opinion.

    Liberals expounded the virtues of social reform and were in the main either looked upon as well meaning meddlers or derided as fools.

    The good news (for some) Britain eventually accepted the need for a health care system (made sure we had reasonably well nourished soldiers to slaughter) and social change. Bad news is that by the time it happened Britain had passed its glory days, paving the way for the next world power.

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  • 67. At 3:01pm on 26 Jan 2010, green82 wrote:

    "How can a leaderless, grass roots movement hope to curb the man in the White House and the men and women on Capitol Hill?"

    The Tea Party grassroots and leaderless? FreedomWorks is chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a powerful politician. Plus, Fox News's Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity use Fox News as a platform to promote the Tea Party. Since Fox News is one of the richest media outlets in the world, owned by Rupert Murdoch, a multi-billionaire. I would hardly call this "grassroots" or "leaderless". Please. Don't believe the hype. I expected more from the BBC.

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  • 68. At 3:15pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 10 "This anti-tax position is fair enough but remember, if you don't want to pay your taxes then don't complain when the police don't show up when your house is being robbed, the fireman doesn't come when your house is burning down, and your kids are dumber than rocks because won't fund public education."

    What I find amusing is how when taxes are brought up people roll out things like fire, police and education. I don't know how things are done on the other side if the pond but here those are things paid for with local taxes, not federal taxes. Education is the exception but if you look at education funding the more the feds get involved the worse education becomes. It would be better if the Dept. of Education was eliminated.

    Or are you suggesting we put the federal government in charge of every single fire house and police station in the country. Talk about a disaster.

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  • 69. At 3:16pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    Oh by the way TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. Whe do not have a collection problem, we have a spending problem.

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  • 70. At 3:19pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    allent2
    "The only reasons why a person would ask about skin color is if they suspected or thought the "radical movement" was somehow racist and/or they want others to think likewise.

    Why would you think that? Based on what? "


    I would base it on the only people I have met being into the tea party are racists.
    they were before the election they are now.
    they were in some cases democrats that would have voted for hillary had she won the primaries but now will not begin to think that Obama would will do any good. they are republicans that hated both hillary and Obama. but also hated people of colour.
    the republicans I know that are not into the tea party are the ones that are not racists(though they are foolish IMO)but are rich.
    they do not support the tea party or the palin run for the presidency.
    they would support a strong fiscal conservative who was not a race baiter.

    How do I know their party.
    I ASK THEM.

    I know it is un american but as I sound un american they tend to give me some breathing space.
    except those tea party people they don't.
    they don't admit to any party they just spout tea party rhetoric all the time.

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  • 71. At 3:19pm on 26 Jan 2010, John Galt wrote:

    The divide between the Conservatives-Tea-Party and the institutional Republicans is being thrown about much in the mainstream media.
    Much do about nothing!

    The real reason is that it has become the last hope of the liberals to avoid an electoral catastrophe in November and on to 2012. But one should recognize a red herring when one sees it. Well, not really, not the media.

    Two proofs - ok, more like 4 proofs. Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, but more encompassing and permeating, the Bloggersphere. In the latest example of Massachusetts, we saw a perfectly harmonious and synchronized campaign between the moderate Republican Brown and the purist conservative movement of the Tea party.

    But the real measure that will only increase as the electoral year advances is the mood and scope of the conservative-republican Bloggers.
    The blending of Republican moderation and the purist form of the Tea Party ideals are working as an explosive mix.

    One of the better examples of the later is "Robbing-America" at
    http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com

    where the hits increased exponentially two days before the Massachusetts election. And we all know the results.

    Their political mix blends well with both sides of the conservatives, and that bodes ill for President Obama and all Democrats come November.

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  • 72. At 3:22pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    38 atlantic charlie.
    have you refused treatment yet in order to not be a slave to your wants ?

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  • 73. At 3:29pm on 26 Jan 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    It is always interesting that the media never provides actual numbers of these groups. Maybe the biggest right wing radio hosts garner 1% of the population...yet they are emboldened by other media making it sound like they have some majority. This is a great disservice by the media. People are disillusioned with government and it is the actions of government that has been the cause. Unfortunately the wealthy are waiting for the ignorant to elect those uninterested in the corruption of business and government and only advocating for unsolveable social issues. When the Democrats supported the banks, the auto industry and war, they lost the people who supported the President...they showed themselves as corrupt as the Republicans and with a similar agenda, that of big business, that showed brightly in the healthcare debate where industry lobbyist made sure that lies were told and advertised and the most expensive and least effective healthcare systems of industrial nations was maintained and fraud and corruption won the day. Those who support what they see as a revolution are always the first to be betrayed...on both sides.

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  • 74. At 3:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    13. At 09:01am on 26 Jan 2010, WhitewaterOregon wrote:
    Leaderless? Grassroots? Keep up, Mark! Most of the money behind these "spontaneous" gatherings came from Big Insurance to kill any meaningful health care reform. These fear-mongers play these people like fiddles. Should fit right in with the Republican Party.


    As a fellow Oregonian who enjoys the waters of the McKenzie I have to say I also enjoy your point of view.
    And the truth .

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  • 75. At 3:35pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 43 "Also funny how for many people it is all about the "American Way" the "American Dream" and so on ....

    ... but the moment it comes to using tax money for the benefit of everybody (ie healthcare) then it's "Oh no ... that's the role of the individual states"."


    The American Dream is about working hard to achieve individual success or wealth as you define it. It is about having the freedom to achieve. Higher taxes and larger government erodes that opportunity. Otherwise it would be the European Dream where everyone else pays for you.

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  • 76. At 3:35pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    15 not these monkeys

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqdB3HdVbdY&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWI1f2Nk1OI&feature=PlayList&p=A498B4CCE9FF94C2&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=99

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  • 77. At 3:42pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 56, arclightt

    "The ugly truth, Dominick, is that in order to save the ship we are going to have to raise taxes and cut spending at the same time, which seems to be what makes this essentially a non-starter for the Congress."

    I understand that and, personally, I would not mind seeing my tyaxes go up if that is what it takes to have a sustainable economy, low unemployment, improvements in infrastructure, energy independence, and healthcare for all Americans.

    Unfortunately, if what I read earlier today is true, President Obama is going to propose a reduction in spending at all levels except for a couple of programs, including Defense.

    In my opinion, if there is one department that deserves a budget reduction it is the DoD, and considering the size of its budget it is one of a handful of governments areas where substantial savings could be achieved.

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  • 78. At 3:54pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    an example of the tea party republican s and democrats.(well they never really were democrats they just liked the idea of democracy for a bit, until they figured many disagreed with them)

    there is a bill in oregon it would reduce taxes for 270,000 tax payers that were unemployed last year .provide 472million for schools public safety and critical services.

    It would do this by increasing the tax rate for households earning over 250,000 dollars by 1.8 percent

    Noo ne earning less than 250 000 will pay more.

    So far the money spent and the time spent trying to destroy this bill is pretty huge.
    (remember Oregon is a state which is very poor. The average joe lost wages compared to inflation. the top increased their earings by 7 times in twenty years.

    There is also a bill to change the corporate tax code a bit. It was set many many years ago in a time long forgotten;)

    so provides 250 million for school public safety (cops to taser us ) .
    How it raises the $10 corperate minimum tax ( I said it was set a long time ago here it comes ) for the first time since.....1931

    97% of businesses will pay $150 more or will see no change.
    (timber barons that did increase wealth will be part of the 3% )

    The business tax will still be the 5 lowest in the nation.

    And there are objections.
    then the same people wish us to support a rise in taxes JUST for the police.

    So to those that try to pretend the national debates are not the same as the local debates. You misrepresent the truth.
    the national campaigns are used to stifle bills like these that would help Oregon.






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  • 79. At 3:55pm on 26 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"For once perhaps that cliche "only in America" is true."

    "Perhaps for once?" Not that I think we're "exceptional" (aside from the sheer genius of our founders when constructing our constitution) in any way shape or form; in fact, I think that those who do believe that tripe are just looking for some reason to make them feel better about this falling apart at the seams country!! But I'm sorry, but the cliche
    "only in America" is, and has been, true on far more than one occasion. Some are good, and some are very, very bad!! For example, "Only in America can the nation be the richest nation on earth and not guarantee health care coverage for all its citizens." "Only in America can the richest nation on earth have the worst welfare programs of the developed world." In fact, Mark, if this cliche is only true regarding the primaries, then answer me this. Why has your much esteemed colleague Matt Fri written a best selling book by that very title? And one more thing. I have no idea if this is true or not; in fact, I don't think it is. But as you know, during the presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly said that "only in America" are his and Michelle's stories possible. Now again, I personally think that he was just saying that to get votes, but factually speaking (and I think that this is a sad reflection upon the level of tolerance and acceptance in the world) but I do think that if not only in America, then certainly only in America, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia are his and Michelle's stories possible. And that is probably a much more true statement.


    "The fuel protest in Britain sometime ago looked like a mass movement. But it fizzled to nothing."


    And unless these so-called "tea partiers" rename themselves "Independents" and adopt the good qualities of both main political parties and none of the bad and get themselves known right now, so will it. As the Democrats under Clinton included the position of Ross Pero (the Independent candidate) when the Democrats realized a possible real challenge from him, as Labour under Blair addressed the disaffected voters' concerns (with the aid of Clinton) and under the new and improved name "New Labour" in Britain, the Republican machine will swallow the tea partiers up if they do not make a deffinit and distinctive change in their ways. You snooze you lose.

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  • 80. At 3:56pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    55 EH?

    I'm with you. the standard f Oxford must have dropped. still he said he studied in Oxford. maybe it was one of those tutorial collages for those wishing to re-sit exams;)

    in music appreciation.

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  • 81. At 4:04pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    personanongrata wrote: 38 atlantic charlie.
    have you refused treatment yet in order to not be a slave to your wants ?


    Your Latin is obviously better than your English. What does this mean?

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  • 82. At 4:05pm on 26 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    #12 Zaphodian.

    The Welsh economy is now out of recession(some one bought a mars bar).

    I know we have been "got at" as every one will know,you never buy a whole mars bar in one go,its just plane showing off.Any how,roll on the 5 nations championship,when those namby pamby guys in white will need that sweet chariot to take them home,literally...Bread of heaven,bread of heaven....
    ps, is a Zap hod ian, someone who hits people carrying bricks?...

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  • 83. At 4:26pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    81 simple charlie (not you the answer)
    you stated that your personal wants were not as importan as the ethics or somesuch nonsense.
    that you would let your personal wants inform your political opinion.

    Yet you take from the NHS when you need treatment.
    are you admitting to not having the courage to live up to your ideals?
    Are you admitting you are a hypocrite?
    You seem to think that the academics are separated from the reality. when convenient.


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  • 84. At 4:27pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/01/what_a_difference_a_year_makes.html#P

    Just incase you were so blotted you forgot your rather hypocritical posting

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  • 85. At 4:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, seasmoke wrote:

    While it is true that the Democratic party best resembles a circular firing squad at the moment I do not believe the Tea Party represents much more than a loud mouth bunch of bigots who have enough money to make themselves heard. If the Republican party chooses to sacrifice the middle ground because they are scared of their own extreme right wing then they condemn themselves to the wilderness for many years to come. The fact is Americans just want the damn place to work a little better. The political parties have lost the plot and think its about their "values" left or right when in fact its about the obvious disfunction of government and its inability to get anything done. That inaction should cost such a lot is something most citizens have a hard time understanding.
    It is likely that the economy will show marked signs of improvement by November which will take the steam out of a lot of the Tea Party complaints. Also, as mentioned above, these are basically a bunch of white right wingers for whom ANY Democratic agenda is an anathema and their rhetoric is so charged with hate and vitriol it's hard to take them seriously. Just read the opinion pages at FoxNews (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/index.html) to get a taste and you will see what I mean.
    I think a very healthy development is that something like 30% of the country identify themselves as Independents. Even without a third party that should go someway to keeping both Dems and Reps vaguely honest.
    I also think America has a genius for reinventing itself (which we are in the middle of) and would suggest that rumors of its imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. The changes wrought to our society by technology, changing demographics and a host of other factors means we have a lot to work through so to paraphrase Mr. Churchill we are not at the beginning of the end but near the end of the beginning. America is STILL the last great on-going experiment in how humans can best govern themselves.

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  • 86. At 4:34pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    75 csgators
    "The American Dream is about working hard to achieve individual success or wealth as you define it. It is about having the freedom to achieve."

    That must be why it is called a dream! Because it's not really possible is it? Sorryto burst your bubble of middle-class "I made it (or my antecedents did and passed it on to me) and so therefore anyone can".

    The USA has pitiful social mobility. Read these


    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/04/b1579981.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/20050515_CLASS_GRAPHIC/index_02.html

    a quote
    "a 2007 academic study by researchers at Kent State, Wisconsin and Syracuse. Here is how Professor Kathryn Wilson, associate professor of economics at Kent State University, summarizes the main finding of the latter study: “People like to think of America as the land of opportunities. The irony is that our country actually has less social mobility and more inequality than most developed countries”


    The American Dream is a great big lie for the vast majority of Americans, yet they are sucked into this idea that any sort of social program would lead to the end of life as they know it ..... they should be looking forward to the change!

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  • 87. At 4:34pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#49) "Funny how none of these Tea Party fans were concerned about expensive federal spending when Bush was off invading other countries ..... "

    And for that matter, President Reagan, who doubled the national debt (adjusted for inflation), and President Bush the elder, who continued the trend.

    http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

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  • 88. At 4:37pm on 26 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    It was these Teabaggers who caused me to change my name from trueconservative. I don't want to be mistaken for one of them. The chilling alliteration by one Teabagger that I heard recently on the radio sticks in my head. He was being questioned about what people in his group were planning to do since the Tea Party movement doesn't seem to have mass popular support. His response went something like "if we don't succeed in the ballot box we'll get out the bullet box".

    Another Teabagger on the radio program was more politically correct, and said his radical views didn't represent the whole movement; the party is about a particular set of values, not a shade of skin; etc. If she had stopped right there, I might have given her the benefit of the doubt, but she didn't. She went on to say that in her area (Dallas, Texas) they had an African American in their group, he was a leader, and they "adored" him. Considering that previous comments she had made indicated that there were several hundred people in her group, the fact that one member was African American didn't really impress me. And as to her comment about "adoring" him, that sounded rather patronizing to me.

    So, I've changed my name. Don't think I'm not conservative; I am, just not THAT kind of conservative.

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  • 89. At 4:37pm on 26 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Oh - how cute. A Tea Party Party.

    Will they Whag their little Whiggie pinkies in the air?
    Or will they dress in 'Indian War Dress', like they did in Boston, 1773?


    Um... does anyone remember Bush v. Gore 2000?
    Some folks said that if the Green Party hadn't split the Democratic vote, Gore would have had the clear lead.

    I know this because - I voted Green.
    Sorry folks, you can all now blame ME (and a million other Tree-Hugging Rainbow Lovers) for the past decade of militaristic/economic hell.

    The center doesn't hold. Things fall apart.

    I have too much real life stuff happening to follow all you wonderful animals this week, but I just posted my 20 cents (inflation) on the American Party Mad-house HERE.

    Party On, Ya'll!


    PS: No hard feelings Magic, but I'm not a big fan of Los Angeles Kirin Ichiban. (I've seen their Vats. They scare me.) But the pub down the way has a local seasonal Cider on tap! It's quite yummy. Stop by anytime.

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  • 90. At 4:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 79
    "only in America" is, and has been, true on far more than one occasion. Some are good, and some are very, very bad!! For example, "Only in America can the nation be the richest nation on earth and not guarantee health care coverage for all its citizens." "Only in America can the richest nation on earth have the worst welfare programs of the developed world."

    Ever stop to think that we are the richest nation on earth for just that reason? If you want more of something you subsidize it. So if you subsidize poverty...

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  • 91. At 4:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    ukwales
    "Any how,roll on the 5 nations championship,when those namby pamby guys in white will need that sweet chariot to take them home,literally...Bread of heaven,bread of heaven...."


    Don't forget the Italians ..... it's the 6 Nations now.

    2003 isn't too far back for you to remember is it

    Italy 30 - Wales 22

    "Fratelli ... d'Ialia ...." (and then about 15 minutes of pomp. It's long and difficult to keep the tune)

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  • 92. At 4:42pm on 26 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    These people who resent taxes should go live in a society where there aren't any. There without the infrastructure that taxes supply for efficient wealth production, if they could find a job, their wages for the day might be as high as $3-5.

    Tax protesters here in the states are people who are looking for a free ride. Some refer to them as deadbeats.

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  • 93. At 4:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    82 I think they broke a multi pack up and sold him the small bar . I am sure Zap would not have been so ostentatious as to buy a whole big bar and am equally sure that he didn't buy a King size bar.

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  • 94. At 4:48pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    #86 "The American Dream is a great big lie for the vast majority of Americans, yet they are sucked into this idea that any sort of social program would lead to the end of life as they know it ..... they should be looking forward to the change!"

    Let's see, the USA used to have great social mobility so then we elected a bunch of big government politicians for decades on end and now we don't. Shocking.

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  • 95. At 4:49pm on 26 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    86 But I want to be poor because when I win the lottery I will feel even richer then.
    ;)

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  • 96. At 4:49pm on 26 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: RomeStu 59, 63

    There is a great deal of nostalgia for some 'better time' in the tea party movement. FDR (!!!!!) is regarded as the Great Satan by many.

    But in some ways, I share this queasiness at the thought of our modern world -- things are just too big, too complex. I love reading Wendell Berry (speaking of whom, I wonder where our good Ed Iglehart has gone??). But Berry's sense of local activism, involvement, and responsibility is a far, far cry from any of the tea party rhetoric (that I have heard, anyway).

    The teaparty narratives, with their extremist views on the value of the free markets and their dislike of the state, inadvertently or otherwise advocate a return to the age of the Robber Barons and their Pinkertons. Do tea party supporters actually and uncritically believe that the Kochs, Murdock, Norquist, et. al. are primarily concerned with the welfare of the great unwashed?

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  • 97. At 4:52pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    My point was that just because government policy is widely supported, it doesn't make it acceptable or liberal. Liberalism often requires anti-democratic sustenance (for example the Bill of Rights).

    I used the Church of England as an example. This was my argument: I consider an established state church, which is in part supported by public taxation, to be tyranny. Many Christians do not. They, and I, are both forced to pay for their religion but one minds and the other does not. My point was that just because the Christian in this equation does not mind the tyranny, it does not cease to be tyranny. It was a rejoinder to the notion that because some people like to pay taxes they therefore cease to be authoritarian.

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  • 98. At 4:57pm on 26 Jan 2010, Kevin Kennedy wrote:

    The racist overtones of the Tea Party movement are undeniable. Ugly expressions of racism can be found at every large Tea Party event, usually in reference to President Obama. When challenged on this point, Tea Party leaders always say that they welcome "anyone" and that one cannot make the majority of their followers responsible for the actions of the few. Nevertheless, they still refuse to denounce all forms of racism at their rallies and to demand that all those who make such race-based criticisms of Obama remove themselves from their midst. And they will continue to refuse to distance themselves from such sentiments; for they know that much of their support comes from lower-middle class whites fearful that they are losing control over "their" country to minorities and immigrants, even though the greatest threat to their way of life comes from large corporations and banks -- the ones they should really be directing their anger against.

    Kevin Kennedy
    Potsdam, Germany

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  • 99. At 5:00pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David Murrell (#34) "Am I happy that the tax man takes my cash? No, I would much rather waste it on booze and loose women, however, I accept it because it is the correct thing to do."

    I am reminded of the following quote attributed to George Best:

    "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds* and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

    * women

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  • 100. At 5:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    personanongrata wrote 81 simple charlie (not you the answer)
    you stated that your personal wants were not as importan as the ethics or somesuch nonsense.
    that you would let your personal wants inform your political opinion.

    Yet you take from the NHS when you need treatment.
    are you admitting to not having the courage to live up to your ideals?
    Are you admitting you are a hypocrite?
    You seem to think that the academics are separated from the reality. when convenient.


    We're talking about America. I am opposed to this federal bill, and a federal takeover of American healthcare. That is all I have said. We never got onto Britain. Leaving aside that the two systems are not comparable and the cheapness of your shot, the fact is that in Britain we have the NHS. I pay into it, and I use it. America does not; and I am arguing against their adopting one, or starting down that path.

    Follow your logic and we would conclude that one couldn't argue for lower taxes unless one refused to pay the existing ones, or against a particular law unless one was prepared to break it.

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  • 101. At 5:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Ever stop to think that we are the richest nation on earth for just that reason?" (from csgators at #90)

    There's that old canard again. The US is not the richest nation on earth on a per capita basis. Where we rank depends on how you measure wealth, but here's just one report that puts the US sixth (in 2005):

    GNP per capita

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  • 102. At 5:18pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    For a laugh I went to the Tea Party Patriots website, who describe themselves as grassroots (just as Mark did) and non-partisan. After a quick look round the website at best they could try as only semi-partisan. I checked out one item on the website (because its title intrigued me) and got a right cracker, in summary:

    The piece was about why giving congressmen/women a limited number of terms was a bad more, it gave as an example a hypothetical Californian Congressman an upright gentleman, who stood by his principles, refused to be swayed by special interests and served the needs of his constituents for two terms, before being barred from congress. So far so good but….. This earnest politician prevented from serving his people in one way, was forced to serve another way by becoming President.

    The hypothetical congressmen was then named: Ronald Reagan! The piece then explained that IF there are had been limited terms in congress and IF Reagan had decided to be a member of congress, rather than Governor, then this would have been the difficulty he would have faced!

    I read the piece, read again and shook my head. Ok so the idea is to show why limited terms is a bad move, so you choose as your argument someone who was never in Congress, who if he had been without limited terms may never have left Congress, so may never become the great President the piece said he became. So why are limited terms a bad thing again!?! *Please note this is a question about the piece, not support for limited terms*

    Also as a criticism of the idea one of the Teas pointed out that if there had been limited terms they could have got rid of certain people, shockingly the list of undesirables could have been written by Magic.

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  • 103. At 5:27pm on 26 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It must come as a huge culture shock for people who come from societies where government is seen as the first and best solution to all of life's problems and the bigger the government the better able it is to solve them to arrive in a society where government is viewed as the problem itself and the bigger the government the bigger the problem.

    It must also be a shock to those who come from a culture where everything is handed down from above by people who organize those under them to a society where the organization spontaneously springs from the bottom up by those being organized themselves and where it is their agenda, not some demagogue's that gets to be the one the group follows.

    Or that such a movement could be successful in abrogating power by dethroning the existing power structure. Those who don't understand it may try to liken it to the way Nazis and fascists siezed power generations ago in Europe but it really has nothing in common with them at all.

    Welcome to America Mister Mardell, welcome to real democracy in action. Watch it and learn that there is a different way that works far better than Europe ever can. This is how we threw the British out BTW. The odds against that were slim as well.

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  • 104. At 5:27pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 101
    There's that old canard again. The US is not the richest nation on earth on a per capita basis. Where we rank depends on how you measure wealth, but here's just one report that puts the US sixth (in 2005):

    That wasn't actually the point I was trying to make I was simply using the language of the post I was replying to. My argument is that pointing to what is good about our country to make the case of changing it makes no sense.

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  • 105. At 5:28pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    #7. mikeymike143: "So you want to consider Fox viewership as a measuring stick for Tea Party support. Let's do that. For instance, take Tuesday's election night coverage. Fox had six-times the viewers as MSNBC, five-times the viewers as CNN. . ."

    Both of which are carried on cable.

    ". . . and Bill O'Reilly actually beat the entire ABC prime-time schedule, across all demographics."

    ABC is just one of three networks - count in the other two and what do you have?

    If you think O'Reilly is an indicator of future voting patterns, well . . . He preaches to the choir. Remember, his voice did not help McCain-Palin or they would be in Washington today.

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  • 106. At 5:29pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    82. ukwales:

    The Scots are doing better; someone bought a Mars bar and paid someone to dip it in batter. The Italians aren't sure whether they're out of recession or not yet, they'll know when they find out what Berlusconi did with his.

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  • 107. At 5:33pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    97. At 4:52pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    " I consider an established state church, which is in part supported by public taxation, to be tyranny."

    It is? Either? The 'atlantic' isn't short for 'Atlantic City' is it?

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  • 108. At 5:34pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    101 - nice graph.

    But with Iceland out of the loop now, does the US make Top 5 seeding?

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  • 109. At 5:36pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    For a "grassroots spontaneous local movement" the Tea Party franchise seems remarkably well organised and orchestrated.

    Or is it just me?

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  • 110. At 5:38pm on 26 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    RomeStu #86. . .

    I think that what people mean by the term "land of opportunity" (rather a misleading term, I agree) is that America is a place where, if one wants (or rather wanted, thanks to the infanint wisdom of the "Supreme Court",) they can pursue their own personal dreams relatively free of interference and opression. That's all. It implies (or should imply) nothing about the ease with which anyone in America will reach their dreams, and as the very sobering and informative links of which you have so generously posted pointed out, one will have a much easier time achieveing their happyness in any other western country save the UK!! So perhaps instead of the "American dream," it should just be called the "dream?"

    That having been said, do you know, by any chance, why it is that France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark have much better social mobility than us? Will you share it with me? Perhaps we can emulate them. Thanks.

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  • 111. At 5:42pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    103. MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "It must come as a huge culture shock for people who come from societies where government is seen as the first and best solution to all of life's problems and the bigger the government the better able it is to solve them"


    I don't know why I bother, but here we go anyway.

    Marcus - as ever you are putting forward a view of Europe that is simply incorrect, wrong, unfactual ... any number of synonyms will do.

    Because we regard the social benefits of universal healthcare and the eonomic benefits of a single-payer government-run health service, this does mean that we are all for big government.

    Some things are natural monopolies, other are "ethical" natural monopolies .... like health, education, fire service, defense etc.

    This isbecause it is simply unacceptable is a civilised world that people should be without these things due to an inability to pay.

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  • 112. At 5:44pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    For all of you who think GWB spent too much money on wars I agree but:

    Deficit fiscal year 2009 1,417,121
    Deficit fiscal year 2008 454,798

    Note: this is the deficit, not the debt!!!

    Way to go Obama.

    source:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Figures-on-government-apf-2178072020.html?x=0&.v=2

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  • 113. At 5:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    97. CharlieAthletic
    I used the Church of England as an example. This was my argument: I consider an established state church, which is in part supported by public taxation, to be tyranny.
    _________________
    Didn't think the C of E was subsidised by the state.
    http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/funding/#where

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  • 114. At 5:50pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    88. At 4:37pm on 26 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    "It was these Teabaggers who caused me to change my name from trueconservative."

    Ah. Welcome back. Slow on the uptake. (btw, the general said he was with you over the bats, but just as he was U-boated was wondering if their problem was basically man-made, new, transmitted from other species, or what?

    Do you mind if we squirrels call you 'TC'? (That new name's a bit long to get our paws around.)

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  • 115. At 5:55pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#109) "For a "grassroots spontaneous local movement" the Tea Party franchise seems remarkably well organised and orchestrated."

    It's not just you. They are self-described as "grassroots." Here is some background from: the Atlantic

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  • 116. At 5:57pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    106 squirrel
    "The Italians aren't sure whether they're out of recession or not yet, they'll know when they find out what Berlusconi did with his."


    Everybody knows what "Berlusconi did with his" ! (makes Clinton look like a boy scout).

    The Italians aren't sure they're in a recession either ..... it's pretty much business as normal down here.

    Don't forget during the glory years of the boom until 2007, Italy was run by a business billionaire and manged to generate pretty much zero economic growth ..... unless you count the friends of B and their magic multiplying millions.

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  • 117. At 5:59pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    110 pursuit
    "That having been said, do you know, by any chance, why it is that France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark have much better social mobility than us? Will you share it with me? Perhaps we can emulate them. Thanks."


    Gosh, if I knew all the answers then I'd be too busy as a mega-bucks advisor to be here on the Beeb blogsite.

    But there is some benefit to knowing the right questions....

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  • 118. At 6:01pm on 26 Jan 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    1. At 05:53am on 26 Jan 2010, Bill Grimes-Wyatt wrote:
    "We must pick positive positions that are easy to defend. We can not stop earmarks by railing against them. We might be able to stop them (or at least reduce them by making them fair. A FAIR EARMARK BILL could state that all states get a equal per capitia (of citizens) share. When any state has less then their fair share of earmarks, they will receive the difference in a cash grant. It could be the form of an unrestricted grant to the various state treasurers payable within 30 days of passage or it could be restricted to Community Colleges, for example. If all states are treated fairly, then the permanent pols have no reason to trade votes. We can support other bills that will reduce the corruption in congress."

    You have completely missed the point of the Tea Party movement. It isn't about how to make sure every state gets it's fair share of the loot. A "fair earmark" bill is just re-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titannic. The problem is that the Federal government has all that money to spend on earmarks in the first place. It shouldn't. Taxing and spending decisions should be done at the lowest level of government possible to get the job done because the closer to the people government officals are the more responsive they are to the people's needs and the more responsible they are to them.

    Our bloated Federal government and it's trillion dollar deficits is out of control. We have a Federal Dept. of Education that isn't responsible for teaching a single student. We have a Dept. of Agriculture that pays farmers not to grow crops, we have a Commerce Dept. that nobody knows what it does, a Bureau of Indian Affairs that tells supposedly sovereign Indian nations whether they can build casinos, a Dept. of Energy that produces no energy but tells energy companies how to run their businesses, a Dept. of Homeland Security that is apparently responsible for inspecting our shoes at airports, a Dept. of Defense that can blow up the planet but can't find one old man in Pakistan and a CIA and FBI that apparently can't find their own...you get the picture.

    And yet, the Federal government has time to meddle in mortgage markets then bail out banks when their meddling causes a financial meltdown. It tells the automakers to build cars no one wants and then uses our money to bail them out when they can't sell them. It de-regulates banks and then bails them out when they run into trouble and threatens to re-regulate them.

    In short, Big Government is just plain dumb and shouldn't be trusted to do half the things it does. You can't tell me the founding fathers ever intended to give our government the power to tell us what kind of toilet we can have, King George III never dared to tell us that, but Congress does.

    And for the record, there may be some die hard racists out there that have a problem with President Obama but the overwhelming majority of people opposed to Obama dislike him for his policies, not his skin color. Trying to paint his political opposition as racist is just a cheap and desperate attempt to deflect criticism.

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  • 119. At 6:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Welcome to America Mister Mardell, welcome to real democracy in action. Watch it and learn that there is a different way that works far better than Europe ever can. This is how we threw the British out BTW. The odds against that were slim as well.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    You threw british out on a "you rule that side of atlantic and we rule this side of atlantic" bases, and ofcourse some help from the french.If the brits had quickly held elections in a few central states, you would be just like iraq and afghanistan, killing each other because brits had some cowboys to be the soldiers to kill whoever resisted the puppet government.

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  • 120. At 6:04pm on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

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

  • 121. At 6:11pm on 26 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    103. MAII
    It must also be a shock to those who come from a culture where everything is handed down from above by people who organize those under them to a society where the organization spontaneously springs from the bottom up by those being organized themselves and where it is their agenda, not some demagogue's that gets to be the one the group follows.
    ______________
    To think America runs like that is incredibly naive. Either that or the millions of dollars spent lobbying by large corporations are going to waste...
    Also, what you've described actually sound like the kind of thing Karl Marx had in mind.

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  • 122. At 6:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    So the Americans didn't want to pay taxes in the 1770s' & they don't want to pay them now, nothing new there & there's much to be said for such an attitude, it doesn't change the truth of the economy though, your only way out is to be taxed more while spending less, like a diet only worse because you're never going to feel better for it even if it is for your own good.


    Oh, Mr MA, we got over all the revolution stuff a couple of hundred years ago, you should try it :)

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  • 123. At 6:13pm on 26 Jan 2010, j100 wrote:


    The Media's to blame --
    The mainstream liberal media very successfully suppressed dissent in America. If you criticize Obama you are called racist, right-wing nut job, hater, stupid. The media now sits atop a powder keg of anger, rage, and frustration. For every action there is a reaction.
    The Fourth Estate is in foreclosure --
    CNN's recent mistakes:
    1. They were slow reporting the Iran story and were criticized for it.
    2. They had an Independent host (Lou Dobbs) and fired him.
    3. They are now trying to rebrand/rehab Obama and themselves. Faux Populism at it's best. CNN's new tv slogan: CNN=Politics. Amended slogan:
    CNN=Politics = Obamamania = Hope and Change = Depressed and Broke = we the people = Scott Brown
    4. They chose sides. They are lapdogs and not watchdogs.
    And the winner is..... --
    We the people. Thank you, Massachusetts. The win by Brown WAS symbolically significant. Hugely so. Ever since he won, I've been hearing fife and drum music in my head. (I know I'll get it for that line.) The power has shifted. We the people have computers. We the people have the internet. We the people have ADD (attention deficit disorder).
    "How can a leaderless, grass roots movement....." --
    The Independent/Tea Party movement is not leaderless. It's like a McDonald's francise. It is filled with self-actualized citizens. We are a McParty and on election day we cast McVotes because we are McPatriots.
    They don't get it --
    1. We are broke. China owns us. China has leverage over us. Google hack attack. We don't like it. We will not kowtow to them. Get out of debt as soon as possible.
    2. We can't spend any money. No new programs. We can't afford them.
    3. Some states have massive amounts of debt. Taxes will be raised and services cut to fix them.
    4. The media refuses to expose the corruption, waste, and fraud in the government and hold the politicians accountable. They ONLY know how to play the democrat vs. republican game.
    5. They won't stop playing this game.
    6. The politicians don't understand that they can no longer BUY us with money.
    7. We will have to sacrifice. It will be painful and long. We get it.







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  • 124. At 6:21pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 118 Scott0962

    Wow, you just hit a grand slam with that post. Everyone please read # 118 if you want to understand why a large number of people in this country have a problem with a large FEDERAL goverment.

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  • 125. At 6:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "109. At 5:36pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "For a "grassroots spontaneous local movement" the Tea Party franchise seems remarkably well organised and orchestrated. Or is it just me?"

    No.

    "About 60 of their organisers have been brought together by FreedomWorks. . ."

    Who are these 'organisers'? More importantly, if we knew, who or what else might we find out they represent? I'm developing an inkling, and some the 'Tea Party Patriots' seem to approve of--e.g. the peculiar Lyndon Larouche, who believes that the British are engineering a conspiracy to take over the world economy--are almost certainly aliens from the Planet PGT1pS. . .

    I'm not that bothered, myself, I really do have better things to do than go digging, they can party until they have bags under their eyes, they're not going to affect me or the UK directly, but it's pretty pathetic that AFAIK none of the American media's looked beyond the PR that comes from Freedomworks and its allies like TPP, or at who is really behind it, or where the money is really coming from.



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  • 126. At 6:38pm on 26 Jan 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @77 (StD):"Unfortunately, if what I read earlier today is true, President Obama is going to propose a reduction in spending at all levels except for a couple of programs, including Defense."

    Two brief thoughts:

    a. The President (including his Cabinet Secretaries) proposes, but Congress disposes. We'll see what really gets cut, and by how much.

    b. It will interest you to know that while the 2011 budget includes an increase for Defense, this is to take care of Afghanistan. Budget for procurement, R&D, etc., is headed downward.

    "In my opinion, if there is one department that deserves a budget reduction it is the DoD, and considering the size of its budget it is one of a handful of governments areas where substantial savings could be achieved."

    I support them (as well as DHS) as a research engineer. I agree with this statement; however, I'll point out that there may not be as much savings as folks might imagine. There are lots of reasons we could explore, having to do with (a) the actual amount of competition remaining that can actually do DoD work, (b) Federal acquisition regulations, (c) the size and capabilities of the Defense Industrial Base, (d) use of Defense as a jobs program, rather than just the defense of the country, etc.

    It also has a lot to do with how much we remain prepared to fight wars. The American people have not asked themselves to what extent they are willing to put their future at risk, or actually fight another hot war, by bringing home our forces from around the world and telling the other nations of the world that they can begin shelling out their own cash for national defense. There's significant savings there, but it's not an easy question: does doing this actually decrease risks, or does it actually increase them, and what are we willing to bet on being wrong? If we did this, what capabilities would we actually have to increase in order to provide sufficient protection for our people?

    The questions don't get easier, unfortunately.

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  • 127. At 6:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 112, csgators

    "Note: this is the deficit, not the debt!!!"

    Very true, the part you neglected to point out is that the FY09 budget and the TARP were signed by President Bush, not President Obama. The only thing you can pin down on Obama is the stimulus package, which amount to a little less than $800B. Obviously, a huge chunk of money we had to borrow and add to the debt, but not the $1.4T you alluded to.

    I suppose he could have just sat and watched the US economy collapse, or just say no to any proposals to save our economy, but he didn't and, clearly, he is now the boogey man for doing what any President would have done under similar circumstances. Unless, of course, we had elected one willing to let the "market forces" that needed to be bailed out lead the way to recovery.


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  • 128. At 6:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    118 scott ... 124 csgators

    Read it ... twice.

    Still seems to me that all this grass roots business mysteriously shot up in 2009, having been rather quiet for the previous 8 years (38 years?) while the pressure cooker was bubbling.

    Forgive me if I see a little more behind this than a random, multiple awakening across the continent.

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  • 129. At 6:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    @parttimedon

    From your own link: '£60 million is recovered from the Inland Revenue in tax'.

    Lovely euphemism there. 'Recovered'.

    Not to mention upkeep of churches, and the twenty-six bishops who sit in the House of Lords.

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  • 130. At 6:56pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 127
    "The only thing you can pin down on Obama is the stimulus package, which amount to a little less than $800B."

    Well Obama did vote for TARP and supported it on the campaign. I am not a big fan of TARP or the stimulus mainly for the way they done. TARP at least was somewhat focused and had an 'expert' doling out the money. The stimulus was a complete and utter boondoggle. It was every earmark that congress had been unable to tack onto a bill for last 10 or 20 years. I am sure a few more buildings are now named after Senator Byrd who has over 30 at current running.

    I really wish President Obama had shown some leadership and asked for a focused bill to actually stimulate job growth in the private sector immediately (much of the money remains unspent). Instead the bill simply served to illustrate how corrupt our government really is. This endemic corruption again brings us back to the argument about a large federal government and all the corruption and bribery it encourages.

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  • 131. At 7:00pm on 26 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    101. At 5:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    There's that old canard again. The US is not the richest nation on earth on a per capita basis. Where we rank depends on how you measure wealth, but here's just one report that puts the US sixth (in 2005):
    __________

    The dollar has since fallen quite significantly against other major currencies, particularly the Euro, leaving the US at 12th? 15th?

    Not sure whether things would look better on a "Purchasing Power Parity" basis or not.

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  • 132. At 7:01pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    129. charlieatlantic:

    Have it your own way. There's no point in presenting anybody with real facts when they prefer their 'facts' to anyone else's, and then, like so many others, just add more and more fallacious interpretations to try to make their 'facts' look better. So now it's buildings and bishops salaries . . .

    I'm not even going to point out what 'recovered tax from the Inland Revenue' actually means, apart from precisely what it says. You'll see exactly the same phrase in the accounts of BP, British Telecom, ICI, British Aerospace, you name it. Want to argue that means the taxpayer is paying them as well?





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  • 133. At 7:01pm on 26 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    129. CharlieAthletic
    From your own link: '£60 million is recovered from the Inland Revenue in tax'.
    Lovely euphemism there. 'Recovered'.
    ______________________
    That's because it's legally a charity. Offshore corporations and pension funds also "recover" tax.

    Not to mention upkeep of churches, and the twenty-six bishops who sit in the House of Lords.
    ______________________
    Are you just making this up? Churches designated as heritage sites get a contribution for upkeep, but that is financed from the (entirely voluntary) lottery fund). The bishops are paid personally for the work that they do in the Lords, just like the other lords and just as senators and congressmen are paid in the US.

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  • 134. At 7:08pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    129 charlie
    " '£60 million is recovered from the Inland Revenue in tax'.

    Lovely euphemism there. 'Recovered'.

    Not to mention upkeep of churches, and the twenty-six bishops who sit in the House of Lords. "


    Charlie .... recovered from the revenue, means reclaiming taxes paid by the church .... they are a tax-exempt organisation, like most of the churches in the USA.

    Upkeep of churches is funded from within the C of E budget.

    As for the bishops .... alot of us don't like that, but they're not costing much really. I'd be for disestablishment personally.

    Either way, you got caught out spouting nonsense and won't back down when your errors are pointed out to you.

    Says a lot about you.

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  • 135. At 7:09pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 128
    Forgive me if I see a little more behind this than a random, multiple awakening across the continent."

    It has been around a long time. Remember Ross Perot? Bush is actually the primary reason for the recent surge though. There is a reason his poll numbers were so low at the end. It's what happens when you piss off half you base (the small government half). The left never supported him and the right only supported hum due to national defense. When a Republican controlled government still can't control spending he lost us, all hope is gone. The only party that even paid lip service to financial responsibility doubled down on the debt. Obama got elected on a huge there all bums vote and much of the vote now finds that Obama is just like the rest of the bums only perhaps worse.

    This is a feeling I get from many I talk to. It does not matter which side you vote for because they are all corrupt. Vote anti incumbent is the general mood around my town.

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  • 136. At 7:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    128. At 6:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    118 scott ... 124 csgators

    "Read it ... twice."

    Me too. (Doesn't look that logical to me.)

    "Forgive me if I see a little more behind this than a random, multiple awakening across the continent."

    Me too. Look at 'Tea Party Patriots Inc.' which claims to have 15 million members. I can find no way of checking whether it's 1500, 15,000 or 1,500,000, but let's take their word for it. All of those have got together over the barbecue three here, half-a-dozen there and decided as independently-minded individuals to join one organisation whose agenda and mission statement is about as conservative as you can get?

    Sorry. I can believe some impossible things before breakfast, but that's only a consequence of needing croissants and coffee. It's dinnertime now.

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  • 137. At 7:16pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 56, arclightt

    "Here's a question: To contribute to the "greater good", do I as a taxpayer have an obligation to pay off with my tax dollars some portion of credit card debt owed by another person? Why or why not?"

    My short answer is no. Social, national or community responsibility are essential for the betterment of our society and our security, but it should not be used to, in effect, reward irresponsibility.

    Bear in mind that this "liberal" Democrat also opposes welfare on the basis that while it may be a panacea to immediate needs it perpetuates misery; and that I support universal healthcare because I think it is the right thing to do morally and fiscally.

    I draw a distinction between helping those who are in desperate need of support because they lost their job, have trouble finding a new job, those that are rejected by our despicable healthcare system because of pre-existing conditions or because they have reached their insurance cap. I go as far as willing to see part of my taxes go to help poor kids who have excelled in High School go to college, but I object to pay for the fiscal irresponsibility of others.

    Nobody forces people to buy a Mercedes when they can only afford a Focus, buy a mansion when they can only afford a condo, or buy caviar when they can only afford ground meat. Those that get in trouble because they can not discipline themselves have to figure out how to get out of trouble without my help.




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  • 138. At 7:19pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#131) "Not sure whether things would look better on a "Purchasing Power Parity" basis or not."

    Perhaps, but other indeces which take into account resources and intangibles pub the US higher, at third or fourth. First is usually Denmark, Switzerland, or New Zealand.

    I have read that the Danes are the happiest people on earth, on the whole. If so, adding in a term for the intangible "happiness" would make the Danes the wealthiest per capita, I would think.

    But with Europe becoming more closely integrated economically, I think it more useful to compare the US with the European Union, or perhaps the NAFTA countries to the EU.

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  • 139. At 7:21pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    "Read it ... twice."
    "Me too. (Doesn't look that logical to me.)

    Ok, I agree its not as good on second reading but it still makes some valid points. (Yes I actually do know what the Dept. of Commerce does.)

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  • 140. At 7:21pm on 26 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    There is an old saying that you should be careful what you wish for.

    It is tempting to think that these TEA party folks ought to be given exactly what they wish for, and then see how much they like it.

    The problem with is that everybody else would be stuck with it, too.

    ----------

    A long time ago H.L. Mencken made a fairly famous statement about people who have simple solutions to every problem.

    Not quite as long ago, George Kennan, (a great American patriot, diplomat, and one of the architects of America's success in the Cold War) made a similar comment:

    "But I also suspect that what purports to be public opinion in most countries that consider themselves to have popular government is often not really the consensus of the feelings of the mass of the people at all but rather the expression of the interests of special highly vocal minorities - politicians, commentators, and publicity-seekers of all sorts: people who live by their ability to draw attention to themselves and die, like fish out of water, if they are compelled to remain silent."

    "These people take refuge in the pat and chauvinistic slogans because they are incapable of understanding any others, because these slogans are safer from the standpoint of short term gain, because the truth is often a poor competitor in the marketplace of ideas - complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse."

    "The counsels of impatience and hatred can always be supported by the crudest and cheapest symbols; for the counsels of moderation, the reasons are often quite intricate, rather than emotional, and difficult to explain."

    "And so the chauvinists of all times and places go their appointed way: plucking the easy fruits, reaping the little trimphs of the day at the expense of someone else tomorrow, deluging in noise and filth anyone who gets in their way, dancing their reckless dance on the prospects of human progress, drawing the shadow of a great doubt over the validity of democratic institutions."

    "And until peoples learn to spot the fanning of mass emotions and the sowing of bitterness, suspicion and intolerance as crimes in themselves - as perhaps the greatest disservice that can be done to the cause of popular government - this sort of thing will continue to occur."

    - George F. Kennan, "American Diplomacy", Charles R. Walgreen Foundation Lectures, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1951, p.56.

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  • 141. At 7:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Dear St. D:

    Your comments concerning Venezuela on the previous string were really well done.

    Thank you.

    Yours,

    IF

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  • 142. At 7:36pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 130, csgators

    "I really wish President Obama had shown some leadership and asked for a focused bill to actually stimulate job growth in the private sector immediately (much of the money remains unspent)."

    You are right, and considering the state of our economy and high rate of unemployment that is a real shame. I suspect it is due to efforts to avoid the perception of money being used for unnecessary projects, but when people are hurting even a jobs program is preferable than doing nothing.

    My take on the stimulus package is quite different than yours, however. I believe the cash for clunkers, the tax incentives for people replacing old with energy efficient appliances, the $8K incetive to first time house buyers, and other such programs are designed to stimulate the economy.

    Our problems, in my opinion, are caused by the huge amount of debt we have accumulated during the last 5 or 6 decades, and lack of consumer confidence. In a consumer-oriented economy like ours, lack of confidence spells disaster. Unless, people start purchasing again soon we are doomed.

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  • 143. At 7:36pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Americans like to complain about the size of the federal government, and some try to pin it on the Democrats, but it really doesn't change much no matter which party controls the presidency.

    US Government employment 1962-2008

    Note that Executive Branch employment was more or less constant from 1967 through 1984. It went up in the second term of President Reagan and the term of President Bush the elder, then went down slightly under President Clinton, and remained lower under President Bush the younger.

    The most variation occurs in the Univormed Military Personnel category.

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  • 144. At 7:52pm on 26 Jan 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 142 "Our problems, in my opinion, are caused by the huge amount of debt we have accumulated during the last 5 or 6 decades, and lack of consumer confidence. In a consumer-oriented economy like ours, lack of confidence spells disaster. Unless, people start purchasing again soon we are doomed."

    I couldn't agree more. It is the overwhelming debt that is killing the consumer confidence in large part though. When you see so much spending and no tax increases it means that we are A) Borrowing money or B) Printing money or C) Both. When we borrow and print we devalue the dollar and make everyone poorer. Please do not take this to mean I think we should raise taxes, I think they collect more than enough and still can't constrain themselves to that amount.

    There are many reasons why this is so and entitlements are reason #1. They consume the vast majority of the annual budget and are projected to bankrupt us in the not so distant future. This is a large reason people are opposed to a huge new government healthcare entitlement. Find a way to fund SS (and actually pass it) and I might trust them to do more.

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  • 145. At 7:53pm on 26 Jan 2010, DigitalJanitor wrote:

    #135. csgators has stated pretty much exactly the mood I'm sensing these days, as well as a reasonable historical explanation for the current 'movement'... although I'm still wondering if there's some corporate/political astroturfing at the bottom of this recent incarnation....

    But I have a solution! We let the 'baggers take Texas and secede. They can then ditch any tax obligations as they see fit, start their own wars overseas, allow free corporate reign, and live within their own neocon utopia.

    All I ask is that they STAY THERE and leave the rest of us 'libtards' to rebuild the remainder of America on a more community-centric model. I'm sure they won't be interested in coming north however, as we'd probably make it into a truly intolerable socialist hole that nobody would want their children exposed to... like Canada, or the UK, or France, or- heaven forfend!- Sweden.....

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  • 146. At 7:55pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Saint 137 - Well said.

    IF 140 - Great quote and so very true. The same type of chauvantistic fear mongers exist on both sides of the pond (as well as elsewhere). The worry is how much attention these people are getting and how easily some of the general public are beginning to accept their views as mainstream and normal.

    I can see a time, in the not too distant, when fear, hatred and paranoia gets a new charismatic voice. And we all know how that ended last time.

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  • 147. At 7:55pm on 26 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Some Seasonal Haiku
    (Composed While on Hold w/Insurance Groups)

    Lovely Tea Parties.
    Angry Libertarians?
    Or just Mad Hatters?

    No one understands
    why groups of angry people
    call themselves "parties."

    Third parties disturb
    the delicate balance of
    the Force. Good Luck, ya'll.

    Green/Rainbow people.
    Ours are the voices crying
    in the wilderness...

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  • 148. At 7:59pm on 26 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    SaintDominick (#142) "Our problems, in my opinion, are caused by the huge amount of debt we have accumulated during the last 5 or 6 decades, ... "

    Certainly, but it's only three decades. The US National Debt, adjusted for inflation, was roughly constant from shortly after the end of WWII through 1980.

    http://zfacts.com/p/55.html

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  • 149. At 8:00pm on 26 Jan 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    The association of racism with the TEA Party movement is most unfortunate and uninformed.

    Without doubt, you will encounter people that view themselves greater than others in most any gathering. (targeted people are visibly different, audibly different, regionally different, or ideologically different.) This blog is no exception.

    When 96% of the black voters voted against the white candidate, no one called that "racism". If the TEA Party was racist, this clearly would be mentioned on a regular basis. It is not.

    The TEA Party is not organized. The attendees are more spontaneous. It is simply an emergence of a frustration and anger in the people. If you actually attended a function, you would find a significant portion present are disillusioned Democrats.

    The "Taxes Enough Already" Party is not against paying taxes. It is against funding waste and excess. It is against politicians that elevate themselves above others. It is against policies that take funds from those that produce to reward (purchase) political loyalty. The anger it is best known for stems from politicians that are deft to the will and interests of their constituents.

    TEA Party knows they are not the only perspective. The "lack of perceived power" stems from lack of political representation. They perceive it is their resources that are being squandered. The non-contributors do not feel personally affected by the federal spending.

    The cable news channel did not cause the TEA Party, though they jumped on the bandwagon to get the benefit.

    David, than you for noting your character flaw. You are not intellectually superior to others only this blog. You just post more often than most.

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  • 150. At 8:03pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Another thing I have noticed is that so much of the talk these days is negative: 'we can't', 'I don't want to', 'why should I' etc.

    Yes we are living in relatively bad times, but that comes after decades of wealth and prosperity. Even in our bad times we live far better than the majority of the world.

    I expect that to most of the world we sound like a bunch of spoilt brats and I think we should all be soundly disappointed in ourselves. We have reached the end of the first decade of the new century, this is a time to look forward not backwards, hope not regrets.

    Goodness a few generations ago we went through a pretty terrible war, instead of whinning about what was lost, people knuckled down and got on with it and when the bad times were over they tried to build a better, fairer world. Nothing we are facing at the moment is as bad as that, so I think it is time to grow up, accept that what has happened cannot be changed, stop pointing fingers at other to blame and start building for the future.

    Sure that might mean tightening a few belts, trying out new ideas, but you can only build the future, not rebuild the past.

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  • 151. At 8:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Oooo... here's an exciting one!

    Discontent does not
    a platform make. But will it
    bolster right-wing votes?


    and how'bout:

    "Purity" scares me.
    It smacks of xenophobic
    paranoia. Ew.



    Wow. I am, like, soooo prepared for my next community poetry night. Dig?

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  • 152. At 8:18pm on 26 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Ann - No I act superior especially intellectually, I tend to disregard the opinion of those I do not believe are my equall. I have a very electitic knowledge base and honestly believe that it is those who have proven that they have the self discipline to find knowledge and embrace it, who should be praised.

    Most people are as intelligent, or have the potential as each other, most in my experience waste their potential. Worse many seem to revel in their ignorance, as if it something praise worthy. People use the term of intellectual as if it is an insult, somehow using your brain means you are weaker somehow.

    Actually I wouldn't be surprised if many of the people on this board are quite intelligent, it takes a brain to be concerned enough about a subject to form an argument. I would never claim to be a genius, not quite anyway, though I can see that peak quite clearly from where my brain stands.

    Oh and to prove my flaw, while it was vaguely entertaining you dig at my intelligence failed to hit the target - maybe you were not aiming high enough?

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  • 153. At 8:20pm on 26 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    138. GH1618:

    I admit to having rather shamelessly used the 'World Happiness Survey" myself before now, but its methodology is a bit suspect. It relies on self-reporting, and on people's depth (or lack sometimes) of knowledge of what is happening around them.

    For example, in the last one Iceland was right up at the top along with the Scandinavian countries, but now. . .? Ireland was pretty high too, but certainly ought not to be now.

    I thought looking at it that possibly one reason the UK often comes lower than people might expect is because we tend to look for what's wrong with something rather than what's right, and whinge about it not getting fixed and get pissed off if it isn't. Doesn't matter how good things are, they could all do with improving somehow . . .I'm like that when I'm feeling mostly English.

    On the other hand, when I'm feeling Italian, if it's something the government ought to be fixing, I assume it probably never will be, because it never has, really, and it's much better to get on with life, enjoy it and just yell and curse and scream every now and then at whoever's responsible, while assuming that most people will manage to get around the worst and keep things reasonably pleasurable anyway.


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  • 154. At 8:24pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 144, csgators

    "This is a large reason people are opposed to a huge new government healthcare entitlement. Find a way to fund SS (and actually pass it) and I might trust them to do more."

    I think it is an embarrassment that we are the only developed country that can not figure out how to provide healthcare to all its citizens, or run a national pension program without being constantly afraid of it or our country going bankrupt as a result.

    Why is it that Western Europe can afford and provides excellent healthcare to all its citizens, has a more than adequate pension system, but we can't do it? The answer, in part, is the way we approach issues and the size of the bureacracy we use to tackle what should be pretty straight forward services. For example, why do we need Social Security, MEDICARE, supplemental insurance coverage and the rest of the alphabet soup instead of just one department that covers all the needs of our senior citizens?

    I worked 44 years and I am now retired and on Social Security/MEDICARE. The benefits I get, while they are undoubtedly of some help would be insufficient to cover my expenses if it hadn't been because I have a private company pension plan and saved money in a 401k plan when I was working.

    I understand the issue of personal responsibility and practiced it all my life, but it breaks my heart when I see senior citizens working in fast foods, collecting shopping carts in Malls, and doing other menial work to put food on the table, pay their utility bills, or pay for the medication they need when some of them are so weak they can barely walk.

    We are, arguably, one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Why is it that we can not provide adequate services to our people? Could it be because of our belief that without us the entire world would collapse and that we must maintain a military presence in most countries to guarantee their security...and ours? Could it be because we are spending billions every year building or sustaining a military apparatus to fight a gang of nuts hiding in caves?

    Our real adversaries, from a military might perspective, are Russia and China and both are too busy building their infrastructure, investing in R&D and job creation, and improving their standard of living to bother about us. To prepare for imaginary threats we spend our treasure in crusades and weapons that will eventually become obsolete...unless we find more boogey men to protect ourselves from.

    I think it is time to refocus our attention on what our society needs, rather than spending our money preparing for imaginary threats. B2s, drones, ICBMs, and F16s will do nothing to protect us against terrorists that highjack planes, blow up trains, or blow themselves up in hopes of taking someone along.

    If our fears are so intense that we must invest inordinate amounts of money to feel secure, perhaps we should invest in an organization that examines the dangers we are facing, determine their root causes, and finds logical long term solutions rather than the knee jerk reactions that pass for foreign policy in our country.


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  • 155. At 8:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    FYI:
    There is a fine line between Xenophobic / Isolationist policies and racism.
    Ours is a melting pot of cultures. We may be mostly pale-faced, but we are many peoples blended together. The apparent semantic range of "Purity*" seems to include, but not be limited to, racist AND 'xenophobic' AND simple old 'isolationist'.

    Many folks over here are not racist, yet are "Isolationist."

    Think about it - we have huge natural borders. We loose lots of money in war spending. We spend to re-build other countries, even when there are homeless and jobless voters on our own streets.

    Isolationist perspectives almost seem logical... almost.

    The problem is that most folks over here have no idea how global our economy is and how much our nation relies upon imports to survive. Ooops.

    _________________
    * We Americans like re-inventing words. Deal with it. Do you have any idea how many words Shakespeare just made up? Oh... but he was ENGLISH so they're PROPER ENGLISH WORDS... so that's acceptable. Right. How delightfully pastoral.

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  • 156. At 8:46pm on 26 Jan 2010, U13817236 wrote:

    “About 60 of their organisers have been brought together by FreedomWorks in an office block a stone's throw from the White House to work out strategy”…which should tell you right there that this is no “leaderless, grass roots movement”. Actually, the so-called Tea Party movement is comprised of several contentious and competing factions that are often at odds with one another. Some of them do have close, but concealed, links with the Republican establishment and others receive backdoor corporate funding. “Could the Democrats lose control of the House later this year, not to the Republicans, but to the Tea Party?.” No, the Democrats could never lose control of the House later this year to the Tea Party because there is no Tea Party in any unitary form to begin with; and because the Republicans would never allow it, if there was. The Republicans and Democrats both flourish under the sham one-party/two-faces system, so the loyalty of both ‘parties’ is to that system – not to any upstart party that they can’t control. If the inchoate ‘Tea Party’ is not destroyed by its own factional infighting, it will be destroyed by the combined efforts of the power establishment if they cannot manipulate it for their own benefit. Only a genuine socialist movement can liberate Amerika from corporate control and imperial predation – not any more harmful right-wing demagoguery.

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  • 157. At 8:59pm on 26 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    The New Yorker magazine has an article about the Tea Party. It's easy to dismiss it, as democrats did.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/01/100201fa_fact_mcgrath

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  • 158. At 9:17pm on 26 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    155. Philly Mom--

    Preach it, honey!

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  • 159. At 9:18pm on 26 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Those who are too afraid to say that Obama and the Obama staffers are way out of line, stand to suffer in defeat. Not that all Obama supporters are Black or white, Just that eating crow is not on their menu. True enough the man has head a few good streaks, except that now some people are too stubborn to renounce their candidate in favor of a possible white one. I too have had to swallow hard, bathe in the water of the carcass's from a stream filled with victims prior. Yet made a decision, one very thought out one, that my interests and the interests of mine, are first. The man (Obama) has disconnected his words from his actions and thoughts. Not for my great great grandchildren but for our generation. How are we going to be able to look that far away! What our forefathers have left to us is all that we have now. ...
    My thoughts are for the people and for the benefit of the people to catch up on some real wealth. Do that first Obama. Do that for the people, and then in spite of a mortal blow, to banking, auto, special interest and international savior-ship's cry, let them stew for a while, while we recover. It will not be Just taxpayers being aided but higher level business being drawn to their senses. The more the people are attacked the more the higher uppers want. Unpopular, yes it would be. Using the people's conscience this way reinforces a humble attitude that you are not just about winning favor. You made it to the top, now show the world that you are tops. What makes sense about helping others win their war? Maybe it would help if we weren't being attacked from so many angles. Stripping social security, medicare, planning a senseless reform on health care and all the other reckless endeavors. We are not wanting to regret electing a peoples man.
    The people's man is wanting to elect a regret.
    "What if we should win the world and lose our own souls"
    At this rate of progress we are becoming a third world country and soon, will need a bailout from the International community and with our own hidden money. That with interest and making the our rescuers seem like generous charity.
    Maybe we do need George Soros at the white house, but on our side.
    So you hop on a horse and it is unbroken, it kicks and jumps, the fear of eminent harm is pervasive, so we stay on it? What if we are not pro's, we just wanted to try it once, Jump off now!! before it kills you. I would quote Milton right now but my morals don't allow it. The only ones reigning in hell are the ones leading the nation. Misplaced loyalties are but venom, not in the cobra, to anyone bit.

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  • 160. At 9:32pm on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    93. At 4:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, personanongrata wrote:

    82 I think they broke a multi pack up and sold him the small bar . I am sure Zap would not have been so ostentatious as to buy a whole big bar and am equally sure that he didn't buy a King size bar.


    I'm sure that multi-packs are just an urban myth, although my great Aunt once inherited a two thirds share in a crunchie :)

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  • 161. At 9:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    160 Zaphodian
    That was one good inheritance,provided there were no teeth marks on the edge....

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  • 162. At 9:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The Tea Party folks tend to be less concerned about facts. They don't seem to recognize that big business is the welfare state. The tax breaks and credits as they move around looking for cheap labor. It was the Chamber of Commerce that advocated for opening up trade (meaning your job) to China. The business community plays these folks like cheap flutes and they keep coming back for more. The immigration reforms are being put off because businesses like having labor that is undocumented and without benefits. Let's not require employers to provide healthcare, that's socialism, when we can let people not have helathcare and they can go to the hospital and the government (meaning the taxpayer) can pay for it. Business wins, people lose...again. People can get a large tax break to buy a new house...socialism, but developers sure like that.....stimulus for banks and auto industry...socialism..but the Republicans all voted for it....Seems hypocrits all understand that those that vote for them really don't care about what they did but rather about what they say. Stupid is what stupid does.

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  • 163. At 9:48pm on 26 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    22. At 10:20am on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:
    “Unless someone actually studies this movement, everything is speculation. The BBC would be perfect to do this as a disinterested outsider.”
    I’ll second this, but with one proviso. The “outsider” has to be very knowledgeable or the understanding may be flawed. Our countries are related and similar in a number of ways, but our cultures and understandings [as can be seen on these posts] are not.

    51. At 1:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 14, Ray
    “Palin-12 to Go Sarah Go” I might be interested in such, if it were followed by a destination beginning with H and followed by 3 or 4 letters.
    “I just wonder how the Independents would vote if she was nominated...”

    As an anti Democrat independent, I would vote for the Democrats if she had a chance to win my state for the GOPers.

    This would be incredibly disheartening. I decided to stop voting for the “least bad” candidate as that was a no win situation. Being put in a situation where the opponent of least bad is someone like Palin means I have no choice in good conscience but to vote for the least bad.

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  • 164. At 9:49pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    From wiki on Tea Party and Teabagging

    "The label "teabagging" has been applied to Tea Party protests in general,[57] and to the specific protest gesture of mailing a tea bag to the White House.[58][59]"

    Seems reasonable .... Earl Grey I hope.


    it continues
    "The label has prompted puns based on pre-existing use of the word to denote oral–scrotal contact as a sex act or prank."


    Well, there's an embarrassing double-entendre!

    Still, it is a country where local church groups have billboards offering "Shagging" lessons (apparantly it's also a dance!)(and yes - I've really seen that, in Virginia - it's not hearsay - it's seesay .... and I saw it)


    Can anyone think of a good name for a new movement with a similar double-entendre theme?

    I know .... "Stop Healthcare Innovation Today".


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  • 165. At 9:53pm on 26 Jan 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    What we all need from the November 2010 election:

    (a) a very high turnout

    (b) informed voters

    (c) intelligent candidates

    (d) minimal interference from business interests attempting to subvert the legislative process....

    If we were to get the first three, I would call it a miracle. But if we got the fourth, that would be stretching even my capacity to imagine a better future... Could it happen? "Impossible is nothing" (and thank you, Adidas, for that lovely turn of phrase).

    I am not optimistic. I am not without all hope, but I am not optimistic. The Democrats would really have to battle their hearts out to improve their position. And if they don't succeed in improving their position, we remain stuck.

    Imagine what will happen if the conservative elements "triumph" in Nov. First, they will crow & gloat. Then, they will argue about how far right the country needs to go. An even worse period of quarreling and haggling will ensue. We will have a swing back to the Bush era with all its failures.

    No, we cannot count on "smart, well-intentioned Republicans" coming in. If the GOP scores points, it will be the Party Machine that garners the spoils of the victory... It's not at all like having a Scott Brown win one seat.

    All I can think to do, actually, is to pray. Sorry, atheists: it has come down to that. You have no answers, either.

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  • 166. At 10:50pm on 26 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

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

  • 167. At 10:51pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    We are not actually defending established religion, and pretending it isn't publicly subsidised are we?

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  • 168. At 10:58pm on 26 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:


    129. CharlieAthletic
    From your own link: '£60 million is recovered from the Inland Revenue in tax'.
    Lovely euphemism there. 'Recovered'.
    ______________________
    That's because it's legally a charity. Offshore corporations and pension funds also "recover" tax.

    Not to mention upkeep of churches, and the twenty-six bishops who sit in the House of Lords.
    ______________________
    Are you just making this up? Churches designated as heritage sites get a contribution for upkeep, but that is financed from the (entirely voluntary) lottery fund). The bishops are paid personally for the work that they do in the Lords, just like the other lords and just as senators and congressmen are paid in the US.


    On these points I happily stand corrected.

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  • 169. At 11:12pm on 26 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I think it is normal and natural in America to have many different points of views, including that of the Tea Party.

    If we were all the same, it would get pretty boring. Maybe America is a circus sometimes, but yeah, never boring. Lol.

    But there is a point between being radical and crossing the line. Almost everything can be radicalized. Black movement (Black Panthers, Malcolm X), white movement (KKK, Aryan Supremists), Republicans (Tea Party), Democrats (ultraliberals), Abortion activists either way, All Religions, ect. can be radicalized.

    This all makes me think of times past. During the Civil War, Americans were for or against slavery. We lost hundreds of thousands of men in this fight. America could have been two countries. Thank God for Lincoln and his wisdom. He knew that if we didn't fight, then we would have split and perhaps, never recovered. But America's fate as one country was meant to be. We need to stick together as one country. United we stand, divided we fall.

    I have no problem with this Tea Party movement, as long as they don't try to secede from America. It is one thing to have a movement, another thing to try to leave. America does not need a repeat of the Civil War.

    So where is the moderate party? I guess the Indepedents or the Green party movement? They could be much, much more popular in the coming years.

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  • 170. At 11:15pm on 26 Jan 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    128. At 6:41pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:
    118 scott ... 124 csgators

    Read it ... twice.

    Still seems to me that all this grass roots business mysteriously shot up in 2009, having been rather quiet for the previous 8 years (38 years?) while the pressure cooker was bubbling.

    Forgive me if I see a little more behind this than a random, multiple awakening across the continent.

    ****************

    Liberals would like to believe that the Tea Party movement was secretly organized by the Republicans. It's a more comforting belief than that they were so out of touch with middle America that a grassroots movement of this type could form and grow to such an extent.

    Most Americans enjoy politics as a spectator sport, it takes a lot to get the average American off their couch and out particpating in protests against the government but President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have managed to do it. How? I think what angered people more than the Democrats' policies themselves was the perception that they just weren't listening to people anymore. Staged town hall meetings with hand picked audiences and pre-screened questions are no substitute for genuine political debate on major issues.

    The Democrat leadership's tactics to force their legislation through Congress without debate (or even enough time to read it) may have been seen by them as politically savvy but to a lot of people it smacked of hubris and looked like they were trying to pull a fast one. People can accept a policy they may disagree with if it is decided in a fair and democratic way but they resent having something shoved down their throats and being told they're not smart enough to understand it. That was the Democrat's great mistake that led to their recent political losses in Virgina, New jersey and Massachusetts.

    The Democrat's legislative agenda may still be salvageable but they will need to be seen as willing to compromise and allow input from the other side of the aisle. They won't get everything they wanted but they will be able to set the agenda for debate, get some of what they wanted and lay the groundwork for adding to it later. It may not be as ego gratifying as saying "we got the votes so if you don't like it you can lump it" but it is smart politics.

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  • 171. At 11:18pm on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    #43 RomeStu

    Re: the "Pennsylvania Way": the original iteration of the commonwealth (not state) actually isn't a bad model to follow for arguments about the Public Good; it's fate also bears some superficial parallels to the current debate.

    The original charter under the great William Penn was true to his Quaker beliefs, and promised toleration and welcome to all, regardless of denomination or origin; the colony quickly became a model of toleration and cooperation between as diverse and strange an assembly of the common folk and displaced freedom-seekers from across Western Europe. Unlike most of the other colonies, Mr. Penn was honest and sincere in his dealings with the Native Americans he found here.

    Of course it wasn't perfect, and after his passing, the power passed to Penn's thoroughly un-Quaker, power-hungry, oligarchic sons. They used their syncophants and toadies and rabble-rousers to drum up faux popular support and sought consolidation of their own personal power, at the expense of the people. Only the brilliant machinations of Ben Franklin kept them from total domination.

    Maybe we're all too close to the problems at hand, but much of the current fuss could be interpreted in similar light; the would-be oligarchs could be seen as attempting to manipulate the lower echelons to work against their own interests, to support further consolidation of power...

    (Disclaimer- as a native son, I do have sort of a soft spot for Penn's Woods...)

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  • 172. At 11:24pm on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    161. At 9:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, ukwales wrote:

    160 Zaphodian
    That was one good inheritance,provided there were no teeth marks on the edge....


    I hadn't thought of that, when my time comes I'm leaving buttons :)

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  • 173. At 11:27pm on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    136 Squirrelist:

    I'm still looking for the piece (probably on NPR) I referenced in #22 re: direct instigation/organization of many of the original tea parties from central Republican controls. It was probably this summer, but not much chance of me unearthing it.

    If this is true, however, I'd say that in drilling blind, they unwittingly hit a gusher of discontent that they were quickly able to shape for their own purposes. But then it got too big and is no longer completely under their control; I think these meetings in DC are an effort to harness and tame this energy before it gets out of hand and threatens their own stability. Trying to ride the tiger...

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  • 174. At 11:31pm on 26 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    162. At 9:47pm on 26 Jan 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The Tea Party folks tend to be less concerned about facts. They don't seem to recognize that big business is the welfare state. The tax breaks and credits as they move around looking for cheap labor. It was the Chamber of Commerce that advocated for opening up trade (meaning your job) to China.

    Isn't the Global economy great when you're riding the wave? Of course the shore's always coming up but hey, quantum theory suggests that there's a chance we could miss it................hello Mr Sand, Ouch.

    I admire any American who feels that big business knows best, just as I admire anyone in the UK who can vote Lib-Dem with a straight face.

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  • 175. At 11:35pm on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    143 GH1618

    Good source of Federal employment data- OPM is about as neutral as any Federal agency can be.

    However, one significant flaw: while Federal job numbers might have shown a slight drop since the Clinton Era, these numbers do not account for the growth of the use of contractors. Al Gore's Reinventing Government placed a strong emphasis on using contractors if they were more cost effective than Federal employees- which if this had been properly monitored would have been greatly to the public good.

    But somewhere under Pres. Bush the accountability expectations became largely overlooked as contracting skyrocketed. Just in the military alone contractors feed, house, supply, and even transport our troops, even in combat zones. Without adequate oversight, contractor numbers, and profits, have gone through the roof. I don't think at this point anyone can number them or their cost with any accuracy.

    And, like the allegations against "big government," "contractor government" can and is self-perpetuating without the willpower to properly oversee it, and terminate for cause, or replace it with Feds if inept or inefficient.

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  • 176. At 11:45pm on 26 Jan 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    110. At 5:38pm on 26 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:
    RomeStu #86. . .

    I think that what people mean by the term "land of opportunity" (rather a misleading term, I agree) is that America is a place where, if one wants (or rather wanted, thanks to the infanint wisdom of the "Supreme Court",) they can pursue their own personal dreams relatively free of interference and opression. That's all. It implies (or should imply) nothing about the ease with which anyone in America will reach their dreams, and as the very sobering and informative links of which you have so generously posted pointed out, one will have a much easier time achieveing their happyness in any other western country save the UK!! So perhaps instead of the "American dream," it should just be called the "dream?"

    That having been said, do you know, by any chance, why it is that France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark have much better social mobility than us? Will you share it with me? Perhaps we can emulate them. Thanks."

    *************

    In what European nation can the son of an African immigrant rise to become chief of state? Enough said about Europe's superior social mobility.

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  • 177. At 00:09am on 27 Jan 2010, Phaedra wrote:

    At risk of repeating someone above...

    The issue at stake with the Boston Tea Party was taxation without representation, not taxation itself. For better or for worse, the members of the modern "Tea Party" are represented in Congress. They should choose a title with closer historical parallels, like "La Noblesse."

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  • 178. At 00:09am on 27 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    is that sec of state or commander in chief?

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  • 179. At 00:17am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    IF: "because the truth is often a poor competitor in the marketplace of ideas - complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse." Kennan is bang on -- "truth" in politics is always in process. We reach toward it, but the dialogue never stops -- or at least it shouldn't stop.

    re: 164 RomeStu -- for a short (though long enough!) time the newly minted conservative entity in this country was called (and I kid you not) the Conservative Reform Alliance Party.

    Ooops.

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  • 180. At 00:22am on 27 Jan 2010, Michael Streiffert wrote:

    The Tea Party is just the George W Bush wing of the Republican Party dressed in new clothes. The Tea Party was no where to be found during the huge spending increases of the last administration. In fact, while they were protesting Obama's election they weren't protesting Bush's Wall Street bail-outs. Why not? Because the same people who put Bush in the White House are behind the funding of this "party." The Tea Party is very vocal about "socialism" which apparently they think is only when poor people get government subsidies. We don't hear about wealthy corporations or industries getting huge government pay-outs. No mention of no-bid military contracts worth billions. No mention of the huge transfers of tax payer funds that have gone to the pharmaceutical industry through the Republican version of health care passed under the Bush administration. No mention of the fact that the prisoner rate is increasing faster than the crime rate, and the private prison and bail bondsmen industries show growing profits. All on tax payer money. This crowd had its chance for eight years to prove that cutting taxes leads to smaller government. All they did was bankrupt the country while their own political leaders cashed in. And their leaders are still profiting. Not from the Obama administration, but off the tea partiers themselves. The Tea Party National Convention will be the first political party convention in American history to be a for profit business. Sarah Palin is being paid to speak at their political convention. Just after she's paid to speak at the liquor industry convention. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are "persons" and that bribing government officials is "free speech" I predict the demise of the tea party movement. They aren't needed any more. The wealthy individuals and industries behind them can now pour cash into candidates pockets without having to go through the trouble of using their tea party suckers.

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  • 181. At 00:23am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 176 Scott0962:

    In what European nation can the son of an African immigrant rise to become chief of state? Enough said about Europe's superior social mobility.

    Ok, so we aren't Europe, but anyway, meet Canada's Governor General, Michaelle Jean. And while she is a daughter, not a son, she is Haitian born and our Head of State. And a thorough going class act.

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  • 182. At 00:47am on 27 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    #181. At 00:23am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe: "meet Canada's Governor General, Michaelle Jean. And while she is a daughter, not a son, she is Haitian born and our Head of State."

    In case you're not aware, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and thus its Head of State. Michaelle Jean is her representative in Canada, not its head of state.

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  • 183. At 00:47am on 27 Jan 2010, crash wrote:

    So the tea party people are radicles,here we sit with over a trillion dollar deficit and every time the current president suggests a new idea it involves more spending.The democrats stopped representing the average man thirty years ago,now they represent every minority whiner out there.Until they stop kneeling to the gay rights,racial minorities they never will represent the average joe.Right now take immigration who in their right minds can say anyone who sneaks into a country illegally has any rights at all!until they get their act together all they will represent is the whining fringe.

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  • 184. At 00:52am on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    171. At 11:18pm on 26 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    "Of course it wasn't perfect, and after his passing, the power passed to Penn's thoroughly un-Quaker, power-hungry, oligarchic sons. They used their syncophants and toadies and rabble-rousers to drum up faux popular support and sought consolidation of their own personal power, at the expense of the people. Only the brilliant machinations of Ben Franklin kept them from total domination."
    __________

    You got that right. Franklin was a genuine polymath, possessed of incorruptible character - and the Penn family hated him with a passion on both accounts.

    But he eventually saw the back of them!

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  • 185. At 00:54am on 27 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Some people crash a private a party, but they are called events instead.
    They run as a public party, they hold private parties. You can vote for the party. Most likely you will never be invited to one.
    Your tax dollars send them to a long party. You get to read about it,
    I don't understand why someone hasn't come up with a magazine called 'the white house GQ'.
    Party on...

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  • 186. At 01:17am on 27 Jan 2010, Michael Streiffert wrote:

    "Crash" is the perfect example the grass roots tea partier. No complaints about the Bush era deficit. No complaints about the Iraq or Afghanistan war costs. Just obsessed with gays, racial minorities and immigrants. When will the Tea Party and it's rich Republican backers realize that we're all Americans?

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  • 187. At 01:24am on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    179. At 00:17am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    IF: "because the truth is often a poor competitor in the marketplace of ideas - complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse."

    "Kennan is bang on -- "truth" in politics is always in process. We reach toward it, but the dialogue never stops -- or at least it shouldn't stop."
    __________

    Kennan was a great and highly perceptive man.
    And the sentence you have selected is precisely the one that has caused this quote to stick in my mind from the first time I read it, many, many years ago.

    __________
    __________

    "re: 164 RomeStu -- for a short (though long enough!) time the newly minted conservative entity in this country was called (and I kid you not) the Conservative Reform Alliance Party.

    Ooops."

    ----------

    LOL.
    Oh, dear, I had forgotten that.

    But it seems to me the full name was "Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party", or "C-CRAP" as it rapidly became known in the press.

    As you say, the name did not last long.

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  • 188. At 01:42am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    This is for Philly Mom:

    (ahem ... )

    Cruel frost brings us
    winter's bitter discontent;
    irony weeping.

    Too dark?

    Um, ...

    Teaparty over,
    wind in forgotten banners.
    Winter sun setting.

    Still too gloomy.

    Got it:

    Beneath cruel snow,
    green shoots wait like a lover
    for Spring's sweet kisses.

    Yeah, that's more like it. Keep on rockin' the free world, mama!

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  • 189. At 01:42am on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    182. At 00:47am on 27 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    In case you're not aware, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and thus its Head of State. Michaelle Jean is her representative in Canada, not its head of state.
    __________

    Quite so.

    Nonetheless, the gist of Pinko's comment remains the same.

    Consider : Michaelle Jean, Adrienne Clarkson
    Both women
    Both from visible minority backgrounds.
    Ho, hum, nothing remarkable about that, perhaps. Ah, but -

    Both from the CBC.

    When it comes to our vice-regal post, Canada embraces diversity so thoroughly that we even allow the highest office in the land to be occupied by:

    JOURNALISTS !!!

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  • 190. At 01:50am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Charlie

    "not comparable and the cheapness of your shot, the fact is that in Britain we have the NHS. I pay into it, and I use it. "

    Comon your whole post is a cheap shot. Pack up and move if you love the american no health care so much or stop lying to make it seem it is unconstitutional when you are not the one who is getting no treatment. ACADEMICALLY Speaking we are better off without your sort ruining our chances of a better future.
    If you want to pretend to be all academic bout it.

    Don't harp on about having paid so will use the far cheaper services when you have no concept that the collective bargaining that makes your cheap health care possible is not available to others.
    Stop using it. the NHS.

    You Pay. what from your busking money?
    seriously "give us a fiver for a song" charlie.How much of your busking proceeds go to the national insurance contribution.

    get real with your self. hold true to YOUR principles that others should not pay into your care.
    Get real with yourself.

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  • 191. At 01:54am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    The one formally known as TC

    I have heard the same sort of Conservative Reform Alliance Party , from those that would claim to be allied with the teaparty.
    the racial anecdote you mention is as I have seen it. a guise for legitimacy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_goat

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  • 192. At 01:59am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    186

    "When will the Tea Party and it's rich Republican backers realize that we're all Americans?"

    when the bullet boxes get stuffed and the people say ENOUGH.

    the tea party people seem to think that they are going to be able to start a war and "win back america" from an equally armed majority.
    There are a lot of peopel I meet that served and say" I want all americans to be able to go to the doctor"

    they are not tea party people.

    Those peopel are out numbered and out gunned. america need to walk the streets like the tea party people with their guns in a mass demonstration of unity bi partisan agianst these fools.

    ;) just stirring.

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  • 193. At 02:03am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    155 philly mom .lol on shakyrod. and chaucer made loads of convenient spellings.
    spelling trolls are tiresome to me. . Inventive use of words is fine when they are to some extent original or double enturds.
    but saying " I got shot at by snipers and there were no flower girls" when there was no sniper and a flower girl....... is just not being truthful.

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  • 194. At 02:03am on 27 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    184 IF

    Too bad the age of legends is over. We could use a few Franklins right now. (of course, so could my wallet- but that's a completely different topic...)

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  • 195. At 02:09am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    180 Even I would leave GW out of the tea party.
    Cheney and palin, but GW?

    Puppet W?

    then someone says this tired tired old line quoted at the end here.
    Any one might think that many of those that did vote for Obama just did it because they wanted to see him fail.
    Personally I think that most americans did not vote for him.
    Just that enough did.
    the rest who never could believe that he would win have risen since election day. from vaults under the cities they rose.
    fearful of the smell of Garlic


    "In what European nation can the son of an African immigrant rise to become chief of state? Enough said about Europe's superior social mobility."

    PS you forgot to mention he was also white.

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  • 196. At 02:16am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    ps charlie
    "America does not; and I am arguing against their adopting one, or starting down that path."

    No you argued that it would not be worth their time (and all records elsewhere indicate that a national system reduces costs for those in private care as well. that no one else spends as much per treatment as the americans do. so how does your math work out.

    you also argued that it was unconstitutional and forgot that welfar includes by no leap health care.

    you used erroneous arguments to support an idea that would cause a few tens of thousands of americans to die. You justified this by suggesting your superior intelligence as you were educated in Oxford.

    (not saying which tutorial you went to.
    Do they do a gse in american history)

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  • 197. At 02:21am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    109. At 5:36pm on 26 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:
    For a "grassroots spontaneous local movement" the Tea Party franchise seems remarkably well organised and orchestrated.

    Or is it just me?


    No it's not just you. for starters most of their talking points have been covered for over two years now on this very site. there has been nothing new. some have modified their stance because they know they can't keep getting away with it. but then they do. because those that say Bull get gone.
    ;)

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  • 198. At 02:28am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Mr. Cunard,

    Thank you for correcting my error. The Governor General does indeed serve at the Royal pleasure.

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  • 199. At 02:40am on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    198. At 02:28am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Thank you for correcting my error. The Governor General does indeed serve at the Royal pleasure.
    _________

    Royal pleasure?

    Gosh, why do those words conjure up images of Edward VII as Prince of Wales...

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  • 200. At 02:44am on 27 Jan 2010, faeyth wrote:

    I would never,never vote for the Tea party,most of their members are older 40 year old Gen Xers who have spent most of their life neglected by Boomers.And are angry about it.From being latchkey kids raised in Ultra Violence to seeing Ronald Reagan cut every thing for schools,bored by their parents stories, anger over their parents remarriages and seeing younger siblings get the benefit of their parents mistakes and getting spoiled by their parents wages in the late 90's,that they didn't have.And now getting a Royal screw job with wages,homes,and a huge deficit.Older Gen Xers have always been burned by Boomers.My Older Siblings pretty much say a lot of the BS the the tea party does.Libertarians have better leadership if you like more conservative politics.But I don't even think my older siblings would vote for a Tea bag-er,Hopefully.I mean really who would put Grandma in front of a death panel.

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  • 201. At 02:44am on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    100"Follow your logic and we would conclude that one couldn't argue for lower taxes unless one refused to pay the existing ones,"


    no following my logic those that complain about taxes could refuse to use the services provided.
    more and more i think you didn't study in Oxford.

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  • 202. At 02:46am on 27 Jan 2010, faeyth wrote:

    Social Mobility of Europe and Canada are always interesting.How many are from immigrants which are now a higher percentage of your population than ours.I mean isn't easy to go up from nothing.

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  • 203. At 02:47am on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Where is Ed Inglehart?

    Here it is late on the 26th, and none on this blog have marked that most important of days, the 25th. Unforgiveable oversight.

    Long past time to hoist one to the memory of Robert Burns.
    Maybe I'll have to make up for it by hoisting more than one.

    "My love is like the red red rose ..."

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  • 204. At 03:02am on 27 Jan 2010, seanspa wrote:

    IF, sadly the americans are still maintaining their ban on 'kosher' haggis. Burns night just isn't the same without it, although a few drams can help mask the pain.

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  • 205. At 03:14am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    IF -- oh, unforgivable indeed. Well, better late than never. And I'll raise one to the bard, and one to Ed, and one to the Old Sod.

    Slainte!

    Here's a health to them that's awa,
    Here's a health to them that's awa;
    And wha winna wish gude luck to our cause,
    May never gude luck be their fa'!
    It's gude to be merry and wise,
    It's gude to be honest and true;
    It's gude to support Caledonia's cause,
    And bide by the buff and the blue.

    Here's a health to them that's awa,
    Here's a health to them that's awa,
    Here's a health to Charlie the chief o' the clan,
    Altho' that his band be but sma'!
    May Liberty meet wi' success!
    May Prudence protect her frae evil!
    May tyrants and tyranny tine i' the mist,
    And wander their way to the devil!

    Here's a health to them that's awa,
    Here's a health to them that's awa;
    Here's a health to Tammie, the Norlan' laddie,
    That lives at the lug o' the law!
    Here's freedom to them that wad read,
    Here's freedom to them that wad write,

    There's nane ever fear'd that the truth should be heard,
    But they whom the truth would indite.
    ...

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  • 206. At 03:16am on 27 Jan 2010, crash wrote:

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

  • 207. At 03:42am on 27 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    The Tea Party is not a seperate political party nor is it strictly Republican. But as the Democrats are more likely to raise taxes and have proven to be far more corrupt in spending on themselves the Republicans are more likely to benefit from their concerns.

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  • 208. At 03:58am on 27 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    I find this blog is different from the previous ones the Mark has written.?
    I made one observation during the Brown campaign and victory celebration.
    I watched on some channels of tv and saw only white people in that camp. I began to wonder if they were the only voters that voted for him.
    Without revealing my race I know this not to be true. However, what was it that portrayed this phenomenon. Was it the cameras or the media focusing only on that particular source. Could the sentiment have been such that any other individual sharing the Brown sentiment was choosing not to be present at this particular event? The perception, I think is there to allude to the impression that not many non white voters supported Brown. Now the images are blurred. Is part of America's population saying that they want no further part of Obama. Not just Obama, but no part of having a black president. Better said One who only identifies with minority in words and the corporate in deeds. When Bill Clinton ran for change, he gave us a little of it. There was a large surplus in the US reserves. Unemployment was down to 2% at one point. Minimum wages were increased, people were not even dignified to consider, working on jobs that they now would kill any illegal for. He signed the NAFTA agreement. (good or bad) The people were in good cheer. The country in good wealth. No one was being so intent to attack America and the ones who did, like Khadafy found a package in the mail. True he didn't follow up, but that was a good thing. He didn't start a war.
    He wasn't all good, but not too bad either.

    Here we have a ((Muslim (alleged)) following the tactics, based on faulty and erroneous intelligence continuing on a path which is just as unpopular as Vietnam's. Conviction should prevail and not throwing good soldiers behind an already proven bad decision. We are the only qualified Nation to send in cia and dia ops to other countries, cause dissent and uprising, turn established countries with voting populations and civil rights laws into outright chaos. This patent which similar powers use, is criticized by those who believe, we are the only nation allowed to do this. "the hell with Spain they sunk the Maine" A lie perpetrated by our own people against our own people just to acquire--after invasion--Cuba. Could they be capable of doing such things again? Have they.
    Have we. We do not need to be there and for one thong, how can we possibly afford to justify the trillion of dollars elsewhere while we at home are cutting our own way of life, down to poverty levels. A real champion, was Martin Luther, willing to sacrifice his own life, for the many who needed Spiritual and physical well being.
    Get tough Obama, get tough at the white house and not with the people who expected and still expect a 'yes we can' from you. Not we in the house.

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  • 209. At 04:04am on 27 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    Apropos the issue of healthcare reform, the following is an e-mail forwarded to me by one of my more conservative friends and which purports to show how terrible universal health care would should it ever come to pass in the USA. It is this kind of misinformation which fuels the Tea Party and others who would deny Americans the care which they should have as a right:-

    Four men were bragging about how smart their cats were. 

    The first man was an Engineer
    The second man was an Accountant
    The third man was a Chemist, and 
    The fourth man was a Government Employee
     
    To show off, the Engineer called his cat, 
    'T-square, do your stuff.' 
    T-square pranced over to the desk, took out some paper and pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. 
    Everyone agreed that was pretty smart. 

    But the Accountant said his cat could do better. 

    He called his cat and said, 'Spreadsheet, do your stuff.' 
    Spreadsheet went out to the kitchen and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 cookies. 
    Everyone agreed that was pretty good! 

    But the Chemist said his cat could do better. 
    He called his cat and said, 'Measure, do your stuff.' 
    Measure got up, walked to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a 10 ounce glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 8 ounces without spilling a drop into the glass. 
    Everyone agreed that was pretty good. 
     
    Then the three men turned to the Government Employee and said, 'What can your cat do?' 

    The Government Employee called his big fat black cat and said, 'Coffee Break, do your stuff..' 
    Coffee Break jumped to his feet . . . ate the cookies . . . drank the milk . . . crapped on the paper . . . screwed the other three cats . . . claimed he injured his back while doing so . . . filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions . . . put in for Workers' Compensation . . . and went home for the rest of the day on sick leave. 

    AND THAT, MY FRIEND, IS WHY HEALTHCARE SHOULD NOT BE RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT!!

    --- To make it worse, the sender is a recipient of Medicare!

     


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  • 210. At 04:14am on 27 Jan 2010, Bill Grimes-Wyatt wrote:

    Scott (post #118) referred to my comment about giving each state an equal share of earmarks being wrong because the idea of protesting is not just to get your fair share. He did not understand my point. He must have heard that if you have a pile to split, one person divides the pile and the second person gets first choice. This method ebsures fairness as the first person does not want to get a smaller half so he makes them equal. The rational for earmarks is that each group attempts to gain an advantage over the others. Some of the people in a clique all agree to vote for each others pork, expecting the members of this group can each convince their voters that they can wind up better off then the average and the nonmembers of this gang of thieves, and deserve to be reelected. The result is that the total pork would be reduced as those who don't take pork get cash. Therefor each state and its voters do not reward the porkers. NET RESULT would be NO MORE PORK. Any state getting pork would be taking it from their share of the total distribution. Simple,but effective.

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  • 211. At 04:14am on 27 Jan 2010, Bill Grimes-Wyatt wrote:

    Your timing is way off.

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  • 212. At 04:43am on 27 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Lots of good posts on this thread. Well done, all.

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  • 213. At 05:34am on 27 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    The Tea Party Patriot site claims 15 million members of tea party organizations across the U.S.A. The site lists 33 tea party organizations in the State of Michigan. There are a sum total of 220 members listed for all of these Michigan organizations. At least 150 of those appear as a member on more than one membership list. Subtracting these multiple memberships the mean total of all 33 Michigan tea party organizations is about 70 members.

    Of the 33 Michigan tea party organizations listed on the Tea Party Patriot site, 17 organizations do not show any group political activities whatsoever. Only 4 organizations show any activity since 1 January 2010.

    It is significant that none of these tea party organizations in Michigan show any activity to endorse candidates, get out the vote, nor even mention the local elections that took place in November 2009. Apparently local elections are of no importance to these organizations.

    Many high-minded, ambitious sounding "Mission Statements" for each of these Michigan organizations. Very little actual, political activity noted on their sites. 41 activities were scheduled overall on the 16 sites that did show activities starting as early as April 2009 to the present. There are only 4 activities scheduled for the month of January 2010.

    I could find no activities scheduled by the organizations for the month of February 2010. The Sunshine Patriots may be a more apt title.

    Perhaps they need a good community organizer to help them keep politically motivated in productive activities.

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  • 214. At 05:41am on 27 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    209. At 04:04am on 27 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    Apropos the issue of healthcare reform, the

    Now that was funny:

    Another one has 4 men on a small vessel lost at sea.

    One American
    one Afghan
    one Chinese
    one Venezuelan

    The food was almost gone and they couldn't all survive so they made a pact to sacrifice themselves for their respective countries.

    The first one to do it was the Chinese,
    He prepared himself and said for MAo!
    and jumped in the ocean.

    the second was the Afghan he prayed and said, "for Allah" and also jumped in.

    The third looked around and grabbed the American and threw him overboard, as he proclaimed
    "For Chavez"

    Later he was rescued.

    Same analogy as everyone is for themselves.

    lol

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  • 215. At 05:52am on 27 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    192. At 01:59am on 27 Jan 2010, personanongrata wrote:186
    "When will the Tea Party and it's rich Republican backers realize that we're all Americans?"
    when the bullet boxes get stuffed and the people say ENOUGH.
    the tea party people seem to think that they are going to be able to start a war and "win back america" from an equally armed majority.
    There are a lot of peopel I meet that served and say" I want all americans to be able to go to the doctor" they are not tea party people.
    Those peopel are out numbered and out gunned. america need to walk the streets like the tea party people with their guns in a mass demonstration of unity bi partisan agianst these fools.
    ;) just stirring.
    _______________________________

    Those out of power generally 'form up' to oppose the victor. What's different today is that everyone of them gets his 20 seconds of fame before the whole nation - because we are dense with attention hungry talking heads empowered by scores of attention hungry media. Everyone of us is swamped with political blather 24/7.

    Whether any of these 'heads' have substance or are even actual human beings expressing actual opinions, is hard to discern through the ether fog. Unless we are at least honest with ourselves our political lives quickly become insane.

    I suppose the wisest course I have personally witnessed is the one taken by my boss and by my family of farm-raised cousins. They mostly keep their mouths and ears shut to the din, but keep a close understanding of their own private interests.

    All of them sent their children to private schools at considerable personal expense - Catholic, on the one hand, Lutheran, on the other. My successful businessman son and daughter in law intend to send grandson (loki) and grandaughter (the badger princess) to public school - for the socializing experience - but I suspect will pull them out faster than a Texas pickup on the feeder road at the first sign of public school's attempt to dumb them down.

    So it is in Kansas, so it is in Texas

    KScurmudgeon
    not native, and have regretted it for 50 years.

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  • 216. At 06:19am on 27 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    209. At 04:04am on 27 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:....The Government Employee called his big fat black cat and said, 'Coffee Break, do your stuff..'

    AND THAT, MY FRIEND, IS WHY HEALTHCARE SHOULD NOT BE RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT!!
    ________________________

    I have heard stories this week that fully confirm the reality of your fable and the point your are making.

    But this proposal is not government government- run healthcare,any more than the program available to congress today is.

    Open competition and transparency are all we need to correct the abuses in our private system. But it is not competitive in any manner that enables the consumer to choose across the field, and no one can see what goes on across the fields of insurers, providers, or drug pushers.

    This is not capitalist, my friends, this is not a function of the free market. All you who wish the system to remain as it is - please tell us how you can assure yourselves that this system will not leave you and your family in bankruptcy when your own death and that of your loved ones is attended by managers who belong to this system? Are you and those who will speak for you strong enough to say no - just send me home?

    KScurmudgeon
    saved once by insurance, but praying for a quick death nvertheless.

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  • 217. At 06:54am on 27 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:



    And the owner men explained the workings and the thinkings of the monster that was stronger than they were. ...
    But - you see, a bank or a company can't do that, because those creatures don't breathe air, don't eat side meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't eat it they die the way you die without air, without side meat. It is sad thing, but it is so. It is just so....

    ... the bank - the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.

    ... It's not us, it's the bank. A bank isn't like a man. Or an owner of fifty thousand acres, he isn't like a man either. That's the monster.

    We're sorry. It's not us. It's the monster. The bank isn't like a man.

    Yes, but the bank is only made of men.

    No, you're wrong there - quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you, it's the monster. Men made it, but they cannot control it.

    The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 5, p. 33; Penguin Classics, paperback, 2006

    We all know this, but the banks and the justices, they do not.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 218. At 06:59am on 27 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    This is true. One place near MA already did a pilot program and the results were that they could not successfully do it alone.
    The projection was that all 50 states have to be in it to share the debt.
    This way there is no accountability in individual states. Which sounds very much socialistic. Wow and we thought socialist were bad!
    The states have no way to secede from the union short of another attempted invasion on American soil. This was already tried sometime ago. However the individual state can reject the federal governments attempt to push something down their stomach. When that option is no longer available, the constitution will be a thing not worth its ink. Yet many people don't realize that this is already the case and is happening in this country. The federation or intercontinental world order and its International monetary fund has currency of unbelievable proportion. Currency to be converted into one currency just as soon as all other countries experience a devalued currency drop. At this time our dollar will be prime and they will join the one currency deal. Where did the US get all this money from? and why not use it to help its own people now. The object is to lend it to some not all developing countries and in return have them committed to giving us their best and most sought after commodities. Not a bad idea, just not very timely right now. It is going to happen sooner or later, but it should not happen while we are at the worst financial point. We meaning the people of the US. Once this is done, the richest may reamain rich and the poorest may never get out from under. Unless they also plan to pay everyone the same base pay.
    Imagine that socialist paychecks!
    Forced voting and snitching neighbors who are more patriotic than the patriots.
    They will insure that death comes but only when they decide you should die, sounds like the movie when you get to 30 years old they hunt you down for sport.

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  • 219. At 09:02am on 27 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    personanongrata wrote: "No you argued that it would not be worth their time (and all records elsewhere indicate that a national system reduces costs for those in private care as well. that no one else spends as much per treatment as the americans do. so how does your math work out."

    Why would you make it out to be that simple?

    Have you factored in what else may be the result of higher costs? Things that benefit even non-Americans throughout the world?

    Things like the best medical research and development, the most medical advances and breakthroughs of any other country and the most advanced care in the world.

    And what accounting methods are used to justify cost comparisons with America, seeing as those comparisons seem to always be made by those strongly in favor of government health care?

    "you also argued that it was unconstitutional and forgot that welfar includes by no leap health care."

    Would it be "by no leap" to get what you are in favor of instead?

    "you used erroneous arguments to support an idea that would cause a few tens of thousands of americans to die. You justified this by suggesting your superior intelligence as you were educated in Oxford."

    How can you bring up "superior intelligence" and then try and justify a government run health care system for America by simply saying that costs there are higher without considering the many other factors that are obviously involved in determining costs and benefits?

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  • 220. At 10:32am on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    personanongrata wrote: No you argued that it would not be worth their time (and all records elsewhere indicate that a national system reduces costs for those in private care as well. that no one else spends as much per treatment as the americans do. so how does your math work out.

    I can't read this sentence. If you're saying that I think America should eschew federalised healthcare then you are spot on.

    you also argued that it was unconstitutional and forgot that welfar includes by no leap health care.

    I did, yes. It is unconstitutional, and the 'welfare' reference in the preamble was by no means intended in the modern sense of the word. No court in the history of American law has employed the preamble as a decisive factor in deciding a case (though it has had contexual bearing). Having studied the adoption of the constitution it is my historical view that the 'welfare' line in the preamble has nothing to do with the 'welfare' system as we understand it today.

    you used erroneous arguments to support an idea that would cause a few tens of thousands of americans to die.

    This is the conflation of remedy and cause I mentioned in an earlier thread, only to be told that I was putting words in the mouths of others.

    You justified this by suggesting your superior intelligence as you were educated in Oxford.

    No, I mentioned that I studied at Oxford when asked if I was an American, and subsequently why I was so interested in American politics given that I am British. I was not trying to suggest anything of the sort.

    (not saying which tutorial you went to. Do they do a gse in american history)

    Sigh. They are called colleges. I'm not sure why you are asking for credentials - or in fact what it has to do with anything - but given that you have: I went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford between 2004-2007 and studied Modern History & Politics. My two main tutors were Clive Holmes and Gillian Peele. I wrote my thesis on the Second Amendment.

    Perhaps you might consider changing your handle from 'personanongrata' to 'adhominem'.

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  • 221. At 10:42am on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    personanongrata/adhominem wrote no following my logic those that complain about taxes could refuse to use the services provided.

    And still pay the taxes? 'fraid not.

    Those that want a low tax economy want neither the taxes nor the services provided, and ultimately they want the choice to pay for the services they want to receive. They do not want to pay high taxes and then have no services for their efforts. Grow up. You are setting straw men up all across this field.

    more and more i think you didn't study in Oxford.

    So what? You might also think I'm a yellow hamster from Chiswick, but it has no bearing on anything and it wouldn't make me on.

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  • 222. At 11:02am on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Mr. chairman!

    I PAID for this microphone!"

    (Ronald Reagan)

    [No Dem taxation without a proper Rep(resentation)]

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  • 223. At 11:17am on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    #39 Saint Domimick

    As I've stated much earlier the Third Party is the way to go.

    This country (U,S,) can be ruled effectively only fom the the center-right or center left.

    Not extreme right or extreme left.

    Therefore I don't assume that you're going to be happy if the extreme Left will, by its actions, only amplifies and strenghtens the extreme Right.

    Am I right or am I right?

    [Nope, I'm not a Singing Detective]

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  • 224. At 11:31am on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM

    I think (since your new to these shores) You assume that U.S. is another European country separated from U.K. by the common language.

    [although the language may have become more common indeed due to preponderance of American serials and soap/soup operas on British TV

    Even your Queen's accent has changed significantly over the last 50 yrs].

    It's a grave mistake.

    This country has been founded by people who DIDN'T WANT TO be like European countries. Or live in them.

    And we, Native Americans (i.e. born in this land) most certainly don't want to become another EUSSR!

    And that's why we're not going to repeal the 2nd Ammendmet.

    [no, its supporters are not the ones bording airliners with explosives glued to their balls. Although, grant ya, we have balls; unlike some]

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  • 225. At 11:38am on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    @powermeerkat

    I think that's a very good point, but it's quite hard to get people to agree on what exactly constitutes left and right, and certainly what constitutes extreme left and extreme right. For example, I'm a fiscal conservative, Bill of Rights absolutist, constitutional originalist and I believe in a small federal government. But I'm also pro-choice, pro-gay, hardline on the separation of church and state, atheistic and secular, and I will happily defend freedom of speech for anyone, regardless of what they say. So what am I?*

    Similarly, I find it difficult that people call George Bush an ultra-conservative. To me, he was an advocate of huge government in all areas; economic, social, domestic, foreign, federal vs. states. In my book, ultra-conservative would be Ron Paul.

    This difficulty reminds me of the old joke: if you believe in big government at home and no interference abroad, then you're left-winger. If you believe in small government at home and interference abroad then you're a right winger. If you believe in both you're a moderate. And if you believe in neither, you're an extremist. :)

    *adhominem that was not an open invitation.

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  • 226. At 12:10pm on 27 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Post 164 Rome stu...

    "Can any one think of a good name for a movement with a similar double-entendre theme"...

    How about,

    Health care reform difficult,keep your pecker up & smile..

    The meaning of this to the British,will simply be,when the task becomes difficult,hold your head high & keep going cheerfully.To your American it may mean something altogether different,as I found out to my cost...its true,time does heal the memory's...

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  • 227. At 12:21pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#33 AndraNY notices:

    "It's tax time now, meaning most Americans are preparing their tax returns. Over the next few months, Americans will realize exactly how much they are paying the government in taxes. It's the perfect time for Obama to introduce some tax credits."




    Oh, hope springs eternal, Andrea.

    I've just been told by my accountant that I'll have to pay a rather hefty tax on investments made with already taxed income.

    So much for repealling illegal double taxation....

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  • 228. At 12:27pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    RomeStu :
    "Giving Up because it seems a bit hard" - the NEW American Way




    "WE, THE PEOPLE" don't think there's anything new about it.

    It's a very OLD DEM tradition: TAX$SPEND! TAX&SPEND! TAX&SPEND!

    [other people's money]


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  • 229. At 12:36pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    charlieatlantic states:

    "I'm a fiscal conservative, Bill of Rights absolutist, constitutional originalist and I believe in a small federal government. But I'm also pro-choice, pro-gay, hardline on the separation of church and state, atheistic and secular, and I will happily defend freedom of speech for anyone, regardless of what they say. So what am I?"


    A wholesome, moderate, traditional Republican? :-)


    [this country still being a Republic,thanks Jehovah, Allah, or whatever atheist god there might be! (if you forget to shave with Ockham's razor)]

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  • 230. At 12:46pm on 27 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 223, powermeerkat

    "Therefore I don't assume that you're going to be happy if the extreme Left will, by its actions, only amplifies and strenghtens the extreme Right."

    I reject political and religious extremism. To me the far left is as objectionable as the far right. A centrist party is the way to go, but how do we define what constitutes the center, and how do we prevent special interests from corrupting that new organization as soon as it is created?

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  • 231. At 12:49pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #225


    Republicans have been traditionally isolationists.

    [for better or worse]

    If you care to look at the XXth century: we became involved in practically all major military conflicts by Democrats in the White House and Democrat Administrations:

    WWI (Wilson), WWII (FDR), Korean War (Truman), Vietnam (JFK&and LBJ)...

    [forget Bosnia under Bill the Zipper; it wasn't that major]

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  • 232. At 1:43pm on 27 Jan 2010, MDshooter wrote:

    The "tea party" people ARE mainstream America. Opposed equally to all Democrat AND Republican, and anyone else, that has disregarded their responsibilities as elected officials. The country was founded on undeniable principals that are very easy to understand, yet their meaning has been perverted since socialists entered the arena at the end of the 1800's.
    We are all conservatives at heart. We all believe in our constitutional freedoms, and cry out when they are encroached. We believe in fairness, individual responsibility, and bemoan those that leech off the system. We want a strong country, safe from those that would do us harm. We want to reap the benefits of our work to improve our lives, without the spectre of Government lurking in the shadows ready to confiscate half of it. These are conservative values, and the values that will eventually cement this country back together. This is why the "tea party" movement has been so successful.
    I was at the 9/12 march last year. I saw no anger, just frustration. I saw no antagonism, just unification. I saw over 1.5 million people come together and get laughed at by the media, yet we carried on with our lives and a faith in the American system of government and a belief that it would eventually work as intended. You should have been there, it was an incredible experience. Even the half bus load of SEIU blue shirts that showed up to protest against us were overwhelmed. I talked with one and he admitted he felt that he should not be there because "it just doesn't feel right, y'all are here in a peaceful protest, and theres no place for us here". They left within half an hour.
    There IS a conservative revolution going on in this country, and it does NOT discriminate between political party. For those of you not in the USA, I would encourage a short history lesson on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our Federal government is overreaching its Constitutional limit of power on numerous fronts, in particular health care, by taking power from the States. The Federal government cannot order the States to adopt anything. That is up to the States. In our system of government, emphasis is placed on individual, "we the people". The local Sherriff actually has more power than the State when it comes to the individual, but this is rarely recognised anymore, although legally still on the books. THIS is what the Conservative movement is all about.

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  • 233. At 1:47pm on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote And that's why we're not going to repeal the 2nd Ammendmet.

    Exactly. One of the most encouraging trends in American law and politics in the past twenty years has been the increasing support for the 2A at all levels of American government (DC vs. Heller, Castle Doctrine, Concealed Carry, Shall-issue etc).

    Why? Because in some ways it is the most important issue in America. If a government doesn't trust you to be armed then it doesn't trust you at all, and you aren't free. The Second Amendment defines in a nutshell the relationship between the citizen and the state, and the nature of that government which is instituted.

    James Madison, who was in charge of drafting the Bill of Rights, put this well in Federalist No. 46: "The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

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  • 234. At 1:51pm on 27 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    221. charlieatlantic:

    "more and more i think you didn't study in Oxford."

    So what? You might also think I'm a yellow hamster from Chiswick, but it has no bearing on anything and it wouldn't make me on.

    *****************

    "So what?" The perfect response.

    There's some difficulty here with views like yours. The ranks close, and the little swarm begins. A viscous like-mindedness descends over the comments.



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  • 235. At 1:59pm on 27 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Total non-sequitur comment - Mark, please forward to the BBC complaints department or whatever office is appropriate.

    This story is in the news this morning:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8480637.stm

    It is about building a new road that will ultimately link China and India. This might be an interesting and important topic.

    So where is the map? Where is this road ?
    Why is there no tag on the article so that this comment or complaint could have been tagged to the actual article itself?

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  • 236. At 2:00pm on 27 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    227. powermeerkat:

    "Oh, hope springs eternal, Andrea."

    **********************
    Judging from the budget woes, you can kiss the thought of lower taxes good-bye for a while.

    It will be interesting to watch Obama try to get the democrats to go for spending cuts. How much did he really help them when they repeatedly asked him to take a stand on health care? Now he wants them to go for unpopular cuts? We'll be hearing a lot of political talk for "Take a hike!".

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  • 237. At 2:50pm on 27 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    114. Squirrelist

    Bats' troubles were first discovered in a cave near Albany, New York (that's in Upstate New York). Bats were going off to get food in the middle of winter and dying in large numbers. Here in the States we like wildlife so it was not long before research into the problem was under way.

    Researchers found that these bats which were dying had abnormally low body fat and many also had a white fungus coming from them. The fungus (Geomyces destructans) was a previously-undiscovered species so its origin is unknown. No one knows for sure whether the fungus caused the low body fat or the low body fat allowed the opportunistic fungal infection.

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  • 238. At 2:59pm on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 227 meerkitty I've just been told by my accountant that I'll have to pay a rather hefty tax on investments made with already taxed income.

    So, let me get this straight: you believe you shouldn't pay tax on income earned from investments made from other income that has already been taxed?

    Setting aside the absurd practicalities of trying to establish just what income isn't made by investing money that is already taxed, let's examine the principle here: a person who works a job, and whose income is taxed at prevailing rates is in some way less entitled to a free ride on tax than those who invest income already taxed?

    So obviously, the rational person will immediately quit their job, sell their house, and invest that already been taxed equity and savings in, well, in what exactly I'm not sure, because the entire economy will have collapsed, and any actual work will be done offshore in places where it actually makes sense to work.

    Hey, wait a minute, isn't that kinda like what's been going on for the past 10 years?

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Maybe you'll be able to convince enough powers that be that your entitlements are essential to the prosperity of all.

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  • 239. At 3:12pm on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 234 Andrea There's some difficulty here with views like yours. The ranks close, and the little swarm begins. A viscous like-mindedness descends over the comments.

    The hive Mind has instructed me to tell you that It appreciated your link to the New Yorker essay.

    Further, It has instructed me to point out that there are a myriad of blogs etc. where those frightened by sounds other than echoes of their own speech may post in complete safety, but It presumes that those who return here do so because the clash of opinions somehow interests them.

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  • 240. At 3:24pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    measures 66 and 67 in Oregon passed.
    the people said yes to more taxes.
    Viva Oregon.

    Not all of americans are selfish teabaggers.

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  • 241. At 3:29pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    237 the artist formally known as TC.

    "Here in the States we like wildlife"

    LOL to shoot.



    sorry just have to have a little fun poke.


    adrienny

    "There's some difficulty here with views like yours. The ranks close, and the little swarm begins. A viscous like-mindedness descends over the comments. "
    lol again. that is real rich coming from one who has been a virtual legion.

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  • 242. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Sk
    not quite sure how my post was linked to that, but I liked your post.
    then I like that you seem to be a real person at the other end of the blog. not someone who seems to be a paid agent. as so many of the more teaparty people seem.(both sides have teapartiers (they used to be called racists;)

    209 DC I notice the coffee break cat was a black cat. and the only cat who's colour was mentioned.

    I think that backs the last line of my first paragraph up pretty well.

    thankyou for bringing this to our attention




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  • 243. At 3:47pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    219 allen t2
    I have considered a whole bunch of stuff on the issue of health care.

    sorry you misssed it.
    PS where was the first test tube baby from?

    stuff the flag argument it doesn't hold.

    America did not invent all the medical breakthroughs and most of those european researchers that work here have had the ability to study without worry that their young or old family has no health care.
    you are ignorant of so much as we all are. just a little more. well done you won that race.

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  • 244. At 3:56pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Charlie.

    "I mentioned that I studied at Oxford when asked if I was an American"

    wow wouldn't britishbe more appropriate as an answer. or were you as I said trying to insert your "credentials" so as to give some amount of ligitamacy to you pathetic attempts to pretend that welfare was not to include health care.
    If your logic was like this then I would be most surprised that you attained the degree you sought.

    You can be attacked as an attack on your argument.
    It is valid when you have failed to establish a decent reason for excluding Health care from welfare or any other argument.


    But just claim you can't understand (even though other "thickos" can)




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  • 245. At 3:58pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    IF come now Ed from the tipi glen was banned. never to return. one of a select few that were told they cannot be a part of discussion and they would have to face their boss being told they are banned.

    No one cared when he was taken out back and a gun put to his head.
    And so with Hes and lordy lord.

    shame that people don't stick up and stand up at those times.
    mostly they just pretend that nothing is happening

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  • 246. At 4:05pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:
    personanongrata/adhominem wrote no following my logic those that complain about taxes could refuse to use the services provided.

    And still pay the taxes? 'fraid not.
    ------------

    what no back bone?

    look people have gone to jail for what they believe in. do you believe in it or are you too weak to stand up against the tyranny of paying taxes?

    PS you are another that produces the word "adhominem" as if you have not tried to attack me.

    what then are the attacks on "not understanding" sentences that you could if you tried figure out.

    Grammar trolls are fun to bait.
    superior "OXFORD UNIVERSITY" graduates that speak volumes of total gibberish are just as fun to bait.

    You got all adhominem when you stated as an answer to what nationality you are (i studied in Oxford) when questioned "what nationality are you" you suggested tried to imply I must be thick for you had already answered that question.
    That was pretty adhominem.
    PS studying at Oxford does not make one British. for your logic banks.

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  • 247. At 4:07pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Grammar troll did you get flustered
    "and it wouldn't make me on."
    On what?
    sorry I can't follow your gibberish.

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  • 248. At 4:34pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    @242 It interests me that from your perspective the people who now feel oppressed by the current American government (I refrain from using the term regime unlike the opponents to the previous government) seem to be "paid agents". I had assumed, and incorrectly it would seem, that paranoia was monopolized by the minority. I can only imagine what grounds you have to think democracy is under attack by reactionary saboteurs, but this seems fairly straightforward to me. No need to chase shadows unto oblivion.
    When one considers the alacrity with which the Democratic Party has taken to dismantling the old ways, it is no wonder that the more vocal of the conservative minority. The same is true of the liberal minority's unrest at the American deployment of troops to foreign states. Those liberals were allowed to rant, rave and carry on. Why then not the conservatives? While they may have caused significantly more mischief as of late there little no reason to believe that they're salaried saboteurs.
    Perhaps, their level of grassroots support has been over exaggerated. Perhaps they are mostly Caucasian (I make no assumptions one way or the other as it is racist to make that accusation). Nonetheless their effect on at least one major centre of liberal power has been made.
    Remember: the Republican Party began as a very minor liberal party in the 1840's and 1850's. Within a decade it would control all major political arenas for almost fifty years. The power of a few oppressed individuals to organize the other dispossessed and downtrodden peoples of a society must never be underestimated.
    I for one actually agree with SOME of what the Tea Party espouses. For instance I do not support universal health care. If I had the disposable income I would. I do not. Therefore I cannot in good conscience ask others to pay for something that I cannot. Neither do I support deficit spending, particularly when our (American) economy flounders.
    I do not ask that others pay for my largesse, for I need little besides food, clothing and a roof above my head (all anyone can truly ask). I simply ask that what I earn through sweat and blood and broken bones not be taxed beyond what my meager income can support.
    I think this differs some from what the Tea Party believes, and therefore my distancing myself from it. Reactionaries are like radicals in that they burn brightly but briefly, leaving ashes with which the old guard must rebuild. I am no reactionary, no radical. I am no Tea Party man. I am independent.

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  • 249. At 4:45pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    more vocal of the conservative minority cry out**
    line three of the second paragraph

    I apologize

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  • 250. At 4:49pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    248 MI

    the reason I say paid agents is not because they oppose Obama.
    I am not calling Ksc a paid agent. there are others that seem to be paid agents. though it is possible they are self financed.
    I still doubt it.
    sorry if that offends you but having read this post for some years now I will make my own assumptions and not be driven by the hysterical mob;)

    Mr Independent.

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  • 251. At 4:55pm on 27 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "I do not ask that others pay for my largesse, for I need little besides food, clothing and a roof above my head (all anyone can truly ask). I simply ask that what I earn through sweat and blood and broken bones not be taxed beyond what my meager income can support."

    I would ask that when sweating and working I do not get poisoned by my boss because Osha has been castrated.
    but I suppose you prefer the old days where they worked you to death .
    Do you have any concept of how many industrial diseases are caused by going to work.
    even office workers get RSI. not a funny complaint. but people wielding jackhammers get it quicker.

    Sure you are "independent" What objection do you have to those that CAN afford to pay.
    Why not start by taxing the rich.
    Those that truly can afford to pay?

    Do you think when Warren Buffet complained that he paid less tax per dollar than his secretary he was being as selfish as you seem to be?


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  • 252. At 5:05pm on 27 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    240. personanongrata:

    "Not all of americans are selfish teabaggers."

    **************

    Of course not. Only the ones with whom you have issues.

    Is "selfish" the new "evil"?



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  • 253. At 5:47pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    Persona: Selfishness is in the eye of the beholder. You seem to see anyone who does not support greater taxes as self-centered. From another point of view, it is you who is the selfish one because you cannot see past your own hubris, your own self-righteousness. Taxing the rich is all well and good but is it not also true that when the rich get taxed the poor feel the pinch? In other words: Taxing the boss means that I get a pay cut which leads to me having even less money that I can in good conscience allocate to necessary taxes. Yes, some taxes ARE necessary. This obsession with vilifying anyone who disagrees with you is not making you any friends.

    As for my independence, I was against deficit spending long before these tea party upstarts ever congealed into a visible political mass. I shall remain, I think, long after the term "Tea Party" falls into disuse.

    As for the hysterical mob comment: The only safe place around a mob is behind it. Plato believed that the mob would destroy democracy, and I happen to agree with him. A mob has no order beyond a few short term goals. It is driven by frenzy, and its energy dissipates quickly. I have seen too much evil done by such mobs to be moved by them.

    I admire the attempt to establish primacy by your statement about how long you had followed this blog by the by. Still, respect is earned rather than given.

    And by the by? I support OSHA regulations. They have time and oft spared me from grievous injury.

    Andrea: It would appear that selfish (opposing excessive taxation) is indeed the new evil. If so, I am proud to be a villain.

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  • 254. At 6:10pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Taxing the rich is all well and good but is it not also true that when the rich get taxed the poor feel the pinch? In other words: Taxing the boss means that I get a pay cut which leads to me having even less money that I can in good conscience allocate to necessary taxes. Yes, some taxes ARE necessary. This obsession with vilifying anyone who disagrees with you is not making you any friends.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And the lesson of the system is, get rich by any means..

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  • 255. At 6:26pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    What I want to know is, if liberals can call Tea Party supporters teabaggers, does this mean people can make up some other explicit name for liberals? Saladtossers maybe? I mean I don't think any sexual references should be used in labeling political opponents, but it would be fair if the left doesn't want to stop calling them that.

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  • 256. At 6:58pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    colonelartist: If you like. This is pure capitalism in an over-generalized form. Flawed, yes, but then so are the alternatives. The difference comes when you apply morality and ethics to the equation. It eliminates the "by any means" portion.

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  • 257. At 7:15pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    colonelartist: If you like. This is pure capitalism in an over-generalized form. Flawed, yes, but then so are the alternatives. The difference comes when you apply morality and ethics to the equation. It eliminates the "by any means" portion.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    acheive the goal by any means...As far as moraity and ethics is concerned, its all subjective..Judge others by the objective standards of morals and ethics and find the justifications for the means that you use..And thats what happens in reality..unlike you, i dont consider any system flawed, if practice in moderation, all are equally good, if not, then all are equally bad..However, capitalism is the only one that leads to greed, and once nations become greedy then there is no end to that.So get rich by any way, and be sure to give 20% of your wealth to your workers and they will sing songs for you and your system.

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  • 258. At 7:17pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    I think the lesson of the system is that you're responsible for your own financial security, rather than depending on the government. When you're responsible for it, you tend to act more, well, responsibly. When there's no risk because the government provides for everything, people tend to be irresponsible.

    A large scale example would be the housing debacle. Normally, lenders only lend to people they're pretty sure will pay them back. The lenders are making responsible loans because their at risk of losing money and they want to minimize that risk through smart handling.

    Now, the government wants everyone to be able to get a loan, whether they could qualify or not; so along come Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government entities whose role is to back risky loans with government money.

    So at this point, lenders are able to loan the money to whoever they want with no risk (because F and F buy up the loans thus removing any risk. Plus, the government actually encourages them to make these bad loans so everyone can get a home loan. When the risk is removed the lenders no longer have a reason to loan responsibly, because technically it's not their money that they're lending.

    The same is true in personal finances. Risk makes most people responsible. No risk makes many people not care about failure and thus, don't try not to fail.

    One last anecdote... If everyone in a class gets an automatic C+... why bother doing any studies or taking tests or turning in homework?

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  • 259. At 7:31pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    Capitalism doesn't lead to greed. Being greedy leads to greed. You can't blame a financial system for inborn flaws of the people. As I showed in my previous post, socialism allows greed and laziness to flourish by removing risk.

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  • 260. At 7:32pm on 27 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    258. At 7:17pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    One last anecdote... If everyone in a class gets an automatic C+... why bother doing any studies or taking tests or turning in homework?


    What? & risk becoming a politician? Not on my watch :)

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  • 261. At 7:33pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #233 charlieatlantic on 2nd Amendment and a 'right to carry'.


    If you've researched the subject (and it looks like you have) you must also know that a violent crime level (number of assaults, armed robberies, etc.) is much lower in states with a 'right to carry' than in ones who have strict gun control.

    [District of Columbia being a prime example of the latter]

    For an obvious reason. ;)


    Not so long ago a deranged guy walked into a popular diner in Texas with a rifle and opened fire.

    It would have been a veritable slaughter in DC, Maryland or Vermont.

    But since it was Texas, one of the customers, wiped off the barbecue sauce from his hands, reached to his pocket and shot the bastard by the time he was able to fire a 4th time.

    I'm also sure you know what argument Adm. Yamamoto used to discourage any ideas among Imperial Staff's general officers 'bout an invasion of U.S. from the west.


    'FROM MY COLD HANDS' :-)

    P.S. BTW. In a certain U.S. Army major military base, where a veritable slaughter was perpetrated by a certain 'psychiatrist', the military personel did not have a right to carry.
    Their arms had to be locked in the base's armory
    "For safety reasons". And they were. :-(((

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  • 262. At 7:50pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    Colonel: Your statement is a non-sequitur. Capitalism does not lead to greed. The entire philosophical idea of capitalism may have been created by those who were corrupted by greed, but it is not capitalism in and of itself that makes the resident of that society greedy. It is money. The LOVE OF MONEY is the essence of greed. While capitalism may espouse gaining more money, it is we as people who make the conscious decision to love that money (i.e. become greedy). Therefore: it can be argued that it is the person inside the capitalist society who is ultimately at fault for being greedy, not the society itself. Of course, if you wish we can discuss the effect of socialization of the person in the society by that society.

    Moral relativism. Each person has certain things they will not do, certain lines they will not cross. Without established ethics, rules if you will, society begins to break down and there is no order. Even in socialism there is order: that all are equal and given to equally.

    There is an end to greed. It is called self-control.

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  • 263. At 8:05pm on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Red #255

    "if liberals can call Tea Party supporters teabaggers, does this mean people can make up some other explicit name for liberals?"




    I've heard the term "douchbags" used by some.

    Although I'd never ever use it myself.

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  • 264. At 8:42pm on 27 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The term usually applied to wooly-minded liberals is "moonbats," however it can just as well be applied to wooly-minded libertarians and such, as far as I am concerned.

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  • 265. At 8:43pm on 27 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Chronophobe RE winter poetry

    It truly is greener on this side of the fence, thanks to a little rain that we got (about 7-8 cm). I for one would be grateful if you could send some of your snow down our way...

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  • 266. At 8:49pm on 27 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    241. At 3:29pm on 27 Jan 2010, personanongrata wrote:

    237 the artist formally known as TC.

    "Here in the States we like wildlife"

    LOL to shoot.


    With a camera, of course :)

    I actually have never hunted but if I had to hunt or starve I'd hunt, with no regrets.

    Here, just to razz you a little (no offense intended):

    3 Rs taht in American public schools: reading, writing, & 'rithmetic.

    3 Rs tawt in British "public" schools: reading, 'rithmetic, & 'ristocratic accent.

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  • 267. At 8:52pm on 27 Jan 2010, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    IF & personanongrata

    Mr. Inglehart is sadly missed. May he RIP & CBA*.

    Has anyone besides me noticed some similarities between AllenT2 and truetoo?


    *Come Back Again

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  • 268. At 8:54pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    So at this point, lenders are able to loan the money to whoever they want with no risk (because F and F buy up the loans thus removing any risk. Plus, the government actually encourages them to make these bad loans so everyone can get a home loan. When the risk is removed the lenders no longer have a reason to loan responsibly, because technically it's not their money that they're lending.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Why should anyone who cannot afford a home be encouraged to buy a home, infact, why should such a person allow himself to buy a home..thats government encuraging greed, and people getting greedy as a result.First home, then the things to fill in the home, then a car, and the needs keep on increading...

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  • 269. At 9:11pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    "Why should anyone who cannot afford a home be encouraged to buy a home, infact, why should such a person allow himself to buy a home..thats government encuraging greed, and people getting greedy as a result.First home, then the things to fill in the home, then a car, and the needs keep on increading..."

    So you're agreeing with me??? Or no? I mean, this is what the government DID do in the US. This IS what happened. This socialist idea of getting everyone to buy a house was one of the major contributors to the financial meltdown. The government can't make people be greedy, but it can open the door for human greed to grow and that's just what happened due to socialism in this case.

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  • 270. At 9:26pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    This socialist idea of getting everyone to buy a house was one of the major contributors to the financial meltdown.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is what happens when capitalists start playing with socialist ideas..Socialists would encourage everyone to have a house but would not not make people buy a house unless they can afford it themselves..Your example of american buying each other loans, is actually capitalism capitalising the idea of socialism that everyone should have a roof over their heads is good.

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  • 271. At 9:34pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    So your reply is to say that the people trying to push socialist ideas aren't socialists?

    Or did you mean that they can't be socialists because when socialists push socialist ideas they work?

    Because I can tell you, the tea party people want less government meddling, which would have avoided this problem.

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  • 272. At 9:57pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    So your reply is to say that the people trying to push socialist ideas aren't socialists?

    Or did you mean that they can't be socialists because when socialists push socialist ideas they work?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    They are not socialists..they are americans..and americans cannot be sincere to socialism..Socialism requires that you put your trust in the government, it requires a sense of collectivness..americans neither trust their government (except for its forgein policy) nor do they have a sense of collectiveness..The idea of fanny mae etc etc, was good when it was first established, but the minute it started letting itself be exploited by the politicians and their bankers, in the name of everyone should have a house of their own, it just failed to do the job it was supposed to do..owing a house of your own, is a dream and people should be made to work hard to acheive their dreams..The lesson learnt, those who cannot afford a house, should not own a house..its not written in the consitution of capitalist usa that everyone must buy a house.

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  • 273. At 10:11pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    I find your assertion that Americans cannot be sincere to socialism to be a rather nice compliment, even if it's false. There are lots of socialists in the US, especially in political parties.

    Then again, maybe you're right that Americans can't be socialists... but that means that people like Nancy Pelosi, Barak Obama, and many others aren't American if you're right.

    I guess the third option is that you are the ultimate and unquestionable authority on what the word socialist means and how it can be used, but that would just be in your head anyway.

    I think that rather than the financial meltdown being what happens when capitalists try to use socialist ideas, it is what happens when socialists are put in charge of a capitalist economy.

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  • 274. At 10:13pm on 27 Jan 2010, Magnos Iacobos wrote:

    @ colonel: it would appear you have not heard of the Industrial Workers of the World. Their numbers may have declined as of late but I assure you socialism of one sort or another is alive and well in the United States of America. It simply resides on the fringe, where many believe it belongs.

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  • 275. At 10:20pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

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

  • 276. At 10:21pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

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

  • 277. At 10:22pm on 27 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Mark Twain made a good quote, "Support your country all the time, but support your leader only when he deserves it."

    That is the thing about trusting big government. You may trust one president, but not the next one, or vice versa. We all hope the president turn out to be great, but if not, you have to wait for four years. Each situation is different.

    So even if you did trust the government, then another president stepping in might change everything.


    I know I didn't trust anything Bush or his cronies did. I don't know that I trust everything that Obama is doing, but I do believe that he is a truly good person inside with good intentions. As a president, I am not sure yet. As a person, he is a good one.

    Anyways, I may not always like the president, but I will always love my country with my whole heart because I believe in her.

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  • 278. At 10:27pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Then again, maybe you're right that Americans can't be socialists... but that means that people like Nancy Pelosi, Barak Obama, and many others aren't American if you're right.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    calling these people socialists is actually a slap on the face of socialism..Americans may find it okay when their government system democracy is shredded in their own occupied lands, iraq and afghanistan, doesnt mean that socialists will allow this to happen with socialism in usa...

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  • 279. At 10:33pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I think that rather than the financial meltdown being what happens when capitalists try to use socialist ideas, it is what happens when socialists are put in charge of a capitalist economy.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fianancial meltdown happened in the capitalist usa because it was bound to happen...the politicians share beds(metaphorically speaking) with the bankers, and become board of members of coorporations.They come up with fanciful ideas to exploit the poor, including temporary fulfiling the ultimate american dream, to own a house and a care...

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  • 280. At 10:34pm on 27 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    233. At 1:47pm on 27 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:
    "'powermeerkat wrote And that's why we're not going to repeal the 2nd Ammendmet.'

    Exactly."

    I don't entirely agree with your points, but they are worthwhile, logical and to be considered. I personally think that, "It being necessary for a well regulated militia, the right to bear arms..."

    cannot be understood without considering the grammatical movement for emphasis of the first clause separated by comma from the second clause. It was moved for emphasis, therefore it is not an empty phrase and the right to bear arms is not solely an individual right, but also a recognition of social obligation.

    If you have not done so already, you should read the new [I'm from Massachusetts, all of the others are relatively new, as you know] Montana constitution. It states clearly that the armed citizens are required to report to assist the government in case of need when called upon to do so.

    This is very interesting as Montana was one of the last frontier states admitted to the Union, and has that connection to the history of American constitutional development. They make the case that the right to bear arms is not absolute as it implies that there is a social responsiility, which responsibility has been recognized [pre-NRA] since the frontier was not far west of Boston.

    Since the international boarder is with Canada, my guess is that the need would arise from natural disaster not invasion.

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  • 281. At 10:35pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    You say they aren't socialists; well they certainly aren't conservative/free-market capitalists so what are they? Just random weirdos pushing socialist ideas?

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  • 282. At 10:40pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    As a president, I am not sure yet. As a person, he is a good one.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    What good is he to you as a person? your relationship with him is that of a president and a citizen, not on personal level..let those who know or have personal relationships with obama be the judges of that..Every person is good...Even those who know (although they cannot say it openly now) your most wanted terrorist, ben laden say the same thing about him. They would I think say something like this, as a terrorist, he isnt good, or not sure, but as a person he is a good one. even a person who tortures can be a good person..

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  • 283. At 10:49pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You say they aren't socialists; well they certainly aren't conservative/free-market capitalists so what are they? Just random weirdos pushing socialist ideas?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What is so socialist with the ideas of obama? I dont see anything near socialism..its just capitalists thinking..some people will get rich if he is allowed to have his way, and some will stop getting rich, those who will stop are now trying to block his bills..its capitalists fighting capitalists at the expense of the masses.The collapse of housing market has made some people rich, so for them it is a blessing..capitalism in a nutshell..People who are socialists usually dont renovate the dwelling they are going to live for just four years..

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  • 284. At 10:52pm on 27 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    255. At 6:26pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:
    "What I want to know is, if liberals can call Tea Party supporters teabaggers, does this mean people can make up some other explicit name for liberals?"

    They call themselves teabaggers, they sent tea bags to politicians they didn't like, they usurped the "Boston Tea Party" in order to give themselves cachet, and honorable American roots.

    What else could you expect from Australian purveyors of Faux* "news?"

    [Disclaimer: I did not invent this, it was someone else on this blog, possibly a witty arboreal. If I could remember the author, I would cite, feel free to come forward and claim your fame.]

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  • 285. At 11:02pm on 27 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I can tell President Obama is a good person because of how he interacts with his wife and kids, as well as the way he treats the American people: with respect.

    President Obama is good to his wife. You can tell. She always looks happy and Obama looks proud of her. They are a couple brought together by true love.

    President Obama cares greatly about his kids, which tells me that he cares about America as a whole, because he wants his kids to be safe and grow up in as best of a country as we can. Also, I feel like his kids bring reality to Obama in the White House.

    President Obama is being good to the American people by communicating with us, such as in his speech tonight. Whether it is good times or bad times, a good leader needs to communicate.

    But the most important and telling thing about President Obama is that he is genuinely sincere.

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  • 286. At 11:09pm on 27 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    A terrorist is a bad person. They have intent to harm others. If they want to blow themselves up, no one cares. But harming/killing others is wrong, unless it is being used for self-defense.

    The only people that think a terrorist is a good person are the other terrorists.

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  • 287. At 11:10pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I want to know which tea do they drink in these parties? white tea or green? And where does this tea come from? China? srilanka? india?

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  • 288. At 11:23pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    President Obama is good to his wife. You can tell. She always looks happy and Obama looks proud of her. They are a couple brought together by true love.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Millions of men with happy wives, should they all become presidents based on that? Ever seen a president of america with an unhappy wife showing her unhappiness in public? Even hilary looked happy in the middle of her husband's sex scandal, it was only it was proved that he had sex with that woman, did hilary made some effort to look slightly unhappy but that lasted for a while, and she was back in her happy mode..i think you have an infactution with/for obama..its the dopamine rush in your brain that causes you to think the way you think about him.

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  • 289. At 11:29pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    A terrorist is a bad person. They have intent to harm others. If they want to blow themselves up, no one cares. But harming/killing others is wrong, unless it is being used for self-defense.

    The only people that think a terrorist is a good person are the other terrorists.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Very good, when it comes to terrorist, you judge him as a person based on his proffession or his ideology, but you judge a president based on how he is as a person and not his proffession or ideology..The absence of evidence doesnt mean a negative evidence, it means you have no evidence against terrorists as persons..How can you say that some terrorist would love his wife or children less when you dont even know anything about his personal life..

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  • 290. At 11:30pm on 27 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    285. At 11:02pm on 27 Jan 2010, LucyIllinois wrote:

    President Obama cares greatly about his kids, which tells me that he cares about America as a whole, because he wants his kids to be safe and grow up in as best of a country as we can. Also, I feel like his kids bring reality to Obama in the White House.

    Oh dear, look, I like Obama, I think he should be allowed the same chance to screw things up as every other president got, but................where were you programmed?

    On a positive note I suggest everybody annoys the Tea-bag party, Yay, free T-bags.

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  • 291. At 01:18am on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    252 selfish has never been considered a virtue.

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  • 292. At 01:23am on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    267 I wish I could communicate more with you on that.

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  • 293. At 01:26am on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    285 285 lucy . Again I compliment these posts.oh dear, you know I don't like to agree.


    Cheers.

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  • 294. At 01:29am on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    ps the terrorists we may define differently though. but that is another thread;{

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  • 295. At 01:47am on 28 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 263 merekitty "I've heard the term "douchbags" used by some."

    It's douche. You know, from the French.

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  • 296. At 02:31am on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "198. At 02:28am on 27 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:
    Mr. Cunard,

    Thank you for correcting my error. The Governor General does indeed serve at the Royal pleasure."


    ah and the general penitentiary is no longer serving at her majesties pleasure but is out back being flogged by the right sort of folk.
    and no one notices.
    what day does today commemorate?
    and how is it that the racists are those left so often after the culling?

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  • 297. At 04:14am on 28 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    234. At 1:51pm on 27 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:


    "So what?" The perfect response.

    There's some difficulty here with views like yours. ... A viscous like-mindedness descends over the comments.
    __________

    All tarred with the same brush?
    Like treacle?

    Or merely unctuous?

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  • 298. At 04:16am on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    No, I do not believe that murderers are good people or that they love their children. It is sad that terrorists teach their children and wives that harming/killing other people is okay. Clearly, harming/killing people is not good family values, nor morals. If they did love their children, they would want whats best for them. Terrorists are extremely selfish people, not to mention psychopaths.

    The world does not value terrorists' lives. Only terrorists value terrorists.

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  • 299. At 04:24am on 28 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    245. At 3:58pm on 27 Jan 2010, personanongrata wrote:

    IF come now Ed from the tipi glen was banned. never to return. one of a select few that were told they cannot be a part of discussion and they would have to face their boss being told they are banned.
    __________

    I suspect it may have had something to do with his use of macros that seemed to disable the blog and prevent others from posting. I don't believe it was done intentionally, but, nonetheless, it probably wasn't overly appreciated.

    It is, however, well past time for Auntie Beeb to forgive & forget.

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  • 300. At 04:43am on 28 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    295. At 01:47am on 28 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 263 merekitty "I've heard the term "douchbags" used by some."

    It's douche. You know, from the French.
    __________

    Maybe the correct French adjective for the people behind the teabaggers is probably "louche".

    This is a difficult word to translate well. It sort of wraps up dodgy-verging-on-sleazy, disingenuous and manipulative all into one word, like a cross between Elmer Gantry and Montgomery Burns. Even that doesn't have quite the right flavour.

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  • 301. At 04:48am on 28 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    281. At 10:35pm on 27 Jan 2010, K_Cali wrote:

    "You say they aren't socialists; well they certainly aren't conservative/free-market capitalists so what are they? Just random weirdos pushing socialist ideas?"
    __________

    Give it a rest.

    Everybody posting here already knows you have no idea what "socialist" means.

    I never thought I'd see the day, but somebody please bring back Marcus. At least his arguments tend to have some degree of coherence and erudition that suggest a functioning mind.

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  • 302. At 04:49am on 28 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    So now I've become a new user.
    Oh, Auntie Beeb, ever so funny.

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  • 303. At 05:27am on 28 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    242. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2010, personanongrata wrote:

    Sk
    not quite sure how my post was linked to that, but I liked your post.
    then I like that you seem to be a real person at the other end of the blog. not someone who seems to be a paid agent. as so many of the more teaparty people seem.(both sides have teapartiers (they used to be called racists;)
    ____________________
    I quoted you, as much for the post you quoted - but thanks for the compliment and for allowing that I may be real and a person. If this thread is not forgotten by now - I for one cannot imagine anyone paying someone to influence or subvert a blog. Can this discussion, as erudite as it is by comparison to purely American blogs, be that influential?

    A few days ago some of us got into challenging the anonymity of the pseudonyms most folks use. This anonymity gives us freedom to speak openly (or more than openly) without fear of finding a belligerent stranger on our actual doorsteps - the conversation is enhanced, I believe.

    I also enjoy playing the curmudgeon, one of a couple of personae I have worn in order to explore personality, and to develop points of view that would be difficult as me. As a curmudgeon identified as a Kansan (which is true), I can be more effective in my purpose, which is to expose folks who hold tight to the Liberal conceit to the possibility that conservative Americans can be thoughtful, rational, and capable of contributing value in their Liberal world.

    So am I real? The value of fantasie is that it can be more real than fact.

    I am your humble servant,
    KScurmudgeon

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  • 304. At 10:22am on 28 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote If you've researched the subject (and it looks like you have) you must also know that a violent crime level (number of assaults, armed robberies, etc.) is much lower in states with a 'right to carry' than in ones who have strict gun control.

    I focused in more on the legal aspects, but having done some primary research on this at the same time it appeared beyond doubt that the 'More Guns, Less Crime' thesis holds tightly.

    Speaking of which, I can't put it any better than this:

    http://geekpolitics.com/top-40-reasons-to-support-gun-control

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  • 305. At 10:47am on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    303 ks
    "I for one cannot imagine anyone paying someone to influence or subvert a blog. Can this discussion, as erudite as it is by comparison to purely American blogs, be that influential?"


    I've wondered about this. I'm usually a grade A sceptic when it comes to conspiracy theories, so I'm loath to open myself to accusations of "tinfoil-hattedness".

    However it does sometime appear that when a big issue pops up - health, the war whatever we sometimes see a whole raft of new users spouting the same line ... and then vanishing into the ether.

    Now, I don't propose that these people are paid specifically to do the BBC, but it is possible that people who are members of certain groups would occasionally "spam" the debate to give the impression that more people hold a certain opinion.

    I see this mainly as coming from the right, as they are currently in opposition, but I am also fairly sure the "centre" (there being no left in US politics) did it to Bush!


    (Now, excuse me while I find that hat....)

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  • 306. At 10:57am on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    298 lucy
    "It is sad that terrorists teach their children and wives that harming/killing other people is okay."



    When innocent Iraqis or Afghnis were killed (accidentally) by US bombs or troops, do you think it is OK? How do you explain it to children?

    Aaah, I see - you engage in massive moral relativism. It is ok to kill them, because they happen to live in a country where some nasty people once came from.


    Or by "killing other people" do you really mean "killing Americans" (except gay ones of course - it seems you don't mind what happens to them)



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  • 307. At 8:27pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The majority of Iraqi/Afghan civilians have been killed by the terrorists, sometimes having to do with the Sunni/Shi-ite conflicts. Often, the terrorists try to use civilians as shelter/cover, which tells you that the terrorists are really just cowards posing as men.

    Terrorists killing anybody is wrong. It doesn't matter what country they are from. That is why the world has to be against terrorism- because it is a global problem that affects us all.

    America is there to disrupt the terrorists and help the civilians the best they can.

    I have a relative who was a mid-wife in Afghanistan several months ago. She told of us of how repressed the women were and how the children feared going to school because of the terrorists, even though they want to, just like all children do. She also told us about how much the Afghan women and children wanted the USA to stay, because they felt safer with us there. Also, the women and children are treated better with the USA present. My relative is part Native American and one of the most honest, non-political, caring people I know. She would not say things like that, if they were not true.

    The USA has made some mistakes there, as the terrorists like to hide behind civilians and there is some confusion about who is a terrorist and who is not. But I know from stories like my relative told me, that the USA is doing some good there, especially for the women and children we have helped. We are not perfect, but we are doing the best we can.

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  • 308. At 8:52pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    and how the children feared going to school because of the terrorists, even though they want to, just like all children do.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Majority of the children go to school not because they want to because they have to..Imagine the joy of a child when he finds out when he wakes up the next day to find out that schools out because of alien bombing of the previous night.

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  • 309. At 8:56pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The USA has made some mistakes there, as the terrorists like to hide behind civilians and there is some confusion about who is a terrorist and who is not.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    They dont hide behind civilians, the aliens are occupying their cities, where civilians live. the terrorists live among those civilians just as they had, and just as they will. besides the logic says that if you want to fight the enemy then go and fight them where it is present, and aliens are present in the cities..

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  • 310. At 9:00pm on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    307. LucyIllinois wrote:
    "The majority of Iraqi/Afghan civilians have been killed by the terrorists"



    That's all well and good, but now what about the minority killed by Americans.

    Read my post again and answer the issues .... if you can.

    They are people too.

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  • 311. At 9:12pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    And terrorists are humans too, their war is with america, not their families. Your assumption about terrorist dont love their families is baseless, there is no evidence to support your assumption.When one terrorist was killed by one of your drones, he was sitting with his wife and one other relative, and all three of them were killed.Children have also died in drone attacks..attacks ordered by obama whom you say loves children because he loves his own. Tell this to the parents of those children, and they will give you an answer that will make you not only to never write what you wrote but you will not even think of coming to such a simple conclusion..

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  • 312. At 9:32pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    http://www.daily.pk/women-children-among-twelve-killed-in-miranshah-drone-attack-9302/

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/01/drone-attacks-pakistan-policy

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  • 313. At 9:34pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    As I stated previously, there have been some mistakes made when the terrorists took shelter/cover behind civilians and when there is confusion between who is a terrorist and who is not a terrorist. Americans and Middle Easterners have humanly similarities but extreme cultural differences. I admit that we did not know enough about their culture/language/ect. before we landed.

    For the actual civilians that have been killed unintentionally by our or our allies' military, we are truly sorry. That was not our intention.

    But in a foreign country, it is hard to know who the terrorists are, when there is no swastika on their sleeve. I believe that some of the so-called civilians killed could have actually been terrorists, as well. How do we know that they were actually civilians? We don't.

    America is a good country. Our military is not only used for defense in war, but also to help others, such as the recent earthquake disaster in Haiti.

    America and other countries' military/aid workers spent hours and hours just to get a few people out of the rubble. You do not spend hours on someone you do not care about.

    The terrorists, on the other hand, are injuring/killing innocent people, in a matter of seconds.

    The terrorists started this whole thing, not America. If you want someone to blame, it is the terrorists entirely.

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  • 314. At 9:52pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    But in a foreign country, it is hard to know who the terrorists are, when there is no swastika on their sleeve. I believe that some of the so-called civilians killed could have actually been terrorists, as well. How do we know that they were actually civilians? We don't.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you cannot recognize the enemy, then dont go to the forgein countries to wage wars..Majority of the so called terrorists are civilians..a 14 yr old boy killed can promptly get the status of a terrorist after his death..Killing civilians was your intentions otherwise you would have thought about "how do we know who is terrorist or who is civilian" before waging this war..except for one person, whom I had to talk with at the bus station in one your western civilized country just as the civilized world was going to wage the war, it was waiting for russia to supply northern alliance with military uniforms and boots. And that person was homeless who appoarched me for some "change". he told me without being asked, where I was from, and then he said that the west shouldnt start a war with afghanistan because they will end up killing civilians as they wouldnt know who the terrorist is as according to him, we all dressed alike, look alike and even talked the same way. And then he went somewhere inside came back with two coffe cups, one for him and one for me..

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  • 315. At 9:53pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    What about the Americans/Canadians/British/ect. that were killed by the terrorists? You don't seem to feel any compassion for them, yet you feel compassion for the terrorists.

    You think I am confused and misguided, but I think the same thing about you.

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  • 316. At 10:01pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    One of the saddest thing about the terrorists is how they use children and young adults, especially women, as suicide bombers. That just tells you what kind of monsters they are.

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  • 317. At 10:04pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    What about the Americans/Canadians/British/ect. that were killed by the terrorists?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What were they doing in other people's countries waging war among the civilians? I have difficulty with showing compassion for the soldiers..they join the army, they know what they join and its one of their job description..the state takes care of their families. There is nothing left for me to show compassion to. The state takes care of everything.

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  • 318. At 10:10pm on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    315. LucyIllinois wrote:
    "What about the Americans/Canadians/British/ect. that were killed by the terrorists? You don't seem to feel any compassion for them, yet you feel compassion for the terrorists."


    I feel no compassion for the terrorists, but alot for the civilian iraqis and afghanis killed by US bombs - your moral relativism digusts me.


    you ocntinue
    "I believe that some of the so-called civilians killed could have actually been terrorists, as well. How do we know that they were actually civilians? We don't."

    What you "believe" is of little comfort to the dead or their friends and relatives.

    Perhaps when Palin is president, she'll call on you for Secretary of Defense for your incisive grasp of the global situation.
    I'll start digging my hole ....

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  • 319. At 10:36pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I stand by my statement. The terrorists attacked our and our allies' civilians, including Americans, Canadians, and British, on Sept. 11th. They came to our country and killed our civilians first, not the other way around. That is the only reason why we are in their country now. If the civilians want us to leave, then they need to give up all the terrorists. If they refuse to hand over the terrorists or if the terrorists refuse to fight like men, then they will keep getting attacked.

    If it makes you feel better, we don't want to be over there any more than they do. I wish the terrorists had never attacked us on Sept. 11th, because then there would be no war, no civilian deaths, or otherwise.

    BTW, I don't like Palin and I would never vote her in as president or vice president. Her foreign experience of, "I can see Russia from my backyard," was too much for me.

    I am a Democrat/Independent, not a Republican.

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  • 320. At 10:38pm on 28 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I feel compassion for every person killed by a terrorist- civilian, soldier or otherwise.

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  • 321. At 11:18pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Homo sacer. The modus operandi of the western civilization. declare a person a homo sacr or as it is now a days, terrorist, and then you are free to do whatever you like. I reserve my compassion to the ones who deserve it...Exibit

    "the trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar, which was of interest to me and which perhaps is not known to many people. It was the end of January 1858- most of the noblemen of his durbar prosecuted by Major Harriott had already been tried and hanged. It was then the turn of Zafar himself to face trial. Preparations were made in the winter of 1857 for the historic trial. Papers retrieved from the Palace chancellery and the rebels’ camp were translated. Meanwhile the binding nature of the guarantee of life given by Major Hodson to Zafar’s at the time of his surrender at the Humayun’s tomb was examined and the charges to be brought against Zafar were considered. In the end, Hodson’s guarantee was found to be legally binding and it was decided to charge the King with “rebellion, treason and murder” by a Military Commission. Major Harriott was also to be the prosecutor in this case.

    Whether the East India Company had at all the legal authority to try the Emperor of India was a big question. Its authority to govern in India legally flowed from the Mughal Emperor, who had appointed the Company in 1765 as his tax collector in Bengal in the years following the battle of Plassey. Up to 1832, the Company had acknowledged itself as the Emperor’s vassal on its coins and even on its great seal. Zafar could be tried as a defeated enemy king. However, he was never a subject and could not be called a rebel guilty of treason. In fact, a good case could be made that the East India Company was the real rebel, having revolted against a feudal superior to whom it had sworOn March 9 at 11 a.m., Hariott made his final speech repeating his theory of the Uprising being an international Islamic conspiracy. He stated that, “the prisoner, as the head of the Mahomedan faith in India, has been connected with the organization of that conspiracy, either as its leader or its unscrupulous accomplice…” At 3 p.m. that day, the judges unanimously declared Zafar guilty “of all and every part of the charges preferred against him.” The presiding judge noted that such a verdict would have resulted in the penalty of death as a traitor and a felon. Because of the guarantee of his life given by Major Hodson, that sentence could not be given.

    Bahadur Shah Zafar was sentenced “to be transported for the remainder of his days, either to one of the Andaman Islands or to such other place as may be selected by the Governor General in council.” There was a seven-month delay in arranging for Zafar’s exile due to the time needed to select a suitable place and the fact that fighting had not completely ceased in the eastern part of the country. Even though his final destination had not yet been decided, on October 7, 1858, 332 years after Babur’s conquest of the city, the last Mughal Emperor left Delhi on a bullock cart, accompanied by his wives, his two remaining sons and servants. Bahadur Shah Zafar’s twomonth long journey by land, river and sea ended in Rangoon, where he lived in captivity until his death in 1862.
    http://ahmedamiruddin.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/the-trial-of-bahadur-shah-zafar-ii-the-last-mughal-emperor/

    His sons and grandson killed by major hudson, and their heads presented to him.

    http://www.kapadia.com/zafargallery/pages/zafarphotographjpg.htm

    Know your history or your ally's history and then talk about compassion with me.

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  • 322. At 02:18am on 29 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    299 IF

    Well said . it is time the aunty fogave those past sins a little.
    I know a few others knocking at the virtual door of reality;)

    good call.
    but the issue is the life long no appeal removal of rights by individuals at the BBC.

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  • 323. At 03:26am on 29 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    IF -- 'louche' is perfect. Except it's French. And everybody knows only pinky waving, latte sipping, iphone dialing, high falutin' over-educated effete liberals speak French.

    So those who are louche would have no idea you were dissing them.

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  • 324. At 03:46am on 29 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    parity>charity:

    We had some rain as well. But the snow is still around. And crunchy. Really crunchy: -22C (something like 0F) tonight, with a mean, mean North wind.

    So if you really want snow (are you nuts?) we got it!

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  • 325. At 03:48am on 29 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Kansas Curmudgeon:

    You are killing me. Don't tell me you're just a liberal pretending to be a thoughtful conservative!!!! You gave me hope!

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  • 326. At 04:18am on 29 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The USA has made some errors in judgement during this war. We are only human. No large country has a perfect history. But we are trying to redeem ourselves and get back on track to being the good country that we truly are inside. The USA wants her life back. We have been in a slumber that has been entrancing us for the last eight years.
    Now we have woken up.

    We (along with several other countries) were heroes in WWII, helping free the Jewish and other prisoners. I know that we can be heroes again. Our time is not done. There is much we can do to help others.

    I firmly believe it is never too late to do the right thing. And that is exactly what we are trying to do...the right thing. I know we have it in us to strive for better conditions in the world. There are people out there who do need our help.

    Other countries know we are trying to be a good country. That is why they awarded President Obama the Noble Peace Prize, which Obama accepted on behalf of the American people. We really do want peace.

    Why can't we be friends?

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  • 327. At 4:14pm on 29 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    318. At 10:10pm on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    315. LucyIllinois wrote:

    ""I believe that some of the so-called civilians killed could have actually been terrorists, as well. How do we know that they were actually civilians? We don't.""

    RomeStu wrote:

    "What you "believe" is of little comfort to the dead or their friends and relatives."

    __________

    Quite so, RomeStu.

    Lucy, we have taken a higher rate of casualties relative to the size of the force deployed than any other NATO member currently operating in Afghanistan. And we grieve over loss of life, and the injury of every one. No matter how cold, or wet, or snowy it is, there will be thousands standing silently on the overpasses every time one of our boys is brought up from Trenton.

    But we cannot win this war by the body counts of dead enemies, or presumed enemies. They may believe their cause is just (even if we cannot imagine how), and, as Stu points out, inevitably, they have families and friends who will grieve just as we do.

    We do not kill or injure innocent civilians intentionally, indeed we take strong measures to avoid it - a fact that has almost certainly led to the deaths of more of our own troops than might possibly otherwise have been the case. But the fact remains that we don't know how many innocent civilians we have killed or injured.

    And even if that number is, as General McChrystal demonstrates, both decreasing and a far smaller number that the civilians deliberately killed by the Taliban for the express purpose of terrorizing the civilian population; and even if we are taking measures to reduce those deaths; the fact is that every time we kill or injure an innocent Afghan, we undermine both our cause, and our own morality. We cannot do justice by being unjust.

    ---------

    On a bit of a non-sequitur, apparently according to US Intelligence, as presented by Gen. McChrystal in his BBC interview, the Taliban pay their soldiers better than the Afghan government pays the Afghan soldiers or police. Apparently the going rate is US $ 300 - 400/month.

    Just how desperate would you have to be to allow your son or daughter to risk being killed by western troops, or a drone, for US $ 400/month?

    Life is very cheap in some places.

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  • 328. At 4:36pm on 29 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    assuming of course that those that are fighting didn't already loose those parents that would ahve said "please son don't do this, we will make by somehow"

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  • 329. At 5:05pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    On a bit of a non-sequitur, apparently according to US Intelligence, as presented by Gen. McChrystal in his BBC interview, the Taliban pay their soldiers better than the Afghan government pays the Afghan soldiers or police. Apparently the going rate is US $ 300 - 400/month.

    Just how desperate would you have to be to allow your son or daughter to risk being killed by western troops, or a drone, for US $ 400/month?

    Life is very cheap in some places.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Very desperate to get rid of the aliens who tell lies, make up things to invade their country..americans are free to increase the pays of the afghans fighting for them...if taliban pay 300/400 dollars, how miser the alien invaders are that they pay the afghan military less than that to fight on their behalf..You belong to the civilization of tony blair, amd people in afghanistan reject values of tony blair's civilization. Thats why they rejected karzai who then had to rely on fraud to win the elections, and un and rest of the western world supports him..How despearate are the people of the west who would readily stoop to such a low level..

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  • 330. At 5:13pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The USA has made some errors in judgement during this war. We are only human.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    USA has not made any error in judgement, it was pre-planned, otherwise you and tony blair and all those who supported and those who kept silent, would not have started the war...The judgement of error is just an excuse thats being used..People who lie, should not expect that the millions of people whose lives were ruined just because tony and bush decided that after 9/11 no one should have wmd, will just forget what your civilization did to them. your civilization cannot have its cake and eat it too. You are not trying to redeem yourselves, you are trying to temp wrap your mission in afghanistan,so that you can do the same thing to iran and then pakistan, because the underlying intend of your leaders as blair pointed out, is that no country (by which he obveiously means islamic country as israel oozes with wmds) will be allowed to have wmds..

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  • 331. At 5:24pm on 29 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    327 IF

    "the Taliban pay their soldiers better than the Afghan government pays the Afghan soldiers or police. Apparently the going rate is US $ 300 - 400/month.
    Just how desperate would you have to be to allow your son or daughter to risk being killed by western troops, or a drone, for US $ 400/month?"



    Would it be better to have them earn less and risk being killed by the Taliban instead?

    We cannot understand what drives the young men to join the Taliban, or their families to allow it. In many cases it is as likely to be fear of reprisal or potential financial gain rather than a visceral hatred of the West.

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  • 332. At 5:27pm on 29 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    284 lol it was them proud teabaggers that screamed the name out.


    It took a while for them to realise what they had called themselves.

    It was a funny time on the blog. most of the posts got removed as it happens, but now it is out that they were proud to teabag they have asked for it.


    lucy"Other countries know we are trying to be a good country."

    NO they know some are. they can now see that america is a very selfish nation.
    (except the hypocritical ones that think health care shouldn't be there but use it.)

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  • 333. At 5:28pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    assuming of course that those that are fighting didn't already loose those parents that would ahve said "please son don't do this, we will make by somehow"
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And what if they had parents, who did fight against the soviets, and who put down their arms (including hundreds of arabs)after soviet left and when your allies northern allies started killing each other and civilians, told their sons not to fight, and their sons replied, "but if you fought back the russians and their afghan military supporters, so why are you stopping us from fighting the american invasion".

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  • 334. At 5:36pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    But the fact remains that we don't know how many innocent civilians we have killed or injured.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And here, hitler's nazi army deserve a credit, they kept a precise record of every civilian they killed, without such a record, the jews would still be trying to convince how many jews were actually killed..I guess, the civilized world learnt a lesson from nazi's keeping a record of everything..and that is, never keep a record of the civilians killed.just kill them.

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  • 335. At 5:53pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    the Taliban pay their soldiers better than the Afghan government pays the Afghan soldiers or police. Apparently the going rate is US $ 300 - 400/month.

    Just how desperate would you have to be to allow your son or daughter to risk being killed by western troops, or a drone, for US $ 400/month?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    How ignorant you are. You beat those whom you generously assume are ignorant and backwards..atleast they pay 400 dollars, a pay according to afghanistan's standard is quite high. Just to remind you, those people dont live in canada.. one can generously live on 5 dollars a day in afghanistan..thats why the americans pay less to the afghanistani soldiers they train, they know the cost of living...the taliban, are overpaying their soldiers. They can if they choose to even dine at the hotel serena once a month,while a local doctor working in those pathetic hospital would not even dream of dining there..

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  • 336. At 5:59pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    We cannot understand what drives the young men to join the Taliban, or their families to allow it. In many cases it is as likely to be fear of reprisal or potential financial gain rather than a visceral hatred of the West.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Occupation. I know that western world would welcome their invaders with open arms and lot of fun and dance, as it seems to have real problems with understanding that occupation as the worse kind of oppression, as you still ask each other that you dont understand what drives taliban to fight and their parents to encourage their children. But there are parts of the world, where people hate occupation, And one such part happens to be afghanistan, iraq, palestine, pakistan, srilanka, bangladesh, india..

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  • 337. At 8:48pm on 29 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Actually, the USA, as a whole, elected President Obama to redeem ourselves. That is a fact. The USA is trying to turn over a new leaf.

    I think that some of the civilians that have been unintentionally killed are really civilians, but some may actually be terrorists, too. We just don't know. That information has not been given to us.

    I think the Taliban are just like the Crips, Bloods, and those hard-core rough and tumble Hispanic gangs. They terrorize the villagers, so that everyone is scared of them. No one wants to fight a whole gang.

    Gangs are a serious problem. I am a fan of that movie, Gran Turino, with Clint Eastwood, as a veteran who stands up for Japanese Americans who are fighting a Japanese gang. Originally, Clint Eastwood's character does not like his Japanese neighbors, because he fought against them. Plus, the Japanese American boy tries to steal his car. But then, the boy apologizes and their family tells him they want him to help the older man with chores to make up for it. So they become friends and Clint becomes friends with the family next door, too, even more friendly than he is with his children and grandchildren, who don't spend much time with him. In the end, Clint stands up for his Japanese neighbors and takes the fall. He also leaves his prized car to the boy, who he realized was a good kid.

    We do have some nasty gangs in the USA, especially in Southern California (the Mexican gangs and druglords) and Florida (also the Hispanics).

    There are some great Mexicans, too, that are not anything like the bad ones. But their gangs are villainous, ruthless and treacharous.

    The Taliban/al Qaeda are just another gang, only in the Middle East. We need to tackle them as we do the gangs here.

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  • 338. At 9:04pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Let me enlighten you once and for all, taliban are not gang, the militia of northern alliance is not a gangs.They are fighting the occupation. they werent ganging in the streets before occupation.They were governed the country.

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  • 339. At 9:22pm on 29 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    According to wikipedia, a gang is defined as a group of three or more people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identidy. In current usage, it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation.

    The Taliban and al Qaeda are a group of three or more people, who through their terrorist network, share the common identidy of being one large terrorist. They are a criminal organization and are affiliated with criminals, as well.

    The Taliban/al Qaeda want everybody to be in their gang. If they do not accept, then they terrorize and threaten them. A gang is exactly what they are.

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  • 340. At 9:56pm on 29 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    331. At 5:24pm on 29 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "Would it be better to have them earn less and risk being killed by the Taliban instead?"

    "We cannot understand what drives the young men to join the Taliban, or their families to allow it. In many cases it is as likely to be fear of reprisal or potential financial gain rather than a visceral hatred of the West."
    __________

    Well, ironically, if the market clearing price is lower for the government than for the Taliban, you might think that would suggest that fighting for the Taliban requires an higher risk premium.

    But still, the idea that somebody's life should be worth so very little ... there is something terribly sick about the whole business.

    "We cannot understand..."

    I agree with your sentiments with respect to coercion, but "cannot" understand, no, I don't think so. I think we can understand, if provided with the necessary information. I think human beings are much the same the world over. The thing here is that we haven't walked a mile in their shoes. In general, people do not knowingly go out and risk their lives for no reason. Their motivation may be entirely logical and reasonable when seen from their viewpoint.

    Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean everything will resolve itself peacefully just because you finally understand the other fellow's point of view.

    It is fairly plain that Hitler and Stalin had very clear understandings of each other, that Stalin (and, interestingly, Mussolini) understood Hitler from the outset, and had no illusions about the danger he posed, yet no amount of "understanding" would have prevented trouble. You can understand "the Master Race", "Lebensraum" and "Untermensch", all day long and as well as you like, and it still isn't going to make the Nazis, (or the purges and the Gulags for that matter) any less evil, or mean that you are going to be able to stop that evil other than by force of arms.

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  • 341. At 10:11pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    According to wikipedia, a gang is defined as a group of three or more people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identidy. In current usage, it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    How does a citizen born,bred,raised and live in the capitol of capitalizism and doesnt even think that alqaida is a brand name in the international market of terrorism, just as cocacola and burger king are the brand names in fizzy drink and fast food market. Every puppet regime of america who used to brand their enemies as communists now brand them as alqaida. And just like any brand in any market looking for better market opportunities moves its production from country to country, alaqida does that too.

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  • 342. At 10:27pm on 29 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    You are right, colonel artist, that Taliban/al Qaeda is like a brand name. Gangs brand themselves with tattoos, ect. I don't think that the Taliban or al Qaeda have such markings, but it would be interesting to see if there was some sort of branding they have to know who is or isn't in their terrorist gang.

    I wonder if when Muslim people see each other on the streets, they know whether or not the person next to them is a terrorist or civilian?

    But even if they did know, I imagine the good Muslims do not always stand up against the terrorists because they know that the terrorists, like gangs, will terrorize, threaten and intimidate them if they say anything or act suspicious.

    I feel for the good Muslims who are terrorized by the gang network of Taliban/ al Qaeda. No one wants a gang in their hood.

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  • 343. At 10:29pm on 29 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Yeah, but we are friendly with the Russians now. (at least, friendly enough for a weapons treaty and for Obama to take his family to the Kremlin)

    Communism is not the same as terrorism.

    I don't think it is possible to be friends with a terrorist, because they just want to injure/kill you.

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  • 344. At 10:36pm on 29 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You are right, colonel artist, that Taliban/al Qaeda is like a brand name. Gangs brand themselves with tattoos, ect. I don't think that the Taliban or al Qaeda have such markings, but it would be interesting to see if there was some sort of branding they have to know who is or isn't in their terrorist gang.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Like cocacola and burger king,once alqaida gets into your wall street,you will all be buying its shares..and you will be glued to your computers or tv news to see how alqaida shares have done at the end of the day..

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  • 345. At 06:58am on 30 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    325. At 03:48am on 29 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:
    Kansas Curmudgeon:
    You are killing me. Don't tell me you're just a liberal pretending to be a thoughtful conservative!!!! You gave me hope!
    _______________________________

    But I said- '...I can be more effective in my purpose, which is to expose folks who hold tight to the Liberal conceit to the possibility that conservative Americans can be thoughtful, rational, and capable of contributing value in their Liberal world.'

    The rationale may be convoluted, but the purpose is the defense or at least a memorial to rational, open minded conservatism. I would like to believe there is a bit of irony there - that the world is not already in the possession of the Liberals, although this blog certainly demonstrates there are a great many who are certain that it is so.

    We all are tempted to see humanity through conventions, stereotypes, and easy cliches. It is also our misfortune that it seems to be more convenient and more sophisticated to disparage them all rather than to understand. A negative view of humanity is as unfair as it is inaccurate. If we are, as Hillary famously says, 99% identical, we should be at least 99% in sympathy with our fellows.

    Then the differences become the spice, the ferment, the opportunity for growth.

    It seems to me from personal experience, that the narrow minded ones are those who don't care to hear from anyone who is not like themselves. This shows weakness akin to cowardice: at the least a lack of generosity.

    So I train myself to be an old fashioned liberal, which has nothing to do with my politics.

    thanks for the endorsement -

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 346. At 5:56pm on 30 Jan 2010, marc wrote:

    To suggest that the tea party is a grass roots movement is a bit misleading.
    Most grass roots movements don't enjoy, from their inception, the sponsorship and sanction of a major news network.

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  • 347. At 6:15pm on 30 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    339 Lucy
    " A gang is exactly what they are."
    then it is a matter for the police not the army right?

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  • 348. At 6:18pm on 30 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    346
    hell even the scripting comes from up above. just watch how Mkirin has changed as the head changed. same with Adrienny. now tort is just an example of unwillingness to be bipartisan rather than essential to reducing costs.
    (both on this blog)

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  • 349. At 1:19pm on 31 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Not to be too indelicate, but we know what is spread on the grass roots make them thrive. And while sometimes naturally occuring, it is often brewed up by a large corporation, which profits from said thriving. One can hold one's nose and go on with things as usual, or make an effort to really understand the situation so as to be able do something intelligent about it.

    McJakome, thinking about my own back yard, the "Cradle of Liberty"

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  • 350. At 11:38pm on 31 Jan 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    The interesting thing about "observations" of others...is that most of the time..it says more about the position of the observer than any thing else...

    In this case...libs and other power hungry govt. types...feel threated and target by those that want less money and power in the hands of those in power who claim to be smarter than everyone else...

    If you feel that citizens exercising their rights to demand accountablility and control over their govt. are a threat to your world-view..then I would say your world view needs a little "attitude adjustment" as we say around here.

    For those not familiar with this term it means a "butt-kicking and name taking" is in order...normally applied to the loud-mouth jerk at the end of the bar that thinks he is better and smarter than everyone else.

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  • 351. At 11:55pm on 31 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    350. At 11:38pm on 31 Jan 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:
    The interesting thing about "observations" of others...is that most of the time..it says more about the position of the observer than any thing else...

    In this case...libs and other power hungry govt. types...feel threated and target by those that want less money and power in the hands of those in power who claim to be smarter than everyone else....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    yep sure does, I assume you are not Observing as that would make you the problem.
    you must be "reporting" eh?

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  • 352. At 06:17am on 01 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Could the Democrats lose control of the House later this year, not to the Republicans, but to the Tea Party?

    As it is only January 2010 and 10 months before for the next Election cycle in the United States, the predictions are that Democrats could lose control of the House; And, not because of the Tea Party but due to the Republican Party and, with there issues of "smaller government".

    NB: I am a political operative in the United States, but, a voter

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 353. At 07:08am on 01 Feb 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    350. At 11:38pm on 31 Jan 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:
    In this case...libs and other power hungry govt. types...feel threated and target by those that want less money and power in the hands of those in power who claim to be smarter than everyone else...

    If you feel that citizens exercising their rights to demand accountablility and control over their govt. are a threat to your world-view..then I would say your world view needs a little "attitude adjustment" as we say around here.
    ______________________________________

    And if you believe the Republican organization intends to make the government accountable to the voting citizens and give them control - I make no assumption about where you stand - I will ask you to review their record the last time they were in power. Who did they make richer, and who came out poorer in the end?

    KScurmudgeon
    who left their sorry.... behind in disgust

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  • 354. At 09:12am on 01 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    350. CuriousAmerican wrote:
    The interesting thing about "observations" of others...is that most of the time..it says more about the position of the observer than any thing else...

    In this case...libs and other power hungry govt. types..."






    QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM

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