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Hung with bloom along the bough

Mark Mardell | 08:13 UK time, Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Eggs

I am off for a couple of weeks, and there will be no posts for a while.

Eggs

So, Happy Easter - or whatever spring rite you may celebrate. Here are some eggs painted by my youngest.

Eggs

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:47am on 30 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Happy Easter Mark - thanks for the blogs so far, look forward to them resuming when you're back.

    Thanks too, to your youngest for the lovely eggs!

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  • 2. At 11:50am on 30 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Happy Easter to you and your family. Looks like you have a Picasso in the premises...

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  • 3. At 12:28pm on 30 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    All fools day
    Is my day

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  • 4. At 12:29pm on 30 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    what protest(s)?

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  • 5. At 1:16pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 2 SaintDominick wrote:

    "Happy Easter to you and your family."

    In the words of Smokey and the Miracles, 'I Second That Emotion'

    "Looks like you have a Picasso in the premises..."

    I may not know much about art, but...they look considerably more pleasing to me than any Picasso I've ever seen ;-)

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  • 6. At 2:22pm on 30 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Happy Easter and safe travels to you and yours!

    And... if you happen by Philly, we have a lovely exhibit of Picasso in Paris this spring -- but his cubist and surrealist style work isn't nearly as resplendent with vibrant hues as your delightful abstract egg. Perhaps your child was inspired by some of his later, more relaxed works?

    There seems to be a hint of Gorky or the color work of O'Keefe. It's wonderful that our American artists are already influencing your young one!

    Peace, ya'll!

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  • 7. At 3:15pm on 30 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    Ah, well...a simple frolick among the spring flowers to celebrate the annual renewal of life will do it for me. Your youngest shows a distinct talent for color and tone. Do enjoy the Washington Cherry Blossom Festival and a visit to Mt. Vernon -- it's at its best right about now.

    Fellow posters, friends and Squirrels: peace be upon all of you.

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  • 8. At 4:10pm on 30 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    Oh good! We don't have to "walk on eggs" for a couple of weeks!

    Beautiful egg-decorating, by the way.

    I shall mince about in shorts this weekend!!!(frightening!).
    We're forecast 80F in the Shenandoah Valley! Currently, forsythia in bloom and the daffs are smiling....with all the moisture we've had (much needed) I think my beautiful garden will have plants of "Jack in the beanstalk" proportions, this year.

    Enjoy, Mark! The same to all of you guys oh here!

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  • 9. At 4:17pm on 30 Mar 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    To all the Christians out there enjoy your holiday and peace be upon you :)

    If Mark is away for a couple of weeks, are we left to think up topics……..

    Can anyone tell me about the Hutaree Group that I’ve been reading about? Are these types of groups on the rise? Why would they want to blow up police officers, surely that would lead to their own demise instantly.
    One thing that puzzles me, is where on earth were they able to get hold of land mines.. surely they are not covered in the constitution..

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  • 10. At 4:27pm on 30 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    Hey, what's up with my #8??? (#9 posted already

    There is absolutely nothing in there but joy and peace!!

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  • 11. At 5:12pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    strontiumdog007 (#9) "One thing that puzzles me, is where on earth were they able to get hold of land mines."

    They were Improvised Explosive Devices.

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  • 12. At 5:35pm on 30 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    8. CamberwellBeauty:

    We're forecast 80F in the Shenandoah Valley! Currently, forsythia in bloom and the daffs are smiling....

    [Sob!] It was 30F this morning in northern Ohio. I don't think we'll see 80F for another month.

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  • 13. At 5:38pm on 30 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 9. strontiumdog007:

    Why would they want to blow up police officers, surely that would lead to their own demise instantly.

    Think Branch Davidians, Waco, Texas and you will probably come close to the proper picture.

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  • 14. At 5:55pm on 30 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 8 and 12
    So envious of the good weather elsewhere. Here in Old Blighty the snow is back - 40 centimetres forecast for the Highlands tonight. Good grief!

    Already the air further south is soooo cold again.

    Hope the Easter Bunny still has a warm coat of fur - at least his chocolate eggs won't melt.

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  • 15. At 6:19pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 16. At 6:22pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 17. At 6:36pm on 30 Mar 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    Re#11. At 5:12pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618E:


    Thanks for that, the item I read below didn't mention IED's, but landmines which seemed to imply a military link, which made it sound more insidious

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8593975.stm

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  • 18. At 6:37pm on 30 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    CamberwellBeauty #10
    Could be the moderator is on a diet. Lent and all that Try and avoid words like mince, shorts and beanstalk next time.
    Must be difficult when you decide to eat just vegetables,salads and swear off alcohol for 6 + weeks, knowing the chocolate bunnies are waiting.
    Seasons greetings to you and all others here too.

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  • 19. At 6:58pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 20. At 7:25pm on 30 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    18. At 6:37pm on 30 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    CamberwellBeauty #10
    Could be the moderator is on a diet. Lent and all that Try and avoid words like mince, shorts and beanstalk next time.

    ****************************************
    I thought about the "mincing" image, and wondered if that rattled the mods, bless their little cotton tails!

    #12 Tim & #14Amaryr

    Oh, I'm sorry re: the weather. (most of my family in Eng. so I am aware - snow flurries in Cornwall this morning!.

    But do remember Amaryr (Tim will already know) we had several feet of snow to contend with, too so we can stand it, as we know we're going to have 4 seasons, and Spring & Summer are pretty much guaranteed!

    Oh forgot, I'll be looking for the arrival of the Rubythroat hummingbird to arrive at my feeders in the next couple of weeks - arriving from thousands of miles away.....

    Oh, ain't Spring grand?

    Hang in there everyone, the sun will shine on you soon!

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  • 21. At 7:50pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #9
    strontiumdog007 wrote:
    To all the Christians out there enjoy your holiday and peace be upon you :)

    If Mark is away for a couple of weeks, are we left to think up topics……..

    Can anyone tell me about the Hutaree Group that I’ve been reading about? Are these types of groups on the rise? Why would they want to blow up police officers, surely that would lead to their own demise instantly.
    One thing that puzzles me, is where on earth were they able to get hold of land mines.. surely they are not covered in the constitution..


    _____________-

    The grouyp has been watched for several years by the FBI. So despite attempts from MSNBC and other hate meisters this is an anti-US group and not assoicated with the Tea Party and in fairness with the Daily Kos

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  • 22. At 7:55pm on 30 Mar 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    My best wishes for you, And, my extended wishes for you on the vacation....


    {D}

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  • 23. At 8:20pm on 30 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    So many wackos, so little time.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/35152.html

    As far as the Hutaree Group goes, this article certainly makes the "mines" sound home made or IED's as GH pointed out.

    http://cbs2chicago.com/local/militia.group.hutaree.2.1597138.html

    "the Hutaree would attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with"improvised explosive devices with explosive formed projectiles," which, according to the indictment, constitute weapons of mass destruction."

    If those are weapons of mass destruction I guess we did find some in Iraq after all.

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  • 24. At 9:02pm on 30 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 23. csgators:

    So many wackos, so little time.

    Considering where these people were picked up and where I live, these people have practically been driving past my house with their IEDs and their guns. Between them and the drug runners heading up I-75 to Detroit, I guess I should be real careful who I get in a auto accident with.

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  • 25. At 9:16pm on 30 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    25pm on 30 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    18. At 6:37pm on 30 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    CamberwellBeauty #10
    Could be the moderator is on a diet. Lent and all that Try and avoid words like mince, shorts and beanstalk next time.


    It wasn't lentils or anything, it was the "Jack" in the beanstalk that got their pulses racing. . .

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  • 26. At 9:24pm on 30 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    Happy Easter Mark and other posters. Those are lovely eggs.

    Spring is a very welcome site indeed.

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  • 27. At 9:26pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is a handy guide to "weapons of mass destruction" as defined in US Code:

    Title 18

    Section 2332a

    Section 921

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  • 28. At 9:46pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is where the confusion arises. The codes in my post #27 pertain to Crimes and Criminal Procedure (Title 18), not to War and National Defense (Title 50).

    Here is a link to Title 50, Section 2902 Definitions

    Different definitions in different contexts.

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  • 29. At 9:56pm on 30 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    ▶ It’s well dread in This World and it’s war
    this world and it’s evil doings
    this world and its pollution
    dreader than dread
    crucial times
    why can't we live in love and unity
    and that's the only way we will all
    we will all be free

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  • 30. At 11:05pm on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "9. At 4:17pm on 30 Mar 2010, strontiumdog007 wrote:

    To all the Christians out there enjoy your holiday and peace be upon you :)"

    __________

    I'm thinking it's probably ok if the non-Christians go out & enjoy the holiday, and spread a little peace around, too.

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  • 31. At 00:28am on 31 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 5, John

    Yes, probably more like a Renoir or Matisse with a touch of Rembrandt.

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  • 32. At 03:26am on 31 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:


    http://www.canadiandesignresource.ca/officialgallery/symbols/worlds-largest-pysankaeaster-egg/

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  • 33. At 04:23am on 31 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    There have been some attempts by democrats to link the Tea Parties with older separtist (or anarchist) hate groups, but it isn't true and it is certainly unfair especially when the violence and intimidation comes from union thugs.

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  • 34. At 04:33am on 31 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    What's the point of celebrating Easter if you aren't Christian?
    It's not about world peace, it's about the resurrection of their god, and the hope of eternal life that they get from believing that he is alive instead of long dead.

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  • 35. At 04:37am on 31 Mar 2010, BK wrote:

    21. At 7:50pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin response, re land mines: Years ago I performed a communications role, for the U.S. Department of the Army; my security clearance was Top Secret, Crypto Access. Among the activities I performed was to proof read (to assure it's completeness) a report named "The Missing Ordinance Report" or something to that effect.

    Without getting too specific, let me just assure you that the combined uniformed services have 'misplaced' hundreds of thousands of weapons in the last 40 years, including: tanks, grenades, grenade launchers, machine-guns, anti-tank weapons, NATO and SEATO caliber small-arms, land-mines, and millions of rounds of small-arms cartridges.

    They're all 'out there' somewhere. It's hard to know which is worse: the military's Accounting, or it's material security.

    Sleep light tonight, your Guard's tight!

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  • 36. At 04:37am on 31 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    You don't have the truth on your side and you can't stand it.
    So when I post the truth to counter your lies, you refer my post to the moderators. You are pathetic.

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  • 37. At 04:41am on 31 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    The eggs remind me of the tie-dyed t-shirts I made at summer camp.

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  • 38. At 05:14am on 31 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    BK #35:

    It's no secret that the greatest amount of military grade explosives, not under lock & key, are un-exploded ordinance on bombing ranges.
    Don't bother trying to steal those, it's VERY DANGEROUS.

    I know of one case where two Marine Sergeants used their positions in an armory to steal and sell weapons on the black market, the weapons were eventually found in the hands of rebels in South America, and the theives spent 5 years in the brig.

    The military keeps much tighter security on weapons than they did in your day.

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  • 39. At 06:36am on 31 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    It's been nagging me . . .It's A E Housman (whose poetry I've never cared for to be honest, sorry Mark):

    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty* will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

    (*May be adapted to suit as required without wrecking the rhyme or the scansion. . .)

    He did write a couple of lines that might serve as an epigraph for this blog though:

    "Others, I am not the first,
    have willed more mischief than they durst. . ."


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  • 40. At 06:53am on 31 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Picasso? Matisse? Renoir?

    More Kandinsky, I'd say.

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  • 41. At 07:39am on 31 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    9. At 4:17pm on 30 Mar 2010, strontiumdog007 wrote:

    'Can anyone tell me about the Hutaree Group that I’ve been reading about?'

    Not really; seems a relatively small group (20-ish?) and their website's not very informative, except that they seem to be one of those groups that believe in the 'Endtimes' which seem to have morphed out of a mixture of Evangelicals and Survivalists with some distant origins in a few sects that popped up mostly in the Low Countries in the couple of centuries after the Reformation which must have got into the genetic code of some people in the US somehow.

    (Please don't ask me to go into all that; I got curious about it a few years ago, but it's pretty weird for the 21st century.)

    Why some if them should want to blow up a policeman and a funeral to hurry the end of the world along is a total mystery--and, given the way the FBI has often operated, I can't help but suspect a 'sting' or agent provocateur in this--but then, these people are not exactly logical. Having been disappointed that the world yet again failed to end in a year with two noughts in it, they all believe that a fair amount of chaos and collapse might bring that about instead of hanging around patiently until 3000. The one thing they have in common, of course, is that despite the odds against it, they all expect to survive the disasters.

    They appear to be almost exclusively white and Protestant.

    'Are these types of groups on the rise?'

    Yes; see the Southern Poverty Intelligence Reportthat's been mentioned a few times over the last few days:

    "363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) — a 244% jump."

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  • 42. At 08:17am on 31 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    24.timohio:

    If I were you, I think I'd worry more about going for a walk in the woods and bumping into them the next time they're out playing soldiers. (Which they were advertising as being in about a fortnight or three weeks.)

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  • 43. At 09:00am on 31 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    From a MySpace blog of a member of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, currently dissociating itself from those from Michigan now arrested:

    "Xena, 11, was driving the ATV. The rifle you see on the ATV is her own. This is how you raise a kid to be a good, free American!!!"

    Child soldiers?

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  • 44. At 09:12am on 31 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    1MC Podcast: Inner City Blues

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  • 45. At 09:27am on 31 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 31 SaintDominick wrote:

    "Ref 5, John

    Yes, probably more like a Renoir or Matisse with a touch of Rembrandt"

    Since, as I said, I don't know much about art, I am happy to defer to your superior wisdom

    ;-)

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  • 46. At 10:29am on 31 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Squirrelist # 25,
    "It wasn't lentils or anything, it was the "Jack" in the beanstalk that got their pulses racing". .

    Perhaps my diet reasoning was partly wrong.
    I thought a moderator might be having an artichoke and CamberwellBeauty's original post did open the door to other grimm explanations.
    I bow to your finesse as word-smith on these pages.

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  • 47. At 1:00pm on 31 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 35 Grey Squirrel

    Chocolate?

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  • 48. At 1:10pm on 31 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @All: I hope you have a wonderful Easter. For those of us who believe, and for those who don't, may we all encounter God afresh! The most astonishing thing: That encounter is highest on God's list for each one of us, and the only thing that will stop it is our own unwillingness.
    @35/38: Piddly point. The exploding things are ORDNANCE. Local rules that we have to follow are ORDINANCES. That pesky "I"...
    @All: WRT the Hutaree, the SPLC, and etc., I have a couple of small thoughts (small being relative, I see upon review...never write one word when 100 will suffice):
    a. The definition of the word "Christian", or what constitutes a Christian, is not open to human adjustment. Regardless of what the Hutaree, their most ardent opponents, or the large body of spectators observing them call themselves, they all must be compared to the Author and Finisher of the faith.
    b. One of the large things that seems to be sorely lacking in the militia movements, as well as in the various computer-based war games and movies (although not so much in some literature) is a firm grounding in (1) organizational purpose, (2) operations according to rules of engagement, and (3) firm command and control.
    As I look at the stated objectives of this group, I see a couple of tactics (kill a cop, and detonate some IEDs). That's it. There's no strategic purpose (what are we really fighting for, and why is it worthwhile?), no plan that really makes any sense (how do we really achieve our objectives?), no logistics (do we have the materials to really do this?). There's nothing logical about this. There's plenty of emotions, though, which matches the emotions of their opponents...
    This may be yet another argument for reinstating the draft. If every young American male and female had to spend a year or two putting up with the weight of DoD bureaucracy, they'd be well-sensitized to all the things that make up a real fighting force and give it a reason for existence. That would probably ensure several things: (1) They'd collectively be much less inclined to put on a uniform and pick up a weapon after getting out of the uniform when their hitch was done, (2) if they were unwilling to put down the uniform, they'd be inclined to stay in the Service and wear the bureaucracy as well as the uniform, and (3) if after having taken off the uniform they collectively DID put it back on, there'd probably be a good reason for it.
    b. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified a large increase in "right-wing militia groups"; however, it seems useful to me to dig a little deeper, rather than just accept their word as the last word. Here are some questions to ponder:
    1. Societal trends, when measured against two extremes tend to follow a Gaussian distribution (like so much in the world). If we are going to stick with the "left-wing / right-wing" label system, then it follows that there should also be a rise in "left-wing militia groups". Why has there not been? Is it because the SPLC is not measuring correctly? Or is it because the entire left-wing /right-wing construct is flawed? My vote is for the latter.
    2. If we assume from (1) that the left-wing / right-wind construct is flawed, what is the value of the SPLC communication? Would it be more useful to refine what exactly is rising, and why it is rising, before generating such communication?
    3. If we conclude from (2) that such refining is useful, then why is that refinement not being insisted upon?
    The fiercest enemies of the Republic are never all in one philosophical category. It is unhelpful at best for the SPLC to attempt to smear a much larger group (i.e. "the right wing", whatever that is) by associating it with a small group of folks whose views on the Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship are at variance with the Constitution and the intent of the Founders? Why not instead focus like a high-powered laser on all the groups (left-wing, right-wing, upper-wing, lower-wing, elevators, ailerons, rudders, etc.) and show specifically why their stated objectives and behaviors are objectionable?

    Regards,
    Arclight

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  • 49. At 1:17pm on 31 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @All: All you artists and art appreciators! I'm glad for you. I know "pretty" when I see it (and Mark's eggs certainly qualify) but as far as being able to reference the old masters or compare to them, I'm completely unequipped.

    Art, sculpture, and ballet...three art forms that I just don't have any feeling for. Music's a little different, but I was the black sheep in my family (the other two kids learned how to play the piano and band instruments, but I never did. I did learn some guitar and electric bass, though, and also played the cello as a youngster). We all sang...

    Regards,
    Arclight

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  • 50. At 1:32pm on 31 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Sorry - ref 34

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  • 51. At 2:28pm on 31 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    34. At 04:33am on 31 Mar 2010, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:

    "What's the point of celebrating Easter if you aren't Christian?
    It's not about world peace, it's about the resurrection of their god, and the hope of eternal life that they get from believing that he is alive instead of long dead."
    __________

    You get to celebrate what you want.
    If you're a Christian, then it may be about the resurrection and the life.
    If you're Jewish, Christian, or Moslem, we are at the season of passover.

    And if you aren't any of the above, it's still a pleasant, quiet break.

    It's going to be a beautiful, sunny, relatively warm weekend, (Yes, for you, too, Tim) where you can get out in the yard and rake the lawn after the winter, prepare the garden for spring; go for a walk in the public gardens; clean out the garage. Have you extended family over for dinner.



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  • 52. At 2:45pm on 31 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "US President Barack Obama is set to announce plans to open huge offshore areas on the US coastline to oil and natural gas drilling.

    The move will end a long-standing ban on such drilling along the Atlantic coast, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the north coast of Alaska.

    The plan aims to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases." [BBC World Service]


    What can I say. The man is actually capable of learning on the job. :)

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  • 53. At 3:17pm on 31 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 45, John

    I have been called many things in my life, wise is not one of them.

    I readily admit, however, that cubism does not appeal to me. My favority style of painting is French impressionism.

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  • 64. At 4:27pm on 31 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 51 Interestedforeigner wrote:

    [to GreySquirrel1867, who wrote:

    "What's the point of celebrating Easter if you aren't Christian?
    It's not about world peace, it's about the resurrection of their god, and the hope of eternal life that they get from believing that he is alive instead of long dead."]


    "You get to celebrate what you want.
    If you're a Christian, then it may be about the resurrection and the life.
    If you're Jewish, Christian, or Moslem, we are at the season of passover.

    And if you aren't any of the above, it's still a pleasant, quiet break."

    Indeed.

    Many people celebrate Christmas who have little interest in the Christian religion. [As is often pointed out, it was a pagan festival first.]

    And, to the best of my recall, the New Testament is relatively silent on the burning issues of Santa and presents. Let alone chocolate eggs and the Easter Bunny ;-)

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  • 65. At 4:30pm on 31 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    power.. (#52), It's not merely a matter of a change of policy by the President. It is a concession intended to get more support for a comprehensive energy plan.

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  • 69. At 4:35pm on 31 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Well folks, I was hoping to peg down a Gorky because - since he was an Armenian refugee to New York City - he's ours. But, I can't find the surrealist colorwash I had in mind. It might not have been his. Alas.

    Of course, in light of our GreySquirrel's summer tie dyes, I will now have to make a direct connection to Roger Dean's prog landscapes from the Yes album covers.

    It seems the child is British after all.

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  • 70. At 4:45pm on 31 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

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

  • 71. At 5:25pm on 31 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 53 SaintDominick wrote:

    "Ref 45, John

    I have been called many things in my life, wise is not one of them."

    OK Saint - I'll settle for 'superior knowledge' if you'd prefer :-)

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  • 72. At 5:51pm on 31 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 48. arclightt:

    The whole left/right thing originated in the French assembly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and referred to where deputies sat relative to the president's chair. It is, at best, an inexact description of anyone's individual political philosophy. There are libertarians who support policies and concepts that many liberals would be comfortable with. I think Ron Paul has been critical of our involvement in Iraq, for example.

    I think terms like left and right are particularly unhelpful in understanding groups like the Hutaree. They aren't left or right, they're just nuts. Don't expect any strategic thinking from them.

    And my memories of student radicals from when I was in college in the 60s are that they were similarly incoherent. I mean, what really was the point of invading Chicago during the Days of Rage? Basically, just to break stuff and have fights.

    Just because a group ascribes religious or political motives to its behavior doesn't mean it's true. Sometimes people are just angry and want to fight.

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  • 73. At 6:05pm on 31 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 64. John_From_Dublin:

    Many people celebrate Christmas who have little interest in the Christian religion. [As is often pointed out, it was a pagan festival first.

    There is some suspicion that Easter has a lot to do with agricultural festivals celebrating the rebirth of the earth in the spring. The timing of the events around Jesus's death was related to the celebration of Passover, which is itself a spring festival.

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  • 74. At 6:08pm on 31 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 52. powermeerkat:
    What can I say. The man is actually capable of learning on the job. :)

    Although I certainly don't want to dampen your new-found enthusiasm for Obama (perhaps enthusiasm is putting it too strongly?), I should point out that he sees offshore drilling as a temporary solution along the path to a more sustainable energy policy. Ultimately he wants more renewable energy sources.

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  • 75. At 6:16pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 76. At 6:17pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 77. At 6:18pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

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

  • 78. At 6:19pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

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

  • 79. At 6:19pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

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

  • 80. At 6:21pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

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

  • 81. At 6:21pm on 31 Mar 2010, U14405478 wrote:

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

  • 82. At 7:33pm on 31 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    70. At 4:45pm on 31 Mar 2010, I wrote... something that got blocked.
    Alas. I had merely tossed out some Canadian lyrics about Michigan Militias ('98). It must have had too many ridiculous similarities with current events. No harm intended, ay?

    Therefore, I will end with Chocolate. I strongly recommend melting down your holiday chocolate with a bit of cream and dipping spring berries. It helps one rationalize the calories when there's fruit and fondue forks involved.

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  • 83. At 9:42pm on 31 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    82. At 7:33pm on 31 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    Therefore, I will end with Chocolate. I strongly recommend melting down your holiday chocolate with a bit of cream and dipping spring berries. It helps one rationalize the calories when there's fruit and fondue forks involved.

    ****************************************
    Don't forget the strawberries, dipped, then in the freezer until the choccy becomes "crunchy" just like a Klondyke or Eskimo Pie Bar!
    As Brits knew Klondykes or Eskimo Pies, as a "choc-ice" - Brit posters, remember, no matter how careful you were with a choc-ice, when you left the pictures (movies) there was always a bit stuck to your jumper/shirt, a bit stuck on the bum of your trousers or forearm? Amazing!

    Go forth and frolic with the lambs!!

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  • 84. At 04:10am on 01 Apr 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Happy Easter
    Peace
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xjPODksI08

    and chocolate
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9WuDJpofA4&feature=related

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  • 85. At 05:33am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Eater explains the successful predominance of the bunny-rabbit.

    Found everywhere in huge numbers, it makes the perfect (secret) delivery system for chocolate and sugar eggs. But just for one day a year, then it goes back to being 'just a rabbit'.

    Hares do it too. But not hedgehogs - too slow and the eggs got squashed on the roads.

    Happy Easter to everyone - whether believers or not. Enjoy a holiday and family and fun and chocolate - and be kind to rabbits. (And Squirrels - tho' they're hopelesss at egg delivery - keep burying them or sticking them up trees.)

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  • 86. At 06:16am on 01 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Tucked away in the BBC's internet presence cost-saving review is a new proposal to reduce the costs of BBC blogs that doesn't seem to have got much attention.

    In future, posts will be 'software filtered'* so that only those representing British liberal values and standards appear. By eliminating those which commonly result in a great deal of time (and server capacity) being used up in common-sense refutations and rebuttal, and which will therefore also reduce the numbers of moderators that are required, cost savings are estimated to run into several hundred thousand pounds over the next fonancial year.

    *BBC tecchies are apparently currently referring to the filter as 'The Tea Strainer', but its final name has not been decided.

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  • 87. At 06:23am on 01 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    85. At 05:33am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    "Squirrels - tho' they're hopelesss at egg delivery - keep burying them or sticking them up trees."

    Squirrelpost:

    No, no, no. That's a slur. Not even the grey ones nick eggs, and they'll do almost anything. It's the magpies: we're trying to wean them off egg-nog, but they keep muttering they need it because they're cold. We just say if that's their problem it's about time they evolved a decent tail.

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  • 88. At 07:30am on 01 Apr 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    With possession 9/10s of the law,the southern parts of California,Arizona,
    New Mexico & Texas should secede from the USA & join Mexico, according to
    Secretary General Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations u.n.s.y.g.In partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations e.c.f.r.eu,the draft study document to the feasibility of this action is to be voted on & is expected to be accepted by the ministers concerned.America is expected to comply & ratify this proposal when it becomes international law
    soon after the yes vote on or around, April the 1st.....

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  • 89. At 07:52am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Apologies for the apparent slur on squirrels - perhaps the 'eggs up trees' are really the ones the magpies put there, and I suppose the shiny foil on the eggs is what attracts them in the first place.

    Yes - I can see now, it must be magpies and not squirrels. It's black and white really.

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  • 90. At 07:58am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    National Enquirer announced April 1st Sarah Palin outed as secret Democrat.........

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  • 91. At 09:13am on 01 Apr 2010, Reuben wrote:

    Buried in the ground is easier than up in a tree,
    but more difficult to remember where.

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  • 92. At 09:16am on 01 Apr 2010, Reuben wrote:

    Still snacking on chocolate from a big, red, heart-shaped box;
    no need for egg or bunny shaped chocolates.

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  • 93. At 09:18am on 01 Apr 2010, Reuben wrote:

    I would like to thank Tim from Ohio.

    The hutaree should not be compared with popluar movements or politcal theories since they are just plain crazy.

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  • 94. At 09:40am on 01 Apr 2010, Reuben wrote:

    Amaryr (#90):

    Be advised that you shouldn't accept an announcement from the National Enquirer at face value, especially if it is made on this day.

    If they came from the Weekly World News, that would be different.
    Sadly the source-of-all-truth is longer publishes.

    The WWN is how I learned that the world will end on
    Saturday, December 21st, 2013.

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  • 95. At 10:28am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 94

    No! Really! Not at face value? And there was I thinking it was a perfectly reputable source of information! Tarnation - my world view has just tilted.........

    As to the ending of the world - well, they just might be right, but if so we won't be around to hear them say "I told you so". Neither will they of course. Let's hope there's no afterlife for them to crow in.

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  • 96. At 10:56am on 01 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 86 squirrelist wrote [At 06:16am on 01 Apr 2010]:

    "In future, posts will be 'software filtered'* so that only those representing British liberal values and standards appear. By eliminating those which commonly result in a great deal of time (and server capacity) being used up in common-sense refutations and rebuttal, and which will therefore also reduce the numbers of moderators that are required, cost savings are estimated to run into several hundred thousand pounds over the next fonancial year."

    This seems to me to be an excellent idea. It will mean of course that we will be deprived of the delights of eg MAII, MK and AllenT2 [or MAII-lite, as I like to think of him], but in these difficult times I feel that this is a sacrifice we must be prepared to make.

    Another policy change that has received strangely little attention is the announcement from the UK Department of Arts, Media and Leisure about some major changes to Easter with effect from next year

    [a] The term Easter will be banned, as being offensive to atheists, agnostics and members of minority religions. It will be replaced by the term 'Spring-Public-Holiday-Not-In-Any-Way-Related-To-Any-Particular-Religion', or SPHNIAWRTAPR for short

    [b] Now that MPs have accepted that the so-called 'Special Relationship' between the UK and US is over, the so-called Easter Bunny, a US import, will be abolished and replaced by the SPHNIAWRTAPR Squirrel, who instead of chocolate eggs will bring healthy fare such as nuts, carrots, high fibre breakfast cereals and dental floss, to help fight the current epidemic of childhood obesity and tooth decay.

    Media comment on these matters has been muted, as the Armed Commissars of the BBC have been patrolling the streets to root out dissenters. However, the editor of the Daily Mail is alleged to have commented 'It's an Outrage! It's Political Correctness Gone Mad, I tell you!', shortly before his head exploded...

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  • 97. At 11:24am on 01 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Rush Limbaugh predicted a few minutes ago a huge Democratic victory in November and announced he is moving to Dubai!

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  • 98. At 11:49am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 96

    NOOOOO! The Easter Bunny is safe - please don't ban him/her/it. SOB - Save Our Bunny

    Dentists will arise in unison to keep the Bunny safe. How else will they have any work to do? Unless it's repairing all the broken teeth chomping on horrid healthy Squirrel Stuff.

    SOB! SOB!

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  • 99. At 2:32pm on 01 Apr 2010, U14406400 wrote:

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

  • 100. At 2:35pm on 01 Apr 2010, U14406400 wrote:

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

  • 101. At 3:17pm on 01 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    April 1st predictions


    1. Republicans are going to be soundly defeated in November.


    2. Barack Husein Obama is going to be reelected in 2012 by a huge margin.


    3. Iran is going to abandon its nuclear weapons program.


    4. Taliban is going to promote "girls-to school" program.


    5. UN parasites are going to move UN headquarters from NYC to Moscow.


    6. China is going to allow free unbridled access to Internet portals.


    7. Socialists are going to win big in UK come May.



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  • 102. At 3:40pm on 01 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    Can someone answer this for me, please?

    When I left the UK lo those many years ago (1970 I was but a mere child of 19) - I do not recall: Easter Bunny, colouring hard boiled eggs or chocolate bunnies as part of my Easter experience?
    All I remember (of course, I've lost a vast amount of brain cells since!) are/were, traditional chocolate Easter eggs, some hollow, some filled with Smarties or other 'loose' toffees, or if you really lucked out, you received one that had each half filled with chocolates.
    Was I deprived of those other things? Are they actually part of the Easter experience in the UK now? Enlighten me please?

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  • 103. At 4:13pm on 01 Apr 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    amaryr # 98
    Unfortunately the poster at 99 and 100 was trying to send you a pleasant message without the sickly sweet coating of too much chocolate on top.
    I believe his attempted sign in name lastoftheeasterbunnies or similar did not make it out of Eugene where dental considerations do not count. They shoot bunnies that live there before they even emerge from their burrows.
    Perhaps we could suggest haretodaygonetomorrow as an alternative and hope that some nice moderator will accept that even rogue bunnies that want to rabbit on do not necessarily wish to destroy a time of peace goodwill and seasonal consideration to others.

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  • 104. At 4:39pm on 01 Apr 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    Back to the weather. I just talked to my sister in Shropshire, where, she tells me, it is SNOWING! And 18in. of the white stuff was expected in Scotland. Here in North-Central Florida we have just come to the end of the coldest winter in my memory at least (52 years), the sun is shining out of a brilliant blue sky, and I am about to plant some azaleas. At least, in these days of economic gloom and doom, there is something to be thankful for. Roll on November!!!

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  • 105. At 5:48pm on 01 Apr 2010, csgators wrote:

    Happy birthday to the Lockerbie bomber, thanks Scotland.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1262705/Birthday-party-Lockerbie-bomber---months-doctors-said-dead.html

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  • 106. At 7:43pm on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 102 - CamberwellBeauty

    "Enlighten me please."

    I'll try.

    You are right - in our High Church of England family we didn't do much in way of entertaining the Easter Bunny in days of yore!

    My elderly aunts would have been scandalised by such frivolity. Easter was a strictly religious celebration, first sad with the betrayal and crucifixition of Christ, then triumphant with his resurrection and ascension. Good Friday was dreaded by us children - a twelve hour silent service, fasting, much kneeling and adults praying. There was, however, a strange feeling of gradually 'growing up' as we were allowed to participate in more and more of the hours of silence, rather than being sent out of church to 'behave and be quiet' in the churchyard. We amused ourselves by rescuing the slightly less dead flowers from the compost heap, and putting them on ancient graves that had none! I sometimes feel surprised we turned out as 'normal' as we have - I fear social workers would be on the scene today! The day was saved by Hot Cross Buns when we eventually got home.

    On the upside, our medieval church, still the one place I feel a sense of silent rapture, (even now as an atheist), was decorated with an Easter Garden. We gathered moss and wildflowers to build a miniature Calvary, smooth, steep and green, with three tiny crosses on top, the centre one slightly bigger than the two thieves crosses. Shiphams paste pots (remember those) were collected all year as being the perfect size to hold miniature bouquets of primroses and violets, and buried beneath the mossy covering so the flowers looked as tho' they were growing there. All the Spring flowers and sprays of blossom at the back for scale gave the most wonderful scent. The big church was filled with a smell that today can lift me instantly to the 1950s. Candles, violets, primroses, the old aunts furcoats, damp wool and choir boys, waxed wood and brass polish. Ahh! Religion!

    At the base of our Calvary was a tiny tomb like a little cave with a large stone as a door. At the appropriate point over the Easter weekend the stone was placed over the entrance, and when the time came for the ascension the stone was rolled away and the roll of gauze bandage on the tomb that represented the crucified Christ, was unravelled and left loose as tho' He had just got up and left the tomb all untidy. The child who had earned the silver medal in the church choir was the lucky unraveller - even me one year - and you got to light a special candle to symbolise eternal light.

    On Easter Sunday we had new straw hats with elastic under the chin to hold them on - our Easter bonnets - and every child carried tiny posies of primroses and violets and placed them in the Easter Garden. Children who had no gardens at home were given them by the elderly ladies, then as now, the pillars of the church.

    The Vicar gave out plain hard boiled eggs, and the smallest children went off to decorate them with crayons and paint. All the old favourite hymns, "There is a Green Hill Far Away" la la la. A communion service and the little ones back with their eggs to be judged quite marvellous, and then, at last, chocolate eggs! The real meaning of Easter! (And Easter breakfast was always boiled eggs which we painted or dyed pretty colours.)

    And yes, you are right again, they were pretty small and plain, and did sometimes have loose chocolates inside, but they were WONDERFUL. Even better, strangely because they were rarely eaten, were the really beautiful Polish sugar eggs. I haven't seen them for years and wonder if anyone else remembers them. They looked liked translucent sugar crystal and were hollow with a hole at one end. If you peeped inside there was a miniature three dimensional scene cut out of coloured paper. A fairy story, sometimes an Easter scene and once - yes - an Easter Bunny! They had pale pastel icing piped into flowers and swirls and were quite the prettiest things imaginable.


    When the American bases in Britain got really established, lots of the customs, Easter bunnies, Halloween, all the things we take for granted now here in the UK, started to take on a much more secular, perhaps commercial tone. And now our cultures are very similar. I remember an elderly Aunt (I had rather a lot of these) remarking "Those Americans - you know - the Yanks don't they call themselves? - certainly know how to enjoy themselves." This was in a tone that left no-one in any doubt that that was a Bad Thing!!!

    I seem to have gone on a bit but how strange it is that life goes by so quickly and things really do change so much and get forgotten.

    My own grandchildren will be here this weekend. Everyone makes an Easter bonnet to wear, everyone does and everyone laughs at the daddies and mummies dressed up in their silly pretty hats. I get to wear the Easter Bunny ears - deep joy - and we bunny hunt the house and garden for the hidden eggs. An enormous meal is mostly left because we're full of chocolate and a bit sick, so lots of leftovers to make easy meals for a couple of days. Family life - I LOVE it.

    Joy to all of you too. XXX

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  • 107. At 8:40pm on 01 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    csgators (#105), to be fair to Scotland, most Scots were opposed to the release:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8226585.stm

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  • 108. At 8:45pm on 01 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Easter dinner in Arizona:

    http://www.kpho.com/health/23013868/detail.html

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  • 109. At 10:07pm on 01 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    106. At 7:43pm on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 102 - CamberwellBeauty

    "Enlighten me please."

    I'll try.

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

    Thanks for the beautiful story! And yes, I remember the Shiphams pots, but not for the use you described.

    I attended Catholic school until age eleven, then choose an all girls non-Catholic secondary school - Catholic school cured me of traditional religion - so I too, am a non-believer! Agnostic? Atheist, I'm still not sure!

    I do not remember the Polish eggs.

    We most certainly ate our eggs! But they would last for weeks!!
    Being one in a family of 6 kids, we all seemed to know which egg(s) belonged to what kid!

    I married an American (in Eng.) from one of those bases that "The Aunts" thought they we having far too much fun most likely! (Love the Aunt stories - reminded me of a movie "The Ladies in Lavender")

    That Yank - my then 'date' - presented presented me with my first choc-bunny. Forty years later, and still 'dating!'

    I have some bunny ears, I'll have to dig those out - and I'll add those to my mincing around shorts (as mentioned in an earlier post! Ha) since it's going to be mid 80's by the weekend - currently 78F in the Shenandoah Valley!

    Enjoy!

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  • 110. At 10:26pm on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 109 - CamberwellBeauty

    SHORTS!!!! Blimey! We're back to fur lined knickers (am I allowed to say that here?) - it's freezing here. I'm considering a full thermal fur bunny outfit to go with the ears when I bound round the family acres hiding the eggs.

    Gosh! Did I just give it away?

    (Holds up right paw) I do solemnly swear I am NOT the Easter Bunny. Or Father Christmas. I'm just standing by in case they're held up.

    Anyway - enjoy the warmth - we'll be thinking of you. Not at all jealous. Not at all.

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  • 111. At 10:31pm on 01 Apr 2010, throwdown wrote:

    Thanks, Mark ! Happiest of Easters to you and yours... and everyone else as well.

    I'm sure Mardell wouldn't trade those eggs for all the Faberge in the House of Romanov !

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  • 112. At 11:22pm on 01 Apr 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOUR, Mr MARDELL!

    And, of course, BBC.

    Those are beautiful eggs, thank you for showing them!

    I will also resume after Easter. It has been, unfortunately, a particularly nasty, difficult, painful winter full of sound & fury (signifying but little). Too many illnesses; too many disappointments. Too many shocks.

    But Easter always brings -- rather wondrously -- renewal & a second wind. Wishing you a glorious one, and thanks for the patience, and the faith.

    Cheers, everyone!

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  • 113. At 00:06am on 02 Apr 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    105, as stated,many here were opposed to this release, but many also, including British families of those lost in PA103 and in the town in Scotland it crashed on, have long help deep reservations about his conviction in the first place.

    Being more cynical, I can say exactly how many wanted, some convicted, IRA terrorists, including of murder, were extradited from the US on the request of the UK government.
    Zero.
    Not one.
    Small wonder why the US became the hiding place of choice for them if they got the chance.




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  • 114. At 00:35am on 02 Apr 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    I just paid $1.99 for a small pot of Shippams bloater paste, and $2.99 for the larger size of crab paste. Alas for my expectations, it didn't taste like I remember it back in Blighty. Also paid $14.99 for a 1lb "Melton Mowbray" pork pie made in New York. It wasn't bad at all, but once again I was disappointed. Guess it had something to do with the pork they used.

    Powermeerkat 101: Great April Fools joke. As i said in my previous blog - roll on November!!

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  • 115. At 05:31am on 02 Apr 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Hullo - just back from me Cocktail Party...erm..meeting - when we finished up with who was getting what ham where (thusly 5 sheets to windward) talk turned to (i) what has happened to people's sense of nobility (hell-o CE-O); and (ii) did Terry Bradshaw have a doctorate? Conclusion - I dunno' and absolutely not (I lost a round on that one, thanks dad!)

    Ive always found easter a little depressing, the christian one - how can you celebrate the rising from the dead of someone who was wrongfully and brutally tortured and executed? And poor Judas. And we wonder why we're nuts.

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  • 116. At 06:51am on 02 Apr 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    @frayedcat #115: If you think the person wrongfully & brutally tortured and executed was simply a fellow human being, there would be little to celebrate.
    If however, you buy into Christian beliefs (mainstream, not cult or hutaree or whatever), then Jesus is God, came to earth (among other things) to teach us how to live ("Love one another as I have loved you") and by sacrificing His life in obedience to the Father (the rationale for that is beyond my pay grade, but I accept it), opens the way to eternal life for human beings. And the rising from the dead becomes a proof for believers about these things; therefore the celebration.
    Anyway have a few happy spring days if Easter is not otherwise your cup of tea.
    TeaPot562

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  • 117. At 09:25am on 02 Apr 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    Technically speaking Mark is not allowed an Easter break as it is not a US public holiday like it is in UK

    (A)=American holiday
    (L)=Local holiday
    2010
    Public Holiday Date / Day Observed
    Good Friday--- April 02, 2010 Friday, April 02, 2010 (L - United Kingdom)
    Easter Monday April 05, 2010 Monday, April 05, 2010 (L - United Kingdom)

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  • 118. At 10:37am on 02 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 114 - starFloridian

    Shipphams paste isn't at all what it used to be - I agree. I think it's the modern obsession with removing seasoning, particularly salt, so everything is bland. Healthy - but boring. Hey ho!

    The cost is extortionate, but I guess the little pots had to pay airfare to get to you. I remember paying far too many dollars for a pot of Marmite in Nieman Marcus in Dallas in the '80s during their 'British Fortnight'. After that experience we called the store Needless Markup. Marmite is now available everywhere which make our luggage lighter when travelling to visit family members who live in the States!

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  • 119. At 1:59pm on 02 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #110 Amaryr

    Yep, shorts! (obviously, your 'knickers' reference made it through the mods!)
    Warning: do not attempt to eat chocolate eggs outside this weekend in the Shenandoah Valley!

    Do you find eggs from the previous year on your acres???

    We only have 1 acre, and would find strays from the previous year's hiding.

    #114 StarFloridian

    I found Jacob's Cream crackers in a "dollar" type store once - and they were 80cents! I about cleared off the shelf - and in the same store another time, I found Wetabix for about $1.
    It was like striking oil!!

    Right, must go, gotta get the bunny in the oven, oh sorry, sorry, I meant ham!!

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  • 120. At 3:22pm on 02 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #16 Amryr wrote:

    Even better, strangely because they were rarely eaten, were the really beautiful Polish sugar eggs. I haven't seen them for years and wonder if anyone else remembers them. They looked liked translucent sugar crystal and were hollow with a hole at one end. If you peeped inside there was a miniature three dimensional scene cut out of coloured paper. A fairy story, sometimes an Easter scene and once - yes - an Easter Bunny! They had pale pastel icing piped into flowers and swirls and were quite the prettiest things imaginable.






    Yes, I remember those Polish eggs.

    But then, I haven't been born yesterday.

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  • 121. At 3:45pm on 02 Apr 2010, U14407604 wrote:

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

  • 122. At 4:08pm on 02 Apr 2010, U14407604 wrote:

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

  • 123. At 8:23pm on 02 Apr 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    118 amaryr: Marmite on toast - lovely grub! My American family members can't understand why I pay $5 for the stuff at our local supermarket, where they stocked it at my request.

    Just tried the crab paste for lunch - it was better than the bloater.

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  • 124. At 9:31pm on 02 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    106. At 7:43pm on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    "Good Friday was dreaded by us children - a twelve hour silent service, fasting, much kneeling and adults praying"

    Dear me. Being brought up as a Methodist in the north of England, it was always a performance of Handel's Messiah on Easter Sunday.

    (I love Handel still, and the 'Handel revival' of the last few years has been brilliant. though of course when I was very young it was 'The trumpet shall sound' and the Hallelujah Chorus I always looked forward to.)

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  • 125. At 9:54pm on 02 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    124. At 9:31pm on 02 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    106. At 7:43pm on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    "Good Friday was dreaded by us children - a twelve hour silent service, fasting, much kneeling and adults praying"

    Dear me. Being brought up as a Methodist in the north of England, it was always a performance of Handel's Messiah on Easter Sunday.

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

    In Catholic primary school, we were made to traipse around the church and stop at every station of the cross and say a prayer relating to that station, I think? (I'm an accomplished amnesiac when it comes to Catholic school!) - I know I dreaded it!

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  • 126. At 00:02am on 03 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    One Good Friday family ritual that I'd forgotten 'til this evening was a most delicious luxurious fish pie my mother always made for supper. It was always referred to as The Piece of Cod that Passeth Understanding.

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  • 127. At 05:28am on 03 Apr 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    This just In:

    Official Verdict of the Ashot Household:

    Mr Mardell's children's Easter eggs are "the nicest eggs ever!"

    (Anyone with competing claims should think of putting theirs up somewhere on some suitable website. Any takers?)

    Seriously, my young people in particular are most impressed.

    They did theirs today, and they did turn out rather obligingly, but none so ethereally misty-hued as yours... Although I was quite pleased to finally arrive at a pleasant lilac-lavender tint that had eluded me in years past. There are even a few in official "Nato" colour: how do you like that?

    Tomorrow I shall endeavour to achieve a proper vivid red by resorting to the ancient trick of using beetroot. Will let you know how that goes.

    Shall keep you posted. Wishing perfect weather upon and joy and a glorious Easter all my dearest kith & kin in the United Kingdom. And wherever else you may venture!

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  • 128. At 07:57am on 03 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    126. amaryr:

    Tut tut. Really, these irreligious Brits.

    It was Sydney Smith who came up with that one originally btw; at a dinner at Holland House I think. He also wrote, I've only just discovered, a recipe in rhyme for a potato salad:

    Two boiled potatoes strained through a kitchen sieve,
    Softness and smoothness to the salad give;
    Of mordant mustard take a single spoon,
    Distrust the condiment that bites too soon!
    Yet deem it not, thou man of taste, a fault
    To add a double quantity of salt.
    Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
    And twice with vinegar procured from town;
    True taste requires it and your poet begs
    The pounded yellow of two well-boiled eggs.
    Let onion's atoms lurk within the bowl
    And, scarce suspected, animate the whole,
    And lastly in the flavoured compound toss
    A magic spoonful of anchovy sauce.
    Oh, great and glorious! Oh, herbaceous meat!
    'Twould tempt the dying Anchorite to eat,
    Back to the world he'd turn his weary soul
    And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl.

    (Go to try this now; I've got 'oil of Lucca', but not anchovy sauce; still I've got Gentleman's Relish. . .could probably adapt that. I wonder what that costs at Needless Markup?)

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  • 129. At 11:54am on 03 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 127 - Maria Ashot

    Have you tried the trick of wrapping the egg in onion skin and hard boiling? Lovely stripey yellow effect.

    I agree with everyone about MMs childrens eggs - they are the prettiest I've seen. Do you think MM will give us the secret when he returns?

    Squirrelist - Love the potato salad rhyme. Thank you for that. It also sounds as tho' it would be very tasty! How galling to find our family joke of the fish pie wasn't original! On the other hand - great minds (obviously) think alike!

    Anchovy sauce is a lovesome thing to keep about ones store cupboard. I, and most of the family adore anchovies. but one child believed he would be cast into outer darkness if he so much as looked at one. What he never knew was that his favourite homemade pizza had anchovy sauce mixed into tomato puree and spread on the base beneath all the other tomato-ey ingrediants. Once it was omitted and he complained bitterly that supper "didn't taste right". Now aged 43 he adores the real thing. There's more than one way to skin a cat!

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  • 130. At 3:36pm on 03 Apr 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Enjoying the lighthearted banter, - cooking, egg painting, chocolates and individual thoughts on specialities or unobtainable delicacies on the thread here. IMHO Completely correct and not sacrilegious for an Easter weekend where it's presence promotes many a family gathering to take place. Keep it up. Just 5 loaves and 2 fishes etc has it's place but not for all of us.

    Pity that Mark departed after just a few words almost in full Forrest Gump mode leaving his followers high and dry, to some extents floundering after their initial good wishes had been proffered. Must be difficult being a journalist deciding what to write hoping for both quality replies and quantity comment to swell the numbers for the few weeks he will be away. Beautiful hand painted eggs from his youngest but further a disappointment. Has it really only been 4 + days? Feels like a lifetime.

    Another suggested on another thread about discussing individual posters topics, himself offering Hillary as an example. It began as very interesting, but after noticing the lack of response, I was put in my place for tackling his opening remarks in my own irreverent manner, simply hoping to encourage many others to participate. Oh well. Some Canadians obviously don't do humour and jokes, despite being very knowledgeable on Canada. It must be serious stuff or preferably nothing and the three participating appear to be quietly enjoying themselves.

    So failing new comment and anything of interest and doubting that any here would like to discuss Endotoxin, cytokines, and endotoxin binding proteins in obstructive jaundice and after preoperative biliary drainage, ....[myself included],... may I wish you all a great week.

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  • 131. At 6:09pm on 03 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    130. At 3:36pm on 03 Apr 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    "... Another suggested on another thread about discussing individual posters topics, himself offering Hillary as an example. It began as very interesting, but after noticing the lack of response, I was put in my place for tackling his opening remarks in my own irreverent manner, simply hoping to encourage many others to participate. Oh well. Some Canadians obviously don't do humour and jokes, despite being very knowledgeable on Canada. It must be serious stuff or preferably nothing and the three participating appear to be quietly enjoying themselves."

    __________

    Dear Waterman:

    Pardon me. I read and appreciated your posting. I did not intend to give offense, as it seems I have done.

    Perhaps it would have been better to have tried something a little lighter. However, it isn't all that often that we are left here by the absentee landowner to think up nes threads for ourselves.

    In the past on occasion we have had really good exchanges on cooking, but usually they start spontaneously. We'll be discussing something like the influence of China on East Africa, and suddenly a discussion of which wine is best served with Blue Cheese breaks out.

    In any case, I apologize for for having given offense, as apparently I have done. That was not intended.

    Yours,

    I.F.

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  • 132. At 7:24pm on 03 Apr 2010, baroness wrote:

    I've dropped in here after a long absence only to find tears of tedium welling in my eyes from scrolling down some recent comments on that other thread. Wma's analysis seems to be an understatement; if that tone catches hold on future threads, I fear MM's chances of being awarded a Webbie will be thin indeed. Even the two usual, disingenuously harped-on subjects might be preferable. However, we know from past evidence that IF is certainly not lacking in humor, so I thought it important to point that out.

    And back on topic: As you know, this holiday is not one I participate in--other than to take advantage of Monday's slashed-price sales of Easter chocolate. Having recently undergone the removal of a good bit of the inside of my mouth due to nasty cancer, and progressing from a diet of liquids to mush and now to soft chewables, I look forward to breaking off bits of chocolate bunnies and placing them on the tongue until they attain a consistency that does not contravene doctor's orders. For what is life without chocolate?

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  • 133. At 8:10pm on 03 Apr 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    IF.
    No offence taken.
    Maybe I am getting too much sun on my thinning locks, [though approaching baldness would be more honest], for my over harsh appraisal of your Canada thread. Armageddon it! Canada? Goes to show that even those subjects we place ourselves [Hilary and Hillary], get high-jacked down different channels. [Hi Jack].
    Friend to all, no enemies on this site where support of many posters has left me in the doghouse in the past, I found it surprising that such an eloquent poster as yourself would curtail comment to himself go off on a tangent.
    Ed Iglehart, a great exponent of the values of Sun Tzu- "The Art of War" taught me- Know thine enemy. Consequently not being one of the brightest around I do feel the regular dummies should not be overlooked and included in any discussion, since their own tangential feelings, might give a greater understanding of the bigger picture.
    Perhaps you view my input on a par with MagicK but personally I find MagicK's input and the power struggle he fights with John in Dublin to be extremely interesting. 220 volts versus 110. Wit versus half-wit or vice versa. And the most common response - watt! Yet their discussions open my eyes to the attitudes of many great politicians around who have the same difficulty in reaching any understanding in this troubled world of ours.
    Surely listening to all as well as pontificating ourselves must be the way to go.
    I look forward to engaging you in serious comment should the possibility arise. Enjoy the Canada discussion going on with Gary and Pub. Looks fun but way over my head.
    Regards wma.

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  • 134. At 8:37pm on 03 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    133. At 8:10pm on 03 Apr 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    "Perhaps you view my input on a par with MagicK ..."
    __________

    No, I think it is safe to say that MK's inputs are, ... um, ... er, ... well, let's say: "without peer".

    __________

    I've been banging away at the other one for a different reason.

    I see that it is getting to be quite a treatise on North American settlement and the history of Western Canadian political thought.


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  • 135. At 9:02pm on 03 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    132. At 7:24pm on 03 Apr 2010, baroness wrote:

    I've dropped in here after a long absence only to find tears of tedium welling in my eyes from scrolling down some recent comments on that other thread. Wma's analysis seems to be an understatement; if that tone catches hold on future threads, I fear MM's chances of being awarded a Webbie will be thin indeed.
    __________

    Dear Baroness:

    Glad you're back. Sorry to hear your news. Hope things go well.

    There is an never-ending election campaign going on in Canada right now, and, ultimately, that's what those other very lengthy postings are about.

    ----------

    Now that I think about it, there is a never ending election campaign going on in the US, too.

    When did that happen? When did the political landscape change so that it is all campaigning, all the time? It seems to me that the campaign by the Republicans to get rid of President Obama started on November 6, 2007, and simply never lets up.

    Didn't there used to be a time when election campaigns ended at election time, and people put away their signs for the next four years?

    ----------

    As for the other two topics, we've been banging away at them recently, too. That never changes, though Publius has been trying to keep us on the straight and narrow.

    On one string, I made the mistake of asking whether Sarah Palin had a ghost-writer for her biography, and, of course, zap, presto-change-O, Sha-zam, that set off a downward spiral into the most dreaded topic.

    I mean really, what could I have been thinking?
    Should have known better.

    We also had a real head-bashing session on gun control. Over 1100 posts. Squirrel did a lot of heavy lifting there, as did Gary and Andy.

    ----------

    In any case it's a beautiful day.

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  • 136. At 9:54pm on 03 Apr 2010, baroness wrote:

    Dear IF:

    Thank you. This is just a brief visit for me here, as the input from both sides of any issue is too often smug, offensive, and blind. And there is much dishonesty.

    I wasn't actually referring to your comments in my post above (nor in this one); their tone reflects a polite desire to inform, and to understand.

    I'm afraid you have inferred incorrectly one of the harped-on subjects I mentioned, but I won't expound on that.

    My solution to the never-ending political campaign here: Ignore it. Read good books.

    It is a beautiful day here also. I hope you enjoy yours.

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  • 137. At 05:16am on 04 Apr 2010, David wrote:

    If you want to be accessible as a blog group of posters,

    oooooops this is late


    but ......M I N C I N G?...... w h a t i n t h e c o l l e c t i v e i n t e l l e c t of this group allows "mincing" in the open air as a word

    Yup...avoid that word ...why do I always go to the European blog?... with this one in my own neighborhood...hmmph..avoid ....kind of alienating...

    Good ol' goodbyyyyyyye:)

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  • 138. At 05:19am on 04 Apr 2010, David wrote:

    but

    Im the overly offended one ..probably out of context (easily could happen lololol..oh well)

    Happy Easter, American Blog Posters

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  • 139. At 06:50am on 04 Apr 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I am enjoying all the banter, and particularly AMaryR's remembrance.

    Sunday is my mother's 83rd birthday, and the only one she has had which fell on Easter. Perhaps it is the coincidence of also being the Orthodox Easter. She is here with us tonight, we have been cooking, looking through old cookbooks, some of which came to me through her hands and hold handwritten receipts from at least two generations now with the Lord, and telling family remembrances.

    My second batch ever of hot cross buns came off well, as has the cherry pie, something I do in the spring.

    Kansas is in early spring glory - fruit trees in full bloom, bulbs up, birds everywhere, young squirrels uncertain how to cross the road.... tomorrow promises to be gloriously warm and sunny - which means thunderstorms or worse in a day or two. At least we don't have earthquakes. Speaking of squirrels - the family seems to be preparing another batch of young for 2010 - it is what we do.

    We used to have a very clever Easter rabbit who wrote elaborate puzzles and verses on slips of paper each year for the kiddies to work out, in order to find the eggs hidden in devious places - his descendants try but unfortunately are not as clever as he was.

    Does anyone know a site that calculates the years in which Easter falls on a given date? The ones I have found of course give the date in a given year. Momma would be pleased.

    May the promise of spring be fulfilled for each of you. Now that it is after midnight please allow me to extend the ancient greeting: He is Risen!

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  • 140. At 07:44am on 04 Apr 2010, d_m wrote:

    You don't sound like much of a curmudgeon really. For your mother you might try this web site.
    http://www.assa.org.au/edm.html

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  • 141. At 08:05am on 04 Apr 2010, d_m wrote:

    KScurmudgeon...
    Oops, #140 was for you.

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  • 142. At 12:20pm on 04 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    There was a beautiful dawn today. A lovely Easter Sunday morning.

    Happy Easter, KS.

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  • 143. At 2:13pm on 04 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Happy easter everyone. PTD

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  • 144. At 4:39pm on 04 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Right on time for Easter a collared dove has laid and hatched two nestlings so close to one of our windows I could lean out and touch them. Bringer of Peace? Hope so. The baby doves are such ugly little things at the moment, bald in patches with yellow and grey fluff, turning quickly to proper feathers over their wings. Their beaks are not the pointed sharp jobs of their mother, but flat and round like ducks bills, presumably to lessen the chance of the poor mothers throat being pecked to bits during feeding, as they stick their heads right into her mouth for their meals.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my post KS. Thanks for the kind mention.

    This thread has been a pleasant change, being so light in tone, from others of a more intellectual and serious nature. It does everyone good, not just to relax a bit, but for the regular posters to 'see' each other in a more rounded light. I am so impressed by the depth of knowledge and the well thought out arguments put by so many of the regulars here. Such a change from the, sadly, 'normal' backbiting and nastiness seen on many other blogs.

    Those whose positions on almost everything are to the right of Genghis Khans criminal relatives, and those who simply argue for the sake of it - how tedious - are a useful reminder that the world has it's share of totally unreasonable and unpleasant people. The danger, if that isn't overstating it, is that we forget and ignore them, only to find that like bullies everywhere they have banded together and become a Popular Front!

    Easter for us has been a sunny day, though very cold. Much chocolate has been consumed and a big dinner is nearing the table. Games and more chocolate later.

    Blessings to those who find solace in such things, and peace to all.

    PS - Almost in fear I suggest as a topic in Our Master Marks absence a discussion on the latest sad and frightful episode in Palestine. My heart goes out to the families of those mourning their loss on both sides of this intractable problem.

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  • 145. At 10:38pm on 04 Apr 2010, Larry wrote:

    Nice eggs, tell your child "Well done!"
    Thanks for the commentary from your perspective.

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  • 146. At 09:58am on 05 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    144. amaryr:

    I had thought about it, the air attacks being inevitable simply because this is a weekend when the American media can be guaranteed to be distracted. (And even more so, since they are now totally obsessed with the iPad. OK, I love my Apple Mac[s], but it's become ridiculous.)

    There is also this war crimethat's seeped out. And once more, I note, US spokesmen refer to 'international forces'; spreading the dirt around doesn't help.

    I've noted with interest that the Israelis--presumably in what is another deliberate escalation of economic misery imposed on Palestinians--are importing Thai labour for work that once was done by Palestinians. Something that few news media seems to have bothered to address.

    And now, I suppose, that will bring the regular bullies back.

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  • 147. At 11:13am on 05 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 146 - squirrelist

    In a rush to take the family out for the day, but wanted to acknowledge your post.

    Without going into detailed discussion at this point, I think the saddest thing of all is that this situation concerns a nation that has suffered more horror than any humans should ever have to endure. And still have not the empathy to realise they are inflicting similar injustices on other humans. And I speak who's family has a jewish background.

    I understand that individuals - both those involved, and those who feel they want to comment - will have a huge range of opinions and reaction - emotional, national and intellectual - but the bottom line is that until both sides acknowledge their shared humanity, there seems to be no ending this conflict. Which damages far more than simply the immediate people and places involved.

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  • 148. At 04:45am on 06 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Well, it's Spring and it's our turn now, and it'll all be over in four weeks. (Er, how many US government appointments are still unfilled?)

    So, dear American readers, don't blink, or you'll miss it!

    [Squirrels chorus 'We'll keep the red flag flying here . . .']

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  • 149. At 2:48pm on 06 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "Squirrels chorus 'We'll keep the red flag flying here'



    We'll see whether you're going to lower your flag to half mast on May 7th. :)

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  • 150. At 2:50pm on 06 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #114

    As I said: it's merely 7 months till November.

    And yes, we'll remember!

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  • 151. At 3:29pm on 06 Apr 2010, U14411647 wrote:

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

  • 152. At 6:35pm on 06 Apr 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Now that the election date has been set & with no one actually running this ship of state,to those who wish us ill & want to cause mischief, beware we know who to call...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSGWoXDFM64






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  • 153. At 7:22pm on 06 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    The latest tragedy in West Virginia, like similar events in the not too distant past, highlight the impotence or unwillingness of the US government to enforce effective safety measures in the workplace.

    Mine work has always been a very dangerous endeavor, but many mine accidents could be averted if effective safety measures were in place and enforced. Unfortunately, there is so much emphasis on profit that companies are allowed to risk the lives of their employees, and sometimes the welfare of the public or their consumers, if cutting corners produce higher profits.

    Instead of calls for smaller government I believe what we should be demanding is more efficient and effective government, one that places the welfare of our citizens first even if doing so impairs the ability of corporations to post record quarterly profits.

    In addition to effective safety policies our government should have enough trained inspector and regulators to enforce those policies, regulate financial institutions to preclude financial debacles like the one we just had, monitor food and pharmaceutical companies, and protect the environment before the only legacy we can pass on to future generations is strip mining, a polluted environment, and pictures of extinct species.

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  • 154. At 8:31pm on 06 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    ukwales (#152) "Now that the election date has been set & with no one actually running this ship of state, ..."

    My understanding is that, even with Parliament dissolved, the ministers remain on the job.

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  • 155. At 8:44pm on 06 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    test

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  • 156. At 9:09pm on 06 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 150, powermeerkat

    I suspect strip club owners may also remember the good old days when prominent righteous patrons contributed to their bottom line...

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  • 157. At 9:12pm on 06 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    153. At 7:22pm on 06 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    The latest tragedy in West Virginia, like similar events in the not too distant past, highlight the impotence or unwillingness of the US government to enforce effective safety measures in the workplace.

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

    ON BBC

    "Massey Energy says on its website that it has a safety record that is above the national average, with three fatalities in the last 12 years.

    But federal inspectors have fined the company more than $382,000 (£251,700) for serious violations at the mine over the past year.

    There have been three fatalities there since 1998 - two from roof collapses and one from electrocution - according to the Associated Press.

    Last year, 34 miners were killed in accidents across the US, the lowest on record.

    But Monday's accident is the deadliest since 1984, when 27 people were killed by a fire at Emery Mining Corp's mine in Orangeville, Utah.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    This report (albeit brief) somewhat conflicts what you have said?
    In fairness, I haven't had time to delve further.
    I'm not trying to discredit your point, just asking.

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  • 158. At 9:44pm on 06 Apr 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Good evening GH1618,Who runs the country during an election campaign?

    The seats of power may be empty but there is still a man on the hot seat.
    That will be the lavatory,(bathroom)its the only place where they know what they are doing...

    The PM is in till he is out.

    As some one who has run his own business all his life until bought out by an American multi-national,back in 1997,(not bad for some one who had to leave school at 15 with no qualifications what so ever) it has to be the Conservatives for me,its time for a change.But they will have to pull out all the stops to win.I hope there is an out right winner even if its labour,as a hung Parliament equals stalemate. Usually over here the winner takes it all, which does mean each side gets a good crack of the whip,which by my reckoning is fair & good.Labour & Conservatives get tired & jaded after being in power,so once again,for me its time for change....

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  • 159. At 10:15pm on 06 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 157, CamberwellBeauty

    "This report (albeit brief) somewhat conflicts what you have said?"

    I suppose we all have different definitions and expectations of success. I readily admit that accidents in the workplace are unavoidable, especially in a sector as dangerous as mining, but the fact that most of these accidents are the result of a poor safety record and practices is, in my opinion, inexcusable.

    The same goes for the ineffective regulatory policies governing our financial institutions, and the fact that some sectors, such as the insurance industry, are exempt from anti-trust laws and act as highway bandits.

    I understand the need to protect industry and avoid impairing its ability to grow and be profitable, but greater emphasis on safety and effective regulation is long overdue.

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  • 160. At 10:25pm on 06 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    CamberwellBeauty (#157), SD asserted that the US government is "impotent" or "unwilling" to enforce mine safety standards. That is clearly not the case, as the history of annual mining fatalities since the 1930s shows. Here is a summary from the Mine Safety & Health Administration:

    http://www.msha.gov/MSHAINFO/FactSheets/MSHAFCT2.HTM

    This recent incident means that 2010 will be an average year for coal minimg deaths over the past decade, if there are no more fatalities. For comparison, thousands of Chinese coal miners die every year in mine accidents.

    Perhaps the death rate can be reduced further with more regulation, but the fact is that huge improvements have been made over the past 70 years.

    Some people just like to grind their axes, whether for well-founded reasons or not, without giving credit where credit is due.

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  • 161. At 11:11pm on 06 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is a link to a chart from the Mine Safety & Health Administration showing the downward trend in US mining fatalities over the 30 year history of the agency. If the MSHA is "impotent" or "unwilling," what explains this trend?

    What I conclude from this graph is that the MSHA is doing its job rather effectively.

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  • 162. At 11:14pm on 06 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Missing link: http://www.msha.gov/MSHAINFO/FactSheets/MSHAFCT10.HTM

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  • 163. At 11:23pm on 06 Apr 2010, seanspa wrote:

    StD, that the mining company involved has a poor safety record does not suggest that oversight is lacking. It does suggest that the penalties handed out for the poor record were inadequate and insufficient encouragement to improve safety. You don't need bigger government to get tougher laws.

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  • 164. At 00:54am on 07 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 160, GH1618

    "For comparison, thousands of Chinese coal miners die every year in mine accidents."

    Comparing our working conditions and safety standards to those in a country that places little value on the welfare of its people is irrelevant, in my opinion. I prefer to compare our working conditions and safety standards to those in countries such as Geermany, France, Canada, Australia and the UK.

    BTW, I am not saying OSHA has not been trying, they have been for many years, but I think they give management too much latitude and could do a much better job.

    On the issue of regulation, I think the deregulation efforts that have taken place since the Reagan era are a major reason for the economic chaos we endured the past two years.

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  • 165. At 01:48am on 07 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    163, 164

    Or maybe China is on the long road to better laws and better government. Things like this used to happen in the coal mines in America, and in unsafe working conditions in all sorts of industries from the start of the industrial revolution onward. It led to unionization in coal, steel and railroads.

    For some reason or other, I keep thinking of the Triangle Shirt Waist Fire. It is things like this that change societies.

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  • 166. At 04:25am on 07 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    158 ukwales:

    Squirrelsong:

    "It's the Tories for me,
    It's tthe Tories for me,
    And then in five years
    It'll be a right mess you'll see."

    149. At 2:48pm on 06 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "Squirrels chorus 'We'll keep the red flag flying here'
    We'll see whether you're going to lower your flag to half mast on May 7th. :)


    Won't make any difference; we've been flying it at half-mast ever since we realised Tory Blair wasn't a socialist. or going to be one, around autumn 1997. It went up tentatively to about three-quarters when he rsigned, but went down again within three months.

    154. At 8:31pm on 06 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    My understanding is that, even with Parliament dissolved, the ministers remain on the job.


    Technically the ministers hold thgeor seals of office fron the Queen, so they carry on working for the duration, but without any MPs, there's not much they can do except just keep things ticking over, so the Civil Service really runs everything until 7th of May when the new PM walks through the front door of Number 10 and the Cabinet Secretary's first (traditional, apparently) words are "Prime Minister, what are your instructions for the country?"





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  • 167. At 05:38am on 07 Apr 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:


    Two things about coal mining in West Virginia -

    OSHA and MSHA are excellent institutions, but they cannot be everywhere all the time. They need the support of state and federal government to set effective standards in any industry in any region, and to levy criminal and civil penalties (jail time and fines) that get the attention of industries - and this support has been lacking until recently. Perhaps, as has been said, the precedent and a coordinated push from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches can change the industrial culture. The press, if they still know bad news from good, could be a big help. I am the safety officer of a medium size manufacturing facility, and know where OSHA is at.

    The presumption 'accidents will happen' is not an acceptable premise in a modern workplace. - Particularly 'accidental' events. Particularly fatal 'accidents'. Most particularly multiple fatality accidents. (We must exclude incidents when individuals or groups step outside the prepared work environment to save another life, knowing they increase the risk to their own. Think 9 /11)

    The cost of coal extraction must cover the cost of extracting it safely - this is the standard in every other industrial workplace, at least in the civilized world. There is always a cause or causes for every accident, and causes can be anticipated and mitigated. The cost to the operators, owners, and downstream beneficiaries of coal made cheap with human lives should be understood to be prohibitive. The statistics cited show it is not.

    A safe workplace requires that every individual care and be actively involved in each others safety. Miners are as professional a workforce as you can find - if the management listened to them the mines would be safe, even in China.

    Second story to follow -

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 168. At 05:56am on 07 Apr 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Second story -

    At one time my father was an as-building engineer on the construction of a coal-fired electric plant in West Virginia. One day he was working in an engineering trailer and heard terrible screaming mingled with a roaring crash - the screaming and crashing went on for about a minute.

    He went out with his buddies, and saw that the top, fresh layer of the concrete cooling ventura had fallen in, from about 200 feet, bringing down, or actually following after, the scaffolding that had been set in unripe concrete two rings lower. Fifty men died, brothers, fathers and sons, many of them cousins. The pressure was on to meet some interim schedule - the scaffolding was set up too soon before that layer was hardened and occupied while still weak; some pins pulled out, the scaffold peeled away from one end, all around the inside of the tower.

    My dad knew many of them, some were his neighbors. Many of them knew it wasn't right, but it is built into West Virginia culture that good pay can not be had without taking risks for it, including a known risk of dying on or from the job. Good paying jobs in a poor region without many opportunities or skills.

    Grimcurmudgeon

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  • 169. At 06:46am on 07 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    167 KScurmudgeon:

    It appears that the coal company has long held the view thst fines sre merely s business expense that don't damage the profits much.

    It's an inevitable consequence of the kind of dogma that holds that industries are somehow, despite the history of 200 years, always able and willing to regulate themselves for the welfare of those who produce their profits; and the politicians and economists who propagandise telling everyone it is the owners and the managers who create the wealth, when it's the people who do the hard work.

    It's so 19th century.

    And as though people like Robert Owen, the Rowntrees, Frys, Salt, Shaftesbury and Plimsoll, let alone numerous unions--and Humphrey Davey!--either never existed or didn't know what they were talking about.

    I hope those who continually harp on about the 'nanny state' will remind themselves of your appalling story. (Which I presume can hardly have happened that long ago, but itself reads like something from 1850 and the Railway Age.)

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  • 170. At 07:16am on 07 Apr 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I can tell a similar tale about my son, who managed a contract for technical equipment and services at a large British Petroleum plant in Texas City, Texas ...


    All his people got out. Several did not.

    But then again a nephew is currently home on leave from his fourth tour in Iraq, and announced he will get new training and go back for a fifth...

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 171. At 10:15am on 07 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I see that according to The Heritage foundation the USA is no longer as 'free' as it was.

    these are some of their rankings:

    1 Hong Kong
    2 Singapore
    7 Canada
    8 USA
    9 Denmark
    11 UK
    15 Netherlands
    20 Macau
    21 Sweden
    23 Germany
    26 Georgia
    41 Mexico
    53 Albania
    59 Colombia
    63 Roumania
    64 France
    65 Saudi Arabia
    69 Madagascar
    74 Italy

    Anything strike people as, shall we say, somewhat contrived about this? I think, on the whole, I would feel a lot 'freer' in France than Mexico, Georgia or Colombia; in Italy than Saudi Arabia, Albania or Madagascar, and Germany than Macau. Or in the UK or Denmark than Hong Kong or Singapore.

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  • 172. At 11:49am on 07 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 163, seanspa

    As I am sure you already know, the term "big government" is often used in the USA to depict interventionist or controlling government. OSHA and MSHA are excellent agencies with very competent personnel, and there are laws that, in theory, should minimize the probability of accidents in the workplace, but the severity of those laws is, clearly, not enough to deter unscrupulous businessmen from cutting corners to increase profit margins.

    Massey, the mining company involved in the latest tragedy had over 600 safety citations in one year, most related to ventilation issues and poor roofing. I would have been a lot more impressed if the government had shut them down until they corrected the violations than hear about them after 25 people lost their lives as a result of management neglicence and corruption.

    State and local government do, indeed, have a role in minimizing problems like this and in helping the federal government enforce existing laws, but so do we, the citizens, and it is us that demonize government and clamor for less government. Under these circumstances, situations like this one will not only continue, they are bound to get worse.

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  • 173. At 11:50am on 07 Apr 2010, Mr Reality aka Serious Times wrote:

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

  • 174. At 12:20pm on 07 Apr 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Hi Squirrelist, re post 166.

    No doubt,given time you will be right,but I hope it will be a new mess & not involve cut backs to the NHS.Its a funny old world,when starting out,
    I had to suffer the consequences of not belonging to the unions,arriving at the loading bay with my lorry first but being sent to the back by union loaders.To say I disliked those people would be mild.But with my son a paramedic,its only the union that protects them Lads against poor managers throwing their new found power about & litigation from often aggressive patients.So I have come a full circular route to here.As for
    being a conservative with a small c I know there are many good people on
    both sides,& my side would not have launched the NHS.I know on many issues we will have to agree to disagree,but that does not mean I hold
    others with different views with any thing but respect.

    In this land of fading glory's please bring back the wicked tories.

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  • 175. At 1:37pm on 07 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "It's the Tories for me,
    It's tthe Tories for me,
    And then in five years
    It'll be a right mess you'll see."





    Sure, but hopefully your country won't be bankrupt then like Greece or Portugal or Spain are today and labor unions won't be able to bring down more major companies like they do British Airways today.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CAPITALISTS AT LEAST CREATE CAPITAL; SOCIALISTS ONLY POVERTY AND MISERY.

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  • 176. At 1:56pm on 07 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ref 150, powermeerkat

    "I suspect strip club owners may also remember the good old days when prominent righteous patrons contributed to their bottom line.."



    Saint Dominick, I suspect that days when a U.S. congressman could keep $70,000.00 of ill-gotten money in his fridge and upon the discovery be staunchly defended by members of the Black Caucus, and the days of badly stretched-face septuaginarian multimillioner pretending standing for something new and fresh for a change - will be over come November.


    P.S. During my latest visit to Cuba I have found out that many Cubans who haven't managed to escape to Florida yet would love to see strip joints and casinos on this diabetic island again, since it would be a major improvement over the present day inefficiently run Castros' brothel. The same, btw. goes for many Venezuelans.

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  • 177. At 3:44pm on 07 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    171. At 10:15am on 07 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I see that according to The Heritage foundation the USA is no longer as 'free' as it was.

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

    Just to make a point - your 'free' refers to economics (not personal freedom) - but both should decline as we continue to follow the road/plan we're on!

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  • 178. At 4:08pm on 07 Apr 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    At 1:37pm on 07 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    CAPITALISTS AT LEAST CREATE CAPITAL; SOCIALISTS ONLY POVERTY AND MISERY
    **************************************

    On the other hand, the difference between socialists and capitalists is that capitalists only nationaise banks which have gone bust.

    When the banks are making money, they are private. When they start loosing, is up to everyone to pick up the bill.

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  • 179. At 4:21pm on 07 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 176, powermeerkat

    Corruption is, unfortunately, one of a handful of bipartisan attributes at all levels of government. If it becomes a litmus test in November we should not limit it to members of one political party, and we would have no choice but to vote for third party or unaffiliated candidates. Have you forgotten Sen. Stevens, Rep Cunningham, the dude that was chasing male pages through the halls of Congress, and the wonderful Gov. Sanford who no longer enjoyed his visits to Buenos Aires but used taxpayers money to pay for his little adventures...and is still in office?

    I often wonder how and why we end up with people like them in office, I guess it is to be expected, and we can always get rid of them when their unacceptable behavior becomes apparent...



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  • 180. At 4:41pm on 07 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#171), your link was to an Index of Economic Freedom. The Heritage Foudation being a conservative organization, a laissez faire economy would get the highest score. It is not at all surprising that Hong Kong would be ranked the highest.

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  • 181. At 4:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #177 "Just to make a point - your 'free' refers to economics (not personal freedom) - but both should decline as we continue to follow the road/plan we're on!"



    I don't want to scare anybody but I understand that our Commander-in-Chief is not going to stay in Prague; he's coming BACK!!!


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  • 182. At 4:58pm on 07 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #178

    "On the other hand, the difference between socialists and capitalists is that capitalists only nationaise banks which have gone bust."





    I don't mean to shock you, but Barack Husein Obama is not a capitalist;
    just the opposite: he's a LABOR LAWYER and a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER.

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  • 183. At 6:22pm on 07 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Re #182, that is so 2008.

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  • 184. At 6:55pm on 07 Apr 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    Re;182,

    Right. In that case would you care to explain who or what were the bankers, who while begging for the public bail-out, claimed that certain losing banks were 'too big to fail'?

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  • 185. At 7:14pm on 07 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 182, powermeerkat

    President Barack Hussein Obama graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, was a constitutional professor, and did work as a community organizer.

    I confess that I have trouble understanding why caring and working for the community we live in constitutes a blemish on our record, and even if it was true that he worked as a "Labor" lawyer, so what? Should organized labor be unrepresented? Why is that a problem?

    We hear a lot about trial lawyers and labor lawyers from conservatives, have you considered that these professionals are a reflection of our society and that, as such, half of them are Republicans? Well, I guess I know what the illuminating answer to that question is: Republican trial lawyers and labor lawyers are good, Democrats are bad, very bad!

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  • 186. At 7:23pm on 07 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
    And down will come Britain, England and all

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  • 187. At 7:31pm on 07 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 184, Isenhorn

    Might as well include the name of the President and Treasury secretary that proposed, signed, and spent most of the TARP money to bailout the failed banks...

    Clue: it wasn't Barack Hussein Obama.

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  • 188. At 9:43pm on 07 Apr 2010, d_m wrote:

    #187
    Don't confuse him with facts.

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  • 189. At 06:18am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #184

    Bankers who presented to shareholders and investors fraudulent records in order to hide the real condition of their banks were most certainly not bona fide capitalists but simply crooks.

    Just like those who decided that behemots on the order of General Motors had to be bailed out were most certainly no free-marketeers.

    ["free" in business means free to succeed, but also free to fail].


    And if they forced working stiffs to pay for bail-outs of obvious financial failures, spreading pain equally, they were not capitalists, but SOCIALISTS.



    P.S. I agree [re #183] that BHO USED to be a labor lawyer and a community organizer.

    Now he's simply a salesman.

    At the moment successfully selling American defence store.

    [read: nuclear deterrent].

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  • 190. At 06:23am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #185

    SD, to quote the Bard:

    "First, let's kill all the lawyers".


    And to paraphrase Gertrude Stein:

    A tort reform, is a tort reform, is a tort reform.

    [Not that Barack Husein is going to preside over or even push for one.]

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  • 191. At 06:31am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re social justice reforms...


    Look no further than Zimbabwe.

    And South Africa which is fast becoming another Zimbabwe.

    And Venezuela which is fast becoming another Cuba.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAAAAAD"

    ["Comrade Napoleon is always right."]

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  • 192. At 09:06am on 08 Apr 2010, d_m wrote:

    Ref 189, 190, 191
    The capitalists who misled their shareholders were crooks, I agree, but they were crooked capitalists. I doubt Mr. Bush, or anyone in his administration, including Treasury Secretary Paulson, considered themselves socialists because they did what they believed needed to be done to avoid financial collapse.
    As for the 'working stiffs' who paid for it, your characterization seems a bit harsh. Apparently you're not a working stiff.
    Your comments about the president say more about you than they do Mr. Obama. Ad hominem attacks are never a good way of making a point.
    When it comes to Zimbabwe, surely you don't believe that's a product of social justice reform. If they were socialists, then they were corrupt socialists, which by your reasoning makes them crooks, or perhaps despots, but not socialists.

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  • 193. At 10:00am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #192

    1. I don't know why pointing out that Mr. Obama used to be a labor lawyer and a community organizer constitutes a ad hominem argument.


    Surely both were (still are?) noble professions/occupations? :)


    2. That Mr. Obama is highly incompetent as a Commander--on-Chief is hardly a ad personam remark; his incompetence in military matters (both tactically and strategically) is a matter of public record, and quite a few prominent members of his own party think him incompetent in that critically impportant (national security) area.


    3. It's interesting that Socialist ideologues always claim that socialists who destroyed many a country and even committed veritable genocides (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim dynasty, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, Castro, Milosevich, etc.) were not "true" socialists.

    So let me ask you: WHO are the true socialist leaders? Name them!


    4. There is not a single country ever run by socialists which has not ended up as an unmitigated disaster (both: economically and socially):
    from Albania to Vietnam.

    [ please do not intentionally confuse social-DEMOCRATS with socialists, when looking for examples of the latter folks' successes.]

    5. If every American taxpayer (even in the lowest tax bracket) hasn't been been paying for above mentioned bailouts (whether they like it or not), who has?

    Pray, tell.







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  • 194. At 10:24am on 08 Apr 2010, U14414002 wrote:

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

  • 195. At 11:16am on 08 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 193 powermeerkat wrote:

    "2. That Mr. Obama is highly incompetent as a Commander--on-Chief is hardly a ad personam remark; his incompetence in military matters (both tactically and strategically) is a matter of public record, and quite a few prominent members of his own party think him incompetent in that critically impportant (national security) area."

    It's not a 'matter of public record' - it's a matter of opinion - yours.

    These "quite a few prominent members of his own party" - perhaps you could name them and indicate exactly what they have said to justify your claim? Links would be nice.

    "Competence" seems to me to be a relative term. Who exactly is it that you consider is competent in military matters compared to Obama? GWB? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Palin?

    "3. It's interesting that Socialist ideologues always claim that socialists who destroyed many a country and even committed veritable genocides (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim dynasty, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, Castro, Milosevich, etc.) were not "true" socialists."/So let me ask you: WHO are the true socialist leaders? Name them!/ [ please do not intentionally confuse social-DEMOCRATS with socialists, when looking for examples of the latter folks' successes.]"

    You don't specify who these so-called "Socialist ideologues" are, or indeed whether any of them post here, so it's hard to assess whether your assertion as to what they 'always claim' is true.

    Personally I think it is interesting that right wingers always claim that right wing dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini or Franco "who destroyed many a country and even committed veritable genocides" were not "true" right wingers. As I recall, this is something that has happened on this Blog.

    As to Socialist leaders, it seems to me there is a certain problem of terminology. The people you refer to are/were generally communist dictators. As Wiki put it, "Modern social democrats also promote tax-funded welfare programs and regulation of markets; many, particularly in European welfare states, refer to themselves as socialists, despite holding pro-capitalist viewpoints, thus adding ambiguity to the meaning of the term "socialist"."

    In the UK, the Labour Party apparently deems itself socialist. Similarly, in France the Socialist Party has held power for considerable periods - eg c 14 years under Mitterand. I don't recall any genocides or total societal destruction in their terms of office...

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  • 196. At 11:56am on 08 Apr 2010, Blogs Test Ac wrote:

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

  • 197. At 11:56am on 08 Apr 2010, Blogs Test Ac wrote:

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

  • 198. At 12:12pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 189, powermeerkat

    I can think of many epithets to describe the character of former President George W. Bush, but socialist is certainly not one of them. He proposed and signed the TARP program to prevent the collapse of our financial sector and, in that regard, he deserves praise rather than criticism. The irony is that right wing Republicans are so embarrassed by his decision that they don't hesitate to blame President Obama for what their hero did.

    The main factor for the near collapse of our banking industry was not so much that it was - and is - headed by greedy and corrupt individuals but that deregulation allowed them to invest in risky areas such as the derivatives market with predictable results. Hopefully President Obama will pursue robust financial reform to prevent a repeat of what we are still trying to overcome.

    Many former Presidents had little or no experience in military strategy or tactics, that's why they all relied on the advice of senior Pentagon officers and field commanders. President Obama is not an exception and is following the advice given by Secretary Gates, Gen Patreaus and other senior officers.

    In reality, the latest announcement regarding nuclear arms reductions and the usage of the remaining arsenal is a timid departure from what former President George H. W. Bush said and did when he signed the START, and what former President Clinton did when he expanded on it. The fact that President Obama excludes non-NPT members from nuclear retaliation is unprecedented inasmuch as he explicitly announces intent instead of more traditional veiled threats such as "we reserve all options".

    President Obama is not disarming the USA, he is simply getting rid of obsolete nuclear weapons (Russia is doing the same), consistent with the terms of the START, and he explicitly acknowledged that we would use the remaining arsenal against Iran and North Korea if necessary.

    As I am sure you know, but may be reluctant to acknowledge, the USA will retain a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying the entire planet many times over. Don't confuse the idealistic goal of global nuclear disarmament with the practical goal of reducing the levels of nuclear arms. BTW, we are actively engaged in modernizing and improving the nuclear arsenal we are planning to keep, while we negotiate reductions of weapons that are no longer viable from a technical perspective.





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  • 199. At 12:20pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 193, powermeerkat

    It seems you are confusing communism with Western European style socialism. I think there is a huge difference between what the former Soviet Union and countries such as Cuba have done and the "social" programs put in place in Scandinavian countries, France and other places.

    Ensuring the citizenry has access to adequate healthcare and education, and putting in place effective regulation to prevent corporate abuses, is very different from the failed ideology that was put in practice in the former Soviet Union and remains in place in Cuba.

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  • 200. At 1:19pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Powermeerkat

    Are you insinuating that President Obama is a socialist and, if yes, why? While you are at it, would you mind giving us the edition of the Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx Communist Manifesto you read?

    I reckon it must be a rare literary jewel because using private insurance companies to administer healthcare and giving tax credits and subsidies to corporations and small businesses to make them profitable and encourage hiring are not exactly the goals those gentlemen had in mind...

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  • 201. At 1:23pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 195, John

    "Who exactly is it that you consider is competent in military matters compared to Obama? GWB? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Palin?"

    It is probably Ronnie whose Hollywood experience did wonders for his CIC qualifications and his ability to deal with the Lebanon disaster.

    The irony is that the only modern era US President with relevant military experience since Eisenhower was none other than the despised Jimmy carter!

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  • 202. At 2:26pm on 08 Apr 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Well I don't drop in as often as I used to , or as often as I would like too, but to tune into the same old circular arguments from meerkat is pretty depressing.


    Saint & John - kudos to you that you still have the patience to restate the obvious. My tolerance and patience for this time-wasting has been exhausted and I find myself slightly depressed that a site which has generated some great debate and comment over the past two years is now so routined highjacked by polemicists with no ability or desire to actually justify their remarks or to present coherent arguments for their opinions rather than simply spout unsubstantiated dogma.

    To those of you still prepared to argue the point, my very best wishes.

    Stu

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  • 203. At 3:07pm on 08 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 201 SaintDominick wrote:

    "The irony is that the only modern era US President with relevant military experience since Eisenhower was none other than the despised Jimmy carter!"

    I take it that by "relevant military experience" you mean a senior military command? If so I take your point - as I recall Carter was captain of a 'nucular' sub.

    In fairness, JFK, Nixon, Ford and Bush I also served in WW2. And don't forget that, if the Vietcong had ever tried to invade Texas, 'Dubya' was waiting for them...

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  • 204. At 5:12pm on 08 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    John_From_Dublin (#203) "I take it that by "relevant military experience" you mean a senior military command? If so I take your point - as I recall Carter was captain of a 'nucular' sub."

    No, former president Carter was never commander of any Navy boat. He retired as a Lieutenant. He was Executive Officer on SSK-1, a diesel-electric boat, before studying nuclear engineering.

    http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/documents/jec/jcnavy.phtml

    High military command doesn't necessarily make a person a good president. Grant is one of our most revered generals, but is not considered a good president. Lincoln is one of our most revered presidents, and a wartime president, but he had no military experience beyond serving in his local militia.

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  • 205. At 5:26pm on 08 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#202), you have been missed here. I agree with your observation about the domination of this forum by polemicists. I have been looking at the UK election forum lately (Nick Robinson), and although the debate there is vigorous, it doesn't seem to be infected with the low-grade blather we so often see here. The European forum is similarly conducted on a higher plane than this one. I suppose that is just a reflection of American (sub)culture.

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  • 206. At 5:32pm on 08 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    203 J-i-D.

    On GHW Bush, more than in fairness, in WWII he was a naval aviator at the sharp edge when it was dangerous. He flew on 58 combat missions, and survived having his aircraft shot up and then having to ditch. He was subsequently CIA Director. Being CIA Director may not quite match Supreme Allied Commander, European Theater of Operations, but it's still pretty far up the tree.

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  • 207. At 6:48pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 203, John

    "I take it that by "relevant military experience" you mean a senior military command? If so I take your point - as I recall Carter was captain of a 'nucular' sub"

    No, I meant he graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis where cadets learn, among other things, military strategy and tactics. He also complemented his classroom studies with hands on experience in the NAVY.

    As GH1618 pointed out, having relevant military training and experience does not make a person a good Commander in Chief, and much less a good President. I was simply addressing a comment made by Powermeerkat about President Obama's alleged incompetence and lack of military experience.

    In my opinion, what we should expect from a President when it comes to foreign policy is a clear vision, good judgment, integrity and willingness to listen to the advice of experts. President Obama has been doing an acceptable job under very difficult circumstances.

    I deplore President Obama's decision to embrace many of his predecessor's foreign policy decisions but I understand that the realities of governing, the challenges we face from foes and competitors abroad, and the pressure our Presidents and members of Congress are under from the special interests that influence foreign and domestic policies in Washington often contribute to decisions that differ from their idealistic goals and expectations.

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  • 208. At 6:58pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 206, InterestedForeigner

    I stand corrected. I forgot about former President George H. W. Bush's military experience.

    Interestingly, both he and Jimmy Carter were one term Presidents...

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  • 209. At 7:57pm on 08 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    SaintDominick (#207) "In my opinion, what we should expect from a President when it comes to foreign policy is a clear vision, good judgment, integrity and willingness to listen to the advice of experts. President Obama has been doing an acceptable job under very difficult circumstances."

    I agree with that summary of expectations of a president, but would say that President Obama is doing a very good job.

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  • 210. At 10:04pm on 08 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #207 and 209

    Obama incomptence is evident from showing disrespect to two close allies the U.K and Israel
    to appeasing the Arab nation most of whom have done nothing in the peace process.

    Domesticly breaking the promise of bipartsianship, plan to nominate an idealouge who believes in reperations, putting a union thug on the NLRB.

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  • 211. At 10:32pm on 08 Apr 2010, U14414860 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 212. At 11:03pm on 08 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 210

    You have obviously overdosed on chocolate over the Easter holiday. Give us all a break MK - go and lie down until your hyper-active behaviour settles down. And please learn to use a spell check. You really are a very silly person.

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  • 213. At 00:33am on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #212
    amaryr wrote:
    Ref 210

    You have obviously overdosed on chocolate over the Easter holiday. Give us all a break MK - go and lie down until your hyper-active behaviour settles down. And please learn to use a spell check. You really are a very silly person.
    __________

    One can never overdose on chocholate but it would be a good way to go.

    sorry but since Obama has been shown to be an absolute disaster as President and a liar to boot, there is no reason for him not to be called on it.

    Obama is proof that a Harvard degree is no proof of being intelligent or qualified.

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  • 214. At 01:35am on 09 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    208. At 6:58pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "I stand corrected. I forgot about former President George H. W. Bush's military experience.

    Interestingly, both he and Jimmy Carter were one term Presidents..."

    __________

    True enough.

    Both of them were (and are) good men, but disappointing Presidents.

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  • 215. At 02:16am on 09 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    207. At 6:48pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "As GH1618 pointed out, having relevant military training and experience does not make a person a good Commander in Chief, and much less a good President."

    __________

    Sad, but true. Washington was a revered military leader, and a good President. Jackson was fair to good. Tyler was poor. Taylor was only in office a short time, but didn't impress; Grant was a great general but a very poor President; Eisenhower was fair to good.

    Quite a mixed record.

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  • 216. At 02:21am on 09 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    207. At 6:48pm on 08 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "I was simply addressing a comment made by Powermeerkat about President Obama's alleged incompetence and lack of military experience."

    ----------

    To support your point, note that President Obama has exactly the same amount of military training and leadership experience as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, FDR (who was appointed under-secretary of the Navy without ever having served?), Taft, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

    But that didn't stop Lincoln and FDR from being great wartime leaders.

    Despite a lack of any formal military training Benjamin Franklin was nonetheless the choice of the troops to lead Pennsylvania's militia in the French & Indian wars - and seems to have been passably effective at it, too.

    -----------

    Many people, including the sometime commanding general of the Army of the Potomac and Presidential candidate, doubted Lincoln's ability, and mocked him for his apparent lack of knowledge and incompetence in military affairs. And yet for uncertain beginnings he developed a good practical understanding of strategy and was an effective wartime leader.

    Eventually he found a general, a Westerner like himself, with whom he saw eye to eye, and who understood what Lincoln meant when he suggested that the Northern Armies work like two men skinning a pig - one holds, and the other skins.

    President Obama seems to have a similar grasp of strategy. He is a bright guy. He understands the basic principles, and concentrates on getting the fundamentals right. He deals with big issues. He leaves the implementation to those who have the specialized training. Usually, those are considered pretty good leadership traits.

    I would also say he seems to have growing confidence. He has survived his rookie season, and now he looks and carries himself like a first string starter coming into his own.

    ----------

    Like Gary, (and given the savage predictions of both the primary and Presidential campaigns), I think President Obama has significantly exceeded expectations in this policy area.

    I am now waiting for Marcus to weigh in and explain why President Obama is a bumbler, a nincompoop and a traitor ...

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  • 217. At 02:39am on 09 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    Oh dear! I go away for a few days and a blog entry about Easter eggs has descended into Red-baiting. It must be the red dye number 2 on the eggs.

    I'm amused by the BBC's polite statement "This comment is awaiting moderation." And the rest of us are awaiting some moderation from certain commenters too.

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  • 218. At 04:37am on 09 Apr 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    213. At 00:33am on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    "Obama is proof that a Harvard degree is no proof of being intelligent or qualified."
    _________________________

    LOL! His qualifications will have to be demonstrated by his record, of which about 70% remains to be seen. Obama was the top of the top of Harvard law graduates - President of H. Law Review is the traditional pinnacle of American academic success. Which prominent Republicans can claim as much today?

    Unfortunately, you are showing all the credibility of a Republican of the 21st century. Your mud just doesn't stick.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 219. At 05:19am on 09 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    202. At 2:26pm on 08 Apr 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "Well I don't drop in as often as I used to , or as often as I would like too, but to tune into the same old circular arguments . . ."

    Ever diminishing circular ones. . .that end up. . .there's a phrase for that I'd like to use only it'd be Scunthorped.

    And we're back to people wanting presidents who're generals again?

    The conversation (well, monologue, probably) around some people's dinner tables (circular, obviously, or very, very square) must be incredibly boring.

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  • 220. At 05:26am on 09 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I was aware, btw, that the Heritage Foundation's rankings put business 'freedom' and the right to make piles of money with as little interference as possible first and people's rights last.

    I was hinting that that's the sort of attitude that gets you mining disasters. And that it leads to incongruities and absurdities of the sort that have bedevilled US foreign policy and the regimes it has tacitly or covertly supported for generations and while it's accepted, will probably continue to.

    Only I was being too subtle, by the look of it.

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  • 221. At 11:36am on 09 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 210 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Obama (sic) incomptence (sic) is evident from showing disrespect to two close allies the U.K (sic) and Israel
    to appeasing the Arab nation (sic) most of whom have done nothing in the peace process.

    Domesticly (sic) breaking the promise of bipartsianship (sic), plan to nominate an idealouge (sic) who believes in reperations (sic), putting a union thug on the NLRB"

    Ho Hum. The same old same old. The same old tedious bigoted neocon tripe

    Where to start?

    Having 350% more spelling blunders than sentences - that's good going even for MK, who points out elsewhere how unintelligent Obama is...

    Essentially, since English clearly isn't his first language [or 2nd, 3rd, 4th...] he claims that Obama is 'incompetent', not because Obama doesn't achieve Obama's aims, but because Obama doesn't achieve MK's neocon agenda. [No doubt he'll now tell us that Obama is also biased because he doesn't claim, like MK, that the BBC is biased and Fox is the most objective station in the US...]

    He claims Obama has disrespected the UK. Strange - I was born and brought up there, visit frequently, watch their TV, read their papers [and blogs] - I don't recall any Brits complaining about this.

    And most rational people realise that in fact it was Israel who disrespected the US, not vice versa.

    [No doubt Obama is now crestfallen - 'suppose Israel withdraws the billions in aid they send us every year - whatever shall we do?’...]

    Also interesting that, in the previous posting, MK explains why, according to MK "logic", liberal journalists are 'haters' [a favourite word of MK's] – apparently they "engage in daily name calling and lies". This from the person who calls some unnamed new member of his Hate List a "union thug".

    You couldn't make this up.

    And I can't really see why anyone should ever want to....

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  • 222. At 11:41am on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 218, KScurmudgeon

    "Which prominent Republicans can claim as much today?"

    Judging by their recent choices it is apparent that the GOP definition of intellectual acumen is mediocrity.

    Tim, the Easter egg theme was largely respected during Easter week. Mark's extended vacation forced some of us to meander into murkier waters...

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  • 223. At 11:50am on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 200, squirrelist

    I agree. On the issue of mine safety I think it is also important to note that many miners are fearful of reporting violations or voicing concern because of fear of being fired or ostracized by their fellow workers. They, literally, prefer to risk their lives than risk losing their jobs.

    The abuses and total disregard of safety in that sector of our economy are appalling and an embarrassment to our country. Companies like Massey should be shut down and kept closed until all major safety violations are corrected. Instead, they are allowed to operate with predictable results.

    The main problem on this subject is not lack of safety policy or knowhow, but reluctance to enforce those policies and apply our expertise because of fear of public - and political - backlash.

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  • 224. At 2:29pm on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #222
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 218, KScurmudgeon

    "Which prominent Republicans can claim as much today?"

    Judging by their recent choices it is apparent that the GOP definition of intellectual acumen is mediocrity.

    Tim, the Easter egg theme was largely respected during Easter week. Mark's extended vacation forced some of us to meander into murkier waters...

    ______________

    Well first I would argue that Gingrich or Romney are intellectually superior to Obama as well as being more pragmatic about the world and the economy.

    From Barack's pitiful performance, one should not be casting stones at Sarah Palin. she would be doing a better job than Obama.

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  • 225. At 2:45pm on 09 Apr 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #202 & #205

    Goodness gracious!
    (Doffing cloth cap & slowly backing away!)

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  • 226. At 3:53pm on 09 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 224 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Well first I would argue that Gingrich or Romney are intellectually superior to Obama as well as being more pragmatic about the world and the economy.

    From Barack's pitiful performance, one should not be casting stones at Sarah Palin. she would be doing a better job than Obama."

    "Well first I would argue..."

    Well - no you wouldn't.

    Oxford Concise, 'Argue', 'Give reasons or cite evidence in support of something'.

    Granted, in MagicLand it may be defined differently eg 'repeat extreme right wing prejudices ad nauseam in the vain hope that one may finally convince someone besides oneself'.

    So Magic, fingers in ears, and keep baaing 'Reps gooood, Dems baaaaad, Israel gooood, A-rabs baaaaad, Palin gooood, Obama baaaaad, Fox/Rush/Beck/Coulter gooood, BBC baaaaad' etc, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

    [Just a thought - per MK, Obama’s performance is 'pitiful'. Yet he gets health reform through, something that has defeated Presidents of both parties for c a century.

    Just think what he might achieve if he was any good.....]

    PS Magic – 3 whole more-or-less literate sentences. I’ll alert the media....

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  • 227. At 4:51pm on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Justice John Paul Stevens just announced his decision to retire. This sets the stage for another nasty nomination/confirmation battle ahead.

    The issue is not that President Obama may change the makeup of the Supreme Court, since Justice Stevens is probably the most liberal member of that august body and he is likely to be replaced by a centrist, but the fact that the timing of his decision denies the GOP the opportunity to replace ALL Justices with ultra-conservatives inclined to embrace the values they share.

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  • 228. At 4:58pm on 09 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Saint Dominick,

    I'm not suggesting anything.


    I'm merely stating that Barack Husein Obama is much less qualified to be our Commander in Chief even than Jimmy Carter was (if you can believe it).


    And both, a one-sided agreement he naively signed in Prague, and his commitment(expressis verbis) not to use nukes against any country which attacks us with chemical or, much worse, biological weapons suggests that he should be impeached for a dereliction of duty.

    [Not to mention his decision not to deploy any AMD system.]

    Ruining economy, increasing deficits or conducting costly social experiments is one thing. [U.S. can survive it for 2 more years]

    Endangering U.S. national security - is quite another.


    Make no mistake about it: Barack Husein shall not be allowed to do so.

    With impunity.

    And he won't be.

    You can take it to the bank.

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  • 229. At 5:26pm on 09 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #227

    Judging by activist, quota-prone Sotomayor, Barack Husein's next nominee is NOT going to be a centrist.

    Wanna bet?

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  • 230. At 6:16pm on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 229, powermeerkat

    What is the point of betting on an issue that Republicans will demonize and oppose regardless of who is nominated. What I am willing to bet is that whomever replaces Justice Stevens will not enjoy the 98-0 vote that the incumbent had in the Senate when he was nominated by former President Gerald Ford.

    Considering the stated GOP strategy of using fear, deceit and obstruction to win in November and 2012, betting against their most cherished values would be ridiculous.

    On the issue of President Obama endangering the security of the USA, don't kid yourself. We have enough conventional firepower to obliterate whomever dares attack us with bio-chemical or any other weapons...and the world is well aware of that. It is only people consumed by paranoidal fear, political opportunists, and those that love to portray the USA as the underdog fighting against evil and overwhelming forces that like to believe we are in imminent danger of being destroyed by nefarious foreigners intent in doing us harm.

    When it comes to military power we are second to none, and President Obama and his national security team are not doing anything to undermine that.

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  • 231. At 7:12pm on 09 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "When it comes to military power we are second to none, and President Obama and his national security team are not doing anything to undermine that."



    That's a lie.

    And no, SD, I'm not suggesting that youre lying; merely that you're badly misinformed.

    I know that you'd like Mubarack Husein and his Democrats to succeed.

    But there are people for whom it's more important that United States succeed and prevail. [Presidents and administrations come and go]


    And at the rate BHO and his Administration are going those 2 objectives seem to diverge more and more.

    And Barack Husein begins to remind me of a certain peanut farmer who didn't react to Soviet interventions in Angola and Mozambik thus emboldening Moscow into an invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

    With still felt, rather painful consequences.

    [Not to mention that the poor sucker 'lost' Iran. Not a small thing.]

    I know, I know that BHO tries to demonstrate that he hasn't got the Nobel peace prize for nothing. [Like Yassir Arafat]

    The problem is that he was not elected by a socialist Norwegian Parliament.

    And it won't be Norwegian Parliament which may yet to impeach him next year. If he continues to give away our security store.

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  • 232. At 7:31pm on 09 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 216 Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "I am now waiting for Marcus to weigh in and explain why President Obama is a bumbler, a nincompoop and a traitor ..."

    I contacted Marcus and it appears he's not around at the moment. He left this message:

    "Hi. I'm not available just at the moment. I'll deal with your request on my return. Or, if the matter is urgent, please contact my colleagues Mr Kat or Mr Kirin, who will be happy to cater for all your rightwing anti-Obama ranting needs."

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  • 233. At 7:50pm on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 231, powermeerkat

    Who exactly do you think is planning to attack the USA? Russia? China? Iran? Grenada?

    I got news for you, Russia and China are too busy improving the standard of living of their citizens and strengthening their industrial might to worry about invasions or crusades. They, especially China, are doing very well and making tremendous inroads on the world stage without firing a shot, why should they resort to such a futile and absurd option?

    The regime in Iran is too busy trying to stay in power, and while it may be true that Grenadian coconuts and guava may give some of us a case of indigestion a healthy dose of Cuba Libre would take care of that without further problems.

    Our NAVY dominates the oceans to such an extent that it makes the probability of a military strike against us negligible. US air force bases are scattered throughout the world ready and capable of striking anyone that shows the slightest intention of threatening our security, and judging by the effectiveness of our blitzkrieg in Iraq I doubt anyone will mess with our ground forces anytime soon.

    I realize that maintaining a climate of fear and the chimera of imminent attacks against the USA is vital to the preservation of our out of control DoD budgets and the pursuit of our foreign adventures, but do we really have to feed all this garbage to each other? Who exactly are you trying to convince with your allegations of endangerment and treason?

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  • 234. At 7:58pm on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #227
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Justice John Paul Stevens just announced his decision to retire. This sets the stage for another nasty nomination/confirmation battle ahead.

    The issue is not that President Obama may change the makeup of the Supreme Court, since Justice Stevens is probably the most liberal member of that august body and he is likely to be replaced by a centrist, but the fact that the timing of his decision denies the GOP the opportunity to replace ALL Justices with ultra-conservatives inclined to embrace the values they share.


    ___________________

    Well first Obama is expected to nominate Gordan Liu to the 9th circut he is way out of the mainstream even compared to Stevens or Ginsburgh.
    Obama has no credit with the republicans by his recent legislative actions and manipulations.

    The only advanatage he has is that Republicans have been far more faithful on advice and consent than Dems. they never borked a nominee in recent memory

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  • 235. At 9:22pm on 09 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "The only advanatage he has is that Republicans have been far more faithful on advice and consent than Dems. they never borked a nominee in recent memory. (from post #234)

    The sample size for nominees by Democratic presidents is too small to be significant. You have to look back to Abe Fortas, nominated by President Johnson, to find a rejection. President Carter made no nominations. President Clinton nominated Ruth Ginsburg and Steven Breyer, both confirmed because they were highly qualified and relatively uncontroversial. Sotomayor, nominated by Obama, was controversial, but there was no way that the Republicans could have shot that one down with a minority in the Senate. Had they been able to defeat that nomination, they would have lost the few Hispanic voters they have.

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  • 236. At 9:46pm on 09 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #233


    1.I was referring specifically to Barack Husein giving a public assurance to friend and foe (mostly foe) that U.S., which does not have any chemical or biological weapons, will not use its nuclear force to realiate for a chemical or biological attack on its soil.



    2. I was referring specifically to Barack Husein stating publicly that U.S. will not develop any new nuclear weapons.

    [which is not the same as mass producing, let alone deploying them]


    3. I was refering to Barack Husein deploying troops to specific theaters of operation (e.g. Afghanistan) and at the same time announcing unrealistic but firm dates for their withdrawal, thus undermining their missions and giving comfort to U.S. enemies.

    4. I was referring to Barack Hussein's refusal to deploy working elements of AMD in Central Europe, just to appease his newly discovered friend in the Krelin. Antagonizing in the process U.S.' central European allies who now question U,.s.'s commitments and wonder whether they should't make other security arrangements with more reliable partners.

    5. I was referring to Barack Husein's decision to deprive U.S. of a heavy space lift capability, which is crucial to this country's national security.

    What next?

    Barack Husein is going to announce to the world (which is not dominated by boy-scouts) an abandonment of the U.S. launch-on-warning policy?

    Scrap bunker-busters?

    I'm sorry but I don't want to continue for I start to feel sick.

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  • 237. At 9:57pm on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #235
    GH1618 wrote:
    "The only advanatage he has is that Republicans have been far more faithful on advice and consent than Dems. they never borked a nominee in recent memory. (from post #234)

    The sample size for nominees by Democratic presidents is too small to be significant. You have to look back to Abe Fortas, nominated by President Johnson, to find a rejection. President Carter made no nominations. President Clinton nominated Ruth Ginsburg and Steven Breyer, both confirmed because they were highly qualified and relatively uncontroversial. Sotomayor, nominated by Obama, was controversial, but there was no way that the Republicans could have shot that one down with a minority in the Senate. Had they been able to defeat that nomination, they would have lost the few Hispanic voters they have.

    ________________

    Ginsburg was controversal she was a former ACLU lawyer. Bork was highly qualified but was smeared by the despicable Ted Kennedy

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  • 238. At 10:40pm on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 236, powermeerkat

    Your concerns reflect those expressed by opponents of the START since it was originally announced and signed by former President George H. W. Bush. Nuclear proliferation, including the expansion of our huge nuclear arsenal without a real or even remote threat to our security does not make sense.

    I'll repeat the question I asked in my earlier post on this issue, which country do you think poses an imminent threat to our national security to the point that we should abandon the START treaty and resume development of more lethal nuclear weapons and delivery systems to defend ourselves against?

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  • 239. At 10:44pm on 09 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    236. At 9:46pm on 09 Apr 2010, powermeerkat

    Re #233

    __________

    You seem to think that national defense is free, that we can have whatever we want without regard to the health of the underlying economy.

    "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy was a course text at Annapolis for many years. You could do worse than to read it.

    What you've missed is that 40 - 50 years of substandard education, and that same half century of unbridled expansion of consumer credit have undermined national security far more than any of the items on your list ever will do.

    And then there has been thirty years of irresponsibility in US politics - the gerrymandering of congressional districts, the inability to do anything responsible about campaign financing; the self-indulgent polarization over abortion, which has so poisoned the legislature it pre-empts rational bi-partisan efforts to address America's pressing financial problems. The damage that this has done to America's national security has been very great.

    You can't be the world's largest debtor nation, hooked on cheap credit, and expect it not to affect your national security.

    You can't tolerate national sclerosis in the legislative bodies of the state, and tolerate the politicization of Supreme Court appointments over the obsessive single issue of abortion, and not expect it, eventually, to undermine the economy, and therefor national security.

    This is the true cost of the thirty year arc of debasement of the Republican Party, the thirty year embrace of ignorance by the Republican Party, from Reagan to Junior Bush.

    And if you think America has national security problems now?

    ... Just wait until the big bulge of the baby boomers start to really draw down on Social Security and Medicare.

    ----------

    For example, while you moan about nuclear weapons, just think how many times thay have been deployed in the last 65 years. Did 22,000 of the things really do a much more effective job than 2000?

    Now think how many times the US Navy or the Royal Navy have deployed their Carriers to project power far away. The US Navy carrier groups have been the supreme mechanism of world-wide strategic force projection since 1942. They are used all the time.

    But when social security goes bust, how many Carrier Groups do you think America is going to be able to afford?

    ----------

    No, if America wants to improve it national security situation, the first place to start is by reining in irresponsible lending and spending practices. It means shifting the balance of taxation further away from income, and more toward consumption, so that people save more and consume less.

    The next step is to realize that the age of retirement is going to have to rise. The Germans have raised it back to 67. The longer we wait, the more it is going to have to rise. If it were to rise 3 months per year, for the next eighteen years, to level-off at 68, maybe the system won't go bust.

    There has been a great deal of intellectual dishonesty on these points up to now.


    Stop carping about President Obama.
    Start addressing the real national security challenges that face America:

    Inadequate education in an increasingly innovation and knowledge based world;

    Unsustainable government and personal debt;

    Unsustainable trade balance;

    The demographically driven financial steamroller of baby boomer aging.

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  • 240. At 11:45pm on 09 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 239, InterestedForeigner

    Unfortunately, solving the problems you highlighted requires true fiscal and social conservatism, which are conspicuous by their absence.

    What passes for conservatism in the USA is limited to advocating lower taxes without accompanying reductions in services; defending a fetus right to live while supporting the death penalty; pushing for reductions in social programs without considering the consequences; pushing for more "defense" spending while opposing anything that may benefit the average American; criticizing the fact that half of our workers don't pay federal taxes because their earnings are below what the government considers minimal income to support a family or an individual while voicing outrage over the fact that millionaires may have to pay higher taxes to fund our underfunded social programs; calling for energy independence while refusing to give up our gas guzzlers; calling ourselves patriots while we allow corporations to destroy our environment; and States slashing their education budgets to fiscal problems while giving tax breaks to big business to the point that they often don't have any tax liability.


    Our worst enemy is not going to come from abroad, it is us.

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  • 241. At 01:52am on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    So very true, St.D.

    All of these problems can be solved by the collective efforts of men and women of goodwill, acting with self-discipline, working together for the common good.

    But we live in the society of instant gratification; the Peter Pan society that never wants to grow up; the most wasteful, selfish, self-indulgent society in the history of the planet.

    "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

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  • 242. At 02:05am on 10 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Ginsburg was controversial she was a former ACLU lawyer." (from MagicKirin at 237)

    Ginsburg was confirmed by a vote of ninety-six to three; Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of sixty-eight to thirty-one.

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  • 243. At 02:36am on 10 Apr 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 242 CH1618-

    "Ginsburg was confirmed by a vote of ninety-six to three; Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of sixty-eight to thirty-one."

    That may be. But in the Multiple States of Amerikirin, Ginsburg was a controversial choice.

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  • 244. At 07:34am on 10 Apr 2010, d_m wrote:

    #239 IF

    A thoughtful post. Thank you.

    Unfortunately, attitudes like conservative or liberal, in my opinion, are probably genetic in origin and therefore not likely to be easily changed, if at all. An interesting study I read recently found that college students could, with significant accuracy, tell whether a person was conservative or liberal just by looking at their photograph.

    Probably sounds crazy, it mostly does to me, but the older I get the more convinced I beocme that there is a genetic component to basic human attitudes.

    I not sure whether that's depressing or encouraging.

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  • 245. At 09:33am on 10 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #238

    Saint Dominick.

    Would you care to respond to 5 specific points I've made in #233?


    None of which, incidentally, pertained to an old or new START Treaty.

    Or suggested a need for an expansion (numerical enlargement) of U.S. nuclear arsenal.


    Please, do me a favor, and re-read them.

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  • 246. At 09:48am on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #242 and 243:

    You miss the point, the Republican don't abuse advice and consent on judicial nominees the way Dems do.
    Robert Bork who opposed Roe on legal grounds, he felt it was a state not a federal decision was a brillant legal scholar and should have been confirmed.

    ref #243 In mutiple name's world Obama is a saint.

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  • 247. At 10:13am on 10 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 239 IF

    1. I've adressed an issue of poor education as a national security threat, publicly, first time over 30 years ago. Got nowhere, although if memory serves illustrious and enlightened Democrats, including brilliant Jimmy Carter, were in power then.

    So don't preach to me: convince American Teachers Union [nope they are usually not members of Tea Party: more like Acorn, La Raza and Move.org]


    2.Re SS...

    If I recall it was G.W. Bush who tried to put Social Security on a road to solvency. And yet, even after he modified and significantly curtailed his quite reasonable proposals - he got nowhere.

    Do you happen to recall who condemned and blocked those modest efforts?

    And which party's leading politicians were their strongest opponents in U.S. Congress?


    3. Although I am not a Republican I've duly noticed that you consider the Republican Party a greater threat to U.S. national security than China, Iran, North Korea, Iran or Russia, not to mention al-Qaida and a couple of similar outfits trying to obtain WMDs by hook and by crook.

    Perhaps NSC's experts should prominently include this threat in their strategic position papers. As well as the president's Daily Briefers in their morning updates.

    ["First let's kill all the Republicans!" :)]


    4. All you wrote, however important and deserving of an extensive thoughful debate, does not invalidate any concerns I've raised in post #236, let alone address them.

    Moreover, even if all your suggestions were implemented it would still not resolve any of specific dangerous geostrategic blunders made so far by our current Commander-in-Chief. [may peace be upon him]


    regards,

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  • 248. At 10:16am on 10 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #245

    Correction: I was referring of course to 5 points made in #236.

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  • 249. At 12:24pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:


    Ref 245, powermeerkat

    1. During the speech in Prague last April, President Obama pledged to end cold war thinking. An idealistic and long overdue goal. Unfortunately, the USA retains a nuclear arsenal and delivery systems capable of destroying our planet many times over, as well as the option to "launch on warning". In effect, the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction remains the centerpiece of our foreign policy and military strategy.

    2. The U.S. agreed it will not start a nuclear war and would not retaliate using nuclear weapons against attacks from NPT members. In effect, President Obama pledged to use conventional forces and weapons first if attacked by NPT members, which does not forego the option of using them if things don't go well. Moreover, this issue is intended to serve as a carrot and stick for non-NPT members who would enjoy relative protection if they join the NPT, and risk annihilation if they don't.

    Regarding the issue of US response if we are attacked with biological or chemical weapons, the latest treaty states that there "remains a narrow range of contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons may still play a role in deterring a conventional, chemical or biological attack against the U.S. or its allies." This, in effect, says that the US can and would use nuclear weapons if it deems necessary.

    3. Regarding the claim that the U.S. will not develop new nuclear weapons. The latest treaty states "the stockpile will not be considered new if it is based on a previously tested — but never deployed — design". The language used in the agreement leaves the door opened for the USA to develop the 25 nuclear warhead types that have been tested, but not developed, since they are not "new".

    4. The new document keeps in place a declaration from the Bush era that says the U.S. "will hold fully accountable" any state that "supports or enables" terrorists in their mission to use weapons of mass destruction. This statement implies the USA could and would use nuclear weapons against any country that gives a nuclear weapon or weapons-grade material to terrorists.

    Since you, clearly, object to the timid concessions made by President Obama I think it is fair to assume that you are concerned about the probability of an attack against the USA and the fact that this agreement may impair our ability to retaliate in kind. Again, would you mind telling us which country do you believe poses a threat to the national security of the USA?

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  • 250. At 12:55pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 236, powermeerkat

    "3. I was refering to Barack Husein deploying troops to specific theaters of operation (e.g. Afghanistan) and at the same time announcing unrealistic but firm dates for their withdrawal, thus undermining their missions and giving comfort to U.S. enemies."

    Setting a withdrawal date from Afghanistan does not undermine the effectiveness of our troops in that theater of operation in any way. It simply puts pressure on President Karzai to get ready to defend his country and keep the Taliban out of power...if that's what he wants. We went there for a specific reason: to destroy the Al Qaeda training camps, to kill them or expel them from that country, and to remove the Taliban from power because of their unwillingness or inability to expel Al Qaeda from Afghanistan. Since our goals have been accomplished, why do we remain in that country?

    As for Al Qaeda, the whereabout of its leaders is anyone's guess. Obviously, if we knew where they are they would be no more.

    I am still waiting for an answer to the question I asked in post 233...

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  • 251. At 3:08pm on 10 Apr 2010, frayedcat wrote:

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

  • 252. At 4:05pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 247, powermeerkat

    "So don't preach to me: convince American Teachers Union [nope they are usually not members of Tea Party: more like Acorn, La Raza and Move.org"

    Why should teachers "join" ACORN, a company the specializes in canvassing votes for w2homever pays them, or La Raza, a Hispanic organization? Are you suggesting most American teachers are African-American or Hispanic? Darned, maybe I should tell a couple of my neighbors who I doubt are aware of their ethnicity!

    Since by inference you are suggesting President Obama enjoys the support of teachers, I would like to remind you that his advocacy of "merit pay" is opposed by the Teacher's Union and most teachers. In fact, he lost a lot of support when he reiterated that approach after stating his support for a "cradle to career" education system aimed at serving Americans in all segments of our society.

    The president's plan, which is consistent with what he promised during the presidential campaign, includes incentives for states to boost the quality of preschool, expands and improves financial aid programs for higher education, and called on states to raise student achievement standards.

    The President's plan will also increase the number of school districts that benefit from the federal program that supports performance pay for teachers. Obviously, the Teacher's union and most teachers are very hostile to the idea.

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  • 253. At 5:17pm on 10 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    146. squirrelist,

    You don't have to be quite so precious about things. This is not a private left wing club but an open forum and people who might want to counteract the uninformed and venomous anti-Israel bias that litters these BBC blogs are not "bullies."

    The Israelis are importing Thai workers? What a (BBC) revelation. Before the "Second Intifada" Palestinians would stream into Israel to work in jobs such as construction and agriculture and there was a stream in the opposite direction of Israelis going into Gaza to shop and meet friends, believe it or not. Palestinian terror changed all that, since the Israelis obviously had to seriously restrict entry from Gaza and wall/fence the West Bank off. In other words, the Palestinians are responsible for their own "misery."

    In the worst years of the "Second Intifada" Palestinian terrorists killed well over a thousand Israelis, 70% of them civilians. They were killed in restaurants and clubs, in drive by shootings and attacks on their homes. The Israeli government would have failed utterly in its duty if it had not employed a strategy to defend its citizens against this terror.

    But all you can see is Thai workers unjustly replacing the poor Palestinians. That's probably because you get your "information" from the left wing media.


    147. amaryr wrote:

    "I think the saddest thing of all is that this situation concerns a nation that has suffered more horror than any humans should ever have to endure. And still have not the empathy to realise they are inflicting similar injustices on other humans. And I speak who's family has a jewish background.

    No, you speak as someone who has no understanding of either the Holocaust or the Israeli-Arab conflict.

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  • 254. At 5:33pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #252

    The Teachers Union is always resistant to change and accountability. Look at how they close ranks on the Phoebe Prince Case.

    Teachers Unions are a Democratic constiuency like most labor unions. That is one of the reasons business and the Tea Party are against Obama policies.

    But I am more concerned with Obama or his administration ties to corrupt or racists groups like ACORN, La Raza and the Black Pantthers

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  • 255. At 6:32pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 254, Magic

    Considering all the accusations you have made in the past against African, African-American and Hispanic leaders, I am not surprised you are concerned with a group such as La Raza which defends the rights of Hispanics workers, especially farm workers, to earn equal pay, enjoy the same benefits as everyone else, work in a safe environment and have access to adequate education.

    The Tea Party is not against President Obama because he has the support of the Teachers Union, or organized labor in general (about half of the union members that worked for me before I retired were Republicans), they are against him because of his ethnicity, because they hate big government, because they don't want to pay for the services they get...and because they don't want certain people to have access to the services they enjoy.

    Like so many other popular movements it advocates changes without considering the consequences of what they are proposing. Calls for smaller government are great...until it is time to decide what to cut. Our largest federal government expenditures are entitlements and defense. Are you in favor of shutting down Social Security, MEDICARE and MEDICAID? Do you want to dismantle our military forces? If your concern is with smaller programs, which ones do you want to do away with? Air traffic controllers, CDC, the Weather Bureau, NASA, NOAA, CIA, the FBI?

    Instead of the facile claims that seem to be the mainstay of the Republican Party, why don't you enumerate the government departments or agencies you would shut down?

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  • 256. At 6:53pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #255
    , SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 254, Magic

    Considering all the accusations you have made in the past against African, African-American and Hispanic leaders, I am not surprised you are concerned with a group such as La Raza which defends the rights of Hispanics workers, especially farm workers, to earn equal pay, enjoy the same benefits as everyone else, work in a safe environment and have access to adequate education.

    The Tea Party is not against President Obama because he has the support of the Teachers Union, or organized labor in general (about half of the union members that worked for me before I retired were Republicans), they are against him because of his ethnicity, because they hate big government, because they don't want to pay for the services they get...and because they don't want certain people to have access to the services they enjoy.
    (His ethnicity is a cop out, John Edwards would be doing the same thing and getting the same response, La Raza supports illegal imigration which ost hispanic Americans oppose.)

    Like so many other popular movements it advocates changes without considering the consequences of what they are proposing. Calls for smaller government are great...until it is time to decide what to cut. Our largest federal government expenditures are entitlements and defense. Are you in favor of shutting down Social Security, MEDICARE and MEDICAID? Do you want to dismantle our military forces? If your concern is with smaller programs, which ones do you want to do away with? Air traffic controllers, CDC, the Weather Bureau, NASA, NOAA, CIA, the FBI?

    Instead of the facile claims that seem to be the mainstay of the Republican Party, why don't you enumerate the government departments or agencies you would shut down?


    (Lets start with a free market approach to goverment employees since almost all of them are overpaid. Eliminate the pensions retoroactvly, the private sector does not get these inflated ones, except for military or other life saving areas, cancel all health insurance.

    Here are areas that could be cut: the NLRB, Senate and House staffs, privitize almost evey non crucil service, eliminate PBS, eliminate PLA agreements call in all auto companies loans, eliminate all labor union agreements (take an example from RI fire all of them and rehire at reasonable salaries)

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  • 257. At 6:55pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #255

    You might also consider that I am a member of the most persecuted minority in the history of the world. One that is still more discrinated world wide than blacks or hispanics.

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  • 258. At 6:56pm on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    247. At 10:13am on 10 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "3. Although I am not a Republican I've duly noticed that you consider the Republican Party a greater threat to U.S. national security than China, Iran, North Korea, Iran or Russia, not to mention al-Qaida and a couple of similar outfits trying to obtain WMDs by hook and by crook."

    ___________

    The biggest threat to national security is the political inability of America to put its own house in order. If it fails to do that, it will simply not have the economic resources adequately to address foreign (or domestic) threats you enumerate.

    I rather like the Republican Party, and, in America, it would be the natural home of people like me.

    But look at what has happened to the Republican Party in my lifetime.



    (Longer posting to follow)
    ----------

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  • 259. At 6:58pm on 10 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    "The Tea Party .... are against him because of his ethnicity, because they hate big government, because they don't want to pay for the services they get...and because they don't want certain people to have access to the services they enjoy."

    What a tremendous heap of fertiliser, except perhaps for the perception that they don't like big government. Your assessment of the Tea party is about as accurate as your assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is, you see it through your "liberal" blinkers.

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  • 260. At 7:01pm on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Response to 247 continued…
    ---------

    The ability to project power and influence decisions overseas tends to rest on the underlying economic strength of the state. As far as I am aware, this is an eternal truth of power politics - it was true before the Greeks sailed for Troy, and it will be true long after we have returned to dust.

    There will always be those diplomats who can play a weak hand with very great skill. But even the most skilled diplomats cannot overcome basic structural weaknesses in the economy.

    It is therefore inescapable that, at some point, you either solve the underlying problems in the economy, or you lose your ability to influence, far less control, foreign events.

    But what happens if the body politic becomes so rancorous, so polarized, so sclerotic, that the legislative body cannot make difficult policy decisions in the best long term interests of the country?

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  • 261. At 7:04pm on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Response to 247 Continued
    ----------

    Which brings us to the religification (if that is a word) of the Republican Party), and the sequential distortion of the American body politic that has followed as a result. The debasement of the Republican Party, largely as a result of religification following Roe v. Wade, has had consequences far beyond the obsessive single interest of abortion.

    I lay much of the blame for this at the door of Ronald Reagan (who, welcomed overt religion into the party in a way unimaginable in the time of, say, Richard Nixon), and even more of it at the door of Junior Bush (who thought it was appropriate to hold prayer meetings in the Oval Office. Did the words "Separation of Church and State" ever cross his mind? What was he thinking? Duh.)

    What it means is that the nomination process for Republican candidates, (and to a lesser extent for Democratic candidates in the opposite direction) is very heavily skewed toward people who not merely hold non-moderate views, but worse, as might be expected of religion-based beliefs, hold those views dogmatically. It has driven out the Eisenhower Republicans, the Nixon Republicans - guys of moderate views, with the intelligence, experience, and judgment to make deals across the aisle: reasonable compromises that make sense.


    The Democrats have some of the same problems (arising, also, out of abortion, but also arising because something close to 10% of Democratic Party delegates were members of the teachers' unions), but, in my observation, not nearly to the same degree.

    In a system that only works on give-and-take, and requires senior party members to be able to set aside differences and work together, the effect of religification is both to reduce the number of effective deal makers, and to bring to the fore loud-mouthed, attention hogging, doctrinaire, rigid, un-yielding, simplistic, small-minded, buffoons, who then ridicule those who try to make compromises in the larger interests of the country as an whole. Religification is the driving force of polarization: If you don’t believe what I believe, you are damned anyway. It is alright to demonize my opponents. The language is strident and uncompromising. It is exclusive, not inclusive. The positions taken are over the top – all this screaming about this or that being unconstitutional; the charges that this politician or that politician has betrayed the country, or is a traitor or …,

    The basic level of mutual respect of politicians for their opponents as human beings disappears. After these outrageous personal attacks on character, how can compromise take place? Not only does the person attacked have a fair complaint, but for the attacker then to compromise with someone he has previously demonized as evil, if not sub-human, is then to appear as an hypocrite to his own supporters.

    All of it makes it even more difficult and dangerous for the few remaining moderates (in either party) to make the compromises that are necessary to make the machinery of government function. Thus sclerosis.

    And it spreads to other issues: we get prized asses who do things, for example, like threatening to hold up a huge and difficult health care compromise because of their views on abortion.

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  • 262. At 7:09pm on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Response to 247 continued...
    ----------

    The attempt to decapitate John McCain, a long time incumbent in a primary in his own state is a classic example of this nonsense.

    How is it that the Republican Party has reached such a low point in Arizona that this circus could happen? Is there no party discipline at all? Is there no sense of propriety? The disrespect that is being shown by McCain’s opponents for the nomination is outrageous. Who are these pygmies, and who, exactly, do these pygmies think they are?

    John McCain is a senior statesman in his party, and former Presidential candidate. And the Republican leadership have left him to be harried by this pack of jackals. A man of his age and seniority, with his level of experience and prominence in the party should not have to tolerate this. It is unseemly. It is inappropriate. It is a disgrace.

    It makes you wonder what kind of idiocy now rules in the counsels of the Republican Party.

    ----------

    Contrary to your supposition, I would like to see a Republican Party that is true to its roots - strong, vigorous, open-minded, and forward looking; the Party of Eisenhower, a party of commerce, led by guys of intelligence and ability and judgment.

    For that to happen, the Republican Party has to get rid of the idea that its candidates should have to pass some kind of religious-conservative litmus test to obtain the nomination. At present, while it may not be impossible to obtain a Republican nomination if you are in favour of (or even neutral on) abortion, or if you are an atheist, it's pretty difficult.

    If religious conservatives have a de facto veto power over the party list, of any party, then we're headed in the same direction as Iran, where religious conservatives get to decide who is allowed to stand as a candidate, and to disallow the rest. It is fundamentally offensive to the notion of democracy that religious groups should ever be able to exercise this power in a secular state.

    In essence, it is an attempt-by-other-means to get around the Constitutional separation of Church and State.

    ----------

    When I was a kid, there were Republicans and Democrats.
    There were “undecided” voters.
    I don’t recall much talk about “Independent” voters.

    So what changed?

    I think a big part of the answer is Religification.

    It seems to me that the voters who identify themselves as “Independents” are predominantly people who, in an earlier time would have considered themselves moderate Republicans. They are in the fat center of the spectrum. They are the people who are not into polarization. They are people who have above average education and above average incomes, and who are turned-off by “social Conservatism”, which seems largely to be a code-word term for the role of religion in the Republican Party.

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  • 263. At 7:23pm on 10 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Final portion of response to 247,

    ----------

    On the subject of polarization, it seems to me that those who take pleasure in coarsening public life, and in degrading it to its lowest elements, do their country a great disservice.

    ----------

    I have been reflecting on this today.
    It is a another gorgeous Spring day.

    When I was young, I recall our local candidate very well. I knew him.
    I know for certain that he liked and respected the man against whom he ran, even though they disagreed.
    Both men were public spirited, cared about their community, and cared deeply about public service.

    After our candidate was elected, he and another elected representative used to drive to work together. They were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and were in completely different parties. But they knew and liked each other well. That kind of friendship was not uncommon in those days.

    No one ever doubted that they were firm in their beliefs, or that they stood for principle. Yet they were the kind of men who could respect each other and work together without difficulty. The idea that any of them would have made the kind of personal attacks that are the currency of political campaigns today is inconceivable.

    I knew and admired them. They were very decent men, now both long dead. They will always be cherished in my heart. I am thankful for the privilege of having known them.

    To write here in defense of decency and civility in public life, and to seek to emulate their example, is perhaps in some small measure to repay them, and to honour their memories.



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  • 264. At 7:28pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 259, TrueToo

    "Your assessment of the Tea party is about as accurate as your assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is, you see it through your "liberal" blinkers."

    If the choice is between your Zionist blinkers and "liberal" blinkers I unhesitantly choose the latter.

    This "liberal" opposes abortion, does not believe pornography should be protected by freedom of speech, deplores adultery, is in favor of a balanced budget ammendment, would ban lobbying, does not believe agri-business should get subsidies for not producing to keep prices high, and is in favor of a third party representing the center.

    My "liberal" preferences on domestic issues include the need for stronger regulation, reducing our budget deficits by cutting all programs (with the exception of healthcare and education) by 10%. I would also raise the Social Security eligibility age to 67, would raise the SS contribution cap to $200K, and I would allow recipients of MEDICARE to shop around for drugs. I believe in gun control and oppose the death penalty.

    On foreign policy I believe reductions in our nuclear arsenal are long overdue, but I believe our conventional forces should remain strong and capable of defenting our country and our interests. I think we should get out of Iraq by the end of this year, should close the Guantanamo prison camp by the end of this year, and should leave Afghanistan by the end of next year. Above all, I believe the rights and sovereignty of other nations and people must be respected, and I believe war should be an option of last resort to be used only when the security of our country is in jeopardy.

    On the Israeli-Palestinian issue I would suspend all foreign aid and military aid to Israel until they agree and negotiate a two-state solution, and I would hold Abbas and Hamas responsible for controlling radical Palestinians. I would declare Jerusalem an international city under the protection of the UN.

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  • 265. At 7:39pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Refr 260, InterestedForeigner

    "The ability to project power and influence decisions overseas tends to rest on the underlying economic strength of the state."

    In spite of our economic and fiscal problems we remain the most powerful economy in the world, our GDP is larger than anyone else's, we continue to dominate global trade, and our policies and internal matters have a clear impact on global stability and prosperity.

    It is evident, however, that our influence and financial strength are declining as a result of the economic problems we are having, the erosion of industrial capacity in the USA, monetary inequalities, recurring federal government and trade imbalances, accumulation of debt, and because our education system has not been keeping pace with the demands of the 21st century and the focus that other nations place in that area.

    As a result, our decision to rely on military might should not surprise anyone. That option of last resort is not unprecedented and can be found throughout history...with predictable results.

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  • 266. At 8:10pm on 10 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    264. SaintDominick wrote:

    "If the choice is between your Zionist blinkers and "liberal" blinkers I unhesitantly choose the latter."

    And since they are still firmly in place you no doubt still believe that when Hamas fires rockets from Gaza it is firing them into the "territories" not into Israel proper, i.e. undisputed Israel, which of course is the case.

    There is nothing wrong with Zionism. If you knew anything about it you would know that it made quite remarkable achievements - the return of an embattled people to their ancient homeland, the resurrection of the language and the creation of a modern, democratic state. Funny how the "liberal" left so often uses "Zionism" almost as a swear word.

    "Above all, I believe the rights and sovereignty of other nations and people must be respected..."

    Except for those of Israel, of course.

    "On the Israeli-Palestinian issue I would suspend all foreign aid and military aid to Israel until they agree and negotiate a two-state solution..."

    What genius - weaken Israel so that her enemies would be more encouraged to fulfil their dream of destroying her.

    ".... and I would hold Abbas and Hamas responsible for controlling radical Palestinians."

    Abbas and Hamas are the radical Palestinians.

    "I would declare Jerusalem an international city under the protection of the UN."

    Right, the same UN that fled when Egypt's Nasser ordered them out in 1967 and the same UN that meekly turns a blind eye to Hezbollah's re-arming in contravention of UN resolutions. Jerusalem is Israel's capital and no grandiose declarations would change that fact.

    There is reality and then there is the rosy "liberal" view of the world through tinted spectacles.

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  • 267. At 8:17pm on 10 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 257 MagicKirin

    "You might also consider that I am a member of the most persecuted minority in the history of the world. One that is still more discrinated (sic sic) world wide than blacks or hispanics."

    Illiterates?

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  • 268. At 8:28pm on 10 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 255. SaintDominick:

    Like so many other popular movements it advocates changes without considering the consequences of what they are proposing. Calls for smaller government are great...until it is time to decide what to cut.

    Republicans started running on a platform of cutting taxes 30 years ago. It sounds good until, like you say, it's time to decide what to cut. What ended up getting cut was maintenance of infrastructure because no one noticed any difference for a while. Thirty years later, however, our roads and bridges are decaying, our school buildings are falling apart, tuition in our public universities has skyrocketed, our public transportation network (including air traffic control) is pathetic, and on and on.

    Conservatives keep saying our taxes are too high. Compared with Western Europe, they're not. And it's the wrong way to put the question. We shouldn't be asking whether our taxes are too high, we should be asking whether our taxes are paying for things we need and whether paying for them out of public funding is more cost-effective than paying for them individually. Having the government buying things for its citizens is no more inherently wasteful than anyone else buying them, and you can achieve economies of scale when purchasing on a national level. That's why Medicare costs have risen slower than health care costs in general.

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  • 269. At 8:30pm on 10 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    267. John_From_Dublin,

    Your silly little digs don't disguise your inability to come up with coherent responses to the points raised.

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  • 270. At 9:42pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 266,

    Palestinians should not launch their primitive missiles against Israel or anyone else. It is morally wrong and, most importantly, it weakens their moral standing in the world. Similarly, Israel should have never carried out massacres such as those in Sabra, Shatilla or the Gaza Strip.

    Violence solves nothing and it is as unacceptable and despicable when it is carried out by people we do not like as it is when the perpetrators happen to be our allies.

    "...the return of an embattled people to their ancient homeland"

    Modern day Israel may have been the spiritual homeland of the European Ashkenazi Jews, but it was not the place of birth of their ancestors. The ancestors of the Palestinians, on the other hand, lived alongside Middle Eastern Jews for millennia and have as much right to that land as their fellow Semitic cousins.

    "Except for those of Israel, of course."

    Israel was created to remedy past wrongs, based on unprecedented mythical concepts and alleged rights, and at the expense of the people that shared the land with the indigenous Middle Eastern Jews. Nevertheless, I think it is too late to correct mistakes made long ago and, consequently, I believe the Jewish people have as much right to live in Israel as the Palestinians do to live in a neighboring Palestine (not to be confused with what ancient historians and scholars referred to as Palestine, Philistine and other similar names).

    It may surprise you to know that many people that not consider Israel the focal point of world affairs, and that there are a lot of countries and issues far more important to our future than whatever happens in your country. Then again, I suspect you are well aware of that, and that is the reason why you and your fellow Zionists periodically stir the pot to dominate our attention and ensure our taxpayers dollars continue to flow your way.

    "Abbas and Hamas are the radical Palestinians."

    Digs like this is one of the reasons for the lack of progress in negotiating a lasting peace accord and a just settlement to this conflict.

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  • 271. At 9:46pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 268, Timohio

    "Conservatives keep saying our taxes are too high. Compared with Western Europe, they're not."

    You are absolutely right, and with the exception of out of control military spending we only get a fraction of the social benefits that europeans enjoy.

    The question should not be whether our taxes are too high or too low, but whether they are enough to pay for the services we want and expect. If we want to pay less taxes we should tell our government which services we no longer want. Unfortunately, conservatives want both, they want to pay less taxes and they want the same level of services.

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  • 272. At 10:40pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #270

    Dominick the world spends far too much time on the middle East issue, but it is because too much of the world gives the Palestinians credit for being serious about peace.

    If these were 2 moslem countries no one would be supporting the Palestinian terrorism except other terrorists and dictators like Hugo Chavez

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  • 273. At 10:43pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #271
    The question should not be whether our taxes are too high or too low, but whether they are enough to pay for the services we want and expect. If we want to pay less taxes we should tell our government which services we no longer want. Unfortunately, conservatives want both, they want to pay less taxes and they want the same level of services.
    ___________

    No the questions should be and this goes for Europe too (look at Greece) is the goverment spending wisely or efficently. Lets see a concerted to cut the fat and yes that includes the inflated pensions and health insurace. Clear the dead weight in the goverment, break all union agreements (it is for the great good of the country and the children)

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  • 274. At 11:14pm on 10 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #261

    Democratic nominee a former community orginizer and lawyer for the corrupt ACORN group from the corrupt Chicago machine voted against almost all of the republican President judicial nominees, voted against the troop surge.

    Sound mainstream to me.

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  • 275. At 00:13am on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 274. MagicKirin:

    Magic, a little writing tip from when I used to have to edit other people: Try reading your sentences aloud. If you have to pause for breath in the middle, your sentence is too long and needs to be rewritten. And spell-check.

    The point of posting here is to present your arguments in a clear and compelling fashion--to try to convince others of your point of view. It's worth spending a little time composing them properly. If your posts are badly written, full of misspellings, and ramble in an incoherent fashion you make yourself look silly and you convince no-one. To be honest, when I see one of your loooong posts full of grammar and spelling errors I usually scroll past. Is that what you intend?

    I'm willing to read and carefully consider opinions contrary to mine, but I'm not willing to try to make sense out of badly written posts.

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  • 276. At 00:32am on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 273. MagicKirin:

    No the questions should be and this goes for Europe too (look at Greece) is the goverment spending wisely or efficently. Lets see a concerted to cut the fat and yes that includes the inflated pensions and health insurace. Clear the dead weight in the goverment, break all union agreements (it is for the great good of the country and the children)

    Magic, that is the "waste, fraud, and abuse" argument that Republicans have been using for 30 years. I will concede that 30 years ago it might have been valid, but for 20 our of the last 30 years we have had Republican administrations. You would think that they would have gotten rid of all the waste by now. And in reality you could eliminate every bit of waste, cancel all union contracts, reduce all pensions and insurance for government employees and not make a noticeable dent in federal spending. Most of the federal budget is taken up by Medicare, Social Security, and the military. But that's the part of the budget that no politician of either party wants to mess with.

    And personally I have a problem with taxpayers expecting government employees to work for lower wages, less benefits, and poorer pension plans than they would be willing to work for. I'm quite okay with expecting good performance from government employees, but they should be paid decently.

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  • 277. At 00:44am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 274, Magic

    You are contradicting yourself. First you say you favor smaller government, and end suggesting labor union agreements should be abolished! What kind of interventionist government are you proposing that would have the power of breaking established contracts?

    The same is true for your suggestion of ending pensions and health insurance coverage for civil servants who accepted jobs and worked for the government for years with the understanding that they would be entitled to benefits when they retire. Breach of contract happens to be illegal, and it would be a very bad precedent to establish with broad implications to every facet of life in America.

    Opponents of social programs administered by the government often say they want a more efficient government; well, we all want that the problem is how do you do it?

    I'll give you an example of Republican duplicity on this issue. A couple of years before I retired the Clinton Administration and the NASA Administrator put in place a contract called "Consolidated Space Operations Contract" which, as the name implies, consolidated multiple M&O contracts to reduce the overhead costs associated with having many contractors doing similar work. Most importantly, it transferred many government functions from civil servants to contractors with the obvious exceptions of high level budget management, oversight, contracting officer functions, etc.

    Predictably, the civil service workforce fought the change tooth and nail, but the transfer of power from government to private industry continued and was on track...until President Bush got in office. One year after inauguration the Bush Administration cancelled the CSOC contract and reverted to the traditional civil service/contractor arrangement.

    Rhetoric is cheap what is hard to do is to find ways to do things more efficiently without loss of quality or productivity.

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  • 278. At 00:48am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 274, Magic

    I didn't realize Preside Obama was a lawyer for ACORN, but even if he was, what is wrong with representing an organization or an individual. That's what lawyers do, including many successful Republican lawyers.

    I am not sure why you and others keep harping about his community organizer experience. Working and caring for your community is something that deserves praise, not ridicule.

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  • 279. At 00:53am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 272, Magic

    No, the reason people worldwide cares about the plight of the Palestinians is the same people cared for the plight of the Jews long ago, the slaughter of people in Darfur, the slaughter of people by Pol Pot, etc.

    Most people accept the fact that Israel is here to stay, what most of us want is a fair agreement that allows the Palestinians to live with dignity, in peace, and enjoy the same freedom and prosperity that every human being deserves.

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  • 280. At 03:53am on 11 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    265. At 7:39pm on 10 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "In spite of our economic and fiscal problems we remain the most powerful economy in the world, our GDP is larger than anyone else's, we continue to dominate global trade, and our policies and internal matters have a clear impact on global stability and prosperity."

    "It is evident, however, that our influence and financial strength are declining as a result of the economic problems we are having, ..."

    "As a result, our decision to rely on military might should not surprise anyone. ..."

    __________

    The projection of military might has always been extremely expensive. It takes a robust economy to afford the sinews of war.

    True enough, as you say the US economy remains the largest, and continues to be the most powerful and influential nation. But it is running up debts at an unsustainable rate. No nation ever rose to prominence as a debtor. Lots of empires have failed because they lost control of their finances, and became debtors.

    By contrast, plenty of small nations have exerted influence far beyond their size because they were creditors, not debtors.

    It is not yet too late to put the house in order, but certainly the clock is ticking.

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  • 281. At 09:44am on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #276
    And personally I have a problem with taxpayers expecting government employees to work for lower wages, less benefits, and poorer pension plans than they would be willing to work for. I'm quite okay with expecting good performance from government employees, but they should be paid decently.
    _______________

    Right now if you add benefits a goverment employee makes roughly 40% more than someone doing a comprable job in the private sector. the people in the private sector do not get the generous pensions either.
    I would argue that it is far more fair to the American people to cut the goverment workers compensation to market value; than raise taxes or cut services.

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  • 282. At 09:46am on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #279
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 272, Magic

    No, the reason people worldwide cares about the plight of the Palestinians is the same people cared for the plight of the Jews long ago, the slaughter of people in Darfur, the slaughter of people by Pol Pot, etc.

    Most people accept the fact that Israel is here to stay, what most of us want is a fair agreement that allows the Palestinians to live with dignity, in peace, and enjoy the same freedom and prosperity that every human
    ___________

    Can you honestly say that the same amount of time or effort goes into the Darfur situation or in the Sri Lankan situation which recetly ended.
    Note how much criticism did Lebanon recieve for hosting Hezbollah?

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  • 283. At 09:50am on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #278
    I am not sure why you and others keep harping about his community organizer experience. Working and caring for your community is something that deserves praise, not ridicule
    ______________

    Because most community orgnizers are shake down artists, that along his represetation of extreme groups are part of his philosophical make up.

    His policies reflect that; which is where opposition to his policies comes from. Not the bogus racism claim that his supporters throw out with regularity.

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  • 284. At 11:29am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 281, Magic

    "I would argue that it is far more fair to the American people to cut the goverment workers compensation to market value; than raise taxes or cut services."

    Our goal should be to improve our standard of living not lower it even further than it already is. The fact that employers in the USA no longer offer private pensions, have been reducing paid vacation and sick days, and tend to hire part timers or temporaries to avoid paying benefits is not something we should be proud of or make it a model for all. If you want to look for generous benefit packages take a look at Western Europe...and no, not every Western European country is bankrupt. In fact, some of the best social services are offered in Scandinavian countries, which were barely affected by the recession, and in countries like Germany and France, which overcame the recession while we were still struggling.

    Proposing the dissolution of contracts because those contracts include benefits someone else does not have is the same as saying that people who live in mansions should lose their dwellings because ours are not as big, or people who own businesses should have them appropiated because we don't own one.

    Communism proved to be a failed ideology, largely because it does not offer incentives for people to work hard, prosper, and hope to achieve what more fortunate people have.

    I would also like to point out that the old civil service retirement which was, indeed, very generous was changed to a 401k type system years ago. Incidentally, I believe the federal government is hiring, if you think it offers such great opportunities why don't you apply for a job with them so that you can too enjoy the "lavish" benefits they offer?

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  • 285. At 11:37am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 282, Magic

    "Can you honestly say that the same amount of time or effort goes into the Darfur situation or in the Sri Lankan situation which recetly ended."

    The indifference we demonstrated to the massacres in Darfur is an embarrassment. I guess the Bush Administration thought we already had our hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't want to open up another front but, to their credit, they called it genocide which is more than we ever did when the massacres in Sabra, Shatilla and the Gaza Strip took place.

    "Note how much criticism did Lebanon recieve for hosting Hezbollah?"

    The US has consistently criticized Lebanon for hosting Hezbollah. As for the rest of the world community, I guess they put things in perspective and consider the deeds and atrocities carried out by Hezbollah to those perpetrated by the Zionists when they voice their outrage.

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  • 286. At 11:48am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 283, Magic

    "Because most community orgnizers are shake down artists"

    You, obviously, have a very low opinion of community service. To many of us it is a manifestation of high moral and social values deserving of praise. You are entitled to your opinion, but if you want to make inroads in criticizng President Obama I think you will enjoy a lot more respect from your interlocutors if you focused on specific issues or policies rather than denigrating the commitment of a person to the place where he/she lives.

    "...that along his represetation of extreme groups are part of his philosophical make up"

    I am not sure what this means or what it is that you are trying to say, but for many of your fellow Americans President Obama's performance since he was inaugurated has been exemplary inasmuch as it exudes integrity, commitment, focus, good judgment, perseverance, a clear vision of the future, courage to undertake unpopular initiatives, willingness to listen to the advice of experts, and hard work.

    The only regret I have is that he can only serve two terms.

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  • 287. At 11:57am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 283, Magic

    "Not the bogus racism claim that his supporters throw out with regularity."

    Racism is not the main reason for the opposition to President Obama's policies and the concerted efforts that are underway to demonize him and discredit his administration, but to deny that it exists is disingenous to say the least.

    The relentless attacks against him are similar to those endured by former President Clinton and are influenced by ideology. Half of our population believes government has a role in providing social programs to the people and regulating corporate America to prevent abuses and ensure economic and social stability, the other half believe government should stay out of our lives and that it is up to us, the individual, to plan for our future and care for ourselves. They also believe regulation affects business growth and profitability, and opine that the best arbiters of business policy are the businessmen themselves.

    That philosophical or political schism is the main reason for the divisions that are apparent in our society and the attacks against incumbent and past Presidents.

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  • 288. At 11:59am on 11 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    270. SaintDominick,

    Not much time now, but a couple of quick points. What I object to most of all about the liberal-left mindset when applied to the Israeli-Arab conflict is the airy assumption that they know what the rights and wrongs of the conflict are despite the abysmal lack of knowledge so often displayed about the conflict. The major part of the burden to make peace is inevitably handed to the Israelis, with any obligations the Palestinians have being regarded as a very distant second.

    Re Palestinian radicalism, I don't make digs. That is not how I debate. I try to back up my statements with fact. I don't think anyone doubts that Hamas represents radical Palestinians. They intend to destroy the Jewish state and are unapologetic about it. The attitude of Abbas, in the minds of many, is a little less clear. But he was the right hand man of Yasser Arafat, wrote an "academic" paper denying the Holocaust, praised the Israeli Arab terrorist who slaughtered eight young Jews at a Jerusalem school as a "martyr," and was about to hold a ceremony in his honour when someone must have told him it wouldn't suit his image of a "peacemaker" because the ceremony was cancelled.

    Perhaps you might like to revise your opinion of Hamas and Abbas.

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  • 289. At 1:00pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 288, TrueToo

    "The major part of the burden to make peace is inevitably handed to the Israelis, with any obligations the Palestinians have being regarded as a very distant second."

    Most people accept the reality that the intransigence of the Palestinian leadership has as much to do with the lack of progress as the expansionist policies of the Zionists. Yasser Arafat should accepted the deals he was offered as a stepping stone towards greater autonomy, prosperity and peace for his people. Instead, he wanted it all and ended up with nothing.

    "Perhaps you might like to revise your opinion of Hamas and Abbas"

    I believe Hamas is a manifestation of the frustrations of people who live in fear, are deprived of the most essential necessities in life, and lost hope of ever having a better life for themselves and their children long ago. Obviously, since violence seldom achieves much, and considering the fact that they are no match to one of the most powerful and disciplined military forces in the world, the futility of their actions simply exacerbates the problem, weakens their moral standing, and validates the claims made by the Zionists.

    Not sure about Abbas. He seems to be trying to get the best deal possible for his people, and appears to be under a lot of pressure from Hamas and other radical Palestinian elements.


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  • 290. At 1:02pm on 11 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re Kirgyzstan turning against US after Moscow-instigated coup...




    "US officials said Roza Otunbayeva had vowed not to interrupt operations from a military base the US uses to supply troops and supplies to Afghanistan." [BBC]


    Well, tough!



    P.S. SD I was glad to hear, that, according to you we've finally reached our objectives, decapitated al-Qaida and threw out its 'freedom fighters' from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    If you could spare a moment at some point, would you be kind enough to tell when has this happened?

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  • 291. At 1:24pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 290, powermeerkat

    Interesting, you continue to demand answers or clarifications while neglecting to respond to my question in post Nr. 33, reiterated in subsequent posts. Not a surprise since that seems to be the prevailing characteristic of Republican debaters.

    The Al Qaeda training camps were destroyed shortly after we invaded that country. Al Qaeda elements have probably joined Taliban fighters resisting our presence in their country, but that does not mean Al Qaeda still enjoys the influence and impunity they had before the invasion.

    More could have been achieved if the Bush Administration had kept an eye on the ball after invading Afghanistan, but considering the focus of the Obama administration in fighting Al Qaeda and keeping the Taliban out of power I think it is fair to say that significant progress has been made throughout the last year.

    The main reason for the resistance in Afghanistan is not because Al Qaeda is trying to rebuild their training camps, but because the Pathans and Pashtuns are determined to regain their sovereignty.

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  • 292. At 2:14pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #286
    I am not sure what this means or what it is that you are trying to say, but for many of your fellow Americans President Obama's performance since he was inaugurated has been exemplary inasmuch as it exudes integrity, commitment, focus, good judgment, perseverance, a clear vision of the future, courage to undertake unpopular initiatives, willingness to listen to the advice of experts, and hard work.

    The only regret I have is that he can only serve two terms.

    ________________

    Most polls have a difference if you compare Obama personally to Obama policies.

    Most polls have the latter at a very low rate.

    Obama himself due to his charisma has a high personal popularity, ironoicly this was also the case with GWB

    As far as serving more than 2 terms unless the Republican put a canidate like Huckabee or Palin we will be rid of his after one.

    And unlike your heroes Chavez and Morales you can't subvert the constitution in the U.S to maintain 1 party rule.

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  • 293. At 2:27pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 290, powermeerkat

    "decapitated al-Qaida"

    Hyperbole and distortions are not going to get you very far in this forum. I suggest you reserve that tactic for Tea Party gatherings.

    I have acknowledged, repeatedly, that the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda leadership are unknown and suggested they may be far away from our present theater of operation. The likelihood of low level Al Qaeda fighters still being in Afghanistan, supporting the Taliban, and in Pakistan is more than probable. Then again, you can probably find them in many countries around the globe. Short of invading the world, I think we ought to reflect on what is happening and develop strategies - backed up by deeds - to gain the hearts and minds of those inclined to resort to radical endeavors to express their dissatisfaction or their hatred towards us.

    Most importantly, I have denounced repeatedly the complicity of the Wahhabists, including several Saudi princes, in financing the nefarious acts carried out by Al Qaeda, including 9/11, and actively participating in that tragedy (most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. There were no Iraqis or Afghans in those planes).

    I have also denounced the decision made by the Bush Administration to consider Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation, after we learned of the involvement of prominent Saudi nationals in 9/11, Madrid, London, Bali, and other terrorist attacks. I guess keeping oil prices under control heavy investments in US bonds, and lucrative contracts with Halliburton was enough to persuade Cheney to look elsewhere...

    And in the interim our modern-day Judas is enjoying Dallas...

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  • 294. At 2:44pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 292, Magic

    "As far as serving more than 2 terms unless the Republican put a canidate like Huckabee or Palin we will be rid of his after one."

    Bring them on! Please!!!

    "And unlike your heroes Chavez and Morales you can't subvert the constitution in the U.S to maintain 1 party rule."

    It is apparent that hyperbole and distortion is one of the most important "conservative" traits or strategies. Neither Chavez nor Morales are my heroes. I lived in Venezuela many years and understand why Chavez is so popular and enjoys the support of most of his people, but I deplore the implementation of some of his policies and question his quixotic Bolivarian endeavors. What I have objected to, and continue to object to, is calling him a dictator. I lived under two dictatorships, Perez Jimenez in Venezuela and Francisco Franco in Spain, there is simply no similarity between them and Chavez. Whether we like to admit it or not, Chavez was elected and re-elected by a large majority of his citizens, and enjoys overwhelming support. Dictators usually assume power by force, against the will of the people, and use force to remain in power. Chavez uses tactics and policies that appeal to the lower middle class and the poor, who constitute the majority of the population in that wealthy country, to increase his popularity and stay in power.

    This descendent of Spaniards, with relatives in Latin America, appreciates your denunciations of Morales' policy of returning land to the indigenous population of Bolivia. Alas, if such concept takes off I may have no choice but to donate my modest abode to the Timuacan tribe of Florida!

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  • 295. At 2:51pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #289

    Apologist and supporters of the Palestinians never want to acknowledge concessions and risks that Israel has already taken.

    these supporter never condemn the Lebanese for harboring Hezbollah and not arresting their leaders.

    bottom line is that the security of Israel has to be addressed before any more concessions are made to groups that have shown no desire for peace.

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  • 296. At 3:11pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    284. At 11:29am on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote: [To MK]

    "Incidentally, I believe the federal government is hiring, if you think it offers such great opportunities why don't you apply for a job with them so that you can too enjoy the "lavish" benefits they offer?"

    I can think of at least two reasons.

    - The Application Form

    - The written Aptitude Tests

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  • 297. At 4:12pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 296, J-I-D

    Now that SF-171 is no longer the only acceptable application form, people seeking employment with the Federal employment may apply using their resume (Curriculum Vitae); form OF-612, the Optional Application for Federal Employment; or any other written format of choice. In fact, there is even an electronic employment application option that would allow Tea Partyers to get assistance from liberals in filling out middle-school level application forms.

    The real problem is that they prefer the freedom of self-employment, especially all the loopholes that allow them to avoid paying taxes on all their earnings, to the discipline of having to go to work every day and having taxes deducted by a rigorous and unforgiving payroll system.

    As a result, it is much easier to demonize government workers, propose breaking breaking the terms of their labor agreements, denying them benefits, and ignoring the fact that without their services our country would come to a standstill.


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  • 298. At 4:22pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

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

  • 299. At 5:03pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 297. SaintDominick (responding to Magic):

    A big disadvantage to government employment is that you have to cope with the rules and mandates invented by the politicians and deal on a daily basis with all of those grouchy tea party types. As I've said about school teachers, try spending a week doing their job, then see if you think they're overpaid.

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  • 300. At 5:04pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #294
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 292, Magic

    "As far as serving more than 2 terms unless the Republican put a canidate like Huckabee or Palin we will be rid of his after one."

    Bring them on! Please!!!

    (Romney or Gingrichwould anhilate Obama issue wise in a debate especially with no telpromters)

    "And unlike your heroes Chavez and Morales you can't subvert the constitution in the U.S to maintain 1 party rule."

    It is apparent that hyperbole and distortion is one of the most important "conservative" traits or strategies. Neither Chavez nor Morales are my heroes. I lived in Venezuela many years and understand why Chavez is so popular and enjoys the support of most of his people, but I deplore the implementation of some of his policies and question his quixotic Bolivarian endeavors. What I have objected to, and continue to object to, is calling him a dictator. I lived under two dictatorships, Perez Jimenez in Venezuela and Francisco Franco in Spain, there is simply no similarity between them and Chavez. Whether we like to admit it or not, Chavez was elected and re-elected by a large majority of his citizens, and enjoys overwhelming support. Dictators usually assume power by force, against the will of the people, and use force to remain in power. Chavez uses tactics and policies that appeal to the lower middle class and the poor, who constitute the majority of the population in that wealthy country, to increase his popularity and stay in power.

    (Then why does Hugo send out dignity battalions to beat up the middle class, arrest political oppnents on trumped up charge and close opposition media.)

    This descendent of Spaniards, with relatives in Latin America, appreciates your denunciations of Morales' policy of returning land to the indigenous population of Bolivia. Alas, if such concept takes off I may have no choice but to donate my modest abode to the Timuacan tribe of Florida!

    (Well it seems that Morales wants special privlidges for his ethnic group and want to take property from others. Like Hugo he also want to be friends with terrorists and made no effort to have a good relationship with the U.S, either with Bush or Obama. Since you are so quick to claim that the Palestinians should have their own land at Israel's expense let the Bolivian provinces that don't want to be part of Bolivia, suceed since they are being treated as serfs)

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  • 301. At 5:13pm on 11 Apr 2010, sheldon wrote:

    Magic Kirin.
    Do you have an agenda that conflicts with allowing any part of the truth to enter your posts.? Same with True Too.
    it seems you forget a lot and include little.
    There is a siege that has been illegal for years now. That is collective punishment.
    Standards would say that collective punishment is nothing more than a war crime. To compare the ineffectual rockets fired mostly in anger without much chance of hitting the target because one side is not supported enough to get to use the top of the line equipment is really a bit unfair.
    It really is a bit like David and Goliath . Except this time David is not the House of Israel.

    The provocative acts from seizing historical sites in lands next door , to bombings by the IDF in recent weeks make your arguments about who tries to seek peace seem bias.

    How is it you continue to post? Have you NO conscience?

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  • 302. At 5:18pm on 11 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    SD



    Communist China, authoritarian unstable corrupt Russia, Stalinist North Korea, Islamist Iran....

    Not to mention autonomous murderous outfits like al-Qaida., and semi-autonomous like Quds.

    Now, is it enough for ya?

    I think I've itemized those countries as threats not to U.S. but to the entire civilized, Western world as well - long time ago.

    More than once.

    Please, don't ask me again to repeat it.

    'casue I won't.

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  • 303. At 5:39pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 300, Magic

    Hugo Chavez does not have to send "dignity battalions" to harass the elite, they do it spontaneously and enthusiastically. In fact, according to my cousins, the biggest problem they have is not Chavez's government, but the masses of enthusiastic supporters who often pose a threat to the upper middle class and the rich. It is a battle between the haves and the have nots based on grievances not too dissimilar from the ones you have voiced.

    Remember what you said when the topic of the day was AIG executive compensation? You were calling for government intervention to set specific salary limits for executives, instead of the traditional capitalist model we have used for decades with free market, board members, and shareholders determining executive compensation.

    In recent days you have advocated the elimination of benefits enjoyed by civil servants because people like you don't get them.

    Guess what, that's what the dignity battalions in Venezuela are saying!

    The unfortunate reality is that the same socio-economic problems that are evident in many Latin American countries are becoming apparent in the USA. I believe the hatred and the complaints we hear from the Tea Party and people like you are influenced by the failure of our education system, our large rate of high school dropouts, and their failure to get meaningful and well compensated employment. Add to that the erosion of semi-skilled jobs, a shift to a service oriented economy, and the inability of many Americans to fill the high tech jobs that are available in our country and you don't have to go to Latin America to understand the causes of the socio-economic struggle and anxiety that are evident in so many countries.

    Instead of focusing on native South American rulers (I can imagine how distasteful that concept is to you), you should ignore them and focus instead on the problems WE are having. Most importantly, instead of advocating a drop in the salaries and benefits that other people enjoy, why don't you do something to qualify for those jobs?

    Aside from a Bolschevik style revolution, I don't think complaining is going to get us very far. Then again, that may be the reason why some insist in having overwhelming military force and decry attempts to reduce our nuclear arsenal to more manageable levels...

    Regarding Bolivia, I think it is inappropiate for an American to call for Bolivian provinces to secede. How would you feel if a foreigner suggested the same for the USA? Moreover, which Bolivian provinces have a European majority and oppose redistribution of land to the indigenous population? Ultimately, it is up to the people of Bolivia to decide what's best for them and what can be done legally and in accordance with THEIR laws.

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  • 304. At 5:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 302, powermeerkat

    "Communist China, authoritarian unstable corrupt Russia, Stalinist North Korea, Islamist Iran...."

    Neither Russia nor China can match our military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear. In fact, even in the unlikely event of them joining forces, our military capabilities are still superior to theirs.

    North Korea is a backwards country that lacks the capability to defend itself if we were to launch an all out attack using all capabilities at our disposal. It is definitely not a threat to the USA. Our biggest concern is the possibility of them invading South Korea, but that still does not justify the existance of a huge nuclear arsenal in the USA to deter it (?) or threaten a country that in some ways seems to be living in the stone age.

    Iran is barely a developed country and lacks the ability to defend itself against the USA, even without the use of nuclear weapons. Its society is fragmented, and reliance on human waves will not help them against overwhelming military superiority. In fact, they are no match to Israel either.


    "Not to mention autonomous murderous outfits like al-Qaida., and semi-autonomous like Quds."

    Considering the fact that we don't even know where their leaders are, and that most low level terrorists live in densely populated communities where many don't share their radical views, are you suggesting indiscriminate nuclear attacks on the outside chance that we may get some of them? Now, that is pretty radical!

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  • 305. At 6:17pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #303

    As usual you miss the point, Obama appointed a pay czar ( an unconfirmed office) to regulate certain bailout company's executive compensation. But there is no effort to cut goverment employees the one sectors that is not being asked to sacrfice.

    Why not max out all goverment employees especially those in elected office at 50K? Why not make them all pay for their own health insurance?

    One of the Tea Party complaints that has resonance is the pork and waste in goverment spending. Sean Hannity does not have to expend mych effort in finding these.

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  • 306. At 6:20pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #301

    Sheldon you seem to have the same double standard for Israel that much of the world has.

    Israel was attacked in 67 and won, any other nation (look at the U.S) would not be expected to return lands.

    In the name of peace, Israel returned Sinai to Egypt because Sadat truly believed in peace.

    Where are you in condemning Lebanon for their war crimes in allowing Hezbollah to fire missles into Israel.

    My conscience is greater than yours I believe in "Never Again" The Palestinians believe in Hitler's final solution!

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  • 307. At 6:24pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 300. MagicKirin:

    Romney or Gingrichwould anhilate Obama issue wise in a debate...

    I suspect that they cover debating skills in Harvard Law School. You seem to have forgotten all of the debates that happened during the 2008 campaign, including some tough ones against Hillary Clinton. He did pretty well in those, didn't he? I don't count the ones with McCain; McCain isn't a debater.

    Romney won't be the 2012 Republican candidate. He isn't right wing enough for the base of the party. And how can he oppose Obama's health care plan when he enacted a very similar one in Massachusetts? Right down to the individual mandate?

    Gingrich is intelligent and charming; you could probably sell tickets to a series of debates between him and Obama and fund the entire presidential campaign with the proceeds. But his skills in the House don't readily translate into the Oval Office. Our last president who came from the House was Gerald Ford, and he was almost an accidental president. Congressmen represent small districts and somehow that is never seen as a platform to reach the presidency. Senators represent an entire state and deal with more matters of national importance: confirmations, foreign policy, etc. Most of our presidential candidates in recent election cycles have come from either the Senate or governorships.

    And I suspect Gingrich is making too much money and having too much fun doing what he's doing now to seriously consider running for president. Pundits like people to think that they are considering a campaign because it raises their speaking fees.

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  • 308. At 6:41pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 292. MagicKirin:

    Most polls have a difference if you compare Obama personally to Obama policies.

    Most polls have the latter at a very low rate.


    Yes, he's made a conscious decision to spend some of his political capital to get health care passed. That's what presidents do once they are elected. If they wait too long to push major initiatives, the warm glow from the campaign is lost and it becomes (as is said about Big Ten football) two yards and a cloud of dust.

    And actually his job approval poll numbers on Pollster.com aren't bad. Approve and Disapprove are running about even. Considering how divided the electorate was at the time he was elected and how he has been demonized by the far right, that's not bad at all.

    The calculation for presidents is that the voters will either eventually come to agree with the policies once they see them in action, or that memories will fade by election time. At the moment on Pollster.com the health care Disapprove is at 52.5 percent with Approve at 43.3 percent. That's not nearly as bad as some conservative pundits would have you believe and probably means that his numbers will come up there eventually, unless the health care reform is an absolute disaster, which it isn't. The opposing party, of course, bets on the opposite happening. That's how politics is played in this country.

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  • 309. At 6:51pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 303. SaintDominick:

    I believe the hatred and the complaints we hear from the Tea Party and people like you are influenced by the failure of our education system, our large rate of high school dropouts, and their failure to get meaningful and well compensated employment.

    Ironically, the Republican policies of cutting taxes on a national, state, and local level is at least partly to blame for the poor state of our educational system. I understand that schools are not necessarily made better by having lots of money, but I've never heard of a school made better by having little money.

    And the anti-intellectual attitudes of especially the religious far right are also partly to blame for the situation. People who think that creationism is science have a ways to go before qualifying for meaningful and well compensated employment in today's economy.

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  • 310. At 6:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 305, Magic

    "As usual you miss the point, Obama appointed a pay czar ( an unconfirmed office) to regulate certain bailout company's executive compensation. But there is no effort to cut goverment employees the one sectors that is not being asked to sacrfice."

    As usual, you distort facts to hide the truth. You favored limits on AIG executive compensation, which I opposed at the time - and still do - because I believe our government has no business telling industry how much they should pay their executies or anyone else. You changed your tune when you realized you position was more in line with President Obama's than the GOP's.

    Political appointees is a privilege I would ban, but it is not limited to President Obama. My niece's husband, a Republican lawyer, was a political appointee in the Bush Administration. He now owns and runs a lobbying firm.

    Civil servants pay taxes like everyone else, not sure what sacrifices you want them to make that everyone else is doing...according to you.


    "Why not max out all goverment employees especially those in elected office at 50K? Why not make them all pay for their own health insurance?"

    Since you have mentioned this figure before I assume it seems adequate to you. You have, obviously, never lived in the Washington area. You'll be lucky to rent a small apartment in a dilapidated dwelling in the worst neighborhood in DC, pay utilities, buy food, clothing with $50K. And don't forget that most senators and representatives have families to support.

    It is clear that you hate people that enjoy a certain level of comfort, to the point that you propose ridiculous compensation for people that make critical decisions that affect the well being and security of our country. Why should our elected officials live in poverty? How would you attract competent people to serve in government when their compensation matches that of trash cololectors?


    "One of the Tea Party complaints that has resonance is the pork and waste in goverment spending. Sean Hannity does not have to expend mych effort in finding these."

    They don't seem to be too concerned with waste considering the position they took when President Obama proposed eliminating MEDICARE waste to pay for part of the healthcare reform. Don't confuse civil servant compensation, which is governed by the GS scale and Senior Executive Service guidelines, and elected official compensation with the pork and waste that ought to be high on everyone's agenda.

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  • 311. At 7:00pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

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

  • 312. At 7:04pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Newt Gingrich is an intelligent and articulate individual, but too many people remember his six-year affair with Carlista Bisek while he was married to Marianne Gingrich, and while he was spewing bile about former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. They also remember the Gingrich's nasty divorce and his eventual resignation.

    I doubt social conservatives will support this "family values" Republican.


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  • 313. At 7:11pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #307
    timohio wrote:
    re. 300. MagicKirin:

    Romney or Gingrichwould anhilate Obama issue wise in a debate...

    I suspect that they cover debating skills in Harvard Law School. You seem to have forgotten all of the debates that happened during the 2008 campaign, including some tough ones against Hillary Clinton. He did pretty well in those, didn't he? I don't count the ones with McCain; McCain isn't a debater.
    (Actually Hillary won on substance, when you had a neutral moderator Obama looked lost. McCain again won on substance)

    Romney won't be the 2012 Republican candidate. He isn't right wing enough for the base of the party. And how can he oppose Obama's health care plan when he enacted a very similar one in Massachusetts? Right down to the individual mandate?

    (The Mass plan does not have as many goodies as the Fed one and no speical privilidges to Unions. The main issue is 2012 is the economy and if you have a choice btween Romney who built Bain Capitol and Obama who has no economic resume? Second Republican want Obama out so bad they are going to be pragmatic on this election)

    Gingrich is intelligent and charming; you could probably sell tickets to a series of debates between him and Obama and fund the entire presidential campaign with the proceeds. But his skills in the House don't readily translate into the Oval Office. Our last president who came from the House was Gerald Ford, and he was almost an accidental president. Congressmen represent small districts and somehow that is never seen as a platform to reach the presidency. Senators represent an entire state and deal with more matters of national importance: confirmations, foreign policy, etc. Most of our presidential candidates in recent election cycles have come from either the Senate or governorships.

    And I suspect Gingrich is making too much money and having too much fun doing what he's doing now to seriously consider running for president. Pundits like people to think that they are considering a campaign because it raises their speaking fees.


    (Gingrich unlike say Kerry or Edwards does not live extravegantly. Also as far as his expertise, Obama was a 6 yeat state Senator and a 2 yeat U.S Senator running for office)

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  • 314. At 7:11pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 309, timohio

    "I understand that schools are not necessarily made better by having lots of money, but I've never heard of a school made better by having little money."

    I live in Florida, which ranks near the bottom in education. Most of the budget debate in Tallahasse is focused on school closings, elimination of reductions of college scholarships, while some of our representatives build hangars for wealthy friends - and donors - to make it more convenient for them to park their private planes.

    Incredibly, most Tea Party members are running - very successfully - against incumbents using the tax issue as the centerpiece of their political platform at a time when we have an education crisis of major proportions and our infrastructure is crumbling. All in the name of God, flag, and conservative values!

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  • 315. At 7:13pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #310
    "Why not max out all goverment employees especially those in elected office at 50K? Why not make them all pay for their own health insurance?"

    Since you have mentioned this figure before I assume it seems adequate to you. You have, obviously, never lived in the Washington area. You'll be lucky to rent a small apartment in a dilapidated dwelling in the worst neighborhood in DC, pay utilities, buy food, clothing with $50K. And don't forget that most senators and representatives have families to support.

    (first many families have more than 1 earner. Second maybe a goverment position should not be a life time job. I see corruption the longer many are in: Ted Kennedy and John murtha being two great examples)

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  • 316. At 7:39pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 300 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Romney or Gingrichwould (sic) anhilate (sic) Obama issue wise (sic) in a debate especially with no telpromters (sic)"

    1. MK has churned out similar if not identical bunkum before. I have pointed out some of the facts of the matter. He has ignored them. Ho hum - t'was ever thus.

    2. Though Timohio has pretty comprehensively demolished this stuff at # 307, at the risk of repetition I would like to add a few points, as follows.

    3. As ever, MK states his opinion as fact, without a shred of supporting evidence, since apparently he cannot tell the difference between opinion and fact, and has no concept of evidence.

    4. Romney is one of MK's idols, along with GWB, Cheney and Lieberman. One slight problem is that he ran against McCain last time round, which would have involved a number of debates. McCain was widely considered to be a not especially strong candidate. Even though Romney spent millions of his own money on his campaign, he was soundly beaten by McCain - who was then soundly beaten by Obama.

    5. Part of Obama's victory was the 3 Presidential Debates. Up till then, we heard a tedious amount about Obama's need for teleprompters. As I recall, most polls showed, and most pundits agreed, that Obama won all 3 debates, against his vastly more experienced opponent. Without the use of Teleprompters.

    6. This of course has not shut up the extreme right [Fox, Limbaugh, MK] about Teleprompters. So I would ask MK the same question I asked him the last time, expecting the same non-answer - which Presidential debate has ever been held using Teleprompters? Indeed, which debate between ANY politicians, ANYWHERE, has been held using Teleprompters. If there has ever been one, I have never heard of it - since a 'debate' using Teleprompters would, almost by definition, not be a debate.

    7. As for Gingrich - clearly he is intelligent and articulate, though recent rantings about Obama's 'secular socialism' would make me doubt his appeal to centrists, and his 3 marriages might not go down a bomb with the Christian fundamentalists. And as I recall, in his years as Speaker, the more the public saw of him, the less they liked him. Not to mention "On January 21, 1997, the House voted overwhelmingly (395 to 28) to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich for ethics violations dating back to September 1994. The house ordered Gingrich to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty; the first time in the House's 208-year history it had disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing".

    8. As for Romney – maybe he’ll be the candidate in 2012. Unlike MK, I claim no psychic power to predict the future. He seems to be the front runner. But, as Tim indicated, he faces a number of high hurdles eg

    [a] Apparently a significant number of the fundamentalist Right don’t consider Mormonism genuinely Christian

    [b] It’s not even, as I think Tim suggested, that he’s too centrist, more that he’s changed his views so much from when he was running in Mass. So the Right, understandably, don’t trust him. [As Groucho said, ‘These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others’.]

    [c] As Tim said, he introduced a healthcare plan distinctly similar to Obama’s.

    That seems to me to be a ‘coherent response’....

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  • 317. At 7:44pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 312 SaintDominick wrote:

    "Newt Gingrich is an intelligent and articulate individual, but too many people remember his six-year affair with Carlista Bisek while he was married to Marianne Gingrich, and while he was spewing bile about former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. They also remember the Gingrich's nasty divorce and his eventual resignation./I doubt social conservatives will support this "family values" Republican."

    Wiki sum it up quite neatly

    "Gingrich has been married three times. He married Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher, when he was 19 years old. She was seven years his senior at 26 years old. They had two daughters. The couple decided to divorce after Gingrich told his wife of his extra-marital affair while she was recovering from cancer surgery. In 1981, six months after his divorce was final, Gingrich wed Marianne Ginther. He remained married to Ginther until 2000, when they divorced. Shortly thereafter, Gingrich then married Callista Bisek, with whom he was conducting an extra-marital affair during the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton's perjury relating to his affair with 23-year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky."

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  • 318. At 7:46pm on 11 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    ref #310
    "Why not max out all government employees especially those in elected office at 50K? Why not make them all pay for their own health insurance?"

    __________

    Would you be prepared to work for that?
    Have you any idea what a good secretary earns?

    Are you not aware that in developing countries one of the major causes of corruption is that civil servants are underpaid, so they take to "farming" their jobs to extract fees from people who need their approvals?

    Do you really think someone in private industry is going to take an 80 % or 90 % pay cut to join the civil service as a senior manager, director, or under secretary?

    Do you really want the DOJ to be staffed with the kind of lawyers you can hire for 50k?

    Do you want the Treasury department to be staffed with the kind of economists you can hire for 50k?

    Do you want the FAA or the NTSB to be staffed with the kind of engineers
    you can hire for 50k?

    Do you think before you make these postings?

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  • 319. At 7:51pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 315, Magic

    You, obviously, have very selective memory. Have your forgotten Sen. Stevens, Rep Cunningham, Rep. Foley, the dude that engaged in strange behavior in restrooms, the idiot from Louisiana that stashed bribe money in his freezer? Corruption is, unfortunately, a truly bipartisan trait in Washington...and considering Gov. Sanford's escapades it seems to be part of the criteria used to elect people to high office.

    $50K is not enough to support a family, and it is not enough to attract qualified people to Washington or to high State office. We are in desperate need of talen and integrity, mediocrity is the last thing in the world we should pursue.

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  • 320. At 7:56pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 313 MagicKirin wrote: [re political debates]

    "Actually Hillary won on substance, when you had a neutral moderator Obama looked lost. McCain again won on substance"

    Ho hum. There he goes again.

    I don't recall what polls said about the debates between Clinton and Obama, and frankly I couldn't be bothered researching the matter. Why should I search for evidence when it’s a concept MK will never grasp? The simple fact is, however, that in 'the only poll that matters', as politicians sometimes put it, Obama, young and inexperienced, beat the Clinton machine.

    And as for the Presidential Debates - from Wiki

    First debate - "A CBS poll conducted after the debate on independent voters found that 38% felt it was a draw, 40% felt Obama had won, and 22% thought that McCain had won"

    2nd debate - "CNN's poll conducted after the debate found that 54% of those surveyed thought that Obama had won and 30% felt McCain had won.[34] In CBS's poll of uncommitted voters, 40% felt Obama had won, 26% thought McCain had won, and 34% said it was a tie.[35]"

    3rd debate - "CNN's poll conducted after the debate found that 58% of those surveyed thought that Obama had won and 31% felt McCain had won. In CBS's poll of uncommitted voters, 53% felt Obama had won and 22% thought McCain had won, Obama's largest margin of victory of the three debates"

    What MK means of course is that, staggeringly, McCain/Palin/GWB/Republican-loving and Democrats/Obama-hating MK thought that McCain was better. Who'd a thunk it?

    Sorry to once again confuse you with the facts.

    As ever, in MagicLand, words mean what he wants them to mean, no more, no less.

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  • 321. At 8:47pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #320

    sorry if I look at a CNN and CBS polls with some skepticm why don't you offer a more unbiased source.rember CBS published the false Bush reports on the National Guard to help John Kerry get elected.

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  • 322. At 8:49pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #316 and #320

    Would it be refreshing if John in Dublin could make one counter argument on this board without resorting to name calling?

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  • 323. At 8:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #319
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 315, Magic

    You, obviously, have very selective memory. Have your forgotten Sen. Stevens, Rep Cunningham, Rep. Foley, the dude that engaged in strange behavior in restrooms, the idiot from Louisiana that stashed bribe money in his freezer? Corruption is, unfortunately, a truly bipartisan trait in Washington...and considering Gov. Sanford's escapades it seems to be part of the criteria used to elect people to high office.

    (well your are right about the corruption but the Dems seem less inclined to get rid of their. Charlie Rangel for example if either of us cheated on our taxes as he did; we would be in jail)

    $50K is not enough to support a family, and it is not enough to attract qualified people to Washington or to high State office. We are in desperate need of talen and integrity, mediocrity is the last thing in the world we should pursue.

    (Well look at my earlier post, maybe these post and goverment employment should not be a lifetime job. I would argue with people like Barney Frank and Tim Gietner we already are lacking in ability and integrity.)

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  • 324. At 9:01pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 318. Interestedforeigner:

    Do you really want the DOJ to be staffed with the kind of lawyers you can hire for 50k?

    I have reliable information from a personal source that a law school intern at a major Washington law firm makes more in the summer than I do in a year. There are altruistic people who would take a pay cut to work for the DOJ (actually, my reliable source has done just that), but I doubt there are enough qualified people who would take the kind of pay cut that MK proposes to completely staff the federal government.

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  • 325. At 9:26pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #312
    SaintDominick wrote:
    Newt Gingrich is an intelligent and articulate individual, but too many people remember his six-year affair with Carlista Bisek while he was married to Marianne Gingrich, and while he was spewing bile about former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. They also remember the Gingrich's nasty divorce and his eventual resignation.

    I doubt social conservatives will support this "family values" Republican.

    _____________________-

    I don't see it being a factor one way or another. The people who you believe would reject Gingrich want Obama out more.

    The key factor unless there is another sucessful terrorist attack should be the economy. that will eliminate Palin and Huckabee from the equation

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  • 326. At 9:28pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 323. MagicKirin:

    Well look at my earlier post, maybe these post and goverment employment should not be a lifetime job. I would argue with people like Barney Frank and Tim Gietner we already are lacking in ability and integrity.

    You're mixing apples and oranges with your example. Barney Frank is an elected congressman. If his constituents don't like the job he's doing, they can replace him. Geitner is an appointed official confirmed by the Senate. He won't be there longer than a few years (cabinet officials rarely seem to stay more than a few years), so he actually will be doing what you suggest. I expect to see a post from you commending him on his self-sacrificing public service when he resigns.

    Neither of these people is like the majority of federal employees. The majority of GS grades are filled by ordinary people doing ordinary jobs. They aren't making the huge salaries you seem to think they all make. Go into your local Social Security office and take a look.

    Keeping the federal government operating requires experienced people. If you set up a revolving door for federal service you lose your experience base and institutional memory. As an old boss of mine used to say, you want people who have been around long enough to know where the men's room is.

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  • 327. At 9:31pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 321 MagicKirin wrote:

    "sorry (sic) if I look at a CNN and CBS polls (sic) with some skepticm (sic) why (sic) don't you offer a more unbiased source.rember (sic) CBS published the false Bush reports on the National Guard to help John Kerry get elected."

    The quotes I provided regarding polling were from Wikipedia. If you have information that contradicts what I posted, let's hear it. If not, why are you wasting our time? {Go on, tell us what Fox, your favourite station, found from their polling.]

    As someone who has never been known to provide a link to an independent source for any claim, your whining when I provide evidence is somewhat comical...

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  • 328. At 9:35pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 322. MagicKirin:

    Would it be refreshing if John in Dublin could make one counter argument on this board without resorting to name calling?

    I don't see any name calling in John's posts 316 and 320. A lot of sarcasm, but no name calling.

    And you complaining about name calling is (as my grandfather would have put it) the pot calling the kettle black.

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  • 329. At 9:36pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 322 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Would it be refreshing if John in Dublin could make one counter argument on this board without resorting to name calling?"

    Wouldn't it be refreshing if MK could

    [a] make an argument backed up by evidence rather than bias?

    [b] spell?

    As for his whining about 'name-calling'. This from someone who has repeatedly hurled around defamatory and mendacious epithets such as anti-Semite, terrorist sympathiser, parasite [that was the First Lady, as I recall], hater, union thug...I could go on but why bother?

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  • 330. At 10:37pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #327

    Case rested Wikipedia is a biased source, they won't ever allow Hezbollah to be called terrorists.

    ref #329

    I disagree with several posters for instance SaintDominick have I or has he ever called each other names?

    Stop harping on editing errors you can't use spell check on this thread at least from my service.

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  • 331. At 10:41pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #324

    You are missing the point, the federal goverment is top heavy with employees, we could outsource areas like the Post Office, the commerce dept get rid of beaureaus like the NLRB.

    In the private sector large firms have to trim the fat why not the goverment?

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  • 332. At 11:10pm on 11 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    270. SaintDominick wrote:

    "It may surprise you to know that many people that not consider Israel the focal point of world affairs, and that there are a lot of countries and issues far more important to our future than whatever happens in your country. Then again, I suspect you are well aware of that, and that is the reason why you and your fellow Zionists periodically stir the pot to dominate our attention and ensure our taxpayers dollars continue to flow your way."


    You have it inside out and back to front. In fact, people worldwide are obsessive about the Jewish state and pay it far more attention than it warrants. There are many reasons for this but media like the BBC also fuel the obsession by continually turning the spotlight onto the Israeli-Arab conflict. I would be delighted if they turned the spotlight elsewhere. I spend far too much time exposing the ignorant anti-Israel bias the Internet is riddled with. Your comment is one of the more absurd misconceptions I have seen on the Internet. I guess that you are unaware how close you are skating to good old-fashioned anti-Semitism with your portrayal of "Zionists" (read "Jews") with hands out trying to get your attention to demand money.

    I avoid discussing personal details on forums like these so I don't know what you regard as "[my] country." I support Israel but I have never claimed to be a "Zionist."


    279. SaintDominick wrote:

    "No, the reason people worldwide cares about the plight of the Palestinians is the same people cared for the plight of the Jews long ago, the slaughter of people in Darfur, the slaughter of people by Pol Pot, etc."

    Another absurdity. With courageous exceptions, the world predominantly turned away from the Jews during and after the Holocaust. Even Britain, mandated to help establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine, drastically limited Jewish immigration and turned desperate Jewish refugees back into the Holocaust or to perish at sea. You prove your ignorant bias by putting the Palestinians in the same category as those who went through the Holocaust or were slaughtered by Pol Pot or the regime in Khartoum.


    279. SaintDominick wrote:

    "The indifference we demonstrated to the massacres in Darfur is an embarrassment. I guess the Bush Administration thought we already had our hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't want to open up another front but, to their credit, they called it genocide which is more than we ever did when the massacres in Sabra, Shatilla and the Gaza Strip took place."

    Probably because they were not comparable. And I guess you don't know that the Sabra and Shatilla massacres were committed by Lebanese Christians (in revenge for massacres perpetrated by the PLO on them) and not by the Israelis, though they were allies.

    "The US has consistently criticized Lebanon for hosting Hezbollah."

    It has? Funny we don't hear that much about it. Anyway Hezbollah will propbably soon have control over Lebanon.

    "As for the rest of the world community, I guess they put things in perspective and consider the deeds and atrocities carried out by Hezbollah to those perpetrated by the Zionists when they voice their outrage."

    You should try to find an alternative to "Zionists." It does exist. You can call them "Israelis," which is more accurate since many Israelis are not Zionists. There is a simple solution staring Hezbollah in the face: stop putting themselves on a war footing to attack Israel and kidnap more soldiers. In other words, accept the existence of the Jewish state. This, however, they cannot do.


    301. sheldon wrote:

    "To compare the ineffectual rockets fired mostly in anger without much chance of hitting the target because one side is not supported enough to get to use the top of the line equipment is really a bit unfair."

    Before Israel attacked Gaza in December 2008, the number of missiles being fired from Gaza had increased to nearly a hundred daily and they were not all Kassams. Some were longer range missiles smuggled in from Iran and one of them killed six construction workers in Ashkelon, 40 kilometres away. These missiles were not made in someone's garage. In effect, Hamas, backed by Iran, had declared war on Israel. There is no country on the planet that would have ignored such a threat. Yes, Israel hit Gaza hard, but the rockets had been coming and steadily increasing for 8 years.

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  • 333. At 11:17pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 325, Magic

    "I don't see it being a factor one way or another. The people who you believe would reject Gingrich want Obama out more."


    I disagree with many of the positions espoused by the Republican party, but I admire their discipline and campaign skills. I'll be truly amazed if they nominate Gingrich, Palin or Huckabee. Social issues - especially moral issues - are one of the most important considerations for Republican conservatives. Nominating an adulterer would deprive them of the moral high ground, and I really don't think they will go that route.

    Yes, winning is important, and that became apparent when Scott Brown, a pro-abortion candidate and a man that supported tax increases was elected, but Massachusetts is not a typical Republican stronghold and the social values that prevail in that state are anathema to everything the GOP stands for.

    Palin and Huckabee have loyal followings, but she is too radical and lacks intellectual acumen, and he simply does not have the appeal needed to win a national election.

    My money is on Mitt Romney. He looks presidential (perception is important), is intelligent and articulate, well educated, and has executive experience. I don't think his healthcare reform will affect his candidacy at all, in fact, it could be easily transformed into an asset that would give him credibility and would project him as a man with the knowledge needed to improve the legislation that just passed. I don't think his religion will be a factor either.

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  • 334. At 11:24pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 330. MagicKirin:

    ...Wikipedia is a biased source...

    They may not be a particularly good source, but I don't think they are particularly biased. Wikipedia isn't a single all-encompassing source, either. It's a lot of people out in the big wide world with a variety of points of view. The way it works, one person writes an entry and a whole lot of people edit it. Death by a thousand edits, if you ask me. If anything, their content gets edited down to blandness to avoid offending anyone. And because they have thousands of volunteer writers and editors, what they do or say about Hezbollah has nothing to do with the accuracy of their reporting of poll numbers. They could hardly make that up without someone noticing.

    Stop harping on editing errors you can't use spell check on this thread at least from my service.

    It's not your internet service, it's your browser. You need to upgrade. Your internet service just carries the signals back and forth. The features you see on your computer are dependent on your software. I participate on this blog on several different computers in two different locations with two different operating systems, and I get spell-check all the time. I'm not a terrific speller, but fortunately my computer is. But I still need to proofread more diligently.

    Part of my job involves website design and maintenance. I know for a fact (because I can see it in the site statistics that I download) that most people never upgrade their operating systems or browsers as long as they own their computers. It only happens when they replace the computer. But you do limit yourself if you don't upgrade.

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  • 335. At 11:37pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 324, timohio

    "...but I doubt there are enough qualified people who would take the kind of pay cut that MK proposes to completely staff the federal government."

    Yes, there are idealists and principled people who would willingly take a significant pay cut to serve the country, but they usually do it for a short period of time.

    I doubt you are going to find too many aeronautical engineers willing to give up their high paying jobs in private industry to work as air traffic controllers earning $50K a year, or too many medical doctors or chemists willing to give up lucrative private practice or job to work at the CDC for $50K a year, or too many economists or financiers willing to take a 400% pay cut to work at the Commerce Department, and the list goes on.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people have a misconception of what civil servants do, the qualifications and experience needed for their jobs, or the criticality of their work. That is, in part, the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan who relentlessly demonized government, belittled its importance, and did everything he could to undermine its effectiveness.

    Cynical politicians have used Reagan's tactic as a model to achieve their personal goals ever since.

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  • 336. At 11:41pm on 11 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 331. MagicKirin:

    You are missing the point, the federal goverment is top heavy with employees, we could outsource areas like the Post Office

    Have you compared the cost of mailing a letter with the cost of FedExing something?

    In the private sector large firms have to trim the fat...

    Like General Motors? Plenty of fat still at the top there.

    Part of the reason why the government can't run as efficiently as the private sector is that the private sector eliminates unprofitable offices, routes, divisions, etc. The government exists to provide a service, not to make a profit. So it answers to citizens who expect those services, not to shareholders who expect a return on their investment. If the Post Office eliminated any of the branch offices it is required to keep in each zip code, for example, the uproar would be deafening. People would complain if they had to drive miles to pick up a package or check their post office box. Imagine the uproar if the VA closed hospitals or the FAA closed air traffic control centers.

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  • 337. At 11:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 332, TrueToo

    "There is a simple solution staring Hezbollah in the face: stop putting themselves on a war footing to attack Israel and kidnap more soldiers. In other words, accept the existence of the Jewish state. This, however, they cannot do."

    No, the only solution that would be acceptable to the Israelis is total surrender of rights, grievances, and claims of sovereignty. What the Israelis really want is for Palestinians to pack their bags and disseminate througoout the Arab world so that they can annex the miserable land where they currently live in ignomy.

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  • 338. At 11:56pm on 11 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 330 MagicKirin wrote:

    "ref #327

    "Case rested Wikipedia is a biased source, they won't ever allow Hezbollah to be called terrorists."

    Yawn - yet again.

    Wikipedia states what official polls stated. It links to its evidence. And you claim this can be disregarded because Wiki won't let you write their pieces on the Middle East - since perhaps they might suspect you of being the teeniest bit biased on that subject [and indeed all others].

    If you have counter evidence, let us hear it. If not, why do you persist in wasting our time?

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  • 339. At 00:04am on 12 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 330 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Stop harping on editing errors you can't use spell check on this thread at least from my service."

    [a] Stop giving orders

    [b] And yet, everyone else manages. If you cannot spell or punctuate, which is clear, and there is no spell check in your browser, the best I can suggest is copying your draft into Word.

    They have a spellchecker.

    But sadly no checker for bias, lack of evidence and lack of logic

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  • 340. At 00:19am on 12 Apr 2010, U14416527 wrote:

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

  • 341. At 00:26am on 12 Apr 2010, U14416527 wrote:

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

  • 342. At 01:46am on 12 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    305. At 6:17pm on 11 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #303

    "...But there is no effort to cut goverment employees the one sectors that is not being asked to sacrfice.

    Why not max out all goverment employees especially those in elected office at 50K? Why not make them all pay for their own health insurance?

    One of the Tea Party complaints that has resonance is the pork and waste in goverment spending..."

    OMG! Honesty compells me to agree with [OMG] MajicKirin! How mortifying! In Massachusetts, while firing necessary Police, fire fighters and teachers, the government of His Excellency the Royal Governor was hiring cronies at $150,000 per position, when the former have an initial salary of about $33,000 [all figures per year].

    As to Federal employees, I have to say that they are not poverty stricken and they have been exempted or exempted themselves from the insurance system they think appropriate for the masses. I do not like the ignorant, the misled and the self-interested, however these points mentioned by [OMG] MagicKirin are valid and are not to the credit of the of the Democrats. [Or to be completely honest of the Republicans, who, hand in glove with the big corporations, have been driving the US over the cliff since at least the begining of Bill Clinton's second term.

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  • 343. At 03:26am on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    332. At 11:10pm on 11 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    I spend far too much time exposing the ignorant anti-Israel bias the Internet is riddled with.

    No. You, and others, spend far too much time propounding a one-sided and restricted viewpoint on the Middle East.


    I guess that you are unaware how close you are skating to good old-fashioned anti-Semitism with your portrayal of "Zionists" (read "Jews") with hands out trying to get your attention to demand money.

    No, again. Crying 'anti-Semitism' in a form which was used by fascists, and suggesting anyone who criticises what AIPAC itself recently called 'the Jewish State' of Israel is merely an easy slur and no argument.

    Every time this accusation is made (and it has, over the last few years become ubiquitous) it actually fuels precisely what the people who use it purport to be against, which is to confuse the actions and beliefs of those who follow a religion with the actions and policies of a state.

    But then, if I and others were to follow the logic of some who post here on the issue of Israel and Palestine, we might as well refer to all Jews as Israelis, argue simplistically that they all support the Netanyahu government and its policies; just as whole peoples of different countries, those of one religion, and those of one ethnicity are arbitrarily labelled terrorists.

    At this very moment, the Israeli government is conducting what amounts to a medieval siege against a country and a population in the Middle East and its friends and propagandists are this way continually trying to divert attention from the consequences.

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  • 344. At 03:37am on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    337. At 11:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "No, the only solution that would be acceptable to the Israelis is total surrender of rights, grievances, and claims of sovereignty. What the Israelis really want is for Palestinians to pack their bags and disseminate througoout the Arab world so that they can annex the miserable land where they currently live in ignominy."

    Seemingly, yes; if not a deliberate policy in place for at least the last decade (which is how it now looks) it at least appears to be one frequently proposed now.

    The common argument is that the 'Arabs' of Palestine should go and camp with their 'brothers' in other parts of the Middle East. Whether they have anything--either ethnicity, ancestry or even a dialect of Arabic in common or not.

    You would think that a people which suffered the consequences of a diaspora would be less keen on inflicting it on others, but then, this is not so much geopolitics, it's racism and revenge pure and simple.

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  • 345. At 05:11am on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

    "When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished. . . [Imprisonment by military tribunal, for up to seven years.]

    "Given the security authorities' actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip - people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children - or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians. . .

    "The order's language is both general and ambiguous, stipulating that the term infiltrator will also be applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. All this depends on the judgment of Israel Defense Forces commanders in the field."


    [From that well-known anti-semitic and pro-terrorist source, Haaretz.]

    Avigdor Liebermann's latest stealth idea to criminalise, sequestrate, or simply deport Palestinians away from those nice cosy settlements and the future Israeli territory, once known as the West Bank and once internationally agreed as a future part of the so-called 'Two State Solution'. (Of course, it's hardly likely that US Jewish citizens or Jewish Israelis are likely to fall foul of this Order, let's be realistic.)

    So, is what Israel wants a 'Palestinian State' that is entirely controlled from outside it's borders (air, land, sea, water, power, imports and exports) in the Gaza Strip into which eventually all Palestinians will be herded? Surrounded by concrete walls, limited exits and entrances, military checkpoints and soldiers? Subject to punitive military raids at any moment? Just like, what was it; I forget?

    Ah, yes. The Warsaw ghetto. I knew it reminded me of something.

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  • 346. At 08:12am on 12 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    337. SaintDominick wrote:

    "Ref 332, TrueToo

    "There is a simple solution staring Hezbollah in the face: stop putting themselves on a war footing to attack Israel and kidnap more soldiers. In other words, accept the existence of the Jewish state. This, however, they cannot do."

    No, the only solution that would be acceptable to the Israelis is total surrender of rights, grievances, and claims of sovereignty. What the Israelis really want is for Palestinians to pack their bags and disseminate througoout the Arab world so that they can annex the miserable land where they currently live in ignomy."

    You may or may not know that Hezbollah are not Palestinians and that they are funded, armed and trained by Iran, obsessive about wiping out the Jewish state. Palestinians are confined to camps in Lebanon in conditions which I'm sure you would be keen to become verbose about if the Israelis were holding them in these camps. If Hezbollah gave a solitary fig about these Palestinians, it would agitate for their release and inclusion in Lebanese society.

    You have no idea what the Israelis want but I see that at least you have stopped calling them "Zionists" so I guess that is progress.


    343. squirrelist,

    In comment 253 I responded to your 146 - your typical firing away at Israel without even scant background knowledge of why it is necessary to import Thai workers. Since you evidently itch to turn threads into a discussion on the Israeli-Arab conflict, why not study its history? Then you would be less at risk of making a fool of yourself when spouting your opinions on the conflict.

    The person responsible for the Haaretz article is Amira Hass, a Palestinian living in the West Bank and with demonising Israel her chief agenda. Haaretz is a left to far left publication, also with its specific agenda. A publication that continually knocks the government would never be allowed to exist in the Arab world. Israel, however, is a democracy that allows all shades of opinion - something the anti-Israel obsessives on these BBC blogs should note. Yesterday Hass was also venting her spleen on the World Service, which homes in on anything that demonises Israel like bees to honey. Naturally Hass has carefully omitted to mention the broader picture - part of which is the obvious need on the Israeli side to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating the West Bank. Now you prove your ignorance and your bias, yet again, by claiming that the aim is to herd all the Palestinians into Gaza. Perhaps you really believe the Israelis will start with Abbas, the one being groomed by the International Community as a "peacemaker."

    "Ah yes," the triumphant little flourish at the end - Look, the Jews are just like the Nazis. How original. The Internet is brimming with these comments from the anti-Semites. You object to SaintDominick being told that he is skating close to anti-Semitism and then go right onto the anti-Semitic ice yourself and fall through. If you knew anything about either the Holocaust or the Israel-Arab conflict you would not make such hateful comparisons.

    I also note that those who come up with the "Warsaw Ghetto" slur never direct their venom against the Egyptians. The fact that the Egyptians will also not allow the Palestinians across their border doesn't fit the neat preconceptions of the Israel-bashers and so they prefer to ignore it rather than studying the background to the situation in order to learn something from it. Can't have knowledge interfering with prejudice, right?

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  • 347. At 09:45am on 12 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    On Holocaust Rememberence Day, eveyone should remember by ignoring the Nazi threat 6 million Jews died. By ignoring the threat of Islamic terrorism many more Jews and non Jews could also die.

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  • 348. At 09:49am on 12 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #337

    Dominick address Israel's concern on how any Palestinians or for that matter Lebanese goverment can be trusted with their track records.

    Israel and Egypt have had a sustainaed peace.

    So at stated before the onus is on the Palestinians to prove themselves

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  • 349. At 09:50am on 12 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #342

    Don't blame me, I voted for Muffy

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  • 350. At 11:40am on 12 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 344, squirrelist

    "You would think that a people which suffered the consequences of a diaspora would be less keen on inflicting it on others, but then, this is not so much geopolitics, it's racism and revenge pure and simple."

    That is, indeed, one of the greatest ironies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You would think that the descendents of people who suffered so much throughout history would respect the rights of others and would go to great lengths to avoid embracing policies and using tactics eerily reminiscent to what was done to them but, sadly, that is not the case.

    I believe their attitude towards the Palestinian people is influenced by the need to acquire more land to accomodate the influx of European Jews to Israel, and by the need to establish a buffer to fend off potential attacks by Muslim nations.

    Taking what belongs to others while proclaiming victimhood is despicable and inconsistent with the spiritual and moral values they purportedly embrace, and their alleged fear of neighbors not only ignores their overwhelming military superiority but hides the fact that most of the conflict between Israel and neighboring countries have been the result of Israel's policies and actions.

    In any case, time to go back to more relevannt domestic problems and let TrueToo simmer. Any idea what ministry that organization belongs to? Obviously, its core task is to spread misinformation and propaganda around the clock, clearly written by different people, and in a way that would have made Goebbels blush with envy.

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  • 351. At 11:57am on 12 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 348, Magic

    "Dominick address Israel's concern on how any Palestinians or for that matter Lebanese goverment can be trusted with their track records."

    That's easy! Stop treating the Palestinians like wild animals, let them enjoy the same freedoms and rights that every human being yearns, let them have unrestricted access to potable water, food, medicine and all the basic necessities that every human being deserves, stop slaughtering their women and children in retaliation for what some desperate men may have done, and let them have a country they can call their own and you will find that the Palestinians are no different from anyone else.

    Obviously, the Palestinians are not exempt from blame, not only because their desperate acts of violence undermined their credibility and gave the Israelis an excuse to justify their reprehensible behavior, but because they should have accepted the settlements offered to them during the Carter and Clinton administrations. In a way, they are paying the consequences intransigence and inflexibility of Yasser Arafat.

    I deplore the use of violence because it solves nothing and because in situations such as this it is futile and counter productive. However, I understand why people whose families have been or are being abused and deprived of basic human necessities react violently against their oppressors.

    It is sad that the descendents of people who suffered so much, and experienced abuses such as those carried out in the Warsaw ghetto, are today the guards at one of the largest concentration camps in the world: the Gaza Strip.

    One of the greatest ironies is that instead of lashing out against the people that inflicted so much pain to the ancestors - Christians - the Israelis are punishing people who also endured similar punishment at the hands of Christians through the centuries.

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  • 352. At 11:59am on 12 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    When does an Easter vacation last until July? When you are a BBC blogger. What do we need Mardell for? We who post here can run this blog ourselves.

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  • 353. At 12:53pm on 12 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    I have made 2 attempts to post this. The Mods have refused it twice. Despite [or perhaps because of] his animus towards the Beeb, it appears that TT is given rather more latitude to attack others than they are to reply.

    I’ll try watering it down for a third attempt, but it is difficult, since the Mods never specify exactly what they object to, and I see little consistency in their rulings.

    (A rather long posting – apologies in advance – feel free to skip over)

    269 TrueToo wrote:

    "267. John_From_Dublin,

    Your silly little digs don't disguise your inability to come up with coherent responses to the points raised."

    1. Oh joy. TrueToo is back.

    2. [Though clicking on his name indicates that he has been more than assiduous on other BBC blogs. I just don't know where he finds the time.]

    3. Mr/Ms True [for some reason I'd put money on the former] is as I recall from his previous appearances here someone who spends a lot of time calling for 'reasoned debate' and decrying the allegedly venomous personalised smears of "Limpwristed Leftie PC "Dears"" (his words). For example, he tells us "...I don't make digs. That is not how I debate. I try to back up my statements with fact."

    4. “Try” would appear to be the operative word, as he often doesn't seem to be especially good at practising what he preaches. Even recently, anyone disagreeing with him is "precious" [not in the good sense], talking a "tremendous heap of fertiliser", and "knows nothing" about the subject they refer to, whether it be Israel, Zionism, the Holocaust or the Tea Party.

    5. However, rather ironically, in view of his complaining about my alleged "inability to come up with coherent responses to the points raised", he doesn't seem for example to have spent much time, if any, explaining WHY whoever he was addressing was, in his view, wrong about these subjects. Clearly he does not accept that they can ever actually know what they are talking about, but have drawn different conclusions to his. Instead, his view appears to be essentially, 'I'm right, you’re wrong, you're a blinkered leftie brainwashed by the leftie media, you know nothing'.

    6. He is also rather unclear about exactly which points I have an “inability to come up with coherent responses to”.

    7. The specific posting of mine he refers to, which was unashamedly somewhat flippant, was a response to MagicKirin stating "You might also consider that I am a member of the most persecuted minority in the history of the world. One that is still more discrinated (sic sic) world wide than blacks or hispanics." [An apparent reference to his Judaism.]

    8. I didn't either disagree or disagree with his assertions, as I failed to see their relevance. Is he claiming that he cannot be prejudiced against blacks or Latinos because there has been and is prejudice against Jews? Such a claim would be so devoid of logic as to not merit serious attention - it would make as much sense as someone saying 'I can't be racist - I'm Irish.'

    9. [For the record, I don’t recall ever calling MK racist – based on his multitudinous postings here, he appears to me to be an equal opportunity hater of anyone to the left of MK and/or Dick Cheney, regardless of race, creed or colour. He on the other hand has been happy to churn out untrue allegations of anti-Semitism and racism – including recently against Mandela and Annan - like confetti at a wedding.]

    10. As for making 'coherent responses' to MK, I have attempted this more than once, and he has consistently proved that it is pointless. All evidence provided to him, and all requests to him for evidence to back up his sweeping generalisations, are ignored. [See just recently my disproving his unfounded claims about who won the presidential debates, and his yawning silence when queried about the [non-existent] us of Teleprompters in debates.] I believe the continued attempts to debate rationally with him by people like SaintDominick to be admirable but ultimately futile.

    11. To take just one recent example, MK threw out an allegation that Desmond Tutu had failed to condemn Mugabe’s human rights abuses [while strongly implying that it was only those directed against Whites that concerned MK.] He provided no evidence. I provided evidence to the contrary. He ignored it. Then some time later he repeated the smear [probably around the same time he was informing us that Mandela and Annan, and possibly Tutu as well, were racist anti-Semites.] I again provided evidence to the contrary. As ever, answer came there none.

    12. I wish I could say, Mr Too, that I’m sorry you find my postings 'silly', or indeed ‘little’. Well - I could, but I would be lying. You're entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to my opinion of you and your opinions.

    13. Personally I would consider your publicly expressed views that, eg, the BBC is "lefty, authoritarian, socialist, big government, PC" and that the Guardian, a well-respected liberal broadsheet, is a 'rag' [that may have been ‘anti-Semitic rag'], and your rants about how the Socialist EU PC Commissars are coming to get us, to be rather more than 'silly', and indicative of someone who has overdosed on Daily Mail editorials.

    14. However, you will be pleased to know that, like you, MK also thinks that the BBC is biased, liberal and anti-Israel - I don’t think he has actually called them anti-Semitic yet, but I'm sure that is just a matter of time. He also claims that Fox is the most objective TV station in America. You two should get on like a house on fire.

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  • 354. At 1:06pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    350. At 11:40am on 12 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "let TrueToo simmer. Any idea what ministry that organization belongs to? Obviously, its core task is to spread misinformation and propaganda around the clock"

    Well, the Israeli Foreign Ministry was emailing all over the place during the Gaza invasion. But the core doesn't change much. Never once is an Israeli policy or action ever questioned; only those who do question it are. Well, some people learnt some lessons from the early thirties very well.

    I see that all I get told is that the source from which I took some of the details of the Military Order is merely dismissed as 'left wing', the implication being that it is a lie. . .Now that looks familiar, too.

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  • 355. At 1:12pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    346. TrueToo wrote:

    "Can't have knowledge interfering with prejudice, right?"

    Obviously not. At least you've admitted the truth of one thing at last.

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  • 356. At 1:30pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    St D:

    OK. I'll let TT and the Magick Giraffe simmer away until their brains boil, assuming they haven't already; but I will not be bullied.

    If they feel they must attack everyone who supports the cause of the Palestinians, and then only as anti-semitic or left-wing--funny, that's actually an acknowledgement on their part that the Left cares more for social and political justice, isn't it?--all it does is show the poverty of their arguments and the precariousness of their position.

    It always strikes me as incredibly ironic, when I read throw-away sneers like that, that the founder of the Left Book Club, and who set up an organisation for the relief of both Germans and Arabs after 1945, after having helped many refugees out of Germany before it, was Victor Gollancz. The nephew of a Rabbi, even. . .

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  • 357. At 2:02pm on 12 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    352. At 11:59am on 12 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    When does an Easter vacation last until July? When you are a BBC blogger. What do we need Mardell for? We who post here can run this blog ourselves.

    ____________

    Provided, of course, that we are content to stay forever entrapped in the blind maze that is the Levantine rat-hole.

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  • 358. At 2:07pm on 12 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force. As the threat continues to loom larger, it seems the demand for that action will grow larger and louder. I will be only too happy to lead the cheer for it. America's government has been asleep at the switch since the cold war ended.

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  • 359. At 2:35pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Lowkey; from 'Long Live Palestine':

    "Don't get offended by facts, just try and listen,
    Nothing is more anti-Semitic than Zionism,
    So please don't bring bad vibes when you speak to me,
    I know there's plenty of Rabbi's that agree with me,
    It's your choice what you do with this message"

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  • 360. At 2:47pm on 12 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    I just read an interesting article in a local paper that I would like to share with you. An organization that uses the bombastic acronym Fighting Against Injustice Towards Harmony (FAITH) criticized the way the stimulus money is being spent because, in their opinion, it should be distributed to organizations that care for the unemployed rather than giving part of it to community colleges, trade schools, and the Truck Driver Institute.

    The agency that is allocating the funds concluded, correctly in my opinion, that the best way to get out of the mess we are in is to retrain the unemployed so that they can apply for jobs in sectors where there are vacancies. FAITH believes the best way to dispose of the funds is through handouts to satisfy immediate needs, rather than pursuing long term solutions.

    What is evident to me, after reading the article is that much of the criticism against President Obama's policies comes not only from the far right, but from the far left as well, albeit for very different reasons.

    Rather than disregarding the concerns or opinions voiced by organizations like FAITH, I prefer to analyze the rationale or logic for their preferences. The city where I live has the highest unemployment rate in Florida, over 16%, and most neighboring counties and cities have unemployment rates of over 12%. People are desperate, are losing their homes, and after close to three years of economic decline and rising unemployment there is little evidence that things are going to get better any time soon.

    Our problems, which are much worse than in other parts of the country, stem from our reliance on tourism and construction for employment, two sectors severely affected by the recession.

    What could be dismissed as typical left wing solutions and lack of vision is a clear manifestation of the anxieties that so many people feel today in the USA. Many of the unemployed only have a high school diploma or are high school dropouts, their limited experience in semi-skilled construction and hospitality work is no longer in demand, and they simply don't know where to go or what to do.

    Retraining is a logical and desperately needed step to address the problems we have, but more is needed to address the immediate needs of those who have lost everything and have no hope for a better future.

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  • 361. At 4:05pm on 12 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    358. At 2:07pm on 12 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force. As the threat continues to loom larger, it seems the demand for that action will grow larger and louder. I will be only too happy to lead the cheer for it. America's government has been asleep at the switch since the cold war ended."

    __________

    Lead the cheer?

    Hold on. I thought you were going to fly the aircraft?

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  • 362. At 4:46pm on 12 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force." (from MarcusAureliusII at #358)

    An excellent argument against direct democracy.

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  • 363. At 5:09pm on 12 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 358. MarcusAureliusII:

    A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force.

    A large percentage of Americans were in favor of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, too, but as the consequences of those military actions have sunk in the support has dwindled. So I wouldn't go using poll numbers to justify military action. It's easy to be in favor of a hypothetical; much different to deal with the casualties and the economic consequences.

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  • 364. At 5:50pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    361. Interestedforeigner:

    You have to allow these vampires their little bloodlust fantasies, or how would they lull themselves to sleep in the daytime? Anyway, he never got over his disappointment last time he flapped over London on his way home and discovered the Nazis hadn't entirely reduced it to dust.

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  • 365. At 5:52pm on 12 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 360. SaintDominick:

    The official unemployment rate in my city in the formerly industrial upper Midwest is 13.4 percent. There are estimates that the actual rate is double that. In the Detroit area the official rate is above 15 percent. Not to minimize the problems in Florida, but if the economy starts to come back the tourism industry should rebound fairly quickly and things should ease. Housing is another matter. I would think, though, that if the stock market continues to improve and the national housing market begins to recover you may once again see retired people moving to Florida and your construction sector should start to recover. It won't be boom times, but it won't be as bad as it is now.

    In my region, however, the problem has deeper roots and won't go away quickly. A large percentage of the unemployed were in manufacturing, especially the auto industry. As John McCain said during the campaign (and I give him credit for having the guts to say it), those jobs are gone for good. Michigan and Ohio have been shedding manufacturing jobs for decades, the recession only accelerated it. The only way the region can rebound is by developing new industries and training workers for the new jobs. That is a long-term process. It could take a generation. It's going to be tough here until the region is restructured. People need to accept that and get to work making it happen. There needs to be a massive investment in infrastructure, especially education, and individuals need to understand that if they want jobs in the future they will have to improve their educations and update their skills. The days when you could make big money with a high school education by working in manufacturing are gone.

    So what are the federal and state governments to do? We can't let people starve, but we need to be investing in our future. Resources are slim and will continue to be slim. Once of the consequences will probably be that the region will lose population as people look for work elsewhere.

    There are no easy answers, but simply handing out money will not fix the problem. It may actually make things worse.

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  • 366. At 5:56pm on 12 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    362. At 4:46pm on 12 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    "A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force." (from MarcusAureliusII at #358)

    An excellent argument against direct democracy.


    Not necessarily. He wasn't very specific about the sample. It was probably 65% of Americans with fallen arches who never actually joined the armed forces and get off dreaming about being The Terminator. The poll was probably of readers of Soldiers of Fortune or whatever that testosterone riddled mercenary comic is called. (And who are probably all now suffering the inevitable consequences of too much steroid intake.)

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  • 367. At 5:59pm on 12 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    362. At 4:46pm on 12 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force." (from MarcusAureliusII at #358)

    An excellent argument against direct democracy.

    __________

    Well, it's easy for people answering opinion poll questions in the abstract to say that, when they know that nobody is really listening or is going to act upon it.

    But if it actually came to having to go to the polling station and put the slip of paper in the box - and vote for the related taxes required to pay for the decision; and it required both a majority of votes overall and a majority of Cantons ...

    ... that might be quite a different thing.

    ----------

    When it comes to questions of war and peace it would be my guess that voters tend most often to be more reluctant to engage in overseas adventures than are their political leaders.

    E.g., The Swiss won't even join the UN when a bunch of UN agencies have their headquarters in Geneva.

    They are the only ones with Direct Democracy, and, if anything, they are known for their determination to maintain their posture of neutrality. They have never fought an external war since the introduction of the present form of direct democracy.

    Another example: would British voters have authorized the Falklands War?

    Would American voters have authorized the bombing of Libya that killed Khaddafi's daughter?

    Would American voters have authorized the deployment of forces in Lebanon that led to the deaths of 221 marines?

    Based on the election campaign of 1940, it isn't clear to me that US voters would have voted to declare war on Hitler. Certainly there was a significant portion of popular opinion that was against any more involvement in foreign wars e.g., in Europe.

    Even if voters may have felt the same way, it was, nonetheless, the Senate that overwhelmingly passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution.

    If American public opinion had not turned against the war, would Vietnam have ended the same way?

    I'm not so sure it is that clear-cut. It may well be that voters would exercise a moderating influence on political leadership, rather than the other way round.

    I wonder if there is data somewhere either to prove or to disprove this hypothesis.

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  • 368. At 6:00pm on 12 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    I see Tim at 363 has already made the main point of my previous posting.

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  • 369. At 8:11pm on 12 Apr 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 368. At 6:00pm on 12 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    I see Tim at 363 has already made the main point of my previous posting.

    Actually we were making slightly different points. You were talking about citizens being willing to vote for war. My point was that public opinion in the US tends to swing against a war once its full impact has been felt if it drags on. At least it did with Vietnam and has with Iraq and Afghanistan. Dwindling support for those wars certainly affected Johnson's presidency and Bush's poll numbers. Any president in the future will keep that in mind as they weigh their options for military force. It's a whole lot easier to get into a war than to get out of one, so if you are going to commit the US to a war you had better be sure you can maintain popular support long enough to win and get out.

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  • 370. At 8:12pm on 12 Apr 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Low-point in the history of US foreign policy: the White House & State Dept. kowtowing to Karzai.

    Ominous, I would say. So what's the rationale for extending the lease on Bishkek, since Karzai has won the war & the spoils -- including the poppies -- evidently go to him, his clan & cronies?

    Does W get a cut?

    Can we have an end to wars-for-profit, benefitting a privileged few?


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  • 371. At 8:49pm on 12 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 358. At 2:07pm on 12 Apr 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "A recent poll shows that 65% of Americans want the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities using military force. As the threat continues to loom larger, it seems the demand for that action will grow larger and louder. I will be only too happy to lead the cheer for it. America's government has been asleep at the switch since the cold war ended."

    I suspect he means this poll - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/02/fox-news-poll-iran-bomb-equals-disaster/

    Fox summarises it as follows - not quite what MA says - "A Fox News poll released Tuesday finds that 60 percent of voters think force will be required to stop Iran, while 25 percent think diplomacy and sanctions alone will work."

    Mind you, a CNN poll in Feb appears to have found a rather different result - "The poll indicates that 71 percent of the public says Iran has nuclear weapons, with just over one in four disagreeing. More than six in ten think the U.S. should take economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down their nuclear program, with only a quarter calling for immediate military action."

    Link here - http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/19/cnn-poll-american-believe-iran-has-nuclear-weapons/?fbid=GmQblOihDB_

    [These were just the first 2 polls that came up on Google.]

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  • 372. At 11:05pm on 12 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #351
    That's easy! Stop treating the Palestinians like wild animals, let them enjoy the same freedoms and rights that every human being yearns, let them have unrestricted access to potable water, food, medicine and all the basic necessities that every human being deserves, stop slaughtering their women and children in retaliation for what some desperate men may have done, and let them have a country they can call their own and you will find that the Palestinians are no different from anyone else.

    Obviously, the Palestinians are not exempt from blame, not only because their desperate acts of violence undermined their credibility and gave the Israelis an excuse to justify their reprehensible behavior, but because they should have accepted the settlements offered to them during the Carter and Clinton administrations. In a way, they are paying the consequences intransigence and inflexibility of Yasser Arafat.

    ________

    Israel tried that with them and the Lebanese and was repaid by terrorism.

    You and Barack Obama need to listen to the wise (at least compared to Barack) Palin anology of the school yard bully

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  • 373. At 09:00am on 13 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    350. SaintDominick wrote:

    "Taking what belongs to others...."

    You can't be talking about those early Jewish immigrants who bought the land they settled or those who settled marshland and uninhabited desert that nobody wanted. And you can't be talking about the small community of Jews whose forebears had never left the land in thousands of years. And what about those Jews who drove some local Arabs out and moved into areas vacated by others as five Arab armies moved in for the kill, or thought they were moving in for the kill, in 1948? Perhaps they should have sent a map to the invaders marking out the areas vacated by the local Arabs with the message, "OK, there were Arabs living here so we wont stop you occupying these areas and we'll accept this handicap as you do your best to slaughter us and drive us into the sea."

    And you can't be talking about the Jews taking the land of those Arabs they implored to remain in their villages as the fighting broke out, and who did remain, now grown to a community of 1.3 million Israeli Arabs with equal rights to those of Jews, their own political parties and a member in the Cabinet.

    Or perhaps you are talking about 1967, when the Jews responded to Egypt's act of war in closing the Straits of Tiran, expelling UN peace keepers and massing troops and tanks on the border, with Syria making war noises from the Golan Heights and Jordan joining in. Maybe when you refer to the Jews "taking what belongs to others" you mean the West Bank. Funny thing is, Israel offered to return it to Jordan and later most of it to the Palestinians but Jordan doesn't want it back and the Palestinians don't want peace. Or maybe you mean the Sinai, captured in 1967. Oh, hang on, didn't Israel return every square inch of it to Egypt under the Begin/Sadat peace agreement? Or perhaps you mean the Gaza Strip, vacated by Israel in 2005 for the reward of the immediate resumption of rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli civilians.

    You can't possibly be talking about the Israel-Arab conflict. You must be talking about another one.

    "...while proclaiming victimhood ..."

    That's all in your prejudiced head, unless of course you can find some examples of it, preferably not from funny websites.

    "...is despicable and inconsistent with the spiritual and moral values they purportedly embrace, ..."

    How would you be acquainted with those values as you pump out your ignorant prejudice?

    "...and their alleged fear of neighbors..."

    Correct, there is no alleged fear, just a sober assessment of the genocidal intent of Israel's enemies towards the Jewish state.

    "... not only ignores their overwhelming military superiority..."

    I sympathise with you for being so upset about it. Others thank God for it otherwise Israel would surely have been destroyed.

    "...but hides the fact that most of the conflict between Israel and neighboring countries have been the result of Israel's policies and actions..."

    Most? Oh you mean Israel is not 100% guilty? How generous of you. Perhaps you would care to discuss the degree of guilt you feel should be accepted by Israel's Arab neighbours for their genocidal and unprovoked wars and terror attacks on the Jewish state. Or do you only ever bash Israel?

    "...In any case, time to go back to more relevannt domestic problems and let TrueToo simmer..."

    That would be great. Then I wouldn't have to keep on correcting your ignorant assumptions and prejudices on the conflict, like the belief that rockets fired from Gaza land in the "occupied territories." You need to get hold of good maps of the area - if you want to learn anything.

    "...Any idea what ministry that organization belongs to? Obviously, its core task is to spread misinformation and propaganda around the clock, clearly written by different people,..."

    No organisation, no Jewish Lobby, no evil conspiracy, just me.

    "...and in a way that would have made Goebbels blush with envy..."

    Yes, the vicious little flourish reserved for the conclusion.

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  • 374. At 09:03am on 13 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Headline on CNN:

    "UK Parliament Dissolves".

    Oh dear, that's unfortunate.

    I'll really miss Big Ben. I'd got used to having it around. . .I suppose after the election they'll have to run the country from the London Eye?

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  • 375. At 09:11am on 13 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    353. John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "I have made 2 attempts to post this. The Mods have refused it twice. Despite [or perhaps because of] his animus towards the Beeb, it appears that TT is given rather more latitude to attack others than they are to reply."

    You mean just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they're not out to get you?

    Anyway, good to see that you can string more than two or three sentences together. I thought your input was limited to acerbic one-liners.

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  • 376. At 09:47am on 13 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    356. squirrelist wrote:

    "...but I will not be bullied."

    This from the one who initiated the Israel-bashing and the bullying in comment 146. And, true to your style here, I note you have no response to my 253, in which I explained why it was necessary for Israel to employ Thai workers. Like so many others on these BBC blogs you argue like a child, jumping up and down and pointing fingers rather than engaging in rational debate. You demonstrate a peculiar dishonesty here: you kick off the debate on the Thai workers, I come back and explain the background and the reasons for Israel employing them, and then rather than concede the point or debate it further, you sling mud.

    Perhaps you are afraid of learning good things about the Israelis and would prefer to stew in your prejudices.

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  • 377. At 11:10am on 13 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 'Levantine cesspool'...


    So now for something completely different. :)



    Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what may be the start of a long-expected privatisation drive.

    All barbers and hairdressers in shops with three seats or fewer will be allowed to rent the space and pay taxes instead of getting a monthly wage.

    The retail sector has long been derided for poor service and rampant theft.

    The country's former President, Fidel Castro, nationalised all small businesses in 1968. [...]

    These beauty salon changes have not been officially announced or mentioned in the state-controlled press. [BBC World Service]


    So perhaps Beeb will now "start spreading the news" across Cuba?

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  • 378. At 12:50pm on 13 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    376. TrueToo:

    Do carry on. I see your willingness to be gratuitously offensive hasn't ameliorated. And you are being a bully.

    (And I'm not going to 'reply' to your post about imported Thai labour because what you wrote was not a reason for it, it was an excuse. They are different.)



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  • 379. At 3:02pm on 13 Apr 2010, U14421236 wrote:

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

  • 380. At 3:03pm on 13 Apr 2010, U14421236 wrote:

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

  • 381. At 10:42pm on 13 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    378. squirrelist,

    Thanks for proving my point about the level of your debating ability. Every country has the right to import labour, Thai or otherwise, even Israel. Israel imported Palestinian labour until Palestinian terror made that impossible. You can mislabel that an excuse, if it makes you feel good, but it doesn't disguise the fact that you have no counter argument.

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  • 382. At 09:57am on 15 Apr 2010, _marko wrote:

    To TrueToo

    Maybe you can inform everyone in advance how much you'll be promoting Israel while bashing the Arabs/Palestinians/Muslims/etc regardless of blog subject - just so that everyone knows what to expect.

    If most of the world's media was owned by Arabs, Palestinians, muslims etc, would you automatically assume it would be biased against Israel and not present a balanced analysis of the situation in the Middle East?

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  • 383. At 04:12am on 20 Apr 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    Happy belated Easter!

    Perhaps your youngest will be the next Faberge' egg creator.

    (I don't have a French keyboard so the apostrophe after Faberge(') will have to work...lol)

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