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Obama's Afghan speech sends message home

Mark Mardell | 22:19 UK time, Sunday, 28 March 2010

obama_ap226tall.jpg"Got some marines in the house!" shouted the commander-in-chief, almost in campaign mode. Except Obama has never worn a leather bomber jacket, emblazoned with the American Eagle and the words "Air Force One", to address a political rally.

Yet his first appearance in Afghanistan since he became president is deeply political. "You inspire me!" he told them, before going on to say that they stood for values that America desperately needs, like sacrifice, honour and decency, that the American military had done what was required while so many other institutions had let America down.

I've spent the last three days watching Republicans campaign, and a constant refrain from the speakers and the crowds is the suggestion, sometimes put very bluntly, that Obama doesn't support the troops, and doesn't behave as a proper commander-in-chief.

There are never any specifics, but it matters a great deal in a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name. If a politician is not for the troops, under all circumstances, it means he or she is unpatriotic.

Obama's speech was rousing but not gung-ho. He gave a run-down of how the war in Afghanistan was "absolutely essential" and how "we are going to keep them on the run". He concluded that section with the declaration: "The USA does not quit, you do not quit... we will prevail!"

But his main message was not about the progress of the war but his attitude towards the military. He talked about his anguish about the sacrifices they made, and how he was humbled by it. The tone is very much his own.

Perhaps it was that white shirt underneath the bomber jacket but he reminded me of a military chaplin, rather than a faux general. He told the assembled troops that he would "do the right thing" for them back home and listed improving pay, benefits and child care. He would ensure better care for wounded warriors, particularly those with traumatic stress and brain injury.

It is the Obama dilemma in a nutshell.

I am sure his promises mean more to the men and women gathered before him than blood-curdling rhetoric, but you can almost hear the sneers of his opponents about a social worker-in-chief. He told the troops that politics back home looked messy but there was no daylight between the parties when it came to support for the troops.

His first presidential visit to Afghanistan aims to convince people his stance is what patriotism really looks like.

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  • 1. At 11:10pm on 28 Mar 2010, Blogs On wrote:

    From the content of Obama's speech it appeared that it was written by George W. Bush's speechwriter. The basic agenda - the conquest of Afghanistan. The hidden agenda - oil and gas pipelines, paid for with U.S./NATO blood and money?

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  • 2. At 11:38pm on 28 Mar 2010, Scottish Yank wrote:

    "This is what patriotism really looks like." There are those of us who agree, including the Iraq veterans who wrote a song to which the final lyrics are:

    "Because just what we need, is another *bleep*ing sticker on your SUV."

    I remind you it was Rumsfeld and Bush, republicans, who sent our boys to war without proper vehicles, equipment, or armor.

    The link, by the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmsOIjzQ1V8

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  • 3. At 11:49pm on 28 Mar 2010, donk_e wrote:

    "...it matters a great deal in a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name."

    Israel, perhaps?

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  • 4. At 11:58pm on 28 Mar 2010, Eolas Pellor wrote:

    I think Obama probably hit the right tone, but it will make little difference to his enemies. They will find something to criticize, whether it is a reasonable criticism or not.

    I hope the President does intend to deliver on these promises. The fact is that the military, and military families, have been shouldering a disproportionate burden of suffering since 2001, and the time has come to relieve as much of it as can be relieved.

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  • 5. At 00:03am on 29 Mar 2010, Animation wrote:

    Well what in tarnation did you expect? Obama was speaking to the troops, not to the world media. He was saying "thank you", and made some promises to them that he will be able to keep when he and they all get back home.

    If the BBC chooses to tune in, and make the speech publicly available, fine, ta, thanks. But it was not written for us forriners. If that heartfelt speech had not been directed first and solely to the troops, Obama would have been slated. Please note, he also included everyone else involved - it was not just a US circus, it was far more inclusive.
    Never mind, the world media will slate him anyway, and deliver the usual underhand poignard jabs.

    But I bet those troops, and their families back home, will feel just a bit less forgotten tomorrow morning. And that is probably what matters most.

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  • 6. At 00:09am on 29 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    You were a very lucky fellow to be on that aircraft, Mark Mardell.

    The white shirt goes with the body armour.

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  • 7. At 01:04am on 29 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ""You inspire me!""

    Well Mister President, you disgust some of us back home. Telling the world that the US will begin to withdraw its troops in 2011 was a signal to the enemy to hold out until then and a signal to Afghans who don't know if they can rely on American support to see the battle through to a successful conclusion that they probably can't. That had to be one of the dumbest comments Barack Obama ever made and he's made some doozies. Selling out America's "allies" tallies on one side of the ledger, supplicating its enemies like Iran tallies on the other side. A very weak and dangerous performace from the commander in chief of the most powerful and important military in the world. Hillary Clinton was exactly right when she said during the campaign in 2008 that Barack Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief. And he has been proving it especially in Afghanistan. Hey Mister President, how about not fudging numbers and sending the full 40,000 troops General McChrystal asked for instead of 30,000 and how about commiting to see this thing through until the Taleban are no longer a viable force and al Qaeda no longer enjoys any sanctuary at all in Pakistan even if it takes a few extra years and runs into the next Presidential campaign?

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  • 8. At 01:20am on 29 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    He is neither a chaplain nor a general, he is the President of the United States.

    Like every President before him Barack Obama paid his respects to the troops in a combat zone and showed his appreciation for a job well done. He also let the American people know that we are there for the long haul, and took the opportunity to tell President Karzai that he and his government must take a greater role in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

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  • 9. At 01:33am on 29 Mar 2010, _marko wrote:

    To MAII #7:
    "Barack Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief"

    If you agree with this quote, what attributes would make him qualified?

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  • 10. At 01:40am on 29 Mar 2010, Snagletooth wrote:

    By the time the 30,000 extra troops arrive in Afghanistan, the operations set up, get familiar with territory and such, Obama's 2011 withdrawal date will be looming just over the horizon. The idea that Obama's acting tough on Afghanistan quickly falls apart when one realizes he just 30,000 men to Afghanistan, not to fight the Taliban, but to help those soldiers already there to pack up and leave. I believe, by definition, that's what's called a fighting retreat.

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  • 11. At 02:03am on 29 Mar 2010, Cartagena wrote:

    I'm an American who has lived in Britain and worked closely with both the US and British militaries over the years. As such, I can appreciate the bewilderment that some feel when encountering America's extremely high regard for its military - it is a rarity amongst Western democratic countries. Though it is wise to remember that such levels of esteem have not always been afforded to the US military by its citizenry.

    As a result of a strong belief in and support of our military, the President, whomever he or she may be, is expected to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the commander-in-chief. An inability to accomplish this, either in terms of image or action, has been the partial downfall of several politicians (e.g. Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, or even President Jimmy Carter).

    The Republican Party has viewed themselves as having a strong record of supporting national security and the military - whether that is justified is often beside the point. Conversely, Democrats have often been labeled as weak in these areas over the past few decades - again the justification of this can be debated.

    I have found that many politicians, whether it be Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, etc... are often uneasy or simply awkward when interacting with junior military personnel - though the same could be said of some senior military leaders as well. Politically I am fairly centrist and have no great feelings of love or hatred toward Obama, and while he may be known as a great orator, I found the speech tired and uninspiring. To me it sounded like some 24 year old wrote about his or her idea of a military campaign, with sound-bites like ‘we are going to keep them on the run’. I doubt that, aside from the novelty of seeing the President, many of the military personnel attending felt particularly moved.

    Rhetoric of course has its place, and it is often difficult to disassociate it from politics, but something more substantive would have probably had more impact; for the Soldiers and Marines, for the Democrats, and probably even the Republicans. As the President, it would have been nice to hear him talk about his understanding of the conflict in Afghanistan, his acknowledgment of core counter-insurgency principles, and where, as leader of the US military, he foresees the campaign going in the near and long-term future.

    For instance, while it may feel good to say ‘we’re going to kill the enemy’, the reality is is that we’re trying to co-opt those who remain hostile to the development of Afghan governance and the rule of law by establishing local security, restoring services, building competent security forces, and expanding economic opportunities in accordance with the social and religious norms of Afghan society, all while trying to minimize cultural offenses and civilian deaths - at least that is the plan. As a result, the situation is made more difficult when someone such as Obama refers to those you’re attempting to co-opt as the enemy. Think this sounds ‘soft’ or ‘unrealistic? Well then you probably haven’t worked on strategy with the US military over the past few years.

    Want to know more? I’d suggest watching GEN Stanley McChrystal’s eight counter-insurgency imperatives: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3APTOKZ9Vc

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  • 12. At 02:05am on 29 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    1. At 11:10pm on 28 Mar 2010, Blogson wrote:

    From the content of Obama's speech it appeared that it was written by George W. Bush's speechwriter. The basic agenda - the conquest of Afghanistan. The hidden agenda - oil and gas pipelines, paid for with U.S./NATO blood and money?
    _________

    Ah, now I understand.

    So, let me get this straight. If I understand you right, the whole thing must have been a plot between:

    America's oil industry;
    George Bush Jr., (and, therefore, of course, Dick Cheney);
    Osama bin Laden;
    The Northern Alliance; and
    Hamid Karzai; and
    Barack Obama

    Were there any other conspirators?
    The Government of Pakistan?
    The Government of Uzbekistan?
    The Government of Kazakhstan?

    According to your theory, the President and Vice-President were co-conspirators with Osama bin Laden with prior knowledge of the plot to hijack the airliners and murder of 3000 innocent civilians.

    Then, according to your theory, they arranged for Osama bin Laden to hide in Afghanistan, knowing that US forces would invade and expel the Taliban who bin Laden had duped into giving him sanctuary.

    The Northern alliance gladly allowed bin Laden's agents to murder the Northern Alliance's military genius, Ahmed Shah Mahsoud, because they really wanted to replace him with Hamid Karzai, who had previous ties with the US Oil Industry.

    And then they engineered the election of Barack Obama, because he's such a lackey of the oil industry that they knew he'd go along with it.

    (Just wait until Hilary and Bill find out about this!)

    Anyhow, that gave the oil industry control of Afghanistan and any pipeline concessions, and the rest follows as night follows day.

    That's your theory right?

    Gosh.
    And I never would have guessed.

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  • 13. At 02:06am on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    #10, you don't know what you're talking about. The 30,000 number corresponds to additional units committed, not replacements for units in place. Here is the DOD statement on the surge:

    http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=58461

    As for the withdrawal, it is scheduled to begin in July, 2011, not end. Here is a statement from Defense Secretary Gates on the matter:

    Los Angeles Times

    This month, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly defeated a resolution calling for a firm date for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    The Washington Times

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  • 14. At 02:07am on 29 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    "If a politician is not for the troops, under all circumstances, it means he or she is unpatriotic."

    First, though we most likely hold our military in higher esteem than every other country, we most deffinitly are not the only country who, at the very least, questions someone's support, patriotism, whatever you want to call it, if they don't support their troops. After all why wouldn't one? It's so basic, so universal, so automatic. There is no just reason to dislike those who put themselves in harm's way for you. If one is going to hate someone, they should hate the correct person/people. They should not misdirect their anger. We should hate Bush for unnecessarily sending our troops into Iraq, not the troops themselves etc.

    You're totally right that it was a total political calculation. But it's a vane one in my opinion, because no matter what he does; no matter how many times he says "I love you;" no matter how many military jackets he wares; even if he moves to Afghanistan permanently, the Republicans will find some irrational unjust reason on which to attack him. Immature and stupid, uses the one thing that is supposed to bring us together - our troops - as a political football (the one thing, aside from lack of care, that the troops probably hate the most) I know, but alas, they insist on continuing to dig their holes deeper and deeper.


    And for my two cents, I think the more "patriotic" thing to do is to care for the troops once they've returned home too, not just figuratively - and literally - wrap ourselves in the flag all the time.

    Note to our Republican readers and contributers, patriotism, while a good thing, was and is used by dictators to guilt/fear monger more power for themselves, until one day it's too late for the people to get it back. Taking one's guns isn't the only way for a government to seas power. Something worth thinking about.

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  • 15. At 02:09am on 29 Mar 2010, Risforme wrote:

    The problem is Obama will be attacked for anything he does. He goes to Afghanistan and he's attacked for not coming sooner. For only coming after the fighting has been done. Don't believe me? Tune into you local Conservative news outlet. However at least he's finally learned not to let the criticism get to him. Conservatives in this country aren't for anything. At the moment they are Anti-Obama anything and everything Obama is for they are against.

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  • 16. At 02:15am on 29 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    10. At 01:40am on 29 Mar 2010, Snagletooth wrote:

    By the time the 30,000 extra troops arrive in Afghanistan, the operations set up, get familiar with territory and such, Obama's 2011 withdrawal date will be looming just over the horizon. The idea that Obama's acting tough on Afghanistan quickly falls apart when one realizes he just 30,000 men to Afghanistan, not to fight the Taliban, but to help those soldiers already there to pack up and leave. I believe, by definition, that's what's called a fighting retreat.

    Actually, he's sent more like 66,000 troops since he's been in office, for a grand total of 100,000. There were only 34,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan when Bush left office. Sounds more like Obama wanted to fight the Taliban than Bush and Cheney. But then, Dubya didn't think much about it, as he admitted openly. Guess being a "War President" for him was all about looking good in a cod piece and declaring unfinished business, "Mission accomplished."

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  • 17. At 03:21am on 29 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mark_O #9;

    "To MAII #7:
    "Barack Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief"

    If you agree with this quote, what attributes would make him qualified?"

    When he sends American soldiers into battle, he not only has a clearly defined mission but will support them in every way America can so that they can see it through to a successful completion. That he does not arbitrarily put a time limit on their efforts so that their mission schedule coincides conveniently with his expected coming bid for re-election. It may be inconvenient for him to face the voters in 2012 with the accusation that in four years he replaced Iraq with Afghanistan but he defined this as a critical mission himself during the campaign and since. And it is critical for America's security, not just the Afghan government's. For him to threaten to pull the the forces out prematurely because he wants to twist Afghan arms to force their government to conform to American notions of democracy or he'll leave is to betray not only the troops but his own oath of office to protect and defend the United States. No he is not fit to be commander in chief, not by a long shot.

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  • 18. At 03:30am on 29 Mar 2010, Edgeofurbania wrote:

    Mark,
    As a USAF Veteran of 23 years, let me say, wherever I found myself on various occasions around the globe, the RAF was right there beside me!
    Call it "special", or whatever, but it's encouraging to say the least...
    From the trench view, I would say that by trusting Defense Secretary Gates, and CJCS Admiral Mullen to continue to lead the United States Military was extremely wise! If this area is his weakest, or better said, least experienced task, then President Obama, Commander in Chief, has respectably chosen to seek the advice of two gentlemen who do know the "art of war", and whom also understand the necessity of supporting the Commander in Chief!
    Anytime someone goes out of their way to speak to the troops, it is appreciated, for it shows that they noticed the sacrifice! Whether a USO musician, Sports Hero, or other celebrity, any time they spend time with the troops is appreciated! To have the Head Honcho, CINC is even better! Even if individual perspectives don't always agree...

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  • 19. At 03:31am on 29 Mar 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    I spent 22 years in the military. I have heard and seen the politicians speak. This is lip service by politicians, nothing more. Veterans are constantly praised and easily forgotten. Doesn't matter what party. Just amother photo op. These politicans parrot jingolistic phrases, and can not really relate to the reality of boredom, homesickness, stress, loss and wounding of fellow soldiers. Basically because most have never been there.....

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  • 20. At 04:27am on 29 Mar 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    Ross: #11

    I'm an American who has lived in Britain and worked closely with both the US and British militaries over the years. As such, I can appreciate the bewilderment that some feel when encountering America's extremely high regard for its military - it is a rarity amongst Western democratic countries. Though it is wise to remember that such levels of esteem have not always been afforded to the US military by its citizenry.

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

    How does 'working closely' with the British and American military 'over the years' connect with 'bewilderment' over the high regard that Americans have for its military?

    How does one lead to the other? It isn't really that bewildering that Americans tend to support its military. It is evident that you disagree and your personal experiences have produced that viewpoint. I found your post quite confusing and unclear.

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  • 21. At 04:32am on 29 Mar 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    "I am sure his promises mean more to the men and women gathered before him than blood-curdling rhetoric, but you can almost hear the sneers of his opponents about a social worker-in-chief."

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

    Perhaps. I don't really know. I wonder if you do either. I didn't see a problem with his visit, although his references to planned dates and deadlines is very poor policy, reflecting his lack of expertise and experience. There is no question there is an awkwardness there but he does need to let them know he is aware.

    There is one thing that is certain: your endless cheereleading for Obama is more than a bit over-the-top.

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  • 22. At 05:08am on 29 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    You are such a fanboy, Mark! Yes, he reminds EVERYONE of a preacher, who also point to heaven and say some day you'll get a reward! Who tell you that all you have to do is BELIEVE in what they are telling you and ignore all the evidence of your own experience!

    So, why did he go to Afghanistan, to cheer up the troops with his divine presence? Or did he go over there to buttonhole Karzai and tell him to do the impossible, just like he told Congress to do the impossible and create affordable healthcare...just like he is painting a vision of energy independence using windmills, just like he is creating GOVERNMENT JOBS with his so-called recovery spending. Just like he promises no tax increases while he spends and spends and creates new agencies, which will beget more agencies, more laws, more government!

    Oh he's a preacher all right! His credo is BIG GOVERNMENT! POWER in the hands of an elite. CONTROL of the people!

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  • 23. At 05:28am on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    20. At 04:27am on 29 Mar 2010, TimR1944 wrote

    "How does 'working closely' with the British and American military 'over the years' connect with 'bewilderment' over the high regard that Americans have for its military?"

    What puzzles us is the near veneration many in the US give to people in uniform; how much media space and time is given to the military, and how prominent Colonels and Generals seem to be, and how much of a role they often seem to take in politics and political questions.

    We are, perhaps, simply pragmatic. To put it bluntly, we pay our military services, in the last resort, to go to war and, quite often, die. That is what they are for. It's a job. Most of us, I imagine, would rather they didn't need to and kept the peace instead of making war, but there we are.

    No gung-ho hero-worship is required in the name of patriotism. (And of course, you mustn't forget that for much of the last forty years British civilians have been almost as likely to die or be injured--or anyway to be prepared for either--by a bomb as one of our military has been in a war on duty. I was blown off my feet by one myself.)

    That doesn't mean one feels regret when any of them die or are wounded; or respect for people who are willing to risk things many of us may not. Or sympathy for their families. But neither should it preclude questioning why, instead of being jingoistic about it. Those days are over; they led to terrible things.

    We just have this thing about keeping military and civilian purposes quite separate. For example, we tend to be surprised at seeing people on political stages in uniform; a friend of mine is now ex-RAF; his uniform's binned and gone. If anyone asked him to stand on a politician's platform wearing it, as one often sees in the US, he'd be horrified. It'd seem as silly as if I were asked to go along to one wearing an academic gown and cap.

    It may be a longstanding cultural thing; I suspect deep down it goes back to the use of Yeomanry and Lancers against civil demonstrations and the Chartists and the Peterloo Massacre, and last of all, in the General Strike. Maybe, even further back, to the military governors of Cromwell's time.




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  • 24. At 05:29am on 29 Mar 2010, Craig Cramer wrote:

    Obama's shift in the military budget reflects his concern for the troops. Instead of funding new helicopters for himself, and other expensive military prototypes, he put the money toward the troops and technology proven to be effective in this type of war. He even increased the overall military defense spending, not cutting it.

    I doubt anyone can claim he isn't commanding without a heavy consideration for the troop's well being.

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  • 25. At 05:42am on 29 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    Obama's presence in Afghanistan is certainly to "send a message home" because you can't honestly believe that the troops want to see a POLITICIAN? What message does he have for the troops?

    Is Obama going to tell them that they are fighting the good fight against global terrorism by slaughtering these Afghans, well only they can't engage them if they are near a house, or a mosque, and mind they don't step on the poppies? Is he going to tell them that their job is to make it safe for the FLOOD of civilians he is going to be shipping over there to tell the Afghanis to forget about their tribal councils, elect a mayor, start paying taxes, maybe get in some zoning?

    Obama is over there to talk to his pet general McChrystal and spin him a pie-in-the-sky story about how all we have to do is win their hearts and minds and next they will join Kiwanis. He's going over there to tell Eichenberry to keep his opinion of Karzai to himself or better yet, get on the bus with the OFFICIAL VERSION.

    This is just more expensive Obama theatre...he's taken his whole circus act 1/2 way around the world on Air Force One to get some sound bites.

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  • 26. At 05:44am on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    It never stops, does it? Mark knows his readers (or some of them) well. . .

    If you over that side of the pond want a president who knows all about guns and battles and wars, why don't you just elect a General or something? Like Wesley Clarke who had so much political nous he nearly started a war with Russia?

    (Or even an ex-pilot who kept crashing.) A pretend 'colonel of militia'? Why bother with civilians in times of war at all?

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  • 27. At 05:58am on 29 Mar 2010, _marko wrote:

    To shiveringofforgottenenemies #25

    So in your opinion what should Obama have done? What should he do?

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  • 28. At 09:22am on 29 Mar 2010, crash wrote:

    It is kind of ironic Obama showing his "respect" for the troops,our defenders of democracy,as his policies take away our freedom to make us fit in to the new world order!

    It is funny when The Wall came down in 1989 we all celebrated,i guess i was to young to realize at the time the reason the wall came down was because the communists had won.

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  • 29. At 09:46am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "My main job here today is to say thank you on behalf of the entire American people."

    He added: "The Afghans have suffered for decades, decades of war, but we are here to help Afghans forge a hard-won peace... and we want to build a lasting partnership founded upon mutual interest and mutual respect."

    Mr Obama said America had not chosen the war, and had not sought to meddle in Afghan affairs or expand its influence.

    It had, he said, been "attacked viciously on 9/11", and al-Qaeda leaders and their Taliban allies were still in the region and had to be defeated. [BBC]



    I guess Socialists and assorted RED squirrels have just lost a potential ally they'were hoping for.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BETTER DEAD THAN READ!

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  • 30. At 09:48am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #1 "The hidden agenda - oil and gas pipelines, paid for with U.S./NATO blood and money?"





    TO THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DROP OUT:

    Where it this OIL, and where are those PIPELINES?


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  • 31. At 09:54am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    To MAII #7:
    "Barack Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief"

    If you agree with this quote, what attributes would make him qualified?



    Perhaps not even flying planes in National Guard as certain "W" was,
    but just be able to tell a difference betweeen a barrel and a butt of the rifle if the latter hits him on his labor lawyer's head?

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  • 32. At 09:55am on 29 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    No problem with his speech to the troops or the method he went to Afghanastan.

    But don't give him a pass for his abysmal foriegn policy, insulting Israel and the U.K, no support for the Iranian students, no pressure put on the Arab league. No pushing through Free trade agreement with Columiba. No support for new Honduran President.

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  • 33. At 10:03am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    sqirrelist of th Red Sqirrel Party wrote:

    "What puzzles us is the near veneration many in the US give to people in uniform"






    On the other hand, it does not puzzle us [U.S.] that members of the Socialist International don't understand why anybody would respect their country's soldiers, our there to" protect&defend".


    P.S. BTW. Hardly any of the Obama-promised extra 30,000 troops have made it to Afghanistan so far.

    Too busy protecting windows of Democrats' local offices?


    [perhaps after 2012 election]

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  • 34. At 10:05am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #13 "This month, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly defeated a resolution calling for a firm date for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    The Washington Times"]


    You're absolutely correct.



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  • 35. At 11:05am on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 16 Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    "Sounds more like Obama wanted to fight the Taliban than Bush and Cheney. But then, Dubya didn't think much about it, as he admitted openly. Guess being a "War President" for him was all about looking good in a cod piece and declaring unfinished business, "Mission accomplished.""

    Bush in a cod piece?

    Think I missed that photo.

    Can't say I'm sorry ;-)

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  • 36. At 11:06am on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    Sorry to go 'off topic', and I dare say the health issue has been dealt with pretty exhaustively, but I thought this piece on the BBC website by noted historian Simon Schama was of interest.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8589399.stm

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  • 37. At 11:42am on 29 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Perhaps kids obsessed with spelling mistakes should join a Spelling Bee Contest?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "STICK TO YOUR OWN KIND!"

    (West Side Story)

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  • 38. At 11:54am on 29 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    "Got some marines in the house!"


    Another US president talking and behaving like a poorly-educated teenager. Is there a more juvenile-minded country on the planet? I don't think so. It's embarrassing to watch - and I'm not even american (hallelujah).

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  • 39. At 11:56am on 29 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    "If a politician is not for the troops, under all circumstances, it means he or she is unpatriotic"


    Creepy, isn't it.

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  • 40. At 12:03pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    23. At 05:28am on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:
    " For example, we tend to be surprised at seeing people on political stages in uniform; a friend of mine is now ex-RAF; his uniform's binned and gone. If anyone asked him to stand on a politician's platform wearing it, as one often sees in the US, he'd be horrified. It'd seem as silly as if I were asked to go along to one wearing an academic gown and cap."

    squirrel, ol' buddy, I've lived most of my life in the US and watch US news whenever I've worked overseas and I gotta tell ya'; I've never seen a military member, in uniform, making any political statement. For one thing, while we are active duty, it's against the law. Because of the perceptions it can create, it is forbidden for us to identify ourselves with a candidate or political position while identifying with our branch of service at the same time. Except for members of the National Guard and Reserves, we are not allowed to run for or hold political office. Even if appearing in civilian clothing, we cannot get on a platform and say “My name is Sergeant Major Jones – or – Captain Smith and I support Fred here for the US Senate.” Retirees can, of course mention their military exploits if they campaign for public office as John McCain has always done, but that’s about it.
    If you have pictures or video of what you have described, please send them and I’ll forward the Criminal Investigative division of the appropriate armed service.

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  • 41. At 12:15pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    39. At 11:56am on 29 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:
    "If a politician is not for the troops, under all circumstances, it means he or she is unpatriotic"

    "Creepy, isn't it."

    1. I'd refer you to 14. At 02:07am on 29 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove, who put it more eloquently than I ever could.

    2. Why is it creepy for political leaders to be for the troops? After all it's the political leaders who do the picking of the battles, while the troops get to do the bleeding. I certainly can't see anything creepy in supporting the ones you depend on when the chips are down. To do otherwise could be compared to a carpenter leaving his saw and hammer laying out in the rain.

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  • 42. At 12:17pm on 29 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 16, Gavrielle

    "Sounds more like Obama wanted to fight the Taliban than Bush and Cheney. But then, Dubya didn't think much about it, as he admitted openly."

    There is no question that President Obama refocused our attention and energies on Afghanistan, the problem is that with the exception of a desperately needed increase in troop levels and materiel, the strategy continues to rely on military might rather than a greater focus on influencing the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

    While fighting Al Qaeda and what it represents is a Western priority, I believe that eradicating the Taliban and the values or way of life they champion can only be accomplished by the Afghan and Pakistani people, if nothing else because they are the Taliban.

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  • 43. At 12:39pm on 29 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Well said Mr. President, you are the best commander in chief for our kids at war for decades.

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  • 44. At 12:42pm on 29 Mar 2010, Dutchie76 wrote:

    15. At 02:09am on 29 Mar 2010, Risforme wrote:
    'The problem is Obama will be attacked for anything he does. He goes to Afghanistan and he's attacked for not coming sooner. For only coming after the fighting has been done. Don't believe me? Tune into you local Conservative news outlet. However at least he's finally learned not to let the criticism get to him. Conservatives in this country aren't for anything. At the moment they are Anti-Obama anything and everything Obama is for they are against'.

    Hear hear! Conservatives are against any kind of progress. All of a sudden every issue the US is facing is due to Obama, the economic crash, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. They seem to have conveniently forgotten that all of this happened while Bush was head of state and that Obama is picking up the pieces.

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  • 45. At 1:30pm on 29 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Re: 40, oldroadr - criminal investigation unit

    Do not expect any supporting detail in the nutty claim. The rants seldom have basis or merit other than to spur more rants.

    I agree it was an awfully expensive theater for Obama to get sound bites and a photo opportunity. I sincerely wished a marine shouted back, "Is there a President in the House?"

    The higher casualty rates we have encountered are specifically the result of mandates Obama placed on the generals and solders to improve global image and reduce civilian casualties. (Can not call in air strikes to come to the aid of ambushed patrols, do not fire until fired upon, ...)

    Where as G.W. was down with the troops and serving meals in the mess hall, I am comfortable the royal Obama was on stage doing his equivalent of campaigning.

    Re: 12 Interested Foreigner - It is all clear

    Thank you. That certainly clarifies the simplistic and idealistic thought that some carry through life as substantive.

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  • 46. At 1:42pm on 29 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Obama wearing his leather bomber jacket, emblazoned with the American Eagle: “We've got Air Force; we've got Army; we've got Navy; we've got some Marines in the house!”
    That emblazoned Eagle spoke louder than his words, and the Eagle said:
    “I’m not just one of you; I’m the most important one of you, and look: I'm here with you!”
    Who was Obama addressing when he said: "You inspire me!" The troops stood for values that America desperately needs - like sacrifice, honour and decency? Was he talking to the troops, or was he talking to the Republicans, those wayward Democrats, and anyone else who dared question American policy, military or otherwise - including its vile weapons of impersonal destruction, like drones, depleted uranium and white phosphorous.
    No one can read what actually goes on in the mind of a man like Obama. Does he support the troops? Does he behave like a real Commander-in-Chief…or did he go to Afghanistan to virtually scold the Republicans (and wayward Democrats), using the incontestable military as a backdrop? Everything is always so orchestrated with this President, this leader of ObamaNation.
    It’s not the military that has clout. The troops are dispensable fodder for the American military machine. If you don’t believe this, think carefully about what happens to the war-wounded, the PTSD sufferers, the amputees, and how glorified and honoured their lives become when they arrive back home: One grunt is like another grunt, but a wounded grunt becomes an expensive grunt.
    There’s no doubt that Obama is a great speaker, but even this is getting old. “Yes we can!” is beginning to sound like “No we can’t” is beginning to sound like a mishmash of pretty words, elegantly strung together - almost like music - but essentially not harmonious. My brain has long ago turned off his oratory elegance; it only listens to what he actually says…and that's not 1/10 as pretty as his words.
    If Obama’s sudden appearance in Afghanistan is what patriotism really looks like – the troops gathered around in almost reverential awe before a President that sounds pretty, and then proceeds to talk through them, delivering his messages for Tom (Karzai), Dick (Republicans) and Harry (Democrats), then patriotism seems to me equal to some sort of perverse religion, and the Idol of ObamaNation is Obama.

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  • 47. At 2:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Re: 76 Dutchie

    Sorry, if I do not carry a banner for:
    . socialist takeover of two major car companies (& sharing spoils with the unions)
    . socialist takeover of health care industry without addressing underlying problems
    . policy to cripple military response at the expense of higher casualties
    . printing and dispensing $1.05 trillion USD without Congressional oversight
    . appointment of a Supreme Court Justice when 60% of her appealed cases are overturned
    . executive order transferring $2 billion to a George Soros investment in Brazil
    . "I am not worried about following the procedure" when referring to the U.S.Constitution he took the oath to uphold
    . Union considerations (IE: workers no longer have to vote a union in; health care tax exemptions)
    . disregard for economy and environment - crossed the Atlantic four times in one week in AirForce one, ironically to attend the global warming conference that week
    . condoning the changing of the locks on the Senate hear room to exclude certains senators from the process
    . constant campaigning (when his actions clearly deviate from what he tells he people)

    If this is "progressive", then take it somewhere else. We need no part of it.

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  • 48. At 2:25pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    ann arbor - you are right and I neglected to add to my post that the soldiers and airmen on stage were not showing political support, but merely following orders, I'm sure some more willingly than others.

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  • 49. At 2:48pm on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 45 ann arbor wrote:

    "Do not expect any supporting detail in the nutty claim. The rants seldom have basis or merit other than to spur more rants."

    I found this somewhat amusing.

    As I pointed out quite recently, I did a quick scan through ann arbor's postings on Obama, and summarised them as follows

    "So, just to be clear, your President is a thieving, lying, pathetic, incompetent Maoist Leninist who took power in a coup, is worse than a psychopathic criminal [The Joker], has an agenda to disarm Americans, deliberately sacrifices US soldiers and deserves to be executed? And those who think otherwise are brain damaged? [Obviously excluding your chums MK and MAII?]."

    The postings are online for all to see. If ann arbor disagreed with this summary, s/he has not said so.

    Nutty claims and rants without basis or merit indeed....

    "The higher casualty rates we have encountered are specifically the result of mandates Obama placed on the generals and solders to improve global image and reduce civilian casualties. (Can not call in air strikes to come to the aid of ambushed patrols, do not fire until fired upon, ...)"

    This is at least the second time you have made this claim. I would be delighted if you could share your evidence, links etc. [Preferably not from Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck or Fox.] It seems surprising that this 'information', if true, has not received more prominence, from both the Reps and indeed the military.

    I have indeed read that there has been a change of policy with regard to aerial bombing. Apparently someone came to the startling conclusion that killing innocent civilians was [a] A Bad Thing and [b] not particularly inclined to win over the 'hearts and minds' of the Afghans.

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  • 50. At 2:48pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Excellent read, Mark!

    Obama's dillemma:
    In these here United States of America, the GOP had taken the appearance, the spin, of patriotism in the face of 'Leftist-Liberal-SocialistInfrastructure-PacifistWimps' otherwise known as the Democratic Party.
    -- A lie. All of it. Propagandistic Bull-Poop.

    The Democratic Party, Obama included, takes the safety and success of the American People very very seriously. Oops.

    So - you called it correctly:
    "His first presidential visit to Afghanistan aims to convince people his stance is what patriotism really looks like.

    [Now, some of you will hate this, but here it goes]
    I believe that his speech is sincere and truthful. If it sounded like a Bush speech, than that's because GWB (for all his dorky cluelessness) also sincerely supported the troops and earnestly wanted to support the safety and success of his people.

    [Did you catch that? I just pointed out a similarity between GWB and Obama. I hope you didn't miss it, because there aren't many such comparisons to be made.]

    See... the GOP/DEM fight isn't about WHAT needs to happen, but HOW it should be done. (discuss amongst yourselves.)
    _______________

    This visit is an astute and sincere effort to remind the American People that we are all on the same damn team. Start acting like it. We have more important things to deal with than contrived efforts to maintain political power.
    -- Suck it up folks, roll up your sleeves and stop your complaining, we have work to do.

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  • 51. At 2:59pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Mark writes
    ""You inspire me!" he told them, before going on to say that they stood for values that America desperately needs, like sacrifice, honour and decency, that the American military had done what was required while so many other institutions had let America down."

    Don't ask. Don't tell:- and recent conflicting military comments from superior officers. Maintaining morale and esprit de corps in the field as well as the barracks.
    I would have hoped that the top brass if accepting or turning a blind eye towards hetero relationships that occur off base, they could understand gay relationships that happen off base as well. It would appear to infer that they expect a difference of responsible morality between the two groups on base, and lack of trust to observe that there is a time and a place for everything.
    It is sad enough, that any young person serving his country faces an unenviable death or injury in the foreign sands of anywhere yet isn't this taking any soldiers individual make-up a little too far. Almost the- gotta die clean. Gotta die pure., and even in death it questions whether a gay soldier could or should achieve merit.
    Do they really imagine that any serving homosexual lying at the front upon seeing another marine immediately thinks "Hallo sailor. Where is the nearest washroom"? Or with female conscripts of lesbian tendencies that " Praise the lord, pass the dildo" comes to mind?
    With a predominantly heterosexual mixed military today being the case, then surely you would have expected, with straight male and female soldiers in abundance, they would also be saying "You appear sexy under the kevlar body armor, shall we?", but I cannot recall any examples of this battlefield anomaly in print [with the exception of junk paperbacks].
    I would have thought they had more serious things on their minds. Overpaid?Never. Oversexed? Just sadly over there!
    Perhaps slightly off topic but with USA's CIC praising them all, and my own ignorance of any matters military, perhaps the ex military posters,and all Americans here could throw a little light on the subject. Preferably thoughtful polite comment please. .

    PursuitOfLove # 14. Well written piece, though I dispute the USA's "in higher esteem" . The unfortunate UK arrival point home for many a hero is Wootton Bassett, where all respect the ultimate sacrifices the serving military have been forced to make.
    As you rightly suggest, Bush [and Blair], having as armchair generals orchestrated this charade,now both out of office, yet again duck from the line of fire.

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  • 52. At 3:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    43. frayedcat wrote:
    Well said Mr. President, you are the best commander in chief for our kids at war for decades.
    ________

    Preach it, honey!


    Poor McCain. If he had run instead of Bush in 2004 I'd have voted for him. The GOP had the vote because the war(s) were still too hot for the American people to switch parties. Unfortunately, McCain didn't get the GOP primary (Smrt move. The Incumbent was a safe bet.) and we were stuck with our sincere, kind, clueless wonder. (I was too disgusted to vote.)

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  • 53. At 3:13pm on 29 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    Thank you, frayedcat, St.Dom, Interestedforeigner, et al: President Obama is doing exactly what he ought to be doing as Commander-in-Chief, and supporting troops and veterans with cabinet-level access and beefier benefits than several previous Presidents that could be named. Plus: he will get them out of Iraq and Afghanistan faster than anyone else would. The troops and their families appreciate that if nobody else does.

    On another subject: I remained silent throughout the Sarah Palin discussions. No one needs my commentary and I don't need to see her name in print any more than it is already. I would like NOT to see the greedy, selfish freak on tv every time I turn it on. Mark, old boy, please don't encourage her or her partisans.

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  • 54. At 3:28pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    "There are never any specifics, but it matters a great deal in a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name."
    -- Mr. Mardell

    I find this astute... and somewhat disconcerting...

    On one hand --
    We are a country founded on the premise that you can't trust the 'people in charge'. Cynicism of Politics is why we became a nation.
    Hence: we support the honesty and integrity of our troops more than our elected officials. George Washington was a military hero and we love John Wayne movies.

    On the other hand --
    Unchecked faith in military leadership is stoopid. Historically, nations fall when too much effort is made in military expansionism and governments give too much power to their military commanders. It is the role of Government to give orders to the military on behalf of civilian interests lest our domestic infrastructure falter.


    What an ugly paradigmatic dilemma.
    I, like, soooo don't envy Obama. By being a strong Commander In Chief, the Patiotic Right will cry foul, but he will also frustrate the 'Progressive' Pacifist Left. Fortunately, most people fall in the center. So, I am optimistic about the long range perspective - even if it does make people's heads spin in the moment. Pass the popcorn and hand me a beer, we're in for an interesting show.

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  • 55. At 4:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 50, Philly-Mom

    "This visit is an astute and sincere effort to remind the American People that we are all on the same damn team. Start acting like it. We have more important things to deal with than contrived efforts to maintain political power."

    You are absolutely right! I think it is also obvious that some people seem to forget that our troops are a reflection of our society and, consequently, that their political preferences are no different from the rest of us. In fact, I would say that half of those troops are Democrats who appreciated President Obama's visit very much.

    Our country is divided politically, and those divisions are apparent in every segment of our society. The military is no exception, the only difference is that military code of conduct does not allow our troops to express their political preferences the way the rest of us do.

    The larger question, however, is what should the US do in years to come? Should we stay the course or should we take a narrower course of action focused strictly on Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism?

    The first objective may actually be easier to accomplish without the presence of a huge military force in the region. The second requires the determination, vision, consistency and political pragmatism that President Barack Obama exhibits, but how long will it be before we go back to the good old days and use deceit and outright lies to accomplish the goals of those whose agenda is global dominance and the attainment of personal goals using the mantra of patriotism to justify their actions?


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  • 56. At 4:08pm on 29 Mar 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    Now that the British have woken up to the fact that this current administration doesn’t care very much for them and have decided that the so called “special relationship” no longer exists. Will Mr Obama be asking his new allies that he wants to cultivate (Brazil, India etc) if they don’t mind sending troops to Afghanistan to fight as the UK is starting to ask its self why they are shedding blood for an ally that ignores them. It seems the UK media love affair with Obama is over and calls to bring back the troops are getting louder. I think the Falkand islands dispute has brought this to the front of UK minds
    Maybe the US wants to win in Afghanistan alone or feels that Brazilian/Indian conscripts would be as much of an asset as Royal Marines or paratroopers.
    I think alienating the one country in the world that’s willing to pay a blood price for the protection that NATO affords will come back to haunt this administration

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  • 57. At 4:15pm on 29 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 51, watermanaquarius

    "I would have thought they had more serious things on their minds."

    Gay rights should be addressed not only in the military but in every segment of our society. What I believe is much more worrisome, however, is the emergence of large groups of armed militia in the USA training to support the Second Coming of the Lord and only recognize Jesus as their "top general".

    The radicalism and anti-government feelings that gained impetus in the Reagan era are becoming a serious threat to the future of the USA and should not be ignored. I believe our leaders in Washington and at State level should take a more active role in addressing this menace before it gets completely out of control.

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  • 58. At 4:22pm on 29 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I am grateful to our troops and our allies troops, more than words could say. Each and every person is important. I also thank President Obama for visiting our troops and giving them encouragement, perhaps in a time when they need it most. Our troops are never too far from our thoughts. They do so much for us and we need to show our appreciation, which President Obama did in a respectful way. It can't be easy for Obama. Sometimes there is frustration all around. But showing your support for our troops is always the right thing to do.

    My heart is with our soldiers and our allies soldiers today all around the world and also with the Russian people who were attacked by cowardly terrorists. I will pray for them in this dark hour. No one deserves to be attacked by terrorists, not us, not them, or anyone else. The world must unite to stop these murderers.

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  • 59. At 4:29pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    1. At 11:10pm on 28 Mar 2010, Blogson wrote:
    The basic agenda - the conquest of Afghanistan. The hidden agenda - oil and gas pipelines, paid for with U.S./NATO blood and money?

    12. At 02:05am on 29 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    Ah, now I understand. So, let me get this straight. If I understand you right, the whole thing must have been a plot

    Oh goodie! This is fun!
    Dearest Foreigner, please let me translate. Ahem. Some conspiracy theorists would have you think that Washington DC is actually run, not by Aliens from MARS (and not by the Brits), but by Aliens from the Evil Middle East! The Bush Dynasty was in bed with the Arabian Knights! Gosh - didn't you notice Barry's middle name??? Duh!! It's all an Evil Muslin Plot by Terrorist Towel-heads! Gad-Zooks!!!!

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I think people watch too many movies.
    But, I DO believe that my country relies on energy imports more that we ought and that our gross economic interdependence posits a national security risk.

    Pass the popcorn, eh?

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  • 60. At 4:32pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    53. At 3:13pm on 29 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:
    “I would like NOT to see the greedy, selfish freak on tv every time I turn it on."

    Selfish freak is, of course, a matter of opinion colored by your political/ideological leanings. Therefore, you can't explain it and I can't argue it. However, I have to ask: what is your evidence of her greed?

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  • 61. At 4:37pm on 29 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Listening to Obama's speech for myself, it seems he is no longer so eager to quit Afghanistan in 2011 if the battle isn't over yet. Let's see, still in Iraq, GITMO still open for business with no closing in sight, trials of terrorists may be held by military tribunals after all, going to stay in Afghanistan, wouldn't talk to the Europeans about climate change, as time goes on and Obama learns his job, his foreign policy is morphing into George Bush's. Let's hope it's not too late. Now Mister President, straighten out your priorities and brains on the Middle East, forget about the Palestinians and concentrate on how you are going to eliminate the threat Iran poses to the United States once and for all. That and the economy is your job one, nothing else, the rest is secondary.

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  • 62. At 4:52pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    54. At 3:28pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:
    "On the other hand --
    Unchecked faith in military leadership is stoopid. Historically, nations fall when too much effort is made in military expansionism and governments give too much power to their military commanders. It is the role of Government to give orders to the military on behalf of civilian interests lest our domestic infrastructure falter."


    Our federal republic has lasted 221 years (counting from the ratification of the constitution) without one single military coup, almost unheard of in the world. Our command structure is subordinate to civilian political leaders which we who are part of that military have great respect for. However, even if we didn’t, our command structure is purposely fragmented. The joint chiefs of staff are not operational commanders in the sense that a “High Command” is. The 4 service chiefs and the chairman are responsible for recruiting, training and equipping the armed forces. Operational command runs from the POTUS to the theater commanders. The generals/admirals who hold those positions, seldom stay in the same position for more than 2 – 3 years. The positions are normally rotated through the 4 component services. This would make it virtually impossible, regardless of how much the public may adore us at the time, for a cadre of officers to put together any kind of conspiracy.
    From a historical point of view:
    1. When George Washington gave his farewell to the Army, he set the standard that no man or woman would ever ware a uniform and hold political office at the same time.
    2. In WWII, the US had 14 million in uniform, yet there was no threat to the system.
    3. I joined the USAF in 1975 and retired in 1999. I can tell you that the Carter administration is proof that the republic is safe from military takeover. Never was a president more despised. Never was a president considered more incompetent when it came to foreign policy/national security. Never before did a president threaten to withhold pay (1978). Yet, in all of that we remained loyal to our oath. A wing commander I served under once pointed out that the US military does not swear allegiance to a political leader or even a piece of real estate. We swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Enlisted repeat that oath every time they re-enlist. We know where our loyalties lie and we know that all presidents eventually leave office (peacefully) and that this too, shall pass…

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  • 63. At 4:57pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 48. Oldloadr:

    ...the soldiers and airmen on stage were not showing political support, but merely following orders, I'm sure some more willingly than others.

    As was true, I'm sure, of the crew of the aircraft carrier that Bush landed on. And strutted across in his flight suit as though he had landed the plane himself. Why is it always assumed that when a Republican president visits the troops the enthusiasm is genuine but when it's a Democrat they must be following orders?

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  • 64. At 4:57pm on 29 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

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

  • 65. At 5:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

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

  • 66. At 5:03pm on 29 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

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

  • 67. At 5:09pm on 29 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    oldload

    I know you think she is just doing her thing but I consider trashing the USA as much as she has done and proposes just to get herself off the dole que to be selfish. to promote racial hatred for the good of making some money. I would call her selfish

    but I know you like her so. I'll just agree with that lady from Carolina.
    becaause she is right. and too much attention is piad to this charlatan who pretends to care for america .

    Boy I sound like one of you guys.

    I would say like many on the right that cannot see a fisrt step as necessary she is doing her best to prevent others receiving health care (though she did border skip when it was needed for her).
    While she enjoys the benefits of health care paid for by those people she would deny.
    most of whom are less well off than her. but still she gave up and quit because she is no quitter and now sits with piles of money and healthcare for life.

    No not selfish at all.

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  • 68. At 5:11pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 57. SaintDominick:

    The radicalism and anti-government feelings that gained impetus in the Reagan era are becoming a serious threat to the future of the USA and should not be ignored. I believe our leaders in Washington and at State level should take a more active role in addressing this menace before it gets completely out of control.

    Apparently law enforcement is taking it seriously. A case in point:

    FBI Raids Militias in Michigan and Ohio

    Ulp! This is pretty close to home. Southeast Michigan has had militias for a long time, but I didn't realize Northwest Ohio did too.

    Has anyone heard from ann arbor today?

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  • 69. At 5:15pm on 29 Mar 2010, jay jarrell wrote:

    Thank you for letting me reply to your editorial,
    I am a citizen of the Southern state of Georgia in a small community outside of the city of
    Atlanta,given this is a state of racial attitudes towards one another who live here
    one thing that stands out to me about Obama is that he does not unite people, he separates people against one another in political realms.,this is disheartning for as you know in your country this causes deep resentment among different ethnic groups that cannot be healed.I personally would like to see a President of this nation lead all people and not a select few,great trouble ahead in american politics to come if this trend continues as more lines will be drawn at a great expense to our children,it sounds more and more like the mideast everyday over here, kind of makes me wonder why he made a surprise visit to the mideast?would like to hear an out siders comment on this matter with maybe some good advice. thank you,troubled in Atlanta.

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  • 70. At 5:15pm on 29 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This American has high respect for the British and all our other allies who are helping us combat the War Against Terror. People can argue and debate over politics, but the point is, these people are on the line for us and our allies, no politics involves. They are there for us. The terrorist murderers are the real enemy to the world.

    I am sad that the UK no longer considers us a "special relationship." However, I would like them to know that I am extremely appreciative for what the UK has done and hope that they are still our ally in the future. No media in America has ever called UK a poodle or whatever, I have never heard that and certainly don't think it.

    But no matter if UK declares a special relationship or not, British people were originally the creators of the United States of America, including our founding laws. So USA has the British to thank for that. No matter what anyone says, it is true. The British started us. We will always feel that bond, especially us with English in our blood.

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  • 71. At 5:21pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Oldloadr(#62) "The 4 service chiefs and the chairman are responsible for recruiting, training and equipping the armed forces."

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff are somewhat more important than that. "... the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President."

    http://www.jcs.mil/page.aspx?id=8

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  • 72. At 5:33pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    63. At 4:57pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:
    "Why is it always assumed that when a Republican president visits the troops the enthusiasm is genuine but when it's a Democrat they must be following orders?"

    I’m sure that some on the right may believe that, but since I did server for 24 years, I don’t. As I said, some were more willing than others. However, based on absentee ballot stats (the only way we can legally glean military voting trends) the military has consistently voted to the right of the overall civilian population for the last few presidential cycles. I did a quick search, but can’t find the citation for the article I read on the subject. However, as I said, we trend more conservative, but we are not 100% anything. However, I did find this quote from a site:
    “In summary, we found that, on average, 1999 recruits were more highly educated than the equiv¬alent general population, more rural and less urban in origin, and of similar income status. We did not find evidence of minority racial exploitation (by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). We did find evidence of a “Southern military tradition” in that some states, notably in the South and West, provide a much higher proportion of enlisted troops by population.” http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2005/11/Who-Bears-the-Burden-Demographic-Characteristics-of-US-Military-Recruits-Before-and-After-9-11
    This could explain our conservative leanings.

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  • 73. At 5:45pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    67. At 5:09pm on 29 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:
    "I know you think she is just doing her thing but I consider trashing the USA as much as she has done and proposes just to get herself off the dole que to be selfish. to promote racial hatred for the good of making some money. I would call her selfish"

    1. What is your evidence of her trashing America?

    2. What is your evidence of her promoting racial hatred?

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  • 74. At 5:49pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    GH1618 - Yeah, I meant to say that, but got a little wrapped up in the point. You are correct and I apologise for leaving out that important responsibility. However, that does reinforce the point since he is an advisor to the POTUS, not a cabinet level officer. The SecDef (civilian) is that person.

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  • 75. At 6:12pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Ah, if a poster has been U-boated, must be Monday. (And I was under the impression Oregon didn't have a coastline.) I hate Mondays . . .

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  • 76. At 6:14pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 72. Oldloadr:

    the military has consistently voted to the right of the overall civilian population for the last few presidential cycles.

    My next door neighbor, who is retired military, explained to me once that the military tended to vote Republican because the perception was that the Republicans were more likely to take care of the military. That seems more like pocketbook voting than ideological voting to me.

    ...in that some states, notably in the South and West, provide a much higher proportion of enlisted troops by population.

    Yes, I made a promise that I would watch the photos and names of KIA soldiers that are shown at the end of the PBS News Hour. They deserve that moment of recognition and it's a sobering moment. I've noticed how many of the home towns seem to be in the South and West. But is that because of a military tradition or because they have fewer other opportunities? Patriotism certainly is a big part, but there are patriotic 18 year-olds whose families can afford to send them to college, too.

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  • 77. At 6:40pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    76. At 6:14pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:
    "I've noticed how many of the home towns seem to be in the South and West. But is that because of a military tradition or because they have fewer other opportunities? Patriotism certainly is a big part, but there are patriotic 18 year-olds whose families can afford to send them to college, too."

    I know the GI Bill is a draw, but it is not that big of a draw. You’d be surprised at the number of GIs I served with who never bothered to use their education benefits. The South and the West are no poorer than the Northeast inner cities, yet recruiters have a much harder time there. I know it is hard for some folks to understand, but there are some of us (just enough to keep the all-volunteer military going) who really want to serve our country. Yes, I did use my GI Bill, after I completed 24 years of service, but I would have joined if it didn’t exist. Anyway, you earn full GI Bill benefits after 4 years of honorable service. Therefore, it doesn’t explain that re-enlistments have held steady throughout these current Southwest Asian Un-pleasantries.

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  • 78. At 6:42pm on 29 Mar 2010, U13817236 wrote:

    It's more than a slight exaggeration to suggest that Amerika is "a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name"...since there is so little basis for claiming that Amerika is a "democracy". The "reverend regard" for Amerika's wehrmacht - and more importantly the "reverend regard" for its astronomical military budget - is more indicative of the fascist society it is rapidly resembling. "If a politician is not for the troops, under all circumstances, it means he or she is unpatriotic"...and patriotism, as a famous Brit once reminded, is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. So it's not surprising that a scoundrel like Obama should go to the killing fields of Afghanistan to cheer his troops in their imperial aggression. '"You inspire me!" he told [his troops] before going on to say that they stood for values that America desperately needs, like"...killing innocent civilians and occupying their land. Apparently there wasn't any time - or interest - for visiting any of the relatives of all those innocent Afghans slaughtered in Obama's latest war. The "Military Chaplin"-in-Chief's "main message was not about the progress of the war but his attitude towards the military. He talked about his anguish about the sacrifices they made, and how he was humbled by it"...but not a word of pious anguish for all the multiplying Afghans "sacrificed" or "humbled" by it. "He told the troops that politics back home looked messy but there was no daylight between the parties when it came to support for the troops"...and utter indifference to all the uncounted 'collateral damage'. "It is the Obama dilemma in a nutshell."

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  • 79. At 6:52pm on 29 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    Not one of your best, Mark. You still have a lot to learn about Americans.

    First off, he's not a faux general. He's the commander of the American armed forces. He outranks all generals. He's not pretending to be anything. The President can wear any of the uniforms of the armed forces (and they often do). He's a member of all American military units.

    "He talked about his anguish about the sacrifices they made, and how he was humbled by it. The tone is very much his own."

    I'm sorry Mark, but this is just ignorance. Every wartime American president has expressed these feelings, and everyone of them has been sincere. Indeed, they all hold them in their hearts for the rest of their lives. It's a terrible job.

    I have no idea why the British hold their troops in low regard. I'm still baffled by the hesitancy of the British public to grant citizenship to Gurkha veterans of the second world war. My God, have you no shame?

    And then there's the inadequate equipment you provide your soldiers.

    "There are never any specifics, but it matters a great deal in a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name."

    More political clout? The military doesn't take part in politics. They are forbidden from campaigning in any way while they're in the service. So, the People bear the sole responsibility for making sure their needs are met. We failed to do that once (Vietnam) and the results are still being felt today. The People won't make that mistake again anytime soon.

    The bottom line is this: we take these sons and fathers from their families and put them in positions where they risk death by immolation, decapitation and dismemberment, or a life of permanent pain and handicap.

    You're damn right we care about them. I can't fathom how we couldn't. Then again, I'm not British.

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  • 80. At 6:52pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    SaintDominick # 57
    Thank you. Obviously again a case of God, over the authority of government.
    From the deafening silence, I see the slogan equally applies here too, for anything, that might be considered an afront to recognised teachings and the 'spirit' of yesterday.

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  • 81. At 6:55pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    54. At 3:28pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    I find this astute... and somewhat disconcerting...

    On one hand --
    We are a country founded on the premise that you can't trust the 'people in charge'. Cynicism of Politics is why we became a nation. Hence: we support the honesty and integrity of our troops more than our elected officials. George Washington was a military hero and we love John Wayne movies.

    On the other hand --
    Unchecked faith in military leadership is stoopid. Historically, nations fall when too much effort is made in military expansionism and governments give too much power to their military commanders. It is the role of Government to give orders to the military on behalf of civilian interests lest our domestic infrastructure falter.

    What an ugly paradigmatic dilemma.


    Isn't it just? And yet there seems to be a kind of subterranean message coming from some that everything would work out much better if the army gave orders to the politicians, not the other way around. . .My point earlier is that over here, we prefer to treat the opinions of ex-Generals or ex-Colonels, or ex-Corporals for that matter, as those of civilians in political matters. Worth no more, no less.

    Actually, perhaps with a little more scepticism, since after all they are accustomed to giving and receiving orders when they're exercising their profession.

    But retired military men (not many women, though?) seem, through think tanks and media punditry to get a disproportionate amount of exposure and attention in the US that just doesn't look very healthy to most Brits and Europeans, except those of the most authoritarian political persuasions.

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  • 82. At 7:18pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "Almost four years ago to the day, I threw my unwavering support behind a passionate, thoughtful veteran in the middle of a close, competitive primary. His name was Jim Webb-- now Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

    "Today, I'm compelled to enter the fray once more, and throw my full support behind Cal Cunningham for North Carolina's Senate seat. . . Cal is beyond a doubt the best candidate to take on Richard Burr this November.

    "Cal would be the first veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Senate. He would bring a veteran's unique perspective to policymaking in Washington."

    [ (ex) General Wesley Clarke]

    And what about other 'perspectives'?


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  • 83. At 7:25pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    squirrelist # 75,
    He has sent a message home.
    Is it a recognised Monday feature or is it something more shifty? 6.00-14.00, 14.00-22.00, 22.00-60.00. I bow to your superior knowledge of these matters.
    So the 'Mad Chatter' who has saved many an American Editor and moderator his job by increasing productivity must disappear down the rabbit hole again.
    Thank heavens for our unappreciated military. A Biggles lost in his prime. Shot down while delivering Red Cross remarks. [1, Please allow for poetic licence. 2, I read them, and they appeared simple and polite]. Thank the lord he has friends.
    Come out Algy, Wilks, A/C Raymond, Smyth, Ginger, Bertie,Tug, Angus, Marcel, Insp Gaskin , Eddie, where ever you are.

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  • 84. At 7:29pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    78. At 6:42pm on 29 Mar 2010, DouglasFeith wrote:
    "...and utter indifference to all the uncounted 'collateral damage'."

    Gotta ask ya': did you miss 9/11? As far as American Imperialism goes, I'll tell you what Colin Powell once said," When the fighting is over, we've only ever asked for enough land to bury our dead." Nowadays, due to our fine transport system, we don't even do that. We take our dead home, and then we help rebuild the country that attacked us, as we are doing now in Afghanistan. If that's imperialism, I'm all for it. But, I’m glad my country rained death on Afghanistan after 9/11. The people there acquiesced to a brutal theocracy and shared its fate when it aided Al Qaida. And BTW, the US military takes increased risk upon itself (as has been mentioned earlier in this thread) to limit civilian casualties; whereas Al Qaida and the Taliban go out of their way to increase said casualties… Are you calling them the good guys?

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  • 85. At 7:29pm on 29 Mar 2010, joan_of_arc wrote:

    This is an accurate comment from the President. Go to www.whitehouse.org.
    You can actually read the transcript of his speech. Here is a few things he talked about. Shame on you Mark for puffing this article up. "We The People" love our country. Also, they had a video and pictures of happy military soldiers to meet President Obama.

    President Obama said:
    Our broad mission is clear: We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies. That is our mission. And to accomplish that goal, our objectives here in Afghanistan are also clear: We’re going to deny al Qaeda safe haven. We’re going to reverse the Taliban’s momentum. We’re going to strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces and the Afghan government so that they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the Afghan people.

    He also reminded the troops of his unwavering support, noting efforts to improve pay and benefits, improving care for the wounded, moving forward with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and increasing the VA budget.

    And I know that sometimes when you’re watching TV, the politics back home may look a little messy, and people are yelling and hollering, and Democrats this and Republicans that. I want you to understand this: There’s no daylight when it comes to support of all of you. There’s no daylight when it comes to supporting our troops. That brings us together. We are all incredibly proud. We all honor what you do. And all of you show all of America what’s possible when people come together, not based on color or creed, not based on faith or station, but based on a commitment to serve together, to bleed together and to succeed together as one people, as Americans.


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  • 86. At 7:33pm on 29 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    35. At 11:05am on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    Bush in a cod piece?

    Think I missed that photo.


    No, you didn't. It's the one of him on the air craft carrier flight deck before the "Mission Accomplished" speech. Notice the, erm, unusually large bulge.

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  • 87. At 7:37pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    81. At 6:55pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:
    "But retired military men (not many women, though?) seem, through think tanks and media punditry to get a disproportionate amount of exposure and attention in the US that just doesn't look very healthy to most Brits and Europeans, except those of the most authoritarian political persuasions."

    The only time I have ever seen a retired military member interviewed is on questions of tactics and military employment strategies. That doesn't give them any authority or superiority; they are just the experts on the subject. After all, I've never seen a plumber interviewed about the latest brain surgery techniques...

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  • 88. At 7:44pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy Post (#79), I agree with your calling out Mr. Mardell for that "faux general" remark. I don't know why he would write that.

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  • 89. At 7:46pm on 29 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 77. Oldloadr:

    I'm certainly not underestimating the patriotism of those who volunteer, and you make a good point about enlistment in the inner cities. I just wish the country was more selective about where we sent our troops. I think the best way to respect the military is to only ask sacrifices of our troops when they are absolutely necessary.

    There at least used to be a belief that a young person could enlist and gain some discipline and kind of sort themselves out in the military--come out better prepared and knowing what they wanted out of life.

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  • 90. At 7:47pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy Post (#79) "The President can wear any of the uniforms of the armed forces (and they often do)."

    I don't know where you got that ridiculous idea, however. We have civilian control of our armed forces. Even those presidents who have served in the military have never worn a uniform as president.

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  • 91. At 8:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    83. At 7:25pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    squirrelist # 75,

    "Is it a recognised Monday feature or is it something more shifty?"

    Those who decide seemingly don't come into the office at weekends. Whoever, and wherever, they are.

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  • 92. At 8:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Some generals and admirals receive attention from the public because officers of that rank often have considerable education and experience and have something to say. It is no different than the attention given some corporate executives. There are many more who are unknown.

    High military rank is no guarantee of political success in the US. There are some who have been ridiculed in their political endeavors. To name two: Gen. Curtis LeMay, who ran for Vice President with George Wallace, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had presidential ambitions. Gen. Alexander Haig was not ridiculed, but he didn't go very far as a politician.

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  • 93. At 8:13pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    84. At 7:29pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    "We take our dead home, and then we help rebuild the country that attacked us, as we are doing now in Afghanistan."

    Remind me again, if you would, how many of those who plotted and executed 9/11 were Afghans?

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  • 94. At 8:24pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    86.Gavrielle_LaPoste:

    Oh, that's where they keep the cola bottle and the spare pair of socks, is it?

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  • 95. At 8:31pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    83. At 7:25pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    "So the 'Mad Chatter' who has saved many an American Editor and moderator his job by increasing productivity must disappear down the rabbit hole again."

    Well, can't do any harm now, but the Squirrels believe he's been thrown off the edge of the BBC Discworld, but has landed safely on the back of the World Turtle for the moment. (They are hoping for permission to illustrate this later.)

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  • 96. At 8:37pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    92. At 8:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Gen. Alexander Haig was not ridiculed, but he didn't go very far as a politician."

    That'll upset Hillary if being Secretary of State isn't 'going very far as a politician'. Not to mention (General) Colin Powell. . .

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  • 97. At 8:47pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Remind me again, if you would, how many of those who plotted and executed 9/11 were Afghans?" (from squirrelist at #93)

    I think "squirrelist" knows very well that Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban was providing a safe haven for al Qaeda. As for the members of al Qaeda, it matters not a whit whence they came.

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  • 98. At 8:56pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    81. At 6:55pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:
    "My point earlier is that over here, we prefer to treat the opinions of ex-Generals or ex-Colonels, or ex-Corporals for that matter, as those of civilians in political matters. Worth no more, no less.
    Actually, perhaps with a little more scepticism, since after all they are accustomed to giving and receiving orders when they're exercising their profession."

    ________________

    Ah... and like a fine wine your great nation ages with the maturity imbued with rich military and economic history. (Is it due to the Oak Wine Barrels? Or am I getting that confused with France. Maybe I should have gone with a Scotch allusion.)

    So, you're saying that McCain, who is a very model of a modern major general, might not be the best man to lead our great nation? Well, I suspect that he's only following the orders of his wealthy and attractive wife, so maybe his military affiliations wouldn't contaminate his decisions as much. Mrs McCain might make a great POTUS. Look at Clinton, she did pretty well while in office.
    Of course, Hillary had a Poli-Sci education and legal experience behind her.
    Hmmmm... Okay fine. I won't vote for McCain in 2012. You have my word.

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  • 99. At 8:59pm on 29 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 90, GH1618:

    "I don't know where you got that ridiculous idea, however."

    Neither do I. I was thinking of the later Bush in his flight suit, but even that doesn't fit.

    Point taken. I retract that statement.

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  • 100. At 9:00pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#96), Gen. Haig was Secretary of State for only a couple of years, and his term was controversial. As a presidential candidate, he was an also-ran.

    Gen. Powell was more respected as SoS, and would have made a credible candidate for president, were he interested.

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  • 101. At 9:01pm on 29 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Oldloadr # 73,
    You are questioning a poster who has been lost, missing in action. The U numbers means he ain't flying no more so you will have to hopefully await his possible return and postpone your dogfight until another day. I am sure he wished to continue debating with you. Perhaps his removed links gave a picture others did not enjoy.
    Unfriendly fire, or enemy fire [the mods] is immaterial. Even a nice civilian like LucyIllinois # 66 has suffered damage today.
    "Words are weapons, and it is dangerous . . . to borrow them from the arsenal of the enemy".
    George Santayana.

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  • 102. At 9:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I should add my point, which is that retired US generals and admirals in civilian life are judged on their individual merits, as any other executive would be. In other words, I reject the thesis that American generals are accorded undue respect when they speak or write on public affairs.

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  • 103. At 9:11pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Oh dear... this is fun. But, I must be off.
    Let me leave you with this 'moment of zen':

    Teens in urban centers have been recruited heavily over the past decades. This is because our "Economically Challenged" (poor) High School grads have no chance of affording University unless the Government Pays for it.
    Ah yes, during a less than popular military action, Higher Education is the carrot that the Pentagon dangles before our brave souls in uniform.

    As such, I believe there has been a gradual shift in perspective in our active duty professionals... a progressive shift.

    Our Honorable Heroes recognize, perhaps more than most, the importance of healthy urban infrastructure and the dangers of a weak medical infrastructure. They know whom they are fighting for. They are fighting not for a Grande Olde Political agenda, but for the health and economic well being of their families.
    And - they are fighting for themselves. Veterans' Medical Benefits Suck.

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  • 104. At 9:19pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    97. At 8:47pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "As for the members of al Qaeda, it matters not a whit whence they came."

    It does, actually, and a little thought would tell people not thinking about that is responsible for a lot of mistakes in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the potential cause of others in the perhaps not too distant future.

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  • 105. At 9:27pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    98. At 8:56pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    "Ah... and like a fine wine your great nation ages with the maturity imbued with rich military and economic history."

    Retired generals are on the whole best left quietly in the dark to gently pickle themselves out of everybody's way when they're finished with. They can be brought out for a celebration every 25 years or so, otherwise best left undisturbed.

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  • 106. At 9:29pm on 29 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Andy Post, I seriously disagree with your comments about the UK and troops.

    Firstly-this site will help here, check out pics and reports from Wooton Basset, a town where the bodies of the fallen goes through due it's location from the RAF station where they arrive, actually that was a temporary route due to upgrades at the airbase, but after the receptions from the town, as well as veterans, grew and grew, it has been retained.
    It has become a focus for respect and mourning.
    Most importantly, this was from the people, not organised by government, or the military, it still is.

    And the media here has always shown the coffins, in a proper and respectful military fashion based on 100's of years of tradition, arriving home, there was never the ban on this that existed in the US for some years.
    I don't buy the excuse of 'protecting the families', they knew already their loved ones had fallen, it was bluntly fear of public response to the radical idea that fighting in wars gets your people killed too.

    Secondly, US Hummers were every bit as deadly for their occupants to IED's and RPG's, as UK vehicles in the same role.
    Are there gaps in equipment? Yes and there always have been, since they often go to war equipped for the previous conflict. On both sides of the pond.

    The issue of those fighters from Nepal has been an issue since Hong Kong, where most were based, went back to China in 1997.
    It took a well known actress, whose father was an officer in these regiments in WW2, to pressure the government, which worked.
    I thought that this sort of grass roots thing was seen as good in the US?
    The government responded, since it was clear that the public were supportive of this campaign.
    Now go and fix your veterans hospitals which I understand caused a scandal in the US, we could all do better.

    To the wider point, the UK has a smaller military footprint in society, this is not so new.
    Since apart from the two world wars, as well as a period of conscription from 1947-60, the British Army has always been small, even for a professional force, in relation to the size of population, in other words, they've always been very picky in recruiting.
    Another factor was that for 100's of years, UK military power was mostly seaborne, not through large land forces, a result of being an island wary of involvement in European wars, like the US, also like the US, the 20th century ended that.

    The end of the Cold War made this 'footprint' ever smaller, when you consider that not much more than 20 years ago, the UK NATO commitments included 55,000 armoured troops in W.Germany, with a similar number in the UK to reinforce them, being one of the powers with a garrison in West Berlin, a tactical air force in Germany, responsibility for anti sub warfare in the Eastern Atlantic through surface and sub surface warships, a commitment to reinforce NATO flanks, as in Norway and/or the Mediterrean, keeping the UK secure as a vital base for Western defence.
    The maintenance of a strategic nuclear force both 'national' and assigned to NATO.
    As well as residuals such as fighting terrorism in Northern Ireland, unexpected conflicts in places like the South Atlantic and UN Peacekeeping.

    This is not the world today is it?
    Small wonder defence spending halved in the 1990's after the wall came down/USSR imploded,
    Also small wonder our defence spending was higher still in the 1950's and 1960's when all those 'East Of Suez' commitments/conflicts-against mostly USSR backed insurgents, to the point it seriously affected our post WW2 economic recovery.
    No other European NATO nation, with a partial exception of semi NATO France-also with overseas commitments, had defence spending to the proportion of GDP anything like the UK.

    The British, generally speaking, do have a great respect for the sacrifices of the forces, in most cases whether they agree with that conflict or not.
    But it's expressed in different ways.
    A more reserved way for the most part.
    The most successful new charitable organisation of recent years, is the self explanatory 'Help For Heros'.

    Every year, on the anniversary of the end of WW1, the nation pretty much stops to observe the 2 minutes silence, though the actual focus is on the formal mourning in London, attended by the leaders of all main political parties, much of the Royal Family, the monarch herself being the Commander In Chief - though like all her state functions, the actual mechanics of power are carried out in practice by her government. The elected one.
    But her role is non political, members of armed forces swear their oaths of service to her and and successors, not the political party in power at the time.
    It is also pretty socially unacceptable to ignore the 2 minutes silence.

    All this makes for a different dynamic to republics, not saying one is better than the other, it's how history played out.

    Other cultural differences seem to include a less demonstrative approach from the service people themselves, even down to how campaigns are named, no 'Operation Iraqi Freedom', the British Ministry Of Defence pick their names from a random computer lottery, hence the UK operation in Iraq was the rather less obvious 'Operation Telic'.
    Bluntly speaking, air punching patriotism is seen as somewhat distasteful.
    Support it or not, a war is about killing people.

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  • 107. At 9:35pm on 29 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    102. At 9:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "In other words, I reject the thesis that American generals are accorded undue respect when they speak or write on public affairs."

    Then why should General Wesley Clarke a) be taking credit for the election of one politician and b) be given pride of place on another's website?

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  • 108. At 9:46pm on 29 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    , Philly-Mom wrote:
    43. frayedcat wrote:
    Well said Mr. President, you are the best commander in chief for our kids at war for decades.
    ________

    Preach it, honey!


    Poor McCain. If he had run instead of Bush in 2004 I'd have voted for him. The GOP had the vote because the war(s) were still too hot for the American people to switch parties. Unfortunately, McCain didn't get the GOP primary (Smrt move. The Incumbent was a safe bet.) and we were stuck with our sincere, kind, clueless wonder. (I was too disgusted to vote.)


    _____________-

    From the terrorist perspective or from the Chinese or other countries that would like to see America's influence diminished you are correct, Obama is a great Commander in chief

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  • 109. At 9:54pm on 29 Mar 2010, _marko wrote:

    To Oldloadr #84
    RE: raining death on terror,

    When someone does something bad and you decide to retaliate in some way, what is the rationale behind your action?

    Do you target:

    * the country where they came from
    * where the attack came from
    * the place where they learnt the skills used in the attack
    * any convenient group however many billions make up that group
    * the perceived leadership of that group
    * any related people based on any tenuous relationships or characteristics, such as town, family, religion, present or past colleagues, appearance,etc

    or just make up any narrative, speculative link or generalisation that is compatible with your own ambition and interests, regardless of accuracy?

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  • 110. At 10:06pm on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 86 Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    "No, you didn't. It's the one of him on the air craft carrier flight deck before the "Mission Accomplished" speech. Notice the, erm, unusually large bulge"

    Well, perhaps we saw the same photo but were looking at different...parts of it

    ;-p

    I am inescapably reminded of the metal detector scene from Spinal Tap.....

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  • 111. At 10:17pm on 29 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 108 MagicKirin wrote:

    "From the terrorist perspective or from the Chinese or other countries that would like to see America's influence diminished you are correct, Obama is a great Commander in chief"

    Yet again, the same tedious, groundless, baseless, hate-filled drivel.

    I doubt if any POTUS in my lifetime, and probably before, has done more to stir up hatred of and contempt for the US than your idols, the "wise" Bush II and Cheney

    But hey, they certainly did one heck of a job of bringing peace to Iraq and Afghanistan, scaring the Chinese leadership and terrifying the Iranian government. Right after they disarmed N Korea.

    And I'm sure there would have been enormous international respect for 'Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran' McCain, whose first major decision was to potentially put Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

    But who wants to see the influence of the US diminished? Which 'ally' of the US waits till the US VP visits before blatantly insulting him?

    Don't all shout at once.

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  • 112. At 10:23pm on 29 Mar 2010, HERCULE_SAVINIEN wrote:

    RATTLE SNAKE ROUND-UP

    The bigger snakes can be found in the beltway of the District of Clowns but if you have never seen a Rattle Snake check out (www.star-telegram.com) Mark is walking around on the Mark Mardell Washington Beat, with real vipers, but the one shown is good in a yearly Rattle Snake Round Up.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

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  • 113. At 10:59pm on 29 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 106, SONICBOOMER:

    The truth is that I have an axe to grind with the BBC.

    A while back Matt Frei described our respect for the our servicemen as "worship." I found that insulting. What does he think we are, Spartans? Or God forbid, German? Mark didn't actually go that far but came uncomfortably close by suggesting our President is a fraud.

    That reminded me of the story Squirrel relayed to me about the BBC reporting during the Falklands conflict that Argentinian pilots were dropping their bombs on the Royal Navy too late to allow the automatic fuses to arm. The bombs were just bouncing off the ships. The Argentinians didn't realize it. They adjusted their tactics. The way Squirrel told it, that cost numerous British sailors their lives. That really upset me. None of the Brits on this board disputed nor gave any indication that this was out of the ordinary.

    Then I read the post above that asked why being a soldier should be considered anything more that just a job. I couldn't help connecting that with the picture of those aging Gurkhas in their wheelchairs, breasts obscured by medals, out in the street appealing for citizenship.

    Frankly, I lost my temper.

    So, I guess what I really wanted is what you gave me: reassurance that Brits do indeed value their servicemen. Tommies can stand toe to toe with any soldier on the planet (including our boys). So, why not go up and shake their hands and express your gratitude? If there's a group of Tommies on a commuter flight, why shouldn't the pilot announce their presence so the passengers can give them a hand? They deserve it, don't they? From your post, it seems like the Brit in the street thinks they do.

    Good.

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  • 114. At 11:12pm on 29 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #111

    If Obama had shown half the tact that he has shown to countries like Iran or North Korea this problem would have blown over.

    But he gave the Arab league who has never made a concession or a reperation for 60 years of terrorism an excuse to walk away from peace talks.

    Remember Obamaphiles it is the Palestinians and other Arab nations who refuse to conduct peace talks.

    Obama you might want to remeber that.

    Again you might want to listen to wiser people than you, including Bush Cheney Liberman and most of the U.S who knows that the Palestinians don't want peace.

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  • 115. At 11:58pm on 29 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    The terrorist attack in Moscow should be wake up call to russia, the U.S and the rest of the quarter that you can't negoiate with Islamic terrorist weather they are based in Chechynia, Palestinie and Lebanon

    With Putin words of destroying the Chechian terrorist, he should not object to Isreadealing with Hamas and Hezbollah and their protectors in Gaza and Lebanon.

    It is time for world to stop coddeling the Palestinians and Lebanese and start punishing them for their war crimes.

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  • 116. At 00:09am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    86. At 7:33pm on 29 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    No, you didn't. It's the one of him on the air craft carrier flight deck before the "Mission Accomplished" speech. Notice the, erm, unusually large bulge.
    __________

    Not for the first time, you just never know what women are going to notice ...

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  • 117. At 00:35am on 30 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    113. At 10:59pm on 29 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    "
    That reminded me of the story Squirrel relayed to me about the BBC reporting during the Falklands conflict that Argentinian pilots were dropping their bombs on the Royal Navy too late to allow the automatic fuses to arm. The bombs were just bouncing off the ships. The Argentinians didn't realize it. They adjusted their tactics. The way Squirrel told it, that cost numerous British sailors their lives."

    No, not me; and I have never heard that story confirmed, and I know someone who I think would have known. There was, I believe, some deliberate misinformation relayed to reporters by the MoD to confuse the Argentinians, but not that.

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  • 118. At 00:58am on 30 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    116. At 00:09am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Not for the first time, you just never know what women are going to notice ..."

    Perhaps it was a sneaky plot to out the gays on the carrier?

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  • 119. At 01:00am on 30 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Not for the first time, I would rather like people to read what I write, and not make assumptions about what they think I might think. . .

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  • 120. At 01:11am on 30 Mar 2010, bayleyco wrote:

    This ridiculous picture of Obama in his "me too" bomber jacket is likely to resurface in 2012 as his Dukakis "helmeted candidate in tank" moment. He should thank Bush that he can even visit Afghanistan; Obama would never have had the guts to invade Afghanistan.

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  • 121. At 02:43am on 30 Mar 2010, american grizzly wrote:

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

  • 122. At 03:08am on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    bayleyco (#120), here's a link to a picture of the previous president in Iraq wearing an Army jacket:

    http://www.theamericanmind.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/bush_turkey_iraq.jpg

    The Jacket Obama wore seems more appropriate to me, because it has the Presidential Seal on it. It's just a flight jacket, not a uniform.

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  • 123. At 03:19am on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#107) "Then why should General Wesley Clarke a) be taking credit for the election of one politician and b) be given pride of place on another's website?"

    Gen. Wesley Clark is a distinguished gentleman. Valedictorian at West Point. A Rhodes scholar. Supreme Commander of NATO. He has earned the respect he receives; he does not receive it merely by being a retired general. What is your point? Do you think military men are not to be taken seriously, no matter what their accomplishments?

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  • 124. At 03:51am on 30 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #122 GH1618,

    "The Jacket Obama wore seems more appropriate to me, because it has the Presidential Seal on it. It's just a flight jacket, not a uniform."

    Bush is wearing an Army windbreaker, it's not a uniform. Both men are just honoring the troops, why people get caught up with what they wear seems silly to me.

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  • 125. At 04:07am on 30 Mar 2010, dogoneit wrote:

    Three quick comments:
    1. America's greater respect for its military is probably the result of a couple of things. One is the shame most feel for the way many people in the country treated veterans of Vietnam. The other is the fact that the years of peace since 1945 have not been very peaceful for us. We lost about 100,000 lives, or more, fighting the "cold war". Probably many of those lives were lost unnecessarialy, but we lost them all the same.
    2. Unfortunately the respect for the military often does not extend to compensating or taking care of the people in harm's way or their families as we should. Both parties would rather spend funds on extravigant and stupid weapon systems instead.
    3. There is nothing Obama can do or say that will get even grudging praise from the shrill side of the political opposition. It seems that he sees this now and is learning to ignore them.

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  • 126. At 05:08am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    62. Old Loader wrote

    "Our federal republic has lasted 221 years (counting from the ratification of the constitution) without one single military coup, almost unheard of in the world."

    ----------

    While I agree with the general thrust of your sentiments, there are a modest number of other countries that have also been similarly blessed. The UK is one of them. 364 years since Cromwell, 321 years since William III was invited in by Parliament.

    Iceland had a Parliament in 930, that system of government lasting until 1262 and Union with Norway. Although Iceland has had several changes of status, there seems never to have been an actual “military coup d’etat”, as such, in over 1000 years.

    Other than a 37 year interruption from 1772 to 1809, Sweden has had apparently an uninterrupted succession since 1523.

    Norway has had ups and downs, but it is not clear that it has actually had an outright military coup d’etat since unification in 872.

    Denmark also appears not to have had a military coup d’etat since at least as early as 1523.

    Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have all had constitutional governments since no later than 1814.

    Switzerland has not had a military coup in 719 years.

    The Netherlands have never had a military coup since independence in 1568.

    Canada has had changes of regime since Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec in 1608, but has never had a military coup. Australia has never had a military coup; ditto New Zealand.

    Still, the point at the bottom of your posting - that of a stable government in which the military sees its duty as being the servant of the civilian power - is undoubtedly correct, General McClellan's vanity notwithstanding.

    More in the next posting.

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  • 127. At 06:05am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    It is a truism that different countries have different military traditions and cultures.

    Britain itself has at least three different and highly prominent military traditions: of the Senior Service; of the Scots; and of the Professional Officer Class.

    The profession of arms is deeply embedded in Scottish history and identity. If the hair stands up on the back of your neck when you hear the pipes, you need no further explanation.

    Similarly, the Royal Navy has an enduring culture, and an enduring place within the culture. The Navy not be subordinate to HM Government? Unthinkable. The Navy not held in respect? I don't believe it.

    The RAF not held in the highest respect? Again, unthinkable.

    The Army?
    Different yet again. For centuries the profession of arms was dominated by the sons of old aristocratic families - not so much as a "warrior" class, like the Scots, but almost a technocratic class. The aristocracy may not still exist or send its sons to dominate the leadership of the military, but the mindset and philosophy behind it has evolved from the BEF in 1914 to the LRDG in the Western Desert to the SAS, the heirs of David Stirling. It is an elitest mindset, without doubt. It prides itself on its professionalism. That is why, to this day, the Royal Army is the finest little army on earth. On perhaps a darker note, it is also why its alumni are found in service companies that can be hired for certain tasks, at a price that reflects premium abilities.

    The Army challenge the civilian authority? Are you mad, man? Simply not on.

    I too, did not understand what I perceived to be the shabby treatment of the Gurkhas. They, too, have an elitist military tradition. We know them. They fought beside us in Italy. And elsewhere.

    Canada, Australia, and New Zealand each have their own military traditions, all rooted in common experiences, as do India and Pakistan.

    ----------

    The US military traditions are quite different, again.

    America's forces are a great democratic melting pot, and also a great raiser-up of those who see it as one way out of disadvantaged circumstances. There are career officers who are the children of military families - John McCain is a well known example. But to a much greater extent America's forces draw disproportionately from visible minorities. This is the legacy, even now, of the Union Army of Grant and Sherman and Sheridan.

    Think of the contrast between Grant and McLellan, and the personality Grant stamped on the Army.

    Think of how Nimitz stamped his personality on the Navy - not by vanity, but by his outstanding example, and even he was the worthy heir of Farragut.

    Think about the Army as an institution whose corporate mindset was shaped by Andrews, then Eisenhower.

    Think about Chuck Yeager doing the job on regular airforce pay, and not expecting anything else.

    Think about Neil Armstrong, refusing to court publicity or make a penny out of his celebrity. It's just not what you do if you're that kind of guy.

    Different culture. Different mentality.

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

    But for all that ...

    The war in Afghanistan is extremely unpopular here.

    For a while the Harper government tried to prevent government buildings from lowering the flag to half mast when each of our soldiers is killed, and tried to prevent the repatriation services from being covered by the press. They didn't like the bad optics ... for their chances of re-election.

    But for all the unpopularity of the war, there is no question that our soldiers have the unshakeable support of the public. They volunteered to wear the maple leaf on their shoulders, and they have gone to serve in dangerous places at our request.

    And each time one of our soldiers is brought home, and comes up the 401 from Trenton, the overpasses are jammed. Firemen. Police. Families, Neighbours. Friends. Rain or shine, they stand there, silent, in the thousands. It's heart-breaking. They were serving their country, and doing the best they knew how. We are a small country. We have no dreams of imperial greatness. We mourn every last one.

    Of course they have our respect. It's not because we want Army Officers to take over or dominate the government. It's because they were ours.

    It's no different than in Britain at Wooten Basset.

    ----------

    I was at the airport in Denver a while ago, waiting for a flight to come in.

    There was a family there - Parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. They had balloons, and posters, and a home-made banner. They had sparklers, and a cake. They waited in the arrivals area.

    They waited as each traveller arrived.
    And then finally, there he was.
    Their son.
    Maybe 21 years old?
    Hair cut short,
    Wearing his fatigues.
    Carrying his bag.
    Home from Iraq.
    Grin from ear to ear.

    Everybody sang.
    First the younger sister runs to him.
    Then the mother hugs him.
    And the tears of relief and joy ran down her cheeks.

    And if you were in that arrivals area, and were unmoved, you would had to have had a heart of stone.

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  • 128. At 06:07am on 30 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    112. At 10:23pm on 29 Mar 2010, HERCULE_SAVINIEN wrote:

    RATTLE SNAKE ROUND-UP
    ______________________________

    I once worked at a Class D (Hazardous Waste) landfill whose mailing address was Waynoka, Oklahoma, which has one of the largest rattlesnake roundups in the country.

    Not only were there snakes, there were brown recluse spiders, black widows, gila monsters, and scorpions in abundance. The scorpions had a way of appearing in the diffusers of the fluorescent lights overhead, and dropping down if you didn't shake them out. Most office cubicles had collections creatively arranged on the sticky-traps. One of my first tasks as safety manager was to write a justification for regular pest abatement services - expensive because they had to come from Woodward, about 50 miles away and within sight of the end of the world.

    KScurmudgeon, thank goodness

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  • 129. At 06:55am on 30 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    123. At 03:19am on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Gen. Wesley Clark is a distinguished gentleman. Valedictorian at West Point. A Rhodes scholar. Supreme Commander of NATO."

    And nearly started a Third World War. . .

    "What is your point? Do you think military men are not to be taken seriously, no matter what their accomplishments?"

    In civilian politics, yes. Hero-worship military men if they win wars or (preferably) manage to maintain a peace among warmongers, by all means; elevate then to some guru status, no.

    Not even if they can dance a tango while playing God Bless America on an accordion and reciting the Gettysburg Address backwards in Greek.

    Thought I'd made my view pretty clear.

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  • 130. At 07:14am on 30 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Andy, the media are the media, actually the worst example in the South Atlantic was when the BBC World Service accidently blurted out the plans for 2 Para to attack Goose Green, the bomb fuzing is a bit of a red herring, since the air defences meant the enemy aircraft had to attack at very low level but they only had a very limited supply of retard bombs which were slow enough in falling at low level to fuze.

    On the other hand, a FOX news correspondent was sent home from Iraq in 2003 when he was, on camera, basically sketching out the battle plan.
    Neither organisation was out to damage it's nations armed forces.
    Both had to work within restrictions, as BBC reporter Brian Hanrahan on HMS Hermes put it in a dispatch after the first airstrikes by the embarked aircraft, 'I'm not allowed to say how many aircraft took part, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back again'.
    That reporter was in 1982, old enough to have seen military service via that post war conscription, one of the last. Unless today's ones are ex military, very few have any real world experience here, like the majority of their audience.

    I do think the BBC has taken on board the errors of 1982, the main BBC defence correspondent now, Caroline Wyatt, seems well informed, fair and sensible in these matters.

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  • 131. At 07:16am on 30 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Squirrel -

    I will break protocol to tell you I have answered your question on the first amendment thread....
    Thanks,

    KSc

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  • 132. At 09:56am on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #102
    squirrelist wrote:
    102. At 9:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "In other words, I reject the thesis that American generals are accorded undue respect when they speak or write on public affairs."

    Then why should General Wesley Clarke a) be taking credit for the election of one politician and b) be given pride of place on another's website?
    _____________

    On non military affairs it depends, people may be confusing courtesy with respect. Even a nasty interviewer is not going to be obnoxious
    to someone who served.

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  • 133. At 10:01am on 30 Mar 2010, Dutchie76 wrote:

    At 2:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:
    Re: 76 Dutchie

    Sorry, if I do not carry a banner for:
    . socialist takeover of two major car companies (& sharing spoils with the unions)
    . socialist takeover of health care industry without addressing underlying problems

    Ah of course, I was wondering when the Republican's favorite word 'socialism' was going to be used. Watch less Fox news my dear and you might learn a thing or two.

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  • 134. At 11:01am on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 114 MagicKirin wrote:

    "ref #111/If Obama had shown half the tact that he has shown to countries like Iran or North Korea this problem would have blown over./But he gave the Arab league who has never made a concession or a reperation (sic) for 60 years of terrorism an excuse to walk away from peace talks./Remember Obamaphiles it is the Palestinians and other Arab nations who refuse to conduct peace talks./Obama you might want to remeber (sic) that./Again you might want to listen to wiser people than you, including Bush Cheney Liberman (sic) and most of the U.S who knows (sic) that the Palestinians don't want peace."

    I grow weary of this drivel. Indeed I grew weary of it many months ago.

    As I've said before, it's essentially eyes closed, fingers in ears, and keep chanting 'Israel gooood, A-rabs baaaad, Israel right, A-rabs [and the rest of the world] wroooong, Republicans gooood, Democrats baaaad.'

    And so Magic lived on in his special little Magic land, where words meant what he wanted them to mean, and where truth or logic did not feature. But still he was troubled. 'Strange', he thought, 'I kept on repeating this stuff long enough so that eventually I believed it. I was sure if I just kept repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating it I would one day manage to convince someone else. Bur it never seems to happen. And sadly the same thing seems to have happened to my 'Wise' friends George and Dick and Benny".

    But then he instantly dismissed this momentary flash of insight.....

    and went back to chanting.....

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  • 135. At 11:10am on 30 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Guys it was me who told the truth regarding Argentinian tactics re free fall bombs thanks to the BBC in a post to Andy some time back...

    In his autobiographical account of the Falklands War,[43] Admiral Woodward blames the BBC World Service for these changes to the bombs. The World Service reported the lack of detonations after receiving a briefing on the matter from an MOD official. He describes the BBC as being more concerned with being "fearless seekers after truth" than with the lives of British servicemen. Colonel H. Jones levelled similar accusations against the BBC after they disclosed the impending British attack on Goose Green by 2 Para. Jones had threatened to lead the prosecution of senior BBC officials for treason but was unable to do so since he was himself killed in action around Goose Green.

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  • 136. At 12:34pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #133
    Dutchie76 wrote:
    At 2:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:
    Re: 76 Dutchie

    Sorry, if I do not carry a banner for:
    . socialist takeover of two major car companies (& sharing spoils with the unions)
    . socialist takeover of health care industry without addressing underlying problems

    Ah of course, I was wondering when the Republican's favorite word 'socialism' was going to be used. Watch less Fox news my dear and you might learn a thing or two.
    _____________

    You should watch more Fox News and get an accurate picture of how Obama and the Dems stole Senate seats to pass healthcare

    And how the SEIU has too much influence with the community orginizer.

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  • 137. At 1:09pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 135 ukwales

    The second paragraph here seems to be taken from the Wikipedia account of the war, which is here -

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

    I don't know much about the issue, but I would make the following points

    1 The Admiral and the Colonel may have said what they said. They may have believed it. That doesn't make it true.

    2 One reason I am sceptical is that the Beeb has many enemies - in general the government of the day, whether Labour or Tory, will insist that the Beeb is biased against it. It has other enemies in the media, especially in the Tory press, and especially in the Murdoch press. [Murdoch's Sky is a competitor - this may not be entirely coincidental...]. If any of these could have proved that the BBC deliberately caused the death of British servicemen, or even negligently, I am sure they would have taken full advantage of the fact.

    3 I am also v struck by the line 'The World Service reported the lack of detonations after receiving a briefing on the matter from an MOD official'. [MOD is the Ministry of Defence]. Why did the MOD brief the BBC if they didn't want the information publicised?

    4 I do recall that there was a good deal of controversy at the time about the BBC being too 'neutral' - eg referring to the Argentineans and the British rather than 'us and them'. The following, from Wiki, is of relevance - "The Royal Navy expected Fleet Street to conduct a World War Two style positive news campaign but the majority of the British media, especially the BBC, reported the war in a neutral fashion. These reporters referred to "the British troops" and "the Argentinian troops" instead of "our lads" and the dehumanised "Argies". The two main tabloid papers presented opposing viewpoints: The Daily Mirror was decidedly anti-war, whilst The Sun became notorious for its jingoistic and xenophobic headlines, including the 20 April headline "Stick It Up Your Junta!", and was condemned for the "Gotcha" headline following the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano."

    5 AFAIK there were and are quite strict restrictions on what the media can publish in allegedly 'national security' cases. [From memory I think there is something called a D Notice that the govt can place on certain data.] There if the Beeb released data useful to the enemy, I would suspect it was inadvertent. Whereas if they deliberately released data that was prohibited, I would have expected a prosecution.

    6 I cannot help thinking that, if you took this to its logical conclusion, you would be arguing that the media should not report on deaths in Afghanistan from IEDs or suicide bombers, since this will just encourage future use of these tactics.

    7 There is an old saying that there are 2 theories of history - the Conspiracy Theory and the Cock-Up theory. [Not sure if the latter expression is known in the US - it just means to mess things up, and has no particular sexual overtones.] It has been suggested that some people cling to the conspiracy theory view, since if it's all a conspiracy at least *someone* knows what's going on. Eg it may be less depressing if it took a whole conspiracy to kill JFK than if it was just a lone nutjob...

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  • 138. At 1:12pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 136 MagicKirin wrote:

    "You should watch more Fox News and get an accurate picture of how Obama and the Dems stole Senate seats to pass healthcare"

    You couldn't make this stuff up.

    [MK previously insisted he didn't get his info from Fox. Imagine our surprise.....]

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  • 139. At 1:34pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #138
    John_From_Dublin wrote:
    # 136 MagicKirin wrote:

    "You should watch more Fox News and get an accurate picture of how Obama and the Dems stole Senate seats to pass healthcare"

    You couldn't make this stuff up.

    [MK previously insisted he didn't get his info from Fox. Imagine our surprise.....]
    ______

    No what I have always said I get my news from a variety of sources including the BBC, NYT, both Boston News papers, ABC and Fox News.

    But Fox is far more honest and less partsian that CNN,BBC or NBC


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  • 140. At 1:40pm on 30 Mar 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    Andy post:

    I think that you simply fail to take into account cultural differences between the British and Americans. I have often heard Americans talk about "tight-ass Brits" because of our tendency to be more reserved in displays of public emotions, but the simple fact is that most Britons feel embarrassed by the heart-on-sleeve attitude of most Americans. It doesn't make either one right or wrong; it is simply the way our national characteristics have developed over time, and probably as a result of different histories.

    The armed forces are held in the highest regard by most Britons, even when not engaged in a full-on shooting war. (Although I think there has only been one year since 1945 when a British serviceman has not been killed on active service somewhere in the world, which alone gives pause for thought). If you have ever seen the reactions from packed crowds (many of them incidentally American visitors) at events like the Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) in London, or the Edinburgh Tattoo, then you will know that is true. I suspect, however, that British soldiers would themselves cringe if they found themselves the subject of adulation by fellow passengers on an aeroplane. It may be considered OK for Americans, but it is just not our way. It may seem strange to your eyes, but we rather like it that way, so Vive la difference.

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  • 141. At 2:10pm on 30 Mar 2010, Dutchie76 wrote:

    139. At 1:34pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #138

    "No what I have always said I get my news from a variety of sources including the BBC, NYT, both Boston News papers, ABC and Fox News.

    But Fox is far more honest and less partsian that CNN,BBC or NBC".

    I do genuinely hope that the bubble you clearly seem to be living in will burst soon.

    It is a widely known fact that Fox news is the most biased and dishonest news outlet in the Westernized world. They proof this on a daily basis by skewing news facts and editing reports to suit them and their belief system.


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  • 142. At 2:20pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 139 MK

    "But Fox is far more honest and less partsian (sic) that (sic) CNN,BBC (sic)or NBC"

    Ah yes. The technique of The Big Lie. You keep on repeating something untrue, without facts or evidence, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it. And eventually you may convince someone apart from yourself.

    How's that going for ya Magic?

    Fox will be honest the day it changes its slogan to 'Unfair and Unbalanced'. Which would be true not only of the station but a certain number of its acolytes...

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  • 143. At 2:31pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    (NB Sorry if this appears twice – I posted it once but it appears to have vanished)

    # 139 MK

    "But Fox is far more honest and less partsian (sic) that (sic) CNN,BBC (sic)or NBC"

    Ah yes. The technique of The Big Lie. You keep on repeating something untrue, without facts or evidence, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it. And eventually you may convince someone apart from yourself.

    How's that going for ya Magic?

    Fox will be honest the day it changes its slogan to 'Unfair and Unbalanced'. Which would be true not only of the station but a certain number of its acolytes...

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  • 144. At 2:44pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    140 PickledPete wrote:

    "I think that you simply fail to take into account cultural differences between the British and Americans" etc

    I'm inclined to agree. In my experience Brits tend to have a somewhat sceptical and cynical outlook, and are dubious of, not to say embarrassed by, excessive public displays of emotion, including patriotic emotion - except possibly in the field of sports. (Or maybe when a Royal passes away…)

    In general it's hard to imagine an average group of Britons chanting 'UK! UK! We're Number One!' etc. Nor can I imagine a hit record going 'And I'm proud to be a Briton, Where at least I know I'm free, God bless the UK etc etc'. Or at least, unless it was a comedy record. In fact one of the UK's most popular comedians is Al Murray, who does a wonderful satire of a fanatically 'patriotic' Brit.

    That's one of the reasons you would rarely find a Brit who would churn out the sort of stuff we get every so often from MAII, along the lines of 'my country is the best ever in all of history, yours is rubbish, etc'.

    [One of my favourite stories of British understatement is the old one from the Zulu Wars. A Sergeant Major gets a great big Zulu spear right through his middle. His Captain asks, 'I say, Sergeant Major, doesn't that hurt?'. And he replies - 'Only when I larf Sir...')

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  • 145. At 2:44pm on 30 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    John from Dublin post 137.

    Much of my info on the Falklands conflict is from my brother in law Clive
    Dytor x Royal Marine 45 commando officer,who won the MC by his action at Two Sisters Ridge.He was & is adamant that the BBC was a liability.But thanks for your post at 137 it will be put on the scales of my value system for a more balanced view of the Beeb.

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  • 146. At 2:55pm on 30 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Interestedforeigner 127,
    SONICBOOMER 106,
    PickledPete140,

    I so wanted to reply to Andy Post re his perception of our attitude to the
    UK armed forces,you people have done it in a way that I never could.
    Thank you...

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  • 147. At 2:56pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #141
    Dutchie76 wrote:
    139. At 1:34pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #138

    "No what I have always said I get my news from a variety of sources including the BBC, NYT, both Boston News papers, ABC and Fox News.

    But Fox is far more honest and less partsian that CNN,BBC or NBC".

    I do genuinely hope that the bubble you clearly seem to be living in will burst soon.

    It is a widely known fact that Fox news is the most biased and dishonest news outlet in the Westernized world. They proof this on a daily basis by skewing news facts and editing reports to suit them and their belief system.

    ____________________

    In regard to your last paragraph, according to whom? Media Matters, the George soros funded group, FAIR a propganda group masquerading as a media watchdog?

    Here is the the issue for you to consider and john if he would have an open mid.

    Fox has the following liberals on regularly:
    Alan colmes, Juan williams Kristen Hill, Geraldo Riveria, Ellis Hennigan compare that with conservatives on the BBC, NBC or CNN.

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  • 148. At 3:07pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    126. At 05:08am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "While I agree with the general thrust of your sentiments, there are a modest number of other countries that have also been similarly blessed. The UK is one of them. 364 years since Cromwell, 321 years since William III was invited in by Parliament."

    Notice I said "Almost unheard of," considering the number of countries in the workd versus your examples of other countries enjoing peaceful changes of government, I think the satement still stands.

    127. At 06:05am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "But to a much greater extent America's forces draw disproportionately from visible minorities."

    I would refer you to the folowing link:


    http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/36/2/223?rss=1

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  • 149. At 3:15pm on 30 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    "...it matters a great deal in a country where the military are held in greater, more reverend regard, and have more political clout, than any democracy that I can name."

    Turkey?

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  • 150. At 3:25pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    127. At 06:05am on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "But to a much greater extent America's forces draw disproportionately from visible minorities."

    I would refer you to the following link:

    http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/36/2/223?rss=1

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  • 151. At 3:38pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

    140 Vive la difference

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  • 152. At 3:41pm on 30 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    John_From_Dublin:-

    British understatement is not generally understood and thereby not appreciated. Having said that, one Canadian on this blog seems to understand us better than we do ourselves.


    I love the story of Lord Uxbridge, hit by one of the last cannon shots
    fired on the 18th June 1815 at Waterloo, who was reported to have exclaimed:- "By God Sir, I've lost my leg"
    to which Wellington replied
    "By God Sir! So you have!"

    Reading the recent citations of our armed forces, Lord Uxbridge and the Duke of Wellington are alive and well.

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  • 153. At 3:50pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    150. At 3:25pm on 30 Mar 2010, you wrote:

    Sorry about the 1/2 echo - I got confused...

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  • 154. At 3:53pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    149. At 3:15pm on 30 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:
    "Turkey?"

    Turkey is unique in that the it is in their constitution for the Turkish High Command to suspend parliment and take over the gov't, as long as they declare new elections in 90 days or less. I was there in 1980 when they did just that... it was sporty for a few weeks. ;)

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  • 155. At 3:54pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    MK #141

    "Here is the the issue for you to consider and john if he would have an open mid (sic)"

    The hypocrisy is almost amusing. It's certainly laughable. Yet again, MK [Mr 'Fair And Balanced', the Ann Coulter fan] lectures other people on having an open mind. Or mid, as the case may be.

    Anyone who dares to question Fox he smears as automatically biased.

    The BBC tends to avoid editorialising, but it certainly interviews and features both left and right wingers. [AFAIK it is legally bound so to to.]

    Ironically enough, I've seen plenty of Murdoch's Sky News, and haven't detected any particular bias - though again, AFAIK, it's restrained by UK broadcasting legislation.

    What from what I have seen, Fox makes the Mail & the Sun look non-partisan...

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  • 156. At 4:00pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 141 Dutchie76 wrote: [to MK]

    "I do genuinely hope that the bubble you clearly seem to be living in will burst soon."

    God bless your innocence, as they say here.

    MK doesn't live in a bubble, but in a suit of armour built up of his endless prejudices. Nothing can penetrate it.

    I recall many years ago we studied Great Expectations at school, and one line in particular stuck with me. The Hero finally realises he has been fooling himself, and observes 'there is no more dangerous delusion than self-delusion'.

    [I may have paraphrased - it was a looong time ago...]

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  • 157. At 4:04pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

    but the mail and the sun are non partisan;)

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  • 158. At 4:14pm on 30 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    134. At 11:01am on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    "I grow weary of this drivel. Indeed I grew weary of it many months ago."

    Agreed. I try to ignore it and hope it goes away.
    There is far more important work to do.

    Perhaps Obama is attempting this as well? He does have a finger in one ear in the picture above - but only one ear.

    Perhaps this is to dull the sound of the clanging gongs and symbol crashes as the circular logic spiraling around crumbles and falls loudly in upon itself. Tinkle rumble smash... as one flaming wagon wheel rolls dramatically across the frame...

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  • 159. At 4:15pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    rodidog (#124) "Both men are just honoring the troops, why people get caught up with what they wear seems silly to me."

    Agreed. There's nothing wrong with either picture. I suspect bayleco is critical of the President's attire because he can't think of any substantive reason to complain.

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  • 160. At 4:18pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    155. At 3:54pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    "from what I have seen, Fox makes the Mail & the Sun look non-partisan..."

    I’ve never understood this vitriol against FOX. I watch all of the news channels, occasionally, and the 3 broadcasters (ABC, CBS, and NBC) are obviously biased to the left, as are the other cable channels. During the presidential campaign, SNL even did a skit about the mainstream media being “totally in the tank” (their words) for His Oneness. Saturday Night Live has never been known as a Bastian of conservative thought. Hilary, herself, said in an interview that FOX was the only network to give her a fair shake (she’s no right-wing extremist, either).

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  • 161. At 4:30pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

    Now it seems to me this post that was removed that was there yesterday is not really All that offensive. so those that think it is could you explain why it is offensive to wish the youth could go learn how to heal sick animals instead of kill.?


    65. At 5:02pm on 29 Mar 2010, you wrote:
    PS Mark yes they do like their vets here. They spend a lot of money trying to create them for no real reason.

    and yes I think some did mention the Holy Reverence the military are held in.

    I personally do have compassion for those I know that fought. but not reverence.
    I respect them as people but not because of at the mention of their service.

    There are a lot that do serve their country that do not want to be there but if they get back they will be able to go to collage etc. i would prefer they were sent to veterinary collage.

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  • 162. At 4:32pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

    160 Not many will be surprised at your reaction to Fox being called bias and unbalanced .
    They simply mimic their Audience.

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  • 163. At 4:51pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

    160

    Hillary's behaviour during the elections had here saying a lot of things she shouldn't have in h er desperate attempt to grasp at a few votes.
    So she started inserting the Hussain part of Obama's name to create the reaction that is so often derided as not existing here.
    And then there was her lets throw rev Wright to the wolves because it might raise the spectre of a black revolution in the heartland.

    She played a lot of deceitful games at primary time. So to see that she was forced to jump into bed with Fox is not a surprise.



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  • 164. At 5:05pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#129) "In civilian politics, yes. Hero-worship military men if they win wars or (preferably) manage to maintain a peace among warmongers, by all means; elevate then to some guru status, no."

    Wesley Clark washed out of the presidential race in 2004 relatively early, so it's another example of how a distinguished military career is no guarantee of success in American politics. Eisenhower was an exception to the rule.

    I don't see the phenomenon you complain of. In the marketplace of ideas, nobody gets a pass on the basis of having held high military rank. Not in the US and not likely anyplace else with a free press.

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  • 165. At 5:07pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "veterinary collage," (from #161): an artwork consisting of an assemblage of various animal parts.

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  • 166. At 5:16pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 167. At 5:26pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 168. At 5:32pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 169. At 5:40pm on 30 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 152

    Some thirty years ago an elderly neighbour of mine and I were at a dinner party. He had been an eminent architect and author and sadly isn't with us anymore. He told how, during the First World War his batman repeatedly shouted for his attention over loud cannon fire "Sir! Sir!" "What?" "Your leg sir! It's gorn!" and he said, "Sadly, so has that beautiful architrave on the building over there!"

    British military understatement.

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  • 170. At 5:47pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 171. At 5:48pm on 30 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    166. At 5:16pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:
    "What the hell was the Civil War?"

    The US Civil War was not a coup. The Confederacy had no desire to take over Washington DC, only to go their own way. So, no, it doesn’t qualify as a coup – that’s why History calls it a Civil War and not a coup. May be semantics, but it is what it is. If the South had won, the same gov’t would have endured in Washington and the North would have gone on. You tell me your logic of calling it the same…

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  • 172. At 5:49pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #155

    Just remember in Jhonny's world if you are a moderate or conservative you don't have the right to express your views. so thugish actions by U of Otaris students or Code Pink terrorist sympathizers in Los Angeles is acceptible behavior.

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  • 173. At 5:53pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a more recent example of the soldier-as-statesman phenomenon: Gen. David Petraeus

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  • 174. At 6:01pm on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    165. At 5:07pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "veterinary collage," (from #161): an artwork consisting of an assemblage of various animal parts.

    __________

    Noah's Ark?

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  • 175. At 6:04pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tonyjudt (#168) "... but all you ever do is hit complain."

    To whom are you addressing this, Jack? I certainly don't have any "wrath," and I haven't hit "complain" in at least a year. I just try to make substantive contributions to the topic of the day, and occasionally add a bit of humor.

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  • 176. At 6:24pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The closest analogy to the Gurkhas, British soldiers from Nepal and Northern India, for the US military would be the Filipino veterans of WWII.

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  • 177. At 6:49pm on 30 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    I think the fact of the BBC World Service being informed by the MoD of the pending attack on Goose Green, well shows that both they and the media rather tied themselves up in knots in 1982.
    My point about the bomb fuzing was informed by that when it was broadcast, the main body of air attacks had happened and the casualties amongst the Argentine pilots was by then, seriously denuding further attacks, not that this is an excuse.

    Indeed, the devastating attacks on the transport ships at Bluff Cove was to come, their last hurrah, though that appeared to be a 'toss bombing', that is, the aircraft pulled up sharply to release the weapons, plenty of time to fuze, this option was not there in San Carlos Water since they risked flying into the surrounding hills, or just exposing themselves more to missile/AA gun fire, they would not have had enough time to pick targets in this manner either.
    (Which is why that location was chosen for the main landings, also why the amphibious transports and supply ships there were pretty much untouched, as intended the RN escorts acted as effectively like Secret Service men protecting the President).

    Though of course the press covered extensively Northern Ireland, even in the early more bloody years there, it was not like having a full scale war and both the MoD and press were relearning lessons.

    To that cultural understatement, in the Korean War, in 1950, a British unit was under mass attack from the Chinese, the C.O. radioed for help, describing the situation as 'pretty sticky', this meaning in this case, 'we are in danger of being overrun', the US commander, through no fault of his own, did not interpret it this way.
    The unit involved conducted such a dogged defence they would be awarded a Presidential citation by President Eishenhower.
    (He was successful in politics because in WW2 his role in Europe was largely political, managing rivalries and egos).

    There is a case I think to refer to FOX as 'The Cartoon Network', it is good at telling it's target audience what it wants to hear, not the same as proper news gathering.
    Murdoch runs SKY News in the UK, however it is not like FOX since to broadcast news in the UK on TV, requirements to be really fair and balanced have to be met.
    No doubt he'd love to see that changed, to race to the bottom like his papers, he rather dislikes the UK and it's institutions.




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  • 178. At 6:52pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 179. At 7:01pm on 30 Mar 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Honestly, I've been pleasantly surprised with how Pres. Obama has handled the two wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. Pres. Obama has shown that he has a remarkable understanding of the situation for a Democrat, and he has excellent commanders on the ground, so I'm causiously optimistic about our chances of success.

    As for his and Congress's domestic policies, lets just say that they often leave me perplexed and/or disgusted.

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  • 180. At 7:01pm on 30 Mar 2010, tonyjudt wrote:

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

  • 181. At 7:11pm on 30 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #177
    There is a case I think to refer to FOX as 'The Cartoon Network', it is good at telling it's target audience what it wants to hear, not the same as proper news gathering.
    Murdoch runs SKY News in the UK, however it is not like FOX since to broadcast news in the UK on TV, requirements to be really fair and balanced have to be met.
    No doubt he'd love to see that changed, to race to the bottom like his papers, he rather dislikes the UK and it's institutions.

    _________________

    How about some proof on your fox claims. Unlike say CNN or MSNBC they don't worship the Dear Leader Obama

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  • 182. At 7:53pm on 30 Mar 2010, CYLManque wrote:

    Obama's speech to our troops was a simple and direct message that they are not forgotten, that they are appreciated, that their families are remembered along with them. His message re-assures the troops that he will strive to improve their welfare and benefits at home and abroad. After 8 years of neglect and abuse and unscrupulous exploitation by the Cheney-Bush leadership,it is indeed fresh air to the troops that have been mired for years in a war that was fabricated by Obama's predecessor.

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  • 183. At 8:27pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    CYLManque (#182), you were sounding reasonable until you made that "fabricated" remark. Not many here are into conspiracy theories.

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  • 184. At 9:38pm on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    183. Gary.

    Perhaps the comment was made about a different war. Whether the war was fabricated or not, there were nonetheless a number of fabrications...

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  • 185. At 9:59pm on 30 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#184), that could be. I was thinking specifically of Afghanistan. I agree that there were fabrications in connection with laying the foundation for that other war, although I am not sure exactly what President Bush knew and when he knew it.

    It's so confusing having multiple wars at once.

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  • 186. At 10:57pm on 30 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    185 It's that Pinocchio issue. First casualty of war right?

    As for that other problem, well, we have posters here who'd solve it big time: Bring on Armageddon.

    As in ...

    I've go to go now, I arm a geddon late for dinner.

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  • 187. At 11:27pm on 30 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 172 MagicKirin wrote: [of me]

    "ref #155

    Just remember in Jhonny's (sic) world if you are a moderate or conservative you don't have the right to express your views. so thugish (sic) actions by U of Otaris (sic) students or Code Pink terrorist sympathizers in Los Angeles is acceptible (sic) behavior."

    1 As usual, when all else fails, Magic sinks to his typical level of lies, smears and anonymous, cowardly, semi-literate defamation

    2 I've never said MK did not have the right to express his views. I've just frequently pointed out how ludicrous, predictable, tedious and bigoted they are.

    3 "Kirinny", you may well fool yourself that you are a 'moderate'. Everyone else can see you are a reactionary neocon.

    4 For the record, I have never heard of "U of Otaris". I assume it does not exist. I had also never heard of Code Pink till MK added them to his hate list and started his interminable whine about them. I have just looked them up. Apparently they are anti-war. That's clearly enough justification to smear and defame them as terrorist sympathisers.

    5 I have previously asked MK 'Have you no shame? Have you no decency?'. These were rhetorical questions. The answers are obvious.

    6 I believe in free speech. Even for idiots.

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  • 188. At 10:42am on 31 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #187
    Just remember in Jhonny's (sic) world if you are a moderate or conservative you don't have the right to express your views. so thugish (sic) actions by U of Otaris (sic) students or Code Pink terrorist sympathizers in Los Angeles is acceptible (sic) behavior."

    1 As usual, when all else fails, Magic sinks to his typical level of lies, smears and anonymous, cowardly, semi-literate defamation

    (No smear just telling the truth unecumbered by PC considerations)

    2 I've never said MK did not have the right to express his views. I've just frequently pointed out how ludicrous, predictable, tedious and bigoted they are.

    (Far less than yours)

    3 "Kirinny", you may well fool yourself that you are a 'moderate'. Everyone else can see you are a reactionary neocon.

    (Only to extreme leftist like yourself some of us are more nuanced, but for your limited comprehension, I am a fiscal foriegn policy conservative a moderate social liberal. If you ever look beyond the fact that I criticize Obama and support Israel and other nations fight against terrorism, you would see that)

    4 For the record, I have never heard of "U of Otaris". I assume it does not exist. I had also never heard of Code Pink till MK added them to his hate list and started his interminable whine about them. I have just looked them up. Apparently they are anti-war. That's clearly enough justification to smear and defame them as terrorist sympathisers.

    (U of Ontario, Code Pink who disrupted a Rove book signing on Monday, and has the infamous Cindy Sheehan who uses her son's death to perpetuate herself and his support of terrorism. Those are facts)

    5 I have previously asked MK 'Have you no shame? Have you no decency?'. These were rhetorical questions. The answers are obvious.

    (About what that I dare to criticize your sainted Obama, Mandela and Carter?)

    6 I believe in free speech. Even for idiots.
    (Good for you but the people I criticized earlier don't)

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  • 189. At 11:39am on 31 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 188 MK

    I repeat, your posting was lying and defamatory, and part of a pattern, because you stated that I hold views - eg "if you are a moderate or conservative you don't have the right to express your views" - which I do not hold, which I have never expressed, and for which you had no evidence, let alone proof. That is the very definition of a McCarthyite smear. I hope you and Liz Cheney will be very happy.

    You went on from this smear to two more, that I supported Code Pink - whom I had never heard of, except from you, let alone commented on – and one about a university, 'Otaris', that doesn't exist.

    [Frankly I had guessed that 'Otaris' was KirinSpeak for Ottawa - you will find that I had expressed no opinion either way on the students there. Having said that, as I recall you compared them to Brownshirts, a ludicrously over the top and offensive exaggeration.]

    That was why I asked about shame and decency. I stand by my remark. [Frankly, compared to your previous smears of me and others as anti-Semites, or terrorist supporters, and your smears of Mandela and Tutu as racist and anti-Semitic, what you have said this time was pretty mild stuff...]

    You now claim I am an 'extreme leftist', without evidence or proof - par for the course. [I doubt that many ‘extreme leftists’ have been buying the Murdoch Sunday Times for years, and say that his Sky News is relatively unbiased.] Except of course that I am an unashamed Obama supporter, and to you, Fox, S Palin and that ilk, he is of course an ‘extreme leftist’…

    Sure MK - you're a Bush/Cheney/Palin/Fox-loving, Obama/Mandela/Tutu/Democrat-hating moderate liberal...

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  • 190. At 12:59pm on 31 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #189

    Your diatrabes resemble defenders of the current and previous Pope who refuse to hear or allow any criticism.

    You refuse to acknowledge that Mandela and Tutu were silent on Mugabe's ethnic clensing that they support the terrorism against Israel and they support left wing autocrats like Castro and Chavez.

    Likewise you ignore Obama's broken promises on transparency and bipartsianship.

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  • 191. At 2:34pm on 31 Mar 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    This is quite interesting:
    http://www.aim.org/aim-report/aim-report-new-evidence-of-liberal-media-bias-november-a/
    The interesting finding here is that people tend to find bias in views they disagree with, so Magic finding Fox to be fair and balanced is an indication of his own right wing tendencies. If Fox gave equal attention opposing points of view, Magic would find that section of the broadcast to be biased. Furthermore, the fact that Fox is perceived as compltely unbiased by some is eveidence of bias in that it does not evenhandedly promote differeing opinions. If it did, everyone would find it biased in some way.
    One issue I have with it is that the analysis finding liberal bias is that it is based on an assumption that peoples political persuasions are normally distributed along the spectrum.
    The data is also consistant with mainstream right wing views being further removed from the middle ground than mainstream leftwing views. This is also in line with American fears of the far left not being balanced with fear of the far right.

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  • 192. At 2:39pm on 31 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    #190 MK

    "Your diatrabes (sic) resemble defenders of the current and previous Pope who refuse to hear or allow any criticism./You refuse to acknowledge that Mandela and Tutu were silent on Mugabe's ethnic clensing (sic) that they support the terrorism against Israel and they support left wing autocrats like Castro and Chavez./Likewise you ignore Obama's broken promises on transparency and bipartsianship (sic)."


    Will your lies never end? Have you no shame? Clearly no to both. As ever, you're as accurate as you are literate.

    The pope reference - entirely irrelevant. The hypocrisy, as I have pointed out before, of YOU complained about other people being one-sided or their 'diatribes' is staggering.

    I pointed out your false smears - you ignore this.

    I have made little comment on eg Mandela and Tutu, except to decry your previously calling them racist and anti-Semitic. They are not perfect - no one is - but are still worth 10 GWBs, 100 Cheneys, 1,000 Palins and 1,000,000 MagicKirins.

    However, I distinctly recall previously taking you up on Tutu being 'silent' on Mugabe. As ever, you provide no facts, links or evidence. I previously provided material on this. Typically, you ignored it. Here is some more, from Wikipedia, fully referenced on that site. [And no, just because you hate Wiki because they won't let you write their entries on the Middle East doesn't discredit them. Quite the opposite.] If you feel their material is wrong - disprove it. There is always a first time. But as ever I am sure you will ignore the facts in favour of your prejudice.

    [And for once be honest - clearly you don't give a damn about what Mugabe does to Black Zimbabweans - it's just that if anyone such as Tutu dares question Israel, you will smear them with anything you can think of.]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu#Zimbabwe

    "Tutu has been vocal in his criticism of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe as well as the South African government's policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe. In 2007 he said the "quiet diplomacy" pursued by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had "not worked at all" and he called on Britain and the West to pressure SADC, including South Africa, which was chairing talks between President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to set firm deadlines for action, with consequences if they were not met.[33] Tutu has often criticized Robert Mugabe in the past and he once described the autocratic leader as "a cartoon figure of an archetypical African dictator".[21] In 2008, he called for the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe - by force if necessary.[34] Mugabe, on the other hand, has called Tutu an "angry, evil and embittered little bishop".[35]

    We Africans should hang our heads in shame. How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa? After the horrible things done to hapless people in Harare, has come the recent crackdown on members of the opposition ... what more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political, of our mother Africa are moved to cry out "Enough is enough?"[36]

    He has often stated that all leaders in Africa should condemn Zimbabwe: "What an awful blot on our copy book. Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists?"[21] After the Zimbabwean presidential elections in April 2008, Tutu expressed his hope that Mugabe would step down after it was initially reported that Mugabe had lost the elections. Tutu reiterated his support of the democratic process and hoped that Mugabe would adhere to the voice of the people:"

    As for Obama being bipartisan, objective observers accept that he made many efforts to try and bring at least some of the Reps on board. You buy the Fox and Limbaugh line that because all the Reps voted against reform, this proves he didn't try to be bipartisan. Those less blinkered than you know that it just shows that the Republicans were interested only in politics, not policy. [David Frum, former Bush speech writer, is just one person who pointed this out.]

    I may not waste my time replying to your next mendacious diatribe - there is little sport in a battle of wits with an unarmed man...

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

    Re #190

    Why I you so shocked?

    Moscow and Havana, etc. have been staunch supporters of ANC.

    Then came a payback time.



    And as for Mugabe...


    What's a difference between him and Mbeki or Zuma?

    After all they were all 'comrades in arms'.

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  • 201. At 4:34pm on 31 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #191
    , PartTimeDon wrote:
    This is quite interesting:
    http://www.aim.org/aim-report/aim-report-new-evidence-of-liberal-media-bias-november-a/
    The interesting finding here is that people tend to find bias in views they disagree with, so Magic finding Fox to be fair and balanced is an indication of his own right wing tendencies. If Fox gave equal attention opposing points of view, Magic would find that section of the broadcast to be biased. Furthermore, the fact that Fox is perceived as compltely unbiased by some is eveidence of bias in that it does not evenhandedly promote differeing opinions. If it did, everyone would find it biased in some way.
    One issue I have with it is that the analysis finding liberal bias is that it is based on an assumption that peoples political persuasions are normally distributed along the spectrum.

    ______________-

    First fox News as opposed to news analysis shows is even handed. Second if you look at post #147 I give a number of liberal commentators that are on Fox.
    But the news media as well as academia tries to freeze out non liberal voices.

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  • 208. At 8:09pm on 31 Mar 2010, sean56z wrote:

    Why a bomber jacket? B-17s do not need to rain death on paupers in the Afghani fields. Peace and sovereignty rules Iraq. The same formula applies here. The Afghani People were excluded from the government during the time of their deposed king, the Russian occupation, and the Taliban. The plantations of medicinal crops bring a good revenue. The future holds promise for the disenfranchised of the country.

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  • 209. At 8:55pm on 31 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PartTimeDon (#191) "The interesting finding here is that people tend to find bias in views they disagree with, ..."

    That seems self-evident to me.

    You wrote: "One issue I have with it is that the analysis finding liberal bias is that it is based on an assumption that peoples political persuasions are normally distributed along the spectrum."

    I couldn't find this assumption, but perhaps I didn't read carefully enough. I did find a statement that "the scores achieved a normal distribution".

    That is not an assumption; it is a statement of a result and it is what I would expect.

    Have you studied probability theory? If so, what is your issue?

    If you mean merely that a conservative to liberal model is an oversimplification of political attitudes (being one-dimensional), I agree. Nevertheless, it is possible to get a significant result on a simple question from a simplified model. All models are simplifications, and what is necessary is only that the model contain all details which are important to the question at hand.

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  • 210. At 00:47am on 01 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    The reason some conservatives hate media outlets like CNN is not because they favor liberal politicians or causes, but because they allow them to have a voice.

    People like Ed Rollins, Bill Bennett, and Alex Castellanos participate in CNN debates on a daily basis and do not hesitate to voice their conservative views. The problem is that CNN also invites left wing commentators that are allowed to do the same.

    Judging by some of the comments I read on this thread, the audacity of giving liberal commentators equal time is not only unacceptable to the far right but they consider it evidence of attacks against conservatism. In a nutshell, democracy, freedom of speech and equality can only be upheld if a media outlet projects conservative views all of the time.

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  • 211. At 03:52am on 01 Apr 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Mark Mardell wrote:

    "I am sure his promises mean more to the men and women gathered before him than blood-curdling rhetoric, but you can almost hear the sneers of his opponents about a social worker-in-chief. He told the troops that politics back home looked messy but there was no daylight between the parties when it came to support for the troops."

    Your arrogant and presumptuous comment makes sense only if the troops "gathered before him" feel as you do about so-called "blood-curdling rhetoric."

    "His first presidential visit to Afghanistan aims to convince people his stance is what patriotism really looks like."

    So you as a Briton are now going to tell Americans "what patriotism really looks like?"

    I don't think most people from your part of the world even know the meaning of the word.

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  • 212. At 04:03am on 01 Apr 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Scottish Yank wrote:

    "There are those of us who agree, including the Iraq veterans who wrote a song to which the final lyrics are:"

    You say "us" but what are you? Are you British, sorry, Scottish, or American? Pick one before you start making comments about Americans and their patriotism.

    "Because just what we need, is another *bleep*ing sticker on your SUV."

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. So?

    "I remind you it was Rumsfeld and Bush, republicans, who sent our boys to war without proper vehicles, equipment, or armor."

    There are always going to be ways to improve conditions and safety for troops, especially as a war plays itself out, but to insinuate that they were sent in "without proper vehicles, equipment, or armor" as if somehow the administration didn't care is downright ridiculous. A comment such as that is all about emotions, not about objectivity.

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  • 213. At 04:07am on 01 Apr 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Marko wrote:

    "To MAII #7:
    "Barack Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief"

    If you agree with this quote, what attributes would make him qualified?"

    I can tell you this for a fact, he would not have been able to pass our strictest background checks for a top secret, and beyond, security clearance if he had been anyone else applying for a job requiring such clearances. Fact!

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  • 214. At 04:18am on 01 Apr 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "That doesn't mean one feels regret when any of them die or are wounded; or respect for people who are willing to risk things many of us may not. Or sympathy for their families. But neither should it preclude questioning why, instead of being jingoistic about it. Those days are over; they led to terrible things."

    The problem in your country is most of you seem to have no clue about the difference between patriotism and nationalism. In fact, much of Europe suffers that affliction.

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  • 215. At 07:54am on 01 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    AllenT2

    Please enlighten us with your definitions of patriotism and nationalism.

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  • 216. At 08:57am on 01 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 209 GH1618
    "I couldn't find this assumption, but perhaps I didn't read carefully enough. I did find a statement that "the scores achieved a normal distribution".
    _________
    My concern is how one acheives a "score" on such a heavily subjective field as the political spectrum.
    I have studied statistics at undergrad level (switching to Pure maths in my final year) and I have a few would questions:
    1. How this can be scored without the bias of person setting the questions influencing the outcome?
    2. Is this truly representative? The people who chose to answer are probably far more politically aware and motivated than average. Also the people thay would send this onto would probably be in the same boat.
    3. The normal distribution is only valid if strengths of belief are applied to certain views. These strengths are what I am questioning as they are by definition subjective no elaboration is given of the scoring strength applied to each view.
    Too many assumptions were made to call the returned data normal. In fairness the trend analysis results I suggested earlier wouldn't hold much water either due to the sample size, but reduction in sample size makes conjecture weaker, whereas false assumption ruins it completely.

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  • 217. At 09:00am on 01 Apr 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    post214.AllenT2

    A blinked patriot is a nationalist, you are on thin ice Mr Allen.

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  • 218. At 10:51am on 01 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #210
    SaintDominick wrote:
    The reason some conservatives hate media outlets like CNN is not because they favor liberal politicians or causes, but because they allow them to have a voice.

    People like Ed Rollins, Bill Bennett, and Alex Castellanos participate in CNN debates on a daily basis and do not hesitate to voice their conservative views. The problem is that CNN also invites left wing commentators that are allowed to do the same.
    __________________

    Do people still watch CNN in this country? but in regard to your point on conservative people getting to participate in debates on CNN. Liberals do on Fox and it s usually even distribution.

    Fox News Sunday Maura Lyons and Juan Williams are both liberals balanced by two conservatives.

    Another example of liberal academia intolerance, at Cal University a proffessor does not want Sarah Palin to speak because in his word she does not have the academic accomplishments.

    Hey she is there for a fundraiser to pay for your inflated salary currently being borne by overtaxed Californians.

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  • 219. At 11:10am on 01 Apr 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 217 ukwales wrote:

    "post214.AllenT2

    A blinked patriot is a nationalist, you are on thin ice Mr Allen."

    Ukwales, I think you are forgetting the date - 1 April. Clearly Allen is being ironic and whimsical, and parodying himself. Just remember, for ages he has been whining and moaning about foreigners who dare to have an opinion about the US, let alone express it. He announces that anyone who does so either hates Americans or wants to be an American - or possibly both.

    For example, he says "You say "us" but what are you? Are you British, sorry, Scottish, or American? Pick one before you start making comments about Americans and their patriotism."

    And then he announces "So you as a Briton are now going to tell Americans "what patriotism really looks like?" /I don't think most people from your part of the world even know the meaning of the word."

    He also adds "The problem in your country is most of you seem to have no clue about the difference between patriotism and nationalism. In fact, much of Europe suffers that affliction."

    [It should come as no surprise that he feels qualified to generalise about what c 60 m Brits and/or c 700m Europeans think or feel - he has frequently spoken for his 300m or so fellow-Americans.]

    So none of us is allowed to express an opinion about the US because we are not American - even though this is a British site. Yet he can sum up the failings of the inhabitants of a whole continent.

    The little joker.

    He also claims to be an expert on top-level security requirements, and states that his President doesn't meet them. This would imply that he holds a senior position in the American security services. But surely a blinkered xenophobe could never hold such a post. Now, that MUST be a joke...

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  • 220. At 11:47am on 01 Apr 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. ~Mark Twain

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  • 221. At 1:07pm on 01 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Re Fox News. As well as there being the occassion ineffective apologist faux-liberal. The more right wing news and analysis folk are all nutters.
    Brit Hume - Told Tiger Woods to turn to Christianity. - Even handed
    E.D. Hill - Terrorist fist bump- How did this woman ever pass herself off as a journalist?
    Bill O'reilly - "Tiller the baby killer"?? - Balanced!
    Sean Hannity - Where to start?

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  • 222. At 2:42pm on 01 Apr 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    #219 John_From_Dublin:

    "This would imply that he holds a senior position in the American security services. But surely a blinkered xenophobe could never hold such a post. Now, that MUST be a joke..."

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

    Indeed. I suspect that you also have to be older than 14.

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  • 223. At 3:13pm on 01 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #221
    PartTimeDon wrote:
    Re Fox News. As well as there being the occassion ineffective apologist faux-liberal. The more right wing news and analysis folk are all nutters.
    Brit Hume - Told Tiger Woods to turn to Christianity. - Even handed
    E.D. Hill - Terrorist fist bump- How did this woman ever pass herself off as a journalist?
    Bill O'reilly - "Tiller the baby killer"?? - Balanced!
    Sean Hannity - Where to start?

    ______________
    The Devil can quote Scriputure for his own benefit.

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  • 224. At 4:26pm on 01 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PartTimeDon (#216) "My concern is how one acheives a "score" on such a heavily subjective field as the political spectrum."

    You just ask several questions which are answered on a scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." Yes, it is subjective. For one respondent it doesn't mean much. When you have a sufficiently large sample, however, compared to a small number of categories (a range from conservative to liberal), then the uncertainties tend to average out so you can get a meaningful result for the simple model used.

    "How this can be scored without the bias of person setting the questions influencing the outcome?"

    Respondent bias is an uncertainty for an individual respondent. But we don't care about the individual, we only care about the aggregated results. If the error is randomly distributed, it averages out. If most respondents are skewing their answers the same way, then you have bias in the aggregated results.

    "Is this truly representative? The people who chose to answer are probably far more politically aware and motivated than average."

    In any study, it is important to select a random sample with respect to the thing being studied. So you need to have a range of political views which can be categorized on a liberal-to-conservative scale. This is so basic that I expect the people conducting the study understand how to sample and made an effort to get a good sample, which for this study would be one which represents the range of political views, not the population generally. It doesn't matter if they tend to be more politically aware; if some people are so politically unaware that it is difficult to classify them as conservative or liberal, then they are irrelevant for the purposes of the study.

    "The normal distribution is only valid if strengths of belief are applied to certain views. These strengths are what I am questioning as they are by definition subjective no elaboration is given of the scoring strength applied to each view."

    I disagree with this statement. A range of liberal-to-conservative ("strength") seems to have been computed, and the subjectivity is not important if the sample is sufficiently large and properly selected. I see that you might want elaboration. You need the actual study report rather than an article about the study.

    "Too many assumptions were made to call the returned data normal."

    Whether the data are normally distributed is merely a fact. They plotted the data and reported that they were normally distributed. This means a reasonably good fit, not a perfect fit (which is impossible). The fact that the data came out normal is evidence that the sample size was sufficiently large and that the sample is representative.

    A lot of things tend to come out normally distributed because of the Central Limit Theorem. That is what is operating here.

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  • 225. At 6:29pm on 01 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    With Allies like these -

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8598843.stm

    “Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused foreign election observers of fraud during last year's disputed vote."

    "Fraud had been widespread, Mr Karzai conceded, but he blamed foreigners for it, saying the UN was its focal point. Mr Karzai singled out Peter Galbraith, the then deputy head of the UN mission, who he said had organised the fraud. He accused Mr Galbraith of feeding details to the international media in an attempt to blacken his name."

    "Mr Galbraith called the claim incredible."

    "There was fraud in the presidential and provincial election, with no doubt there was massive fraud," Mr Karzai said. This wasn't fraud by Afghans but the fraud of foreigners, the fraud of Galbraith, or [head of the EU's observers Philippe] Morillon, and the votes of the Afghan nation were in the control of an embassy."

    "Mr Galbraith, a former US diplomat, was dismissed last year after alleging that the UN was not doing enough to combat fraud in the election. He told the BBC the charges against him were "absurd"."

    "Irregularities uncovered by the independent Electoral Complaints Commission included polling where the turnout was more than 100%, and others where votes were counted from places known to have been closed on election day."


    Keeping Afghanistan safe from democracy.

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  • 226. At 10:11pm on 01 Apr 2010, Pompadour wrote:

    Fat chance! Karzai has no intention of playing Obama's puppet the proof is in Karzai's latest statements that the UN was involved in subverting the recent presidential election. "Masssive fraud" by "foreigners" against him according to Karzai. Karzai is digging in his heels for full control over the electoral process dismissing Obama's requests for political reform. Apparently Karzai felt himself personally insulted by Obama's words at their meeting and is now retaliating to show that in Afghanistan it is he Karzai who calls the shots and not the foreign occupiers. With that Obama is facing the same exact situation as existed is South Vietnam having to support an increasingly tyrannical local head of state with widespread corruption not for Afghanistan's interests but those of the US. We all know how that misadventure ended.

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  • 227. At 10:34pm on 01 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I wouldn't push comparisons with Vietnam too far. In Vietnam, a fundamental difference was that there were no important US interests.

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  • 228. At 10:40pm on 01 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    For those who like comparisons between Afghanistan and Vietnam, here is a link to an article about what happened to a difficult leader in Vietnam:

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB101/index.htm

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  • 229. At 11:57pm on 01 Apr 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Allen T2 crops up on a wide range of forums on this BRITISH FUNDED site, like a nasty rash, ranting about mere foreigners daring to have an opinion, even on rather specialist subjects where politics barely intrude, just as anyone would who was happy and secure in themselves.
    Barking like a badly trained dog.

    Someone should tell this clown that British troops are dying in Afghanistan too, so any discussion about that country has a bearing, or are those troops also offending his fragile ego by their presence?

    It's a form of social dysfunction of a certain type of right wing American, not all, just a narrow type.

    Usually these types, who by their sheer amount of postings, must spend hours every day here, looking for things to find offensive-in their own mind that is-seem to have something missing in life?
    Maybe they also shout at the TV?

    Their xenophobia is clearly unhealthy.
    Maybe pity is the proper response to them?

    Best ignore them, certainly when I see paragraph after paragraph of their bile, I don't bother reading it, the first few lines sum it all up.
    I'll certainly not bother with the response he may post to this, heard it all before, it won't make much sense.

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  • 230. At 03:04am on 02 Apr 2010, U14401037 wrote:

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  • 233. At 10:26pm on 02 Apr 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    214. At 04:18am on 01 Apr 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "The problem in your country is most of you seem to have no clue about the difference between patriotism and nationalism."

    Could be 'cos we all have dual nationality. Welsh, Scottish, Irish. . .and British. . .

    Anyway, how do you tell the difference?

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  • 234. At 00:38am on 03 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 224 GH1618.
    I'm not disputing the statistical analysis itself. However normal distribution and the CLT are weak unless applied to data on a continuous scale. This data is not continuous. It's not even quantifiable in an objective sense.
    I'm not saying the conclusions are without merit. I just proposed differing conclusions that fit the data without such quantification.

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  • 235. At 00:47am on 03 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref#223 Magic
    "The Devil can quote Scriputure for his own benefit."
    __________________
    He can quote Scripture too if you believe that sort of thing.
    You don't like facts do you? Especially when they are counterexamples to any of your political "beliefs".
    Anyway, the Devil? Do you truly think that anyone with a sufficiently opposing view point to you is a bad person? That's incredibly egotistical and a sorry state to be in. I would imagine a lot of men who genuinely were bad thought that of others and used it as justification for imposing their ideology on others.

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  • 236. At 03:46am on 03 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PartTimeDon (#234), we do not have the same understanding of the normal distribution. Formally, the normal distribution is continuous. In practice, lots of discreet distributions are compared to the normal distribution. That's because they approach the normal curve in the limit (hence the name Central Limit Theorem).

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  • 237. At 4:28pm on 03 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #235

    considering you trashed ED Hill, O'Rielley who has step foward to pay the legal bills for the father being persecuted by the Westboro Church, Shawn Hannity who gives millions to charity; you are in not position to throw stones.

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  • 238. At 1:05pm on 04 Apr 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    well it is interesting to note healthcare has passed against the majority of what Americans felt was bad legislation. Now that we are earmarking and spending billions, an billions$$$. Obama admin can begin more Nazi socialism programs.Even if it costs undefined amounts and leaves debt for the next few generations.
    So I guess the Left has shifted fire to blaming the Tea Party movement as a Republican invention? Funny that have elected people from both parties? How can that be? Could it be representation of the will of the people! Wow. I think that do have some ideas. Like stop spending like fools with other peoples money. Act with a degree of responsibilty, accountability, and transparancy like they campaigned on. So what is wrong with being pragmatic and thoughtfull when crafting legislation, so the people can see their will done?

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  • 239. At 2:07pm on 04 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 237 MK
    Not sure where you picked up the idea that I think expressing a bias precludes giving to charity (unless it funds abortion I would imagine). Fox news isn't evil. It's just biased.
    As for throwing stones, I'm lobbing them firmly (but strictly metaphorically) at your ignorance. You've already equated me to the devil. You're a couple of hundred years too late to play Abigail Williams and expect it to have any effect. All you've done is tacitly admit your arguments will not stand up to reasoned debate.

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  • 240. At 3:04pm on 04 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #239

    You picked selected lines from the Fox commentators.

    Many feel Tiller's willingness do 3rd term abortion were murder. So all the hate mongers who compalin about O'rielley calling him Tiller the Baby J Killer can stop calling President Bush a murderer.

    Hume cooment about Tiger converting cringe worthy but his great career should give him a pass.

    Hannity is unabashed conservative but unlike MSNBC he treates his guests with respect and doesn't go into personal attacks.

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  • 241. At 5:09pm on 04 Apr 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    238, just using the term 'nazi socialism' marks you down as not to be taken seriously.
    A non white Nazi too?

    As well as 1) having a complete lack of knowledge around anything to do with those terms, 2) maybe you should read up, net search, whatever, on those who lived under totalitarian regimes. Compare and contrast with your life. Ignorant and spoiled barely describe what you posted and what those easily fooled, easily panicked types who have similar placards.
    Unless of course, deep down, a lot of this stuff is just is really about an unwillingness accept, for many of these Tea types, the inevitable conclusion to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


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  • 242. At 5:15pm on 04 Apr 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 233 -

    It's strange, but I asked AT2 exactly that - please 'define patriotism and nationalism', and answer came there none.

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  • 243. At 7:21pm on 04 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 240 MK
    Regardless of personal attitides to Tiller's actions, a responsible journalist gives both sides of any arguement. Also, how can you claim Fox counterbalances the blatantly biased name calling against Bush and yet are unbiased themselves?
    Regarding Hume, nobody with that level of influence gets a pass. Which is probably why he had to go. Maybe they'll bring Tony Snow back...
    If Hannity is an unabashed conservative (polite or not), where is Fox's show hosted by an unabashed liberal to balance this out?

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  • 244. At 4:26pm on 05 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #243
    PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref# 240 MK
    Regardless of personal attitides to Tiller's actions, a responsible journalist gives both sides of any arguement. Also, how can you claim Fox counterbalances the blatantly biased name calling against Bush and yet are unbiased themselves?
    Regarding Hume, nobody with that level of influence gets a pass. Which is probably why he had to go. Maybe they'll bring Tony Snow back...
    If Hannity is an unabashed conservative (polite or not), where is Fox's show hosted by an unabashed liberal to balance this out?

    ____________-

    You do know Tony Snow died of cancer? As far as a liberal voice, Fox decision on who to air is run by the marketplace and as proven by Air America and MSNBC rating people do not need to hear from a liberal bomb thrower like the trio of hate on MSNBC.

    But Geraldo and Van Sustern are moderate-liberal

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  • 245. At 09:05am on 06 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref~244 MK.
    I didnt know about Tony Snow. Insensitive comment there. Apologies.
    "Trio of hate from MSNBC"...Is this the mantra you chant to keep convincing yourself?
    Geraldo and Van Susteren may occassionally play the liberal apologist, but Van Susteren has basically spent the last 18 months as Palin's PR agent. Hardly liberal.

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  • 246. At 01:39am on 07 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    62. At 4:52pm on 29 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:
    RE 54. At 3:28pm on 29 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom

    "We swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Enlisted repeat that oath every time they re-enlist. We know where our loyalties lie and we know that all presidents eventually leave office (peacefully) and that this too, shall pass…"

    This is precisely why we Americans honor our military so much. To all here who have served [including our NATO allies] my thanks and high regards.

    McJakome

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  • 247. At 06:19am on 07 Apr 2010, roopesh wrote:

    what is that big fool thinking,and other 250 million bunch of fools,once i heard a fool speaking like ...its time for change...its time for change...what is change...and now i know those 250 million has horse shit in their heads.understand fools you are parasites ...parasites to the world.

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  • 248. At 4:25pm on 07 Apr 2010, Pompadour wrote:

    Oh yes Karzai has gotten Obama's message so much so that Karzai has threathened to join the Taliban himself! What a lovely little war!

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  • 249. At 06:46am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #244 "You do know Tony Snow died of cancer?"



    If they listened only to PBS and NPR they might genuinly not know.


    Just as they may not know that from now on even if U.S. is attacked with chemical/biological weapons it won't be allowed to retaliate with nukes.

    [So ordered our current Commander-in-Chief, obviously unaware that U.S. doesn't have any chemical/biological weapons to equitably retaliate with]

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  • 250. At 12:54pm on 08 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 249
    Does your sense of nationalism feel immasculated knowing that America would have to obliterate it's enemies using conventional weapons rather than WMD?
    Do you not think the countless number of civilians who would otherwise die as collateral damage are worth saving?
    Do you not think America would be in danger of creating more enemies than it destroyed if it used nukes, subjecting many nearby innocent countries to the fallout?

    P.S. Reading your posts on the next blog, why do you insist on continually including the Hussein in Obama's name? I'm hoping there's a decent reason for it that I haven't thought of that doesn't involve prejudice.

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  • 251. At 2:21pm on 08 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    249. At 06:46am on 08 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "[So ordered our current Commander-in-Chief, obviously unaware that U.S. doesn't have any chemical/biological weapons to equitably retaliate with]"

    __________


    Retaliate "equitably" with chemical or biological weapons?
    Wow.
    What a concept.

    Leaving aside the split infinitive, could you explain to me how it is ever possible to use chemical or biological weapons "equitably"?

    He who would have equity must do equity.
    You must have clean hands to seek equity.

    Dear God, save us from ourselves.

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  • 252. At 10:01pm on 08 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #245
    PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref~244 MK.
    I didnt know about Tony Snow. Insensitive comment there. Apologies.
    "Trio of hate from MSNBC"...Is this the mantra you chant to keep convincing yourself?
    Geraldo and Van Susteren may occassionally play the liberal apologist, but Van Susteren has basically spent the last 18 months as Palin's PR agent. Hardly liberal.

    _______________

    The reason I call MSNBC the trio of hate:

    Maddow and Schultz engage in daily name calling and lies about conservatives and moderates.
    Oberman has his Worst Person of the world, where he has used an asian slur about Michelle Malkin and always picks on the same conservatives and never critiizes a liberal even when they engage in hate speech.

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  • 253. At 05:24am on 09 Apr 2010, SuperMom wrote:

    quote: "Yet his first appearance in Afghanistan since he became president is deeply political. "You inspire me!" he told them, before going on to say that they stood for values that America desperately needs, like sacrifice, honour and decency..."
    I am an American, and I object to Obama continually putting down his own countrymen (or are they?). He just said Americans desperately need values like the Afghans!! He says we need sacrifice, honour and decency! How dare he put us down as if we have nothing honourable or decent in our lives! He doesn't know me or my family or my community. If he did, he would see the personal sacrifice, the giving, the honor, the decency that we live and teach to our children. We sacrifice our men and women in wars our presidents put us in! We honor our country and we DO have respect and decency as a nation! We love our country as a whole, but we have a president who seems intent on distroying us as a nation! Although, as everywhere else in the world, we have individuals who do not live sacrificially, who have no honour, and are not decent.
    The president of the United States of America needs to stop putting down Americans as he trots around the world, seeking to be King of the World! He bows to all other leaders, as if an American leader is not worthy of the same respect as other leaders! And don't bother telling me I'm prejudiced! It has nothing to do with race, as another post mentioned. It's the man who calls himself our leader, but disregards those he has promised to serve, as if we have no honour or decency or sacrifice that has me upset...

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  • 254. At 06:39am on 09 Apr 2010, SuperMom wrote:

    The radicalism and anti-government feelings that gained impetus in the Reagan era are becoming a serious threat to the future of the USA and should not be ignored. I believe our leaders in Washington and at State level should take a more active role in addressing this menace before it gets completely out of control.

    The problem here is that anyone who disagrees with a government action is anti-government! I disagree with a lot of the politics going on right now, but that doesn't make me "anti-government" or a "serious threat to the future of the USA"! A menace? Ok, people, this addresses anyone who disagrees with anything Obama does... That is scary! History repeats itself in various parts of the world! To accuse people who disagree to be a menace and a threat to the future of the USA is downright scary! As in, be careful what you say or believe or you will be one of those who are being arrested in this "more active role in addressing this menace". Reminds me of other leaders who have arrested anyone who spoke against something their government was doing.... Not a good sign! Militias? How are they a menace to the future of the USA? Just wondering... All I've heard about them is that they want Constitutional Government. Aren't we all supposed to want to uphold the Constitution? It's our law! Scary......

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  • 255. At 06:47am on 09 Apr 2010, SuperMom wrote:

    Sorry about my former post. I thought he was talking to the Afghans, but he was talking to our troups. Still, he makes it sound like the military are the only ones who get it right, the only ones who have honour, sacrifice, and decency. I honor them for what they are doing overseas. It's a tough job! But, Mr. Obama, don't discount the rest of America!

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  • 256. At 09:14am on 09 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 252 MK
    The reason I call MSNBC the trio of hate:
    Maddow and Schultz engage in daily name calling and lies about conservatives and moderates.
    Oberman has his Worst Person of the world, where he has used an asian slur about Michelle Malkin and always picks on the same conservatives and never critiizes a liberal even when they engage in hate speech.
    ________________
    I've said before I find MSNBC to be biased. Less so than Fox, partly because they are closer to my own views, but partly because they don't go dredging up politically motivated non-stories as often as Fox (eg Obama's birth certificate). It's current format is after all based on Fox's model but with a mirror image political viewpoint.
    Anyhow, what happens on MSNBC in no way excuses Fox's bias.
    If channels like these didn't exist in the US, or if they had to follow UK guidelines about fairness and accuracy political discourse in the US would be a lot more civil. As one of the earliest and most successful users of the partisan, aggressive and disrespectful reportage and editorialising, Fox must take a lot of the blame for this.

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  • 257. At 10:01am on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Ref #256
    I've said before I find MSNBC to be biased. Less so than Fox, partly because they are closer to my own views, but partly because they don't go dredging up politically motivated non-stories as often as Fox (eg Obama's birth certificate). It's current format is after all based on Fox's model but with a mirror image political viewpoint.
    Anyhow, what happens on MSNBC in no way excuses Fox's bias.
    If channels like these didn't exist in the US, or if they had to follow UK guidelines about fairness and accuracy political discourse in the US would be a lot more civil. As one of the earliest and most successful users of the partisan, aggressive and disrespectful reportage and editorialising, Fox must take a lot of the blame for this.
    _________________

    First Fox did not drag up the birther controversary, they reported on it.

    Fox is far less biased than NBC, not MSNBC but NBC they actually have brought objectvty back to television news reporting.

    I would argue in terms of fairness:

    Fox than ABC are the most objective.

    I would argue from listeing and watching the BBC, that they take a liberal biased stance, in their reporting on the U.S and the Middle East they definitly take an anti Israel view.

    It sounds you are in favor of the fainess doctrine a blatant attempt of media control worthy of the Dictator Hugo Chavez

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  • 258. At 1:19pm on 09 Apr 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 260
    "First Fox did not drag up the birther controversary, they reported on it."
    ______________
    Fox continually reported the birth certificate issue. Fox Nation were still running stories on it in May last year. At that stage it wasn't news. Bringing it up contnually after it had been conclusively proven that he was born in Hawaii is just mud-slinging - hoping to convince a few more idiots of yet another left-wing conspiracy.
    How can Fox maintain a professional distance from the GOP when Michael Steele spends time plugging Sean Hanniy's new book?
    As Michael Frumm put it: "Republicans originally thought that Fox [News] worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox."


    "I would argue from listeing and watching the BBC, that they take a liberal biased stance, in their reporting on the U.S and the Middle East they definitly take an anti Israel view."
    ____________________
    The BBC apparently is a bit biased in the Israeli/Palestinian situation according to the following study: http://www.glasgowmediagroup.org/content/view/4/2/
    Here is an exerpt:
    "Israelis are quoted and speak in interviews over twice as much as Palestinians and there are major differences in the language used to describe the two sides. This operates in favours of the Israelis and influences how viewers understand the conflict."
    Looks like you must be watching a different BBC...

    "It sounds you are in favor of the fainess doctrine a blatant attempt of media control worthy of the Dictator Hugo Chavez"
    _________________
    No it doesn't. I have no problem with Fox and NBC should broadcast what they want. I just think that lying to the public by pretending to be neutral when they clearly are not is inappropriate and has lead to political differences being a reason to be suspicious of others motives. I'm not pushing an agenda about this, I just think its a shame.

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  • 259. At 3:09pm on 09 Apr 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #258
    "I would argue from listeing and watching the BBC, that they take a liberal biased stance, in their reporting on the U.S and the Middle East they definitly take an anti Israel view."
    ____________________
    The BBC apparently is a bit biased in the Israeli/Palestinian situation according to the following study: http://www.glasgowmediagroup.org/content/view/4/2/
    Here is an exerpt:
    "Israelis are quoted and speak in interviews over twice as much as Palestinians and there are major differences in the language used to describe the two sides. This operates in favours of the Israelis and influences how viewers understand the conflict."
    Looks like you must be watching a different BBC...

    (Here is a recent example a BBC reporter was asking the Israeli Ambassador about the recent flap on the building in Jerusulem.. The reporter insisted that Israel has no claim to that part of Jerusulem and asked why Israel is stalling the peace process. A biased misrepresentation and I have never heard the BBC ask Arab nations why they refuse to have direct negoiation without preconditions)

    "It sounds you are in favor of the fainess doctrine a blatant attempt of media control worthy of the Dictator Hugo Chavez"
    _________________
    No it doesn't. I have no problem with Fox and NBC should broadcast what they want. I just think that lying to the public by pretending to be neutral when they clearly are not is inappropriate and has lead to political differences being a reason to be suspicious of others motives. I'm not pushing an agenda about this, I just think its a shame.
    ( the differnce is that Fox News as opposed to Fox oppinion shows are neutral, I've gone over this difference many times, NBC has no such neutrality)

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  • 260. At 3:07pm on 11 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    I remember when CNN was new. I hated to watch it because the presenters were as obviously biased as FOX presenters are now. I have watched Hannity & Coomes a fair number of times, and did not enjoy watching milktoast Coomes being regularly beaten up [verbally] by rabid right Hannity.

    CNN may have a leftish bias but when they use a debate format they at least have real and able to defend themselves right wingers for James Carville [whom I dislike almost as much as Hannity] to chew on.

    The first FOX program I stopped watching was the morning news show. FOX apologists regularly point out that the opinion may lean to the right but the news doesn't. However when non-stop rightist badinage is the main course with an occasional seasoning of "non ideological" "news" it is like trying to say that Nazi Germany's radio broadcasts were not biased because they mentioned real events and the weather reports were accurate.

    Josef Goebels, among others, said that if you repeat a lie often enough people will start to believe it. We have ample evidence that that is true in the FOX clones, Rush Limbaugh Dittoheads, Teabag mantrists, and others [including leftists like those who accept without question anything from Michael Moore]. We are awash in sophisticated propaganda [and some unsophisticated like Palin Parotings] and many people no longer know how, or bother, to distinguish propaganda from genuine news or reality from hype.

    I am grateful that my high school was still using the 1918 curriculum into the 1960s, and that I was able to get a good grounding in Citizenship, Civics and Problems of Democracy classes. We really need to restore those classes and teach people to understand what propaganda and advertizing are about and to think for themselves.

    Problems of Democracy, for those who don't know, was the advanced course in the college preparatory curriculum. We learned about propaganda techniques and the need to question and think for ourselves. We actually read some Marx ["Workers of the world unite, you have only your chains to lose."] and discussed the merits of the polemic as opposed to the reality of the "unchained" workers of Russia and Eastern Europe vs "chained" American and Western European workers. And both the benefits and problems with unions [collective bargaining vs Jimmy Hoffa] were discussed.

    My Ancient History textbook had a disclaimer on the first page that stated, "The material contained in this text is based on the most objective scientific and historical information available. It may conflict with what you may have been taught as religious doctrine. You have a right to your religious beliefs and should take any questions to your parents or religious teachers."

    I have no problem with such a disclaimer, I do have a problem with the parents and religious teachers trying to force their beliefs into the part of the curriculum dedicated to objective scientific and historical data. The proper place in the curriculum would be mythology and religion.

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  • 261. At 5:00pm on 11 Apr 2010, _marko wrote:

    To MagicKirin #259

    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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  • 262. At 08:15am on 13 Apr 2010, Chris wrote:

    i don't understand where this writer is coming from? i'm american, and thinking about joning the military as a good mark on my resume. which is what the attraction is for at least 75% of the us military. not to mention the tickets they'll get out of with the military id. i've been in the passenger seat.. most of the military doesn't believe in the task at hand, but if you want to change that, try and tackle big corporations, they're who are running things..
    us americans just want a decent pay check, and uncle sam is willing to give it if i'm willing to do his bidding. and i did almost join when i was 18 out of some weird perverted loyalty, but now i need the money, so i am willing to go camp out at a checkpoint somewhere making sure militants don't get past. but i AM NOT willing to shoot innocents, something i'm sure 99% of the military will agree with ( there are always crazys lol, especially those who want in on ANY military )

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  • 263. At 08:23am on 13 Apr 2010, Chris wrote:

    btw i am pro-obama, anti tea party ( the blond factor if you will ), and pro choice (not just in abortion, but in everyones choice to speak their mind and to a true democracy ( i don't consider the us one, although the closest. your censorship is the only thing holding you back from taking america over as the leading news ).

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  • 264. At 08:38am on 13 Apr 2010, Chris wrote:

    and thank you for posting that :) i was curious if you would.

    but seriously after reading the comments it is plainly obvious to me that people in general need to do more research and thinking. its easy to back someone elses idea up. it's not easy to come up with your own idea. or even a rational opinion about someone elses idea. My favorite saying is "Treat others as you'd like to be treated". and i'm under no impressions that most americans do that. but i learned that saying from my grandparents who are irish, but they learned it from being minority immigrants, so who knows. and my point is it doesn't matter. we're all people, can't we all just get along?

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  • 265. At 09:12am on 13 Apr 2010, Chris wrote:

    i should be in bed.. but.. i'm not.. #'s 21 and 22 you need to go to youtube and look up obamas speaches, particularly his first televised speech to the republicans in congress. your information is just plain wrong. read, write, then argue

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  • 266. At 5:10pm on 13 Apr 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Let't not split hair over split infinitives.


    Perhaps we can discuss oxyMORONS instead?

    Like Barack Hussein Obama- Commander-in-Chief

    [unfortunately not of Indonesian armed forces]

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  • 267. At 00:29am on 15 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Mark,
    At first glance I thought the BBC were now either supporting the GOP or at least accepting advertising from them.

    You know, a big red banner with a large NO centered on it, at the top of my screen on a topic referencing politics in the USA?

    After a few startled seconds, I realized the true nature of said banner. You really had me going there.

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