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Tea Party not so mad

Mark Mardell | 23:49 UK time, Saturday, 30 October 2010

Tea Party rally in Colombus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

"He's just trying to pretend there's as much enthusiasm for the other side. But it's not true."

That was the sentiment of the lady who'd been hooting and hollering next to me as if she were at a revivalist meeting - booing the mention of labour unions, cheering the constitution.

While people gathered in Washington DC for comedian Jon Stewart's "march for sanity", I was with some of the people he tries to mock.

The rally in Lane Road Park, just outside Columbus, Ohio, was rather smaller - about 200 people - but then there were no superstar entertainers on display.

We'd all gathered as three buses from the Tea Party Express rolled into the car park. The organisers hadn't been able to tell me if Sarah Palin would appear as originally advertised. She has apparently grown rather capricious when bestowing the favour of her presence.

But if the crowd were disappointed at the no-show, they certainly didn't show it, gathering in front of the bus and whooping "Freedom" before settling down to listen to speakers, including Diana Nagy, a Christian country singer in high-heeled boots who out-Palined Palin with a swooping, giggling delivery of political punchlines. Unlike Sarah Palin she also gave a solo performance of the national anthem, with heavy emphasis on the line "one nation under God" and less politically explicable weight on the word "stars".

This is a movement that tends to easily embrace martyrdom and the sense of being got at by an elite. Stewart won't hurt their self image.

The main speaker said: "Our name is being dragged through the mud, that we're violent racists." The all-white crowd cheer or just nod. I have never seen any overt racism at a Tea Party rally and don't today.

Most I spoke to never watch Jon Stewart and they didn't care very much about the rally. One man who'd just told me Barack Obama was a communist said: "I don't know who he is but if he says we're nuts he's a liar."

Well, maybe Stewart doesn't quite say that, but plenty do, and one Washington Post columnist recently pulled together the inanities of various Tea Party candidates.

What is interesting about this is that most of the odd things that have been said by Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell date before the current race.

The struggle of those in charge of the Tea Party, if anybody can be in charge of something so hydra-headed, is to put the focus on fiscal conservatism and the constitution and not get caught up in social issues. This can prove very difficult. One man carries a banner: "Speak for yourself Obama, we are a Christian nation, we are a Christian nation, whatever Obama says". A T-shirt has a list of 10 principles, covering the constitution, the budget and ending up: "I believe in Jesus Christ as my saviour". I am sure many Tea Party supporters would endorse all 10 sentiments, but if they try to broaden their agenda, they will narrow their base.

Over the past year I have spoken to many supporters of the Tea Party and been to lots of rallies. I have spoken to people whose characterisation of Mr Obama and his aims seems to me way off beam, a cartoon enemy conjured from some 1950s nightmare. Some believe the constitution tightly constrains the sort of economy America must have, and that only they can define what is properly American.

There is a wide-eyed enthusiasm that is easy to mock. But talk to people for more than a few minutes and fury tends to dissolve into concern, worry about the economic direction of the country, worry about the size of the government and the level of taxation. They're mad as hell, but that doesn't make them crazy.

Comments

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  • 1. At 00:31am on 31 Oct 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    "Tea Party not so mad."

    Bingo! The Democrats are going out of their way to portray the Tea-Partiers as either stupid, ignorant and racist or as insane. None apply and the Democratic condescending attitude towards the Tea-Partiers, will cost them dearly starting very, very soon.

    A classic misjudgment, to underestimate your critics; apparently dismissing your critics is not really a rational strategy, in politics.



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  • 2. At 00:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Didn't the moderate right in some country in Europe get challenged by a group of right-wing extremists (I won't use the word "fanatics", although as I recall it came to that) some eighty-odd years ago? And didn't the moderates back then think they could keep a lid on that radical wing of their party? Wasn't the attitude "let them blow off a little steam! What was the harm in a few parades and rallies anyway -- even if a few communists and other people we don't much like get their heads cracked."

    And didn't the whole thing end badly for just about everybody, left, right and center?

    I think people in the U.S. that can had better wake up and pay attention.

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  • 3. At 00:51am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    I don't think Stewart mocks Tea Partiers as such. I think he respects their opinions. What he mocks is the phenomenon that people, left and right, get so caught up in their opinions - to the level of dogmatism - that they can't even talk to each other. He also mocks the media's complicity in promoting dogmatic thought. There's a lot of nuance in the arguments and opinions on all sides, but it all gets lost. One would think that with several networks doing news for 24 hours a day, there would be more discussion of nuance; but it's not a 24 hour news cycle, it's a one hour news cycle done 24 times. It's all broad brush strokes and generalizations. Last year I saw footage of Sen. Claire McCaskill's town hall meeting on the healthcare bill and people were screaming and yelling, all wanting to be heard, but no one wanting to listen. Everyone who wants to be heard should be heard, but no one can hear anyone when everyone is yelling. That is Stewart's point.

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  • 4. At 01:08am on 31 Oct 2010, _Ewan_ wrote:

    Try asking these people about the 'Ground Zero Mosque' or gay marriage and you'll see how far their commitment to personal freedom and small government goes.

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  • 5. At 01:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    _Ewan_ wrote:
    Try asking these people about the 'Ground Zero Mosque' or gay marriage and you'll see how far their commitment to personal freedom and small government goes.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    I think there are three types of tea partiers: the fiscal/government tea partiers, the social value tea partiers, and the ones who are both. The candidates who seem to get the most national attention are both. As the comment above notes, there is a logical conundrum between social conservatism and political/fiscal conservatism. Social conservatism has a strand that would seem to be perfectly happy to use state apparatus to enact its policies on others. This is anathema to fiscal/political conservatism that would prefer as little government interference as possible, regardless of the agenda. The Tea Party candidates who are both, if they win their races, will eventually have to resolve that conflict of values. I haven't yet heard anything from a candidate that addresses that issue. Possibly because they don't think it is an issue. But I suspect it will come up, if only in private and not on the public stage.

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  • 6. At 02:10am on 31 Oct 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    It's going to be a very interesting election night with all the American media trying to predict the results before the polls even close and back pedaling from their earlier smarmy attitude when it looks like a Tea Party candidate will win.

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  • 7. At 02:51am on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    5. At 01:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:
    "I think there are three types of tea partiers: the fiscal/government tea partiers, the social value tea partiers, and the ones who are both."

    I think you're indulging in wishful thinking, apologetics and characteristic "conservative" befuddlement.

    A person who "would prefer as little government interference as possible, regardless of the agenda" is an anarchist, not a conservative. And the last thing a so called TEA party conservative is is an anarchist. He is rabidly PRO-government as long as it's HIS KIND of government, happily PRO spending as long as it is on HIS KIND of project -- like a good war, for example -- and has no interest whatsoever in shrinking anything at all if he has a share of it himself.

    I don't think anyone has actually SEEN a fiscal conservative in the United States in at least fifty years. They're the unicorns of American politics.

    Why do people have such a hard time accepting that the core of the conservative project is TO CONSERVE? Not the constitution, not the "shining house on the hill", but the status quo as they understand it
    (which is usually not very well at all)?

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  • 8. At 03:16am on 31 Oct 2010, monkeydrivel wrote:

    Was at the rally today, and I have family who are tea party supporters. I don't think Jon Stewart thinks they are crazy, and I don't think my family members are stupid or crazy no matter how much I disagree with them. I think Stewart is actually pointing his satire at two targets, 1. being the population that gets so emotional that they stop thinking, that they start to act irrationally, and 2. the media that cherry picks the irrational out and puts a laser focus on them. It's was called rally for "sanity" not because of the focus on irrational but because of the focus on the media. a rally for rationality would be more to the point, but then that would be explaining the JOKE. which is not really how his (or any) satire works.

    As for my views on my family members who are Tea Baggers, well one, I have to say (sadly) they are in fact racist, outside that charge most of them are off. what they are is generally spoiled, selfish, and very Afraid of losing their very comfortable lifestyles. In general they are not crazy, and they are not stupid, quite the opposite, they are very intelligent and sane. They are very Emotional, and tend to vote strictly on what makes their life easy, regardless of any other deliberations.

    I don't believe Stewart thinks the Tea Baggers are crazy, if he did his jokes wouldn't be funny, they'd be cruel. I think Stewart thinks they tend to get so emotional and worked up that they start to act irrationally (as we all do when we get too emotional) which why he makes fun of them, because they are clear headed educated sane adults who sometimes through tantrums like my son did when he was 3. Which is why it's funny and not cruel.

    ps. my favorite sign I saw at the rally regarding Tea Baggers was this:

    "I have no problem paying taxes because I'm an adult and thats part of the deal."

    my favorite sign of the whole day, hands down:

    "I like cookies!"

    I laughed a lot today, it was fun.

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  • 9. At 03:45am on 31 Oct 2010, karenykarl wrote:

    The ultimate, bottom line belief the the people in the Tea Party is that under no circumstances, should anyone interfere with their right to make as much money as they can, and pay as few taxes as they can. And they do not really care about other people, as they're only interested in themselves.

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  • 10. At 04:59am on 31 Oct 2010, DigitalJanitor wrote:

    Wow... I think you missed the forest for the teas here Mark, and frankly I'm disappointed in you.

    Listen to Jon Stewart's closing speech of the rally. There's a profound resonance in those words for many of us who are just trying to survive another day without getting laid off, falling behind on bills, praying nobody in the household gets sick, and groping for solid ground while hunkering down under a hailstorm of flaming arrows from all over the political spectrum.

    @monkeydrivel: back at 'cha from a left coast satellite rally today...

    Favorite Tea Bag reference sign: "Please don't 'take America back', the rest of us are still using it!"

    Favorite overall sign is a three way tie:
    "Less cowbell, more reason."
    "Anyone up for scrabble?"
    "All generalizations are bad."

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  • 11. At 06:29am on 31 Oct 2010, Risforme wrote:

    The problem with the tea party is that they have no coherent message. Their leaders are like 5 year olds running for student council. They want the Government out of their Medicare. They will promise their fellows a world in which they have to sacrifice nothing in that the cuts in Government spending will only punish the immoral. That families will return to the dinner table. That crime will disappear from the face of their streets. That the Drug war will be won America will be strong and our enemies will cower in fear.

    But they can't do any of that. If fixing our country was as easy as cutting taxes and eliminating waste we wouldn't have a problem to fix. What we need our leaders that will actually cut programs that are popular that will cut taxes and raise taxes depending on what makes the most sense.

    And you're not gonna find that in the Tea Party.

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  • 12. At 07:01am on 31 Oct 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #11

    "And you're not gonna find that in the Tea Party."

    You speak with the categorical conviction and assurance of an expert on the Tea-Party and its constituency.

    Don't forget one thing. Tea Partiers are not career politicians. They did not make politics their life career and furthermore they have no re-election worries. With those two considerations removed, a Tea Partier can vote as their conscience dictates, without secondary or ulterior considerations and/or motives.

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  • 13. At 07:16am on 31 Oct 2010, John1948 wrote:

    The strength of the tea party is that as the world gets more complicated they are looking for simpler answers. They are just the latest victims of publicly pronounced policies that mean all things so all people.

    Have a look at some recent attempts to get the voters' attention.
    USA - "We can do it" Yes, I like that because it tells me that here is a person who can do anything. But hang on - is your 'it' the same as my 'it' or his 'it'?
    UK - 'Time for a Change' Yes, I do believe that it is possible for things to get better. I don't want stagnation.
    UK 'Build a fairer Britain' I'd be odd if I wanted an unfair country
    USA - 'Freedom' every one wants this, but there are thousands of books and millions of dicussions every day about what it means.

    We are victims of slogan driven politics. The politicians are the Pied Pipers.

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  • 14. At 07:45am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Unlike Sarah Palin she also gave a solo performance of the national anthem, with heavy emphasis on the line "one nation under God" and less politically explicable weight on the word "stars".





    MM I don't recall a line "one nation under God" in American national anthem,

    but I do recall "the land of the free and the home of the brave".

    Obviously not something an Englishman would appreciate being reminded of.

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  • 15. At 07:49am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " a cartoon enemy conjured from some 1950s nightmare."

    Mark Mardell, have you ever bothered to look at NKVD's payroll lists partially revealed by Boris Yeltsin after USSR's collapse?


    [It does not look like you're of Harold Wilson and Roger Hollis generation]

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  • 16. At 07:53am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Last year I saw footage of Sen. Claire McCaskill's town hall meeting on the healthcare bill and people were screaming and yelling, all wanting to be heard, but no one wanting to listen. Everyone who wants to be heard should be heard, but no one can hear anyone when everyone is yelling"







    Perhaps that's a reaction to the government doing all the talking and not bothering to listen to what American people really want?

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  • 17. At 07:56am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "my favorite sign I saw at the rally regarding Tea Baggers was this:

    "I have no problem paying taxes because I'm an adult and thats part of the deal."

    my favorite sign of the whole day, hands down:

    "I like cookies!"






    And my favorite T-shirt sign, seen during a Washignton, D.C. rally read:

    "It doesn't matter what my sign says; you'll call me a racist anyway".

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  • 18. At 08:29am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:

    "Obviously not something an Englishman would appreciate being reminded of."

    Having lived in both countries it is evident to me that Englishmen are far freer than Americans. In England there are no Residents Association Nazis measuring the lengths of the blades of grass on our lawns. An Englishman's freedom of speech is not curtailed by 'community standards'. An Englishman cannot get fired from his job with no notice for criticising his boss.

    If America is the 'Home of the Brave' why do so many Americans have to have a gun and ammunition under their mattress in order not to feel afraid to go to bed?

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  • 19. At 08:43am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "If America is the 'Home of the Brave' why do so many Americans have to have a gun and ammunition under their mattress in order not to feel afraid to go to bed?"




    In case their government turns oppresive, or somebody wants to impose a non-elected monarch (let's say from German Coburg-Gotha family) on them.

    Not to mention a state religion, like, e.g. Anglicanism or Islam?

    capisce?

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  • 20. At 08:45am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    P.S.

    Only sombebody who'd know what a highly offensive "teabagger" term means would use it to describe Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party's sympathizers.

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  • 21. At 08:48am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    5. At 01:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:
    _Ewan_ wrote:
    Try asking these people about the 'Ground Zero Mosque' or gay marriage and you'll see how far their commitment to personal freedom and small government goes.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    I think there are three types of tea partiers: the fiscal/government tea partiers, the social value tea partiers, and the ones who are both. The candidates who seem to get the most national attention are both. As the comment above notes, there is a logical conundrum between social conservatism and political/fiscal conservatism.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Actually, there is no conundrum if you have been paying attention to the Tea Party Movement and the efforts of traditional social conservatives.
    Remember, the tea party is about shrinking the Central Gov't back to being a true Federal Gov't. It does not address the size and scope of state gov't, at all. Traditional conservatives have concentrated their efforts in such areas as maintaining the sanctity of traditional marriage at the state level (as well as other social issues). The Defense of Marriage Act was a compromise that some pandering Republicans got passed when it became obvious that there was not enough support for a Constitutional Amendment (for the above stated reason). The same with the Mosque near (not at) ground zero; all efforts have been within the gov't of NYC and New York state. Therefore, no conundrum. I admit, there are some strictly religious zealots who don’t understand the constitution, that have pushed for national action on social issues, especially since the other side did it with Roe v. Wade, but to me; 2 wrongs don’t make a right, social rules belong at the state/municipal level.

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  • 22. At 08:53am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    18. At 08:29am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:
    An Englishman's freedom of speech is not curtailed by 'community standards'.
    __________________________________________________________________
    But don't you all have Hate-Speech laws? If I quoted the first chapter of the Book of Romans on this Blog, would I not be censored? For a change, I'm not arguing, I am being honestly curious on this one...

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  • 23. At 09:11am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "scared Americans"...


    Another poster: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself and spiders".

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  • 24. At 09:35am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:

    "In case their government turns oppresive, or somebody wants to impose a non-elected monarch (let's say from German Coburg-Gotha family) on them.

    Not to mention a state religion, like, e.g. Anglicanism or Islam?"

    People do not sleep with guns under their mattresses in case the government turns oppressive. They do it because they are afraid of being robbed by their neighbours.

    The monarchy has no power, yet you are right that it is a fairly ridiculous anachronism that the Royal Family has been 'imported'. But it has no real effect on the lives of ordinary citizens, so who cares! Similarly with our state religion of Anglicanism. It has no power and everyone ignores what the Bishops say. In America there is a real link between the Republican party and organized Christianity and those whose values don't go along with those of the Christians have the real potential of being oppressed as a result.

    It seems to me that the Tea Party's principles are based on simplistic, right wing, rabble rousing popularism. There's been a ludicrous fuss about Obama's healthcare reforms with Sarah Palin apparently referring to them as evil. What is so 'evil' about saving lives and improving the quality of lives of so many by making healthcare available to everyone? Are Americans really so lacking in compassion for their fellows? Why wasn't there this much fuss made when Bush and co imposed their illegal war against Iraq on the American people?

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  • 25. At 09:38am on 31 Oct 2010, trickdick wrote:

    Powermeerkat- "Not to mention a state religion, like, e.g. Anglicanism or Islam?".... or Christianity.
    "capisce?"
    Maybe you should read up on some Tea Party Non-negotiable core beliefs
    i.e English Language Is Required.

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  • 26. At 09:42am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    25. At 09:38am on 31 Oct 2010, trickdick wrote:
    Maybe you should read up on some Tea Party Non-negotiable core beliefs
    i.e English Language Is Required.
    _________________________________________________

    Uh, what's that got to do with state religion? Why shouldn't English be required?

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  • 27. At 09:45am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:

    "But don't you all have Hate-Speech laws? If I quoted the first chapter of the Book of Romans on this Blog, would I not be censored? For a change, I'm not arguing, I am being honestly curious on this one..."

    Your point about hate speech is a good one but it is has more in common with shouting "Fire" in a crowded theatre than not being allowed to read Playboy in Eastern Tennessee because of community standards. As far as quoting the bible on this blog I do not see any reason why that would be banned but you would have to ask the BBC that question, or alternatively, just try it and see what happens. Incidentally I have seen plenty of posts on American Christian blogs deleted. I saw one disappear after the poster asked with incredulity why another poster suggested that God should be praised for the Boxing Day tsunami which killed 250,000 because one survivor converted to Christianity as a result of it.

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  • 28. At 09:47am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    22. At 08:53am on 31 Oct 2010, you wrote:
    18. At 08:29am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:
    An Englishman's freedom of speech is not curtailed by 'community standards'.
    __________________________________________________________________
    But don't you all have Hate-Speech laws? If I quoted the first chapter of the Book of Romans on this Blog, would I not be censored? For a change, I'm not arguing, I am being honestly curious on this one...
    _________________________________________________________________

    Since nobody answered my question, I'll take it that Englishmen are not free to express their opinions, even opinions based on their conscience...

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  • 29. At 09:58am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:

    28. Oldloadr said "Since nobody answered my question, I'll take it that Englishmen are not free to express their opinions, even opinions based on their conscience... "

    Never make assumptions, they are often wrong. You were wrong about this one. See Post 27.

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  • 30. At 10:01am on 31 Oct 2010, bru wrote:

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

  • 31. At 10:09am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    29. At 09:58am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:
    Never make assumptions, they are often wrong. You were wrong about this one. See Post 27.
    ________________________________________________________

    OK, I was impatient; which made me wrong and a good lesson for all the boys and girls out there on both sides.

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  • 32. At 10:13am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    24. At 09:35am on 31 Oct 2010, Adso wrote:
    “when Bush and co imposed their illegal war against Iraq”
    ____________________________________________________________

    The UN Security Council, as outlined in Article 39 of the UN Charter, has the ability to rule on the legality of the war, but has yet not been asked by any UN member nation to do so. The United States and the United Kingdom have veto power in the Security Council, so action by the Security Council is highly improbable even if the issue were to be raised.
    Therefore, the Iraq War will never be ruled illegal by any body with any authority (or the UN). Don’t assume…

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  • 33. At 10:14am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    32. At 10:13am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr
    Forgot the citation:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_the_Iraq_War

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  • 34. At 10:26am on 31 Oct 2010, trickdick wrote:

    Oldloadr:-
    Sorry my response about English was in relation to Powermeerkats use of the word Capisce. A core belief of the Tea Party is the use of English language.
    You can say what you like in the UK as long as it's true or, you make it clear that it's your opinion, otherwise you're at risk of libel. In the UK I can't say you are a racist because you are a Tea party member but in the USA I can. You can quote the book of Romans because it is a quote. You can't go round the streets shouting all gays and muslims should be executed as you may be inciting hate crimes.

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  • 35. At 10:34am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "It seems to me that the Tea Party's principles are based on simplistic, right wing, rabble rousing popularism."


    Appearances can be misleading.

    TEA Party movement is no so much anti-Democrat, let alone pro Bible Belt as anti do-nothing INCUMBENTS.

    Vide how many Republican challengers have been supported by that movement rather than Republican incumbents.

    Some of us may not like the final outcome, but the fact remains.

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  • 36. At 10:40am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    34. At 10:26am on 31 Oct 2010, trickdick wrote:
    You can't go round the streets shouting all gays and muslims should be executed as you may be inciting hate crimes.
    __________________________________________________________________
    So the law is against inciting hate-crimes, but not against free expression of ideas, per say... So (to follow your example) a street preacher could say all unrepentant gays are lost in there sin and Muslims have to accept the deity of Christ and not be at risk of prosecution... ?

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  • 37. At 10:43am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Trickdick,

    "Capisce" has become as much a part of American English as "sputnik", "No way, Jose", "Hasta la vista, baby,", "kaput" or "Schadenfreude".


    BTW. British linguist analysis has shown that her Majesty the Queen's latest speaches has been noticeably affected by American English which was definitely not the case 50 years ago.

    [Must be all them American movies and soap operas. :)]

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  • 38. At 10:51am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    37. At 10:43am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Capisce" has become as much a part of American English as "sputnik", "No way, Jose", "Hasta la vista, baby,", "kaput" or "Schadenfreude".
    ________________________________________
    I blame Robert DiNero and Al Paccino.

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  • 39. At 11:03am on 31 Oct 2010, Clive Hill wrote:

    #3 and #5 Sara71
    Very good posts. If you really are that reasonable you'll soon lose the will to live reading some of these blog comments.

    I am British and I am very much a supporter of the Iraq War. Comments about 'illegality' miss the point that any action against Adolf Hitler for murdering people in concentration camps would have been illegal under the UN Charter Article 2 para. 7. He could have been done for invading Poland but not for massacring his own citizens. Ditto Saddam Hussein.

    The good thing about the Tea Party and its opponents, viz. Jon Stewart and his friend are that they are non-tribal. They may belong to little tribes in their own locality but the obsessive tribalism of Labour and Tory supporters in British politics is largely missing.

    They seem to be coalescing around groups of issues. That surely cannot be bad, whatever you think of the issues, because it means they are thinking about those issues rather than just blindly voting for their 'camp'.

    For my part, I think I am a Libertarian so I suppose I am a natural Tea Party supporter. On the other hand, I like the National Health Service (UK NHS) so I suppose I am one of Satan's pixies. Before someone says I cannot be a supporter of a huge state organ like the NHS and also a Libertarian, I would say it depends on what you regard as the minimum duty of the state.

    Nobody would suggest we could do without a police force which is a state organ (leaving out the Federal/State divide for a moment). Nobody would suggest we don't need some kind of organisation of traffic, regulation of the making of things - like houses, poisonous chemicals, etc. I think the health of the individual is more fundamental than most of these things, so I favour the NHS.

    I believe we find it difficult to comprehend the need to reduce Federal government in the UK because we think of it as our people doing our thing - whether we like that exact thing or not.

    It's probably easier to understand if we think of the US Federal Government more as the EU Commission. Then we could easily raise a hate-fest in the UK for it, much as I would deplore such a gathering. I can't see Herman van Rompuy as much of Guy either. Herman van Who ? would be the festive burner's problem.

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  • 40. At 11:07am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #38

    Well Arnie, Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall might be also blamed for

    "don" and "consigliere", let alone "an offer one can't refuse" :)

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  • 41. At 11:07am on 31 Oct 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    I think if one ignores the people who have agenda, Maureen Dowd, frank Rich, MSNBC and NPR you might get an accurate potrayal of Tea Party supporters

    They believe goverment is too large
    that career politicians are more interest in power than serving the constiuents intrests
    That less goverment inteference in the economy is good.

    If you paint the Tea Party as racist because of a few people, so is the NAACP and The Democratic party

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  • 42. At 11:10am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    re #38 oldloadr: it cuts both ways.



    Some 40 years ago Germans from BRD wanted to issue a kind of medal: after an internal debate they decided to replace a word 'Fuehrer' on it with a word 'leader'.

    I wonder why. :)

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  • 43. At 11:24am on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    42. At 11:10am on 31 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    re #38 oldloadr: it cuts both ways.
    ____________________________________________________

    I lived in Germany for 8 years (77 - 88 [2 year break]) and I visit there often. The influence of English, particularly American English is hard to miss. Of course, that whole Fuehrer thing would be difficult, I suppose...

    My favourite adulterated German expression is: "Mox Nix" which the original German was "Macht Nicht," which literally translates as "makes nothing" used to mean "doesn't matter;" but by the 80s, even the Germans used the American version.

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  • 44. At 12:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    The TEA party is a loose collective of single-issue politicians. Each candidate seems to have a slightly different single-issue, sure, but like all single-issue groups, they have one policy which (in their minds) overrides all other considerations. 

    The problem is, those other considerations aren't going to go away. It's foolish and naive to base your political agenda on one issue, whether that's tax cuts, gun laws, healthcare or the constitution. Once you achieve your single issue (if you ever do), all the associated problems still remain.

    Cut taxes? OK, but then you have to cut schools, police, military. And will fiscal conservatives like that? Healthcare? Fine, but who is going to tell 85 million uninsured Americans that their lives aren't important enough to save?

    None of the TEA party candidates I've seen display any understanding of the complexity of issues. They appeal to people with no foresight.

    I'm a left-leaning Brit, but would have the same criticisms of a single-issue Democrat. Because it's not the politics that worry me, it's the absence of any rational, joined-up plan. Democrat, Republican or Independent, you need to understand that a nation is a big, complicated system. You can't just snip out the bits you don't like and expect it to keep functioning. 

    End of opinion: but can I just remind Americans that their constitution separates church and state. So if you love the constitution so much, stop talking about God as though He supports your politics.

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  • 45. At 12:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    39. Clive Hill:

    "The good thing about the Tea Party and its opponents, viz. Jon Stewart and his friend are that they are non-tribal. They may belong to little tribes in their own locality but the obsessive tribalism of Labour and Tory supporters in British politics is largely missing.

    They seem to be coalescing around groups of issues. That surely cannot be bad, whatever you think of the issues, because it means they are thinking about those issues rather than just blindly voting for their 'camp'. "

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

    Very true. Usually, it's just partisan sniping, which is how I view most, but not all, criticism of the Tea Party. Were they simply not in the enemy camp, they might be more acceptable. Their views would certainly be more understandable if they didn't come from someone with an (R) before their name.


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  • 46. At 12:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, RubberNutz wrote:

    The Tea party are not racist. They are just just easily terrified by the media. They need to be engaged with, not lampooned.

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  • 47. At 12:58pm on 31 Oct 2010, Boreal_Doug wrote:

    Since most of you missed the point, which was stated well by Oldloadr in post #21, here it is in plain English. States rights. The federal government has limited powers afforded to it by the Constitution. However, by liberally interpreting the Constitution, the federal government has usurped the right to govern from the states.

    A few examples: Speed limit laws, safety belt laws and drinking age laws are supposed to be left to individual states to decide. But if states didn't comply with the federal mandates, then the federal highway funds collected at the local gas station wouldn't go back to the state it was collected from. Education policy is a right of the state and local school board. With federal laws such as "No Child Left Behind Act" the local authority is being usurped. Health insurance is regulated by the states but the federal health care legislation takes that power away from the states. Arizona is having some border difficulties and created laws to protect its citizens. Arizona also expected the federal government to work with Mexico on some type of treaty to resolve the issues, which only the federal government has the power to do. There are many more examples...

    The issue is not that we should all drive safely with our seat belts, that some schools have serious problems, that health care should be afforded to all or that everyone in Arizona be there legally. The issue is the increasing power of a centralized government over the states and the citizens. The tea partiers are not the racist-fascist-extremists. A powerful centralized government is required in order for racist-fascist-extremism to prevail at a national level.

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  • 48. At 1:16pm on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    re Russell Jones #44

    Quite so. I am not a fan of single issue politics either. I think it's important that some people are single issue, as it keeps people aware and their consciousness raised. The Tea Partiers have done this well, and I think that's a good thing overall. But decision makers don't have the luxury of using any particular single issue as their number one priority all the time. Sometimes, yes. All the time no.

    On cutting taxes, I agree with you there too. In order to have money to pay down debt and deficiet, you have to take in more money than you spend. Whether that is best done by raising taxes or cutting spending or doing both is a matter of analysis, not ideology. In order to CUT taxes, spending would have to be cut significantly. Which means someone, or many someones, would lose out on things they like or need. But there's been no hard hitting discussion of what or who or how much. I've seen "entitlement reform" (and I admit I don't see everything, I don't watch TV) but nothing specific. Is that pensions? Social security? Medicaid? Medicare? Those are the largest chunks. Or would it be larger proportions of smaller programs? So far much has been whitewashed. I would much prefer politicians be honest in their analysis about what has to be done, even if that means I might lose out on something. I may not like it, but I would prefer the honesty.

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  • 49. At 1:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Painting the Tea Party as nothing more than a bunch of reactionary racists is the only defense the American left has in its arsenal. But President Obama knows the truth because he said it himself. The same anger and frustration that led to him being swept into power kicking the Republicans out is still very much alive and well and angrier and more frustrated than ever. This same sentiment can sweep him and the Democrats out of power just as easily. Finding a relative handful of racists among them and trying to tar all of them with that brush will not deter them, it only makes them more determined. And they clearly dont' want more of the same good old boy Republicans they had before Obama. Their warning and threat is to the Republican party as well as the Democrats.

    America is a place where candidates may run on rhetoric and promises but they can only remain in power to govern on performance. In the one area of performance most important to Americans, the economy, President Obama has not performed to the satisfacion of most Americans. He promised no more than 8% unemployment, it's now officially at 9.6% and the latest projections for next year have it going no lower than 9%. The real numbers including those who are off the radar screen because they stopped looking and those who are underemployed is much higher. The deficit and debt have soared. There have been new terrorist attacks on the US, some of which succeeded such as the one in Texas, some were only failures by luck such as the attack on the plane bound for Detroit and the attempt on New York City. Obama has failed there too.

    It must be stunning for Europeans in general and European journalists in particular to see American political activism on a grass roots scale generated from the bottom up spontaneously and manifesting itself in political campaign rallies and at the polls where in Europe if there is any activism at all it is from the top down and the only real signs of public anger is in the streets as demonstrations in places like France. Those demonstrations are cries for the government to "do something." In America we don't beg the government to do something, when they don't do it we take the government away from those in power, sieze it and do it ourselves if we can. The only problem is, the Tea Party candidates may not have solutions any more effective than the current bunch of business as usual incumbents have. But we'll see in a few days which way the political wind is blowing. It looks like for the Democrats it's blowing out to sea. It will be the opening round of 2012. If it doesn't work, the followup will probably be even more drastic.

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  • 50. At 1:32pm on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote:
    " Last year I saw footage of Sen. Claire McCaskill's town hall meeting on the healthcare bill and people were screaming and yelling, all wanting to be heard, but no one wanting to listen. Everyone who wants to be heard should be heard, but no one can hear anyone when everyone is yelling"


    Perhaps that's a reaction to the government doing all the talking and not bothering to listen to what American people really want?
    -------------------------------------

    But this is not an excuse for individuals to not listen to other individuals. During the town hall meeting I referenced, people, supporters and the opposition, were not interrupting Sen McCaskill so much as they were interrupting each other, as they all tried to ask questions and make comments at once.

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  • 51. At 1:41pm on 31 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    "He's just trying to pretend there's as much enthusiasm for the other side. But it's not true." This, of couse, is wishful Tea-Party thinking.
    The crowd gathered in front of the bus, whooping "Freedom". Freedom from what? Freedom from mortgage foreclosures, freedom for unemployment, freedom from taxation, freedom from debt...endless, endless debt:
    The Outstanding Public Debt of the United States as 31 Oct 2010 is:
    $13,699,734,456,190.54
    The estimated population of the United States is 309,393,822;
    so each citizen's share of this debt is $44,182.31.
    The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
    $4.13B (BILLION) PER DAY since September 28, 2007!
    The average citizen, not having spent his $44,182.31, but owing it nonetheless, certainly has must have the sensation of being taken by the elite.
    Q. Where did the bail-out money go? Since the Feds don't permit audit of the Reserves, where oh where did the bail-out money go? Why is there noi accounting, no audit? Did this money go outside of the country? What was it used for?
    The Tea Party is not composed of rascists; they are not nuts. They are simply mad as Hell and don't know what to do about it. The sad news is that changing poltical parties will not change the debt: Both parties are beholden to Wall-Street anyway. So, nothing of signifcance will change.
    The Tea Party sticks its focus to fiscal conservatism and the constitution. With all the wars going on - especially Iraq (still), Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia...How will Repulicans reduce the deficit anymore than the Democrats?
    Tea Party members are correct, George W. Bush started stripping Consitutional Rights and Obama has continued. The United States is now so far removed from the thinking of the Constitutional Fathers that the United States of America can no longer define herself on her own Constitution.
    What's next for this imperialistic, former superpower: marshall law?

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  • 52. At 1:46pm on 31 Oct 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    "Now we're authorizing programs for three years instead of five in an attempt to pretend we're saving money."
    Rep. Brian Baird, a six-term Democrat from Washington state.
    /

    "You don't get real reform by pandering to every special interest. With cap and trade we wound up with a bill that didn't accomplish much, was enormously complicated and expensive." Rep. Brian Baird, a six-term Democrat from Washington state.
    /
    "Back in September, we had pollsters and strategists from my party tell members that the mass of people didn't care about the deficit. The mind-boggling lack of reality coming from some of the people who give us so-called advice is stunning." Rep. Brian Baird, a six-term Democrat from Washington state.
    /
    Well I guess a bunch of angry voters can be a problem for the political elite that are so arrogant they fail to listen. Driving people suffering, struggling, and disgusted watching as a nation is twisted by this mess. Abandoning reason for insanity of this present bunch of elites, Obama, Pelosi, Reid. Well the damage to the nation is directly in porportion to the damage they have done to the traditional Democratic party. Out of touch, inept, and corrupt to the blatent point of pandering to court Hispanics, labeling loyal opposition as enemies. Failing to protect the Constituional rights of all citizens and states. Arizona is feeling the weight of this oppressive government, by its failure to act. Arizona took the power to act within their rights. Wait until terrorists start strolling over the open borders, as 10% are currently of Islamic groups with out any background checks, crimminal, health, or even who they are. As the legal immigrants stand in line waiting to enter by the rules of law. This admin bends the rules to gain a watershed vote of fraud, if necessary to win. No matter the law. Absolute power, corrupt beyond belief.
    /
    Congratulations to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, as they lit the fuse for this election anger thru their own arrogance.

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  • 53. At 1:58pm on 31 Oct 2010, monkeydrivel wrote:

    Re 17 and 20 powermeerkat

    Ok I have to say you have a point on number 17. I guess the racist slant was implied as confirmed by my statement and would need a little more to be said. I was speaking about the few Tea party members I knew well, some members of my large extended family. And while it is true that the majority of my family is not racist those that I believe are cut across party lines. If you pay close attention to my statement I basically was de-bunking the main stream rhetoric of the liberals/democrats that was put forward in post #1. While I meant to express that the charge of racism might still be found in the party, it can be found in any party in america, and seeing as the few Tea party members I know well are racist, there more than likely is a statistically significant presence in the movement (I believe there is as well in the Democrats if it makes you feel better) and that needed to be said because I directly assaulted the other negative claims immediately following. That there is a statistically significant minority of americans who are racist, is just part of america, so that charge wasn't one I could attack with my experience. You didn't seem to have a problem with my experience of tea party members being educated clear headed intelligent people.
    I admit after re-reading it, my post seemed to imply Tea Party members are racist. So, I apologize for leading to that, my train of thought was focused on the "sanity" aspect, and I do not believe the majority of Tea Party members are racist. as I expressed before, I believe they are educated intelligent people, and these characteristics tend to run counter to racism.
    So again I apologize.
    As for the ps concerning the sophomoric term "Tea Baggers". . . well, if you can't laugh at yourself you shouldn't laugh. me I like to laugh, and laugh at my self all the time. its just a silly sophomoric poking fun and if thats horribly offensive to you. . . well I'd have to say refer to your comment, because sign about no matter what your sign says, you'll call me a racist. . .that was funny. with Tea Bagger vs Tea Party Memeber, you might just lighten up a bit, I don't hate tea party members, and I don't hate my family members, I disagree with them a lot, but I'm not trying to be abusive to them, when it comes to the divisions in this country you have to laugh a little or it's just too much. If that offends you, sorry, but it's all in good fun. If you can't see that someone can oppose you without malice or someone can poke fun (with out malice) at the opposition for choosing a name that practically begs to be joked about. . . honestly I don't know how to proceed in making my case

    So I apologize for offending you if you feel I implied Tea Baggers are racist. ;)

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  • 54. At 2:11pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    44. At 12:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:
    "... but can I just remind Americans that their constitution separates church and state..."
    __________________________________________________________________
    Actually, it doesn't. The constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Which means, we can mention God, or Hare Chrishna, for taht matter, if that is what inspires our politics. We just can't be forced to worship (or stop worshiping for that matter) by the gov't.

    Capisce?

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  • 55. At 2:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    54. At 2:11pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:
    44. At 12:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:
    "... but can I just remind Americans that their constitution separates church and state..."
    __________________________________________________________________
    Actually, it doesn't. The constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Which means, we can mention God, or Hare Chrishna, for taht matter, if that is what inspires our politics. We just can't be forced to worship (or stop worshiping for that matter) by the gov't.

    Capisce?
    --------------------------------

    Actually it does. You are correct that we can't be forced to worship or not worship any particular god or gods. We can't be forced to live under laws a religion, and as diverse as we are, this means any religion. But when politics, and thence laws, are inspired by religious teaching, thought, and opinions, that effectively forces people to live under a religious law, laws made by those who are not elected. If you'd like a good primary document to read, I suggest James Madison's speech "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessment." It was a speech to the Virginia House of Delegates in reference to a bill introduced to pay for religious teachers. Madison laid out 15 separate reasons why such a bill was unnecessary and dangerous. As the primary author of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I am sure Madison would have had a pretty good idea of what those documents intended.

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  • 56. At 2:45pm on 31 Oct 2010, P Rafter wrote:

    The TeaParty wouldn't exist if the man in the White House wasn't black!
    It's not bad enough that he is black, but to add insult to injury, he's also highly intelligent . . .

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  • 57. At 2:47pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Oldloadr #54

    Factually, you're right, but practically you aren't. When the US has a number of Islamic or atheist elected officials, then you'll be factually correct. At the moment it's politically suicidal to NOT display a faith in a Christian or Jewish God. Sure, the US is a religious country - extremely religious from a European perspective. But there are a large minority of non-religious voters (or voters from other faiths). The political influence of the Church is so great that it's impossible for those people to stand for office. For all practical purposes the USA is a theocracy.

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  • 58. At 2:54pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Howard Beale shouted "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more". But this was in a film, and in films the network is allowed to kill-off its frontman if he goes crazy.
    I guess this Tea Party is society's safety-valve and, as such, it serves a useful purpose. Concerned but not crazy (?).
    But what if it gets to believes its own retoric as a new political philosophy, and pushes its own candidates for election to senate and the Presidency? .... then the USA, and US-life-as-we-know-it would have real cause for concern. For it would change everything, including what it means to be American.

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  • 59. At 2:59pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Jon Stewart is, in general, a pretty funny guy, as is Colbert. Both have said very inspiring words to help rally people and sometimes its fun to laugh at how insane the politics has got.
    At the same time, America is still looking for that bright shining star, that politician or group of politicians that can make things right, bring the people together through setting bipartisan goals (and away from divisive issues) and push our economy through to the next level.
    When we get our act together, perhaps then we will be able to start transitioning to green energy, but we have to be stabilized first.
    Although the Jon Stewart rally was fun and good for people to express themselves; after the rally, Jon will go back to Comedy Central and the people will still deal with our problems. Jon is a commentator. If he wanted to be politician and make a difference that way, he would.
    We want a leader who will stick with us, defend us, never apologize and decrease unemployment. We don't want a leader who is merely a tv personality, which is why some don't want Palin or Stewart as President.
    I don't know who the Presidental candidate will be for Repub 2012, but I can see Bobby Jindal running for Vice possibly. He is Indian American, which gives diversity, but he is also easy to understand/speaks good English/clearly American born and raised, and although he is just one person, many people were impressed with how much effort and time he and many others spent on the Gulf oil spill with the people and clean-up crews, etc. when he could have abandoned them, but he never changed his stance that everything was worth it for the future of Orleans and he was there for them when they needed him most. Jindal is one of those moderate Repubs, not far left or right Repub.
    If not Jindal, I could see someone military going for Vice Pres (not John McCain, though, due to his age), as some of our best elected leaders, like Eisenhower, were involved in military and understood just what it is the govt. is asking our kids to do.
    The election will shape things up, but America is still waiting for a breakout leader; the 'one'.
    President Obama has done his best, but because of his stances on divisive issues, has caused a reaction in which while many people still like him as a person, many don't feel connected to him the way they previously did because the divisive issues have garnered more attention from the President and the economy needs a sure, sound, clear plan.
    However, in an ironic twist, the Tea Party/Independent/GOP may just help President Obama out, because if elected, they will bring him down to Earth and maybe Obama will become more moderate and a better President.
    In return, it may bring the other party more moderate, as well...

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  • 60. At 3:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    55. At 2:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    But when politics, and thence laws, are inspired by religious teaching, thought, and opinions, that effectively forces people to live under a religious law, laws made by those who are not elected. If you'd like a good primary document to read, I suggest James Madison's speech "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessment." It was a speech to the Virginia House of Delegates in reference to a bill introduced to pay for religious teachers. Madison laid out 15 separate reasons why such a bill was unnecessary and dangerous. As the primary author of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I am sure Madison would have had a pretty good idea of what those documents intended.
    _________________________________________________________________
    A law requiring Virginians to pay religious education teachers is a little more extreme then what has been discussed and within the spirit of the prohibition in the 1st amendment. Although, at the time of ratification, 7 out of 13 states had state sponsored religion I don't see how that can be compared to a politician proclaiming his/her faith and informing the electorate that their faith informs their intellect. To not allow such would be to infringe upon both the politicians right to practice his/her religion and would also infringe upon the right of the electorate to know what faith system informs that politicians conscience.

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  • 61. At 3:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    "Unlike Sarah Palin she also gave a solo performance of the national anthem, with heavy emphasis on the line "one nation under God" and less politically explicable weight on the word "stars".

    As pmk pointed out, Mark Mardell mistakenly mixed up the words of our Pledge of Allegience and the Star Spangled Banner...

    There is a difference, Mark...

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  • 62. At 3:05pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Adso 18 Having lived in both countries it is evident to me that Englishmen are far freer than Americans.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Then why is it on American blogs you can say whatever you want but on British blogs like this one of BBC, many comments get censored?

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  • 63. At 3:09pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    57. At 2:47pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:
    The political influence of the Church is so great that it's impossible for those people to stand for office. For all practical purposes the USA is a theocracy.
    _______________________________________________________

    Personally, I wish what you said was true, but it’s not. Not nationwide, anyway. In spite of your perception of our “Theocracy,” we have had a Jew nominated for VP by a major party. Several presidents who were nominal Christians at best (Reagan comes to mind) and several homosexuals have held various offices, a few even in Bible Belt states. So there is anecdotal evidence against your Theocracy claim. Conversely, the religious right has turned on outspoken Christians who didn’t walk the walk (e.g. Carter).

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  • 64. At 3:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:

    I work with a lot of people who are attracted to the tea bag candidates, and these are the things I've noticed about them, for what it's worth:

    They are scared, mostly of the actual effects of the things they claim to value. For example, they say that one of the country's strengths comes from its 'melting pot' history -- but they don't like or trust recent (and especially Hispanic) immigrants, and expect them all to "be like us."

    They complain all the time about lack of government services like good roads, speedy snow removal, and underfunded schools, but they think that they are overtaxed.

    They believe that people like Sarah Palin, who makes an awful lot of money and lives a far different life to theirs, is just like they are.

    They haven't traveled very much, and are scared to do so.

    They are overwhelmingly some sort of non-denominational self-identified Christian, but don't actually attend church very often, if at all, and aren't really clear on the contents of the Bible, especially the New Testament (i.e., the part with Christ's teachings), and are pretty ignorant of the history of Christianity.

    They are also ignorant of the Constitution, its contents, and its historical context.


    Also,

    They drive bigger, more expensive, newer gas-guzzling cars, and have worked big car payments into their budgets.

    They have big houses and lots of expensive electronic toys and gadgets.

    They take a couple of vacations a year.

    When I show them the relative costs of, say, single-payer health care to our expensive private insurance, they don't want to know, because it would mean more taxes -- even though it would be a net gain.

    When I pointed out that the place we work gave raises that benefited them more than me (and I don't make all that much, but faculty still make more than staff), they still complained because it wasn't enough.

    They say charity should be private, and there shold be no welfare state -- except when they are the ones who have fallen on hard times, because THEY deserve to be helped

    They say they can't afford to give to charities, but have things I would consider luxuries.


    At least, those are the TEA Party people I've met.


    Frankly, I can't sympathize with the fear of a loss of toys. I can't understand why people who make $25k-$35k a year think that not continuing the Bush-era tax cuts on people who make $250k and above will affect them negatively. I really don't understand the disconnect between wanting services and not wanting to pay taxes. I have no sympathy for people who hire yard services that depend on underpaid Hispanic laborers, and then complain about 'those Mexicans trying to take our jobs and stealing our benefits.' I don't have any sympathy for people who don't believe that the freedoms defined in the Constitution and its amendments are not equal to all. I really don't understand how people can think some amendments to the Constitution are valid and others aren't, or that any amendment is something the Founders (can you name one?) wouldn't have wanted.

    I have no problem with thinking conservatives. I have no problem with people of ANY faith, as long as they don't try to push their faith on me. I do have a problem with the cognitive dissonance that seems inherent in the rhetoric spewed out by Fox news and most of the TEA Party candidates I've heard and seen. I do have a problem with any group that offers blame, but no workable solutions.


    But most of all, I have no respect for people who operate from a position of privilege and entitlement, and that's what I see in the TEA Party and its members.If I saw a commitment to a larger community, including the people we don't like, perhaps I'd think differently, but honestly? All I'm seeing is 'me, me, me' and a dangerous tendency towards defining the rest of us as Others. Not convinced, me.

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  • 65. At 3:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Lucy #62

    Lucy, the decision to moderate a forum or not is up to the website, not the nationality. Thus site is moderated to preserve the quality of debate and filter out abuse, propaganda and spam, not to censor ideas or opinions.

    In the UK we can say what we please as long as (a) it doesn't encourage violence or hatred, and (b) it's not libellous. But that's not censorship of ideas, thoughts or opinions. It's just protection of civil order, and from lies. I think that's reasonable, and almost identical to the USA. I honestly don't think there's anything to be gained by arguing about relative freedoms between two of the freest nations on earth.

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  • 66. At 3:19pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    62. At 3:05pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    Then why is it on American blogs you can say whatever you want but on British blogs like this one of BBC, many comments get censored?
    _______________________________________________________________

    Great question, Lucy!

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  • 67. At 3:21pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Although some are worried that Tea Party may turn extreme or radical, the Tea Party's emotion and drive is because they care. It is better to see people angry, hostile and caring about their future than to see people quietly accepting a fate in which they take no part, just go through the motions, and not caring, not having any emotion at all.

    You don't want emotion to take over reason/common sense and you don't want your leader or leaders to be too overemotional, either, because that could be seen as weak. However, there does need to be some emotion. Tea Party is emotional and passionate, hostile and angry, but only because they care...

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  • 68. At 3:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Oldloadr #63

    I think you just made my point: they all have to be demonstrably religious (whether they believe or not) and preferably Christian or Jewish. Mormon is OK, but Islam definitely isn't, and I can't think of a single Hindu or Atheist. 

    The Church turned against Carter, as you point out. That speaks volumes. In Europe, the idea that a bishop could (or would) have influence over an election would be met with outrage. Faith is a matter of personal opinion, it should not be a contributing factor in the political life of a nation.

    It may be hard to gear this, but many people in the UK think the USA's obsession with God is comparable with many "extremist" middle-Eastern states. You have an insistence on religious conformity that is similar to that of the Taliban. I'd say you lacked their violence, but you do have a HUGE murder-rate, have been known to carry guns at political rallies, and have a deep-seated distrust of anybody who is "anti-American" that is reminiscent of the Talib hatred of all things "anti-Islamic". I don't feel comfortable with any nation being so controlled by what many people consider to be a myth. 

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  • 69. At 3:36pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    64. At 3:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:
    they say that one of the country's strengths comes from its 'melting pot' history -- but they don't like or trust recent (and especially Hispanic) immigrants, and expect them all to "be like us."
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Did they really say they were against Mexican Immigrants, or did they use the term illegal allians? There is a difference to those of us that actually think laws are important, like the waiting in line to immigrate instead of jumping the Q.

    Did they really say they wanted the "Immigrants" to be just like us, or did they say that they should have to learn English, just like the German immigrants and the Italian immigrants and the French immigrants and the Vietnamese Boat people and the Chinese who built the transcontinental rail road and the Japanese who fought bravely for the US in WWII even after a Democrat administration locked them in concentration camps and... Maybe got the picture...

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  • 70. At 3:46pm on 31 Oct 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #64
    But most of all, I have no respect for people who operate from a position of privilege and entitlement, and that's what I see in the TEA Party and its members.If I saw a commitment to a larger community, including the people we don't like, perhaps I'd think differently, but honestly? All I'm seeing is 'me, me, me' and a dangerous tendency towards defining the rest of us as Others. Not convinced, me.
    ______________

    That attitude is what I see from the selfish strikers in France who want a continued free ride. Most Tea Party people disagree with more goverment handouts and understand people are going to have to sacrfice.

    The ones opposing are goverment workers unions, labor unions and those who subscribe to big goverment. And in this economy the one group who has not have to sacrfice is the public sector worker.

    Cut their salaries to market rate and end their pensions and cadillac healthcare and see if they can feel what the priivate sector worker feels.



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  • 71. At 3:46pm on 31 Oct 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    46. RubberNutz:

    "The Tea party are not racist. They are just just easily terrified by the media. They need to be engaged with, not lampooned."

    ************
    On the contrary, I don't think they have enough respect for the media to be influenced by it. Or are you referring to one network having an effect on our entire country? And on independents?

    Democrats have their own special fears (ex., of big business). As I write, Americans are being told by democrats to be afraid of what will happen if republicans gain a majority.

    It is wrong for Obama to be creating more fear and anger right now just to advance his party. The last thing he should be doing is going around the country spreading negativity. He stokes their fears, then he ponders it, clueless about his and democrats' role in it. That's some insight he has. More politician than leader, he is.

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  • 72. At 3:48pm on 31 Oct 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #63 and 68

    Most of the country not just the religous right turned against Cater. Why because he supports left wing dictators (Castro and Chavez) and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah

    We hate Carter because he is the greatest traitor to have worn a military uniform since Benedict Arnold.

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  • 73. At 3:48pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    64 cats wrote: but they don't like or trust recent (and especially Hispanic) immigrants, and expect them all to "be like us."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, its kind of hard to like or trust millions of people illegally in your country, especially when your President's actions show that he favors foreign illegals over Americans...

    If you mean "be like us", as in learn our language and follow our same laws, yes, we expect them to be held to the same standard of laws as us.

    Sadly, President Obama and the Dems want to give millions of illegals citizenship, which proves they hold them to a higher standard of different laws than Americans, because if they held us to the same standard, President Obama and Dems would make the illegals follow the same laws as us, which includes deporting people who enter our country illegally, which means they have no right to be on our soil.
    Absolutely no right.

    Its really pretty outrageous when you think about it.

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  • 74. At 3:58pm on 31 Oct 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    The American People! I will stop right there Mark because the mythical oneness of "The American People" would not like what I had to say.
    But on a lighter note - I tell myself - the citizens of the USA are not all impatient for change and make the bi-annual changes in the hope that "this lot" or "that lot" will do better for them. I sympathise but wonder if more co-operation between the two Parties and a modicum of patience by everybody may have helped the recovery? Patience? What do I know?
    I was up a for a game - although poster Number 10 - not scrabble. I nicked those signs for a few anagrams though. Jon Stewart's Daily Show has Moments of Zen you know, The American People who allegedly want everything "Now"! If not "now" - zen? I do. Humm!

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  • 75. At 3:59pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    68. At 3:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Rather than quote points to argue, just look back at #68 as you all read this.
    1. I know many in Europe like to compare US Christianity to the Taliban or some other ME theocracy, but, trust me on this one, we ain’t even close. I currently live in a ME Theocracy (as you would see it) although it’s not as bad as Saudi or Kuwait and Christians, in some ways, are less stifled here than many parts of the US where the ACLU have run amuck. All that said, just remember, you will never go to jail in the US for not adhering to the rules, especially since generic Christianity has very few rules in common that can be seen from the outside. However, where I live now, you can go to jail for up to 30 days for eating, drinking or smoking in public from sunup until sundown during the Holy month of Ramadan.
    2. It wasn’t a Bishop that brought down Carter, he’s a Southern Baptist, we don’t have Bishops, but the rank and file Church members turned on him (with some preaching, I admit). The point is, even the Roman Church in America seldom speaks as one voice except on abortion.
    3. As far as Christianity being a myth, there is no way to convince someone on this side of eternity of what they don’t want to believe, but remember, whatever your world view is; it requires faith. You have no empirical proof of evolution or the age of the universe or the planet (the last 2 aren’t that important, anyway). I do have an empty tomb, but I can’t prove that to you. I did notice that you were careful to say some would call Christianity a myth, but those same people should consider that if it’s not a myth, than to ignore the precepts of Christianity while trying to govern justly is foolish.
    4. Christians believe that Islam is a counterfeit religion founded 600 years after Jesus ascended into heaven. Naturally, folks with no God-based faith will see similarities between the real thing and the imitation.

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  • 76. At 4:01pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    65 Russell wrote: In the UK we can say what we please as long as (a) it doesn't encourage violence or hatred, and (b) it's not libellous. But that's not censorship of ideas, thoughts or opinions. It's just protection of civil order, and from lies. I think that's reasonable, and almost identical to the USA. I honestly don't think there's anything to be gained by arguing about relative freedoms between two of the freest nations on earth.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So if a preacher preaches that homosexuality is wrong due to the Bible's teachings and should be discouraged in non-violent way, would this be considered encouraging violence or hatred in UK?

    In USA, we have modern day skinheads, some of whom are pretty racist. They have the right to say many things, but they don't have the right to take action or become violent.

    There was a case not long back in which members of a private militia in Michigan were arrested because an FBI or CIA had infiltrated them and recorded a conversation in which they were joking about killing cops and luring more cops after the first cops death. They did have legally registered guns and weaponry. However, despite the talk, this militia never said they were going to do this plan for sure and they never actually took any actions to do it.

    If someone talks or jokes about doing a crime, has the weaponry legally to do so, but takes no action and does not actually do anything, is this a crime?

    If anyone notices, majority of homegrown terrorists USA has caught recently, the FBI has been in on it and let the terrorist press the button or think they are about to really harm people, so they can show the terrorist really went through with it that way there is no question they intended to do so, therefore get a lot of jail time...

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  • 77. At 4:03pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Russell wrote: I honestly don't think there's anything to be gained by arguing about relative freedoms between two of the freest nations on earth.

    Well, we just like to debate a lot for fun. But anyhew, I agree that USA and UK are two of the freest nations on Earth and that it makes us both incredibly lucky and fortunate...

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  • 78. At 4:21pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Lucy

    I'm not a legal expert, and can't answer your questions. But in the UK we do have conspiracy laws, and what you describe (discussing and planning a crime) probable comes under conspiracy.

    As for theocracies, I'm not claiming you ARE a theocracy. I'm simply saying that from the outside, the differences between the bible-belt Christian right and the Taliban seem very small and subtle. We were discussing freedom: well I'd feel less free in the bible belt than I do here in England. That's opinion, not fact, but it reflects the impression that middle-America projects to the world. Maybe that's why we kinda like Jon Stewart on this side of the pond: he seems to have a more nuanced, subtle and "European" world-view than representatives of the TEA party do. I hope I haven't condemned him with those words!

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  • 79. At 4:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:

    @ 69, 70, and 73


    There is NO official language in the US. Period. Me, I think communicating in multiple languages is a good thing. And I know very few immigrants (and I grew up in areas with tons of Spanish and Chinese -- both Mandarin and Cantonese -- speakers) who, if they don't themselves speak English, have friends and relatives who help them. I've got relatives who move back and forth between Spanish and English all the time. I speak German with my daughter sometimes just for privacy. Doesn't mean we can't speak English. We just don't always feel like it.

    We are a nation of immigrants, and there wasn't much in the way of restriction when most of the immigrants from Western Europe came over. If you want to be really particular about it, every American citizen is benefiting from the fact that a bunch of people who used better technology and a willingness to take from people they considered to be savages.

    Do I think we need to all move back to our countries of origin (even were that possible)? Of course not.

    Would I prefer that we had a sensible immigration policy and that people didn't come here illegally? Of course.

    But we don't, and there is not one of us that doesn't reap the benefits of the underground economy that depends on illegal immigrants, largely from Central and South America. So I think it's hypocritical to blame illegal immigrants who are simply trying for a better life (and most, incidentally, paying into our Social Security and tax system) when we are not willing to root out the causes: people who take advantage of the cheap prices and people who hire illegals and often subject them to terrible working conditions. Lots of people are breaking "our" laws. It's just easy to put the blame on the people at the bottom of the food chain.


    Also? the power of labor unions has been largely gutted. Me, I'm private sector myself. Don't resent at all that our military, postal workers, public sector teachers and professors and school employees have good benefits. I just think we all should have them. I've lived in the UK and Germany, and paid far higher taxes, had far better public services, and had far less government intrusion in my life than I do in Virginia. I also lived in California before and during the Reagan era. Taxes were very high, compared to most of the rest of the country. California had an amazing school system and again, good public services in general.


    But anyway, you all prove my point. What you think of as "American values and traditions" are simply YOUR values and traditions. You're welcome to them, but you're dead wrong if you think that you are in some way defending the country and its values. And I'm going to defend your right to express those values, as much as I'm going to defend the rights of gays to marry and every citizen to have adequate health care and clean air.

    What I would like to see from the TEA Party is a focus on things that are really wrong and damaging -- not labor unions or "big government" -- but government that is so dramatically influenced by big corporate money, the funding of their own politicians by plutocrats like the Koch brothers, and religious-, homophobic- and racial bigotry. To my mind, those are the real dangers.

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  • 80. At 4:52pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    78. At 4:21pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:
    "... well I'd feel less free in the bible belt than I do here in England. That's opinion, not fact, but it reflects the impression that middle-America projects to the world."
    _________________________________________________________________
    Well, as has been discussed here, the UK presents a less than free image to the world when it comes to expressing ideas (apparently that image is also distorted from what you say). I haven’t spent any time in the UK since the 80s so I’ll take your word for it.

    There is no place on Earth that is freer than the Bible Belt. Except for a few back water hold-out counties (that you’ll never find unless you go looking for them), you can drink and carouse and bar-hop (pub-crawl) to your heart's content. You can hunt and fish and you can drive into town with your firearms and even stop and have a chat with the sheriff without fear of being hauled off for having illegal weapons. You can listen to any kind of music you want and... you can go to Church every Sunday and nobody will make fun of you for following a myth.

    You can express your religious convictions and not be arrested. If you grew up there, you know to be polite to other people and to not make fun of them for their faith views and you know it’s childish to get offended because somebody told you what their faith is all about. It only took a few minutes out of your life, it didn’t kill you and you now know more than you did before the encounter.

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  • 81. At 4:55pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Russell wrote:the differences between the bible-belt Christian right and the Taliban seem very small and subtle

    Well, one major difference: radical Islamic terrorists are out to harm and murder any Westerner or 'infidel' they can...Islamic terrorists also harm and murder Muslims who are not extremist or radical enough...
    Christian right-wing does not want to harm or murder anyone, but they do believe in self-defense...

    So this very 'small and subtle' difference is a matter of life of death...

    Also, look at what the Koran says that believers should do to non-believers or 'infidels'

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  • 82. At 4:56pm on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    67. At 3:21pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    "... You don't want emotion to take over reason/common sense and you don't want your leader or leaders to be too overemotional, either, because that could be seen as weak. However, there does need to be some emotion. Tea Party is emotional and passionate, hostile and angry, but only because they care... "

    I think we would have heard almost the exact same sentiment in Rome in 1936. So the question is: can the TEA party, "strong leader or leaders" and all, make the trains run on time?

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  • 83. At 5:08pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    79. At 4:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:
    "... and religious-, homophobic- and racial bigotry. To my mind, those are the real dangers."
    _____________________________________________________________

    Es tut mir leid, Frau, aber, Englisch ist die Wirts-Programmsprache. So, learning a 2nd language is a good thing. We agree. So why do the illegals seem to be less then interested in learning the language of money in the US? Then they would know the 2 languages that cover most of the land mass of the planet.

    Just because we benefit from illegals doesn’t make it right. I would be willing to pay $5/head for lettuce if it meant it was picked by an legal worker actually getting minimum wage.

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  • 84. At 5:14pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    cats wrote: So I think it's hypocritical to blame illegal immigrants who are simply trying for a better life
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    First off, how is it 'hypocritical' to punish a criminal for the crime they committed?

    Second off, I blame illegals for committing the crime of entering our country illegally, but I mostly blame our govt. for not deporting illegals nor protecting our borders, leaving us open to illegal invasion of foreigners, including potential terrorists...
    Regardless of how many agriculture, etc. benefit from illegal cheap workers, the govt. is supposed to uphold the law...

    Third off, what's the point of having laws if illegal foreigners don't have to follow them and Americans do?

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  • 85. At 5:25pm on 31 Oct 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Curt @ 7

    A person who "would prefer as little government interference as possible, regardless of the agenda" is an anarchist, not a conservative. And the last thing a so called TEA party conservative is is an anarchist. He is rabidly PRO-government as long as it's HIS KIND of government, happily PRO spending as long as it is on HIS KIND of project -- like a good war, for example -- and has no interest whatsoever in shrinking anything at all if he has a share of it himself.

    I agree with your comment that the tea baggers are pseudo-anarchists. They are actually authoritarian - they want to force their idea of the State, their idea of government, and their idea of God down everyone else's throats. As far as the tea baggers are concerned it's their way or the highway. It all sounds, ironically, very un-American; and seems, as I understand it, to go against the spirit of the constitution.

    Is the tea movement a reaction against rising non-European immigration and the displacement of the white Anglo-Saxon protestant hegemony? Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 86. At 5:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    81 # Lucy

    True about the Koran, but look what the bible says about killing homosexuals, allowing slavery, and child abuse (it's considered the act of a "righteous man", see the story of Lot in Genesis).

    No text from such a different time can be totally morally appropriate to our times. We independently decide which bits to follow and what bits to ignore, based on other factors - the general moral climate, influence of our local community, following charismatic opinion-formers. The "morality" of religious texts is always open to interpretation or question, and can't improve on a reasoned, rational response to modern life and modern problems.

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  • 87. At 5:33pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Curt 82 wrote: So the question is: can the TEA party, "strong leader or leaders" and all, make the trains run on time?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, as of right now, our modern day situation is that we have Dem President Obama, so if lots of Tea Party are elected, the question is, can President Obama and the Tea Party work together to make the trains run on time?

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  • 88. At 5:34pm on 31 Oct 2010, qmrfc67 wrote:

    @64
    "They are scared"

    My conversations with Tea Partiers leads me to think that this is the absolute crux of the matter.

    What they seem to be most afraid of is change, as a generic thing, not Obama's "change"
    They grew up in a world where it was just assumed that everything American is bigger and better than everywhere else. We are a nation of Yankee fans, we expect to win the world series every year and if we don't we scream to fire the manager.
    Only a small minority of our present population has memories of the 30's so most of us define the world as post WW2. We came out of that conflict with the only intact industrial base anywhere in the world and for 40 years or so enjoyed a position of absolute growth and dominance.
    That has radically changed in the last 20 years as Asia has emerged and Europe has recovered and now South America is starting to fulfil it's potential. It's like the Royals and the Twins and the Cubs got new owners and they are challenging our dominance.
    To many of the Tea Partiers it seems the blame must rest with the Federal government. I am as critical of many Fed policies as the next guy but I don't blame them for all the ills that assail us.
    If we cut the size of government by 50% tomorrow (if it could be done without creating chaos) and balanced the budget overnight it wouldn't solve most of the problems we face.
    We would still have expensive and inefficient health care, a transportation system based on outdated technology, an inefficient power grid, crumbling infrastructure, uncompetitive labor costs, poor primary education etc etc.
    Our biggest enemy has been our past success which has lulled us into a false sense of security. Loosing that sense of security is what scares us and the Tea Partiers need to stop screaming "It's your fault" and go look in the mirror.

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  • 89. At 5:35pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    85. At 5:25pm on 31 Oct 2010, dceilar wrote:
    they want to force their idea of the State, their idea of government, and their idea of God down everyone else's throats. As far as the tea baggers are concerned it's their way or the highway.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    And how does that differ from Obama's health care shove? It’s actually very American to be very sure of the righteousness of your convictions… Obama doesn’t seem to have a problem with that and, of course, neither does Reid or Pelosi…

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  • 90. At 5:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Sara71 @ 3

    You are correct and your points seem to get drowned out amongst the noise in this blog. There seems to be too much emotion and not enough reflection. American society seems to be polarised politically for decades. It seems the political system isn't helping, in fact one could argue that it is the problem.

    And I thought British politics was supposed to be polarised.

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  • 91. At 5:40pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Russell wrote: look what the bible says about killing homosexuals

    Can you please write the exact verse?

    In the Bible, it says that two men or two women physically together is wrong, but I have never ever read a verse that promotes killing because of such...?

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  • 92. At 5:45pm on 31 Oct 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:

    LucyJ@84 and Oldloadr@83

    First, I think you missed my point that most of the immigrants, legal or illegal, whom I have met have indeed spoken English, at least enough to get by and work. That they don't choose to speak it as their primary language is up to them. I knew plenty of Anglophones in Germany who chose not to learn German, and it did make their lived harder. That's true for immigrants to the US as well. So I'm calling straw man.

    In terms of the government not enforcing laws -- it has to enforce those laws for everyone, I agree. But it's entirely disingenuous, or perhaps just naive, to think that this is possible when voters blame the government for the very sorts of things that happen when that underground economy is damaged. Food prices go up, and all of a sudden it's the government's fault. You can't have it both ways.

    Me, I agree with Oldloadr that I'd pay more for pretty much anything if it meant that people were working for a fair or at least minimum wage in safe conditions. But many people don't feel that way.

    And honestly, I am very ambivalent about immigration laws that do more than check to make sure people aren't dangerous criminals. It smacks too much of "now that we're here, no one else can have the benefits of living in a country that we tell others is the best and freest around."


    It's like living in gated communities or sending your kids to private schools because you can afford to - I can understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure it's the best way to have a safe community where people know each other.

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  • 93. At 5:45pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    We're getting perilously close to "Hitler" alalogies. Let's not go there.

    My final comment: I can understand anger and frustration. But I think we can (hopefully) all agree that a calm, clear-headed attitude is the best way to confront a problem. Panic and screaming doesn't help.

    And we've all heard that two heads are better than one.

    So my hope is that we can take some of the heat out of the debate, and all of us try to work together for the common good. Hopefully that won't make me a communist or elitist in anybody's eyes.

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  • 94. At 5:50pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    Lucy, I mis-spoke about the bible encouraging killing homosexuals. It does explicitly say it's an abomination. So I'm just correct about it encouraging slavery and considering incest and child abuse "righteous". The homosexuals aren't physically threatened, just called names and reviled. How very admirable.

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  • 95. At 5:52pm on 31 Oct 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #79
    catsandbadgers wrote:
    @ 69, 70, and 73


    There is NO official language in the US. Period. Me, I think communicating in multiple languages is a good thing. And I know very few immigrants (and I grew up in areas with tons of Spanish and Chinese -- both Mandarin and Cantonese -- speakers) who, if they don't themselves speak English, have friends and relatives who help them. I've got relatives who move back and forth between Spanish and English all the time. I speak German with my daughter sometimes just for privacy. Doesn't mean we can't speak English. We just don't always feel like it.

    (There may not be an official language but English is the language of the U.S. It's on the currency, liscences passports etc. I agree knowing more than one language is good but almost every immigrant group chose to learn english as soon as they arrived)
    We are a nation of immigrants, and there wasn't much in the way of restriction when most of the immigrants from Western Europe came over. If you want to be really particular about it, every American citizen is benefiting from the fact that a bunch of people who used better technology and a willingness to take from people they considered to be savages.

    Do I think we need to all move back to our countries of origin (even were that possible)? Of course not.

    Would I prefer that we had a sensible immigration policy and that people didn't come here illegally? Of course.

    But we don't, and there is not one of us that doesn't reap the benefits of the underground economy that depends on illegal immigrants, largely from Central and South America. So I think it's hypocritical to blame illegal immigrants who are simply trying for a better life (and most, incidentally, paying into our Social Security and tax system) when we are not willing to root out the causes: people who take advantage of the cheap prices and people who hire illegals and often subject them to terrible working conditions. Lots of people are breaking "our" laws. It's just easy to put the blame on the people at the bottom of the food chain.
    (First the illegal immigrants take far more out they put in. Look at some of the hospitals where they frequent)

    Also? the power of labor unions has been largely gutted. Me, I'm private sector myself. Don't resent at all that our military, postal workers, public sector teachers and professors and school employees have good benefits. I just think we all should have them. I've lived in the UK and Germany, and paid far higher taxes, had far better public services, and had far less government intrusion in my life than I do in Virginia. I also lived in California before and during the Reagan era. Taxes were very high, compared to most of the rest of the country. California had an amazing school system and again, good public services in general.
    (When the labor unions were gutted the economy was far better off. Along with Soros the most frequent non govt employee to the white house has been the head of the SEIU, a very parasitic group which egages in voter intimidation)

    But anyway, you all prove my point. What you think of as "American values and traditions" are simply YOUR values and traditions. You're welcome to them, but you're dead wrong if you think that you are in some way defending the country and its values. And I'm going to defend your right to express those values, as much as I'm going to defend the rights of gays to marry and every citizen to have adequate health care and clean air.

    What I would like to see from the TEA Party is a focus on things that are really wrong and damaging -- not labor unions or "big government" -- but government that is so dramatically influenced by big corporate money, the funding of their own politicians by plutocrats like the Koch brothers, and religious-, homophobic- and racial bigotry. To my mind, those are the real dangers.

    (Well the Tea Party won't because they disagree with you. They know that labor unions (an archachic concept like the knight and squire system is obsolete) and big govt are the problem.

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  • 96. At 5:52pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russ Williams wrote:

    Curt Carpenter @ 2: You might want to learn some political history before spouting off and making oh-so-witty fascism analogies. Those wealth-redistributing, social-equality-fixated, nationalising, welfare-state-supporting "right-wing extremists" of the 20s and 30s were, shock horror, centre-left politically. "Right-wing" in that context means "to the right of Lenin": the Communists viewed Fascists and other Socialists as a threat to their constituency and wanted to create an artificial distinction.

    Here's a thought for you, and people like you on the political left, how about you try debating rather than ad-hominem attacks on your enemies. Tell people why the US federal government should be 30% larger now than it was in 2008, and let them make up their minds whether they think the extra tax burden is worth it. The Tea Party is largely a response to the shrill and politically-correct cries of "racism" and "Nazis" directed at anyone who doesn't toe the Progressive line - people have finally woken up to that trick. Would that the same were true here.

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  • 97. At 5:56pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    86. At 5:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:
    81 # Lucy

    True about the Koran, but look what the bible says about killing homosexuals, allowing slavery, and child abuse (it's considered the act of a "righteous man", see the story of Lot in Genesis).
    _______________________________________________________________


    You certainly read a lot into that passage to prove your point:
    1. The daughters’ ages are never given.
    2. The daughter’s conspire to get their father drunk because they fear the end of their blood line.
    3. The recorder (traditionally Moses) of this sad chapter in Lot’s life makes no editorial comment on the righteousness of the incestuous act to which you refer.
    4. The Bible is the whole truth that God wants us to know, whether we, or He, likes it or not. If you understand the premise of the Bible, you don’t have to leave any of it behind to live a good prosperous and quiet life. In fact the only controversy that you would face would be when you come across those who believe (wrongly) that it is their right to not here what you have to say about the Bible, Christ and Christianity.
    5. The Koran, on the other hand, is a collection of plagiarisms written by a guy that was trying to get a system where patriotism and piety are synonymous.
    6. On your bit about homosexuals, the Bible also says to stone adulterers. The Bible says throughout that all sin, in the end is punishable by permanent death (Hell). It also teaches that faith in Jesus Christ justifies the sinner and frees them from the punishment they deserve.

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  • 98. At 5:57pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    cats 92 wrote: I think you missed my point that most of the immigrants, legal or illegal, whom I have met have indeed spoken English, at least enough to get by and work.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Okay, so most of the legal and illegal immigrants you have met do speak English, that's good. Especially if they have to drive to work.
    Most of the illegal immigrants I have met don't speak English.

    And you also missed my point that there is a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants- those who follow American laws and those who enter our country illegally and break our laws...can't you see that legal and illegal immigrants are not the same, cats?
    That legal means they came here legally and that illegally means they have no right to step foot on our soil?

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  • 99. At 6:08pm on 31 Oct 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    cats wrote: Me, I agree with Oldloadr that I'd pay more for pretty much anything if it meant that people were working for a fair or at least minimum wage in safe conditions. But many people don't feel that way.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It doesn't matter how they feel. The laws the law. The govt. is supposed to uphold the law, regardless of if a corp or someone wants cheap labor.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    cats wrote: And honestly, I am very ambivalent about immigration laws that do more than check to make sure people aren't dangerous criminals. It smacks too much of "now that we're here, no one else can have the benefits of living in a country that we tell others is the best and freest around."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Each and every single illegal immigrant over the age of 18 is a criminal.

    It doesn't matter whether someone considers them 'dangerous' or not. A criminal is a criminal. The law is the law. You bend it for some, you have to bend it for everybody and before long, there are no laws.

    If an illegal is under the age of 18, they were probabaly brought or sent by their parents and they should be deported immediatly, but not charged as an adult.

    If the govt. catches a pregnant illegal woman trying to cross our border illegally, the govt. should charge the pregant woman with two criminal acts and not one, as there are two illegals and not one...

    If there is a car crash by drunk driver and the drunk driver kills a pregnant woman, the driver is charged with two counts of murder...so why not charge a pregnant illegal with two counts of criminal trespassing and deport immediatly?

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  • 100. At 6:11pm on 31 Oct 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    49. At 1:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "But President Obama knows the truth because he said it himself. The same anger and frustration that led to him being swept into power kicking the Republicans out is still very much alive and well and angrier and more frustrated than ever. This same sentiment can sweep him and the Democrats out of power just as easily."

    __________

    On this, we are agreed.

    I do find it troubling, though, that so many voters seem to have such very short memories.

    We all have our crosses to bear, but why President Obama should be left carrying the can for the Junior Bush recession is beyond all logical understanding to me. It seems to me they are about to restore to office the very same bunch (and the very same policies, apparently) that got America into trouble in the first place.

    Yes, a problem with short memories.

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  • 101. At 6:20pm on 31 Oct 2010, archaeobee wrote:

    Interesting debate........which seems to have boiled down to a tit-for-tat discussion about the relative freedoms two countries have!!! Oh - and the usual religious thing too....

    I suppose an interesting aspect to explore is whether a tea-partyesque movement could ever happen in Britain. It is important to point out that the whole Tea Party thing is based on fear - fear of change, losing current comforts, fear of being taxed more, fear of immigrants etc. And this is something Jon Stewart clearly recognises.

    Do we have that same degree of fear in Britain? Well I suppose we do - many tea party chaps are exceptionally racist, but go to any pub Essex-way (or even here in Cardiff) and you'll hear a snippet of the same fears. But I wonder why we don't have such a vociferous section of society that expresses those fears.

    Of course there's the BNP/EDL. But they are largely derided - though they do have very much in common with the tea party (except for their rather thuggish male dominance). Maybe aspects of the Tory party have such fears - and reading the Daily Mail certainly shows that. However there is no similar grass-roots movement in Britain - certainly not with the numbers and media coverage (i.e. money and a lovely supportive network) the tea party has.

    The difference is fairly obvious. Although many people in Britain don't like aspects (or even most) of their government there is clear desire to make it work either nationally or locally whoever is in power. There is a distrust of extreme views (left or right) and of religious dogma of whatever flavour. In effect we want our government to work - for good or bad we trust the system we have.

    The tea party seems to have no clear agenda except that what the Americans have right now is wrong, not working and that they need to go back to a purer form of the American dream - whatever that is - laced with a heady cocktail of christianity. This is something we just don't or ever will have in Britain - we have no British dream, just a fluffy rose-tinted view of our past and a realisation that we made a hell of a lot of mistakes too!! Maybe the tea party is nothing more than a restatement of 'traditional values' - a reaction fighting against inevitable change that most countries in the world have accepted, indeed welcomed!!!!!!

    Oh - and to the geezer who said there's no empirical evidence for evolution, or the age of the universe. I'm afraid there is - plenty!

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  • 102. At 6:27pm on 31 Oct 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    Actually it is a simple instance of left/right side of the brain - specifically the right anterior frontal lobe, where cognitive humour function resides. Tea Partiers generally aren't right side of the brainers.

    http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/4/657.full

    http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec16/ch210/ch210a.html

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  • 103. At 6:35pm on 31 Oct 2010, BK wrote:

    Tea Party: Thankfully, most people in America are not the East Coast elite, holierthanthou's who tend to make up the leadership of the liberal parties...these hypocritical, Sophists, are symbolic of the targets of the original "tea party" which was a rebellion against: royalty and its unquestionable rule, the Church's collaboration with royalty and the use of the mysterious ways of God, as well as guilt to control and to enslave the population, inability to control local affairs against capricious long-distance interference, and taxes which bore no resemblence or relationship to the "services" received from the "royalty."

    While I'm not a "tea-partier" I am thankful that there are people willing to be outraged publically; people who are not so sophisticated, elite, and detached that they are "above" acting absurdly in the face of the Absurd. The arrogant behavior of Obama, Pelosi, Reid and others in the controlling party deserves a "tea party" response if only for its perfect symetry and the willingness to balance the Absurdity of the Left aka "The Audacity of Hope", with the absurdity of emotional demands for the individual rights and liberties which brought us here.

    This country cannot live through another damaging socialist regime such as that damage perpetrated by FDR, which the country is still struggling to shed. Obama, Carter, and FDR are clearly the most fiscally and socially destructive American Presidents in modern times, pandering "hope" at the cost of individual freedoms and fiscal health.

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  • 104. At 7:00pm on 31 Oct 2010, a little revolution wrote:

    It's true that people identifying with Tea Party activism are rightly angry, but your logic--"They're mad as hell, but that doesn't make them crazy."--ignores the facts. What many of them say and do is beyond the realm of sane and rational, and as a group (however nebulous and ill-defined) they do not repudiate the insanity.

    Moreover, their own rhetoric makes it clear they've not thought carefully about their opinions. To call Obama a communist insults my intelligence. Why? Because I know what communism is, and I'm not convinced Obama is even left-wing, let alone a communist. Cheering for the Constitution while remaining woefully ignorant of what it says--we're NOT a Christian nation according to the Constitution--is nothing more than prideful ignorance.

    If Tea Partiers--and they do treat it all like a big drunken party where anyone can say and do anything without consequence--if they want to be taken seriously, they should apply some serious rationale to their behavior. Jon Stewart actually agrees with much of what they claim to be angry about. He's just appalled--as am I--at how they choose to express themselves. It's foolish and counterproductive and decidedly undemocratic.

    The neocons and Fox and all the rest of the authoritarian right have whipped half the country into a delirious frenzy. When all is said and done, most of them are going to wake up with a hell of a political hangover and be thoroughly embarrassed for their behavior.

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  • 105. At 7:08pm on 31 Oct 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    5. At 01:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:

    "Social conservatism has a strand that would seem to be perfectly happy to use state apparatus to enact [[i.e., impose?]] its policies [[i.e., religion-based views of morality?]] on others."

    "This is anathema to fiscal/political conservatism that would prefer as little government interference as possible, regardless of the agenda."

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

    7. At 02:51am on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    5. At 01:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:
    "I think there are three types of tea partiers: the fiscal/government tea partiers, the social value tea partiers, and the ones who are both."

    I think you're indulging in wishful thinking, apologetics and characteristic "conservative" befuddlement.

    "A person who "would prefer as little government interference as possible, regardless of the agenda" is an anarchist, not a conservative."

    "I don't think anyone has actually SEEN a fiscal conservative in the United States in at least fifty years. They're the unicorns of American politics."

    ____________

    Sara, you've got it exactly right.

    The point is that fiscal conservatives (like me) are classical Liberals.
    Social conservatives are not. When you boil it down, social conservatives are effectively Tories, with the place of the monarchy being replaced by religion.

    A classical Liberal believes that government has no business interfering in the lives of citizens other than to correct market failure and to address collective action problems in economics.

    That the state should be a vehicle to impose religion-based morality on any citizen is to deprive citizens of liberty without establishing a rational basis for government action. Since that is contrary to liberty, of course Liberals find it anaethma. It is why classical Liberals have no patience with social conservatives.

    In any case, like a Libertarian to some extent, by definition a classical Liberal wants the smallest possible government.

    This actually distinguishes both Libertarians and Liberals from anarchists. Contrary to Curt's comment, Anarchists do not want small government. By definition, they want no government (which, or course, eventually leads to feudalism).

    ----------

    I also agree with Curt's comment on the rarity of genuine fiscal conservatives, at least insofar as it applies to the Republican Party.

    George Bush, Sr., may have been the last one to have held office as a Republican, but when he tried to do the fiscally conservative thing - put America's financial house in order - he was pilloried. In terms of fiscal conservatism and responsibility, Bill Clinton was streets ahead of both Ronald Reagan and Junior Bush.

    Part of the reason I like centrist Democrats - and in that I would include President Obama, the ranting and ravings of others here notwithstanding - is because they do in fact have a history of trying to balance the books.

    I like centrist Republicans (i.e., "Country Club Republicans"), too, but they are now generally called "independents" as far as I can tell. The social conservatives have all but driven them out of the Republican Party. Thus, in the US, people like me have no political home.

    To a fiscal conservative, balancing the books is the bread and butter of government. If you can do that with low taxes, too, well that's cherry pie for dessert. But you don't eat dessert BEFORE the the meat and potatoes.

    On that score, in the last 40 years the Democrats have a much better record than the Republicans.

    ----------

    A difference between the Libertarians and Liberals is that, for Liberals the term "smallest possible government" means the smallest possible government having a size consistent with its duties to maintain smoothly functioning markets.

    Of course the classical Liberal thinkers of the 18th century, who founded the United States and wrote its constitution, wanted religion kept out of government. Anything else is simply contrary to liberty.

    Which, of course, is why when it comes to public policy classical Liberals have no patience with social conservatives, who they regard (correctly in my view) as an inherent threat to democratic norms and institutions.

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  • 106. At 7:11pm on 31 Oct 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    12. At 07:01am on 31 Oct 2010, Jeremy Clarkson wrote:

    "Don't forget one thing. Tea Partiers are not career politicians. They did not make politics their life career ..."

    ___________

    I'll be sure to remember this comment, and laugh, the next time I see Sarah Palin or Glen Beck on TV.

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  • 107. At 8:04pm on 31 Oct 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    96. Russ Williams:

    "Here's a thought for you, and people like you on the political left, how about you try debating rather than ad-hominem attacks on your enemies. Tell people why the US federal government should be 30% larger now than it was in 2008, and let them make up their minds whether they think the extra tax burden is worth it. The Tea Party is largely a response to the shrill and politically-correct cries of "racism" and "Nazis" directed at anyone who doesn't toe the Progressive line - people have finally woken up to that trick. Would that the same were true here."

    ***********
    Amen and thank you.

    You did, however, forget "Selfish!" which is usually the name flung when someone doesn't agree to increased taxes.

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  • 108. At 8:10pm on 31 Oct 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #106

    "I'll be sure to remember this comment, and laugh, the next time I see Sarah Palin or Glen Beck on TV."

    Indeed. But before you do so, check the facts. Sarah Palin is a registered Republican, the last time I checked and as far as as Beck goes here is what Wiki has to say about him:

    "Glenn Lee Beck (born February 10, 1964) is an American conservative radio and television host, political commentator, author, and entrepreneur. He is the host of The Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks; He is also the host of a self-titled cable-news show on Fox News Channel."


    Apparently you have a different definition of what a "career politician" is. By your definition, Jon Stewart is probably at least a tenured Senator :D

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  • 109. At 8:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    106. Interestedforeigner:

    12. At 07:01am on 31 Oct 2010, Jeremy Clarkson wrote:

    "Don't forget one thing. Tea Partiers are not career politicians. They did not make politics their life career ..."

    ___________

    I'll be sure to remember this comment, and laugh, the next time I see Sarah Palin or Glen Beck on TV.

    ****************
    There's too much money to be made in the media. And you can thank yourself and others who react to them the way you do for all the media attention they receive.

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  • 110. At 8:19pm on 31 Oct 2010, McJakome wrote:

    60. At 3:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr
    RE 55. At 2:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, Sara71 wrote:
    “To not allow such would be to infringe upon both the politicians right to practice his/her religion and would also infringe upon the right of the electorate to know what faith system informs that politicians conscience.”

    Politicians do yield to the electorate and force religious notions on the population as a whole.

    One need only list: "The Defence of Marriage Act," which is pushed by “Christians” who care more for Leviticus than what Jesus said.

    Attempts by believers to substitute religious dogma for science in the public schools [Creationism and ID are not equal to science, the bible view is purely religious and does not belong in public schools, it belongs in Sunday schools.]

    @ #80 Can you drink as you want in a dry county? Are you saying that that is OK, but it is wrong for the federal government to prod the states into equalizing laws like drinking age to hold down highway mayhem? I remember the toll in injury and death when local teens would drive to a neighboring state with a lower drinking age.

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  • 111. At 8:42pm on 31 Oct 2010, andyparsonsga wrote:

    2. At 00:39am on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    "Didn't the moderate right in some country in Europe get challenged by a group of right-wing extremists (I won't use the word "fanatics", although as I recall it came to that) some eighty-odd years ago? And didn't the moderates back then think they could keep a lid on that radical wing of their party? Wasn't the attitude "let them blow off a little steam! What was the harm in a few parades and rallies anyway -- even if a few communists and other people we don't much like get their heads cracked."

    And didn't the whole thing end badly for just about everybody, left, right and center?

    I think people in the U.S. that can had better wake up and pay attention."

    I take it you are attempting to compare the Tea Party movement to the Nazi party in Germany. Perhaps you should have done a little more research into both the Tea Party movement and the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Worker's Party), which prior to a name change in 1920 was known as the DFuetsche Arbeiterpartei (German Worker's Party). Setting aside the obvious links in the party's name to socialism, which given their extreme enmity towards communism, could hardly be called socialistic there are a few other differences.

    In 1920 Adolf Hitler publicly proclaimed the 25-point Program of the Nazi Party and it remained the Party’s official program. The 25-point Program was pro-labour with the program among other things championing the right to employment, calling for the institution of profit sharing, the confiscation of war profits, the prosecution of userers and profiteers, the nationalization of trusts, the communalization of department stores, the creation of a national education program of all classes and an end to the dominance of investment capital. Not something tha Tea Party seem to advocate.


    Part of Hitler's appeal to a frightened and demoralised German middle class was his promise to revive the economy. He did this by effectively taking over the economy and embarking on a massive government takeover of industry as well as large public works programs. Not something the Tea Party advocates.

    Hitler advocated and built a "civilian security force" - the SA which later evolved into the SS (Schutzstaffel). Not something the Tea Party subscribes to although on July 2nd 2008, then Senator Obama did say "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

    A further decisive step in the Nazi seizure of power was the "Enabling Act", which granted the cabinet (and therefore Hitler) legislative powers. The Enabling Act effectively abolished the separation of powers, a principle enshrined in the German Constitution. The Enabling Act, termed for four years, gave the government the power to enact laws without parliamentary approval, to enact foreign treaties abroad and even to make changes to the Constitution. The legislative bodies of the German states soon followed in the same manner, with the German federal government taking over most state and local legislative powers. Hardly something that the Tea Party is famous for advocating.

    The Nazi Party and the German state gradually fused in 1933–39, as the party arrogated more and more power to itself at the expense of professional civil servants and its citizenry. This led to increasing inefficiency and confusion in administration, which was compounded by Hitler's deliberate policy of preventing any of his underlings accumulating too much power, and of dividing responsibility among a plethora of state and party bureaucracies, many of which had overlapping functions. The fusing of party and state is not something the Tea Party advocates either.

    Many Nazis held with Röhm's (the leader of the SA) socialistic views on the economy and his claims that the real revolution had still to take place and took the "socialist" element of "national socialism" seriously. Although Hitler had no real sympathy for Röhm's view, beyond transferring power from churches to the State, many of the well-armed working-class militia of the SA demanded that the Nazi regime broaden its attack from political activists and Jews to include the capitalist system. Again, not something the Tea Party movement advocates.

    After the night of the "Long Knives" in June 1934 which saw Rohm and the SA's power broken, the party moved to ban civilian ownership of guns. Definitely not something that the Tea Party advocates.

    So, apart from the (still) totally unproven claims of rampant racism within the the Tea Party movement, the peaceful, non-violent rallies and meetings that haven't seen any litter left, let alone any "heads cracked", save for the documented attacks on Tea Party members by members of the SEIU and professional agitators and protestors, what other similarities to the Nazi party can you come up with?

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  • 112. At 9:29pm on 31 Oct 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Before the Patriots Viking game.

    I listened for a few minutes on the radio to a typical liberal pundit.

    Faye Morrison is one of these analysts with her nose up in the area on the superiority of liberal agenda and her defication of Obama.

    But too many media types can't identify with the common sense and the real world concern of Tea Party members.

    Neither can the Obama since they have lived most of their live in the public sector or phony 300K manufactured jobs

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  • 113. At 9:39pm on 31 Oct 2010, andyparsonsga wrote:

    44. At 12:02pm on 31 Oct 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    "... Cut taxes? OK, but then you have to cut schools, police, military. And will fiscal conservatives like that?"

    OK, but then how about not increasing taxes or keeping spending at lower levels rather than increasing it with more and more pork barrel spending, new and bigger "entitlements" or cutting down on rampant Federal waste?

    "Healthcare? Fine, but who is going to tell 85 million uninsured Americans that their lives aren't important enough to save?"

    Where did the number of 85 million come from? Even in the left's wildest ramblings they could only conjure up 47 million, which when analyzed came down to less than 10% of their number? If the problem is less than 5 million, which I agree is far too many, why not expand Medicaid? If the problem is the rules laid down by insurance companies, then fine do what most of the population wanted and enact legislation to curb insurance company abuse. Why didn't the Federal government bring in health insurance portability and allow insurance companies to operate across State lines? That at least would have created competition and lowered costs. Hell, why didn't they bring in tort reform, the largest single cause of healthcare rises over the past 30 years? Instead, we got a 2,000+ page piece of legislation that very few of the legislators even bothered to read and that among a whole rake of other things imposes a mandate on every citizen that they must purchase something from a private company or face some form of penalty.

    "I'm a left-leaning Brit, but would have the same criticisms of a single-issue Democrat. Because it's not the politics that worry me, it's the absence of any rational, joined-up plan. Democrat, Republican or Independent, you need to understand that a nation is a big, complicated system. You can't just snip out the bits you don't like and expect it to keep functioning."

    I admire your candour, however why can't you snip out the bits that don't work and still expect it to function? A nation doesn't necessarily have to be a big, complicated system, there would certainly appear to be an abundance of nations that appear to do fairly well without the heavy hand of government in just about every aspect of its citizen's lives. It appears to me that the Federal government is made big and complicated because the players within government want it that way, government is, in and of itself, self perpetuating.

    As an aside the US was formed as a "union of Sovereign States" and the Federal government's role in that was intended to be a hell of a lot smaller than it has grown to be.

    "End of opinion: but can I just remind Americans that their constitution separates church and state. So if you love the constitution so much, stop talking about God as though He supports your politics."

    The term "separation of church and state" is an offshoot of the original phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists Association in 1802. Jefferson was responding to a letter that the Association had written to him whereby they expressed their concerns about the Constitution not reaching the State level. The Fourteenth Amendment did not yet exist, thus leaving the States vulnerable to Federal legislation. In Jefferson's letter, he was reassuring the Baptists of Danbury that their religious freedom would remain protected, it was a promise that no possible religious majority would be able to force out a State's official church. The original text reads: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." The phrase itself does not appear in the U.S. Constitution.

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  • 114. At 9:56pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    LucyJ wrote @ 62: "... then why is it on American blogs you can say whatever you want but on British blogs like this one of BBC, many comments get censored?"
    ........
    Hi Lucy,
    we have an Editorial control of comment that tries to keep people on-topic and nice to each other.
    Thus, if I talked about English tea parties, the differences would be too great and you would be deprived of my lyrical descriptions of Earl Grey, cucumber sandwiches and cream cakes. Similarly if you said your President should be hung by the neck because he was black, the BBC would rule you out of order, and I would be deprived of your insight.
    Gentle rules are a good thing.
    Regards, Geoff.

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  • 115. At 10:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    MagicKirin wrote @ 112: "... I listened for a few minutes on the radio to a typical liberal pundit. Faye Morrison is one of these analysts with her nose up in the area on the superiority of liberal agenda and her *defication* of Obama."

    Would that be dedication, deification or defecation ?

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  • 116. At 10:33pm on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Listen: the TEA party isn't crazy, or humorous, or irrelevant. It's dangerous. And I say that as someone that's attended their rallies in two of the reddest or red states, listened to a moderate Republican office holder get shouted down and bullied by the TEA party faithful in a -real- "ad hominem" attack, and noted enough handguns in the crowd to feel uncomfortable with their prominently displayed expression of will-to-power.

    That's my message, and I'm sticking to it. God help us all if these people find a "strong leader."

    Meanwhile, I hope at least a few readers here will note that our happy TEA party apologists are positively -eager- to deliver their ridiculously over-simplified histories of fascism past. Why is that, do you suppose? What's the fascination, boys?

    ===========

    PS: "Contrary to Curt's comment, Anarchists do not want small government. By definition, they want no government (which, or course, eventually leads to feudalism)."

    Sorry, but small government in the limit -is- no government, and that's anarchy. And anarchy leads to, well, anarchy. Might-makes-right. Law of the jungle. Every man for himself. In short, Paradise according to Ayn Rand.

    And that's not "feudalism."

    I think you may be in denial about the possibility of limit arguments in political discourse. Or are you proposing some sort of continuity paradox? Never mind: the margins are too small to contain the proof.

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  • 117. At 10:46pm on 31 Oct 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    The “Tea Party” is nothing more than an uninformed shill for corporate lobbyists rather than a populist party. A recent survey found that only 2% of their members knew that their taxes actually went down under Obama. For a party named after a tax revolt, that’s pretty sad. Just another example of people being manipulated to vote against their economic interests I guess.

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  • 118. At 00:14am on 01 Nov 2010, Darren Stephens wrote:

    You have to laugh. Two things strike me: the first is the quote,

    "Speak for yourself Obama, we are a Christian nation, we are a Christian nation, whatever Obama says"

    Not according to the US constitution, you're not.

    Second is the man calling Obama a "communist". Fact is, most Americans wouldn't know a communist if he walked up to them in the street and bit them on the backside (to steal from a Frank Zappa quote). Obama's not a communist. By Eurpopean standards he's not even left of centre. US politics doesn't have a left wing. The choice is whether you want moderate right wing (like Obama and moderate elements of the Republican party) or swivel-eyed loons (like the truly terrifying Palin). The polarisation of debate is truly terrifying, and that most of those at this Tea Party gathering hadn't heard much of Stewart's position, but were still prepared to rubbish it, says much about the state of US political life.

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  • 119. At 00:27am on 01 Nov 2010, reincarnation wrote:

    118. Darren Stephens
    "US politics doesn't have a left wing."

    My son gets his first vote as a US citizen this week. A choice between right and righter.

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  • 120. At 06:44am on 01 Nov 2010, Russ Williams wrote:

    Curt Carpenter @ 116: "TEA party apologists are positively -eager- to deliver their ridiculously over-simplified histories of fascism past. Why is that, do you suppose?"

    Ooh, another ad-hominem attack, attempting to show guilt by (implied) association... Didn't see that coming(!) And you've tried to use that to denounce historical fact without even the slightest attempt to engage the issues raised.

    Remember, Curt, you're the one who brought up fascism. Twice. Care to explain what the similarities are between the small-government/free-market Tea Party stance and the socialist/nationalist policies of the Nazis (as detailed by andyparsonsga in post 111) and Fascisti are? Or do you just want to make some more snide references, with a nod and a wink to let people know that you're Right-On and should be believed without evidence?

    Fine, so you've been to entirely peaceful rallies, but there were people with guns, which clearly scared you. I hate to point out that that's not only legal, but a constitutional right in the US. So, what's so bad about the Tea Party? That they use their first and second amendment rights in a way that you, personally, disagree with? How terrible.

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  • 121. At 08:41am on 01 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #119
    reincarnation wrote:
    118. Darren Stephens
    "US politics doesn't have a left wing."

    My son gets his first vote as a US citizen this week. A choice between right and righter.

    _______________

    According to whom?

    Obama. Kucinich, Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are all extreme lefties.

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  • 122. At 09:06am on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    120. Russ Williams:

    And we're to believe it's the Tea Party which is "fearful"?

    Judging from the reaction to the Tea Party -- and even Sarah Palin for that matter -- I'd say we have quite a lot of reactionaries.

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  • 123. At 09:34am on 01 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    The tea party movement may have been founded on the principle of small government. But those within the movement who are elected on Tuesday will still need to pass judgement on all the other issues and concerns of government.
    That the movement is overwhelmingly comprised of social and fiscal conservatives is relevant and needs to be considered by voters who support small government but not for example a ban on abortion.
    Can anyone come up with any wedge issues between the Tea party and existing congressional Republican policy? Or is this just really well applied lipstick?

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  • 124. At 10:17am on 01 Nov 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Darren Stephens, (#118. At 00:14am on 01 Nov 2010)

    "... By Eurpopean standards he's not even left of centre. US politics doesn't have a left wing ..."

    By Eurpoean standards perhaps. But this is an American election.

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  • 125. At 10:18am on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    123. PartTimeDon:

    "That the movement is overwhelmingly comprised of social and fiscal conservatives is relevant and needs to be considered by voters who support small government but not for example a ban on abortion."

    ************
    Democrats tried to drag the abortion issue into this campaign and failed. Jobs and the deficit trump abortions right now.

    Obama ran on a platform that tried to make the economy a force for social justice. I'd say that Americans just want the economy to be used for employment right now. They want jobs from it not social engineering.

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  • 126. At 10:45am on 01 Nov 2010, Chryses wrote:

    GeoffWard, (#114. At 9:56pm on 31 Oct 2010)

    “... Gentle rules are a good thing ...”

    Translation: Censorship is a Good Thing.

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  • 127. At 10:49am on 01 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "After the night of the "Long Knives" in June 1934 which saw Rohm and the SA's power broken, the party moved to ban civilian ownership of guns. "



    Guess which political force and which American leaders are trying to emulate what Adolf H. and NSDAP did in that regard.


    [not that Stalin and USSR Communist Party didn't do exactly the same]

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  • 128. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    A choice between right and righter.

    _______________

    According to whom?

    MK: Obama. Kucinich, Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are all extreme lefties.





    And Franken, Pelosi, Reid and Waters are...? :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 129. At 11:00am on 01 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 127 powermeerkat wrote

    "Guess which political force and which American leaders are trying to emulate what Adolf H. and NSDAP did in that regard."

    I have no idea.

    If you are attempting to make a point about US political leaders you think are emulating Hitler and the Nazis, why don't you just name them?

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  • 130. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 125
    Democrats tried to drag the abortion issue into this campaign and failed. Jobs and the deficit trump abortions right now.
    Obama ran on a platform that tried to make the economy a force for social justice. I'd say that Americans just want the economy to be used for employment right now. They want jobs from it not social engineering.
    _____________________
    All of which seems to suggest that the Tea party is in fact just the shiny big pink ribbon that the GOP has put round the same old product. A smokescreen to hide from the blame.
    After 2008, most political commentators believed that the republican party had to move towards the centre to become viable again. Fiscally the tea party hasn't moved them, but socially it has done just the opposite and lurched to the right.
    Lets just wait and see how quickly social issues take to hit the agenda if a significant number of tea party candidates are elected. After all, after they've repealed Obamacare, abolished the DOE, Social Security, Medicare and the Fed (Ron Johnson - senate candidate Wisconsin), they'll have some time on their hands to worry about the declining moral standards on the nation. For example:
    -Considering the economic havoc of removing the statute of limitations on child abuse to be of paramount importance. (Ron Johnson again)
    -Considering AIDS education to be "a platform for the homosexual community to recruit adolescents" (Christine O'donnell - senate candidate Delaware)
    -Believing abortion to be wrong even in the case of sexual assault (O'donnell again and Joe Miller - senate candidate Alaska)

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  • 131. At 1:21pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    130. PartTimeDon:

    "Lets just wait and see how quickly social issues take to hit the agenda if a significant number of tea party candidates are elected. After all, after they've repealed Obamacare, abolished the DOE, Social Security, Medicare and the Fed (Ron Johnson - senate candidate Wisconsin), they'll have some time on their hands to worry about the declining moral standards on the nation."

    ***********
    If you seriously believe the Tea Party candidates will be able to achieve all this, it's no wonder you believed Obama when he made all his promises.

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  • 132. At 1:33pm on 01 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    116. At 10:33pm on 31 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    "Sorry, but small government in the limit -is- no government, and that's anarchy. And anarchy leads to, well, anarchy. Might-makes-right. Law of the jungle. Every man for himself. In short, Paradise according to Ayn Rand."

    "And that's not "feudalism.""

    __________

    Both Libertarians and Liberals believe in small government, but both also believe in the rule of law, whatever the size of the government.

    Anarchists do not believe in the rule of law, whatever the size of the government, which of course they would desire to be no government at all. As you point out, that means the law of the jungle.

    For the weak to survive, they have to seek the protection of the strong. So, in return for physical security, they surrender their liberty and become serfs, in thrall to the local warlord. All rights and privileges held by his vassals and their underlings, they hold through him; all obligations are owed to him personally; he (and exceedingly rarely she) exercises the power of life and death over them as their sovereign lord.

    This is the power structure of feudalism, and it is the natural outcome of anarchy.


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  • 133. At 1:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 75 oldloadr "Christians believe that Islam is a counterfeit religion founded 600 years after Jesus ascended into heaven. Naturally, folks with no God-based faith will see similarities between the real thing and the imitation."

    Don't you dare claim to speak for all Christians, you bigot.

    You are easily offended by those who mock your beliefs, and yet are eager to mock and deny the faith of others.

    Sick and sad.

    The Tea Party is steeped in bigotry and chauvinism like this. It is to my mind simply an inversion of the worst excesses of leftish political correctness; the right has learned well the language of victimhood and resentment.

    So not mad, but certainly ugly.

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  • 134. At 1:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    109. At 8:15pm on 31 Oct 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    "There's too much money to be made in the media. And you can thank yourself and others who react to them the way you do for all the media attention they receive."

    __________

    Andrea,

    You went to a good school, and you have a fairly hefty income. You can add and subtract as well as anyone else here.

    In all the discussion that has taken place on this board, have you seen so much as a single posting here, or even any news story in the broader media, from any Tea Party supporter that lays out an arithmetically credible proposal for dealing with any of America's financial problems?

    Show me where any one of them has laid out a credible plan to balance the books, and I'll change my views.

    Show me where any one of them has laid out a credible plan to reduce taxes that won't make either the budget deficit or the recession worse, and I'll change my views.


    I'm not holding my breath.

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  • 135. At 2:21pm on 01 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    LucyJ

    as do don't know the bible that well heres some quotes that cover sex slaves, infidels, and homosexuality


    Lev 20:13 "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death."

    Deuteronomy 17:2-5: "If there be found among you...[a] man or woman...[who] hath gone and served other gods and worshipped them...then shalt though bring forth that man or that woman...and shalt stone them with stones, till they die."

    Mark.7:9-13 "Whoever curses father or mother shall die


    Exodus 21:7-11 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.

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  • 136. At 3:13pm on 01 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    97 Oldloadr wrote
    "4. The Bible is the whole truth that God wants us to know, whether we, or He, likes it or not. ..........
    5. The Koran, on the other hand, is a collection of plagiarisms written by a guy that was trying to get a system where patriotism and piety are synonymous."

    _________________________________

    So the whole argument comes down to the idea that your holy book is God's true word and their holy book is made up.

    Brilliant. And we wonder why it is impossible to engage in sensible debate with these people.

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  • 137. At 3:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    132. At 1:33pm on 01 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "Anarchists do not believe in the rule of law, whatever the size of the government, which of course they would desire to be no government at all. As you point out, that means the law of the jungle."

    So haven't you just said that anarchists DO believe in "the rule of law" albeit -jungle- law? Or do you insist that "rule of law" has to involve courts and barristers with robes and wigs?

    But I take your point and apologize for pushing the argument and being silly.

    "For the weak to survive, they have to seek the protection of the strong. ... This is the power structure of feudalism, and it is the natural outcome of anarchy."

    We're all pressed for time in the blogosphere of course, but still: there does seem to be a rash of astonishingly oversimplified historical analysis on this particular thread. How can anybody possibly thumbnail feudalism without at least a nod to the role of religion and Holy Mother Church (of whatever flavor)?

    You'd have to work much harder to convince me that feudalism is a "natural outcome of anarchy." It sounds to me awfully similar to the claim that anarchy is a natural outcome of capitalism. (Which may, of course, be absolutely -true-!)

    Just kidding.

    The conversation is interesting though.

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  • 138. At 3:34pm on 01 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    135. At 2:21pm on 01 Nov 2010, strontiumdog007

    How ironic that you should post this.

    I just finished posting a comment on the other string about the origins of feudalism, and feudalistic societies, and here is a posting describing the duties of an owner of slaves to his serfs, and a classification of the status of serfs, and change of status of serfs on the basis of marriage.


    Which, of course, makes the ambiguity of "these people" in Stu's last sentence in 136 even funnier.


    Sometimes the absurdity of these things passes beyond surrealism.

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  • 139. At 5:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 131
    If you seriously believe the Tea Party candidates will be able to achieve all this, it's no wonder you believed Obama when he made all his promises.
    __________
    Sorry, I forgot. You guys don't do irony at anything more than a basic level.
    In case you need it explained, I was highlighting the extreme views of the candidates that this movement has put forward in the name of "small government".

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  • 140. At 5:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    134. Interestedforeigner :

    "I'm not holding my breath."

    **********
    And I'm certainly not holding my breath until you acknowledge that "uncertainty" with respect to taxes and regulations plays a role in companies' investment decisions.

    I heard on Bloomberg Radio (financial news) the other day that there are something like 70+ committees working on 200+ regulations -- and that's just for financial reforms (or some portion of them). In other words, they're being drafted while we speak. Nothing is written. You don't have to be good at math to calculate the effect on business decisions of regulations that haven't yet been defined.

    Every single day I hear people talking about how businesses don't know what's coming down the pike. Every single day, it's the same story. And yet...

    Democrats' position on tax cuts seems to be stunted, ending at "No tax cuts for the rich". With that kind of mindset, it's no wonder they cannot understand how tax cuts might influence the behavior of people other than the middle class.

    Eventually, we'll see some movement on taxes and regulations to ease uncertainty. It just won't be done by democrats.

    Would you be willing to consider unpopular tax cuts if it meant job creation?


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  • 141. At 5:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, mike wrote:

    Mr. Powermeeerkat,

    What exactly are you talking about? Has the Obama Administration made any moves to confiscate guns? No!
    I am an American and a gun owner and I have no fear what so ever that it will be taken away from me.

    I pity all those fools that ran out and bought 5-years worth of ammo right after Obama was elected. I guess you idiots got punked by the NRA and gun manufacturers...

    Obama was partially correct: some Americans DO cling to their guns and Jesus like a security blanket because they're paranoid, scared little babies..

    And some of us gun-owning Christians understand that a gun is a tool, not a symbol of patriotism, and our faith allows us to interact with the whole wide world WITHOUT being afraid.


    Powermeerkat whined:

    127. At 10:49am on 01 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "After the night of the "Long Knives" in June 1934 which saw Rohm and the SA's power broken, the party moved to ban civilian ownership of guns. "
    Guess which political force and which American leaders are trying to emulate what Adolf H. and NSDAP did in that regard.
    [not that Stalin and USSR Communist Party didn't do exactly the same]

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  • 142. At 5:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    136. RomeStu :
    97 Oldloadr wrote
    "4. The Bible is the whole truth that God wants us to know, whether we, or He, likes it or not. ..........
    5. The Koran, on the other hand, is a collection of plagiarisms written by a guy that was trying to get a system where patriotism and piety are synonymous."

    _________________________________

    So the whole argument comes down to the idea that your holy book is God's true word and their holy book is made up.

    Brilliant. And we wonder why it is impossible to engage in sensible debate with these people.
    complain about this comment

    ***********
    Actually, if you were really interested in sensible debate, you would have asked how it is that Christians can make the claim that their Bible is "the word". Instead, you say something negative about "these people", which does illustrate how hard it is to engage in sensible debate.

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  • 143. At 6:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    134. Interestedforeigner:

    "Show me where any one of them has laid out a credible plan to balance the books, and I'll change my views.

    Show me where any one of them has laid out a credible plan to reduce taxes that won't make either the budget deficit or the recession worse, and I'll change my views."

    ***********
    By the way, I could say the same of democrats. I don't think anyone has the full answer. I do know the focus should be on jobs. We need to work backwards from there, if only temporarily. Then the focus should be on competing in 2020 not going back to the prior century. A lot has changed since then. Even Keynes might adjust his thinking were he here today. Maybe we'll get lucky and find another "modern" thinker with some answers more applicable to the world today.

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  • 144. At 6:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    142 andrea
    "Actually, if you were really interested in sensible debate, you would have asked how it is that Christians can make the claim that their Bible is "the word". Instead, you say something negative about "these people", which does illustrate how hard it is to engage in sensible debate."


    Well, I imagine if I asked that questions of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc etc etc I'd get the same answer .... "because we believe it to be true".

    This does not constitute sensible debate to me.

    (And for the record my words "these people" includes dogmatic adherents of all religions.)

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  • 145. At 6:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    44. RomeStu:

    Well, I imagine if I asked that questions of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc etc etc I'd get the same answer .... "because we believe it to be true".

    This does not constitute sensible debate to me.

    ***************
    It isn't sensible debate. But who knows? If a Jesuit priest can formulate a theory of a "day without yesterday", you might find some rather interesting reasoning. It's not all as simplistic as you imagine.

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  • 146. At 10:19pm on 01 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    strontium 35,
    Thanx for the verses.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    RomeStu wrote: Brilliant. And we wonder why it is impossible to engage in sensible debate with these people.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    The reason why its "impossible" is because sensible to us is unsensible to you and unsensibile to us is sensibile to you...

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  • 147. At 10:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    BTW, religion is not about being sensible. Religion is about belief: you believe it or you don't...

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  • 148. At 03:46am on 02 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    143. At 6:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    ***********
    "By the way, I could say the same of democrats. ..."

    [[Perhaps so, but it's a non-sequitur.
    We weren't talking about the Democracts, whatever their faults or strengths may be.

    You were criticizing my view of the Tea Partiers.
    I find a lot of it intellectually dishonest. They're long on platitudes, buzz words, sound bites, and code words, but, as far as I have seen up to now, almost bereft of substance.

    When you show me some actual substance there, I'm prepared to change my views. So far ? Not so much.


    Your liking for them baffles me.
    You have clearly gone to good schools.
    You have clearly achieved things in life on the basis of ability and merit.
    You have an ability to write with clarity that just isn't all that common.

    So how can you have the time of day for a group that worships at the feet of Sarah Palin???

    That just baffles me.

    There is no substance there at all. Nothing other than a Godzilla-eats-New-York sized ego with a gargantuan talent for self-promotion.
    (last night she graciously offered her services to the nation, if the nation should ask ...)

    Literate people cringe when she opens her mouth.
    No ability. No merit. No academic achievement. No Nothing.

    Zip.

    You embody everything that this vacuous woman is not. Everything she represents, everything she stands for, is the opposite of what your writing says you are.
    Yet you are sympathetic to the cause.

    That just baffles me.]]

    [[watch them moderate this one.]]

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  • 149. At 12:15pm on 02 Nov 2010, Iapetus wrote:

    75. At 3:59pm on 31 Oct 2010, Oldloadr wrote:
    "You have no empirical proof of evolution or the age of the universe or the planet (the last 2 aren’t that important, anyway)."

    Yes, we do.


    And they are important - not least because a politician who denies either of them is clearly ignorant (and unwilling to learn), and/or ignoring facts that conflict with their beliefs or ideology, neither of which are good attitudes in anyone with public power.

    *Especially* if they are making decisions on education, environmental, or health policy.


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  • 150. At 4:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, catsandbadgers wrote:

    Well, it's nice to see that the TEA party supporters have come out with their affiliations to a religion to which many of us do not belong. I would have said Christian, but that insults many sects of Christianity which do not feel as they do. This pretty much underlies why there is such conflict. They worship a book and their personal interpretations of it, rather than the teachings of that book (especially missing out the NT, which *should* be the heart of Christian sentiments), the ignorance of the history of the religion they claim to observe, and the willingness to impose upon the rest of us a value system that the US Constitution explicitly states cannot be established by government.

    I am also outraged at many of the things going on in my country. I am offended that corporations are given rights that individuals aren't. I am appalled at the difference in pay business leaders compared to the workers. I am infuriated that all citizens do not have the same rights, and that skin color, sexual preference, and economic status can greatly skew the effectiveness of the justice system. I am horrified and angry that Fox news and MSNBC can both claim to be reporting in a balanced fashion when clearly they do not.

    And I am saddened by people who are so simplistic in their reasoning and understanding and unwillingness to look at actual facts. For example, Obama is not all that left-wing, by the standards of the last 75 or so years of US politics. In fact, on some issues, he is considerably to the right of not only past Democratic presidents, but even a couple of GOP ones, e.g., Eisenhower. He only *seems* left because so much of the country has moved to the right on social issues while absolving themselves of any social responsibility to their fellow citizens.



    Oh, and also, I'm really annoyed by the repetition of really bad explanations of what "feudalism" is.

    Ignorantforeigner, I really like your comments, but you're totally wrong about that. It's an explanation that has become commonplace, but anyone who studies the period (I'm a university professor and a medievalist) will tell you that that interpretation has been rejected. For some very basic updating, try reading Elizabeth AR Brown, "Tyranny of a Construct" in the American Historical Review in (I think? ) 1974. Or Susan Reynolds' response and elaboration in her, "Fiefs and Vassals."

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  • 151. At 7:08pm on 02 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    150 catsandbadgers
    "He [Obama]only *seems* left because so much of the country has moved to the right on social issues while absolving themselves of any social responsibility to their fellow citizens."

    ____________________________

    This is one of the most aposite comments I have read in a while. Bravo.

    I would have less problem with the Tea-party / religious right if they actually gave a $%&# about anyone except themselves and displayed a little more of the goodwill and peace espoused in the book they tout so loudly to be the truth.

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  • 152. At 7:18pm on 02 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    145 Andrea
    "It isn't sensible debate. But who knows? If a Jesuit priest can formulate a theory of a "day without yesterday", you might find some rather interesting reasoning. It's not all as simplistic as you imagine."



    I have lots of time for philosophy, but very little for the sort of dogmatic trash spouted to justify actions and beliefs "because we believe it". Every religion justifies itself "just because", but that does not mean it should be taken seriously.

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  • 153. At 7:23pm on 02 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Rome Stu wrote: I would have less problem with the Tea-party / religious right if they actually gave a $%&# about anyone except themselves and displayed a little more of the goodwill and peace espoused in the book they tout so loudly to be the truth.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just admit it, RomeStu. No matter what the Tea Party or GOP does, you don't like it, do you?

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  • 154. At 7:33pm on 02 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    153 lucy - I didn't mention the GOP. I have a lot of time for fiscal conservatives, but they seem to have died out since the early 1980s.

    And it's not "no matter what the Tea Party does..." but what it actually is doing and stands for that gives me reason to dislike it.

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  • 155. At 7:54pm on 02 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    RomeStu wrote: And it's not "no matter what the Tea Party does..." but what it actually is doing and stands for that gives me reason to dislike it.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tea Party is actually helping America and stands for Americans, as Tea Party is all American...

    Sounds like Tea Party merely isn't your 'cup of tea.'


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  • 156. At 8:13pm on 02 Nov 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    155 lucy
    "Tea Party is actually helping America and stands for Americans, as Tea Party is all American..."


    ....unless those americans happen to need healthcare, be gay, not be christian, support a woman's right to chose or actually think taxes when used well can be the most economically effective way of providing services to citizens.

    But then again people like that are "un-American" ,right?




    ps I understand the TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already .... but d oyuo realise the Boston Tea Party was not about taxation, but about representation..... oh silly me. None of that matters compared to the rhetoric and spin now does it.

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