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Obama finds fitting words for Arizona tragedy

Mark Mardell | 01:47 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

President Barack Obama in Tucson

Tucson, Arizona

It wasn't the usual sort of memorial service. It wasn't, for a start, very solemn. Music of all sorts, from choral to soul, built up towards the speeches. It followed pretty much the pattern of every other Obama rally I have been to.

The audience whooped and hollered during the speech. But there was no doubt they were local people, and I presume this was a sort of cathartic release after days of horrible tension. The biggest cheer was when the president revealed that Gabby Giffords had opened her eyes.

He brought them good news and he tried to bring them hope. He portrayed those who died as archetypes in a tableau: the mum, grandma, brother and child of an American family, who should inspire every American that they can be better in their private and public life.

His tribute to the nine-year-old who died was heart-rending.

"Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called 'Faces of Hope'. On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. 'I hope you help those in need,' read one. 'I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.'

"If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today."

But his message was broader than that of a young life cut brutally short.

Here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model.

She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted."

The US TV networks call this part of the president's job - a sort of "healer-in-chief". But here Mr Obama attempted to go well beyond binding the wounds, to deal with what he sees as a more profound sickness.

It was a subtly political speech, defying the expectation of those who those who thought he would remain aloof from the debate about the sometimes febrile and vitriolic nature of American politics.

When he said that this tragedy must not be an excuse for Americans to turn on one another for more point scoring and pettiness, Mr Obama appeared to rise above party and castigate both Republicans and Democrats.

But it is the right that has been revitalised by the Tea Party movement and its sometimes harsh language.

"At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."

He is trying to brand his opponents' most successful rhetoric a moral failure.

"We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future," the president said. He did not mention gun control or new legislation. But it is hard to see what else he meant.

Nor is the call to unite a bland apolitical cliche.

With the Republicans in control of part of congress he is in a tricky position. Getting them to agree to anything will be enormously difficult and is likely to alarm his own side.

In talking about working together, and rising above the "usual plane of politics" the president is suggesting that necessity is a virtue.

Comments

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  • 1. At 02:40am on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    ""At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."


    Was he referring to the Sarah Palin bashing?

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  • 2. At 03:05am on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Thank you, President Obama.

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  • 3. At 03:06am on 13 Jan 2011, elbowpatches wrote:

    He managed to deliver this with what looked like genuine passion:

    "Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations."

    I was impressed - it's just a speech but maybe he can have some positive effect...

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  • 4. At 03:24am on 13 Jan 2011, Risforme wrote:

    Didn't even get past the first comment without someone making it political. I think that says a lot about our country. Everything we do is political. So operating in that environment and when it's so easy to obtain a gun. People need to be more responsible in the way they describe their political opponents. Loughner wasn't motivated by politics. But it was only a few years ago a man shot up a Unitarian Universalist Church to kill Liberals they found books from the big Right Wing talking heads.

    When you make your political opponents into enemies instead of just people you disagree with. People are going to do something about it. Just do us all a favor and don't act surprised when someone who listens to you talk about how evil someone is they decide to do something about it.

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  • 5. At 03:28am on 13 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    I am sure many in this forum will accuse MM for taking side of Obama. Amen!

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  • 6. At 03:38am on 13 Jan 2011, Cagnazzo82 wrote:

    I'm not sure what Brit viewers thought of the speech, but as an American I have to say the President may have just given the greatest speech of his presidency thus far. And I'm not even exaggerating (I've been critical of him as of late).

    So much bad news in this country not just in the past few couple of days, but the last couple of months and years as well.

    Today, he reminded us about the ideals of this country that might've been overlooked on account of the non-stop cynism and negativity.

    It was a pretty surreal experience, I must say.

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  • 7. At 03:40am on 13 Jan 2011, JoDan wrote:

    A quite perfect speech for the time and mood of the nation. A speech that will be remembered for years to come!

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  • 8. At 03:46am on 13 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    President Obama showed us why he is President with gravitas and integrity. Sarah Palin showed us why she is a mere media personality.

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  • 9. At 04:00am on 13 Jan 2011, David Cunard wrote:

    Because of sustained illness, it's been a year since I last posted here - the contributors are so very different and I recognise few pseudonyms. However, the President's speech in reaction to the tragedy in Tucson gave me good reason to make a rare contribution.

    " - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds" to which JClarkson (#1) asks "Was he referring to the Sarah Palin bashing?"

    On the contrary, having watched every moment, I took it to infer that phrases such as a "blood libel" as used by her were inflammatory. Better for her to have said less I think - "least said, soon is't mended."

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  • 10. At 04:24am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    8. At 03:46am on 13 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:
    President Obama showed us why he is President with gravitas and integrity. Sarah Palin showed us why she is a mere media personality.


    I don't know about that. He's certainly good at the oratory and that was needed today but as a President, he's been sadly lacking.

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  • 11. At 04:37am on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #9

    "On the contrary, having watched every moment, I took it to infer that phrases such as a "blood libel" as used by her were inflammatory. Better for her to have said less I think - "least said, soon is't mended."

    I confess that I was a little sarcastic, in my question, but I did that to prove the very point you made for me.

    Obama's speeches can be interpreted in almost any way you choose, which is probably why he was elected. If you stay sufficiently ambiguous and vague, many will feel that you are talking to them.

    "Yes, we can"...


    Yes, we can ................. - insert your pet cause there

    :)

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  • 12. At 04:49am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    #9

    Obama's speeches can be interpreted in almost any way you choose, which is probably why he was elected. If you stay sufficiently ambiguous and vague, many will feel that you are talking to them.


    Put it this way he certainly made all the right noises, which people wanted to here and certainly helped him get elected, not unlike Tony Blair and he made all the right noises tonight. I watched some of Obama's speech/performance and he was loving it up there and that sums the guy up for me. I won't be voting for him again.

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  • 13. At 04:50am on 13 Jan 2011, porscheman wrote:

    I am a Brit, living in the U.S. I think that Obama's speech could be the defining moment of his presidency. I was very impressed with his wording and sincerity.

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  • 14. At 04:59am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    13. At 04:50am on 13 Jan 2011, porscheman wrote:
    I am a Brit, living in the U.S. I think that Obama's speech could be the defining moment of his presidency. I was very impressed with his wording and sincerity.


    That's exactly what he wants to get over, his wording and sincerity. He said what you wanted to hear, not that I doubt his sincerity in this case; the guy's a great orator but does that necessarily make him a good President?

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  • 15. At 05:18am on 13 Jan 2011, reversechapter wrote:

    President Obama told everyone that we don't know what caused the killer, a typical spree killer, to commit mass murder. That's strange, because most of us actually DO know enough of the facts now to at least see that there was no political motivation. We know he did not listen to talk radio, the person he targeted was conservative, but also a Democrat, etc. He is a guy who may be schizophrenic, but who definitely feels rejected (he WAS rejected by the military, and kicked out of school) and who did not fit in anywhere. Add a lack of moral integrity, a little evil, and the possible failure of law enforcement (too early to tell that) and you get a potential tragedy.

    If Obama had only left it there, I would have said he gave a great speech; he didn't. He spoke to every schizo loner who might be watching, assuring them that a despicable act like this will elicit a change in our behavior, which is exactly what they want. He went on and on about how we need to become more civil in our discourse, all because a mass murderer struck out senselessly, and then members of his own party went off the deep end with the "blame game" early on. That was just wrong. That is what turned the speech into a campaign speech. He was expected to memorialize dead people, and he took advantage of their deaths to try and raise his approval ratings.

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  • 16. At 05:24am on 13 Jan 2011, fuflans wrote:

    good lord people. i understand you 'brits' are more 'worldly' and 'sophisticated' than us 'laggard colonials', but seriously all the dude was doing was saying it's been a crappy week here in US america and we actually have things to say about what happened here, in US america.

    and sometimes, we have pretty lovely things to say.

    rock on barry.

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  • 17. At 05:33am on 13 Jan 2011, HMS_KnightHawk wrote:

    William Johnson-Smith its people like you that need to listen ...but then you already seem to have a chip on your shoulder and I don't think you ever voted for him in the first place.

    people like you will always have something bad to say about him no matter what he dose.
    anyhow you don't matter right now that little girl is what on all our mines right now so save you negative words for some other time , unless your one of those bitter person he was talking about that has to blame someone for your sad life.

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  • 18. At 05:35am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    15. At 05:18am on 13 Jan 2011, reversechapter

    Thanks for your synopsis. Probably just as well I didn't see all of his speech. Quite frankly everytime Obama does speak it is like a campaign speech and I'm getting bored of it. He's into his third year in office and really hasn't done very much except push through his ill thought out health care reforms, which have ignited the fringe right, namely the Tea Party.

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  • 19. At 05:37am on 13 Jan 2011, apray wrote:

    I'm sad to hear so many people think this way about the President. From my point of view he was completely sincere in his speech tonight. I'm saying that purely from an instinctual standpoint, I have no way of knowing whether or not that's true, but I'm fairly certain that those who believe the opposite have no facts to support that view either. Regardless of whether his intentions were dishonorable like so many on here believe, everything he said tonight was true and hit to the heart of what's gone wrong w/this country. To me the biggest theme was that we here in America all need to stop looking for easy, external answers to our problems and look inward and ask ourselves what we can do individually to improve. It's exactly these easy answers which are at the root of so many of our problems. This is why, for example, we have a money dominated two party system where voting for a candidate is like ordering off a fast food menu. Only when we have a populace where the majority of individuals are constantly striving for self improvement will the self-serving ploys used by those seeking power be impotent.

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  • 20. At 05:39am on 13 Jan 2011, Cagnazzo82 wrote:

    I think we get the point, William Johnson-Smith. You dislike the man regardless of what he says, or does. You've made your point and gotten it across.

    No need to spam this board.

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  • 21. At 05:47am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

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

  • 22. At 05:57am on 13 Jan 2011, JackJHL wrote:

    I respect the U.S. because it has such a good President. Where else you can find such a leader with gravitas and integrity? Who can deliver better speech at this event? If Sarah Palin is your president, the world will be laughing.

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  • 23. At 06:02am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    20. At 05:39am on 13 Jan 2011, Cagnazzo82 wrote:

    No need to spam this board.


    Hardly spamming old man.

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  • 24. At 06:13am on 13 Jan 2011, tao_of_reason wrote:

    #14: At this point in time - given the choices US has - he is best option. Sarah Palin for US president or Taliban taking control of US..I am not sure which is worst.

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  • 25. At 06:19am on 13 Jan 2011, tao_of_reason wrote:

    Young WJ Smith: I take your point that probably evoked extreme reactions due to Healthcare Bill. How did opposition react? By acusing him of something he has not done..by spin. All they could have done was argued..take out healtcare..after all it's another bill, reform. You should at least give him credit for being statesman like..which a country like US needs president to be..unlike Tea Party 2nd founder. :)

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  • 26. At 06:28am on 13 Jan 2011, ArthriticPianist wrote:

    With all due respect, as a University of Arizona alumnus, I was alternately pleased and annoyed by the President's speech. I felt the atmosphere conveyed was at times too raucous as a fitting speech in memory of those whose lives were tragically taken by the madman assassin. On the other hand, the President's poignancy regarding the little child who died was palpable at first, but unfortunately he belabored his points, and then turned maudlin. His homiletic tone regarding civility in public discourse was ironic at best, and oxymoronic (was I the only one who noticed that at the point he was decrying the pointing of fingers, that he pointed with his index finger?), and frankly patronizing. That is not at issue here, while the heroism of those who went after the shooter, and the work of medical teams and ER responders was appropriately heralded -- yes, there are genuine heroic actions of common people in this wonderful country of ours.

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  • 27. At 06:44am on 13 Jan 2011, Felipe Bohorquez wrote:

    "was I the only one who noticed that at the point he was decrying the pointing of fingers, that he pointed with his index finger"
    Probably the only one who considers that pointing out something that is actually taking place, can be done without the 'pointing' part.

    "His homiletic tone regarding civility in public discourse was ironic" homiletic discourse usually invokes hyperbole, which is what it did not do, and trying to provoke some sort of introspection within the audience can pass off as patronizing very easily. The words and tone were very adequate for the occasion, and the reaction being raucous or not, it was certainly an emotional moment, so it just seems like a lot of fancy wording just to say that you were not convinced.

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  • 28. At 07:06am on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

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

  • 29. At 07:10am on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #27

    "Probably the only one who considers that pointing out something that is actually taking place, can be done without the 'pointing' part."

    Are you Italian, by any chance?

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  • 30. At 07:13am on 13 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    I think President Obama did very well with his speech as did Gov. Brewer. Both had the right words and tone for the occasion and I found myself moved by their comments.

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  • 31. At 07:40am on 13 Jan 2011, yimika wrote:

    God bless America, with its diversity. Jeez the POTUS was just trying to bring the country together in a difficult moment and people still see politics in all this?

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  • 32. At 07:52am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM "He [[pres. Obama] did not mention gun control or new legislation. But it is hard to see what else he meant."






    Wanna see and hear how gun control has been working in UK?

    Here's what some British policemen say about it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lil51T7UIrc


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  • 33. At 08:10am on 13 Jan 2011, jclarksonhates wrote:

    clarkson and johnson-smith: how very, very classy.

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  • 34. At 08:27am on 13 Jan 2011, Bubbles The Hippo wrote:

    powermeerkat thanks for posting the youtube video, unfortunately I fail to see what possible relevance gun control laws in the UK have to Obama's speech. It seems you are one of those people who thinks that giving free access to weapons is the way to tackle the fact that criminals illegally obtain and carry firearms. Let's give a gun to grandma and the kids because the mob have them too. What a small-minded approach to a problem. If there were no gun controls there would be more gun related crimes and violence. Simple. I want people carrying guns to be criminals (they are), I don't want them masquerading as law abiding citizens exercising their democratic right.

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  • 35. At 08:33am on 13 Jan 2011, JB wrote:

    Mrs Palin is a short fuse that can be easily detonated by a fly or an ant. She and her fellow conservative tea partyers and activist have lost control of their moral political judgement and compass. 'American reload and NOT retreat' can be easily construed as call to arms. Plseae tell me, what's the difference between Mrs Palin, the tea party and the taliban? And for the rest of the republican party, goodluck to them to in 2012.

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  • 36. At 08:34am on 13 Jan 2011, RomeStu wrote:

    9 David Cunard - good to see you back. Hope you are now well.
    Many of the old contributors have moved on or post infrequently - it seems that the blog mirrors the real world in becoming more polarised and shouty, with less friendly disagreement and active discussion.


    Still, I agree with you that the "Blood Libel" comment was not helpful. It is a highly specific term, and unlikely to be even known by people who do not understand it's meaning (I refer to the speech-writers, and not necessarily the speaker of the words) and this makes its use even more inappropriate, especially since she is Jewish.

    I think that Obama's speech was inclusive and non-political as should be the case, and that the Palin camp "doth protest too much".

    Whatever the reasons behind this troubled young mans actions, if brakes can now be applied to the poisonous political rhetoric of late then some small good will be done.

    My thoughts are with the injured survivors and the families and friends of those killed.

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  • 37. At 08:55am on 13 Jan 2011, happyslayeruk wrote:

    Is Mark Mardell a real journalist or just Barry's UK spokesman?

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  • 38. At 08:58am on 13 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #32

    powermeerkat;

    "For the first time ever Barbies are carrying firearms?"

    Yikes, I'll be staying clear of any blondes I come across.

    511 US police officers killed by firearms in the last decade.
    6 UK police officers killed by firearms in the last 20 years.

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  • 39. At 09:00am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "fitting words" found in Mr. Obama's earlier speaches:



    “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”

    “Get in Their Faces!”

    “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry!
    I’m angry!”

    “Hit Back Twice As Hard”

    Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”

    Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”

    Obama to Democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”



    Very soothing and reconciliatory words, indeed.

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  • 40. At 09:18am on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    Again Mardell puts his own spin on what the President said. I am no fan of Obama but I do accept what he said at face value. I don't need Mardells commentary to tell me what I heard and read. As always with these journalists, he would sooner look for conflict and the negative in order to prolong his stock in trade than concilliation and the positive and in this case healing. I'm sick and tired of these journalists telling me what to think. One man's ( in- house BBC liberal ) opinion.

    I disagree with a lot of what Obama stands for but on this occasion I want to believe in his sincerity. Another piece of cheap shot journalism from Mardell however.

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  • 41. At 09:22am on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    I want to believe the POTUS was sincere and that politics were the farthest things from his mind, especially when referring to the little girl, Christina Taylor Green (we should never forget her name). To those of you who wonder about those of us in the USA who take everything President Obama says with a grain of salt; it’s because we know from whence he came. American politics, as many have pointed out; have always been down a dirty and not for the faint of heart, full contact sport. However, most of us recoil at gross dishonesty and corruption. There are 2 political constituencies in this country whose very names have come to be synonymous with political corruption; one is the State of Louisiana and the other is the City of Chicago, where Obama came up through the Democrat political machine. For the sake of the USA, I pray that a leopard can change his spots, but I’m not naïve enough to let my guard down because he is a tremendous orator.

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  • 42. At 09:25am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Bubbles The Hippo wrote:
    powermeerkat thanks for posting the youtube video, [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lil51T7UIrc]

    unfortunately I fail to see what possible relevance gun control laws in the UK have to Obama's speech. It seems you are one of those people who thinks that giving free access to weapons is the way to tackle the fact that criminals illegally obtain and carry firearms.







    The relevance is that quite a few posters from UK had claimed here earlier that their country had a v. effective gun control.

    [btw. just read a piece on British knives exploding within victim's body]


    And yes, indeed, I happen to think that unless a way is ever found to take lethal weapons away from violent criminals and plain sickos, carrying guns may be the most effective remedy.



    Ask yourself, for example, whether the massacre in Tucson would have occurred in the first place, if any and each of the congresswoman's aides had a piece and knew how to shoot straight.

    [and if the horrible massacre at Ft. Hood would have occcured if officers and soldiers were allowed to carry weapons on that base].



    Btw. the young man who dashed in, sat on the shooter and prevented him from pulling yet another clip from his pocket [the second one's spring malfunctioned] has stated expressis verbis on CNN (to Wolf Blitzer) that he was not afraid to intervene because he had a handgun on him and knew how to use it if need be, because he practiced regularly.


    [he was one of the three praised by pres. Obama in his Tuscon speech)


    P.S. Perhaps you would care to compare rates of violent crimes during which illegal firearms are used in "right to carry" states with similar rates in jurisdictions which have v. strict gun control.

    [e.g. Washington, D.C.]

    regards, and stay safe!

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  • 43. At 09:25am on 13 Jan 2011, Mr T wrote:

    As a Brit I have no right to lecture US citizens on the way they choose to go about their lives, but I take the opportunity of Freedom of Speech to make the following comments. When the US Constitution was written, American English was much closer in meaning to 'English' English. Thus, the wording of 'the right to keep and bear arms' would have been interpreted as keeping a gun in order to defend the country when called upon to do so. I believe it would not be read then as a right to carry a gun and use it for selfish individual purposes.

    In Britain, citizens could carry guns, and even swords, but that was centuries ago, and we have grown up and moved on since then.

    Of course, there are those characters who boost their lack of self-confidence by handling guns and joining gun clubs, even in Britain, just to appear at least a little macho. But the fact is confident, mature and intelligent people do not feel the need to go about 'tooled up', just in case something bad happens. As an ex-military man, I was trained and used weapons when required, but now I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and so haven't touched a gun since.

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  • 44. At 09:31am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #32

    powermeerkat;

    "For the first time ever Barbies are carrying firearms?"





    I've never wrote such comment: neither about Nancy Pelosi, nor Barbara Boxer. Or any other Barbie you might have had in mind.

    [or perhaps you meant Klaus Barbie?]

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  • 45. At 09:34am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie has quoted:

    511 US police officers killed by firearms in the last decade.
    6 UK police officers killed by firearms in the last 20 years.





    Perhaps UK police officers simply get better "duck&cover" training?

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  • 46. At 09:35am on 13 Jan 2011, laughorcry wrote:

    "... the president is suggesting that necessity is a virtue."

    Could you please explain what this means?

    A virtue is a quality that is seen as morally good. How can necessity be morally good?


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  • 47. At 09:38am on 13 Jan 2011, Obadiah Mua wrote:

    Well scripted Mark.I pray that God should keep America save from the likes of Sarah Palin who think politics is about violent rhetoric.President Obama stands above that and rightly deserves your praise.Christina was born on a very memorable day that changed America, especially foreign policy.She died on a day that will forever remain engraved in the minds of Tucson residents and the wider America.Violence only begets violence.It is time for politicians to tone down their rhetoric instead of dishing out inciting political literature and images that only serves to tear the country into shreds.Americans need to come together in this Tucson tragedy as they did on September 11,2001.Our hearts and prayers should go out to the families of Christina and the other deceased,and to Gabrielle and those recovering.

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  • 48. At 09:40am on 13 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    JOOB22
    "She and her fellow conservative tea partyers "
    ____________
    This may not be the time for this, but why is Palin considered a Tea Partyer?
    The Tea Party is allegedly founded on fiscal conservativism and pretends not to have a social agenda.
    Palin has demonstrated a clear right wing social agenda, but prior to the Tea Party produced nothing of substance fiscally.
    I see the benefits for Palin here - she gets a prepackaged fiscal ideology to subscribe to, but why would the TP allow her to do this whe it ruins their pretence of being solely concerned with fiscal government?

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  • 49. At 09:42am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldloadr: There are 2 political constituencies in this country whose very names have come to be synonymous with political corruption; one is the State of Louisiana and the other is the City of Chicago, where Obama came up through the Democrat political machine. For the sake of the USA, I pray that a leopard can change his spots.






    I wonder how long it'll take before somebody makes a movie:

    "Mr. Daley Goes to Washington".

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  • 50. At 09:48am on 13 Jan 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    Firstly I would like to say that in my own personal opinion he was completely sincere.

    Now I find it ironic that several people on here whine about americans politicising everything before trying to turn a memorial speech into some sort of campaign speech they can heckle remorselessly.

    Obama has done a hell of a lot during his presidency so far but unlike other politicians he doesn't live on a soap box constantly shouting 'look what I did!'. He has been opposed every step of the way in most of his policies even though they are all of moral, financial and diplomatic benefit to the U.S. People oppose him just because its him and he's different to what most people are used to.

    I shall promptly be hiding in a cave somewhere in Scotland if the loose cannon Sarah Palin somehow becomes president.

    Also for the record google the words 'what has obama done'. click the top link and start reading... it's quite a read.

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  • 51. At 09:52am on 13 Jan 2011, gken wrote:

    At 05:18am on 13 Jan 2011, reversechapter wrote:
    He spoke to every schizo loner who might be watching, assuring them that a despicable act like this will elicit a change in our behavior, which is exactly what they want. He went on and on about how we need to become more civil in our discourse, all because a mass murderer struck out senselessly

    If America needs to become more civil in its discourse it is not because of what happened in Arizona. It is because it is the right thing to do and because the current level of debate from left and right is letting down voters. Obama waited for long enough for other party leaders to publicly recognise this reality and when they conspicuously failed to do so he spoke out.

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  • 52. At 09:52am on 13 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    Ubama had a very measured speech now it is time for the following people to apologize for inflaming the situation

    Paul Krugman
    Bernie Sander
    The owner of the Daily Kos
    MSNBC commentators

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  • 53. At 09:53am on 13 Jan 2011, northwold wrote:

    There is something vaguely schizophrenic about President Obama. His speech was brilliant and I am sure sincerely meant. However when you look at the Declaration of Independence you will read,

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Note the wording, “all men”, not just Americans or President Obamas constituents but all men. Yet as Commander in Chief he sends missiles into Pakistani homes where occasionally there is so called collateral damage and children not so dissimilar to Christina Taylor Green are killed. Many of you will have seem the video from the helicopter (courtesy of Wikileaks) and the obvious relish shown by the crew while machine gunning people to death with the flimsiest of reasons.

    You cannot have one set of rules on one side of the US border and another on the other side. The culture of violence is an insidious infection and is no respecter of boundaries. Or to use the vernacular, “ What goes around comes around.” This is something we in the United Kingdom ought to seriously consider before we get dragged into any further military adventures.

    Like I said a great speech by President Obama but I fancy he is going to face some tough questions from God on the day he dies.

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  • 54. At 09:53am on 13 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    From what I gather it was an excellent speech; I wish I had heard it from beginning to end, but I missed it. Still, the quotes that made it into the headlines and stories go a long way to foster national unity in my opinion.

    Mark said that Pres. Obama was "trying to brand his opponents' most successful rhetoric a moral failure" when Obama said, "At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do...it's important for us to pause...and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds", but I disagree. The statement is vague enough to help address the attacks on Palin and himself without sounding accusatory at all. The real moral failure lies with the gunman.

    Mark said that the president did not mention gun control or new legislation, but that it was hard to see what else the President meant when he said, "We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future." We shall see, just do not expect guns to go way any time soon in America.

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  • 55. At 09:53am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    #43 "As an ex [British]-military man, I was trained and used weapons when required, but now I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and so haven't touched a gun since."




    I am sure that when you were in the military you didn't carry weapons to "prove" anything to yourself or anybody else but:

    1. to deter assailants

    2. to protect yourself.


    And that's what many of us (ex- and non-ex) do.



    [please, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong]



    BTW. I like your "Mr. T." nick. Very American. :-)))

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  • 56. At 09:54am on 13 Jan 2011, TNeile wrote:

    " Was he referring to the Sarah Palin bashing?"

    Yes, I'm sure. Because, as in every previous instance where Ms. Palin has been held to account for her rash words and deeds, she has managed to cast herself as the victim. If that is not narcissistic behavior — all the more poignant as the true victims lie dead or struggle for life — I don't know what is. And of course, Ms. Palin managed to, through typical lack of understanding or nuance, use words that were beyond her and, in so doing, to shove her beautiful foot even further into her shapely mouth...which is, apparently, where it most appeals to her constituents.

    When I heard the news, initially, of the shootings, my very first impulse was NOT shock. It was anger and sadness, and a hollow feeling in the gut because the congresswoman herself foretold this. There's a difference between criticizing or "bashing" and calling for the elimination of your subhuman enemy...through a Second Amendment remedy. It made me sick to hear the vitriol, and even sicker when the pigeons came home to roost on an innocent woman, child and other innocent victims. Republicans have yet to apologize for G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, bogus wars, runaway gas prices, Guantanamo Bay, Katrina, class warfare, etc., etc., etc. Don't hold your breath waiting for apologies now or ever. That would require self-examnation...a right-wing no-no.

    Palin the Victim. Good campaign slogan: It's All About Me in 2012!

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  • 57. At 09:55am on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    43. At 09:25am on 13 Jan 2011, Mr T wrote:
    Of course, there are those characters who boost their lack of self-confidence by handling guns and joining gun clubs, even in Britain, just to appear at least a little macho. But the fact is confident, mature and intelligent people do not feel the need to go about 'tooled up', just in case something bad happens. As an ex-military man, I was trained and used weapons when required, but now I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and so haven't touched a gun since.
    ___________________________________________________________
    That is your world view and I respect that. I’ve known Brits who, even when working in private security firms had your attitude towards their weapons, as in they were necessary evils. I have also known those you describe that do depend upon a gun, or a fast car or a big house for their self esteem. However, I’m pretty sure, considering where you grew up, that guns were not “normal,” whereas where I grew up and live now, guns are both normal and good craftsmanship in firearm manufacturing is admired as much as in vehicle manufacture. In my youth, it was nothing for my dad and I to visit a friend or relative and have them pull out a brand new rifle or shotgun or pistol they had just acquired for us to admire and appreciate. It parts or our country, gun culture is deeply ingrained and will never go away, however, that does not define me or my friends/relatives as you would assert.

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  • 58. At 09:57am on 13 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #44

    powemeerkat;

    No, no , i was referring to something the NRA narrator said in the video..."For the first time ever Barbies are carrying firearms?"

    Perhaps it was her accent...

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  • 59. At 09:59am on 13 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #45

    powermeerkat;

    "Perhaps UK police officers simply get better "duck&cover" training?"

    That must be it. But let me just chuck something out there for you to chew on - perhaps its because there is hardly anyone shooting at them?

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  • 60. At 10:05am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #48

    Sarah Palin has not been much more of a "fiscal conservative" than sen. Frank Murkowski(R) and his daugher Lisa Murkowski (R) have been.

    BTW. Lisa Murkowski was re-elected to a large extent because " she's never met a federal subsidy for Alaska she didn't like".


    [Hardly a Tea Party material. :-)]

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  • 61. At 10:18am on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

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

  • 62. At 10:28am on 13 Jan 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    I find it quite funny actually that americans insist on owning a gun for the sake of owning a gun.

    I can understand in the case of farmers and in remote areas of the U.S. but apart from that...aren't guns 'tools of war'.

    (Ok law enforcement carry them but they are in a 'war on crime').

    Why does your average american civilian feel the need to possess a firearm. The constituional right to 'bear arms' is an ancient right dating back to the initial formation of the U.S. I don't think Queen Elizabeth or the British Government is going to try and reclaim the Thirteen Colonies anytime soon so maybe the guns should perhaps....vanish ;)

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  • 63. At 10:31am on 13 Jan 2011, knollo wrote:

    What astounds me is the lack of discussion by the US president or the public about the fact that a young disaffected drug user can easily get hold of a semi automatic weapon and fire 31 bullets so easily! I realise the attachment americans have to there firearms, but surely if there were just restriction to single fire handguns there would be less possibility to kill and maim so easily? I find it scary that these weapons are so accepted that this is not questioned.

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  • 64. At 10:41am on 13 Jan 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    56. At 09:54am on 13 Jan 2011, TNeile


    ... Watch out she mite be reading this..... oh the horror! ;)

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  • 65. At 10:47am on 13 Jan 2011, oldfredgit wrote:

    Did the President mention it in his speech, or has anyone else considered the need for tightening the laws concerning gun ownership? Is this not the best way to help prevent a tragedy such as this from recurring? Our hearts go out to all affected by this tragic event.

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  • 66. At 10:47am on 13 Jan 2011, Mr T wrote:

    At 09:53am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    #43 "As an ex [British]-military man, I was trained and used weapons when required, but now I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and so haven't touched a gun since."

    I am sure that when you were in the military you didn't carry weapons to "prove" anything to yourself or anybody else but:

    1. to deter assailants

    2. to protect yourself.


    And that's what many of us (ex- and non-ex) do.

    Fair enough Powermeerkat - you are right!

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  • 67. At 10:49am on 13 Jan 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

    Like a cup of chilled water to the soul of a man out of fire, President Obama's speech no doubt ministered healing to many wounded souls.
    More like surgical operation to an ailing man(almost) every broken heart was mended by this golden speech.
    As its obvious every time Americans and the world at large put theirs ears down to hear this man speak, he would not let his hearers down.
    Obama has doubtless stamped his feet on the sand of history as a great orator - treading his words so carefully between the two walls yet speaking for all, not hurting either camp. I am most thrilled by his careful remembrance of "the deads, the wounded, the locals, and the entire nation" without taking any precise political side. Joining his faith and the faith of his entire family with the families of the victims (dead and alive), saying public prayers for victims and the nation is one drug that the best druggist in the world cannot prescribe.
    This indeed is one speech that the future generations will refer to as timeless national message. Well done mr President.

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  • 68. At 10:53am on 13 Jan 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

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

  • 69. At 10:53am on 13 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    9. At 04:00am on 13 Jan 2011, David Cunard wrote his post.

    Its so good to see you back,this place could do with another voice of reason.MA2 your old sparing partner has long gone AWOL,he never did get the drop on you.

    Regards...

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  • 70. At 10:57am on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    57. Oldloadr:

    "It parts or our country, gun culture is deeply ingrained and will never go away, however, that does not define me or my friends/relatives as you would assert."

    *************
    Deriding Americans for its gun culture is now commonplace. Lots of assertions, many of them off-the-mark and demonstrating little knowledge of Americans.

    And, yet, the very same people who consider themselves enlightened and tolerant think nothing of labeling gun owners in the most extreme of terms. They continually demonstrate how little familiarity they have with the culture here.

    Having an opinion about guns and/or gun control laws is one thing. Making baseless claims about gun owners is another.

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  • 71. At 10:59am on 13 Jan 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

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

  • 72. At 11:00am on 13 Jan 2011, The Blog Fodder wrote:

    "Sarah Palin for US president or Taliban taking control of US"
    And the difference is??

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  • 73. At 11:03am on 13 Jan 2011, Mr T wrote:

    At 09:55am on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    However, I’m pretty sure, considering where you grew up, that guns were not “normal,” whereas where I grew up and live now, guns are both normal and good craftsmanship in firearm manufacturing is admired as much as in vehicle manufacture.

    I appreciate that Oldloadr, but please don't think that Brits don't also admire the good craftsmanship and design in guns, it is just that in our culture the use of those finely crafted weapons is in last resort mode only.

    By the way, your comment that the gun culture is too ingrained to go away made me remember that it was ingrained in the English culture that burning someone in the hand for theft when found guilty at the Old Bailey was acceptable. Of course it is isn't now, but we know where it still is acceptable, don't we? Any culture can be changed if it is morally wrong.

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  • 74. At 11:12am on 13 Jan 2011, Soundstrue wrote:

    This is not about politics or political views or opinions. A little girl's life abruptly ended - for no reason at all! If we cannot see the tragedy in this, I think there is no hope for any of us. Obama's speech came from a place of truth and that truth does not take sides. It is only what it is.

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  • 75. At 11:21am on 13 Jan 2011, Wandwaggler wrote:

    Post number 32, Powermeerkat talked about UK police attitudes on gun control. Just a few facts: Murders in USA numbered 16204 of which 9369 involved firearms: Murders in the UK for the same period were 1201 of which 14 involved firearms. Even allowing for the fact that the USA has about 7 times as many people as the UK, that is a pretty decisive victory for a system with strong gun control. The USA is the gun murder capital of the world, the UK is 29th out of 36 countries quoted. Source: http://www.nationmaster.com/country/us-united-states/cri-crime. Now sadly we know that the USA cannot take away all the guns from people, including hormonal teenagers, drug addicts and other undesirables, but you can control rhetoric from Palin ("reload"), Glenn Beck ("...killing Michael Moore...), Bill O'Reilly ("...Go ahead, blow up Coit tower"), Ann Coulter (wishing John Edwards dead), Rush Limbaugh (the only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them), and so on. And don't pretend that this kind of rhetoric has no effect on loony toons! In fact, the probability of provoked assassinations is so great, that some of the above mentioned might be guilty of incitement. We need the USA but the USA we need is the country of Roosevelt and Eisenhower, the country of Main Streets and compassion; Give us Palin and you might as well forget about any kind of world role. With or without your weapons. Unless you want to be world village idiot.

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  • 76. At 11:25am on 13 Jan 2011, jerryjohnson wrote:

    Liberal/Labour/Democratic (left)= Egalitarianism (Equality, Cosmopolitanism, Pastoral, Loyalty, Environmentalism) OR Conservatism/Republican (Right)= Conservatism (Security, Obedience, Strong Governments, Well behaved, Respect, Traditionalism) result "cynicism or vitriol".

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  • 77. At 11:26am on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    I think that there is a gulf in understanding between the British and the Americans on the gun issue that will never go away, regardless of what gets slung back and forth here.

    Perhaps illustrating the problem in contemporary political debate we have folk needlessly polarising the discussion, claiming for instance that there is no violent crime in the UK when there plainly is...or wishing to bring mortality figures from 30 years of low-grade civil war in Northern Ireland into the argument to suggest that gun control does not work in the UK (just imagine what the NI Troubles could have been like if everybody had been "packing"?).

    Many American contributors talk emotionally about protecting themselves and their family from "evildoers". They have a fair point...although by inference they seem to be suggesting that others would not try anything to defend their families in similar circumstances! The difference though is that whilst gun crime does exist in the UK it is concentrated largely in gang-on-gang and, sadly, black-on-black violence. British contributors to these threads can't really engage with the ideas of being mugged at gunpoint because it hardly ever happens...knifepoint certainly, but rarely with guns. Similarly, I can't remember hearing about a burglar using a gun or being arrested with one. I'm sure that it does happens but it's very rare! To a British contributor, the idea of owning a gun for personal protection is pretty abstract, not because we're any wiser or gentler, it's because by and large we simply don't need to!

    Where I live, which is admittedly not in one of the major cities, there was actually a real murder last year! A man was stabbed by his ex-girlfriend in a drunken altercation. Low-lifes really, but what if they had been carrying handguns? In the same year there was also a full-on firearms emergency with hostages taken, armed police, helicopters, the whole thing. Guess what...it turned out to be a water pistol! The culprit here was also suffering from mental problems...but he ended up acting out his rage and fantasies with a toy!

    When you disengage from the personal, visceral dimension of the argument, the statistics are pretty clear and whilst gun-ownership may deter some forms of crime and give the individual a sense of reassurance, it leaves a trail of collateral damage a mile wide in wider society. In this sense, this is what an elected government is for...to make hard choices about the bigger picture. Looking at an individual case all you see is the decent citizen gunned down in a violent robbery with no means of protecting himself. If you work to the bigger picture you see the one decent citizen fight off his attackers, but roughly twenty of his fellow citizens shoot their neighbours, their wives, their kids or themselves. The numbers are pretty undeniable but if you are an ultra-libertarian you would see it the other way around. The alternative though, if we don't want elected governments to act in the interests of the wider community, is one where we all end up guarding our own potato patch with an AK47!

    I made my mind up some years back when someone who worked for the same company as me (I didn't know him personally) got lost traveling back from a restaurant in Houston. It was just getting dark and he walked down the path of a house and knocked on the front door to ask directions. He was shot dead through the front door without warning! The householder was not charged with any offence! That's quite some freedom you've got there!

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  • 78. At 11:35am on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #53

    "Note the wording, “all men”, not just Americans or President Obamas constituents but all men."

    The Constitution is binding on citizens of the US primarily and on visitors on US land, secondarily. If you are neither, you are out.

    If you don't believe it, get arrested in any other country in the world and then demand your US Constitutional rights. They will be kind of obtuse and they will demand proof of your American citizenship.

    Or they could just skip that step and simply laugh in your face and remind you of where you are. Sometimes with a rubber hose...

    You seem to be confusing the US Constitution with some sort of UN document, some UN proclamation about universal this or universal that. It isn't.

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  • 79. At 11:36am on 13 Jan 2011, thegreatflim wrote:

    I hope the US people listen to their President. He seems to be a rare politican. It would be good for the world if the US could unite behind him and give him a platform to realise the potential he clearly has. If I
    had to make a choice between him and a candidate of the ilk of Sarah Palin, that choice would be easy. It would be Mr Obama all the way. Sarah
    Palin is a frightening woman and along with her brand of politics, just plain nasty.

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  • 80. At 11:39am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #44

    powemeerkat;

    No, no , i was referring to something the NRA narrator said in the video..."For the first time ever Barbies are carrying firearms?"
    Perhaps it was her accent...








    Hey, amigo!

    Don't go that way.

    NO PASARAN! - as Dolores Ibarruri Gomez would say.



    BTW. I recall when Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for the 1st time for the governor of California, LA Times warned:

    "We should not trust politicians hailing from Austria"


    "Fitting words" for the classy leftist rag, wouldn't you say? :-)

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  • 81. At 11:49am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #45

    powermeerkat;

    "Perhaps UK police officers simply get better "duck&cover" training?"


    charlie :That must be it. But let me just chuck something out there for you to chew on - perhaps its because there is hardly anyone shooting at them?





    Well, they seemed to duck and cover pretty well when the British heir apparent and his consort where physically attacked by "peaceful British students" since there seemed to be no policeman in sight to protect them.



    [please, let me know about an outcome of the investigation launched after that highly embarrassing and actually scary incident, will ya?]


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  • 82. At 11:53am on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    70 AndreaNY

    "Deriding Americans for its gun culture is now commonplace. Lots of assertions, many of them off-the-mark and demonstrating little knowledge of Americans.

    And, yet, the very same people who consider themselves enlightened and tolerant think nothing of labeling gun owners in the most extreme of terms. They continually demonstrate how little familiarity they have with the culture here."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To be fair Andrea this cuts both ways. Many of the people defending the inalienable right to own guns regard the almost universal distaste amongst Brits on this matter to be proof positive of effeteness, cowardice, ineffectiveness etc., etc., that you would would expect from some "tea-sipping p*nsy"!

    Cultural stereotypes and myopia tend to be a two-way thing!

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  • 83. At 11:55am on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I find it quite funny actually that americans insist on owning a gun for the sake of owning a gun.

    I can understand in the case of farmers and in remote areas of the U.S. but apart from that...aren't guns 'tools of war'."






    Quite a few people have been actually murdered with kitchen knives (and not only in the UK, by any means).


    Now, would you call those kitchen utensils 'tols of war'?



    BTW. Have you ever wondered why manicure sets are not allowed in carry-on luggage?

    If not, perhaps you should.

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  • 84. At 11:58am on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    The simple fact is that guns do not protect people they kill or otherwise severely injure people. If you carry a weapon for protection surely you don't keep it loaded because the look of it itself would be enough of a deterrent?

    I don't know the facts and figures but how many 'ordinary Americans' who carry concealed loaded weapons chose to fire them in anger at finding their partner in bed with someone else or at an argument with their neighbour escalating beyond reasonable levels.

    For me guns make it easier to kill whether you're a criminal or not.

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  • 85. At 12:10pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mr T wrote: "By the way, your comment that the gun culture is too ingrained to go away made me remember that it was ingrained in the English culture that burning someone in the hand for theft when found guilty at the Old Bailey was acceptable. Of course it is isn't now, but we know where it still is acceptable, don't we? Any culture can be changed if it is morally wrong."





    Mr. T., I can mention some countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc., when they still chop off hands for some transgressions.


    And when I see dozens upon dozens of headless corpses found routinely in nearby Mexico I suspect that their heads (sometime thrown in a sack in some bar frequnted by a competition) were not severed with Beretta, Glock, Sig Sauer or even M4 Carbine, but rather with a chainsaw - kukri knives not being very popular among narcotraficantes.

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  • 86. At 12:14pm on 13 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    ""powermeerkat;

    "Perhaps UK police officers simply get better "duck&cover" training?"

    That must be it. But let me just chuck something out there for you to chew on - perhaps its because there is hardly anyone shooting at them?""

    Exactly! There is hardly anyone shooting at them because we have gun laws, unlike the US where everybody can buy a gun and shoot at everybody, even when they have a Schizophrenic disease.

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  • 87. At 12:23pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #75 "Now sadly we know that the USA cannot take away all the guns from people, including hormonal teenagers, drug addicts and other undesirables, but you can control rhetoric from Palin ("reload"), Glenn Beck ("...killing Michael Moore...), Bill O'Reilly ("...Go ahead, blow up Coit tower"), Ann Coulter (wishing John Edwards dead)..."







    I am sure that only for the sake of conciseness you've not mentioned an image on Getty of a man holding a shotgun to Sarah Palin's head, those 'ABORT Sarah Palin' stickers, the anti-Palin protester who said "Let's stone her, old school", the M.I.L.P. (Mother I'd Like to Punch), etc.

    And various images (doing the rounds during the last presidency) of George W. Bush with a gun pointed at his head, of 'Kill Bush' t-shirts and countless posters of the "Bush, the only dope worth shooting" kind?


    Am I right? :-)




    P.S. For the sake of conciseness I've skipped a popular bumper sticker:

    "Don't impeach Bush - execute him!", and other similar 'fitting words'.

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  • 88. At 12:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, Victor Hugo wrote:

    Hey King Vagabong:

    The incidence of law abiding civilians using their guns to kill cheating spouses is so small as to be irrelevent. The incidence of law abiding citizens using their guns to stop home invaders, armed robbers, rapists, and other violent criminal is much, much higher.

    And remember, Timothy McVey blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 men, women and children, with a rented truck full of fertilizer and diesel fuel. Shall we ban these substances too?

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  • 89. At 12:38pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The simple fact is that guns do not protect people they kill or otherwise severely injure people."




    Guns don't kill people any more than cars kill people.

    But if you want to believe than guns kill people by themselves, statistics show that cars are by far No 1 killer,
    firearms being distant second.


    So I say, paraphrasing the Bard: "First, let's ban all the cars!" :-)

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  • 90. At 12:40pm on 13 Jan 2011, northwold wrote:

    #78

    Typical it takes an Englishman to clarify for an American the three basic documents that led to the founding of the USA. 1. The Declaration of Independence 2. The United States Constitution and 3. The Bill of Rights.

    Now where does my quote in post #53 come from.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    No it is not from the US Constitution.

    My question, if you like, is if you believe this how should you behave.

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  • 91. At 12:41pm on 13 Jan 2011, Tweddy821 wrote:

    I am PROUD, to say: "This, is MY President, my America". From, Middle America.

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  • 92. At 12:44pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    81 Powermeerkat

    Sometimes you take your desire for some sort of last word to ludicrous extremes. It makes you sound much less intelligent than you clearly are!

    The vehicle carrying Prince Charles and his wife was attacked by people claiming to be student protesters but who looked more like everyday anarchists to me. This resulted from poor security planning and communication plus a hefty dose of bad luck! The occupants of the vehicle were shouted at and one was even "poked with a stick"! The protection officers are all armed and were "seconds from drawing their weapons!" according to the officer in charge. The fact that they didn't and chose to protect the royal couple physically says it all really. A few ruffled feathers but nobody hurt or dead.

    What would have been the appropriate outcome in your worldview? The police blazing away down the street yelling "Git surrmm you commie scum"? A few corpses in the road with the protection officer theatrically blowing his smoking pistol? Calling in heir-support? (geddit?).

    Far from regarding the police as cowards as you clearly do, I'm rather proud that they have the strength to regard drawing a weapon as the last rather than the first resort.

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  • 93. At 12:45pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    Powermeerkat you're still skirting the question. Do guns make it easier to kill people? Do guns make it easier to kill lots of people?
    Could someone carrying a gun, use it to protect himself in a similar incident and accidentally kill an innocent?

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people. I completely utterley agree. However guns make it a hell of a lot easier to kill people being that thats what they were made for.

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  • 94. At 12:49pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #77

    "If you work to the bigger picture you see the one decent citizen fight off his attackers, but roughly twenty of his fellow citizens shoot their neighbours, their wives, their kids or themselves. The numbers are pretty undeniable but if you are an ultra-libertarian you would see it the other way around."

    Speaking of numbers, here are the official ones and they speak for themselves.


    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/index.html


    The whole thing is interesting but the gun relevant numbers are in the Expanded Homicide Data Tables. Especially Table 10. Apparently the 20:1 ratio you mention above, is deniable, as far as the FBI is concerned.



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  • 95. At 12:51pm on 13 Jan 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    This opinion will not likely be popular.
    I ask myself: Was this event a "eulogy" eulogizing the deceased, the wounded...or was it entertainment?
    One of Giffords' interns got a round of applause - one of several rounds of applause for various folk - constant applause - even before Obama rose to speak.
    Common folk and dignitaries - persons who happened to be proximate to the event, preceded Obama. And after each, there was this strangely disquieting applause.
    Applause for Professor Gonzalez, who gave the Native American blessing.
    Applause for the President of the University, praising his university, citing the "outstanding leadership" of Governor Jan Brewer.
    Appause for Governor Jan Brewer saying we will go forward unbowed and undefeated.
    How does one position all of this applause into the violence, the dying, the pain? Was it release from tension? Was it courage in the face of such a terrible atrocity? Was it defiance against violence itself? Does applause help the healin?
    Then it was Obama's turn.
    The applause, the foot-stomping, the screaming was boundless.
    Obama said there was nothing he could say that "could heal the hole torn in your hearts." Not much applause on this point.
    Obama said that Gabby is a fighter and will prevail...and the crowd applauded.
    Obama mentioned Judge Roll was a graduate of the U. of A. Law School -- and there was a wave of applause - for Judge Roll or the Alma Mater?
    Obama mentioned a man who covered his wife's body with his own and was shot to death as a result. Applause.
    Obama shared the brief visit to Gabby's bedside - She opened her eyes! Obama said that meant that she knows that "we are rooting for her." The applause came big and hard.
    Obama did a "Reagan" - He shouted about ordinary persons who helped out on that day and the place went literally bonkers - clapping, yelling, clapping, yelling. I am lost for definition.
    Obama went through the victims one by one and made the identifications specific.
    Applause.
    Applause.
    Applause.
    Then gave the audience Christina-Taylor Green - the 9-year-old. In her innocence, Obama told us, she imagined a politics and a country through her child's eyes...
    The "eulogy" ends. I find myself questioing: What was that? What did I just witness?
    Was this event a "eulogy" eulogizing the deceased, the wounded...or was it entertainment? Were Obama's words fitting because they entertained, promoted pease, eulogized, or what? The words may have been fitting, carefully drawn; the applause I am sure was not orchestrated, but what did it all mean?

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  • 96. At 12:53pm on 13 Jan 2011, Victor Hugo wrote:

    And let's not forget the movie released during Bush's presidency depicting his assassination. This was high art to the liberals. Were such a movie made about Obama, the BBC and the left would be calling for the death penalty for the producer.
    http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=621

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  • 97. At 1:01pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    #88Call_Me_Ishmael wrote:

    "remember, Timothy McVey blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 men, women and children, with a rented truck full of fertilizer and diesel fuel. Shall we ban these substances too?"






    Ammonium nitrate (found in any rural store) is used by many American farmers not only as a fertilizer but to clear their fields from old tree roots.

    And that's why you'll easily get detonator caps and fuses in the same stores.


    Now, if you don't want to venture to a rural area, simply take some hydrogen and oxygen and ...

    [no, I am not going to elaborate]

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  • 98. At 1:13pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    No it is not from the US Constitution.






    If you want to believe that the Declaration had universal meaning and has pertained to all human beings everywhere you should remember that:

    1 it has not not mentioned WOMEN at all

    2. slaves were not considered 'men' at the time.


    BTW. Even a simplest IQ test or any sport competition demosntrates that all men were clearly NOT created equal.

    And even the dumbest beauty contest - that neither were all women.

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  • 99. At 1:19pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    94 JClarkson

    Oh lordy...when debates descend to pedantry. Firstly I salute your tenacity in wading through that lot. I don't have the patience. What I did determine from a very rapid assessment of Table 10 is that;

    If you add robbery and burglary together you get about one dead bad guy for every fourteen "collaterals". Secondly, the number of Americans simply shooting their girlfriends outnumbers firearms deaths in the UK by 10:1! Cut it how you like and the FBI are practiced as denying anything, close on 14,000 Americans shot one another dead last year! You're in a class of your own!

    I doubt that a tit for tat number crunching is really going to change the underlying facts of this issue.

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  • 100. At 1:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Anglophone: "The fact that they [protective service agents] didn't [draw their guns] and chose to protect the royal couple physically says it all really. A few ruffled feathers but nobody hurt or dead."







    I did't realize you had anarchists in England still, unlike hooligans.

    [anarchists being basically Greek thing these days]


    And this young bespectacled girl in CCTV footage didn't not look to me like some criminal element; more like a bookworm.


    But more importantly: it is hard to claim that the above mentioned police officers protected the royal couple physically, if their car's window was smashed and Camilla was poked with a stick.

    [to be perfectly clear: not with a police stick.]

    And finally, the mere fact that the investigation had to be launched into the police actions and reactions "says it all really". :-(

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  • 101. At 1:34pm on 13 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref#87 Powermeerkat
    "I am sure that only for the sake of conciseness you've not mentioned an image on Getty of a man holding a shotgun to Sarah Palin's head, those 'ABORT Sarah Palin' stickers, the anti-Palin protester who said "Let's stone her, old school", the M.I.L.P. (Mother I'd Like to Punch), etc."
    _____________________
    While I'm sure everyone will agree that such posters and slogans are wrong regardless of who they refer to, but there's a difference between a candidate for national executive office and a disaffected bumper sticker writer saying these things.
    There are people on both sides who push their rhetoric too far, but it does seem that it emanates from prominent figures on the right who are lionised for it by their support, while it comes from the fringes of the left.

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  • 102. At 1:35pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    90. At 12:40pm on 13 Jan 2011, northwold wrote:
    #78

    Typical it takes an Englishman to clarify for an American the three basic documents that led to the founding of the USA. 1. The Declaration of Independence 2. The United States Constitution and 3. The Bill of Rights.

    Now where does my quote in post #53 come from.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    No it is not from the US Constitution.


    It's from the Declaration of Indepenence, which is when the USA was founed. The Constitution was adopted in 1787, and ratified in 1788.
    The Bill of Rights is the first ten ammendments of the Constitution.

    If any three documents led to founding of the USA, it was the 1965 Stamp Act, The 1773 Tea Act and the Coercive or Intollerable Acts of 1774.

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  • 103. At 1:43pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

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

  • 104. At 1:54pm on 13 Jan 2011, arunmehta wrote:

    Pres Obama's speech will be judged by the people through the color/tint of the glass one wears.The new born tea party members have and are living in the world of their own.It's no wonder that Ms Palin already feeling the cap fitting is calling all the talk as 'blood libel'.Nevertheless her mention by itself is symbolic of the cynical times the US citizen's are going through.

    No words of healing will be sufficient in the times of tragedy for state of Arizona.

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  • 105. At 2:02pm on 13 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    It was overall a very good speech about bringing the country together, but I thought there were two things that were lacking:

    1) He did not name or show pictures of the people who were shot and harmed but not killed...personally, I feel they are all victims of the attack and should have been recognized...

    Instead, they only showed pictures of the people killed...

    In all honesty, they should have paid tribute to the wounded, also...

    2) They had some of the people who helped sitting in front and some of the people sitting in the middle, making it difficult to see those people...I think they should have seated all the people who helped in the front several rows...

    For example, the older man and woman who brought down the shooter should have been sitting up in the front, where people could see them, so they could be recognized better with cameras, ect.

    But besides those two details, the rest of the speech was well-given and spoken with much gusto.

    Did anyone notice how white Obama's hair is getting?

    In two years, it may be all white!
    Unless he decides to use Just for Men!

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  • 106. At 2:06pm on 13 Jan 2011, brazilwatcher wrote:

    We all know that Obama makes great speeches, that's how he became President, the trouble is, he doesn't know how, or doesn't have the capacity, to turn the words into action.

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  • 107. At 2:07pm on 13 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #100

    powermeerkat;

    "But more importantly: it is hard to claim that the above mentioned police officers protected the royal couple physically, if their car's window was smashed and Camilla was poked with a stick."

    One of these days I'll understand what point or relevance repeating this story over and over again ,on more than one blog, actually has. At worst, the armed protection officer screwed up, but what does that have to do with the broader issue of gun control on either side of the pond? You think he should have shot the kid? One things for sure, if the kid had a glock 19 instead of a stick, Prince William would have suddenly found himself higher up the line to the throne. You might think that the death in gun violence of 100,000 US children and teenagers since 1979 is excusable in defence of your 2nd Amendment. One kid killed by guns is too many for us - and never the twain shall meet.

    As for an investigation, you are making a big deal out of it like it is something unusual. Its a standard response to any incident like this, whether it was handled properly or not.

    "I did't realize you had anarchists in England still, unlike hooligans.
    [anarchists being basically Greek thing these days]"

    You dont half talk some rubbish when you get flustered mate!

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  • 108. At 2:10pm on 13 Jan 2011, rainywithchanceofdrivel wrote:

    I've never understood the logic of carrying guns. The argument seems to be that US citizens have a right to protect themselves from the state/government so they're not oppressed or taken for granted. But the government has tanks and missiles. Are gun owners just too cowardly to go get themselves a tank, or their own F22, or a nimitz-class battleship to impress the neighbours with?

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  • 109. At 2:12pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

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

  • 110. At 2:22pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Are we reduced to personality politics because there is no substantial philosophical difference between our electable political parties?

    As a proud English social democrat since 1964 I have watched the left of politics completely sabotaged and destroyed by the forces of American run global capitalism....and quite frankly there is nothing of true principle between Democrats and Republicans ...in a country where it`s a term of abuse to call someone a "socialist"... and your idea of a Marxist is the currency speculator George Soros.

    Yet the media feeds on controversy and probably needs to polarise us to create something for journalists to report....could that be why journalists working for the financiers who run our countries are desperately trying to divert attention from the real issues of immigration and the exporting of our jobs to China?

    Some intuition also tells me that the BBC are also on their hobby horse of persecuting anyone who looks like raising the subject of immigration...while promoting anyone who thinks immigration is a good idea.

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  • 111. At 2:32pm on 13 Jan 2011, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    89. At 12:38pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    "The simple fact is that guns do not protect people they kill or otherwise severely injure people."
    Guns don't kill people any more than cars kill people.But if you want to believe than guns kill people by themselves, statistics show that cars are by far No 1 killer,firearms being distant second.
    ----------------
    How many gun nuts carry a car as a means of self defence ?
    In fact how many armies have replaced the AK47 with a Nissan Micra ?

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  • 112. At 2:32pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    96. Call_Me_Ishmael:

    "And let's not forget the movie released during Bush's presidency depicting his assassination. "

    **********
    Which is why the Left's claiming it's the right wing that has the problem rings hollow...to everyone but themselves. Okay, yes, we do it but yours is worse.

    When you continually make baseless claims about gun owners, etc., your outrage becomes just more background noise. Linking lawful gun owners to murder and violence is one such claim. Of course, if you have no familiarity with gun owners, it's easy to live in the world created by your own fearful paranoia about guns; but fantasy is not where rational people should live. Otherwise, you find yourself believing that certain rhetoric is only wrong if it's used by gun owners or said to gun owners. Gun owners evidently cannot get too riled up. Better be careful what you say to them! After all, there's no telling what those right wing fanatics will do, right? And there you have it.

    As for gun owners' rights, anyone familiar with the US and its fierce protection of rights will understand that once a right is granted, it is not easily removed, especially when there is an active and strong group of supporters of it. Any effort to restrict that right is viewed as a "chipping away" or step down the slippery slope to full reversal and will be fought. The right to privacy/abortion is one example of a fiercely protected right. How many lawmakers couldn't bring themselves to outlaw partial birth abortion not because it wasn't a barbaric procedure but because they wouldn't erode abortion rights even one bit?

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  • 113. At 2:39pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 92 Anglophone

    “What would have been the appropriate outcome in your worldview? The police blazing away down the street yelling "Git surrmm you commie scum"? A few corpses in the road with the protection officer theatrically blowing his smoking pistol? Calling in heir-support? (geddit?).

    Far from regarding the police as cowards as you clearly do, I'm rather proud that they have the strength to regard drawing a weapon as the last rather than the first resort.”

    I remember a few years ago seeing Robin Williams on TV doing stand up on a trip to the UK.

    He ‘explained’ the difference between UK and US cops.

    US

    (Mimes shooting)

    ‘Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

    Stop or I’ll shoot!’

    UK

    ‘Stop!

    Stop – or I shall shout stop again!’’

    ;-)

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  • 114. At 2:50pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    96. At 12:53pm on 13 Jan 2011, Call_Me_Ishmael wrote:
    'And let's not forget the movie released during Bush's presidency depicting his assassination. This was high art to the liberals. Were such a movie made about Obama, the BBC and the left would be calling for the death penalty for the producer.'

    Right-wingers appear obsessed with this film. As I recall it was a TV film made for Channel 4. I recorded it but never got around to watching it. I don’t recall the reviews being especially good.

    What the right-wingers always seem to forget is that there is a difference between creating a work of fiction about something and desiring it to happen. AFAIK this film was the former. Just like the recent TV film that imagined Prince Harry being captured and held hostage in Afghanistan.

    As I recall, the book ‘Shall We Tell The President’ was originally a book (by leading Conservative J Archer) about a plot to assassinate a fictional President Edward Kennedy. (I've a feeling he later changed it to a fictional President Hillary Clinton.) I read v little of the book but that had nothing to do with any political objections – I just found it badly written.

    “Were such a movie made about Obama, the BBC and the left would be calling for the death penalty for the producer”

    Was it a serious piece of work – as opposed to a right wing fantasy - hardly.

    I don’t recall the BBC ever calling for the death penalty for anyone, but if you have an example I should be delighted to hear it.

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  • 115. At 2:50pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    100 Powermeerkat

    " But more importantly: it is hard to claim that the above mentioned police officers protected the royal couple physically, if their car's window was smashed and Camilla was poked with a stick."

    Yes...but breaking a car window doesn't carry a death sentence, even in America. Imagine the fuss if that police officer had drawn his pistol and fired at an unarmed man threatening the mechanisms of the state with an stick and an empty dustbin. Worse still, imagine the real heavies jumping out of the back-up car with their Heckler & Koch machine guns and requesting that the crowd desist immediately... your way?

    The Met are still in all sorts of trouble over the mistaken shooting of a Brazilian electrician six years ago and they don't want anything new. Mind you, there are folk on the left wing of popular politics insisting to this day that this was an execution ordered from the very top of government. SOmething about "all the people, all the time" springs to mind.

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  • 116. At 2:54pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    101. At 1:34pm on 13 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote

    While I'm sure everyone will agree that such posters and slogans are wrong regardless of who they refer to, but there's a difference between a candidate for national executive office and a disaffected bumper sticker writer saying these things.
    There are people on both sides who push their rhetoric too far, but it does seem that it emanates from prominent figures on the right who are lionised for it by their support, while it comes from the fringes of the left.
    ///////////////

    Weasel words apart I take it therefore that you consider Obama was coming from the fringes of the left in things that he said when running for office and not a prominent figure.?

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  • 117. At 3:01pm on 13 Jan 2011, ainglis wrote:

    I have to confess I was surprised by the tone of the entire gathering, it felt more like a campaign rally than an occasion of remembrance. I admit that I did not watch the entire event, but that was my impression. I was expecting something much more sombre - but perhaps this is just the American way?

    I am also certain that the president was sincere when he spoke about the victims. Whatever you may think of his policies, the man is a husband and father and a human being, he would have been as appalled as the rest of us over this tragedy.

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  • 118. At 3:02pm on 13 Jan 2011, Dana Blankenhorn wrote:

    The President is a student of history. He knows when to be Lincolnesque. This upsets his "friends" in the Netroots, but it's the surest path to long-term change.

    Americans have engaged in a Cold War version of the Civil War with one another since Vietnam. Sarah Palin is all about continuing this conflict. Netroots activists rose up in the last decade because we were tired of being battered by our fellow Americans.

    But real change doesn't mean us or them. In a Cold War you can't win through battle. You win by changing societies. The Cold War with the USSR was won by our economy. The Cold Civil War is a political struggle that can only be won through a return to civility. That seems to be the President's consistent view, and this speech is a good example of what he's trying to do.

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  • 119. At 3:05pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong AndreaNY in post 112 but until he pulled the trigger he was a lawful gun owner? Therefore its somewhat difficult not to tie lawful gun owners to gun violence being that you never know when one will snap and become an.. unlawful gun owner?

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  • 120. At 3:07pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    9. David Cunard:

    Welcome back. Hope you're on the road to recovery.

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  • 121. At 3:07pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    73. At 11:03am on 13 Jan 2011, Mr T wrote:
    By the way, your comment that the gun culture is too ingrained to go away made me remember that it was ingrained in the English culture that burning someone in the hand for theft when found guilty at the Old Bailey was acceptable. Of course it is isn't now, but we know where it still is acceptable, don't we? Any culture can be changed if it is morally wrong.
    ______________________________________________________________
    1. By which moral compass do you judge our gun culture to be immoral?
    2. The high water mark of gun control was in the Clinton era. Since then lots of gun laws in many jurisdictions have been rolled back, by popular demand. We are a democracy as dysfunctional as it may seem.
    3. I have a theory about our basic differences in our approach to guns, or anything else. Except for those of pure African decent (there aren’t very many of them, anyway) all of us have ancestors that left Europe or Asia (including American Indians) for a reason. Something was more important to our ancestors than safety or comfort. Until the invention of the steam ship, the odds of even making it here weren’t that good, yet they came, many fleeing the British way of doing things, as well as the French, German, Italian, Scandinavian way of doing things (among others). The Irish came in two major waves: the first in the 1700s was mostly Protestants that were tired of being stuck between the British overlords and the Catholic peons. The 2nd and most famous was the Catholics fleeing the Potato Famine. Yet, your ancestors and many others (even in Ireland) chose to stay, maybe better the devil you know… Anyway, our ancestors were collectively risk takers who rankled at too much authority coming down from an Earthly ruler (or even parliament) and your ancestors come to embrace collective security more and more. That’s my theory, anyway. :)

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  • 122. At 3:08pm on 13 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    "And finally, the mere fact that the investigation had to be launched into the police actions and reactions "says it all really". :-("

    PMK: An investigation is expected in this case and there would certainly be one if they had opened fire.

    It is sad that you think Royal Protection Officers gunning down kids would be a better response. :(

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  • 123. At 3:13pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    112. At 2:32pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote
    How many lawmakers couldn't bring themselves to outlaw partial birth abortion not because it wasn't a barbaric procedure but because they wouldn't erode abortion rights even one bit?
    /////////////

    An excellent comment that I have in a different way sought to highlight in several of my comments.

    Because of the nature of the US Constitution and the entrenched reason for the gun laws any modification to it and them, whomever is in office is extremely difficult.

    To a lesser but different but similar extent, the same can be said in relation to abortion.

    But for all of the hysteria by the HYS Brits on here ( and what do they really know and understand about America and Americans ? ) about guns in the US lets just remind ourselves of the barbaric nature of partial birth abortion and the fact that there are an average of 1.2 million abortions in the US annually.

    Gun related homicide pales somewhat in comparison.

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  • 124. At 3:22pm on 13 Jan 2011, Dana Blankenhorn wrote:

    After writing my previous comment I again read the speech, in full. Anyone who wasn't moved by it will never hear anything but their own prejudices.

    Some comments here are angry about that, especially when others expressed just such beliefs. But I'm not angry. I'm sad for those who will deny their own humanity in the name of any short-term gain. There is nothing more tragic.

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  • 125. At 3:23pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

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

  • 126. At 3:43pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    119. Kingvagabond:

    Correct me if I'm wrong AndreaNY in post 112 but until he pulled the trigger he was a lawful gun owner? Therefore its somewhat difficult not to tie lawful gun owners to gun violence being that you never know when one will snap and become an.. unlawful gun owner?

    ***********
    Before he was a lawful gun owner he was a mentally deranged individual. It is ludicrous to assume the same of other lawful gun owners. Claiming that one can never know when a gun owner might "snap" borders on paranoia.

    It is you who cannot separate the mental state of this shooter and that of other lawful gun owners. And this, in a nutshell, is a big part of the problem.

    Attacking gun owners is a no-win proposition, especially when they have broken no laws and handle guns more responsibly that those who live in fear of guns could ever imagine.

    The problem, as I see it, is not that criminals use guns to break the laws but that many law-abiding gun owners would do no such thing. They are neither crazy nor irresponsible. Thus, we'd have to take away their rights in order to deal with criminal gun possession, which hasn't been a very successful endeavor thus far. It's a worthwhile debate. What is counterproductive, however, is to impugn gun owners when you know little about their behavior.

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  • 127. At 3:44pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    122. At 3:08pm on 13 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:
    It is sad that you think Royal Protection Officers gunning down kids would be a better response. :(
    ______________________________________________________________

    Since your royals are only vestigial organs on your body politic, I don’t think the kid should have been shot, but if it had been a person of real authority, duly elected by the will of the people, your damn straight the kid should have been drilled. One individual has no right to assault democracy by threatening harm or actually harming a democratic leader.

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  • 128. At 3:45pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    WorcesterJim

    Sadly what I think that you've witnessed is just the death of ideology. The creators of the Labour party quarreled and fell out, but their successors managed to put together the post-war social contract and accompanying welfare state...arguably one of the greatest leaps forward in our history!

    By the 70's the Labour party was shot through, not so much with social democrats as the hard left who helped the process of declining national competiveness as none before. The radicalism and, at times, the nihilism simply bought in the Thatcher era (it was an election, not a coup remember). This regime did some ugly but mostly necessary reform...although it is mostly ignored on the Left that it was the massive appreciation of Sterling as a petro-currency with North Sea Oil that made the enormous "tail" of strike-ridden, nationalised, low-productivity British industry so uncompetitive, rather than the Iron Lady apparently "closing everything down" out of spite!

    Anyway...Mrs T went mad and the public sentiment swing leftwards again in frustration with a government that let ideology overtake common sense. Critically though, not back to the hard-left of the 70s, as the public remembered the chaos and weren't prepared to go that way again. Social democracy drifted back into the centre ground and finally came to power under Tony Blair, although many would argue that this wasn't really a party of social democracy at all.

    Well we both know the story! New Labour made some modest social reforms but was largely a glitz machine that took away any remaining semblance of restraint in the exercise of "banker capitalism", leading us all the way to the spectacular "bust" of 2007/8. It also criminally mismanaged immigration policy...seemingly for no greater reason than "annoying the Tories". Stuffing your core vote and storing up decades of social problems seems a curiously high price to pay to get one over on your opponents.

    So where are we? State ownership and central planning has been and gone. Privatisation has been tried, delivering cheaper services at the expense of hollowing out public institutions and leaving them to be bought out by overseas companies. The City has flourished at the expense of virtually every other economic activity in the land and has transformed the word "innovation" to simply mean ever more elaborate forms of tax avoidance. Now we've woken up to the fact that we're going broke and we're having to look hard at what we really need to be spending our money on...oh, and we've got a couple of million extra people sloshing around in this small island that we shouldn't really need.

    Right and left have failed. They have failed because ideology and political paradigms always fail in the end. It's just the length of time between failures that counts for anything! We simply swing back and forth on the pendulum of public sentiment between political fashions, because neither is entirely right, nor entirely wrong...there are simply circumstances.

    I rather welcome a world managed on the basis of common sense and basic fairness than one driven by competing ideology.

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  • 129. At 3:46pm on 13 Jan 2011, reubenr wrote:

    Wow! There are so many good comments. I could not possibly add anything. It was a great speech and I do hope that we all rise to the occaission. I would only like to mention that more and more frequently I have turned to Europen news media, rather than the US press, to get a better sense about what is going on in my own country. I am grateful for articles like these that feel honest and fresh.

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  • 130. At 3:47pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    Firstly I fail to see the relevence between abortion and murder.

    However if you decide you want to use evocative arguments to try and hide behind simple statistics then go for it.

    Partial birth abortion legislation was passed and signed into law and a judge banned it because Bush jnr had left out anything allowing the procedure to be used if it had to be used to save the Mother's life.

    You're more than welcome to take a second attempt at passing it next time you're in as long as you're prepared to include the right for it to be used to save the mothers life.

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  • 131. At 3:52pm on 13 Jan 2011, amaryr wrote:

    Reading through the comments I am struck by how many of you are hanging on to the apparent need to go on villifying your perceived opponents.

    Everyone needs to cool their rhetoric. On both sides. To go on saying, 'Well they said... or they did.... it first...' is so childish - the sort of behaviour small children get scolded for in primary school. A little civility does not stop heated or well argued debate, or crush opposing points of view. Nor does it preclude well reasoned opposition. The freedom everyone on both 'sides' cherish goes hand in hand with responsibility. The sort of language in everyday use now is anything but responsible.

    The young man who perpetrated this shooting in Arizona appears to be mentally disturbed. No one on either side of the gun debate can legislate for a psychotic episode - we have suffered these in the UK too and it's probable such episodes will happen again anywhere in the world. But lawmakers and societies owe it to themselves and those they represent to make it as hard as possible for them to happen.

    Loughner may not have sat down and read the articles, or seen the disputed cross-hair map that so many are blaming, but no-one with access to the internet, or even TV and newspapers can fail to be influenced by the general mood of vitriol and unpleasantness fed to all of us. Given a certain level of psychosis some individuals may indeed act on impulse.

    President Obamas speech was a courageous attempt to calm and sooth many who are genuinely hurt and confused by all the sheer nastiness. Those who criticise applause as being out of place at such a ceremony should consider that it is just one small way people can actually show their emotion, their need to be understood and come together as human beings. Most of us can all too easily put ourselves in the place of those whose lives have been changed utterly by the events in Tucson. We have children, parents and elect those we wish to represent us. None of them deserve to be hurt or killed. Common humanity means that while we can stand back and be grateful it didn't happen to our immediate families, we understand the horror of those who are affected.

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  • 132. At 3:55pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #101:

    Since I'ver already quoted some "fitting words" from Mr. Obama's earlier speeches and do not intend to repeat them - it's up to you to determine whether the current president of the United States and a Commander-Chief of its military forces represents "leftist fringes".



    BTW. I am not aware that S. Palin is a candidate for any national office or that any political entity plans/wants to nominate her for it.

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  • 133. At 3:57pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    113 John from Dublin

    Loved the Robbie Williams thing. Still it will be a sad day if the police have to be armed.

    Spike Milligan got right with his sketch in which the stripy-shirted crook yells "Look-out...the copper's got a whistle". Followed by the "gun-fight" in which police and crooks take cover and blow whistles at one another!

    You probably had to see it!

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  • 134. At 3:58pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    One description of to stink in my dictionary is ' to impart a bad smell '. In my opinion, it is arguably, a description of Mardells left wing blog and his BBC in-house liberal journalism; as it takes a sly and snide dig at Sarah Palin.

    That's what it's effect on me is .

    It seems such opinions are not liked because I had it removed.





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  • 135. At 4:00pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Did anyone notice how white Obama's hair is getting?

    In two years, it may be all white!
    Unless he decides to use Just for Men!"








    Lucy, considering a predicament Greece is in I doubt "Grecian Formula" would do the trick.


    BTW. I've noticed that Mr. Osama's beard has also turned white and in his last videos it's been clearly painted black.

    [this piece of information just for a balance]

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  • 136. At 4:09pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    127 OldLoadr

    Perhaps you needed to see it. "Police shoot dead youth brandishing stick and empty dustbin". It's not the sort of headline that I relish!

    The day that we have to shoot comedy anarchists will be the one when we have lost all sense of proportion. Not all problems in the world can be solved by putting a bullet through them, whatever Sarah Palin thinks!

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  • 137. At 4:11pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #111 "How many gun nuts carry a car as a means of self defence ?
    In fact how many armies have replaced the AK47 with a Nissan Micra ?"





    Most of thugs still using AK-47 usually drive in Toyota pick-up trucks.

    And most of fanatical guerillas replaced their Ak-47s (an inacurate and an obsolete 7.62mm) with better things, their weapon of choice being in recent years shaped IEDs supplied mostly by Islamic Republic of Iran.

    [Co. Qaddafi run out of Czechoslovakian SEMTEX long time ago]



    Next question re Armament 101?

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  • 138. At 4:16pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Anglophone "Yes...but breaking a car window doesn't carry a death sentence, even in America. "




    You break a window of my car at an intersection, stick your paw in and you'll learn things not described in any police manual. :-)

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  • 139. At 4:17pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    130. At 3:47pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:
    Partial birth abortion legislation was passed and signed into law and a judge banned it because Bush jnr had left out anything allowing the procedure to be used if it had to be used to save the Mother's life.

    You're more than welcome to take a second attempt at passing it next time you're in as long as you're prepared to include the right for it to be used to save the mothers life.
    __________________________________________________________________
    You missed one thing: Partial birth abortion is a doctor induced still birth of a viable baby. Since the baby is viable outside the womb and the mother has to deliver a baby developed enough to live outside the womb, anyway, there was no reason to add your exclusion since it can't happen. The only reason for partial birth abortion is to kill a viable baby. Period. Therefore, the idea is germane to a discussion on murder since that is what it is. If it’s OK to kill a 9 month fetus, why isn’t it OK to kill the same child 9 months later?

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  • 140. At 4:20pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "It is sad that you think Royal Protection Officers gunning down kids would be a better response. :("


    Wait a moment!


    A dozen posts back I was told in no uncertain terms that
    those assailants were NOT "peaceful British students" but ANARCHISTS.

    [If I remember my Chesterton- English anarchists usually threw bombs]


    So can you work out a common line of defense before you attack again? :-)

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  • 141. At 4:21pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    134 Kentucker

    Your comments are probably getting spiked because you keep linking everything with abortion. That's an emotive subject and not linked as far as I can see with events in Tuscon or the President's speech.

    You are entitled to your views but sometimes the moderators just get it in for someone. I routinely get posts pulled and an admonishing e-mail for nothing. I check the post for foul language or incitement of any kind and can't see what's wrong. I think it depends a lot on which particular intern is on duty that day...working away for nothing in the hope that someone will offer a paying job in a few years time. Your heart goes out sometimes;-)

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  • 142. At 4:28pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    137. At 4:11pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    Most of thugs still using AK-47 usually drive in Toyota pick-up trucks.

    And most of fanatical guerillas replaced their Ak-47s (an inacurate and an obsolete 7.62mm) with better things, their weapon of choice being in recent years shaped IEDs supplied mostly by Islamic Republic of Iran.
    ________________________________________________________
    I have to admit something PMK, the AK-47 is the Timex watch of assault rifles; not terrible accurate but it is almost impossible to neglect or abuse it enough for it to malfunction. In Iraq, I had AKs in my armory that were stamped 1956! The only thing I didn’t like was the selector is a lever about 4 inches long and it goes: Safe, Auto, Semi instead of Safe, Semi, Auto.

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  • 143. At 4:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    137 Powermeerkat

    " Most of thugs still using AK-47 usually drive in Toyota pick-up trucks."

    Can we compromise and agree that a ban on Toyota pick-up trucks would be a good thing? The terrorist vehicle of choice! Force them to drive the Nissan Sunny. I think that I'd blow myself up rather than do that (moderators pen quivering here I think).

    PS: The Iranians do supply some quite sophisticated shaped charges but the bulk of IEDs and roadside bombs are old artillery shells or just good old fertilizer in a hole in the ground.

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  • 144. At 4:33pm on 13 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    I think Sarah Palin's speech showed her usual ignorant position, & she seems to want to be the next David Duke happy to justify and stir up hate politics.

    In my opinion Jesus would have been a Democrat, despite the Religious Right

    I'm a Christian but I believe Islam is a not a world threat.
    A muslim murderer proves to America the muslim threat,
    but a white american murderer is a just one lone nut job.*

    * (which is the usual typical hypocritical stereotyping and ignorant double standards )

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  • 145. At 4:34pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    208...Anglophone ...I gladly embrace your move from tactical point scoring to developing a view which many British people hold to be a fair-minded overview of British politics since WW2.
    We shall just have to disagree about the death of ideology because I recognise my belief in the need for an ideological foundation for our lives is an emotional one and no better than any other.

    As to your comments about party politics I think credible party politics has been murdered...but hope for a return to common sense when our masters in the USA begin to recognise that we (and they) have absolutely no right to steal and bully the rest of mankind while being hypocritically self righteous about our love of God and the radical SOCIALIST teachings of Jesus Christ!

    The reason politics of any substance is dead is nothing to do with us consciously and deliberately forsaking ideoloy...it`s because the whole world is now run by and for the benefit of the sort of moneylenders of the sort Jesus Christ threw out of the temple....and he got crucified for his pains!

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  • 146. At 4:37pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #139

    Have you noticed a clear pattern, Oldlodr?

    Folks who are against death penalty are usualy the same ones who support partial-birth abortions.

    Whereas folks who are for death penalty are usually against partial birth abortions.

    I guess it comes down to whether one thinks a life fully wasted is more precious than a life full of promise, or just the opposite.

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  • 147. At 4:41pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    Partial Birth Abortions are those carried out on fetus' over 20 weeks old not necessary at 9 months. In fact on the whole I very much doubt these fetus' are anywhere near 9 months old.

    The fact that thee was no provision included for exceptions based on the safetyof the mother and this was what got it rules unconstitutional this would clearly suggest that there is need for such a provision.

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  • 148. At 4:42pm on 13 Jan 2011, baircash wrote:

    Obama's speech was great. I still believe that most Americans are suffering from attack fatigue. They want just want solutions. We are adults & are willing to make the hard decisions. We look to our leaders for guidance. This seem in short supply from either side.

    As for guns, that horse has left the stable & will never get back. Just the logistics of confisticating all the weapons in the US prevents this. Yet the NRA supposes this as a realistic possiblity. The 30+ capacity magazines? Only takes one bullet to do the job. Arizona , just shows that the capacity only increases the odds against the innocent. When I used to hunt in Maine. 5+ shells in the 30 30 was all we ever needed.
    Public Radio states that large capacity are flying off the shelves. One gun shop owner stated that buyers are seeing if they can switch magazines quicker than the Arizona shooter? Just the wierdness that makes us us.

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  • 149. At 4:45pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    106. At 2:06pm on 13 Jan 2011, brazilwatcher wrote:
    "We all know that Obama makes great speeches, that's how he became President, the trouble is, he doesn't know how, or doesn't have the capacity, to turn the words into action."

    Totally agree and this is becoming more and more self-evident. However, his speech is just what America needed and wanted to hear.

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  • 150. At 4:55pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    · 140. At 4:20pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    ·
    " Wait a moment!/A dozen posts back I was told in no uncertain terms that those assailants were NOT "peaceful British students" but ANARCHISTS./[If I remember my Chesterton- English anarchists usually threw bombs] /So can you work out a common line of defense before you attack again? :-)”

    No you weren’t

    # 92 Anglophone wrote: “The vehicle carrying Prince Charles and his wife was attacked by people claiming to be student protesters but who looked more like everyday anarchists to me.”

    Can you see the subtle but important difference between saying ‘they were not students, they were anarchists’ and ‘they claimed to be students but looked like anarchists to me’?

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  • 151. At 5:01pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    132 powermeerkat wrote:

    “Re #101:/Since I'ver already quoted some "fitting words" from Mr. Obama's earlier speeches and do not intend to repeat them - it's up to you to determine whether the current president of the United States and a Commander-Chief of its military forces represents "leftist fringes".’

    PMK provided the following quotes earlier at #39
    ““They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
    “Get in Their Faces!”
    “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry!
    I’m angry!”
    “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
    Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
    Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
    Obama to Democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.””

    Assuming they are accurate, personally they seem largely innocuous to me. And the first line is fairly obviously a quote from Seán Connery in The Untouchables. Having said that, if Obama had said that about McCain, McCain had complained, Obama had ignored him and McCain had subsequently been shot – I think there is just the faintest possibility that Fox, Rush and the Reps would have mentioned it.

    (They certainly seem innocuous compared to some of the quotes from Rep elected politicians or candidates I quoted here recently - “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous….’ - the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." - ''Our nation was founded on violence. The option is on the table…”)

    “BTW. I am not aware that S. Palin is a candidate for any national office or that any political entity plans/wants to nominate her for it.”

    The only national offices I know of in the US that people run for are POTUS and VPOTUS. I am not aware that anyone has declared themselves a candidate for either party in 2012 – not even Obama.

    Having said that, there is huge speculation as to whether Palin will run, and she is one of the front-runners in polls of Republicans.

    And AFAIK both major parties nominate the candidate who wins the Primaries, has the most delegates, and wins the nomination at the Convention – regardless of whether the senior members of the party plan or want to nominate that person. (In fact I have read that many senior Reps are terrified at the prospect of SP being their candidate – the difficulty being that she is so popular with (some of) the roots, and the TPs, that they don’t dare publicly oppose her.)

    And as I recall, 2 years ago she was the Republican candidate for Vice President. And had McCain won, she would now be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Vice President to one of the oldest Presidents in history, with a history of medical problems.

    (It occurs to me that perhaps McCain, like Baldrick, had a cunning plan.

    If Palin had been his VP, no one would ever have dared assassinate him.

    No one sane, anyway.)

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  • 152. At 5:05pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 133 Anglophone wrote:

    “113 John from Dublin

    Loved the Robbie Williams thing”

    Anglo, I fear you are confusing Robbie Williams, the popular US comic and actor, with Robin Williams, the member of Take That, who has a thing about Angels.

    ;-P

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  • 153. At 5:20pm on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    36. At 08:34am on 13 Jan 2011, RomeStu wrote:

    " ... Still, I agree with you that the "Blood Libel" comment was not helpful. It is a highly specific term, and unlikely to be even known by people who do not understand it's meaning (I refer to the speech-writers, and not necessarily the speaker of the words) and this makes its use even more inappropriate, especially since she is Jewish."

    "I think that Obama's speech was inclusive and non-political as should be the case, and that the Palin camp "doth protest too much"."

    "Whatever the reasons behind this troubled young mans actions, if brakes can now be applied to the poisonous political rhetoric of late then some small good will be done."

    "My thoughts are with the injured survivors and the families and friends of those killed."

    __________

    Well said, Stu.

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  • 154. At 5:21pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldloadr:
    I have to admit something PMK, the AK-47 is the Timex watch of assault rifles; not terrible accurate but it is almost impossible to neglect or abuse it enough for it to malfunction. In Iraq, I had AKs in my armory that were stamped 1956!





    Why do you think Kalashnikov is still commonly referred to as AK-47?


    Becasue 63 years ago Comrade Kalashnikov simplified already highly reliable Nazi StG (that's Sturmgewehr for those who know GeHman) to the point that any moron with an IQ of a scallop could use it and reload it, if it jammed, even in the middle of a desert storm, e.g. on Sinai. :-)

    [that's why Kalach has become a favorable assault weapon of Warsaw Pact Armies and assorted ME terrorist outfits (Amal, al-Aqsa, Black September, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) as well as S. American commie narco-guerillas. [such as Colombian FARC supplied by Venezuela].


    BTW. AK-47s used by Taliban have been made mostly in China.

    [I guess times are tough and money is tight. :-)]



    P.S. Have you also found, after entering Hussein's Iraq, those Roland-3 French missiles in Saddam's armory with stamps clearly showing they were manufactured (let alone delivered) long AFTER UN arms embargo had been imposed? :-)))

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  • 155. At 5:24pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    146. At 4:37pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    I guess it comes down to whether one thinks a life fully wasted is more precious than a life full of promise, or just the opposite.
    _____________________________________________________


    I noticed that a long time ago. Diane Feinstein and Bill Clinton are a few of the politicians that will kill babies and murderers, at least, IMHO that is clearer logic than saving murderers and killing babies.

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  • 156. At 5:26pm on 13 Jan 2011, starFloridian wrote:

    As a Republican, I do not often have kind words for President Obama, but I have to say that his speech at the Tucson memorial was brilliant, quite the best I have ever heard him deliver. His plea for the need for togetherness, in the wake of this terrible tragedy, was indeed a direct criticism of those on the left who have tried to politicize it by the disgusting suggestion that Sarah Palin's map targeting those Democrat seats that were vulnerable in the election was the catalyst for the assassin's bloodbath. Those responsible for these vicious, despicable utterances should be cringing listening to Palin's video response - that is if they had the guts to watch it.

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  • 157. At 5:35pm on 13 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    This is my first posting in this or any blog. I suppose I feel like one does just before jumping into a freezing-cold lake (which I haven't done for some years). But here goes.

    Although Sarah Palin's speech did not measure up to the President's, it did have something in common with his: an appeal to stop the finger -pointing. Obama's speech contained these words: "Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations..." and though Palin was just defending herself against finger-pointers, she did make the general point that civilised debate between opposing parties and points of view was part of the tradition of American political relations.

    American readers may be interested to know that record numbers of voters in the UK voted for third parties in the last elections, and the two-party system (for good or bad) may one day be a thing of the past here. But the American political system should remain strong providing that the two parties retain their basic respect for each others' values - do you agree?

    I expect it would be hoping too much to see the blogosphere adopting all the binding rules of civilised debate! But many of the recent postings on the Arizona shootings and their consequences have led to undue personal abuse between bloggers. I hope that I can take part in debates where others' opinions are respected. Finger-pointing is fine in the blogosphere but only if it's backed by facts, not prejudice.

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  • 158. At 5:36pm on 13 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref#116 Kentucker
    "Weasel words apart I take it therefore that you consider Obama was coming from the fringes of the left in things that he said when running for office and not a prominent figure.?"
    _____________
    I take it you can provide examples of things Obama has said on a par with suggesting that Reid/Bush/Moore etc be attacked or even killed. Otherwise by pretending the comments PMK helpfully provided from Obama are anywhere near as bad, you're only blowing so much smoke.
    Where are the comments from left wing politicians whose profiles match Palin or Michelle "I want my constituants to be armed and dangerous" Bachmann. Or even from left-wing media pundits with profile's like Beck, O'Reilly or Coulter?

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  • 159. At 5:43pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Anglophohne : Can we compromise and agree that a ban on Toyota pick-up trucks would be a good thing?"



    Can we compromise and agree that it's been mostly Corollas and some Lexuses which accelerated even after you hit the brakes?
    [at least in U.S.]

    Thus being a bigger threat to one's life much closer to home? :-)))


    [Aston Martins being harmful mostly to one's check book]

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  • 160. At 5:45pm on 13 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 90, northwold:

    "Typical it takes an Englishman to clarify for an American the three basic documents that led to the founding of the USA. 1. The Declaration of Independence 2. The United States Constitution and 3. The Bill of Rights"

    That's two documents, clown.

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  • 161. At 5:46pm on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    54. At 09:53am on 13 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "From what I gather it was an excellent speech; I wish I had heard it from beginning to end, but I missed it. Still, the quotes that made it into the headlines and stories go a long way to foster national unity in my opinion."

    ...

    "Mark said that the president did not mention gun control or new legislation, but that it was hard to see what else the President meant when he said, "We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future." We shall see, just do not expect guns to go way any time soon in America."

    ____________

    Bien, it was indeed a good speech.

    Most politicians are surprisingly poor public speakers. There are some good ones: Tommy Douglas was a powerful speaker; Real Caouette was a powerful speaker; Ronald Reagan was one of the folksiest, comfortable-like-an-old-shoe speakers I have ever heard.

    And then there's President Obama.
    He has a gift, no doubt about it.

    ---------

    The lead editorial in the Globe & Mail this morning chastised the president for not making a loud, clear, explicit call for proper gun control in the US.

    With respect, that would have been a mistake. Wrong time. Wrong place.

    I agree with Bienvenue. This statement is about gun control:

    "We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future."

    This was an appropriate statement to make at this time and in that venue.

    The Globe also seems to forget that the President took on the Likud/AIPAC frontally, only to find out that more members of Congress were prepared to subordinate the interests of America to those of a foreign power than were willing to support the President.

    The President took on the health care industry in a frontal attack, and was badly mauled.

    The Oil industry has been openly and directly confrontational since day one.

    Just how many powerful enemies does the Globe think the President can take on, frontally, all at once?

    No, even Lincoln had to delay the Emancipation Proclamation until the political climate was ready for it - and until the Union Armies had fought something that at least looked like a substantial victory.

    The time to take on the gun lobby is coming, but it is unlikely to be a direct frontal attack even when it does come.

    The road to gun law reform runs through the valley of Supreme Court Justice replacement, and the hills of campaign finance reform and non-partisan-redistricting-to-end-Gerrymandering.

    ----------

    "We shall see, just do not expect guns to go way any time soon in America."

    Quite so.

    The frequent assumption is, though, that you can't have significant or useful gun control while people still own guns. That isn't true:

    We have lots of gun owners, and we also have sensible and effective gun control that saves a lot of lives and prevents a lot of injuries.

    It's quite possible to have both.

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  • 162. At 5:48pm on 13 Jan 2011, _marko wrote:

    RE abortion, Jesus and gun control

    What about the Middle East, World War II, the British Empire and poisoned wells?

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  • 163. At 5:50pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    141. At 4:21pm on 13 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:
    134 Kentucker

    Your comments are probably getting spiked because you keep linking everything with abortion. That's an emotive subject and not linked as far as I can see with events in Tuscon or the President's speech.

    You are entitled to your views but sometimes the moderators just get it in for someone
    ////////////////

    Thanks but I think the latter rather than the former.

    What I have sought to do with regard to abortion is to highlight what, in my view, is the hypocricy, of those that seek to pass judgement on another nation and how it conducts it's affairs, with particular moralising about it's gun laws; extrapolating that such laws are uncivilised and the cause of many homicides, whilst choosing to ignore the irony of 1.2 million abortions, most of which are just another means of post contraception and most are barbaric partial birth abortions, whereby a baby's skull is crushed with forceps.

    This isn't a left or right issue. But a moral issue. I suspect also that most Democrats would support the right to bear arms.It is also an American issue. It's only the lefties over here that want to bash everything American and see this as another means to do so.

    Ditto Sarah Palin/Tea Party/Republicans/Christians. The difficulty they have is that Obama being black poses something of the horns of a dilemma. How can we bash Americans when the President is, ostensibly a black American Christian and not seem racist. Ah yes, but he is a different sort of Christian ( one of the liberal sort ) to Palin and a Democrat. Phew, trickily got out of that one!

    Regarding cross hairs, targets and toxic rhetoric. Palin was not the first to use such analogies or terminology, if you would care to do your research. Naturally that doesn't suit the left or the liberal media, who will never let the truth get in the way of their hysterical prejudice.

    The BBC is of course reknowned for it's left wing liberal bias so nothing new there.

    I am no supporter of Obama but I do appreciate and respect the compassionate and reconcilatory comments he made in his speech. It's a great pity that many of the rabid dogs of the left can't follow his example.

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  • 164. At 5:51pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "(they) have absolutely no right to steal and bully the rest of mankind while being hypocritically self righteous about our love of God and the radical SOCIALIST teachings of Jesus Christ!"





    So recommending to give to Caesar what Caesar's is Socialism?

    My, my! I wonder what the autor of "Das Kapital" would say about it.
    [if he could still say anything about "opium for masses" :-)))]

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  • 165. At 5:55pm on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    And now for the sicko news report of the week:

    The Globe & Mail reported this morning that since the shooting single day sales of handguns in America have increased dramatically. In particular, the sales of the Glock 19 have gone through the roof, and gun stores can't keep them on the shelves.

    Further, the sales of the 33 round extended magazine for the Glock 19 are up almost 400% since the shooting.

    It seems that whereas most of us regard the events of Saturday morning with revulsion, some people interpreted this shooting as one big long commercial advertisement for the Glock 19 and its accessories.


    There are some very, very sick people in America.

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  • 166. At 5:56pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kev316 wrote:

    What I feel we as a nation clearly saw yesterday - perhaps for the first time in a very long time - is the difference between a truly American President and a fool that will only see the Oval Office in photographs.

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  • 167. At 5:57pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    157. At 5:35pm on 13 Jan 2011, Adam wrote:
    "This is my first posting in this or any blog. I suppose I feel like one does just before jumping into a freezing-cold lake (which I haven't done for some years). But here goes.

    Although Sarah Palin's speech did not measure up to the President's, it.... I hope that I can take part in debates where others' opinions are respected. Finger-pointing is fine in the blogosphere but only if it's backed by facts, not prejudice."


    Refreshing to see a someone with a level headed response.

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  • 168. At 6:06pm on 13 Jan 2011, MacBatt wrote:

    We must always remember that the US President is jointly head of State as well as head of Government. This is not the same as most Western democracies.

    The consequence is that all-too-often the desire for re-election trumps the more satisfactory approach of genuine concern and healing.

    I actually think Obama did this well on this occasion, and I am not usually one to praise him. This was the sort of thing Reagan and Clinton excelled at, and Obama took a leaf out of their book . . .

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  • 169. At 6:18pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    # 92 Anglophone wrote: “The vehicle carrying Prince Charles and his wife was attacked by people claiming to be student protesters but who looked more like everyday anarchists to me.”

    Can you see the subtle but important difference between saying ‘they were not students, they were anarchists’ and ‘they claimed to be students but looked like anarchists to me’?



    Yes I can, but was not blaming Anglophone personally for anything
    [even for his remarks about Nissans :-)] in the first place.

    [and we've already reached a compromise on some Toyota products, I think]

    Although I accept that if they looked like anarchists to him they might have well been anarchists.

    [if it looks like a duck... etc.]


    BTW, when Talibs first appeared, they were initially referred to as 'students', since Taliban was born in Pakistani madrassas.




    P.S. Some Greek posters claimed that those violent thugs/arsonists in Athens were nor anarchists but communists.

    Whereas Greek Communists, au contraire...;-)

    Now, I am not taking sides, for to me a burned alive bank employee is a burned alive bank employee. :-(

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  • 170. At 6:26pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    I just watched Mark Mardell's report from Tucson, on the BBC news and he's certainly toned the BBC in-house liberal journalism down several notches.

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  • 171. At 6:30pm on 13 Jan 2011, MacBatt wrote:

    166. At 5:56pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kev316 wrote:
    What I feel we as a nation clearly saw yesterday - perhaps for the first time in a very long time - is the difference between a truly American President and a fool that will only see the Oval Office in photographs.

    Oh, Kev, you really don't need to be so humble as to describe yourself as a fool . . .

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  • 172. At 6:35pm on 13 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    154. At 5:21pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    P.S. Have you also found, after entering Hussein's Iraq, those Roland-3 French missiles in Saddam's armory with stamps clearly showing they were manufactured (let alone delivered) long AFTER UN arms embargo had been imposed? :-)))
    __________________________________________________________________
    I was in Iraq when the Poles found the Missiles dated 2003. France threatened Poland with vetoing their membership in the EU for exposing that, as I recall…

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  • 173. At 6:44pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The Iranians do supply some quite sophisticated shaped charges but the bulk of IEDs and roadside bombs are old artillery shells or just good old fertilizer in a hole in the ground."




    Anglophone, please cf. what I had written re ammonium nitrite being available in any American farmer supplies store. For obvious reasons.


    [BTW. not many people know that low-grade uranium used as a reactor fuel could be replaced with perfectly safe thorium. Thus taking care of a potential threat of nuclear proliferation.]

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  • 174. At 6:52pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    164...PMK...that`s a fair point...now go through the main examples of American foreign policy ...and link them to the teachings of Jesus Christ. How about loving your enemy? Or not coveting other`s posessions?How about turning the other cheek or the injunction not to kill others?

    And then there`s the way Wall Street financiers could easily slip through the eye of a needle on their way to a well deserved place in Heaven....if it weren`t for the large wallets and Rolexes getting in the way.

    And...have you noticed how effectively Christ`s words silence those Bible Belt gun-toting warmongers on this thread?

    They are Sunday Christians in America....but they must be using the Old Testament during the rest of the week.....or is it Hello Magazine?

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  • 175. At 7:03pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    172...Oldloadr...Could you tell us more about that because I have never heard about that incident from the British media?

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  • 176. At 7:20pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    158. At 5:36pm on 13 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    I take it you can provide examples of things Obama has said on a par with suggesting that Reid/Bush/Moore etc be attacked or even killed.

    Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
    Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”
    Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
    Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
    Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.”
    Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
    Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”
    Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
    Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”

    How inflammatory and toxic does it have to be?

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  • 177. At 7:32pm on 13 Jan 2011, bordeauxmalc wrote:

    I thought that this particular blog was to comment on President Obama's speech - not to debate the issue of gun control which as far as I am concerned is not going to convince either side of the 'wrongness' of their point of view unless there happens to be a 'waverer' on the issue and 'powermeerkat' is not one of those.

    As a Brit temporarily living in America I watched the programme and thought the the 'Memorial Service' as such was a farce of hoopin, hollerin' and whistlin'. without a hint of the solemnity that such an occasion deserved. In case you think that this is a typical Brit attitude, my American wife thought so too.

    As to the President I thought that he made a very good effort in avoiding a political nightmare in which he could have found himself but nevertheless alluding to the attack advertisements and vitriol from both sides and making sure that the thrust of his speech was directed to those immediately involved.

    I hope that all who were wounded recover both mentally and physically and those who lost members of their family find comfort in the coming days and years.

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  • 178. At 7:33pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    “What I have sought to do with regard to abortion is to highlight what, in my view, is the hypocricy, of those that seek to pass judgement on another nation and how it conducts it's affairs, with particular moralising about it's gun laws; extrapolating that such laws are uncivilised and the cause of many homicides, whilst choosing to ignore the irony of 1.2 million abortions, most of which are just another means of post contraception and most are barbaric partial birth abortions, whereby a baby's skull is crushed with forceps.”

    I don't especially wish to get into the abortion issue, and you have abysmally failed to show its relevance to the topic at hand.

    But since you insist on dragging it in – you state that most of the abortions in the US are ‘barbaric partial birth abortions’. Now, I am no expert but I understand that this procedure is used for late term abortions. Yet you are saying that it is used for the majority of cases. Do you have any actual evidence of this? Any links? Any official and impartial statistics?

    For example, Wikipedia says ‘...Though the procedure has had a low rate of use, representing 0.17% (2,232 of 1,313,000) of all abortions in the United States in the year 2000...’ - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intact_dilation_and_extraction

    For the record, as I understand it the US does have one of the highest abortion (and indeed teen pregnancy) rates among advanced countries. Eg according to this link - http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_abo_percap-health-abortions-per-capita - it is c twice that in Canada. I have seen it argued that this is because of the resistance of certain right-wingers and fundamentalists to sex education and adequate availability of birth control. But I can’t say I have any proof...

    “It's a great pity that many of the rabid dogs of the left can't follow his example.”

    And what about the ‘rabid dogs’ on the right?

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  • 179. At 7:41pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    176. At 7:20pm on 13 Jan 2011, Kentucker

    Various allegedly ‘inflammatory and toxic’ things allegedly said by Obama – most of which have already appeared on this page twice at least.

    Such as “Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.””

    I don't see how any Democrat could have refrained from marching on Republican HQ or Fox HQ (assuming there’s a difference) and spraying it with an Uzi after that type of inflammatory and toxic rabble-rousing...

    I was especially intrigued by “Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard””

    Could you clarify exactly what ‘Mercenary Army’ you are referring to? I wasn't personally aware that Obama had an army of hired guns and soldiers of fortune – but no doubt the BBC and the rest of the liberal media hushed it up. Seeing as they are not as factual, objective and impartial as you are.

    Some links to factual and objective evidence would be nice.

    Maybe even a few photos?

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  • 180. At 7:44pm on 13 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    157. At 5:35pm on 13 Jan 2011, Adam wrote:
    This is my first posting in this or any blog. I suppose I feel like one does just before jumping into a freezing-cold lake (which I haven't done for some years). But here goes.

    Although Sarah Palin's speech did not measure up to the President's, it did have something in common with his: an appeal to stop the finger -pointing. Obama's speech contained these words: "Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations..." and though Palin was just defending herself against finger-pointers, she did make the general point that civilised debate between opposing parties and points of view was part of the tradition of American political relations.

    American readers may be interested to know that record numbers of voters in the UK voted for third parties in the last elections, and the two-party system (for good or bad) may one day be a thing of the past here. But the American political system should remain strong providing that the two parties retain their basic respect for each others' values - do you agree?

    I expect it would be hoping too much to see the blogosphere adopting all the binding rules of civilised debate! But many of the recent postings on the Arizona shootings and their consequences have led to undue personal abuse between bloggers. I hope that I can take part in debates where others' opinions are respected. Finger-pointing is fine in the blogosphere but only if it's backed by facts, not prejudice.
    --------------------------
    Blimey,Adam I have been posting for years & not written any thing as good
    as your first shot,its a international open forum & some times no quarter is asked or given...

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  • 181. At 7:50pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldloadr wrote:
    154. At 5:21pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    P.S. Have you also found, after entering Hussein's Iraq, those Roland-3 French missiles in Saddam's armory with stamps clearly showing they were manufactured (let alone delivered) long AFTER UN arms embargo had been imposed? :-)))
    __________________________________________________________________
    I was in Iraq when the Poles found the Missiles dated 2003. France threatened Poland with vetoing their membership in the EU for exposing that, as I recall…







    Indeed, and although Polish media had initially sarcastically called the whole affair "Rolandgate", in view of thinly-veiled threats from Paris Polish military issued a statement that revealing presence of Roland-3 SAMs in Saddam Hussein's arsenal was an "unauthorized" and "not-cleared" initiative of a local "low level field commander", and that he most likely simply "misread" the stamps, with "2003" having been de facto not a year of their production but instead, as the French insisted, their missiles' "expiration date". ;-)


    BTW. It was the French themselves who gave their leader a nickname: 'Jacques Iraq'. [replacing a previous one: "Mr. 5%" :)]



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  • 182. At 7:54pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Yes UK Wales....but maybe if more of us did write like Adam the world would be a better place. I know it`s exciting to feel you have a voice at last but if people rate you as superficial or blindly combative they will just skim past your comments and make a mental note to do that every time they see your name.Like I nearly did when you started making inane comments about my "need" for more medication!
    If you have nothing sensible to say...keep quiet!

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  • 183. At 7:58pm on 13 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    165. At 5:55pm on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    And now for the sicko news report of the week:

    The Globe & Mail reported this morning that since the shooting single day sales of handguns in America have increased dramatically. In particular, the sales of the Glock 19 have gone through the roof, and gun stores can't keep them on the shelves.

    Further, the sales of the 33 round extended magazine for the Glock 19 are up almost 400% since the shooting.

    It seems that whereas most of us regard the events of Saturday morning with revulsion, some people interpreted this shooting as one big long commercial advertisement for the Glock 19 and its accessories.


    There are some very, very sick people in America.
    ---------------------------------------
    Talking with the Head about retaking Two sisters ridge in the Falklands,
    his SLR jammed & he only had fixed bayonet with which to lead the charge.
    His opinion on fire arms,military & police,as a last resort only.They are too disgusting for words...

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  • 184. At 8:09pm on 13 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    82. At 7:54pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    Yes UK Wales....but maybe if more of us did write like Adam the world would be a better place. I know it`s exciting to feel you have a voice at last but if people rate you as superficial or blindly combative they will just skim past your comments and make a mental note to do that every time they see your name.Like I nearly did when you started making inane comments about my "need" for more medication!
    If you have nothing sensible to say...keep quiet!
    -------------------
    Pffttt, come on Wooster where is your sense of humour if I had any thing
    sensible to say I would never post,may be that is a good thing,but if it annoys you "hell" I am in for the long haul..

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  • 185. At 8:15pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    183. At 7:58pm on 13 Jan 2011, ukwales wrote:
    165. At 5:55pm on 13 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    And now for the sicko news report of the week:

    "The Globe & Mail reported this morning that since the shooting single day sales of handguns in America have increased dramatically. In particular, the sales of the Glock 19 have gone through the roof, and gun stores can't keep them on the shelves.

    Further, the sales of the 33 round extended magazine for the Glock 19 are up almost 400% since the shooting.

    It seems that whereas most of us regard the events of Saturday morning with revulsion, some people interpreted this shooting as one big long commercial advertisement for the Glock 19 and its accessories."


    Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?



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  • 186. At 8:24pm on 13 Jan 2011, Leviticus wrote:

    178. At 7:33pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    /////////////////
    Try The American Spectator and You Tube for a start. But I really get tired of this endless ping pong and self righteous left wing denial of facts that are out there if you care to look.

    Just another lefty looking for an argument. Yawn - Zzzzzz.

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  • 187. At 8:27pm on 13 Jan 2011, _marko wrote:

    To Kentucker #176

    RE: problems of living in a world of metaphors with rabid dogs of the left and right.

    That's the problem with partisanship. It's not really an argument. It doesn't matter if the dog is on the left or the right. or how many rabid dogs there are. If there are more rabid dogs on one side, does that mean that rabid dogs on the other side are any better? Is it no longer an issue if there's only one group of rabid dogs? The argument should address the universal rabidity of the dog or any other animal. If you are against rabid animals wherever they happen to be then what measures have you displayed in the past that shows that your intention is to minimise this viral infection? If none, what measures are you encouraging to reduce the number of rabies outbreaks? If you're not interested in reducing the effect of rabid dogs for collective benefit then maybe you can articulate why you're not interested. Are you a dog? :)

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  • 188. At 8:32pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #99

    "Cut it how you like and the FBI are practiced as denying anything, close on 14,000 Americans shot one another dead last year!"


    Without a finer examination, simply throwing out numbers becomes meaningless. To illustrate that, consider that Americans have no particular anxieties, uneasiness or unslept nights as a result of fretting over the 33,300 Americans killed in automobile accidents, in 2009.


    I'm sure most feel that the number is too high and would like to see it reduced, but hardly any of them will drone on about it on some internet blog. I suspect that is because they have come to accept it as the cost of doing business.


    It's the same with guns. I merely pointed out that for every self-defense use of a gun, there aren't 20 domestic shootings.


    Out of the 14,000 killed in 2009, about 3,900 were domestic incidents.


    Table 13 has some of the details.


    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_13.html


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  • 189. At 8:57pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #90

    "Typical it takes an Englishman to clarify for an American the three basic documents that led to the founding of the USA. 1. The Declaration of Independence 2. The United States Constitution and 3. The Bill of Rights."


    Collectively referred to as the Constitution, in common usage. Why? Because all three fall under the category of Constitutional Law.


    "My question, if you like, is if you believe this how should you behave."


    Hard to say, most Americans I know don't really check their behavior against the Constitution, consciously. The statutory body of laws pretty much dictate what is and what isn't permissible behavior.

    For instance, there is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting one from urinating in one's own (or someone else's) mashed potatoes, at the Christmas dinner table. Yet most people refrain from such a thing on account of societal customs and norms.



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  • 190. At 9:13pm on 13 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 185, William Johnson-Smith:

    "Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?"

    Yes, without a doubt. Also, shooting ranges are seeing a lot of Glock owners come in with the 33 round magazine since the shooting. Evidently there's some debate amongst gun nuts about the tactical value of the larger magazine, since Loughner couldn't replace the magazine fast enough to avoid being tackled.

    It's a legitimate question if you're into guns. After all the Glock 19 is meant for combat.

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  • 191. At 9:27pm on 13 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 189, JClarkson:

    "Collectively referred to as the Constitution, in common usage."

    Perhaps, but it is incorrect. The Declaration creates no rights and does not carry the force of law. However, the Court does from time to time invoke it when handing down its decisions, typically as a means of devining the intentions of the Founding Fathers. That arguably makes it part of Constitutional Law (along with all of the Court's rulings through the years). However, it is not part of the Constitution and should not be referenced as such.

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  • 192. At 9:39pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    189. At 8:57pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:
    "#90

    "Typical it takes an Englishman to clarify for an American the three basic documents that led to the founding of the USA. 1. The Declaration of Independence 2. The United States Constitution and 3. The Bill of Rights."

    Collectively referred to as the Constitution, in common usage. Why? Because all three fall under the category of Constitutional Law."


    I always thought the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were two entirely different documents, serving two different functions. The Declaration announced the independance 13 united states from Britain in 1776 and the Constitution being the frame work for government and the supreme law, which was drawn up in 1787 at the end of the War of Independence.


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  • 193. At 9:40pm on 13 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    I wonder how many of the gun-rights enthusiasts here -- not to mention the self appointed gun experts -- would be willing to sit with Christina Green's family today and explain their ever-so-reasoned and righteous enthusiasm for hand-gun gun ownership, and extol the perfection of America's current gun laws?

    Would they comfort the family by reminding them that far more children are killed in car accidents than with guns every year? Would they elaborate on the joys of AK-47 ownership in our oh-so-dangerous suburbs?
    Would they pass out "Welcome to the NRA" booklets?

    Yes -- given the chance, I think they probably would.

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  • 194. At 9:50pm on 13 Jan 2011, 1not0 wrote:

    Readers and participants in this discussion:

    How many people who defend the right to gun ownership and use also defend (with comparable conviction) the right to drug ownership and use?

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  • 195. At 10:06pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 186 Kentucker

    “Try The American Spectator and You Tube for a start. But I really get tired of this endless ping pong and self righteous left wing denial of facts that are out there if you care to look.

    Just another lefty looking for an argument. Yawn - Zzzzzz.”

    So you introduce the irrelevancy of abortion. You claim mendaciously that most abortions in the US are partial birth abortions. I'm pretty sure that’s untrue but do you the courtesy of a few minutes research – clearly a few minutes metre than you have ever bothered doing. That suggests that the truth is not 50%+ ie c 600,000, but 0.17% ie in and around 2,000.

    It always amuses me to see these moralistic, preaching fundamentalist right-wingers who so blithely ignore the minor inconvenience of the Commandment about telling the truth.

    Not a lefty looking for an argument, and certainly not with you. Just a moderate, centrist member of the Reality Community who confused you for a millisecond with someone familiar with the concepts of fact, truth, logic and argument. At least I doubt anyone else will make the same mistake.

    If you want to see self-righteous denial of facts, may I cordially suggest that you purchase a mirror?

    When you've finished your sleepy time, of course.

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  • 196. At 10:08pm on 13 Jan 2011, crash wrote:

    Obama talking about working together ?what a joke when he had a huge majority in both houses he was not so open to debate,as for the native American that spoke at the service taking advantage of the podium.I found the whole thing a joke with certain people using this tragic event for political goals.

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  • 197. At 10:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    165. Interestedforeigner:

    "There are some very, very sick people in America."

    **********
    Since you don't know why they are doing this, how can you call them "sick"?




    193. Curt Carpenter:

    "I wonder how many of the gun-rights enthusiasts here -- not to mention the self appointed gun experts -- would be willing to sit with Christina Green's family today and explain their ever-so-reasoned and righteous enthusiasm for hand-gun gun ownership, and extol the perfection of America's current gun laws? "

    ************
    Gun owners are appalled at this maniac's behavior, and I'm sure that's what they would communicate. Only an idiot would even mention the "perfection" of America's current gun laws. Enforcement of existing laws is not considered effective.

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  • 198. At 10:42pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #152

    "Anglo, I fear you are confusing Robbie Williams, the popular US comic and actor, with Robin Williams, the member of Take That, who has a thing about Angels."

    Ahem...


    Robin is the US comedian


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


    Robbie is the other guy


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

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  • 199. At 10:48pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #192

    "I always thought the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were two entirely different documents, serving two different functions. The Declaration announced the independance 13 united states from Britain in 1776 and the Constitution being the frame work for government and the supreme law, which was drawn up in 1787 at the end of the War of Independence."


    They are separate documents, written at different times, the Declaration is exactly that, the birth certificate of the country, the Constitution is how the country will be run and the Bill of Rights is the amendments made to the Constitution.


    Collectively they are the foundation and framework of the US government and system of law. When people talk about constitutional rights, they refer to rights stipulated in any of those three sources.

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  • 200. At 10:59pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "For as long as I can remember, I have heard conservatives blaming everything that is wrong in the universe, from violent crime to declining test scores to teen pregnancy to rude children to declining patriotism to probably athlete's foot . . . upon Dr. Spock, Hollywood liberals, the abolition of prayer in school, Bill Clinton, the "liberal 1960s," the teaching of evolution — in other words, upon symbols, rhetoric, cultural norms, and the values expressed by political and media leaders. Yet from the moment when someone gets a gun in their hands, apparently, society ceases to have any influence whatsoever on the outcome and individual responsibility takes hold 100%. Something is driving the tripling of death threats against congressmen (and the concomitant rise in threats against Federal judges and other villains of the right, from Forest Service rangers to climate scientists) and it isn't the sunspot cycle."

    Original here - http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2011/01/not-us-cont.html


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  • 201. At 11:11pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    198. At 10:42pm on 13 Jan 2011, JClarkson

    Ahem.

    I was joking.

    I think you will find that I correctly named Robin initially and Anglo inadvertently referred to him as Robbie.

    You see the little emoticon you forgot to quote?

    ;-P

    ; = a wink

    p = a smile, but also sticking one's tongue out.

    But thanks for the Wiki links, all the same.

    Ahem indeed.

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  • 202. At 11:14pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

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

  • 203. At 11:16pm on 13 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "When President Obama took office, Arizona's anti-immigrant right fused with extreme elements of the religious right under the Tea Party banner. In August 2009, a young man called Chris Broughton openly carried an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun to an Obama rally in Phoenix. The night before, Broughton had attended a sermon called "Why I hate Barack Obama" given by the Rev Steven Anderson, a local Tea Party activist. Anderson declared that that night he was going to "pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell"."

    Original here - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/11/arizona-rightwing-extremism-immigrants-judge-roll/print

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  • 204. At 11:17pm on 13 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    182. At 7:54pm on 13 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    Yes UK Wales....but maybe if more of us did write like Adam the world would be a better place. I know it`s exciting to feel you have a voice at last but if people rate you as superficial or blindly combative they will just skim past your comments and make a mental note to do that every time they see your name.Like I nearly did when you started making inane comments about my "need" for more medication!
    If you have nothing sensible to say...keep quiet!
    ----------------------------------

    Wooster,on second thoughts,if you are ill & on medication then my comments would seem hurt full,that being the case I apologise.It would not be the fist time I have gotten in to hot water being flippant.

    This forum is about exchanging views & opinions.

    I get the impression,you seem to side toward conspiracy theories & that
    the British working class are oppressed.
    I could not be more working class & maintain life is what you make it.
    Those that are willing to try & not give up will make it. Those who are
    not willing to try,must be careful that the politics of envy mask their
    motives.

    In my younger days I used to haul Irish beef from Fishguard ferry port
    to Smithfield meat market London.I took great financial risks owning
    my own trucks.May be with my fights with the unions & driving HGV`s gave
    me a thick hide(or head).I some times picture the funny side & may be should not voice it,so once again if ill forgive me...

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  • 205. At 11:47pm on 13 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: "There are some very, very sick people in America."
    --------
    Andrea wrote: Since you don't know why they are doing this, how can you call them "sick"?
    ---------
    On the local news, it said the reason why so many people are buying those particular guns is because they worry they might be banned in the future...

    Which makes sense...any time people hear a particular gun/weapon might be banned or stop being sold, they buy what's left before its gone...
    ---------
    Andrea wrote: Gun owners are appalled at this maniac's behavior, and I'm sure that's what they would communicate. Only an idiot would even mention the "perfection" of America's current gun laws. Enforcement of existing laws is not considered effective.
    ----------
    It makes me think of the movie, The Village, by Night Sharlaman, or something like that...

    In the Village, a group of people hides thier children away deep in the woods to protect them from the scary world or getting hurt, and they are scared to venture past the woods due to a creature the older folk created- not real...someone gets injured and one brave girl goes to town to get meds, but she must battle the creatures, which don't actually exist, but the town crazy person dresses up like one and tries to harm people....or something like that...

    I guess the moral of the story is, no matter what, there will always be crazy people...

    But there's good crazy and there's bad crazy...
    Good crazy is people who are crazy but they don't harm others...
    Bad crazy is people who are crazy but do harm others...

    I'm a good crazy person myself...

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  • 206. At 11:56pm on 13 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: "When President Obama took office, Arizona's anti-immigrant right fused with extreme elements of the religious right under the Tea Party banner. In August 2009, a young man called Chris Broughton openly carried an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun to an Obama rally in Phoenix. The night before, Broughton had attended a sermon called "Why I hate Barack Obama" given by the Rev Steven Anderson, a local Tea Party activist. Anderson declared that that night he was going to "pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell"."
    ----------------------
    I believe he was outside, though, as no one is allowed to bring guns/weaponry in the same room as the President...for obvious reasons...

    Freedom of speech protects criticism of the President...even if its not nice sometimes...

    Did this man actually hurt anyone, John?

    Do you have any idea how people treated Bush here, John?

    You're going to have people far right just like there are people far left...that's life...

    All you can do is adapt to it and be smart about security...

    I would suggest to the Royals of GB to get new wheels, tho...
    or at least roll up their windows, so they are not poked with sticks...

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  • 207. At 00:05am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    #99

    "Cut it how you like and the FBI are practiced as denying anything, close on 14,000 Americans shot one another dead last year!"
    ----------
    And how many of those were in the cities?

    My advice: Don't go hunting with Dick Cheney!!!
    -----------
    I've never understood the logic of carrying guns.
    -----------
    Around here people shoot and kill rabbits, deer, ect. to eat, for furs...and I will tell you farmers and outdoorspeople use everything!

    So first, its for food.
    Second, for protection. Not just from criminal humans, but from wolves and coyotes.
    Third, for fun. There's lots and lots of gun clubs.

    The only deaths we have had around here from guns is when its accidentally discharged due to someone not locking it properly...

    We have crazy people here, but they just sit at the bar and drink all day...

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  • 208. At 00:12am on 14 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #201


    "You see the little emoticon you forgot to quote?"


    I deliberately ignored it, since I'm unfamiliar with it.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emoticons#cite_note-pilist-0

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  • 209. At 00:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 193, Curt:

    We don't have a choice. Practically speaking, anybody who wants a gun has one in the U.S. Most guns are doomed to suffer the fate of being constantly cleaned and oiled and once and a while taken out for target practice. The vast majority will never be used to assault another individual (whether in self defense or not).

    The second amendment has been an issue since it was first written on paper. It's telling that it's the only amendment that gives a justification for its existence. The Framers couldn't agree on how far reaching it should be. It was the subject of a great deal of debate.

    But we've had it for 220 years and it's not going anywhere. The cold calculation is that even with all the bloodshed free access to guns has caused, it would pale in comparison to the carnage that would occur if the government tried to enforce a ban on them. Significant parts of the population would resist and many would fight to the death (see the NRA's cold, dead fingers rallying cry -- it's not a joke).

    Unlike some, I'm not enthusiastic about the easy availability of guns in the country but at this point it's fait accompli. Most Americans feel it's a moot point and aren't particularly interested in debating it. That doesn't mean we don't have regrets.

    I wouldn't suggest any country follow our lead in this matter. Then again I can't imagine any country being crazy enough to do so.

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  • 210. At 00:14am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    My brother told me some of the people who were wounded included a person who jumped in front of Ms. Gifford and saved her life by taking some of the bullets for her...

    The strange thing is, I have heard over and over who has died, but who are the people, including that particular hero who took bullets, who were injured in the attack and why didn't they get credit from media?

    Why won't the media talk about who was wounded?

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  • 211. At 00:24am on 14 Jan 2011, ann arbor wrote:

    Just words. Very nice words. Carefully crafted. Very moving.

    "Obama told us what we wanted to hear."

    He is good at that.

    Those his recommendations for "others" to live by.

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  • 212. At 00:42am on 14 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    31. At 07:40am on 13 Jan 2011, yimika wrote:
    "God bless America, with its diversity. Jeez the POTUS was just trying to bring the country together in a difficult moment and people still see politics in all this?"

    Unfortunately it has come to this.
    If the president sneezes, it's political.
    If he gets out of bed on the right side instead of the left it is very political.
    If the president asks Americans to come together, those who don't want to come together accuse him of attacking them.
    If the president says, "it's a lovely day today," members of the other party put up their umbrellas.
    Welcome to America, the hyperpolitical polity.


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  • 213. At 00:49am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    210. At 00:14am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:
    "My brother told me some of the people who were wounded included a person who jumped in front of Ms. Gifford and saved her life by taking some of the bullets for her...

    The strange thing is, I have heard over and over who has died, but who are the people, including that particular hero who took bullets, who were injured in the attack and why didn't they get credit from media?

    Why won't the media talk about who was wounded?"


    I agree. Apart from Christina Taylor Green, the 9 year old who tragically was killed, I'm constantly being reminded about Gabrielle Giffords and as you ask who are these other people?

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  • 214. At 01:40am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    William wrote: I agree. Apart from Christina Taylor Green, the 9 year old who tragically was killed, I'm constantly being reminded about Gabrielle Giffords and as you ask who are these other people?
    ---------
    The media has not told us...and President Obama did not name or show pictures of the wounded, he only showed the ones who died...(unless I missed that- I admit I missed the first 5 mins of the speech)

    I feel for victims who died, its just I feel for the victims wounded, too...we don't know how badly they were wounded, but I think some were in critical care, which means they could have been shot anywhere, too. Some may have to live with what happened every day the rest of their lives physically or mentally reminding them and I think we should pay tribute to them, too.

    There is a lot of attention on Ms. Giffords, because she is a Congresswoman, but what about the wounded who are simply regular Americans?

    I mean, I heard about the intern who helped her medically after she was shot, but what about the person who jumped in front of Ms. Giffords, who no one seems to know or talk about?

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  • 215. At 01:42am on 14 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    197. At 10:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    "Enforcement of existing laws is not considered effective."

    ++++++++++++++++

    Oh swell, AndreaNY. Do explain that as well to the Green family. Put it on the post-it note you attach to the "Welcome to the NRA" brochure.
    And by all means don't forget to give them the advantage of your penetrating insight into why the only people against universal gun ownership are the cowards that are afraid of them.

    That should go down well.




    209. At 00:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:
    "We don't have a choice. Practically speaking, anybody who wants a gun has one in the U.S. Most guns are doomed to suffer the fate of being constantly cleaned and oiled and once and a while taken out for target practice. The vast majority will never be used to assault another individual (whether in self defense or not)."

    +++++++++++++++++++

    I reject the notion that we don't have a choice. As I see it, we have a whole spectrum of choices -- which I'm sure you and AndreaNY are as familiar with as I am, if not mmoreso.

    If we, as a society, really didn't have any choice, we'd still be burning the occasional witch ("We've always did it boys, and you just never know...")

    Of the millions of veterans we have that are comfortable with firearms courtesy of Uncle Sam, I wonder how many think they really NEED to take their Glock to their political rallies, or keep a souvenir AK clean and oiled up "just in case the U.N. invades next month."

    A free people get what they will accept. In our case, we accept little girls getting taken down by handguns from time to time as a price we pay for -- what exactly?

    It's disgusting.









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  • 216. At 01:50am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    17. At 05:33am on 13 Jan 2011, HMS_KnightHawk wrote:
    "William Johnson-Smith its people like you that need to listen ...but then you already seem to have a chip on your shoulder and I don't think you ever voted for him in the first place.

    people like you will always have something bad to say about him no matter what he dose.
    anyhow you don't matter right now that little girl is what on all our mines right now so save you negative words for some other time , unless your one of those bitter person he was talking about that has to blame someone for your sad life."


    You're entitled to your point of view.

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  • 217. At 02:02am on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    215. Curt Carpenter:

    197. At 10:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    "Enforcement of existing laws is not considered effective."

    ++++++++++++++++

    Oh swell, AndreaNY. Do explain that as well to the Green family. Put it on the post-it note you attach to the "Welcome to the NRA" brochure.
    And by all means don't forget to give them the advantage of your penetrating insight into why the only people against universal gun ownership are the cowards that are afraid of them.

    That should go down well.

    ************
    Well, maybe you'll have better luck telling the law-abiding gun owners why you think they're all violent whackos.

    Has it occurred to you that people in Arizona might not be making the same associations with gun ownership that you've made?

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  • 218. At 02:10am on 14 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    re 204 ukwales:

    What's an HGV?

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  • 219. At 02:23am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    218. At 02:10am on 14 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:
    re 204 ukwales:

    "What's an HGV?"


    Heavy Goods Vehicle, like a MAC truck.


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  • 220. At 02:40am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    I guess maybe my brother was talking about Bill Badger...

    Is it not amazing the guy who tackled the 22 year old gunman was a 74 year old retired colonel who was also shot?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Tucson_shooting

    An excerpt: After he dropped a loaded magazine for the gun from his pocket to the sidewalk, unwounded bystander Patricia Maisch snatched the loaded magazine away as he was reaching for it. The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old retired colonel Bill Badger, who himself had been shot, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio.

    Okay, so I fianally found the list of the wounded on wikipedia...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Tucson_shooting

    They are:
    Fourteen people were wounded and survived the attack, including (alphabetical order):

    Bill D. Badger, 74, a retired colonel of the Army National Guard whose head was grazed by a bullet, moments before subduing the suspect.
    Ron Barber, 65, deputy director for Giffords and former Pima County program manager, who was shot in the cheek and in the leg, severing an artery.
    Eric Fuller, 63, a military veteran and retired limousine driver, hit in the leg and back by bullet fragments.
    Randy Gardner, 60, shot in the foot.
    Gabrielle Giffords, 40, U.S. Representative from Arizona, shot in the head.
    Susan Hileman, 58, shot in the leg, hip, abdomen and chest while accompanying Christina Taylor Green.
    George Morris, a retired Marine and former airline pilot, shot twice; his wife Dorothy died in the attack.
    Mary Reed, shot in the back and both arms.
    Pam Simon, staffer for Giffords.
    Mavy Stoddard, shot in the leg three times; her husband Dorwin died in the attack.

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  • 221. At 03:01am on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 70 Andrea


    57. Oldloadr:

    "It parts or our country, gun culture is deeply ingrained and will never go away, however, that does not define me or my friends/relatives as you would assert."

    *************
    Deriding Americans for its gun culture is now commonplace. Lots of assertions, many of them off-the-mark and demonstrating little knowledge of Americans.

    And, yet, the very same people who consider themselves enlightened and tolerant think nothing of labeling gun owners in the most extreme of terms. They continually demonstrate how little familiarity they have with the culture here.

    Having an opinion about guns and/or gun control laws is one thing. Making baseless claims about gun owners is another.


    Much as it shocks me to say it -- having read through some of the nastiness above, I'd have to say I pretty much agree with both you guys on that point.

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  • 222. At 03:01am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    220. At 02:40am on 14 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "Bill D. Badger, 74, a retired colonel of the Army National Guard whose head was grazed by a bullet, moments before subduing the suspect.
    Ron Barber, 65, deputy director for Giffords and former Pima County program manager, who was shot in the cheek and in the leg, severing an artery.
    Eric Fuller, 63, a military veteran and retired limousine driver, hit in the leg and back by bullet fragments.
    Randy Gardner, 60, shot in the foot.
    Gabrielle Giffords, 40, U.S. Representative from Arizona, shot in the head.
    Susan Hileman, 58, shot in the leg, hip, abdomen and chest while accompanying Christina Taylor Green.
    George Morris, a retired Marine and former airline pilot, shot twice; his wife Dorothy died in the attack.
    Mary Reed, shot in the back and both arms.
    Pam Simon, staffer for Giffords.
    Mavy Stoddard, shot in the leg three times; her husband Dorwin died in the attack."


    Thanks for posting those unmentioned people's names.


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  • 223. At 03:10am on 14 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    87. At 12:23pm on 13 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    “P.S. For the sake of conciseness I've skipped a popular bumper sticker:

    "Don't impeach Bush - execute him!", and other similar 'fitting words'.”

    You have mentioned this before. Though I have lived and driven to work daily in “liberal” Massachusetts since Clinton was president, I have never seen this or similar bumper stickers. Admittedly I don’t drive through the “People’s Republic of Cambridge.”

    I did make my own, but had the good sense not to finish or use it.

    Picture of King George the Third, with crown, on the left facing
    Picture of King George the Bush, with crown, on the right.
    Motto, “I’m a real republican, no king, no dynasty!”
    in the middle.

    I was considering putting King Bill and Queen Hillary on it but never got around to it and never produced it. I’d offer to send you a copy, but it’s against the BBC house rules.

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  • 224. At 03:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

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

  • 225. At 03:16am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    197. At 10:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    "Since you don't know why they are doing this, how can you call them "sick"?"

    ____________


    The deed speaks for itself.

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  • 226. At 03:31am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    224. At 03:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    185. At 8:15pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    ' "Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?"

    ___________


    [[Not sure what you are trying to add with your comment. I believe my previous posting had already noted that there were some very, very sick people in America.]] '


    After Colombine federal and state legislations were introduced that would require safety locks on firearms as well as a ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines. The Glock 19 used by Loughner had a high capacity magazine and I was asking whether people might be buying these pistols and magazines before a restriction like the last one was imposed?

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  • 227. At 03:45am on 14 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    224. At 03:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Not sure what you are trying to add with your comment. I believe my previous posting had already noted that there were some very, very sick people in America."


    I think you need to define what you mean by sick but if you are referring to people like Loughner he's a good example, just like Thomas Hamilton who murdered 18 people in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996 and wounded a further 15.


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  • 228. At 03:59am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    217. At 02:02am on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    ************
    "Well, maybe you'll have better luck telling the law-abiding gun owners why you think they're all violent whackos."

    "Has it occurred to you that people in Arizona might not be making the same associations with gun ownership that you've made?"

    __________

    Andrea, this is a false argument.

    The majority of car drivers are safe drivers, but we make everybody buy car insurance, we make everybody wear seat belts, we make everybody buy cars that have safety glass, we prohibit non-collapsing hood ornaments, we prohibit drunks from driving - and spend a lot of police resources enforcing that prohibition; we suspend bad drivers' licenses, etc., etc., etc.,

    Nobody pretends that all car drivers are "wackos" anymore than anybody pretends that all gun owners are wackos.

    The problem is that it is often rather difficult to tell beforehand.

    Automobiles are, relatively speaking, very high intensity of use objects.
    In respect of automobile deaths and injuries, virtually 100% are accidental, and we put an enormous amount of effort into reducing their numbers. At every stage we require manufacturers and users to take the steps a reasonable man would take to avoid loss, injury, or death.

    Firearms are rather low intensity of use items, even in America.
    In respect of firearms, 98 % of the deaths, including suicides (i.e., all but the approximately 800 accidental deaths)are intentional.

    We allow virtually anybody to own guns in this country, but against that background we also restrict the kinds of weapons that can be purchased; we require all firearms to be registered; we require all firearms owners to meet the requirements for obtaining a firearms acquisition certificate; we require that all firearms owners maintain their firearms properly and keep them safely stored in a locked cabinet when not in use.

    In short, we require firearms owners to take the steps that a reasonable man would take to avoid foreseeable loss, injury or death - the same as in every other branch of the law of negligence. Overall, the requirements placed on owners of firearms are substantially less onerous than the requirements placed on automobile owners.

    Do we make those requirements because all firearms owners are assumed to be wackos?

    No, we do it because some might be, and finding out after the fact is too late.

    We do it because the calculus of risk management is based on the product of the probability of an event happening multiplied by the expect cost of the injury that will result if that event happens. Virtually all systems of insurance are based on that concept.

    So we require all owners of firearms to take precautions because while the probability of injury or death, per owner per year, is relatively small, the consequences of an adverse incident have the potential to be exceptionally large, and are quite frequently irreversible.

    But in the US, firearms seem to be the only part of the entire economy that is exempted from the law of negligence.

    ----------

    There is absolutely nothing about the law of negligence that is inconsistent with the second amendment.

    Keep in mind, too, that the law of negligence is judge made law. It is not made by Congress. The common law existed before the US Constitution, and it continues to do much of the real heavy lifting in America's economy. Not much commerce goes on without it.

    The common law is very much the people's law, built up, case by case, through experience. It is one of the greatest protectors of liberty and prosperity in the US.

    Yet, in this one area, the common law principles that govern tort law, and in particular the law of negligence, that drive people to take reasonable precautions, are simply cast to the wind.

    ----------

    And, finally, on top of it all, there are those whose behaviour in respect of firearms does indeed lend credence to the supposition that they are likely wackos - e.g., those people who felt an irresistible urge to go out and buy Glock 19's this week, and especially those who bought up the stock of extended length magazines.

    In insurance-speak, that behaviour might fairly be indicative of a moral hazard problem suggesting a population with higher probability than average of high risk behaviour. You would want to segregate those people into a separate risk pool from the general population, and make them pay higher insurance premiums accordingly.

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  • 229. At 04:17am on 14 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    217. At 02:02am on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    "Well, maybe you'll have better luck telling the law-abiding gun owners why you think they're all violent whackos.

    Has it occurred to you that people in Arizona might not be making the same associations with gun ownership that you've made?"

    ++++++++++++++

    Has it occurred to you that young, mad Mr. Laughner was one of your "law abiding gun owners" right up until Saturday afternoon?

    So the way to sort the responsible gun owners from the violent wackos, the drug-ripped and the mental before they kill somebody is -- what? Send them all to you for a personal interview every month? See that they attend church regularly? Please enlighten me.

    Or should we just accept the Christina Greens as collateral damage resulting from your "defense against tyranny" fantasy, which seems to be the gun lobby's approach?

    Or, maybe, just make it really, really hard for anybody to own a gun?

    I've been shot at myself, and found it an instant cure for gun enthusiasm. Also served on two capital murder juries where we got to examine the exciting results of death by shotgun and death by hand gun in an urban setting. Awareness-building experiences all. Proof, to me, that Britain has the right approach.

    None of which will move you away from your "guns don't kill people..." and "real men aren't afraid of guns" point of view. But I tried.

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  • 230. At 04:51am on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re 215 Curt Carpenter

    A free people get what they will accept. In our case, we accept little girls getting taken down by handguns from time to time as a price we pay for -- what exactly?

    It's disgusting.


    I agree.

    But I also agree with what Andy says in 209 -- with the proviso that it's no reason to stop pushing for reform.


    It's a long dark night. But the sun also rises (what can I say? I'm an optimist at heart).

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  • 231. At 07:34am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    JClarkson: For instance, there is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting one from urinating in one's own (or someone else's) mashed potatoes, at the Christmas dinner table. Yet most people refrain from such a thing on account of societal customs and norms.





    Similary 2nd Amendment doesn't say anything about right to carry hadnguns or semiautomatics.

    It merely guarantees us the right to "bear arms".


    So if anybody wants to carry an ICBM on his/her back - there's nothing in that document which would prohibit people from doing so.

    Although if push ever came to shove I suspect most Americans would simply put them on roofs of their motor homes.

    [try to "locate and destroy" those, America-hating Daleks! :-)]

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  • 232. At 07:43am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "But thanks for the Wiki links, all the same."




    A propos... Wikipedia founder has stated that for a long he's been trying to make Mr. Assange dispose of any Wikileaks links to Wikipedia.


    And since he refused to do so, Wikipedia will cut Wikileaks loose and eliminate any links as of this weekend.

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  • 233. At 07:51am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    IF:"The majority of car drivers are safe drivers, but we make everybody buy car insurance, we make everybody wear seat belts, we make everybody buy cars that have safety glass, we prohibit non-collapsing hood ornaments, we prohibit drunks from driving - and spend a lot of police resources enforcing that prohibition; we suspend bad drivers' licenses"





    Not really. In the U.S. drivers licenses have been issued to illegal aliens (excuse me: "undocumented immigrants"), and taken away only after they've caused deadly accidents and were found not to have any insurance.

    In the country they were not supposed to be in the first place.

    [So much for enforcing existing laws.]

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  • 234. At 08:00am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lycy wrote: "We have crazy people here, but they just sit at the bar and drink all day..."





    "I'm a lumberjack and I'm O.K.
    I sit at bars and drink all day"


    [Oops, I don't think that lumberjack was an American.]


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  • 235. At 08:37am on 14 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    232..Yes PMK I notice our "nation shall speak peace to nation" BBC and its "journalists" hasn`t mentioned the Wikileaks revolution in its new year political round ups.....perhaps it would upset the Beeb`s "core audience" among the global financiers and organised criminals and foreign governments who have so much to fear from us knowing what they are doing?

    Maybe if "Nation spoke TRUTH unto nation" we might really get freedom and democracy in this evil world?

    But then the Americans might have to begin to think for themselves and eat humble pie and realise that they have been manipulated by the financiers into loathing the very people who act on Jesus Christ` words..."The truth shall set you free" (Manning and Lasange)!

    But then I am learning fast that the Americans talk a lot about God ....but just like the folk in Sodom and Gomorrah....they don`t "do" Jesus Christ if it stops them from watching violence and sadism and pornography on their cinema ....screens consuming far more than any other nation... and eating themselves so fat that they can hardly move...and hating anyone who holds a mirror up to them and their government.

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  • 236. At 09:32am on 14 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    218. At 02:10am on 14 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:
    re 204 ukwales:

    What's an HGV?
    ---------------
    William Johnson-Smith on post 219 is spot on.
    Built up truck fleet & sold on,reinvested in self drive fleet sold on.
    Reinvested in fuel filling station & mini market sold on to Texaco.
    Thought about reinvesting in a new venture,but after over 30 years in business I had enough...

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  • 237. At 09:38am on 14 Jan 2011, jon112dk wrote:

    Absolutely appalling.

    A cynical use of sorrow for party political gain.

    To hold what can only be described as a political rally over the deaths of innocent people is sickening.

    To use the death of a child for party political gain is obscene.

    The lack of any critical reporting by the media - particularly the BBC - is very weak indeed.

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  • 238. At 09:45am on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #114 and 179

    Dont waste time giving Dublin links, he will always reject the source

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  • 239. At 09:47am on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    A far as Obama his speech hit the right notes.

    But I have to question some of the other people involved.

    The Narciastic medicine man who spend 10 minutes on himself
    The group or person who provided the Tee Shirts
    Some of the audience who did not respect the solemn nature of the ceremony with constant cherring

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  • 240. At 10:53am on 14 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    Re. 237

    We have to ask ourselves: does a President ever stop being a politician in the eyes of his countrymen? Should President Obama have remained silent? And if he had, what then would have been the comments?

    I suppose he could have confined his remarks to a few platitudes but I believe the man is above that sort of response. A President has a duty to speak for his nation at moments of national crisis, national mourning.

    I'm reminded of how Tony Blair spoke for the British nation at the time of Princess Diana's death. His words were widely admired at the time. There is also no doubt that (as a sort of by-product if you like) he gained politically over the short term. His approval ratings rose in the polls.

    On such sad occasions as this, do we really have always to think: "This man is a politician and is speaking only to further his own cause."

    Maybe we should try to see the better side of our leaders at least sometimes. Tony Blair went on to make some disastrous decisions but it is a poor leader who gets absolutely everything wrong. President Obama can be forgiven for letting his emotion carry him into the realm of excessive oratory.

    Would any of us have done any better?

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  • 241. At 11:07am on 14 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 238 MagicKirin

    "ref #114 and 179

    ‘Dont (sic) waste time giving Dublin (sic) links, he will always reject the source"

    Once again I think I should offer my special, patented, Kirin-Into-English translation service.

    What he means is ‘MagicKirin almost never gives proof or evidence for his assertions, and if he attempts to do so, any links are almost invariably from Fox or some other extreme right wing source. Perhaps not surprising since he has informed us that Fox are the most fair and balanced station in the US, and indeed more fair and balanced than the BBC. Instead of defending the reputation or authority of any source he gives, he just engages in tedious swipes like this one.’

    And MK, you need have no fear of KenTucker providing any evidence for his claims. He doesn’t believe in that sort of thing.

    You two should get on like a house on fire....

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  • 242. At 11:16am on 14 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    My #202 was moderated, apparently on the basis that it used material that might have been copyright.

    It was a quote from a blog on the site of the New Yorker magazine.

    I cannot say I fully grasp the logic used by the Mods, as I posted a fairly long quote from another similar blog. However, as one poster here was wont to remark, ‘the Mods, who are as Gods…’*

    Anyway, the bit I quoted was a paragraph arguing that it is inaccurate to state that the level of extremist rhetoric is the same on both sides. It begins "But it won’t do to dig up stray comments by Obama…”. The full thing is here - http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2011/01/tucson-revisited.html


    *(I assume the Mods cannot reject a quote from the BBC itself – Blackadder, Series 2, Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett – ‘ We are as private parts to the Gods – they play with us for their sport…’ )

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  • 243. At 11:23am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    William Johnson-Smith wrote:
    224. At 03:13am on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Not sure what you are trying to add with your comment. I believe my previous posting had already noted that there were some very, very sick people in America."


    I think you need to define what you mean by sick but if you are referring to people like Loughner he's a good example, just like Thomas Hamilton who murdered 18 people in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996 and wounded a further 15.





    May I ask what kind of weapons) Mr. Hamilton used?

    For I ssume, not cabers?

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  • 244. At 11:27am on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "the Americans might have to begin to think for themselves and eat humble pie and realise that they have been manipulated by the financiers into loathing the very people who act on Jesus Christ` words..."The truth shall set you free" (Manning and Lasange)!"





    Those were not Jesus' words.

    Please, check whose words CIA motto actually quotes. :-)

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  • 245. At 11:39am on 14 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 244 PMK

    "Those were not Jesus' words.

    Please, check whose words CIA motto actually quotes. :-)"

    John 8:32

    "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know truth, and the truth will set you free." Bible: New International Version (1984)

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  • 246. At 11:44am on 14 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    244..Apologies to JC and PMK and all my readers "And ye shall know the truth,and the truth shall make you free"
    If only we lived by that!!

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  • 247. At 12:09pm on 14 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#242. At 11:16am on 14 Jan 2011)

    ”... Anyway, the bit I quoted was a paragraph arguing that it is inaccurate to state that the level of extremist rhetoric is the same on both sides ...”
    Good point. How does one go about assessing the equivalence of extremist rhetoric? What criteria should be used?

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  • 248. At 12:17pm on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    John_From_Dublin wrote:
    # 244 PMK

    "Those were not Jesus' words.

    Please, check whose words CIA motto actually quotes. :-)"

    John 8:32

    "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know truth, and the truth will set you free." Bible: New International Version (1984)




    That's what JOHN wrote.

    What Jesus (whom many consider a historic fugre, whereas many others don't) has actually said, or didn't say we'll probably never find out.

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  • 249. At 12:23pm on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    worcesterjim wrote:
    244..Apologies to JC and PMK and all my readers "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"





    Thank ye. Now, that's sounds more like Aramaic. ;-)

    [it always helps to dig a little to find the truth.


    "...and the truth shall make you free" :-)]

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  • 250. At 12:48pm on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #241
    What he means is ‘MagicKirin almost never gives proof or evidence for his assertions, and if he attempts to do so, any links are almost invariably from Fox or some other extreme right wing source. Perhaps not surprising since he has informed us that Fox are the most fair and balanced station in the US, and indeed more fair and balanced than the BBC. Instead of defending the reputation or authority of any source he gives, he just engages in tedious swipes like this one.’

    __________

    case rested, Fox or any non liberal terrorist loving source like Wikipedia is not acceptible

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  • 251. At 1:33pm on 14 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #243

    powermeerkat;

    "May I ask what kind of weapons) Mr. Hamilton used?"

    2 x 9mm Browning pistols, 2x .357 magnum. He used them to massacre 5 year olds and teachers inside a school. The obvious solution to which, is not gun control, but rather to give 5 year olds Glock 19's with the 33 round clip...with their milk.

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  • 252. At 1:33pm on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    230. At 04:51am on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    "But the sun also rises (what can I say? I'm an optimist at heart)."

    .... and a reader of Hemingway?

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  • 253. At 1:35pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 242 Dublin John:

    That George Packer editorial was worth the second effort. Thanks for making it.

    Dark, persistent calls for violent action 'necessitated' by a threat to the very existence of all that is good and true and holy is the tool of the extremist everywhere.

    That one can hear such rhetoric used and validated by what have become mainstream media and political figures in the US is truly chilling.

    Packer links to this thoughtful little essay from David Frum, which is worth reading as well:

    "this crime should summon us to some reflection on this talk. Better: This crime should summon us to a quiet collective resolution to cease this kind of talk and to cease to indulge those who engage in it."

    I couldn't agree more.

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  • 254. At 1:51pm on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    225. Interestedforeigner:

    197. At 10:29pm on 13 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    "Since you don't know why they are doing this, how can you call them "sick"?"

    ____________


    The deed speaks for itself.

    ********************
    It doesn't speak to me as clearly as it seems to speak to you.

    Is it the act of buying that gun that makes them "sick"? The reasoning behind their purchase that makes them "sick"? Exactly makes them "sick"?

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  • 255. At 2:09pm on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    229. Curt Carpenter:

    Has it occurred to you that young, mad Mr. Laughner was one of your "law abiding gun owners" right up until Saturday afternoon?

    So the way to sort the responsible gun owners from the violent wackos, the drug-ripped and the mental before they kill somebody is -- what? Send them all to you for a personal interview every month? See that they attend church regularly? Please enlighten me.

    Or should we just accept the Christina Greens as collateral damage resulting from your "defense against tyranny" fantasy, which seems to be the gun lobby's approach?

    Or, maybe, just make it really, really hard for anybody to own a gun?

    *************
    Your anger is justified. The problem is taking away the rights of legal, responsible gun owners because of the actions of a few.

    Gun control advocates make the mistake of ignoring the majority of gun owners who handle their guns extremely responsibly. Worse, as many have done here, these gun owners are written off in so many negative terms because they dare to (a) own a gun, and (b) want to retain the right to do so.

    If you and others here cannot accept that the majority of gun owners are decent, law-abiding and responsible individuals, you will never gain an ounce of credibility, and gun control will never gain traction. By now, you should have realized that you cannot simply take away a right because you believe it's evil or amoral.

    Quite frankly, I'd trust a gun owner's ideas for keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals much more than I'd trust someone who freaks out at the thought of handling a gun. I really wish gun owners would tackle this problem. Maybe they've tried, and I'm not aware of it. Or maybe they're so busy defending against people who are trying to take their rights away that the real problems are being lost in the battle.

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  • 256. At 2:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    The Blood Of The Saint cries out
    How long how long must we wait

    Blood Of The Saint - Phillip Frazer / Boss Man - Prince Alla
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOPraRCyC5k

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  • 257. At 2:26pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753320 wrote:

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

  • 258. At 2:26pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753320 wrote:

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

  • 259. At 2:27pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753320 wrote:

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

  • 260. At 2:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753320 wrote:

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

  • 261. At 2:34pm on 14 Jan 2011, mscracker wrote:

    235. At 08:37am on 14 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote: "But then I am learning fast that the Americans talk a lot about God ....but just like the folk in Sodom and Gomorrah....they don`t "do" Jesus Christ if it stops them from watching violence and sadism and pornography on their cinema ..."

    Folks in Sodom & Gomorrah talked a lot about God?? :)
    You know, it would be refreshing in general to see posters discussing issues as opposed to trading insults.
    We have different cultures in America & Britain & might try to show respect for each other.
    Folks that are perfectly well mannered in real life can become the opposite when anonymous online.It's fine to stand up for what you believe & humor is always a good thing, but it can be done respectfully and with charity. And still done with free speech prevailing. At least in America, at the moment.
    Even rude folks should have free speech, but rudeness rarely accomplishes nor teaches much.

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  • 262. At 2:39pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753320 wrote:

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

  • 263. At 3:39pm on 14 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    Hemingway found uses for a gun. If it weren’t for his gun, we’d have missed out on some great literature. If it weren’t for his gun, we may have more.

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  • 264. At 3:53pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    Jesus, I go out the office for a couple of hours and everyone starts fighting
    When will we ever stop our fighting
    If you see us standing up that means we should all start uniting

    Johnny Osbourne, Scientist - Never Stop Fighting
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMlstytX3FQ

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  • 265. At 3:59pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14753431 wrote:

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

  • 266. At 4:01pm on 14 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    · 250. At 12:48pm on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ”case rested, Fox or any non liberal terrorist loving source like Wikipedia is not acceptable (sic)”

    For once, MK is almost right.

    It is case closed. Just not the case he imagines.

    Translating his words into English, he appears to be claiming that the only source for evidence that I will accept is one that is both liberal and ‘terrorist loving’, which is how he describes Wikipedia.

    This is clearly a shameful, mendacious, unsupported and defamatory smear against Wikipedia . I would report it to the Mods, but I feel MK is more condemned by his own words than by having them removed.

    He has made clear on endless occasions that he hates Wiki as they are not ‘fair and balanced’, like Fox, or Rush, or the various Neocon sites he favours. In particular they refuse to let him write their pieces on the Middle East, which would essentially be ‘Israel is always right. Anyone who disagrees is an anti-Semitic terrorist’.

    He especially whines because , eg re Hamas, instead of writing ‘They’re terrorists! They’re terrorists! They’re terrorists! No argument!’, Wikipedia state that “Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by a number of governments, including those of Israel, the European Union,[7][8] the United States,[9] Canada[10] and Japan.”

    Someone else asked about what are the criteria for ‘extremist rhetoric’. It’s not that hard to imagine someone impressionable, simple-minded or just deranged, thinking ‘I hate terrorists. Terrorists killed 3,000 people on 9/11. This MK says Wikipedia love terrorists. Maybe he’s telling the truth. Now where’s that Glock semi-automatic…’

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  • 267. At 4:42pm on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #243

    powermeerkat;

    "May I ask what kind of weapons Mr. Hamilton used?"



    2 x 9mm Browning pistols, 2x .357 magnum. He used them to massacre 5 year olds and teachers inside a school. The obvious solution to which, is not gun control, but rather to give 5 year olds Glock 19's with the 33 round clip...with their milk.






    Glocks would not suffice, obviously, more like Uzi machines.

    Btw. How the fellow who perpetrated that massacre in Scotland managed to obtain his weapons with all that strict UK gun control?

    Inquiring minds want to know.



    P.S. Have you seen a video of the Enligsh knOives exploding in victims' bodies?


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  • 268. At 4:48pm on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Since some are afraid there'll be no Glock after 10 o'clock...



    Swedish Saab Dynamics is working on an M4 version of its well-known 84 mm calibre Carl Gustaf multipurpose weapon system, as well as a range of new projectiles for the weapon, including a guided round.

    (Janes Defense reporting)

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  • 269. At 5:29pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 252 IF .... and a reader of Hemingway?

    And Ecclesiastes. And Frost:

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

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  • 270. At 5:34pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    Every action in life has an equal reaction; many of them are predictable. Jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and you’re not going to float UP…you’re going DOWN because of God’s law of gravity. He’s in control; He makes the sun shine by day and the moon by night, the four seasons occur, with everything in place, on time, but many individuals behave as is God forgot to make moral laws!. Think! Into the Light.
    Well Pleased & Satisfied - Sweetie Come From America (Roots)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=vtpoy06YcIk

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  • 271. At 5:54pm on 14 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 254 AndreaNY
    "Is it the act of buying that gun that makes them "sick"? The reasoning behind their purchase that makes them "sick"? Exactly makes them "sick"?"
    __________________
    Andrea, no-one is saying that the act of owning a gun is what makes you "sick".
    It is the fact that one can be "sick" (whether mentally disturbed, morally corrupted, temporarily out of one's mind through grief/rage or just downright evil is moot) and still able to purchase and carry a gun.
    This is clearly a tiny minority of the population, however as has just been shown, it only takes one to cause a tragedy.

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  • 272. At 6:04pm on 14 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:






    269. At 5:29pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:
    re: 252 IF .... and a reader of Hemingway?

    And Ecclesiastes. And Frost:

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    ------------------------------
    "I had a lover's quarrel with the world,"

    I am now content to let it turn & try not to quarrel with any one.

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  • 273. At 6:11pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 268 mere hippy cat:

    Since some are afraid there'll be no Glock after 10 o'clock...

    Swedish Saab Dynamics is working on an M4 version of its well-known 84 mm calibre Carl Gustaf multipurpose weapon system, as well as a range of new projectiles for the weapon, including a guided round.


    That's great, but will it fit on top of a tinfoil hat?

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  • 274. At 6:20pm on 14 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #267

    powermeerkat;

    "Btw. How the fellow who perpetrated that massacre in Scotland managed to obtain his weapons with all that strict UK gun control?"

    Not enough gun control. Hence:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdrop_Petition
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_(Amendment)_(No._2)_Act_1997

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  • 275. At 6:22pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    ukwales: I am now content to let it turn & try not to quarrel with any one.

    Uh huh ... . You ain't sleeping yet!

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  • 276. At 6:25pm on 14 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    254. At 1:51pm on 14 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    It doesn't speak to me as clearly as it seems to speak to you.

    [[Well, then I must have underestimated you.]]

    Is it the act of buying that gun that makes them "sick"? The reasoning behind their purchase that makes them "sick"? Exactly makes them "sick"?

    [[The deed speaks for itself. These are very sick people.]]

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  • 277. At 6:49pm on 14 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    chronophobe wrote:
    re: 268 mere hippy cat:

    Since some are afraid there'll be no Glock after 10 o'clock...

    Swedish Saab Dynamics is working on an M4 version of its well-known 84 mm calibre Carl Gustaf multipurpose weapon system, as well as a range of new projectiles for the weapon, including a guided round.

    That's great, but will it fit on top of a tinfoil hat?





    Dependes whether sb's chronically big head, or a Bigfoot. :-).


    BTW. If you don't like Swedish SAAB products and consider them to big,

    there's a much smaller Italian Beretta, German Heckler&Koch, Swiss SIG Sauer, and of course Austrian G.....


    Although quite a few of their products are banned in the U.S., while readily available in other countries.



    And now have to go, for I have promises to keep.

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  • 278. At 7:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    275. At 6:22pm on 14 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:
    ukwales: I am now content to let it turn & try not to quarrel with any one.

    Uh huh ... . You ain't sleeping yet!
    --------------------------------
    Ah,& its there I am never stuck for words :)....

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  • 279. At 8:26pm on 14 Jan 2011, nerdalert90 wrote:

    As a conservative, I thought Obama's speech was done very, very well. Even though the forum was a bit odd and off putting (he had no control over that) with the "rally atmosphere", I thought is was an excellent speech, especially when he did the tributes to the victims. Easily his best speech.

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  • 280. At 9:16pm on 14 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    Palin's hint at a Presidential run must have made the Dem's feel good for 2012

    Prince Francis - Rocking The President /
    African Skank / Street Doctor / Whipping
    The Prince
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YbEYBFZee8

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  • 281. At 9:55pm on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #266
    He has made clear on endless occasions that he hates Wiki as they are not ‘fair and balanced’, like Fox, or Rush, or the various Neocon sites he favours. In particular they refuse to let him write their pieces on the Middle East, which would essentially be ‘Israel is always right. Anyone who disagrees is an anti-Semitic terrorist’.

    _______________

    How many times do I have to say I don't listen to Rush?! To you a Neocon is anyway whgo dares criticize the Obama agenda

    As far as Wiki they wont come out and allow a fact to be stated. They have to be pc with a disclaimer.

    As far as Israel what major thing have they done wrong:

    they showed restraint against Gaza and Lebanon
    They defended themselves against the Hate Flotilla
    They have given land to a people who don't deserve and it and have no claim to it. (that is wrong)

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  • 282. At 10:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    For all those like Dublin who think all the vitriol is on the right.

    If you had open minds you could have watched Fox last night and saw several examples where the left including an MSNBC commentator wishing death for Dick Cheney on their hate spewed rants.

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  • 283. At 11:27pm on 14 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    282...No MK...I am convinced that it`s glasses of vitriol ALL ROUND in the Last Chance Saloon...and goodness knows what our grandchildren`s grandchildren will think of us if they ever get out of the Chinese-run sugar plantations that they work in for long enough to read it!

    What is obvious from reading these debates is that you don`t have any political philosophy ...all you have by way of differences amounts to no more than empty personal abuse .....and name calling which suggests that few of you understand basic political concepts.

    How many of you even know what a socialist or Marxist is.....or have realised that you may already live in what amounts to a dictatorship run by global capitalists ....who themselves are moving quietly to countries where there is no democracy or human rights ...of even the token kind found in Britain and the USA today?

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  • 284. At 11:46pm on 14 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    MagicKirin, (#282. At 10:12pm on 14 Jan 2011)

    ”... If you had open minds you could have watched Fox last night and saw several examples where the left including an MSNBC commentator wishing death for Dick Cheney on their hate spewed rants.”
    Good point. How does one go about assessing the equivalence of extremist rhetoric? What criteria should be used?

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  • 285. At 11:52pm on 14 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    283. At 11:27pm on 14 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    "How many of you even know what a socialist or Marxist is[?]"

    Ooh, ooh, I do, I do! Call on me!

    "[O]r have realised that you may already live in what amounts to a dictatorship run by global capitalists[?]"

    Rats! I didn't know that. Gosh darn it!

    Please, fill me in. I'm all ears.

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  • 286. At 11:57pm on 14 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 282, MagicKirin:

    "If you had open minds you could have watched Fox last night and saw several examples where the left including an MSNBC commentator wishing death for Dick Cheney on their hate spewed rants."

    What for, Magic? The President already called out the Left for their comments after the Tuscon shooting. Anything more just seems like piling on to me.

    The Right is screaming that the Left is just as bad as they are. Who am I to disagree?



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  • 287. At 00:00am on 15 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    284. Chryses :

    "How does one go about assessing the equivalence of extremist rhetoric? What criteria should be used?"

    **********
    Good question. One criterion, I would guess, is (a) if it involves guns in any way or (b) is said to gun owners. Mentioning guns seems to be "extremist" to people who abhor guns.

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  • 288. At 00:07am on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 281 MagicKirin wrote:

    “How many times do I have to say I don't listen to Rush?!”

    Never said you did. I daresay you find him too moderate, fair-minded and favourable to Obama and the Dems...

    “To you a Neocon is anyway whgo (sic) dares criticize the Obama agenda”

    Nonsense. Yet more mendacity without proof or evidence. I have never said all Republicans are Neocons.

    “In January 2009, at the close of President George W. Bush's second term in office, Jonathan Clarke, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, proposed the following as the "main characteristics of neoconservatism":
    • "a tendency to see the world in binary good/evil terms
    • low tolerance for diplomacy
    • readiness to use military force
    • emphasis on US unilateral action
    • disdain for multilateral organizations
    • focus on the Middle East
    • An us versus them mentality".

    Pretty much covers you. If they had said a blind unreasoning hatred for anyone liberal, left wing, progressive, Obama, Mrs. Obama, Mandela, Tutu, Carter, all unions and public sector workers, anyone who ever dares question Israel, or America when the Republicans are in power, logic, fact, evidence, spelling and grammar, they’d have got you to a T.

    “As far as Wiki they wont (sic) come out and allow a fact to be stated. They have to be pc with a disclaimer.”

    Yet more nonsense, but at least you're not repeating your shameful mendacious smears. See my quote from them. What they said is a fact. I understand it’s not a concept you're familiar with.

    “As far as Israel what major thing have they done wrong:/they showed restraint against Gaza and Lebanon/They defended themselves against the Hate Flotilla/They have given land to a people who don't deserve and it and have no claim to it. (that is wrong)”

    Thank you for proving my point. As ever, all Israeli killing and violence is self-defence, anyone MK dislikes is a hater, yada, yada, yada.

    And still Wikipedia don't want you to write their page on the Middle East. Baffling....

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  • 289. At 00:10am on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 282 MK

    "For all those like Dublin who think all the vitriol is on the right.

    If you had open minds you could have watched Fox last night and saw several examples where the left including an MSNBC commentator wishing death for Dick Cheney on their hate spewed rants."

    Again - sorry, yet again - you mendaciously ascribe views to me that I have never expressed.

    'Yes, we must all be open-minded, like MK, and watch Fox. For they are Fair and Balanced.’

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  • 290. At 00:27am on 15 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    William wrote: Thanks for posting those unmentioned people's names.
    ----------
    Ur welcome...

    I'm still amazed about Bill Badger! What a heroic guy! Bill Badger shows us age doesn't mean a thing when it comes to making a difference! :)
    ------------
    Pmk wrote: Oops, I don't think that lumberjack was an American.
    ----------
    Probabaly a Canadian!

    I remember some time ago IF talking about the illegal marijuana growers in Canada...

    Last night, I watched The Union and it did blow my mind.

    Considering that hemp does not contain thc and that hemp is the strongest natural fiber in teh world and can be used for almost anything, why is hemp banned in USA?

    Considering that cigarettes can cause cancer and that people can get alcohol poisoning, why is marijuana not legal?

    It makes no sense...why does our country sell poison in cigarettes or liquids that you can overdose on, but ban natural plants that help people get better?

    Some of the people commenting in the movie think its because marijuana is a natural plant and because it is natural, pharmaceudical companies can't make money off of it because it might help people and people can grow their own rather than pay the companies...

    Other ideas are that people are making money off of prisons...basically, they are all being privatized..so people are making money off of peopel going to jail...

    The next idea is that some politicians just don't want to admit they're wrong...

    Why is marijuana called the gateway drug and blamed for other drugs?

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  • 291. At 00:57am on 15 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    John from Dublinwrote: yada, yada, yada.
    ------
    I love it that a guy from Ireland knows the yada, yada, yada phrase from Seinfeld!

    That's great!
    :)
    ---------
    Jim wrote: who themselves are moving quietly to countries where there is no democracy or human rights ...of even the token kind found in Britain and the USA today?
    ---------

    What do you think China's goal is, Jim?


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  • 292. At 00:58am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Lucy...I think I have the answer to the immigration and privatisation problems.....let`s bring in some lean and hungry and willing to please IMMIGRANTS to take over the jobs of lawyers and politicians and bankers.... but for very much less money ...and only pay them if they succeed in doing what WE want!

    After all ..they happily bring in cheap labour to put ordinary working people out of work...and if we complain they say it`s "competitive market forces"......yet somehow that never applies to them and their jobs and pay.....so far!!

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  • 293. At 01:12am on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

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

  • 294. At 01:40am on 15 Jan 2011, David Vinter wrote:

    Congratulations to Obama who has shown himself to be calm and measured and a true statesmen in his speech in Tucson. Ordinary thinking and compassionate people around the world are bemused to see these people such as Sarah Palin taken seriously as a politician. Sarah and the Tea party want to see government off their backs. Yet they still have not grasped that the economic crisis that has cost taxpayers across the world has been caused by the fact that governments across the world did not intervene in free markets and the financial institutions did what they wanted. Their own right wing president George Bush was then forced to use taxpayer’s money in their own country to bail these institutions out. There is no question that the low level of their argument and debate is a factor in this shooting. I understand that a republican candidate in Nevada suggested that her opponent be taken out. A bit alarming as I don’t think she meant an evening out to treat him to a pizza. These people are like seven year old children stamping their feet in a tantrum. They attempt to define personal wealth and greed as individuality and freedom. Human compassion, reason and intellect to them are communism. Yet perhaps they are also deserving of our compassion for their muddled thinking which seems to make them hit out in their speeches and websites without reason. Obama has certainly shown himself to be a worthy and thinking leader and a thoroughly decent man.

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  • 295. At 02:27am on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    287. At 00:00am on 15 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    284. Chryses :
    "How does one go about assessing the equivalence of extremist rhetoric? What criteria should be used?"
    **********
    Good question. One criterion, I would guess, is (a) if it involves guns in any way or (b) is said to gun owners. Mentioning guns seems to be "extremist" to people who abhor guns.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    There is no extremist rhetoric. Only extremists that use rhetoric.

    Isn't that how the philosophy works AndreaNY?

    And good news for gun apologists like yourself everywhere. Today in my city, an eleven year old child killed an eight year old and wounded a six year old with a shotgun. A nine year old in the area managed to escape.*

    Makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it? From the Arsenal of Democracy to the the Arsenal of Hypocrisy in the space of one lifetime:
    a stunning performance.

    *Spare me a narrative on responsible shotgun ownership. Nobody so far can figure out who owned it.

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  • 296. At 03:36am on 15 Jan 2011, _marko wrote:

    John_From_Dublin in #288 lists:

    RE: main characteristics of neoconservatism
    • "a tendency to see the world in binary good/evil terms
    • low tolerance for diplomacy
    • readiness to use military force
    • emphasis on US unilateral action
    • disdain for multilateral organizations
    • focus on the Middle East
    • An us versus them mentality".


    These points remind me a little of the mentality needed for sports psychology, where all politics boils down to beating the other team. Might be ok for American football.

    From this sport site:
    http://www.competitivedge.com/content/the-power-teamwork

    I quote:

    "
    ATHLETE TEAM-BUSTING BEHAVIORS

    * Talking behind others' backs
    * Blaming others - Refusing to accept responsibility
    * Scape-goating or picking on certain teammates
    * Jealousy
    * Complaining about playing time
    * Having a negative attitude
    * Bad mouthing teammates or coach
    * Being dishonest in your relationships with coach & teammates
    * "I'm the greatest and you're pond scum" attitude
    * Yelling at teammates when they make mistakes
    * Not communicating directly/openly
    * Being defensive
    * Dogging it or giving a half-hearted effort
    * Being a poor sport

    ATHLETE TEAM-BUILDING BEHAVIORS

    * Being supportive
    * Dealing with conflicts directly and openly
    * Being understanding
    * Demonstrating respect for coach/teammates
    * Being encouraging to teammates when they mess up
    * Accepting your assigned role on the team
    * Having a positive attitude
    * Listening
    * Having an open mind
    * Understanding that everyone on the team is important for success
    * Not allowing team-busting behaviors to occur
    * Taking responsibility for your actions
    * Going full out/trying as hard as you can
    * Being a good sport
    "


    MagicKirin, which list do you identify with most?

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  • 297. At 04:34am on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #296
    ATHLETE TEAM-BUSTING BEHAVIORS

    * Talking behind others' backs
    * Blaming others - Refusing to accept responsibility
    * Scape-goating or picking on certain teammates
    * Jealousy
    * Complaining about playing time
    * Having a negative attitude
    * Bad mouthing teammates or coach
    * Being dishonest in your relationships with coach & teammates
    * "I'm the greatest and you're pond scum" attitude
    * Yelling at teammates when they make mistakes
    * Not communicating directly/openly
    * Being defensive
    * Dogging it or giving a half-hearted effort
    * Being a poor sport

    ATHLETE TEAM-BUILDING BEHAVIORS

    * Being supportive
    * Dealing with conflicts directly and openly
    * Being understanding
    * Demonstrating respect for coach/teammates
    * Being encouraging to teammates when they mess up
    * Accepting your assigned role on the team
    * Having a positive attitude
    * Listening
    * Having an open mind
    ____________________

    Obviously the second one which I enjoying in seeing Boston Sports team like the Patriots and Celtics.


    Working with a wide range of people I do that daily, the obvious dismissivness of some on thisw board shows they don't
    Also is seen far more in business community and moderate/conservatives than special interests groups.

    Where you don't see team spirit is special interest groups or authoritative countries.

    If you look at problem solving you can see which side makes the effort as opposed to blame

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  • 298. At 04:39am on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #288
    “As far as Israel what major thing have they done wrong:/they showed restraint against Gaza and Lebanon/They defended themselves against the Hate Flotilla/They have given land to a people who don't deserve and it and have no claim to it. (that is wrong)”

    Thank you for proving my point
    _________________

    What point is that? That a country should not defend itself against terrorists?

    Also because I dare criticize liberals don't mistake that for hate.

    I see far more hate from your posting towards GWB, Palin Neocons (anyone who is not liberal) Israel, Columbia and open workplace advocates

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  • 299. At 05:25am on 15 Jan 2011, _marko wrote:

    #291 LucyJ
    What do you think China's goal is, Jim?

    Over time, as detailed and direct online social and financial networks are gradually opened up around the world, this type of question will sound more and more old-fashioned because countries will no longer be regarded as the only significant boundaries of a collective will.

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  • 300. At 07:02am on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    The Obama administration - stung perhaps by criticism that it has been too timid in view of massive violations of basic human rights and of repressions in Tunesia and other Arab countries - seems to have sensed that it has to speak out nd use some 'fitting words' or lose credibility.

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  • 301. At 07:05am on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #291 and 299

    Lucys has asked: What do you think China's goal is, Jim?






    China's ambitions for a domestic aircraft carrier programme and its achievement of an initial operating capability (IOC) for the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) were both revealed in December 2010. The DF-21D, based on the CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile, is a two-stage weapon with an effective range of 810 n miles (1,500 km)

    (Janes Defense reporting)

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  • 302. At 07:13am on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: consevatives' allegeded readiness to use military force...


    Who involved US in most miliary conflicts of the XXth century?


    1. Wilson (D) in WWI

    2. FDR (D) in WWII

    3.Truman (D) in Korean War

    4. JFK (D) in Vietnam War

    5. LBJ (D) - ditto

    6. Clinton (D) in the war in former Yugoslavia



    Awful conservative and neoconservative warmongers all. ;-)

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  • 303. At 07:37am on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: British gun laws tightened in the aftermath of the massacre in Scotland [#243, #251, #267 & #274]...



    What do violent Britons do when they cannot get their paws on fire arms? [although they obviously still can:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lil51T7UIrc]


    Sometimes they get themselves knives which explode in victims' bodies.

    Please, just watch this demonstration what they can do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8yPAFisApM&feature=related
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    if there's a will, there's always a way.

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  • 304. At 07:55am on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lucy has asked: "What do you think China's goal is?"




    China is continuing to deepen its already close military ties with Pakistan as it seeks to retain a key role as a partner of a country that the United States also boasts as a close ally. While the US and other Western powers focus on China's growing military presence in the Pacific and the implications for the security of Japan and the Korean Peninsula, Beijing is quietly building on its ties with Islamabad in an apparent step to expand its long-term role in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.

    (Janes Defense)


    Sapienti sat.

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  • 305. At 09:11am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

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

  • 306. At 09:26am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    This is absurd and oppressive....moderator either place post 305 on view or explain your decision ...for all of us who stupidly imagine you to be a world-leading broadcaster to see you for what you really are.....A mouthpiece of the greedy and powerful.
    There was NOTHING in that last post that would cause offence to honest free people.

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  • 307. At 09:39am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    The silence is evidence for all to see.The BBC is a political organisation masquerading as an honest fair and balanced seeker after truth....but the facts speak for themselves.

    Lucy...if you can find a way for us to continue to communicate the truth to each other please let us Brits know by posting an alternative website address on this thread...and then we can all leave the BBC to worship the rich and powerful by themselves!

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  • 308. At 10:28am on 15 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #303

    powermeerkat;

    Number of UK citizens killed by wasp knife: ZERO
    Number of UK citizens killed by wasps : more than zero

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  • 309. At 10:52am on 15 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    Jim, did you keep a copy of your 305? You could test the waters by reposting, taking out the phrase(s) that you feel were deemed unsuitable. Then you will know where the problem lies and may be able to communicate it to us by a hint or circumlocution of some kind! Go for it.

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  • 310. At 11:05am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    309...I appreciate your advice Adam...but have become tired of talking in code and whispers just to propitiate the gods of our oppressive thought police ...the BBC.
    They have become too powerful and must ....like all powerful people....come to learn that their power has limits ..or they will become too arrogant....like our politicians and the "markets" that enslave us!

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  • 311. At 11:10am on 15 Jan 2011, dunstruggling wrote:

    I was born and raised in the UK and have never been to the United States, although I have been to a number of mediterranean countries and to Australia. Because I have not been to the USA it is harder for me to to make a judgement on how Americans live. My family has been talking about taking our summer holiday in the USA (visiting lots of places, not a Disneyland fortnight) this year.

    But all that is happened in Tucson, and the climate of the discourse that has surrounded that, just puts me off going to the USA. It does not sound a civilised place, and I am concerned about us finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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  • 312. At 11:49am on 15 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    Re 311: Dunstruggling, my daughter, son-in-law and family recently moved to the USA for a couple of years. They love it, really, though they do live in a reasonably quiet city (sorry, won't say where!) I joined this blog partly because of a renewed interest in America, following this move.

    The kids go to school on the iconic yellow bus -and they love school there - and the adults have many friends in the neighbourhood. They are aware of all the mud-slinging, finger-pointing, point-scoring and downright hatred etc. that are such appalling features of American political life at the moment. This unhappy situation does not affect their lives and they have not seen a single violent act or threat of it. They are happy, feel safe, and enjoy their new experiences, visiting the beautiful countryside and historic old towns. (American readers will now know they're somewhere East!)

    So, do go.

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  • 313. At 12:08pm on 15 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #307 worcesterjim

    The BBC is a political organisation
    No question about that. BBC News and Current Affairs is pretty much a vehicle for the Labour Party.
    ...
    we can all leave the BBC to worship the rich and powerful by themselves!
    I'm afraid you'll have to cite some evidence for that. I've seen and heard plenty of BBC News stories tilted leftward but I've yet to see any to the right.

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  • 314. At 12:18pm on 15 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #283 worcesterjim

    .....or have realised that you may already live in what amounts to a dictatorship run by global capitalists ....who themselves are moving quietly to countries where there is no democracy or human rights ...of even the token kind found in Britain and the USA today?

    Could you name the individuals and/or companies who constitute this dictatorship run by global capitalists please ?

    No offence but it does sound a bit like the average conspiracy theory - much spoken, little proven.

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  • 315. At 12:18pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #311
    dunstruggling wrote:
    I was born and raised in the UK and have never been to the United States, although I have been to a number of mediterranean countries and to Australia. Because I have not been to the USA it is harder for me to to make a judgement on how Americans live. My family has been talking about taking our summer holiday in the USA (visiting lots of places, not a Disneyland fortnight) this year.

    But all that is happened in Tucson, and the climate of the discourse that has surrounded that, just puts me off going to the USA. It does not sound a civilised place, and I am concerned about us finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    _________________-

    Not minimizing the tradgdy but remember that the U.S is a very large country and for the most part people are friendly to visitors and the places one would visit are safe.

    Common sense is the key, I have been to europe and several Latin america countries, there are places in London or Paris I would not visit.


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  • 316. At 12:22pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    AndreaNY, (#287. At 00:00am on 15 Jan 2011)

    " ... ‘How does one go about assessing the equivalence of extremist rhetoric? What criteria should be used?’
    **********
    Good question. One criterion, I would guess, is (a) if it involves guns in any way or (b) is said to gun owners. Mentioning guns seems to be "extremist" to people who abhor guns.”


    There are some who seem to prefer attacking each other to gaining more understanding, and that’s OK. That’s why they post here.

    The problem of extremist rhetoric seems to me to be intractable. It is clear that retaining the freedom to express one’s political opinions and preventing inciting to violence will be on occasion mutually exclusive, even among reasonable people.

    One post already here partially addresses my point. The extended version is, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” This seems to me to be an example of extremist rhetoric of the acceptable kind.

    “Don’t retreat, reload,” “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” and "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" seem to me to be unacceptable extremist rhetoric, as they incorporate violent imagery into their political metaphor.

    Is the hope of success sufficient justification for the latter form of extremist rhetoric? If the orator succeeds in getting the audience “fired up” and motivated to vote, does this warrant extremist rhetoric? Only by winning the office can a politician exercise that office’s power. What benefit has a politician bestowed upon the electorate by losing an election?

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  • 317. At 12:24pm on 15 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #242 John_From_Dublin

    I tried to put a link to a Democratic Leadership Committe website which showed bullseyes over Republican 'targets' days ago - it was moderated away. Here's another link, no comment. It's not my favoured link, I'd rather show the original but you can probably navigate to it from there.

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  • 318. At 12:32pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:




    Intereste Foreigner,

    something up your alley re control of the non-PC media...

    Venezuela bans Family Guy cartoon
    Venezuela has told a private TV company to stop showing a Colombian soap opera it says is insulting to the country.

    Chepe Fortuna stars a character called Colombia and her sister Venezuela, who owns a dog called Little Hugo, the same name as Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

    In one episode Venezuela loses Little Hugo, prompting Colombia to tell her she is better off without him.[...]

    Venezuela's telecommunications regulator Conatel said the secretary character named Venezuela was "repeatedly characterised as associated with crime, interference and vulgarity". [...]

    Mr Chavez maintains tight control over the media in Venezuela - opposition groups accuse him of trying prevent coverage of political discontent. (BBC News)

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  • 319. At 12:37pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #Number of UK citizens killed by wasps : more than zero






    charlie, I've never claimed that Britons have been slaughtered by wasps (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.)


    BTW. I've never met any Anglo-Saxon Protestant who was not white.

    For some strange reason.

    [so much for wasps)

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  • 320. At 12:45pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    In #312 Adam reports:


    my daughter, son-in-law and family recently moved to the USA for a couple of years. They love it [...]

    This unhappy situation does not affect their lives and they have not seen a single violent act or threat of it. They are happy, feel safe, and enjoy their new experiences, visiting the beautiful countryside"







    No kidding! Are you sure they have not moved to Mexico? Or Canada? :-)



    Posters who've never been to U.S. claim 'something completely different'.


    Quoting "Guardian" and "Independent" :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))]




    P.S. FYI. Never owned Austrian Glock-19. Preferring much the 18 model.

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  • 321. At 12:50pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I was born and raised in the UK and have never been to the United States, although I have been to a number of mediterranean countries and to Australia. [...]

    But all that is happened in Tucson, and the climate of the discourse that has surrounded that, just puts me off going to the USA. It does not sound a civilised place, and I am concerned about us finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.








    You're more than welcome to visite Australian Brisbane instead.

    [m. less dry climate, judging be the latest videos and news reports. ;-)]


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  • 322. At 12:54pm on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 298 MK

    "What point is that? That a country should not defend itself against terrorists?”

    No. The point I clearly stated and have made more than once. To you, all actions of Israel are by definition correct, all acts of violence by Israel are by definition in self-defence, and any criticism of Israel is by definition anti-Semitic and or made by terrorists and/or terrorist sympathisers and/or ‘haters’. Amazingly enough I don't accept that. Nor do most sane people. Nor does Wikipedia. That's why they don't let you write their entry on the Middle East. That's why you shamefully smear them as terrorist loving.

    “Also because I dare criticize liberals don't mistake that for hate.”

    Dare? Why yes, tremendously brave to criticise liberals in the US.

    Of course, you don't criticise liberals, you smear. You cannot just disagree with eg Carter, or Mandela, or Tutu, you have to smear them as anti-Semites. You cannot just argue that public sector workers are over-paid or insufficiently productive, you have to smear them as parasites. (Pretty sure you also described the First Lady in the same way.) You cannot just disagree with eg the NAACP or La Raza, you must smear them as racist. You cannot just oppose the activities of unions, you must smear them as thugs. You are clearly consumed by hatred and bile.

    “I see far more hate from your posting (sic) towards GWB, Palin Neocons (anyone who is not liberal) Israel, Columbia (sic) and open workplace advocates”.

    I have already calmly and factually explained that you lie when you claim that to me anyone who is not a liberal is by definition a Neocon. I have given a working definition of Neocon, and it clearly does not include all conservatives or republicans. However you are a devotee of the big lie theory, ie keep repeating something often enough and people may eventually believe it.

    Of course you see hate in my postings - anyone who dares to disagree with or question anything you believe in is by definition a ‘hater’.

    Give just one example of where I have made any mention whatsoever of Colombia (I assume that is what you were attempting to write) or be shown for the umpteenth time to be a mendacious defamer. You are the one who is obsessed by South America, not I. Many people here who know about the subject, eg who have lived in and visited South America, have on numerous occasions disproved your rants on the subject, and your repeated assertions that any politician in South America who dares espouse any policy you dislike is by definition a dictator, regardless of whether they have been elected or not. I am not one.

    Give just one example of where I have made any mention whatsoever of ‘open workplace advocates’ or be shown for the umpteenth time to be a mendacious defamer.

    Give one example of where I have demonstrated hatred towards Israel or be shown for the umpteenth time to be a mendacious defamer. I have said very little on the subject as I recall – except to say that I do not accept your blind and mindless automatic defence of Israel in all and any circumstances. That does not constitute hatred, merely common sense.


    You just have to click on my name to see my postings.

    Again, someone else asked about criteria for extremist rhetoric. Blatantly saying things that are untrue is a pretty good criterion, it seems to me.

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  • 323. At 1:05pm on 15 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    310. At 11:05am on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    309...I appreciate your advice Adam...but have become tired of talking in code and whispers just to propitiate the gods of our oppressive thought police ...the BBC.
    They have become too powerful and must ....like all powerful people....come to learn that their power has limits ..or they will become too arrogant....like our politicians and the "markets" that enslave us!
    -------------------------
    Wooster,you may be on to something,they are definitely out there,


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLnADKgurvc&feature=related

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  • 324. At 1:18pm on 15 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    You are the only one, Who knows just how to lead; You are the guide that shows the way, You're all the light I need Glory Allelujah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEm1zLycahE

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  • 325. At 1:36pm on 15 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    You can keep a good man down
    No matter how you try
    If you spit in the sky
    It will fall in your eyes

    Can't Keep A Good Man Down
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHZsfRi5eM0

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  • 326. At 1:44pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    You're all the light I need Glory Allelujah .





    Did you mean Gloria Alred is all right, Hallelujah, by any chance?

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  • 327. At 1:48pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Studio One wrote:
    You can keep a good man down
    No matter how you try
    If you spit in the sky
    It will fall in your eyes







    An Aussie joke:

    "Where is Bob? Haven't seen him for a while.

    - He got himself a new boomerang and threw away the old one."


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  • 328. At 2:02pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    HYS has just initiated a debate on:
    "How much land should be given to travellers?"




    Perhaps Mark Mardell could expand it to
    "how much land in Arizona should be given to fellow-travellers, and how much to illeg...err..."undocumented immigrants"?

    To make it more relevant?

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  • 329. At 2:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #322

    no going to waste my time any more than giving you links, you will disregard.

    I have back up my points, like Keith Obermann and other haters on the left you will not be convinced

    The Nbaka is a joke
    support your Local scab
    watch Chepe Fortuna do not let Hugo the Dictator dictate your viewing habits

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  • 330. At 2:53pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    For those who quote here Holy Scripture constantly:



    Mikhail Kalashnikov (a chief designer of both, AK-47 and much improved AK-74) has stated publicly in 2009 that reading Bible led him "to create the simplest weapons possible".

    Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!

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  • 331. At 3:20pm on 15 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    In Biblical mood are we? How about Isaiah II v. 4: 'And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares...'

    Kalashnikov apparently said in 2002 (Wikipedia quote): "I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists ... I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower."

    I'll give first prize to anyone who invents a method of beating AK47's into lawnmowers.

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  • 332. At 3:31pm on 15 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Kalashnikov apparently said in 2002 (Wikipedia quote): "I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists ... I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower."






    But he didn't invent even a combine, and that's why, perhaps, while Russia still exports a lot of Kalashnikovs, it had to top exporting its grain.

    BTW. The REAL inventor of AK-47 was Hugo Schmeisseer (Sturmgeweher creator), who was forcibly taken to USSR in mid-40s and made to work in Ilzhevsk on Russian version of StG44.

    [which comrade Kalashnikov admitted only standing above his grave.]

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  • 333. At 3:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

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

  • 334. At 4:13pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

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

  • 335. At 4:20pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    185. At 8:15pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    "Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?"

    __________

    I have now thrice responded to the W J-S posting at 185. On the first two occasions my response was taken down by the moderators, although that response breaks none of the BBC rules.

    Someone whose response to a mass murder in which 6 people were killed and 19 wounded, goes out and buys the same weapon as used by the murderer, and, even more strongly, goes out and buys the extended magazine that made the death and injury toll possible, has a mental health problem.

    In any country other than America that would be recognized immediately.

    Since the shootings, one day sales of the Glock 19 are up 60% and sales of the extended magazines are up 400%.

    That is not a sign of mental health.
    That is a sign of a psychosis.

    In any other country it would be recognized immediately for what it is. But not in America.

    Why?

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  • 336. At 4:32pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    316. At 12:22pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:
    "One post already here partially addresses my point. The extended version is, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” This seems to me to be an example of extremist rhetoric of the acceptable kind."

    I'm not at all surprised that you subject this to the Chryses smell test and give it a pass. Never mind the rhetorical value: It's an example of lazy thinking. People buy into the sound bite without due diligence because it appeals to their prejudices.

    Confronted with this slogan, thoughtful people will want to consider: who is defining "liberty," "vice," "justice" and "virtue" here? Can "extremism" and "moderation" be adequately assessed in the absence of all context? Do these words from Barry Goldwater's lips mean the same thing as the same words from Ho Chi Minh's lips?

    Similar difficulties arise with many other rhetorical devices of the right. "You're either with us or against us," for example. Sounds reasonable to those that are too lazy to ask: who is "us" here? Is there really a dichotomy of choice, or is their a third, forth and fifth way that deserves consideration?

    ("Yes we can" requires analysis too -- but is a much more benign sort of sloganeering. "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" is too banal to require any thought at all.)

    These issues go back to the absolutist/relativist debates of the last century. And I agree that that makes them intractable.

    The touchstone I like to use in trying to remember to stay alert is "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It helps me remember that we all see language and "reality" through our own more-or-less unique prism.







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  • 337. At 4:39pm on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 322

    "no (sic squared) going to waste my time any more than (sic) giving you links, (sic) you will disregard."

    From MK and other haters on the extreme right, that's just what I would expect.

    And you are not going to attempt to back up your various lies about me by providing evidence from my postings - because you can't.

    If you want to see a 'hater', try the mirror.

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  • 338. At 4:57pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#334. At 4:13pm on 15 Jan 2011)

    ”... To which I have now thrice responded that there are some very very sick people in America.”
    I think a reasonable interpretation of William Johnson-Smith’s post was that some people see value in purchasing a demonstrably effective tool on the chance that it may soon be made unavailable to them.

    You have now asserted three times that such perception of value, and proactively purchasing that which may become unavailable identifies those people as being “very very sick.”

    Most people would agree that you are entitled to your POV.

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  • 339. At 5:03pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Curt Carpenter, (#336. At 4:32pm on 15 Jan 2011)

    ”... Chryses wrote:
    ‘One post already here partially addresses my point. The extended version is, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” This seems to me to be an example of extremist rhetoric of the acceptable kind.’

    I'm not at all surprised that you subject this to the Chryses smell test and give it a pass. Never mind the rhetorical value: It's an example of lazy thinking ...”

    Do you disagree with the first sentence, or the second?

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  • 340. At 5:16pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    335. At 4:20pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "That is not a sign of mental health.
    That is a sign of a psychosis.

    In any other country it would be recognized immediately for what it is. But not in America.

    Why?"

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There's a certain irony going on here.

    You note that the signs aren't good for American mental health across the board. Meanwhile, conservatives are arguing that we don't need more gun control -- we heed to make it easier to force people into treatment for mental illness.

    Guns, presumably, preserve our liberty and thus our right to bear arms needs constant and vigilant protection.

    Making it easier to throw your somewhat-addled neighbor into a mental institution, however, is not counted as a step away from our much-cherished liberty. Rather, it's taken as a pretty good approach to preventing gun violence.

    Go figure!

    This would be sort of funny if most of us didn't remember that declaring any dissident "mentally ill" was standard first-line-of-defense policy in the Soviet Union, making the State safe for Democracy and so on. Or the Nixon administrations plans for Daniel Ellsberg here at home.

    I see a future where we all report each other to the authorities for exhibiting mental instability. Maybe with a national "three strikes and you're in treatment" policy to go along with the climate of denunciations. "He's crazy" will assume a whole new political dimension.

    Meanwhile, I think maybe you answered your own "why."



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  • 341. At 5:39pm on 15 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    340. At 5:16pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote RE 335"
    "...Making it easier to throw your somewhat-addled neighbor into a mental institution, however, is not counted as a step away from our much-cherished liberty. Rather, it's taken as a pretty good approach to preventing gun violence."

    Well now, right or left extremists are pretty much the same. They are all for liberty for those who agree with them, but not for those who disagree.

    Add this to the disturbing [and disturbed] posts above stating on the one side that liberals are insane, and on the other that all conservatives are crazy. Let either side get total control and we'll need a lot of mental hospitals for the enemies they don't liquidate.

    Of course if both sides resort to the gun, the less sane parts of the US will look like Beirut during the troubles [or Detroit].

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  • 342. At 5:44pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    339. At 5:03pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:
    "Do you disagree with the first sentence, or the second?"

    If you refer to Goldwater's famous (philosophically bankrupt) slogan, both sentences pander to people that are too lazy to set aside their prejudices and ask questions.

    Think about it Chryses. How many people do you know that go around proclaiming that their own views are -im-moderate and -un-just? You've got to come damned close to the empty set if you're honest at all.

    The struggle for both moderation and justice within the human community has gone on for a very long time, with no end of failures, setbacks, disappointments and outright disregard. Goldwater's proclamation contains the presumption that he (and his followers) have overcome the struggle and found at last the true keys to both moderation and justice. Can any thinking person accept such hubris on its face?

    Again: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter.

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  • 343. At 6:14pm on 15 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 316 Chryses:

    "One post already here partially addresses my point. The extended version is, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” This seems to me to be an example of extremist rhetoric of the acceptable kind."

    I would start by saying that I profoundly disagree with Goldwater's statement. One must acknowledge that there will always be a multiplicity of beliefs, purposes, and means to attain such purposes extant, operating, and sometimes conflicting with one another in an open society. Because of this, personal liberty, i.e., the individual freedom to hold beliefs, to define one's own ends and purposes, and to shape for one's self the best means to attain those ends and purposes, requires that one respect the right of others to do the same.

    Thus private liberty depends upon moderation in the public realm: extremism in defence of one's own beliefs, ends and means (i.e., one's particular sense of liberty) will almost certainly foreclose on another's ability to be free.

    All must give a little to the public realm, that all may maximize their ablilty to indulge their private interests. Storming the public realm and claiming it for a particular set of beliefs is a radical, dangerous act.

    The justifications for such extremism in defense of liberty often arise from the assertion that some other opinion constitutes an existential threat to one's particular sense of what is right, true, just, and holy. The issue in the present tense is whether those who seek to radically denounce the policies of the current Administration are right in using the language of justified revolution and violence against tyranny.

    I do not think they are.

    Do you?

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  • 344. At 6:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Curt Carpenter, (#342. At 5:44pm on 15 Jan 2011)

    "... 'Do you disagree with the first sentence, or the second?'

    If you refer to Goldwater's famous (philosophically bankrupt) slogan , both sentences pander to people that are too lazy to set aside their prejudices and ask questions."

    I presume that you are in a position to substantiate your claim that when read together, the two sentences "pander to people that are too lazy to set aside their prejudices and ask questions," and that the two sentences are "philosophically bankrupt?"

    "... Think about it Chryses. How many people do you know that go around proclaiming that their own views are -im-moderate and -un-just? You've got to come damned close to the empty set if you're honest at all ..."

    While I would not want to defend the position that they will agree that their views are unjust, I believe I can identify at least one poster to these threads who is comfortable being identified as a conspiracy theorist. Such people are considered by many, including me, to be immoderate by definition.

    "... The struggle for both moderation and justice within the human community has gone on for a very long time, with no end of failures, setbacks, disappointments and outright disregard ..."
    I'll go further - the definition of both "moderation" and "justice" have changed over time.

    "... Goldwater's proclamation contains the presumption that he (and his followers) have overcome the struggle and found at last the true keys to both moderation and justice ..."
    I believe that you are mistaken. Examine the quote. In what way do "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue" contain the presumption that he has found the "true keys to both moderation and justice?" They are assertions that extremism in the defence of liberty is not a vice, and that moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue. Do you disagree with either proposition?

    "... Can any thinking person accept such hubris on its face? ..."
    That is reasonable only if you take as given your interesting interpretation of that portion of his speech. I have pointed out above that he did not claim to be in possession of the "true keys to both moderation and justice" as you assert, only that the defense of the first is appropriate and that acceptance of the second is not

    "... Again: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter."
    There are those who assert that there are no standards for morals or ethics that span the various human societies. That is not my position on the subject.

    For any who may be interested in the source: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Extremism_in_the_Defense_of_Liberty_Is_No_Vice

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  • 345. At 6:41pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    341. At 5:39pm on 15 Jan 2011, JMM wrote:
    "Well now, right or left extremists are pretty much the same. They are all for liberty for those who agree with them, but not for those who disagree."

    A cogent and penetrating analysis!

    If I were a member of the Happy Meal generation, my plan would be to commit myself to some asylum (I'm told they have very strict gun control rules there) and let everyone else --- liberal OR conservative -- shoot it out on the outside and good luck to them!

    Meanwhile, the notion that there are "less sane" parts of the US that can be contrasted with other, presumably "more sane" parts seems an iffy proposition at best, as noted by our correspondent Interestedforeigner. There DO seem to be some small pockets of sanity in the northeast and northwest, but madness is firmly in the drivers seat elsewhere, especially here in the southwest. I expect skyward-pointing-flood-light,
    flag-strewn marching rallies with speeches from The Leader any day now.
    Because, afterall, extremism in the defense of liberty is NO VICE!

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  • 346. At 6:48pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    343. At 6:14pm on 15 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:
    I would start by saying that I profoundly disagree with Goldwater's statement. One must acknowledge that there will always be a multiplicity of beliefs, purposes, and means to attain such purposes extant, operating, and sometimes conflicting with one another in an open society. Because of this, personal liberty, i.e., the individual freedom to hold beliefs, to define one's own ends and purposes, and to shape for one's self the best means to attain those ends and purposes, requires that one respect the right of others to do the same."

    Eloquently put. Goldwater, had he been more honest, should have said "Extremism in the defense of my liberty is no vice. Yours, on the other hand, is a whole different story."

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  • 347. At 7:35pm on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Lucy...You asked about China and I did a post about the background to China and other new capitalist countries ...which was stopped from being published on this thread.

    I am not going to repeat it in case it`s stopped again but you might find it useful to look at Julian Assanges claim that China is by far the worst sinner when it comes to cyber espionage.(Reuters Jan. 10th)

    The irony is China has probably learned most of the tricks that are making her so powerful from watching American behaviour of the sort that have given the USA such a powerful grip on the rest of the world for most of last century.( Moneylending...political interference..warfare...and a control of the global media etc

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

    I still hope we can build a world based on a fusion of the best atributes of small scale regulated capitalism and socialism...and an example would be several of the Scandinavian countries in the last century ....before they took on far too many immigrants from very different cultures.
    These countries were very prosperous but also had very high quality public services.Services that make the USA look cheap and uncaring towards folks like its Vietnam vets and the victims of the St Louis floods.

    Trouble is there`s no huge profits to be made from a civilised fair and well run society....so the global capitalists sabotage them with privatisation and mass immigration.

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  • 348. At 8:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    On the subject of extremist rhetoric, here are some examples

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/01/the-rhetoric-of-the-right.html

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  • 349. At 8:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    340. At 5:16pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    "There's a certain irony going on here."
    [[Darn right there is.]]

    "You note that the signs aren't good for American mental health across the board. Meanwhile, conservatives are arguing that we don't need more gun control -- we heed to make it easier to force people into treatment for mental illness."

    [[I know. The real tragedy is that we incarcerate people who can, under most circumstances lead productive lives - just keep them away from weapons. This problem got a lot worse when, as a result of spending cuts in the 1990's, funding for psychiatric care facilities was cut very substantially in real terms. A very large number of people who would otherwise be receiving treatment were, in effect, turned out on the streets. My guess would be that a fair portion of the sharp upturn in homelessness dates from those funding cuts. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that when I was a kid, urban homelessness was nothing like the issue it is now.]]

    "Guns, presumably, preserve our liberty and thus our right to bear arms needs constant and vigilant protection."

    [[Quite. Doesn't do much to preserve the liberty or the freedom of speech of the victims - but then they don't get to vote afterward, do they? And afterward they don't need their second amendment rights either.]]

    "Making it easier to throw your somewhat-addled neighbor into a mental institution, however, is not counted as a step away from our much-cherished liberty. Rather, it's taken as a pretty good approach to preventing gun violence."

    "Go figure!"

    "This would be sort of funny if most of us didn't remember that declaring any dissident "mentally ill" was standard first-line-of-defense policy in the Soviet Union, making the State safe for Democracy and so on. Or the Nixon administrations plans for Daniel Ellsberg here at home."

    ----------

    The thing I notice is that every time gun control comes up as a topic, there are two kinds of postings that come up opposing gun control.

    The first kind, is the calculated repetition of known untruths, or other plainly intellectually dishonest arguments that continue to be repeated even though the people making the arguments know them to be dishonest. Those are the classic NRA-style postings, the postings that are, ultimately, driven by the gun industry and its desired to continue making profits through the death, injury and suffering of others, and to wrap that rather base desire in the cloak of defending liberty and the Constitution. They're always in favour of harsh punishment after-the-fact, when, of course, it's far too late to do any good. What they oppose is sensible prevention. They oppose any measure, to reduce unnecessary injury and death by firearms by prevention, no matter how reasonable.

    Why not prevention?

    Because virtually all forms of prevention would ultimately result in a reduction of firearms sales.

    (Helpfully, the newspaper today pointed out that the gross margin on the Glock 19 is thought to be close to 80% of the retail sale price. I.e., it retails for US $ 500 - 700, but costs roughly US $ 100 to produce. Selling them is, apparently, a license to print money. How cheery.)

    Those postings show a studied lack of concern for the suffering of others. Which is particularly remarkable, given that the right wing is usually keen to play up "victim's rights". Apparently not, though, if to do so would diminish the profitability of selling firearms.

    If anything, that phenomenon resembles nothing so much as the tobacco industry's decades-long campaign to deny that smoking was in any way addictive, or related to cancer, emphysema, heart and stroke disease, and so on. This is the realm of the paid lobbyist, the hired mouthpiece. The people making these postings are sane, but certainly on much the same plane in the spectrum of good and evil as the tobacco industry.

    ----------

    The second kind of posting, usually more numerous near the start of the string, is the kind that overflows with immaturity, paranoia and insecurity. In those postings - which are always in favour of unrestricted gun ownership - there are any number of mental health issues on display for the entire world to see. Any reasonable person reading those postings would say to themselves: whoever wrote this should not be anywhere near any kind of weapon, and especially not any kind of firearm.

    No topic, not even abortion, brings out as many of the ravers as gun control. It's Pavlovian - like turning on a switch, and they begin howling at the moon on cue.

    There's also a third kind of posting, those of people who may like to own guns, who may have enjoyed hunting all their lives, and who are themselves moderate and responsible in their behaviour, but at the same time who see nothing wrong with taking reasonable precautions to prevent avoidable death and injury (which is what gun control is) - as they themselves most probably do in all aspects of their lives, not merely the handling of weapons - just as many other nations do. Unfortunately those voices of sanity and reasonableness tend to be in the very tiny minority of postings.

    One of the odd things about gun control is that if you ask Americans whether they are in favour of gun contol, a slim majority will say no. (Prior to 2000, the majority was consistently the other way). But if you ask whether they are in favour of this specific measure or that specific measure, the third group tend to be part of the majority, quite often a very substantial majorty, who favour better gun control - seemingly so long as it isn't called "gun control".

    Interesting, that.

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  • 350. At 8:30pm on 15 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Adam wrote: They are happy, feel safe, and enjoy their new experiences, visiting the beautiful countryside and historic old towns. (American readers will now know they're somewhere East!)
    --------
    Just to let you know, Adam, the Midwest, too, has beautiful countrysides and historic old towns also...

    In Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, Abe Lincoln is King...
    (Illinois- Land of Lincoln
    Indiana- Lincoln's Boyhood Home
    Kentucky- The Birthplace of Lincoln)

    Although it is beautiful and historic here, also (like Lincoln's debates taking place here, although, no we don't have so much of the battlegrounds and whatnot) I will readily admit that its not necessarily "superexciting", its more like just people hanging out and having fun like countryfolk do...

    If you like fast-paced, go to the city...
    If you like slow and mellow, go to the country...
    To each his or her own...

    USA's a great place to vacation, but I would definitely suggest the Summer...

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  • 351. At 8:42pm on 15 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Pmk wrote: While the US and other Western powers focus on China's growing military presence in the Pacific and the implications for the security of Japan and the Korean Peninsula, Beijing is quietly building on its ties with Islamabad in an apparent step to expand its long-term role in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.
    -------------------------------
    Why Pakistan, tho, and not India?

    Isn't Pakistan somewhat unstable and wouldn't China want a stable partner?

    Or does the instability attract them? (Not to mention hte nukes?)
    --------------------------------
    Pmk wrote: The DF-21D, based on the CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile, is a two-stage weapon with an effective range of 810 n miles (1,500 km)
    -----------------------------
    Who is the target for such?
    Us?
    -------------------------
    Jim wrote: Lucy...if you can find a way for us to continue to communicate the truth to each other please let us Brits know by posting an alternative website address on this thread...and then we can all leave the BBC to worship the rich and powerful by themselves
    ---------------------
    Lol....funny...well, I don't know of any international type of blogs quite like this one...sometimes I get censored on this blog also...I know American blogs, but they would probabaly scare people from other countries because Americans say almost whatever htey want-from the extreme left to extreme right...

    I will say I would rather watch BBC than RT any day! :)
    (RT always interviews a lot of the strangest people, although I did find the interview with the celeb rehab Dr on RT hilarious...)
    ----------------------
    Jim wrote: am not going to repeat it in case it`s stopped again but you might find it useful to look at Julian Assanges claim that China is by far the worst sinner when it comes to cyber espionage
    ----------------------
    Why is it that the country with the most control over waht their citizens view on the web is also the same country that spies more htan anyone else on other countries?
    ------------
    Jim wrote: Trouble is there`s no huge profits to be made from a civilised fair and well run society....so the global capitalists sabotage them with privatisation and mass immigration.
    ------------
    I agree with you on this one...

    One example in USA: the prisons...

    Many of our prisons are privatized, which means someone is making money off of people going to prison...

    ANd in Cali, many prisoners in jail are illegals...

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  • 352. At 8:56pm on 15 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 348 Dublin John

    Thanks for another good link.

    I think the real issue (as Sullivan points out) is not that leftist extremism doesn't exist. It's that the scale is so vastly different.

    It's like equating a mouse with an elephant because both are grey mammals with four legs, rather large ears, and a tail.

    While ignoring that one weighs four and a half tons and looks like it is fixing to kick the house down.

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  • 353. At 9:05pm on 15 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 349 IF
    "One of the odd things about gun control is that if you ask Americans whether they are in favour of gun contol, a slim majority will say no. (Prior to 2000, the majority was consistently the other way). But if you ask whether they are in favour of this specific measure or that specific measure, the third group tend to be part of the majority, quite often a very substantial majorty, who favour better gun control - seemingly so long as it isn't called "gun control"."

    Therein grounds for hope. Regional asymmetries notwithstanding.

    The trick being to 'de-emotionalize' the issue?

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  • 354. At 9:10pm on 15 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    311. At 11:10am on 15 Jan 2011, dunstruggling wrote:
    “I was born and raised in the UK ... My family has been talking about taking our summer holiday in the USA (visiting lots of places, not a Disneyland fortnight) this year.

    But all that is happened in Tucson, and the climate of the discourse that has surrounded that, just puts me off going to the USA. It does not sound a civilised place, and I am concerned about us finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
    ______________________________________________
    If you can make it over, I recommend visiting the Rockies (the Rocky Mountains in Colorado). (Highly recommended to Mardell and family, too, btw.)

    http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
    http://www.colorado-hiking-vacations.com/maroon-bells.html

    I hope you don’t let all the news and political/partisan trash-talk discourage you. Remember that on any day, real everyday kindness and peace only make the occasional last 2 minutes of the news. :-) :-/
    And, Congratulations if you’re really dun struggling!

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  • 355. At 9:18pm on 15 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    352 But which of those grey mammals strikes fear into the other? I think they are evenly balanced in the way that really matters....they will both waste the time and energy of each other ....and distract the attention of a nation that needs to come together fast and develop some cooperative spirit.

    You don`t need party politics...because you don`t truly have much in the way of differences ....and the few you have are whipped up by the media to give journalists something to write about.

    Both you and us Brits need to balance our economies and put people back into honest agriculture and manufacturing work ....and never mind about moneylending and currency speculation and bailing out crooked bankers....and fighting wars we don`t benefit from!

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  • 356. At 9:41pm on 15 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    Time passes and I expect this long and over-protracted of postings will soon be (thankfully) closed. Before it does:

    350 LucyJ: Thanks for the recommendation. The family plan to visit away from the East.

    Everyone including myself: we must do better. Too much heat, not enough light. Looking forward to the next ------

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  • 357. At 9:47pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    344. At 6:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:
    "There are those who assert that there are no standards for morals or ethics that span the various human societies. That is not my position on the subject."

    Of course it isn't. Your position is all too familiar and a defining characteristic for those on the self-satisfied right.

    Having subscribed to an absolute warrant of one kind or another*, you're unable to admit the possibility of a multiplicity of standards for morals and ethics -- especially given that many of the alternative systems will challenge your own prejudicial "gold standard." So your thinking is reduced to a choice between -your- standards and (as stated above) -no- standards.

    This is a guaranteed conversation-ender at a juncture in the history of ideas when most serious thinkers (the late Richard Rorty most prominently) have concluded that the whole point is to keep the conversation going.

    For insight into your other difficulties, you'll have to attend the full lecture series.

    *That would probably be "God" in your frame of reference.

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  • 358. At 9:56pm on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    Another right-winger who isn't motivated by hate.....


    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/01/how-low-they-sink.html

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  • 359. At 10:02pm on 15 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 291. At 00:57am on 15 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:
    “John from Dublinwrote: yada, yada, yada.
    ------
    I love it that a guy from Ireland knows the yada, yada, yada phrase from Seinfeld!

    That's great!
    :)”

    Ah, ‘tis well I remember the day me thirty-seven brothers and sisters sailed away in the big wooden ships to Americay to escape the terrible pratie shortage. And Seamus, the only one who survived the trip, does often be writing to me, telling me strange and wonderful tales of the magic box in the corner that does be showing all manner of jokes and japes and fillums and the like.

    It is my dearest hope that one day I too may travel abroad to see this wonder called television for myself...

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  • 360. At 10:24pm on 15 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #359

    JFD;

    LOL...wasted on her though.

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  • 361. At 10:57pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #348

    A little information on andrew sullivan why not do Perez Hilton next?

    http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2011/01/david-brooks-vs-andrew-sullivan.html

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  • 362. At 11:21pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #352
    2011, chronophobe wrote:
    re: 348 Dublin John

    Thanks for another good link.

    I think the real issue (as Sullivan points out) is not that leftist extremism doesn't exist. It's that the scale is so vastly different.


    _______________

    It's far greater on the left the majority of the NYT editorial board, MSNBC night time hosts, Pacifica and Sounds of dissent.

    No main stream aka Fox or talk radio conservatives rush, Ingrah come close to the lefts hate speech

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  • 363. At 11:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    349. At 8:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "No topic, not even abortion, brings out as many of the ravers as gun control. It's Pavlovian - like turning on a switch, and they begin howling at the moon on cue."

    At the risk of attempting to be pointlessly constructive on this issue
    (not my style at all), I'd like to propose a compromise for the howlers on both sides of the .357 magnum.

    Let's create a system of armories, one in each village and town, managed by the local police or sheriff's department and funded by fees paid by gun owners.

    Let's require that all personally-owned firearms and ammunition be kept in the local armory, to be released to their owners only after a formal request is submitted, in person and in writing, 24-hours in advance of the need.

    Let's limit the check out period to 72 hours, and the number of rounds of ammunition per request to, say, 30. This would encourage better marksmanship on the part of our hunters.

    People would still have their personal weapons, just not as conveniently handy as the shotgun was to those four little boys in Dallas yesterday. Wives would have a 24-hour cooling-off period before they could undertake to blow their husband's heads off. The authorities could check people submitting their request forms for barking madness on the spot, and take measures they might deem necessary to protect the public.

    We could even allow the governor of a state to suspend the 24-hour request period and throw open the armories to everyone if, as so many gun fans seem to fear, the country is invaded by the U.N. or a vicious tyrant of the A. Lincoln stripe were to try to establish a national dictatorship.

    The downside, of course, would be that you wouldn't be able to keep your handgun under your pillow, there to be used in self-defense when your teen-aged daughter tries to sneak into the house after an illicit night out and is mistaken, by you and your magnum, as a drug-crazed burglar.

    If anything in this scheme appears to make any sense, notify your local NRA chapter so they can prepare a "cold dead hand" a mailer in rebuttal.


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  • 364. At 00:20am on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#343. At 6:14pm on 15 Jan 2011)

    "... I would start by saying that I profoundly disagree with Goldwater's statement ..."
    Fair enough.

    "... One must acknowledge that there will always be a multiplicity of beliefs, purposes, and means to attain such purposes extant, operating, and sometimes conflicting with one another in an open society ... "
    True. One is, however, under no obligation to accept that the different components of this multiplicity are of equal value.

    "... Because of this, personal liberty, i.e., the individual freedom to hold beliefs, to define one's own ends and purposes, and to shape for one's self the best means to attain those ends and purposes, requires that one respect the right of others to do the same ..."
    We each have an absolute right to our own opinions. That does not, however, mean that those various opinions have equal merit when realized.

    "... Thus private liberty depends upon moderation in the public realm: extremism in defence of one's own beliefs, ends and means (i.e., one's particular sense of liberty) will almost certainly foreclose on another's ability to be free ..."
    I believe that you have made a mistake. Any public action one might take may be in opposition to the preferred state of someone else. It is the public behavior that is proscribed, not the purported motivation. One has an absolute right to think whatever one wishes. That right does not extend into one's public behavior. The proposition that a public action may be motivated by an extreme POV is irrelevant to the question of approval or disapproval by others of the action.

    "... All must give a little to the public realm, that all may maximize their ablilty to indulge their private interests ..."
    If there are no normative standards by which behavior may be assessed, there can be no criminal behavior. I'm sure that you wouldn't want to adopt that position. If you do permit the presence of societal "goods" that may be rewarded, then you have difficulty avoiding the position that "good" behavior should be defended. Similarly, if you permit the presence of societal "wrongs" that should be punished, then you have difficulty avoiding the position that "wrong" behavior should not be accommodated.

    "... Storming the public realm and claiming it for a particular set of beliefs is a radical, dangerous act ..."
    While true, that is an unsubstantiated characterization of the observation that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," or that "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

    "... The justifications for such extremism in defense of liberty often arise from the assertion that some other opinion constitutes an existential threat to one's particular sense of what is right, true, just, and holy ..."
    Several hundred thousand Union troops were casualties in a war that was waged over the question of liberty. Not their own liberty, but that of slaves. If their behavior was extreme, should it be condemned? I don't think so. Do you?

    "... The issue in the present tense is whether those who seek to radically denounce the policies of the current Administration are right in using the language of justified revolution and violence against tyranny.
    I do not think they are.
    Do you?"

    An interesting proposition. Let us examine it. You ask the question if a group of people, permit me to refer to them as group 'T', who seek to radically denounce 'X' (the policies of the current Administration) are right/correct/behaving appropriately when they (the group 'T') engage in behavior 'L' (use "the language of justified revolution" and "violence" against tyranny).

    What would your position be if the 'T' group did not "radically denounce" X, but rather denounced X the usual way? Would you then still think their behavior unjustified? If you think that the behavior would be justified if 'T' did their denunciations of 'X' without being radical about it, then your question may be resolved by evaluating the degree of radicalization of T's denunciation of X. My impression is that you would still think their behavior was unjustified, but I may be mistaken.

    There was a group 'P' in America some years ago with members who radically denounced the policies of the then current Administration. I believe that some were from the state of Virginia. They also employed the language of justified revolution. . If their behavior was extreme, should it be condemned? I don't think so. Do you?

    You ask if T is right in using the language of justified revolution and violence against tyranny. Your question is ambiguous. Are you referring to "the language of justified revolution and violence," or are you referring to "the language of justified revolution" and "violence?"
    If the former, then the answer is obviously yes. One may always use the language of "justified revolution and violence" against tyrants. Of course, one must then beware of the tyrant's response, but that is another matter.
    However, if you mean "the language of justified revolution" and "violence" against tyranny, then you must first substantiate that group T has engaged in an organized set of violence against tyranny. That you have yet to do.

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  • 365. At 00:39am on 16 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #357

    "Having subscribed to an absolute warrant of one kind or another*, you're unable to admit the possibility of a multiplicity of standards for morals and ethics..."


    Sounds like MMR to me.


    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/



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  • 366. At 00:39am on 16 Jan 2011, _marko wrote:

    #362 MagicKirin

    In general why do you complain about hate speech from people you regard as extremists, dictators and nutters if you believe their words have no effect?

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  • 367. At 00:48am on 16 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    363. At 11:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote
    RE 349. At 8:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner

    You are kidding, right? Have you never talked to hard Core NRA members?
    They refuse to state that ANY weapon can be ruled out. I tried for cop-killers, rapid fire, assault weapons, but no someone may want to exercise their constitutional rights for target practice with them.

    When I escalated to missiles, nukes, etc. they said I was just being silly and wouldn't answer. That's a total no on restrictions.


    When I suggested licencing, like that used for autos, they said it was government intrusion. An excuse to find where all the weapons are so that they can be more easily confiscated. They don't want either the guns or their owners "licenced."

    You might convert a very few, and I do wish you luck, but one shouldn't hold one's breath.

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  • 368. At 01:07am on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Curt Carpenter, (#357. At 9:47pm on 15 Jan 2011)

    "... Chryses wrote:
    'There are those who assert that there are no standards for morals or ethics that span the various human societies. That is not my position on the subject.'

    Of course it isn't. Your position is all too familiar and a defining characteristic for those on the self-satisfied right ..."

    I claim that there are ethical and moral standards that span the human condition. You disagree with me. That necessarily means that you claim that there are no ethical and moral standards that span the human condition.

    Murder and theft are proscribed by all human societies of which I am aware. That different societies assess either (or both) of those behaviors under different circumstances indicates that the societies are different, but that the behavior remains proscribed. What I have also never heard of is any culture where the proscription against taking life or property from others is truly absolute with no exception or special circumstance. If I am correct about the absence of a "no exceptions" society, then the generalized result is that outside a range of justifiable circumstances, the principles of murder and theft are universally recognized and proscribed by human societies. The specific justifiable conditions and proscriptions are particular to the several societies.

    There is even the weird one of perjury. Somewhat esoteric, I’ll admit, but I know of no society whose legal system admits intentionally false statements in court – but I wouldn’t go to the mat on that one.

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  • 369. At 01:52am on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    RHammond, (#365. At 00:39am on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... Sounds like MMR to me.”
    Yes, but I doubt he would concur.

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  • 370. At 02:44am on 16 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    368. At 01:07am on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:
    "I claim that there are ethical and moral standards that span the human condition. You disagree with me. That necessarily means that you claim that there are no ethical and moral standards that span the human condition."

    Of course. I'm a certified ethical and moral relativist, and would never deny it. At the outset, I reject as absurd your notion that there is only one "human condition" -- much less that you personally are in any position to illuminate it.

    On the other hand, you are an absolutist, with all of the baggage that entails. Part of your package is that opening your mind, much less changing it. lies outside the realm of possibility. Long experience has made me comfortable with your approach, although I reject it as intellectually lazy.

    Your "sin," (the sin of everyone that imagines they have tapped into absolute truth shares in my view) lies in your failure to think the absolutist position all the way through. Of course, a rigidly closed mind, where all of the rules are cast in stone beforehand ("prejudged", as it were), tends to make doing critical introspection problematic.

    Give me any intelligent sophomore and a few hours, and I feel very confident that we could construct scenarios that would justify murder, theft and perjury in even your system of iron-clad moral and ethical calculus.

    Go in peace, perhaps taking comfort in the notion that one God or another will surely punish me in the end if you're right and I'm wrong.

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  • 371. At 04:24am on 16 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #370

    "Of course. I'm a certified ethical and moral relativist, and would never deny it."

    Your complaints about gun availability and its consequences were then nothing more then some mechanism to blow off steam. Surely you weren't trying to convince anyone else that their moral or ethical value system, which includes and allows for the gun situation to exist as it is, is in any way deficient or inferior to your system... That would be hypocritical in some sense :)

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  • 372. At 04:29am on 16 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    367. At 00:48am on 16 Jan 2011, JMM wrote:

    363. At 11:38pm on 15 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote
    RE 349. At 8:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner

    "You are kidding, right? Have you never talked to hard Core NRA members?
    They refuse to state that ANY weapon can be ruled out. I tried for cop-killers, rapid fire, assault weapons, but no someone may want to exercise their constitutional rights for target practice with them."

    ____________


    Although the idea of keeping guns in the house is, statistically speaking, a bad risk to begin with, and is certainly a habit likely disproportionately to result in the death of, and injury to, women, still, "a man's home is his castle" and I don't think, in North America, you can fairly or reasonably prevent someone from keeping a firearm in their own home unless they have a criminal record for violence, a history of conduct showing either dishonesty or a disregard for the rights and safety of others (e.g., someone who drives without insurance or drives with a suspended license is plainly unable to exercise the level of personal responsiblity required to own a firearm), or have a history of relevant mental illness.

    Even then, your neighbours and family members have a legitimate interest in making sure that your care of firearms on your own property is such as to avoid unnecessary risks to your family and neighbours - and, incidentally, to yourself.

    Taking firearms outside the house, though, is another matter entirely.

    If you choose to take your firearms outside your house then your neighbours darn well do have a legitimate interest in seeing that your conduct meets the reasonable man standard in terms of safety precautions - and in terms of firearms, the reasonable man standard is pretty high.

    A basic principle of economics and fairness is that negative externalities be internalized in the behaviour of those who undertake those activities. The burden, and therefore the cost, surely falls upon the person who chooses to own a gun and endanger everybody else. It is simply morally wrong, and hugely economically unfair, to expect neighbours to bear the cost of an individual's private, unilateral decision to own firearms. To do otherwise is to allow individuals to place a private tax upon their neighbours.

    That has nothing to do with anyone's "right to bear arms", and it has nothing to do with the power of the state relative to the individual. It has everything to do with the basic principle of tort law that you are not permitted unilaterally to impose negative externalities upon others.

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  • 373. At 04:35am on 16 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    dunstruggling: “I was born and raised in the UK ... My family has been talking about taking our summer holiday in the USA...But all that is happened in Tucson, and the climate of the discourse...just puts me off going to the USA. It does not sound a civilised place, and I am concerned about us finding ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    You should always be concerned with finding yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time when traveling, but don't let what happened in Tucson keep you from visiting America. There are plenty of things to see, places to go, people to meet, and food to eat. South Louisiana is beautiful in the Spring and there are many seasonal festivals, but if you are thinking of visiting in the summer I would suggest you bring a water bottle and sunscreen; it is typically very hot and humid from July to September.

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  • 374. At 05:30am on 16 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 364 Chryses

    Oh boy. This is going to be long.

    "True. One is, however, under no obligation to accept that the different components of this multiplicity are of equal value. ...
    We each have an absolute right to our own opinions. That does not, however, mean that those various opinions have equal merit when realized."


    I agree. But the value and merit of individual beliefs are generally subject to the judgments of one's peers within the multiplicity of institutions and groups (from the family to professional associations, just for example), which make up civil society. The loci of these judgments are the places where most of us engage in the public realm.

    Civil society is largely organic; self-regulating, as it were. The normative values which distinguish the high from the low, right from wrong, etc. are complex and broadly distributed.

    This complex multiplicity is, to my mind, an end in itself, for it is through it that individuals are free to explore the full spectrum of human potential.

    I believe that you have made a mistake. Any public action one might take may be in opposition to the preferred state of someone else. It is the public behavior that is proscribed, not the purported motivation. One has an absolute right to think whatever one wishes. That right does not extend into one's public behavior. The proposition that a public action may be motivated by an extreme POV is irrelevant to the question of approval or disapproval by others of the action.

    For this to hold, you’d have to maintain that the words of a Presidential candidate had no implications of action, that he was not in fact referring to the use he wished to make of the state. If he were speaking as a private person, within the context of a group or institution within civil society, his speech, and his actions, would be a matter for that group or institution only (so long as he did not act to interfere with the liberty or harm others, pace John Stuart Mill). When someone seeking a high political office makes such a statement, I think it reasonable to infer that his statement prefigures action to use the state in ways detrimental to the freedom of civil society.

    If there are no normative standards by which behavior may be assessed, there can be no criminal behavior. I'm sure that you wouldn't want to adopt that position. If you do permit the presence of societal "goods" that may be rewarded, then you have difficulty avoiding the position that "good" behavior should be defended. Similarly, if you permit the presence of societal "wrongs" that should be punished, then you have difficulty avoiding the position that "wrong" behavior should not be accommodated.

    This is partially dealt with by the notion of civil society as the place where values reside and judgements are made: the space of negative liberty in fact organically takes care of the vast majority rights and wrongs and rewards and punishments.

    But what of criminality and the law? It is here that all must ‘give a little to the public realm,’ as I said initially. But I would clarify this by saying that the law is different from the organic public realm of civil society. The law, though constituted by and ultimately responsible to civil society, is external to it. It is a public realm of a different nature: ultimately, the realm of legitimate force … Hobbes’ Sovereign, a power at once essential and dangerous.

    Wrong behaviours that cannot be (or should not be, for various reasons worthy of discussing) dealt with in civil society, as well as serious punishments, we refer to the law. The law is thus something that limits liberty. But it also makes liberty possible, by preventing individuals or groups from seriously disrupting civil society.

    Hence my claim that "... Storming the public realm and claiming it for a particular set of beliefs is a radical, dangerous act ... ." Goldwater was a Presidential candidate, with a particular set of values and beliefs. For such a person to praise immoderacy in the pursuit of justice implies a desire to use the ‘positive freedom’ of the law to impose his particular values on civil society.

    Several hundred thousand Union troops were casualties in a war that was waged over the question of liberty. Not their own liberty, but that of slaves. If their behavior was extreme, should it be condemned? I don't think so. Do you?

    Oh dear, the Civil War. You could choose WW 2 too. Etc.

    The short answer: yes, war is extreme behaviour. Should it be condemned? That depends. And the judgment of individual soldier’s behaviour is always secondary to the judgment of the justness of the war. Once you cry havoc, terrible things will happen – that is a certainty. Was the Civil War a just war? Short answer – most likely.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting question, but quite tangential to the current discussion.

    I won’t quote your next bit, as it does go on.

    But let me cut to the chase: if I believed that the current Administration were out to radically infringe upon the freedoms of civil society by using the law to impose serious restrictions on the negative liberty of civil society, I would use the language of violent revolution in denouncing it. In fact, if I thought there were an imminent danger to liberty which could not be remedied by democratic means (i.e., voting them out in 2 years) I would be on the barricades, storming the Bastille, all that.

    But the question really is: do you believe that the current Administration is a tyrant worthy of violent opposition and/or revolution?

    I do not. Ergo, I believe those who oppose it using the rhetoric of violent opposition and revolution should be denounced.

    Do you?

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  • 375. At 05:50am on 16 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    371. At 04:24am on 16 Jan 2011, RHammond wrote:
    "That would be hypocritical in some sense :)"

    It can be hypocritical I agree, but there's no necessity there.

    Here's my view.

    There's nothing in a moral relativist's philosophy that I know of that forbids taking a position on a specific issue within a specific context.
    Nor is it inconsistent to flog that view as best one can.

    Our view becomes hypocritical, however, if we try to insist that it be taken as a categorical imperative across all contexts.

    An absolutist can insist on the "right" to gun ownership -- for all, regardless of context -- without answering a charge of hypocrisy. A relativist would have to answer that charge if she insisted that no one at all in any context be allowed to own a gun.

    The difference is nuanced, and I apologize in advance for boring you.
    The principle that nothing is certain, universal or absolute is closely held, while maintaining our awareness that there is a paradox there ("nothing is certain -- not even that.")








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  • 376. At 06:16am on 16 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    dunstruggling:

    I'd recommend avoiding the southwestern U.S. at midnight on December 24, Dec. 31 and July 3. We like to celebrate by firing a few clips into the air from our automatics on those happy holiday occasions. Our lead eventually comes down, of course, but hey -- it hardly ever hits anybody important, and what's a party without exercising our second amendment rights anyway, holiday or otherwise?

    And it's mostly small caliber stuff too, since even the army surplus 7.62mm got so expensive. No more tracer rounds :(.
    Thanks a BUNCH for that, Uncle Sam!

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  • 377. At 06:43am on 16 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    chronophobe: "But the question really is: do you believe that the current Administration is a tyrant worthy of violent opposition and/or revolution?"

    The answer to this question is easy. No, the current Administration is not a tyrant worthy of violent opposition and/or revolution. To my knowledge, this was never the intent of the Republicans as the goal was always to win the national elections to increase their influence in a Democrat controlled Congress.

    chronophobe: "I believe those who oppose it using the rhetoric of violent opposition and revolution should be denounced."

    I believe the same, but what constitutes violent rhetoric?
    It is legal to say whatever you want so long as it does not incite violence, but incitement is very difficult to prove. What many on the left have done the last few days is accuse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of incitement; the accusation would never hold up in court, but the intent was to create a narrative for political gain. I still find such talk tacky and unproductive; if the left really wants to tone down the national rhetoric and have more civil discourse with the right, they could start by not labeling all conservative opinions as hate speech and violent rhetoric.

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  • 378. At 07:09am on 16 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #376 Curt Carpenter

    If you're one of the 'unimportant', all you need to do is sneeze

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  • 379. At 07:54am on 16 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #368 Chryses

    Curt Carpenter, (#357. At 9:47pm on 15 Jan 2011)
    ...I claim that there are ethical and moral standards that span the human condition...

    Murder and theft are proscribed by all human societies of which I am aware. That different societies assess either (or both) of those behaviors under different circumstances indicates that the societies are different, but that the behavior remains proscribed.


    #374 chronophobe
    Wrong behaviours that cannot be (or should not be, for various reasons worthy of discussing) dealt with in civil society, as well as serious punishments, we refer to the law. The law is thus something that limits liberty. But it also makes liberty possible, by preventing individuals or groups from seriously disrupting civil society.

    Are you not both, in different ways, ascribing morality to law ? Should there be any morality in law ?

    'Punishment', for instance is a moral word. Who has the right to punish someone else ? That person has made an implicit moral judgment on the behaviour of the other. Who has the right to make such a moral judgment ? Only the person who committed the act.

    That does not mean that society should not be protected from crime. Of course it should but it is a social, not a moral, function.

    The law is the glue in social cohesion. I realise that - possibly because of the sacred position given to the Constitution in American civic life - Americans give a holy aura to the law. It deserves no such elevated position.

    Law changes over time, despite what Curt Carpenter says and the allusion in British courts to 'natural justice'. In ancient Sparta during the Krypteia, a trainee soldier was expected to kill a helot, one of the lower orders. It was not just permitted, it was admired.

    I believe that principles like deterrence and restraint of the individual may be used in law - to prevent others committing the same crime and to protect the population respectively - but punishment falsely places society where conscience should be.

    So any rhetoric which may give rise to revolution should be seen in a social light. What do most people want and how do they want to achieve it ? Most revolutions, it seems to me, are middle class affairs. This in the British sense. The middle class in Britain would be the upper class in the USA. It contains lawyers, doctors, etc.

    Certainly the American, French and Russian revolutions all had the middle (upper) classes out in front of them

    Unlike many British people, I have no problem with the American attitude to firearms. I have very little experience of them myself and that is true of most British people. That gives rise to a mythology about their power. It misses out the artefact itself and its function.

    There is, however, some inconsistency of attitude. Given the 'it's the user not the gun' attitude, there should surely be no limit on possession of weaponry. Why not tanks, or nuclear weapons as another contributor said.

    It suggests that there is already a social compromise in place. Is it not time that the vague Second Amendment which dates back to a clause in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which gives rights to Protestants to have guns - should be superseded ? The right in the English Bill of Rights was enunciated in response to a catholic king, James II, disarming some protestant groups. Probably not relevant now, would you say ?

    Someone else pointed out that in the favoured context of the NRA et al. - Switzerland - the holders of rifles are subjected to psychological tests and training before they are allowed the firearms. The guns themselves are also limited to certain types.

    Would that not prevent the nutters from running riot as whatever-his-name-was did ?

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  • 380. At 08:58am on 16 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Pmk wrote: The DF-21D, based on the CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile, is a two-stage weapon with an effective range of 810 n miles (1,500 km)
    -----------------------------
    Who is the target for such?
    Us?



    PMK: Lucy: an anti-ship missile with a range of 1500 km is obviously not intended for a defense of coastal areas and waters. Are you then surprised that Australia, Japan and South Korea (not to mention Taiwan) express growing concern about PRC's massive military build-up?

    [which includes building and deploying new nuclear weapons and IRBMs.]

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  • 381. At 09:17am on 16 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #379 OldPerson asks:

    Would that not prevent the nutters from running riot as whatever-his-name-was did?




    After more than two years of the very pro-gun control Administration we still do not have a central computerized record of people with known criminal and mental illness every gun-shop owner could easily access and then refuse sales to potentially dangerous customers.

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  • 382. At 09:40am on 16 Jan 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #381 powermeerkat
    After more than two years of the very pro-gun control Administration we still do not have a central computerized record of people with known criminal and mental illness every gun-shop owner could easily access and then refuse sales to potentially dangerous customers.

    Damned practicalities. Still, you have to start somewhere. I would suggest it should probably be at State level.

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  • 383. At 10:20am on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    381...Of course you don`t have the large police state that would monitor gun ownership and possible criminal/terrorist behaviour in an effective way. It would involve spending trillions of dollare more than you do already spend....and across the world you have introduced a 1984 global police state that must cost more to run than it costs to starve the entire third world.

    9/11 and 7/7 exposed our hypocrisy as well as our vulnerability.

    Our hypocrisy is that we won`t protect our working people and their jobs and homes and communities with a real political discourse that allows them to have their own politicians and "socialist" philosophy that puts them first.All politics is now a sham...it`s the rich and powerful pretending to disagree about that don`t matter a damn anyway.

    While you argue about guns and the behaviour of madmen none of you dare ask WHY your society is Planet Paranoia

    ......or WHY there are millions of unemployed while ALL your so-called politicians do NOTHING to keep immigration under control

    ......or WHY the richest nation on Earth has third world health care and the fattest people anywhere in the world

    ....or WHY all your honest decent jobs have been deliberately sent off to Asia and your people are left with no way to support themselves but criminal activities and financial fraud

    ....or WHY you have taken people with obviously sharp minds (like Mrs Palin) and diseducated them into people who can`t protect their fellow Americans from liberal clever-dicks and their crazy policies...because your education system is so poor that it`s a DISGRACE to the richest nation on Earth!

    BUT you can spend more than you can ever repay (literally TRILLIONS of dollars)

    ...turning the world into an enormous police state and torture chamber for anyone who exposes the crooks on Wall Street and global capitalism generally

    ........or resists the bullying behaviour of your CIA or military machine or your beloved colony Israel.

    Yes....you can save a crooked exploitive capitalist system that enslaves most of mankind ...but the St Louis floods showed a very different picture of the priorities of the American people....or their government anyway!

    Now who really RUNS America and for whose benefit do they do it?

    And if you think it`s being run in your best interests you must be as mad as any British people who cling on to the fantasy that the UK is still a functioning democracy.

    You don`t HAVE representative politics of any real kind.....it`s just the usual American superficial cosmetic empty hot air ..and mock indignation ...and bluster it always was.

    Which of your pantomime political parties REALLY represents the TRUE intersts of you and your community?

    NONE of them....as soon as they get into office on their "change" agenda it`s business as usual for the rich while you and your dreams of change can go hang!

    And Britain is NO BETTER!

    Now stick a gun barrel in that argument and blow it to smithereens!

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  • 384. At 10:22am on 16 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    361. At 10:57pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:
    “ref #348/A little information on andrew (sic, proper names take a capital) Sullivan (sic squared, proper names take a capital, and a new clause requires a comma at minimum) why not do Perez Hilton next?/http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2011/01/david-brooks-vs-andrew-sullivan.html
    Almost no ‘information’ whatsoever. The fact that you demonstrate that you don't understand the meaning of the word ‘information’ explains a great deal about your postings, and the workings of ‘MagicWorld’. For the umpteenth time you demonstrate your complete inability to discern the difference between (a) factual evidence and (b) an opinion of some extremist right winger you find on the Web. (I can almost hear the high-pitched whining now – ‘you only accept links from liberals!!’)

    I posted a link to a blog post by Sullivan about Riehl, entitled ‘How Low They Sink’, which pointed out that Riehl was a part of the Republican establishment and had done work for the Republican National Committee, with several vile and vicious quotes from Riehl, including classics like suggesting that Harry Reid’s injured wife be euthanized, suggesting without evidence that a dead government worker was a paedophile, and other gems so vile that I cannot repeat them here for fear of being moderated.

    You post a link to a blog post about Riehl, whose main ‘information’ about Sullivan is that (a) he’s gay and (b) Riehl finds him tiresome. Looking at other Riehl postings, it’s clear that Riehl adores Palin, and Sullivan does not. All is clearer. It is also clear that Riehl also hates David Frum, a GWB former speechwriter who is not sufficiently right wing for him. Therefore, I must retract my assertion that MK hates all progressives and liberals. Clearly, he also hates all conservatives who ain’t conservative enough.

    And your stinging comeback. Comparing the openly gay Sullivan to an openly gay gossip columnist.

    Sullivan is a highly educated, intelligent and literate writer, a conservative who was/is a huge admirer of both Reagan and Thatcher but has little time for the modern Republican Party and the vicious extremists of the right. He has a hugely popular blog and also writes a column for the bestselling Sunday broadsheet in the UK, the Sunday Times, owned by that notorious pinko R Murdoch Esq.

    So, I am trying to decide why you hate him. (a) He’s highly intelligent (b) he can write a literate sentence (c) he's gay (d) he despises Palin (e) he tells the truth (f) all of the above.

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  • 385. At 10:35am on 16 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    362. At 11:21pm on 15 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    “No main stream aka Fox or talk radio conservatives rush, Ingrah (sic) come close to the lefts (sic) hate speech"

    As ever, just keep repeating it and maybe someone will believe it.

    I think I have already posted the link to Limbaugh saying the whole Democratic Party is firmly behind a mass-murderer, ie the Arizona shooter. But of course, sine El Rushbo is a right wing fanatic, not a left wing one, that doesn’t even come close to hate speech in MagicWorld.

    (PS Magic – I am contemplating reverting to my previous position of ignoring you, since you are of course quite immune to all evidence, fact and logic. Just please do not take silence to signify assent. )

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  • 386. At 10:46am on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    384 John of Dublin and MagicK are getting drawn into arguing about re-arranging the deckchairs on a Titanic that is slowly sinking to a watery grave....methinks!

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  • 387. At 11:14am on 16 Jan 2011, amaryr wrote:

    I admire the patience John of Dublin has pointing out the inconsistencies and sheer rubbish MK spouts. It is important someone posits the opposing point of view, or all of us who simply ignore, or can't be bothered to tangle with such rubbish, might be taken to agree with it. Have to admit tho', some of it does make me laugh, it's so predictably awful.

    It's a wonderful thing, is it not, that we are able to post here, with such a variety of thought-out, and /or knee-jerk points. A pretty good example, if not perfect, of free speech in action. Yet a few posters can't see how paradoxical their remarks about how the BBC is an ultra-controlled arm of some conspiracy to keep us all beneath the heel of _______ you fill in the blank. After years of exposure to US TV and radio, and some in Europe, I say thank goodness for the BBC. It's up to us to keep it on it's toes. It's a crying shame PBS is not better funded.

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  • 388. At 11:20am on 16 Jan 2011, Kols wrote:

    It's telling that the very first comment, from RHarmmond, was an accusation of Palin Bashing. A partisan theme repeated many times here and numerous other media outlets; seems those who ride hobby horses loath the idea of dismounting.

    But, unlike many Forums and Blogs, many comments stayed on point, specific both to the President's words and the points he made. Those are the words that will be remembered as, hopefully, will the President's.

    TNeile's phrase, anger and sadness, eloquently expresses the reaction I'd like to think most Americans share and history will record, as it has every time past. Too many times have narcissistic sociopaths stained our soil, encouraging their fellows to partisanship, and leaving the rest of us with anger and sadness and a sense of helplessness and futility.

    That sense, perhaps, will be the reason Obama's words are remembered. In the wake of such senseless violence we cope by returning to our roots, to the values we cherish and the empathy we feel towards the victims and those whose worlds they populated, sharing their sorrow.

    This is the mark of the Nation, the recognition that each life is unique, important in and of its own right - including the partisans and those who seek capital from grief and anger. All that matters is that, for most of us, we honor our values, the lives of the victims and their families' pain.



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  • 389. At 12:34pm on 16 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    OldPerson wrote:
    #381 powermeerkat
    After more than two years of the very pro-gun control Administration we still do not have a central computerized record of people with known criminal and mental illness every gun-shop owner could easily access and then refuse sales to potentially dangerous customers

    Damned practicalities. Still, you have to start somewhere. I would suggest it should probably be at State level.







    But then oppressive central gvernment could claim that states have no right to do so.


    That's why I say: thank God and Founding Fathers for the 2nd Amendment.

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  • 390. At 1:15pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Curt Carpenter, (#370. At 02:44am on 16 Jan 2011)

    "... I'm a certified ethical and moral relativist, and would never deny it ..."
    A relativistic morality places one in the position where one believes not only that people disagree about moral issues, but that terms such as "good," "bad," "right" and "wrong" do not stand subject to universal truth conditions at all. I have provided two, and possibly a third, which are universally acknowledged.

    I suggest that, even though some people disagree, and some may even be unpersuadable, there is still a meaningful sense in which an action may be more 'moral' than another. That is, I believe there are objective standards of evaluation that seem worth calling 'moral facts'. Murder, theft, and possibly perjury serve as evidence to warrant the claim.

    "... At the outset, I reject as absurd your notion that there is only one "human condition" -- much less that you personally are in any position to illuminate it ..."
    I use the term 'human condition' as is commonly used with respect to the generality of situations that humans face while moving through their lives, as in getting along with each other and the world, or situations that are difficult to comprehend in some way because of predispositions and assumptions of one kind or another (politics often figures large here). Simple ignorance is part of the human condition-"What did I do to wrong him this time?", "Why can't the Arabs and the Israelis get along with each other?" etc. InterestedForeigner mentioned another aspect of the human condition -illnesses, mental and physical, our own or society's, and how they weigh upon us and our society. The human condition provides the material of art in general and the lyrics of most music and other art -lovers in warring groups, for a high art example. For more current, and down to earth examples, letters to and responses from Ann Landers or Dear Abby illuminate the human condition.

    You are entitled, of course, to some other definition of the human condition, but I use the term human condition as most people do. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_condition )

    "... On the other hand, you are an absolutist, with all of the baggage that entails ..."
    You are mistaken. While I have provided evidence to support the claim that there exist objective human norms, I have not claimed any universal, eternal, or absolute Truths. The human condition occupies a middle ground where only a few truths are self evident.

    "... Part of your package is that opening your mind, much less changing it. lies outside the realm of possibility ..."
    That is incorrect. The fact that I engage you and others in forums such as these demonstrates that I am open to a variety of different opinions. This is not to say that all those opinions have merit. Some are surprising. Some I agree with. Some are demonstrably wrong. That, on occasion, I do so demonstrate shows my openness to them.

    "... Long experience has made me comfortable with your approach, although I reject it as intellectually lazy ..."
    You have yet to substantiate your claim.

    "... Your "sin," (the sin of everyone that imagines they have tapped into absolute truth shares in my view) lies in your failure to think the absolutist position all the way through. Of course, a rigidly closed mind, where all of the rules are cast in stone beforehand ("prejudged", as it were), tends to make doing critical introspection problematic ..."
    As I have neither imagined nor claimed absolute truth, I find myself in the position of having a self-confessed "certified ethical and moral relativist" declare me without sin, at least in this small way. A most unexpected development. As I recall, a court in Taliban Afghanistan ruled Osama bin Laden "a man without sin." I find the similarities amusing.

    "... Give me any intelligent sophomore and a few hours, and I feel very confident that we could construct scenarios that would justify murder, theft and perjury in even your system of iron-clad moral and ethical calculus ..."
    I was wondering when you would get around to addressing the specifics. You have not yet done so. The identification of universally accepted human norms places moral relativists in a delicate intellectual position, to say the least. As the principles of murder and theft are, outside a range of justifiable circumstances (the specific justifiable conditions being particular to the societies), universally recognized and proscribed (the specific proscriptions being particular to the societies) by all human societies, you and your sophomores seem to be mistaken.

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  • 391. At 1:21pm on 16 Jan 2011, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    I think the best comment on Obama's speech was summed up as showing who in all this, is 'the adult in the room'.
    Some on here might want to think on that.
    (He writes knowing that the fragile, nationalistic ego's on here won't register it).

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  • 392. At 2:05pm on 16 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    As I listen to words spoken, I wonder, is more violence to come from this? I wonder why we have abandoned a belief in ourselves and lined up behind leaders like drones, cattle or sheep. I doubt the true intent of any politician, but as a citizen I serve to watch. I wonder who wrote the speech? I wonder if it was heartfelt? Politicians? More deaths at home, more deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, $14 trillion ceiling broken, each citizen now $45000+ in debt, including those just born. Unchecked illegal immigration, drugs, murder the madness continues. Steppenwolf said it well, I couldn't think of better way to say it.

    " And though the past has it's share of injustice
    Kind was the spirit in many a way
    But it's protectors and friends have been sleeping
    Now it's a monster and will not obey


    The spirit was freedom and justice
    And it's keepers seem "friendly" and kind
    It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
    But now they were paying no mind
    'Cause the people "got" fat and "grew" lazy
    now their vote "is like a" meaningless "Tune"
    "You know they talk about law "about" order
    But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
    Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
    It's got our heads into a noose
    And it just sits there watchin'

    Our cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin' the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can't understand
    We don't know how to mind our own business
    'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
    Now we are fighting a war over there
    No matter who's the winner
    We can't pay the cost
    'Cause there's a monster on the loose
    It's got our heads into a noose
    And it just sits there watching

    America where are you now?
    Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don't you know we need you now
    We can't fight alone against the monster"
    by John Kay, Jerry Edmonton, Nick St. Nicholas and Larry Byrom




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  • 393. At 2:17pm on 16 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

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

  • 394. At 2:20pm on 16 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Egypt has sentenced a man to death for killing six Coptic Christians and a Muslim policeman in January 2010.

    Mohamed Ahmed Hussein was found guilty of shooting the group outside a midnight Mass for Coptic Christmas in Naga Hamady, southern Egypt.

    The court ruling comes two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 23 people at a Coptic church in Alexandria. (BBC News)



    Sorry, but that has not happened in the U.S.

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  • 395. At 2:24pm on 16 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "America where are you now?"

    In 2011, unlike EUSSR, which seems to be still in 1989.

    Or perhaps even (ideologically) in 1919.

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  • 396. At 2:35pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Curt Carpenter, (#370. At 02:44am on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... I'm a certified ethical and moral relativist, and would never deny it ...”
    A relativistic morality places one in the position where one believes not only that people disagree about moral issues, but that terms such as "good," "bad," "right," and "wrong" cannot be universal truths.

    My previous post presented arguments, and evidence to warrant those arguments, that as there do exist universal proscribed human behaviors (murder, theft, and perhaps perjury), the intellectual position of moral relativism is flawed. I shall leave you to defend the position that terms such as "good," "bad," "right," and "wrong" cannot have objective realities, should you be so inclined.

    Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that your “certified ethical and moral relativist” position is valid.

    If it is true that "good," "bad," "right," and "wrong" do not have objective realities, then the subjective definitions any person uses to assess behavior is as valid as then the subjective definitions any other person uses to assess the same behavior. It follows that as there are no objective norms against which one may use for comparison, any different assessment or judgment of an intentional act or behavior between two or more people reduces to a difference of opinion.

    As, by following the rules of moral relativism, your opinion has no value beyond yourself, any criticism by you of any behavior of another need have no meaning to that other. I was under the impression that you thought your opinion was meaningful, but by applying the logic of moral relativism, it would seem that you do not.

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  • 397. At 3:11pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#374. At 05:30am on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”re: 364 Chryses

    Oh boy. This is going to be long ...”


    Possibly.

    Having read your post, I will propose that you are more easily persuaded of Hobbes’ position than that of Mill’s. I think it fair to say that I am predisposed to the position Mills takes in re the relation of the individual to society.

    If this distinction between our “comfort zones” is acceptable, I’d rather enjoy our several points of agreement, than wrangle over the issues on which we disagree.

    Your call.

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  • 398. At 3:22pm on 16 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    In response to 372 and 368>
    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that....it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." Thomas Jefferson

    The founding fathers found it inconceivable that the right to own guns, be it to hunt, or to protect private property, or defend the nations liberty would be respected.

    Where I live I can shoot right on my own property, and you can carry a gun in the open with out a permit. Yes I allow my neighbors to hunt, and I have their permission also to hunt theirs on each others properties.
    But the best Top shot here is a former UK citizen, guess you didn't want him in Britian, just like the former UK citizen who joined the Foreign Legion, and got the highest award bestowed upon him by the Legion, who was rejected by the British army. I can't believe how far the UK has sunk down where upstanding people who have supported the UK now find it necessary to leave. Honest, respected, citizens who disagree with HM government trusted people, whom the government doesn't trust? But are still good enough to die for the UK's armed forces? Pity, but I guess That is England today.

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  • 399. At 3:29pm on 16 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Posting:
    185. At 8:15pm on 13 Jan 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    "Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?"

    __________

    To which I have now four times responded that there are some very very sick people in America.


    There is absolutely nothing in this posting that breaches any of the BBC house rules.

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  • 400. At 4:37pm on 16 Jan 2011, mabelwhite wrote:

    I think the incident has opened up people's eyes that some of the rhetoric goin' around is just stoopid. It'll come together...forward to 1:15 in this if you lack patience

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU8zyB3W0pU

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  • 401. At 4:57pm on 16 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 377 Louisiana:

    I believe the same, but what constitutes violent rhetoric?
    It is legal to say whatever you want so long as it does not incite violence, but incitement is very difficult to prove. What many on the left have done the last few days is accuse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of incitement; the accusation would never hold up in court, but the intent was to create a narrative for political gain. I still find such talk tacky and unproductive; if the left really wants to tone down the national rhetoric and have more civil discourse with the right, they could start by not labeling all conservative opinions as hate speech and violent rhetoric.


    BEL, thanks for the response.

    Firstly, let me point out that I am in no way suggesting that the law needs to be brought into it! To the contrary -- I am trying to validate moderation in political speech precisely because extremism tends to invoke recourse to the coercive powers of the law against the self regulating cultural norms of civil society. Moreover, it corrodes respect, which is a necessary condition for the self regulation of civil society.

    Secondly, I do not believe there is a causal link between anything Palin, or anyone else, said, and the actions of the person in Tucson. I would, however, suggest a relationship between the hyper polarised ideological climate in the US and the way this person may have constructed the narrative which justified his paranoid and violent impulses.

    More importantly, I would suggest that this incident has served as a wake up call, and if some good is to come from it, it will be the kind of measured consideration on the importance of civility in political discourse which we are struggling towards here.

    Thirdly, I am not suggesting that "all conservative opinions are hate speech and violent rhetoric." I am arguing that all immoderate political discourse has a negative impact on liberty. Civility is good because it allows for a diversity of opinion to flourish. A diversity of opinion is good because it allows humans to experience a wide range of possibilities. It allows them to be free.

    So paradoxical as it might seem, the restraint implied by moderation (call it respect for others in this case) is a necessary condition of liberty.

    As to what constitutes reasonable restraint and thus civility in discourse -- now that, it seems to me, is the heart of the matter.

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  • 402. At 5:22pm on 16 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

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

  • 403. At 5:25pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana, (#377. At 06:43am on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... To my knowledge, this was never the intent of the Republicans [violent opposition and/or revolution #374] as the goal was always to win the national elections to increase their influence in a Democrat controlled Congress ...”
    And a successful strategy at that.

    ”... What many on the left have done the last few days is accuse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of incitement; the accusation would never hold up in court, but the intent was to create a narrative for political gain. I still find such talk tacky and unproductive; if the left really wants to tone down the national rhetoric and have more civil discourse with the right, they could start by not labeling all conservative opinions as hate speech and violent rhetoric.”
    There remain some, although fewer than there should be on both side of the issue, who have avoided gratuitous polemics.

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  • 404. At 5:34pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#399. At 3:29pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    "... “Maybe people are buying the Glock 19 and 33 round magazine before any restriction is imposed?"
    __________
    To which I have now four times responded that there are some very very sick people in America ...”

    I think a reasonable interpretation of William Johnson-Smith’s post was that some people see value in purchasing a demonstrably effective tool on the chance that it may soon become unavailable to them.

    You have now asserted four times that such perception of value, and proactively purchasing that which may become unavailable identifies those people as being “very very sick.”

    Most people would agree that you are entitled to your POV.

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  • 405. At 5:36pm on 16 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 379 OldPerson:

    Are you not both, in different ways, ascribing morality to law ? Should there be any morality in law ?

    I tend to think of the law as 'tinned' morality. Think back to the Orestia and Athena's rather shabby, but necessary, judgement.

    Litigation may not always be justice, but it beats the hell out of vengeance!

    So I guess my answer to your question is that in its exercise the law should be dispassionate and technical (hence the blindfold). But it must also have some relation to the moral expectations of those it rules. Without that, it quickly loses legitimacy, I think.

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  • 406. At 5:40pm on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    What would happen to American politics if some sort of alien abduction sucked all the guns (and knives and other dangerous tools) in the whole world up into space where you had no access to them?

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  • 407. At 5:44pm on 16 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    Congratulations! This thread has gone to 405 postings and according to a word search I just performed, Godwin's Law has not been validated. I don't think post #154 would count since it was a reference to an artifact rather than the political system. Considering we argue politics on this blog, I think this is amazing!

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  • 408. At 5:52pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#406. At 5:40pm on 16 Jan 2011)
    ”What would happen to American politics if some sort of alien abduction sucked all the guns (and knives and other dangerous tools) in the whole world up into space where you had no access to them?
    The politicians would find an alternate source of disagreement. They are, after all, human.

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  • 409. At 5:55pm on 16 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    406. At 5:40pm on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    What would happen to American politics if some sort of alien abduction sucked all the guns (and knives and other dangerous tools) in the whole world up into space where you had no access to them?
    _______________________________________________________
    What would happen if frogs (the amphibians, not the inhabitants of northwestern Europe) had hip pockets? They would carry guns and shoot snakes. ;)

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  • 410. At 6:03pm on 16 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    406. At 5:40pm on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    What would happen to American politics if some sort of alien abduction sucked all the guns (and knives and other dangerous tools) in the whole world up into space where you had no access to them?
    __________________________________________________
    I don’t know what would happen in politics, but on the streets people would start using rocks and sticks; kind of like one of the scenes in 2001, A Space Odyssey. Evil doesn’t need technology, it just needs humans to act out Evil.

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  • 411. At 6:08pm on 16 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    I’m reassured because one of the journalists, Candy Crowley on State of the Union, devoted her entire show to the main cause of the Tucson tragedy: mental illness. Hopefully that discussion will continue.

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  • 412. At 6:26pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    OldPerson, (#379. At 07:54am on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”#368 Chryses
    #374 chronophobe
    Are you not both, in different ways, ascribing morality to law ? Should there be any morality in law ? ...”

    Yes we are (ref. chronophobe [#405]). Yes there should be.

    ”... Law changes over time, despite what Curt Carpenter says ..."
    Of course it does, for the law should reflect the society whose behaviors it constrains, and society changes over time.

    ”... I believe that principles like deterrence and restraint of the individual may be used in law - to prevent others committing the same crime and to protect the population respectively - but punishment falsely places society where conscience should be ...”
    For those unfortunates whose active conscience seems to be missing, punishment – to the degree it fits the crime – is the best society can provide.

    “... There is, however, some inconsistency of attitude ...“
    An understated criticism, if ever I read one..

    ”... Given the 'it's the user not the gun' attitude, there should surely be no limit on possession of weaponry. Why not tanks, or nuclear weapons as another contributor said ... “
    Fortunately, neither tanks nor weapons of mass destruction were mentioned in the 2nd Amendment!

    ”... Is it not time that the vague Second Amendment which dates back to a clause in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which gives rights to Protestants to have guns - should be superseded ? ...”
    While there are many who would agree with you, the political reality precludes such a development.

    ”... the holders of rifles are subjected to psychological tests and training before they are allowed the firearms. The guns themselves are also limited to certain types.
    Would that not prevent the nutters from running riot as whatever-his-name-was did ?”

    That would certainly reduce, if not eliminate, the number of guns – handguns usually – in the hands of those who should not hold them. I doubt that this is the time for that.

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  • 413. At 6:31pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Oldloadr, (#407. At 5:44pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”Congratulations! This thread has gone to 405 postings and according to a word search I just performed, Godwin's Law has not been validated ...“
    That is one reason I selected the War Between the States.

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  • 414. At 6:37pm on 16 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 377. At 06:43am on 16 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    “It is legal to say whatever you want so long as it does not incite violence, but incitement is very difficult to prove. What many on the left have done the last few days is accuse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party of incitement; the accusation would never hold up in court, but the intent was to create a narrative for political gain. I still find such talk tacky and unproductive; if the left really wants to tone down the national rhetoric and have more civil discourse with the right, they could start by not labeling all conservative opinions as hate speech and violent rhetoric.”

    Who exactly on the left has labelled all – not some but all - conservative opinions as hate speech and violent rhetoric?

    With regard to Palin, I have certainly seen no real evidence linking her to this crime. But, as I have said before, when she put out her map with targets on it, which included Congresswoman Gifford, when Congresswoman Gifford complained about this in a TV interview, when she was ignored, when Congresswoman Gifford’s father was asked who hated her and said ‘the Tea Party’ – it was hardly a complete flight of fancy to raise the issue.

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  • 415. At 6:43pm on 16 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 407 Oldloadr wrote:

    "Congratulations! This thread has gone to 405 postings and according to a word search I just performed, Godwin's Law has not been validated. I don't think post #154 would count since it was a reference to an artifact rather than the political system. Considering we argue politics on this blog, I think this is amazing!"

    Not sure I can entirely agree. MK, in a post subsequently moderated, said I ‘support racial genocide’. (It was a lie - of course.) I think that near enough meets Mr Godwin’s criterion.

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  • 416. At 6:50pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#415. At 6:43pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    “... in a post subsequently moderated, said I ‘support racial genocide’. (It was a lie - of course.) I think that near enough meets Mr Godwin’s criterion.”
    Oh pooh! Give Oldloadr his win, even if it is on a technicality.

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  • 417. At 7:08pm on 16 Jan 2011, SONICBOOMER wrote:

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

  • 418. At 7:21pm on 16 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    So we seek to eliminate, when do we eliminate gasoline, one cup is equivilent to 15 sticks of dynamite, then there are molotov cocktails which I believe were used in Ireland. I mean you don't need a gun to do evil. The radical lefts self righteous use is always evident when explosives are used, like Obama's mentor/pal/associate Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn, known terrorists. So does that make Obama a terrorist? The same as owning a gun? The weatherman used guns and explosives, as well as drugs and robbery. In the name of their cause, just like the Nazi's and Communists did. Punish the wicked, not the honest ones in society.

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  • 419. At 7:32pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    SONICBOOMER, (#417. At 7:08pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... On the other hand, if you spend large amounts of time on a site financed by UK citizens ...”
    A small qualification is in order here. The pages presented to those who visit the Beeb with IPs identified as not of UK origin contain advertisements. This is not true for the Beeb’s UK users, who pay the license fee. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc.com/faq/ )

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  • 420. At 7:59pm on 16 Jan 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    WHAT SORT OF MAN DELIVERS 'HEARTFELT WORDS' WRITTEN BY ANOTHER?

    Is there anyone posting here who goes to the funeral of a family member and reads word second-hand words, as if heartfelt? The moment Obama stopped reading, all the 'majesty' departed.

    We know politicians are just actors, but must they demonstrate it with such contempt?

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  • 421. At 9:16pm on 16 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    Speaking of sick people? Recently these just happen to be in the UK and at least appear to be citizens of the UK. Chanting "Death to British Soldiers, and burn in Hell." It was posted on youtube, showing the compassion of British Muslims towards,err, there fellow citizens I guess/ Muslims Against Crusades I believe it was called. Must be something I don't get. See here we don't blame our soldiers, we blame our government for putting them in a mess. But I guess the racial attitudes of either UK Muslims, and or other non muslim UK citizens must make it a racist society, or a land with some sick individuals? I wonder how the majority feel about those displays in the UK? Maybe the UK has its share of the worlds wackos too.

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  • 422. At 9:25pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    AmericanGrizzly, (#421. At 9:16pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    That’s different.

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  • 423. At 9:29pm on 16 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:



    What did some of you want --a tributary volley of rifle-fire over the graves ????

    --brought to you by your local NRA and Gun Lobby ?

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  • 424. At 9:46pm on 16 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    418. At 7:21pm on 16 Jan 2011, AmericanGrizzly wrote:

    "So we seek to eliminate, when do we eliminate gasoline, one cup is equivilent to 15 sticks of dynamite, then there are molotov cocktails which I believe were used in Ireland. I mean you don't need a gun to do evil."

    ____________

    When America has 30,000 Molotov cocktail incidents per year, or, excluding suicides, 13,000 killings per year with Molotov cocktails.

    ---------

    Put it in perspective: Every car bombing in Iraq or Afghanistan makes the news, and we think "What kind of life can you live in a country under those condition?", and we give thanks for living in our prosperous and safe country.

    Few car bombings, and even fewer suicide bombings, kill as many as 35 people.

    There are in America, day in, day out, roughly, 35 gun homicides, and 45 gun suicides.

    35 dead is roughly the equivalent of a car bombing a day - and a pretty bad car bombing, at that - every single day of the year.

    It is the equivalent of 4+ World Trade Center bombings per year.

    How can that be tolerated?

    What level of national insanity does it take to allow that to continue, year, after year, after year?

    What is it about owning guns that means you shouldn't take reasonable precautions to prevent those fatalities?

    Why would gun owners be opposed to reducing that death toll, and the associated tool of injury and suffering?

    Forget about taking the really strict steps required to cut that by a factor of 20 - 50, as in some countries.

    No, just stick with modest, easily achievable steps.

    There are reasonable steps that can be taken, and that are taken in other countries, that cut the comparable toll of death and injury by a factor of 5 - 10 relatively easily, without placing an unreasonable or unfair burden upon gun owners or preventing them from pursuing their hobby. It's not that difficult.

    So what's the problem in America?

    Why would anyone be so opposed to preventing the needless death and injuries of others, at minimal (if any) inconvenience to themselves?

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  • 425. At 9:54pm on 16 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    421. At 9:16pm on 16 Jan 2011, AmericanGrizzly

    Over here we are so tolerant, the only thing that is not tolerated
    is intolerance toward tolerance.

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  • 426. At 10:14pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    LOL!

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  • 427. At 10:21pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#424. At 9:46pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... How can that be tolerated?

    What level of national insanity does it take to allow that to continue, year, after year, after year?

    What is it about owning guns that means you shouldn't take reasonable precautions to prevent those fatalities?

    Why would gun owners be opposed to reducing that death toll, and the associated tool of injury and suffering?

    Forget about taking the really strict steps required to cut that by a factor of 20 - 50, as in some countries.

    No, just stick with modest, easily achievable steps ...”


    The Supreme Court has ruled on the issue. Gun ownership is a right in the U.S. As someone said to someone else in another thread, “obsess about something else.”

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  • 428. At 10:56pm on 16 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Whether gun ownership is, or isn't a right in the US, there is nothing inconsistent with gun ownership in taking reasonable steps to avoid needless injury and death.

    It is this pretense that somehow the second amendment rights of some trump the first amendment rights of all, or that in fact the private law of negligence is inapplicable that is the huge non-sequitur in all the second amendment bafflegab. The second amendment is irrelevant to your duty of care to others.

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  • 429. At 11:09pm on 16 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    If the death and injuries involving guns are ONLY caused by the mentally unstable -- then we have more than our share.

    --- to face the fact that NO filling of forms is going to screen for them is already the first step to sanity !

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  • 430. At 11:09pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#428. At 10:56pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... The second amendment is irrelevant to your duty of care to others.”

    U.S. Constitution, Amendment II: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Which section of the U.S. Constitution, either the Articles or Amendment I contains the phrase “your duty of care to others?”

    When you find it, you’ll succeed.

    Until then, you’ll fail.

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  • 431. At 11:41pm on 16 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    430. At 11:09pm on 16 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    "U.S. Constitution, Amendment II: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.""

    __________

    Doesn't say anything about relieving gun owners of their duty of care to their neighbours.

    While there may be a constitutional right to bear arms, there is nothing that entitles you, or anyone else, to do so negligently, or to fail to take the precautions that a reasonable man would take to avoid injury to others.

    And you can look for that as long as you please.

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  • 432. At 11:59pm on 16 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    There`s a much easier way to silence the "God fearing" hypocrites around here....just quote them Jesus Christ`s views about the sort of behaviour they boast about. Just imagine if Jesus was participating in this debate.....whose side would he take in the argument?

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  • 433. At 00:01am on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#431. At 11:41pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”... Doesn't say anything about relieving gun owners of their duty of care to their neighbours ...”
    Correct. The U.S. Constitution also says nothing about the rain in Spain, or the merits of Baroque music, or a preferred value for pi. The fact that the U.S. Constitution says nothing at all about all those things, including “relieving gun owners of their duty of care to their neighbours” subordinates them to Amendment II insofar as they lack representation in either the Articles or Amendment I. That’s the way it works.

    ”... While there may be a constitutional right to bear arms, there is nothing that entitles you, or anyone else, to do so negligently, or to fail to take the precautions that a reasonable man would take to avoid injury to others ...”
    Correct. No argument from me on that score.

    ”... And you can look for that as long as you please.”
    Pfui! You ruined a perfectly good post by ending it with a silly mistake. In order to retain the right for American citizens to own firearms, I need look no further than Amendment II. In order to get rid of private gun ownership in the U.S. you, and those who agree with you, will need to do the looking.

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  • 434. At 00:06am on 17 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    Well the worst enemy of freedom is when your own government does it. Take in point the newly released disclosures of Dept of Homeland Security under Napolitano and the Obama admin in failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests in the hundreds. As they hide the dirty details read on I can't wait to see this shadow government of the radicals exposed. All I can say is thank goodness for the Second amendment. Also whine on about how one amendment supersedes others in your universe of socialism more and values. There are already laws, just as there are laws to forbid many things. How does a felon get a gun? You think he had a background check, even when the felon isn't a citizen, and is here illegally. Happens everyday, so drone on. Try understanding the value of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights are all important, not your censored myopic view of them.

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  • 435. At 00:11am on 17 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    By the way Scotland might be right in seeking their independance from the UK. After listening to how InterestedForeigner supersedes one freedom from another and equates any right as before another. If that is indicitive of all UK citizens, I hope the Scots regain the Stone of Destiny before the next coronation, and get what they truely deserve freedom from the likes of that type.

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  • 436. At 00:12am on 17 Jan 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Think about it,

    mentally insane means almost

    everyone....

    here...

    limit guns now!

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  • 437. At 00:16am on 17 Jan 2011, american grizzly wrote:

    "Last summer, officials said fewer than 500 requests were vetted by political officials. The department received about 103,000 requests for information in a recent 12-month period.

    The agency's directive said political appointees wanted to see FOIA requests for "awareness purposes," regardless of who had filed them. The AP reported that the agency's career employees were told to provide political appointees with information about who requested documents, where they lived, whether they were reporters and where they worked.

    According to the directive, political aides were to review requests related to Obama policy priorities, or anything related to controversial or sensitive subjects. Requests from journalists, lawmakers and activist groups were to also to be examined." source AP

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  • 438. At 00:31am on 17 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

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

  • 439. At 00:37am on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#432. At 11:59pm on 16 Jan 2011)

    ”There`s a much easier way to silence the "God fearing" hypocrites around here....just quote them Jesus Christ`s views about the sort of behaviour they boast about ...”
    Good idea! Go for it!

    ”... Just imagine if Jesus was participating in this debate.....whose side would he take in the argument?”
    Excellent question! WWJD when asked what limits should be put on the defense of liberty? And WWJD when asked if he preferred “moderate” or “extreme” justice?

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  • 440. At 00:40am on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    AmericanGrizzly, (#437. At 00:16am on 17 Jan 2011)

    When you can, would you post the urls for your sources, please?

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  • 441. At 00:41am on 17 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #435 AG

    -- Even with independence, Scotland would still be suffering from the Feudal system.

    --and I am sure you would not support Land Reform and distribution ????

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  • 442. At 01:41am on 17 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Re. chronophobe #401: "BEL, thanks for the response."

    You're welcome, I enjoy the discussion on this thread.

    "I am in no way suggesting that the law needs to be brought into it!...I am trying to validate moderation...because extremism tends to invoke recourse...against the self regulating cultural norms...it corrodes respect, which is a necessary condition for the self regulation of civil society."

    I completely agree; I framed my response to your post in terms of incitement to convey the proper context of the criticism specifically levied against Sarah Palin by some people directly after the shooting.

    "I would...suggest a relationship between the hyper polarised ideological climate in the US and the way this person may have constructed the narrative which justified his paranoid and violent impulses."

    I agree with this as well to a certain extent; it is an appropriate critic of America's civil discourse and of its theoretical impact on the mind of the shooter.

    "I would suggest that this incident has served as a wake up call."

    This incident has certainly made people more aware of the things they say and write. I am already making an effort to be more responsible, but I still express my opinion.

    "I am not suggesting that 'all conservative opinions are hate speech and violent rhetoric'."

    I know you didn't, and I respect you for not suggesting that. However, there are those who do say such things when an opportunity presents itself. It is no different then those on the right who inaccurately call Pres. Obama a Communist.

    "So paradoxically...the restraint implied by moderation...is a necessary condition of liberty. As to what constitutes reasonable restraint and thus civility in discourse -- now that, it seems to me, is the heart of the matter."

    That would appear to be the case; Americans are too diverse to get in the habit of singing Kumbayah, but we can maintain civility. Without civility between each other and our elected officials we all risk disunion.

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  • 443. At 08:50am on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

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

  • 444. At 09:08am on 17 Jan 2011, Ad wrote:

    Re 435 Grizzly -

    The Stone of Destiny (or Stone of Scone) was returned to Scotland in 1996 and resides in Edinburgh Castle.

    They'll let the English have it back just for the next Coronation (unless of course Scotland is independent by then!)

    My recent posts have been about lawnmowers and the Stone of Destiny. Time I shut up.

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  • 445. At 09:13am on 17 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Studio One: "they/you all still smell american minded and are not intelligent world minded like moi...i've got you under my skin"

    Um, ok; I'm not sure what to make of your post to be honest.

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  • 446. At 09:24am on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    There are no Rules that any one has to make sense unless of course you are those grammar nut jobs who has been screwed around with by bloody petty minded Government Bureaucracy

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  • 447. At 09:54am on 17 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    446...The more slow minded among us may find it informative to learn that "Studio One" could be the artist previously known as "Complete Bob Marley"....as his distinctive rap logik style of expression exposes!

    Profound and coherent he may not be...but he more than makes up for it with his refreshingly different perspective!

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  • 448. At 10:18am on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    @447 Rebuttal
    I am just a facilitator placating weird people with a kind word allaying dysfunctional stressed out bbc american posters who can not afford their much needed medical drugs but are against health care on the political principle that it is just not american

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  • 449. At 10:32am on 17 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    448...Readers will no doubt make their choice between my post and Studio One`s @448......and form their own conclusions !

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  • 450. At 10:45am on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

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

  • 451. At 10:50am on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim,

    You're correct.

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  • 452. At 10:53am on 17 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

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

  • 453. At 12:12pm on 17 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    452 We ween`t all around at the time MrClarkson-Hammond-May...so do fill us in on what the smart set were saying in 1932!

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  • 454. At 1:38pm on 17 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Selling handguns is not particularly profitable.

    Selling bigger guns is.

    Unless, of course, someone has to finance such sales himself. :-)


    Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez announced that Russia had agreed to lend his country $4bn (£2.6bn) so that he could spend it on Russian-made weapons. (BBC News)

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  • 455. At 2:10pm on 17 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Looking at the big picture here, is it not about time that the US constitution was overhauled and brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century?
    While the principles are still sound, there are a number of issues that the founding fathers just couldn't foresee:
    Election processes: what constitutes free and fair / the need for a recount / voter intention etc?
    Corporate Law: what rights does a corporation have and how do these intermingle with personal rights?
    Split between judiciary and legislature: how can the judiciary be independent when the act of choosing the judiciary is seen as a political manoeuvre.
    Are all the amendments still relevant?
    When the left wing want to silence the right wing crazies and the right wing want to silence the left wing crazies and Julian Assange, is freedom of speech too hard an right to maintain in its idealised form?
    Is the right to bear arms worth more than the deaths they cause in modern society?
    Search and seizure, right to silence, trial by jury - process of justice. All have been eroded, for various reasons that bear consideration. The politicising of the judiciary has called into question the progress of jurisprudence, in which case a convention needs to be formed in order to prevent the constitution from falling out of touch.

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  • 456. At 3:07pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    PartTimeDon, (#455. At 2:10pm on 17 Jan 2011)

    "Looking at the big picture here, is it not about time that the US constitution was overhauled and brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century? ..."
    I suspect it depends on who you ask, and which bits of the 21st Century should be incorporated into the "new and improved" Constitution.

    "... While the principles are still sound, there are a number of issues that the founding fathers just couldn't foresee: ..."
    Few works of humankind are flawless. Those who suggest that the foundation of a nation be adjusted had better have some compelling arguments.

    "... Election processes: what constitutes free and fair / the need for a recount / voter intention etc? ..."
    Why need these be defined in the Constitution, and whatever possessed you to include "voter intention" in the list? It is the vote that is counted, not the intention of the voter. And "etc."?!?! Are you suggesting some grab bag of ideas that can be swept under an umbrella such as "et cetera" are fit to be written into the Constitution?

    "... Corporate Law: what rights does a corporation have and how do these intermingle with personal rights? ...
    Write corporate law into the Constitution? What can you be thinking? Corporate law has changed substantially during the 200+ years of the current Constitution. What you are proposing will, if enacted, be unchangeable except by constitutional amendment, or rulings by the Supreme Court. The last thing the U.S. needs is some essentially unmodifiable and inflexible definition of a corporate entity.

    "... Split between judiciary and legislature: how can the judiciary be independent when the act of choosing the judiciary is seen as a political manoeuvre ..."
    Oh, yes! That's the ticket! Make them stand for reelection every 2 years as are the members of the House of Representatives. Then we can rest assured that the Judiciary will be as good as those others. No! No! Wait! Let's have the Executive appoint the Judiciary! Yes indeed! Then, with the Judiciary suborned to the Executive to relative balance of power will be improved, right?

    "... Are all the amendments still relevant? ..."
    Any PARTICULAR one - or should I say TWO - on your list? LOL!

    "... When the left wing want to silence the right wing crazies and the right wing want to silence the left wing crazies and Julian Assange, is freedom of speech too hard an right to maintain in its idealised form? ...
    Freedom of speech has never existed in its idealized form. You have never had the right to srand up and shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

    "... Is the right to bear arms worth more than the deaths they cause in modern society? ...
    Golly! That wouldn't by any chance be related to the "relevant amendment" question above, would it? LOL!

    "... Search and seizure, right to silence, trial by jury - process of justice. All have been eroded, for various reasons that bear consideration ..."
    Are you proposing a Constitutional Convention or a BBC Political blog thread? I'm guessing the latter.

    "... The politicising of the judiciary has called into question the progress of jurisprudence, in which case a convention needs to be formed in order to prevent the constitution from falling out of touch."
    Falling out of who's touch?

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  • 457. At 3:17pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Yo! Mark Mardell!

    PartTimeDon wants a thread on a Constitutional Convention. See what you can do to knock out an opinion piece on the topic, will you? I'm sure we will all be restrained and well behaved in our responses.

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  • 458. At 3:26pm on 17 Jan 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Re: 397 Chryses:

    Having read your post, I will propose that you are more easily persuaded of Hobbes’ position than that of Mill’s. I think it fair to say that I am predisposed to the position Mills takes in re the relation of the individual to society.

    If this distinction between our “comfort zones” is acceptable, I’d rather enjoy our several points of agreement, than wrangle over the issues on which we disagree.


    This is part response to your post, and part rant in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. (happy MLK day to my US friends, by the by!)

    I think (it’s a bit hard to tell, though, as you do play your cards close to the chest) we agree on ends (a healthy, diverse civil society) but disagree on the means (the where, when, and how of state intervention).

    I believe that civil society is and should be largely self-regulating. But I would add that it also develops serious and debilitating asymmetries. I believe that unregulated capitalism is apt to produce profound asymmetries of wealth and power. And societies, for their own historical reasons, develop asymmetries based on, for example, language, region, religion, and race. Simply left to themselves, these asymmetries can create conditions whereby the liberty of minorities (or even weak majorities) can become drastically curtailed. It is in such cases that invoking the powers of positive liberty vested in the state is, I believe, justified.

    This being said, it is possible to invoke these powers in ways better or worse for the health of civil society as a whole. Intellectual bolshevism, whereby a small minority imposes a ‘progressive’ agenda, is often disastrous. Mass movements based in resentment and revenge are likewise most often negative in impact.

    The US Civil Rights movement, lead by King, on the other hand, is an example of how injustice can and should be fought. Non-violent, non recriminatory, seeking a better future rather than dwelling on the wrongs of the past … I stand in awe of the courage and integrity of those looked past their anger and the urge for revenge and chose instead to dare dream of a better future. A future attainable, moreover, through, rather than outside, the democratic process and the law:

    "There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

    But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.

    Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

    The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone."


    On the path to liberty “We cannot walk alone.”

    In the name of unity,
    In the name of dignity,
    In the name of freedom,
    In the name of courage,
    In the name of respect,
    In the name of Martin Luther King …
    Sing!

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  • 459. At 3:31pm on 17 Jan 2011, L A Odicean wrote:

    What a mawkish self-indulgent posturing lot they are in America. Plenty of wallowing in self-pity, induced by the death of a 9 year old child amongst others in another tragic mass shooting, and yet nothing will be done to reform the absurd and shameful gun laws in Arizona, let alone the rest of the nation. It is, in the true sense of the word, pathetic.

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  • 460. At 3:41pm on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

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

  • 461. At 3:55pm on 17 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    458: Thanks Pinko.

    452: And so Old Loader's prize run ends at 452. Not bad.
    Still room for improvement, though.

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  • 462. At 4:12pm on 17 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    If a European country is willing to subsidize its sales it does not need euro.


    Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez announced that Russia had agreed to lend his country $4bn (£2.6bn) so that he could spend it on Russian-made weapons. (BBC News)

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  • 463. At 4:14pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 455 PartTimeDon-

    "Looking at the big picture here, is it not about time that the US constitution was overhauled and brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century?"

    Who will be the writers of this new constitution you propose? Who decides who will write the new constitution? Would the writers dedicate their efforts to the long-term good of the nation and it's people? Or would they be controlled by political action committees and corporations? What would keep them from being influenced by one group over the next?

    There are many more questions one should ask before any serious consideration should be given to rewriting the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps the primary question should be; why rewrite the constitution when there is an amendment process in place to deal with changes that may be needed?

    Slavery was allowed at one time in our national history. A highly contentious issue until the 13 amendment made the practice of human bondage and servitude unconstitutional.

    Prohibition of alcohol was attempted through constitutional amendment; then repealed through a second constitutional amendment when it was found that the people would not abide by the amendment, continuing to imbibe alcohol.

    Just two examples of how the constitution continues to work in our modern society. Read the other amendments to the constitution to discover other adaptations that have been made over the past 200 years.

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  • 464. At 4:15pm on 17 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #454
    powermeerkat wrote:
    Selling handguns is not particularly profitable.

    Selling bigger guns is.

    Unless, of course, someone has to finance such sales himself. :-)


    Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez announced that Russia had agreed to lend his country $4bn (£2.6bn) so that he could spend it on Russian-made weapons. (BBC News)

    ___________

    And in another example of stifiling dissent, he want a soap opera that paints him in a bad light off te air.

    Unless its a biopic of the Kennedys we don't do that in the U.S

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  • 465. At 4:20pm on 17 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    The ´Right to bear arms´ allowed the prevention of slave revolts getting out of hand.

    --- Probably the most important reason ?

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  • 466. At 4:27pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#461. At 3:55pm on 17 Jan 2011)

    ”... And so Old Loader's prize run ends at 452. Not bad.
    Still room for improvement, though.”

    True

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  • 467. At 4:44pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 465 quietoaktree-

    "The ´Right to bear arms´ allowed the prevention of slave revolts getting out of hand.

    --- Probably the most important reason ?"


    Also kept those pesky NDNs, interventionists Spaniards, and royalist Canadians at bay.

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  • 468. At 4:56pm on 17 Jan 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #455
    When the left wing want to silence the right wing crazies and the right wing want to silence the left wing crazies and Julian Assange, is freedom of speech too hard an right to maintain in its idealised form?
    ___________________

    There is a difference only the left wing wants to impose the fairness doctrine. We don't hear the right wing calling for the NYT editorial board to expand.

    The only thing the right and moderates want is no public funding of left wing views. Even though it get soundly beatan in the rating, MSNBC continues to operate

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  • 469. At 4:59pm on 17 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    It appears I may have written too soon.

    I see that 452 has disappeared, so maybe Old Loader is still up and running.

    May have to check with the rules committee.

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  • 470. At 5:16pm on 17 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Chryses & PubliusDetroit
    Should it be re-written? Possibly not.
    Who will re-write it? I don't know.
    Should it be discussed absolutely!?!

    My position is that it is a fundamentally healthy thing to continually question the basis and foundations of any democracy, lest they be taken for granted. Also this would also force the debates on free speech, the right to bear arms etc out from under its shadow.
    There are a number of derivative arguements on this blog that defend rights because they are in the constitution and brook no questioning of the document itself as if to do so is unpatriotic.
    Also, it is pretty clear that US politics now occurs in such an atmosphere where the amendment system is unlikely to be used unless an amendment would prevent an imminent national crisis.
    Perhaps most importantly, it would hopefully also show Americans that all but the most extreme left and right wingers in the US actually agree on more than 95% of their policies and that there is no need to fear and hate the opposition quite so much.

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  • 471. At 6:29pm on 17 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Most of the constitutional ideas you seem to be discussing came from Enlightenment Europe ....and a very different world from the one you are so aggressively defending....and from people much better educated than the average British or American voter today.

    My guess is that the thinkers who formed those ideas would be familiar with your basic positions in this coded argument that is about much more than the right to bear arms ...but shocked and mystified by American society as it is today.

    They might wonder why progress (as they foresaw it) had not "delivered" a much better world.

    I think that they would understand both positions in the argument and quite appreciate why people are suspicious of governments that export your jobs to China and import unsustainable numbers of immigrants to compete for those jobs you have left!So do I!

    I am sure that a trip to the movies would show them why so many Americans still wish to bear arms ....yet wonder at why you still needed to do it in the 21st century with advanced government institutions like a huge police force and military.

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  • 472. At 6:42pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#469. At 4:59pm on 17 Jan 201

    ”... I see that 452 has disappeared, so maybe Old Loader is still up and running.
    May have to check with the rules committee.

    Something of a Pyrrhic victory.

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  • 473. At 6:53pm on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    the mash dems must be relishing the opportunity of a presidential debate with ms. palin the lucyj of the 'publican party. it would be an odds-on one horse race intellectually speaking

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  • 474. At 6:53pm on 17 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

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

  • 475. At 7:08pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 470 PartTimeDon-

    "My position is that it is a fundamentally healthy thing to continually question the basis and foundations of any democracy, lest they be taken for granted. Also this would also force the debates on free speech, the right to bear arms etc out from under its shadow."

    I agree that it is healthy to question the basis and foundation of a democracy. The amendment process is intentionally set up so that amendments are not passed without extended debate.

    The current political atmosphere of divisiveness will pass, as it has during most previous times of emotional upheaval. (Red scare, immigration prejudices of the 1800s, isolationism of the 1900s, e.g.) Cooler heads will eventually prevail as we witness the negative effects of divisiveness. When reactionary right and radical left wear themselves out without reaching compromise. Until such time as compromise can be achieved by reasonable people acting in the best interest of the nation, we all will suffer the barbs and arrows of a discordant few.

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  • 476. At 7:42pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    PartTimeDon, (#470. At 5:16pm on 17 Jan 2011)

    My position is that it is a fundamentally healthy thing to continually question the basis and foundations of any democracy, lest they be taken for granted ..."
    Fair enough. You should realize that a constitutional convention is, pretty much by definition, an occasion to redefine a nation. I would suggest that an event of such significance be taken very seriously indeed.

    "... Also this would also force the debates on free speech, the right to bear arms etc out from under its shadow ..."
    I am uncertain what you are getting at here. It is because Amendment I guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press that we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I get a tad nervous when someone suggests that either be "reviewed."

    "... There are a number of derivative arguements on this blog that defend rights because they are in the constitution and brook no questioning of the document itself as if to do so is unpatriotic ..."
    There is one thread participant who does seem fixated on one portion of that document, but as he is not an American, his obsession might better be described as a waste of time and bandwidth, rather than unpatriotic.

    "... Also, it is pretty clear that US politics now occurs in such an atmosphere where the amendment system is unlikely to be used unless an amendment would prevent an imminent national crisis ..."
    If you review U.S. politics since the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation (1788), you'll find that amendments are usually "in extremis" efforts, not lightly to be presented. Several states, Virginia and New York in particular, would not (probably) have ratified the Constitution in the first place, had a Bill of Rights not been promised. A Constitutional Convention is even more significant, as its purpose is explicitly to revisit the entire document, not merely to revise it to accommodate a changed reality.

    "... Perhaps most importantly, it would hopefully also show Americans that all but the most extreme left and right wingers in the US actually agree on more than 95% of their policies and that there is no need to fear and hate the opposition quite so much."
    On this, I fear we will find little common ground. There is no document more important to the United States than its Constitution. Such is the significance of a second Constitutional Convention that the possibility of its failure worries many who care for that nation. I refer you to a quote from a letter James Madison, the first author of the Bill of Rights, who wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1788, "The friends of the Constitution...wish the revisal to be carried no farther than to supply additional guards for liberty...and are fixed in opposition to the risk of another Convention....It is equally certain that there are others who urge a second Convention with the insidious hope of throwing all things into Confusion, and of subverting the fabric just established, if not the Union itself."

    For any who may be interested in the source: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1000

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  • 477. At 9:25pm on 17 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Studio wrote: the mash dems must be relishing the opportunity of a presidential debate with ms. palin the lucyj of the 'publican party. it would be an odds-on one horse race intellectually speaking
    ---------
    Whast?

    Lol...yeah, there are some things I agree with Ms. Palin on and there are some things I disagree with her on. Ultimately, most people already feel a certain way toward or opinion of Ms. Palin, so the Republican party's best move would be to pick someone new and fresh, someone whose peoples' minds aren't already made up about or of already...

    Even though I have a terrible sore throat today due to much cheering, I will say that this was an awesome weekend, thanks to delicious apple cider, family, friends and of course, the Bears!!!

    Go Bears!!!!!!!!!
    Da Bears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ;)

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  • 478. At 9:34pm on 17 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Grizzly wrote: Speaking of sick people? Recently these just happen to be in the UK and at least appear to be citizens of the UK. Chanting "Death to British Soldiers, and burn in Hell." It was posted on youtube, showing the compassion of British Muslims towards,err, there fellow citizens I guess/ Muslims Against Crusades I believe it was called. Must be something I don't get. See here we don't blame our soldiers, we blame our government for putting them in a mess. But I guess the racial attitudes of either UK Muslims, and or other non muslim UK citizens must make it a racist society, or a land with some sick individuals? I wonder how the majority feel about those displays in the UK? Maybe the UK has its share of the worlds wackos too.
    ---------

    You touched a good point there, Grizzly.

    I would love to visit Great Britain, but stuff like that makes me wonder if the new Great Britain still holds the values of their founding fathers>?

    Like patriotism...

    Love for one's soldiers and country...

    I am grateful that most Americans I know are not like that...

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  • 479. At 9:43pm on 17 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: Ah, ‘tis well I remember the day me thirty-seven brothers and sisters sailed away in the big wooden ships to Americay to escape the terrible pratie shortage. And Seamus, the only one who survived the trip, does often be writing to me, telling me strange and wonderful tales of the magic box in the corner that does be showing all manner of jokes and japes and fillums and the like.

    It is my dearest hope that one day I too may travel abroad to see this wonder called television for myself...
    ------------
    Lol...

    Why do things happen the way they do?

    Its fate, I guess...

    One day, I hope to journey to Ireland and understand one of the places I came from...

    Of what I've seen on the tv, Ireland is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I know the economy's tough right now and I hope and pray it will get better for us all, as well...

    I think the Irish blessings are truly charming the way they bring smiles to people's faces...

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  • 480. At 9:48pm on 17 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Jim wrote: What would happen to American politics if some sort of alien abduction sucked all the guns (and knives and other dangerous tools) in the whole world up into space where you had no access to them?
    -----------------
    Well, I can tell you Americans will make do with what we have, just like everybody else, we try to make lemonade out of lemons, ect.

    If some supernatural alien being took all our weapons, we would have to simply create new ones, like the Indians, arrowheads, ect. from nature and of the Earth...

    American politics survives because of our weapons in the aspect that they are used for security purposes to keep politicians safe...

    The reason why President Obama has such good security in a time of unrest is because of America's Constitution, dedicated Americans and our tried and true weaponry, which keeps the bad people at bay...

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  • 481. At 10:39pm on 17 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    PubliusDetroit - Chryses
    I appreciate the importance of such a convention and the political danger of perceived failure. I don't think your quote is relevant in this context Chryses as I believe it referred to the danger of political gridlock at the time when there was a real danger it could have resulted in a splintering of the union in a way that is inconceivable today.
    That said I am not proposing that all national political business stop while a new constitution is hammered out. I am merely suggesting that the constitution itself be reviewed and debated regularly and that a full public debate (yes I called it a convention - that was alarmist and I apologise) be held on what may need updated. I have displayed my prejudices in the examples that I gave when citing what I believed needed looked at, but most people would agree thet even after 200 years the vast majority of it is still remarkably relevant and there is no need to change.
    You may be right that cooler heads will eventually prevail and thus the need for this will be less relevant. I have my doubts given how savvy so many have become at reaping the benefits from stoking the fires of division.
    Would it not be worth showing Americans what unites rather than divides them for a change? Rather than waiting for those who highlight and thrive off division to fall out of favour, would it do any harm to try to actively heal some of the recent divisions and provide a more important context for a lot of the petty political debate that so many (this sites posters included) indulge in?

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  • 482. At 10:54pm on 17 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    LucyJ

    "I would love to visit Great Britain, but stuff like that makes me wonder if the new Great Britain still holds the values of their founding fathers>?

    This is TOO BAD to be true !!!

    PALIN ll --live on this blog !

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  • 483. At 10:57pm on 17 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#458. At 3:26pm on 17 Jan 2011)

    "... This is part response to your post, [Chryses, #397] and part rant in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. (happy MLK day to my US friends, by the by!)

    I think (it's a bit hard to tell, though, as you do play your cards close to the chest) we agree on ends (a healthy, diverse civil society) but disagree on the means (the where, when, and how of state intervention) ..."

    We do, and we do.

    "... I believe that civil society is and should be largely self-regulating ..."
    So do I. So far so good.

    "... But I would add that it also develops serious and debilitating asymmetries ..."
    That is why the government exists: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    "... I believe that unregulated capitalism is apt to produce profound asymmetries of wealth and power ..."
    I'm sure you are aware that Article 1, Section 8 contains the Commerce Clause. Capitalism in the U.S. has never been unregulated.

    "... And societies, for their own historical reasons, develop asymmetries based on, for example, language, region, religion, and race. Simply left to themselves, these asymmetries can create conditions whereby the liberty of minorities (or even weak majorities) can become drastically curtailed. It is in such cases that invoking the powers of positive liberty vested in the state is, I believe, justified ..."
    I'll agree with you about that.

    "... This being said, it is possible to invoke these powers in ways better or worse for the health of civil society as a whole. Intellectual bolshevism, whereby a small minority imposes a 'progressive' agenda, is often disastrous. Mass movements based in resentment and revenge are likewise most often negative in impact ..."
    Hard to argue with that.

    "... The US Civil Rights movement, lead by King, on the other hand, is an example of how injustice can and should be fought. Non-violent, non recriminatory, seeking a better future rather than dwelling on the wrongs of the past … I stand in awe of the courage and integrity of those looked past their anger and the urge for revenge and chose instead to dare dream of a better future. A future attainable, moreover, through, rather than outside, the democratic process and the law: ..."
    Gandhi and King remain exemplars of successful non-violent direct action (protest) movements, and champions of Natural Law. (http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/resources/article/annotated_letter_from_birmingham/ )

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  • 484. At 11:01pm on 17 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #467 Publiusdetroit

    Militia --OK

    The other Im not so sure

    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-01-17/daniel-rasmussen-american-uprising-rebroadcast

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  • 485. At 11:05pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 476 Chryses-

    "There is no document more important to the United States than its Constitution. Such is the significance of a second Constitutional Convention that the possibility of its failure worries many who care for that nation."

    Thankfully, the means of calling for a Constitutional Convention is a process which would invoke extended national discussion prior to the convening of a Convention. It is hoped that during the period of discussion and debate the true nature of why such a call is being made will be exposed. Would an amendment, or amendments, answer a need for change in the present Constitution without jeopardizing the entire document and the Nation?

    As you note by way of Mr. Madison's letter to Mr. Jefferson; "It is equally certain that there are others who urge a second Convention with the insidious hope of throwing all things into Confusion, and of subverting the fabric just established, if not the Union itself." We can see the many "others", just within the threads of this blog, who would want to see their own immediate agenda written into a new constitution. Recognition of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God as the Supreme Being and guiding force of the nation. A prohibition of organized labor. Required military service to support the expansion of 'democracy' throughout the world. Iron-clad, closed borders to protect against the invading horde. Too name but a few of the passionate issues seen on this blog time and again.

    Yes. I am one that worries about the sitting of another Constitutional Convention and what might become of the nation. Where would "We the people..." find another group of people to frame a new constitution with the same dedication to purpose of creating a durable nation as were the original frames of our current constitution?

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  • 486. At 11:39pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 481 PartTimeDon-

    "I am merely suggesting that the constitution itself be reviewed and debated regularly and that a full public debate (yes I called it a convention - that was alarmist and I apologise) be held on what may need updated."

    I would agree that all citizens of the United States of America should review the Constitution, and the origins of the document. There are far too many citizens that have no idea what is stated in the U.S. Constitution.

    One of the things I find most striking as I continue to research the so-called "Tea Party Movement" is the number of Tea Party websites that encourage their members to read the Constitution. A couple 'national' sites have links to the old ABC Network Schoolhouse Rock series that highlights how the U.S. Government is organized and the functions of each of the three branches.

    Serious, national discussion about the current effectiveness of the U.S. Constitution cannot take place until the vast majority of the electorate becomes sufficiently educated in the present Constitution and the working of the government. This in itself will take considerable, personal dedication. The Constitution is not a 'sexy' document. It will have a difficult time competing with American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and the polished spittle of the news station pundits.

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  • 487. At 11:48pm on 17 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 482 quietoaktree-

    "LucyJ

    "I would love to visit Great Britain, but stuff like that makes me wonder if the new Great Britain still holds the values of their founding fathers>?

    This is TOO BAD to be true !!!

    PALIN ll --live on this blog !"


    Come on, quietoaktree! You must have heard about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Aren't they the Founding Fathers of Great Britain? ;)

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  • 488. At 11:54pm on 17 Jan 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    @ Publius from Detroit Michigan USA (aka Motown City)
    you can buy the US Contitution pocket gude for $4.95 at
    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryAmerican/?view=usa&ci=9780195304435

    It don't take much grey cells to read and digest it in about half an hour

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  • 489. At 11:59pm on 17 Jan 2011, kenny64 wrote:

    A president's fine words or a politician's self-serving justification for her "Don't retreat-reload" comment will neither increase nor decrease the USA's 11, 000 gun murders a year.

    It's the 2nd amendment and the lack of effective gun laws, stupid! This allowed a looney, who was arrested several times, who continually disrupted community college classes, threatened people and who was a psychiatric patient to legally obtain a Glock semi-automatic handgun despite much-vaunted 'background checks' (if indeed they are actually carried out - which I doubt). Another example is the small arsenal that the Virginia Tech killer confidently displayed on YouTube despite years of very disturbing behaviour.

    Compared with the USA, gun murders in European countries, the Antipodes and Canada are 50-150 a year despite the best efforts of Britain's National Front, Abu Hamza, the 'Real IRA', France's Front National, Austria's Freedom party, Germany's and Sweden's Neo-Nazis and Spanish Basque country's Eta to carry out and/or incite violence. This is due to effective gun regulation in these countries. Enough said!

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  • 490. At 00:00am on 18 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Why not have an American Political Idol Show...or a Constitutional Quiz with serious prizes for kids who are best at knowing their American Constitution?

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  • 491. At 00:05am on 18 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 488 Studio One-

    "It don't take much grey cells to read and digest it in about half an hour"

    I agree. Though I would wager that most people cannot make it past Article III before they enter into the state of MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over). NO sex. No violence. No pictures. Could use a good Motown beat. Little Stevie Wonder sings the Constitution!

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  • 492. At 00:08am on 18 Jan 2011, KScurmudgeon wrote:

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

  • 493. At 00:21am on 18 Jan 2011, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 490 worcesterjim-

    "Why not have an American Political Idol Show...or a Constitutional Quiz with serious prizes for kids who are best at knowing their American Constitution?"

    I like this idea.

    "Vanna? Do we have an Article IX on the board?"

    "No? I'm sorry Lucy. Let's look in the envelope and see what you could have won." (Jack smiles to the camera as he tears open the seal) "Yeah. It was the chrome-plated, pearl-handled, 1911 Colt .45." (Audience: "Aaaah") "Well, Lucy. What can I say. Go back home and study that Constitution. Maybe next time."

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  • 494. At 00:29am on 18 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Woot! ROFL!

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  • 495. At 00:48am on 18 Jan 2011, CMS wrote:

    Grizzly wrote:

    Must be something I don't get. See here we don't blame our soldiers, we blame our government for putting them in a mess.

    There might be some veterans who served in Viet Nam who would disagree with you. Granted, that was another time. Social attitudes change, and today we recognize that we can "support our troops" without supporting a war. Sadly, there are those here who exercise their right to free speech by holding demonstrations at the funerals of those who gave their lives in service to their country (among other funerals).

    The best anyone can hope for is that "wackos" of any variety are in the minority. Whether "here" OR "there".

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  • 496. At 01:26am on 18 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    Hey DJ,
    How’s about giving us The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill while we’re waiting?

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  • 497. At 01:38am on 18 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

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

  • 498. At 02:38am on 18 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    I have been waiting to write about another tragedy we had here this week.

    Last Thursday(?) at about 5:00 a.m., in the midst of a snowstorm a barefooted homeless man stole a snow plow. He left a trail of damage behind him. About two miles away a police sergeant, Ryan Russell, tried to stop him. The man drove at the sergeant Russell, who tried to jump out of the way. However, he slipped, and in falling was struck, crushed, and killed by the snowplow.

    The snowplow was also used to ram various cars, including a taxi, whose driver narrowly escaped death when the plow was used to remove the door of the taxi. Eventually the snowplow was cornered a mile further west and north by an armoured police van. It ended when the driver was shot thrice by police. (He survived.)

    Sergeant Russell was by all accounts a very capable, honest, decent, well loved and well respected 35 year old man, with a very promising career ahead of him. He had been on the force 11 years. He leaves a wife and a two year old son. This is a terrible tragedy.

    There are a number of points

    First, in this case an emotionally disturbed man went on a killing rampage with a weapon - a snowplow. If the same man had had access to firearms it would have been far, far worse.

    Second, this is the first police officer killed on duty in this city in nine years. The city has perhaps 6.5m people, all told. There has been an outpouring of public grief. The incident is so utterly, and bizarrely senseless.

    My heart goes out to the widow.

    ---------

    Third, more than 10,000 police from all across North America are going to be at the funeral.

    University Avenue is going to be lined with police from end to end. The police will then march down University Avenue to the convention center. Simcoe Street and Bremner Boulevard will be closed from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (It is going to be a heart-rending sight: it is supposed to be snow and freezing rain all day tomorrow. And they will be standing there, steady and silent, no matter how miserable the weather gets.)

    The funeral is going to be so big that they have booked the Convention center. It is going to be broadcast live by the media.

    Today they announced that the funeral is going to be, more or less, for the attendance of police officers only. They have announced that there will only be limited seating for the public.

    ... And this is where something went off the rails: Is the public grief of the citizens of this town somehow lesser, or subordinate to, the grief of a visiting officer from, say, Portland Oregon? Is it less than, or subordinate to the rituals of the brotherhood?

    Yes, this is a tragic, stupid, astonishingly senseless death.
    Yes, we like and support our police, and they have our thanks for doing a difficult job, and doing it well.
    Yes, we expect them to face danger on our behalf, and we admire that they do so without flinching.
    Yes, we understand that police from other jurisdictions desire to show solidarity in grief - and rightly so. The firefighters and paramedics are also going to be there in good numbers, for the same reason.

    But what's happening here is that a fallen police sergeant is being given the kind of funeral, and more, than we give even our most prominent statesmen.

    Even John Robarts didn't get a funeral like this.

    Leslie Frost?
    George Drew?

    It's as though, in the 500-channel universe, we have lost all sense of perspective, of balance, of proportion.

    When the four RCMP officers were ambushed and killed by a gunman at Mayerthorpe, Alberta, yes, for that I could see something like this as being appropriate. That was a cold, calculated murder. He lay in wait and slaughtered them. It was truly extraordinary. There has been no other parallel murder of police in the history of this country. Things like that just don't happen here.

    But this?
    It's tragic, no doubt about that.

    But it has stopped being a funeral, and instead is starting to take on some kind of exclusiveness, sort of like the ritual of a closed masonic lodge - for a brotherhood that wears uniforms, carries weapons, and is entrusted with upholding and enforcing the law. It's not grieving. It's a political statement by a phalanx of uniformed, armed, men who belong to a quasi-military organization that, as its daily business, holds a monopoly on the use of force to compel the obedience by the public.

    That's just a little creepy.

    I don't know what's going on here, and I don't know who is behind this, but it is not appropriate. These guys are making a political event out of the death. It is out of control. It is out of proportion.



    My heart goes out to the widow, and her son.
    This is a nightmare she has lived with, now come true in the most unimaginably improbable way. Her grief must be almost unbearable.

    My heart goes out to Sergeant Russell's parents.
    Your children aren't supposed to die before you.


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

    There was another death, sometime early this morning, in the NW corner of town. A woman in her sixties, a woman having problems with dementia, managed to get herself locked outside last night in her nightgown.

    It was -18 C last night. That is abnormally cold for this town, though not for most of this country. -18C is roughly -5 F. There was a fair wind blowing.

    She was lost and disoriented. During the night, people heard her crying for help. Nobody pitied her. Nobody opened their doors or their hearts to her. Nobody bothered to call the police. Nobody called 911. They ignored her.

    She was found by a paperboy delivering the morning papers.

    When the paramedics found her, they couldn't do CPR because her body was frozen solid.

    This was also a tragic, needless, stupid death, in one of the richest, most cosmopolitan urban areas on the planet. Help was never more than five minutes away.


    But they won't be closing University Avenue, lining it with police, and booking the convention center for her funeral.

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  • 499. At 02:59am on 18 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    Before the sun goes down on January 17, 2011, or this thread -
    Abraham, Martin and John.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfWNnw_0Isg

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  • 500. At 04:55am on 18 Jan 2011, jorg25 wrote:

    Look, not trying to rattle anyone's cage, but..... within days of the Arizona shooting which included the death of a federal judge and severe wounding of a Democratic member of Congress, a major snow and ice storm hit the entire American South, which was a very rare event in itself. This paralyzed and thus limited the access to and from this volatile and once separate part of the US. They have the ability to do this now - modify and create weather events. I guess you may have heard that by now. This tells me that there may have likely been major troop movements within the US. I would venture to guess Federal troops may have moved on Texas, the home of Bush, inc., and quite likely now occupy strategic areas of the state. The whereabouts of George Bush and other members of the Far Right Wing Government in Exhile appears to be unknown at this time, but it would be conceivable they may now be in Federal custody. But this is all pure conjecture.

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