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Sarah Palin and the Arizona shooting

Mark Mardell | 02:20 UK time, Monday, 10 January 2011

This week, Republicans in the House of Representatives planned a vote to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare legislation - the law that first caused the Tea Party movement to erupt on to the national scene in a series of furious encounters with politicians who supported the changes. Now, the vote won't happen. Not this week. The US is no stranger to mass killings, but the shootings in Tucson have prompted a national pause. Instead of trying to repeal healthcare laws, a solemn reflective House will pay tribute to Gabby Giffords, and others hurt or killed in the shootings.

It is too late for this crime to be dismissed as the meaningless act of a madman. It may turn out there was no political motive at all. But the killings have already acquired a meaning. A mood of anxiety about political tone that has existed for months has begun to harden into something more tangible, something that could be a game changer, provoking national soul searching.

After the Oklahoma bombing in 1995, when a right-wing extremist killed 168 people by blowing up a federal building, Bill Clinton used the moment to link the attack with the Republicans' anti-government rhetoric of the time. It worked. Mr Obama may not go that far, but he will stand in silent tribute on the White House lawn later. In a year when he is trying to recapture the centre ground and appear above partisan bickering, it will be a silent rebuke to a certain brand of politics.

Facebook spokeswoman Randi Zuckerberg told ABC News the biggest question on the social-networking site since the shootings has been: "Is Sarah Palin to blame?"

Many will say obviously not.

But some liberals accuse the Tea Party movement of creating a climate of hatred where opponents are seen not as wrongheaded, but as treasonous enemies of America.

Ms Palin bears the brunt of the criticism, partly because of the strength of her language, and partly because her website did carry pictures of what looked like crosshairs of a rifle targeting political constituencies in the US, including that of Gabby Giffords. Ms Palin's aides rather lamely claimed the illustrations were meant to represent surveyors' symbols, leading to one blogger talking about that well-known song: "I surveyed the sheriff." And it is Ms Palin who uses the slogan: "Don't retreat, reload."

On the internet, the right has reacted with fury to these accusations. One website writes: "Despite the fact that Jared Lee Loughner was a psychotic loner with 'left-wing' beliefs according to those who knew him, the establishment has hastily exploited yesterday's tragic shooting in Tucson to demonise conservatives, libertarians and gun owners."

But whatever the bloggers get up to, this week no national figure will indulge in harsh rhetoric, and there will be, for a while, a change in tone.

That is difficult for Ms Palin and her ambitions. As a self-described pit-bull with lipstick, her appeal is in her ferocious attack. But it is hard to believe she will ever again talk of reloading or even targeting opponents. Her trademark bite and bark may ill fit a newly chastened public mood. It may make her less appealing to Republicans, who are already worried that she can't appeal to the centre. Or this moment of concern may pass quickly and it will be back to business as normal before the month is out. Still, I will be listening to her tone very carefully when she makes her next public speech.

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  • 1. At 02:42am on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    US need to introduce strict gun control law more than wasting time on health care repeal.

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  • 2. At 02:54am on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    I have to say on my frequent visits to the US the last few years I have heard poisonous rhetoric from both sides. However, the Tea Party Movement added a whole new dimension to the atmosphere. There is no rational debate to be had with them and many of them display a paranoia worthy of psychiatric help sometimes. They are of course spurred on by a variety of right wing extremist radio chat show hosts and Fox News pundits who just love to edit by omission as well as telling downright lies. Hopefully this awful event will serve to tone it all down a bit and not just for a few weeks but for a long time. But I'm not holding my breath. Have you seen some of the blogs and response boards out there? Totally unbelievable, even at a time like this. We in the UK would do well to be cautious if/when Rupert Murdoch takes over Sky News 100%. It's a slippery slope down the Fox News road.

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  • 3. At 02:58am on 10 Jan 2011, Californian wrote:

    Any effort to relate this tragedy to Governor Palin or the Tea Party movement represents a complete distortion of the facts. The fact that this poor woman and others were injured or killed by this murdering nut - who was a leftist by all the evidence - had nothing to do with anything Sarah Palin did during the campaign. Political hypocrites will get no where trying to lie about a relationship to this horrible tragedy !

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  • 4. At 03:06am on 10 Jan 2011, markpier wrote:

    This is truly an irresponsible column. The headline is made to place the idea in people's heads and there is not a lick of substance to any part of the story. This is the media making the media the story, it becomes a circular and redundant commentary that takes on a life of its own irrespective of the facts. You don't know anything about this psychotic's relationship with Sarah Palin's, but you repeat what other media sources say about the relationship and use the headline to try to subconsciously link the two individuals. Your agenda is showing and as a left-leaning individual I find this sort of media intervention as unproductive and in the long term damaging.
    Please stop this sort of circular repeating media trash.

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  • 5. At 03:07am on 10 Jan 2011, mabelwhite wrote:

    It would be good if the "talking heads" were to tone down their vitriol and it would be nice if all people were so wise as to ignore them in the first place



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  • 6. At 03:11am on 10 Jan 2011, nzpie wrote:

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

  • 7. At 03:12am on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    3. At 02:58am on 10 Jan 2011, Californian wrote:

    "Any effort to relate this tragedy to Governor Palin or the Tea Party movement represents a complete distortion of the facts. The fact that this poor woman and others were injured or killed by this murdering nut - who was a leftist by all the evidence - had nothing to do with anything Sarah Palin did during the campaign. Political hypocrites will get no where trying to lie about a relationship to this horrible tragedy !"

    __________

    How do you know that?

    The fact is that, as yet, we have no idea why this guy did what he did, or if he had accomplices, or anything else. And the latest reports are that he has refused to speak with Police. (Don't even know if those reports are true, for that matter).

    We don't have the facts, and until we do it is premature to draw conclusions, one way or another.

    ----------

    I think Mark is right, though.

    At least for a little while, people are going to look in the mirror and feel a bit chastened about their behaviour over the last 3 years, and more. If that leads America's leaders to stop vilifying and de-humanising each other, and instead to see and respect each other as fellow Americans dedicated to public service who happen to hold different views, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

    A sober pause might not do America any harm.

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  • 8. At 03:12am on 10 Jan 2011, UpperLeftCoast wrote:

    I seriously doubt that this will lead to any long change in Tea Party rhetoric. I live in a county where the recently elected county commissioner - a Tea Party organizer "Republican" - posted on several different websites that she is dedicated to "eradicating liberal politicians and their policies." That was her platform and I find the choice of words - "eradicate" - significant.

    The Tea Party is simply the latest incarnation of the extreme right wing movement in the US that has had ups and downs since the end of WWII. The difference is that now it has pretty much captured control of one of the two major US political parties. European watchers may not quite grasp the political significance and gravity of this. Unlike countries with a parliamentary system, the US operates with just two political parties for all practical purposes. Now, one of them has been captured by intolerant extremists who want power at any cost. If they get it, watch out. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

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  • 9. At 03:14am on 10 Jan 2011, tuulen wrote:


    Sarah Palin's credibility is now toast.

    This event is tragic, and my sincere condolences to the victims and their families.

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  • 10. At 03:14am on 10 Jan 2011, ib42 wrote:

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

  • 11. At 03:16am on 10 Jan 2011, Madbrit wrote:

    "US need to introduce strict gun control law more than wasting time on health care repeal."

    How will this help?

    The strictest gun control in any democratic country didn't stop my old mate Derrick from killing innocent people here last June.
    Palin's symbolism was in no way meant to encourage an act like this, though it WAS intended to appeal to the less educated & radical voters on the right of the Republican Party.
    I know this because I spend a LOT of time interacting with those very same people.

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  • 12. At 03:16am on 10 Jan 2011, kenny64 wrote:

    Rewatched 'Bowling for Columbine' last night and the salient fact is this: most 1st world countries with populations of 20-120 million have 50-150 gun-related deaths/year while it is 11, 000 in the US. When I lived the the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland (population ~ 200, 000) had 100+ gun-related deaths one year! The Columbine killers used a Tech7 9mm automatic machine pistol. Try telling me that this is freely available in other 1st world countries. You need a licence simply to get a shotgun in the UK - handguns and semi-automatics are simply banned. Another fact is that almost all the assassinations (and attempted) of political figures in the US have been carried out by lone nutters (who also took out John Lennon). Yes, evidence is consistent with Lee Harvey Oswald being a lone nutter with a rifle (despite the various comspiracy theories about the CIA, the KGB, the Mob, the 'Man on the Grassy Knoll' etc). It's the (lack of) gun laws, 2nd amendment etc that allow nutters to lay their hands on military type weapons. Sarah Palin may be extremist but so is NIck Griffin, Le Pen, Joerg Haider, the Swiss People's party, the Jobbik movement in Hungary, the SS lovers of Latvia etc.

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  • 13. At 03:17am on 10 Jan 2011, mabelwhite wrote:

    Erm #3 Californian - Palin is not titled 'Governor' if you use a title it would be ex-Governor (lower case 'e'). I think reserving judgment until the facts are disclosed would be wise, but for you to aver that they are 'distorted' when they have not been released is disingenuous. And to say "who was a leftist by all the evidence" is silly - the Tea Party platform satisfies the definition for application of the term "leftist" mostly because it is an ill-defined, broad, and mostly meaningless label.

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  • 14. At 03:18am on 10 Jan 2011, JJimenez wrote:

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

  • 15. At 03:22am on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    If a prominent congress-woman were not hurt, if few common people, a 14 year old girl were killed; not much would have happened, not much hue and cry we could hear in international media and in Washington DC. That could be JUST ANOTHER "mindless" shooting by another "nut" and we simply would "wish the injured a quick recovery" and "condolences to the families of the victims". We would wait till the next incident happen and then again the same old ""wish the injured a quick recovery" and "condolences to the families of the victims"!
    Have we not seen this pattern enough already?

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  • 16. At 03:28am on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    11. At 03:16am on 10 Jan 2011, Madbrit wrote:
    "US need to introduce strict gun control law more than wasting time on health care repeal."
    The strictest gun control in any democratic country didn't stop my old mate Derrick from killing innocent people here last June.
    --------------
    NO law and STOP crime but can minimize it, prevent (many) people from doing such crimes and prevent provoking people. If the 10 year old boy did not have such a easy and immediate access to three guns, an innocent and loving mother could be still alive (http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/01/09/guns-in-kids-bedroom-town-understands.html?sid=101).
    Strict gun control can not totally stop gun related violence but it SURELY can minimize it drastically and save many lives in US.

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  • 17. At 03:54am on 10 Jan 2011, Baro wrote:

    One thing that some of the readers in Britain need to remember is as Americans, we are not like you. Many of you might think to yourselves, "thank god", and thats ok.

    Despite a recent increase in social programs in America, most American's still believe in hard work, and making something of themselves, and last of all, independence, not massive social programs. The American Dream. We do not want the goverment to manage our lives and save us from ourselves. We want the oppurtunity to succeed and we understand there are consequences if we fail.

    What we don't need is more gun control (trust me there are already enoguh laws on the books that merely need to be enforced), and bigger government. What happened in Az is a tragedy, and unfortunately in a society that believes in an armed citizenry, a lone nut job can kill in the one's, two's, and sometimes even ten's. However, when compared to harm that armed governments have inflicted on their own, killing in the hundred's of thousands, and even millions, there is no comparison.

    The United States has a second amendment for a reason, and sometimes tragedies occur because of it. But I can assure you most American's, in the face of such tragedies still cherish their freedom and independance enough to not give their government total control over their lives - in the name of safety in security. While we are far from perfect, we are far more independedent than many of our European bretheren. That was true 200 years ago, and it is true today.

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  • 18. At 04:03am on 10 Jan 2011, Tim wrote:

    It has been pointed out before that the single great ability of the GOP is to persuade people to vote against their own interests.

    How do you argue with those people? They have some of the "essence" of a suicide bomber - they don't mind losing an argument to you as long as both you and they are utterly destroyed - even atomized - quite soon afterwards.

    Tolerance is something to be embraced, but in a case like this, tolerance itself can become intolerable. I have no answers.

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  • 19. At 04:13am on 10 Jan 2011, Camo wrote:

    I like one of the teabarfy slogans.. "take back the country".
    well.. you're back to shooting politicians.
    Only a few more years till you're back to women not being allowed to vote, slavery being reinstated and soon after that they'll get another crack at the civil war - the outcome of which seems to still annoy folks who should know better. But be careful, if you take the country too far back, you'll be curtseying to the brits again, further still, and you'll have to hand the keys back to the first nations...

    But all that is aside. Normal people in the US need to grab the microphone. In all my trips I've never met a "right whinger" or "leftard" - met plenty of Americans tho. Time to hear their voices instead of the howling squeals of moronitude that dominate lately.

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  • 20. At 04:20am on 10 Jan 2011, Matt wrote:

    Europeans often ask, "Why doesn't America just pass strict gun control laws?" I know, I have heard this question often from my European co-workers. And it seems like a simple answer, but it's not.

    You have to understand that, like it or hate it, the right of gun ownership is enshrined in the US Constitution, and the Supreme Court has confirmed that this is in fact the meaning of that part of the Constitution. This means that no simple law can over-rule that fundamental right.

    It is theoretically possible to amend the Constitution to change this, but the process is extraordinarily difficult, by design. And the chances of changing the Constitution to abolish a right many regard as essential, on such a divisive issue, is effective nil.

    This is why gun control is a dead issue. Even liberals in America recognize it is a dead issue, and focus their energies on areas where they actually have some chance of success, like health care and gay rights.

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  • 21. At 04:23am on 10 Jan 2011, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

    People trying to blame the actions of a lunatic on Palin or the teaparty have no shame. Barely 24 hours after the incident, still being investigated, the lefties have the case "solved", and it's Palin's fault. YOu guys are almost as crazy as the shooter is.

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  • 22. At 04:31am on 10 Jan 2011, ken harrow wrote:

    The shootings in Arizona pose questions that cannot be separated from left-right politics, questions apt to be dodged again, as in the past.

    Guns. Why was Loughner able to get a semi-automatic revolver? Especially given questions concerning his mental health. Why are semi-automatic guns like his available to be purchased by anyone? If there is to be private gun ownership, at the limit why isn’t it confined to non-semi-automatic hunting rifles? Who has opposed this sensible limitation, and what are the interests and politics of groups like the NRA. This is basic left-right politics, not an issue that rises above it.

    On ideology and extremism. Concerning immigrants, in this country, a country built on immigrants, what is the depth of fury again illegal immigrants, and by extension immigrants, and by further extension against foreigners, due to? What fuels it? What are the actions that involve limiting the rights of suspected illegal immigrants, and what ideological conditions have been created that enhance the chances that immigrants or suspected illegal immigrants will be detained, maltreated, or even shot? We can’t pretend that there is no link between this violent treatment and the rightwing rhetoric deployed in the immigration debate. Further, what attitude towards Hispanics, as well as Arabs or Muslims, have been generated, with the implications that some mainstream community with a different racial profile is the norm, should be the norm, will do anything to remain the norm.

    What hyping of jingoist rhetoric, along with its gun sight targets of abortion doctors or left politicians is permissible, acceptable, tolerable? Why is it even idealized by segments of the right, as if no violent consequences could flow from them. There is no historical memory of how fascist governments and movements operated in the past, no fear of generating conditions that will naturalize extreme right-wing movements, and ultimately enable police state conditions.

    Similarly, there is little abhorrence at using more and more encroaching state powers that sweep away constitutional protections, so that in the name of stopping immigrants and terrorists people can be tortured or held indefinitely as in Guantanamo.

    So a rhetoric of fear, deployed by the far right as in the past and revived today, has become normalized and as a result laws to protect individual rights are reduced. What is ignored is how this extreme right wind rhetoric condones the violent actions of those who will think of themselves as patriots.

    What is the link among these seemingly disparate positions? After all, the right to own guns of any sort is typically presented as a protection against encroachment of individual rights by the state, whereas the use of state powers over individual rights is advocated in the case of immigrants or terrorists. Both are ideologically linked to a sense of a citizen norm that is positioned against minorities: gun rights advocates discount arguments that the opening of gun ownership to inner city populations has led to uncontrolled violence among poor minority populations, and anti-immigrant sentiments are aimed at naturalizing the notion of a mainstream citizen as a white, middleclass male.

    Left politics are centered around protecting the interests of the poorer, less politically powerful segments of the population, be it seen in abortion or gay rights, or guns and immigrants and their living conditions. Rightwing politics see these issues as guaranteeing minority groups protections at the cost of their own. Loughner might be crazy, but the political divide that is revealed by his assassination attempts is real.

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  • 23. At 04:33am on 10 Jan 2011, DaveFinn66 wrote:

    Not placing some of the blame on Palin and her ilk would be like blaming Othello, but absolving Iago.

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  • 24. At 04:36am on 10 Jan 2011, RoJoSal wrote:

    "Sarah Palin's credibility is now toast."

    You mean, she had some at one time?

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  • 25. At 04:37am on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    The link between the latest Arizona shootings and the behavior of our right wing zealots is tenuous to be sure -- but the history of threatened and actual violence by the American right is a well documented pehnomenon.

    In my lifetime, the violence-prone genes of the American right first gained voice with Joe McCarthy, and it has echoed loud and clear in our politics ever since -- through voices like those of Barry Goldwater (never mind Palin -- a rank amateur) and organizations like the Birchers, the Minutemen and, today, the extremist elements of the TEA party.

    If the latest Arizona episode serves to wake the American people up to the nasty history of it's own right wing politics, with its current enthusiasm for militias and (althogether legal) armed presence at political events, then perhaps at least something of value will have come from this tragedy.

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  • 26. At 04:41am on 10 Jan 2011, chatmandu002 wrote:

    This so-called BBC editor has no idea of what he is talking about. First, the Tea Party was started because of president Obama's stimulus bill and not the healthcare bill. Second, Sarah Palin's map of the democrats that voted for the healthcare bill was to show which seats that needed to be defeated in the election and had nothing to do with targeting anyone. People that want to lay blame for this senseless shooting are showing more hate and dishonesty than any of the tea party or conservative groups.

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  • 27. At 04:42am on 10 Jan 2011, zahra wrote:

    I think that is the end of both Madam Sarah Plain and her Tea Party friends.
    Last night while I was listening the BBC interview with the man who represent Tea Party Group, it was very obvious that he was not even worried about his fellow American citizens who lost their life in this shooting. I remember him saying "you can not walk out in the streets with your sociologic ideology to hurt other people's feeling. Of course in here he was addressing the wounded Senior.

    So one must wonder who a responsible person could speaks in publicly in this manner? The Democratic senator was only trying to convenience her fellow American citizens to vote Health Care Deal and it was issue of just saying either (yes or no). So does it worth killing people?

    Tea Party representative demonstrated irresponsible language in the Public.

    Now the ball is in the court of American's Intelligence Agency to do their home work and brought to justices to those who were responsible and behind this crowd act.

    U.S can not convenience other countries to implement Democracies, injustice, lack discrimination and so on, when they themselves are falling to do so. And that means, "you can not point your finger others to remove the fly on their nose when there is one on yours"

    .
    Zahra J. Saleh
    Sharjah - UAE

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  • 28. At 04:49am on 10 Jan 2011, The_McCann wrote:

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

  • 29. At 04:54am on 10 Jan 2011, U14613388 wrote:

    Sarah Palin's political future ambitions are now seriously in question. I suspect that the image of putting political opponents in crosshairs will do to her political ambitions what the image of Michael Dukakis in a tank did to his campaign...and more. Not only do I suspect that Palin's negatives will increase and harden, I also suspect that Obama will see a boost to his approval rating. Further analysis that may be of interest to readers can be found here: http://the-brooks-blog.blogspot.com/2011/01/election-prediction-palins-political.html

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  • 30. At 05:01am on 10 Jan 2011, RoJoSal wrote:

    "One thing that some of the readers in Britain need to remember is as Americans, we are not like you. Many of you might think to yourselves, "thank god", and thats ok." Actually, most of us realise that there is no god to thank. But do go on.

    "Despite a recent increase in social programs in America, most American's still believe in hard work, and making something of themselves, and last of all, independence, not massive social programs. The American Dream. We do not want the goverment to manage our lives and save us from ourselves. We want the oppurtunity to succeed and we understand there are consequences if we fail." You really do have a problem with the apostrophe, don't you. You don't use one where needed in paragraph one, yet add one in paragraph two where it is not needed. As for spelling, well...

    "What we don't need is more gun control (trust me there are already enoguh laws on the books that merely need to be enforced), and bigger government. What happened in Az is a tragedy, and unfortunately in a society that believes in an armed citizenry, a lone nut job can kill in the one's, two's, and sometimes even ten's. However, when compared to harm that armed governments have inflicted on their own, killing in the hundred's of thousands, and even millions, there is no comparison." Why should we trust you? The US has a far higher murder rate than other 'advanced' economies simply because guns are so freely available. You don't need them. You have a well armed militia - it's called the military.

    "The United States has a second amendment for a reason, and sometimes tragedies occur because of it. But I can assure you most American's, in the face of such tragedies still cherish their freedom and independance enough to not give their government total control over their lives - in the name of safety in security. While we are far from perfect, we are far more independedent than many of our European bretheren. That was true 200 years ago, and it is true today." I'm not sure how you define being independent, but last time I checked, the government in the USA looked after quite a lot of things - here are a few I found for you:

    1.The FAA. Crashes are a rarity here, thanks to equipment safety tests and massively successful air flight controlling.
    2.Medicaid: private sector insurance companies make money by ditching their customers when they get very sick. Medicaid picks up the castoffs.
    3.Social Security: What if Mr. Bush had succeeded in privatizing SS before the markets crashed? Can you imagine how many old people would be working at WalMart, since their SS would have been cut in half? And did you know that before SS, thousands of older Americans simply starved to death?
    4.SCHIP: Healthcare insurance for children who would not otherwise have it – enormously preventive of school absence, long-term illness, loss of physical and mental development.
    5.The CDC: How do we know that the virulence of H1N1 is less than expected? Who is telling the world that US pork is safe to eat? How do we know whether an illness is H1N1 or not? It’s all the CDC.
    6.School hot lunch programs: For many children, their only serious nutrition all day every day. What industry would do it?
    7.The Soil Conservation Service: though bureaucratic, there is no private industry comparable. How vastly different would America be without the wetlands your dad and a thousand like him have created.
    8.Head Start: kids from homes that have seriously dysfunctional emotional and learning environments have benefited enormously
    9.The Department of Motor Vehicles: how many mistakes have you had on your car registrations or titles?
    10.E911 commissions: how long does it take an ambulance or fire truck to reach you if a child who can call 911 can’t tell the operator an address? When I first came to Washington, there was simply no way to know. People died.
    11.Open meetings laws for city, county, and state government office – nothing like it at all in the private sector. But if public officials make decisions without notifying us, they can get in big trouble.
    12.Free public libraries – which most nations simply don’t have.
    13.Public health services – how many lives have been saved by free or low-cost immunizations? Show me something analogous in the private sector.
    14.The Interstate Highways Commission: we enjoy the best auto and truck transportation system in the world.
    15.The FDIC: how safe is your bank account? Prior to the FDIC, if your bank got greedy and lent more than it could support, you lost your life savings.
    16.The FDA: how do I know that the Adderall I take is really Adderall, and really the dosage I’m told? Much of the world does not. The FDA constantly catches businesses attempting to cheat.
    17.The Federal Elections Commission: A missionary friend of mine tells me that Africans are utterly astonished at the speed and accuracy with which US elections take place, and the efficiency and safety with which the US changes its administrations.
    18.Uniform Building Codes: my son works for a concrete contractor, and can tell you with confidence that there are pre-code homes in our town (and probably in every town) that have sewer lines that run under the park and dump raw sewage into the creek that flows into the trailer court.
    19.NASA – what business has landed on the moon?
    20. Fill in the gap.

    You are no more 'independent' as a citizen of the USA than anyone from western Europe, and you really don't need a gun - if you have something to say, use the ballot box.

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  • 31. At 05:09am on 10 Jan 2011, RoJoSal wrote:

    @Matt "It is theoretically possible to amend the Constitution to change this, but the process is extraordinarily difficult, by design."

    Not that difficult - when I took my Citizenship Test, there had been no less than 27 amendments, and if you knew your history, the right to bear arms is actually the second amendment to the US Constitution, written for a different time. Let's just amend it back!

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  • 32. At 05:10am on 10 Jan 2011, Cassandra wrote:

    Congresswoman Gifford objected publicly to Palin's putting crosshairs on her [Gifford's] district and warned there could be consequences. Palin has whipped up her crowds until they shout out "kill him" (videos are online) but her supporters are so emotionally invested in her that they refuse to acknowledge that she - or they - behave unreasonably. In the face of all facts to the contrary, they blame Liberals for violence in the US. The far right is increasingly dangerous. Wish us luck - we'll need it.

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  • 33. At 05:14am on 10 Jan 2011, kevooo wrote:

    This has got to be some of the most irresponsible reporting I've seen.

    4. At 03:06am on 10 Jan 2011, markpier wrote:
    "The headline is made to place the idea in people's heads and there is not a lick of substance to any part of the story."-
    And I agree 100%!

    This is beyond bad journalism, couldn't you wait at least until we know more about the motives, or are you creating the story?

    I believe Mark Mardell has his own agenda.

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  • 34. At 05:17am on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

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

  • 35. At 05:29am on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    17. At 03:54am on 10 Jan 2011, Baro wrote:

    "What happened in Az is a tragedy, and unfortunately in a society that believes in an armed citizenry, a lone nut job can kill in the one's, two's, and sometimes even ten's."

    [[Roughly 30,000 Americans a year die from gunshot wounds; 13,000+ murders and 16,000+ suicides. Roughly 800 children are killed playing with guns each year. Many times these numbers are injured, many being maimed for life. Even excluding suicides - many of which would also otherwise be preventable - it is, on average, a total of 80 gun shot deaths, day in, day out, every single day of the year.

    Overwhelmingly, the people killed know the people who shoot them. The shooters are not the anonymous "criminals" or "lone nut jobs" that the NRA is so fond of blaming. They are family members, neighbours, "friends", co-workers. For women, by far the most likely shooter is their conjugal partner.]]

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    "However, when compared to harm that armed governments have inflicted on their own, killing in the hundred's of thousands, and even millions, there is no comparison."

    [[Ok, so when was the last time that the government of a western democracy killed "hundred's of thousands, and even millions" ... "on their own". This happens every day, does it?]]

    "The United States has a second amendment for a reason, and sometimes tragedies occur because of it.

    [[Sometimes? 80 people per day, every day of the the year, year in year out, is not "sometimes".]]

    ----------

    "But I can assure you most American's, in the face of such tragedies still cherish their freedom and independance enough to not give their government total control over their lives - in the name of safety in security. While we are far from perfect, we are far more independent than many of our European bretheren."

    [[Ok. So why aren't you allowed to carry a concealed firearm on board an aircraft? Don't your second amendment rights apply there, too?

    Ok. So tell me, precisely, what freedom and independence do you have that an Englishman doesn't have?

    Are you really seriously going to suggest that you have so much as a whit more freedom or independence than a Canadian? A Scot, an Irishman, or a Welshman? A German, an Austrian, or a Swiss? An Australian or a New Zealander? A Norwegian, a Swede, a Finn or a Dane? A Frenchman, a Belgian, a Dutchman, or an Italian? Under what kind of pathetic delusion are you labouring?

    What right is it that you have, that these other people don't have, that justifies the killing of 13,000 Americans per year, including the accidental shooting deaths of getting on toward a thousand children?

    But you blithely, callously, dismiss these deaths as "such tragedies".

    Perhaps you will be magnanimous enough to visit the families of the dead and wounded - it need not be from this incident, it could be from 80 other incidents per day - and make them aware of how unimportant "such tragedies" are compared to your "freedom" and "independence". I'm sure the mother and father of the nine year old girl killed yesterday will take great comfort from your words, from your empathy, and from your thoughtfulness.

    Perhaps, too, when the angel of death visits your own family this way, you will no doubt be able to dismiss the loss as just another of these "such tragedies", and rather than grieving you will instead rejoice in your "freedom" and "independence".

    ----------

    In the name of "safety and security". Oh, I see.

    Ok. Fine. What "safety" do you have that citizens of those other countries don't have? What "security" do you have that citizens of those other countries don't have? Most people in Canada don't even lock their houses or cars, even in the largest cities. You have better security than that, do you?

    ----------

    Let's put this in perspective:

    First, in the last 35 years, America's total death toll due to terrorist attacks and efforts to bring terrorists to justice, including all US deaths in Iraq and in Afghanistan, is slightly more than 10,000. I.e., somewhat less than the number of Americans killed in America with firearms in a single year, even completely excluding suicides.

    Second, in the last nine years, America has spent almost $1T chasing a mass murderer responsible for the deaths of roughly 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001. The fact is that Americans kill their fellow Americans, on American soil at 4 times that rate. Every single year.

    Since September 11, 2001, Americans have been 36 times as likely to be killed with firearms by other Americans in America.

    Has America spent 36 times as much (i.e., $ 36T dollars) over the same period trying to protect Americans from being killed in America by each other with firearms?

    Third, if America had the same firearms murder rate as Germany, or the Scandinavian countries, the comparable death toll by firearms would be roughly 1,000 instead of 13,000. If it had the same firearms murder rate as the UK or Canada, it would be about 2,000 instead of about 13,000.

    Since the end of WWII, completely excluding suicides, something well in excess of half a million more Americans have been killed by firearms than would have been the case if America had a firearms murder rate even as low as Canada (there are more than a dozen countries that have a lower murder rate than Canada, so that isn't a particularly high standard to meet). The actual number is almost certainly closer to 3/4 million.

    That is more people than have been killed in any of America's wars, including the Civil War.

    In the last 100 years, it is not all that far from the total of all Americans killed in all of America's wars put together.

    That is before you even begin to count the needless suicides that might have been prevented.

    That is before you even begin to count the many more people who are paralysed, or otherwise maimed for life.

    That is before you even begin to count the many, many more people who are injured and recover, (well, at least physically).

    And what is the best justification you can come up with?
    It's how you "cherish" your "freedom and independence".
    And you consider that to be the belief of a rational adult, do you?

    Here's an hypothesis that seems to fit the facts a lot better:

    Your political beliefs, and the political beliefs of people like you, are a vastly greater menace to your fellow countrymen than is your government; than is any terrorist group; than is any foreign military threat.

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  • 36. At 05:35am on 10 Jan 2011, Marton R wrote:

    Mr. Mardell:

    Soul searching???

    The American public has been inveigled into wars by the application of propaganda so transparent most of the planet saw it. This will blow over as the wingnut machine gets into gear. Look at comment 3 (ok, it's "Californian")... Now the "left" is being made responsible... watch the spin being spun...

    This has happened before, Mr. Mardell, you know it, I know it, a lot of people know it. McVeigh, for instance, or that idiot who flew a plane into some building in Texas.

    Having said hat, there are many dimensions to the issue, but all of them affect some powerful group:
    1) The NRA and the gun-nuts who feel they need WMD in their closets to fight bogeymen under the beds
    2) The health business: This kid should have been in a loony bin long ago
    3) The "entertainment industry" whose imagination is so poor it must at all times resort to violence to keep the people coming --- and they do, because of a lack of imagination as well
    4) The media for giving these people a platform... theses people like Palin, like Beck, and even like Loughner, who succeeded in his real goal: he is on page one/site 1 of the media...

    Someone else sort it out please.

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  • 37. At 05:38am on 10 Jan 2011, HopeforChange wrote:

    Radical Americans are working very hard to destroy this country with their rhetoric about the Second Amendment, attempts to amend the Constitution to take away rights that have made this country what it used to be, promoting fear and divisiveness among the less privileged to turn them away from the real problems caused by both parties losing sight of their fundamental principles, and claiming that State's rights should prevail are fulfilling George Washington's greatest fear of a weak central government. He lived during a time when Congress was composed of ego-centric, mediocre, incompetent members much as we have today. The sacrifices made by so many over the last 200 years in defense of the melting pot are going to naught because we don't have strong politicians willing to stand up for their principles. They just stand for reelection.

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  • 38. At 05:41am on 10 Jan 2011, pat70ann wrote:

    I think many people will begin to express more openly their concern for the hatred we are exhibiting in the US when it comes to anyone disagreeing, in no matter what area; gay rights, politics, global warming, etc.
    It's a shame it always takes a crisis to cause a pause, but that seems to be the case. Hopefully, this will make us sit up and realize there are mentally ill people, no fault of their own, who act on what they consider literal statements. We are supposed to be civilized, now we should act that way.

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  • 39. At 05:54am on 10 Jan 2011, A Kar wrote:

    "9. At 03:14am on 10 Jan 2011, tuulen wrote:

    Sarah Palin's credibility is now toast."

    -- Sarah Palin had credibility?

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  • 40. At 06:00am on 10 Jan 2011, cowdogmoof wrote:

    "You're either with us, or against us"

    These words plowed the path for the splitting and subsequent polarization now seen in this country.

    An act of violence by a nut (and by reports now he might have the onset of schizophrenia, witnessed by his outbursts in school, disjointed words and thoughts... his age is when symptoms manifest) has everyone placing him in the other side's camp, to justify their own position and cast aspersions on the character of the other politic side at the same time.

    Sarah Palin and others who spout hate filled rhetoric have merely reinforced this stinking thinking that has already taken hold. These public figures who constantly espouse personal responsibility display little themselves, and this is common to both right and left.

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  • 41. At 06:04am on 10 Jan 2011, DKB wrote:

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

  • 42. At 06:19am on 10 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Mark, what is going on here? The debate has become a shouting match and many people here and on the previous threads have inappropriately made a monster of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for their rhetoric. For a more accurate representation of America's reaction to this event I suggest y'all pay attention to what our government leadership has said and done. Every politician has condemned the attack, the flag is at half staff, the President and his staff observed a moment of silence. There are no riots in the streets, people have gone about their daily lives. This is not the beginning of our collapse as a nation, and it is not the end of the Tea Party Caucus; we are going to be fine, and the criminal will face justice through the courts.

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  • 43. At 06:27am on 10 Jan 2011, shbb wrote:

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

  • 44. At 06:31am on 10 Jan 2011, Khandoor wrote:

    I have to laugh. This notion that the problem with violence in the US is somehow generated by the right is absolutely absurd. You have to look no further than the black Panthers, who advocate killing white babies or the Anarchist , who show up at every IMF or G20 summit to wreak havoc. While you are quick to point out Palins pamphlet targeting politicians you fail to mention KOS's blogs where they list "enemy" politicians as "DEAD". It's quite a contrast between printing a target and actually listing them as dead., wouldn't you say? But, as it is with all liberals, you only see what you want to....don't let the facts dissuade your position.

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  • 45. At 06:33am on 10 Jan 2011, Redpalaceblueskybulls wrote:

    As a card carrying American leftist, we can't just blame Sarah Palin or right wing talk media for the tragedy in Tucson. American culture has come to embrace a "win at any cost" philosophy that encourages over the top rhetoric from all sides of an issue. I find myself slipping into an attitude of wanting to defeat those who disagree with me just for the sake of winning rather than engaging in vibrant yet respectful discussion and debate. To paraphrase Edward R Murrow, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the rest did not create this atmosphere, they merely exploit it. Cassius was right, "the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars; it is in ourselves."

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  • 46. At 07:16am on 10 Jan 2011, Martin Ellis wrote:

    Excellent article. I suspect that when the gunman's brain is analyzed they will find excessive levels of Sarah Tonin. But even if the gunman was not directly influenced by the extremist rhetoric put out by Ms. Palin and the Tea Party, I hope it will make Americans think again about the pernicious influence of the gun lobby. Their mantra is that it's criminals that kill people, not guns. But in that respect it's beginning to look like the majority of Americans may well be criminals! So why not indict the NRA? If one were to be a conspiracy theorist, which I am not, one would not have to look any further than the NRA for an obvious conspiracy aimed at destroying civilized behavior in the USA!

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  • 47. At 07:16am on 10 Jan 2011, Peter Hodge wrote:

    I have many friends in America and they do seem to be mostly Republican. Now, I have no 'love' for any politicians in this country, and there are some that from a neutral perspective I consider to be dangerous for the future of this country - Nick Clegg being top of my list. But the terms and language used by American friends against any who do not share their Right wing views is amazing.

    Republicanism, for all its rhetoric, favours only the well to do. It has no concern for the poor. A bit like the Tories only more so. It will do the odd good thing to distract people from seeing what they are really doing.

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  • 48. At 07:24am on 10 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    "It is too late for this crime to be dismissed as the meaningless act of a madman. It may turn out there was no political motive at all. But the killings have already acquired a meaning. A mood of anxiety about political tone that has existed for months has begun to harden into something more tangible, something that could be a game changer, provoking national soul searching." Mark Mardell


    Yes, exactly as you and other media outlets intended. Never mind the facts as long as you create a fire storm among the left who have used this issue irresponsibly. You have allowed wild accusations to fill your comment boards while moderating any alternative view point. Oh, and I just love that little disclaimer that now suggests there “may” turn out to be no political motive at all. Nice job.

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  • 49. At 07:47am on 10 Jan 2011, shbb wrote:

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

  • 50. At 07:51am on 10 Jan 2011, ianklux wrote:

    This is an irresponsible article designed to relate this tragedy to Sarah Palin and the growing strength of Tea Party movement. The whole idea is to subtly shift people - leaving the thought in people's heads that Palin’s fierce stance with inflammatory rhetoric (cross hairs and all) is linked to this act. You belong in the same irresponsible class as Mark Potok, spokesman for the USA Southern Poverty Law Centre who has been on air attempting to broad brush this act to the radical right and then outrageously links the killing to the British conspiracy expert David Icke who is in fact a pacifist. The present indications are that this mentally disturbed killer appears to be a leftie and is NOT a follower of Sarah Palin (or David Icke). Agendas like yours and Potok's will lead to greater polarization not less, which leads me to think that this is perhaps the ultimate intention?

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  • 51. At 07:54am on 10 Jan 2011, handimanner wrote:

    As someone who has lived in Tucson. #1: Gun laws allow semi automatics to be freely worn. Loughner had a history of mental illness but was still able to buy a Glock and 100 rounds of ammo.
    #2: Shades of Columbine and Lennon. Loughner was a goth punk nut case. If you read his writings (counting the days of the universe, inventing currency and languages, extreme paranoia and sleeplessness) and not affiliated with any political ideology but the worms in his head. That said, the guy who ran against Giffords (Jesse Kelly) invited supporters to come out to the firing range and shoot an M-16 to defeat Giffords. As long as idiots like Palin, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Lars Larson, et al continue to feel immune from the crap they spout this senseless lunacy will continue in this country. What reason does anyone need a semi-automatic weapon besides killing indiscriminately? Answer; none!

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  • 52. At 07:57am on 10 Jan 2011, Matthew wrote:

    Why would anyone support or vote for a politician who uses slogans like "don't retreat: reload!" and has a website featuring pictures of her political rivals with cross-hairs superimposed?

    Is that really what US voters find appealing?

    Personally, I find it appalling!

    It seems the educated, intelligent and socially aware minority in the US have all moved to the left after the horror of President Cheney and his stooge Dubya, leaving the right free for the taking by a rootin' tootin' hootin' shootin' lynch mob with a six shooter in one hand and a bible in the other.

    I don't suppose we can expect anything positive to come from such a tragic event, but perhaps a little much-needed perspective might throw some water on the tea party hog roast before it becomes a bonfire of ignorance and stupidity that engulfs the entire US.

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  • 53. At 07:59am on 10 Jan 2011, cindi wrote:

    regarding "baro's" comment. You do not speak for all Americans. Many of us would love to have stricter gun control, health care for all and the social programs and safety net that is provided in other developed coundties. The fact that it has become almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion with the conservative people in this country make the idea of bipartisanship a joke.

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  • 54. At 08:12am on 10 Jan 2011, tao_of_reason wrote:

    Glen Becks and Sarah Palin's are the effects of US economy and not the cause..it is a sign common man is losing the confidence with nation's future and hence resorting to "conservatism"..hopefully US will now understand why certain section of community move to radical ideas..

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  • 55. At 08:13am on 10 Jan 2011, Leigh Oats wrote:

    Many websites have been reporting that a few hours after the mayhem in Tucson the purportedly innocent crosshairs-spattered map was removed from that infamous webpage of Sarah Palin's.

    The world wonders why the map was removed, even if its survival elsewhere in the innernets has embarrassingly already been assured.

    Anyway, the elephant in the living-rooms and court-rooms of the USA is _guns_ and their hilariously easy availability and a national culture that pays blind obeisance to guns, and the cabalistic (I daren't use a certain other "c" word, one with eight letters) connections between the gun lobby and politicians, especially in the copper state.

    If the "law-abiding" (! see my next paragraph) but language-challenged (see his parvum opus in YouTube) boy who's alleged to have murdered six people and wounded 14 others in the space of a few seconds (try doing that with a _knife_ while surrounded by umpteen brave and ablebodied people in broad daylight), and who, during or before his alleged visit to a friendly retail arsenal in Tucson to spend around $450 on that cuddly and innocuous little Glock semiautomatic pistol with its extended magazine, was asked what purpose he had for that hardware, then I wonder what his reply was. Perhaps the world will eventually be told.

    In a highly civilised part of the world like Arizona, where any "law-abiding" (ha ha---the boy was already "known to police") resident who's reached their 21st birthday and who's legally qualified to own a gun (in Arizona, 18 is the minimum age for gun-ownership generally) is nowadays given the liberty to own and carry a concealed gun without a concealed-to-carry permit, the rest of the world assumes that he must have been asked such a question, even if only a perfunctory one designed to ring up one more sale for the gun traf--- (oops) trade.

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  • 56. At 08:19am on 10 Jan 2011, DSM wrote:

    It's hard to understand why, when a number of people lost their lives (including a child), the focus is even on politics (and blame).

    Surely the right and civilised thing to do is to resolve to introduce measures to stop this kind of tragedy ever happening again?

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  • 57. At 08:35am on 10 Jan 2011, ArthriticPianist wrote:

    A dark tragedy for our country that grieves all who read of it. In Mardell's 'rush to judgment' of motives, the political rhetoric tag is designed to subtly lay blame. But consider, the level of discourse in the public arena has mostly been dominated by sound bites, rather than actual discourse. One does not need to single out politicians of any stripe, but since Mardell has chosen his "poster child," a bit of balance would be appreciated. Furthermore, why not take an historical look back and notice the barbs that have been thrown by politicians -- and do not think the media have not been duplicitous!

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  • 58. At 08:38am on 10 Jan 2011, Dispassionate_Observer wrote:

    There are a number of problems with the thesis that the Right is to blame for creating the atmosphere that encouraged this killer, other than him appearing to be a Democrat. One, lone killers also shoot leading Democratic politicans when the armosphere is not so febrile e.g. JFK. Two, it would make Democrats responsible for John Hinckley's attempoted murder of President Reagan.

    In this country it is generally the Left that take political animosity beyond the level of civilised debate. You can see that at the moment with the student violence. I also remember the hysteria whipped up by the Labour Party and Trade Unions against Mrs Thatcher at the time a taxi driver was murdered during the miners strike. Perhaps Neil kinnock and arthur Scargill should turn themselves in for that one?

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  • 59. At 08:40am on 10 Jan 2011, roy smith wrote:

    To even suggest any blame should go toward the right wing in America is astounding. The Tea Party people have been among the most moderate when demonstrating on the streets or at town hall meetings. Sarah Palin has been at the butt of leftist tricks to slander her. Fox News too has been the epitome of moderation after all the flak they get. What they cannot blame is themselves and their Obama-istic policies of big government, bale-outs, and spend, spend, spend. Their loss of popularity is a mystery to them and they squirm to find a reason. There is no reason what-so-ever to blame the Republicans of whatever shade or following for this shooting and only shows the hateful hysteria of the leftist mindset.

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  • 60. At 08:51am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #1

    "US need to introduce strict gun control law more than wasting time on health care repeal."

    Before or after the construction of high speed rail?


    Here's another idea. Ban atheism.


    "Loughner, an ardent atheist, began to characterize people as sheep whose free will was being sapped by the monotony of modern life."


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110110/ap_on_re_us/us_congresswoman_shot_gunman_11

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  • 61. At 08:54am on 10 Jan 2011, WhitewaterOregon wrote:

    Frankly, it is hard to take the BBC coverage seriously when you present the case as some sort of left/right "he said, she said," leaving the reader to decide whether the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It doesn't. You don't see health care reform advocates marching in the streets of Fairbanks with automatic weapons. But that's something Sarah Palin's Tea Party pals did.

    Nor, would you have to do much web research to find the Sarah Palin tweets made it crystal clear that she was not talking about "surveyors' marks" back in November when she was crowing about "bull's eyes" on her "targets." Her extremely inflammatory remarks hammered at Giffords in particular, both through the campaign and even after. Why don't you share with your readers the flyer that was handed out at Palin's rally for the Jesse Kelly campaign in Arizona?

    Ditto for Fox News. You can blot out your reader's remarks about Rupert Murdoch's influence as potentially "defamatory," but the facts are everywhere on the web. YouTube videos showing how his network selectively edits what President Obama says to totally distort his meaning. Yet the BBC hasn't the stones to take Murdoch on with a real investigative journalist. This is why readers are turning to non-conventional media, because they see conventional media silenced and afraid––or corrupted like Fox News.

    For heaven's sake, Fox News were the whole trumpet section for driving America AND Britain into the pointless war in Iraq. It's not like the British people don't have a stake in the fires that this one reckless multinational billionaire continually is fanning. And Sarah Palin is just one of his hate-spewing "news personalities."

    Palin knew those were crosshairs when she posted that map. Her whole rhetoric has been blood-drenched with gun metaphors:

    Sarah's FB, dated March 28, 2010 — three days after the crosshair image was published:

    “In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your ………leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs­, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.”

    Then after the election, she tweeted:
    "Remember months ago "bullseye" icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin' incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T'aint bad)"
    7:43 AM Nov 4th, 2010 via Twitter for BlackBerry®
    SarahPalinUSA
    Sarah Palin

    At Palin's Arizona campaign rally, flyers were handed out stating:
    "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"

    Other candidates offer pancake breakfasts. Palin's guy offered a chance to discharge a military assault rifle?

    Please, Mr. Mardell, if there is even one instance where our health care reform workers offered such a promotion, please point it out to us! Why is it you continue to give Ms. "Death Panels" and her defenders any credibility at all? This is not the first time they've been caught spinning "big lie" tactics, and the press has dutifully repeated them like an echo chamber.

    Many on the left AND right have feared just such a tragedy for months. Yes, the shooter was crazy. And every nation has their share of crazies. But our nation's crazies are continually being wound up––and not by accident. Fox News and Mr. Murdoch are deeply involved in routine misrepresentations, but no one takes him on.

    If it's easier to blot out my comment, by all means, close your eyes, turn your back, walk away. But don't add to the echo chamber by pretending that Murdoch's minion meant something other than what she very clearly intended. Mardell's job isn't to clean up for her. At least, it shouldn't be.

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  • 62. At 09:05am on 10 Jan 2011, niall_g wrote:

    Unfortunately strict gun control will never happen in US due to the deliberate misinterpretation of the Consitution by the Supreme Court.

    What is deeply worrying is that the whole of the US political system appears to be based on some sort of an eye for an eye vengeance model. Part of the problem is that there is far too much religion tied up with politics despite the consitutional separation of church and state.

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  • 63. At 09:11am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #62

    See #60

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  • 64. At 09:17am on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 60 JClarkson
    "Here's another idea. Ban atheism.
    "Loughner, an ardent atheist, began to characterize people as sheep whose free will was being sapped by the monotony of modern life.""
    ______________
    Maybe it's time to take a step back, let things cool down and get the message across in no uncertain terms that political ideas are not worth killing for rather than try to attach our own agendas (serious or not) onto the back of a tragedy.
    Blogs such as this reproduce the rhetoric emanating from politicians and press and as such as posters we also have a share in responsibility for the tone of political discourse and its propagation.
    Whether that was a contributing factor or not is not relevant at this stage. It could have been and for me that is enough to merit some reflection on what we write from all of us, regardless of political persuasion.

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  • 65. At 09:19am on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    53. At 07:59am on 10 Jan 2011, cindi wrote:
    regarding "baro's" comment. You do not speak for all Americans. Many of us would love to have stricter gun control,...
    ________________________________________________________
    You are right, many would, but in all but a few thoroughly blue states, the majority apposes what gun laws already exist. Although I must point out that the punks of Columbine violated 14 existing gun statutes, would a 15th had made a difference?

    Besides, our gun culture is almost the one thing the vast majority of Americans agree on. Even Whoopie Goldberg packs heat, not exactly a Palin fan... I have a few friends that are still Obama supporters and they all own firearms.

    I realize it gets onerous as these threads that run on and on to go back and read everything said, but it was pointed out in one of these Giffords related threads that the majority of Americans like the 2nd amendment and are so distrustful of big gov't (on the right and the left) that we accept the risk of these things occasionally occurring in order to maintain a properly armed citizenry. Which goes to the question of why semi-automatic weapons are available? Because the gov't and the criminals have access to fully-automatic weapons. BTW, if you don't know the difference, Google it.

    Trivia note: When the old USSR war gamed invading the USA, our 49 million (at the time) citizens, armed with unregistered weapons was considered a major obstacle to occupation. I kinda like it that way, as do most of us. Anyway, I never understood the British obsession with the American gun culture; after all, it doesn't affect you all. If it scares you that bad, holiday in the Canaries instead of Disney World...

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  • 66. At 09:26am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #61

    "Palin knew those were crosshairs when she posted that map. Her whole rhetoric has been blood-drenched with gun metaphors:"


    Do you have a link to a story where it is shown that the gunman has read Palin's remarks?

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  • 67. At 09:33am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #64

    Good idea. In all this excitement I keep asking for some link to some page with information about how the shooter has read Palin's leaflet, you know the one with the crosshairs on the names of the politicians.


    Does anyone have anything on that? Surely it must exist since this development has already been pinned on her.

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  • 68. At 09:39am on 10 Jan 2011, Cassandra wrote:

    I think one of the big problems in thhe US is that there is no common media. If you are a Palin loving Tea Party supporter you watch Fox News. If you are a liberal Democrat from Boston you watch PBS.

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  • 69. At 09:45am on 10 Jan 2011, Leo911e wrote:

    Sadly, people are rushing to make this a "political" issue. It is true that both parties have used a great deal of rhetoric about "targeting" opponents and using unflattering, demeaning terms about each other.

    Unfortunately, the killer shows every sign of being a disturbed individual. Local reports in the US (if you can find them) describe the killer as "liberal" or "left-wing", so any attempt to "blame" rhetoric from the right or the tea-party is specious at best. At worst, it is a knee jerk reaction (largely by the left) to further dismiss and marginalize the opposition.

    I hope valid discussion and debate result, and that some good comes from this tragedy. However, as a "public safety" worker I know that tragedies of this sort (if not so extreme or fatal) occur everyday.

    The majority of "normal" persons try to find a way to understand why a disturbed person acts or acted the way they did, but while I applaud the empathy I object to the wasted effort. A disturbed person does not act in a way that a "normal" person understands, and the final "trigger" is never something that any "normal" person could understand, intervene, or prevent.

    My condolences and prayers for the victims, with respect and sadness.

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  • 70. At 09:48am on 10 Jan 2011, frankiecrisp wrote:

    I was in america late last year and there is a lot of hate in the air almost all comes from the tea party/fox news/palin camps. I worked in Denver for five years and found the people very friendly whatever their political views were but last year I found a lot of hate had crept in, This is a warning for us in the UK if we let Murdoch get control of our media we will have a channel like Fox news preaching hate .

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  • 71. At 10:05am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #70

    Classic.

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  • 72. At 10:10am on 10 Jan 2011, R-D wrote:

    Mr Mardell, have you read the website you link to in the above article? If you have then why are you putting links on your page to such drivel? The conspiracy theories that abound on the site are nothing short of astonishing.

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  • 73. At 10:11am on 10 Jan 2011, archicrooks wrote:

    Typical claptrap from a BBC journalist

    very similar to the story last week that a British company were responsibvle for the chamicals used for lethal injections in certain states of the US

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  • 74. At 10:12am on 10 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    I really don't know enough of the detail of American politics to know one way or another. It's certainly true from what one hears that some of the political rhetoric is downright crazy...based around distortions, outright lies and the outpourings of folk whose blood pressure seems around the 200/80 mark! In other words, it's not unlike politics in most places.

    The main point that seems to be glossed over in this case however is that the accused was mentally unstable...to the extent that he was rejected by the army and "asked to leave" college. Whether this instability manifested itself in extreme right-wing of left wing beliefs is utterly irrelevant. The burning and obvious issue, and consequently the one that will be ignored, is how an individual like this could walk into a shop and buy a Glock 9mm pistol?

    Members of the public attack MPs in this country from time to time, once famously with a samurai sword, but mostly with nothing more deadly than fists and handbags. Give these people the means however and it would be no different to Tuscon!

    I'm no left-winger but I don't need a dodgy connection to a shooting to know already that Sarah Palin is the High Priestess of Stupid. I fear many things in the world...a radicalised Pakistan...global environmental degradation etc. But nothing makes me sweat more than the thought of Sarah Palin as President of the United States.

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  • 75. At 10:22am on 10 Jan 2011, Dan wrote:


    I found a post on the Huffington Post website about Sarah Palin's campaign and a possible other identity of the crosshairs symbol.

    Read the post below, which is quite worrying indeed:

    When I first saw this poster with the 'gun sights' on it, something didn't sit right with me. I've been around guns since I was a kid, and I just didn't see 'gun sight' when I first saw the symbol.

    It didn't dawn on me until last night when I was cleaning up some stuff from my desk and I ran across a welcome packet I received a while back from Southern Poverty Law Center after I had joined their org. In the packet is a map of hate groups and in one of the sidebars, there is an area discussing different hate groups.

    My mouth fell open when I looked at it THIS time. Right there, in the section on white nationalis­ts was the 'gun sight'. It's the logo for Stormfront­!

    I'd never seen this logo before I saw it on the SPLC map. I did a quick search at http://ima­ges.google­.com/ on the terms 'white nationalis­t' and found out the 'gun sight' is the logo for Stormfront­, a white supremacis­t site and forum. Look for yourself. Search Google images on the terms 'stormfron­t logo'.

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  • 76. At 10:23am on 10 Jan 2011, David Vinter wrote:

    The question asked. Is the right wing rhetoric the cause of this. The answer is quite simply yes. From what I have read of the guy who did this he cannot easily be given a political label other than deranged. Rhetoric that Palin uses about crosshair and reload of course are inflamotary in this way. She obviously removed it off her site immediately.Fox news the broadcasting supporter of these extremely shallow people is without question a nasty news channel. Of course Sky is going the same way. Any kind of reasoned debate by intelligent news channels putting both sides of the debate described as left wing and biased. One of the problems for the right wing is they cannot come to terms with the fact their own neo con liberalism economics has caused the current economic crisis and they hit out without reason at all. Has right wing rhetoric caused this tragedy. The answer is yes.

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  • 77. At 10:23am on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:


    Re: Palin
    Yeah, the whole gun thing not looking so attractive lately ...I hope you are right.

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  • 78. At 10:27am on 10 Jan 2011, Jimbob1 wrote:

    #30-excellent post, so true.
    #70-also, true.
    I am in the midwest of the U.S.A. and have seen overwhelming anger, intolerance, and media suggested revolt and revolution starting when President Obama was elected against his administration by the Tea Party, and Republicans starting in December 2008.
    #70-It is interesting that you bring up Fox News, as Sarah Palin in an Corespondent on Fox News, and are most other Tea Party affiliates.
    I do not think PBS is on the Left, I'd say they report on news much more from the center. MSNBC, Huffington Post, and others report News more on the left in the U.S.(Not to promote, of course).
    America is in mourning over this terrible act of violence and senseless loss.
    I find it interesting that, in news reports here, cities with Gun Bans have the highest rates or crime-D.C., Chicago, etc.

    Most excellent comments in this thread, many Intl. points of view.

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  • 79. At 10:43am on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

    Remember Willie Horton ?

    http://www.insidepolitics.org/ps111/independentads.html
    At the same time, however, taking advantage of a loophole in campaign finance rules, outside groups would run a second campaign that was much tougher. The outside track would feature "brass knuckles" tactics that would appeal to the basest instincts of the American public on the subject of race. This unauthorized and uncoordinated campaign would say things and run advertisements that could not be said by the official Bush organization.



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  • 80. At 10:46am on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12145117
    Videos of text posted on a YouTube channel set up in the name of Jared Lee Loughner show a deep distrust of the government and religion, describing US laws as "treasonous" and speaking repeatedly of his wish to create a new currency.
    "The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar," one of the videos read.
    "No! I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver! No! I won't trust in God!"
    In a video dated 15 December, Mr Loughner describes himself as a "military recruit". The US Army has confirmed that Mr Loughner attempted to enlist but said he was rejected because he failed a drug test.
    ______________________________________________________
    So, any retractions from the left Re: the constant anti-Palin rant concerning this drug-smoking atheist (not the typical Palin supporter).

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  • 81. At 10:51am on 10 Jan 2011, msyanda wrote:

    The Tea Party and the ex-Governor are very serious extremes any sober-minded US citizen should be wary of. The potential danger is equally worrying. They preach democracy yet propagate hatred and intolerance. The recent rhetoric, public pronouncements are bearing fruit...Arizona incident. What an unfortunate and senseless loss of life!

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  • 82. At 11:00am on 10 Jan 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    As an aside: many previous contributors have cited 'Fox News' as an incendiary force in the USA. Does this not mark all media activity in the UK by Rupert Murdoch as a serious danger to national stability and cohesion, and thus should we not consider him and all of his organisations as unfit persons to own or control any media in the UK (and certainly own all of Sky!)

    Can anyone provide a counter argument?

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  • 83. At 11:09am on 10 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Thank you, Mr Mardell. And yes, please, please, please continue using those "big," "difficult" words that make some have to resort to clicking on dictionary links (so hard!) -- because no one in this world is going to get anywhere anymore unless they are willing to commit to increasing their knowledge and understanding. Including of the language they use to communicate, which happens to be English (not "American") and is one of the most beautiful, complex, precise instruments for communication -- and thus, for policy -- and thus, for governance -- ever to have graced the planet. Even, as far as we know, perhaps the Universe itself.

    I would put it to the company present, that if the young mass murderer who has ruined so many lives at once, including his own wasted one (now infinitely worse off than it was days ago), had had a proper English teacher each and every day he attended school, had due attention been paid to grammar & syntax, and nuances of meanings, had he been assigned Plato and Byron and Dickens and Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde and Henry James and then rigorously tested on the assignments, perhaps he would not have struggled quite so much to comprehend basic truths such as "drugs rot the brain" and "crime does not pay" and "violence solves nothing" and "revolutions tend to lead to worse tyrannies than the system they initially seek to overthrow."

    Clearly, he could read and enjoyed reading, although no one ever bothered to teach him how to write properly, nor how to process what he read coherently. Right around the time he began to attend school, the subject formerly known as "English" was replaced by something far more loosey-goosey, called "Language Arts" -- in which words are played with, grammar is shunned as "too difficult" and definitions are, indeed, "blurred."

    When I was a sophomore in an American public high school, English classes were still taught and 15 year olds were expected to apply terms such as "exegesis" and "syncope" correctly -- and to be able to reflect these same concepts in their own daily compositions. All the English I ever learned -- not knowing a word of it before my 8th birthday, except for perhaps the words to "So long to Tipperary" that my father kept playing at home -- I learned in an American public school when these were still superb (and by the way there were no bilingual programmes to speak of, just the "sink or swim," "assimilate or fail" approach that, strangely enough, mostly worked.)

    And here's another thought on what strikes me as an inevitable outcome from this atrocity: the swift decline in support for the idea of legalising cannabis in the States.

    Cannabis is known to contribute to psychosis and paranoia. It is bound to become a part of the defence argument, as the "insanity" plea is bound to rear its head in the courtroom. In fact, I can already see civil lawsuit upon civil lawsuit upon civil lawsuit arising from any number or perfectly legitimate claims that this high-profile crime is bound to generate.

    I stand by my prediction that now the 2012 race will most likely be won by President Obama as a chastened American electorate rallies around its leader.

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  • 84. At 11:10am on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    81. At 10:51am on 10 Jan 2011, syanda wrote:
    The Tea Party and the ex-Governor are very serious extremes any sober-minded US citizen should be wary of. The potential danger is equally worrying. They preach democracy yet propagate hatred and intolerance.
    ________________________________________________________
    Do you have any citations or links of any hateful or intolerant remarks from the Governor or any Tea-Party affiliate? I have heard none. I have heard accusations of racial comments in DC, but in this world of electronic personal gadgets, not one snippet of evidence that such words were ever uttered.

    You who are now wringing your hands over the horrible rhetoric of the Right, where were you when GWB was being pilloried every day, being hanged and burned in efigy; students were shouting down conservative lecturers?

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  • 85. At 11:19am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #82

    "Can anyone provide a counter argument?"


    Jared Loughner didn't watch Fox?

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  • 86. At 11:19am on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran has deported an American woman after an investigation showed she lied about being a U.S. spy and carrying espionage devices, Iranian media reported Sunday.

    "This woman claimed to have spying devices in her teeth and surrendered herself to the Iranian border guards," an "informed source" told the semi-official Fars News Agency. "But further investigations revealed that she had psychological problems and her claims about being a spy and carrying spying devices were not true."


    Perhaps a Assange plant, but more likely simply just as loony lefty as this twerp in Arizona.

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  • 87. At 11:45am on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 88. At 11:48am on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

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

  • 89. At 12:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 90. At 12:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    John_from_Hendon, (#82. At 11:00am on 10 Jan 2011)

    ”As an aside: many previous contributors have cited 'Fox News' as an incendiary force in the USA. Does this not mark all media activity in the UK by Rupert Murdoch as a serious danger to national stability and cohesion, and thus should we not consider him and all of his organisations as unfit persons to own or control any media in the UK (and certainly own all of Sky!)

    Can anyone provide a counter argument?”

    That inference is only valid if the premises are true. If Fox News is not “an incendiary force,” then the inference is false. You have yet to establish that the premise is true.

    This is an example of the Fallacy of Hasty Generalization, which argues erroneously from a special case to a general rule.
    Another example
    Argument: Every person I've met speaks English, so it must be true that all people speak English.
    Problem: Those one has met are a subset of the entire set.

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  • 91. At 12:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, rlovel2 wrote:

    America only has itself to blame for these atrocities. For as long as I can remember it has been a violent and intolerant society. For those old enough, remember the Macarthy purges, (many ordinary, intellegent, Americans emigrated because of this misguided and unbeliveable outrage), the Klu Klux Klan, and many more other incidences. The list goes on and on.

    As long ago as the 1970s, I recall a particular incident, in Tulsa, where a driver shot another dead over an 'arguement' over 'prioity' at a set of traffic lights. I also remember being told if I was stopped by the police to NEVER let my hands get out of sight of the police officer and NEVER reach for ANYTHING unless told so to do, for fear of being 'shot first and questioned later'!

    They HAVE to repeal the 'right to bear arms' clause in the Constitution AND start a process of cultural change that encourages tolerance and understanding. The 'Land of the Free' it maybe, what at what price?

    How many more 9 year-olds will died before they finally 'wake up and smell the coffee'?

    By way of another example, what kind of society is it that 'sanctions' more than 46M people out of around 260M to lack proper health care in the 'richest country in the world'. Are we to assume that there are around 46M people living in the USA that are 'worthless'? I think NOT!

    There are many poorer nations that wouldn't even consider this an option.

    Sadly, I think the UK is slowly heading in the same direction as the USA and will continue so to do unless we all take stock and start taking another direction.

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  • 92. At 12:18pm on 10 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    42. At 06:19am on 10 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    Mark, what is going on here? The debate has become a shouting match and many people here and on the previous threads have inappropriately made a monster of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for their rhetoric. For a more accurate representation of America's reaction to this event I suggest y'all pay attention to what our government leadership has said and done. Every politician has condemned the attack, the flag is at half staff, the President and his staff observed a moment of silence. There are no riots in the streets, people have gone about their daily lives. This is not the beginning of our collapse as a nation, and it is not the end of the Tea Party Caucus; we are going to be fine, and the criminal will face justice through the courts.
    --------------------------------
    When every one is talking & no one is listening, reason & balance is drowned out..

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  • 93. At 12:20pm on 10 Jan 2011, frankiecrisp wrote:

    85. At 11:19am on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:
    #82

    "Can anyone provide a counter argument?"


    Jared Loughner didn't watch Fox?

    .........................................................

    "You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows"

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  • 94. At 12:22pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

    Thank Lord Chryses for your words of wisdom and your complaints to moderators where you perform you daily snitching duties religiously. Now lets repeat the Lords prayer.. Leftist rhetoric is bad but trigger happy gun men at political meetings is good.

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  • 95. At 12:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "This is why gun control is a dead issue. Even liberals in America recognize it is a dead issue, and focus their energies on areas where they actually have some chance of success, like health care and gay rights.

    "


    Whether OBamaScare 'reform' is an issue with much chance of eventual success it about to be seen. After 2012 presidential election.

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  • 96. At 12:33pm on 10 Jan 2011, Don MacKeen wrote:

    Once again, striking BBC "balance":

    "Many will say obviously not.

    But some liberals accuse the Tea Party...

    ...her website did carry pictures of what looked like crosshairs of a rifle..."

    I await the BBC to +ever+ use this sort of "maybe yes-maybe no" language when talking about, say, North Korea. But whenever it is the American right-wing, we get this "balance". And it really is ridiculous to say "what looked like crosshairs of a rifle". It is not "alleged", it is fact.

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  • 97. At 12:34pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Here's another idea. Ban atheism.


    "Loughner, an ardent atheist, began to characterize people as sheep whose free will was being sapped by the monotony of modern life."


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110110/ap_on_re_us/us_congresswoman_shot_gunman_11"





    I don't think it's correct to say that that the shooter was a loony-left.

    He was at best a looney left sicko.

    In bad need of psychatric help.

    Just like that Korean kid studying in Virginia.

    [Although I would not have put him in care of that Islamic sicko psychiatrist responsible for the Ft. Hood massacre]

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  • 98. At 12:35pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    The inflamed rhetoric that Americans need to hear less of is the rhetoric that associates the Tea Party with violence. The Left has stoked the fear of guns to the point where even an image of someone carrying a gun leads to widespread attacks on gun-carrying Americans.

    The Democrats have played those who fear guns like a fiddle. What better way for the Democrats to gain some traction against the Tea Party? Fear has worked beautifully for them, but now it is out of control. Now, every single event becomes an opportunity for tar and feathering. Facts are irrelevant. If there's a gun involved, it must be Palin's fault.

    Congratulations, Democrats. You have created an environment sufficiently fearful that people can no longer determine reality from your own propaganda.

    Making accusations with impunity has become entirely too commonplace in this country. If people are really concerned with "inflamed rhetoric", they should refrain from using it themselves. They can start by not making accusations that they cannot substantiate.

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  • 99. At 12:37pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Why are semi-automatic guns like his available to be purchased by anyone?"





    Because automatic assault weapons are no longer available.

    [not that criminals can't get them, though]

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  • 100. At 12:43pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mark Mardell: Ms Palin's aides rather lamely claimed the illustrations were meant to represent surveyors' symbols, leading to one blogger talking about that well-known song: "I surveyed the sheriff." And it is Ms Palin who uses the slogan: "Don't retreat, reload."




    Well in that well-known song the author also points out:

    "But I didn't shoot (hmm.. surveyed) the deputy!"


    Whereas the loon keeping Communist Manifesto by his bed didn't manage to shoot the sheriff (who supported right to carry, btw.), but managed to kill some of her deputies, 3 retired septuagenarians of unknown political sympathies, a Republican judge and a 9-yer old girl.

    Mardell will care to explain it away?

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  • 101. At 12:44pm on 10 Jan 2011, PickledPete wrote:

    #65 Oldloadr:

    "Anyway, I never understood the British obsession with the American gun culture; after all, it doesn't affect you all. If it scares you that bad, holiday in the Canaries instead of Disney World..."

    ====================================
    I don't think Britons have an obsession with American gun culture, it is more of utter confusion when looking at a nation of otherwise well-rounded, high-achieving, largely civilised and democratic individuals who think that owning (and carrying in public) military grade automatic weapons is somehow a recipe for their security rather than inevitable tragedy, and the exact opposite outcome, a serious lowering of individual safety for innocents. Unlike the UK you already have a routinely armed police force, it is difficult for us to understand the need for a citizen militia as well, particularly as all the evidence to date shows how dangerous that has become to public safety. Citing a 200 year old constitutional right to bear arms is all well and good, but times change; men used to routinely wear swords and sometimes pistols here as well 200 years ago, but we moved on. All that said, even if the political and public will to restrict gun ownership - or at least automatic and military grade weapons - took root in the USA, the sheer number of such weapons spread around the country would be an almost insurmountable problem, but recognising that a problem does exist and needs addressing would be a healthy first step.

    At root, of course, weapons or no weapons in public possession, this incident highlights the toxic nature of US politics. From this side of the pond there seems to be, at least to the casual observer, a fundamental schism between the two sides of the political divide that is unbridgeable, and hallmarked by rhetoric that displays a visceral hatred of the opposing view and its adherents. The actions of an individual who may turn out to be simply deranged does not lead me to me that opinion so much as the nature of the comments on blogs such as this. Something is not well in the US body politic and unless the "United" in United States is not to become a supreme irony it needs to be addressed, and soon. It may of course simply be the first signs of the decline that is the inevitable fate of every great power throughout history, but those of us who count themselves as friends of the US hope not.

    Incidentally, Oldloadr, I am not sure that, given the current contribution to the struggling US economy that is made by holidaying Brits, you should be advising them to go elsewhere. If the number of advertising campaigns curently running in the UK media is anything to go by, you need more not less visitors from these shores.

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  • 102. At 12:59pm on 10 Jan 2011, SteveC619 wrote:

    The amazing thing here in the States is that Palin is once again painting HERSELF as the victim of this situation according to reports that cane out yesterday. She takes NO personal responsibility for her actions or speech and attempts to blame the media for simply reporting what she has said and done.
    Regarding the Second Amendment, I look at the first four words of it. "A well regulated militia". Looking from the historical background that the Founding Fathers were looking at, They were concerned about an attempt by (sorry) the British to take us back over. Therefore, every able bodied male 16 and over was part of the Militia and needed to have a gun ready to defend our new freedom. They also needed it to hunt for food. Today, from the local police force to the U.S. Armed Forces, our "militia" is already made so as far as I am concerned, NO ONE who is not part of these forces should be allowed to own a gun. The scary point is that in Arizona, a state that allows concealed weapons by its citizenry, this fellow legally bought the weapon he used. Were this amendment enforced by its intention, he would not have been able to buy the gun because there would be no gun shop to have bought it.
    I doubt the Extreme Right will accept any responsibility for any of this and will blame the "liberal media" which is a misnomer since most news operations are owned by Right leaning owners, but America IS a land of dreams, isn't it?

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  • 103. At 1:06pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Unlike the UK you already have a routinely armed police force, it is difficult for us to understand the need for a citizen militia as well"


    Because we know that at any time the central government may turn
    and becomeauthoritian and deny us our basic freedoms.



    BTW. When are you going to be allowed to vote in a referendum on United Kingdom's membership in the EU?

    [let alone on it joining the euro zone?]

    Something, judging by a multitude of comments both in HYS and in GH's European blog so many British SUBJECTS would like to finally have?

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  • 104. At 1:12pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "America IS a land of dreams, isn't it?"





    Indeed, and that's why why those who've already resigned themselves to ther EUSSR predicament should stay away.

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  • 105. At 1:17pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    If I were a woman and my journalist husband would obsess so much and so frequently about Sarah Palin (shunning other more important issues) I would get slightly worried.

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  • 106. At 1:25pm on 10 Jan 2011, strontiumdog wrote:

    re 103

    probably at the same time that the confederate states get to have a referendum on remaining in the Union.
    I believe there is a opt out clause in the Lisbon Treaty for nations to leave the Union if they so wish.. Can the same be said for US states,
    If CA for example voted to leave the Union would they be allowed or would the will of the people of CA be overruled by the barrel of a gun.

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  • 107. At 1:28pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Gun control is a red-herring argument here.
    In recent history, Germany has a much worse record for this type of incident than the US - as does the UK per capita.
    That said, in Germany and the UK such an event will hugely distort fire-arm related murder statisics, while in the US it doesn't even scratch the surface.
    As tragic as this event is, it is unfortunately hardly a watershed event in US guncrime.

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  • 108. At 1:32pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 109. At 1:35pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    105. powermeerkat:

    Their obsession with Palin is what has kept her alive, politically. They deserve each other.

    More seriously, Democrats need Palin in order to keep the heat on the Tea Party. One thing Democrats understand is their constituents' fears. With Palin, they get a two-fer (guns plus anti-intellectualism).

    The hysteria we are now seeing is the fruit of their labors. Their mission to link the Tea Party and Palin to a fear of guns is now complete.

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  • 110. At 1:41pm on 10 Jan 2011, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Folks lets not be niave here, Rhetoric can cause people to do things that they would otherwise not do. I can testify from personal experience that I have watched News Programs on MSNBC and gotten myself into a personal frenzy after having listened to One of Kieth Olberman's rants. I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have reacted in anger when I have heard something on the News, and was told by anchor people how things unfolded. I am an emotional person. I generally tend to react when I see and hear things, whether it is in watching the evening news or watching a sporting event. Like it or not, Human Beings react to emotional images and messages that they see and hear in the media. We may not want to admit but the words we used can have a powerful impact on what other people do.

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  • 111. At 1:44pm on 10 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    You only have to read through posts on BBC weblogs every day, even when they are being moderated for vile content to see something of the problem that is emerging. I don't wish to directly link these comments to events in Tuscon but this thread seems like a good place to, politely, make the point.

    Political discourse has gone anonymous. People are either saying things to one another that they would not dream of saying in public and those with extreme views or, sadly those displaying signs of derangement, all have free rein to bang on in a way that would see them laughed out of a public meeting. Is this a good thing? Well mostly yes, although it has wedded me ever closer to sensible representative democracy, punctuated by occasional elections, otherwise the lunatics would rapidly take over the asylum.

    Where the problem emerges is when individuals can seemingly lose themselves in a parallel world of vitriolic argument, where wild and dangerous sociopathic fantasies can be developed, promulgated...or even acted out. Temperature raising insults can be traded with impunity and compromise is further out of the window than ever! Crucially, the web is the dark, out of sight place where the troubled individual can mature into serious, life-taking derangement without ever being spotted. Adversarial political debate has always been prone to hyperventilation but most people can recognise that, seeing the difference between the pointed political stance and scary conviction. Those whose faculties are damaged, or dulled, may not draw such a distinction and the more fiery the rhetoric, the more likely such individuals are to suddenly react to the stimulii.

    Add in an environment where purchasing an owning an automatic weapon are seen as the mark of a free and fair society then you have all the ingredients for tragedy.

    The internet is an amazing thing in many respects. Sadly when it comes to the furthering of civilised democracy it is sending us into reverse. Given unprecedented means of communication, human beings simply trade insults!

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  • 112. At 1:48pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

    re: Right Wing Wrong
    Why isn't magic claiming this was a racist crime against a jewish congress woman in a very racist state? Isn't he really a jew? Has Chryses logged off and logged on in his alto-ego redneck gun loving powermeerkat spamming persona.

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  • 113. At 1:50pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:
    Guns and Dicks Symbolism
    buy guns and dick mugs, tshirts and magnets







    Won't help much: Bob Marley is still very dead and de-composing.

    And Rastas are getting v. rusty.

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  • 114. At 1:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 82 JfH
    "Can anyone provide a counter argument?"
    _______
    UK television rules will prevent the outright biased rubbish that Fox produces being reproduced over here.
    Similarly, looking at Murdoch's newspapers, the ediorials tend to be reactionary rather than proactively pushing a biased agenda the way that Fox does. The existence of the BBC covering stories in a more even handed way would also risk making Sky look silly if they started to regularly push biased non-stories.

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  • 115. At 1:54pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "If CA for example voted to leave the Union would they be allowed or would the will of the people of CA be overruled by the barrel of a gun."





    As it is, strontium, this gun is pointed from the MEXICAN side of the border; just like in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas.

    Take this from this plutonium 239 meerkat. :-)

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  • 116. At 2:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, strontiumdog wrote:

    re107

    In recent history, Germany has a much worse record for this type of incident than the US - as does the UK per capita.

    do you have stats for this???

    42 gun-related deaths were reported in England, Scotland and Wales for 2009
    with a population of roughly 62 million. Approx 1 death for every 1.45 million citizens.

    Does the USA only have about 200 deaths a year from gunshot wounds according to your per capita statement??

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  • 117. At 2:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 118. At 2:03pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #109, Andrea referring to #105



    Reminds me a little about Russia's predicament.

    Obsessing about a threat from the West (NATO) whereas the real strike will come from the East (1.4 billion strong PRC needing Lebensraum).


    BTW. I think Mark Mardell really finds Sarah Palin attractive.

    [it's noticable although it may be on his subliminal level. :)]

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  • 119. At 2:05pm on 10 Jan 2011, DebtJuggler wrote:

    Here's a hair-raising piece on this subject from TIME magazine...

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2022516-1,00.html

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  • 120. At 2:12pm on 10 Jan 2011, frankiecrisp wrote:

    114. At 1:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref# 82 JfH
    "Can anyone provide a counter argument?"
    _______
    UK television rules will prevent the outright biased rubbish that Fox produces being reproduced over here.
    Similarly, looking at Murdoch's newspapers, the ediorials tend to be reactionary rather than proactively pushing a biased agenda the way that Fox does. The existence of the BBC covering stories in a more even handed way would also risk making Sky look silly if they started to regularly push biased non-stories

    .........................................................

    Thousends of people buy the Sun everyday and Believe the rubbish it prints as for Sky news just five minutes watching Kay Burly will see a mirror image of the rubbish you get on Fox news its small step from silly to a dangerous biased agenda.

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  • 121. At 2:14pm on 10 Jan 2011, strontiumdog wrote:

    re112
    Has Chryses logged off and logged on in his alto-ego redneck gun loving powermeerkat spamming persona..

    Once youve been around this site a while You'll find Powermeerkat is far from being some dumb red neck.. I might not agree with everything he says but PM has his views and an educated view of the world especially when it come to the Military.. (I'd say 100% ex-services) Plus he loves to play devils advocate

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  • 122. At 2:17pm on 10 Jan 2011, mscracker wrote:

    Might one assume that you do not like Sarah Palin very much?

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  • 123. At 2:28pm on 10 Jan 2011, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Here is an interesting editorial on the entire issue. http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/10/opinion-yes-the-tea-party-and-palin-do-deserve-criticism-for-g/

    I think that the Rhetoric needs to be toned down, WE need to stop demonizing our opponents and understand that everyone who lives here in the United States has a right to live here in the United States. Just because I might disagree with my neighbor on issues doesn't make me anyless of an American than him. Yet sadly, there seems to be a political climate in this country where it has become acceptable to question the Patriotism of people if they disagree with ones ideological position. This needs to stop and it needs to STOP NOW>

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  • 124. At 2:35pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    tontium dog wrote:
    I believe there is a opt out clause in the Lisbon Treaty for nations to leave the Union if they so wish.. Can the same be said for US states,







    NO, US Constitution does not allow it.

    [Unlike the Soviet Constitution which did. :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))]


    However, we have 2nd Amendment (right to BEAR ARMS) which covers Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico and Texas; states much more afluent and powerfull than small poor states of the former Confederacy.


    Whereas you have (to quote an American pop song)

    "SHH..aving cream
    all nice and clean"

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  • 125. At 2:38pm on 10 Jan 2011, DebtJuggler wrote:

    #111 Anglophone

    Are you Andrew Marr?

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  • 126. At 3:05pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

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

  • 127. At 3:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    In 1972-1973, when I was a student in Mr Worley's English class at Lowell in San Francisco, the reading list included "Crime & Punishment" and "The Secret Agent." The class, which I still remember vividly, along with its elderly teacher (that we youngsters inevitably found disgracefully easy to ridicule in his advanced years, even though we still learned the lessons he presented in his wavering voice; marking up our papers in a trembling hand, always with terse, acute, often ascerbic and always challenging observations), delved thoroughly into the literary and also the historical context of both works, and included the teacher's eloquent encapsulation of existentialism ideas, the influence of Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons" as the denunciation of nihilism par excellence (a novel that was also on the reading list of many of my peers that year, even if in a poor translation), the teachings of Kant, Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer. Mr Worley's class, as many of the classes of the time, was not abundant in some of the popular things that fill (or, in my opinion, clutter up) the modern schoolday: we had no group or team projects; we did not do anything in PowerPoint slides; we did not engage in peer review (grading each others' work) and above all we were Taught by the Teacher -- something very much out of fashion in the modern American classroom, where the currently popular Ed jingle goes: "The teacher should be the guide on the side instead of the sage onstage" and essentially boils down to turning the classroom over to students and even "guests" who can then "explore stuff" instead of actually receiving instruction from someone who has already mastered some subject to an advanced degree.

    If you ever read Professor Stanley Fish writing in the NYT on these subjects you will know I am not at all alone in worrying about the trends that have eaten away at substance in the American classroom.

    Both Dostoevsky's novel and Conrad's (of course) have enormous relevance to the case of the murderous young anarchist who has caused so much devastation in just a few hours of plotting and acting out his hatred. Conrad's terrorist is virtually a spiritual twin to the young man who used a Glock to destroy at least half the brain, and probably most of the future, of Gabrielle Giffords, whilst -- coincidentally -- extinguishing a bright young girl's light, executing a much-admired judge and butchering three senior citizens, along with the Congresslady's aide. And never mind the long list of the wounded...

    For those who haven't read them, let me clarify that Dostoevsky is a Russian and Joseph Conrad is a Pole who wrote some of the most gorgeous English prose ever written, having mastered English as an adult. Multiculturalism and biodiversity were alive and well in US schools long before p.c. terms were coined for them.

    Nowadays, of course, most high school reading lists are heavier on more contemporary fare. But I would put it to you that Toni Morrison's "Beloved" is harder to understand, and less relevant to a suburban American young man of our time, than Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov or Conrad's anonymous terrorist.

    Works like Morrison's, or Alice Walker's, or the famous "Life of Pi" (recently all the rage in American high schools) are in fact much more resonant with older readers who have already read Dostoevsky, Conrad, Camus... It is unwise to pass up the milestone classics and rush minds still struggling to grasp "the meaning of words" -- something this particular assassin worried about considerably -- into something as complex as the universe of an Alice Walker or a Thomas Pynchon or a Toni Morrison.

    Trouble is, publishing companies have a stake in promoting the works of modern authors, and so we who teach see the many different ways in which school systems and educators are enticed to incorporate the literature of our time at the expense of the tried (and true) masterpieces from the past, and rewarded for complying, much as US doctors are rewarded for helping promote particular pharmaceuticals by distributing samples to patients.

    The responsibility that was once purely academics': to set curricula in language and literature, which are, by the way, subjects of critical importance to society, has now been usurped, at least in part, by corporate honchos and p.c. pundits.

    So, truthfully, in the matter of the genesis of this atrocity, there are plenty of factors that converged in an explosive way, in the troubled mind of the young nihilist, the "revolutionary wannabe" that emerges through the inchoate articulation of his own stupefyingly putrid cogitations.

    Plenty, plenty, plenty of blame to go around. Sorry, but that is the case, and it reeks. And unless we finally come to terms, across all 50 States, with the root causes of the contagious sociopathy that first burst onto the global stage at Columbine, in 1999, we are going to be stuck living with this unwholesome lottery of death and carnage, in which a neighbour's fairly random invitation to a bright nine-year-old to come meet someone who might be a role model, at the supermarket down the street, can end with that child slaughtered, and a family irreparably heartbroken.

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  • 128. At 3:12pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    101. At 12:44pm on 10 Jan 2011, PickledPete wrote:
    #65 Oldloadr:

    "Anyway, I never understood the British obsession with the American gun culture; after all, it doesn't affect you all. If it scares you that bad, holiday in the Canaries instead of Disney World..."
    =================================================================
    I don't think Britons have an obsession with American gun culture, it is more of utter confusion when looking at a nation of otherwise well-rounded, high-achieving, largely civilised and democratic individuals who think that owning (and carrying in public) military grade automatic weapons is somehow a recipe for their security rather than inevitable tragedy, and the exact opposite outcome, a serious lowering of individual safety for innocents. Unlike the UK you already have a routinely armed police force, it is difficult for us to understand the need for a citizen militia as well...
    _____________________________________________________________

    1. You assume that a reduction in legal violence indicates a rise in the level of civilization. Why? We (the majority of Americans) like our society just the way it is, thank you very much. Anyway, the UK has more violent crime per capita than the USA; your country is considering banning butcher knives on city streets. After that, what will you ban? Cricket bats? It’s not the tool, it’s the evil within the individual.
    2. There are stats that show that more violent crimes are stopped by an armed citizenry that people killed by criminals and crazies. http://www.nraila.org/Issues/Articles/Read.aspx?id=125&issue=042

    a. BTW, as has been stated many times just in this thread, laws don’t stop criminals or crazies. BTW, isn’t Northern Ireland part of the UK (rhetorical question since my wife is from Tipperary)? Doesn’t the UK have among the most severe gun laws in the world? How did that work for you in Ulster?
    b. What you all fail to grasp is that no matter what the law, considering that the world is full of evil, somebody is going to die unfairly. In the UK, you all have decided it is better for a pensioner to die in his home that he has no right to defend than for an evil criminal to die at that pensioner’s hand. We, on the other hand (in most states) have decided that it’s better to risk a crazy killing a little girl in a public display of insanity than to risk a person’s life or property being violated by evil. Sometimes, the cavalry gets there in time to save the little girl, sometimes, it doesn’t. Life sucks, but it’s our life.
    BTW, I am a parent of 4 (2 each). They all grew up with guns and have never injured themselves, or anybody else, but they all have the ability to make sure that they themselves will never become a statistic. Even with that, I know that the bad guys could get the drop on us. They could catch us coming home from Church (like the judge) and we’d be toast since I seldom carry to Church. However, I’ll take our pro-active, individual centric approach over the UK’s passive, gov’t centric approach, anyday.



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  • 129. At 3:16pm on 10 Jan 2011, strontiumdog wrote:

    re124
    having an automatic weapon in your house (Iraqi's are allowed to keep two AK47's per household) didnt do much to prevent the occupation of Iraq, by a modern military force.. Let alone a semi-automatic gun, which is what Americans are allowed. Roadside bombs seem to be far more effective these days..
    The 2nd ammendment didnt prevent the confederate states from being overrun by the federal government..

    If I was a US citizen facing the full might of the US military.. I'd want more than a semi automatic Armalite to defend myself.. Actually it would be game over straight away with an airstrike on my property...

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  • 130. At 3:25pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    I apologise for unintentionally missing a leter in Strontiumdog 007's. nickname.

    I have nothing against strontium and even less about a poster who uses the element as a part of his nickname.

    [Although, to be honest, I find berillium more useful in my practice.]


    [On the other hand if somebody chose polonium-210 as his nick...]

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  • 131. At 3:29pm on 10 Jan 2011, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

    Wow, all the liberals on here should immediately join law enforcement because they are so quick to have solved this case and determined it's that people who don't share their views that are to blame.
    How did law enforcement investigations ever take place before you guys made your skills public?

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  • 132. At 3:32pm on 10 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    I've been reading through the comments since the beginning of the day. Generally on blogs like this I scan the article and then read through the comments as you tend to learn a lot more through it. (My reasoning on this is 125 different opinions compared to just 1).

    Personally, what I've mostly seen is a highly polarised set of opinions. Personally whilst I've found myself directly opposed to the aims of the Tea Party other than a few 'characters' (Sarah Palin amongst them) then the Tea party mostly seems to be of centre right and right wing politicians not 'Nuts'.

    However, Palin and her propaganda did not force a severely messed up kid to pull a trigger. Was the concept of placing a bullseye on an opponent's district sensible? Of course not but it was a valid tactic in a political world ruled by emotive arguments and evocative strategies. She ran (and runs) on the pro-gun platform, the use of gun metaphors is surely par for the course?

    For me the respectible thing to do is leave any politicising of this tragedy for a good six weeks (OK it might be too late but..) and then to set up a bi-partisan investigation of what occurred (as well as the obvious criminal investigation) to see if there was any violation of ethics policy.

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  • 133. At 3:55pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    129. At 3:16pm on 10 Jan 2011, strontiumdog007 wrote:
    If I was a US citizen facing the full might of the US military.. I'd want more than a semi automatic Armalite to defend myself.. Actually it would be game over straight away with an airstrike on my property...
    ________________________________________________________________
    Man, your glass is half empty! If it comes down to revolution, you have to give up your property, take your guns, ammo and rations and head for the wilderness along major lines of communication. You then stress the overlord's system with constant ambushes and small tactical attacks on logistics. Nobody said it would be easy.
    BTW, about that remark concerning the War of Northern Aggression, concerning the Feds taking back the CSA: Did anybody notice that it took them 4 years and over 360,000 dead to do it.

    http://www.civilwarhome.com/casualties.htm

    Yeah, they (the Yankees) won by sheer weight of numbers, but I doubt we'll ever have another civil war, in spite of today's rhetoric due to the high cost to the Union of the last one.

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  • 134. At 3:57pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    strontium : If I was a US citizen facing the full might of the US military.. I'd want more than a semi automatic Armalite to defend myself.. Actually it would be game over straight away with an airstrike on my property...




    You're correct, except:


    US soldiers are first and formost Americans.


    And Americans, particularly west of the Rockies, have much more in their houses than automatic rifles. Or full machines guns. Or even bazookas.

    [please read what Adm. Yamamoto said about it almost 70 years ago.]



    Wanna subjugate Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Utah, Wyoming?


    "Go ahead, make my day!" :-)))

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  • 135. At 4:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    58. At 08:38am on 10 Jan 2011, Dispassionate_Observer wrote:
    " One, lone killers also shoot leading Democratic politicans when the armosphere is not so febrile e.g. JFK."

    Had you actually been in Dallas in 1963 -- or paid any attention at all to your history lessons -- you'd know that the right's rhetorical approach here was every bit as toxic then as it is now. The John Birch Society was highly active and continuing the Red Scare fear-mongering of the McCarthy era. The Klan -- sanctioned, of course, by God and intolerant of just about the same set of things our TEA party militants find so distatesful today -- was still a force to be reckoned with. Southern ladies in proper hats and white gloves were known to spit on politicians they disliked -- and Kennedy was one of those. Barry Goldwater was crafting a new political philosophy for the right that is still in place today.

    Take a look at the American right's track record over the past sixty years. You'll learn something important whether or not it has anything to do with the most recent shootings.



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  • 136. At 4:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #128

    "a. BTW, as has been stated many times just in this thread, laws don’t stop criminals or crazies. BTW, isn’t Northern Ireland part of the UK (rhetorical question since my wife is from Tipperary)? Doesn’t the UK have among the most severe gun laws in the world? How did that work for you in Ulster?"

    After American gun runners started supplying the IRA with Armalites and Barretts....NOT VERY WELL!

    http://www.victims.org.uk/ira%20weapons.html

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  • 137. At 4:05pm on 10 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    I feel I may have missed a semicolon in my post (#132). BBC can we have an edit button please?

    "Personally whilst I've found myself directly opposed to the aims of the Tea Party other than a few 'characters' (Sarah Palin amongst them)" this should instead read 'Personally, whilst I've found myself directly opposed to the aims of the Tea Party; other than a few 'characters (Sarah Palin amongst them.'

    As it reads at the moment I'm a supporter of Palin, which trust me.. I'm not.

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  • 138. At 4:10pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ree assassinations and microchip controlled half-brains...



    The Iranian authorities have arrested a "network of spies" which they say was behind the assassination of a nuclear scientist a year ago, state TV reports.

    In a brief statement, the authorities said the network was linked to Israel's Mossad secret service.

    Iran blamed US and Israeli agents for the killing at the time. [...]

    Although described by the Iranian media as a nuclear scientist, scientists in the UK and the US said, from his substantial body of published research, Mr Mohammadi was unlikely to have been working on Iran's nuclear programme.

    They said his expertise was in another field of physics altogether - quantum mechanics." (BBC News)






    Yes, perhaps CIA and MI6 were not behind this assassination.

    But how can we be sure that Sarah Palin and Fox News were not behind it?

    Or at least Michael Palin and Monty Python?

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  • 139. At 4:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    I think there`s a fundemental and very dangerous deceit being perpetrated here by the British liberal aristocracy who run the BBC.

    Customers of the BBC are encouraged to think that the BBC stands above other broadcasters by virtue of being fair-minded and even-handed in its control of which posts it chooses to publish on its website.

    But as an older British person with years of political and social experience I feel that BBC is now a GLOBAL broadcaster largely focused on ingratiating itself with the global capitalists who in various ways run the world through the financial markets that increasingly tell "our" politicians what to do...in Britain and America.

    Any criticism of the American financial elite or certain favoured minorities and religions and causes is closely monitored and selectively over-censored ....REGARDLESS of whether the statements are true.

    I believe this means Americans may be deceived into underestimating and misunderstanding each other`s true opinions and those of British people.... who are even more strongly censored by a liberal propoganda machine that we are obliged to finance at a cost of several billion pounds a year.

    The BBC cannot be allowed to outlaw all criticism of its favourite groups simply to appease the powerful without making itself increasingly irrelevant to a serious audience that wishes to think for itself and not be lectured to and ordered about like infants on their first day at school.

    I have little hope of this being published but do intend to try to start a clean up the BBC campaign in Britain which aims to withdraw the BBC from America and bring it back to Britain where it can stop making rubbish for Americans and return to its Reithian clarity of purpose after years of grovelling to and misleading Americans.

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  • 140. At 4:18pm on 10 Jan 2011, usanative wrote:

    Mark Mardell is quite obviously a left-leaning person. This sort of column is exactly what is wrong with the media in general. Spewing dis-information with no basis in fact whatsoever! This is indeed a tragic event and it is very unfortunate politics and the media use this sort of event to further their sensationalist rhetoric.

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  • 141. At 4:19pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    And can I just say what a blessed relief it is to read Maria Asott`s and Anglophone`s comments in what is otherwise a sea of frightening drivel....no doubt brought on by years of contact with the American media!

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  • 142. At 4:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, Risforme wrote:

    I can't believe in this day and age someone is really calling the South's Rebellion against the Legal Political Authority of the US Government. "The War of Northern Aggression." The historical revisionism it would take to make the North the Aggressor is just astounding. The first shots in the war were fired by the traitorous Southerners against a Union Fort. Done so without even the proper declaration of War. A cowardly act indeed.

    Next they'll say the Civil war wasn't about Slavery. When the sole reason for Secession mentioned in the South's Declaration of Secession was the Northern State's refusal to return runaway slaves. Certainly the Union did not fight to free slaves but the South fought to keep them. Considering the majority of South Carolinians were slaves and had no voice in their Government it was only a small dictatorship in South Carolina that declared secession.

    But this is America for you, we can't agree on anything even facts. Yet somehow it works out the majority of the time.

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  • 143. At 4:29pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    135. At 4:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote
    Had you actually been in Dallas in 1963 -- or paid any attention at all to your history lessons -- you'd know that the right's rhetorical approach here was every bit as toxic then as it is now. The John Birch Society was highly active and continuing the Red Scare fear-mongering of the McCarthy era. The Klan -- sanctioned, of course, by God and intolerant of just about the same set of things our TEA party militants find so distatesful today -- was still a force to be reckoned with. Southern ladies in proper hats and white gloves were known to spit on politicians they disliked -- and Kennedy was one of those. Barry Goldwater was crafting a new political philosophy for the right that is still in place today.
    ________________________________________________________

    OK, Curt, I was born in 1956 and grew up in the South and I didn't see what you are describing. I have never, ever known a proper Southern lady to spit on anybody; they would just say, "Bless your heart!" and, "I'll pray for you brother/sister." If you have an actual recorded example of a Southern Belle spitting on someone, I'd like to see your citation.
    Now, you do realize that you have insulted Southern ladies (both black and white), so if we could really know each other and meet, I would be duty bound to offer you the choice of pistols or foils… Of course, being over 50, I would pray that you were dumb enough to choose pistols… (LOL)

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  • 144. At 4:29pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Had you actually been in Dallas in 1963 -- or paid any attention at all to your history lessons -- you'd know that the right's rhetorical approach here was every bit as toxic then as it is now. The John Birch Society was highly active and continuing the Red Scare fear-mongering of the McCarthy era."






    Except (a small addendum) Harvey Lee Oswald was trained in the USSR and married in Minsk by KGB to its agent, Marina.

    [of course I cannot guarantee that HLO was not watching Fox TV while there and that's why...]

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  • 145. At 4:31pm on 10 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #133

    "BTW, about that remark concerning the War of Northern Aggression, concerning the Feds taking back the CSA: Did anybody notice that it took them 4 years and over 360,000 dead to do it."

    In set-piece battles, including sieges and trench warfare..not to armed civilians hiding behind trees.

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  • 146. At 4:44pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    136. At 4:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:
    After American gun runners started supplying the IRA with Armalites and Barretts....NOT VERY WELL!
    ________________________________________________________
    Exactly! The Genie is out of the bottle. No gov't can stop malcontents from having weapons. Although, from what I've seen, the IRA and the Protestant Paramilitaries used mostly foreign arms, e.g. Uzi (Italian). As I recall, the US radical Irish Catholic Faction, including the Kennedy's only supplied money to the IRA, not the arms themselves. Therefore, you still have an internal problem. Of course that would keep with the Kennedy business model, they never owned a single bottle of booze during prohibition, they simply transported Canadian Whisky on their boats in wooden crates that were stenciled, “French Perfume.”

    So, your point is? US Irish Catholics paid for the IRA arms, but did not ship them.

    BTW, Who provided the Ulster Militia with their arms?

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  • 147. At 4:47pm on 10 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I don't think Britons have an obsession with American gun culture, it is more of utter confusion when looking at a nation of otherwise well-rounded, high-achieving, largely civilised and democratic individuals who think that owning (and carrying in public) military grade automatic weapons"


    Nobody in the U.S. can lay their hands at "military grade automatic weapons". At least not legally.

    Except, of course, for criminals.

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  • 148. At 4:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

    Except (a small addendum) Harvey Lee Oswald was trained in the USSR and married in Minsk by KGB to its agent, Marina.

    [of course I cannot guarantee that HLO was not watching Fox TV while there and that's why...]
    --

    Yup, but to the crazy liberals here, conservative republicans are very likely to defect to the Soviet Union like Oswald did.


    Also, they'll no doubt think that Sirhan Sirhan was a right winger too, when he killed RFK over supporting Israel's right to exist..

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  • 149. At 4:54pm on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    709. At 3:17pm on 10 Jan 2011, John_From_Dublin
    42. At 06:19am on 10 Jan 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana
    92. At 12:18pm on 10 Jan 2011, ukwales

    Looks like it's going to be silly season here for some time yet before it settles down. Still a shortage of facts, but that won't stop it. Nothing to do but wait it out until there is less heat and more light.

    ----------

    Bienvenue - heard there were ice storms in northern Louisiana last night. You're not supposed to get that stuff. Send it back up here where it belongs, and in the meantime, take care in your driving.

    UKWales - The S&G song yesterday has been a favorite for a long, long time. Reminds me of an old friend. Haven't seen her in, well, more than 30 years, for certain.

    By the way, when last I heard (December 20, 2010) I had it on good authority that Santa was headed for Reading. Was wondering if you might have heard? I expect they do not have reindeer in Wales. Rudolf the red nosed Gryffin doesn't have quite the same ring.

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  • 150. At 4:55pm on 10 Jan 2011, Bro_Winky wrote:

    133. At 3:55pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    If it comes down to revolution, you have to give up your property, take your guns, ammo and rations and head for the wilderness along major lines of communication. You then stress the overlord's system with constant ambushes and small tactical attacks on logistics. Nobody said it would be easy.
    BTW, about that remark concerning the War of Northern Aggression, concerning the Feds taking back the CSA: Did anybody notice that it took them 4 years and over 360,000 dead to do it.
    -----------------------------

    Funny, it sounds like you're describing the same tactics of the Iraqi insurgents...

    Your "War of Northern Aggression" quip shed's a great deal of light on your poor grasp of reality. Enjoy your fantasy. Godspeed to you and the rest of the Wolverines...

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  • 151. At 4:59pm on 10 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    McCain should do some self-critcism.

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  • 152. At 5:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    For some time I have been trying to prompt a discussion on this blog of the decay of America's institutions of democracy.

    Part of that discussion relates to the decision to abandon the fairness doctrine in US news broadcasting. Part of that discussion has to do with concentration of media ownership in a small number of hands. Part of that discussion has to do with the absence of a state broadcaster like the BBC in America. Part of that discussion has to do with unlimited campaign spending. Part of that discussion has to do with campaigning by third parties. One of the points raised on this blog within the last month had to do with the fairness doctrine prompting civility in public discourse.

    I can see that part of the current frenzy touches, or will eventually touch, some or all of those topics.

    This is quite unfortunate, because those topics merit, and have for a long time merited, serious, carefully considered discussion. That is the very kind of discussion that we are not likely to get if the whole thing takes place against a backdrop of the violence of a mass shooting.

    The shooting may, in the end, have no relevance to the topic of civility in public discourse, or to the need for mutual respect for each other of elected public servants who hold differing political views.

    These topics were important before this shooting took place, and they will be important after the hue and cry dies down. Those topics need to be addressed, but not merely when prompted by a (possibly completely unrelated) shooting spree.

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  • 153. At 5:17pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    139. At 4:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    "I think there`s a fundemental and very dangerous deceit being perpetrated here by the British liberal aristocracy who run the BBC."

    Long ago (the good old days) my family lived in a place where the BBC was our best source of news of the world. We'd gather around the radio every evening to listen for Big Ben and catch up on events. VOA was available too, but the war had engendered a certain appreciation for the BBC that VOA and our own Armed Forces Radio didn't enjoy (unless baseball was involved).

    Maybe I've been hopelessly propagandized by those experiences, but I believe your BBC has done more to advance the -international- interests of the U.K. than any other institution we could name. It has certainly set the standard for international reporting as far as I'm concerned.

    Is the BBC pandering to financial interests? I read the business section here on the internet today and find a great deal more criticism of our financial institutions than I can ever hope to find in the Wall Street Journal or PBS.

    Is the BBC pandering to an American audience? Maybe a little -- or is it just British reserve and diplomacy at work? On balance, the later I think.

    You have every right to be critical of your national broadcaster, but on balance and in an altogether imperfect world, I'd urge you to recognize it for the treasure that it is. Then write to the directors and insist that news presenters, whether TV or radio, go back to being required to wear proper dinner attire when the read the news!









    The BBC cannot be allowed to outlaw all criticism of its favourite groups simply to appease the powerful without making itself increasingly irrelevant to a serious audience that wishes to think for itself and not be lectured to and ordered about like infants on their first day at school.

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  • 154. At 5:18pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

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

  • 155. At 5:20pm on 10 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    Oldloadr

    You seem to exemplify the issue about end of sensible debate on the net.

    US citizens are free to indulge in a gun culture if they wish...it is their prerogative. We by contrast have gone completely in the opposite direction. The previous government jumped on the bandwagon of revulsion that accompanied the shooting of 13 schoolchildren in Dunblane, by a legal gun owner, to the extent that everything was banned. This extended as far as single shot .22 target pistols, so that the British Olympic Pistol Team has to train in Switzerland. An overreaction in the definition of a handgun but certainly a reflection of the wider attitude to the ownership of such things.

    As far as the taste for handguns in the US goes...a defence against tyranny? Hmmm...a 9mm automatic pistol may be a whiz at gunning down shoppers but where would it get you against an opponent with a rifle, let alone an Abrahms Tank? The US doesn't, and never has had in modern history a credible foe on its borders who could invade so why the obsession with militias?

    A defence against burglars? My understanding is that you are something like 20 times more likely to shoot your neighbour, your wife, or yourself, than you are ever likely to shoot a burglar. Sure, I'm certain that each year there will be cases in which a pistol-packing granny puts the bad guys to flight. We all love that. It's just is it worth the hundreds of other deaths? Talk about the exception proving the rule?

    In 2009 there were 42 deaths from shooting in the UK (including Northern Ireland which you forget has been pretty peaceful for well over a decade now). Even if you gross up the populations this would still need the US to have less than 250 gun deaths per year to make a claim of being less violent in gun terms. There is plenty of violent crime on British city streets...knives being a big problem in some areas. On the whole though, violent crime has more to do with Saturday night fist fights than any sort of OK Corral! I'm led to believe that gun deaths in the US, for all reasons, in 2009 was about 13,000. Even Sarah Palin might struggle to make the maths comparable for that one!

    All nations tend to have a weakness...ours is for tribal class divisions that have never really left us. Yours is for handguns with all the mayhem that ensues as a result. Much will be made of the events in Tuscon, just as in the other mass shootings that come by roughly every 6 months. In the end though just about any explanation will be accepted other than the obvious inescapable fact that a mentally unstable individual walked into shop, bought an automatic weapon and 100 rounds of ammunition. Like I said, it is your national prerogative, but don't be surprised if others look on in blank incomprehension.

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  • 156. At 5:24pm on 10 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    re: 139 worcesterjim:

    You know Jim, I don't see the censorship you are referring to. Perhaps I'm just deceived as you suggest, but overall, the BBC seems reasonably fair and balanced for a somewhat liberal institution. I would also add that corporations and the 'elites', so often mentioned by europeans, have points of view just as you and I do.

    So I guess I 'm curious to know who are the favored groups the BBC is protecting?

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  • 157. At 5:30pm on 10 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    149. At 4:54pm on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner

    Was talking to the Head this afternoon & asked any thing from Canada,no.
    Montreal River still on side board,thanks,will contact as soon any thing
    arrives...

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  • 158. At 5:41pm on 10 Jan 2011, RHCracker wrote:

    1. At 02:42am on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:
    US need to introduce strict gun control law more than wasting time on health care repeal.

    Funny you didnt come to this conclusion while Obummer was pushing for healthcare?

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  • 159. At 5:45pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    #128 "Doesn’t the UK have among the most severe gun laws in the world? How did that work for you in Ulster?"

    In Ulster the paramilitaries on the Catholic side were fuelled with guns and money from outside sources including the American NORAID who gave money and smuggled guns into the country.
    Did you conveniently forget that?
    It doesn't matter how much you argue your gun freedoms, I know many British people who won't go to the US because they wouldn't feel safe there. I am a frequent visitor as I have family there, but I can honestly say I feel much safer here in London than anywhere in the US.
    Unfortunately for the state of your economy, that's a price your country pays for your population's gun toting attitudes.

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  • 160. At 5:47pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    155. At 5:20pm on 10 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:
    Oldloadr: Like I said, it is your national prerogative, but don't be surprised if others look on in blank incomprehension.
    ______________________________________________________
    Personally, I'm not surprised. You have chosen your course and we have chosen our. I am happy with our choices and I assume you are happy with yours. I'm actually happy with ay story that makes others think twice about moving to the USA :).

    Cheers!

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  • 161. At 5:47pm on 10 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

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

  • 162. At 5:53pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    Once again we see that there is no event so tragic that it cannot be used for politcal purposes.

    President Obama gets a wonderful opportunity to look solemn and dignified and take a nice jab at his opponents knowing they'll be afraid to respond lest they be criticized for their negative attitude. It's also a well timed distraction from the still painfully slow economic recovery.

    The gun control lobby, which is still reeling from those pesky Supreme Court decisions that overturned gun bans in DC and Chicago, gets a tragedy that it can try to spin into more support for tougher gun laws that satisfy its conscience but somehow never seem to prevent future tragedies.

    Sarah Palin gets more publicity out of it. Go figure. (If the media would stop trying so hard to demonize her she'd get a lot less publicity and perhaps fade into obscurity. Most conservatives already know she's too divisive to make a good candidate.)

    The calls for more civil political discourse are well merited but it needs to come from both sides of the politcal spectrum. If you've ever listened to a diatribe against Fox News from a liberal you'll know what I mean. We have one conservative media broadcaster and you'd think they were the anti-Christ or something to listen to liberals go on about them. Aparently their love of diversity doesn't extend to political opinions.

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  • 163. At 5:56pm on 10 Jan 2011, Chris wrote:

    My first reaction is I think like most other Brits out there, the US need to introduce stricter gun law.

    The counter arguement is that no government can stop people who really want to get hold of firearms from truly stopping them.

    Well, yes... but it really isn't that simple, there is a world of difference between some lone, drug taking poor fool sitting in a world of misery dreaming of being the sacrifical lamb who kills the evil oppressor and ends up dieing in the process when this person is compared to a member of an organised criminal group with the support structure to smuggle guns into the country.

    The former is likely to go onto google, type in black market guns, and flag himself up on the monitoring programes, and end up trying to buy something off a police officer undercover. The later is going to go to a friend, who will introduce him to a trusted friend, and a deal will be made to arrange for weapons to be brought into the country to supply him.

    Now, the later is also going to avoid supplying to people who will make a high profile attack, the last thing the black market needs is public attention. If you think that organised crime is likely to come after you, then you need to look closely at what you are doing in your life.

    Indeed, I was talking to a friend who used to live in the same flat as someone in the higher levels of the Amercian Family groups, and said it was quite nice really, baring the occasional raid by the police. There was never any vandalism, and nothing to really draw attention.

    The thing that horrifies me the most about this is the fact that the guy was able to legally obtain a firearm with the intention of killing a US government official, and now people are defending this by saying "Oh, it's a one off incident."

    I'm sorry, as I understand it, every Amercian President bar the one after Kennedy has had at least one attempt on his life whilst in office. Compare this to the Britsh Prime Minister, who the last one killed was in the 19th centry... Though to be fair, I think every PM for the last hundred years or so has been egged at some point whilst in office, but that didn't result in deaths.

    One of the fundemental differences, from what I've seen, between the US and UK political systems is that in the UK the peaceful selection and conduct of the democratically elected government is fundemental. It's not enshrined in law, you'll struggle to find a document stating this. However, look at the layout, and customs, of the House of Commons, since the days when it was considered perfectly reasonable to react to a your mum joke by plunging a sharp pointy bit of metal into someone, you have not been allowed to carry a sword into Parliment, you had to leave it outside.

    Yes, looking at it today, senators aren't allowed that, but since the days when duels were legal, this has been restricted. Also, in a much more symbollic gesture, members of the commons aren't allowed closer than two sword lengths to each other. Okay, they don't have swords, but they are seperated from getting that close. For hundreds of years, the very building where British Government has been conducted has been built to encourage a peaceful deamenour in Parliment.

    Compare this to the referenced Palin quote during the election, about firing a warning show, and reload, not retreat. I read this, and I thought of Churchill talking on the beaches about never surrendering to the Nazi War Machine after it had taken down France. I'm sorry, but where excatly are the Panzers set to rumble onto capitol hill that every member of the Amercian Home Guard are going to have to fight to the death to delay?

    I would also like someone from the Right Wing supporters to justify use of M16 assault rifles in a political campaign for votes. Why is this acceptable? To me it looks like a very unsubtle intimidation tactic, it looks like an attack on the peaceful rendering of democracy, and it is perhaps the thing I've heard that scares me the most. Please tell me it didn't happen?

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  • 164. At 6:03pm on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    157 UKW.

    Thank you.

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  • 165. At 6:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "It is too late for this crime to be dismissed as the meaningless act of a madman. It may turn out there was no political motive at all. But the killings have already acquired a meaning. A mood of anxiety about political tone that has existed for months has begun to harden into something more tangible, something that could be a game changer, provoking national soul searching."

    Maybe, but I'm not convinced. The more I find out about Loughner, the more I believe this is indeed the meaningless act of madman, and I believe Americans will come to that conclusion, too.

    It's a sign of mental disability when an individual takes obviously figurative speech literally, and Loughner simply can't be the only one out there with the problem. The question is whether we should voluntarily restrict our 1st Amendment rights to avoid setting these individuals off. The immediate reaction in the aftermath of this shooting is certainly yes, but on reflection, I find that too much of a price to pay to avoid this kind of event. Significant parts of the population embrace the gun culture, and gun metaphors are naturally used by that population. This is particularly in evidence in the Blues where planing to take a shotgun ("one with a long shiny barrel") to ones ex is commonplace. Until recently no one even took notice of the violence in the lyrics. Frankly, it's how some parts of America get their points across, yet gun violence itself is often less prevalent in those communities than in others.

    Representatives must be allowed communicate with their constituencies in terms with which they are familiar. If that encompasses the use of gun metaphors, I think it's best to allow it, whether I like it or not.

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  • 166. At 6:05pm on 10 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    114. At 1:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:
    The existence of the BBC covering stories in a more even handed way would also risk making Sky look silly if they started to regularly push biased non-stories.
    ------------------------
    In the USA we have PBS. This doesn't seem to stop Fox from looking 'silly' to their followers. It is just dismissed with the two words 'liberal media'.

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  • 167. At 6:12pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    143. At 4:29pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr wrote:
    "OK, Curt, I was born in 1956 and grew up in the South and I didn't see what you are describing. I have never, ever known a proper Southern lady to spit on anybod..."

    So that would make you what, all of seven years old in '63?

    Give me a break.

    As for your delusion that the south is chock-a-block full of ladies, I can only smile.

    Otherwise though, let me suggest that you check YouTube (?) for videos (they're surely there) of Dallas in the months leading up to November 1963, or, lacking that, any available video from Birmingham, Memphis, Oxford, Athens -- I could go on -- for exciting images of our Southern Ladies hard at work during the period, hat, gloves and all.

    (Not to say -- in the off-chance my wife reads this -- that there are no REAL Southern Ladies, then and now...)

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  • 168. At 6:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    On a quick count the ratio of bloggers directly attaching blame to "irresponsible" broadcasting or political vitriol versus bloggers being outraged at the accusations is about 4:1 more outraged bloggers.
    It would appear the right-wing doth protest to much. If you think the accusation is unfair, refute it with argument. Simple outrage or asking for a smoking gun evades the point.

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  • 169. At 6:25pm on 10 Jan 2011, Peter Boyle wrote:

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

  • 170. At 6:25pm on 10 Jan 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    You know there'a another later thread with the same title 'Sarah Palin and the Arizona shooting' and very similar blog entry at the top.

    Maybe this is Quantum journalism.

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  • 171. At 6:30pm on 10 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    From what the media has reported, and from his own videos, this guy displayed the signs of paranoid schizophrenia (government monitoring him, disorganized fantastical thinking, etc..).
    I don't think that this specific case is related to right-wing rhetoric, but right-wing rhetoric has been frightening enough to many people that it was like letting the genie out of the bottle for them. It gave them a chance to express their very valid fears.
    I listen to the Glenn Beck show and it is obvious that he's all about whipping the listener into a frenzy of anger. I've known people who listened to him, Hannity, Rush etc... every day, and it was inevitable that they would end up in an angry little tiz after listening to the shows. They were whipped up by whatever new 'outrage' was put forth that day. This is just a personal observation, nothing 'scientific' about it, but the people who seem to beam up most on these shows are people who were angry to begin with, either because they were born that way or because their personal lives have taken a negative turn.
    IMO, the danger is real, and I am worried that the question of whether this shooter was left/right/nuts will obscure a real issue.

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  • 172. At 6:41pm on 10 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    Did i just hear this right?

    Clarence Dubnik, Pima County Sheriff - "If i was a Congressman or woman, I wouldnt go anywhere in this country without being armed"...

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  • 173. At 6:41pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#155. At 5:20pm on 10 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:
    Oldloadr

    You seem to exemplify the issue about end of sensible debate on the net.

    US citizens are free to indulge in a gun culture if they wish...it is their prerogative. We by contrast have gone completely in the opposite direction. The previous government jumped on the bandwagon of revulsion that accompanied the shooting of 13 schoolchildren in Dunblane, by a legal gun owner, to the extent that everything was banned. This extended as far as single shot .22 target pistols, so that the British Olympic Pistol Team has to train in Switzerland. An overreaction in the definition of a handgun but certainly a reflection of the wider attitude to the ownership of such things.

    As far as the taste for handguns in the US goes...a defence against tyranny? Hmmm...a 9mm automatic pistol may be a whiz at gunning down shoppers but where would it get you against an opponent with a rifle, let alone an Abrahms Tank? The US doesn't, and never has had in modern history a credible foe on its borders who could invade so why the obsession with militias?

    A defence against burglars? My understanding is that you are something like 20 times more likely to shoot your neighbour, your wife, or yourself, than you are ever likely to shoot a burglar. Sure, I'm certain that each year there will be cases in which a pistol-packing granny puts the bad guys to flight. We all love that. It's just is it worth the hundreds of other deaths? Talk about the exception proving the rule?

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

    "Is it worth the hundreds of other deaths?"

    It is if it's you or your loved one who successfully defends themself. It's not much comfort when you're standing over grandma's grave knowing that although she couldn't defend herself statistically disarming her was the right thing to do.

    It's a good illustration of the difference between the traditional American attitude the right of self defense is a God given right of the individual and what seems to be the prevailing attitude in much of rest of the world that it is the group as a whole which has the right of self defense.

    "As far as the taste for handguns in the US goes...a defence against tyranny? Hmmm...a 9mm automatic pistol may be a whiz at gunning down shoppers but where would it get you against an opponent with a rifle, let alone an Abrahms Tank?"

    No one seriously expects that a militia armed with small arms could stop a unit of Abrams tanks but the mere fact of armed resistance by citizens may be enough to make military commanders stop and think about which side they are on. Remember that American military personnel take an oath to defend the American constitution, not the government. Any dispute strong enough to provoke armed resistance from the citizenry would likely come about from government exceeding its constitutional authority and in that event no one can be sure which side the military would take.

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  • 174. At 6:45pm on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    "If you think the accusation is unfair, refute it with argument. Simple outrage or asking for a smoking gun evades the point."


    It was you who gave Assange the diplomatic cable files. If you think the accusation is unfair, refute it with an argument. Simple denial or asking for evidence that you did it, evades the point.

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  • 175. At 6:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    163. Chris:

    "I would also like someone from the Right Wing supporters to justify use of M16 assault rifles in a political campaign for votes. Why is this acceptable? To me it looks like a very unsubtle intimidation tactic, it looks like an attack on the peaceful rendering of democracy, and it is perhaps the thing I've heard that scares me the most. Please tell me it didn't happen?"

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

    Guns are very intimidating to many people. Does it not seem odd, however, that they don't mind when the president mentions a fight, knife and gun in his speech? Was anyone intimidated by that comment? Did anyone consider that the president had just used a very violent metaphor to make his point about his own party's behavior?

    When everyone uses gun references, they lose their ability to intimidate. This is why the fear of guns must be stoked over and over again -- to keep it front and center in the political campaign.

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  • 176. At 6:56pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    Another thing to bear in mind is that because of America's history the use of terminology associated with firearms and shooting is much more a part of the American vernacular than it is in other countries. The use of the terms are not necessariily an incitement to violence but to connect with an audience in a colloqial way that will win acceptance for the point being made. Politicians do this all the time.

    When Sara Palin talks about reloading instead of retreating it is understood that she means standing firm on one's principles, not that people should be shooting each other. But because she's a conservative the media makes much over her rhetoric. Similarly, if the president announced he planned to "target" BP or Halliburton executives for their part in the decisions that lead to the oil spill it would be understood that he meant tageted in the sense of being singled out for investigation and perhaps prosecution, not that he intended or wanted to have them shot, and the media wouldn't think twice about his use of the word.

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  • 177. At 7:02pm on 10 Jan 2011, Chris wrote:

    Andrea, you talk as though a fear of guns is something to be critized. I don't see why people who have decided that people shouldn't carry the ability to end anothers life in an instant need to be villified. Surely a fear of guns is a perfectly reasonable reaction? Espically when they are being used by people who find guns exciting.

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  • 178. At 7:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    Check this info: The United States has the highest rate (Gun violence) among developed countries.[9] :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence

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  • 179. At 7:09pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    Facts :-
    Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41

    Sources
    cia.gov/library
    medicine.net

    I rest my case.

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  • 180. At 7:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    153. At 5:17pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:
    "You have every right to be critical of your national broadcaster, but on balance and in an altogether imperfect world, I'd urge you to recognize it for the treasure that it is."
    __________

    Absolutely right.
    Unquestionably the best broadcast news service on the planet.

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  • 181. At 7:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, Chris wrote:

    I'm also forced to point out that whilst, yes, the president does indeed mention a fight and stuff, this isn't quite getting abunch of your voters out in force to shoot up some targets with rifles... this is a one a slightly different scale, isn't it Andrea?

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  • 182. At 7:23pm on 10 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    175. At 6:51pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    When everyone uses gun references, they lose their ability to intimidate. This is why the fear of guns must be stoked over and over again -- to keep it front and center in the political campaign.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Let me borrow from a previous post:
    "Roughly 30,000 Americans a year die from gunshot wounds; 13,000+ murders and 16,000+ suicides. Roughly 800 children are killed playing with guns each year. Many times these numbers are injured, many being maimed for life. Even excluding suicides - many of which would also otherwise be preventable - it is, on average, a total of 80 gun shot deaths, day in, day out, every single day of the year."

    Maybe fear of guns is warranted and the American people becoming desensitized to gun references is the real tragedy here.

    Can't you see the logic of the argument that flooding the country with guns has caused unnecessary deaths and injuries that far outweigh any other consideration?

    Or is it all just scare-mongering for politics.......?

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  • 183. At 7:25pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    Check the info about gun violence in US (WORST among developed world) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence#cite_note-8

    Country - (% homicides with firearms) - (Overall homicide rate per 100,000 pop.)

    USA- 65 - 4.55
    Singapore- 3 - 0.95
    Germany- 40 - 1.17
    New Zealand - 1.36
    Australia - 16 - 1.57
    Mexico- 21 - 17.8
    Canada - 34 - 1.58
    Denmark- 24 - 1.09
    India- 25- 2.97
    Chile - 11 - 1.55
    Poland- 7 - 6.04
    Zimbabwe - 40 - 12
    Columbia- 85 - 62.7

    The list has many other countries there.

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  • 184. At 7:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Thanks to those who commented on my remarks about the BBC and can I just try to answer your explicit and implicit questions by using an example very close to my own heart ....as a national social democrat who has had to endure years of being called a racist and xenophobe for daring to question the liberal orthodoxy about immigration into Britain being a "good thing".

    When I worked as a social worker and voted Labour I started off imagining that the left of politics was about rooting for ordinary working people ...and the underclass beneath them who can`t work for various reasons and will always need support to survive.

    What I found was that the Labour Party and it`s firm friends at the BBC had virtually no interest in promoting British disadvantaged people if they were not immigrants...and they also seemed obsessed with bringing in millions more immigrants!

    Now I could see from my work experiences that we couldn`t really hope to offer a good standard of life to our own indigenous population...far less to millions more.

    But,try as I did, was simply not possible to get a rational sensible discussion about this important issue ....because the BBC and the politicians (who depend on BBC coverage for their careers)simply refused to discuss it and openly persecuted and ostricise anyone who tried....and still do to this day!

    So now Britain is literally awash with a wide range of culturally incompatible and very needy people just at a time when all our jobs have moved to China and our economy depends almost entirely on the jiggery-pokery merchants of Wall Street!

    Meanwhile the poor British people have to stand by as foreigners take their scarce housing allocations and jobs and hospital beds and around forty per cent of our prison cells!

    Can we get a rational discussion going about where this is all going? NO!And the BBC has been a very significant part of the movement that denies us a debate.

    So it`s been very interesting to see the BBC liberals organising this debate ...and no surprise that the subject of immigration and the pressures it creates is firmly off limits....while Mrs Palin is becoming your version of the Enoch Powell the BBC just loved to hate!

    The left seem obsessed with bullying our nations into becoming what George Soros calls "open societies" ...where borders are lightly controlled if they are controlled at all....and people can flow in and out at will.

    My interest in Europe means I have watched Soros and British politicians gradually turning Europe into one large United States of Europe completely against the wishes of many folk and with no proper democratic debate or mandate.Perhaps North and South America will go the same way?

    Well I have mixed feelings about all these ideas... but it doesn`t really matter what I think...because no one will give me a say if I don`t agree with free market global capitalism ..and open borders ..and free migration into our overcrowded collapsing welfare state!
    Resistance is futile!

    So be very careful before you buy this standard BBC liberal doctrine about immigration being an unquestionably good thing....and try to challenge it in a rational humane way ...even though that will be made very difficult if my experience is anything to go by.

    I know from talking to my very liberal sister in California that immigration is a very serious issue in the USA...though the BBC hardly mentions it ...except to take the immigrant`s point of view.

    Unfortunately cheap immigrant labour is useful to many "right wingers" with business interest... and in England many people across the political spectrum have a strong investment in stifling debate about controlling immigration ...and for a variety of good and much more suspect reasons.

    This is like a message in a bottle to you Americans.... because I think England is in a perilous state and there are real reasons to fear that we will have serious intercultural strife because of our declining economy and increasing population.

    At a political level NO electable party dares talk about immigration.... and soa lot of us are angry about living in what amounts to a liberal dictatorship run by people who dismiss all our protest as fascism.

    If you want to avoid this sort of polarisation please try to have a sensible debate about how much immigration you can sanely accept before the liberal do-gooder dreamers and bullies wreck your country.

    And forget about left and right....the USA is an almost religiously capitalist country which must come together now to tackle this and other challenging issues with the sensible humanity and good grace and generosity that made you what you are rightfully proud to be.

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  • 185. At 7:38pm on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #179

    "Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41"


    Road deaths (vehicle related) per 100,000 per population

    USA - 14.3
    UK - 5.4

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208


    "I rest my case."


    Case dismissed.

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  • 186. At 7:47pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    184. At 7:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    So now Britain is literally awash with a wide range of culturally incompatible and very needy people just at a time when all our jobs have moved to China and our economy depends almost entirely on the jiggery-pokery merchants of Wall Street!
    -----------
    UK is facing for its own misdeed during colonial past. A huge number of those immigrants are from its former colonies (and the rest are from East European countries). During colonial era UK encouraged those anti-national (against its own native country) feudal lords and their cronies to settle in Britain. Many were imposed on its former colonies as rulers (to have a greater control even after its rule officially ended). Now US need to pay the price. This is just another example of Newton's third law of motion (action-reaction issue).

    Then UK is the closest nation for US, in terms of government policies and business (among the West European countries). That has its own consequences.

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  • 187. At 7:57pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:

    #185
    "Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41"
    I rest my case."

    "Road deaths (vehicle related) per 100,000 per population
    USA - 14.3
    UK - 5.4
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208
    "I rest my case."
    Case dismissed."

    Just goes to show the Americans are lousy drivers as well as being gun happy!
    And how many British/American politicians get shot then?

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  • 188. At 8:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

    Prinz - Gun Talk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr-WEohj-iA

    AK got that
    SK got that
    Mac 11 got that
    Mac 10 got that
    clack clack you don't want to feel that
    just imagine what it's doing to your six-pack

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  • 189. At 8:06pm on 10 Jan 2011, Leigh Oats wrote:

    Two or three people in this forum-and-against-'em seem to want us to believe that the Tucson shootings were with an automatic gun.

    Automatic? Um—such as an Uzi submachinegun, which continues to fire a stream of bullets so long as a finger maintains pressure on the trigger? No. The truth is that it was a Glock semiautomatic pistol, which requires the user to release and pull the trigger again for the firing of each successive bullet.

    Know thine enemy (or, better, let all of us know our enemy), which in this case is guns and the laws about guns—especially in the case of those governments, egged on by one of the world's most powerful industrial lobbies, that gleefully allow massacre-ready guns to enter the possession of weak-minded people who have a commonly known history of weirdness.

    The popular conflation of automatic guns with semiautomatic guns, even among journalists who've been meticulous with their other facts, was encouraged in the first two thirds of the 20th century by such otherwise excellent novelists as Ian Fleming (with his hero James Bond), Dashiell Hammett (for instance Sam Spade) and Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe), presumably because the word "automatic" is shorter and more easily uttered than the word "semiautomatic".

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  • 190. At 8:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 191. At 8:16pm on 10 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    Roughly 1 percent of any population, or the population worldwide come to that, suffer from some kind of psychosis. That would be be about 307,000 people in the US alone, and roughly 61,000 people per state.

    This was the act of someone who, regardless of his political beliefs, falls into that 1 percent. Guns may make it easier, but so do knives and cars and propane for that matter. If you are intent on killing someone, you can find a way to do it.

    Being psychotic doesn't excuse these deplorable acts. It might, however, be an argument for institutionalizing these people or getting them into programs and ensuring they stay in them. How often have we heard family members say, after some tragedy, they tried to get help, but there was nothing they could do.

    Of course we'd have to pay for any programs and that seems unlikely.

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  • 192. At 8:16pm on 10 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Forty-eight hours after the shootings, the Republican side of the debate is out in full force pushing for the denial of what is obvious to the naked eye.

    I can understand their discomfort: they know the near-martyrdom of an opponent they were vilifying just weeks ago -- and very nearly defeated -- is going to create the kinds of indelible images that in 2012 result in vanishing electoral votes.

    But to suddenly represent Sarah Palin (whom I initially liked and actually voted for, by the way) as "anti-violence" and some kind of "mild-mannered," well-intentioned, civil participant in the battle for the Oval Office really & truly strains credulity.

    Once again, the Republicans, famous for shooting themselves in the foot, and the mouth, in the worst possible way at the worst possible time, are making a terrible miscalculation.

    Watch Boehner a few times as he reads his prepared statement: is that the faintest hint of a smirk on his face and a lilt in his voice? He is paying lip service to the obvious platitudes but you can tell from a mile away his heart isn't in it... Why not? Where is his heart, then?

    Seriously, are you going to claim during the just-concluded election, the young man who describes this attack as "an assassination" (a political term for a political murder) and who intended himself to die in a hail of bullets, never once saw a television commercial featuring a political ad for or against the victim?

    Are you going to tell me Arizona is the only state in the USA where there is not saturation broadcasting of political ads in the run-up to an election, for weeks and even months ahead of the vote? Or perhaps Jared Loughner did not watch TV, did not own a TV and never heard a-n-y of that rhetoric and vitriol?

    John Kyl is denouncing Sheriff Dupnik, but actually the sheriff is a local and he has it exactly right.

    Those political ads are bound to be brought into the courtroom as evidence that the young man was being essentially knocked off his foundations -- weak as they were -- by the constant drumbeat of political hostilities.

    What are the Republicans going to argue when their anti-Giffords ads are played back? That they never said what everyone in Arizona -- and every other state -- knows they said?

    Gentlemen, you need a better strategy. You are losing this next election on an hourly basis, literally, because you haven't got a clue how to respond to a shocked nation that is clinging even tighter than usual to its children, its elderly, its Moms and Dads.

    Your protestations only make you look more guilty, and guess what? This tars the entire conservative branch of the US electorate with a single brush.

    What you should be doing is pointing to the obvious source of the drama -- accepting the fact that someone on the chess board must be sacrificed, or the entire conservative raison d'être becomes moot.

    In an earlier election, the Democrats lost one of their brightest bets, Dr Howard Dean, on a similar misstep.

    In this election, a poorly-chosen graphic -- one that in fact epitomizes the image she has sought to project for herself -- ends the high-stakes campaign spearheaded by one SP.

    And that's politics for you. Grow up, get over it, and go back to your core values, which include being truthful and sincere, and not dodging the facts when they are stacked against you.

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  • 193. At 8:22pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Jay@186...utter nonsense...the laws of physics are irrelevant to issues of social science and politics.

    Also modern Britain couldn`t conceivably take responsibility for all the meddling it did when it ran the World.

    In fact it would not surprise me if the old imperial countries like Spain Portugal And Britain may soon take their place among the second world of nations.

    We have been bankrupt here since WW2 ruined us ...and the borrowing has to stop!

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  • 194. At 8:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    168 PartTimeDon,

    "It would appear the right-wing doth protest too much. If you think the accusation is unfair, refute it with argument. Simple outrage or asking for a smoking gun evades the point."

    Evade what point? The false accusations based on unsupported media speculation. Or the fact that the FBI approved gun ownership for a mentally disturbed person kicked out of college for anti-social behaviour, having previous run-ins with police, and failing a drug test given by the US Army. Who runs the FBI again?

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  • 195. At 8:52pm on 10 Jan 2011, BuckyOHare wrote:

    Post #35


    Fantastic points very well made.

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  • 196. At 9:01pm on 10 Jan 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    184. At 7:26pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    Thanks to those who commented on my remarks about the BBC and can I just try to answer your explicit and implicit questions by using an example very close to my own heart ....as a national social democrat who has had to endure years of being called a racist and xenophobe for daring to question the liberal orthodoxy about immigration into Britain being a "good thing".

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

    There's a lot going on in your comment worcesterjim, and I'm certainly in no position to comment on issues like immigration in Britain or the makeup of the U.K. prison population. All I can say is that it sounds from this distant vantage point like you're wanting to throw the baby out with the bath water vis a vis the BBC.

    To my ears, your BBC's regional, national and international reporting is remarkably willing to take on issues that skate the edge of the "political correctness" precipice without flogging a particular set of answers or values (would that WE had a "Hardtalk" equivalent!).

    But then -- full disclosure! -- I like the New York Times too.




    I listen to BBC regional radio when I have the chance, and programs like Hardtalk -- and am always pretty much impressed by the degree of openness, balance and willingness to tackle issues close to the precipice of "political correctness" I find there.

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  • 197. At 9:04pm on 10 Jan 2011, jon112dk wrote:

    Interesting...

    I can't remember this level of coverage condemning extremist language when people were calling Bush a terrorist, a criminal, no different than bin-laden, no better than Hitler etc etc.

    Is extreme language only out of order when it relates to media messiah Obama?

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  • 198. At 9:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

    @192 maria - excellent post
    it's true palin does not represent anyone except cranks
    and is history like elvis

    ♩♪ be you yabby yabby you ♫ ♬

    Yabby You - Conquering Lion, Fisherman Special, Yabby Youth, Big Youth Fights Against Capitalism
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT8fTxhTbxg

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  • 199. At 9:14pm on 10 Jan 2011, Baro wrote:

    After reading most of these posts, it begs the question, has the age of information elevated our thinking and enlightenment, or has it just given us a platform to establish once and for all how much we don't like on another.

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  • 200. At 9:15pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    177. Chris:

    "Andrea, you talk as though a fear of guns is something to be critized. I don't see why people who have decided that people shouldn't carry the ability to end anothers life in an instant need to be villified. Surely a fear of guns is a perfectly reasonable reaction? Espically when they are being used by people who find guns exciting."

    *************
    It's a case of crying "Wolf!". The Tea Party has been accused of being violent for so long now that these accusations are meaningless. Perhaps if people who carry legal guns weren't accused of violence -- when they hadn't committed any -- the accusations against them might have more credibility. But they do not because the accusations were always baseless.

    It's one thing to be afraid of guns. It's another to accuse legal gun owners of violence. That's a very serious allegation; yet it is made with impunity. That's pretty "inflammatory rhetoric" in my book.

    Someone else has excused the president for using a fight, knife and gun metaphor for his party's actions. If words can kill, certainly the president's words are the most deadly.

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  • 201. At 9:19pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    187. C Smith:

    #185
    "Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41"
    I rest my case."

    "Road deaths (vehicle related) per 100,000 per population
    USA - 14.3
    UK - 5.4
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208
    "I rest my case."
    Case dismissed."

    Just goes to show the Americans are lousy drivers as well as being gun happy!
    And how many British/American politicians get shot then?

    ***************
    The auto deaths have a little something to do with the great distances covered in this country by car. Land mass matters.

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  • 202. At 9:20pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote:

    197. jon112dk:

    Interesting...

    I can't remember this level of coverage condemning extremist language when people were calling Bush a terrorist, a criminal, no different than bin-laden, no better than Hitler etc etc.

    Is extreme language only out of order when it relates to media messiah Obama?

    **************
    Rhetoric only matters when it's used by gun owners.

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  • 203. At 9:32pm on 10 Jan 2011, CraigMorecambe wrote:

    Glad to see that Mark Mardell is reporting tonight that the investigation has revealed that the shooter's interest in Gabrielle Giffords ties back to 2007, three years before Palin's map. Better late than never.

    This inconvenient detail (suggesting a loner with a grudge) won't be allowed to stand in the way of the genie that is out of the bottle though, will it Mark?

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  • 204. At 9:38pm on 10 Jan 2011, Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers wrote:

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

  • 205. At 9:48pm on 10 Jan 2011, SandiaMan wrote:

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

  • 206. At 9:53pm on 10 Jan 2011, American Sport Fan wrote:

    As many news outlets have reported, Congresswoman Gifford's condition seems to have stabilized. Let's hope she makes a full recovery.

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  • 207. At 9:57pm on 10 Jan 2011, RHCracker wrote:

    178. At 7:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:
    this info: The United States has the highest rate (Gun violence) among developed countries.[9] :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence

    This study is incomplete and does not seperate crimes commited by illegals who did escalate violent gun crime levels and were not supposed to be here.

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  • 208. At 10:06pm on 10 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    98. At 12:35pm on 10 Jan 2011, AndreaNY wrote propaganda based on blame the otherside for your side's actions. Andrea absolutely refuses to make a clear statement that anyone on the right or left who contributes to the poisonous atmosphere has contributed to the tragedy and must stop.

    Why does she always try to pin the blame on the Democrats? Because that is her political agenda.
    Why does she refuse to make a blanket statement that misrepresentation is harmful and must stop? Because that is her political agenda.
    Why does she refuse to agree that right-wing lies and manipulative propaganda might be part of the problem? Is it because that is her agenda or stock in trade?


    Fair people should be willing to embrace an even handed ban on poisonous comments, but not AndreaNY, nor some of the other posters who absolutely refuse to see any evidence that their side may be even slightly in the wrong.

    Their propaganda even resorts to saying that reading "Mein Kampf" is the sign of a leftist because Nazi means National Socialist. The fact that Nazis and Fascists have always been thought to be on the right, and actually killed socialists and communists does not deter them. They are shameless in ignoring the real world in favor of their political fantasy world.

    I have spent many hours listening to the news on FOX. Fortunately it was not my only source of news, because their oft repeated slogan of "fair and balanced" is anything but. Listen to their roster of unfair and unbalanced spokespersons: Glen Beck, Anne Coulter, Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Jerry Falwell and others. People who only listen to FOX, and except everything as true, "fair and balanced" are exactly like the people who listened to Josef Goebbels.

    The people demanding absolute and unimpeachable proof that someone read or saw or heard Sarah Palin's work are not, are they, the same who didn't think calling President Obama a Socialist, Communist, traitor, illegal alien, and other things required absolute and unimpeachable proof? No because as a leftist, commie trator it was so obviously true.

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  • 209. At 10:07pm on 10 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    192 Maria Ashot,

    “Forty-eight hours after the shootings, the Republican side of the debate is out in full force pushing for the denial of what is obvious to the naked eye.”

    Within minutes of the shooting, the democrat side of the debate was out in full force condemning republicans before the shooter was identified or the actual condition of Gifford’s was known. They have politicized the actions of a nut job and have linked him with those they disagree with without even knowing his political viewpoint or his motivations.

    “I can understand their discomfort: they know the near-martyrdom of an opponent they were vilifying just weeks ago -- and very nearly defeated -- is going to create the kinds of indelible images that in 2012 result in vanishing electoral votes.”

    This type of comment reveals, IMO, the real intent behind those who have manipulated this tragedy using inflammatory comments and unsupported speculation. It’s all about politics and inciting their base in hopes of gaining leverage.

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  • 210. At 10:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

    Libs, quit the blame game. Fidel Castro is siding with you on this one, proving you are are way out in left field...

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/01/10/cuba.castro.arizona.shooting/index.html

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  • 211. At 10:14pm on 10 Jan 2011, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar wrote:

    ironic that most of the US gun violence takes place in liberal areas with strict gun control.

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  • 212. At 10:34pm on 10 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    133. At 3:55pm on 10 Jan 2011, Oldloadr

    The War of Southern Aggression started before Lincoln's election in "Bleeding Kansas."* Southern aggression against free states, and Southern aggression against the Missouri Compromise [to which they had agreed].

    Southern revanchism serves nothing and nobody [and I don't think there is a Northern revanchism], I would just as soon call it what it was, a civil war between Americans who mostly [on both sides] thought they were fighting for their country.

    As annoying as Southern revanchism is, it should give pause to people who have compared the Red States-Blue States map to the old Blue vs Gray maps. The myths and closed-boxed in thinking persist. This is evident in right-wing propaganda and attitudes as well. We shall rise again, we shall take back what [and WHO?] was ours, THEY are the enemy, etc.

    *MODERATORS: this is not a British curse word, it is the official name of one of the incidents leading to our Civil War, and can easily be found as such on Wikipedia, Google etc.

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  • 213. At 10:45pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    207. At 9:57pm on 10 Jan 2011, RHCracker wrote:
    178. At 7:08pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:
    this info: The United States has the highest rate (Gun violence) among developed countries.[9] :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence
    This study is incomplete and does not seperate crimes commited by illegals who did escalate violent gun crime levels and were not supposed to be here.
    -------------------------------
    You can refuse ANY info that contradict or oppose your personal faith. Choice is yours. That data is a true representation of high gun violence in US, compared to other countries.
    That data came from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2000 .

    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations agency that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna.[1] It was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Office_on_Drugs_and_Crime

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  • 214. At 10:50pm on 10 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    211. At 10:14pm on 10 Jan 2011, steve wrote:
    ironic that most of the US gun violence takes place in liberal areas with strict gun control.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Can you send us a credible link to show what you said?

    Moreover, strict gun control in one state and not in the neighboring states will reduce the impact of the stricter control, simply because movement within states is not restricted and it is impossible for law enforcement agencies to check every movement across state borders. Such law have to be implemented across the country to have a meaningful impact.

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  • 215. At 10:52pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 174 JClarkson
    "It was you who gave Assange the diplomatic cable files. If you think the accusation is unfair, refute it with an argument. Simple denial or asking for evidence that you did it, evades the point."
    ______________
    Simple denial = Don't be ridiculous I deny this.
    Denial with argument = I have never met Assange, nor had any kind of contact with him. Nor do I have access to any juicy details which the US government would like to keep secret.
    A couple of simple facts that refute your accusation.
    There are many out there that apply to Palin being accused here also...

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  • 216. At 10:52pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    196 Yes Curt there is much to cherish about BBC news and current affairs ...but I doubt the BBC spend much of the three billion pounds we are forced to pay each year for the BBC as a whole on our current affairs coverage.

    It appears that the New Labour regime told the BBC to do what it told our Foreign Office to do....and cosy up to Uncle Sam....and become a virtual American broadcaster.... befriending the more powerful interests in the USA.What other foreign broadcaster dotes on you like the BBC curt?

    But long before that the BBC and its pack of "satirists" (all with identical BBCPC opinions) became a virtual political opposition party in the Thatcher era ...and the lives of any politician or public figure who dared raise the issue of immigration became distinctly uncomfortable.....and still are.

    As I said earlier immigration is a very important issue in our societies because we are historical places of refuge and prosperity for oppressed people and those who seek a better life....but over here what is seldom mentioned is that Britain has thrown out millions of its own residents to face uncertain futures in often remote and desolate places...as well as welcoming immigrants here.

    There`s a lot of hypocrisy and good old bossy nanny-knows-best humbug behind the way the BBC "manages" what we are told and Britain`s politics.

    Yet I know it can`t be easy... because there are lots of very powerful people who don`t want us peasants interfering in their business.Just think about the reaction to Wikileaks.

    But there`s a very distinct pattern established over here that if you are from certain favoured minorities you can count on the Beeb to soft-peddle on your misdemeanours while making a real old stink about any sins committed by ordinary white English-born folk like me!

    We need a real tough broadcasting regulator almost as much as you need more financial regulation on Wall Street!

    ( I can`t specify the groups/minorities because this post would be "referred for consideration to a cyberwastebin !)

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  • 217. At 11:07pm on 10 Jan 2011, mariein wrote:

    199. At 9:14pm on 10 Jan 2011, Baro wrote:
    “After reading most of these posts, it begs the question, has the age of information elevated our thinking and enlightenment, or has it just given us a platform to establish once and for all how much we don't like on another.”
    ________________________________________________________

    Sadly, the latter. This is a political forum after all. The political forum group becomes a kind of dysfunctional family, survival cliques and corners included, in which you can be ugly to ‘family’ members in ways you’d never imagine behaving towards even acquaintances in face-to-face life. Just let’s hope the majority can continue to keep this type of behaviour online.

    I also believe that too much online time, constantly hearing others’ views (be it news or blogs), and over-indulging the need to ‘share’ your view on (I mean, with) others, interrupts a person from knowing his/her authentic self, and perhaps from living her/his authentic life.

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  • 218. At 11:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#179. At 7:09pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:
    Facts :-
    Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41

    Sources
    cia.gov/library
    medicine.net

    I rest my case.

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

    So live in Britain. I'll take my chances in America.

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  • 219. At 11:16pm on 10 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #215

    "Denial with argument = I have never met Assange, nor had any kind of contact with him. Nor do I have access to any juicy details which the US government would like to keep secret."


    Denial with argument = Sarah Palin has never met Jared Loughner, nor had any kind of contact with him.



    Both of you are innocent then.

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  • 220. At 11:22pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 194 Rodidog
    "Evade what point? The false accusations based on unsupported media speculation. Or the fact that the FBI approved gun ownership for a mentally disturbed person kicked out of college for anti-social behaviour, having previous run-ins with police, and failing a drug test given by the US Army. Who runs the FBI again?"
    _____________
    The clear point is that there is a danger that polemics and outrageous rhetoric can influence some people to do dangerous things. Team Palin reloadi... sorry retreating from the gunsight targets is a tacit admission of that. Whether that happened in this case is open to question and (IMO) it probably was not a contributing factor.
    Finally, are you suggesting that FBI gun ownership guidelines have been slackened under the current administration?

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  • 221. At 11:36pm on 10 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    219
    If you mean Laughner is innocent of passing secret US files to Palin, I'd have to agree. Unfortunately Palin's job is to contact and influence people, so you're own premise if flawed.

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  • 222. At 11:38pm on 10 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    C Smith, (#179. At 7:09pm on 10 Jan 2011)

    "I rest my case."
    Are you able to state your case?

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  • 223. At 11:40pm on 10 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    217....Marie I am grateful for your wise observation and spur to action...I shall demouse and enter the real world of english provincial life....until it all gets too much some time later tomorrow when we old fogies cross swords over who is doing the washing up!

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  • 224. At 11:42pm on 10 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    Whilst talking about gun ownership on an open forum, with some Americans its best to keep ones head down.Seriously,guns are designed to kill & if
    handled incorrectly or criminally they usually do.I am not pointing the finger at US folk because here too we have had carnage.I suppose my point
    is,why does any one need a automatic weapon ? especially an assault type
    that is designed for combat.To own such smacks of an inadequate.To those
    who point to the Constitution for the right to bear arms,the Constitution
    was penned 200 years ago & the red coats are not thinking of returning any time soon.Any way if you want to be legalistic, it should be a Pennsylvania rifle or nothing..

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  • 225. At 00:01am on 11 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    re: 216, worcesterjim:


    I'll bet I can guess most of them: those would be people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, former Africa colonies (Kenya and South Africa), Hong Kong, the Caribbean--what did I miss. It doesn't matter really.

    You know, those same groups have been moving to Canada as well, and also many of them here to the US. Without getting into issues of right or wrong on immigration policy, I've been wondering not only how these different ethnic groups would get along with the host population, but also with each other, since some of them are naturally antagonistic. And, in addition, end up competing for the same meager resources.

    I agree with you that it is no small issue. We are probably more fortunate here in the US simply because we have gone through so many waves of immigration over the last 200 years or so and have had considerable experience with it, as well as ample room to absorb newcomers. But it still causes strains, dislocation, and all sorts of other legitimate and not so legitimate emotions (xenophobia, for example). The animosity towards Irish, Italian, Polish, German, etc., immigrants was palpable in its time. And it took time for the issues to work themselves out.

    Generally, immigrants have been good for the US, but it's seldom seen that way in the beginning. The approximately eleven million illegal Latinos now in the US, a huge number, have made a lot of people uneasy, me included.

    Mexican farm laborers have been coming to the state I live in for decades. Over that time, many have settled and become citizens. Mostly they and their children can only be characterized as good Americans. But it hasn't happened without its complications.

    I don't know how many immigrants have moved to Britain since WWII, but I gather the number is fairly large. To have so many people moving to a small insular nation must be very difficult. I hope in the end time will work as well for you as it has for us.

    I also hope we can solve our current immigration problems intelligently. I wonder though.


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  • 226. At 00:02am on 11 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    220 PartTimeDon,

    “The clear point is that there is a danger that polemics and outrageous rhetoric can influence some people to do dangerous things.”

    Sure, but there is no evidence that’s the case in this instance, yet folks were quick to use outrageous rhetoric against others.
    -----
    “Team Palin reloadi... sorry retreating from the gunsight targets is a tacit admission of that. Whether that happened in this case is open to question and (IMO) it probably was not a contributing factor.”

    So, you think her target metaphor was not a contributing factor, but because she took it down it’s an admission of some sort of guilt? Most likely she took it down because it would seem disrespectful to leave it up. You do realize these types of metaphors are used routinely by all sides?
    --------

    “Finally, are you suggesting that FBI gun ownership guidelines have been slackened under the current administration?”

    I don’t know. The alternative is that the guidelines were worthless to begin with. But you can bet the question would have been asked if a republican was in the WH.

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  • 227. At 00:18am on 11 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    re: 224, ukwales:

    You can ask that question, but you can't get an answer everyone will agree on.

    You know it's not so difficult to understand people and guns. They like them. Some people like cars, some like antiques, some like whatever. I have neighbors who are frequently shoot their guns. Day as well as night, it doesn't matter. I guess their doing target practice (hope so anyway). That's legal where I live.

    I believe most people who own guns are responsible and the one who aren't are truly a mimority. And of course the obvious oftem made comment: criminals can always get them.

    Like you, I wonder about the need to own assault rifles, but so far they are legal as long as they are not fully auotmatic, a fine distinction it seems to me. Still, I can't see a time when that's likely to change.

    By the way, thanks for the links about Wales. Spectacular beauty.

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  • 228. At 00:19am on 11 Jan 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Complete Bob Marley and the Wailers, (#94. At 12:22pm on 10 Jan 2011)

    ”Thank Lord Chryses for your words of wisdom and your complaints to moderators where you perform you daily snitching duties religiously. Now lets repeat the Lords prayer.. Leftist rhetoric is bad but trigger happy gun men at political meetings is good.”
    “Lord Chryses” – I like that. However, I draw the line at leading you in worship services.

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  • 229. At 00:50am on 11 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #221

    "If you mean Laughner is innocent of passing secret US files to Palin, I'd have to agree."

    No, I mean if the lack of contact between you and Assange exculpates you from being the one who gave him the diplomatic cables, then the lack of contact between Sarah Palin and Laughner exculpates her from having been the one who gave him the idea to shoot people.


    "Unfortunately Palin's job is to contact and influence people, so you're own premise if flawed."

    Try again. This time with an argument that shows that Sarah Palin contacted or influenced the shooter. Otherwise you are doing nothing more than making accusations based on nothing.

    Some call that windbaggery.


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  • 230. At 00:56am on 11 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    227 d_m...I have many times been grateful I don`t carry a gun because I have a quick temper.
    Just driving a car (auto) around in town would have made me a mass murderer over the past forty years.
    And I could have shot my older son on several occasions. And I don`t believe that I am unusually aggressive either.

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  • 231. At 01:12am on 11 Jan 2011, d_m wrote:

    re 230 worcestrjim:

    Yes, they call it road rage here. It can get you into a lot of trouble too. It seems to have peaked and is perhaps on the decline. Particualarly, I think, since the state police (highway patrol) have been agressively dealing with road rage incidents over the last few years. And the cell phone makes it much easier to catch the perpetrators.

    I hope your older son is living away from home now, or that you two have rewolved your issues--that is he's outgrown his improvident behavior.

    Driver's and children can tax one's patience. Sometimes they're the same person.

    Not agressive, but a quick temper. Have to think about that.

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  • 232. At 02:22am on 11 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    224 ukwales,

    "I suppose my point is,why does any one need a automatic weapon ? especially an assault type that is designed for combat."

    That question was asked and answered here in 1934. Since then you must have special permission from the Treasury Dept. to own a machine gun. Newly made fully automatic weapons, pull the trigger once for continuous shooting, became illegal for citizens to own in the U.S. in 1986.

    Assault weapons in the US are semi automatic, meaning it fires one shot each time you pull the trigger, they're not designed for combat and they're not used by the military. In case someone tells you can easily convert a semi-automatic to full automatic, you can’t. It's against the law to manufacture a weapon that can convert easily or to have or manufacture parts necessary to convert a weapon to fully automatic.

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  • 233. At 02:45am on 11 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    83 Maria wrote: And here's another thought on what strikes me as an inevitable outcome from this atrocity: the swift decline in support for the idea of legalising cannabis in the States.

    Cannabis is known to contribute to psychosis and paranoia. It is bound to become a part of the defence argument, as the "insanity" plea is bound to rear its head in the courtroom. In fact, I can already see civil lawsuit upon civil lawsuit upon civil lawsuit arising from any number or perfectly legitimate claims that this high-profile crime is bound to generate.
    --------------------------

    Yeah, and do you know how popular it is in USA?

    (I'm not talking hippies from 60's, but currently)


    Why is it not legal?

    Because USA makes too much money off of it, including incarceration and fines!
    - its America's number one illegal cash crop...


    Humans can overdose on alcohol and get alcohol poisoning...

    When's the last time you heard someone die of a cannabis overdose?

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  • 234. At 09:27am on 11 Jan 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    @ 231 You have a point about "not aggressive but a short temper" d-m !!
    But it`s true....in the sense that society is so "driven" today and our duty (?) to "get and spend" and "compete" and "deliver on time" ....that even mild mannered people can be transformed into psycopathic beasts by a delay in the progress of their hectic lives.

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  • 235. At 10:10am on 11 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    232 Rodidog

    You talk about a semi-automatic weapon as if it were some sort of quaint toy. I was aware that fully automatic weapons have been illegal in the States for some years...a move prompted by some now forgotten massacre, but the idea that restricting owners to semi-automatic weapons is a sufficient response seems to miss the mark.

    I'm not a "gun-guy" and I can only speak from limited experience in Britain. When the army finally replaced its old bolt-action rifles in the 1950s they moved to the semi-automatic SLR (self-loading rifle), a 7.62mm weapon modeled on the Belgian FN. The FN was capable of automatic fire but the SLR was purely semi-automatic, the prevailing reasoning being that fully automatic infantry weapons simply wasted ammunition! Was the SLR some sort of pussycat? Well, a trained soldier could get off the full 20 round magazine accurately in about 8 seconds and the full-power 7.62mm bullets could go straight through a house. This sounds pretty damn dangerous to me!

    The idea that restricting the public to "semi-automatic" weapons is a sensible solution to gun violence is rather like restricting cars to 200mph to reduce road deaths!

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  • 236. At 10:15am on 11 Jan 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    227. At 00:18am on 11 Jan 2011, d_m
    232. At 02:22am on 11 Jan 2011, rodidog

    Thanks you guys,it has helped,but it still seems a deadly hobby with one
    small mistake & its a tragedy,still I am not judging just observing.Over
    here no one is allowed a hand gun,the bad guys still do but if confronted
    by a trained officer they always come off worst.
    Shot guns & bolt action rifles are used by farmers & any one who can give a good reason for owning one, clubs/enthusiasts & landowners.All must be police checked before a licence is granted,security of the weapon is a crucial requirement..

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  • 237. At 10:40am on 11 Jan 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    To add to ukwale's point.

    Any form of handgun is illegal. To own a shotgun or bolt-action rifle you must belong either to a shooting club or demonstrate good reason for owning one e.g. 2000 acre deer park. To be granted a licence you have to demonstrate "good reason" as above and also be judged mentally fit by a doctor. Any weapon must be stored in a locked metal gun-safe of a model approved by the police. It is also a legal requirement that any ammunition must be stored in a separate locked container to reduce any risks from a gun theft.

    The number of illegal handguns in circulation has risen but they are still comparatively rare. Criminal gangs often "sharing" guns as required. There is also an underground cottage industry in re-activating or modifying weapons to use standard ammunition, though these are typically single-shot weapons that are designed more to scare than anything else.

    In amongst this last category is the peculiarly British thing, the replica weapon. A lookalike gun that is identical in every respect except that it won't fire. The ultimate "saddo" acquisition which goes to prove that we too have plenty of inadequate gun nuts! They simply lack the tools!

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  • 238. At 10:52am on 11 Jan 2011, alchjo wrote:

    I understand the idea that it is appealing for the government not to have a 'monopoly on force.' However, given that the US government has the mightiest military in the world, presumably, if they were to act in such an illegitimate way that would call for 'the American people' to stand up, the American people would get completely flattened by high tech air strikes/missiles/tanks etc, and their legally bought semi-automatic weapons would not count for much in the face of such an onslaught.

    So either:

    - the US people are legally allowed to possess missiles/tanks/carpet bombs etc so that they can mount a serious offence against the government if necessary.

    OR

    - it is admitted that the 'monopoly of force' argument is nonsense and that gun ownership should be seriously restricted such that people with violent intentions are deprived of the means by which to achieve their aims. (in this case the attacker would have done significantly less damage with a knife).

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  • 239. At 11:35am on 11 Jan 2011, Kingvagabond wrote:

    #229 JClarkson.

    I'm sure your username explains the pompous nature of your comments quite well :P

    OK well my view of this is as follows. Was Palin's rhetoric and cross hairs responsible for influencing this man to kill people? No, the guy was a nut. However, could the kind of gun laden rhetoric Palin uses lead to a different nut to take gunsights to heart? Absolutely.

    I'm not just accusing Palin of this, I believe there was a senior democrat that had a gunsight poster as well?

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  • 240. At 1:08pm on 11 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Rodidog
    "So, you think her target metaphor was not a contributing factor, but because she took it down it’s an admission of some sort of guilt? Most likely she took it down because it would seem disrespectful to leave it up. You do realize these types of metaphors are used routinely by all sides? "
    Taking them down is a tacit admission that they were not appropriate. If they'd been tsken down because they could be construed as disrespectful then that would have been appropriate, but to pretend they were surveying icons was just plain wrong and a recogntion of that to boot.

    "I don’t know. The alternative is that the guidelines were worthless to begin with. But you can bet the question would have been asked if a republican was in the WH."
    Probably, but it's you, not anyone else who is laying blame here. I don't care who wrote US rules on gun control. IMO who is to blame for how weak those controls are is less important now than how they can be strengthened.

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  • 241. At 1:49pm on 11 Jan 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    "Try again. This time with an argument that shows that Sarah Palin contacted or influenced the shooter. Otherwise you are doing nothing more than making accusations based on nothing."
    _______
    Remind me what accusation I have made? Looking back at the discussion between us, it was you who moved to absolve Palin when I had (and still do not) accused her of anything to do with this. Pointing out that you had bungled your logic does not constitute the opposite opinion.
    I think her rhetoric is inflammatory and that it is appropriate a spotlight is put upon it, but that applies to many others across the political spectrum. As I have posted before, I don't think she did have an influence in this tragedy.
    You have misrepresented what I have posted in order to argue against an accusation not made.
    More than some might call that windbaggery.

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  • 242. At 5:03pm on 11 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    218. At 11:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:
    re.#179. At 7:09pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:
    Facts :-
    Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41
    Sources
    cia.gov/library
    medicine.net
    I rest my case.
    ------------
    So live in Britain. I'll take my chances in America.
    -------------------------------------
    Ooooh I just love it when suggestions to make my country better are met with: "Well if you don't like America, go someplace else." That's the epitome of moronic jingoism.

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  • 243. At 6:08pm on 11 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#242. At 5:03pm on 11 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:
    218. At 11:13pm on 10 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:
    re.#179. At 7:09pm on 10 Jan 2011, C Smith wrote:
    Facts :-
    Gun deaths per 100,000 per population.
    USA - 14.24
    UK - 0.41
    Sources
    cia.gov/library
    medicine.net
    I rest my case.
    ------------
    So live in Britain. I'll take my chances in America.
    -------------------------------------
    Ooooh I just love it when suggestions to make my country better are met with: "Well if you don't like America, go someplace else." That's the epitome of moronic jingoism.


    -----------

    And I just love it when people use comparisons with Europe to justify changing our constitution and limiting our freedoms. It all depends on your point of view doesn't it?

    If you can get the required support to ammend the constitution and repeal the second amendment then so be it but, with all due courtesy, we are not going to agree on this issue.

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  • 244. At 7:23pm on 11 Jan 2011, rodidog wrote:

    240 ParTimeDon,

    “Taking them down is a tacit admission that they were not appropriate. If they'd been tsken down because they could be construed as disrespectful then that would have been appropriate, but to pretend they were surveying icons was just plain wrong and a recogntion of that to boot.”

    You know, until this shooting I had never seen the Palin graphic with the gun sights. It’s simply a map of the US with a scope sighting targeting certain congressional districts. It’s not much different from previous maps used by democrats in the past year or so using target symbols on a map of the U.S. against republican candidates.
    -----

    “Probably, but it's you, not anyone else who is laying blame here. I don't care who wrote US rules on gun control. IMO who is to blame for how weak those controls are is less important now than how they can be strengthened.”

    That’s okay with me.

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  • 245. At 7:30pm on 11 Jan 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Scott wrote: And I just love it when people use comparisons with Europe to justify changing our constitution and limiting our freedoms. It all depends on your point of view doesn't it?
    ---------------

    We can never let foreign powers take away our weaponry or else we would be defenseless...

    They will try and then try again, but its up to us to defend our freedoms, cause' no one else will do it..

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  • 246. At 8:06pm on 11 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    Lucy & Scott:

    If another country manages to do something better than we in the USA do it, should we learn from them or should we decry any such efforts as "unpatriotic"?

    If somebody you know, say, your 'uncle Charlie', never learns from what others around him are doing and insists on pooh pooh-ing others' criticisms or suggestions and reinventing the wheel, would that not make him a stubborn and arrogant fool? This is what always comes to mind when somebody has a knee-jerk reaction to a suggestion about the USA.

    And, Lucy, we're talking about gun control here, not arms control. There is a difference.

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  • 247. At 9:33pm on 11 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. # . At 8:06pm on 11 Jan 2011, DenverGuest wrote:
    Lucy & Scott:

    If another country manages to do something better than we in the USA do it, should we learn from them or should we decry any such efforts as "unpatriotic"?


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

    I didn't say it was unpatriotic, I just don't share your assumption that its better.

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  • 248. At 9:59pm on 11 Jan 2011, justwantin wrote:

    "Well if you don't like America, go someplace else."

    I did, Australia, 1991. and I am also a veteran, USMC, Vietnam, '68 and '69.

    I have watched the rhetoric gradually come to a boil over the years in the news. Perhaps some in the US do not realise they live in a glass house and everyone else is keenly interested and watching closely.

    I took my daughter back in 2005 and felt very uncomfortable with the negativity, general paranoia and deviseness in the air as we traveled east to west from NC to CA over 4 weeks. I suppose gradual change is not as noticeable to those experiencing it.

    After the Port Arthur massacre here in 1996 the then Prime Minister of a conservative coalition government said enough is enough and took the lead in the initiation of strict gun control laws both at the state and federal level. This was a bold move from a newly elected PM but the PM's determination and overwhelming public support outweighed the efforts of the pro-gun factions. This resulted in gun control for states that didn't have it and stricter control in those states where laws already existed.

    It also resulted in a gun buy back program which was financed by a 1% increase in the Medicare Levy (paid as part of income tax) for one year only.

    However, I don't think this would work in the US; 1) there isn't a politician with a strong enough conviction or position of strength to do what Howard did, 2) there would never be an overwhelming groundswell of support to overcome the power of the gun lobby, there will probably never be the equivalent of a Medicare (read public health) Levy and 4) the US government is in no position to finance the buy back proscribed weaponry on its own and it has no public health fund levy to draw on.

    Perhaps the government can have another look at Social Security..........

    I never particularly cared for John Howard and his outspoken stand on refugees and his wooing of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation supporters which seemed to somehow "unrelatedly" coincide with an increase in racial slurs targeting my daughter at the local primary school as well as the odd questionable incident experienced by my wife at the supermarket.

    In most instances our politics where quite different. However I did admire him on those occasions where he displayed backbone and conviction.

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  • 249. At 11:43pm on 11 Jan 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #241


    "I think her rhetoric is inflammatory and that it is appropriate a spotlight is put upon it, but that applies to many others across the political spectrum."


    Her rhetoric is irrelevant to the Arizona shooting. By merely mentioning it, you are implying a connection or relevance that does not exist. I asked you to document such a connection, specifically between her rhetoric and anything of consequence of that rhetoric. Nothing.


    You are right that both sides engage in rhetoric of various types, but none are relevant to the topic of this posting. Unless you wish to make an assertion that a connection does in fact exist, at which point I will ask again, for a shred of evidence.


    If you are just coincidentally (in time, with this latest shooting) discussing the potential problems of political rhetoric, in general, then I misunderstood your position and I ask you to disregard my argument. Maybe you have been meaning to talk about political rhetoric and this shooting happened to coincide with the time you chose to post about political rhetoric.


    I would be skeptical of that but I would give you the benefit of the doubt. Coincidences do happen, once in a while...

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  • 250. At 00:59am on 13 Jan 2011, McJakome wrote:

    243. At 6:08pm on 11 Jan 2011, Scott0962 wrote: "And I just love it when people use comparisons with Europe to justify changing our constitution and limiting our freedoms. It all depends on your point of view doesn't it?"

    My guess is that you also dislike those overeducated, leftist intellectuals who wrote the Constitution; and those who opposed them, as well.

    If you haven't read the Federalist and Anti Federalist Papers, I have. The founding fathers did, in fact, do the intelligent [and intellectual] thing and consider:
    1. the classical models, Rome and Greece
    2. what was right and what went wrong [in their opinion] in Britain
    3. the pros and cons of the German states
    4. The Iroquois Confederation [this is a controversial matter, it can't be definatively proven that they paid attention to the I.C. but their is documentary evidence that they knew about it].
    5. and, of course, Switzerland. IMHO the Swiss actually understand the US better than the British [who think they do becaues we used to be British colonies*].

    * Sorry Mr. M, UK Wales and others. I have discussed comparative politics, government and history with the Swiss and they are always "spot on." In addition, they do not make the mistakes that UK posters often do.

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  • 251. At 08:53am on 13 Jan 2011, Leigh Oats wrote:

    Says DSM in #56 at "08:19am on 10 Jan 2011":

    \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_

    It's hard to understand why, when a number of people lost their lives (including a child), the focus is even on politics (and blame).

    Surely the right and civilised thing to do is to resolve to introduce measures to stop this kind of tragedy ever happening again?

    \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_


    Um—but any such measures will be the result of changes made in the political arena.

    Dear DSM, what are you trying to say?

    —Leigh Oats.

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