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Author Topic: Why is it Americans are so stuck on their constitution?
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 03:07      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
________________________ Let see if I have this right, You and your spouse get to liking a resturant that has a take out menu item that you seem to buy every Wed. but that resturant has a cook that is on a FBI watch list, and he always works Wed. Now how did you get on the watch list.

Also it appears that no one has heard of Carnivore ( FBI name for sweeping E-mails )

D-man thanks for posting Franklin I have had some die hard Consevitives tell me that good ole Ben never said that.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 03:34      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Red Five, I earnestly hope that you're not as hateful and shallow as your post makes you seem. Could you define, for the sake of argument, what, exactly, makes it so that babies accidentally born in the US are better than babies accidentally born in the Middle East?

Spaz Red 5 made his first appearance here a year ago when he made a brief contribution to a couple of threads, one of them I recall was on tolerance, which appears not to interest him much. He stood up then and I believe still stands for a clear moral code based on the Bible and "family values", which provoked a debate on what if anything that phrase meant, to which sadly he did not contribute. He also (I think) finds homosexuals rather worrying, and though he has not explained in detail why, I suspect that it is something to do with the Old Testament and sin. In short he is a fairly standard issue member of the religious right. I am hoping that he may reveal some originality or eccentricity in his views, but time will tell. His stay last year was short, but this time, it being an election year, he probably feels a greater impulse to enter the lions' den again to set us all straight.

Is that a fair summary Red 5? Have you taken your nick from Star Wars? Are we the Death Star? Are you going in? [Wink] You will find some sympathy for your political views from ASM and Chesty, and though there are plenty of committed Christians here, some of whom are Republican sympathisers, you are our only straight ahead 100% member of the religious right. So welcome, I hope you enjoy your stay, and though I and many others here find your political views utterly repugnant, I hope that we will treat you personally with respect and common courtesy. Would you like to tell us something about yourself personally, who you are, where you live, what you do, and what outside politics interests you? It makes these discussions more interesting if you know something about the people you are talking to.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 06:25      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So, to summarize:

"Why is it Americans are so stuck on their constitution?" lead to the response "Why are Canadians so stuck on the Queen?"

After some chat about the constitution and the Queen, Neil shows up with comments about how much upkeep of the royal family costs... and something about taking away someone else's property since you've lived there for a while.

And then Red Five gave us a rant about domestic surveillance/spying and told the UK people to mind their own business (although, really, only TheMoMan and myself had said anything about the topic and we're both US-type peopleses) followed up by some blather about Islam, war criminals, torture and the Kyoto protocol (which he sort of gets back to the constitution with)

...

The topic isn't drifting so much as it's lurching wildly from side to side like a zombie with only one leg and one arm who's just spotted the helpless, hapless blonde stereotype who can't run ten feet without breaking a heel and then scooting away very, very slowly on her butt rather than getting up, taking her shoes off and walking away from the danger that even a three year old toddler could outrun.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 06:32      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
Red Five, I earnestly hope that you're not as hateful and shallow as your post makes you seem. Could you define, for the sake of argument, what, exactly, makes it so that babies accidentally born in the US are better than babies accidentally born in the Middle East?

To be fair, Red's talking about the people in Gitmo, not just anyone who happens to be born there. People who make it the end goal of their lives to take those of others have, IMO, forfeited their claim to humanity.

That said, I'm willing to bet that not everyone in Gitmo is guilty.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 06:36      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Constitution is important not only because it's the supreme law of the land, but also because it forms the keystone of the hierarchy upon which our law is built. It sets forth a defining set of principles that are designed to be possible, but very difficult, to override. These principles empower all lesser laws and set forth provisions for the extent of congress' authority to make them.

These provisions generally safeguard the freedoms of the people; they are thus desirable to keep.

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 08:29      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As Metasquares said. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the foundation of the land. And have created the framework that helped build the U.S.

I am a great believer in both. And it disgusts me to see people disregard it, or make mockery of it in our own gov't. Things such as the amendment to ban gay marriage come to mind.

And I believe for many people that call upon those documents, most are more concerned at the legal framework that is being created to circumvent both. Rather than calling for regression in our society. And there is really a difference.

It is not the be all and end all. But like a house, you can only damage the foundation so much before everything built on top of it crumbles to the ground.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 08:49      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
"Why is it Americans are so stuck on their constitution?" lead to the response "Why are Canadians so stuck on the Queen?"

I my own defense, I figured a smart-ass question deserved a smart-ass response.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted January 10, 2008 09:25      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xan, it wasn't meant to be smart-assed question... I honestly wanted to know why Americans revere and evoke their Founding Fathers so much... besides being theatrical.

For instance in Canada, John A MacDonald is seen as a founding father, but rarely is he evoked to endorse a current political agenda.

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Red Five
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 10:19      Profile for Red Five     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have only "blathered on" about points that have been mentioned elsewhere in this topic. I believe that some of those opinions are based on incorrect information or assumptions, so I sought to clarify certain points with what I believe are the facts.

quote:
...babies accidentally born in the US are better than babies accidentally born in the Middle East?
This has nothing to do with babies or individual people. This has everything to do with massed groups of people, the US on one hand and radical Islam on the other.

The US is the greatest country in the history of the world. Our laws give all Americans equality of opportunity (opportunity for minorities is much better than Revs. Jackson and Sharpton would have us believe). We have the freedom to say what we want (which is not the same as freedom from the consequences of saying stupid isht), and we can worship as we want as long as that worship doesn't harm anyone else.

Radical Islam is all about enslaving or killing all that which is not Muslim. It seeks to take over the whole world and subject it to Sharia law, which is brutally oppressive. Islam is a horrendous violator of all human rights, especially when it comes to women. If a Muslim touches a piece of land that belongs to another country, all of Islam considers that tract to be Muslim land forever. That's why the Arab nations want so much to take over Israel (with the bonus of getting rid of the Jews), even though the Jews have a claim to the land that is nearly 4,000 years old, centuries longer than any Muslim nation can claim it.

Americans help people in trouble all over the world. The US Navy was on the scene immediately with an aircraft carrier. US carriers are mobile cities, with multiple hospitals on board, huge food stores, and the ability to turn sea water into thousands of gallons of drinkable water each day. America sends hundreds of billions of dollars to almost every other country in the world, to help stabilize economies and more. We send millions of tons of grain and other foodstuffs worldwide to feed the hungry. We are the most powerful industrial nation, the most powerful financially, and the most benevolent nation the world has ever seen.

If you send money to an Islamic charity, much of it goes to support terrorism. End of story. Look at Saudi Arabia. Oil has given them as much wealth as some Western nations. Why do they still have abject poverty, starvation, and oppression? Because it's built into the religion, and therefore, the political system.

We are engaged in a war right now with an enemy who is unlike any other fought by any Western nation. This enemy believes that it is doing God's work in killing anyone who is not Muslim, or even anyone who isn't their brand of Islam. Yes, yes, I know the Catholics did that once too. But you know what? They stopped. A few hundred years ago.

This enemy considers no one an innocent bystander. Whether or not you wear a military uniform, regardless of the fact that you may be a man, woman, or child, you are a target. You cannot negotiate with this type of enemy, as has been proven many times in the last century. You can only kill them or be killed by them.

So waterboarding was considered torture when the Japanese used it in WWII. So we are using it today. In our case, it has helped save countless lives, both military and civilian. The Japanese did it just because they could. We do it only to get critical information about enemy maneuvers, and it causes no permanent physical damage. The Japanese did it because at the time, they believed they had the blood of gods in their veins, and that we were lesser beings. They also practiced cannibalism, for much the same reason.

quote:
The NSA is only /listening/ to a select group of phone calls. However, they are asking telcos left and right for calling data.
That's no different from what local police departments do regularly, and for similar reasons. The fact that a call was made or received is not private information. Uncle Sam performs this data mining to get enough proof to warrant a wiretap, or to get warrants for other actions. Because this is war, any connection between known threats and possible threats must at least be investigated thoroughly. And if it were just a wrong number or other connection of pure coincidence, then they will determine that through background checks and other means.

quote:
That said, I'm willing to bet that not everyone in Gitmo is guilty.
There again, guilt or innocence is a matter for criminal courts, and this is not a criminal matter. It is war, and the inmates at Gitmo are prisoners of war. Criminals are tried; POWs are held until the war is declared over as a means to reduce the enemy's fighting capabilities. Also, they are not deserving of the same rights that we citizens often take for granted, because 1. they are prisoners of war, and 2. they are not US citizens. Besides, we have already released hundreds of those inmates, and many of them have gotten right back into the fight, and have been captured again.

Now, back to the original Constitution discussion. One of the major distinctions that I think has been touched on is that the US Constitution was the first document that delineated what rights and capabilities the people gave to the government. All other forms of government up to that point, and many still today, are based on the government telling the subjects, erm, citizens what they can and can't do. The US Constitution puts the ultimate control of the government into the hands of the people. That's why the 2nd Amendment is there; if the government gets "uppity", it's up to We The People to put them down. They serve us, not the other way around.

Sorry for the length; I spent a lot of time answering specific points.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 10:23      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
red five, if you want people to know your opinions, think one paragraph or so. One has to consider the medium they are using to communicate thier ideas when writting.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 10:38      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xan: Your reply made sense (and made me chuckle a little)... it's really the later lurching about from topic to topic that I was addressing.

Getting back to the actual topic and answering Snaggy...

The founding fathers, the constitution and so forth are a cultural thing. In the US, we go through a fair amount of brain washing via history classes in school. We're told repeatedly from an early age how these men were heroic and did great things in founding the nation. We have to read somewhat dubious historical accounts that make them larger than life, write reports and pass tests that show that we've learned that they were great men. If we dare to doubt, we fail and get to repeat the indoctrination until we give the required "correct" answers.

That this happens is not a conspiracy or underhanded action. For the most part, it's done because we want heroes to look up to, things to take pride in and a sense of culture (which I think is actually a bad thing, but that's a rant for another day).

The problem with so much pride and nationalism being invested in these symbols is that the they can be used to sway people on an emotional, rather than a logical, level. The symbols are invoked so often because it's the easiest way to generate a short term support for a cause (no matter how stupid that cause may be) and it usually works.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 10:48      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Red Five wrote:
And if it were just a wrong number or other connection of pure coincidence, then they will determine that through background checks and other means.

Because our government is just so damned good at spotting coincidences and figuring out that someone is innocent [Roll Eyes]

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 11:16      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Red Five, thanks for the clarification. I do not support any claim that any segment of humanity is better than any other. My political opinions must be qualified by the fact that our media's fixation with celebrity gossip and natural disasters has limited the amount of useful information that's available to the general public. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to go get the information on my own. So, the situation in Guantanimo becomes more complicated than I am able to evaluate at this time. However, there has been enough evidence of incarceration of innocents that I question the lack of transparency in the process. We cannot know that the innocent are being adequately distinguished from the guilty in the process of improving our national security. One of the things that make our nation great is our commitment to protecting the innocent. I will not allow my government to diminish my country.

As far as the general exhortation of our founders, I think the US suffers from tradition-envy. We're a relatively new country compared to many of the European powers and I think pretending to have long-standing traditions helps us feel like we belong at the grown-up table in the UN. Personally, I feel that tradition is overrated. I'd rather we innovate than replicate. But that's just me.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 11:48      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
The US is the greatest country in the history of the world.

So will say every governement in the world about their own countries, along with a sizeable part of their population, as long as there is not much social unrest. Hey, even our dear ex-prime minister said it: Canada is "le plusse meilleur pays du monde" (translation: "the bestest country of the world").

But to be fair, I'm starting to believe Sweeden is the best country in the world: excellent social net, low unemployment level, high average wages, and even parenting courses! (Every new parents gets a crash course in taking care of a baby, parents of older children can enroll in free parenting classes.) It would be my third choice of country to live in - second would be New Zealand (it's more sentimental than anything else, I worry), and first is Canada/Québec (after all, I'm already here, I agree with the core social beliefs, and I just have no reason to leave).

You can now go back to debating emotional links to the founding principles of your respective country.

P.S.: before I forget, about the price Canada pays for the Queen - we have to pay some amount every time her face is printed on our money, so she was taken off our paper money. And we have to pay for her representatives (one General Governor, 13 Lieutenant-Governors). Sure it's not that much per tax-payer, but it's still tax-money.

(Do I have to repeat that the opinions here are mine and not my employer's? Technically, yes, so it's now done.)

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 12:06      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
So waterboarding was considered torture when the Japanese used it in WWII. So we are using it today. In our case, it has helped save countless lives, both military and civilian. The Japanese did it just because they could.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your initial assertion that Americans don't torture because they're "better than" the other lot, has now morphed into...

Japanese soldiers tortured prisoners in wartime.
American soldiers torture prisoners in wartime.

Therefor Americans are "better than" Japanese.

quote:
it causes no permanent physical damage
Tell that to the families of those who've been tortured to death in US custody.

btw - America has signed many treaties that forbid torture, you may like to withdraw some of your earlier comments about Americas respect for treaty obligations.

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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted January 10, 2008 12:28      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ah OK, It's part of the American Mythos. Steen, and others.. thanks for the replies, I think I get it now. [Smile]

btw, for those interested, the Canadian Mythos is based around Tim Hortons.

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 13:33      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
Ah OK, It's part of the American Mythos. Steen, and others.. thanks for the replies, I think I get it now. [Smile]

btw, for those interested, the Canadian Mythos is based around Tim Hortons.

I thought it was Red Green. [Wink] I'm going to watch another episode of Corner Gas now. [Big Grin]
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Red Five
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 17:51      Profile for Red Five     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, I was speaking of one particular form of torture, namely waterboarding. As it gives the recipient only the appearance of drowning, it won't cause any physical scars. Probably psychological, but not physical.

Torture, in general, is not an optimal method of extracting information. Certainly, any method that causes real physical harm will not generate usable results, if the torture is being used for intelligence-gathering. However, the use of waterboarding has given us valuable information that has allowed us to protect soldiers and civilians, both US and Iraqi.

Torture for torture's sake: definitely wrong. Certain forms of torture in war to gather critical intelligence: unpleasant, but sometimes necessary. Unfortunately war has its own set of rules, which usually don't conform to the rules of civilized society. But I also think that the tactics used to prosecute this war have been publicized far more than any previous war, and that has had a dramatically negative effect on the overall war effort. Personally, I would prefer not to hear so much about what's going on until it's over. The bad guys can watch CNN just like we can...

quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
So waterboarding was considered torture when the Japanese used it in WWII. So we are using it today. In our case, it has helped save countless lives, both military and civilian. The Japanese did it just because they could.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your initial assertion that Americans don't torture because they're "better than" the other lot, has now morphed into...

Japanese soldiers tortured prisoners in wartime.
American soldiers torture prisoners in wartime.

Therefor Americans are "better than" Japanese.

quote:
it causes no permanent physical damage
Tell that to the families of those who've been tortured to death in US custody.

btw - America has signed many treaties that forbid torture, you may like to withdraw some of your earlier comments about Americas respect for treaty obligations.


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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 18:52      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am not as cynical as Steen.

The appreciation of the American Constitution goes beyond hyped mythology.

The founding of this nation came at the dawn of the industrial revolution, and was heavily influenced by thinking that drove Adam Smith to write "The Wealth of Nations" -- a document that described how an industrial economy would work. Fundamental to that thinking was free speech, individual freedom to determine one's fortune.

It also was conceived with an extreme distrust of organizations ---whether that was organized religion or government. And it described a form of government where the shortcomings of organized institutions were pitted against each other.

Ultimately, it set the individual above organizations, setting the groundwork for the legend of rugged American individualism.

It is not a perfect document. Among a spectrum of individuals no perfect document can be described. But it delivers enough promise that a college dropout can become the wealthiest man in the world, and a couple of kids in a garage can put all my music in the back of my pocket.

I think that is pretty cool.

Colonel Panic

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 18:57      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
We would be well within our rights to actually torture them ... but we don't because we are America and we are better than they are.

quote:
Certain forms of torture in war to gather critical intelligence: unpleasant, but sometimes necessary.
Admirable 'moral flexibility' there Red. [shake head]

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Red Five
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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 19:01      Profile for Red Five     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Two more things, then I'm done for the night.

1. Steen, TSA is a private company contracted by the US.gov to provide commercial airport security. They are not a government agency. They are most certainly a joke.

2. The enemy we are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and possible Iran in the not-too-distant future knows nothing but brutality and violence. They exercise it upon their own populations, and they exercise it even more against their enemies (i.e. us). They do not respect any actions for or against them unless those actions involve large amounts of violence. It was, after all, Arab Muslims who invented the concept of the "suicide bomber". In their version of Islam, that is the easiest way for the jihadist to arrive in Muslim heaven, and the only way in which a female Muslim is allowed to participate actively in the jihad (though I'm not sure what the she-bomber will receive. 72 male virgins? Come on!).

In WWII, Korea, or even Viet Nam, many prisoners could be bought with the right amount of cancer sticks, chocolate, nylons, or whatever, to provide information to us. Unfortunately, the nature of this enemy requires other methods with which to extract the information we need. It's extremely unpleasant, I know, even vile and repugnant. But there isn't any other way to do it in this case.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 19:04      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
1. Steen, TSA is a private company contracted by the US.gov to provide commercial airport security. They are not a government agency.

Wrong again.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 19:14      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Red Five:
Two more things, then I'm done for the night.

1. Steen, TSA is a private company contracted by the US.gov to provide commercial airport security. They are not a government agency. They are most certainly a joke.

Bullshit and a half. Where the hell did you get that idea? Tell me, please, because I REMEMBER when the TSA was founded and I REMEMBER some of the more extreme conservatives going ballistic over this expansion of the government and its powers.

Since you strike me as the kind of person is is too fscking lazy to gather information that isn't spoon-fed to you by neoconservative shills, I'll even quote the relevant passage from the TSA's own fscking website. Hell, I'll bold the relevant phrase. Here you go:
quote:
We are the Transportation Security Administration, formed immediately following the tragedies of Sept. 11. Our agency is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation's transportation systems.
Tell me, are the rest of your TLDR posts as ill-researched?

And just in case you try to be some sort of weasel, here it is again, in plain and simple terms (once again, to make things easy for you, I've bolded the relevant phrase):
quote:
A career at TSA offers more than just rewarding work. We are Federal employees so we enjoy those benefits. But more than that, a career at TSA includes benefits you may not be aware of.


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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 21:23      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hehe...Xanthine, you said TLDR.

Welcome to the club. ;P
(I think fs is the head of the regional chapter.)

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted January 10, 2008 23:19      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
a career at TSA includes benefits you may not be aware of.

Did anyone else have visions of latex gloves when reading that?

/coat

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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