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Author Topic: Down comes the shoe
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 12:09      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pentagon "twisted Iraq findings"

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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

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 12:19      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The really sad thing is, it was obvious to anyone with an ounce of critical-thinking skills that this was happening, and yet when the French, German, and Russian governments pointed it out, they were howled down in a flood of "freedom-fries" hysteria.


I had to laugh the other day, when GWB warned Iran not to 'interfere' in Iraq.

pot...


kettle...

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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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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 09, 2007 23:55      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I only wish that the war in Iraq hadn't been so predictable. I remember that my first response to the repeated showings of the fall of the WTC was to realise we were going to war. "People are dying and we're going to war," would be the words I was feeling if one could feel words. I can't claim prescience, though, because I wasn't sure who we'd go to war with right away. I only knew that it was coming and it was wrong. That's the kind of country we've become, seeking justice through ever greater injustice; touting personal accountability and then litigating our every discomfort. The intelligent minority has been ousted from power and the mediocre majority would seem to be too stupid to demand qualified representation. We get what we deserve. Those who disagree are now paying for exercising restraint in the wake of the events of 9-11. No number of American deaths can justify silence in the face of tyranny. Now that free speech wouldn't undermine decorum it's too late- credibility has been lost because the current regime only recognizes decorum when it serves their agenda.

There aren't really any more doubts about the legitimacy of the threat that was posed by Iraq now than there were prior to the war. I don't understand what happened during those heady months of mobilization. It was a chilling demonstration that you really can fool all of the people some of the time, and with a twisted, crappy, frail little story, to boot. I am glad that we're finally seeing the straightening of some spines, but I have to wonder where those spines were when we needed them the most- before thousands of Americans and many tens of thousands of Iraqis died. The human cost of this mistake is unconscionable. Who the hell let the monkey play with the red button?

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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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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted February 10, 2007 20:08      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah - no surprises there. I still remember hearing about that on the radio early in the morning and wondering if the US was going to attempt to adopt the classical Roman response (10:1 retaliation as I recall).

Iraq was an obvious mistake - you could tell even the administration thought it was BS. "Good Job, Rummy!"

Since then it's really only gotten worse, though I still think the low point was the Bush re-election. I was literally shocked when he won. I couldn't believe people really would vote for him.

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted February 10, 2007 20:50      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Heckuva Job, Brownie." -- the "Decider"

Between it and the Ramos and Compean arrest, I'm actually afraid of the government more than normal.

Yes, I am voting Dem in 2008. My personal liberties are worth the tax increase.

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Opinion is not Truth; that is why each has its own definition. Illiteracy sucks.

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 11, 2007 11:15      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I, too, am voting Demo, but they must understand that I'm just using them as a tool to get the Republicans out of power. I'd like to see the Democrats ousted next- both parties have abused their positions. Political parties were opposed by our founding fathers because they'd seen the crap that could happen in Brittain (no offense to the Brits out there). We'll see nothing but the crap we originally set out to avoid so long as we tolerate the existence of organized politics. (No, I'm not a Libertarian.)

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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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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 11, 2007 11:51      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There for a moment X, I thought you meant THESE findings!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/11/AR2007021100479.html

This war is so Deja Nam, it is a crying shame.

All this garbage now about if we pull out it will be a bloodbath ...

So? It's already a bloodbath, and some of that blood belongs to our soldiers.

I say let them duke it out.

I'm tired of Republican "Santa Politics".

CP

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Free! Free at last!

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 11, 2007 17:41      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ScholSpas so long as you have representative democracy, and in it you get stuff done by commanding a majority, so laws etc can be passed, political parties are not only inevitable, but the only practical way of working I can think of.

The period since the mid term elections has been a very depressing few months. GWB completely ignored the message sent him by your country then, has torn up the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, and is I suspect the only person in the US who thinks that the answer to Iraq is just a great deal more of the same. Sadly there seems very little resistance to him from the democratic majorities in both houses, which I find hard to understand. My only area of agreement with him is when he says that that the consequences of failure in Iraq would be catastrophic, except that he has the tenses wrong. We have failed and it is a catastrophe. Most depressing of all is his adherence to the neocon line that we don't negotiate with evil in relation to Iran, which means that by the time he leaves office a war with that country will become inevitable as production of weapons grade plutonium come on stream there. Just what we need, more chaos in that region.

Compare and contrast GWB's notion of himself as the decideriser with this passage from Winston Churchill's statement issued on his resignation following his defeat at the general election of 1945.

"It only remains for me to express to the British people, for whom I have acted in these perilous times, my profound gratitude for the unflinching unswerving support which they have given me during my task, and for the many expressions of kindness which they have shown towards their servant."

What would you prefer in the White House, your servant, or a deciderator?

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 11, 2007 20:42      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
CP, we should praise the United States government for its fair treatment- we'll use secret evidence to convict men or nations equally. What the hell is up with all these secrets? It would be a little less obvious that they're lying if they'd sprinkle a truth or two into the mix...

Callipygous, political parties do not facilitate good government, they create a system by which power can be retained by a select group of individuals. By belonging to a political party, you can be assured that your agenda will move forward even if you're voted out of office. By belonging to one of only two parties, you can be assured that you will always have power no matter how frustrated the proletariate becomes.

It is entirely possible to run for office without belonging to a political party- they're called independent candidates and we see one every now and then. If we were able to pull down the current two-party system we might also get to see independent candidates elected to powerful positions. Don't think I feel any safer with independent candidates- I'm sure that an independent could be just as megalomaniacal as Bush Jr. However, a sick independent is much more likely to be voted out of office after their first term than a sick Republican (they tend to be retained until they're caught fondling congressional pages). Just so you know, I didn't vote for the crack-monkey either time. Just like the majority of Americans.

(edit: replaced American with United States because I realized that, hey, there are lots of neat countries in the Americas and we shouldn't act like we're the only one!)

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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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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 12, 2007 04:12      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you think your politicians should have a clear coherent set of principles policies and a programme for government, you will need political parties. In any event, even if you start off with a collection of independents, they will naturally coalesce into initially informal groupings to further their common aims. This will of course mean compromises, and the usual ugly political horse trading, so before you know it, you are back with political parties. It is completely Utopian to imagine that any government supported by a crowd of independents could accomplish anything significant. It is of course possible to argue that the less politicians interfere and legislate the better, but I think history shows that weak and ineffective governments seldom enable a nation to prosper, and do also provide a fertile ground for corruption and injustice at all levels of society.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 12, 2007 09:37      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would argue against discouraging utopian ideals. When we stop trying to improve our government, that is the time that the government begins to atrophy. There is growth and there is death, but there is no stasis in life. I am afraid that our indiference is killing our nation. Our acceptance of what is, and our refusal to envision and pursue what could be, could mark the fall of another empire.

A strong, growing, powerful country must be moved by the voices of its idealists. Political parties are a powerful force against that. Political parties are power structures and power structures, whether malignant or benign, will eventually strive for a state of stasis at which their influence is maximized. Once a nation ceases to grow, that is the time that it begins to fall. (Understand that, by growth, I am referring to the necessity of constant improvement and developement and not imperialism.)

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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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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 12, 2007 15:01      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
I would argue against discouraging utopian ideals.

I disagree profoundly. The Iraq war was prosecuted for utopian ideals. Pick any of the utopian political movements in history, Marxism, Fascism or more recently the neocon/religious right and you will notice that they share common failings. These political idealists all tend to believe that the noble ends that they wish to achieve, whether a socialist millenium, the 1000 year Reich, or the spread of democracy and liberty around the globe are of such paramount importance, that ordinary standards of behaviour do not apply in their pursuit. The noble ends justify the means. Thus all utopian political movements tend to produce distopias instead. I believe political systems should work with the grain of human nature, and allow for all our baser passions with checks and balances. I also disagree that political parties tend to stasis. They need to attract both supporters and voters to survive and on the whole they reflect the changing prejudices and intellectual and emotional currents in society fairly accurately. Your arguments make more sense if they are used in favour of proportional representation rather than the banning of all political parties.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted February 12, 2007 16:27      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh look. Here comes another one...

Top Journalists testify for Libby

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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

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 09:55      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In a utopia it is usually a no-no to attain goals using violence. The idea behind a utopia is to attempt to construct a society that works so well that the laws follow logically from the social structure and are easy to obey. A utopia would have fewer police and weapons and more long-haired-freaky-people.

I think the word you're looking for is dystopia as in 1984 (in which great nations engage in perpetual warfare and oppression in order to cling to power). A dystopia is not the same thing as a utopia, although many dystopians try to market their plans as utopian ones.

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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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Reedius
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 10:03      Profile for Reedius     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What i think is that unless people lose their evil side and turn into good people there is no way a utopia can rise, so the best alternative is a fascism without diabolic ideas(and that is yet to exist).

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Geek or Nerd?

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 10:28      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The downfall of previous attempts toward utopia has been the sudden imposition of a monolithic world-view onto a society that was relatively functional. All this does is dislodge those in power and force them to scramble around, making new power grabs, until equilibrium is regained. Then the new-old-guard prevent any possible benefit by twisting the new pattern to fit their goals and often undermining it completely, retaining only the name. We saw this a lot with Communism. We're seeing it now in Iraq.

I'm promoting a gradual utopianism. One in which we never stop trying to improve our society. As our understanding of science and psychology (not a science yet) advances, the way a utopia looks and feels will change. Attempting to impose a utopian order according to our current understanding of utopia must fail because the utopian reality isn't static. In other words, all I'm saying is let's be brave enough to try new things when the old ones don't work. I'll even let you keep what does work, if it'll make you happy. We need to be brave enough to accept that better does not equal best. There is always room for improvement. Our government was state-of-the-art two hundred years ago, but society has advanced and we're still clinging to an old system. We could do some wicked-cool upgrades without throwing out the constitution.

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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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Reedius
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 10:35      Profile for Reedius     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I never thought about it that way but i think you are right.
My idea is that if people can't do the righ things alone then someone who can has to force/order them to do the right things.

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Geek or Nerd?

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 10:35      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Reedius:
What i think is that unless people lose their evil side and turn into good people there is no way a utopia can rise, so the best alternative is a fascism without diabolic ideas(and that is yet to exist).

I believe any system that involves checks and balances is your best bet. When you're putting the bulk of the power in the hands of a small group, you make the system that much easier to corrupt.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 12:34      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
I believe any system that involves checks and balances is your best bet. When you're putting the bulk of the power in the hands of a small group, you make the system that much easier to corrupt.

You mean things like the right to habeus corpus, and requiring a warrant before tapping peoples phones?

You sound like a terrorist sympathizer to me.

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 21:10      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
February 13, 2007, 12:34
You sound like a terrorist sympathizer to me.

... and yet I never hear this person criticize the people (terrorists) that kill dozens of Iraqis in a market every time a car bomb is used.

[shake head]   Looks like a case of "hate the terrorist sympathizer, not the terrorist."

quote:
February 13, 2007, 10:35:
I believe any system that involves checks and balances is your best bet. When you're putting the bulk of the power in the hands of a small group, you make the system that much easier to corrupt.

Question 1: How do terrorists fit into a "system that involves checks and balances"?

    Answer: They don't. They seek to destroy systems. ... However, I guess some loon could explain how a "terrorist party" would be good for government and society.

quote:
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
    -- Mao Tse-Tung

Question 2: Who "puts the bulk of the power in the hands" of terrorists?

    Observation: In Iraq, it's not the people, because Iraqis don't make the guns, bullets, mines, mortars, and plastic explosives that were manufactured in Russia or Iran.

Note: At this point, someone wants to say "Bush put the power in the terrorists hands," and it might even get said because the person is incapable of accepting that "Islamic extremist groups" have been providing guns and bombs to terrorists decades before there was a President Bush.

quote:
February 12, 2007, 15:01
The Iraq war was prosecuted for utopian ideals.

February 13, 2007, 10:35
My idea is that if people can't do the right things alone then someone who can has to force/order them to do the right things.

What were the results of 12 years of United Nations' action against Saddam Hussein?
  • Fact: Jordan received billions of dollars of smuggled oil from Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.
  • Fact: Syria received billions of dollars of smuggled oil from Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.
  • Fact: Egypt received billions of dollars of smuggled oil from Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.
  • Fact: Russian made weapons were smuggled into Iraq in violation of UN resolutions.
  • Fact: French made weapons were smuggled into Iraq in violation of UN resolutions.
  • Fact: Saddam refused to comply with UN resolutions on WMD for periods totaling over 3 years.
  • Fact: UN officials were implicated in bribery scandals related to the UN Oil for Food program, to include Kofi Annan's son Kojo.
  • Fact: Kickbacks to Saddam from the Oil for Food Program came from 66 countries and over 2000 companies from around the world.
  • Fact: "Humanitarian aid" to the Iraqi people included wheat and barley that was not fit for human consumption, and medicines that had expired.
    (hint: that's one reason why companies could afford kickbacks to Saddam.)

Twelve years of dealing with Saddam Hussein turned the UN from an "incompetent bureaucracy" to an elite society of thieves, liars, and corruption. (If someone wants to prove the UN was equally corrupt before 1991, I'm willing to listen.   [ohwell] )

To use another person's words, "if people can't do the right things alone then someone who can has to force/order them to do the right things."

Is it a "utopian ideal" to attempt reversing the spread of one man's corruption in 66 countries, among 2000 international businesses, and in an organization that was "based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people" (the UN)?

There is a difference between:
  1. Enforcing a "utopian ideal,"     and
  2. Refusing to accept intolerable conditions.


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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 22:06      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Greetings ASM65816!

This is our first meeting on the forum since my registration, although I have seen previous postings from you. Your consistency is impressive. Allow me to pay you a rather facetious compliment and say that you fit several of the definitions for the word Geek in wikipedia. I have geek-envy!

Standard response: You have quoted out of context. Yadayada, moving on.

Utopian ideals are not enforced- they reflect the ability of a society to adapt itself to the natural preferences of its members. This is another dystopian misconception.

Iraq got a LOT of weapons from the US after we decided that Iran wasn't our buddy anymore. We had only good things to say about Saddam's brutal dictatorial tactics before he became a threat to our oil supply. Why is it okay for us to decide when a brutal dictator deserves to be overthrown? If it is something that must be done, it should be done as soon as the dictator is observed- we can't justify waiting until it is politically expedient to topple the guy. If it is something we can put off, then it is something we can afford to ignore indefinitely while we focus our resources of building a better society here at home.

There is never a justification for forcing someone to do the right thing. That's just fascism. Crime prevention works the other way around: we try to keep people from doing harmful things. "Right" is seldom a defined term within a legal system because most sane persons recognise that there is a great deal of variation within what can be a right action. Wrong is much easier to define without undermining peoples' rights. Bush has done a pretty good job stepping over that line in the name of safety, though.

To quote a guy whose name I have temporarily forgotten: "Anyone who would sacrifice their freedom for safety is deserving of neither!"

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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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atayarani
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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 07:13      Profile for atayarani     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ScholasticSpastic:
To quote a guy whose name I have temporarily forgotten: "Anyone who would sacrifice their freedom for safety is deserving of neither!"

If you mean, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety", then the name you're looking for is Benjamin Franklin.
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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 09:12      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I shouldn't have read ASM's post, and definitely shouldn't have tried to figure out how he got into an argument about terrorists from a discussion of models of government. My head hurts now. [Confused]

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 09:35      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Methinks he simply looks for keywords and assembles his gobbledeguk from there.

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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

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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 09:59      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thankyou, atayarani,
I was suffering from a massive memory-hole. Two tests, minimal study time, lots of essay questions on my Evolutionary Biology test and the other one was Organic Chemistry. I was quasi-comatose. Couldn't sleep at the time because I was waiting for the caffeine to work its way out of my system.

I had to respond to ASM at least once. Everyone gets the benefit of the doubt. If his response roughly makes sense in the context of my response I'm going to buck common understanding and assume he/she isn't a bot. Seems like an angry person/bot...

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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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