Friday, July 11, 2008

READER COMMENTS

One commenter says: "Fat lot of good guns are going to do against our government." Apparently you have learned nothing from the US debacles in Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan. An armed citizenry can beat all that heavy artillery into submission. In the same vein, my ancestors, and perhaps yours, handed the Brits, the toughest professional army of the day, their asses during our war of national liberation. It's called asymmetric warfare. All you need is that the lightly armed side have its heart in winning in a way that a mere military machine can't. - John Schoonover

The founding fathers warned us. "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -Thomas Jefferson

Note that Jefferson said "as a last*resort." I think he kind of expected we lazy Americans to get up off our asses and try out the other resorts first. That said, I suspect in light of the Supreme Court's ruling (funny how what Satan says sounds real good when it's what we want to hear, by the way), we're going to have a future of lots more cold, dead fingers to pry their owner's guns out of to look forward to. Goody. I'm all for population control.

For my part, I really can't wait to observe (from a safe distance, of course-like Canada) the spectacle of large groups of armed-to-the-teeth whites and blacks squaring off in that ultimate race war the rulers of the country of gleefully plotted for so long. You think the plutes weren't behind this particular S.C. ruling-just like they've been behind all the others? Don't fool yerselves, kiddies. You may continue with your obedient marching now.

It's been my observation that gun fanatics bear a strong psychological affinity to religious fanatics, and it is a complete waste of time to try and communicate with either of them through a basis of reasoned argument, since in both cases their rationales invariably come out of a highly charged emotional state that's largely impervious to facts or logic-based analysis.

I trust my government to take away my civil rights for my own safety, including my right to bear arms. I will march obediently into the Halliburton concentration camps when instructed to do so to prove my point.

There's clearly more to it than just gun ownership. Canada, like the US has a high rate of gun ownership, yet has very little crime. The same can't really be said about the US.

No one posting here is a "gun fanatic". Those of us on the progressive side who agree with this decision have reached our conclusion with much soul searching. The truth of the statement, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." sinks in slower for those who have lost someone close in a handgun incident.

The old PR. Ralph Nader is better than the equivocating no back-bone Al Gore. We aren't trying to help Bush. The new PR. Ralph Nader is better than the equivocating no back-bone Barack Obama. We aren't trying to help McCain. Anything new? This year you acknowledge McCain to be a more dismal choice than Obama, something I don't recall you ever doing with Bush. Nor this year do you seem to be going way overboard on Nader. How about a new angle. It will be great to have an obviously able black man elected President of this nation so horribly blighted by its racial history, especially when he is obviously superior to his only rival who has a chance. You know, if Obama gets in and does a good job, you are going to be known in your home town as one who fought hard to tear him down and begrudged his election. Your rebuttals will not get any attention.

You'll find our Bush archives here and our McCain archives here and here

THE PATRIOTISM GAME

I'm not sure if Woodrow Wilson is the right person to quote in this otherwise excellent article. After all, Wilson foolishly lead us into WWI against the will of a huge majority of Americans. He then couldn't stand any criticism and so he passed sedition acts to squash free speech and criticism of himself and his war.

Wilson was either the original watch what I say, not what I do politician when he claimed new citizens answered to nobody but God, or he believed himself to be God. - Lars

I believe in patriotism but it's not really defined by extreme nationalism like for the neo-cons. I think being patriotic is standing up for the constitution and caring enough to want to always work to make your country better. Not richer, you understand, but better like getting rid of bigotry and racism. I think being a patriot is sacrificing for others but not necessarily in war. I mean by doing things that are selfless and working for the common good of the people you around you. I think being a patriot is wanting to help those not as fortunate as ourselves live their American dream. I have spent alot of time in Scotland and I think its made me appreciate my own country not because it was not lovely their but because I realized the sheer bounty we enjoy because North America is so big and has so much wealth that springs from the land and natural resources. I got beat over the head like crazy by Brits last summer who despise Bush and it was awkward but it made me feel very good to say I was always against this war and always voted against Bush.

THE CAMPAIGN

Which candidate was ranked 894 out of 899? J.M or B.O., - Ed Heck

THE MEDIA: ENABLING POLITICAL PATHOLOGY

When both parties represent overwhelmingly right-wing interests as dictated by corporate Amerika, moving to the "center" guarantees a center-right position.

I'm trying to avoid saying I told you so to all my friends who drank the Obama Kool Aid, but it's not easy. This was all quite obvious throughout his campaign. When every word out of your mouth is a platitude that offers no hint of your actual policies, it's a warning sign. Most of the desperate Bush-haters just refused to see that.

Obama, the corporate-owned Democrat Party, and the corporate media are performing their roles perfectly: taking the energies of dissent in the U.S. and steering them into a dead end.

BRITISH PUBS CLOSING AT FASTEST RATE EVER

Britain has been well on the road to becoming a miniature America for some time now (both socially and politically), and the very things that have always made this nation apart and unique from us will soon be gone, gone, gone.

TWINS STUDY: HOMOSEXUALITY SHAPED BY GENES, RANDOM EVENTS

Fine, but let's focus on the real problem: what causes homophobia?

That's easy to answer. It's the practice of allowing parents to brainwash their children into believing a long list of nonsense when they're too young to think for themselves: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, Jesus, creationism, sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, weightism, astrology, capitalism etc. The first things children need to be taught are critical thinking, science, math, and how to recognize propaganda.

STUDENT DIES AFTER POLICE ALLEGEDLY ABUSE HIM

The U.S. is looking more like occupied Palestine every day. Little wonder when police officers, Homeland "Security", and military officials travel to Israel routinely for "training." Police brutality is rampant in the U.S and has been for decades. There are really no effective, impartial oversight bodies, much in the same way the military commits routine torture and gets away with it. Expecting justice when the police investigate themselves is like expecting the IDF to discover human rights abuses by Israeli soldiers.

Eight cops beat one unarmed kid, but because they had no Tasers or nightsticks, the chief can opine that excessive force was not used. I don't know which is scarier: the cops simply flat-out lying; or the thought that they might actually believe that no excessive force was employed in this scenario.

It's really sad how this is just going to slip away mostly unnoticed. Nobody ever calls the cops on their bullshit. They can kill and maim without a care. And all congress wants to do is give them free assault rifles and night vision goggles. To hell with the cops and the politicians that enable them.

Firstly, the cops are not just getting away with it. As somebody who works in Boston I can say that this story is getting a lot of attention locally. After a young woman was killed by a bean bag gun used inappropriately during the 2004 World Series celebration, the Boston police have tried to avoid overuse of force.

A friend of mine attended Game 6 of the NBA Finals and was around the Banknorth Center after the game. He was impressed with the way the celebration was mostly peaceful and the way the crowd was generally pacified by the police. This does not mean that this young man's death was not caused by excessive force. But the snippet of this story on the Progressive Review fails to mention that this young man had a heart condition. Not only that, but his anonymous friends were most likely drinking as well. I know that I don't remember things with total clarity when I'm drinking. So their account of what started the incident has to be regarded with some suspicion. And how did this young man's drinking affect his heart condition?

Nonetheless, Boston is not Palestine and we are not an occupied people. The police will be investigated and the city will be sued. Some version of justice will be distributed. Not everybody will like that. But to quickly jump to the conclusion that the police were totally in the wrong here is incorrect.

I would not want to accuse you of naivete, but in virtually every one of these types of beating deaths, the victim invariably suffered from some heretofore unknown and undiagnosed 'condition' that was the "actual" cause of his/her demise-as opposed to being gang-beaten by a frenzied mob of cops.

Considering the endemic rise and spread of this type of police violence on a national level, I'm afraid I'd have to say that, yes, overall, I'd be rather more inclined than not to disbelieve the police version of this young man's death. It reeks too much of precisely the same facile accounts that the police give in way too many of these deaths. You may have a point that one ought not to judge til all facts are in, but there is no polite way around the fact that anecdotal and circustatial evidence skews damned heavily away from the cops favor.

Someone once described Boston as being the cerebral cortex of America. All of those impressive schools. A lot of smart folks. So, how is it that given all of this cerebral power and talent the kids aren't clever enough to know that if you mouth off in the wrong company, you might get your teeth pounded down your throat or worse? It's not just about cops, look what happened to Javar Walker in Las Vegas. Seems that common sense isn't so common any more.

IRAN COUNTDOWN

Are our leaders doing everything possible to prevent a military conflict with Iran that threatens to undermine America's strategic interests in the Gulf? Over the past 30 years, U.S. leaders attempted to incentivize and deincentivize behaviors to moderate the regime's bellicose foreign policy towards America. Both strategies emboldened the regime's desire to defy the U.S. and allowed the regime to persecute Iran's vibrant dissident movement.

Since neither strategy proved successful, Washington must create the leverage it needs by exploiting the regime's greatest weakness. The regime knows its brutal human rights record is their Achilles heel. To remain in power, the regime persecutes any challenge to their authority. If our leaders put the international media spotlight on Iran's human rights abuses and support Iran's democratic dissidents, the regime will be forced to become accountable for their actions, democratic development will follow, and a democratic Iran will open Iran's markets to international competition and U.S. investment. Are we really prepared to continue threatening our long term interests and sell out the Iranian people by striking a grand bargain with the regime or worse, bomb Iran?

I am still wondering when grown-ups will finally be making important political decisions, rather than a bunch of juvenile or pre-juvenile-acting leaders. The ones here are bad enough, but the bullying, big-mouthed, braggarts who speak for Israel, are really entirely pitiable and embarrassing to that nation. Will the grown-up men please come to the fore and leave the little boys at home?

WHOSE LAND IS IT ANYWAY?

For whatever it's worth, I will never pledge allegiance to the flag again until we as a nation restore habeas corpus, honor the Constitution as it is written, renounce aggressive war, renounce torture and establish taxation with representation. I will fly a flag on the fourth of July but it will be the thirteen-star flag, that which heralded our rebellion from arbitrary autority in 1776, and, who knows, may once again. - Anton Vodvarka, Hartly DE

59% OF DOCTORS SUPPORT SINGLE PAYER

I favor single payer, too, but I have some doubts about it. Why should we expect a not for profit government agency to be any less stingy than private insurers? Taking Social Security disability payments (which don't even cover the average disabled person's medical care, much less living expenses) and Medicare (which arbitrarily refuses to cover any number of medications, treatments, and devices) as our examples, it's clear that there will be just as many problems with an American single-payer system as we have now.

I am really looking forward to see the results of all these health reform efforts, here in Canada and also in the USA. I am dealing disability insurance in Ontario so I am fan of private health insurance. On the other hand I believe strong safety net should be provided by government, not because of economy, but because of humanity. On the other hand, I don't believe government can be a better leader than the free will of people. Everybody is selfish, but limited by competition. And where is no competition, there are bad results - as admitted by father of our health care, Claude Castonguay, few days ago - Lorne

DENVER WANTS TO PUT CONVENTION PROTESTERS IN A CAGE.

There is a very simple and fair solution to this whole mess. Since protesters were caged at the DNC convention in 2004, it's only fair that convention attendees be caged this time around. It would also drive home the reality of the new police state to our otherwise indifferent politicians. Perhaps they would think twice about legislating away our civil liberties if the shoe was on the other foot.

THE THREE WORST MOST MENTIONED PICKS FOR DEMOCRATIC VEEP

All of your criticisms of Clark are valid reasons why he should never be second in line for the presidency. I'll add a reason why he is a liability on the ticket. He's a crappy public speaker that sounds like a whiny old man even more that McCain (as hard as that is to believe).

Why do I see, in your assessment of Clark, an eerie similarity with the tactics, and mindset, of General Petreus? We don't need another "my way or the highway" type, a heartbeat away from the presidency. I would also point out the problem with Speaker Pelosi's "man in the mix" Texan member of the House, Chet Edwards. We definitely don't need another Texan a heartbeat away from the presidency. Molly Ivins, God rest her soul, was right: " Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention." - Elderlady

I'm from Texas and worshipped Molly Ivins from before she came to national attention. She did not mean that no one from Texas should ever be voted for in a national election. She meant that when she tells you not to vote for a specific person from Texas, you should trust her to know more about that person than someone from another state would.

SEIU ENDORSES CONYER'S SINGLE PAYER PLAN

If SEIU is endorsing single payer health care, why are they endorsing a presidential candidate who dosn't support it? - Joe

RESTORING EX-FELONS VOTING RIGHTS

Michigan is cool -- it has no felony disfranchisement law ... it just has a law that says you can't vote absentee just because you're in prison. So, effectively, it's no vote while you're locked up, but then no action needed other than to register once you're out (whether on parole or done with your time).

LIVING IN DENSE NEIGHBORHOOD CAN SAVE UP TO $2000 A YEAR

Maybe there's something to be said for one extreme or the other. We live in an open rural environment. For most of the year we can grow our own produce. The land provides sufficient forage for our livestock. We have enough hardwood forest that the deadwood and fallen lightning strike trees provide our essential heating needs for winter. Additionally, if I were of a to, there'd be more than enough deer, turkey, quail, bass, and blue gill to harvest to meet the needs of several families.

I've lived in both environments. Give me the solitude of the country. Certainly it comes to the closest to self-sufficient living. There is no question as to which is the healthiest for quality of life and peace of mind.

COUPLE FINED FOR LETTING LAWN DIE IN MIDST OF DROUGHT

I think this situation will probably resolve itself, probably soon, when all US American lawns without an address in the Hamptons or Boca Raton are plowed up to make room for growing necessary food. (Note to those currently employed spraying chemicals on lawns: start learning to repair garden tillers on the side.) Could be, the 'next big thing' on the US American cultural scene will be the surprising comeback of the Mason jar? Until then, it seems to me California could come a little closer to rationality if the governor's declaration of a statewide drought automatically suspended city mandates to water grass.

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