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  #2161 (permalink)  
Old 20th January, 2014, 03:20 AM
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Anwar al-Awlaki - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Al-Awlaki was an Al-Qaeda commander, inciter, and recruiter with a Yemeni court dead or alive judgement against him and a clear roll in the Fort Hood massacre. The son's death appears to have been accidental, not targeted -- not clear to me whether the people he was hanging with at the time were actually Al-Qaeda or not, different stories from different quarters, but seems as though the group was targeted, not any individual. Sad, but appears a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I'd prefer he hadn't died that way, but to be honest, I'm more concerned over the 38 people murdered out-of-hand last weekend by Talaban and Al-Qaeda terrorists. Of course, that doesn't include the terroristic murders and rapes being achieved in various other locations, nor the many, many, many prior victims. Al-Qaeda, the Talaban, the various militant jihadist affiliates, and also the various Muslim anti-other activists and perpetrators out to injure/disenfranchise the rest of the world are the true 'Great Satan', not the U.S.
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Old 21st January, 2014, 11:52 PM
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Your observations are understandable, I don't know whether one has to be in a war to get an inkling of what it's like. And Viet-Nam was a long, long time ago. I don't think that the knee-jerk of public opinion serves us well, and I'm far out of fashion as pacifists too often are.
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Old 24th January, 2014, 02:10 AM
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It came as a great shock when the Iranian "Mullahood" referred to the US as "The Great Satan." After thirty years or so I've gotten used to the name.
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Old 25th January, 2014, 11:18 PM
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Maybe we have "grown into it?"
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Old 27th January, 2014, 03:32 AM
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We have created Satan! Hey George, how are you this fine winter days?
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I've heard that linux community came up with better implemented security in it's latest Linux Mint Gold version, it's actually preventing the user to log in, thus posing 0 risk in contamining the computer with malware! Well done to the open source community!

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Old 28th January, 2014, 01:26 AM
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I'm hanging in there, Great Satan is optional. How's by you, Chris?
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Old 29th January, 2014, 11:11 PM
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"Lisbon Story" from Wim Wenders rates a 7.2 at IMDb.com. Different and highly recommended.
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Old 31st January, 2014, 11:23 PM
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I had the great good fortune to spend a little time in Lisbon. The film's subtitles don't quite cover all of the dialogue, so a smattering of Portuguese and German come in handy.
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Old 1st February, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloasters View Post
Your observations are understandable, I don't know whether one has to be in a war to get an inkling of what it's like. And Viet-Nam was a long, long time ago. I don't think that the knee-jerk of public opinion serves us well, and I'm far out of fashion as pacifists too often are.
Don't know if you're aware, but following Japan's Hirohito and US MacArthur signing the WWII peace treaty, Japan's Constitution was essentially bestowed it enshrining a pacifist outlook (US guaranteed protection for Japan). When the US shortly after became embroiled in the Korean War, it actually requested Japan rearm, though for defensive purposes.

Japan remained nationalistic (aren't we all?) but turned their focus to technology, not militarism. (Were the average citizens ever militarist? I think not, bushido never served the average citizen, especially not in the severe distortion presented during WWII). However, today, Japan has an increasingly robust self defense force, and although many might frown upon that (including much of the Japanese public who genuinely fear rebirth of the past), the capability of that force is being deliberately groomed. Why? To both north and south there are islands traditionally under the sway of Japan that are being challenged by mainland China. Further, North Korea's saber rattling is being exacerbated by development of long range missiles and nuclear capability.

Pacifism is surely a good thing when practical, but despite its constitutional enshrinement, how practical really is it becoming for Japan? How about South Korea? When faced with conquest of lands, murder, and rape, is pacifism an effective response? Or is it merely an invitation for more of the same?
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Old 3rd February, 2014, 12:11 AM
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Japan's de facto re-armament proceeds, as the US weakens in so many ways it's clear that Japan really has no choice. It's a shame that Abe is such a fascist, but that's my opinion. It looks like China and Japan may be on the road to a new armed conflict. And Japan will have nukes, home grown or not. Sadly, the continuing Depression here at home will probably make some kind of war somewhere an all-American inevitability. The next world war will mark the end of the human race, maybe the next ascendant creature will not love war as well as we do.
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Old 4th February, 2014, 11:14 PM
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Catch-22 a work of genius that fades into history. If only we'd learned its lesson better.
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Old 5th February, 2014, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloasters View Post
Japan's de facto re-armament proceeds, as the US weakens in so many ways it's clear that Japan really has no choice. It's a shame that Abe is such a fascist, but that's my opinion. It looks like China and Japan may be on the road to a new armed conflict. And Japan will have nukes, home grown or not. Sadly, the continuing Depression here at home will probably make some kind of war somewhere an all-American inevitability. The next world war will mark the end of the human race, maybe the next ascendant creature will not love war as well as we do.
True, Japan really has no choice, it's clear the US is financially stressed and its ability to protect Japan is under pressure. However, Obama shares Japan's concerns and a capable fleet has already been moved nearby. The peace, privileges, and rights we enjoy were won through a combination of diplomacy and arms. Refusal to fight for what we value invites loss of all. Our protection against another world war is intelligent diplomatic engagement and the willingness to, if necessary, engage in arms. Idealism is great, but ultimately, if we don't stand for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, we stand for nothing and can expect to be walked over -- it's happened before.


"continuing Depression"? Well, not compared to the 1930's. The current economy is growing (albeit slowly) and the jobless rate is lowering (again slowly), they weren't back then. The Democrats (including Obama) are significantly to thank for what improvements we're seeing, left to the Republicans, there'd likely be none.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...eat_Depression


PS. Japan has its own personal turmoil regarding its self-defense and the appropriateness of re-writing the constitution. Mainland China is devoting at least 10% of its budget towards military development -- how can Japan support anything even approaching that? True, at one time Japan purchased US properties/businesses with their technological profits, but that turned upside down and they've been in financial straits ever since. Japan really does need assistance, the battle of arms requires underlying economic support and that's currently a difficult thing. A further complication is that China is probably the largest holder of US paper. However, as the greatest debt payer, there is leverage against the largest debt holder. Diplomacy being the best response.
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Old 6th February, 2014, 11:08 PM
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Each has his own definition of "standing for." When you stand for war it's undoubtedly easier when you have no experience thereof. What if you wake up while so engaged and learn that you are standing for nothing of benefit to anyone? Once thus bitten it's much more difficult to believe a single word that comes from the mouths of those that claim to lead the rest of us.
What doubt is there that the Republican animals are traitorous creeps with no redeeming feature?
If only it was black and white, right or wrong. I sincerely wish that the Democrats were shining knights of goodness and light. There is no doubt that President Obama has been stymied in nearly all things by the throwbacks in Congress that live in the old South-and have the gall to be proud of it-even if they hale from the North.
These facts do not change the truth. Mr Obama is a DINO. Examine his record carefully.
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Old 8th February, 2014, 03:45 AM
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Not much to say to this. My vision of "standing for" is as I said above "self, family, neighbors", where neighbors include countries with whom we have common beliefs, values, and/or concerns. We are only isolated to the degree to which we isolate ourselves.

"Standing for" war is something that conjures the image of Mongol, Tartar, and probably other marauders (take Rome's experience for example), though given sufficient understanding of their respective motivations, it may well prove less simple. War is not good, perhaps never good, but I don't see throwing up one's hands and accepting whatever comes down a better choice. Is existence as an empty shell better than loss of existence in striving for self and brethren, I'm no expert, but I doubt it. Still, the best stance from which to support a successful negotiation is that of strength, preference being that intelligent negotiation negate the need for exercise of strength, though that result can never be presumed. It would be nice if mankind was naturally a non-aggressive creature, but history doesn't teach this. War is always a possibility, but there is also always a likelihood such a possibility can be managed.

For one who "steers hard left", I can understand how pretty much any politician can be seen as the enemy, let alone a US President. I've been watching Obama for some years now and continue to watch. I acknowledge the banks that were deemed too large to fail are now even more so, and I acknowledge the TPP is a genuine concern, likewise the TTIP. Given the snapshot nature of the negotiation leaks, the objections raised from the partners, and the lack of clarity on what Obama's intent truly is, I can only say it appears Fast Track won't happen and that will probably result in the death of TTP via amendment. I suspect this whole thing comes down to the machinations of the power brokers and it's not clear just how much power they have, but the Roberts "Citizens United" decision is doing an amazingly good job of depth charging the Democracy we supposedly enjoy.

Corporate wealth is working hard to govern this country and I don't see how Obama can effectively fight that. Ultimately, he has to shoot for whatever he feels he can accomplish (sadly, perhaps limited to Executive Directive), giving up whatever he seemingly can't in hope of future correction by others. He had high hopes, but the degree to which he has been sabotaged is truly overwhelming -- unique in the history of this country. And the especially sad thing is the sabotage wouldn't have been possible but for the choices of the electorate. The 2010 election was all about the Republican electorate. Can we expect the same for 2014? There's a very real possibility that both House and Senate could be in Republican hands come 2014. 'Course, that's just Federal Government, what about State Govt's -- 2010 was a banner year, how about 2014? Still, take good cheer, whatever gov't and laws this country ends up with, they'll be the choice of the electorate (at least, the part that both chose to and was able to vote)!
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  #2175 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2014, 11:52 PM
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I don't think that the electorate's wishes mean much at all. A huge majority of Americans wants Social Security to be strong yet nearly all concerned in government land pay no heed whatsoever to the wishes of the people. I'm saddened that my state's senior Senator actually deigned to reach a budget deal with Paul Ryan. Please.
The so-called Farm Bill stole food out of the mouths of millions of the nation's poor while rewarding the rich. They need no reward. And President Obama signed the thing. Shameful.
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Old 11th February, 2014, 12:20 AM
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The electorate's wishes mean much (at least in terms of who gets elected). The electorate consists of those that vote their choices, and the majority (subject to gerrymandering and the electoral college) have their choice ratified. Whoever is unable or chooses not to vote is disconnected from the electorate -- i.e. to not vote is to be marginalized. It's clear Republicans are trying their best to limit the electorate as far as practical to the relatively established.

I despise Tom Cantor (who despises Eric Holder) and Paul Ryan (he of the silver spoon and Ayn Rand) and I also strongly dislike John McCain and Lindsey Graham (who did their level best to destroy Susan Rice), but they surely appear more intelligent than most of their brethren (especially complete idiots like the self-aggrandized Tea-Party adored Ted Cruise). However, the US government was very deliberately designed to function via negotiation and compromise. That mechanism has largely worked for well over two hundred years, and without it there would ultimately be anarchy or dictatorship/monarchy. Compromises reached between Democrats and Republicans that are ratified by both are the best we can realistically hope for.

Without mechanisms to fund SNAP, there is no SNAP. The farm bill is historically fundamental to SNAP funding, the bill being a compromise between desires to buttress farmers and desires to help the disadvantaged. There's little question the House of Representatives has become a huge political weapon for Republican disablement of Democratic preferences. Add to that the Roberts' Supreme Court "Citizens United" decision (thanks Dubya) to enable Corporate financing of Republican elections. Is there still room for Democracy? Only if fought for! Obama signed for the relative welfare of the small farmer and SNAP, better than turning his back on both (fully recognizing the primary beneficiary is the large farmer that doesn't even need to plow his/her fields in order to substantially benefit). It's up to the electorate and resulting senators/representatives to provide him with better alternatives. He is not to blame for the poor choices he's provided!

There's a long term myth the US President has the power to change this country. This is not only untrue today, but has always been untrue. The primary power of the Presidency is the possibility of inspiring/mobilizing others to support an initiative he/she strongly favors. Unfortunately, this is only a possibility if his/her opponents can either sign on to associated political advantages, or accept non-personal/political aspects of proposed policies. The Republican party and supporters have made it entirely clear they collectively reject Obama as president (likewise his presidency.) This is an entirely new situation for this country, and is largely proving to undo the fundamental expectation for how this government should work. Shortly following the 2008 presidential election, the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell declared his top Senate priority was to deny Obama a second term, amply demonstrating this rejection! Surely the US Senate should have higher priorities than vendetta? The welfare of the US people and country perhaps?
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Last edited by TrevorS; 11th February, 2014 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 12th February, 2014, 12:58 AM
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The politicians that need to be elected use private big money to do so. This is true on "both sides" of the aisle. Once in office said politicians listen to their financial supporter's whims and will. The obviously care not one whit for the wishes of the "little people." Except on the surface during election season.
Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I seriously doubt it. The politicians on the Hill that heed the wishes of the small citizens can be named on one hand. Against the rest of the venal animals they stand no chance, yet knowing that ONE of the 500 plus is decent and honest keeps many folks from performing drastic and foolish actions against the evil bahstages that hold the rest of us hostage.
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Old 12th February, 2014, 09:19 PM
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Without some deep pockets and financial campaign gifts from the populace, the Democrats would have little chance against the current Robert's released Republican corporate machine. Couple that with the super short term memory and comprehension of the electorate, and it's a tough election landscape, but all that's necessary to prove you wrong is to review the votes taken in both house and senate for the last five years (and at least some years before that) -- I'm not going to review them here, you already know them. You're welcome to be hopelessly jaundiced towards all politicians, but since I as strongly disagree with that as you support it, I see no point in furthering the topic. As you already pointed out, you "steer hard left", and as such there's no room in your ideology for contrarian thinking.
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Old 12th February, 2014, 11:37 PM
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Are all deep pockets evil? No, but the exceptions prove the rule.
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Old 21st February, 2014, 12:07 AM
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When one understands that one does not live in a Democracy it makes comprehending the rest of the horror to come easier. If one doesn't "grok" this simple truth then one is living in the dark.
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