Speaking as an American...

Speaking as an American...

Postby RHJunior on Fri Jan 17, 2003 12:45 am

Accusations of a "military dictatorship" are patently false.
A basic familiarity with history would assuage any fears of such. Take a brief tour through the wars America has fought. If anything, each successive military action has been greeted with *more* care being taken to protect American civil rights.... to be blunt, I'm yet to even see a politician kite the suggestion of internment camps for Americans of Mideast descent as were implimented for the Japanese during WWII, Even though more Americans were killed on 9-11 by than were killed on American soil in the entirety of the second world war.
Tell me, do "military dictatorships" have public anti-government protests in the streets? Do they have columnists and bloggers dickering over the issue of war? Do they have flapjawed lackwit celebrities gushing ant-presidential inanities on national television ("The best way to prevent war is not have enemies," Jay-zus KeeRIST, Sheryl Crow....)

Where are the censors, the secret police, the jackbooted soldiers in the street? Nowhere to be found except in the imaginations of the overwrought.
(I find it amusing that those claiming "silencing of dissent" are making their claim at the top of their lungs, through a bullhorn, from their own rooftops... No, my dears, you're still free to voice all the kneejerk "dissent" you wish. It's just that noone in the crowd is *listening* to you anymore, and that's your real beef.)

What are the American government's sins thus far? They've locked up Taliban soldiers and been "mean" to them, they've tried (and failed, ironically) to use computers to track down terrorists, and they've been giving the hairy eyeball to people who spout anti-American rhetoric--- because the last group of anti-american rhetoric ranters smashed jet planes full of people into buildings full of still more people.
Oh, and let's not forget-- they caught a government official *praying* before starting work each day!
Ooh those oppressor thugs! Quick, raise the hammer and sickle over the white house-- or maybe the swastika! Truly-the-end-is-nigh. :P

Allow me to pass on this press release from Lady Liberty to all those at home and abroad: The reports of her demise have been greatly exaggerated.
"What was that popping noise ?"
"A paradigm shifting without a clutch."
--Dilbert
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Postby JimRob on Fri Jan 17, 2003 2:28 am

Quite right.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea: Alex is an independent, fictional character. He's not a mouthpiece for my own views. In fact the phrase 'imaginations of the overwrought' is probably an accurate description of his character. His closing remark is the kind of thing which it is very easy to say, and which I've heard said, by the more reactionary flavour of liberal. I think Sybil's essentially right; America remains a free country, and to protest 'preemptive asylum' from it is an absurdity.

Point two: Alex claims it's 'the way things are going', not 'the way things are'. Hence 'preemptive'. To my mind there is evidence that the American (and British) government is gradually becoming more unfree - dubiously fair elections, an overally decrease in public privacy - but it's happening at too slow a rate to be a real concern. And I'm confident the American public would react fiercely to any curtailment of their liberties. So, yes, I agree. Provided the phrase 'military dictatorship' only refers to domestic affairs. (If we were to start dealing with foreign policy, then my objections would start... but I don't think we are.)

Looking back on the cartoon, I suppose what comic value it has is rather fudged by the two different viewpoint presented simultaneously... but take notice which of them is in the smaller type.
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This message is brought to you by my evil twin, Skppy....

Postby Hortmage on Fri Jan 17, 2003 6:39 pm

Gosh, RH, at ease!!! :roll: IOACS!!!

I mean, I have to agree with most of what you say... we don't have jackboots hanging over the white house, or swastikas marching down the street.

In fact, the US is not run by a military dictatorship at all. It's run by...um, what's the word for "rich, white, nature-raping, cigar-smokin', making-deals-in-the-back-room-while-we-eat-baby-seals-and-screw-the-working-poor" men?

:lol:

Just messin' with you, RH. And, as a true-blue American patriot, you'll defend my right to say that to the death, correct? Or is the only "free" speech the type that's "approved" by the government? :wink:
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Re: This message is brought to you by my evil twin, Skppy...

Postby RHJunior on Fri Jan 17, 2003 7:48 pm

Hortmage wrote:Gosh, RH, at ease!!! :roll: IOACS!!!

Just messin' with you, RH. And, as a true-blue American patriot, you'll defend my right to say that to the death, correct? Or is the only "free" speech the type that's "approved" ....:wink:


Jeez, of course you can say what you want, even if I don't approve. What do you think I am-- a college president?

Hmph. Where were all the free speech types when leftist colleges started establishing all these "speech codes?" Or when mobs of frothing leftists stole and burned the entire run of a school newspaper-- because it printed an ad that opposed the Reparations movement? Or when high school and college administrations actively obstructed conservative speakers-- or when the college "peace and love" flower children screamed obscene epithets at conservative speakers, in an attempt to disrupt their assembly?
Or when leftists e-mail and snailmail death threats to conservative public figures? When flaming homosexual activists rioted on the front steps of a church, pelting the windows with eggs, ripping down the American flag and replacing it with a gay-activist banner, blocking access to the front door, and threatening to burn down the church after everyone left?

Where were those afraid for American liberty when activists with more influence and money than knowledge lobbied for the disarming of the American populace? When social activists cranked the tax rate up higher and higher? When people blithered about how the government needed to wipe everyone's arse, and that the productive working class should pay for the wet-naps? When our borders were turned to swiss cheese by bleeding hearts, and our "leader" bent over and took it up the cornhole from the Chinese in exchange for campaign funds?

Now, when our taxes are finally being lowered again, when our national security is finally back on the table, when self-reliance and autonomy are finally being acknowledged as vital traits of the American conscience, when our leader finally has the brass balls to say that treating people differently based on their color is still unconstitutional no matter which color is getting the favoritism, when more people than ever are openly speaking their mind about our nation's policies--- and it's not all coming from the biased, anointed few on the Left, when we are no longer throwing other people's money at people who want to kill us and instead rendering unto them the ass-beating they so righteously deserve---
Only NOW do the Oppression-is-Nigh fearmongers step forward and begin wailing.

What is happening here? I'll tell you what's happening here-- this is not a loss of freedom, it is a *return* of freedom.

Up until September of 2001, the left wing had free rein and near total monopoly of the public conciousness. Then four planes crashed, two towers crumbled, and the alarm clock finally went off. 250,000,000 people looked around, heard the talking heads *still* trying to piss on America's leg even as they were pulling human remains from the rubble, and said "this is a pile of shit !"

As one sage put it, the potential imminence of violent death sharpens the mind marvelously. What these alarmists witnessed was not the crushing of all opposing viewpoints, not the silencing of dissent, but the vast, silent majority of the American populace, heretofore silently suffering the ongoing rush of leftist sewage, standing up and making their voice heard. The majority of American people *liked* their country, dammit, and they *liked* their freedom and their rights, and by damn they were sick of having to listen to celebrities, "intellectuals", spoiled college snots and foreign dipshits bagging on it.... and they were REAL sick of politicians selling us all down the river for a bagful of international touchy-feely and a handful of votes from gullible, welfare-bribed mush-heads. And furthermore they didn't give a steaming dog turd on a biscuit what the goddamn french or the Useless Nations thought.
And by GOD they told all of them so!

It never sits well with bohemians and closet socialists when the common people tell them they're full of it. And that's precisely what had happened. So, for lack of anything useful to do--- like applying for jobs as speed bumps-- they accused the people who'd quit listening to them of being "sheep," and started squealing that President Bush was out to march everyone into internment camps, that we were all doomed to a totalitarian state in Big Brother, USA...... in other words accusing the Right of what the Left had been trying to accomplish for 30 years with bread and circuses and bureaucratic bloat.

No concentration camps thus far. Though most of the rest of the nation is ready to vote all of Hollywood off the island.....

Angry? Combative? Up in arms? Me? NAaaaaaaah.

Just a little sick of people who don't have a damned clue what oppression *is*, screaming about how we're becoming a police state because the free ride is finally over.
"What was that popping noise ?"
"A paradigm shifting without a clutch."
--Dilbert
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Postby Hortmage on Fri Jan 17, 2003 9:40 pm

My last post on this issue:

Although I lean toward what you call the "liberal leftist movement" (although, sir, by your frothing rant, Charlton Heston and Ronnie Reagan would be comparative flaming liberals), I consider myself a middle-of-the-road person when it comes to (yuck) politics.

I'll actually read a book, or a newspaper, before making a comment. Unlike some very vocal loonies on the left, or on the right.

A couple of your comments were fairly amusing. First off, how old are you? There haven't been any "peace and love flower children" around for quite a few years. And like nice, proper (ie rich and white) conservatives never outshout liberals in a debate?

Boo hoo! Some whackjob e-mails a poorly written and barely literate threat to a conservative? How many conservatives blow up Planned Parenthood clinics? How many conservatives lynched African Americans (and I don't even want to HEAR your non-PC term!) who only wanted the right to vote?

Sure, liberals tax and spend. And conservatives spend and run up deficits. The worst you can say about Slick Willy (Bill Clinton) is that he was a womanizer who lied when he got caught. Under "Dubya", the stock market's crashed, CEOs are walking off with billions, our deficit is through the roof.

You're upset about our politicians catering to...let me scroll up and see how you put it... "gullible, welfare-bribed mush-heads"? Gee, I'm a little peeved about our politicans lining their own pockets with the bribes from a few greedy, selfish, short-sighted oil barrons.

Taking $ from the Chinese was reprehensible. So was using the CIA to buy drugs from the Contras, to buy weapons to give to the Iranians for the hostages of the early 80s.

I'm glad you can disdain the UN and the French and everyone else. Although I should point out to you, we are not the only country on the planet. Conservatives often feel that, since we're the strongest country in the world, we don't have to give a hoot over anyone else's opinion. I'm not saying we should open our borders and hand over the keys to our homes and cars to the world...but giving nearly 5 billion people the collective finger is just a tad arrogant, to my way of thinking. I tend to think our collective arrogance may, just may, be one of the reasons why practically everyone in the world hates our guts (or at best, just tolerate our foibles).

Personally, I have no respect for ANYONE in politics -- left or right, liberal or conservative. They're all crooks or schnooks. Yet, for all their talk about personal freedom and freedom from government interference, who constantly tries to pass laws to turn our Public Schools into Sunday schools? Who's always in the front line to ban books from libraries?

About the only thing that I admire about conservatives is their ability to come up with incredibly graphic and hate-filled names for anyone who doesn't agree with them, or threatens to disturb the status quo. Femi-nazis? Pinko liberals? Welfare-bribed mush-heads?

Your vision of America scares the hell out of me, friend. But I still support your right to say it.

James, feel free to shut this thread down any time you feel like. God Save the Queen! :wink:
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Postby Rabidazell on Fri Jan 17, 2003 9:43 pm

Ah, so you've experienced oppression, then?
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Postby JimRob on Sat Jan 18, 2003 1:40 am

Shut down? Censorship, surely! :) This is far too interesting to shut down.

RHJunior: I've no doubt that the extreme ends of the political spectrum both behave equally badly, but to take the part (however spectacular) for the whole is better polemic than it is argument. As are the kind of easy generalisations you tend to use. I for my part am an "intellectual", a spoiled college snot and (I suppose) a foreign dipshit; can you explain why this invalidates my views? (The latter, I concede, might mean that U.S. domestic policy is none of my business; but, with the U.S. playing the role it does internationally, I'd like to be assured of it.)

Angry? Combative? Up in arms? Me? NAaaaaaaah.

Well, that is the impression you give, I'm afraid.
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 12266 on Sat Jan 18, 2003 7:41 am

I sympathize with the USian libertarian movement, especially the sort that David Brin represents, but articles like those from poster really makes me doubt why I do.

Is it really necessary to demonize the opposition?

Bleh.
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Postby Nslashk on Sun Jan 19, 2003 1:17 pm

I'm going to say something very, very stupid now, but that's what the Internet is for.

No one wise craps on their own doorstep. Likewise, if you want to start kicking boxes around and swinging the chain, you don't do it in your own consituancy with your own voters (who are your bread and butter, ultimately) but in other people's faces on their turf. I maintain America plays the "military dictatorship" card every time it imposes its will on another supposedly independent nation (and this isn't a veiled jibe at America's old foregin policy being the phrase "Apologise for everything Israel ever does" written on the back of cocktail menu - I might be stupid, but I'm not suicidal), I'm talking about funding group A to overthrow political system B (you know, Iran Contra aid or in the most recent [known of] case, the Taliban) or sometimes just flat out assassinating a foreign leader you don't particularly like as in the case of ... oh Hell, we all known Michael Moore does this better, so just go a take thehistory lesson for the 411 on how to take a dump on other people's doorsteps.

If this kind of thing interests you, you might also want to check out the book It's A Free Country.

n/k
And one final point re: 'it can't be a military dictatorship because you can't see any swatstikas hanging up over the White House' well, 1. you guys have a different logo anyway (though the logo is [u]still[/u[ an eagle, IIRC..) and 2. there's a world of difference between something not existing and something not being advertised.

P.S. I've visted America and I think it's a lovely place. I'm no flag burner.
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Postby W.M.Y.L.G. Joe on Sun Jan 19, 2003 7:47 pm

Ah, so you've experienced oppression, then?


*raises hand* As a skateboarder living in the United States, yes, I would honestly say I feel oppressed (if not misunderstood) at times. But then that's off the immediate topic. Sorry 'bout that being outta left field. Just felt like piping up.
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Postby JimRob on Mon Jan 20, 2003 2:10 pm

A possible solution. For those offended by the views expressed in last Friday's strip, I suggest mentally replacing the final panel with this 'moderated' version:

Image

Worryingly, I find this far funnier than the original. Perhaps it's that it struck me afresh, while (though you might not credit it) I was thinking about the original for some time.
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Re: This message is brought to you by my evil twin, Skppy...

Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Mon Jan 20, 2003 8:47 pm

RHJunior wrote:No concentration camps thus far. Though most of the rest of the nation is ready to vote all of Hollywood off the island.....
Indeed; several days ago, I published statistics on fuel consumption for the Gulfstream III business jet. It's about the weight of an SUV. Every hour. I am tempted to trade in my sports car for an SUV, just because. ;)

I was in your fair city this morning, and in fact had dinner last night at the Southern Kitchen. I considered looking you up, but family situations occupied my time.

You and I strongly agree on some issues, and are substantially opposed on others. It's safe to say that our differences on the role of the Enlightenment are Hume-mongous.
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Postby Hortmage on Mon Jan 20, 2003 9:02 pm

JimRob wrote:
Worryingly, I find this far funnier than the original. Perhaps it's that it struck me afresh, while (though you might not credit it) I was thinking about the original for some time.


Meaning no disrespect...but what are you smoking over there?

And can you ship any here??? :lol:

..........

We used to have a guy in my dorm (a couple of decades ago... :roll: ) who was a professional bullsh** artist. He would purposely pick arguments on nearly any outlandish topic, just so he could spark a debate. He would defend his point, regardless of how illogical, to amazing extremes.

One day, I listened to him argue a point with someone vehemently. A couple of hours later, when I came back from class, he was arguing with someone else over the same topic...but from the other point of view!

I once heard a wise man say: "Never wrestle in the mud with a pig. You both end up dirty, and the pig likes it."
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Postby Gloria on Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:52 pm

*looks up at RH all overawed*

Wow...

*tugs on her Devon's trenchcoat*
Someday I wanna be just like that guy!!!

;D

Hehe. Okay, I have nothing to add to this conversation. In fact, this whole FORUM is consistently WAY over my head, so I'm tending to keep out of the way...
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Thu Jan 23, 2003 4:13 pm

Hortmage wrote:Under "Dubya", the stock market's crashed, CEOs are walking off with billions, our deficit is through the roof
It might be useful to review a stock market chart. The first major drop occurred between January and March 2000; the DJIA had been at about 12,000 and was down to around 9,500 just before the elections. Corporate scandals hitting the media have had a deleterious effect, but if you are familiar with the internals of those, there were many instances (such as Enron) of the current administration not being willing to continue to extend the favors of the last one.

Moreover, the media feeding frenzy on corporate actions, as they can make this a big deal on the current president's watch, does not mean that these problems just happened, and have no precedent. They are now just... trendy.

And September 11, and its effect upon the markets and economy, should not fairly be laid at the door of the President. The effect of this on the deficit is large.

Or at least, so it seems to me.
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Postby Hortmage on Thu Jan 23, 2003 5:21 pm

To "level" with you, I agree -- the events of 9/11 should not be laid on the President's head. However, the economy WAS tanking even before hand, I recall.

BTW: I noticed RH hasn't posted lately. Did we scare him off, or was he just trolling for a reaction, and I stepped in it?
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Thu Jan 23, 2003 6:21 pm

Hortmage wrote:To "level" with you, I agree -- the events of 9/11 should not be laid on the President's head. However, the economy WAS tanking even before hand, I recall.
Indeed; about 18 months before. Though to be fair, the dot-com business was an accident waiting to happen, and it incentivized some very bizarre and unsustainable business practices. We are not shut of it even yet.
Hortmage wrote:BTW: I noticed RH hasn't posted lately. Did we scare him off, or was he just trolling for a reaction, and I stepped in it?
That I don't know. Um, I see that he is in another forum, defending the choice of Jerry Thacker to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS. This name looms large in the news
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Postby Nslashk on Sat Jan 25, 2003 8:08 am

Hortmage wrote:We used to have a guy in my dorm (a couple of decades ago... :roll: ) who was a professional bullsh** artist. He would purposely pick arguments on nearly any outlandish topic, just so he could spark a debate. He would defend his point, regardless of how illogical, to amazing extremes.

One day, I listened to him argue a point with someone vehemently. A couple of hours later, when I came back from class, he was arguing with someone else over the same topic...[b]but from the other point of view!


Label me pedantric, but isn't the point to debaters that they don't have a heartfelt reason for backing a particular side of an argument and can switch if required?
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Sat Jan 25, 2003 7:55 pm

nslashk wrote:Label me pedantric, but isn't the point to debaters that they don't have a heartfelt reason for backing a particular side of an argument and can switch if required?
It may be true of some, but it hardly is a requirement for the role.

My own position on many issues is rather moderate, and I do what I can to base this on good quality information. I do not willy-nilly switch positions.

However, I am always adding to my information, and this means that some of my positions may and likely will evolve with time. This tends to be a gradual process, but is not always.

I can remember being highly concerned about the global warming issue, years ago, for example. Subsequently, I read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report, the Kyoto Treaty, and many other related works including Senate testimony by the scientists involved. My view, as a result, has modified to being far more concerned about global warming's effects on world politics than its effects on the planet.

Here's a micro-example of my approach. I read in the media, thirty years ago, that eggs were a killer food because of the high cholesterol content. This intrigued me, so I found and read the actual reaserch that the newspapers were summarizing.

I decided at that point to increase my consumption of eggs; it has averaged in excess of four per day since that time and is often over 6. Plus I enjoy steaks and other foods that the news media describe as "killer foods".

My overall cholesterol level is now in the bottom 5%, and runs between 60 and 80. The last blood test last year was 77, with an extremely favorable ratio of HDL to LDL and triglycerides.

For three decades, I have been amused at the treatment of eggs and the like, and note that only in the last few years is the media starting to get past this.

But what would you like to debate? ;)
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