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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:21 pm    Post subject: Post of the Week Reply with quote

Nominate good quality posts here. Please link or quote the post. Posts should express the author's own opinions, research, or reasoning. Do not nominate your own posts. Try not to nominate someone you are already agreeing with in the thread. Bonus points for you if it's a post you disagree with.

There can be several posts in any given week, but you can only nominate one post every 7 days. Try to nominate different posters week to week, but don't let it stop you from nominating someone who deserves it.

If you agree with someone's nomination, "good post" it. That doesn't count as a nomination from you.

If there's a certain type of posting you want to see more of, or you think demonstrates to others what the Tank is or should be all about, this is the place to reinforce that.

The mod reserves the right to un-nominate posts but seriously doubts that will ever happen. The mod will also try to nominate someone every week. The mod is not sure about saying the thread has to stay on topic but imagines he may prune OT posts from time to time by deleting them. The mod will now stop talking about himself in the third person.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed this post from Cail's excellent thread Good news! Hate crimes aren't really a thing anymore. I disagree with its logic or its conclusions, but I enjoyed the flow of the rhetoric.

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
......

Wayfriend quoted:

Quote:
Hate crimes are committed with the intent not only of sending a message to the targeted victim, but also to the community as a whole.


"Sending a message" is a thought, not an action, so trying to add an extra layer of punishment based on that is punishing a thought or an idea. If that isn't "thought crime", then we need to redefine the phrase "thought crime".

Suppose person A viciously assaults person B and it comes out in the investigation that person B is homosexual. The supporters of person B will claim "charge person A with a hate crime--he committed the assault because he knew person B is homosexual and targeted him specifically because of that" but the supporters of person A will say "our client was completely unaware of person B's sexual preference; the assault resulted because of an argument over something else". At this point, the defense of person B would have to prove that person A personally dislikes homosexuals and targets them for assault. At this point, the investigation becomes a search into person A's personality and trying to punish him for his beliefs--which he may or may not have--rather than his actions. How do you prove that someone hates a particular group? How do you prove that someone is a racist? Is it similar to proving that someone is a witch?

Django Unchained is coming out soon; I plan on watching it at the earliest opportunity. However, let us consider the character of Django for a moment. Freed from slavery, he gets trained to be a bounty hunter and starts going after both slavers and the gang Mr. Waltz's character is after. Slavery was legal in that time and part of the world yet Django will most likely target people for death specifically because of their actions; however, he also personally relishes the idea of gunning down white people and getting paid for it. Doesn't this make Django both a racist and a comitter of hate crimes? Aren't people going to be emotionally supporting that protagonist despite the fact that he is a racist?

Let us also consider another recent Tarantino movie--Inglorious Basterds (he had to misspell it because there is already another movie by that same name only spelled correctly). Isn't Lt. Aldo Raine a bigot for hating Nazis or is he simply an overly-dedicated soldier? For certain he is a committer of war crimes--he and his crew torture the soldiers they capture, mutilate them, and dismember or otherwise violate the corpses of their victims...yet we, the audience, support his actions. Why? Is it because they are Nazis and Nazis deserve whatever they get, no matter how awful? How is that any different than someone who dislikes anyone who appears to be Arab because "they're just towelheads" or someone who dislikes homosexuals because "those gays are ruining families"?

Let me get back to the two main points:
1) couldn't we extraploate any dislike of a particular group into a "hate crime"? "My client was attacked because he is a Republican and the alleged attacker is registered Democrat who has expressed his dislike of 'conservatards' in many online discussion forums." Hate crime--targeted for political beliefs.
2) pick any person at random. We can find some group that person dislikes for one reason or another, thus everyone has the potential to be a committer of "hate" crimes. Apparently all it takes is to identify evidence of that dislike.

No, hate crimes set up unequal prosecutions under the law, which is supposed to treat everyone equitably. Hate crimes statutes must end.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Last summer after the Aurora shooting I mentioned how the unpublicized threat of guns is coming from our own local police forces, which have been militarized since 9/11. A recent story found at Reason.com prompted me to resurrect this on-going but little reported gun violence issue. While we're debating the size of clips and bullets in "assault rifles," our police forces are arming themselves with Predator drones and military assault vehicles. SWAT teams have become so ubiquitous, even the EPA has a SWAT team. But the "no-knock raids" that might actually target you and me are coming from local law enforcement. As I said last summer, "Federal funds are being funneled to local governments for the purpose of turning police into military style forces, even though it is illegal in this country for the military to act as police. So we just arm the police with the military's weapons. Loophole created."

This militarization isn't just for taking out violent criminals. It's largely to enforce the Drug War. But no problem is too small to warrant a SWAT team busting down your door and shooting you. Even people who have too many pets are being shot in their own homes by mini-militaries.

Quote:

Brian Doherty|Jan. 14, 2013 3:30 pm

Yet another terrible tale of militarized police tactics gone wrong as armed agents do a forced raid on a Memphis man and shoot and kill him -- on a search warrant for being a suspected animal hoarder (and, of course, for according to the police raising a gun when the mini army smashed into his home).

But it was all worthwhile, apparently:

"Inside the house we did find a lot of cats, dogs," said MPD Sgt. Karen Rudolph.

"I've been told there were raccoons, possums, chickens," she continued.


Well, that could not go on another minute. And according the WMCT-TV report:

Police say the suspected animal hoarder told neighbors he'd go down fighting in order to protect his collection of pets.

Yep, that's exactly the guy it makes total sense to execute a forced armed raid on, because he has, you think, more animals in his home than the law decides is proper.


Why couldn't this be handled with a fine? Why did it take a SWAT team to take this guy out? Our militarized police forces are out of control, but I guess people won't care until it's their address the cops mistakenly believe is the home of a "dangerous" criminal.




[The rest of this post is from my original post on the issue in last summer's Gun Controll (sic) Legislation thread. I include it here for the sake of completeness, at the beginning of a new topic.]

People probably don't think this is an issue because the cops are ostensibly going after the bad guys, so any means necessary, right? Well, check out this map of bothched SWAT team raids including raids of the innocent, killing non-violent offenders, shooting the family dog, etc. Sometimes they'll break down your door and hold guns to your children's heads simply because you have an open Wifi connection that some creep down the street used to threaten the police. Yep, an IP address is all it takes to have a raid on your house that our military couldn't even do in Afghanistan. Oh, and that's not to mention all the innocent people who have been killed in these SWAT raids.

Quote:
These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

link

Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid

Quote:

The Pima County Sheriff's Department initially claimed (PDF) Guerena fired his weapon at the SWAT team. They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home. After ushering out his wife and son, the police refused to allow paramedics to access Guerena for more than hour, leaving the young father to bleed to death, alone, in his own home.


Innocent man killed in botched drug raid in Mass.

9 Horrifying Botched Police Raids
Quote:

Police are often amped up for a SWAT-style raid, and suspects or innocent people behind the wrong door often believe that they are being attacked.

Sometimes they fire a weapon at cops thinking they are being burglarized. Sometimes the cops fire at them because they see something in their hands. Sometimes the police just make elementary mistakes.

...

Mother watches her door get chainsawed and then gets held at gunpoint in front of her crying daughter. Oops! Wrong Address.


...

Police break a guy's arm and laugh at him. Turns out he isn't a drug dealer.

...

Police looking for a stolen X-Box slam a grandmother into the wall and execute two dogs in front of the kids. No stolen goods.

...

Cops knock. Teenagers open and offer to tie up dog. Police refuse and then shoot it. Arrest one teen. No drugs. No conviction.

...

Embarrassed cops on Thursday cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.


Innocent grandfather killed in botched drug raid

Did you know that just about every government agency now has a SWAT team to enforce non-violent crimes?
Quote:

Among those federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions are the State Department, Department of Education, Department of Energy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, to name just a few. These agencies have secured the services of fully armed agents—often in SWAT team attire—through a typical bureaucratic sleight-of-hand provision allowing for the creation of Offices of Inspectors General (OIG). Each OIG office is supposedly charged with not only auditing their particular agency’s actions but also uncovering possible misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency’s operation. At present, there are 73 such OIG offices in the federal government that, at times, perpetuate a police state aura about them.


The Department of Education has a SWAT team!!!
Why, you ask? Read on:
Quote:

For example, it was heavily armed agents from one such OIG office, working under the auspices of the Department of Education, who forced their way into the home of a California man, handcuffed him, and placed his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a squad car while they conducted a search of his home. This federal SWAT team raid, which is essentially what it was, on the home of Anthony Wright on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, was allegedly intended to ferret out information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who no longer lives with him and who was suspected of financial aid fraud (early news reports characterized the purpose of the raid as being over Michelle’s delinquent student loans). According to Wright, he was awakened at 6 am by the sound of agents battering down his door and, upon descending the stairs, was immediately subdued by police. One neighbor actually witnessed the team of armed agents surround the house and, after forcing entry, they “dragged [Wright] out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.”


While we're debating gun control legislation, we should realize that it will never stop this lop-sided escalation by the enforcement arms of our own governments. The citizens aren't the problem here. The guns aren't the problem. People wanting to curtail our rights while simultaneously looking the other way as the government arms itself against us, is the problem. Police targeting innocent people or non-violent offenders happens much, much more often than the theater massacre we saw last summer or the school shooting.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=924944#924944
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am truly honored and humbled at having been featured twice here so far. I simply write down what I think and phrase it the best way I can.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
I am truly honored and humbled at having been featured twice here so far. I simply write down what I think and phrase it the best way I can.

Trying to say that's simple Razz !
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This post by TheFallen in the Explosions at Boston Marathon thread summed up one of the positions being argued for (at this point in a complex and interesting thread) in a comprehensive and well-written manner.

TheFallen wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
I don't get it ... are we supposed to be fighting terrorists individually, instead of relying on the guvmint? If not ... isn't that kind of comment, about it all plays into the establishments hands, the real bugbear here?


Cail wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
I don't see how your comment addresses TheFallen's comment that the governent wants you to feel like your dependent on the government to be protected from terrorists as some sort of fearmongering for political gain, or my questioning of that.
I'm not The Fallen.

But it's quite clear that the government has a vested interest in controlling people through fear, and that the media is complicit in that end. Look at the false panic over mass shootings when the violent crime rate is the lowest it's ever been.

Similarly, we've been whipped up into worrying about terrorism to the point that we've allowed half of the Bill of Rights to be gutted in the name of fighting terror.


I however *am* TheFallen.

WF, you miss my point. Of course the populace isn't meant to be fighting terrorists individually. That's not within the electorate's reasonable remit, as the electorate naturally knows. National security is one of the many things that an elected government has been mandated by the people to handle on behalf of the electorate. That line of thought is pure common sense.

However, I don't believe that any administration is purely selfless, wholly altruistic and only of the highest ethics and truthfulness. Instead, much like it being in the self-interest of any employee in a company to over-emphasise the critical essentiality of his personal job, administrations are equally keen to hold onto power, control and equally as important, budgets. It's therefore in their best interests to over-emphasise the severity of the problems they're having to deal with - or, if they're screwing up on one key national front (the economy, maybe?) what better way to deflect criticism by over-egging the time- and resource-consuming complexity of another issue that they're allegedly handling on your behalf? if you believe - as I do - that the primary purpose of those in power is to stay in power and that the primary purpose of the establishment is to preserve the establishment, then again this is nothing more than sheer common sense.

The exact same is true of organisations clamouring to maximise government funding for themselves. The military? Absolutely it's in their best interests to maximise the importance of a threat to national security. Can you honestly see the joint chiefs of staff coming out and saying "Actually, there are no real threats out there that are appropriate to such a large standing army, nor are there likely to be for the foreseeable future. Tell you what, why don't you halve the annual defence budget and put the resultant spare spending power towards social care?" I really don't think so. The exact same is true for the intelligence services and several powerful lobbies in the private sector - arms manufacturers, for example.

I've only got figures to hand for 2010, but in that year, the base US defence budget was $534 billion. Another $166 billion was granted that year, specifically to be used for the WoT. Add to that a further c. $250 billion for other defence-related programs, including Veteran Affairs, nuclear arsenal maintenance and Homeland Security. That's some serious money which I can't see those who benefit from it waiving their vested interests in. Gee, if only there wasn't such a massive threat inherent in the WoT, a goodly chunk of that nigh on trillion dollars might have been available to spend elsewhere in that one year alone.

It's therefore blatantly obvious that over-representing the severity of any "threat" that would come under their various remits to manage (or to supply against) would exactly be in the best interests of those tasked to manage it.

Cail's also 100% correct to point out the creeping erosion of the Bill of Rights that's occurred in the name of the "War on Terror" - the notorious Patriot Act, anyone? Clever marketing name, by the way and another political spin doctor's wet dream - we all know what anyone who'd oppose something called "the patriot act" must by default be, right? Plus how the ongoing multiple abuses at Guantanamo can possibly continue to be sanctioned by lack of protest - or cowed acquiescence, if you'd rather - is quite frankly unbelievable in a country that prides itself on being the cradle of liberty.

I'm not making a party political point here, but just highlighting the nature of government. Call me a cynic if you like, but then just cast your mind over the following landmark governmental actions in its WoT over the last 24 months...

So, you've got an elected government that has:-

Conducted an unauthorised military operation against a sovereign nation (Libya).

Authorised an illegal incursion into another sovereign nation to carry out an execution (UBL).

Supplied military aid to "rebel freedom fighters" within another sovereign nation, despite already being aware that the rebels are closely linked with Muslim terrorist factions, which it has consistently already defined as the primary "enemy" (Syria, aka Afghanistan II).

Ordered the targeted killing of at least one US citizen without due process - and killed at least two other US citizens by accident (Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki).

At best factually misled the people with its statements (Benghazi).

Re the latter, the following quote is significant:-

Obama - 18th Oct 2012 wrote:
When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world, immediately a whole bunch of intelligence starts coming in and people try to piece together exactly what happened. And what I have always tried to do is to make sure we just get all the facts, figure out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And we’re still in that process now. But everything we get, every piece of information we get — as we got it — we laid it out for the American people.


You really think? Every piece of info they get? As they got it? Laid out completely openly for the perusal of the American people? Without spin or redaction? Hardly. It's pretty clear - as discussed elsewhere - that top members of the administration conspired to keep the real story behind Benghazi away from the US electorate, frantically attempting to misdirect attention elsewhere to cover up for another security incompetence. Gee, did it occur to anyone that the 11th of September might be a significant date?

That's the issue. Sure the Government wants you to believe that the WoT is an absolutely crucial campaign that you need it to wage on your behalf, for the reasons given above - and all well and good if it manages to scare you about terrorism in the process, because that then not only confirms the threat's existence, but also increases its credibility. But it also absolutely needs you to believe that it's capable of doing that, or else why would you acquiesce? Hence the frankly absurd finger-pointing at the YouTube video to distract away from intelligence failings.

And no, I am not saying that Bush, McCain or Romney would have done anything the slightest differently. I'm just highlighting the nature and the tactics of the beast.

Avatar wrote:
Cail wrote:


And I stand by it. "War" and "terrorism" are not interchangeable.


So what's the difference?


In tactics used, often not much. The difference in theory at least is legitimacy. War is meant to be official, authorised and clearly defined, whereas terrorism is not. In recent practice however, given that the terminology is being deliberately misused, I'd agree that the difference is often hard to spot.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are the previous week's ones posted here on the next, like with the Watchies that are given on the next year? To assess all the options accurately. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

So here is a post I liked much from the previous week, there were a lot, but this one in particular. It is about the validity of different approaches, and I can say that my decision about this post exactly can be viewed in different variably valid ways similarly - it can be said that I've chosen it for the idea, or that it was for the quality of the argumentation, or that it shows that I'm a Trekkie Big Grin

Taken from the Open Discussion - The 'Tank thread http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=23644&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=180

TheFallen wrote:
It's okay... I'm better now.

Hashi, I think there's a third option. It's not just either what someone says, or that they're challenging one's own sociopolitical beliefs - there's also the way in which they say it... the tone of their post, if you like.

Now u (I think - please shoot me down in flames at once if I've misinterpreted this, u) - has correctly identified a prevalent ( but valid) style of debate that is at once both direct, robust and impassioned. He sees this as being more typical of the conservative posters in the Tank. You're absolutely right u, but I think post tone is entirely coincidental to a poster's political leanings. No matter... that tone/style is demonstrably widespread here. Now u, feeling somewhat uneasy with such prevalent impassioned and direct robustness, takes the antithetical tonal/stylistic approach, putting forward his points as dispassionately and as measuredly as he is able. u for the same reasons of unease, I suspect, also tends to confine his points to the conceptual and indirectly hypothetical, rather than go for a direct point by point quotedly evidentiary rebuttal of another poster's argument. For what it's worth, u, you invariably succeed in your tonal goal.

As I said above, I don't think these two very differing methodologies split any more than coincidentally down politically leaning lines. It's far more about personality types - as an hommage to the one or two Trekkies in here, I'll term the two approaches Kirk-ish and Spock-esque, which seems to be appropriate. No prizes for guessing which side of the stylistic/tonal divide I'd fall on...

But here's the point. Both styles are equally valid. The tone's irrelevant both to the quality of the reasoning underpinning any given stated position, and to the strength of the views held on said position. Kirks can happily think and post logically every bit as much as Spocks can believe impassionedly... they'll just express themselves tonally differently.

(I'm going to leave aside the notion that all Kirk-type personalities are invariably fated to be "conservatives" and all Spock-types to be "liberal"... that's getting way too politico-psychological to be of any use.)

Hashi, I completely agree with you on two points you made above. Firstly, trying one's best to see and understand the antithetical viewpoint is both extremely valid and often revelatory - I for one often find myself near-on compelled to play Devil's advocate, but most usually against myself and possibly just for the sheer Hell of it. But when I find it just too unrealistic to be able to project myself into another's shoes, I too long for a substantiated and well-crafted counter to my own personal sociopolitical Weltanschauung - exactly because such a thing is pretty much bound to be both revelatory and mind-broadening for me. That's a thing I'd always welcome with pleasure.

Having said that, if I'm confronted with an antithetical viewpoint that is being expounded with no reasoned substantiation and thus which has no rational basis that I can perceive, I see no harm whatsoever in rejecting it entirely - and expressly, directly and robustly - out of hand - provided of course that I justify such rejection. I'd go further - I think it's almost necessary to do so.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This post by wayfriend. Particularly the
wayfriend wrote:
If the Russian alternative works out, awesome -- I don't want it to happen
- I hope it was obvious enough before as well, but it was good that this was said aloud to erase doubt after such a discussion. Actually, I intended to ask about something more or less in that direction, but wayfriend gave this in his answer before I asked and better than I expected Very Happy

Fetched here http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=23647&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=320

wayfriend wrote:
Effaeldm wrote:
Wayfriend, can you please say what you think on this? Quoted below. I understand there's a lot in this thread to reply to, but I'd really like to hear your opinion. There are a few things that really appear strange to me in this situation and pretty close to the things you said on this - strange not in the "wow, how weird" way, but rather like "I have to look into this and discuss with someone".

Effaeldm wrote:
Wayfriend, four days ago, wrote:
The one thing we can be relatively sure of, although one may not admit it, is that the dark stain of Iraq on the American reputation all but ensures that when we say military action is needed because of WMD, THIS TIME we've done everything possible to be sure we're right. There is no latent resentment against Syria here which is prompting us to manufacture evidence or accept manufactured evidence without due scrutiny. Everyone involved would be quite happy to say it didn't happen and escape this mess.


This makes the part about the not shown eveidence particularly interesting. Observing the different possibilities, it looks rather strange with most of them, though there are a few that could explain everything well, hard to guess at the probabilites though. For one, the evidence was either shown to the Congres or not (maybe not completely or not entirely accurately). If it was, looks like doubt is still present after seeing it. If not, what could be the reason for such a decision... and then if the Congress didn't get it, there is the question if Obama himself actually has the whole and truthful information. Could explain a lot, he appears to act with intent practically nobody else has in this situation, this could be explained by knowing something the others don't (including the Congress), regardless of the fact if that something is truthful or not. This reminds me of a situation in the Independence Day movie where the President starts saying that there's no Area 51, and someone from the military corrects him, that it's not entirely accurate. Interesting... I guess I'll think on this more.

However, also I was curious about a certain question that I'd like to ask you, if you don't mind. To start with, what probability (approximately, a percentage, a "highly probable" or in whatever other form you like) will you give for your assesment in the quote above? An estimation - how probable you find that this time everything was actially done without any significent problem.

The way I see it,

(a) Obama was very reluctant to escalate the issue with Syria, he was almost forced into it, and so it would be very hard to see him acting without conclusive evidence. Saying the evidence is still inconclusive is an easy out that he would clearly take, an opinion reinforced by how eagerly he accepted the easy out of the Russian proposal.

(b) Obama is very aware of the fake Iraq information, and I can't see him making the same mistake. The lessons are there. If the UN comes back in a few weeks and says it wasn't Syria, Obama would be irretrievably diminished, his career would be over. I can't see him gambling away his career away.

(c) the evidence that I have heard so far is that the chemical weapons were delivered by rockets only the Syrian regime had, launched from an area the Syrian regime controlled. It may be possible for the Syrian rebels to acquire new rockets, and decide the best use is to sneak into Syrian territory with them, and launch them back at their own women and children, in the obtuse hope that the world would then unite to oppose Syria -- despite the world's repeated proclamations that it didn't want to be involved -- but I think this falls into the category of "not reasonable" doubt.

(d) I think it unlikely that Obama would be shopping around "conclusive evidence" that wasn't conclusive on the face of it.

Based on this, and based on the fact that children are dying while we dicker around looking for "proof enough", I think that the President is justified deciding a punative strike is warranted. If the Russian alternative works out, awesome -- I don't want it to happen (despite the inuendo above. But I do think Syria needs to be deterred from doing it again.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I nominate this from Cail as the post of the week:
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=963721#963721
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail again for a very sincere and sweet post.
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=966106#966106
Cail wrote:
Zar, I get your argument, but the fact remains that humans aren't monolithic in their beliefs, wants, desires, or needs. Coming from an atheistic background myself, and having struggled with my faith for years, I came to my conclusion(s) based on reason. Now it might not be your reason, but it was reason nonetheless.

I can't explain it to you, and I won't try over the internet. It's too large of a concept to try to type out. Suffice it to say that my beliefs harm no one and they make me feel better. Would they work for you or anyone else? Dunno, and I'd never tell you that you're wrong for not conforming to my beliefs. I look at who I was when I was an atheist. There was an emptiness in me....a longing. I can't really explain it, but it was there. I saw something in a friend of mine that I liked, and I asked him about it. He suggested that I go to church with him, and with nothing to lose, I went. I heard things I liked, and I kept on going.

What my faith has given me is peace. It's not something I would have had without it. It works for me.

That's about all I can say. Someday maybe we'll get together over a couple of cigars and your homebrew and hash it out.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a room, you two.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post of the week from TheFallen
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=967754#967754
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Morning!
http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=974305#974305
Quote:
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parent went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh Big Grin Thanks, or jaya jaya ram or what Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
...But here's the solution. First: identify the problem. It's not 40,000 guys being assholes in the desert. Killing most of them has to be done, but it's not going to stop the global jihad, because that's driven by an ideology. The ideology is strengthened by the propaganda of symbolic victories (e.g. burning a Jordanian pilot, or withstanding the 'mighty' American bombing for months [which is actually a tiny fraction of the kinds of strikes we were doing in previous gulf wars, close to 1/1000th]). This is one reason we have to utterly annihilate them militarily: to take away the appearance that these guys can thumb their noses at the entire world with little consequence, driving 10s of 1000s to swell their ranks.

However, the ideology will live on unless it is defeated as an ideology. People talk about education being the solution, but most terrorists are educated relative to your average Muslim. They are often college educated, in fact. They certainly recognize this as a conflict between modern Western ideals/culture and their own. They know the alternative and they reject it.

How do you defeat an ideology? Well, you can't unless you try, that's for sure, and Progressives have no intention of trying, because of the politically correct pressure to pretend that all ideas/cultures are inherently valuable in themselves. No. They're not. This sounds like I'm slipping back into criticism, but it can't be separated from the solution. Admitting that not all cultures/ideologies are equal is a prerequisite for trying to defeat one with your own. Thus, part of the solution has to come in the form of convincing Dems/Progs to stop apologizing for what we are, to stop pretending we're wrong to have developed the most dominant and successful worldview in all of history. We should embrace our position as the sole superpower and realize that it didn't happen by accident. That doesn't mean we're inherently better as people, but our ideas sure as hell are better.

We have risen to power largely through defeating previous ideologies. That's what the Enlightenment was. So not only do we have an example of how to defeat ideologies in our own history, but we also have the power to defeat ideologies by this very example: i.e. by having the best ideology in history.

The Cold War is another example. Communism couldn't keep up with a capitalist, free, innovative American system. It failed without an overt battle being fought (though there were many 'covert' ones), primarily as the consequence of ideologies battling it out on the world stage for dominance. But correct ideologies aren't just ideas, they actually affect the world. They are like correct explanations: they give you the power to alter reality in a way you couldn't before. We must embrace the ones that work, and not be ashamed of our success.

That means instead of apologizing and equivocating, instead of the disingenuous, "We're all capable of atrocities ... just look at the Crusades," we should have nothing but unequivocal condemnation--not only for the acts of barbarism, but also for the poisonous ideology/religion of the barbarians. Stop worrying about people's feelings, and go ahead and tell them they are wrong and irrational. Even the peaceful ones. Basing a society around religious beliefs--ANY religion--is the road to totalitarianism. We should be embracing secular, humanist, capitalist, democratic, rational, scientific, WESTERN ideology. We won history's contest for the best system. We shouldn't piss away that victory out of guilt.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, that's a good one.
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