This is your President

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth_SnowDog, May 10, 2002.

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  1. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Bush isn't that great, and was never that great. We needed a leader after September 11 and he did a fine job, but that's pretty much it. His foreign policy is in trouble because Bush never expected to be this involved in world-wide affairs.

    Also, as for the church, you want them to get all this money and aid so they can help with poverty relief, fine,, but then tax them and give them the SAME restrictions as any other organizations. It's wrong and immoral for the church to want to have it both ways in America. Either they operate as a church under their laws and they stay away from the government and it's money and power, or they commit themselves formally and pay their own way and adhere to the same rules and restrictions as any other organization.

    It's not that the government discriminates against them it's that church's ALREADY have so many exemptions and special conditions, they can't just get a free ride cause they believe in some mythical god.
  2. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    StarFire...

    It says "Congress shall make no law..." not "There shall be no policy..."


    Since executive power stems from legislation, First Amendment restrictions apply to its exercise as well.

    Most of those barriers are worthless, and harmful. They're used to discriminate against religion, which is not what seperation of church and state is about (not that it's about anything at all . . . its origin is so laughably misrepresented).


    Its origin was with a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, who I dare say had a more informed perspective on the intent behind the American constitution than you possess. Perhaps you'd like to give an example of the Wall being "harmful" or "worthless". For that matter, perhaps you could cite an instance in which religion is "discriminated against". Government is required to be neutral towards religion and not give preference to one religious view. Freedom of religion does not mean "freedom to impose my religion on someone else, using their tax dollars".

    The civil rights groups complain about gender equality.


    I would rather have thought they were complaining about gender inequality.

    AYBABTU...

    faith-based initiatives -- Oh the horror! We're trying to feed the homeless! Ahhh!


    I do consider forcing religion on the homeless while purporting to aid them to be an instigator of justified horror, yes.

    Religious charities which use federal money to sell their religious beliefs shouldn't be getting federal money. That's obvious. But there's no other reason to allow undue government discrimination (ie, refusing funds to faith-based charities).


    Faith-based charities by definition use their money to promote religion. Just like an atheism-based charity would by definition use its money to promote atheism. Church/state separation prevents public funding of either. The only charities that should be funded are those that are religiously neutral.

    StarFire...

    And to put everything into much-needed perspective: "Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain


    Hmmmm...perhaps a slightly ironic quote, since Twain was an atheist.

    Jediflyer...

    He supports the display of the Ten Commandments in schools and public parks.


    Does he? Everything I've seen indicates the opposite.

    He supports state exclusion of religion...


    State neutrality towards religion. A pluralist state that does not use tax dollars to support one particular religious view.
  3. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    they can't just get a free ride cause they believe in some mythical god.

    Mythical to you perhaps, but not mythical to everyone.
  4. Cailina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    The Education Department said it is seeking comment on[...]what opportunities should exist to ensure equal opportunity for both sexes -- from the article

    Hmmm sounds like they are trying to establish how to make them seperate but equal. Hey that sounds familiar...in fact so does the idea that Seperate is inherently unequal, Brown vs Board of Education, Topeka overruling Plessy v Ferguson's "Seperate but equal" clause.
  5. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    "Jediflyer...


    He supports the display of the Ten Commandments in schools and public parks.


    Does he? Everything I've seen indicates the opposite."

    Darth_SnowDog said about Bush

    "allowed his administration to violate Americans' first amendment rights by using taxpayer dollars to cover works of art on government facility grounds"

    According to this logic, the Ten Commandments, the Nativity, etc could also be considered works of art. Art an expression of what the artist sees as reality. Now, the matter is wether free speech is allowed on government grounds. Darth_SnowDog seems to support this by saying that the Bush administration shouldn't have covered those nude statues. If he truly believes this, than he should also be against the government (courts and whatnot) eliminating artistic displays of religion on public grounds.

    Does the governmetn endorse something that is displayed on its grounds? This seems to be the fundamental question. If it does, than it should have neither nude statues or the Ten Commandments. If it doesn't endorse it, however, than religious art should also be dispayed on public grounds.

    P.S. I regret being so hard on Darth_SnowDog. I was only trying to imitate his post as close as possible.
  6. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Darkside_Spirit: Since executive power stems from legislation, First Amendment restrictions apply to its exercise as well.

    The entire point is moot. Government censorship of government property is hardly a violation of the first amendment.

    Its origin was with a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, who I dare say had a more informed perspective on the intent behind the American constitution than you possess.

    And I dare say you've never read that letter, and don't understand the context in which it was written.

    Government is required to be neutral towards religion and not give preference to one religious view. Freedom of religion does not mean "freedom to impose my religion on someone else, using their tax dollars".

    Ahh. Classic misdirection. Your attempt to label government funds given to religious organizations for purposes of charity as an approval of that religion, or even an underhand attempt by the powers that be to further that religion, doesn't follow a logical path. Bad command or file name, dude. Bad command or file name.

    I do consider forcing religion on the homeless while purporting to aid them to be an instigator of justified horror, yes.

    See the above two arguments for examples of the classical logical fallacy known as "straw man". Shame on you.

    Faith-based charities by definition use their money to promote religion. Just like an atheism-based charity would by definition use its money to promote atheism.

    You so need to fire your dictionary.

    Interesting fact of the day: A female dude is not, as you would guess, called a dudette. The correct form would be 'dudine.'
  7. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    If the government wants to help the poor, give more aid to the poor. Give more money to different charity organizations.

    If the church wants to get money from the government, they MUST ABIDE by the laws of the government. That means that they can't force their religous views on anyone they help and that they can't discriminate against gays or people of other religions in hiring practices. Since they don't want to do that, they can raise their own money to help the poor, and the government can help the poor directly. I don't see how this faith-based stuff is really the answer to anything anyway.
  8. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    'The government' is not a solution to anything. It's been shown time and again that when the government gets money, they spend it--but a fraction of the original amount survives because of the beauracracy.
    I have no problem with religious organizations having to comply with government standards if they get federal funding, but, frankly, I do have a problem with federal funding of charity.

    If $20 million makes it to the charities, you can bet that at least an equivalent amount was spent trying to distribute it. That's ludicrous. Charities--though not necessarily charities of national scope--would see more money if the government let off on taxes. People would have a bit more to spend. It's been shown that more affluent neighborhoods are nicer, because people don't want to live in dumps. If they have the resources to help it, they help it.
    More importantly than that, a lot less money would be wasted on paperwork and bloated agencies, because the charities would generally be more local in scope (people do have a tendency to care more about things closer to them, after all). Localized charities are also MUCH more capable of analyzing how money should be used, and who should really get it.
    The net result? A much more efficient use of money, in which EVERYBODY benefits.

    Throwing money at the government has never worked before, and it seems that the more they get the more they want. Why feed the beast?
  9. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Allowing people to come and display their works of art on public grounds is one thing... but to spend taxpayers dollars to specifically purchase, display and maintain religious publications or dogma, is not art... nor is it Constitutional.

    The government can establish a public ground where people can post their art, religiously-influenced or not, sure... but that is a far cry different from spending your and my dollars to promote an idea that emanates from the desire to force nationwide adherence to one group's beliefs. If we should promote marriage as a means of reducing public burden, why not just start advertising that we should bulldoze all trailer parks and small towns as a means of promoting a higher standard of living? How is that so different from convincing one ethnic group that wiping out another is better for the economy?

    Also, thanks Cailina for pointing out the history of school segregation. Maybe we should segregate in the workplace, too... just because men and women could "concentrate better" on their work if we didn't have these distractions around us. Maybe we should not let Mexicans into white collar jobs because they're different from us, and statistically it's probable that a bunch of white guys in a meeting room think more alike than if it were a diverse mix. After all, don't companies and governments move forward when everyone thinks more alike?

    Mental gridlock and the inability to learn to take advantage of what diversity has to offer are the enemy of social progress. In psychology and industrial relations management, this phenomenon is called "groupthink". The more we try to segregate and homogenize places of learning, places of work, places of government... the more in trouble we are... because we then have nothing to challenge us when everyone in the room is pressured to all think alike, feel alike, look alike and pray alike.

    If you think that homogeneity is better than diversity of thought, of color, of race, of gender, of belief... study history... particularly Germany, 1933-1944.

    Perhaps I don't take the Constitution for granted because, as an immigrant, I've had to earn my citizenship by studying and understanding very clearly the role of our democratic republic. While I am not satisfied with a republic form of government, I will continue to support the responsibility of the American Citizen to be a vocal role in government.

    The entire point is moot. Government censorship of government property is hardly a violation of the first amendment.

    Ah, but government property belongs to the people... by the very definition of the tenets of the democracy.

    Just as a fundamentalist Christian would go tell me "Son, read your Ten Commandments" to get a perspective on what my "moral compass" should be... my response to the Fundamentalist Christian "Art Fascists", who have been supported in recent times by both Democrats and Republicans, is to go read your Constitution, son.

    Be careful about whose freedoms you try to stifle... someday it might be someone else taking away your freedoms which you have taken for granted. I think the problem is that it's been a long time since Christian conservatives have truly understood what it means to be persecuted for your beliefs. The last Christian who really, truly understood that was nailed to a cross for what he believed.
  10. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    If we should promote marriage as a means of reducing public burden, why not just start advertising that we should bulldoze all trailer parks and small towns as a means of promoting a higher standard of living? How is that so different from convincing one ethnic group that wiping out another is better for the economy?

    Equivocating the Bush administration's support of marriage with genocide is really kinda, ummmmm . . . twisted? Yeah, that's the word.
    Look, advocating--but NOT enforcing--an institution which Bush believes will lead to greater prosperity and happiness is a gooood thing. I mean, is he supposed to do the opposite? Or is he supposed to do nothing at all as the President of the United States of America, because it might anger someone or (in this case) help someone(God forbid!)?

    Maybe we should segregate in the workplace, too... just because men and women could "concentrate better" on their work if we didn't have these distractions around us.

    When you're brainwashing--errrr, that is educating--the young minds of our fine country, you don't need raging hormones interfering.
    In a classroom, the ultimate purpose is to pass knowledge on to the students. If single-sex classrooms--and keep in mind that NO students are denied an education--aid in this endeavor, what's the problem?
    The government discriminates, but it doesn't discriminate AGAINST (i.e., deny) either sex. The argument you're using against single-sex classrooms could just as easily be used as an argument against seperate bathrooms for men and women. I mean, aren't they just the the most sexist thing since sliced bread?!

    Mental gridlock and the inability to learn to take advantage of what diversity has to offer are the enemy of social progress.

    A classroom is hardly the scope of anybody's social experience, and you can hardly assume that single-sex classrooms somehow pressure people "to all think alike, feel alike, look alike and pray alike". Just because some guy took a history class without some hot chick ( :D) sitting in front of him doesn't mean he's somehow disadvantaged.

    Perhaps I don't take the Constitution for granted because, as an immigrant, I've had to earn my citizenship by studying and understanding very clearly the role of our democratic republic.

    Hey, I did too! We should start a club! ;)

    Be careful about whose freedoms you try to stifle... someday it might be someone else taking away your freedoms which you have taken for granted.

    Amen. [face_plain]

    I think the problem is that it's been a long time since Christian conservatives have truly understood what it means to be persecuted for your beliefs. The last Christian who really, truly understood that was nailed to a cross for what he believed.

    Weeeeeell . . . some would argue . . . but I won't, because I know what you mean.

    But again I'm seeing a distortion. You begin by talking about freedom, and end up blaming conservative Christians out of the blue.
    Who do you REALLY have a problem with?

    Happy Mother's Day!
  11. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Darth_SnowDog- Perhaps I don't take the Constitution for granted because, as an immigrant, I've had to earn my citizenship by studying and understanding very clearly the role of our democratic republic. While I am not satisfied with a republic form of government, I will continue to support the responsibility of the American Citizen to be a vocal role in government.

    If you are not satisfied with the governmental system of the United States, what would you prefer?

    I think the problem is that it's been a long time since Christian conservatives have truly understood what it means to be persecuted for your beliefs. The last Christian who really, truly understood that was nailed to a cross for what he believed.

    If you hate Christians so intensely, why would you put yourself through the ordeal of immigrating to a country whose population is 75% Christian?

    Both sides of my family immigrated here from Europe in the first half of the 20th century, and I can tell you firsthand that my grandparents did not have the same attitude you do. They came to work hard and raise their families, and while they may have found it difficult at first to adjust to the culture, and on occasion even suffered insult because they were not born here, they viewed being allowed to come here as a privelege, not a right. Coming from the depressed economies and poor conditions they left (my grandfather was driven from his birthplace in Slovenia by the Nazis and escaped from a German prison camp before coming to America), they were grateful for the simple opportunity to be here, and to earn an honest living. They accepted that it was they who had to adjust, and they most certainly did not go around lecturing those whose were already here about how American society should be altered to suit their tastes.

    Perhaps you feel no such impulse to be grateful, but if nothing else, if you hate both the American system and the people who live here, you might want to consider that you made the wrong choice for your own personal happiness in moving here. This is not to suggest in any way that as a citizen, you do not have the full rights and priveleges that any other American citizen has, but perhaps your sense of proportion is not realistic. The country, as you realize, is a democratic republic, and you, like me are one of 250 million citizens. Therefore, both you and I have 1/250,000,000th of a right to demand that America be exactly the way we'd personally like it to.
  12. Cailina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    If you hate Christians so intensely, why would you put yourself through the ordeal of immigrating to a country whose population is 75% Christian?

    That seems high. PPOR.

    The Education Department said it is seeking comment on[...]whether some types of classes should not be permitted to be single-sex. -- from the article

    I should hope there is no way some classes would be single-sex considering that several of my classes wouldn't be allowed to run if they were single-sex. They only have one class as it is and they are very small classes.

  13. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Equivocating the Bush administration's support of marriage with genocide is really kinda, ummmmm . . . twisted? Yeah, that's the word.

    No, not really... it's just the flipside of the idea of government promoting "what's best for the people"... maybe ethnic cleansing is an undesirable flipside to you, but so is the idea of promoting marriage when what we really ought to be promoting is better education.

    Uneducated married couples are still uneducated. Being married doesn't solve one's problems in the same way that killing people in trailer parks doesn't eliminate poverty and/or ignorance at it's source. That was my point.

    The argument you're using against single-sex classrooms could just as easily be used as an argument against seperate bathrooms for men and women. I mean, aren't they just the the most sexist thing since sliced bread?!

    And what precisely is so harmful about unisex bathrooms with privacy stalls? Are we really that afraid of what we already know is underneath our clothes so much so that we need to go into a little room, and then go into another little room within that little room... just to release bodily fluids... something we know every mammal on the planet has to do every now and then?

    A classroom is hardly the scope of anybody's social experience, and you can hardly assume that single-sex classrooms somehow pressure people "to all think alike, feel alike, look alike and pray alike". Just because some guy took a history class without some hot chick sitting in front of him doesn't mean he's somehow disadvantaged.

    Not only do I find the anti-joke sarcasm of your "hot chick" comment to be incredibly stereotypical in terms of the average American response to the "ludicrous notion" of sexual equality, but neither humorous nor sensitive to the issue at hand.

    Objectifying females as something only to "look at" only helps to further my point that we have our mental barriers of perception that tell us that hispanics, blacks and women have absolutely nothing to contribute in a classrom beyond the superficial.

    Who do you REALLY have a problem with?

    Anyone who stands in the way of the pursuit of knowledge and truth... this includes people who believe that homogeneity is the key to progress, despite the lessons which history has taught us.

    AJA: If you are not satisfied with the governmental system of the United States, what would you prefer?

    I'm insulted by the direction you're going toward here... Here you appear to attempt to play the ethnicity card in an effort to negate any notion that you can also suffer from nationalism and ethnocentrism. I find this as disturbing as a black man who plays the color of his skin as a means to excuse himself from the potential for racism.

    Were you an immigrant? Do you have any idea "firsthand" what immigrants go through? Were you a minority immigrant i.e. non-european?

    I get the feeling that both you and StarFire are essentially trying to put a new spin on the old "Why don't you go back where you came from?" slur that I've heard all too many times from descendants of european immigrants who have no idea of what their ancestors left behind, and little appreciation for the system which protects their freedoms.

    This is my country as much as it is anyone elses... and I am well aware of how little, and how much, my vote counts. Telling me that my vote only counts 1/250 millionth (and in truth, it's closer to 300 million, now... but you should know that, you're a citizen, too.) isn't any different than telling me I'm insignificant.

    Do you think I'm interested in having our politicians cater exclusively to my whims or have you been listening to a word I've said? Democratic process means my vote counts as much or as little as anyone else's... it means that we have to constantly police our government, and not let it step on us.

    I can't begin to tell you in this thread what my response to your veiled "Get back on the boat" response would be. I can't utter those words here... but I woul
  14. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Snowdog, I admire your convictions and I agree with just about everything you said. I am the son of immigrants and I wasn't born in this country either, but as a citizen I feel I have the right to bitch about anything and everything.

    AJA, Snowdog doesn't hate Christians. I don't hate Christians. Just about every friend I have is either catholic or some kind of Christian. Luckily, even though many of them are conservative, few identify themselves with the ideals of Christian right. In fact, only on this board have I met conservative religious folks that think Rev. Fallwell is a straight up good guy.

    As you can tell I don't really have a point here. But one of my best friends is a devout Catholic, yet one of the most liberal guys I know. He must go to Church with people who are like Rev. Camden, a TRUE democrat and religous leader, (albeit fictional...:-()
  15. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    "I wouldn't define the "bad guys" as those who strike first; if we'd gone to war on Hitler before Pearl Harbor, would we have been the bad guys then?"


    I agree with you on that point, Darth. One might wonder why the US took as long as it did to oppose a regime as criminal as that of the Nazis. As a Briton myself, I don't want you to think that I'm having a bash at Uncle Sam for this - I feel disgusted at the knowledge that the British government handed them Czechoslovakia 3 years earlier.

    Human Rights abuses had been going on for a long time by 1941 at the hands of the Nazis, and yet a blind eye was turned by most of the civilised world. This is I feel relevant to the question of the modern day, because similar abuses still go on today in countries that get away with it - China(which executes more people than the rest of the world combined), Russia(which has done nothing to look into allegations of war crimes in Chechnya), and Rwanda(the suspect election of Mugabe is just the latest in a tale of obscene behaviour here).

    The thing is that the nations listed above are among those who have readily signed up to join the UN's committee on Human Rights, and now that the abusive nations seem to outnumber those that actually want investigation, the committee has become more of a club dedicated to preserving its members' self interests(a sort of 'I'll turn a blind eye to your actions if you do the same for me' attitude), and this is why former President of the Republic of Ireland Mary Robinson chose not to stand for re-election as High Commisioner of the organisation, because she felt it had become powerless to enforce the rule of law. She steps down in 6 months time.

    But how, you may ask, is this in any way relevant to George Bush and the US Government? Well, the US has since September the 11th made less and less of a fuss about Russian, Chinese and Rwandan behaviour, and grown disinterested in pursuing action against them for their activities. Furthermore, the US has officially expressed little regret to see Ms. Robinson(someone formerly held in such high esteem) quitting the job. However, unnofficially, the US Government seems very pleased about her departure because she had begun to voice criticism over the nation's handling of the war in Afghanistan.

    The issue of the use of cluster bombs started it I believe, but more importantly, she has expressed concern over treatment of Taliban prisoners, whose protection under the Geneva convention George Bush is seen to have little desire to uphold.

    Now, Bush uses the term 'War' to describe the activities taking place, but if it is a war, so runs the argument of people such as Robinson, America must honour the treaty to which it is a signatory, which guarantees the rights of prisoners of War. On the other hand, the conterveilling argument suggests that it's action against Terrorism. If this is the case, it brings into question the legal issue of whether nations such as the US(and indeed Britain) have any right being in Afghanistan at all if no official declaration of war is in effect.

    Now I would not suggest for one second that bin Laden and his followers should not be brought to account for their actions - they should. And it is right that Western, democratic nations take action against him(and I also feel angry about the absurd suggestion that this is a war against Islam), but unless a War is officially ratified by a declaration, Afghanistan lies outside of the jurisdiction of the US. Let us not forget that Hitler himself used precisely the same excuse to invade Poland(an invasion launched in response to Terror attacks against Germans). The fact that Hitler was fabricating the evidence cuts a different complexion on it I confess, but no attempt to disprove his claims was made by any civilised nation before responding with a declaration of war against him. This may seem utterly irrelevent on the face of it, but consider that the burden of proof lies with he or she who wishes to prove guilt. Just as surely as we all here may believe bin Lade
  16. Dathka Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 1
    "No, not really... it's just the flipside of the idea of government promoting "what's best for the people"..."

    My fallacious argument detector is spinning off the scale :). Promoting policies which will benefit everyone (or even a specific portion of the people) is TOTALLY different from promoting the general welfare AT THE EXPENSE of a certain portion of the population. You're equating Democracy and Fascism and that was a very sneaky and underhanded attempt to push your point through.

    "we really ought to be promoting is better education"

    Does this preclude promoting other things which could be helpful? Every politician since FDR has been trying to promote better education and it still remains a very hot voting topic. We are trying to promote better education, but along the path why can't we try to find additional ways to bring prosperity to everyone?

    "Uneducated married couples are still uneducated."

    Yea, but the stats clearly shows that two uneducated married people tend to do better then two uneducated single people. Being married brings much stability as well as much demand. This is a great recipe for success.

    "Not only do I find the anti-joke sarcasm of your "hot chick" comment to be incredibly stereotypical in terms of the average American response to the "ludicrous notion" of sexual equality, but neither humorous nor sensitive to the issue at hand."

    Whoa!! You mean sexual equality will stop me from being distracted by beautiful women?? Take that stuff somewhere else!!! Such distractions make my hour long commute to work much easier! How do the PC countries survive??

    StarFire: "Who do you REALLY have a problem with?"
    "Anyone who stands in the way of the pursuit of knowledge and truth"

    *Drum roll*
    Translation: Anyone who hasn't discarded the shackles of religion and tradition.
    Come on. Millions of people are trying to find God! Wouldn't you call that a pursuit of knowledge and truth?
    My point is that progress is measured differently by different people. Who's going to judge what's really progress and what's not? You??


    "Were you an immigrant? Do you have any idea "firsthand" what immigrants go through? Were you a minority immigrant i.e. non-european?"

    Actually I am an immigrant. Sadly I have NO idea what you were talking about as I didn't get beaten up or spit on while immigrating. But then again I was a seven-year-old European so maybe they save the torture for older people from non western countries.


    "I get the feeling that both you and StarFire are essentially trying to put a new spin on the old "Why don't you go back where you came from?" slur that I've heard all too many times"

    Now really, don't take offense. Why not?
    This is NOT a slur or anything like that. But it would be incredibly interesting to hear why you believe this country is superior to your country of origin.


    "If you're encouraging me to get back on the boat just because I believe nothing's perfect and the system can still improve, I'll tell you to go to hell."

    Okay, maybe we're getting to some culture clash here or something but generally when you try to teach an old dog (or system) new tricks you don't yell at it every chance you get. You take an active role and give it a bone or something everytime it sits and praise it. A drop of honey catches more flies then a bucket full of gall.

    I found your earlier comment very revealing: "I will continue to support the responsibility of the American Citizen to be a vocal role in government"

    I've never heard it phrased that way. I have always believed in a very active role in government but having a very vocal voice in government is new to me. I've seen very vocal participants in government... but I usually don't get a good look as the riot police usually drag them away pretty soon ;). Okay! Okay! Calm down! Lame joke :).
    But really, what does a very vocal participant in government do? If they believe they can make things better by just being vocal I have big news for them. A
  17. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Sure, and personally I try and do that too. I am a college student (well, pretty much a graduate) and since my parent's are old-fashioned in believing that parents should fully support their kids through education, (which I thank god that they can,) I don't have to work. So I devoted my senior year to fundraising for charity, and I helped raise almost half a million. I try to volunteer regularly, and I worked for my congressman for FREE, meaning I got no credit or anything. But even if I didn't do anything, I still feel as if I have the right to bitch cause sometimes if you bitch enough and loud enough, people will listen. I suppose bitch does have a more negative connotation then.
  18. Dathka Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 1
    Thraxwhirl, I agree with you in some points and disagree on others. But all-in-all I would just like to share my perspective as an American. It's not going to be very good as I'm usually only good at rhetoric and not at essays but here goes.

    The US largely ignores the rest of the world and usually goes around its business without much thought as to the other countries.
    I understand how this attitude has offended several other countries but the fact is that if everyone spent a little more time minding their own business the world would be a much happier place.
    The reason most people don't have great experiences with Americans is because whenever we have to leave our homeland to go fix somebody elses problem we get pissed and remain pissed until it's over.
    We're pissed that the Europeans can't handle their own wars, we're pissed that Africans just HAVE to kill each other no matter what we do, we're pissed that the Middle East can't just live in peace. So after all that aggravation the unofficial american policy is: "If you make us come out there..." (those are threatening dots in case there was some confusion ;))

    The problem with declaring war is that for America we either turn it 'on' or 'off'. If American had declared war on Afgahnistan I don't expect much would have been left. We were not at war with Afgahnistan though, just the unelected thugs who ran the place and the scum that they protected.

    Many Americans also laugh at international law, especially if we didn't sign it. It boggles my mind as an American that you think the US might not have had a 'legal' right to be in Afgahnistan. There is no legality that applies to all nations. Legality can only come from "custom, agreement, or authority" (definition from dictionary.com).
    America is a unique nation in that any treaties we ratify we HAVE to comply with them. If we don't ANY citizen can sue and force Congress to comply. NO other nation on earth has this. Britian comes closest but there is still no direct legal obligation. Hopefully this also helps non-Americans understand why we are so hesitant to sign international treaties such as a ban on land mines or the kyoto protocols.

    Obi-Wan McCartney
    Exactly, you're taking an active role in politics.

    The problem I have is that a majority (this figure is pretty stunning if you think about it) of the people I know who really who bitch and complain about Bush or any other political candidate or the political system DIDN'T VOTE! They are also unwilling, very much unlike you, to have a reasonable debate on any topic and just slam anyone who thinks differently.
    My point is that bitching about the system usually results in nothing constructive. If you really want to change the system start where it counts the most and vote. The second best thing you can probably do is stay informed and write your representatives. If you're really sincere about change, that's where it counts.
  19. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    Dathka,

    I think it's fair to say that America has the right to pursue criminals certainly, but Bush undermines that legality by failing to do one of two things - a declaration of war OR making an assurance that SUSPECTS of terror will be guaranteed the same treatment as US citizens incarcerated by US authorities.

    Of course the Taliban members are not(with one or two RARE exceptions) US citizens, but if the US extends its jurisdiction outside of its borders, it must therefore extend its rights to those people with whom it intends to deal.

    You are right in saying that America will get pissed off by the behaviour of foreign nations, and all it wants is a quiet life, but i think that it cannot realistically expect this.

    Firstly, America has the highest standard of living of any nation in the world, and enjoys considerable wealth. Other nations do not, yet their lives are unquestionably affected by America's behaviour. In a world of finite resources, the 'have's only have at the expense of the 'have not's. America intends to trade abroad, in the pursuit of Capital(which is far enough), it also has standardised the means of communication(by this I mean the modern form of person-to-person contact via the internet, which runs on the Apple or PC platforms, which is again ok), but having made its imprint abroad, both by exporting consumerism and its own culture, it cannot expect to break off the relationship with its foreign neighbours after the point of sale, if you get my drift.

    By showing the world what it has and what it can provide(IF you can pay for it) it necessarily promotes a certain jealousy. This is also compounded by the knowledge that America(for its own domestic purposes) consumes so much of the planet's resources(while other peoples of the world are left wanting with so little) and also puts out so much polution(about which it seems to express so little concern). In view of the notion that we are all only citizens of the country in which we are born(and I consider myself lucky to be a resident of the UK rather than one of somewhere like Iran or Mozambique), it does not sit well with people who live with poverty and strife to hear America present itself as a) the best nation in the world(both in terms of luxury and morality), b) an exclusive club which you can't join(especially when once it was a far off land which was open to all who sought something better) and c) uninterested in everybody else's woes(especially when, however rightly or wrongly, those other nations see their woes related, in whole or in part, to America).

    The problem is that America seems to have a foreign policy of extreme variation, either total isolation or outright intervention, but seldom the balanced middleground in between - co-operation.

    I don't think of America as a bad thing, by the way; quite the reverse. I just feel its Foreign policy, and also its general lack of public interest in foreign affairs, are aspects of it which I feel could be improved, and would probably even pay dividends for America in the long run, even if it meant making some sacrifices and compromises along the way.
  20. Dathka Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 1
    I told you I was no good with essays ;).

    Your post makes much sense but there is something in it that distresses me immensely.

    "In a world of finite resources, the 'have's only have at the expense of the 'have not's."

    This fallacy, while only a small part of your entire post, disturbs me deeply. I had thought that such arguments had been soundly defeated in the past forty years.

    To quickly steal from O'Rourke--The rich are getting richer but the poor are also getting richer (and that everyone?s getting older).
    The point is that wealth is not finite and just because I get to eat the pizza doesn?t mean the other person has to eat the cardboard box. Wealth is created through productivity, which thankfully is easily multiplied as has been shown throughout history.

    There is no economic logic behind the statement that just because I ate two chicken wings today means that I deprived someone else of a chicken wing. The more technology advances the cheaper and easier it becomes to raise chickens for consumption. Just because American is rich doesn?t automatically mean other countries have to be poor. A hundred years ago everyone was poor (by today?s standards). This wealth that we are enjoying today was created by increases in productivity.
  21. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    Dathka,

    I'll confess that economics are NOT my strong point, my friend, but I'm not quite with you here. Resources ARE finite, oil being a perfect example of this.

    Granted, there are alternatives to oil, which could be synthetically produced(thereby effectively making resources potentially infinite - something I believe economists term 'the switch from lmited growth to the growth of limits'), but in more realistic terms this isn't happening. With the 'have's being the people who dictate policy, the 'have not's are losing out here. The oil companies are so powerful that it just is not yet economically viable to pursue other renewable and cleaner energy sources for cars and such. And the reason for this is ugly.
    Despite the obvious environmental damage and misery caused by conflict which surrounds oil supply and production(which cannot be sustained forever), the people with vested interests in it will fight tooth and claw against the alternatives(ever driving up the price of course as supply and demand diverge) until the situation becomes unworkable, by which time of course it will almost certainly be they who are the very industrial giants with the economic muscle to pump funds into the very alternative energy sources on whose throat they once stamped.
    Yet because that time is not yet arrived, we have the situation at present. In Alaska, I seem to recall, Bush recently appeared keen to have a native community turfed out of a region of sacred land, where they've dwelt for goodness knows how long, and resettled, so that an oil pipeline can be run through it. I confess it was a couple of months ago now when I saw this on the news, and furthermore I don't know the eventual result, but notwithstanding my forgetfulness on this particular matter(perhaps you may know a little more about the incident), surely the general Native American experience throughout history is the tale of exploitation by the better off. The same goes for slavery.
    Now ok, Slavery might seem on the face of it like a bad example, since it's long been abolished in the US(and quite right too), but exploitation of cheap labour still goes on in countries today where there is mass poverty, for the production of goods, which we in the West can import for prices far lower than they would be if the workers producing them had a comparable standard of living. Happens all the time, I'd say there are definitely 'have's and 'have not's.
  22. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    As a postscript to my previous, you are right in saying that the rich are getting richer, but the poor are also getting richer, but that is only relative to the situation in the past, discounting inflation adjustment, and accepting that definitions of what constitutes the poverty line changes. But if a general improvement means that the official poverty line has to be raised to reflect this. I'll come back to that in a minute.

    In contemporary terms, I believe the poor are arguably poorer because the inequality between rich and poor widens.

    I earn today the same amount of money per year that Margaret Thatcher received as Secretary of State for Education in 1972, yet that doesn't make me as rich as she was. That may sound stupid, but if you were to inflation adjust my earnings back to what they would have been for someone in my career in 1972, I will state categorically that they would show be a larger percentage versus Thatcher's salary back then, than they are versus David Blunkett's salary today. With a little digging around I could probably get hold of the figures to prove or possibly disprove this, although I confess that I cannot offer you a cast iron guarantee that I could find them.
    Nevertheless, I simply find it unthinkable that my income is more, in relative terms to Blunkett's salary, than it would have been in 1972, relative to Thatcher's.
    I don't think it's unreasonable for us to make this assumption, let's be honest, so if we can take it as read, while I accept that both myself AND the Education Secretary have seen a dramatic increase in the standard of our living versus the way people lived back then, his sharper increase in wealth makes me poorer, relative to him, than I would be(would HAVE been) relative to Thatcher in 1972.
    I hope I've explained that well.

    Now, I talked about the issue of raising the recognised standard below which one can be said to be deemed poor. If you have a black-and-white TV and no video you are 'poor'-ish, whereas in the 1970's that made you 'rich'-ish, 'cos there were no videos and few colour TVs), then by having nothing, or at least little, you can fall further below that povery line. There are people who have nothing, effectively, in the poorest parts of the world. If a hospital in Mozambique has twenty children sharing a ward, and there's one source of entertainment which is a colour TV(which to them seems like luxury), especially since ten years ago they only had a black-and-white one(hypothecially speaking all this), that IS an increase in wealth, BUT they're actually poorer RELATIVE to me, because my TV has stereo speakers, it's connected to a video, and I have this computer with a DVD player, and so on and so one. Ten years ago however, when they had the model of TV inferior to their current one the gap between them and me wasn't as wide as it is now, 'cos all I had was a mono-TV and no computer or video, so I was only one-up by virtue of being able to make sense of Snooker. As I say, purely hypothetical(as I cannot prove outright that there is a single children's hospital in Mozambique that has druring the last ten years replaced a black-and-white TV with a colour one), but it's a very plausible situation to imagine that it's likely, as a clearly very reasonable person I don't think you'd try to rubbish my argument simply because I cannot provide you with the name and address of a hospital matching that description right?
    So, on the basis that such a hospital PROBABLY exists it's fair to say that it's poorer now than then(relative to me), and I in turn to the Secretary of State for Education, and he in turn to whoever happens to be the Richest Man in the World(obviously Bill Gates, my point being that 10 years ago, the then Richest Man in the World would have had a total wealth worth less when devided by the salary of the then UK Sec of State for Education than the figure that would be returned by dividing the analogous totals for their modern-day counterparts), all this despite those children now being able to see the Snookerballs in colour when once
  23. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    Just for the record, if I lived in some slum over in India or Africa, I would also hate America for how they have so much. Us Americans not only refuse to share our wealth(for the most part), but we also keep people in low conditions. American based companies run sweatshops all over the world. Basically we are the plantation owners and the rest of the world (mainly Asia and Africa and some parts of the Lower Americas) are our slaves.
  24. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    Totally agree, JediFlyer. Although I wouldn't for a moment suggest that Britain is not also guilty of benefitting from a similar relationship with those countries.
  25. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Thraxwhirl- If your view of life is based on pure materialism, then you have an argument. However, most people would define their quality of life not by their material possessions, but by the relationships they have with others, and the degree to which they find fulfillment in their brief time on earth. There are poor people who are happy, and there are rich people who are miserable.

    This construction of the world you've bought into, where all of the complexities of human life and history are reduced to an eternal conflict over resources, is nothing but a convenient over-simplification which serves as a smokescreen for individuals whose only true ambition is to rule the world with an iron fist. If they can convince you that people are inherently bad and motivated purely by greed, then they can convince you that people need someone to exert total control over them, "for their own good".

    The original principles that America was founded upon stand in direct opposition to this viewpoint, and while there are areas where the country deserves to be criticized, those who truly despise it and wish to see its destruction do so for this reason. It has shown that true freedom, where people are given liberty and allowed to be self-reliant, generates prosperity on a level no authoritarian system ever could- and as long as America remains, it stands as proof that people are not inherently bad, and therefore deserving of dictatorship, but rather that given freedom, they will generally do what is right.

    People who seek to obscure and discard this reality through a perpetual accusatory diatribe do so with ulterior motives. And when someone tells me that all of life is about greed, and all people are bad, I immediately assume they want me to be their slave.

    EDIT- I think there's a very solid argument that life would be better with no TV at all. The fact that you legitmize hostility, aggression, and greed based on what kind of TV someone can afford just serves as evidence of the effect of materialistic thinking. "My electric box is smaller than yours, so I'm going to kill you!"
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