Pushing Liberal Agenda...

A warrior (Bruno) and a small dragon (Fiona) team up for fun and plunder in this fantasy comic strip.

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Is this topic lame?

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Total votes : 9

Pushing Liberal Agenda...

Postby Dunlavy on Fri Dec 27, 2002 3:30 am

Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I enjoy Bruno The Bandit. It's a good strip.

However, I suppose I have a right to be a bit uncomfortable with the last few strips, seeing as how I am a staunch Republican and a major supporter of President Bush. I have no right to bitch about someone reflecting their own political views into a comic strip that they are, in fact, the author of. So I won't. Nonetheless, after reading several posts on this forum and seeing as how this is a public place where people are free to express their views (liberal or not), I'll add a few things to the specs of conversation floating about.

1- It's obvious that King Bruno, right now, is the comic embodiment of the Bush Administration. His policy on war reflects President Bush's policy towards Afghanistan.

2- Neither the Republican party or President Bush are warmongers. If they were, we surely would have been engaged in an all-out war ALREADY. The Bush Administration (for those of you who read your news, not watch it) has/is attempting multple solutions to resolve America's safety and well being.

3- America has a RIGHT to look after its own self interest. THIS is the way of capitalism and the hand of self interest, indirectly, helps others. Competition, conservatism, and technological advancment are all products of capitalism, and this is what makes America the richest (and the most envied) nation in the world. I've been to Canada, Ian, lots of times. Even our Northern neighbors have shoddy feelings towards Americans because, quite simply, we make more money and have nicer things than they do. Socialism sucks.

4- Though war should be avoided at all costs, the end result of war isn't always a bad thing. Think of ALL the oppressed people in Afghanistan that would be liberated if America kicked the ass of every oppressive enemy in the country. Yes, people die in wars... but the greater good is the many, many more people who would see a greater quality of life. And... no more planes flying into our buildings... that's always a nice plus.

Well, just my two cents. Keep up the good work, Ian. Though I have a feeling you might be a bit of a "peace-nik" yourself, at least you're showing your discontent with President Bush in a tasteful (and entertaining) way. :-)
Last edited by Dunlavy on Mon Dec 30, 2002 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pushing Liberal Agenda...

Postby Ian McDonald on Fri Dec 27, 2002 10:18 am

Dunlavy wrote:Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I enjoy Bruno The Bandit. It's a good strip.

However, I suppose I have a right to be a bit uncomfortable with the last few strips, seeing as how I am a staunch Republican and a major supporter of President Bush. I have no right to bitch about someone reflecting their own political views into a comic strip that they are, in fact, the author of. So I won't. Nonetheless, after reading several posts on this forum and seeing as how this is a public place where people are free to express their views (liberal or not), I'll add a few things to the specs of conversation floating about.


Let me be the first to say that I'm really glad you posted this message, Josh. My hope is that stories like the one I'm currently working on will encourage debate like this. I'm especially happy to hear from people who may disagree with any of the views I present in Bruno the Bandit. After all, if they can prove me wrong, or at the very least, give me a new perspective on an issue, I will have learned something.

1- It's obvious that King Bruno, right now, is the comic embodiment of the Bush Administration. His policy on war reflects President Bush's policy towards Afghanistan.


Actually, it's more a reflection of the very real possiblity of an upcoming war against Iraq. And this, I freely admit, is where my strip takes a sharp turn from what's currently going on in the world. In my story, Livia is something of a combination of Osama bin Laden AND Saddam Hussein. I had (and still have) no problem with the U.S. going after bin Laden, after what happened on 9/11/01. And if the Taliban were not willing to assist the U.S. in bin Laden's capture, or, at the very least, stay out of the way, then the U.S. had a right to get them out of the way.

2- Neither the Republican party or President Bush are warmongers. If they were, we surely would have been engaged in an all-out war ALREADY. The Bush Administration (for those of you who read your news, not watch it) has/is attempting multple solutions to resolve America's safety and well being.


I sincerely hope you're right about this, and that diplomatic solutions are reached, regarding the situations with Iraq, and now, North Korea. :cry:

3- America has a RIGHT to look after its own self interest. THIS is the way of capitalism and the hand of self interest, indirectly, helps others. Competition, conservatism, and technological advancment are all products of capitalism, and this is what makes America the richest (and the most envied) nation in the world. I've been to Canada, Ian, lots of times. Even our Northern neighbors have shoddy feelings towards Americans because, quite simply, we make more money and have nicer things than they do. Socialism sucks.


I've been to America twice, and have enjoyed my visits immensely, and hope I get to go back. You are right that some Canadians feel as you suggest about our Southern neighbors, but in my case, I have no problem with Americans (or anyone else) making more money and having nicer things than me. If I come across as critical of the U.S. in any way, it's because I care, and want to see it do the right thing, and continue to lead the world in things like democracy and freedom.

Also, I never suggested America has no right to look after its own self-interest. I hope nobody has taken that from my strip! In my strip, Rothland has been attacked, and it does have a very real problem on its hands (or, maybe a few, with Bruno as king! :D), and it needs to do something about it. Carlin has shown up to suggest that, in Rothland's case, at least, war may not be the answer here.

4- Though war should be avoided at all costs, the end result of war isn't always a bad thing. Think of ALL the oppressed people in Afghanistan that would be liberated if America kicked the ass of every oppressive enemy in the country. Yes, people die in wars... but the greater good is the many, many more people who would see a greater quality of life. And... no more planes flying into our buildings... that's always a nice plus.


All we are saying, is Give Peace A Chance...

That's a very sweet sentiment, but unfortunately, can be impractical at times. Osama bin Laden needs to be brought to justice. Singing "Give Peace A Chance" to him won't make him go away. You will recall I did take a few shots at "monster-rights activists" in this story.

As Carlin himself said in today's strip, sometimes you have to fight, to protect yourself, and all you hold dear. Not to do so may be a form of suicide.

But in the case or Iraq, I'm still not convinced. Yes, Saddam's a dirtbag, but does he truly represent the threat to the world that some are claiming? Can he be contained, or do we have no choice but to go to war? President Bush is on the verge of sending his troops in to Iraq, some of whom will die, as will many Iraqi soldiers, and probably more than a few civilians. If he does so, he'd better have a damn good reason for doing so, and only if there are no other reasonable alternatives.

Well, just my two cents. Keep up the good work, Ian. Though I have a feeling you might be a bit of a "peace-nik" yourself, at least you're showing your discontent with President Bush in a tasteful (and entertaining) way. :-)


Again, if I'm showing my discontent with President Bush, it's because I want to see him do the right thing. I suspect there are some on the radical left who really want to see him screw up, and that's sad. And I'm enough of a "peacenik" to know that war should be avoided at all costs, if there are better solutions.

As for my pushing a "Liberal" agenda, I just want to say that I consider myself neither right-wing nor left-wing, but somewhere in the centre! After all, an eagle needs both wings to fly. Or I could be a turkey with two useless wings! :wink: Both liberalism and conservatism have their advantages, and disadvantages. If anything, I would encourage liberals to take a critical look at their liberalism, (maybe from a more conservative POV) and conservatives to do the same with their POV (but from a liberal viewpoint), again, not to abandon your position, but to strengthen it.

One final note: Josh, for your poll, it may be better to ask "Is the topic lame?" as using the word "gay" in this way is offensive to some. "Gay" does not equal "lame". If you could change it, I'd appreciate it, thanks. And to everyone else, hope we can keep this post on topic! :)

Take care,
Ian
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Postby sun tzu on Fri Dec 27, 2002 10:48 am

Neither the Republican party or President Bush are warmongers. If they were, we surely would have been engaged in an all-out war ALREADY. The Bush Administration (for those of you who read your news, not watch it) has/is attempting multple solutions to resolve America's safety and well being.


Actually, even if they're warmongers, they can't declare war until they get public approval (at least if they want to win the 2004 elections).

America has a RIGHT to look after its own self interest. THIS is the way of capitalism and the hand of self interest, indirectly, helps others. Competition, conservatism, and technological advancment are all products of capitalism, and this is what makes America the richest (and the most envied) nation in the world. I've been to Canada, Ian, lots of times. Even our Northern neighbors have shoddy feelings towards Americans because, quite simply, we make more money and have nicer things than they do. Socialism sucks.

Isn't that what Hoover said before loosing the elections to Rossevelt in 1932? Seriously, capitalism may have several advantages, but it can cause immense harm if left completely unchecked. Self interest doesn't necessarily lead to a greater good; if it did, Russia wouldn't be a third world country (been there for a while), and the Enron crooks would be national heroes. By the way, in term of wealth/population, America is actually poorer than Norvegia and Danemark (altough it has a much greater population, of course).
Also, about America having a right to defend its self interest: Do you think it has the right to do that at the expense of other people? America is the most powerful country in the world nowadays. Does this kind of power imply responsibilities?

Though war should be avoided at all costs, the end result of war isn't always a bad thing. Think of ALL the oppressed people in Afghanistan that would be liberated if America kicked the ass of every oppressive enemy in the country. Yes, people die in wars... but the greater good is the many, many more people who would see a greater quality of life. And... no more planes flying into our buildings... that's always a nice plus.

Now, I'm hardly a man to criticize how America eliminated the Talibans. As a matter of fact, I participated in a petition against them (no big deal, I know) before the WTC attacks. What worries me is that I'm not completely sure that the Afghanese people are better off with the Northern Alliance...But you know what really upsets me? It's knowing that with the war in Afghanistan, just like with any other war, there's a lot of important information that we won't learn until *years* after the fighting's over.
And by the way, do you realize that many oppressive regimes were actually put in place by America? Of course, there was the support to the Talibans and Bin Laden at the time when they were opposing the USSR. There's the support to Saddam Hussein under Reagan back when he was using chemical weaponry (weapons of mass destruction) on the Iranian army and the Kurdish people. There's the CIA's actions in Chile, which lead to Pinochet's coup d'Etat, ending the democratic (socialist) regime of Allende, and starting one of the bloodiest dictatorships of South America's history.

Now, I really don't know what to think about the (very probably) upcoming war with Irak. On one hand, Saddam is one of the nastiest dictators out there; on the other hand, war with Irak would lead to countless civilian deaths. One the one hand, he's used chemical weapons before; on the other hand, he knows he doesn't stand a chance if you go to war with him, and he's not crazy enough (evil, but not crazy) to use those mass destruction weapons if he knows it'll get him in a war with America.

Also, if you think defeating Saddam will end terrorism, then I'm afraid you've misunderstood the situation: Al Quaida is a network, which doesn't depend on any country to operate. I doubt they get much help from Irak, if any. But if you go to war with Irak, then you can be sure that there will be much more help for Al Quaida coming from the rest of the Arabic world and the Muslim world.

One last thing: check http://adbusters.org/campaigns/flag/ratline/comments.html.

That said, I'd like to say that there are many things that I love about America - I consider moving to Pennsylvania one day - even if there are many things that I dislike, such as the Bush administration.
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Postby sun tzu on Fri Dec 27, 2002 3:13 pm

Neither the Republican party or President Bush are warmongers. If they were, we surely would have been engaged in an all-out war ALREADY. The Bush Administration (for those of you who read your news, not watch it) has/is attempting multple solutions to resolve America's safety and well being.


Actually, even if they're warmongers, they can't declare war until they get public approval (at least if they want to win the 2004 elections).

America has a RIGHT to look after its own self interest. THIS is the way of capitalism and the hand of self interest, indirectly, helps others. Competition, conservatism, and technological advancment are all products of capitalism, and this is what makes America the richest (and the most envied) nation in the world. I've been to Canada, Ian, lots of times. Even our Northern neighbors have shoddy feelings towards Americans because, quite simply, we make more money and have nicer things than they do. Socialism sucks.

Isn't that what Hoover said before loosing the elections to Rossevelt in 1932? Seriously, capitalism may have several advantages, but it can cause immense harm if left completely unchecked. Self interest doesn't necessarily lead to a greater good; if it did, Russia wouldn't be a third world country (been there for a while), and the Enron crooks would be national heroes. By the way, in term of wealth/population, America is actually poorer than Norvegia and Danemark (altough it has a much greater population, of course).
Also, about America having a right to defend its self interest: Do you think it has the right to do that at the expense of other people? America is the most powerful country in the world nowadays. Does this kind of power imply responsibilities?

Though war should be avoided at all costs, the end result of war isn't always a bad thing. Think of ALL the oppressed people in Afghanistan that would be liberated if America kicked the ass of every oppressive enemy in the country. Yes, people die in wars... but the greater good is the many, many more people who would see a greater quality of life. And... no more planes flying into our buildings... that's always a nice plus.

Now, I'm hardly a man to criticize how America eliminated the Talibans. As a matter of fact, I participated in a petition against them (no big deal, I know) before the WTC attacks. What worries me is that I'm not completely sure that the Afghanese people are better off with the Northern Alliance...But you know what really upsets me? It's knowing that with the war in Afghanistan, just like with any other war, there's a lot of important information that we won't learn until *years* after the fighting's over.
And by the way, do you realize that many oppressive regimes were actually put in place by America? Of course, there was the support to the Talibans and Bin Laden at the time when they were opposing the USSR. There's the support to Saddam Hussein under Reagan back when he was using chemical weaponry (weapons of mass destruction) on the Iranian army and the Kurdish people. There's the CIA's actions in Chile, which lead to Pinochet's coup d'Etat, ending the democratic (socialist) regime of Allende, and starting one of the bloodiest dictatorships of South America's history.

Now, I really don't know what to think about the (very probably) upcoming war with Irak. On one hand, Saddam is one of the nastiest dictators out there; on the other hand, war with Irak would lead to countless civilian deaths. One the one hand, he's used chemical weapons before; on the other hand, he knows he doesn't stand a chance if you go to war with him, and he's not crazy enough (evil, but not crazy) to use those mass destruction weapons if he knows it'll get him in a war with America.

Also, if you think defeating Saddam will end terrorism, then I'm afraid you've misunderstood the situation: Al Quaida is a network, which doesn't depend on any country to operate. I doubt they get much help from Irak, if any. But if you go to war with Irak, then you can be sure that there will be much more help for Al Quaida coming from the rest of the Arabic world and the Muslim world.

One last thing: check http://adbusters.org/campaigns/flag/ratline/comments.html.

That said, I'd like to say that there are many things that I love about America - I consider moving to Pennsylvania one day - even if there are many things that I dislike, such as the Bush administration.
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Postby Major Tom on Tue Dec 31, 2002 8:44 am

I am frustrated with the Bush Admisitration in that they seem to be nearly single-minded in their pursuit of approval for a war on Iraq.

The propoganda machine is in full-swing and all statements from the House are bent toward painting an imminent threat to US national interests based on the regime of Hussein.

I have no doubts nor arguements with the fact that the man is a criminal dictator and that he has no love for America -- I just noticed that the Bushies were content to fill the headlines with statements about the "War on Terrah", specifically, until it became increasingly apparent that fighing a guerrilla war is still a bit tougher than we counted on. I think it was only after our forces had Bin Ladin's troop penned in their mountain hide out (outside Jahalabad?), and they either [ A]killed or [ B]lost him, that Iraq was routed from the back page and plastered as the latest 'great satan'.

It's just so unfortunate that all I can believe about the push to commit troops to a war on foreign soil, with or without international agreement, is that it is meant to occupy the voters' minds -- keeping them off the national economy; presidential ties to oil and energy concerns; incursions on the environment; vice-presidential abuses of 'executive priveledge' and the "uber-secret shadow government" -- until after the 2004 Election.

I'm liking the Bruno story much better than reality -- we know HE will get kicked out of office, eventually.
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Postby mouse on Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:59 pm

OK, I'll admit upfront I'm a yellow-dog Democrat and firm liberal (although now that I actually make a semi-decent salary and own stuff, I am backing off somewhat from my original communist share-the-wealth philosophies). And I will admit that I do rather hope Bush screws up, at least enough so that a) he doesn't get re-elected* and b) the Republicans get booted out of control of Congress (but I really hope he doesn't kill too many people doing it). I hope this because I find the current Republican agenda seriously scary on many, many levels - not only Iraq, but the environment, the economy, its energy policy, its views on human rights, worker's rights, privacy, treaty obligations, etc., etc. Make that "every level".

I think the campaign in Afghanistan was (unfortunately) necessary, not only to get bin Laden, but to oust the Taliban, because the conditions the Afghan people were living under were truly awful. However, I think the follow-through has been noticably lacking. The U.S. should have been willing from the beginning to put peace-keeping troops throughout the country, to supress the warlords, and to actively rebuild the infrastructure and services the people desperately need. The barely half-hearted attempt we have made really makes me worry about what will happen after Saddam is toppled (which he probably will be). As Sun-Tzu pointed out, the U.S. has a really deplorable record of helping some very nasty dictators for some fairly iffy reasons. I believe we need to take actions that will show our regret for those bad decisions. (and it would also help if we showed, at bare minimum, sufficient follow-through to find bin Laden, or at the very least Mullah Omar.)

I rather think that other countries resent us not so much for our wealth, but for the stingy way we act with it. Our per capita investment in foreign aid is really pathetic, and too much of that aid comes with ideological strings attached (I am thinking in particular of the administration's move to cut off all funding to foreign health clinics that even mention abortion to their clients, even though such abortions (if even performed) are funded from other sources - thus cutting off support for any number of vitally important programs, including such things as prenatal care. It's one thing to cut off your own nose to spite your face - but the Bushies are determined to cut off everyone else's nose.) And we behave similarly with our principles - we make noises about human rights and democracy and justice and so on, but we are willing to countenance violations of these things by our allies - who are our allies only because they provide us with cheap oil. We make a big show of talking the talk, but too often we fail to walk the walk. And as we all know - actions speak louder than words.

I truly believe the U.S. stands (or should stand) for ideas of democracy, equality, human rights, personal liberty, initiative, fair play, and generosity not only to friends, but to former foes. The Marshall plan was a good example of this - the U.S. build Germany and Japan up from devasted countries with a history of dictatorship into productive, democratic nations that are now doing much to keep the world a stable, peaceful place. I don't think the current administration wants to do anything of the kind. And while I too agree that Saddam Hussein is a monster who should be put out of power ASAP, I really do question the administration's motives in promoting a war. Bush's whole 'diplomatic' trajectory to date, starting with declaring that Saddam had to be ousted, no matter what, to the current insistence that 'no decision had been made about going to war' seems to me incompetent, at best. Sun-Tzu thinks Saddam isn't crazy enough use weapons of mass destruction; I think Bush has convinced him he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by using them against any U.S. troops sent into Iraq. His primary goal is to remain in power; that is why he did not tip the Scuds he sent into Israel during the Gulf War with biological or chemical weapons - he knew that if he did so, the U.S. would not stop going until he was out. As it was, we stopped as soon as we cleared out Kuwait - and so he's had 10 more years of power. But now he knows that, no matter what Bush says now, he wants Saddam out - so Saddam's only hope to stay in is make any war so ugly that the U.S. will view it as another Vietnam, and pull back. That will mean thousands of deaths (U.S. and Iraqi, military and civilian) - for nothing. That was the true horror of Vietnam - all those lives thrown away, on a war the U. S. wasn't ultimately committed to winning.

This is turning into a rather long rant, so I should stop. I guess my bottom line feeling is 1) I would really rather we not go to war until all other options have been exhausted and 2) if we do go to war, we need to be ruthlessly practical about it. And 2b) - we need to go in committed to cleaning up the mess we make. And I think the Bushies are too tied up in their own ideology and agenda to do any of those things.

oh yeah - and I _definitely_ feel it's worth discussing (if only to show Dunlevy he is wrong, WRONG, WRONG***) (snarl, snap, growl). (the original topic was "is this topic _gay_"? where did _that_ come from?)



*his public disgrace, humiliation, and ultimate criminal conviction, along with his nest of cronies, would be just icing on the cake**.

**no, i'm not at all bitter about the election - why do you ask?

***although, in true american fashion, i will defend to the death his right to hold and express his own opinions. even if he _is_ a ignorant, wrong-headed republican****.

****yes, yes, i know - uncalled for in the spirit of open debate. drat this liberal tradition of free-speech and fair play anyway.....grumble grumble mutter.....
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Mouse, Mouse, Mouse...

Postby Dunlavy on Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:42 am

OK, I'll admit upfront I'm a yellow-dog Democrat and firm liberal (although now that I actually make a semi-decent salary and own stuff, I am backing off somewhat from my original communist share-the-wealth philosophies).


Hmm... strange, isn't it? Poor people vote Democrat so they can steal from the middle class and up; then they get college degrees and good jobs and realize that, hey, they don't want people stealing THEIR money. Typical, Mouse. :roll:

Mouse, Communism is crap. Look at communist nations and ask yourself... would you live (or even vacation for more than a month) there? Socialism and communism... and all forms in between are built upon a noble concept: help the poor. But, when you center a POLITICAL SYSTEM around what's supposed to be charity, you're left with a system that PENALIZES PEOPLE FOR SUCCESS, MAKES THE COLLEGE DEGREE OBSOLETE, and CHASES PROFESSIONALS FROM THE COUNTRY. Think about it: If you worked your ass off for a medical degree, are you gonna stay in a country that'll take most of your hard-earned dough and throw it at royal LOSERS?! Or are you gonna move to someplace Republican (Repubs are raised on the concept that consumers know best how to manage their own cash) and enjoy your wealth and distribute it as you see fit?

Score '1' for capitalism. We just got a defected doctor, happy to be in the U.S.A. Your precious communist country now has a lot of poor people with not enough doctors to support even a laughable health care system.

Poor people do not (check that - CAN NOT) run powerful and effective nations.

I would really rather we not go to war until all other options have been exhausted.


All I have to say to this - of course. There is no side to this. Both Republicans and kill-the-rich Liberals agree on this.

we need to go in committed to cleaning up the mess we make. And I think the Bushies are too tied up in their own ideology and agenda to do any of those things.


What agenda? Win the election? I believe that's what ANY Presidential candidate wants to do. Look at Gore. He pissed and screamed to get into office, and I believe that should he have made it, he would have pissed and screamed at anything that could have possibly removed him. Say he had a poor public opinion poll - I believe Gore would have endeavored nothing short of a three-ring circus to gain back the love of welfare recipients everywhere. :lol:

What most people don't realize about war: It exists. It will happen eventually, no matter where we are in our timeline. People will die gruesome, bloody deaths... and for little to no reason, whatsoever. IT WILL HAPPEN. So get used to it. Republicans come from different walks of life than Liberals. We're crew cut, steel-toed boot wearing, count our pocket change after a hard day's work good ole' boys. When faced with war, I believe it is simply a difference in their personality that a Repub will face the facts faster and more swiftly than a long-haired, "everyone must live," "no one can die" hippie. :-?

Oh, one more thing: You value privacy? Well, take a look at bill aimed at consumer rights that is going through legislature right now: Introduced by Democrats, Republicans are opposed to a bill that sides with Hollywood that will turn household computers into appliance cops. Downloading illegal MP3 files, trying to burn a CD without copyright permissions, and even the website content you view and the games you play are subject to severe, third party discrimination. Hmmm... yeah, you're right. Republicans are out to get me. They want to see my proof of tax claims while Democrats want to rape me and my first amendment rights via my own damn computer...

I'll just say it: I loath Demos. :evil:

BTW, just so there's no discretion: I'm a poor-ass, struggling college student myself. :P Certainly, I'm in need of a buck sometimes. But I understand that I must work my way to the top... or just be happy with what I have. I would be less pleased with myself if I had to rely on money from others that weren't willing to give it to me in the first place.
Last edited by Dunlavy on Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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One more thing...

Postby Dunlavy on Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:06 am

Oh, two more things:

Throughout legislative history, Republicans are the proven defenders of the first amendment. Democrats have done little less than spit on the constitution by proposing plans that would permit the government to spy on civilians, invade our computers, build tracking devices into our vehicles and make it illegal to tamper with them... I won't even mention stupid Democratic taxes that penalize people for what they eat and drink... CA. "Snack Tax" prop. ring a bell?

Think before you speak, Mouse.

REPUBLICANS: For the individual, the consumer, and the ambitious...
DEMOCRATS: For the whole; Socialism; welfare recipients; the weak and the lazy; and proponents of BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT.

I've had enough to say on this issue until more people start writing.
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Postby mouse on Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:42 pm

You might want to think a moment or two before opening your yap yourself, Dunlavy - perhaps even do some outside reading. The systems put in place in the USSR, China, etc., are not exactly following blueprints laid out by Marx. They are often very strongly colored (oddly enough) by the systems in existence before the revolution (the KGB, for example, is pretty much a direct decendant of the Tzarist secret police).

I personally never wanted to 'steal' money from everyone, nor have I ever wanted to be supported by a welfare state. I felt (indeed, still feel) that the contribution of the workers in a corporation is at least as important as that of the CEO, and that there should not be such a discrepency in the salaries of the two levels. (And think about it - what most influences your opinion of a company you do business with? The quality of the product they manufacture? The compentancy of the service personnel? That's the worker's product you're seeing - not the CEO). I'm not saying the CEO should have the same salary as a new-hire clerk - I'm suggesting 300X the salary of the ordinary worker is a bit excessive. How much money does one person need, anyway?

You lump socialism with communism, and class both as failed systems. You might want to take a closer look at Western Europe. In fact, you might want to take a look at the U.S. - a hundred years ago, a lot of what we take for granted today would have been considered outrageous radicalism. Of course, in those days, people were expected to just work until they died; a pension depended on the good nature of your employer. And the poor were expected to die in large numbers in times of famine and disease.....the idea that providing health care to all (thus removing the reservoirs of disease that might actually impact all those nice rich folk) never occurred. (and I suspect a lot of people still haven't thought it through).

As for Bush's agenda: I see it as promotion of Big Oil over environmental concerns and any reasonable plan of energy conservation; as promotion of Big Business over the rights of workers to have a safe workplace and a decent living; as promotion of soaking the little guy while giving tax breaks to the obcenely wealthy; as promotion of Christian Fundamentalism over the freedom of religion that was one of the founding ideals of our country.

You say war is something that exists, and suggest that it always will. The human race has made huge strides against other things that always existed - why should we not try to do the same for warfare? Nevertheless, I did admit I found the Afghan campaign necessary; and I realize that, at least for the forseeable future, wars may be necessary. And even without war, people will die. Why do you think it so awful that I would prefer that they live? I'm not advocating that we keep Saddam in power (I think Bush senior should have finished him off in Gulf War I); I certainly don't want North Korea stockpiling nukes. I just think, with a little careful planning, we can minimize the number of people who get killed in resolving the matter. You seem to have missed the fact that many of the Democrats who are opposed to a war with Iraq have actual combat experience (as has Colin Powell, the one Republican who seems to be counceling caution) - whereas none of Repulicans calling for it do. One might wonder whether those who have seen war first hand might have a slightly better perspective on the matter.

Yes, the Democrats are for the weak, and for the whole - is our country not a whole? And do you truly feel the strong should trample the weak? I won't bother to respond to the rest of your charges; clearly you have far too little knowledge of and experience in the world to have anything sensible to say on the matter.

I will point out - I thought this thread was to be a discussion of the current Bruno story line, and the U. S. policies it comments on. You have devoted yourself to an attack on me, choosing to cast me as some straw-man generic Democrat that you can pummel to death with your ignorant stereotypes. I think everyone might prefer if you said nothing else, unless you can say something rational and insightful.

And by the way - I don't hate all Republican; there are many I respect and admire. I only hate the stupid ones.
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Postby Dunlavy on Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:15 pm

All you've done was state more noble yet obsolete Liberal ideals. And called me ignorant. Yet you address nothing against my claims that Liberals, contrary to your beliefs, trample the 1st Amendment...

You don't seem to disagree with me that socialism penalizes people for sucess... yadda yadda.

Back on topic to Bruno's story line: I believe we're both on the same page. However, the only, single difference between the Bruno strip and the real life situation that America faces: Bruno just might have a more plausible way out of direct warfare.

I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is this: Search for peace first. But if times comes for war, the LAST thing anyone wants to hear is a long-haired peacenik going ape-shit over the fact that people are gonna die. Well duh.

I need to work on my stereotypes. :roll:
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An "outside" view.

Postby JoseB on Wed Jan 01, 2003 4:06 pm

This is definitely an interesting topic. Lame? Not at all.

My, where could I begin? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe I will tell you where I come from, so to speak, although I am afraid that this is going to end up becoming a rambling, meandering collection of babble...

Well, I am not an American. I am Spanish, currently living and working in the Netherlands, although I have been to way too many places of this crazy world of ours, including Russia, Japan, the U.S. and many others.

I personally do not like president George W. Bush, but (1) I am not an American, so I have no saying regarding who is the president of the U.S. (although some wag has said that given the power and influence of the U.S. in the world nowadays, some form of voting on that particular issue should be available to citizens from other countries :P ) and (2) he is, after all, a president-elect (we will not deal now with whether the elections were fair or not; they were a mess, but hopefully it will not be repeated), so he is the person legitimately in power there and therefore he has my politeness and my respect, if not my approval. I guess that respectful dissent is (alas) little used nowadays.

I think that the campaign of Afghanistan was necessary. However, I think that the follow-up has not been well done. I agree with Dunlavy in that there are times when wars are needed.

Dunlavy wrote:Competition, conservatism, and technological advancment are all products of capitalism, and this is what makes America the richest (and the most envied) nation in the world. I've been to Canada, Ian, lots of times. Even our Northern neighbors have shoddy feelings towards Americans because, quite simply, we make more money and have nicer things than they do. Socialism sucks.


I would say that Dunlavy should be more careful when bandying around the word "Socialism" and branding other places as "socialist", instantly dismissing them as failures or potential failures. Heck, I am sure that he would say that the Netherlands is a "socialist country".

What do you mean by that? Are you aware that there are many "socialisms" around? I have generally voted for the Socialist party of Spain (which was in power for 14 years between 1982 and 1996) because, among other things, it gave democratic stability to Spain after the transition from the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) to the democracy we have now, it got rid of state ownership of essential industries (thereby streamlining them and making them more efficient), and confirmed the entrance of Spain in the NATO and the EU. And they still are the "Socialist party of Spain"... I cannot but find it highly ironic that, in Spain, it was a right-wing government who nationalised almost everything, and a (nominally) socialist one who went the other way round. But I digress.

I somehow have the impression that what you call "socialism" is what I would call "strong influence of the national government in the economy and the life of the country". I guess that you include also welfare and other similar things in that particular box, and although welfare seems to have failed in the U.S., in other places it has worked better. The Netherlands has a developed welfare system, yet people tend to avoid staying in it for too long. Unemployment here is actually the lowest in Europe at the moment, hovering around 2%. I guess that if you combine welfare with proper incentives to get those people back in the job market, you can have a successful system. Oh dear me, again, I digress.

Sweden and the Netherlands are countries where this "strong influence of the national government" seems to be working. Of course, this kind of way of doing things implies two (rather dangerous) assumptions: (1) that the government in place will tend to have in mind the best interests of the country instead of its own best interests and (2) that the population can be trusted to put in place good governments more or less consistently.

So far things have been working well here, in my opinion, because of two reasons: (1) Smallness (the Netherlands is a very small country, and Sweden has a very small population) and (2) a LONG tradition of democracy and freedom in both places, with populations very well educated in that particular respect (the Netherlands was one of the exceedingly few true democracies in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries). Whenever you go over a certain threshold of size, or whenever the population is less educated, "laissez-faire" and checks and balances are the best guarantee for long-term preservation of reasonable freedoms. But I am *still* digressing.

To close up... Yes, the US makes more money... But I have to say that, in my personal case, I don't think I would ever emigrate to the US. I have been there many times, and I have seen that my life there, in any foreseeable situation, would be worse than the life I have now in the Netherlands, with the job I have now. When it comes to quality of life, measured not only from a GDP standpoint but also taking into account other factors (like median salaries, median price for housing, cultural offer, availability of transportation, and so on) the US is number 29 in the world, with Denmark, Norway and Luxembourg on the top of the list.

A little comment on what Sun-Tzu said, BTW: Russia is not a Third-world nation, actually. I have family in Russia, and I have been there many times from 1993 onwards. The huge majority of the people there prefer their situation now to how they were before the downfall of the USSR. Of course, you will still find some wackos there who worship Stalin, but they are a tiiiiiiiiiiiiny minority.

But back to the main topic... War and other things, and how the current US administration is taking care of it. As I said, the Afghanistan campaign was, in my opinion, necessary. I also think that Saddam Hussein has to be overthrown, and I am afraid that it will only be achieved by force.

However, there is one thing that many people appear to forget. War is important, but what is more important still is what happens after the war. Keep in mind that throughout history most of the time a war has left in its wake, not peace, but a desire for revenge in the vanquished part, a desire to "get even". Case in point, WWI, where the victors not only humiliated the vanquished, but punished them on beyond reason. Keep in mind that the post-WWII situation was more a "fluke" than anything else. The allied countries (in other words, the U.S., because it was the only country left with a reasonably healthy economy) took care to help the vanquished rebuild their countries and heal the wounds of war.

Dunlavy wrote:Though war should be avoided at all costs, the end result of war isn't always a bad thing. Think of ALL the oppressed people in Afghanistan that would be liberated if America kicked the ass of every oppressive enemy in the country. Yes, people die in wars... but the greater good is the many, many more people who would see a greater quality of life.


Indeed. However, when a country decides that it has to get into a war, it should ask itself: "Can you explain to the families of the dead in the vanquished country that they will have a better life after the war?" "Are you ready to give that explanation?" And, most important of it all, "are you ready to ensure that that increase in the quality of life will happen?"

The team in charge of the U.S. at the end of WWII was able to do all that. Is the current team up to it?

The world is in the middle of a big crisis: The terrorist situation, Irak, North Korea... I cannot help but thinking that George W. Bush is out of his league. I can only hope that the people around him will do their work (some of his counselors and advisers are very good), and that he will understand his limits and will not meddle too much with things that may be above him.

The U.S. is the biggest power in the world. There has not been such a hegemonic power since the times of the Roman Empire, almost 2000 years ago. Personally I am damn happy that this is so, because if you look at the 20th century, there were only three countries with real potential to become hegemonic powers: Nazi Germany, the USSR, and the U.S. So, this final result is not bad.

But, as somebody said, "with great powers come great responsibilities"... And in order to be able to deal with those responsibilities, you need a team who is really on top of things. Is the present U.S. team up to the task? I am afraid that, generally speaking, it is not. Or, at the very least, it gives that impression.

What will happen? I have no idea. The world is in a delicate situation now. I hope that in a few years things will be reasonably all right, and that the current troubles will be but a bad memory. Whether the road to that future is smooth or hard, however, is not clear at all.

And, as I feared, I ended up rambling. Sorry for the length of this post, and sorry for (possibly) butchering the English language. All the best!
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Postby mouse on Wed Jan 01, 2003 7:08 pm

JoseB - your English is just fine, and thank you for providing a European perspective. It was my impression that socialism had done none too badly there, but I frankly am not an expert, so didn't want to pretend I was.

Dunlavy:
1) I don't agree that socialism penalizes people for success. I think our current Big Business mindset rewards some people far in excess of what they deserve.
2) I didn't respond to your 1st amendment arguement mainly because I felt my response was already too long. While I am not an expert on the proposed law (which, by the way, I disapprove of, but because I think it is a hasty and poorly thought-out response to a situation that deserves some more creative thought), your statements suggest that either you do not understand the law, or the 1st amendment, or both.

The 1st amendment says you are free to say or publish whatever you want. It does _not_ say you have to give your words to others for free. Such an interpretation would mean that no newspaper or book could be offered for sale; artists, musicians, writers and poets would be required to allow anyone to take copies their ideas and creations without any payment for their skill. To do this would produce a situation similar to that you describe for doctors in a communist country - who would go to all that effort for free, when they can go elsewhere and make a decent living? Some artists (like Ian) provide their art free, just as some doctors volunteer their services. But the fact that some choose to do so does not mean everyone _must_ do so.

As I understand the proposed law, it extends copyright enforcement into electronic media. It would not prevent any artist from recording an MP3, any programmer from writing a video game, or anyone from putting any original product on the web. It would merely require you to pay for any such content you took off the web - just as you would have to pay for a book or a CD. You could have as much Internet content as you were willing to pay for, just as you can have as big a house or fancy a car as you are willing to pay for. Black-letter capitalism! (so I do understand your chagrin that the Democrates would coopt the idea from the Republicans.)

Face it - in a purely capitalist, free market system, there would be NO free Internet content. It costs money to produce such stuff - who would give it away for free if they could charge whatever the market would bear? Why not charge as often as you can? As I understand it, Microsoft wants to move to a rental model - you would have to pay a regular subscription to use their products. And if they have a big enough market share (can you say 'monopoly'?) they will be able to do it - just as Enron was able to charge inflated prices for electricity - was it only last winter? - because that is what the market will bear. After all, you have to buy a new ticket each time you go to the cinema, even if you have already seen the film once - why should you not have to pay each time you read a book on-line? or use a software application? You have to pay a subscription for cable TV every month, whether or not you watch it - why should an operating system be different? I have my own ideas about why this is wrong, but they come from 'obsolete liberal' ideas. You need to think through just how much you get for free now, and how much it is costing others - to say nothing of why you feel you are justified in continuing to be the recipient of such corporate welfare.
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Great response!

Postby Dunlavy on Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:22 am

JoseB... your post was great. You're a good writer. :-)

I understand that I use the word "Socialism" more broadly than others would prefer me too. I've never been to Europe to see how people live there, but from what I've read about European countries here in America, all I can tell you is that the middle class there is poorer than the middle class here in the U.S.A. I credit that to higher taxes - larger tax increases are needed to sustain a government that's.... shall I say... predisposed to socialist policy.

This is where my "penalizing the rich/rewarding the poor" philosophy comes into play. All too many times, I hear punk-ass college students at my campus comment: "I'm voting Democrat because I gots no money! Tee hee, tee hee!" Or something along those lines. It takes more than a five-second insight to determine who you vote for.

I voted for Bush because I believed that he'd strenghten the economy (even I am unhappy with him in this aspect where he is faltering), cut bureaucracies that are no longer need from the government payroll, veto all the lame ass bills in congress thanks to CA. liberals, and kick some ass in the middle east. :wink:

Anyways, I just wanted to say that of any response here, I respect yours most highly, Jose. You speak with selfless experience.
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Postby Dunlavy on Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:44 am

Mouse wrote:Face it - in a purely capitalist, free market system, there would be NO free Internet content. It costs money to produce such stuff - who would give it away for free if they could charge whatever the market would bear? Why not charge as often as you can? As I understand it, Microsoft wants to move to a rental model - you would have to pay a regular subscription to use their products. And if they have a big enough market share (can you say 'monopoly'?) they will be able to do it - just as Enron was able to charge inflated prices for electricity - was it only last winter? - because that is what the market will bear. After all, you have to buy a new ticket each time you go to the cinema, even if you have already seen the film once - why should you not have to pay each time you read a book on-line? or use a software application? You have to pay a subscription for cable TV every month, whether or not you watch it - why should an operating system be different? I have my own ideas about why this is wrong, but they come from 'obsolete liberal' ideas. You need to think through just how much you get for free now, and how much it is costing others - to say nothing of why you feel you are justified in continuing to be the recipient of such corporate welfare.


Umm... you provide a good point here. I wouldn't want to pay a subscription fee for Microsoft products. This and your other examples are schemes of OBVIOUS greed and consumer pick-pocketing.

While I will not venture as far to say that capitalism is flawless, I am so very much an extreme Republican since I feel America is leaning more towards the Democratic side nowadays and I want to see it get back to my side for lower taxes, military expansion, ect. Should I ever TRULY 100% get my way, then America would surely need people like you, Mouse, to keep consumers (and myself) from getting price gouged. However, the case you put forth is extreme, EXTREME capitalist oppression.

You need to append the natural and perhaps not-so-natural (government induced) forces of competition to the equation. True capitalism would mean true competition... so say Company A moves to a subscription plan and Company B does not; Company B would see profits as to force Company A to a competitive rate or perish.

LOL... This is getting WAY off topic. We need to talk about killing people in the 'Stans. I digress now. Totally. :-)
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Re: Great response!

Postby JoseB on Thu Jan 02, 2003 5:20 am

Dunlavy wrote:JoseB... your post was great. You're a good writer. :-)


Good lord, Dunlavy, you flatter me! :)

Dunlavy wrote:I understand that I use the word "Socialism" more broadly than others would prefer me too. I've never been to Europe to see how people live there, but from what I've read about European countries here in America, all I can tell you is that the middle class there is poorer than the middle class here in the U.S.A. I credit that to higher taxes - larger tax increases are needed to sustain a government that's.... shall I say... predisposed to socialist policy.


Oh, Dunlavy, reading what the media say will never substitute for personal experience. In that particular point, you are wrong. I live here, and I have been to the U.S. very often and in many places. The middle class here is at a par with the middle class in the U.S. Of course, that is an average: There are places where the middle class is better off than in the U.S. (case in point: Sweden, which -incidentally- has some of the highest tax rates in Europe, or the Netherlands, with high taxes as well, or Denmark, which is starting to wind down tax pressure) and places where it is less well off (for instance Greece, Portugal or my own country, Spain). Again, it is not only money: It is also quality of life. Swedes pay huge taxes, yes. On the other side, those taxes finance education (including university level), medical care, and other costs that you don't pay for from your income after taxes. This means that, on average, disposable income after taxes for a Swede is higher than for an American citizen.

There will always be differences between individuals, of course (I know for a fact that I am better off than middle-class Americans I've known, and I am middle-class too :) ) And, as I said before, what works in Sweden possibly wouldn't work anywhere else.

Dunlavy wrote:This is where my "penalizing the rich/rewarding the poor" philosophy comes into play. All too many times, I hear punk-ass college students at my campus comment: "I'm voting Democrat because I gots no money! Tee hee, tee hee!" Or something along those lines. It takes more than a five-second insight to determine who you vote for.


I agree with you wholeheartedly. It would seem that many people vote with their asses, not their heads.

Dunlavy wrote:I voted for Bush because I believed that he'd strenghten the economy (even I am unhappy with him in this aspect where he is faltering), cut bureaucracies that are no longer need from the government payroll, veto all the lame ass bills in congress thanks to CA. liberals, and kick some ass in the middle east. :wink:


Oh well... I hope you understand that any president of any government actually has his hands tied. It is not so much what he wants to do, but what his lobbyists and other pressure groups close to power will let him do. But then, perhaps I am too cynical. A resourceful president who is smart and/or shrewd can work around that. Forgive me if I think that the current incumbent is not up to that particular task.

As to kicking ass in the middle east... Oh well. Remember that wars are not to be taken lightly (refer to my previous post). I feel somewhat tired, because I have seen too many "peaceniks" who seem not to understand that at times wars are necessary, and too many "hawks" who seem not to take wars seriously and/or not to understand what a war means.

Dunlavy wrote:Anyways, I just wanted to say that of any response here, I respect yours most highly, Jose. You speak with selfless experience.


Again, you flatter me. It is a welcome thing to see a serious debate in a forum that does not degenerate into a flame war. All of you, people who post here, are awesome :)
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Postby mouse on Thu Jan 02, 2003 5:44 pm

Dunlavy wrote:While I will not venture as far to say that capitalism is flawless, I am so very much an extreme Republican since I feel America is leaning more towards the Democratic side nowadays and I want to see it get back to my side for lower taxes, military expansion, ect. Should I ever TRULY 100% get my way, then America would surely need people like you, Mouse, to keep consumers (and myself) from getting price gouged. However, the case you put forth is extreme, EXTREME capitalist oppression.

You need to append the natural and perhaps not-so-natural (government induced) forces of competition to the equation. True capitalism would mean true competition... so say Company A moves to a subscription plan and Company B does not; Company B would see profits as to force Company A to a competitive rate or perish.


Unless Company A managed to capture enough of the market so as to become a monopoly. Something similar to this cause CA's recent high-priced energy problems. In a truly competative system, it is in one company's best interest to kill off the competition, and if you watch them, this is what they do. but as long as you are willing to admit there's a place for my kind.....

This is getting WAY off topic. We need to talk about killing people in the 'Stans. I digress now. Totally. :-)
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true enough! i'm always willing to be friendly with people who will actually listen. (and it's good for me to be reminded that there are people out there coming from your point of view).
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Postby sun tzu on Sat Jan 04, 2003 9:46 am

About the quality of life in Westr Europe: I live in France, and here, taxes may be higher than in the US, but that money isn't lost (except for the part that goes into the pliticians' pockets :wink: ); it goes somewhere. To be more specific, it pays for things that people would otherwise pay for individually. As a result, we have health coverage that pays for about half our medical expenses (which I guess is good for those who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise), great transportation (our electric trains can take you to any big/medium city in a few hours) and, of course, free college. So I don't think French people have any reason to complain about their high taxes and 'socialist' government (I'm not French myself, altough I've spent most of my life here).
By the way, about the Democrats (and their equivalents in other countries): I don't like them either, since they seem almost as controlled by dubious lobbies as the Republicans. Take a look: http://archive.salon.com/comics/tomo/2000/09/25/tomo/index.html. I guess I'm in favor of third parties.
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Postby mouse on Sat Jan 04, 2003 11:09 am

well, this is of course the _real_ problem with politics....all those politicians. i have actually voted for some third party candidates, because they are still earnest. i have this feeling though, once a third party gets big enough, it will attract the same sort of hypocricy and corruption as the Big Two. all one can do is keep trying to remind them of what the party is supposed to stand for.
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Postby Limax on Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:07 am

Hey! Where's the option for 'wombat'?
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Postby ycefyre on Mon Jan 06, 2003 12:17 pm

Though I am not old enough to vote, I am a third party Libertarian. I would have voted for Harry Browne in 2000. I like that he wants to make the government smaller; frankly, I think it needs it. However, for better or worse, that is not who won.
I believe that a government cannot support its people. That is why Rome fell. That is why, eventually, the US government will fail. There's a great old book (written in the twenties) called 'the Mainspring of Human Progress' that I highly recommend.
Anyway, that is not the main thing I wanted to say, and seems a bit off subject.

I wanted to say this: On September 11th, 2001, my mom and I were on the second day of a road trip across Washington. I woke up in a motel room, just after my mom had come back from the lobby, and she had turned on the tv, which surprised me because she doesn't like watching tv much. She had seen the first footage of the attacks in the lobby. I woke up to images of an airplane crashing into a skyscraper. I remember thinking how unreal it looked, like bad computer graphics or something. This was worse than any nightmare I had ever had. But the really amazing part was driving through towns. It was so incredible and wonderful how people united in a way we almost always aren't. The really amazing part was that this was how everyone, nation wide, first reacted. We came together in a way nothing else could. And it all came from within us; not pushed or suggested we do that, we just did. I think that means more to me than anything else that happened.
To me at least, that spontaneous uniting and patriotism ended when our leader declared war on terror. Gee, I wonder why...

Could it be that a war on terrorism is redundant? That given our government's wars on, say, drugs or poverty have not been that successful, this one probably wouldn't be?

How do you fight a war on terrorism? When do you know you've won? And when you have, do you have to kill yourself because of all the terror you've caused fighting this war? To wage war, one must have an enemy. What kind of enemy is a feeling or idea? How does one fight it?

If anyone can answer these questions with reason and logic, please do. No one I know can, and so far that includes the USA's leadership.

People seem to have forgotten that there were FOUR airplanes, not just the two in New York, and that one of those airplanes had true heroes in it. Those people who didn't have to do anything but chose to fight back, chose to try and save lives even if they couldn't save their own, are the real heroes (for me at least), but they are hardly ever heard of anymore. The media, etc. still goes on about 'the twin towers'. No offence to New Yorkers, but I didn't even know about them until they fell down. And they talk about the firefighters and police and medics who died that day and the people who died in the buildings, and they call them all heroes. I think by overusing that word they strip it of the true meaning and the honor that goes with it. A true hero is not someone who died because they went to work that day. There are everyday heroes, and some of those are people who do dangerous jobs (like the firefighters), but they do them even though they know the next building they run into could be the last. They do it anyway, and that makes them an everyday hero, someone who is taken for granted but shouldn't be. A true hero is rarer than that. They are the ones who decided that they were going to die anyway, but chose prevent others dieing too. Sure, they had nothing left to lose, but they still risked it. Sure, they only sped up the inevitable, but they did deeds worth a song or two, so lets sing them. This is all just my opinion of course, and I truly mean no offence to any. I am sorry if any were. Hopefully, I have just given you all something to think about.

One more thing. Take a look at who is allies with whom, and see if attacking Iraq just might start WW3.
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Postby mouse on Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:37 pm

i always thought the barbarian hordes had something to do with rome's collapse, but i haven't quite finished gibbon yet....

i always had a problem with the 'war on terror' - how can you tell if you've won, if you don't know who should be surrendering. and the results of said conflict to date tend to just point up the problems - is mullah omar still a terrorist, since he hasn't said a word since the taliban fell? or is it just that since he can't be found, he's no longer a problem? considering the u.s. sort of pioneered guerrilla tactics in the revolutionary war, you'd think we would know more about them....

i agree about the people on the pennsylvannia plane - they do deserve better notice, although in this day and age, that probably means they will be forced to be the subject of a movie-of-the-week.....which really doesn't seem fair at all.
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Rome

Postby ycefyre on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:51 pm

i always thought the barbarian hordes had something to do with rome's collapse,


Well, that too mouse :)
But I was refering to the reason why Rome couldn't defend themselves very well.
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ycefyre
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Re: Rome and its fall

Postby JoseB on Wed Jan 08, 2003 5:30 am

ycefyre wrote:
i always thought the barbarian hordes had something to do with rome's collapse,


Well, that too mouse :)
But I was refering to the reason why Rome couldn't defend themselves very well.


Oh, boy, the fall of Rome. A really interesting subject, although one has to be careful when assigning some cause to the decline and fall in 476 AD of the *western* Roman Empire (remember that Byzantium, the *eastern* Roman Empire, endured for 1000 more years, until 1453 AD).

One thing, though... There were not really "barbarian hordes" pillaging and looting the empire. They were more unopposed population movements than invasions. Even the taking of Rome by Alaric in 410 AD was not followed by any particular pillaging. The goths entered the Roman Empire because they themselves were being pushed by the Huns, who indeed pillaged and razed, but not as much as people tend to believe, and anyway after Attila's death they disorganised and went back towards their lands of origin.

The movements of Germanic-Gothic populations were left unchecked, first because the imperial armies were not enough to cover all the places, and second because those armies themselves were more than 90% made up of Germanic mercenaries, who anyway wouldn't feel very much like fighting against their own kin. Even the commanding officers were Germanic, not Roman.

As to "big government"... Sorry, ycefyre, but the government of the Roman Empire was way bigger during the climax of imperial power (96AD - 190AD), with the highest government size during the reign of Antoninus Pius, which was the absolute best time for the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire was divided in two (western and eastern empire) in 395 AD or thereabouts, each half was left with a "streamlined" government. The Eastern half did OK, but the division only accelerated the demise of the Western half. What we usually call "decline and fall of the Roman Empire" refers only to the Western half, with capital in Ravenna (not Rome).

As I said, there were a LOT of factors in the demise of the Western Roman Empire, and those foremost in the minds of most of us ("barbarian hordes" and -apparently- big government) were just accessories during or after the fact. The most important factors were demographics, lack of ability to sustain the economy, decline in the interest for knowledge, the implantation of christianism as the official religion of the Empire, a permanent state of inner revolt and some truly brain-dead decisions by the men in charge. Heck, the Western Empire might even have survived if the Emperor at the time had not insulted king Alaric of the Ostrogoths, which provoked him to enter Italy, depose the Emperor and take his place.

There is way more about all this, of course, but I will gladly answer any private messages you send me :)

All the best!

JoseB
NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!<P>The smurfs from the blue mushrooms are after me! *YAIIIGH!!*
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Postby mouse on Wed Jan 08, 2003 12:48 pm

in other words - things are not as simple as they may look. :D

"decline in the interest for knowledge" - now _that_ one is truly scary, because i see that happening around me. not only lack of interest, but lack of opportunity or training - kids don't seem to get the education they need to understand things like math and science - or even complex historical events. poor economies and bad decisions by those in power happen all the time, of course, but if there is no one out there who can understand the situation, and come up with better ideas.....

wow. thanks for the history, JoseB!
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Postby Limax on Wed Jan 08, 2003 1:29 pm

I know a bit about the western collapse of Rome from reading the Camuloud books by Jack Whyte. Judging from them, it was not an easy time (not that I think it would ever be easy!)
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