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another gun article(69 posts)

another gun articleMJ
May 14, 2002 4:03 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usguns/Story/0,2763,715203,00.html

Comment

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Gung-ho about guns

Engel in America

Matthew Engel
Tuesday May 14, 2002
The Guardian

The most famous of the 27 amendments to the US constitution is probably the fifth, which gives people the right to avoid self-incrimination. Americans plead it regularly, thus effectively incriminating themselves. Journalists are particularly attached to the first, which enshrines freedom of the press, giving them a place in society way above that of raggedy-arsed British hacks, and thus usually too grand to make any worthwhile use of the privilege.
The most bewildering is the second amendment. This is the one that makes Europeans cease thinking of Americans as much-loved cousins and regard them instead as refugees from a distant planet. It reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The excess commas are grammatically puzzling, but not nearly as puzzling as the whole sentence. Americans have argued since 1791 what their founding fathers actually meant. You would have thought the federal government had a view, though. It does. It just happens to be different from the one it held this time last week.

For decades, the official Justice Department line was that the first 13 words of the amendment were crucial to its sense, and that the amendment was designed to protect the existence of official militias, eg the individual states' National Guard, and not to allow all-comers to roam the streets packing a rod.

Last week, Ted Olson, the solicitor-general, announced a change of mind. He said the US now believed the amendment "more broadly protects the right of individuals - to possess and bear their own firearms". Olson was speaking for John Ashcroft who has believed this for years, in common with a great many other people who in other countries would be called rightwing extremists. Ashcroft, however, is now the US attorney general, and he first signalled the change a year ago, in a letter to the chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, the gung-ho gun-carriers. This gives you some idea how business is transacted in George W's Washington.

In the short run, thanks to the checks and balances elsewhere in the constitution, the change does not mean much. But it's possible that there could be a rethink by the supreme court, which last considered the second amendment, and decided it referred to militias, in 1939. The gun lobby has stopped this being translated into meaningful legislation, but the ruling has so far stopped complete mayhem. This president would love to pack the court with more rightwingers to add to the five who gifted him the presidency. And if the Republicans regain the Senate in November he may get his way. Then even the current inadequate patchwork of state gun control laws could be rendered illegal.

This Ashcroft is an unusual cove. He is a strict Pentecostalist, a sect that believes in exorcism, speaking in tongues, and, in some cases, handling poisonous snakes as a test of belief, which must be good practice for Washington politics. His old Senate colleagues disliked him so much that they nearly rejected him as attorney general.

But his popularity now outstrips that of any senator. He has used his department as a battering ram against terrorism, leading the charge with rasping denunciations of suspects and critics alike as traitors. Guardian readers offended by this might consider whether it makes political sense in the current American climate to err on the side of harshness or kindness in the matter of locking up dodgy-looking Arab males.

His gun policy is harder to fathom. Ashcroft may be a biblical fundamentalist, but he has a very different view of the constitution. Arguably, he has bent
drivel nmDougSloan
May 14, 2002 6:04 AM
I think when you criticize or poke fun, you reveal more about128
May 14, 2002 11:39 AM
yourself than the target.

"did he say target?"

bang

;)
re: another gun articleBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 6:13 AM
We finally have an Administration that can read and the Socialist media is all up in arms about it. Too bad!! A couple of interesting point re: the 2nd Amendment are listed below:

These phrases,

” right of the people peaceably to assemble,”
“right of the people to be secure in their homes,”
“enumeration’s herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people,”

They all refer to individuals, but “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to the state.

The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, refers to the National Guard, which was created by an act of Congress in 1917. I don't think so...

Also, The National Guard, funded by the federal government, occupying property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state militia?!? I think not...

Attacking Ashcrofts religious beliefs has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. Such tactics are common among the left when they have no case. Again the writer brings up the allegedly wrongful "election" of Bush. What does that have to do with the 2nd Amendment either? Character assasination brings no credibility to an argument. The author should stick to the issue instead of using this article as a vehicle to whine aobut the things he would like to see changed here.

Perhaps he would be better utilized writing article about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe. Does 1939 ring a bell? Don't tell me how bad my "house" is when yours is no better

When you are the big dog on the block, you are also the biggest target...
re: another gun articleJon Billheimer
May 14, 2002 6:34 AM
When you are the big dog on the block you are also the most arrogant, and blind to how you appear to others.
nicely putMJ
May 14, 2002 7:42 AM
while I'll keep posting stuff I won't debate it as it's fairly unproductive

watching the responses come in, particularly BV's is like watching a car wreck in slow motion - though it is a dull car wreck
nicely putBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 10:34 AM
Sarcasm does not suit you...I have made every effort to not personalize this, but you insist on it. Stick to the facts and leave your snotty comments about me off the board. Dull car wreck...Hmmmm...not real funny.

If you don't like reading MY opinions, DON"T READ THEM!!!!!
if you and DougMJ
May 15, 2002 12:48 AM
want my serious comments about this issue then you can both do a search and look at the last time this thread was discussed - until then you can both exist safely in your U-S-A bubble without reference or understanding of how other people view your christian-white-right-wing extreme illogical politics and contortions of plainly drafted legislation

what part of 'in a state militia' do you guys not understand? that seems to sum it all up for me - maybe if either one of you guys address the comments raised in the article ('drivel' or 'get your own house in order' don;t really count do they?) then we can have a discussion

and I think character assassination is fine when you have somebody like Ashcroft in the 'sights' - if he was a NAMBLA child abuser would you still defend his 'beliefs' (which are ridiculous) - you can't take anything the guys says seriously - all Clinton did was get a blowjob and lie about it - big deal we've all done worse stuff than that

better yet how's about you guys do some reading from sources other than the US-based media - and no CNN doesn't count - maybe then you'll begin to understand exactly how odd portions of the US political spectrum seem - maybe if you did do some reading from such sources you could meaningfully compare and contrast Bush, Le Pen, Pim Fortuyn and the BNP - or even identify them...

BV have you read Marc Resiner's book 'Cadillac Desert' yet? no? (it's about US water policy) well when you do we can talk about socialism

and for the record - I'm not anti-American in any way - in fact I'm a fan (and usually a defender when discussing matters with Euro-liberals) - though undoubtedly you'll interpret anything anyone says that's contrary to you as anti-American - it's easier than addressing the points and is indicative of the current climate which Jon B described

BV - thanks I'm still laughing about the 'socialist media' comment above... if you have anything else like that (or did you lift that from the 'well respected' Rush Limbaugh) please do pass it on - more fuel for the fire
if you and Doug (long)BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 1:51 AM
Your OPINIONS are not right anymore than ours are. I did address the article, but there is always going to be a difference of opinion about that amendment. You just need to accept it instead of characterizing it as "christian-white-right-wing extreme illogical politics and contortions of plainly drafted legislation". Your side never addresses "the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms, shal NOT be infringed" That is pretty plain. I guess those other parts of the Constitution where is says "people" mean the State? I doubt it.
Where the problem lies is what "militia" meant to the Founders. I am not sure we will ever know that, but Jefferson, Madison and Washington, in their writings, were all ardent advocates of an armed citizenry. The author specious argument about Madison in the last paragraph has no facts asssociated with it to this point.

Comparing Pentacostals with NAMBLA is at the height of illogic. Why do his beliefs get under your skin so much? There is NO evidence his beliefs have influenced in duties in ANY way. If you think so , I'd like to have you post specific examples.

Clinton took advantage of a superior/subordinate relationship and he was the President! They were not co-workers. He took advantage of her. A responsible superior would have rebuffed those advances. THen he LIED about it in an official deposition. That's perjury. In my book, that is wrong! What if Monica was your daughter? I think we can agree that it would put the shoe on the other foot.

I haven't found this book yet, but I really haven't looked. There are plenty of examples of our govt gone awry and I am not naive enough to think it's perfect. I don't agree with the steel tariffs or the farm bill, those are Socialist give aways too.

I have yet to see any of your pro-American leanings in any of your posts. It would be interesting to read what you like about us. As I have said numerous times, I have my own problems with the govt and I have listed them in prior posts. Not a lockstep "govt lover" here.

CNN/NBC/ABC/CBS is a perfect example of this. THis is anecdotal (can't remember specifics), but I have on numerous ocassions, heard them put a slant on story, and discovered otherwise in the paper or onthe INternet news orgs. Actually, CBS ran an anti-gun pice on 60 Minutes this weekend to counter the "extreme right-wing" view of the Bush Administration. It's funny how all the other media outlets are now trying to appear "fair and balanced."
They bash the Bush Administration for not appearing more "global" (Kyoto, ICC, Monterrey) and these efforts, in my opinion are part of some effort to "level the playing field" at our expense. The UN wants more of our money because they know better what to do with it? Pretty Socialistic to me. "Let the State take care of you, a foreign bureacrat REALLY has your best interests at heart!!"
"what if monica was your daughter?."...hummmishmael
May 15, 2002 3:54 AM
what if one of the many girls who were accidentally shot last night was your daughter...following the pro-gun argument the problem lies in the person who shot her (its not the guns fault) and he needs to be punished....but the system of punishment has only gotten us in a situation where lots of people are shot each year and then a bunch more are in prison...the US is notorious for both problems now...but what about rights you say...well, why cant you worry about other rights, i cant run around naked, smoke pot, drink beer out of the bottle in public, sell things on the steet etc...why, because i might hurt myself or someone else, humm....why are so many people paranoid that they are going to be coming over the walls and we'll have to stop them in the neighborhood...the only one coming over the walls that i see is the guy on the news at night with a couple tied on and he's pissed off about his girlfriend or a drug deal gone sour...make him dook it out, i hear the gunshots at night...
maybe we shouldnt look at the constitution for guidance, isnt it possible its outdated...the word malitia is, and so is the idea...do we have to think "what would Jefferson have done" in every situation...
"what if monica was your daughter?."...hummmJon Billheimer
May 15, 2002 6:05 AM
Ishmael,

Those are the first comments you've ever made on this board that I agree with!! But I do, 100%. Well spoken.
thanks...if there was one thing we agree on im glad its this nmishmael
May 15, 2002 11:31 AM
"what if monica was your daughter?."...hummmBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:29 AM
It's so easy to pick on firearms...what about drunk drivers? They kill more people each year than firearms do. Lets ban ANYTHING that MIGHT be able to kill anyone.
"what if monica was your daughter?."...hummmishmael
May 15, 2002 11:29 AM
drunk drivers are banned in my state..if you are talking about the car,id love to ban the car, ill bet a lot of cyclists would, we are more at risk than most, what about our rights to use the road safely...if all the money we individually spend on autos and there fuel and maintenance for one year went to a decent public transportation system it might be possible...why is the possibility of a gunless society so scary, is it a rights issue or do you think we all need them just incase...to tell the truth id buy a gun and ive told my girlfriend to maybe get one because she (and too many women) are scared to walk around at night...a shame, i cant imagine, i walk anywhere anytime...but if no one had a gun, an example being europe, i wouldnt feel anyone had a need for there protection...its a cycle, and just like the arms race we now have way too many weapons around...how bout only rifles?...you can guard your house with'em fine, hunt with'em, what more could you want...to conceal it to take around the place, thats rediculous, i had friends when i was 22ish who used to do that, its childish...do you think you could possibly be the hero in some situation, how often does that happend...is it a deterent against other folks who could use guns, then as i already said a solution is get them away from everyone...its so nice walking in europe's bad neighborhoods knowing people arent being shot all the time, they just scream alot or maybe have a knife fight, its so romantic...i wish americans didnt think handguns were a part of being an american
if you and Doug (long)MJ
May 15, 2002 4:49 AM
my view:
right to bear arms = a
in a well regulated militia = b
a + b = c

your view:
right to bear arms = a

your approach fails to look at the whole sentence/meaning - they meant what they wrote and wrote what the meant
if you and Doug (long)BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:34 AM
But what is a "well-regulated militia"? your definition of the Guard is faulty because they are paid for with Fed money, live on Fed property, can be called up by the Fed ANYTIME they want to. The Guard is essentially a Fed entity

What did militia mean to the Founders? No one really knows. Anyone have FACTUAL input to that?

BUT I do know that "the right of the PEOPLE (not militia) to keep abd bear arms shall not be infringed
The right of the people (as members of a well regulated...Brooks
May 15, 2002 7:16 AM
militia)...does that work for you? I don't disagree on the National Guard, and if the state of Vermont or Colorado or whatever wants to form a state militia I'm fine with that. I'm just tired of the NRA and others conveniently leaving off the well-regulated militia portion of the Second Amendment.
if you and Doug (long)weiwentg
May 15, 2002 5:06 AM
here's how Ashcroft's religious views have interfered with his duties.

http://www.issues2000.org/Senate/John_Ashcroft.htm

1) Gay rights - he has voted no on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation and on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. the last is particularly galling.
people on the religious right believe that sexuality is a choice. science has shown us that sexual orientation is not a choice, but it will take more than facts to convince people of his ilk.
2) Abortion - his opposition to abortion is one thing (actually I agree with him on this). he has blocked the nominations of judges who were not pro-abortion. this is despite the fact that he said he would respect Roe v Wade.
if you and Doug (long)BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:43 AM
I am adamantly opposed to hate crimes, as he is. If a person is murdered because they are gay or any other minority, the person murdered is still dead. The penalties for these crimes are quite adeqaute to deal with those crimes. To put this "feel-good" lable of "hate-crime" accomplishes nothing.

BTW, I am really mad at him for not actively pursuing the Clinton pardon scandal. It seems there may have been some money that changed hands for pardons. He needs to get off the stick on that one.

No politician is perfect, it's just more popular to publicly flay the evil "right-wing" ones
if you and Doug (long)weiwentg
May 16, 2002 7:43 AM
>No politician is perfect, it's just more popular to publicly flay the evil "right-wing" ones

part of this for me is that the Christian right shares my religion. but I don't see them really living up to it.

and don't worry, I'm sure that the Liberals and leftists get flayed plenty in right-wing circles. am I wrong to say this?
perhaps it's a reflection that the political mood in the US is on the liberal side.
Most things wrong.LO McDuff
May 15, 2002 7:08 AM
1) Science has not shown that sexual orientation is not a choice. If you can cite references from the peer-reviewed literature, I will humbly apologize. This claim is made often, but I have not seen any support.

2) You have this ass-backward. He voted against the nominations when he was in the Senate. However, it was during his confirmation hearings (after his Senate term) when he said that he would respect the Roe v. Wade decision.
Most things wrong.weiwentg
May 16, 2002 7:56 AM
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_fixe.htm#vari

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_caus.htm
-the first three statements are from organizations that have vested interests in the question of homosexuality - a Christian organization, and a homosexual support group. the American Psychological Association, however, seems to be objective.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_prof.htm

http://www.danaanpress.com/alib/hsex.html
-the references include a list of some studies.

evidence isn't 100% conclusive so far. but it's been enough for me (and remember, I was a conservative Christian at one point).
Most things wrong.weiwentg
May 16, 2002 7:56 AM
it would seem, though, that I did get that bit on Ashcroft wrong.
...all Clinton did...DJB
May 15, 2002 7:39 AM
was to (these are just a few, I'm sure):

- sexually harass Paula Jones
- purjure himself by lying in court about evidence (the
affair with Monica) to the harassment
- obstruct justice by signing (and having Monica sign) a false
affidavit, which was submitted to the court
- abuse his office by lying to the people of the U.S. and
to his Cabinet, many of which turned around and repeated the
lie to the public.

C'mon guys. All you're doing when you give the tired 'it was just about sex' line is to wink at sexual harassment. It's too serious a subject for that.
re: another gun articleBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 10:30 AM
List specifics...

Generalities mean nothing
wellMJ
May 14, 2002 8:09 AM
England's not France or NL - you may be surprised to know that peope from different countries in Europe describe themselves in terms of national rather than continetnal origin - you may also be surprised to know that to many England is not in Europe - it is an island nation/people and there's a reason we have the channel - many here couldn't give a monkey's about Europe - it's only where you go on holiday and for football rucks

in the UK there's only been a few National Front racists elected in Oldham/Burnley - so this is as close as we can get in today's paper (article below for your perusal) - nobody's ducking this one here - last I looked the NF was beaten pretty badly in France and the NF guy was assassinated in Holland (granted that point is a gimme "I told you so" for the gun lobby) - so it appears the Euro-house is in order, or at least quite literally being cleaned so to speak - however, Bush is more right wing than most of the Euro NF political positions so who's doing your housekeeping? - 1939 self-referential politics are alive and well - but not in Europe mate - glass houses, stones; pot, kettle, black; insert other appropriate old wives sayings at your leisure

watch this space though for June elections in France - the NF is likely to do quite well with predictable consequences; race riots this summer in the North of England - nothing too dynamic ever happens in NL except for squatter's riots - undoubtedly these problems could be best dealt with by arming everyone in the EU

did you laugh when you typed out 'socialist media'? it sure made me laugh pretty hard - once again I enjoyed your contortionist logic - very entertaining - here's the article about nasty murderous racists in Europe:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,715109,00.html

Four held for questioning on fatal house fire

Helen Carter
Tuesday May 14, 2002
The Guardian

Four men aged between 19 and 25 were being questioned by police yesterday after an arson attack killed seven members of a family, including five children, in Birkby, Huddersfield, early on Sunday.
The fire in Osborne Road, Birkby, has devastated the tight-knit community.

Five sisters, aged between six months and 13 years, and two adults died in the early hours of Sunday. The girls, who last night had not been formally identified by the police, were on an extended visit from Pakistan with their mother. They were the granddaughters of Abdul Aziz Chishti, the homeowner, who escaped from the blaze.

Shortly before the fire broke out, a group of Asian youths were seen throwing objects - possibly a petrol bomb - at the stone terraced house.

At the time of the attack, there were 11 members of the same family asleep inside. Four people, including Mr Chishti's wife and their two children, managed to escaped the fire.

West Yorkshire police arrested four local men in connection with their inquiry on Sunday night. Last night the men, all of whom were Asian, had not been charged with any offence.

Mr Chishti, a respected former imam at a local mosque, was treated in hospital for injuries he sustained as he jumped from a first-floor window.

Mohammed Akram, joint secretary of the mosque, said he had visited him in Huddersfield royal infirmary. Mr Chishti has since been released from hospital.

"It must have been horrendous for him standing and watching while his family were burnt," said Mr Akram. He said that prayers were being said for the family across Huddersfield.

Mr Akram said nobody knew why it had happened. "What could they have gained by killing so many people?" he asked.

Mrs Chishti was last night in Leeds general infirmary, critically ill with head injuries. Her son was in a special unit in a Manchester hospital suffering from serious burns.

One granddaughter who died, aged 13, was a student at Fartown high school in Huddersfield. Pupils delivered flowers to the house and were contribut
wellBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 10:22 AM
Get back to the original issue of the 2nd Amendment. These discussions always digress into a USA-bashfest, so stick with one point.

The prior post only gave generalities regarding the "big bullies" ignoring other nations (I am paraphrasing). When he (or you) can list a SPECIFIC topic or two to discuss RATIONALLY, post it/them.

Lastly, just because my opinion is different than yours makes it no less valid. Stick to the point and leave the unproductive snide comments out.

Just because I believe that every person has an inherent right to sel-defense in a reasonable manner of THEIR (not the States) choosing, is not an unreasonable.

Try addressing the above point and we'll start from there.
So, anyone here pack heat when they ride?firstrax
May 14, 2002 6:52 AM
Yeah, sometimesmuncher
May 14, 2002 7:09 AM
I use those chemical innersoles in the winter to keep my toes warm - they are great - just snap them, and let the reaction keep you toasty all ride....
Well, Doug, I know I'M feeling better about Ashcroft now.retro
May 14, 2002 7:54 AM
But I do question the statement that his "popularity now outstrips that of any senator." He strikes me as a flat-out loony, just barely under control for public consumption.
Wouldn't mind seeing him handle some poisonous snakes, though.
Well, Doug, I know I'M feeling better about Ashcroft now.MJ
May 14, 2002 8:13 AM
I like the poisonous snakes suggestion - maybe he could speak in tongues to the paramedics after he gets bit - it's nice that he reflects the average American and shares their point of view - it's nice that Bush isn't overstepping his mandate and nominating cabinet members who aren't too extreme - after all Ashcroft is just like so many other people who speak in tongues, handle snakes are bufoons, have extreme right wing views and are barely under control for public consumption - yep he's your pretty average Joe

Euro-land just don't get it - but it's very entertaining in the meantime
Well, Doug, I know I'M feeling better about Ashcroft now.BikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 10:29 AM
Character assassination has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. I don't know if he believes or practices those things, but that has NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. What does belittling a man and his faith have to to with the job he has done so far.

List some SPECIFIC REAL problems you have with him and we'll talk. The 2nd Amendment is a difference of opinion and all the postings will not change that. I had to bite my tongue with Clinton in office so now I guess it's your collective turn(s).
Specific IssuesJon Billheimer
May 14, 2002 10:54 AM
I'll list a couple of specific issues. The Bush administration, including John Ashcroft, professes respect for Canada's sovereignty, yet off camera continually pressure us to "harmonize" our policies and procedures with the U.S.', and threatening trade sanctions against Canada if we don't. This type of rhetoric was also used by previous U.S. administrations to express their displeasure over Canada's neutrality with respect to Cuba. Bush continually uses "you're either for us or agin' us" type rhetoric. Yet U.S. foreign policy is decidedly hypocritical in the way it chooses to apply the "we are against terrorism everywhere" policy statements.

The Bush administration lectures everyone else about being good partners, friends, and allies, yet arrogates to itself the right to withdraw at will from agreements and treaties it has signed. Examples? The Kyoto Accord and the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty. Another current example was cited this morning in the Edmonton Journal, but my memory fails me.

From this side of the border, the U.S. looks vaguely well-intentioned, but extremely arrogant, bullying, and self-aggrandizing. By the way, for those of you who may feel ruffled about these comments, I am generally fervently pro-American. I'm the only Canadian I know of who goes around wearing a Stars and Stripes jersey. But the foreign policy stance of the Bush administration, as well as Ashcroft's posture, is becoming more and more alarming.

A retired German friend of mine, who recently returned from an extended holiday in the U.S., commented that American public and political opinion resembles, to him, ultra-right wing German opinion in the forties, with respect to the "your're for us or against us" mentality. And he knows, since he was in Germany at that time. Just some thoughts for all you flag wavers and gun toters to reflect on. Now flame away!
reasonableDougSloan
May 14, 2002 11:22 AM
Jon, at least you make some cogent, reasonable arguments. I tend to disagree, but at least applaud your approach.

To contrast, some of the above personal, bigoted, childish attacks upon a man and a religion are totally inane. They are absurd and childish.

Nonetheless, attempts to equate modern American conservatism and German Naziism are grossly misplaced. It is a ploy used by opponents to discredit, but without substance. When I see this done, it is always without explanation, as if the similarities should be obvious. It is amazing to me that many conservatives in this country are supporters and defenders of Isreal, yet are associated with Nazi's by their opponents. It does not make sense.

So, while I disagree with what you say, I still have respect for you; not so for some others here.

Doug
reasonableJon Billheimer
May 14, 2002 11:43 AM
Doug,

I'm not suggesting Americans in general, or the Bush administration in particular, are Nazis or anything of the kind. I'm referring to psychological similarities between right-wing German society at the time, and the dogmatic, militaristic, for us or against us mentality that is so often expressed by American politicians, administrators, and apparently large portions of the public. What is particularly annoying to America's friends, including Canada, is the arrogant armtwisting and bullying that is so characteristic of American administrations. The Bush administration appears to be one of the worst offenders to date. To paraphrase the old "what is good for General Motors is good for America" nostrum, Bush seems to think that "what is good for America is good for the world"...with himself as the sole arbiter of the general good.

I did get a little annoyed at the 2nd ammendment response in this thread this morning, because I've listened to the same kind of thing for 35 years from my American mother-in-law:)-! So I thought I'd reflect for you how some American political and social thinking appears to some of the rest of the world. Growing up and living in the States, people simply don't have any other frame of reference than their own experience and information set. And I often am amazed by American bemusement at negative international reactions to U.S. gov't. policies and behaviours. So these are just some comments from a friendly critic.
I agreeweiwentg
May 14, 2002 5:32 PM
with some degree of sadness. I may have grown up in Singapore, but I always admired the US and wanted to migrate here. I can't say I admire it still, unfortunately.
I agreeBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 1:52 AM
You can always move back...That's the freedom of choice you have that is afforded to you.
I agreeweiwentg
May 15, 2002 5:12 AM
sorry, I have chosen not to. for better or worse, you'll have to deal with me ;)
come now, asking someone to get out isn't the best way to settle an arguement, is it?
I agreeBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:47 AM
If you don't admire the US, why are you here? If it isn't better than Singapore, why stay here? I am not intending to flame here, but your argument of not admiring the US, but yet you stay here, is confusing to me.
I agreeweiwentg
May 16, 2002 7:58 AM
I continue to admire some facets of your people. I wish to stay here to get educated, and perhaps to change somethings (arrogant and grandoise as that sounds).
Israelweiwentg
May 14, 2002 5:30 PM
>It is amazing to me that many conservatives in this country are supporters and defenders of Isreal, yet are associated with Nazi's by their opponents. It does not make sense.

I shall attempt to explain why. Israel is the world's only remaining occupying power. while it is true that the Palestinians have committed serious crimes, so have the Israelis - for his part in the massacres of Palestinian refugee camps during the invasion of Lebanon, Sharon deserves to be in prison at the very least. the Israelis did attack first, and they continue to defy UN resolutions specifying the Palestinans' right to return, and specifying a return to the pre-1967 border. more than a physical blockade, Israel is involved in an economic war against the Palestinians: restrict their movements, and they can't get to work inside Israel. their position in negotiations has always left the Palestininas short-changed. their policy of allowing settlers into Palestinian territory is no less than a form of colonialism, and it makes a peaceful end to the conflict that much harder.
before anyone accuses me of being a Marxist anti-Semite, I am actually a Christian, and I do believe that the Israelis have the right to live in peace and security. however, so does everyone else, and their denying that peace and security to the Palestinians is what causes them to be labelled as Nazis by some of the Muslim world and others. the US has supplied the Israelis with the funds and military technology to build up their army, which is - frankly - used as an instrument of tyranny. hence, the label of Nazi is extended to conservative defenders of Israel.
and, to be frank, I cannot truly blame those who call the Israelis and their supporters Nazis. the Palestinians have lived under occupation for 35 years. for every Israeli killed, several Palestinians are killed. Israel controls their water supply, their economic prospects, and their freedom of movement. not that I would do it myself, but I can understand why they do.

on an aside note, as a Christian, I have no respect for Ashcroft in the NRA matter. a Christian should be an instrument of peace and justice. Ashcroft is not an instrument of the former, for sure.
IsraelBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 1:57 AM
Where was all the squawking for a Palestinian State when the Jordanians owned this land from 1948 to 1967? How about the "Black September" massacre where the Jordanians killed a couple thousand Palestinians? This is another attempt of the Arabs to polish off the Jews and the Palestinians are the pawns.
you think?weiwentg
May 15, 2002 5:11 AM
I'm not excusing the Palestinians/Arabs, by the way; they have ample blood on their hands, and several Arab states did attack Israel (Israel also made the first move sometimes).
but, why do you think the Arabs want to kill off the Jews? that's nonsense. Israel's military is too strong to let that happen. I think moderate Arabs accept that, and they also are willing to accept Israel's right to existence. granted, the extremists want Israel's destruction, but they're few in number. and if Israel were to withdraw from Palestine and normalize economic relations, there would be far fewer extremists.
interesting that you should characterize the Palestinians as 'squawking' for a state. would you have said the same about the Jews?
you think?BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:51 AM
Palestine is TransJordan. No Palestiian state has ever existed. They never ownd that land. They have no separate language. Why was this not an issue when Jordan owned the land? I guess it's OK to give this land to the Palestinians, now that the Isralis own it.
Really?Brooks
May 15, 2002 7:51 AM
All those homes, towns and villages that had been occupied for hundreds of years by people of Arab descent were not really owned by them? All just renting? Waiting for the Jews to return from the Diaspora and reclaim? Historic Palestine was Transjordan for only a short time. Also occupied by the Ottoman Empire (Turks) and a British protectorate after WWI. Anyone remember that David Ben Gurion, Menachim Begin and others were labeled as "terrorsists" for blowing up the King David Hotel? And then they became Prime Ministers? Israel physically removed people and destroyed whole Arab villages. There is plenty of history here and plenty of blood spilled on all sides.
Really?BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 11:27 AM
Fair enough, but the Arabs don't get a free pass in this either. They could have established this Palestinian state anytime between 1948 and 1967, but they didn't. They didn't care about the Palestinians. The Jordanians were rather adept at killing them. Now that the land is owned by the Israelis, all of a sudden there is this great outcry for the Palestinian state. It will happen, but, were I the Israelis, I would build a DMZ like the one on the NK/ROK border and keep those bombers out.

The Israelis haven't been angels at all, but that "welcoming committee" they received from the Arabs in 1948 was not the way to begin a positive relationship.
Really?weiwentg
May 16, 2002 8:01 AM
no, they haven't been angels, and they did attack Israel. does that justify not giving the Palestinians a home, or basic human rights? I don't wish to put words in your mouth, but your statements seem to IMPLY that that is the case.
Specific IssuesBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 11:38 AM
I'd like to post a thoughtful reply, but that d@mn work is getting in the way! LoL

I'll try to post later tonight or perhaps tomorrow.
Hold OnLO McDuff
May 14, 2002 12:21 PM
Your examples are incorrect.

1) The Kyoto Accord has only been signed by one country (Romania). There are no other countries that have signed on; the UK has not, France has not, etc. Indeed, Canada has said they will probably not sign Kyoto.

2) The nuclear non-proliferation treaty was not ratified by the US Senate and therefore never adopted by the US.

3) I believe the Edmonton Paper may be talking about the International Criminal Court (ICC) which the US, in effect, un-signed. The ICC would have usurped US sovereignty (sp?). If other countries want a bureaucrat in a cubicle in Brussels telling them what is illegal, then that is their choice. It is not the US's.

I am not a big fan or believer in moral equivalence arguments (US resembling Germany in the 1940s). If you (or your German friend) really believe that the countries are the same, I think you are guilty of cloudy thinking.
Specific IssuesBikeViking at home
May 14, 2002 4:18 PM
I'll be honest...my understanding of US/Canadian relations ain't too great mainly because I never hear of any real problems. But, if it is as you state about the US leaning on Canada because of Cuba, that is wrong. Canada has nothing to with our problems with Cuba. It's not like your selling them enriched uranium or anything.

THere have been a couple of threads on Kyoto and, to summarize, I don't think it's about "global warming". It's more about forced economic parity (some nations must adhgere to CO2 emissions and some don't). I believe we were right to not sign on to it. On the flip side, what about the good we do? Operation Allied Force got the Serbs out of Kosovo. It's so easy to kick us for the alleged "cowboy" mentality, but we also do a lot of good. Like all things in life, you gotta put up with the good AND the bad.

Doug covered the last paragraph pretty well, so I don't have anything to add to that.

No flames intended...
Specific IssuesJon Billheimer
May 14, 2002 5:35 PM
Dear BV,

I think there are far, far more positives about America than negatives. You're right about Kosovo, and could add many, many more positive examples. But American pronouncements and behaviours often do come across, to those living outside of the States, as arrogant and self-serving. And Americans are traditionally extremely sensitive to criticism, probably because of your inherent goodwill and generosity.

I thought I would share a different perspective. With power does come arrogance, even to the well-intentioned powerful. My own personal viewpoint--and it is personal--is increasing dismay with some of the viewpoints and absolutist posturing of the current administration. I inherently distrust those with very black and white opinions, and George Bush and John Ashcroft rank right up there, in my opinion.
Re specific problems: Denying the right to a speedy...cory
May 14, 2002 1:12 PM
...trial, rejecting decades of state gun control legislation (and I'm not even FOR gun control) and ordering his minions to obstruct requests for information under FOIA will do for a start. Telling the truth about somebody isn't character assassination.
Well, Doug, I know I'M feeling better about Ashcroft now.weiwentg
May 14, 2002 7:09 PM
his taking money from tobacco companies, for one.
well-regulatedTypeOne
May 14, 2002 11:44 AM
I think the first portion of the 2nd amendment has been ignored--the "well-regulated militia.." part. I think it was an article by Paul Boyer (I can't recall) that suggested--tongue in cheek--that a few months of boot camp be a mandatory requisite for gun ownership. The author's reading of the 2nd suggested that if you owned a gun, you were effectively a militia member and the government is charged with keeping the militia "well-regulated." There you go :)
Personally, I dislike guns, gun-owners and the NRA. But they raise a good point when they cry "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." It's too late for the states or Congress to do anything about restricting or banning weapons--it would be dangerous, costly and ineffective at best.
Oh well. We can't do much about it now that everyone is armed to the teeth, so I won't argue. Hey, let's start a pro-life/pro-choice debate next!
guns: dangerousweiwentg
May 14, 2002 5:19 PM
as a psych student, I learned that the mere presence of a firearm can increase aggressive responses. it's as if the firearm acts as a trigger for violent responses.
the study done involved the subjects being insulted by a confederate of the experimenter. in some cases, a gun (rifle) was present on a table. in other cases, a badminton racket was present, or no object. the subjects later had the opportunity to retaliate against the confederate by giving him electric shocks. those who had been insulted in the presence of a firearm gave more shocks.
in my country - Singapore - firearms are outlawed. it is true that the only people who own firearms are criminals. but there are very, very few of them - discharge a firearm and you will be sentenced to death.
Singapore is a very safe place, without firearms. perhaps you should let Smith & Wesson go out of business...
personally, I think it's not worth it to own a gun. of course, I haven't lived in NYC (no offense, New Yorkers) or someplace dangerous. but frankly, the last thing the world needs is more implements of destruction.
guns: dangerousBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 6:24 AM
Faulty logic and a an anti-gun study (if you can even it call it a study)...Department of Justice statistics prove that a person with a legal concealed carry permit is LEAST likely to commit a crime using his/her firearm. Those with the permits are very stabel people.

People must protect themselves. This fairy tale Utopia of banning "evil guns" is a fantasy. Any law-abiding citizen who wishes to own a firearm of their choice should be allowed to do so. The Supreme Court has ruled the police are there to protect "society" not individuals. Who protects the individual?
guns: dangerousweiwentg
May 16, 2002 8:04 AM
it is a study - don't be so scornful of that which you have no knowledge.
I'm talking about the people who carry weapons, without permits. they are the ones who are likely to commit crimes. make it impossible for anyone to get a weapon, and you make it impossible for them to get weapons.
but you have a point that it is idealistic and extremely difficult to ban guns. they seem to be integrated into American culture - in some cases. even if not, banning weapons is highly problematic. however, consider that perhaps taking steps towards that end would make things safer for you. for example, banning assault and other automatic weapons, and the more powerful handguns.
agreedMJ
May 15, 2002 12:51 AM
that's the best argument the pro-gun lobby has - it's more effective than humming patriotic tunes and thumping the chest about the founding fathers while eyeing up those who disagree as pinko-commies
so what if we did ban guns?DougSloan
May 15, 2002 6:37 AM
Let's say that congress passes a law, maybe we even amend the Constitution to ban firearms from private ownership completely, beginning January 1, 2003.

Let's think this through, and I'd like to hear solutions from the anti-gun folks.

How would society change? Would crime disappear? Would violence be gone?

I assume it will require an enormous police effort to rid and follow up on gun seizure and destruction. It may even approach Prohibition efforts. Are we prepared for that, as well as the crime that will result in itself?

How will a 98 pound woman protect herself from a 220 pound man breaking into her home (even if he has no gun)?

If we can keep guns out of the hands who cannot legally possess them now (e.g., felons), what makes us think we can then?

Will hunting be outlawed?

Will target and sport shooting be outlawed?

Will we be able to control our borders against smuggling guns any better than we do against drugs? And, following up, if criminals get illegal guns, and they realize law abiding victims have none, what's to keep criminals from victimizing the law abiding at will? (I don't want to face a gunman with only a baseball bat.)

In other words, let's remove this from the legal, philosophical, moral, historical arena, and examine the issue purely pragmatically. I'd really like to know what people think.

Doug
so what if we did ban guns?BikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 7:02 AM
THis would be an impossibility. Firearms are banned in NYC and DC, but they still get in. THe police force would have to be DRAMATICALLY increased just to to seize firearms. THis would take away the police efforts for protecting "society". More police, more abuse by police, more crime, especially with guns becasue the criminals would know the citizenry, for the most part, would be unarmed. Crooks will always have guns in this country.

Something of this magnitude could never be accomplished. It would divide the country like the Civil War did.

I just don't see it be praticable.
So all you anti-gun people have no clue what to do? nmDougSloan
May 15, 2002 9:26 AM
So all you anti-gun people have no clue what to do? nmBikeViking at home
May 15, 2002 9:59 AM
It would seem so...when faced with actually trying orchestrate a plan to confiscate such a pervasive element of our society.

The cure would really be worse than the disease. (not that firearms ownership is a disease! LoL
Lock the door,spin a fatty,read Sowell,and laugh at the paranoid128
May 15, 2002 10:39 AM
the paranoid verse the rest trying to make it more enjoyable nmishmael
May 15, 2002 11:33 AM
calling people paranoid is not an answer nmDougSloan
May 15, 2002 11:44 AM
i responded to your post at the bottom of the thread nmishmael
May 15, 2002 12:22 PM
two topicsishmael
May 15, 2002 11:58 AM
i agree it could take awhile to de-arm the country, and there could be ilegally imported guns...but ill bet you the chances of being shot would drop dramaticly, dont you agree?...

the worry of someone with a gun taking advantage of people in a de-armed society isnt realistic..they could do it as easily now...it comes down to the fact that even in an armed america you simply cant draw fast enough to confront someone holding a gun....the scenario where you hear a noise down stairs and you pull out your gun and go down and confront is a single idealized confrontation...ill bet i could tie you up, steal that nice c40 and everything else i wanted (including your gun) within 10 minutes of looking at you...i wouldnt do it at 2 in the morning, id come over to the front door and ring the bell...anyone with a gun could do it and they'd have you even if your gun was in a hulster at your side, it would be easier pickings in fact...dont delude yourself about your safety..anyone can kill anyone anytime but they dont,have some faith..train your wife to kick ass and get the guns away and we'll all be safer
A possible solution...Brooks
May 15, 2002 3:59 PM
The manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition is prohibited. Those that have them, keep them. If confiscated by the police during the commission of a crime, it's destroyed. No additional police needed to roundup all firearms. Once you use up the ammo, tough luck. We're not melting lead into musket balls anymore. What may happen is a gradual reduction in the amount of guns. Afterall, they didn't show up overnight, either. Would crime and violence disappear? You know better than to ask that. But maybe the accidental shootings and drive-bys get reduced over time.

I would be interested to know where most criminals get their guns. Stolen from gun dealers and law-abiding citizens? Bought at unregulated gun shows? I recall that a number of DC felons had family or friends buy guns for them in Virginia.

Would there be smuggling? Probably, but it easier to detect metal weapons than organic drugs. As Ishmael points out, nothing now is preventing a criminal from ringing your doorbell and killing you on the spot whether you are armed or not. The 98 pound woman defending herself against a home break-in is largely a myth. Most crooks don't want to be in an unfamiliar house when someone else is there. Afterall, can't you walk around your house in the dark because you know where the walls, furniture, stairs, etc are? Give the woman a Tazor, Mace or other non-lethal device to protect the home.

Hunting. Maybe when you get your hunting license, you also pick up a rifle from the Division of Wildlife Resources and use it for the duration of the hunting season. Might cut down on poaching, too. We certainly don't need semi-auto "assault-type" weapons to blast away at Bambi. ;-0

Target and Sport Shooting. Firearms available to be checked out and used at licensed facilities only.

Just a few thoughts to answer your question.

Brooks
A possible solution...DougSloan
May 16, 2002 5:32 AM
Point 1. Not a bad idea, but if I knew that law were coming, I'd stockpile like you wouldn't believe. I'd be set for life.

Point 2. Don't know where criminals get their guns. Somehow they do. I'd be they will continue to one way or another.

Point 3. Smuggling will continue, of course. Sure, guns may be easier to detect than drugs, but 90% of all drugs get through now, I read recently.

Point 4. Home defense. If your Point 1 is implemented, this is no problem for those with guns now. However, I have to believe that criminals would be a little more bold about break-in's if they *knew* no one owned guns. The suspicion that some might own guns, and use them, might deter a few.

Subpoint - non-lethal guns: the entire planet would be such a better place if someone would invent a weapon that incapacitates a person without permanent injury or death. Invent that and become an instant billionaire, and probably win a Nobel Prize. I'd love to have one while out riding!

Point 5 and 6. Your hunting and target shooting scenarios sound reasonable. That still leaves number of guns in private hands, though, and would be subject of a lot of regulation and abuse. Not bad ideas, though.

Doug