So... the entire United States is now a battleground

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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby omgryebread » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

The list of people who voted for the Act itself is somewhat uninteresting. The Act needs to pass in some form, or the Defense Department can't spend any money.

This is the roll call on Feinstein Amdt. No. 1125 which would have exempted American citizens from being put in military custody. Unsurprisingly, it was defeated by the Republicans and the Blue Dogs. If you have a Senator on the Nay list, write them and tell them they are endangering the civilian control and separation from the military that was essential to the founding of our nation. George Washington deliberately resigned his commission as General, and didn't wear his uniform, choosing civilian clothes for the inauguration, because he recognized that the military can and must stay separate and subordinate to the civilian government. It's the difference between a modern democracy, and military juntas that pretend to be democracies. Especially if you have a Democrat, tell them you'll vote against them in the primary.

Alternatively, thank your senator for voting Yea, especially if you have Mike Lee, Mark Kirk, or Rand Paul, and thank them for having the courage to break ranks with their party on this issue.

(I can feel working in politics changing me. "having the courage?")
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

If my senator were Rand Paul, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable thanking him for much of anything, assuming he's like his dad.

That said, both of my senators are on the "Yea" list. W00t.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Obby » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Sweet. Both of my senators on the Nay list.

Assholes.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby frogman » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:49 am UTC

One of the many things I love about Oregon: my Senators are friggin' awesome.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Diadem » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:22 am UTC

Wait, I'm confusing, aren't you guys refersing the nay's and yea's here? When did this bill suddenly become a good thing?
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:32 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Wait, I'm confusing, aren't you guys refersing the nay's and yea's here? When did this bill suddenly become a good thing?

I think they're talking about Rand Paul's amendment, which would've removed the 1984 section.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby omgryebread » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:34 am UTC

IcedT wrote:
Diadem wrote:Wait, I'm confusing, aren't you guys refersing the nay's and yea's here? When did this bill suddenly become a good thing?

I think they're talking about Rand Paul's amendment, which would've removed the 1984 section.
Diane Feinstein's amendment, which would have exempted Americans from military detention.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:44 am UTC

There are two Feinsteins, I wasn't sure which it was. So I'm even more happy, because not even did both of my senators vote yae, one actually proposed the amendment.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:35 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:There are two Feinsteins


In Congress?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:07 am UTC

No, I think I misread something.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Anaximander » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:23 am UTC

Added with the fact that these detainments are made by the military at the president's discretion, with absolutely no burden of proof on the accuser or legal recourse for the accused, and this shit is pretty fucking dystopic, guys.


Agreed. I think this is completely bonkers and, as an American, I'm starting to feel like I live in some sort of alternate universe.

All of this legislation that flirts with, implies or otherwise allows for the suspension of Habeas Corpus (from the EO for Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism by Bush in 2001 to this) provides for the very dangerous concentration of power in the hands of a few people. It is unconstitutional and un-American. I don't think there has been anything like this since the Civil War (please correct me if I'm mistaken). They didn't even do this during WWII (except in Hawaii which wasn't even a state at the time). The fact that there is so much that goes into these bills anymore and that so many reasonably intelligent people can't seem to make much sense of the proposed legislation is equally troubling.

Consider that all of this is being debated in a country that hasn't seen war on the mainland since 1865, and of which no part has been occupied by a foreign power since the War of 1812. Why and under the pretext of what threat do we need to continue to allow presidents to approve military detainment of anyone? All evidence to the contrary aside, we are not even officially at war. There as been no Congressional declaration of war. So, I don't understand the need for all of these Federal wartime powers.

I certainly hope that this gets vetoed.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby The Reaper » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:31 am UTC

Anaximander wrote:I certainly hope that this gets vetoed.

If it doesn't, some of us will certainly still vote from the rooftops.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:55 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:
Anaximander wrote:I certainly hope that this gets vetoed.

If it doesn't, some of us will certainly still vote from the rooftops.

You have fun with that. I'm going to continue not pissing the government off and putting myself in any danger.

That's not to say I don't respect people who reasonably resist government oppression. But I also think it's more moral to keep myself out of danger than to put myself in it.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby The Reaper » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:06 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
The Reaper wrote:
Anaximander wrote:I certainly hope that this gets vetoed.

If it doesn't, some of us will certainly still vote from the rooftops.

You have fun with that. I'm going to continue not pissing the government off and putting myself in any danger.

That's not to say I don't respect people who reasonably resist government oppression. But I also think it's more moral to keep myself out of danger than to put myself in it.

I think the bigger issue is that this isn't a 1 bullet 1 solution kinda problem :(
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:07 am UTC

I guess what troubles me most about this is that it reinforces the stance that terrorism is the executive's sole domain (gtfo, independent judiciary and lower levels of government), and that the executive isn't constrained by law in how they handle it. It's not like I think somebody is trying to pave the way for a South American-style presidential dictatorship, but if I did I'd think they were they were doing a good job.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:04 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
The Reaper wrote:
Anaximander wrote:I certainly hope that this gets vetoed.

If it doesn't, some of us will certainly still vote from the rooftops.

You have fun with that. I'm going to continue not pissing the government off and putting myself in any danger.

That's not to say I don't respect people who reasonably resist government oppression. But I also think it's more moral to keep myself out of danger than to put myself in it.

Yeah...how well did that attitude work in nazi germany?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:10 am UTC

Clearly there are situations where that principle doesn't apply. For example, if the way you piss the government off is by simply existing. But if it's by action, I'll take the option of avoiding that action.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby yurell » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:33 am UTC

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Dark567 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:56 am UTC

yurell wrote:First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I hate that statement so much... You could easily replace that with any 'ist and it would still make sense. You could replace the first sentence with capitalists, the second with business people and the the third with any other minority. It's pure rhetoric, plain and simple.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Lucrece » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:00 am UTC

What's the point about the substitution? What that tries to convey is that silence at wrongdoing promotes an atmosphere where you can likely be next as opposed to a society where people actively participate in seeing their rights enforced.

It doesn't matter who they came for. It's that they came for someone, you were silent, and when they came for you it dawned upon you that these people could've been stopped if only somebody had been sympathetic.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Dark567 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:06 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:What's the point about the substitution? What that tries to convey is that silence at wrongdoing promotes an atmosphere where you can likely be next as opposed to a society where people actively participate in seeing their rights enforced.

It doesn't matter who they came for. It's that they came for someone, you were silent, and when they came for you it dawned upon you that these people could've been stopped if only somebody had been sympathetic.
I guess, if that's what its for I can agree with it. The statement always seemed to be used in support of communism, which if it really being used as that I have a problem with, but if its being used for more of a statement in freedom of speech, sure.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:13 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Lucrece wrote:What's the point about the substitution? What that tries to convey is that silence at wrongdoing promotes an atmosphere where you can likely be next as opposed to a society where people actively participate in seeing their rights enforced.

It doesn't matter who they came for. It's that they came for someone, you were silent, and when they came for you it dawned upon you that these people could've been stopped if only somebody had been sympathetic.
I guess, if that's what its for I can agree with it. The statement always seemed to be used in support of communism, which if it really being used as that I have a problem with, but if its being used for more of a statement in freedom of speech, sure.

It's for civil liberties in general, not just free speech!

I think the communists part is probably influenced by the red scare of the 50s more than anything. I personally never read it as a support for communism, socialism, or anything else in that vein- just civil liberties.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby yurell » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:46 am UTC

Dark, my statement is made in response to Sourmilk's. That particular quote was based on Nazi Germany, hence why it focuses on Communism first (the largest diametric opposition in Germany to the fascist Nazi party), but the exact groups that are inserted there could be anything and the point is the same -- if the speaker had tried to oppose them at any point, they could have stopped what happened, and it's only in retrospect that they realise how they had dug their own hole.

It's especially important in light of Sourmilk's "But if it's by action, I'll take the option of avoiding that action." Those communists could have avoided their fate by avoiding being communists. Those trade unionists could have avoided their fate by avoiding being trade unionists. If the Nazis were a little less evil, the Jews could have avoided their fate by not practising Judaism.

And as Martin Niemöller eventually noted, in the end saying "I'm going to continue not pissing the government off and putting myself in any danger" didn't save him. Yes, the statement is pure rhetoric, but it's meant to be -- it's to illustrate the cost of staying silent because it's happening to some 'other', rather than us.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:56 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You have fun with that. I'm going to continue not pissing the government off and putting myself in any danger.

That's not to say I don't respect people who reasonably resist government oppression. But I also think it's more moral to keep myself out of danger than to put myself in it.
Short-sighted. Apathetic. Self serving. Contemptible. Dishonorable. Cowardly. There's a lot of words you could use in that last sentence.

'Moral' isn't one of them.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:52 am UTC

Sure it is, in a tragedy of the commons sort of way. The morality of saving myself exceeds the morality of any activism I alone could do. Unfortunately, because that's the case for every individual, you end up in a situation where, if everybody acts rationally, the bad guys win.

I get the point of that poem, but for an individual, protecting himself and his family is more moral than putting himself and his family in danger in an attempt to maybe go some way towards saving some others.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:02 am UTC

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it does.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:07 am UTC

No, I think I do. A person's moral responsibility is first to himself and his family. Obviously that doesn't justify all actions to benefit a person and his family by any amount, but it does mean that when their lives and freedom are at stake, the moral thing to do is not put them in danger.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:33 am UTC

Morality deals with right and wrong. Good and evil.
Living safely or living dangerously is not a good/evil dichotomy. Morality simply doesn't apply to the scenario. If, instead of 'pissing off the government' we were talking about 'skydiving', would you say not skydiving is more moral than skydiving?

sourmìlk wrote:A person's moral responsibility is first to himself and his family. Obviously that doesn't justify all actions to benefit a person and his family by any amount...
These two sentences are in direct contradiction. If option X will benefit my family, and I decide not to use that option for reason Y, I have put reson Y ahead of my family.

If there are limits to what I should do for my family, then they are not first. QED.

And, on a completely different avenue, where did you get the idea that 'A person's moral responsibility is first to himself'? It seems that putting yourself above others is the exact opposite of moral behaviour.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Hawknc » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:49 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:No, I think I do. A person's moral responsibility is first to himself and his family.

This is one of those times where you're presenting a belief you sincerely hold as an absolute truth. Nobody is saying you're wrong to believe that, but you are wrong to assume everyone else should agree with you. Not everyone's morals are calibrated in exactly the same direction as yours, particularly those without close ties to family (or those for whom the descriptor "himself" doesn't apply, I guess).
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Zamfir » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:57 am UTC

Including your family muddies the waters. It can better to stay passive if activity would endanger others, or if other people depend on you. Because you do not automatically have a right to put others at risk, even for a worthwhile goal.

But it cannot be better to stay passive because of risks to yourself. It can be good enough, because people don't have an boundless obligation to the goals they support. You can't hide behind some responsibility solely to yourself. You could always free yourself from such a 'responsibility', if you wanted to. If you choose for yourself instead of for a goal that you support, you're not acting in a morally laudable way. At best in an acceptable way, but that is not 'the moral thing to do'.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:25 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:No, I think I do. A person's moral responsibility is first to himself and his family.

This is one of those times where you're presenting a belief you sincerely hold as an absolute truth. Nobody is saying you're wrong to believe that, but you are wrong to assume everyone else should agree with you. Not everyone's morals are calibrated in exactly the same direction as yours, particularly those without close ties to family (or those for whom the descriptor "himself" doesn't apply, I guess).


If people want to contest that, I am perfectly willing to back it up. I don't take that as axiomatic, just non-controversial.

Zamfir wrote:But it cannot be better to stay passive because of risks to yourself. It can be good enough, because people don't have an boundless obligation to the goals they support. You can't hide behind some responsibility solely to yourself. You could always free yourself from such a 'responsibility', if you wanted to. If you choose for yourself instead of for a goal that you support, you're not acting in a morally laudable way. At best in an acceptable way, but that is not 'the moral thing to do'.

I don't think I agree, mostly for the reason that hurting oneself is also hurting others, i.e. your friends and family. If I were to kill myself for no reason or very little reason, that would be an immoral choice (although, if the result of mental illness, morality gets kind of fuzzy) because it would hurt my friend and family. There is certainly a degree to which a certain amount of harm to me is overridden by a certain amount of benefit to others, but I don't think it's the case that one should always prefer others to himself. That isn't conducive to a happy, successful society, as the logical extreme is just dedicating all of your time and resources to others. If everybody does this, then they themselves aren't happy or well off. Thus everybody is in a poor position. It's like the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.

nitePhyyre wrote:Living safely or living dangerously is not a good/evil dichotomy. Morality simply doesn't apply to the scenario. If, instead of 'pissing off the government' we were talking about 'skydiving', would you say not skydiving is more moral than skydiving?

Skydiving isn't particularly dangerous, to my understanding. But assuming a sufficiently risky activity, yes, that is immoral. Putting yourself in harm's way for little or no benefit is immoral because it hurts those who care about you. And it hurts the person himself. The actor matters in morality. If he didn't, then as everybody is an actor, nobody matters: all actions are damaging to oneself. I fail to see how that's good.

These two sentences are in direct contradiction. If option X will benefit my family, and I decide not to use that option for reason Y, I have put reason Y ahead of my family.

Yeah, this misunderstanding is due to a lack of clarity on my part. I mean that, in terms of prioritizing, one's moral responsibility is to himself and then to his family. Although arguably to his children / dependents, then to himself then the rest of his family. For simplicity's sake, we'll put oneself and one's family on about the same level.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Zamfir » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

Sourmilk, let's not make this too much about your particular views of morality. That happens more than enough already.

I suggest you write one more summary of your views on risking your life against an oppressive regime, everybody can read this as your point of view without necessarily agreeing with it, and then we move on.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Belial » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:17 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:I think the bigger issue is that this isn't a 1 bullet 1 solution kinda problem :(


Also, if we could avoid discussing assassination in a "let's totally do this" sense on the boards, that would be grand.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

As I said, we're not going to have a sourmilk-morality-discussion here. That's true for him, but also for the rest of you.
Spoiler:
sourmìlk wrote:If people want to contest that, I am perfectly willing to back it up. I don't take that as axiomatic, just non-controversial.
Please do. As I said before, it seems to me that putting yourself above others is the exact opposite of moral behaviour.

sourmìlk wrote:
Zamfir wrote:But it cannot be better to stay passive because of risks to yourself. It can be good enough, because people don't have an boundless obligation to the goals they support. You can't hide behind some responsibility solely to yourself. You could always free yourself from such a 'responsibility', if you wanted to. If you choose for yourself instead of for a goal that you support, you're not acting in a morally laudable way. At best in an acceptable way, but that is not 'the moral thing to do'.
I don't think I agree, mostly for the reason that hurting oneself is also hurting others, i.e. your friends and family. If I were to kill myself for no reason or very little reason, that would be an immoral choice (although, if the result of mental illness, morality gets kind of fuzzy) because it would hurt my friend and family. There is certainly a degree to which a certain amount of harm to me is overridden by a certain amount of benefit to others, but I don't think it's the case that one should always prefer others to himself. That isn't conducive to a happy, successful society, as the logical extreme is just dedicating all of your time and resources to others. If everybody does this, then they themselves aren't happy or well off. Thus everybody is in a poor position. It's like the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.
Everything I bolded above is a caveat, a consideration, a limitation that didn't exist when you said: "I also think it's more moral to keep myself out of danger than to put myself in it." I think at this point, if you are taking a more moderate, nuanced stance then we mostly agree. In principal, not necessarily on details.

sourmìlk wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:These two sentences are in direct contradiction. If option X will benefit my family, and I decide not to use that option for reason Y, I have put reason Y ahead of my family.
Yeah, this misunderstanding is due to a lack of clarity on my part. I mean that, in terms of prioritizing, one's moral responsibility is to himself and then to his family. Although arguably to his children / dependents, then to himself then the rest of his family. For simplicity's sake, we'll put oneself and one's family on about the same level.
Sorry, I meant the contradiction was between you+family vs non-relatives. If for whatever reason, you are in a position where if you slaughter a billion innocent people, your family and descendants would live long full lives absolutely strife free. Would you commence the slaughter?

If, for whatever reason, you don't slaughter, then you are putting that reason above your family.


IcedT wrote:It's not like I think somebody is trying to pave the way for a South American-style presidential dictatorship, but if I did I'd think they were they were doing a good job.
I find this the scariest part. I've always believed that one should believe maliciousness when incompetence will suffice. I just find it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference. How many times does one have to muck things up before it is safe to say that they are incompetent on purpose?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:37 pm UTC

To answer you post very briefly, nitePhyyre, the response to each of your paragraphs is see above, that's fine, and I recognize and do not dispute that, respectively.

nitePhyyre wrote: I've always believed that one should believe maliciousness when incompetence will suffice.

I've found this applies to most anything, not just malice. Always assume that something is the result of stupidity rather than reasoned intent. For example, about half the country will vote in the upcoming elections the same way I will, but I don't pretend that's because most of the people have honestly assessed Obama as a better candidate than his opponent for proper reasons. I'd guess (though I don't have data to back this up) that a very large portion of voters vote for idiotic reasons like "he seems like he knows what he's doing" or "well the last guys didn't do a very good job, so I'm voting for the different party."
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Griffin » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:44 pm UTC

Isn't it generally:
Incompetence
Selfishness
Malicousness

In that order?

The problem being, of course, people are often good at hiding maliciousness and even selfishness.

Do not assume maliciousness in situations where incompetence will suffice, but neither should you rule it out.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

I don't think that selfishness and maliciousness are mutually exclusive. If anything, maliciousness is probably selfish: unless you're in a cult or terrorist organization, I'm not too familiar with people who act maliciously for reasons other than their personal gain.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Eyat » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

Has any of the commentary mentioned this might be in response to fear that the drug cartels might become too powerful on the southern border? If they eventually out gun the border patrol there like they do the local police in mexico could that be why they wanted to suspend posse comitatus? Now I am not saying this is right or caused by anything other than fear, just asking if anyone has heard that floated about.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Zamfir » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

Do you need any reason besides the war on terror? The consensus sems pretty clear (in politics) that all this stuff has to be possible. The question is whether the president can just order them, or needs this law. Especially now that the people under target aren't related to 9/11 anymore, so the mandate has to be bigger.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Tirian » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
IcedT wrote:It's not like I think somebody is trying to pave the way for a South American-style presidential dictatorship, but if I did I'd think they were they were doing a good job.
I find this the scariest part. I've always believed that one should believe maliciousness when incompetence will suffice. I just find it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference. How many times does one have to muck things up before it is safe to say that they are incompetent on purpose?


I think it's a matter of what people are being incompetent about. What I suspect is going on behind the scenes (without direct evidence, of course) is that all these people who have been entrapped by FBI stings over the years to perform simulated terrorist acts are un-indictable and yet almost certainly bad guys whose freedom is a threat to the United States. I don't know what the right answer to that riddle is, but I can see why people would find "innocent until proven guilty" is a hard pill to swallow when the crime in question is mass murder.
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