Meandering Political discussion thread-you've been warned.

Political Discussion: You've been warned! Please remember we are all friends here. Insults will not be tolerated!
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Meandering Political discussion thread-you've been warned.

Post by andrewgd » Apr 8th 2003, 5:39 pm

This is a continuation of what was started here:

http://www.mscl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2347
The primary reason for this is that it sets up the government as a registration authority and every time that has happened it has been later used to confiscate the firearms.
How is this different than cars then? People have to have plates on their cars, so the owners can be known. If proper legislation is made to ensure that firearms not involved in crimes won't be confiscated, I don't see the problem in being able to track a gun to a owner. Granted, I'm not sure of how it works now, but it seems to me like common sense to be able to know who owns a gun.
Secondly and more important is that by definition criminals do not obey laws. So creating more laws for them to disobey is pointless. What happens is that you turn an otherwise law abiding citizen into a criminal.
So by that logic, drugs should be legalized, right?

So what is the explaination for the vast differences in gun related deaths between our country and others with stricter laws?

------------------------------------------------------------------------
2nd topic:
First off no one said Iraq could not have defensive weapons. The Missles and WMD's are not defensive in nature.
So our missles and WMD are offensive in nature. I get that. We just hold other countries to a different standard than ours.
The logic you use makes the assumtion that the US has executed 12.5% of its population in the pass 30 years as well as invaded a near by country with the soul goal of control.
So countries can own WMD and missles, as long as they aren't going to use them.

Just so you know, I agree that Saddam should be taken out. I believe that if it was handled with a bit more care, our administration wouldn't have alienated as many countries and people as it has. I understand that its not "for the oil". Its a very complex thing. Its not just for 9/11 or the WMD either.

As to your points about the ricin and chemical weapons. I heard that the first tests were positive. But so were others before that. I know I won't take them as fact before further tests are done.
Thus justifing the liberation and forcible removal of the Baath Party.
I think we've always been justified. But don't lie to our faces and make excuses...christ...how many times has Bush envoked 9/11 when justifying our attack on Iraq? Just tell us the real reasons, and get it over with...don't play us...

Ok, I'm done for now. I'll agree with you here:
I don't wish to cause a flame war. I respect your opinion. I think we all agree that no opinions will be changed just by reading messages on a message board, but it is interesting hearing other viewpoints. I think opinions can be stated without taking things personally. So post away!
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Post by starbug » Apr 9th 2003, 5:06 am

awww, jeez, I can't resist :hammer1:

gun control


As you probably know, we have really strict gun control over here ever since some looper in Scotland broke into a primary school and shot 16 children. With a registered fire arm. At the time people were all upset about it being knee-jerk legislation but only a few years later it's all died down. Now it's impossible to own a handgun (so far as I know) over here while obeying the law. To be honest, I don't know too much about the issues of gun control in the USA. I do know that I'm glad I live in a country where it's extremely unlikely that a child can get hold of ANY gun. Gun homicide is very low (although on the increase slowly). Gun crime, as a whole, is low. I don't know whether it's as a result of gun control not. Canada seems to have as little gun control as the US yet far fewer gun homicides.

In this instance, I have to say that I think the facts speak for themselves. 11,000-ish gun homicides PER YEAR isn't acceptable. Something in your society is FUBAR if that happens. It may or may not be the gun control, but something has to change. What is wrong with asking law-abiding gun owners to register their firearms? Also other measures may help.

When I was about 4 or so, my dad went and bought a shotgun (which you could do perfectly legally with a licence at that time). He bought it to shoot rabbits that were eating our lettuces in the garden. It was NEVER kept loaded in the house. We lived in middle-of-nowhere countryside. When I was about 5 we moved house, to a 19th Century cottage with a not very secure exterior. I could just about have kicked down the front door myself. So my dad's gun licence comes up for renewal. In the meantime the law had changed and a policeman came to visit our cottage to check its security. Apparently, to renew my dad's gun licence, he would have had to replace our front door with a much heftier version with a 5-lever lock thing, update the doors inside the house too, buy a steel cabinet which could be bolted to an inner wall, and locked. He had to keep the gun in there, locked away, unloaded, while it wasn't being used. So my dad priced all this up to cost about £1000 (back then that was a huge amount of dosh). Sold the gun to the policeman who had a valid licence.
That was in roughly in 1985 or so... it's got even more strict now; psychological testing and other stuff I think...

The police measures did 3 things: they would have ensured that anyone breaking into our house while we weren't there would have had a heck of a time stealing the gun. They practically would have had to pull down a wall.

They would have ensured that had anyone been breaking into our house, my dad would have been able to get to his gun, but it would have taken him sufficient time to get to his gun, load it, etc, that he would have thought about what he was doing... you could argue this could mean too late for our family, but you have to understand that people breaking into houses armed with weapons was very rare in the UK in 1985.

It drove home the point that guns and the safety issues surrounding them are to be taken seriously.


Irag

Something that's been bothering me in the last few days is the assertion (made by Mglenn I think on another thread) that chemical WMD have been found in Iraq. While I accept that this may have been reported in the USA, we have heard nothing about it in the UK. The BBC is widely renowned for the accuracy of its reporting: they are always at pains to say they are checking their sources if they aren't sure of something. They are always objective (they have to be; it's the law). I haven't even heard a peep about it from them. Add to this the fact that Prime Minister Blair faces his political downfall if he can't show some sort of justification relating to WMDs (which is what started all this off; not the liberation of the iraqis, however justified that might be... it's not what was argued. I think Blair thinks we've all forgotten). Blair and his government must be wanting desperately to jump up and down and say 'see, WMD's - we told you so! We're exonerated'. Yet I've heard nothing. And I watch the news and read the paper.

So you'll excuse my scepticism, but until Auntie BBC or other trusted news sources report this, I don't let it hold any weight.

I also think Saddam needs to go. But I think that the ends don't justify the means.

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Post by fnordboy » Apr 9th 2003, 11:13 am

starbug wrote: Irag

Something that's been bothering me in the last few days is the assertion (made by Mglenn I think on another thread) that chemical WMD have been found in Iraq. While I accept that this may have been reported in the USA, we have heard nothing about it in the UK. The BBC is widely renowned for the accuracy of its reporting: they are always at pains to say they are checking their sources if they aren't sure of something. They are always objective (they have to be; it's the law). I haven't even heard a peep about it from them. Add to this the fact that Prime Minister Blair faces his political downfall if he can't show some sort of justification relating to WMDs (which is what started all this off; not the liberation of the iraqis, however justified that might be... it's not what was argued. I think Blair thinks we've all forgotten). Blair and his government must be wanting desperately to jump up and down and say 'see, WMD's - we told you so! We're exonerated'. Yet I've heard nothing. And I watch the news and read the paper.
I will reply to this one then the gun control one.

You are completely correct. It has been reported widely that they have found WMDs. As far as I know up to this moment nothing has actually been proven to be WMD, but some have been disproven and shown to be pesticides and the like.

The right likes to take on the "guilty until proven innocent" oultook when it fits their agenda. They also know that just by saying on the news that their was WMDs found makes it a proven fact in the minds of the m-asses.

I think we all know at this point that the US media stinks (yes EVEN FOX News ;) ) they report very little of what is really going on, and are not always truthful or unbiased.

The US news has about the same amount of reality in it as Joe Millionaire.

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Post by fnordboy » Apr 9th 2003, 12:04 pm

On the topic of Gun Control.

The way I look at the gun issue is that we all should have the right to own and operate a gun, you do not have to have one, but if you want one you can.

The problem in america is not the registered handguns, yes there are deaths from it but most of them stem from other issues (i will get to in a bit) than the actual owning of a handgun.

I can walk out of my house and have an illegal gun in probably a day or less, a few years ago I could have had one within an hour (i just don't have the connections I use to have). They are not hard to get. And in some places in the country you can walk into K-Mart or Walmart and buy a gun. I personally have never been to any area where you can do that, nor would I ever want to be. Generally in places like that guns are looked upon with great respect and people understand the dangers involved with guns, and are educated.

A lot of the cases of deaths caused by handguns are of the "Timmy found his dad's gun and shot his/his friend's face off accidentally". Everytime one of these occurs you get about 15 liberals jumping on the anti gun soapbox preaching the end of the world. The problem does NOT lie with the gun in these cases. Yes maybe the father could have hid his piece a bit better, could have had it unloaded (though that defeats having it as protection). The most important thing he could have done though, would have been to educate his kid. It is not so friggin hard.

Another issue is that america has this distorted love for violence. I will admit I can also fall prey to that. It is in our music, our movies, our clothing, everything. The main question would be (and this is a completely seperate topic) is it art imitating life, or the other way around. I tend to think it is art imitating life personally. We fetishize the gun, it is a sex object to us. Look at the work of Richard Kern for reference, and Larry Clark's early photographic work consists of some homoerotic gun imagery, intentionally or not.

I wouldn't be surprised if the violence fascination in society doesn't stem solely from our repression of sex and the taboo we place on it.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 9th 2003, 2:06 pm

fnordboy wrote:A lot of the cases of deaths caused by handguns are of the "Timmy found his dad's gun and shot his/his friend's face off accidentally". Everytime one of these occurs you get about 15 liberals jumping on the anti gun soapbox preaching the end of the world. The problem does NOT lie with the gun in these cases. Yes maybe the father could have hid his piece a bit better, could have had it unloaded (though that defeats having it as protection). The most important thing he could have done though, would have been to educate his kid. It is not so friggin hard.

I wouldn't be surprised if the violence fascination in society doesn't stem solely from our repression of sex and the taboo we place on it.
I agree - my boyfriend has a friend from high school whose dad kept a gun in the house. When she was old enough, he took her to the range and taught her how to shoot and clean a gun. He impressed upon her that despite what is shown in the media, a gun is NOT a toy. She grew up in that house knowing where the gun was, where the key was, and knowing not to play with it because her dad taught her to respect how dangerous a gun is. When some of her male friends in high school found out her dad had a kick ass gun collection, they wanted to see it, touch it, play with it. She told them that they were idiots and said, "Let's order a pizza instead, you morons." :D

The constitution says that we have the right to bear arms, and I strongly agree with that. The problem with pointing to violent crimes as a reason for stronger gun control is that we are talking about violent CRIMINALS, people who are breaking the law. Responsible citizens should not be punished or have their freedoms restricted because the criminals choose to ignore the law. People die every year from car accidents and smoking, but we haven't outlawed cars or cigarettes. We want people to act responsibly and maturely, but as we have learned you can not legislate common sense or intelligence.
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Post by lance » Apr 9th 2003, 4:12 pm

candygirl wrote:
fnordboy wrote:A lot of the cases of deaths caused by handguns are of the "Timmy found his dad's gun and shot his/his friend's face off accidentally". Everytime one of these occurs you get about 15 liberals jumping on the anti gun soapbox preaching the end of the world. The problem does NOT lie with the gun in these cases. Yes maybe the father could have hid his piece a bit better, could have had it unloaded (though that defeats having it as protection). The most important thing he could have done though, would have been to educate his kid. It is not so friggin hard.

I wouldn't be surprised if the violence fascination in society doesn't stem solely from our repression of sex and the taboo we place on it.
I agree - my boyfriend has a friend from high school whose dad kept a gun in the house. When she was old enough, he took her to the range and taught her how to shoot and clean a gun. He impressed upon her that despite what is shown in the media, a gun is NOT a toy. She grew up in that house knowing where the gun was, where the key was, and knowing not to play with it because her dad taught her to respect how dangerous a gun is. When some of her male friends in high school found out her dad had a kick ass gun collection, they wanted to see it, touch it, play with it. She told them that they were idiots and said, "Let's order a pizza instead, you morons." :D

The constitution says that we have the right to bear arms, and I strongly agree with that. The problem with pointing to violent crimes as a reason for stronger gun control is that we are talking about violent CRIMINALS, people who are breaking the law. Responsible citizens should not be punished or have their freedoms restricted because the criminals choose to ignore the law. People die every year from car accidents and smoking, but we haven't outlawed cars or cigarettes. We want people to act responsibly and maturely, but as we have learned you can not legislate common sense or intelligence.
Begging to disagree:

I understand the desire of people who go hunting to have hunting rifles. I don't like to hunt animals but I don't diss people who want to. What I have a problem with his people who want to own large quantity of hand guns or automatic rifles.

IMHO in a supposedly democratic society unless you are a member of the military or police there is no good reason to own these weapons period.

How can you tell a criminal? Do you know what one looks like? I don't. How do you know which person is going to just lose it and became violent? Do you know which of your co-workers will go beserk at work? I don't.

If a person looses it in a crime of passion with a knife he or she can inflict damage and possible kill someone. Some could loose it with a stone or baseball bat and inflict damage and kill. That same person looses it with a firearm, now several people can die. That same person looses it with an automatic weapon scores of people can die.

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us targets media?

Post by lance » Apr 9th 2003, 4:26 pm

I was particular disgusted to hear that the US attacked three known media centers yesterday in Iraq.

According to the Guardian unlimited, see here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0, ... 09,00.html

From the article:

"American forces also opened fire on the offices of Abu Dhabi television, whose identity is spelled out in large blue letters on the roof. "

Abu Dhabi, Al-Jazera were both hit by US planes. Witnesses at the seen said that planes circles twice before they struck. Three other journalists were killed at the Palestine Hotel by a US tank shell fired from a mile and half away.

At first the pentagon said that US Forces took small arms fire and returned fire, with a tank shell. After much protest they now say that they saw "enemy binoculors".

Question: Do you think that this is a blantant attempt by the Pentagon to, literally, quash independent reporting that they don't like? If the answer is yes, do you agree with the means employed?

Personally I think somebody in the Pentagon needs to lose their job over this. Everything that I have read shows that US military has known for weeks were the foreign media was being stationed.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 9th 2003, 4:30 pm

lance wrote:How can you tell a criminal? Do you know what one looks like? I don't. How do you know which person is going to just lose it and became violent? Do you know which of your co-workers will go beserk at work? I don't.
I don't either, but how do you know who will drive recklessly or drive drunk and plow into innocent people? No one knows the answer to that, but we are all allowed to drive if we pass the DMV test. How do we know who will develop lung cancer due to second hand smoke? We can't tell for sure, but people are still allowed to smoke in public and put other people's lives at risk.
IMHO in a supposedly democratic society unless you are a member of the military or police there is no good reason to own these weapons period.
In a perfect world, there should be no NEED to own weapons but (1) we don't live in a perfect world and (2) we are not talking about need - the law says we are allowed to own weapons and I do not believe that restricting citizens' rights to guns is any fairer than restricting access to what we are allowed to read because that starts a slippery slope IMO.
If a person looses it in a crime of passion with a knife he or she can inflict damage and possible kill someone. Some could loose it with a stone or baseball bat and inflict damage and kill. That same person looses it with a firearm, now several people can die. That same person looses it with an automatic weapon scores of people can die.
All true, but look at what people are able to do without guns - hurling malatov cocktails, making their own bombs, etc. Crazy people who lose all sense of right and wrong are not the people who follow laws, so it doesn't seem fair to punish the people who DO follow the laws. If the second amendment was repealed and it became illegal for us to own guns, do you doubt that the criminals and the crazies would still have guns?
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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 9th 2003, 4:39 pm

It's well known that snipers hide out in places that we would not normally target. If any troops come under fire, they have an obligation to respond. Any journalists still in Iraq have stayed at their own risk. Pres. Bush has consistently shown that he doesn't care that much about world opinion. So, I'm pretty sure he isn't ordering soldiers to quash Arab news reports. The soldiers have jobs to do. They are doing them.

Ugh. I can't believe I posted on a political topic on this site. But I believe the people who are accusing American soldiers of wrongdoing need to think about what's really going on over there.
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Re: us targets media?

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 9th 2003, 4:41 pm

lance wrote:Personally I think somebody in the Pentagon needs to lose their job over this.
I think that this is a bit of an extreme statement - not everyone in the Pentagon supports the decisions that our government makes. They don't require unanimous decisions (imagine them passing around The Box to blackball) to go forward and people cannot be held responsible for their employers' actions.

It would be nice if we could all work for someone who stands for all that we believe in and shares our ethics, but the bottom line is that most of us need a paycheck at the end of the day. I am employed by the University of California and I most certainly do NOT agree with everything they do - I dp not support some of the research that occurs here, I do not agree with the way they treat some of their employees, and I don't like some of their politics - but I need a job more than I need an employer who agrees with everything that I believe. Sad to say, but true.

I have never worked for a company or entity that I could support 100% in their business ethics. Even people I know who work for non-profits do not agree with everything that their employers do. To be fair, how many people are even aware of all the dirty practices that their employers utilise?

I understand that you don't agree with what happened, but it's really not fair to lump together every single person who works in that building and blame them for what happened.
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Re: us targets media?

Post by lance » Apr 9th 2003, 4:51 pm

candygirl wrote:
lance wrote:Personally I think somebody in the Pentagon needs to lose their job over this.
I think that this is a bit of an extreme statement - not everyone in the Pentagon supports the decisions that our government makes. They don't require unanimous decisions (imagine them passing around The Box to blackball) to go forward and people cannot be held responsible for their employers' actions.

It would be nice if we could all work for someone who stands for all that we believe in and shares our ethics, but the bottom line is that most of us need a paycheck at the end of the day. I am employed by the University of California and I most certainly do NOT agree with everything they do - I dp not support some of the research that occurs here, I do not agree with the way they treat some of their employees, and I don't like some of their politics - but I need a job more than I need an employer who agrees with everything that I believe. Sad to say, but true.

I have never worked for a company or entity that I could support 100% in their business ethics. Even people I know who work for non-profits do not agree with everything that their employers do. To be fair, how many people are even aware of all the dirty practices that their employers utilise?

I understand that you don't agree with what happened, but it's really not fair to lump together every single person who works in that building and blame them for what happened.
Nor is it fair what happened to those journalists and their families. The administration and the right repeatedly preach responsibility, they need to practice what they preach.

Our civilian government runs our military, the buck stops there. Somebody needs to more then offer platitudes (not speaking of Tom Speed here) of "well you shouldn't of been in harms way". That's called blaming the victim.

Their needs to be accountability at all levels of our society.

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Re: us targets media?

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 9th 2003, 5:07 pm

lance wrote:Nor is it fair what happened to those journalists and their families.

Our civilian government runs our military, the buck stops there.

Their needs to be accountability at all levels of our society.
I agree, but again I can't blame every single person who works for the government. If you want to look at it from a certain perspective, working for UC means I work the state of California and I think that Gray Davis is an idiot, to put it mildly. I am certainly not in a position to quit my job because I think that the governor is a moron. My stomach, my student loans, and the rest of my bills have some say in the matter and they outweigh some of my politics. Case in point: a friend of my boyfriend's worked for Dianne Feinstein and he disagrees with most of her politics. A girl I knew in college now works for Michael Moore and doesn't agree with everything he says either.
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Post by andrewgd » Apr 9th 2003, 5:21 pm

Of course we all need to remember that we know very very little about what actually happened. We know that Iraqis have a history of putting military units within innocent civilians.

I don't know about any of you, but I have never been in a situation where I was being shot at on all sides. If I'm being shot at from civilian trucks and ambushed by apparent civilians, I'm going to protect myself from any danger. Who knows that actually happened, but I wouldn't blame troops for firing at an apparent hostile. It might have been a serious mistake in judgement, but you have to take the situation into mind.

As far as I can tell, war is quite chaotic. Mistakes are made. Of course mistakes against the media are going to be reported more, because its THE MEDIA...duh...

We also have absolutely no indication that its a pentagon scheme to target the media. And I think that trying to make this some military objective is a little naive. But thats just my opinion and totally understand how it can be viewed other ways.
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Re: us targets media?

Post by starbug » Apr 10th 2003, 4:44 am

candygirl wrote: I am employed by the University of California and I most certainly do NOT agree with everything they do.
You do? I recently negotiated a research contract with them (well, with their Contracts and Grants office... their beaurocracy is incredible. :hammer2:

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 10th 2003, 2:30 pm

You are preaching to the choir!

You wouldn't believe all the extraneous paperwork we have to submit to the school for outside grant proposals - you'd think that they would just be happy that we are seeking outside funding, but noooooo!

:wink:
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