Jeffords' change of heart

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Postby Beleg » Sat May 26, 2001 1:28 am

Gee, falkeep, this is the kind of post that really makes me want to like you, so it kinda hurt to watch you and Kel go for each other's throats. Far better to share points against those in this Forum who disrespect all of us conservatives. Still, it's sometimes good to have debate practice...uhh, this was..debate, umm..pract--<BR><BR>hmmm...<BR><BR>Since I wasn't on the subject of Radagast's post. I've got to say that, having read him for quite a while now, that blast rather came out of the blue.<BR><BR>Thing is, except for the name-calling, he had the situation bang-on: the Democratic Party in the US has clearly made capturing the treasury for the purpose of doling out the funds to particular causes their whole raison d'etre. And the purpose looks to me like trying to make sure that nothing bad happens to anyone anywhere at any time. One almost wonders if the Dems are convinced that if all risk could be wrung out of the system, then nobody would ever fail, everybody would be rich and we'd all live forever. I'd call that a pipe dream, personally but to be the least bit fair, I guess hope springs eternal even in the most irrational breast.<BR><BR>My own concern is that this dream being held out is a chimera: it is true that people now live longer than what looks like ever before, but that doesn't seem enough. It looks like sanitation has never been better, living conditions have never been better, you name it and it hasn't been better. It just seems like all of this success has had no effect on Democratic rhetoric: it's still all a crisis and the world will end unless we utterly eliminate asbestos and arsenic, cars and guns. I find that kind of approach to be completely over the top, yet people apparently find it attractive. <BR><BR>Well, I guess it would: the suggestion really is that we can all get something for nothing, sort of Lord Keynes' economic law writ large (he made the suggestion that national debt wasn't a problem because, hey presto, we just owe it to ourselves. This has to be the first enunciation of the principle that if you change the terms you change the problem. The response of course is that you don't change the problem, you change how you are trying to solve it, and by misdefining basic terms of solution, you are more likely to be moving away from the solution than toward it).
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Postby Falkeep » Sat May 26, 2001 1:40 am

Beleg, what you have said is EXACTLY why I am so worried about Bush and the extremists ruining everything. If they handle things wrong and are responsible for throwing us back into the hands of the Liberal Dems becasue they caused every moderate to jump ship then they will b to blame for subjecting us to yet another whole generation of the rule by the Liberal Democrats. As a student of history, I see it coming and it will not be because the liberals managed to win power it will be becasue the conservative extremists chased everyone away. I sure do not want that, but if it happens, i will not be leveling the blame at the benefactors but rather at those who created the situation. And all it needs to happen (like with Jeffords) is for moderate Republicans to stop being part of that party. They do not have to become Democrats to give the Dems new majorities and new power bases. but NEITHER side can afford to abuse and alienate their moderates right now or we will see more of this.<BR><BR>If the conservatives are not willing to turn a critical eye upon themselves, if they are not willing to openly and honestly assess why they are driving people away, if they are not willing to accept the balme for how people are reacting to what they are doing then they are handing us back to the very political control that we fought so hard to push out of power in the first place. And if people inside the movement are not listened to and given weight when they try to point out these problems, then it is a sign that our leadership and members are suffering from groupthink and, no matter how much I may not like what the other side is trying to do, I will leave the field and let them take it rather than blindly follow leadership heading us into doom or who try to accomplish noble goals though ignoble means. The ends do NOT justify the means, as Hama's sig says (and I have said for years), it is just the opposite, the means justify the ends. And if we did not like it when the Dems did these things when they were in power then how can it be right or ethical for us to do the very same things just because we now "wield the power"?<BR><BR>That is what makes me feel betrayed by the conservative "leadership" in this country. Does that make sense?<BR><BR>BTW, as for going at it with Kel, I would rather support a foe I can honor and respect than a ally I can't. And if someone on "my side of the fence" is someone who I find to be an idiot or a raving fanatic, I will not let them just be like that around me just because niether of us want the other "side" to prevail. "Honor, Justice and Truth... but above all Honor." But I have seen nothing in any posting by Kel that gives me the slightest thought that has has any of those traits, respects any of those traits or even knows what they mean. So who better than a conservative to say another conservative is a wrong? At least I don't have a vested interest in "attacking" him such as because I want the "side" he opposes to prevail. My motives are at least pure. Ok, I also have to admit, the last post to him was also done for malicious joy.
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Postby Denethor » Sat May 26, 2001 1:53 am

Radagast: I doubt that you were being sarcastic, and I am actually horrifed that you would consider 'socialism' and 'fascism' to be in any way related. I happen to be a socialist myself. It may also interest you to know that despite his dislike of Soviet "Communism" (which was actually a variety of state capitalism), George Orwell still considered himself a socialist (I think he once wrote somewhere that the tyranny of unrestrained capitalism was worse than anything that the state could inflict upon its people).
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Postby Orc#5063 » Sat May 26, 2001 8:37 am

Why on Earth would you assume he's not being sarcastic? That post is so blatant, I must almost weep with sarcasm overload.
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Postby finarfin » Sat May 26, 2001 9:50 am

Fallkeep,<BR><BR>Don't worry about Kel, I am keeping a detailed record of every one of his posts on this MB so I can become his "Anita Hill" when he is nominated to Supreme Court! Let me tell you, he has left a barber shop floor’s worth of pubic hairs in a Pepsi factory! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Reactionary Fascist! If in power, Kel would line all the liberals up, condemn them for treason and shoot 'em dead if they didn't sign a loyalty document to the far right Republican's ideals. Even then he’d probably look them personally in the eye and shoot the ones he thought were just lying to survive.<BR><BR>I think Reactionary Fascist is a little light for Kel. But I'll have to remember that in "Movies". <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR>
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Postby Falkeep » Sat May 26, 2001 11:54 am

Finarfin,<BR><BR>I'm kind of disappointed that he hasn't been back on this thread since my last post directed at him... when you poke a wild animal in a cage with a stick, you want to watch it go nuts, not slink off in a corner and hide. Where is the fun in that.<BR><BR>BTW, when he was through executing all the liberals, he would turn on the other conservatives who do not share his exact vision. We have seen it all before in history. Again, when you view ANY of your own people your enemy, eventually you view the ALL as your enemy.<BR><BR><BR>As for other things, seriously, as I have long pointed out to people, politcal ideologies are plotted on a circle,not a line and if you travel far enough in one direction, you end up on the other side. Nazism was rightwing lunacy taken to the farthest extreme and Stalinist Communism was leftwing extremism taken to the farthest extreme. What you ended up with was essentially, in practice, the same style of government... both were totalitarian regimes in which their own people were the enemies as we as those external to their borders. It USED to be that conservatives wanted government out of people's lives as much as was possible and the liberals were trying to inject government into people's lives as much as possible. What is happening now, though is that, while the left still wants to use government to tell people what they should believe in, the right wants to use government to tell people how they should live. Both sides have both become focused on inflicting governmental control in everyone's life (in support of different goals, of course)... they are both reaching the same point on the circle. I give up control of my life to no man or government and will let no man or government tell me what I should believe in or how I should leave... neither will I stand by idlely and let it be done to another man... even one I do not care for. I want EVERYONE in this country to have the same freedoms and rights I demand for myself, including absolute self-determination. The only valid purposes of government and law are to do those things that individuals cannot do (like build roads) and to protect people from each other (not from themselves).
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Postby HaplothePatryn » Sat May 26, 2001 11:57 am

Sorry for asking but what is a Green?<BR><BR>Is that a diff party or something?<BR><BR><i>im only 13 here so dont say nothin </i>
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Postby peregin2k » Sat May 26, 2001 12:10 pm

Haplo, go do a search on Ralph Nader.<BR><BR>Here in Canada, Green party means the Marijuana party, and I'm not joking. I symphatize with what they believe in except the one about legalizing marijuana which is on the top of their list. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I agree with Falkeep, they should empower the people. Make them decide on their own, let them think. There should be a referendum for every law that will be passed but the problem is holding elections everytime a new law is passed costs money. Plus the fact, the elected politician has vested interests and it is not what his constituents are asking for. Well, at least if the people who voted for that new law starts complaining they can point their finger on themselves for deciding on it not some politician.<BR>
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Postby Falkeep » Sat May 26, 2001 12:26 pm

Peregrin,<BR><BR>You don't need to hold a referendum for every law, what you do is have a blanket period where every law is automatically wiped of of the books... say ever 50 years of so. A year before that, the politicians can start working on the laws that will be in put in place at that time. Part of the problem is that politicians view laws in one of two ways... as their own legacy and immortality (laws NEVER die, you know) and as a way to deal with their own petty personal grievances and/or peculiarities.<BR><BR>As for the first, when all of the "basic" laws are already in place, the the new politicians have to look for other laws they can create for their own place among the immortals. Clearing the laws regularly would let every new generation of polition have basic laws to take credit for so they would have less of a need to start finding other issues to legislate.<BR><BR>As for the second, when a law gets on the books, no matter how stupid it is (the Capitol Dining room is required by law to serve navy bean soup because one Senator, in the 40s I believe, went in one day and they didn't have it on the menu that day and he wanted a bowl EVERY day, so he had a law passed... in Macomb, Illinois, it is illegle for a car to impersonate a wolf... somewhere in tennesse, it is against the law to whistle underwater... in Louisiana you can be locked up if you blow up condoms and use them as ballons at a child's party... the list is endless) it STAYS on the books becasue when someone comes along and wants to have it removed, everyone either doesn't see a point with bothering OR they wonder what the ulterior motive of the person is who is wanting to remove them. If the laws were all cleaned off the books automatically, no one has to make an effort to get rid of them, an effort woul have to be made to keep them. In addition, laws that are no longer applicable and laws which were passed to the benefit of any particular special interest would be allowed to quitely disappear the next generation when they would serve no purpose.<BR><BR>Laws should not be viewed as permanent instruments of a government, they should be used as a means to deal with real problems when they are problems without being a burden on future generations.
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Postby peregin2k » Sat May 26, 2001 12:39 pm

Our laws here in Canada are simple, not that complicated at all. Look at how thin our law books are, not kidding here. Maybe it's because we are a young country compared to yours. I'm trying to remember the "term" used to describe our laws. It's on the tip of my tongue and it's short, so I couldn't read it.
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Postby Gwen » Sat May 26, 2001 12:45 pm

<BR>Hey Falkeep,<BR><BR>Do ya think the Constitution needs a reworking, too? Or is that document outside the scope of your argument?
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Postby Falkeep » Sat May 26, 2001 12:57 pm

Gwen, not at all... EVERYTHING is fair game. Our constitution is an amazing document written by an amazing collection of men at an amazing point in history. The problem was, no one had tried this experiment before, they had no one else's examples (good OR bad) to learn from. I view the constitution as an experiment that has succeeded in some ways and failed in others (the office of Vice President, for example... which made it through three elections before they started to change it; it was never designed to deal with political parties or a professional political class; what about basic "membership" in the club? do you think the authors of the Constitution intended states to be held forever with no way to leave the union if they wanted?). those failures are not a bad thing, however. Nothing is perfect the first time and you learn more from the problems than you do from the things that work.<BR><BR>unfortunately, if we held a constitutional convention now and tried to work on the document or creat a new one, EVERY special interest group and movement, no matter how ridiculous or petty, would want it to be written to THEIR benefit without concern for the greater good. As a result, I think what will happen is that this experiment will end (I give it 20 - 30 years before it collapses under its own weight) and something new will have to some along after to pick up the pieces. What all of us need to be doing down is working to make sure that what comes after is beneficial to all of the people rather than harmful. I hope the end of the American Empire and the Pax Americana will not bring on a new dark age, like the fall of Rome did, but right now I cannot be completely optimistic. In the meantime, I will wander through the night with my lantern held up trying to get people to think about things and ways to make what comes after be better then what we have now rather than worse.
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Postby HanSolo » Sat May 26, 2001 1:00 pm

Falkeep, you are doing more damage to the Conservative movement by reacting so vehemently. Kel has been here a long time I don't always agree 100\% with him but his intentions are good. I really think you are absolutely wrong in calling him a "facsist Nazi".<BR><BR><BR>Bush is trying to do what he feels is right if that is a problem then tough. What do you expect him to do a few things that he feels are wrong on purpose to satisfy the liberals. Ha! as if they would afford us this luxury when they are in control. I for one believe in standing up for honor, dignity, and what is right even if that means the liberals would cry and I wouldn't be re-elected . And even if that means the dang liberal Republican Senators jump ship, good ridance, at least I was true to myself and did what I felt was right before God. This is how I believe Bush is looking at this.
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Postby Gwen » Sat May 26, 2001 1:04 pm

<BR>Hmmmm. I have often wondered too whether we are not witnessing the Fall of the American Empire... 20 - 30 years, huh? That's some scary scary stuff to think about........
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Postby HanSolo » Sat May 26, 2001 1:07 pm

Gwen,<BR>Yea I think we are in a lot of trouble. Mainly being that we as a people have lost the virtue that we once had. Now we are a bunch of self-interested egocentric hedonists. We are in trouble as a nation.
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Postby summoned » Sat May 26, 2001 1:26 pm

Just wanted to insert a couple of quick points here, some of which may be a little redundant, I suspect.<BR><BR>The only loyalties to which Jeffords should be held are those to his nation and his constituents. Otherwise, one is putting party politics ahead of his responsibilities as a Senator. Kelannar explicitly identified the variety of politics which he is employing and advocating as those of a personal agenda, and I do not think that ever makes for good government. Moreover, in advocating the acquisition of power at all costs, he is forgetting that power should NEVER be an end in itself, it is always the means to act. Too much of what I saw in his posts here makes it appear that he has allowed his fury over one event to blind him to the implications of what he has stated. This trait is not one I feel comfortable recognizing in someone who so clearly is politically engaged and quite possibly will serve in some fashion in government. Power, whether political or otherwise, demands responsible use, and I see no evidence in Kelannar's posts in this thread that he is capable of using power responsibly.<BR><BR>Couple of other quick things: Falkeep, see my signature. <BR><BR>As for the left, I personally do not feel that they have been so manifest a failure as several people here have quite blithely asserted. The right gained some ascendancy over the left primarily on the basis of fiscal responsibility -- the last two Democratic (not necessarily the same thing as left, however obvious point that is to make, I think it does bear repeating) have been Clinton, who was a centrist who campaigned on the mantra of "It's the economy, stupid!", recognizing the chief (and legitimate) criticism of the left in the U.S, and Jimmy Carter who became president during an energy crisis, and while his defeat may not have been attributable solely, or even in large measure, to his fiscal policies, a stronger economy would have put him in a better light. For better or worse, the U.S. tends to evaluate its well-being on the basis of its wallet. The "malaise" that Carter identified, and was derided for identifying, was a real problem, and the number of other crises that Carter was forced to confront was more than any president should be expected to handle without making mistakes. The three major foreign policy issues that Carter had to handle are continuing to plague us today, and I do not think that trumpeting the Reagan revolution is an example of clear thinking when one looks at Mideast relations (Carter did, after all, manage to get Egypt and Israel not only to meet, but to agree to the Camp David Accords that have kept Egypt and Israel at peace now for over twenty years, when it had been a continuous source of conflict for over thirty years), Afghanistan, which continues to be the source of chaos, terrorism, and suffering, and Iran, which Reagan turned into a nightmare (well, actually Ollie North, Poindexter, and Secord did that). These are serious problems, and they are ones that have persisted in plaguing the U.S. and the world for over twenty years now. Carter's failures doomed his presidency, but he was held to a standard that was incapable of taking the whole situation into consideration. If the economy had been stronger during Carter's presidency, then he would be judged less harshly, and I do not think that the troubles with the energy crisis were of his making.<BR><BR>All that was a long-winded way of getting to my central point, which is that despite the pronouncements of the right about the left's advocacy of "big government" and intrusive government, the people of the U.S. are generally in favor of the policies of the left. It is the price tag that causes them to turn away.
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Postby finarfin » Sat May 26, 2001 1:44 pm

<i>"As for other things, seriously, as I have long pointed out to people, politcal ideologies are plotted on a circle,not a line and if you travel far enough in one direction, you end up on the other side."</i><BR><BR><BR>Fallkeep,<BR><BR>I too have made the exact statement. Although I am somewhat of a liberal (with a small l) I have found much of what you have written in this thread to be close to my own POV. I applaud your stand against the tyranny exhibited both in your consigned party and on this MB. I too have told the far left of my consigned party to $^&\% off because they want more than they deserve.<BR><BR>Balance is the key to everything. All hail the Center! This is where the real silent majority stand!
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Postby Beleg » Sat May 26, 2001 1:53 pm

Sure, people who haven't amassed very much capital will be very much in favor of expropriating those who have in order to have more. That is what the left is offering and what it has been offering since the 1930's. It is also socialism in a nutshell. Yes, you did get a tad long-winded, but that's okay, you had a lot to say, and you said it well.<BR><BR>I just don't agree with any of it. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Rather than trying to continue what is becoming a cat-o-nine-tails discussion, let's start afresh, k?<BR><BR>Jim Jeffords has long been a socialist. This is not news to his Vermont constituents, and wouldn't necessarily be a detriment (they keep re-electing Bernie Sanders, who is at least honest in labeling himself a Socialist, which is more honesty than a good number of other Senators and Reps show, whether Republican or Democrat). So, he is indeed representing his constituency when he votes as he does. That's just fine and if that's what Vermont voters think they want, then good luck to them (I think they're wrong, and I suspect there are Vermonters who agree with me, but in a sense, both those minority Vermonters and I are irrelevant, though for different reasons).<BR><BR>Jeffords has also advertised himself as a Republican all these years, despite voting as a clear Socialist. This is false advertising and has long been so. Sending him campaign funds is truly an exercise in hypocrisy for the Republican Party leaders, but then moral acuity is not a big characteristic of politicians and having that seat on the Repub side did mean insurance about holding the committee chairs, so everybody winked and went on with business. This whole attitude towards honest campaigning also makes mincemeat of several ancillary issues, notably that hilarious stupidity called McCain-Feinberg, where we're not supposed to trust each other but we are supposed to trust politicians and members of the media to give us (as being in their possession and not ours) the facts about candidates. It is to laugh, but with tears, of course. It also makes mincemeat of the notion that political parties have ideological cores that are inviolable, but then just a casual read through historical party platforms would accomplish that: read a Democratic Party platform from the late 1800's if you want a real cry, for instance. For that matter, go ahead and read a Republican one. The parties have effectively switched places ideologically and can be expected to do so again...and again...and again. All you have to do is live long enough to watch (most of us won't, though. The half-life of a political ideology is rather longer than a human lifetime).<BR><BR>However, Jeffords' switch is opportunistic, both for himself and for the two major parties. He gets his McLuhan moment, the Republicans get a bit of egg on their faces and the Democrats get to preen (again) in borrowed virtue. Business as usual, really. The longer-term consequences are likely that:<BR><BR>1) Jeffords will disappear politically. He was a distinct voice in Republican circles, but he's just one of the backbench boys in the Democratic ones. He's not even a very good speaker, so higher place will be accorded to the more effective spokespeople in the Dem forces.<BR><BR>2) The Democrats will get a one-off advantage in the coming judicial hearings. They are likely to be ugly and get worse, with the word 'McCarthyism' getting both new life and strange new meanings. The verbal fireworks are going to be intense and, if one has no ideological moorings or interest, very entertaining. But then, I would expect that the treason trials during Tiberius' reign were also entertaining, until you were the one accused of that offhand comment, intended as a joke, at a dinnerparty. Even longer, the problem for the Democrats is that, given that they are in nominal control of the Senate process, they will be expected to advance an agenda. This will mean making positive statements about things they actually support, as opposed to carping about what they do not support. It will be interesting to see if anything actually changes in terms of the reform that is going on, most specifically in terms of Social Security and the pace of increase in Federal budgets and outlays. It is worth remembering that the whole argument currently ongoing is over whether the budget should increase by 4/\% in the next year or 6/\%. Looks small, but in a $2 trillion spending plan, it's still $40 billion. Which would fund a good number of the smaller Executive branch agencies. And preserving these little enclaves for massaging personal behavior and attitudes is really the whole point for the Dems. The Repubs would like to see such micromanagement of the affairs of the US citizenry to be curtailed, if not terminated. So, that's the real argument and why it gets so intense.<BR><BR>3) For the Republicans, the status is really the same as the status quo ante. Jeffords voted something like 80/\% of the time with the Democrats before he so dramatically interposed himself into history and this is not likely to change. There are between 10 and 12 moderate Democrats who more often than not vote with the Republicans, especially on fiscal issues. The balance of power is simply a function of which issues committee chairpeople allow to come up for discussion, and the Republican ideologues now have the opportunity to play to the press with bills proposed that Democratic chairmen won't allow to be discussed. This takes the issues out of the corridors of power and places them in the Public Square, where we shlubs can toss them about. So, oddly the Republicans would be encouraging democracy, while the Democrats would be encouraging oligarchy. You see what I mean about the parties switching ideological positions: it's only partly rhetorical sanity that is at stake, but also the power equation, always to be contended with.<BR><BR>There, that's a whole lot of analysis from an amateur, at which all are encouraged to level fire and water.<BR><BR>As another side-note, I'd like to see someone who claims they are an educated Socialist to clearly define that term, as they wish to use it. I know that this would be very self-serving for them, but at least it would nail the term down for the purposes of this thread, if not necessarily for the whole Forum. Perhaps more knowledgeable analysts (such as William F. Buckley or John Kenneth Galbraith) might then be cited in rebuttal of misconception.
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Postby Annael » Sat May 26, 2001 1:59 pm

I attribute this belief that what the Democrats want is good, but just costs too much is out of ignorence.<BR><BR>People listen to something and say, "Wow, that sounds great". The problem is they don't think about what the outcomes of the policy will be.<BR><BR>Welfare in California is an example(This is the way it used to be a few years ago and things change but I'm using it as an example).<BR><BR>The government decided that it wanted to help single moms in need. They decided to give single mothers welfare. This meant that if the guy was around, no money. This was an incentive to keep guys out of the picture. It ended up creating a greater number of single mothers, simply because the money could only be gotten if the guy wasn't around(This was the reason my sister said why her friend couldn't live with her boyfriend).<BR><BR>In trying to help a problem, subsidizing it only increased the problem itself. Human nature is to get as much as possible with doing as little as possible. If someone is going to give you money for doing nothing, that is exactly what many will do.<BR><BR>You get what you subsidize. You destroy what you tax.<BR><BR>It sounds great to tax people with money to help out people in need. The result, when you do this, is less people with money and more people in need.<BR><BR>If more people were educated about the negative affects of such programs, they would never support them. The problem is that people only here what good the program is trying to bring.
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Postby Beleg » Sat May 26, 2001 2:19 pm

Ahh, and falkeep: I do not see your motives as 'more pure' than Kelennar's. I see them as trying to paint him as an extremist in order to dismiss anything he has to say. Surely he has emitted a <i>cri de coeur</i> here and gotten quite exercised about the topic. That is how he feels about it and I didn't see you jump into the thread about excessively taxing oil companies' earning simply as a reaction against higher energy prices with all the attendant hysteria that was expended in ventilating the participants' anger and frustration. Perhaps you didn't notice the thread, I'll suggest that much, but it would enhance your wish to appear moderate had you intervened with some common sense (and perhaps a little basic economic theory) to mitigate the extremism on show there.<BR><BR>You see, I don't see 'moderate' as a basic compliment. It is simply a statement of position. I don't see 'conservative' or 'liberal' that way, either. I see that many do and it is likely that words like 'gentleman', 'Christian', 'lady', etc. are equally now freighted with semantic overtones, rather than being just statements of fact, which is what they were when they were coined. For example, a 'gentleman' had nothing to do with how polite a man should or could be, it only meant that he held fee simple possession of property. So, you could easily be a 'good gentleman' or a 'bad gentleman', but in either case, the word gentleman had nothing to do with temper or distemper in social behavior.<BR><BR>The point here is that it is no particular virtue to hold any particular political ideology, but rather that, upon inspection, that ideology stand up to criticism as to its structure. The label that then gets attached to that set of principles can be used as either a feather or a meathook, but that is turning a statement of fact into an <i>ad hominem</i> for demogoguic purposes, which is supposed to be rhetorically out of order, yes?<BR><BR>So, the whole issue boils down to consistency of ideology and the final consequence of any ideology is whether it has been known historically to have beneficient or maleficient results for mankind. I find, when I look back over the human record, that efforts to appropriate the capital of the rich in order to fund the poor inevitably lead to civil war, the establishment of dictatorships and eventually, empire. That's the historical record, repeated endlessly, and why all civilizations eventually fall: they all, sooner or later, attempt to level incomes, usually as a consequence of power brokering. <BR><BR>Now, the most cognate example of this comes from Republican Rome. It is a fact that, once the Carthaginian empire was broken up, a mass of gold and riches flooded into Rome. This money flooded into particular pocketbooks and you know all the family names: Aemilii, Sulpicii, Julii, Cornelii, etc. What was a rather powerful oligarchy of families, self-styled patricians, now become almost irresistibly powerful and the mass of folk reacted. That they could was due to the institution of the Tribunes of the People, who formed the political nexus for revolt against patrician rule. The signal event was the attempt at land reform under the Gracchi. Both gentlemen who participated in this died as a result of the popular riots that resulted when political machinations prevented any such reform from happening. What later observers concluded was that the revolt was not an attempt to share wealth, but simply to take it out of the hands of those who had acquired it and give it to the masses. As there is no possible equitable way of doing this without leaving a lot of people dead, the attempt failed. What it did accomplish was the permanent corruption of the Roman Republic, sapping its internal legal restraints and paving the way for the Civil Wars of the First Century BC, which were wrapped up when Octavian defeated Antony at Actium.<BR><BR>There was now no effective govenment in Rome. The Senate certainly still existed, as did the institution of the Consuls, the praetors, aediles and on the plebian side, the Tribunes, but all was disconnected by the anarchy of Civil War. Octavian regularized all this by getting the Senate to grant him the Tribunicial Power (that is, the right to veto Senatorial proposals) and his triumph was in getting them (by persuasion, mind you) to vest this in him permanently. This was the constitutional basis for his rule as 'Imperator'. His actual title, of course, was never 'Emperor', that amounts to a casual nickname for the reality of his control. His title officially was 'Princeps'. This translates as 'First Citizen'. Rather a euphemism, to be sure, but still, the mechanisms of governance in Rome were re-established, with the exception that an Executive had been finally created with power to do exective tasks. It was apparently beyond the Roman legal ingenuity to provide some peaceable mechanism for transferring such executive power and the autarkic notions of kingship, shielded behind euphemism and political correctness, reasserted themselves. It was colourful, after all, to have a swank Emperor, just like all those Eastern barbarians did. No honorable Roman patrician would ever stoop to such frippery, no sir, at least, until the Tribunician Power came their way. Suddenly, such swank was all so necessary and even decent Emperors like Antonius Pius reveled in it.<BR><BR>And that's how it will likely go for us: we will have redefined the mechanisms of the exercise of power in a way that permits us to use the old words but mean the new meanings, adding the autarky of kingship to the enlightenment of republicanism and getting those nasty jobs done that those fuddy-duddies, the Founders, seemed to think so badly perfumed. That the Founders might have had fundamental, philosophical reasons for rejected the allowance of such power in governors is not really gone into and thus the system slides into oligarchy. I expect that this all comes across as Cassandra's bleatings to most here. Very well. Just save this off to your hard drives, wait ten years, and then re-read it.<BR><BR>....if you're still allowed to.
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Postby Falkeep » Sat May 26, 2001 4:40 pm

Beleg,<BR><BR>On the taxing issue, I view tax money as drugs for governments. The more they have, the more they want and the nore the need to get the same high next time. I am against excessive taxation on anyone, any group or any business... I also want the businesses to behave responsibly enough that they don't make the government step in and "punish" them by having to exact higher taxes. The first mistake we made in this country with taxes was in not separating the power to raise money from the power to spend money. I think that only the House should be able to raise money, but they cannot spend any of it; the Senate should be able to spend money but cannot raise it... this would mean that Reps keep their jobs by keeping taxes low and if the Senate wants money to spend on something, they have to convince the Reps that it is needed; The Senators would keep their jobs by how much they could convince the House to raise and how much swag they can ship back to their homes... in the middle is the President who is the one who works things out between the two and does the budgeting.<BR><BR>The other problem with our tax policies in this country is how it has been used to make the people of the nation (of the people, by the people and for the people) into enemies of the nation over taxes. When the feds wanted to go after Al Capone, they felt that ANY method that would accomplish that was ok, he wsa a bad man, right? It was a clearcut case of the ends justifying any means (bad mistake). So they used the tax code against him but, having crossed that line once it was easier to draw it a litte closer the next time and closer the time after that and so on until the people of this nation feel under seige by the IR Dept (Not the IRS as they provide NO service at all). Do you realize that the US is the ONLY nation in the world that has tax agents stationed in our embassies and diplomatic missions in EVERY nation we deal with just so they can find american citizens ANYWHERE and extract from them what the government feels it has a right to just demand. remember, this nation was formed as a tax revolt and the "unbearable" taxes the Britsih were "extracting" were equal to about 2\%. Look at what we have raised it to here. One of the primary reasons I forsee the collapse of the American Empire is over the issue of taxes.<BR><BR>BTW, two VERY elightening books by a mand named Charles Adams (a taxation hisorian with the Cato Institute) are "For Good and Evil: A History of Taxation" and "Those Dirty, Rotten Taxes" (about tax revolts in history and their causes. I recommend both books to EVERYONE who pays ANY taxes on ANYTHING.
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Postby Fatty_Bolger » Sat May 26, 2001 4:41 pm

Beleg: Princeps Senatus, in fact. Namely, the first Senator to speak in debates, a prominent position.<BR>Now, in fact, all civilisations fail. The political system cannot avoid that. Empire didn't cause the Fall of Rome. In case you didn't notice, the Empire lasted for 5 centuries (well, the last one shouldn't really count).<BR>Now, don't think the Republic was better than the Empire. For it wasn't really. For the non-Romans, the Empire was even better. For the Romans, the Tribunes were a weak protection against the oligarchy that ruled the Republic, but the fate of most of them wasn't really worse in the Empire. Roman Republic was a system where when you made people vote, the higher class' votes accounted for appr. 55\% of the end result, so as long as the whole Senatorial patrician class voted together, they could do what they wanted. The people for which the Empire was really worse then former Republic was mostly the higher class of Senators and knights, at least those who weren't linked to Imperial family. Those lost power, and were the first to suffer from Emperors. When you read that Caligula, Nero, Commodus and others killed people, keep in mind they killed the wealthy to get their money, or because they feared some Senators would plot against them. For 98\% of the people, there weren't much difference.<BR>Or there was, namely that most Emperors didn't bother to expand the Empire and made defensive wars, not conquests. In the Republic, almost all wars were conquests, the last 200 years were just a list of foreign wars the Senate waged to gain new provinces where Senatorial order could get slaves and lands and get more wealth. The plebs was canon.ermm sword fodder. When the Empire came, Emperors being more or less in possession of more wealth than any Senator ever dreamed of, most weren't interested in wars to make money.<BR><BR>If HanSolo and Gwen wonders about fall of the Empire: I wonder too. Yet when the Republic was thought to fall, Empire came and ROman power lasted 400 more years. Of course, societies have shorter lifespans now, due to faster technological innovations, capitalism and its short economic cycles probably, all things that make a strong Empire like USSR last 50 years. More for USA, but how long?<BR>So, survival of US superpower is a big question now. That said, assuming it may happen, the question shouldn't be when but how to minimise the damages. A bit like in Asimov's Foundation series, how to shorten the Dark times. In a way, it's how I would analyse Gorbachov's action in USSR; he feared the system may collapse and tried to fix it and make sure it wouldn't end in a bloodbath. Wasn't an absolute success, of course.<BR><BR>Summoned: yes, the first goal of Senators should be the good of the country, it's survival and well-being. Specific interests should come after that, imho. Alas, not many act that way.<BR><BR>Beleg: Are the results of capitalism that good? If I look at 3rd world, where basically most of the countries are in the capitalist system, it doesn't work very well. And it's not the western capitalist nations that help them much. Neither is the situation that good here either, frankly.<BR>
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Postby Annael » Sat May 26, 2001 5:34 pm

There is a reason why 3rd world nations are not socialists, money. It takes alot of money to socialize a country. Those nations just don't have the tax base to pull it off. Either the services would be a sham or the government would go under no time flat.<BR><BR>Free Market Capitalism is the way to go, if you can stomache some people possibly starving to death. Every thing a government does to protect its people is a drain on the economy. If the government is a misquitoe and the economy is an elephant, not much damage done. If the govenment is a really huge mosqitoe on a sickly, blood drained elephant, not good.<BR><BR>The health care system of the US may not meet the needs of all the masses, but any Canadian with money comes to the US for services they are unable to get in Canada.<BR><BR>The US health care system is the best, for those who can afford it.<BR><BR>Perhaps if the government didn't stifle the economy, more people could afford it.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby peregin2k » Sat May 26, 2001 6:09 pm

<i>There is a reason why 3rd world nations are not socialists, money. It takes alot of money to socialize a country. Those nations just don't have the tax base to pull it off. Either the services would be a sham or the government would go under no time flat.</i><BR><BR>You sure, they don't have enough money to socialize their country or the problem lies on the fact that their elected officials are corrupt and are puppets of the IMF/WB. Insurgency is rampant in these countries, they've seen the evils of capitalism and want to give the Maoist ideology a try. Capitalism is just a mask, dictatorship is what most 3rd world nations are suffering from. <BR><BR><i>Free Market Capitalism is the way to go, if you can stomache some people possibly starving to death. Every thing a government does to protect its people is a drain on the economy. If the government is a misquitoe and the economy is an elephant, not much damage done. If the govenment is a really huge mosqitoe on a sickly, blood drained elephant, not good.</i><BR><BR>You mean survival of the fittest then. If it is such a drain to the economy, how come the Scandinavian countries are not in recession right now. <BR><BR><i>The health care system of the US may not meet the needs of all the masses, but any Canadian with money comes to the US for services they are unable to get in Canada. The US health care system is the best, for those who can afford it. </i><BR><BR>Where did you get the idea that any Canadian with money comes to the US for health care services. Actually, we are covered by our health care system even if we work in the US for five years. My friends who are working in NYC could attest to that. Canadians go to the US for treatment, I agree, but it's not because our health care system is that bad. There is a long line up for cancer treatment here (first come, first serve) so in case of emergency, we have to send them down there. Actually, our goverment has annouced this morning that we are now capable of treating all cancer patients here so sending patients down there will stop. <BR>If I got my stats right, our health care system is No.30 in the world, a real shame for a country voted as the <u>best country</u> to live in by the UN, while the US was ranked No. 32. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> So who says you have the best? FYI, your seniors are crossing the border just to buy generic medicines here and two private clinics has been already set up somewhere near the NY/Ontario border to cater to your elderly, more Canadian doctors near the border are doing that. Why? Check the exchange rate.<BR><BR><i>Perhaps if the government didn't stifle the economy, more people could afford it.</i><BR>Yes, I agree with that. If only our goverment know where to put our 15 million dollar surplus then more hospitals can be provided.<BR><BR>Looky here, we got a $15 million surplus, not bad for a socialist country! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Get your facts straight next time.
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Postby Annael » Sat May 26, 2001 6:31 pm

Do Canadians with money come to the US for treatment or not? You seem to go back and forth on that issue. First you say they don't , then you say they do, then you say they do, but the government promises it will do a better job, so later they won't.<BR><BR>Did I get that straight?<BR><BR>How is this ranking being done? If it takes into account all people getting the same health care, the US wouldn't do very well. If you just ranked the level of the best care, the US would be near the top! Since many people who do these polls are leftists, the number of people who can afford health care is probably taken into consideration.<BR><BR>How much of your budget is geared towards Defense? The US puts alot of money into its defense budget and the Western Nations are the recipients of that. Since most Western nations are allied with the US, and they trust the US not to attack them, they let the US take care of Communist threats(Now policing actions). The US Weapons build up is what brought Communists in Russia down. (Although I do still think that Russia is still a threat, Communist or not)<BR><BR>I agree that 3rd world nations suffer from corrupt leadership.<BR><BR>Tell me Peregin, do you think that taxes are good for the economy?<BR><BR>If not, then how is a company in a Socialist nation with high taxes going to do against a company in a lower taxed Capitalistic nation?<BR><BR>By the way, did I ever say everyone could afford the health care in the US?<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Thank you for responding to my post, I was beginning to think people around here were ignoring me and hoping I'd go away<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby HanSolo » Sat May 26, 2001 7:07 pm

But P2K Canada's taxes are outrageous! Also with the free Medical service everyone goes to see the doctor for <u>every stupid little thing</u>. I remember sitting in the emergency room (in Canada) for 4 hours with a possible broken neck while little Tommy with a stubbed toe got checked out. I think there are some good things about your health care sysyems but there are also some inherent bad things such as I mentioned.<BR><BR>BTW Good to see ya around again P2K <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby peregin2k » Sat May 26, 2001 7:25 pm

Man, I'm getting the hang of this thread. I thought I wouldn't be able to contribute since I'm a Canuck. I like it!<BR><BR><i>Do Canadians with money come to the US for treatment or not? You seem to go back and forth on that issue. First you say they don't , then you say they do, then you say they do, but the government promises it will do a better job, so later they won't. Did I get that straight?</i><BR><BR>We can get free coverage if we get treated in the US for at least five years. The people who gets treated down there are in the brink of death, needs surgery right away. This morning our goverment has announced it will cease sending people down there cause we are now capable of treating them here, more spaces not because we a medicore health care system.<BR><BR><i>How is this ranking being done? If it takes into account all people getting the same health care, the US wouldn't do very well. If you just ranked the level of the best care, the US would be near the top! Since many people who do these polls are leftists, the number of people who can afford health care is probably taken into consideration.</i><BR><BR>The ranking was done through the ratio of one doctor to a patient, it's a WHO (World Health Org) ranking. Well, I agree you've got all the specialists and the technology, because even your hospitals are money making machines. These hospitals can scout the best doctors and nurses in the third world and pay them huge amounts of money. I have seen a documentary wherein you recruit the best in India or any third world doctor to work in your rural areas that no American doctor wants to work in. It's all about money, man, if you show them the money, they will come. This is not a leftist propaganda, it's reality. <BR><BR><i>How much of your budget is geared towards Defense? The US puts alot of money into its defense budget and the Western Nations are the recipients of that. Since most Western nations are allied with the US, and they trust the US not to attack them, they let the US take care of Communist threats. </i><BR>We are not a war economy, we are the peacemakers of the world. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> We don't spend on defense(do we have military <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>) cause everybody loves a Canadian. We are America's friendly neighbors.<BR>Here's a comic relief:<BR>Mother (UN): America, you go out there and police the neighborhood. Don't forget to take your younger brother Canada with you.<BR>Older brother (America): But mom, he doesn't have anything but a hockey stick.<BR>Mother (UN): Don't worry, he'll clean up after you. <BR>Younger brother (Canada): <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> <BR><BR><i>The US Weapons build up is what brought Communists in Russia down.</i><BR>Wrongo! The Sony walkman toppled down the commies!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> The Russian economy was in tormoil already, they saw it coming. Unfortunately, I have yet to see an improvement in Russia. <BR><BR><i>Tell me Peregin, do you think that taxes are good for the economy?</i><BR>Well, I have to say we are the last country to consider a tax cut since I think tax cutting is global nowadays. The only thing that I agree with Bush is his tax cut. Depends on what is being taxed, though, like luxury goods and tobacco companies. <BR><BR><i>If not, then how are company in a Socialist nation with high taxes going to do against a company in a lower taxed Capitalistic nation?</i><BR>Well, in a socialist country, a company doesn't have to give a lot of benefits for it employees because the goverment takes care of most of it. While in a capitalist country they have to give all benefits to their employees, so it's basically quite the same.<BR>I apologize but could you rephrase your question I don't seem to get it. <BR><BR><i>By the way, did I ever say everyone could afford the health care in the US?</i><BR>No! I think you've got the answer there why you were only ranked No.32. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>
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Postby peregin2k » Sat May 26, 2001 7:39 pm

<i>But P2K Canada's taxes are outrageous! Also with the free Medical service everyone goes to see the doctor for every stupid little thing. I remember sitting in the emergency room (in Canada) for 4 hours with a possible broken neck while little Tommy with a stubbed toe got checked out. I think there are some good things about your health care sysyems but there are also some inherent bad things such as I mentioned.</i><BR><BR>Han, good to see you, too! How many times did I tell you not to play hockey with Canadians, see you got a broken neck in the process. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> I sympathize with you, man. It happened to me, too. I was suffering from food poisoning and it took me more than 5 hours before the doctor saw me and by that time I puked all over the place and was already feeling well. Thanks for nothing! <BR>Little Tommy got checked first because he was Canadian, let the nice American suffer a little longer. Just kidding! <BR>The goverment is trying to do something about it so it's getting, well, a little bit better. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Kelannar » Sat May 26, 2001 9:58 pm

<sigh>.<BR><BR>It seems that, like Beleg pointed out, people want to paint me an an extremist in order to discredit everything I say. I would actually take the criticsm seriously if I thought that the people making it actually had a clue about what kind of person I am politically. If Beleg was the one who said to me, "Kel, that's a little far," then I would sit up and take notice. But since anonymous strangers who've I've never talked to suddenly cried 'wolf', then I can hardly take these claims seriously. Especially since it's all but been admitted that this was done as part of a malicious prank to evoke dark humor. Witness that guile in action:<BR><BR><i>"Beleg, no, the heat is NOT all that is left... you forgot about pointing and rolling on the floor laughing hysterically."<BR><BR>"Ok, I also have to admit, the last post to him was also done for malicious joy."</i><BR><BR>As I said earlier, childish. And yet he continued. Once the gauntlet is thrown down, I don't expect it'll be picked up. So I don't expect an apology from Falkeep, even though he probably will regret it in the future. I'll let him know right now that I won't call him childish, slanderous names for poor humor, as he has done to me. As Ike said of McCarthy: it's not worth stepping into the gutter with him. So Beleg, don't worry about any heat coming from MY side. If you'll notice, the only thing I've said about Falkeep was that I doubt he's a conservative, and that he was childish and engaged in kindergarden antics. Hardly akin to calling someone a "Nazi", "facist." But he hasn't stopped there:<BR><BR><i>""I see that you are a fanatical bureaucrat, a class of parasite who found much comfort in both Nazi Germany and in the Stalinist USSR., and, like you, those parties ,when THEIR control was threatened, became angry and advocated violence against their "enemies'"<BR><BR>"if you object to that term, how about “totalitarian fascist”? Then again, Nazi is so much easier to type"<BR><BR>"when he was through executing all the liberals, he would turn on the other conservatives who do not share his exact vision. We have seen it all before in history. Again, when you view ANY of your own people your enemy, eventually you view the ALL as your enemy."<BR></i><BR><BR>Again... I have to sigh. This person obviously knows nothing about me. I also cannot but notice that this seems like an attempt to pidgenhole me into some sterotypical class of people he's designated that are OK to hate. Sad. Furthermore, he says that like the people that he pidgeonholes me into, I would advocate violence against an emeny. How can that suggestion be made with any credibility by a person who knows NOTHING about me? And even more, I've NEVER advocated violence against ANYONE. Does saying a unliateral veto should be exercised against Jeffords amount to violence? This is the same sort of argument-to-the-extreme tactic that leftists use to denounce people as "sexist," or "racist," or "Nazi" or whatever. It's quite the rage on college campuses, and I've seen this all before, but I never thought that a supposed conservative would be so quick to use terms like that to delegitimize the arguments of a person. Ultimately, it avoids an argument and obscuficates the truth. Because the TRUTH is that I've never said one word that amounts to any sort of "violent advocacy" or anything of that nature, and any decent person would recognize it. I have no idea what would motivate Falkeep to engage in this sort of slander, though. I won't presume to make suggestions about his character, as he has done to me, because I have no NEED to pidgeonhole him into a class of "ok to hate" people. I need only judge him by the content of his character, as people are supposed to be judged. And since he's so quick to denounce anyone who disagrees with him as an advocate of "violence" and a "Nazi," I don't think he's a person who holds valuable a principled argument about politics or political strategy.<BR><BR>It's really not worth getting into a discussion about whether the Republicans were engaging in "extremist" tactics that pushed Jeffords away. Falkeep obviously believes in that, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Yet even dismissing that, one could discuss that EVEN IF the Republicans were "extremist" and were steamrolling conservative policies through, the possibility might exist that such tactics could be done early enough so that by the time the elections came around the voters who had problems with that would forget. However, that conversation is impossible now because Falkeep has decided that to even consider that sort of thing is advocacy of violence and part of Nazism.<BR><BR>I have to add one more thing, however. It's a good thing he actually doesn't know what I do for a living and whether I believe in God. And, it's a good thing that he doesn't know that IF I believe in God, what sort of Church I belong to. Becuase I've seen his comments on another thread which suggests that he would easily pidgeonhole me into another class of people that one should hate. I can only guess at the sort of brain-wracking speculation this will compell him to, but that's not my problem.<BR><BR>finarfin: "Kel would line all the liberals up, condemn them for treason and shoot 'em dead if they didn't sign a loyalty document to the far right Republican's ideals. Even then he’d probably look them personally in the eye and shoot the ones he thought were just lying to survive."<BR><BR>I can't believe you'd actually make this sort of comment. Your post had a smile in it so I don't know if you were making some sort of sick joke, but it's not funny. I know that Falkeep clearly had malicious intent to slander when he made assumptions about me, but you've known me for quite a while and I'm clearly disappointed in you for this. You know that GandalfsMother and me disagree vehemently on political issues and that I think he's a great guy. For you to make the suggestion that I would murder GandalfsMother is absolutely insane. You know that I disagree with many people over many subjects, but hold them in great regards - like Elrohir and Ancalagon. I would've thought that you were beyond painting me as an extremist for your own sick humor, or for your political ends. Clearly, I overestimated your honor.<BR>
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Postby Random_Precision » Sun May 27, 2001 1:30 am

tic tac anyone?
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