OP/ED: Feeding the White Elephant

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posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 07:29 PM
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I quoted this before in this post:

www.abovetopsecret.com...

I quote George Washington again here:


I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.?




posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 11:01 PM
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How come I can't vote for you for WATS? Can you only win once?

I just really wanted to, just for this article. Well, not just for this article, but... wow... this is some damned impressive impassioned writing.

So I guess I can only pay it the best compliment I personally can bestow-- my jealousy. I wish I had written it.




Oblique commentary

I remember having a conversation with a then-girlfriend years ago. We were both strong-willed people, and we argued a fair amount. We'd start out arguing about some particular issue, but often, along the way, we'd get sidetracked. What would happen is that one or the other of us would make some statement or assertion or reference that was incorrect, and the other would jump on it. We'd end up fighting about that side issue rather than the original point, and the person who had made the error would go to increasingly great lengths to try to justify it, while the other would get more and more frustrated attempting to force an admission of error. In the middle of one of those, I suddenly saw what the issue was, and later shared my realization with her. It didn't really serve to eliminate those arguments, but it did cut down on them quite a bit, since we were both aware of them.

See-- the thing was that we were absolutely opposed to each other on some fundamental issue, and we were jockeying for supremacy. When the side issue would pop up, the person who was wrong couldn't bring him/herself to admit to that error because, despite the fact that it generally wasn't pertinent to the original argument, it still tended to undermine one's credibility. Obviously it didn't REALLY do this-- but the appearance was there anyway-- "If you're wrong about this, then you're probably wrong about that too."


It appears to me that this is at the root of much of the partisan bickering that surrounds virtually every political issue that might come up here. There's a fundamental battle going on between the two parties and their supporters that colors EVERY interchange they have. To each of them, each minor argument is but a part of the fundamental struggle-- each point that they might "gain" or "lose" in a side argument counts toward the overall total.


Dogma

It seems to me that the other issue behind all of this is the fact that extreme partisan political views are, by nature, essentially religious. Neither side really KNOWS what the result would be if all of their views were to become the law of the land. They believe that theirs are the correct views, but they don't-- they can't-- know that they are. They have to have an element of faith. And faith all too often leads to absolute and unwavering support for one's own views and absolute and unwavering opposition to the views of others. If one has invested oneself into one's beliefs-- if one defines oneself by one's beliefs, then to question those beliefs is to question one's very identity, and to allow any threat to those beliefs is to allow a threat to one's identity. It then goes beyond defending one's views, and becomes defending oneself. That's something that can be seen regularly on message boards. People will speak of "defending themselves" when there hasn't been any attack on them personally, but on their party. It seems that to many of the partisans, any "attack" on their party IS an attack on them personally. So they react as if they have personally been attacked, which guarantees that even if the thread wasn't particularly contentious, it soon will be.


Solutions?

I'm not sure that there are any. I've tried for years now to get people to understand that partisanship harms us. I've written things like "We are not each other's enemies-- rather we all, regardless of "party" have a common enemy in ALL of those who would seek to wield power over us" so many times that I've got all the variations memorized. I'm not sure that it's accomplished anything. There are always people who applaud such statements, but they already held that belief. Those who are among the partisans that I'm trying to reach seem to just see it as some sort of holier-than-thou posturing, and, at most, respond with some sort of "Oooh, don't you think YOU'RE special" post, before jumping back into the fray.

Anybody who's spent any time with dogs knows that you should not try to break up a dog fight, since the most likely consequence is that BOTH dogs are going to bite you. But no feeling human can just sit by and watch one. Especially one that has such potential for effecting all of us.


I just don't know what the solution is...

I do like the idea of an entirely neutral forum for the discussion of issues-- one in which any post that says, "Well, y'know... them damned DemoRepubcratlicans..." would simply not be allowed. Somehow though, I think that such a forum would never really accomplish anything. It seems that, when one eliminates partisan skewing of issues, they become fairly straightforward. I wouldn't be surprised if, if it could be done, it would end up with one person writing a compelling analysis of an issue, and everyone else agreeing, and.... well...... that'd be about it.


And like I said-- that was a wonderful piece that you wrote here, and I agree, and... well......



[edit on 20-12-2005 by Bob LaoTse]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:01 AM
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To me, it still seems Val's point is lost on people. Its not whether or not this or that party is worse than the other, its that the parties are IRRELEVANT to intelligent discussions of the highly important issues at hand. It's highly telling that there are still posts in here which, although they profess to agree with Val, they still cannot refrain from posting either in favour or to protect their own political party.

We can't be blamed really, we are human after all and this situation of "feeding the white elephant" is far, FAR from accidental. It is a well honed and well implemented form of psychological manipulation fostered by every political party.

Just ignore the political parties. What I got out of this Op/Ed is that Val is saying do not attack or defend political parties simply because of your political affiliation.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:12 AM
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Superb post Valhall, gave me loads to think about.

The first thing that popped into my head was the late great Bill Hicks' skit on voting, you know the one, "The puppet on the left is to my liking","No, the puppet on the right is to my liking" and then the guy in the back pipes up "Isn't the same guy holding both puppets!??!" To which the reply was "Go Back To Sleep America - Your Government is in Control"

On the point of PTS being a place for the mud-slinging and teeth-kicking, sure, it's great, and the mods seem to have toned down the bipartisan bickering in ATS by enforcing strictly, but take any thread with any leaning towards politics and it seems people need to pidgeon-hole someone before they can debate them.

This runs true with those of ATS members outside of the US. I can't count the times I participated in a thread where the conversation turned ugly as soon as my being from Europe was brought up. BANG! Instantly I was tree-hugging, turd-blossom socialist and all my views had been decided for me.

If I was from Europe then I must hate America, Bush, etc., etc., and the intelligent discussion ended with copious amounts of poo being flung in all directions.

I think I get where Valhall is going. Why is it nigh impossible to discuss these topics without taking sides? Why do those aligned with whichever side is currently in power feel the need to defend ALL what they do, and are blind to the fact that their party is doing exactly what the other party was doing when it was in power, and that they fought against those policies, not because they were good or bad, but because the other side had proposed them!!!!



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:27 AM
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howmuch...

That's another loss the community suffers due to the partisan bickering that occurs in threads. If it becomes a dem/rep discussion it amputates all our members around the globe that most likely don't even care about our parties.

The concept is extremely doable. There may be the luckily rare exception of individuals walking this planet who have opted to have their brains replaced with red or blue cream cheese and can say they 100% agree with a given party's platform on ALL issues. By and large, us with half a brain left, will have a polticial affiliation, but retain our free agency to decide issues in our own mind - and it won't always align with our party. You can watch it here and with your acquaintances in real life when eventually a topic comes up on which they (or we) become an apologist to the fact we disagree with our party.

I contend that is the way it SHOULD be. And that's why I stated earlier we need to discuss issues as humans, not partisans. Because with in us is the ability choose our own position on any given issue sans a political party's stand on that issue.

I think there are two human thoughts that get omitted when we address something in politics (or more importantly in governance) with partisanship. 1. If it is the poster's party in power, the poster tends to forget that at this moment in time there is no one else to keep a vigilant watch over but their party - because it is their party that is in a position to do harm to the country, and 2. If the poster's party is not in power, the poster tends to forget that but for the grace of God it could be their party about to do the same bone-headed and/or nefarious deed. The record shows this to be true no matter which party is in power.

If those two simple golden rules are kept in the forefront of our minds, any governance issue that is brought to bear by a poster that has personal concerns about its constitutionality or long-term affect on individual rights (and that includes its effect on them if they live in another country) can be discussed and people of all parties and countries can discuss the concerns the member has with absolutely no obligation to any affiliation or any need to defend any political parties.

It is the government that we are inherently obliged to be vigilant in watching. And the government at any given time is either by a majority one party - or gridlocked. And let's face it - some times our greatest safe haven is within a gridlocked government. A gridlocked government almost always comes out as they went in, and if we're surviving at the entrance of gridlock, we can usually have confidence we'll survive until the exit of same. Getting nothing done is far far better than getting something done the citizen will later regret.

There are events happening right now that concern me as a citizen. Things like finding that checks and balances have been circumnavigated. I want to talk about my concerns. I'm an adult with half a brain and it didn't take me but a half of a second to understand that since my party is in power right now, it is my party that is circumnavigating the checks and balances. I shouldn't have to shut up and wait until the screw turns to scream - HEY! This practice scares me! But I also shouldn't have to put up with some one coming along and proclaiming this could only happen under a Republican rule, because the record shows that's not true - we had Echelon under Clinton for Pete's sake! We have to understand that government encroachment of our liberties is what we are watching against, not democratic encroachment or republican encroachment.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:13 AM
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Too often I find that any criticism is simply labeled partisan and discounted. Too often 'partisan' is used to equal 'opposing', for opinion, views and beliefs.

I think it's a mistake to think that just because someone disagrees with the current administration that it's some partisan thing, done just to support an opposing party.

I've never strongly associated with any political party. Though I've often disagreed with various administrations, does the fact that I've never been at odds more than with the current one invalidate my views? Think twice before you assume that if I'm critical about what I see happening currently that it's simply 'bush bashing' and biased.

It's impossible to remain or be seen as moderate when the temper of the political climate has swung so far to one side.

I have literally been outraged on nearly a daily basis since Bush took office. Enough so that I, normally barely a political creature at all, find that I spend a great deal of time these days focused on it.

I understand the call to remain unpartisan, to not get caught up in the 'he said, she said' blame game. There's nothing I loath more than the 'my team's better than yours' mentality, that's why I find nationalism so ridiculous.

But there are very good reasons that so many of us are up in arms about the current administration. You may not agree with us, but don't be so ready to discount it all as partisan team playing.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:37 AM
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Val,

Well done.

Everybody else,

I bet we're all doing it again within a week. Shame on us all.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by Hamburglar
Val,

Well done.

Everybody else,

I bet we're all doing it again within a week. Shame on us all.



PFFFTTT...that was the high-point of the thread.

Somebody stated earlier that the partisan division and fighting is a well-fostered mechanism for diversion. I think that's true as well. But the minute we state we are aware of that...and then we personally decide to continue it amongst ourselves...

it really does become shame on us all.


df1

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 10:28 AM
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Well Val, you know I dont always agree with you, but in this instance I agree with you completely. However being unpartisan is particularly easy for me as I am a libertarian (emphasis on the small "l") that has equal distain for the actions of the democrats and the republicans, as both are eagerly selling out our liberties, rights and freedoms for transient political reasons.
.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by df1]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by df1
Well Val, you know I dont always agree with you, but in this instance I agree with you completely. However being unpartisan is particularly easy for me as I am a libertarian (emphasis on the small "l") that has equal distain for the actions of the democrats and the republicans, as both are eagerly selling out our liberties, rights and freedoms for transient political reasons.
.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by df1]


Okay - now we have two things we can agree on - I feel the same way.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall

Somebody stated earlier that the partisan division and fighting is a well-fostered mechanism for diversion. I think that's true as well. But the minute we state we are aware of that...and then we personally decide to continue it amongst ourselves...

it really does become shame on us all.


First off...this is a marvellous thread.

partisan division and diversion

When we ask ourselves; What could lie behind the fact that political parties fight a policy brought about by those in office, and yet, when it is their turn in power, strive to entrench that same policy? (as in the Patriot Act), we come to the conclusion that there are external forces which are acting upon those offices of govenment and that they are hidden. These influences, out of the limelight, push an agenda which the voting public have never seen.

An example of such constant pressure was the establishment of what is now called the EEC.

Begun in the fires of WWII, the idea of a United States of Europe first took root in a magazine, in Occupied France... the Vaincre, printed by Poirier Murat, an officer of the French Resistance, and edited by Pierre Plantard de St Clair. (of Prieuri de Sion fame)

During the Vichy government, the proponents of the idea of a unified Europe walked a fine line between the German Occupiers and the French Resistance. They were determined to influence both to further their cause. It appealed to the Germans for obvious reasons and also appealed to those who wished the Germans back within their country. Other influences came from overseas, in the form of the Swiss office of the OSS and their Head of station, Allen Dulles. Over the years following the war, the notion was pushed by Winston Churchill and Charles DeGaulle. The first meeting of the Bilderbergers was in May, 1954, and it's initial cause, in large part, was the creation of such an entity as the EEC.

The point is...no matter who was in government in any of those countries involved, or what their determinations were...the undercurrent of the push for a unified Europe affected all of them. Like bricks in a cobblestone street, each small addition, within governmental policies and over the many years, bore the eventual fruit of their endeavours...the EEC.

It is exactly the same today and it doesn't matter if you are American or Canadian...our elected officials, once in office, become pressured to follow the advice of those advocates who reflect true power. Who these people are is anyones guess, but I'd say: "Follow the money". Call them Bilderberghers, International Conglomerates, the PoS or multinational corporations; it doesn't matter...the people who force the hands of governments are the true power in the world today. And, as long as we humble voters bicker amongst ourselves as to who should 'run the country', we are, as Valhall has said in the quote above, diverted from the truth.

We will wake up someday, shortly after we become aware of the truth of our situation, to be found directly under the thumb of those who now do so secretly. (for fear of uprisings)

Partisan squabbling is equal to the actions of chickens, fighting for scratching grounds, while the farmer quietly sharpens his hatchet in the background.

.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 03:42 PM
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In most cases I would agree with you, however in times of war history has shown that American Presidents have consistently terminated civil rights for national sercurity reasons. You can particularly start with the Civil War through the present time. Frankly, as long as the civil right suspensions is focused on enemy intelligence gathering I say, "Get it done!"

However, if civil rights suspensions ever progress to spying on citizens for an agenda of power self-aggrandizement, God help us. I know that is a dangerous fine line that can be exploited by evil, but I don't believe George W. Bush is that evil one.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 06:49 PM
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Originally posted by Theway2k

However, if civil rights suspensions ever progress to spying on citizens for an agenda of power self-aggrandizement, God help us. I know that is a dangerous fine line that can be exploited by evil, but I don't believe George W. Bush is that evil one.


Yep, and my point is not to state that "Bush is evil", but to state that if we cannot discuss these areas of concern in a logical manner, without the ludicrous name-calling and defensiveness, we will handicap our own ability to determine if we have arrived at a perilous point. At all times, whenever any governmental policy encroaches on the citizen's rights, we should be virulently committed to analyzing whether it was necessary. We can't do that if we're busy flinging poo at each other.

[edit on 12-20-2005 by Valhall]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 07:03 PM
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It's hard now a days to engage in a meaningful debate without falling on the Bush vs Clinton comparison.

But the true of the matter is that. . . we are starting to see a corrosion of our constitutional rights they have been eroded more blatantly than ever before our eyes.

Instead of bringing the issue for what it is . . . is always someone that wants to prove that everything is alright and nothing is happening because we are either ignorant and blind or we hate the present administration.

But that same people holds not clue at what is going on or rather find a way to justify.

I guess is just human nature and the interpretations we give of what is right or wrong depending our ideologies.

Yes I agree with you Val, is something ugly going on and we as Americans and citizens that uphold the constitution and our civil rights should get together and analyze all this putting party ideologies aside.

It's our constitutional right after all to questions the doings of our government.

Thanks Val.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 12:17 AM
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The discussion about partisan politics being a deliberate tool of all political parties from most modern nations is an important one. I wrote an Op/Ed on it in July 2005.


Originally posted by subz
It's an extension of the human condition; we seek to form groups from which to derive comfort and support. The same expression of humanity is repeated over and over again in many different ways. But when it's used as subterfuge, and as a refuge, for scoundrels we have to step outside the safety of our own group and deny them their swords and shields. This Op/Ed seeks to shed light on the cause, use and ways to combat political partisanship.

OP/ED: Partisanship: Refuge Of The Scoundrel

I think it might be of interest for those who can finally see how we are being manipulated into this seemingly irresistible urge to bicker. We are more than capable of overcoming it, but like anything, you need to understand what's being done before you have any chance to stop it.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 02:57 AM
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Originally posted by masqua

When we ask ourselves; What could lie behind the fact that political parties fight a policy brought about by those in office, and yet, when it is their turn in power, strive to entrench that same policy? (as in the Patriot Act), we come to the conclusion that there are external forces which are acting upon those offices of govenment and that they are hidden. These influences, out of the limelight, push an agenda which the voting public have never seen.

That is but one conclusion we can draw, and a far-fetched one at that. More often, a policy is initially endorsed by both sides of the aisle. Then, things can go well, in which case the policy is still endorsed, or things can start to go badly, in which case the politicians on the other side of the fence quickly jump to the attack on the original policy's authors. This phenomonon is most apparent during the period leading up to an election.


Shadow government? I doubt it. Powerful men who wield a disproportionate amount of influence? Probably. Are they above the law? No, they are not. Present in large numbers? Again, I doubt it. Banded together in a secret organization? Only insofar as it might give them a shot at bringing down their competition. That, after all, is how they got to be so powerful in the first place.

Iraq is a prime example.

Sorry to sound so cynical, but until I see it with my own eyes, I don't believe it.




posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 10:26 PM
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Ive just gotten better at spotting the bait when its tossed out there....and I refuse to get in a drag-out-knock-down 2 page arguement with someone who baited me with insults.

I think the idea here is to have an intelligent conversation and hopefully learn something.

Maximu§



posted on Dec, 26 2005 @ 01:34 AM
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Great piece Val;

djohnsto77.... History shows that there was a very good reason for what FDR did; There was a nation-wide Japanese intelligence organization at the time and, with things happening as fast as they were, it was the quickest, surest way to end it, and protect our troops and citizens.
Remember, Lincoln suspended habeus corpus for a short time.

Comment: One cannot help but to sometime make partison comments, if only to present differences in the way presidents/congress has used/mis-used existing laws.... to do this is OK with me, but there should come a time where people, no matter their party affiliation, should admit the correctness of what is presented, and say ".... I was wrong" and get over it. At other times, it seems that some don't read the entire thread, and they throw things out there that have already been hashed out.

An Example: In this instance, Bush (or I should say, the NSA/Homeland Security) is using the law to track those calls made to or from America (without court order) as they relate to approx. 310 specific phone numbers the terrorists use (legal, because the calls originated from or came into the U.S.).
Clinton used the same law to wiretap (without court order) his political opponents (not legal because the calls were strictly domestic).
So..... which was worse as it pertains to the law? One instance was to protect citizens, and the other for perceived personal gain or protection.

As to the call monitoring and Homeland Security, which are the issues here: 98% percent of the laws in the H.S. Act have been in place for 30 to 40 years; some longer than that.
Most of the people whose calls are, or were
being monitored aren't US citizens, but here on visas (or expired visas). The laws we are discussing only infringe on our rights when used against American citizens. Unfortunately, various officials from both sides, and for a long time now, have sometimes taken it upon themselves to overstep the boundaries of those laws.
There is no "right to privacy" as many feel. There IS a right to be secure in your papers and effects....

In that light, many posts have been made concerning the wiretaps, and the exact law that allows it has been cited, by myself and others, but it goes ignored.

In any case, now that The Post has put this info out in the public, and no matter how one might feel about it, Americas enemies also now have insight into the workings of our intelligence gathering, and that put citizens and soldiers at risk. It also gave "aid, comfort and support" to the enemy, and that amounts to treason. There truly is a "fifth column" in America, and it needs to be brought to light and punished.

Just my two cents.....

(edit for additional content/spelling)


[edit on 26-12-2005 by zappafan1]



posted on Dec, 26 2005 @ 04:46 AM
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Val, you have once again so hit the nail on the head.

If you are the "foot soldiers", the common man within your political affiliation, you are so blinded to the sins of the your own while demonizing your opponents.

I had the rare experience of being "entrenched" on both sides at different times. Entrenched meaning politcally active publically, due to an odd set of circumstances at particular times in my minor role as a small town elected official. However, this was in NY where the exposure and affiliations went all the way up the ladder so to speak, right past Albany to the White House. What amazed me when it was all over, was how both sides flat out demonize the other, totally ignoring the pitfalls of their own.

We have to get over it, be realistic that there are "saints" and "sinners" on both sides (and in equal numbers) and start demanding the cleaning up of their acts no matter what the party affiliation, but especially within your own affiliation first. What I saw was a turning of a blind eye on the side you support, and this gets us no where. Without this, we are never going to progress.



posted on Dec, 26 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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It seems that you've ENTIRELY missed the point of this thread.


One cannot help but to sometime make partison comments, if only to present differences in the way presidents/congress has used/mis-used existing laws....


Actually, that's what's known in the biz as a "smokescreen," and is NOT a legitimate defense of anything. The only issue that's pertinent, and the entire reason for this thread, is whether or not the actions of one particular politician or administration are or are not acceptable. Party doesn't matter, and the "differences in the way presidents/congress has used/mis-used existing laws" don't matter-- the ONLY thing that matters is whether the current subject of the current debate has used or mis-used the current laws.


An Example: In this instance, Bush (or I should say, the NSA/Homeland Security) is using the law to track those calls made to or from America (without court order) as they relate to approx. 310 specific phone numbers the terrorists use (legal, because the calls originated from or came into the U.S.).
Clinton used the same law to wiretap (without court order) his political opponents (not legal because the calls were strictly domestic).
So..... which was worse as it pertains to the law? One instance was to protect citizens, and the other for perceived personal gain or protection.


This has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether or not the Bush-ordered wiretaps were acceptable and/or legal. NOTHING. It's nothing more than a smokescreen, and a partisan one at that.

Did this defense work when you were a kid? Could you, when caught doing something wrong, say, "Well, look at what he did! That's even worse!" What on earth, aside from the desperation of partisanship, would lead you to believe that it's an acceptable defense now?


Seriously-- the entire point of this thread is that we must drop all of that partisan sqabbling-- all of that, "Well, they're worse" nonsense, and judge each controversy entirely on its own merits or lack thereof. For the good of ALL of us.





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