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Maintaining Liberty Is The Hardest Thing to Do (Op/Ed)

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posted on May, 26 2006 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by subz

Originally posted by jsobecky
I would hope that our gov't is doing everything in it's power to shut down terrorist websites. You may want to protect them, but I do not.

Thats what I mean, there are people who actually WANT the right to freedom of expression removed from civil liberties. Terrorist websites havent blown anyting up, or murdered any body. I see shutting down terrorist websites as the same as banning KKK marches.

Clarify this for me, please. Are you in favor of allowing terrorist websites to thrive in your country?

Terrorists are out to destroy us. They will use the websites to help them plan to murder us. And you are for this?

The comparison between them and a KKK site is not valid. If terrorists want to march for their right to murder us, well then, let them come out in the open.


One of these days, we as Westerners, have to decide what we hold more sacred. Our lives or our freedom. I chose freedom atleast 4 years ago.

What freedom do you have when you are dead? Esp. if you hand the gun to the person that wants to kill you?

There is also a basic right to self-defense. Your own country is realizing how dangerous it is to take that right away from the people:


The withdrawal of a basic right of Englishmen is having dire consequences in Great Britain, and should serve as an object lesson for Americans. Today, in the name of public safety, the British government has practically eliminated the citizens’ right to self-defense. That did not happen all at once. The people were weaned from their fundamental right to protect themselves through a series of policies implemented over some 80 years.

< snip >
The result of that tradeoff of rights for security has been disastrous for both. Many Americans, either unaware of, or unconcerned with, the perverse impact of British policy, insist that our public safety demands a similar sacrifice. But an examination of the experience of the British people offers a cautionary tale.

Self defense

Emphasis added

If you want to supply them with the tools necessary to destroy you, that is your business. I don't think that is what our Constitution intended, though.




posted on May, 26 2006 @ 07:44 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Clarify this for me, please. Are you in favor of allowing terrorist websites to thrive in your country?

Thats not the issue here, its freedom of expression. It's like me asking whether you are in favour of white supremacy if you accept that the KKK has a right to exist. Terrorist websites are not terrorist acts, they have not killed any one in and of themselves. If you fail to see the correlation then I cannot change that.


Originally posted by jsobecky
Terrorists are out to destroy us. They will use the websites to help them plan to murder us.

"Terrorists" are not all out to destroy "us". This kind of base discussion is rather useless. The terrorist label is applied to any armed group that does not gel with government hegemony. Why werent the CIA funded mujahedin in Afghanistan reported as "terrorists" when they were fighting the Russians? To "us" they were freedom fighters, to the Russians they were "terrorists".

Blanket banning any website deemed "terrorist" then relies upon who gets deemed a terrorist and by whom. The Chinese class pro-democracy advocates as terrorists, they also class Tibetan/Tiawanese independance advocates as terrorists. So you're fine with the banning of all Chinese democracy, Tibetan/Tiwanese independance websites because they are terrorists according to the Chinese government?


Originally posted by jsobecky
And you are for this?

Im in favour of civil liberties over all other factors. If that results in my own death, fine. I would rather die a free man than live as a prisoner of any government.

Let me take this to the logical extreme to better clarify my position. If the government created prison style cells for every single citizen, with 3 square meals a day and forced innoculations it would guarantee our personal saftey. It cannot be argued that it wouldnt keep our lives safe. But what kind of life would it be? You cannot say that life is more important than liberty unless you accept that forgoing all your liberties would keep you the safest. "What good are liberties if you are dead?" really has no merit.


Originally posted by jsobecky
The comparison between them and a KKK site is not valid. If terrorists want to march for their right to murder us, well then, let them come out in the open.

To be honest, white supremacists who want to see millions of non-whites dead are just as bad as any "terrorist". Both of them are abhorrent. Just because you find racism a bit more PC than terrorism doesnt make a difference in reality.


Originally posted by jsobecky
There is also a basic right to self-defense. Your own country is realizing how dangerous it is to take that right away from the people:

This does not make sense. Why are you in favour of one civil liberty that endangers the lives of others? More guns in the population directly corralates to more gun deaths. Gun control is most probably being used by the PTB to ease the transition to a totalitarian state, granted. But I fail to see how you can hold one civil liberty up as essential, but not the right to freedom of expression.


Originally posted by jsobecky
If you want to supply them with the tools necessary to destroy you, that is your business. I don't think that is what our Constitution intended, though.

Quite literally as you want guns that will destroy you. It all boils down to what you percieve as being more of a risk? If you think defending your home from the chance it might be burguled out weighs the risk of your kids finding your gun and accidently killing themselves, that is your choice.

I happen to be willing to grant any one the right to say anything. If terrorists use this right, its a small price to pay to guarantee that no greater crimes can go unmentioned because a totalitarian government supressed it.

[edit on 26/5/06 by subz]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 07:52 AM
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I'm not going to speak for someone else, but I'll address some points from the original perspective of the op-ed piece.



Originally posted by jsobecky
Clarify this for me, please. Are you in favor of allowing terrorist websites to thrive in your country?

One of the issues here is what exactly qualifies as a "terrorist website"? Certainly, it's easy to classify one as such when we encounter messages that are designed to broadcast critical information to terror-cells that aid attack planning. That's a no brainer. But even here on ATS I've seen members classify others as "terrorists" simply for having an opinion that sympathizes with some of the root grievances of the terror organizations.

For example, is someone with an opinion that supports the need for violent resistance in Gaza a terrorist? (Putting forth a risky comparison for the sake of discussion.) 220 years ago, British citizens would have classified the US's daring "founding fathers" as blood-thirsty terrorist leaders by today's standards (and likely did by the standards then). Were the writings of Thomas Jefferson "terrorist manifestos" or brilliant prose on the aspirations of a new nation?



Terrorists are out to destroy us. They will use the websites to help them plan to murder us. And you are for this?

The intent of the original piece had no aspirations of embracing "terrorist websites" as defined by sites that disseminate coordinating attack plans.

However...

Come on... you've been here on ATS a long time... certainly by now you're not still holding the opinion that this is a game comprised of 100% terrorism? Fear is being used as a tool to destroy us. Fear of terrorism... fear of racism... fear of child abductions... fear of bird-flu... fear of immigration... and so on. But where is the "fear mongering" for something far more tangible... global climate change?

We must use our freedom of expression as a tool to rally against the artificial fear that is being hoisted upon us as a yoke of control. By convincing you to fear a certain thing, you might be willing to limit open expression of that thing. And if that happens, how will you ever know if it is really something to be feared?



What freedom do you have when you are dead?

Sadly, a common lament of those who listen to the broadcast message of fear. I know you're focused on "terrorist websites", and rightfully so. But we need to understand the external pressures that inspire our motivations for knee-jerk reactions to such concepts. Those pressures are expertly concocted to generated a deep and lasting emotional reaction in us so that we may one day agree with limitations of information and liberties.

There once was a line that defined a barrier between opinion and action. Opinion (for a time) was supported and encouraged, but if opinion crossed the line to illegal action, then and only then did legalities come into play.

Only through an overwhelming amount of free and open discussion can that line be better defined once again. When the edges of the line blur, a society is no longer free.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 08:04 AM
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Originally posted by subz

Originally posted by jsobecky
Clarify this for me, please. Are you in favor of allowing terrorist websites to thrive in your country?

Thats not the issue here, its freedom of expression.
:
Terrorist websites are not terrorist acts, they have not killed any one in and of themselves. If you fail to see the correlation then I cannot change that.

That is incredibly naive.


Originally posted by jsobecky
Terrorists are out to destroy us. They will use the websites to help them plan to murder us.


"Terrorists" are not all out to destroy "us". This kind of base discussion is rather useless. The terrorist label is applied to any armed group that does not gel with government hegemony.

I think you know what I'm talking about here. You're just playing semantic games now.


So you're fine with the banning of all Chinese democracy, Tibetan/Tiwanese independance websites because they are terrorists according to the Chinese government?

Nobody mentioned "blanket banning" until you did. Prudence and foresight are the words. And I could not care less about China's problems. Once again, you are trying to derail the topic.


Im in favour of civil liberties over all other factors. If that results in my own death, fine. I would rather die a free man than live as a prisoner of any government.

How about being the prisoner of a group whose sole purpose is to murder you?

Let me take this to the logical extreme to better clarify my position. If the government created prison style cells for every single citizen, with 3 square meals a day and forced innoculations it would guarantee our personal saftey. It cannot be argued that it wouldnt keep our lives safe. But what kind of life would it be? You cannot say that life is more important than liberty unless you accept that forgoing all your liberties would keep you the safest. "What good are liberties if you are dead?" really has no merit.



Originally posted by jsobecky
There is also a basic right to self-defense. Your own country is realizing how dangerous it is to take that right away from the people:

This does not make sense. Why are you in favour of one civil liberty that endangers the lives of others? But I fail to see how you can hold one civil liberty up as essential, but not the right to freedom of expression.
Where did I say freedom of expression is not essential? You're blocking, subz.

There are groups that want to destroy us. You want to coddle them. I, on the other hand, do not. Maybe you should invite them into your home.



Quite literally as you want guns that will destroy you. It all boils down to what you percieve as being more of a risk? If you think defending your home from the chance it might be burguled out weighs the risk of your kids finding your gun and accidently killing themselves, that is your choice.

Trying to boil the Second Amendment down to these two choices illustrates how a population that has been emasculated by oppresion has been taught to respond.


I happen to be willing to grant any one the right to say anything. If terrorists use this right, its a small price to pay to guarantee that no greater crimes can go unmentioned because a totalitarian government supressed it.

Well, you apparently would be just fine with a pit bull that growls at your children, and would fight for it's right to live even after it had mauled them. Small price to pay, eh?

But looking back, you are perfectly OK with the fact that your gov't disarmed you, so it comes as no surprise that you feel that way.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:41 AM
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First Im going to get one thing straight. Im a big gun person, but I refuse to let your fear interfere with other peoples freedom to say whatever they damn well please. Its one thing to go on a message bored and threaten to bomb a place, thats not freedom of speech. There is a difference between letting a terrorist website that says they are just and right, then a person who goes on the internet and posts a bomb scare.

The only prosecution I see fit is if some one made some kind of physically harming threat on the discussion board where that person would be held responsible. I really dont care how much you dislike a persons views but as long as they arent saying "we will kill these people (date time and place)" or something to that extent, then its not your choice. It doesn't matter how rude, inconsiderate, or offensive it is, its still protected under the freedom of speech.

Grant it those people could be considered scum and worthless (in my book cowards), that does not mean we can take it away from them. Your afraid of terrorists, fine. Don't act on fear though, for the sake of all of us. When you act on fear your hurting everyone. Courage isn't never being afraid, but standing up when you are. Just because the terrorist threat is conceivable doesn't mean you should play into those fears. You should stand up for it, even though your afraid, because thats courage, and courage is what made this country what it is today.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 11:08 AM
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I have found myself sorely tested on free speech in the past two days. George Galloway has been spouting off again and I really just want to rip his tongue out; however, the man seems to know just where to draw the line in his remarks.

As a way to illustrate the free speech curbs that are becoming ever more prevalent around the world, here is one such:

www.cnn.com...

The Kansas group that has been demonstrating at military funerals will be reigned in if this bill is signed into law. While I personally find their actions repugnant in the extreme, a ban of such actions is a direct curb on free speech. Better, in my opinion, to make them keep a certain distance away. I know the proposed law has language requiring a certain separation distance, but the time limits imposed (i.e., 1 hour before, etc.) effectively completely ban the protests.

[edit on 26-5-2006 by Astronomer70]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

One of the issues here is what exactly qualifies as a "terrorist website"? Certainly, it's easy to classify one as such when we encounter messages that are designed to broadcast critical information to terror-cells that aid attack planning. That's a no brainer. But even here on ATS I've seen members classify others as "terrorists" simply for having an opinion that sympathizes with some of the root grievances of the terror organizations.

I don't think you've seen me define what constitutes a terrorist website. The examples you list are valid. As a matter of fact, subz was the one who brought uo the term "blanket banning", and I immediately called him on that.


The intent of the original piece had no aspirations of embracing "terrorist websites" as defined by sites that disseminate coordinating attack plans.

I never said it did. The original piece did mention sedition, resistance to governments, and the destruction of "enemy" nations, all of which need a clear definition that goes beyond academic banter.

Remember who brought up the topic of terrorist websites: subz. Maybe some of these questions should be directed his way, since he initiated the topic.


Come on... you've been here on ATS a long time... certainly by now you're not still holding the opinion that this is a game comprised of 100% terrorism? Fear is being used as a tool to destroy us.

And you cannot show where I ever used the "fear" tactic to try to make a point, SO. I am not "still" holding onto that opinion; I never held it.


We must use our freedom of expression as a tool to rally against the artificial fear that is being hoisted upon us as a yoke of control.

How do we know what is artificially manufactured fear and what is a real threat unless we have guidelines and definitions? And the yoke of control most certainly has a place in today's society; it is gov't's primary task to protect us.



What freedom do you have when you are dead?


Sadly, a common lament of those who listen to the broadcast message of fear.

That particular line was my response to subz's assertion that he would rather have death than no freedom. I, on the other hand, want both. And I know that we cannot have freedom without being diligent.


There once was a line that defined a barrier between opinion and action. Opinion (for a time) was supported and encouraged, but if opinion crossed the line to illegal action, then and only then did legalities come into play.

What time was that? Even though the barrier may not have been as visible then does not mean that many alarms were not raised and dispatched with without you or I knowing it.


Only through an overwhelming amount of free and open discussion can that line be better defined once again. When the edges of the line blur, a society is no longer free.

I see this as an attempt to paint me as a person who is in favor of unlimited gov't control for the sake of security. Nothing is further from the truth. However, I don't think that many here realize that for freedom to be achieved and maintained it takes a lot more than just words. Otherwise, the Revolutionary War would not have been necessary.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:08 PM
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Originally posted by grimreaper797
First Im going to get one thing straight. Im a big gun person, but I refuse to let your fear interfere with other peoples freedom to say whatever they damn well please. Its one thing to go on a message bored and threaten to bomb a place, thats not freedom of speech.

Well, I never said I was not in favor of the right to express oneself, did I grimreaper? Don't try to make it as if I did. See my recent response to SO for further clarification.


Your afraid of terrorists, fine. Don't act on fear though, for the sake of all of us. When you act on fear your hurting everyone. Courage isn't never being afraid, but standing up when you are. Just because the terrorist threat is conceivable doesn't mean you should play into those fears. You should stand up for it, even though your afraid, because thats courage, and courage is what made this country what it is today.

Who, whoa, mister. Don't play the condescending game with me. And don't try to paint me as someone who is "afraid of terrorists". And save your lecture on courage for someone else.

You have made a very common mistake, one often made here on ATS. That mistake is to take things out of context and elicit a knee-jerk reaction to them without knowing what you are talking about.

I am referring to you and everyone else that is trying to say that I advocate taking away freedom of expression from someone whose opinions differ from mine. Wrong! And I challenge you to show me where I have ever done that.

Another member stated that they thought terrorist websites should be protected. My answer, more or less, was that there are limits to that. Period with a dot.

Stick with the topic at hand and stop with the assessment of my character because, believe me, you don't know me at all.


[edit on 26-5-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:08 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
How do we know what is artificially manufactured fear and what is a real threat unless we have guidelines and definitions? And the yoke of control most certainly has a place in today's society; it is gov't's primary task to protect us.


when I read that, i nearly started yelling at the computer. Are you serious, the governments job is to protect our freedom. it is YOUR choice to risk your life being free. If you dont like it, move. I dont want the laws this country was founded on twisted because some people are more afraid to die then living free.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:11 PM
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Take a pill, have a drink, whatever it takes for you to calm down. But at least try to be coherent, because your last post makes absolutely no sense at all.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Well, I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself, did I grimreaper? Don't try to make it as if I did. See my recent response to SO for further clarification.


!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! so wait your not in favor of a persons right to express themselves? "I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself" and you call yourself american?!?!? Im completely speechless.


Who, whoa, mister. Don't play the condescending game with me. And don't try to paint me as someone who is "afraid of terrorists". And save your lecture on courage for someone else.


you are though because your more afraid to die then to lose living a free life, so your afraid of terrorism.



You have made a very common mistake, one often made here on ATS. That mistake is to take things out of context and elicit a knee-jerk reaction to them without knowing what you are talking about.


I didnt take anything out of context, you are talking about security for freedom. You are saying that youd rather be alive then free, so long as it fits your views. Its pretty contradicting when you think about it. Your all for being free, but just said "I never said I was for the right to express oneself".



I am referring to you and everyone else that is trying to say that I advocate taking away freedom of expression from someone whose opinions differ from mine. Wrong! And I challenge you to show me where I have ever done that.



Originally posted by jsobecky
Well, I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself


you just said it in the same post....



Another member stated that they thought terrorist websites should be protected. My answer, more or less, was that there are limits to that. Period with a dot.

Stick with the topic at hand and stop with the assessment of my character because, believe me, you don't know me at all.


No I don't, but I can't stand when some one claims that they are all for freedom but then makes statements like "I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself" and "whats freedom to a dead man?"



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Take a pill, have a drink, whatever it takes for you to calm down. But at least try to be coherent, because your last post makes absolutely no sense at all.


no it makes perfect sense, I told you to leave the country if you think its more important to be alive then free. Plain and simple, dot on the end. Thats what this country was founded on and Ill be damned if people afraid to die in the face of a threat say otherwise.

I dont want the government interefering with my life at all if it restricts my rights as an American. Hell Ill die for that if I have to because there are things to a man worse then death.

[edit on 26-5-2006 by grimreaper797]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by grimreaper797

Originally posted by jsobecky
Well, I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself, did I grimreaper? Don't try to make it as if I did. See my recent response to SO for further clarification.


!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! so wait your not in favor of a persons right to express themselves? "I never said I was in favor of the right to express oneself" and you call yourself american?!?!? Im completely speechless.

Oh Jeezus, so I made a bad. You know exactly what I meant. I'm gonna go back and edit it so that you don't have that toy to play with.


you are though because your more afraid to die then to lose living a free life, so your afraid of terrorism.

You are making ridiculous statements, ones that I never made, in order to deflect the topic and inflame an argument, because, frankly, you have no other capabilities.


I didnt take anything out of context, you are talking about security for freedom. You are saying that youd rather be alive then free, so long as it fits your views.

Once again, I challenge you to show me where I said that. Put up or shut up.

You know what, grimreaper? You're playing stupid little kid games, and I'm tired of it. Come back when you grow up.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 12:43 PM
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fine then define a terrorist for me jsobecky. do that so I can show my arguement



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 03:31 PM
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grimreaper, I just think you have just dealt with your first specimen of a collaborator. He has poked his head out of the turtle shell and started to bite because he was moved to do so. After all, even free speech has to be struck down in the name of national security right?


[edit on 26-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:09 PM
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This debate is extremely tricky because we (should) all want to have ourselves and our loved ones protected from harm, but at what cost? grimreaper797's comparison serves the point well: the government can absolutely guarantee you and yours 100% safety, but doing so entails giving up all freedom...would it be worth it? The obvious answer (to me) is "NO!", but then, what amount of freedom are you willing to give up for what amount of safety?



Congressional Internet Lockdown? - ATSNN article I submitted 2 weeks ago (some may not see the relevance of this - to them I apologize in advance).

One small step at a time....use publicly acceptable (even lauded) reasons to begin placing restrictions on people....when/where does it end and who do you trust to make those decisions?



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by Jaryn
This debate is extremely tricky because we (should) all want to have ourselves and our loved ones protected from harm, but at what cost?

At the cost of due diligence. Some here advocate giving terrorists every tool they need to destroy us, and valiantly proclaim that they would be willing to die as the rusty knife is plunged into their throat on it's journey around their head. I say, false bravado. They would be the first to whine and cry if there were another attack and they were the victim. I've heard their song before, and witnessed how they react when the rubber meets the road. Two entirely different sacks, believe me.


grimreaper797's comparison serves the point well: the government can absolutely guarantee you and yours 100% safety, but doing so entails giving up all freedom...would it be worth it?

Well, grimreaper is trying to throw out a red herring. And so is ceci2006. Soon there will be a racist element inserted here, judging from past threads.

Nobody is asking for 100% protection. Unless I missed someone asking for that - can you point me to where someone said that?


One small step at a time....use publicly acceptable (even lauded) reasons to begin placing restrictions on people....when/where does it end and who do you trust to make those decisions?

What restrictions are being placed on people? Please be specific.

And who do I trust? Myself. I don't need peer approval to function, as some do.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:40 PM
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Why play the "race card", jsobecky? What do you mean? I don't see anything about race here. It looks like you have some growing of your own to do. After all, my patience is wearing thin. We are trying to help you here.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Some here advocate giving terrorists every tool they need to destroy us,

Can I ask you to elaborate on that? An example of a statement that supports this position of yours would be very helpful.

Thanks.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Some here advocate giving terrorists every tool they need to destroy us, and valiantly proclaim that they would be willing to die as the rusty knife is plunged into their throat on it's journey around their head. I say, false bravado. They would be the first to whine and cry if there were another attack and they were the victim. I've heard their song before, and witnessed how they react when the rubber meets the road. Two entirely different sacks, believe me.


I'd first like to see where anyone advocated giving terrorists every tool they need to destroy us. Now, I would actually like to see that said, because you have accused others already of twisting your own words, so I would think you have the knowledge not to do it in turn.


Well, grimreaper is trying to throw out a red herring. And so is ceci2006. Soon there will be a racist element inserted here, judging from past threads.


Nothing so far that I have seen has had anything to do with race. If anyone brought up a race card, it would now be you. I remember the blowout the two of you had on another thread, and now I have a feeling its going to be dragged on in here


I am really curious to see where this "we are willing to give the terrorists anything they need" line is going to come from. I also find it funny that some people on here are so against the thought of terrorism being used as an excuse to take away liberties, while at the same time pulling terrorism out of their small bag of tricks to play it on others as a defense of calling for exactly that. Actually, I don't find it funny, I find it sad. I also find it as yet another perfect example of how the terrorism fear catches people up in its net to keep people divided.

[edit on 5/26/06 by niteboy82]



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