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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/18/2003 11:21:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>>If the bombs start falling in Iraq and some CNN reporter opens a report
>>with the words, "And so it begins..." I wouldn't leap to the conclusion
>>that an hommage to either Tolkein or Straczynski was intended. <g>

Y'know...three thousand missiles set to hit in 48 hours...they call it "shock
and awe."

Call me old-fashioned, but I liked it better when they called it a blitzkrieg.

Oh, wait, those were the bad guys. Sorry. Wrong war.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 12:06:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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In all the tossing around of facts concerning the Iraq war, there are some that
keep being forgotten. Yes, Saddam is a thug, and his country would likely
(though not provably) be improved by his removal. That's not contested. But
there are any other number of countries about which the same thing could be
said. Now having pointed out that...

1) There has never been one shred of evidence connecting Saddam to 9/11. Not
one. The CIA made a point of saying this, even Bush has never said anything to
the contrary. There are far more threads connecting Saudia Arabia to 9/11 than
Iraq, but we are not going after them.

2) The use of gas against his own people, a hideous act by anyone's measure
(and similar acts have been done by other leaders in other countries against
their own people), but after it happened 13 years ago, Rumsfeld, under Bush
Senior, went to Iraq with $1.2 billion additional aid to support the regime.
If it was okay then for our administration, under one Bush, to have it suddenly
being the reason for this action under the second Bush seems to be rather
arbitrary.

3) The CIA's assessment of Iraq's capabilities, in published reports, has
indicated very clearly that Iraq (which has never directly threatened the US,
unlike North Korea) would almost certainly NOT attack the US unless it were
backed into a corner by invasion.

4) Those who compare Iraq with WW2 Germany ignore the basic historical facts at
stake: Europe sat back and did little during the time when Germany was building
the mightiest war machine in human history, tens of thousands of tanks, planes,
cannons, on and on. But Iraq has only a quarter or so of what was once its
military, and as we see now nightly on the news, their soldiers are poorly
equipped and barely fed. Not one single Iraqi plane has been launched in
response to the invasion. We basically pulverize their cities with absolute
impunity. We'll spend $400 billion this year on the military, Iraq generally
spends about $1.4 billion. So the situations between Germany and Iraq are
simply not comparable at any two contiguous points.

5) If there were WMD present in Iraq, they're certainly taking their time using
them in defense against a force set out to level their cities and depose their
rulers. Which only serves to reinforce the prospect that such weapons are not
there in any useable fashion.

It seems to me that we're attacking Iraq because we know they *don't* have the
weapons to oppose us, and *not* attacking North Korea because we know they *do*
have the weapons that could stop us.

Bush Sr., when asked why he stopped Gulf War I prior to taking down Saddam and
going into Baghdad, said "It would turn the entire Arab world against us." If
that were true then, why is it not true now?

The policy of containment and isolation has worked for these many years, there
was no apparent need for invasion except for the purposes the Adminisration
seems to have in its back pocket, a desire to control a massive oil reserve and
re-draw the map of the middle east in ways that will serve better American
interests.

Bottom line...was it worth all this to achieve the goal? Seventy-four billion
dollars, hundreds of lives, the wrath of the huge sections of the Arab world
who now believe we are what people have -- wrongly, until now -- said we were,
a force for colonization and invasion, in this case into a country that we will
have to occupy and run for years (according to the latest estimates from the
administration), causing destabalization across the whole region?

Was this one man worth all this, when there was so little imminent or plausible
threat?

I think history will say the answer to that question is no.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 1:51:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Something which may shed some light on this discussion...direct from the Senate
floor, a while back....

jms

----------------------

Senate Remarks by Robert C. Byrd


March 19, 2003


"The Arrogance of Power"


I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in
the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of
its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has
understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been
inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.

But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months
with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet
benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe,
our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.

Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or
threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have
isolated ourselves. We proclaim a new doctrine of preemption which is
understood by few and feared by many. We say that the United States has the
right to turn its firepower on any corner of the globe which might be suspect
in the war on terrorism. We assert that right without the sanction of any
international body. As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous
place.

We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat UN Security Council
members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads
from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split. After war has ended, the
United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will
have to rebuild America's image around the globe.

The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is
tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We
cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason.
This is a war of choice.

There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11. The twin
towers fell because a world-wide terrorist group, Al Qaeda, with cells in over
60 nations, struck at our wealth and our influence by turning our own planes
into missiles, one of which would likely have slammed into the dome of this
beautiful Capitol except for the brave sacrifice of the passengers on board.

The brutality seen on September 11th and in other terrorist attacks we have
witnessed around the globe are the violent and desperate efforts by extremists
to stop the daily encroachment of western values upon their cultures. That is
what we fight. It is a force not confined to borders. It is a shadowy entity
with many faces, many names, and many addresses.

But, this Administration has directed all of the anger, fear, and grief which
emerged from the ashes of the twin towers and the twisted metal of the Pentagon
towards a tangible villain, one we can see and hate and attack. And villain he
is. But, he is the wrong villain. And this is the wrong war. If we attack
Saddam Hussein, we will probably drive him from power. But, the zeal of our
friends to assist our global war on terrorism may have already taken flight.

The general unease surrounding this war is not just due to "orange alert."
There is a pervasive sense of rush and risk and too many questions unanswered.
How long will we be in Iraq? What will be the cost? What is the ultimate
mission? How great is the danger at home? A pall has fallen over the Senate
Chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all
Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully
do their duty in Iraq.

What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores
and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international
order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome
military might? How can we abandon diplomatic efforts when the turmoil in the
world cries out for diplomacy?

Why can this President not seem to see that America's true power lies not in
its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?

War appears inevitable. But, I continue to hope that the cloud will lift.
Perhaps Saddam will yet turn tail and run. Perhaps reason will somehow still
prevail. I along with millions of Americans will pray for the safety of our
troops, for the innocent civilians in Iraq, and for the security of our
homeland. May God continue to bless the United States of America in the
troubled days ahead, and may we somehow recapture the vision which for the
present eludes us.
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 3:27:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>>1) There has never been one shred of evidence connecting Saddam to 9/11.
>
>Granted. The connections made seem to all be on the side of what
>*could* happen.

But don't you understand how blatantly this flies in the face of everything
this coiuntry has stood for, for over two hundred years? We're striking first,
to take out a sovereign nation because it MIGHT be a threat in the future.
Hell, there are DOZENS of countries out there that *might* be a threat, that
have *also* violated or ignored UN resolutions, do we go around bombing and
invading *all* of them?

This is the first time we have pre-emptively invaded a nation like this. And
what kind of precedent are we setting? What's to stop China now from saying
"We think Taiwan is a potential threat to our interests, so we're going in
after them"? Iran's firing up its nuclear program in violation of prior
agreements, so are they next in line?

For as many ups and downs as we've had as a nation, what always distinguished
us in the past was that we tried to take the high ground, to speak with
something at least approximating the voice of moral authority, leading by
example. We have utterly shrugged that aside with this action.

>As far as Saudi Arabia, I think it's a determined goal of this
>administration to very politely and indirectly obviate them. A
>non-OPEC Iraq with a represenative elected government would be
>something to see. And who can say that they're not "next?"

Okay, so Saudia Arabia is next, then Iran, Syria, North Korea...by you this is
okay?

>There are a few points of continuity in the comparison worth pointing
>out: Saddam and Hitler both ran thier countries and oppressed their
>minorities with frightening brutality. They both started dubious wars
>for reasons of empire building. They were both well organized and
>systematic about their programs of oppression.

We can both name a dozen countries about which the same can be said.

> They both organized
>networks of informers and institutions to balance possible threats
>against each other rather than against the leader.

Taken a look at what Ashcroft's been up to lately? Project TIPS,
investigations into libraries to see who's been reading what (the National
Library Association reported that nearly 20% of their librarians had been asked
to provide this information to the government, and had complied.)

>Matter of fact one of the arguments I've heard about
>preempting Iraq the way we're doing it is so that it would never get
>to be like the situation from North Korea

Again, a pre-emptive war is against every democratic principle this country has
fought and bled for, for centuries.

>which in spite of its
>desperate need for butter, keeps making guns and letting the people
>starve.

And here in the US, $400 billion is being spent on the military just this year,
while social programs that feed and clothe the homeless, that help malnourished
children, are being cut back to make room for the war machine.

>It is true now. The difference is today the U.S. doesn't really care
>what kind of hate Islamicists (not Muslims, Islamicists) can drum up,
>now that we've decided to come for them all.

And if that isn't the most chilling thing I've read online in quite a while, I
don't know what is.

No, wait, here it is...

>> there
>>was no apparent need for invasion except for the purposes the Adminisration
>>seems to have in its back pocket, a desire to control a massive oil reserve
>and
>>re-draw the map of the middle east in ways that will serve better American
>>interests.
>
>Why this is a bad thing is a bit confusing to me.

'Nuff said.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 4:09:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>>This is the first time we have pre-emptively invaded a nation like this.
>And
>>what kind of precedent are we setting? What's to stop China now from saying
>>"We think Taiwan is a potential threat to our interests, so we're going in
>>after them"? Iran's firing up its nuclear program in violation of prior
>>agreements, so are they next in line?
>
>Preemptive military action has a number of historical precedents -- including
American ones.

Note that you've just changed the subejct. I was speaking to invading a
nation. Not to generic "military action." Further to the point, none of your
examples, offered below, address this question, none of them constitute
invasions of a sovereign nation.

>In 1962 we instituted a naval blockade of
>Cuba to prevent Soviet weapons technology from reaching the island.

1) Not an invasion. 2) This represented a direct threat against the US. But
despite point 2, it still doesn't address the issue I raised concerning
invading another nation.

>n
>1967, Israel struck first at the Arab armies converging on their
>border.

1) I wasn't talking about Israel. I was specifically referring to the first
time in US history that we had pre-emptively invaded somebody. Stay with the
subject, don't pettifog. 2) This was also not an invasion, so it's further
irrelevant to the discussion.

>And in 1981 Israel destroyed Iraq's French-built nuclear
>reactor at Osirak,

See 1 and 2 above.

My point remains. Your comments only help to reinforce it.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 4:57:00 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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>you were far, far more concilatory toward the previous administration:
>
>> I go back and forth on this whole thing. On the one hand,
>> I think the atrocities against the Albanian population *have*
>> to be answered, and they *have* to be stopped, and the only
>> voice the Serbian leaders seem to listen to is the voice of
>> force. (Though so far that doesn't seem to have happened.)
>
>Where was the United Nations permission for that pre-emptive
>79-day bombing campaign?

1) Again, we're talking apples and cumquats, similar but not the same. First,
a bombing is not an outright invasion. Second, there were people on the ground
on both sides pleading for US intervention and assistance, even in the face of
intimidation. But again, and primarily, it was NOT an invasion of a separate
nation for the purposes of toppling a regime and installing one of our
choosing. Saying it's the same doesn't make it so.

>And here in the US, $400 billion is being spent on the military
>>just this year, while social programs that feed and clothe the
>>homeless, that help malnourished children, are being cut back to
>>make room for the war machine.
>
>Hm.... Could you name one (1) such program on which fewer dollars
>are being spent this year than were spent previously? Slightly
>decreasing the exponential on the rate of increase doesn't count.

Where have you *been* lately? There has been pretty widespread coverage of
cuts in Medicaid and Project Head Start, just for starters. A memo from the
Bush administration's health officials to hospitals about a month ago severly
limiting the sorts of patients who should be treated under medicaid, and
another memo from the Veteran's Administration to providors of VA health
services stipulated that doctors should *not* make patients aware of services
not currently being used by them in order to help reduce costs while the war is
on.

The National Governor's Association met recently and said, quite loudly and
clearly, both republicans and democrats alike, that the monies drained from
their books by the needs of this administration and Homeland Security have
resulted in severe cutbacks across the board in social services, with some even
having to cut back on regular police force allocations. In Illinois, according
to a variety of reports, the entire $2.5 million State of Illinois budget for
AIDS minority outreach was wiped out in cuts directly related to the Homeland
Security/war effort.

Bush economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey has been quite starightforward in
talking about the need to cut back (or as he puts it, "streamline") social
programs, education, health care, social security and housing. That great
bastion of liberalism, the Wall Street Journal, has published any number of
articles about how the administration is cutting social programs to pay for the
war, most recently citing $574 million eliminated from the program to refurbish
lower-income housing.

I could go on but it just gets freaking depressing after a while.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/28/2003 11:08:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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>>There was a better way... see all Saddam had to do was comply with the
>United
>>Nations resolutions, but he didnt...
>>
>>This war is on Saddams shoulders... he had so many chances to prevent it,
>but
>>chose not to.

The problem, of course, is that Iraq would have to prove a negative, which is
not possible. You cannot *prove* someone does not have WMD. If they looked in
95% of every spot in the country, they could aways say it was in the remaining
5%. Even Rumsfeld said "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of
absence."


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 12:35:00 AM  

Message 8 in thread 

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>>Not at all. The US has virtually no allies in this invasion.
>
>Also not true, though by the "old" way of doing things our allies in
>this sort of look like we've restarted the Warsaw Pact with us in
>Russia's place.

The humorous thing is that the actual numbers present quite another picture to
this so-called "coalition." One recent published report, which had access to
the final figures, noted that only 0.00842% of the troops are from countries
other than US and Britain.

Here's the breakdown other than US and Britain:Albania, is sending a
contingency of 70 troops. Poland, 200 troops and Romania is sending 278.
Australia promises 2000 troops. And that's the whole contingent of "coalition
of the willing" troops.

So what about these other countries who keep being cited? How many troops are
they contributing? According to the History News Network, the figures are:
Spain, 0 troops; Turkey, 0; Italy, 0; Denmark, 0; and Bulgaria, 0.

Puts the matter in kind of a different light, doesn't it?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 1:02:00 AM  

Message 9 in thread 

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BTW...there's a very intereasting article that shows just how much the current
administration may have ignored warnings about the situation over in Iraq at:

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/5510092.htm

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 12:16:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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>*Really*? So you are about to get that knock on your door for speaking out?

On the other hand, we are hearing about more and more cases of people being
arrested for expressing an anti-war sentiment.

Most recent case in point, a father and son who were accosted by security at a
shopping mall in Albany, NY, for wearing t-shirts that said GIVE PEACE A
CHANCE, shirts that, btw, they had *bought* at that same mall the day before.

When the father refused to remove the t-shirt, he was arrested. There have
been other cases of such arrests.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 12:33:00 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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>As if the Senate is the fount of wisdom and philosophy on this stuff.

Well, they are our elected reps, and they do form the basis for our government,
so I think they have a say in this, don't you? Or do you think the president
should run the whole show and everybody else should just shut up?

>Joe, you picked the one senator most easily bought by special
>interests.

Checked the White House lately?

>I stopped listening to Byrd years ago.

Too bad, because he's the one constitutional scholar that even the most
conservative Republicans respect.

He was one of the first to speak out about the Lewinsky situation,
however...and in not flattering terms to Clinton.

Have you ever considered knowing a bit more about your subject area?


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 6:19:00 PM  

Message 12 in thread 

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>With that done, we could have adverted war. the actions of Blix, France,
>Germany, Russia and hollywood are the reason we are at war.

That has got to be the biggest load of horseshit I have ever read on this
group.

Do you *honestly* think, for even a second, that Bush would ever have walked
away from this calmly? The administration did everything it could to hobble
the inspectors and interfere with the process, which all of the inspectors
noted repeatedly. They were given bad information by the CIA and other US
intelligence organizations.

But the main thing is..it didn't matter what they were or weren't gonna find in
Iraq. They were going in after Saddam regardless. They kept shifting reasons
as times changed...first it was about terrorism, then it was about WMD, then it
was about regime change, now it's about Iraqi Freedom, only to find that the
Iraqis don't want the US there.

Rumsfeld, hours after 9/11, was asking his aides if there was any way to pin
this on Saddam.

Bush wantedt his war, and he was determined to have it at any cost, for any
reason. That was in the cards months ago. Anybody who thinks he was gonna
just walk away quietly is living in a dream world.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 3/31/2003 6:27:00 PM  

Message 13 in thread 

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>But...are you saying that every country who supports action in Iraq has
>to provide troops...that they are either for us (and submitting troops)
>or they are against us (and not submitting troops)? Ironic.

It's been my experience that when someone says "are you saying that...?" it's
actually the other person taking what you did say, rephrasing it into something
you *didn't* say, for the purposes of refuting, diminishing or ridiculing it.
Oldest debating trick in the world.

So: no, that's not what I'm saying. Someone asked if anybody had a count of
who was contributing what. I provided said information. End of story.

The only irony present is the frequent use of "coalition forces" in press
releases without much discussion about what that coalition actually comprises.
Kinda makes it sound bigger and that more nations are actively involved than
there really are. Sort of political resume padding....

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/1/2003 1:30:00 PM  

Message 14 in thread 

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>What was the charge? I'm guessing, since I know a bit of the law, that they
>were asked to leave by Security, refused, and then arrested.

No, that's not what happened. They were told that they could stay IF they
removed the t-shirts. They were only told to leave after they refused to take
off the shirts.

And again, I point out that the shirts they were wearing had been purchased AT
THE SAME MALL the day before.

The police arrived, said you can't wear that shirt in here. The father -- who
is not "an idiot" as you claim but a respected attorney in the area -- said no,
that he wsa NOT engaged in a demonstration or a protest, only wearing a shirt
and using his freedom of expression. They then arrested him.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/1/2003 2:03:00 PM  

Message 15 in thread 

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>...the people getting arrested at protests/rallies are the ones who are
>disturbing the peace...ironically enough...while many others are free to
>protest as long as they like.

The hypocrisy includes "penning" people with anti-Bush signs, while allowing
pro-Bush crowds to throng wherever they like. People with protest signs are
herded into areas where they can't be seen by cameras or by Bush supporters, in
flagrant violation of their rights, while others -- often far more noisy and
intrusive -- are allowed to assemble wherever they want. This is the first
time this kind of constant penning of dissenting opinions has been done this
flagrantly.

And for those who always say "cite your source" on these things, you can find
one at:

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/10/13/Columns/President_seems_unabl.shtml


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/1/2003 2:09:00 PM  

Message 16 in thread 

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>The oil fields are for the people of Iraq. I do and will continue to believe
>this until I am offered proof that this war is because of oil, and not
>because a madman has consistently flouted the will of the international
>community, and President Bush and others were unwilling to continue to wait
>for the UN to stop sitting on its collective thumb and do something.

Oil companies in the US are already lining up to get their share of those
resources, according to any number of articles on this. Also, the "for the
people of Iraq" also includes paying for reconstruction. Who is going to be
doing most of that reconstruction? American companies.

Also, do bear in mind that the UN resolutions do *not* have the power of law.
Any number of countries have routinely failed to obey UN resolutions, including
allies.

>As for not hiring a shooter, they don't do it because of an executive order
>made by President Gerald Ford, which, IIRC, states that the USA will not
>sponsor the assassination of a foreign leader, regardless of whether or not
>we like him or her.
>

Actually, I seem to recall reading that Bush rescinded this rule very early on.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/1/2003 2:14:00 PM  

Message 17 in thread 

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>I refer you to the site "Free Mike Hawash"
>at http://www.freemikehawash.org/. This man is being held without charge
>in federal prison as a "material witness." A "material witness" for what,
>no one outside of the Justice Department knows,

This is one of the more troubling trends of late. Anybody can, for any reason,
be declared a "material witness" or a person of interest, and held without
access to attorneys, judges, family members or anyone else, for an
indeterminate period of time. This includes US citizens. We have no idea how
many people are being held, or why, or for how long.

The only hints we *do* get are when people are finally released for lack of any
kind of evidence, which a few were last month, but this only after being held
in captivity for *months*.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/2/2003 2:54:00 PM  

Message 18 in thread 

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>I'm being a smart butt here but I hope your now not implying our mall
>security guards have a hidden agenda and some kinda connection with the
>President??

No, of course not...just looking at the overall chilling effect and the
winking/nodding at acts of extremism in defense of public policy.

The t-shirt arrests, the penning of protestors in violation of previous
precedent and established law, the suspension in Missoula, Montana of a
university instructor for having criticized Bush policy (see link below),

http://ku.wru.umt.edu/pub/incoming/iraq/kpax.com/newspage.html

....a case outside Charleston where a man (a Gulf war vereran, no less) was
badly beaten just for mentioning he opposed the war (thus far no charges have
been filed by the police)...info at:

http://www.wvgazette.com/section/News/Other%20News/2003033140

....a case the other day in Baton Rouge LA where talk DJ Richard Condon (KOOJ)
incited people to counter-protest a peaceful demonstration, using terms like
"traitors" and saying that "I think these son-of-a-buggers deserve a bullet in
the head" and that "'it's about time we nuked Canada's ass.'"

....there are more and more cases of this every day...violence and threats of
violence against people for speaking out, by media figures, by police, by
politicians, and after a while, it has a definite chilling effect on public
discourse. I used to think it was pretty bad during the Nixon days, but what's
going on now makes that look like amateur night by comparison.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/2/2003 2:56:00 PM  

Message 19 in thread 

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>So how many people ahve been arrested solely for voicing thier opinions, in
>a public forum. Like this one? JMS and other here like yourself seem to be
>home and not under any constraint.
> When you and JMS cannot criticise the government, even with an offhanded
>comment, let me know.
> Until then, you have no idea what it is to live in a police state. Your
>statements above show that.

So in other words, one should not seek to criticize the government until and
unless it personally comes to knock on *your* door? That is *has* happened to
others is, in your mind, irrelevant...as long as you and I are okay, screw
everybody else and just shut up, right?

Sorry, I was raised in an America that said we have to watch out for each
*other*, not just ourselves.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/2/2003 4:46:00 PM  

Message 20 in thread 

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>What's more, the trivial benefit to the US from making more money from
>oil is strongly outweighed by the human cost to the civilians in
>countries where the US military is taking these actions. Surely
>comparatively minor interests such as economic or political interests
>must take second place to the value of human lives, regardless of the
>geographical locations of the different persons involved.
>
>

Interestingly enough, the whole scenario takes on a different feel if you
replace Iraq with, say, Poland, or Austria. "Today, United States Coalition
forces began bombing Warsaw...."

Suddenly for a lot of people who find it find to bomb Baghdad, it sounds kind
of uncomfortable when it's a European city.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/2/2003 4:48:00 PM  

Message 21 in thread 

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>> If one is an American, and realises that the purpose o the US government
>is
>> the protection of Americans and their property interests, *FIRST*, these
>> aren't nightmares at all.

But of course the administration, which said hitting Baghdad was essential to
protecting American safety, put out the word shortly before the invasion to say
that essentially Americans would be in more danger for an indeterminate amount
of time because of said invasion.

So if the idea was to make us safer...I'd venture to say at some point the idea
no longer applies.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/5/2003 7:18:00 PM  

Message 22 in thread 

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>Did Nightwatch use any of those? NO! I saw them arresting merchants tht
>wouldn't support the program, a man that casually expressed an opinion to a
>friend in public and got overheard. Until THIS is going on, I will continue
>to
>be vocal about comparisons to the current administration and Nightwatch.

Speaking as the person who *created* the Nightwatch, and is thus the ultimate
authority on same...I would point out that the Nightwatch did not start out by
arresting people...they worked through indimidation.

The arrests only came later, unwittingly assisted by people who didn't want to
see the organization for what it was when it was still able to be stopped.

Just for the record.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/5/2003 7:20:00 PM  

Message 23 in thread 

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>If these arrests really *were* by the mall security people, I would be
>suing the mall about now.

1) Such a suit is now pending.

2) The security guards were fired by the mall, hoping to avoid culpability,
even though the guards were acting on orders from others.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/6/2003 11:07:00 PM  

Message 24 in thread 

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>Of course, now, even if we reject the looseness of Bush's definition of
>'enemy combatant', Bush attempting to kill Saddam isn't going to count
>as assassination (at least not any attempts that took place after the
>war had begun).

Black-humor aside to this discussion...I was reading Harper's on the plane the
other day, and there was a story about how the Department of Transportation was
requesting the ability to classify all commercial aircraft passengers as
"potential terrorists" in order to facilitate background checks which would not
otherwise be legal.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/6/2003 11:13:00 PM  

Message 25 in thread 

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>I was also raised in an America that said freedom of speech also included
>being able to say someone else's speech was wrong. There is a circularness to
>freedom of speech that is often missed by people on opposing sides of the
>issue. If you are going to say something, I have every right to say that what
>you said is outrageous, if I feel that way. So, we should criticize the gov't
>whenever we feel the need, but we should also allow those who would criticize
>us THEIR free reign as well.

Which is a perfectly valid point, and a fine speech, it just has nothing to do
with what I was saying because I never said anything otherwise. I was
disagreeing with you. At no time did I say you weren't allowed to say certain
things. I said they were *wrong*, but you are free to be wrong to your vocal
heart's content.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/6/2003 11:14:00 PM  

Message 26 in thread 

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>Another point that V-man seems to be missing is that the way that
>Nightwatch-like conditions develop is through an escalating process.
>It's better to put a stop to it early before it snowballs.

And, of course, Nightwatch built itself up by preying on people's fear, warning
about outsiders, saying we have to watch each other all the time for disloyalty
or dangerous behavior, offering all this in the name of safety....

Plus ca change....

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2003 7:55:00 PM  

Message 27 in thread 

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>Fine. Where did a Bush adminstration offical, likely a soldier, FBI agent,
>or other offical, intimidate ANYONE from speaking out?

First, your sentence and logic is fault from the git-go. You say when they
intimidated anyone FROM speaking up...well, if they didn't speak, we wouldn't
know, now would we? On that score, you can say none, I can say hundreds, but
there's no way to know if no one said anything, yes?

So your question falls apart on the basis of logic.

The matter at hand is intimidation *after* people speak up, which results in a
chilling effect that causes other people to hesitate.

As in the case of the teacher in Missoula, Montana (reported by Reuters among
others) who was suspended from teaching for making critical comments about the
Bush administration, the canning of Peter Arnett (who admittedly did a dumb
thing in WHO he talked to, but WHAT he said has been said by others elsewhere)
because you can be pretty sure somebody from the administration called on THAT
little fracas, an atmosphere that leads a sheriff not to prosecute four guys
who beat a Brit outside a bar after he criticized Bush, the disc jockey at KOOJ
who recommended violence in response to anti-war protestors....

No, it's not Bush his own self, he's not out there saying "shut up" (well, not
in so many words), it's the atmosphere he and this administration have gone out
of their way to create that leads to this stuff. So your sentence is also
faulty because of the wall put around Bush, the fact that soldiers are not used
on American soil to that end (at least not yet, though they've said they want
to repeal the Posse Comitatas act that precludes such things...).

You seem to feel this is a zero-sum game, that it's either complete
totalitarianism or total freedom...but the loss of one's freedoms rarely comes
all at once, it's nibbled away slowly, by inches and degrees, with the
assistance of those who refuse to deal with what's coming and thus make it that
much easier for the darkness to fall.

There was a joke about the former Soviet Union that's becoming more relevant
now...it said, "Both America and the Soviet Union have freedom of speech.
Difference is, America has freedom AFTER speech."

It's the freedom *after* speech that is also at issue.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2003 7:57:00 PM  

Message 28 in thread 

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>So you are saying that there *isn't* somebody out to get us? That being on
>the lookout for suspicious characters, doing suspicious things, is
>unreasonable
>in a society that has become so selfish as to ignore crimes on the street
>because it's "none of my business"?

I'm *saying* that through two world wars, against far more lethal and numerous
and well-armed enemies than what we have right now in a few thousand hobbled
members of Al Quaeda and an almost entirely disarmed and impotent Iraq (as
testified by the ongoing war), we managed to serve the interests of liberty
without erasing the reality of liberty here at home. We did it without
shredding the constitution.

THAT'S my point. Get it now?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2003 8:02:00 PM  

Message 29 in thread 

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>When I see on CNN that Iraq has launched over 10 el Samoud missiles,
>patently prohibted by the UN agreements with Iraq,

Actually, according to a report in the London Times, the missiles used were NOT
on the list of prohibited weapons, sorry. Which is why nobody else has pursued
this since first raising the spectre of this.

>and then I see somebody here say that Iraq has NOT broken the UN agreements,


As someone who says "cite your source," please show me the message that states
this. From anybvody here. Because *I* sure as hell haven't seen anybody
contest that point.

You made the point of saying people here are being dishonest or disingenuous.
So I'm saying that you're doing the same thing in that comment that you accuse
others of doing.

So: produce the comment you cite here, or withdraw your statement. Show your
work. Google can search everything here.

C'mon...pony up or withdraw the statement.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2003 8:09:00 PM  

Message 30 in thread 

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>There is dissent in every major city of the US over
>this conflict, there are no name takings, there is mass arrest of PEACEFUL
>demonstrators...
>

Not true. There have been a number of articles published which detail that the
names of people protesting the war, who are detained or questioned by police,
are then passed on to law enforcement, specifically to those handling airline
transportation. The articles -- and if I have to go dig them up I can --
detail that on several occasions, people who'd protested and been detained,
without being arrested, were held for questioning at airports and detained,
often missing their flights as a result. (In one case, a group en route to
see their congressman had to reschedule because they were detained for exactly
this reason.)

How you can make these blanket statementa that NOTHING is going on, when the
facts say exactly the opposite, just astonish me.

Unless you actually have no interest in the facts, only in trolling for
arguments, which is starting to sound more and more like the case....

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2003 8:11:00 PM  

Message 31 in thread 

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>i have heard nothing of this, but you do realize that if this suit is not
>tossed out of court, it means i can walk right in your door and say whatever
>i
>like to you?

Not factual.

My house is not a public place to which you would have had access prior to
this.

Apples and cumquats.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/8/2003 2:34:00 PM  

Message 32 in thread 

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>I do have a question though, is there any development that would cause you to
>change your mind and support the war in Iraq?

If there were clear, compelling evidence that there was an attack in the works,
or if an attack had been launched against us. So far neither has been the
case.

And here's another thing...we're now in the last phases of the battle. The
military has now searched many of the places where chemical or other WMD were
supposed to be kept, finding nothing.

Those weapons were, at one time, the whole reason for the attack (before it
became more about regime change in the constantly changing story from the Bush
administration).

Neither have these alleged weapons been used.

So we have here a very odd situation.

If those weapons are there, then we have a scenario in which the Iraqi
government, even knowing their days are numbered, have deliberately chosen not
to use those weapons...which puts the allegation of their intended use into
grave doubt.

Or those weapons are not there...which puts the whole justification of the war
in grave doubt.

So which is it?

Look at the war...we were told that Iraq represents a great threat, comparisons
to the great German war machine pre-WW2 were made...but in fact we have rolled
in with pretty fair impunity. We demolish the opposition, we receive reports
of "small arms fire" being used to protect the palaces, the worst fighting
being in Basra, but as one General said the other day, "We can go and come
pretty much however and whenever we want."

Is this the bogey-man of which we were warned so many times? Poorly armed and
supplied troops using pick-up trucks against tanks? That's it? That's what we
were supposed to be afraid of?

No...back in March 2002, Bush was very clear that we were going in to take out
Saddam, period, as noted at:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030331/wroad.html


Iraq has so far not used chemical weapons against us, though we were told that
once we entered Baghdad that would happen... but now we are ourselves preparing
to use banned weapons --

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,931960,00.html

-- it just seems very troubling to me. The motives behind this have shifted
constantly from the beginning.

(And what to make of this article --

http://the-news.net/cgi-bin/story.pl?title=US%20arms%20group%20heads%20for
%20Lisbon edition=697

-- I don't quite know, I leave this one to others to figure out. I honestly
don't know where this fits in.)

The thing about the truth is that it tends to be fairly straightforward. We
blockaded Cuba because we didn't want Russia to send in nuclear missiles.
Clear and straightforward. We didn't say we were blockading to keep Cuba from
exporting terrorism, or to help the people of Cuba. We said the facts,
provided the photos, end of discussion.

First we were going after Iraq for vague and unproven connections to Bin
Laden...then it became about exporting terrorism (even though more is exported
from places like Iran and Syria)...then it became about WMD (even though they
have still not surfaced)...now it's about Iraqi freedom and regime change.

Our soldiers are fighting well and bravely in the execution of their orders.

It's the thinking and, perhaps, the morality of those giving the orders at the
top that I have reservations about.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/8/2003 4:55:00 PM  

Message 33 in thread 

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>Ooh, yes "20 medium-range missiles equipped with potent chemical weapons".
>That's a major threat to the U.S. Of course, that makes it all worth
>while. </sarcasm>

The task, of course, will be proving that they were there before the
ingelligence agencies went in to find them. Any number of countries are
waiting for the equivilant of a "throw-down gun" to be found. A plant making
this stuff is one thing...that would be pretty convincing stuff. But anything
that can be trucked in after the fact would garner suspicion, I think.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/9/2003 3:40:00 PM  

Message 34 in thread 

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>What bugs me about JMS and others taht so condemn this war *at it's outset*
>is the fundemental unwillingness to accept the stated calims for it's
>necessity.

Necessity is a subset of verifiability. None of the claims have thus far been
proven. Not here, not in the court of world opinion, not with a single shred
of real evidence. One must have accurate evidence to determine whether or not
something is necessary, you don't decide it's necessary then back into the
proof.

So sorry, that argument doesn't wash.

>This unwillingness is the foundation of their belief system, and it seems
>largely based on partisan politics.

You do not know my belief system, so this is not a reasonable statement, and
the "partisan politics" bit is an old line pulled out by the right whenever
they want to put down somebody who doesn't want to go along with the Plan. If
a republican does something, it seems to me, the argument is that it's for the
good of the country; if you take issue with that, it's Partisan Politics.

It's just a debating trick to distract one from looking at the evidence and
evaluating it on its own merits. Sorry, but I don't fall for that one.

>the inability to wait and see,

Don't you think we should have seen the evidence *before* we launched into
this? Do you electrocute someone and *then* hold the trial?

>the sharp, vicious rhetoric,

Subjective. Yours has been far more dismissive, vicious and condemning than
anything else I've seen here.

>much of it
>unfounded,

I've been careful to provide documentation to most things I've said
here...whereas you, when asked to cite sources, tend to turn to smoke. You
have been caught in any number of outright inaccuries. You just dodge and
weave and change subjects and go for the partisan politics line.

>this is what many of these opponents of the current regieme
>villified Conservatives for not five years ago.

No, there was not an invasion of another country going on five years ago, so
the two are not comparable. Further, the Whitewater investigation, after
millions of dollars, showed that there was nothing to the allegegations.

And again, you are changing subject, hoping to use a distraction to something
five years ago to avoid dealing with what's on the table in front of us right
now, and are dealing in a situation that is not comparable on any two points.

Your poor and painfully obvious debating techniques are showing, as is your
lack of any kind of foundation from which to make them.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/9/2003 5:21:00 PM  

Message 35 in thread 

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On the topic of intimidation and where things seem to be going...came across
this piece today. Note: it is an editorial, but it does site specific charges
in support of that editorial.

http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?%2Fbase%2Feditori
al%2F104980296250700.xml

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/9/2003 10:18:00 PM  

Message 36 in thread 

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> I live in the US - you do not, so how can you possibly know the day to day,
>big and small picture.
>
> Tell ya what - I'll ask again!
>
> JMS!!! How many FBI agents have asked you to stop posting to public
>forums
>criticism of the government?
>
> How many phone calls in the night have you gotten threatening dire
>consequences?
>
> Come on! Tell us! Prove me wrong!!!!
>
> ANYONE in this forum! How much harassment have you gotten, from OFFICIAL
>GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES?
>
> Speak up!

You're getting tedious. Your point seems to be that if it isn't happening to
me, in specific, then it isn't happening. We just heard on this newsgroup from
someone who has been working with a fellow who was taken away without
charges...does that qualify?

No, it hasn't happened to me yet...but it has been happening elsewhere. You
can't just say "well, it's just news reports," it's not like seeing freakin'
Bigfoot....

Anyway, enough. You again play this as a zero-sum game...if it isn't happening
to one of us here, then it isn't happening, and that logic is faulty on every
conceivable leve.

And you still haven't provided me with the backup to your charge that people
here have been saying Iraq didn't break any of the UN resolutions. You made
the statement, so shouldn't you put your own statements to the same test you
apply to everyone else?

Or is that another zero-sum game?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/17/2003 5:03:00 PM  

Message 37 in thread 

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[ The following text is in the "utf-8" character set. ]

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Offered from today's New York Times for reference concerning whether or not we
were going into Iraq to establish a permanent base of operations and
colonization. Just the first part is here, the rest can be found at their
website or in hardcopy..

-------------
By Patrick E. Tyler, New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq â^A^O In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain have
indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to form a
national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month.

Instead, top American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts here
told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would remain in
charge of Iraq for an indefinite period, said Iraqis who attended the meeting.
It was conducted by L. Paul Bremer, the new civilian administrator here.

------------------

Meanwhile, no WMD have been found (remember the administration ridiculing the
UN for not being able to find what they maintained was so plainly evident?),
the US has announced that it will be removing bases from Saudia Arabia and
building 4-6 new bases in Iraq, and the oil industry in Iraq is set to be
privatized by the US for "the good of the Iraqi people" and put under the
auspices of a Haliburton subsidiary.

There have even been reports from those inside what was supposed to be the new
Iraq government (now indefinitely postponed) that the oil output would be
quadrupled, and that Iraq would therefore have to leave OPEC and its oil
limitations, giving one the impression that part of the objective is to take
OPEC apart.

Yes, many Iraq people seemed pleased to give Saddam the heave-ho...not so happy
abour our tendency to shoot first and ask questions later...but if that were
the reason, to free an oppressed people, then we should be moving on to Somalia
and the Sudan and North Korea and on and on and on.

But that was never the intent.

It was about oil and power and redrawing the map of the middle east, as noted
previously.

The outcome of the war was never really in question.

The outcome of the truth is still under considerable debate.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/24/2003 4:48:00 PM  

Message 38 in thread 

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>> I wouldn't believe anything written by the New York Times, an
>> organization that hires confessed liars and plagiarizers and
>> "journalists" that make up stories and print them as the "Truth".

Since you maintain that the truth matters, let's look a little more closely at
that rhetorical statement, shall we?

The tense that you use, "an organization that hires confessed liars and
plagiarizers and "journalists" that make up stories," states that they hired
them *knowing* these things.

You didn't say that they hired them and then found *out* that they were those
things...that it "hires" them knowing those facts and with the intent of
putting out false stories (and you use the plural form to indicate that this is
an ongoing and consistent situation).

Care to back that one up, binky?

Because you're stating that as fact, so either you've got the backup on that,
or you're just as bad as the ones you're criticizing.

So what'll it be, sport?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/24/2003 4:59:00 PM  

Message 39 in thread 

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>>It was about oil and power and redrawing the map of the middle east, as
>noted
>>previously.
>
>I don't think anyone has doubted that. But my own question remains,
>Joe: Why is redrawing the map of the middle east a bad thing?

We have problems here at home, ranging from poverty, to crime, to drug abuse,
to such politica silliness as gerrymandering and political deadlock and weapon
exportation, we've armed half the world and set the other half of the world
against them, helped to create the Taliban and arm Bin Laden, there are
tremendous problems here at home....

So how would you feel if someone came in to redraw the map of the United States
to solve those problems for the good of the world?

We don't own that part of the world. Nor is it within our purview to use death
and destruction to mold people the way we want them to be.

We are meant to be a shining beacon on a hill, to show those who believe in the
possibility of democratic ideals that it *is* possible, and to support those
who make the attempt to change things, as we did in what was the Soviet Union,
in South Africa, in the Phillipines, and elsewhere.

Changing the middle east to a more peaceful form? Sure. Doing it uninvited,
at gunpoint and with the accompaniment of unprovoked bomb blasts when our
safety was never at risk? No.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/24/2003 5:03:00 PM  

Message 40 in thread 

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>> I'll summarize this as you just don't trust Hussein to be at all honest,
>
>>despite the fact that those actually doing the inspections believed that
>>there was 80% to 90% certainty that he had disarmed as required by U.N
>>resolutions.
>
> The facts demonstrated by the El Samoud Missile (overlooked by said
>inspectors) pretty much shoots this down.
>
> The UN teams didn't figure out the El Samoud until days before the war.
>

So one missile justifies one hundred billion dollars in cost and thousands of
lives? And I seem to recall -- and I'm happy to be corrected -- the missile
itself wasn't the issue as that it was able to go about 5 miles beyond the
limit it was supposed to be limited to.

So that by your lights justifies all this? Really? Because I can't imagine
any sane person taking that position.

>>Which is fair enough - since you can't prove a negative,
>
> But there are positives that have been establsihed.

Yes, there was material documented and supplied, by us, to Iraq a long time
ago. But as noted not long ago in several British newspapers, including the
Times of London, the shelf life of the nerve gas expired years ago, and the
biological agents were never "weaponized," so they were to all intents and
purposes harmless. As one newspaper put it, the only way you could get hurt by
this stuff was if the missile they were loaded into actually hit you in the
head.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/25/2003 1:40:00 AM  

Message 41 in thread 

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><< We have problems here at home, ranging from poverty, >>
>
>a person living on the street in the USA has more access to food, water and
>shelter then much of the populations of the nations of india, china, or
>mexico,
>and of much of the continent of africa. and those are just the large nations

So you exalt this by pointing to the worst cases, as opposed to looking to the
majority of industrialized nations that offer universal health care and
assistance. So because we're not the worst, we're okay? Odd reasoning there,
but it makes you happy....

><< So how would you feel if someone came in to redraw the map of the United
>States
>to solve those problems for the good of the world? >>
>
>if they have a large population(over 100 million) and have solved the
>problems
>of poverty, crime and drug abuse, while not resorting to the removal of civil
>rights, then i wouldn't see much of a problem.

Terrific. If you find such a country, let me know, because at the moment it
ain't on the map I have here at home.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/25/2003 1:42:00 AM  

Message 42 in thread 

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>>Don't judge that
>>paper on the actions of ONE reporter whose plagiarism and lies have only
>>recently come to light.
>
>In fact, I thought that the straightforward admitting of their error in
>trusting that reporter was laudable.

As opposed, say, to the Bush administration, which ran and hid and complained
when it was pointed out that sections of the report they'd presented to the UN
on WMD in Iraq was plagiarized from a student paper on the net and in places
fabricated wholecloth.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/25/2003 8:07:00 PM  

Message 43 in thread 

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>>Care to back that one up, binky?
>>So what'll it be, sport?
>
>Namecalling is so unbecoming, in my opinion, especially in a case like
>this one, where the facts can speak for themselves.

So post a few and let 'em speak for themselves, 'cause so far you have failed
to do so. You made a claim that you had to now back off on a bit, that they
ddn't knowingly hire plagiarists, then went on to make some more wild claims.

How can the facts you defer to so greatly be appreciated for all their glory
when you seem incabable of posting them in respond to a direct request?

Seems odd, one might almost think you didn't *have* any such facts.

Which would be silly, wouldn't it?

Binky.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/25/2003 8:14:00 PM  

Message 44 in thread 

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>To answer this one point, while there is no direct connection to the 9/11
>attacks, there is a link to Al Qaeda. A week into the campaign, the man
>thought to be responsible for the original car bombing of the WTC was
>captured in Iraq. And in Saddam's Iraq, if Saddam hadn't wanted hm there,
>the only way he would have stayed would have been six feet under. Think
>about it.

Okay.

Mmmmm....nope, sorry.

That the guy was there after the fact doesn't prove that Saddam was involved
before the fact. Doesn't even hint at it. It's all ex post facto reasoning.

Wouldn't stand up in any court in the land.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/26/2003 7:40:00 PM  

Message 45 in thread 

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>Yup, that's liberal thinking. Demand that access to everything be a
>right, just so they can feel good about their compassion for others,
>funded by threat of force, regardless of whether it would break the bank.

So here's the question.

How come, when Bush decides to up the defense budget another hundred billion to
$350 billion, and spend another $150-200 billion on the war in Iraq, nobody on
the right stops to say, "Hey, where's this money gonna come from?" That never
seems to be an issue, dropping bombs, that never seems to be an issue, but
feeding, clothing, and helping the least of its citizens, that somehow has to
be justified.

Astonishing.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/26/2003 11:04:00 PM  

Message 46 in thread 

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>> And the USA does not now, nor will it
>> ever, negotiate with terrorists.
>
> Unless they're Cuban terrorists, of course, they're welcomed with open
>arms...
> Or the Taliban, but that took a bit too long...

And look at the contradiction in saying "oh, we went in to liberate Iraq from a
despotic ruler," and we now turn around and, as per --

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article node= contentId=
A50216-2001Sep30 notFound=true

-- we're making sweetheart deals with Uzbekistan, *another* despotic ruler.
Not to mention that we've made deals with groups in Afghanistan and Iraq to
come in and help us run the place that have in the past been on our own
terrorist lists. The hypocrisy never seems to end.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/26/2003 11:13:00 PM  

Message 47 in thread 

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BTW, here's another interesting article on the background of the whole
situation; I'll be curious to see where this goes.

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0201/ridgeway.php


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/26/2003 11:23:00 PM  

Message 48 in thread 

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>I may be generalizing a bit but when a poll showed that over 90% of News
>"journalists"
>voted for Bill Clinton

Cite your source, please.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/27/2003 4:45:00 PM  

Message 49 in thread 

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>For his new book, Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press, U.S.
>News World Report White House correspondent Kenneth Walsh personally
>polled
>28 of his White House colleagues.

There's several problems with this.

First, the sampling is both small and highly anecdotal.

Second, the original note to which I was responding --

>>>I may be generalizing a bit but when a poll showed that over 90% of News
>>>"journalists"
>>>voted for Bill Clinton
>>
>>Cite your source, please.

-- did not specify that very small subset which is Washington bureau chiefs and
their immediate subordinates, which seems to be the main focus of this. It was
an across the board statement about ALL journalists, and that statement is
still awaiting corroboration.

Third, the original statement implies that if one voted for a given person, one
is thereafter incapable of reporting accurately or fairly on said subject.

If that were true, then why is it that Clinton was a constant target from the
media during his last few years in office, whereas Bush has, for the most part,
gotten off easily.
You rarely hear anyone contrasting his landing on the aircraft carrier with his
going AWOL for most of his National Guard service, and the criticism of the
Patriot Act and the lack of WMD evidence is treated with kid gloves, on and on.

If it were true that the voting habits invalidated objectivity, then perforce
Clinton would not have been pilloried for his actions. He was. Allegations
that later ended up being groundless were reported with near circus-like
ferocity by the media.

Thus it seems that the premise is faulty...and if so, then there's really no
point to the voting record.

Further to the point, where the reporters may or may not vote one way or
another, the people who *control* those publishing and TV companies are highly
conservative. Witness the lack of liberal news commentators/talk shows and the
propensity of conservative ones.

Doesn't matter if the reporter votes one way or the other if the stories he
wants to write never make it past the bullpen. And the White House has
repeatedly played the card of simply not callling on reporters who ask annoying
questions during press conferences, further pressuring people to use
kid-gloves.

So bottom line...it's a dubious statistic, from a tiny sub-set, which does not
have any provable associated bias in past situations, and is thus for the most
part fairly meaningless...nor does it in any way support the original statment
about journalists as a group, which still seems to have been made in either
error or deliberate distortion.
jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/27/2003 4:55:00 PM  

Message 50 in thread 

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>Hardly. The Constitution gives the government the right and duty for
>national defense.
>
>It does *not* give the government the right to take away funds from one
>citizen to benefit another.

So defense of the nation does not benefit the citizens?

So paying billions of dollars to contractors doesn't benefit one group of
citizens over another? Is the US Government aware that their contractors are
not citizens? Because if they are, then they are benefitting from this. Or is
it only okay for one citizen to benefit over another if it's military?

Further, the provisions are not a carte blanche. Do you mean to say that we
have the right to fund national defense limitlessly? To the point of, say,
hampering states, bankrupting resources, lowering the value of the dollar? Is
there not, by your lights, to be *any* kind of cap on this? They can spend
whatever they want?

Funds I pay in taxes are being paid to a Halliburton subsidiary to go in and
rebuild and control the Iraqi oil industry, which will benefit the Halliburton
board of directors to the tune of billions of dollars.

Where, may I ask, do I go to get my money back on that one?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/27/2003 4:58:00 PM  

Message 51 in thread 

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> show me
>where it says in the enumerated powers that it has the right to take a
>dollar from me and my kids and give it to able-bodied people who would
>rather take a handout for a living rather than be self-reliant?

Show me where it says in the enumerated powers that it has the right to take a
dollar from me and my kids and give it to able-bodied people on the Haliburton
Board of Directors, and Boeing, who have no problem taking a Government
hand-out of billions of dollars.

It seems to me that you're down on support for poor people, but absolutely okay
with welfare for the richest folks.

Okay, at least now I understand it.

Medic...?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/27/2003 11:50:00 PM  

Message 52 in thread 

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>It doesn't get to me except when I am barraged with accusations that
>Republicans/Conservatives
>want to destroy the environment, starve the poor and give all the money to
>the rich. There are
>balanced approaches to every problem but it seems the media and others prefer
>to dwell on the
>extreme sides of issues

Okay, so that being the case, please show us evidence as to the
republicans/conservatives

-- helping the environment

-- feeding the poor

-- not giving money to the rich.

If you say it's unfair to portray them in the former light, then the latter
light must be true, yes? So please, fire away, show us the information to back
this up.

Because there's spin and there's spin, and cutting money to, say, an agency
that feeds people is not a matter of spin, it's x dollars this year vs. y
dollars last year. Time after time, Bush has *said* he's for one
"compassionate" cause after another, but when it came time to allocate money or
support, was nowhere to be found...he applauds the theory but dismantles them
behind the scenes by starving them.

So please, you've made the assertion that republicans are being unfairly
tainted with these former allegations, so show me where the latter are true.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 5:31:00 PM  

Message 53 in thread 

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>No, you don't understand it, you are going hyperbolic. Show me where
>I've said that I support handouts to big companies and rich folks.
>

Well, since you've never ever mentioned it that I've seen, but you certainly
mention the latter, one cannot help but draw that inference.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 5:34:00 PM  

Message 54 in thread 

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>I thought Halliburton won a small cleanup contract, nothing more. Am I
>mistaken?

Yep. A Halliburton subsidiary has been given the task of managing and running
Iraq's oil system. Not only were they given this, they got it in a non-bid
situation, it was just handed over to them, no questions asked (by the
administration, at any rate).

>>Where, may I ask, do I go to get my money back on that one?
>
>I think you'll see it at the pump, is what they're thinking.

Yeah? Doubtful. See, they're saying they'll control the outflow of oil to
help repay the costs of rebuilding Iraq...so that money is going to be diverted
to that source.

You think prices are gonna come down substantially at the pumps?

Not a chance.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 5:54:00 PM  

Message 55 in thread 

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>> So paying billions of dollars to contractors doesn't benefit one
>> group of citizens over another? Is the US Government aware that
>> their contractors are not citizens? Because if they are, then they
>> are benefitting from this. Or is it only okay for one citizen to
>> benefit over another if it's military?
>
>It's hard to believe that you are forgetting that the US Government
>*gets* something in return for the money it pays to contractors.

Sure, and it's all highly over-priced, and vast amounts of it are questionable,
and for systems of dubious value. Further to the point, does the military have
the right to bankrupt the rest of the country to pay for massive systems like
this, and again to my point, and this time please go back to and address my
point, which you keep ignoring in your replies...you and others keep saying, of
social programs, "Where is the money to pay for this gonna come?" But how come
no one ever seems to ask that of the military spending? It's as if the
military budget just seems to come out of nowhere, no problem, but when one
wants to spend a few million feeding our citizenry, many of whom are now out of
jobs thanks to the Bush administration, that evokes a hew and cry?

If for just one year, we put a cap on new spending in the military -- just one
year -- can you *imagine* the good we could do this country with even a half or
one quarter of that $400 billion per year (my figure of 350 was not correct, I
checked)? The roads that could be repaired, the housing that could be fixed,
which would put people to work doing real jobs, not on welfare rolls.

When Bush stands up and announces he's going to spend another hundred billion
dollars on the military, I just want someone, *someone* to stand up and say,
"And how are you going to pay for this? Where's the money going to come from?"

Because the program for now seems to be to take it from the citizens and give
it to the military, in unchecked and unparalled amounts, with the result of
putting the country further and further in debt.

(Bush quietly signed a bill allowing the country to go a trillion dollars
further into debt, did you notice that one? You can find the reference at

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAWYMS78GD.html

-- and the beat goes on and we get further into debt, this all beginning with a
group of maybe a few thousand members. Is the only way we can fight a few
thousand al quaeda to destroy the country economically?)

>> Where, may I ask, do I go to get my money back on that one?
>
>In lower costs of future defense because we don't have Saddam to bug us
>any more.

See, now you're just being dishonest. Do you not follow what the Bush
administration and others are saying? We are not one lick safer than we were
before. There are still attacks going on, and NONE of them have had anything
to with Saddam. How was he "bugging" us? He has never been tied to 9/11, not
by anyone. What we've done has enraged the Arab world and, from some accounts,
led more people to join and support al quaeda, because now we are doing what
they said we were doing all along, being an imperialist, conquering nation.

You really think defense costs are gonna come down? They just raised 'em,
bucky. And now we may be going in after Iran.

Bush and company have not said one word about costs coming down for the
military...if anything, they've talked about expanding further, re-starting the
nuclear weapons program, and so on. So your statement above is in direct
contradiction to what the Republicans you defend have been saying. Not the
media, not the spin doctors, the Republicans themselves.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 9:49:00 PM  

Message 56 in thread 

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>So please, you've made the assertion that republicans are being unfairly
>tainted with these former allegations, so show me where the latter are true. 
>
> jms<<
>
> Here's one fine example, although the challenge will obviously be for
>you to acknowledge it.
>
>=========
>Senate OKs $15 Billion Bill To Rein In AIDS In Africa
>By JULIET EILPERIN The Washington Post
>Published: May 17, 2003
>
> http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGAKQCG4TFD.html

I read the article, which notes btw that one third of the money is being
targeted to specifically those groups that advocate abstinence, because the
administration hates doing anything that involves condoms.

More specifically, however, 1) you had to go clear the way to Africa to find
this, as salutory as this is, and 2) the whole *discussion* here has been
domestically oriented. We have always sent money overseas to buy influence,
keep allies, that sort of thing.

My point, to keep it to the conversation rather than being distracted, was
domestically oriented, toward the citizenry of this country.

So again I state;

>>>Okay, so that being the case, please show us evidence as to the
>republicans/conservatives
>
>-- helping the environment
>-- feeding the poor
>-- not giving money to the rich.
>

I'm still waiting.
jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 10:05:00 PM  

Message 57 in thread 

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>When you are rich and powerful, you
>will ALWAYS have enemies. Which means you ALWAYS need to build and maintain
>your national defense. Which means you will ALWAYS spend an incredible
>amount of money on basically nothing. (Kind of like insurance.)

Thing is, of course, this wasn't always the way. The pattern was this: you
build up your military at time of war, then you reduce the military during
times of peace, keeping enough of a force in readiness so that you're not
caught betwixt and between when something starts.

That's supposed to be the peacetime boom, when the defense budget is reduced
and that money is redirected toward the civilian sector in creating jobs,
fixing the infrastructure, building highways and cities and the like.

Now we're on a nonstop parade of military spending, no matter peace or war.
Which was exactly what Eisenhower (a republican) warned about decades ago. He
was either the one who coined the term "military-industrial complex," or he
came along shortly afterward. He saw the alliance as a bad one, one of too
much reliance at the cost of taxpayers, and was concerned that it would lead to
this.

He was right.

This is what this Republican said in January, 1961:

--------------------------
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of
my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or
Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments
industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make
swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of
national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments
industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and
women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on
military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry
is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political,
even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the
Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet
we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and
livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial
complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and
will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and
knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial
and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that
security and liberty may prosper together."

----------------------------

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 10:17:00 PM  

Message 58 in thread 

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>The estimated 2002 defense outlays are 16% of the budget. Down from 18% in
>1995 and roughly the same as 2000. (Source Stat Abstract 2002). Massive
>increases? If so, everything else (including all those people out of work)
>must have been increased by at least as much or the military spending would
>have increased as a percent of budget.
>

As Mark Twain said, there's lies, damn lies, and statistics. Them's one of
'em.

Firstly, the Bush administration runs separate line items. For instance, the
whole budget of the Iraq war was not put on the defense line, it was a separate
allocation. So right there you've got at least $100 billion, and according to
the GAO, could go as high as $150 billion before this is done.

Second, the percentage of the budet approach only works if all other factors
remain constant. But the amount of the budget, and our deficits, have
ballooned to near nosebleed levels, so in that respect the budget (our universe
from which the percentage is extracted) is much larger; second, there have been
cutbacks in other areas to free up money in this sector.

To put it more simply...if your household budget last year was $100, and you
spent 18%, or $18, on ammo, and the second year the budget was still $100 and
you spent 16% or $16 bucks on ammo, that's a reduction.

If the budget for year two is four hundred dollars, then that 16% is now $64
dollars.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 10:44:00 PM  

Message 59 in thread 

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>Show me one cut in the budget for anything. If a department gets a 5%
>increase
>instead of a 12 % increase that is not a cut.

Okay. You ask, you get.

From a series of reports I have on hand:

----------------
The Administration's budget for fiscal 2003 proposes a cut of nearly $600
million or 80 percent in the COPS program, a federal-local partnership that
promotes community policing and funds additional police officers and new
technology. The proposed cut would eliminate all funding for hiring
community-based and school-based police officers. Similarly, the Local Law
Enforcement Block Grant program, which helps local police departments pay for
hiring, training, and overtime for officers, as well as equipment purchases,
would be merged with another program and cut by $200 million. And that is on
top of the 25% cut the program suffered last year.
-------------------

Cuts in the Federal Budet for the Federal Center for Mental Health Services
(CMHS) has resulted/is resulting in the closing of three centers--the National
Empowerment Center in Massachusetts, the National Mental Health Consumers
Self-Help Clearinghouse in Pennsylvania, and the Consumer Organization and
Networking Technical Assistance Center (CONTAC) in West Virginia.

-----------------------

Housing vouchers for low income families -- people who are working hard but
whose basic living utilities and rent consume over half their
below-poverty-line incomes -- have been cut back, eliminating as many as
137,000 people who may end up homeless as a result.

--------------

The Feds recently required a new smallpox vaccination program for the states to
comply with, but they are not *funding* any of this, requiring the states to do
so. Further, the Bush Bio-Watch program has begun sending vast amounts of
material to various public labs for testing, but the Federal
Government/Homeland Security only allocates $1 million per city where the
testing is being done, a fraction of what the actual costs will be, and the
states are still required to handle the testing, so the states will have to
take that money out of other resources (which is happening a lot).

I've got another dozen or so on hand...you want 'em all? Or is just the "one
cut" you mentioned sufficient?

>Where in the Constitution does it give the government the right to STEAL
>money from
>one group and give it to another. NOWHERE.

So I guess all this money given to foreign countries, to the military, to
Halliburton, all that's illegal an unconstitutional, is that your point?

>As far as the environment goes the damn environmentalist and their lawyers
>have
>caused far more damage. There used to be something called the superfund
>cleanup act
>where the chemical companies and others paid taxes into the fund for cleanup
>of
>toxic sites. So how did little Bill spend the money?. On lawyers to sue the
>companies that paid into the superfund for cleanup and to run around the
>country
>finding out who dumped one barrel of waste into a pit and suing them. So why
>have
>there been few or no toxic cleanups, and the answer is government bureaucrats
>who
>keep their careers going by finding more ways to sue companies rather than
>just
>cleaning up the toxic sites.

The only thing wrong with this is that it ain't so. If you'd done your
homework, you would have found out that there were a LOT of superfund cleanup
activities and prosecutions done under the prior administration, and work *was*
done on cleanups.

The problem is that lawsuits take time, and when the Bush administration came
in, many cases were just coming to fruition...and they gutted the provisions
and the budget for forcing the companies to do the cleanups. So they left the
investigative aspect intact, and took out the money, the resources, and the
authority to force anybody to do anything.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 10:46:00 PM  

Message 60 in thread 

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>>Yep. A Halliburton subsidiary has been given the task of managing and
>running
>>Iraq's oil system. Not only were they given this, they got it in a non-bid
>>situation, it was just handed over to them, no questions asked (by the
>>administration, at any rate).
> Seriously, who else was in the US to do it? This is hardly expertise
>that you get by placing a want ad in the local shopper.

There are quite a few, actually, at least a dozen or so that were cited when
some senators began wondering why the heck they weren't invited to bid.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 11:08:00 PM  

Message 61 in thread 

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>>It's hard to believe that you are forgetting that the US Government
>>*gets* something in return for the money it pays to contractors.

And just for fun, let's take a good look at this for a second, shall we?

On May 24th, two days ago, the Pentagon -- after being lobbied by Boeing which
is looking for some more assignments -- entered into a deal with Boeing, to
wit:

The Pentagon (with taxpayer money) will pay $16 billion to lease 100 used
planes from Boeing to modify into refuelling tankers.

They're leasing these planes for $131 million each, with the proviso that the
Government can buy them in a few years for *another* $4 billion.

This, incidentally, is far, FAR more than each plane would cost to buy them.

Even McCain is bugged by this one, saying (per the NY Times) it was a
profligate waste of taxpayer's money, adding: "In all my years in Congress, I
have never seen the security and fiduciary responsibilities of the federal
government quite so nakedly subordinated to the interests of one defense
manufacturer.''

Just for the record, to be filed under caveat emptor.
jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/28/2003 11:11:00 PM  

Message 62 in thread 

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>Very well. Which counterexample will show that Clinton's
>administration did the same thing or something similar, that is, award
>a contract to a company once led in part by a current government
>office-holder?

You gonna provide an example, or just throw it out there to muddy the waters (I
think this is called pettifogging) as a debating tactic with nothing to back it
up? We've certainly done our part, we've shown our work...you gonna just say
this or back it up?

And it would have to be on the same scale, to be fair.

So? There's a reason god invented google, y'know, and this is pretty much it.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/30/2003 1:33:00 AM  

Message 63 in thread 

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How do you manage to shove so many inaccuracies into one message?

>Newspaper reporters are not hired to report facts, they are hired to hand
>in their quota of column inches every day.

Not true, and this one I can personally vouch for. I've been a journalist, I
worked for a variety of local and national newspapers and magazines including
the LA Times, the Herald-Examiner, TIME Inc, and others. And brother, you'd
better be damned sure of your facts before you turn something in because the
editor will grill you on them.

Many reporters don't have to hand in a quota of column inches per day, that's a
columnist's job, not a reporter's job. You get to work on a given story, and
when it's done, you turn it in. If it takes a day, a few days, a week, longer,
it takes the time that it takes. You check in with your editor from time to
time, give him (or her) progress reports, and keep going until you have enough
to print.

>They don't have the time or
>resources to verify all the information they print.

I call bullshit on this one. Any solid reporter *always* does this. (Yeah,
one guy recently faked it, but it wasn't that he didn't have time, he was a
fraud, and the backup notes with sources he provided were fake, and this came
out as the editors began to back check those source reports. No system can be
fool proof if this kind of fakery goes on.)

You *have* to get at least three sources for any story, the story also goes
through a fact checker at the paper who looks for anything egregious and makes
sure that the source reports are attached, and it goes on from there. But to
say that reporters don't have time or resources to verify their information is,
pardon my bluntness, sheerest bullshit. It's a lie and a damned lie at that,
and I cite that one from personal experience, over and over and over.

>Special interest
>groups have gotten quite adept at media manipulation by press release.

Yes, they have, and a good reporter knows how to see through that. I don't
know, and have NEVER known ANY reporter to take a press release at face value.
Ever.

>They provide slanted or inaccurate statistics that most reporters can't
>understand and nobody has time to verify, bundled in frequent "public
>information" packets.

Tell me, where do *you* get your facts when you say this? You made this bald
statement, so either you have the facts to back it up, or you're just making
shit up.

Sorry, but most reporters working for major newspapers are university
graduates, and the ones I've known have been pretty damned smart, more than
smart enough to understand what a press release is.

>> But as noted not long ago in several British newspapers, including the
>> Times of London, the shelf life of the nerve gas expired years ago, and the
>> biological agents were never "weaponized," so they were to all intents and
>> purposes harmless. As one newspaper put it, the only way you could get
>hurt by
>> this stuff was if the missile they were loaded into actually hit you in the
>> head.
>
>Who do you think made up that whopper? The US Army still has chemical
>agents stored at Hermiston, Oregon from as far back as the Korean War.
>They have surrounded them with detectors and alarm systems. If you are
>along the Columbia River and hear sirens, run like hell upwind and you
>may survive. The lethal shelf life of nerve agents is measured in
>decades.

There are all *kinds* of chemical agents, and some have longer shelf lives than
others. The ones given to Iraq, and the report listed the names so that if
anyone could refute it they were more than able to do so (none did) had a shelf
life of only five years or so; clearly the ones you cite here are either ones
with a longer shelf life, or the amount is so huge that even the base chemicals
would pose a threat.

But that has *nothing* to do with what I posted. The specific chemical
weapons we gave them were expired.

And as far as articles go, here's a doozy...where Wolfwitz admits that the
whole WMD thing was primarily a ruse.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=410730

Chew on that one.




jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/2/2003 12:25:00 AM  

Message 64 in thread 

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>>Well, the US has imprisonment without trial and without
>>access to legal representation.
>
> Generally, NO, this is not the case. The US has this ONLY in cases of
>Immigration law.

Flat-out not true. US citizen Jose Padilla (a lowlife but a citizen
nonetheless) has had to fight for access to legal counsel, and according to
reports there are at least two or three other US citizens being held in similar
fashion.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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