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Made and uploaded a few more ringtones, 448 of them now. Enjoy.

Another domino falls

Well, it seems like the word is spreading. Like the Marines say, "No better friend, no worse enemy. " N. Korea Offers to Halt Nuke Facilities shows a major caving in on their part.

North Korea has said before it is willing to freeze its "nuclear activities" in exchange for U.S. aid and being taken off Washington's roster of terrorism sponsoring nations.

On Tuesday it specified it was "set to refrain from testing and production of nuclear weapons and stop even operating (its) nuclear power industry for a peaceful purpose."It appears that any (or all) of these events are playing in our favor:

  • Secret pressure from China to deescalate the situation;
  • Internal pressure is building and Kim Jong Il is starting to lose control of the army;
  • The caving of Libya on their WMD programs;
  • The situation in Iraq is improving to the point that we can turn our attention (and military forces) elsewhere.


In any event, it appears that serious concessions are being made. As with all such people, "Trust, but verify." I doubt there is very little substance, but it is a start and once one side in a diplomatic fight gives in, it snowballs from there.

 

Violence

I found this today, You Say You Want a Resolution and found the points discussed very poignant.

I especially liked #2

"Violence only leads to more violence."

This one is so stupid you usually have to be the president of an Ivy League university to say it. Here's the truth, which you know in your heads and hearts already:

Ineffective, unfocused violence leads to more violence. Limp, panicky, half-measures lead to more violence. However, complete, fully-thought-through, professional, well-executed violence never leads to more violence because, you see, afterwards, the other guys are all dead.

That's right, dead. Not "on trial," not "reeducated," not "nurtured back into the bosom of love." Dead. D-E--Well, you get the idea.

Naked violence that wipes out the opponent has always finally solved problems. I hope it doesn't come to that. I really don't want to wipe out an entire religion. We are going to have to wipe out one wing of it, as there is no compromise with the violent fundamentalists, but I hope it goes no farther than that.

 

More guns, less crime

I found this article, Why more senior citizens are carrying guns and I thought it bears mentioning.

First of all, the sub-title on the piece is, "They're protecting themselves from what they see as a rise in violence, even if crime statistics say otherwise."

You may think this is a pro-gun article, but it's not. I'll admit that armed seniors suffering from Alzheimer's can pose a threat to those around them, but I don't think that it is as widespread that the article implies.

The article also infers that, "because crime is down, nobody needs to arm themselves." They are not looking at the fact that it is armed citizens who are lowering the crime rate. Crime rates have steadily dropped because now 45 of 50 states have concealed weapons licenses for ordinary citizens. Every state that licenses citizens to carry see a decrease in crime across the board.

A criminal will commit crimes until they are stopped, that's a fact. If they come up against an armed citizen, that's a pretty solid wall to run into. Seniors are the weakest amongst us with the exception of children and are easy pickings for an aggressive criminal. When you arm them, they become a wall against crime. Once a criminal faces down an armed citizen, they think twice about taking on their next victim.

In the end, "the best insurance seniors can have against violent crime is a well-armed citizenry," says Van Vibber, gripping his pistol. "Besides, it's a God-given right."

Amen.

 

Morning Comic

In the spirit of "Left is really Right," I give you this Day By Day cartoon:


dbd010504

See no bad

This is disturbing. Quarantining dissent: How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech

This smacks of Potemkin Villages and I as an American am offended by this. I realize and can understand that soldiers in proximity to the President have unloaded weapons, but this goes too far. At least let the pro- and con- forces line up on different sides of the street.

The media will always find the protesters and interview them rather than the pro-Bush people.

I don't like this at all, and I doubt that any explanation by the Secret Service will mollify me.

 

Brave New World

I include this article, Jersey's brave new world only because of its reference multiple times to the novel Brave New World.

For those of you who never read the book or seen the movie, I suggest you read the book. It talks about how everybody is grown in test tubes and conditioned as children. You have four groups of people, Alphas, Betas, Gammas and Deltas. Normal people today would be considered Alphas, while the IQ of the other groups go down in sequence. The Deltas are basically morons, enslaved to doing grunt work (assembly, floor sweeping, etc.) Everything about you, job, location, status, etc. is determined before you are even conceived. As you go through the assembly line, you are given vaccinations for what area of the world you'll be living in, be oxygen deprived just enough to make you stupid and so on. Such a wonderful world.

Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it.

 

A whole Lott more

John Lott has written another fine article, Why People Fear Guns. Read it. It's good.

... If these events [Defensive Gun Use] were really happening, wouldn't we hear about them on the news? Many people tell me that they have never heard of an incident of defensive gun use. There is a good reason for their confusion. In 2001, the three major television networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- ran 190,000 words' worth of gun-crime stories on their morning and evening national news broadcasts. But they ran not a single story mentioning a private citizen using a gun to stop a crime.

There is an actual phobia for the abnormal, irrational fear of guns, Hoplophobia.

Guns are power over life and death. As with all such powers, they are a final and irrevocable power. A lot of people are not prepared to make those kind of choices. They haven't had the experience in their lives to even think about such a decision.

Even for those people who have done the work and resolved themselves to take a life that threatens them or their family, it isn't as easily shaken off as they do in the action movies. PTSD can occur. While that is the bad news, the good news is you're still alive.

Over 2,000,000 crimes are prevented every year by armed citizens. You don't hear about 99% of them because nobody got hurt. Bad guy threatens, good guy shows firearm, bad guy runs away. Not a very exciting news report. That's why you only hear of the ones where somebody (usually the criminal) gets killed. As they say in the newspaper business, "If it bleeds, it leads." And when they do get reported, it's usually a small blurb on the back of the A section of the newspaper.

Defensive gun use makes the TV news only when it crosses into the spectacular. Here in Memphis last summer, we had a burglar running rampant in the city. It led the evening news whenever a new burglary was reported. He had over 20 homes to his credit when he finally broke into the home of an armed citizen who shot him dead. That led the TV news, but only because it had already been making the news for a couple of weeks. If (and I mean if) the TV news carries a regular DGU, it's a 15 second blurb after the weather. While gun murders lead the news. Too bad it can't be the other way around.

The two publications of the NRA, American Rifleman and American Sportsman, Each present a page of "The Armed Citizen," filled with a dozen or so DGU's every month. Most of them are small blurbs of only a couple of sentences long.

Of course, the blatant Liberal bias against guns doesn't help either. The rank-and-file Liberal has a solid case of hoplophobia and thinks everybody should not have a gun. The leaders of the anti-gun movement just don't want you to have a gun. They have a socialist agenda and the first step in order to institute it is the disarming of America. The Second Amendment was put there specifically so the citizen has the power to resist an overbearing government. But I digress.

Defensive gun uses are prevalent, and for the vast majority of incidents, non-violent. That doesn't mean you can't be prepared to kill to defend your life and the lives of your family. It took me several months to answer that question before I applied for my CCW license. It wasn't easy, let me tell you.

If you decide to arm yourself in whatever way for self defense, make sure you can pull that trigger before you buy the gun. Otherwise it will be taken away from you, with all of the negative results possible.

 

Another one gets it wrong

I just got back from work and decided to check out a news site or two. Don't you know, this one just jumped out at me. 'EU could have averted war' Yeah, right.

Another foreign politician sticks his foot in his mouth and shows his incompetence.

The views expressed by Mr. Prodi is purely delusional. Short of the armies of Europe rushing to the rescue of Iraq there was nothing anybody other than Saddam Hussein could do to stop it.

Everybody seems to forget the last time we got stabbed in the back we nuked those responsible. Sure, Saddam was not directly related to 9/11, but he has supplied money and offered training to terrorists. More important, Iraq is a linchpin to changing the entire middle east. We can (and will) wipe out Al Queda to the last fanatic. The problem is there is another 10-20 terrorist organizations willing to take their place. We must do more than kill kill kill. We must transform the middle east away from the hotbed of fundamentalism that it currently is. And our plan is working. We are making inroads in Libya, Iran and even North Korea. Despots around the world are beginning to realize that when we smile towards them, it is only to bare our teeth in preparation of ripping their throats out.

We have a man in office who is willing to do anything to protect this country. When it is necessary, he does not send letters of protest. He does not request UN resolutions. He does not lob a few token Tomahawks. He makes war. The rest of the world does not realize yet that we as Americans have displayed the greatest amount of restraint. So far.

There will be a WMD "event" in the next few years. Hopefully we will catch it before anything bad happens. If an event does occur, the rest of the world will come to realize there is no such thing as a "limited" nuclear strike. At that point all of the gloves are off and those on the other side of the issue will be lucky to live through it. Those that do survive should be down right friendly.

Let's hope it never come to that. I for one would not like to see multiple nuclear strikes anywhere.

 

Morning comic

MGG010104

It would be nice if politicians behaved this way (and were caught more often like this).

"Moderate" Muslims

Cox and Forkum have a new panel out today. While it isn't spectacular, the write-up is the important part. Here is the panel: The Moderate Mahdis.

And that is precisely what makes Mahathir and his ilk all the more dangerous. The "extremists" like the Taliban doom themselves to insignificance by the very fact of their consistent adherence to their religious philosophy. But those who can make compromises with the demands of this world -- those who embrace the same moral and religious precepts, but implement them in a more reasonable, practical form -- are much more dangerous. They give their irrationalist philosophy some degree of power in the world.

But the biggest threat to the West is not the moderate Mahdis. It is the failure of our leaders to identify the malevolence of the Muslim "moderates" and see them as a threat.Read the whole thing.

 

More Khaddafi

I've already talked about Khaddafi here in my blog, where I summed it up with "Trust, but verify."

Well, it seems that Khaddafi was caught red-handed trying to sneak nuclear weapons technology into Libya a few months ago and we seized the vessel. This probably has something significant to do with his "conversion." You can read about it here, Suspicion Still Surrounds Libyan Leader Qadhafi.

That decision followed a bust two months earlier of Qadhafi as he tried secretly to import components for nuclear weapons. The ship with the hidden instruments was interdicted by the United States and United Kingdom. U.S. officials said Wednesday that it was diverted to Italy in October, where authorities found its secret cargo of nuclear weapons equipment.

Khaddafi realized he got put very high on the shit list of the US and UK after getting his hand caught in the nuclear cookie jar. That is probably a very large part about why he is scared. He put himself on the 'Axis of Evil' and he is doing everything he can to get himself off of that list.

Good Luck. It ain't gonna happen.

 

Overstatement

As usual, the BBC is displaying its' bias by reporting stuff that is certain to be inflammatory. Case in point: Brazil to fingerprint US citizens.

This story is about how the US is requiring fingerprints of all people coming into the country and are using a visa. Reasonable in our post 9/11 world. Well, Brazil got huffy about it and is requiring that US citizens reciprocate.

Here's the money quote:

"I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis [emphasis mine]"

What can you say to this? We do a stateside background check to supplement the one done in the country of origin and all of a sudden we're Nazis? I also like the "absolutely brutal" bit as well, like we bludgeon people for good measure before we take their fingerprints.

This is, of course, the standard overstatement and smear to make us the bad guys. Like Dennis Miller said, "We're so busy calling everybody a Nazi that we ignore the guy with the funny mustache who tosses people he doesn't like into plastic shredders."

Save the term Nazi for the people who systematically murder thousands of people, would you please? Thanks.

 

Quote of the year

I have read many quotes from all of those people capping off 2003. Right Wing News has a top 10 list of his favorite feedbacks from the Democratic Underground. This one is my favorite.

"What we MUST realize in order to win - Americans are stupid and uninformed. This is very important because in order to win we must understand the way the average American thinks. I'm afraid WE have nothing in common with them.

I came to the two following conclusions when I saw the large number of people who voted for Bush back in 2000.

#1 - I would dare to assume that most of us here are in the upper 1%-20% of the population intelligence-wise. We must come to the realization that the majority of the population is in the lower 80% to 99% percent of the bell-curve. WE are not the norm. The Republicans understand that the average American is not very bright. They cater and pander to the masses. The Democratic Party tries to appeal to the population about "issues" that these people just don't understand.

I've heard it said that the reason that Clinton's sex scandal resonated so strongly among "the people" was because it was a scandal that the average American understood. The average person can't understand a financial scandal.

In addition, people of average or lower intelligence tend to not be as logical or reasoned as those of higher intelligence - they deal with emotion. Therefore they are more likely to get riled up about someone burning a flag rather than a illogical tax cut.

#2 - The majority of people do not read the newspaper OR listen to the news, CNN, etc. Therefore -they get their news from the Tonight Show, Letterman, Oprah and Saturday Night Live. Or, they get their news from talking to their co-workers at the water cooler.

Also, for the few people who DO listen to the news - who do they hear it from? Fox News and Bill O'Reilly are the most popular. Most newspapers and media outlets are owned by Republicans.

THIS is what we are fighting against people. In order to win we will need to start pandering to the masses." -- Janekat

This is the fringe that is presently control of the Democrat party. I'm glad. As long as the rabid zealots run the house, they will scare away the moderate swing voters that will make the difference.

These people actually remind me of schizophrenics. People who suffer from untreated schizophrenia are in their own world, responding to things that the rest of us don't see, hear or understand. Schizophrenics are easy to spot, however. They hear the TV talking to them, schizophrenic believe that computers are beaming thoughts into their brains and the like.Now you tell me. Re-read the quote I have up there again and tell me this person does not have a serious disconnect from reality. Janekat does not imply, she says it in plain English that she thinks most Americans are stupid. They have to be not to see how right she is. It doesn't even occur to Janekat that she might be wrong. That is simply not possible. She's too smart to be wrong. Her stance on "The Democratic Party tries to appeal to the population about "issues" that these people just don't understand" doesn't even consider that the majority of people have already looked at their issues and just don't agree with them. She doesn't think that these people have the right to disagree with her. After all, she's right.Yeah, right.

Don't let this happen

God bless the ACLU is a rather scary look into our possible future. Do your best not to let it happen.

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union was finally successful in getting Ten Commandments plaques removed from public buildings in all fifty states. In addition:
1. They forced the Ten Commandments to be expunged from the Supreme Court building;
2. They obliged the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to fire their chaplains;
3. They won a ban on official chaplains in the military;
4. They removed "In God We Trust" from all currency and public documents;
5. They removed "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance;
6. They removed all crosses, Stars of David and crescents from the gravestones of American soldiers in military cemeteries around the world.

The last part that I didn't quote is the scariest of all.

Read on.

 

Victor strikes again

Another great article by Victor Davis Hanson. The Western Disease goes into the why some of us are ashamed of our success.

Our Western intellectuals are sheltered orchids who are naïve about the world beyond their upscale hothouses. The Western disease of deductive fury at everything the West does provides a sort of psychological relief (without costs) for apparent guilt over privileged circumstances. It is such a strange mixture of faux-populism and aristocratic snobbery. They believe only a blessed few such as themselves have the requisite education or breeding to understand the "real" world of Western pathologies and its victims.

Read on. It's good for you.

 

More government records

I found this in The Washington Times, about the BATF and their quest to be the secret police. Bill limits gun-buyer database means they are trying to keep records on those who buy guns legally.

And if they get away with a 90 day record keeping, then they will go for 6 months, then a year, and so on until it becomes permanent. They are already permanently digitizing and archiving all of the 4473's from gun shops that have gone out of business. A 4473 is the ATF form that you fill out when you buy a gun from a gun shop or someone who owns a Federal Firearms License.

This is not an aberration because the BATF is trying to do the same thing for rocketry as well. Years ago, they decided to add Ammonium Perchlorate to their explosives list, without checking to see if it really was an explosive or not. AP is the major propellant used in high power rocketry. In fact, it's the same stuff used in the two boosters used on the space shuttle. Now the BATF wants to regulate it out of the hands of rocketeers. You need to have a license for it, you need to store it in such a way, you must record when you use it and so on.

And my mental illness precludes me from obtaining a license for AP, just like a firearm.

The BATF is an enormously aggressive force, grabbing everything they can, never letting go and always hungry for more. It needs to be given close oversight control and be reined in severely. You can find hundreds of anecdotal incidents out there that range from destroying law-abiding citizens lives all the way down to killing kittens.

Victims compensation

This article, Criminals Owe Debt to Victims, Not Society has been bandied about for years. I myself wrote about this subject in an earlier version of The Conservative Zone.

Most people realize that the court and penal systems in North America are seriously broken and must be fixed. With the possible exception of China, the United States currently imprisons more of its population than any other nation: the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports 2,033,331 imprisoned as of December 31, 2002.

I wrote that upon conviction, a fine should be assessed the convictee, to cover court costs, victims re-compensation and enough so that the criminal, upon release, has a substantial nest egg (~$10,000) to help start a new life.

A large portion of those behind bars today are there for drug related crimes. While drugs have many parallels to alcohol and prohibition, there are many important differences. To get into them would be a digression I am unwilling to take right now, maybe later.

Suffice it to say our judicial system needs a capitalistic overhaul. Most of us have to pay our way through life, I see no reason for those who break the rules to do any different.

 

Khaddafi's "Conversion"

While glancing through National Review Online, I found a guest columnist and his article, Khaddafi's "Conversion".

Written by the former head of Romania's foreign intelligence, who "ran" Khaddafi for the Soviet Union, we get the impression that Khaddafi is being more smart than scared.

Whether he's smart, scared or whatever, as long as we can know for certain that Khaddafi has no WMD and no ties to terrorism, he's clean as far as we are concerned. We have no strategic interest in his country as long as he keeps his nose clean. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

I don't care what spots he has as long as they pose no danger to us. That might sound rather harsh, but look at the reality. The US cannot depose every dictator, no matter how brutal. At least not in any quick succession. The rest of the world either doesn't care or is unable to do so by their own internal problems.

And while freedom is every person's birthright, it remains something that must be earned, not given. Freedom is a scary way to live. Not only can you win big, you can also lose big as well. Freedom to starve is right next to freedom to succeed. That's why we as Americans are so successful. We know there is nobody to catch us if we fail. Very few of us who reach for the stars get there on the first attempt. It is by failure that gives us the incentive to try again, and harder. In brutal dictatorships where any success is seen as a threat to the State, no one tries. Because the reward for success and failure is death. In places like Iraq was, doing nothing also could get you a trip into the plastic shredder. So again, there is no incentive to try very much. You eke out what you can and hope you don't attract the attention of the secret police.

I stand by what I said when I wrote that freedom must be earned, not given. The people of Iraq have not been given freedom yet, but rather the removal of the yoke of dictatorship. They must still earn it. Iraqis are only learning about the fundamentals of freedom today, they are getting the payoff of freedom first. They still have to learn the responsibility part. It takes eternal vigilance on the part of the people to make sure freedom stays free. The people of Iraq can still lose their freedom before it ever gets off the ground if they do not wisely choose their form of government. Hopefully we will steer them down the proper path.

 

Time for Recess

This article, Bush Makes Dozen Recess Appointments discusses how the President has appointed several people into positions he wanted them in, but the Democrat minority didn't.

These appointments are up for a review in just over a year when the next Congress is sworn in. Hopefully there will be a filibuster proof Republican majority come 2005 and we can move forward without interference.

The question remains is will President Bush continue on this path and put in the judicial nominees that are being held up. Hopefully soon.

Paying their way

I found this article tonight, Florida Tells Cities to Pick Up Costs of Nuisance Suits.

It tells the story where the small municipalities use state court to prosecute nuisance suits and get the court for free. Well, tight budgets has forced the state to stop offering use of the court for free. It's now going to cost the cities several thousand dollars for prosecuting and defending lawyers, plus filing fees, all for a $50 fine.

The solution is simple: Pass the costs on. Assess court costs if you go to court and lose. Let the people know that a $1-2,000 court cost gets tacked on to that $50 fine. It makes pleading guilty cheaper.

Of course there are problems associated with this, but the only other choice is to stop enforcing these minor crimes. The problem with that is once you stop enforcing the minor stuff, the area goes downhill and bigger crimes start happening.

It has been documented in places like NYC that overall crime goes down in neighborhoods where the minor violations are vigorously enforced. By keeping tight on the little stuff, you keep the criminals away, and thus the bigger crimes are not committed.

In a situation like this, there are no simple or easy answers. But there is the right one.

Shaving points

President Bush is at it again. Immigration Reform on Bush Agenda.

The Administration is again systematically stealing issues and votes from the Democrats. President Bush and his team are performing accomplishments in areas that Democrats have promised movement on for 40 years. In the process of actually addressing these problems, he is converting these single issue voters from Democrat to Republican. And he doesn't have to convert that many. A simple five to ten percent swing in multiple issues translates to an overall big swing that steals states. Barring a major catastrophe in the next year, Bush is looking at a landslide of Reagan-sized proportions.

The Democrat Party is in serious trouble. They are at significant risk of being declared a minor party because they are so fractured and there is no one on the stage that stands as a unifier. Instead, they are engaging in large-scale cannibalism. All 9 dwarfs are all busy attacking the leader, each other and President Bush that they have no time left to say what they will actually do if they win. The few plans that have been talked about are easily picked apart and seem to be made off-the-cuff than by think tanks.

The Democrat ship never made it away from pier side. They have so many candidates that no one will be happy (except the winners camp) by the time a winner is chosen. The spectrum of these candidates are so wide that some supporters might actually support Bush over the Democrat candidate. There needed to be a guiding hand at the helm of the Democrat party that would have culled the herd before things got too far along. Too many choices confuse the voters. In all of the elections I have paid attention to, Republicans have put forward two candidates, while the Democrat side looks like the Boston Marathon.

I'm glad there's no one on that side of the aisle to hold things together and make the incoherent understandable. The Democrats are self-destructing and the 2004 election cycle will put a stake in the heart of this monster.

Hopefully then the Democrats will regroup, be reborn and come back a stronger party, interested in the things that appeal to the majority of American citizens. I'd hate for this country to become a one party state.

More Mrs. Kravitz's

Remember Mrs. Kravitz, the nosy neighbor across the street in Bewitched ? Now, it seems, she's running things in South Florida.

Abuse of power? Homeowners group tells woman to remove Virgin Mary. It details the case against an old lady who wants to display her faith, as she has for the last 19 years.

The Mote Ranch covenant doesn't mention statues. But it does make two association committees "the ultimate deciding'' bodies in what a person can do to his home and property.

I could never live in such a place. I would not sign such a covenant. That would be a deal breaker for me. I am the one paying the mortgage, I should be the one in control of the property. These "homeowners associations" go so far as to decree what colors to use on the interior of your house. I understand the want to keep property values up, but this kind of stuff goes way too far.

Thankfully case law in Florida is on this woman's side. There is an elderly man who put up a flag pole to display the Stars and Stripes and got put through the wringer for it. Governor Jeb Bush came to this mans rescue by pushing a bill through the Legislature making things like this legal. The homeowners association then went so far as to put a lien on this mans house for legal expenses the association ran up bringing the case against him. Thankfully there was a drive by Sean Hannity and others to raise the cash to let this man keep his home.

Hopefully this lady won't have to go through the same hell.

3 days old, but still good

I found something that the Liberal media won't say anything about, because a) it's a followup, b) it makes fools of those who yell the original claims. Halliburton's "Gouging": What Really Happened

The obvious question raised by the discrepancy was: Why would Halliburton deliver high-priced fuel from Kuwait when it could be obtained at a much lower price from Turkey?

The company says it did so because the Army demanded that it deliver fuel from Kuwait...It turns out that Halliburton did exactly what the Army wanted. Unless stupidity on the Army's part is a crime, there is nothing here to yell about.

But you'll never see Brokaw, Jennings or Rather talk about this.

Socialists are full of it

I found this article, AFSCME Official Endorses Socialism After Union Backed Dean and it reminded me that I owe Spike Magazine's blog Splinters and article on Socialism.

Let's start off with the comments:

"The first thing we have to do is remind ourselves that we are fighting for socialism," said District Council 1707 President Brenda Stokeley of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Stokeley's remarks were made during the Workers World Party's national conference in New York on Dec. 6 and 7. The conference was entitled, "Reviving the Worldwide Struggle for Socialism." First of all, there are three types of social structure for this discussion: Capitalist, Socialist and Communist.

Capitalist is the one most free. You are allowed to start whatever business you want (within some very wide parameters) and go for it until you succeed or go broke. You are allowed to go where and when you want, and it is the government that is limited in their powers rather than you.

Communist is best described as governmentless. After all of the people have been properly and completely indoctrinated, the government would just "fade away" and be no more. Everybody would be equal and everybody would work for the common good.

Now let's talk about exactly who is/was Socialist.

Socialist can be best described as either "hard" or "soft." Countries such as the UK, France, Germany, et.al. are best described as soft socialists.

Soft Socialist societies still have a large contingent of capitalistic entrepreneurship, while the government is heavily invested in social programs and controls major industries. Freedoms exist, but at the pleasure of the government. In the UK, the press is nominally free, but can be gagged at the governments leisure if "official secrets" comes out.

Now the hard socialists, they are another ball of wax. The former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba. No freedoms, the State controls everything, constant indoctrination, "re-education" camps for those who don't conform, the list goes on and on. Imagine having to get permission from the State to leave the county where you live. Imagine the only freedom of speech you have is what the government tells you what to say. If you were accused of a crime, you had to prove your innocence. It's very hard to prove a negative under those conditions.

Everything is controlled by the State. Where you work, how much you get paid, where you live, etc. And we all know how well this system works. In the Soviet Union, the small privatized plots for the farmers outperformed the collective farms. You had to stand in three lines to buy anything. Stand in line to see what is for sale, stand in another line to get a ticket for it, and hopefully you get what it is you were looking for in the third line. Military units had a Zamploit or political officer to make sure the troops were properly indoctrinated and they had the power to overturn a commanders decisions if they went against the party interests.

Socialism works somewhat in China because of their culture. The Chinese have pigeonholed everybody for thousands of years. You stayed where you were, you do what you're told and you don't complain. Even so, China is beginning to see Capitalistic overtones. It will be a long time, however, before those who control China give up the reins of power. Constant indoctrination of the people still goes on, and dissent is still ruthlessly crushed as Tienanmen Square plainly showed.

People no matter where they are have pretty good BS detectors. When they live in squalor and under a ruthless government, there comes a point where people realize that they are being told a crock of shit, however they also see the point of the gun being pointed at them if they aren't sufficiently enthusiastic enough about being in a workers paradise. Why do you think people from these countries defect every chance they get? Why do you think dozens died trying to cross the Berlin Wall? Why do you think it was put up in the first place? It certainly wasn't to keep us out.

Cuba and South Korea are hard Socialist dictatorships. You can tell that it's a dictatorship because there is one guy in power and that is all that matters. Unless the succession is to a son, there is no "line of succession." Nobody is given enough power to threaten the dictator, there is no orderly transfer of power upon his death.

The situation in North Korea can be summed up in one word: Cannibalism. Some workers paradise that is.

Cuba depends on trade with Europe, because it can't survive on its own. It was being heavily subsidized by the Soviet Union, but that came to a halt when the SU collapsed. They still have thousands of people a year fleeing from this 'paradise,' only to die on the way or be executed upon their return. Dissidents are routinely jailed for years or executed if they get too loud.

And this is the kind of world Ms. Brenda Stokeley wants us to live in. Never forget that. There is no such thing as a benign government, even our own. It takes the power of the people to keep the government in check, not the other way around.

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