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The Great American Divide: Rich Against Poor,


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Revealed: Rumsfeld at Padres Ball Game As New Orleans Sank

The seemingly carefree behavior of top Bush administration officials early last week, who stuck to their vacations as tens of thousands cried for help in New Orleans, gained another twist with revelations that Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was taking in a ball game in San Diego last Monday night--nearly 24 hours after Katrina hit the coast.

Rumsfeld has come under increasing criticism for the military's late arrival--offshore or otherwise--for possible use in rescue operations.

An E&P reader tipped us off to a column in last Tuesday's San Diego Union-Tribune by regular columnist Diane Bell. 

Everyone knew that the Gulf Region was going to be hit with a massive hurricane and where were America's leaders before and after? Where was the president, the vice-president, the secretary of defence, basically all the US administration? On vacations, at ball games, shopping for $1,000. shoes. While their poor citizens perished.

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A little bit of America for you:

Here is a story. I got it from a guy that got it from someplace. Who knows how much of it is true? What is true is there are a lot of stories out there not being heard and a lot being made up. This is one or the other or a mix of both:

2005-09-06 15

How pathetic is our government?

I found this story in another diary I hope they dont mind I

copied it to pass it on....

A Katrina Story

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the

Walgreen’s store at the corner of Royal and Iberville

streets remained locked. The dairy display case was

clearly visible through the widows. It was now 48 hours

without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk,

yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-

degree heat. The owners and managers had locked up the

food, water, pampers, and prescriptions and fled the City.

Outside Walgreen’s windows, residents and tourists grew

increasingly thirsty and hungry.

The much-promised federal, state and local aid never

materialized and the windows at Walgreen’s gave way to the

looters. There was an alternative. The cops could have

broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit

juices, and bottle water in an organized and systematic

manner. But they did not. Instead they spent hours playing

cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters.

We were finally airlifted out of New Orleans two days ago

and arrived home yesterday (Saturday). We have yet to see

any of the TV coverage of look at a newspaper. We are

willing to guess that there were no video images or front-

page pictures of European or affluent white tourists

looting the Walgreen’s in the French Quarter.

We also suspect the media will have been inundated

with “hero” images of the National Guard, the troops and

the police struggling to help the “victims” of the

Hurricane. What you will not see, but what we witnessed

were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief

effort: the working class of New Orleans. The maintenance

workers who used a fork lift to carry the sick and

disabled. The engineers, who rigged, nurtured and kept the

generators running. The electricians who improvised thick

extension cords stretching over blocks to share the little

electricity we had in order to free cars stuck on rooftop

parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical

ventilators and spent many hours on end manually forcing

air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them

alive. Doormen who rescued folks stuck in elevators.

Refinery workers who broke into boat yards, “stealing”

boats to rescue their neighbors clinging to their roofs in

flood waters. Mechanics who helped hot-wire any car that

could be found to ferry people out of the City. And the

food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens

improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.

Most of these workers had lost their homes, and had not

heard from members of their families, yet they stayed and

provided the only infrastructure for the 20% of New

Orleans that was not under water.

On Day 2, there were approximately 500 of us left in the

hotels in the French Quarter. We were a mix of foreign

tourists, conference attendees like ourselves, and locals

who had checked into hotels for safety and shelter from

Katrina. Some of us had cell phone contact with family and

friends outside of New Orleans. We were repeatedly told

that all sorts of resources including the National Guard

and scores of buses were pouring in to the City. The buses

and the other resources must have been invisible because

none of us had seen them.

We decided we had to save ourselves. So we poured our

money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and

take us out of the City. Those who did not have the

requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who

did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the

buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside,

sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had. We

created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and

new born babies. We waited late into the night for

the “imminent” arrival of the buses. The buses never

arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to

the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.

By day 4 our hotels had run out of fuel and water.

Sanitation was dangerously abysmal. As the desperation and

despair increased, street crime as well as water levels

began to rise. The hotels turned us out and locked their

doors, telling us that the “officials” told us to report

to the convention center to wait for more buses. As we

entered the center of the City, we finally encountered the

National Guard.

The Guards told us we would not be allowed into the

Superdome as the City’s primary shelter had been descended

into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards

further told us that the City’s only other shelter, the

Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and

squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else

in. Quite naturally, we asked, “If we can’t go to the only

2 shelters in the City, what was our alternative?” The

guards told us that that was our problem, and no they did

not have extra water to give to us. This would be the

start of our numerous encounters with callous and

hostile “law enforcement”.

We walked to the police command center at Harrah’s on

Canal Street and were told the same thing, that we were on

our own, and no they did not have water to give us. We now

numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide

a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police

command post. We would be plainly visible to the media and

would constitute a highly visible embarrassment to the

City officials. The police told us that we could not stay.

Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In

short order, the police commander came across the street

to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we

should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the

greater New Orleans Bridge where the police had buses

lined up to take us out of the City. The crowed cheered

and began to move. We called everyone back and explained

to the commander that there had been lots of

misinformation and wrong information and was he sure that

there were buses waiting for us. The commander turned to

the crowd and stated emphatically, “I swear to you that

the buses are there.”

We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the

bridge with great excitement and hope. As we marched

pasted the convention center, many locals saw our

determined and optimistic group and asked where we were

headed. We told them about the great news. Families

immediately grabbed their few belongings and quickly our

numbers doubled and then doubled again. Babies in

strollers now joined us, people using crutches, elderly

clasping walkers and others people in wheelchairs. We

marched the 2-3 miles to the freeway and up the steep

incline to the Bridge. It now began to pour down rain, but

it did not dampen our enthusiasm.

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed

a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close

enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our

heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions.

As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched

forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in

conversation. We told them of our conversation with the

police commander and of the commander’s assurances. The

sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The

commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway,

especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane

highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going

to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in

their City. These were code words for if you are poor and

black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you

were not getting out of New Orleans.

Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek

shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our

options and in the end decided to build an encampment in

the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center

divide, between the O’Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We

reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have

some security being on an elevated freeway and we could

wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and

groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to

cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away

with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally

berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were

prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on

foot. Meanwhile, only two City shelters sank further into

squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was

by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving

vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hotwired. All

were packed with people trying to escape the misery New

Orleans had become.

Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a

water delivery trick and brought it up to us. Let’s hear

it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army

truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight

turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping

carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and

water, cooperation, community and creativity flowered. We

organized a clean up, and hung garbage bags from the rebar

poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We

designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids

built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic,

broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a

food recycling system where individuals could swap out

parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for

kids!).

This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of

Katrina. When individuals had to fight to find food or

water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to

do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food

for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people

began to look out for each other, working together and

constructing a community.

If the relief organizations had saturated the City with

food and water in the first 2 or 3 days, the desperation,

the frustration and the ugliness would not have set in.

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to

passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and

join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that

the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the

freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on

their way into the City. Officials were being asked what

they were going to do about all those families living up

on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to

take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. “Taking

care of us” had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking

City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff

showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun

at our faces, screaming, “Get off the ****ing freeway”. A

helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to

blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the

sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway.

All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when

we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In

every congregation of “victims” they saw “mob” or “riot”.

We felt safety in numbers. Our “we must stay together” was

impossible because the agencies would force us into small

atomized groups.

In the pandemonium of having our camp raided and

destroyed, we scattered once again. Reduced to a small

group of 8 people, in the dark, we sought refuge in an

abandoned school bus, under the freeway on Cilo Street. We

were hiding from possible criminal elements but equally

and definitely, we were hiding from the police and

sheriffs with their martial law, curfew and shoot-to-kill

policies.

The next days, our group of 8 walked most of the day, made

contact with New Orleans Fire Department and were

eventually airlifted out by an urban search and rescue

team. We were dropped off near the airport and managed to

catch a ride with the National Guard. The two young

guardsmen apologized for the limited response of the

Louisiana guards. They explained that a large section of

their unit was in Iraq and that meant they were

shorthanded and were unable to complete all the tasks they

were assigned.

We arrived at the airport on the day a massive airlift had

begun. The airport had become another Superdome. We 8 were

caught in a press of humanity as flights were delayed for

several hours while George Bush landed briefly at the

airport for a photo op. After being evacuated on a coast

guard cargo plane, we arrived in San Antonio, Texas.

There the humiliation and dehumanization of the official

relief effort continued. We were placed on buses and

driven to a large field where we were forced to sit for

hours and hours. Some of the buses did not have air-

conditioners. In the dark, hundreds if us were forced to

share two filthy overflowing porta-potties. Those who

managed to make it out with any possessions (often a few

belongings in tattered plastic bags) we were subjected to

two different dog-sniffing searches.

Most of us had not eaten all day because our C-rations had

been confiscated at the airport because the rations set

off the metal detectors. Yet, no food had been provided to

the men, women, children, elderly, disabled as they sat

for hours waiting to be “medically screened” to make sure

we were not carrying any communicable diseases.

This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm,

heart-felt reception given to us by the ordinary Texans.

We saw one airline worker give her shoes to someone who

was barefoot. Strangers on the street offered us money and

toiletries with words of welcome.

Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept,

and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives

were lost that did not need to be lost.

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Toro

Where did you move to? :D

U.S. must examine its soul

This didn't just happen. It was allowed to happen by carelessness and the disregard of decades of warning, through successive administrations at all levels of government because Louisiana is a notoriously corrupt state; because Washington doesn't seem to inhabit the same planet as Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish and Grand Isle and Chalmette and Metairie; because contingency plans were never formulated on a broad basis and evacuation plans never tested on a narrow basis — in retirement homes and downtown hospitals, one of which waited nearly a week for helicopter rooftop rescues; and because, unforgivably, cronyism rather than experience and fitness for the job seems to have elevated certain people to the top of emergency response agencies.

A calamity of this breadth had been envisioned, in recent years, as the result of an overwhelming terrorist assault, not something attributable to nature and coastal erosion, to bridges collapsed by rain, to scores of pumping stations clogged with sludge, to batteries on police radios draining, to Americans looting Americans, to hooligans firing on rescue teams, as if all the notorious hedonism of New Orleans had descended into outright madness.

Twenty-five thousand body bags have arrived in New Orleans. Perhaps, just this once, for the first time in two weeks, the city will have too much of what it needs.

For several horrific days after Katrina hit, there was nothing — no National Guard, no active troops, no FEMA, not even the Red Cross. And before relief efforts were finally co-ordinated, only a small platoon of religious-based volunteers ventured into the city to distribute food and water. In the future, I will be more careful about mocking the overtly faithful and their good deeds.

I wonder what Americans are thinking now? Are they making plans to change some things, or are they going to continue to live as is? Already we have seen a key Bush appointee get turfed for incompetence. Whose's next on the chopping block or are we going to have to wait until the elections in 2006?

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We'll begin by comparing the halfway point of President Clinton's tenure to the fifty yard line of the Bush administration. In 1996, the poverty level in the USA stood at 13.7%. In 2004, the poverty level was 12.7%, so Bush beats Clinton here by a full percentage point. To be fair, Clinton did bring the poverty rate down during his administration, while it has been rising slightly since 9/11. But at the halfway point, Bush wins.

As far as entitlement spending on poverty programs is concerned, it isn't even close. In 1996, President Clinton signed a budget that directed 12.2% of spending be directed toward the poor. In 2004, Bush's budget kicked 2% more than Clinton to poverty programs, an astronomical $329 billion dollars. In fact, President Bush is spending more on poverty entitlement programs and education than any President in history. What say you, Jesse and Howard?

For a country that is often accused by leftwing loons of not caring about the poor, we are certainly putting up a good front. In 2006, almost $368 billion dollars will go for Medicaid, food stamps, family support assistance, supplemental security income, child nutrition programs, earned income tax credits, welfare payments, child care payments, foster care and adoption assistance, and child health insurance payments to the states. The truth is that the working men and women of this country are providing the tightest safety net in history for the poor. And our private charitable donations rank first in the world as well.

So the next time the poverty propagandists start with the "America ignores the poor" bull, simply walk away. These people are blatantly dishonest and could not care less that America does, indeed, help the less fortunate. The race and class baiters will always ignore the fact that some people simply cannot support themselves no matter what society does. The New Testament states it clearly: "the poor, they will always be with us." But America provides more opportunity for more people than anywhere else on the planet.

Factor

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We'll begin by comparing the halfway point of President Clinton's tenure to the fifty yard line of the Bush administration. In 1996, the poverty level in the USA stood at 13.7%. In 2004, the poverty level was 12.7%, so Bush beats Clinton here by a full percentage point. To be fair, Clinton did bring the poverty rate down during his administration, while it has been rising slightly since 9/11. But at the halfway point, Bush wins.

Factor

So just to be clear, Clinton reduced poverty while Bush has increased it, but Bush wins?

:rolleyes:

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Blatant Fox News propaganda.

The US unemployment rate is at 10%, which is extremely high, and close to the terrible German society whose rate is 12%

No its not. Its 4.9%. Its extremely low. Here it is.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Fast food places are beginning to use their billboards outside their restaurants to advertise for workers as opposed to specials again like they did in the 1990s.

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As far as entitlement spending on poverty programs is concerned, it isn't even close. In 1996, President Clinton signed a budget that directed 12.2% of spending be directed toward the poor. In 2004, Bush's budget kicked 2% more than Clinton to poverty programs, an astronomical $329 billion dollars. In fact, President Bush is spending more on poverty entitlement programs and education than any President in history. What say you, Jesse and Howard?

For a country that is often accused by leftwing loons of not caring about the poor, we are certainly putting up a good front. In 2006, almost $368 billion dollars will go for Medicaid, food stamps, family support assistance, supplemental security income, child nutrition programs, earned income tax credits, welfare payments, child care payments, foster care and adoption assistance, and child health insurance payments to the states. The truth is that the working men and women of this country are providing the tightest safety net in history for the poor. And our private charitable donations rank first in the world as well.

I can't say how accurate the initial numbers are, given we don't know if those 1996 dollars have been adjusted for growth. I'm gonna say no. I will point out that O'Reilly's comparison neglects to mention that the poverty rate declined every year Clinton was in office, from 15.1 percent when he took office in 1993 to a low of 11.3 percent in 2000, whereas it's risen every year that Bush has been in office, from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.7 percent in 2004.

Link.

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-In 2004, requests for emergency food assistance increased by an average of 14 percent during the year, according to a 27-city study by the United States Conference of Mayors.

-Also in this study, it was noted that on average, 20 percent of requests for emergency food assistance have gone unmet in 2004.

-According to the Bread for the World Institute 3.5 percent of U.S. households experience hunger. Some people in these households frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a whole day. 9.6 million people, including 3 million children, live in these homes.

-America's Second Harvest , the nation's largest network of food banks, reports that 23.3 million people turned to the agencies they serve in 2001, an increase of over 2 million since 1997. Forty percent were from working families.

33 million Americans continue to live in households that did not have an adequate supply of food. Nearly one-third of these households contain adults or children who went hungry at some point in 2000.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, March 2002, "Household Food Security in the United States, 2000"

Without getting into the argument about what constitutes poverty, for the moment, this gives some indication of the current situation.

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Blatant Fox News propaganda.

The US unemployment rate is at 10%, which is extremely high, and close to the terrible German society whose rate is 12%

Thank goodness this guy is banned. His over the top rhetoric was outrageous. A 10% US unemployment rate?! Their economy is fricking smoking. Plus, he had a bad habit of posting entire long-winded articles to supposedly prove his point.

His MO seemed to be, if I can't baffle them with facts, I will baffle them with long-winded BS articles that bores them to tears.

Buh bye Mirror. You loved to link to Michael Moore; enjoy your stay at michealmoore.com, moveon.org, commondreams.org, etc.

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Thank goodness this guy is banned.  His over the top rhetoric was outrageous.  A 10% US unemployment rate?!    Their economy is fricking smoking.  Plus, he had a bad habit of posting entire long-winded articles to supposedly prove his point. 

His MO seemed to be, if I can't baffle them with facts, I will baffle them with long-winded BS articles that bores them to tears.

Buh bye Mirror.  You loved to link to Michael Moore; enjoy your stay at michealmoore.com, moveon.org, commondreams.org, etc.

I'm betting you'll be the next one to go.

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Thank goodness this guy is banned.  His over the top rhetoric was outrageous.  A 10% US unemployment rate?!    Their economy is fricking smoking.  Plus, he had a bad habit of posting entire long-winded articles to supposedly prove his point. 

His MO seemed to be, if I can't baffle them with facts, I will baffle them with long-winded BS articles that bores them to tears.

Buh bye Mirror.  You loved to link to Michael Moore; enjoy your stay at michealmoore.com, moveon.org, commondreams.org, etc.

I'm betting you'll be the next one to go.

If there is any justice in the world, anyway.

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Some would love to see me "punted" from here, as one so eloquently put it, so they continue to hurl the word n*gger to their little heart's content. One might almost be led to believe that the ultra-lefties here don’t want their saintly message to become polluted with dissent, but that would be completely out of line. We all know, after all, that the far-left is the only part of the population that takes dissent seriously, as opposed to ChimpyMcBusHitlerHalliburton™ and his Digital Brownshirts™, right?

“Freedom of speech for me,

but not for thee!” -- The Marxist Mantra

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Some would love to see me "punted" from here, as one so eloquently put it, so they continue to hurl the word n*gger to their little heart's content.  One might almost be led to believe that the ultra-lefties here don’t want their saintly message to become polluted with dissent, but that would be completely out of line. We all know, after all, that the far-left is the only part of the population that takes dissent seriously, as opposed to ChimpyMcBusHitlerHalliburton™ and his Digital Brownshirts™, right?

“Freedom of speech for me,

but not for thee!” -- The Marxist Mantra

You will get nothing but laughter here referring to me as "far left" or even "left". I am a conservative. Bush is not. I'm not sure what you are, but I wish you'd stop referring to yourself as a conservative because you give us a bad name. I do not want to be associated with someone whose political views are as... feral as yours.

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You will get nothing but laughter here referring to me as "far left" or even "left". I am a conservative. Bush is not. I'm not sure what you are, but I wish you'd stop referring to yourself as a conservative because you give us a bad name. I do not want to be associated with someone whose political views are as... feral as yours.
I figured that real Conservatives probably felt that way.

Burns

Thank goodness this guy is banned. His over the top rhetoric was outrageous.

Burns

“Freedom of speech for me,

but not for thee!” -- The Marxist Mantra

Who here is a self identified neo-Marxist Burns? Or are you simply referring to someone as one? If it is the latter, then is this not rhetorical also?

Since when is silencing opponents unique to the left?

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Some would love to see me "punted" from here, as one so eloquently put it, so they continue to hurl the word n*gger to their little heart's content.  One might almost be led to believe that the ultra-lefties here don’t want their saintly message to become polluted with dissent, but that would be completely out of line. We all know, after all, that the far-left is the only part of the population that takes dissent seriously, as opposed to ChimpyMcBusHitlerHalliburton™ and his Digital Brownshirts™, right?

“Freedom of speech for me,

but not for thee!” -- The Marxist Mantra

You will get nothing but laughter here referring to me as "far left" or even "left". I am a conservative. Bush is not. I'm not sure what you are, but I wish you'd stop referring to yourself as a conservative because you give us a bad name. I do not want to be associated with someone whose political views are as... feral as yours.

Please don't insult the forum's intelligence by suggesting you are a conservative. You aren't fooling anybody. I believe you do this to try and embarrass conservatives. I admit that Bush isn't the most conservative person when it comes to decreasing govt spending, indeed, he has increased spending - again - with the Katrina relief package, but otherwise he is conservative. He believes in a strong foreign policy, dislikes murdering innocent babies, is trying to move the Supreme Court to the right, doesn't believe in gun control, believes people should have more control over their money, and gave 2 tax cuts. You, on the other hand, call him a disgraceful drunken coke-snorting frat boy who refused to go against the Constitution because he hates the n*ggers in New Orleans. I don't mind someone disagreeing with some of his policies - I disagree with many of them myself - but you react with nothing but race-baiting and bile towards the president. Indeed, it is plain to see that you are inflicted with the leftist disease, Bush Derangement Syndrome.

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Cartman:

I figured that real Conservatives probably felt that way.

Define a "real" conservative.

Who here is a self identified neo-Marxist Burns?  Or are you simply referring to someone as one?  If it is the latter, then is this not rhetorical also?

I was speaking in generalities but since you brought it up....who was the one who suggested that someone should be punted for daring to use the word Socialist?

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Dear I Miss Trudeau,

If there is any justice in the world, anyway.
Justice would mean that this offensive poster would see some 'hard time' in an all-gay biker prison.

Argus,

I certainly see you as a conservative, just as Hugo was (albeit to the extreme), and to a large degree August1991, I Miss Reagan, etc. are. I should say that this forum has a very equal distribution of 'right vs. left', but there is a small minority that just spew verbal diarrhea, and add nothing to debate, not even humour value.

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