jamal2609 comments

Posted in: European weather chaos spawns outrage, questions See in context

Except there is NO actual scientific consensus just the repeated "claims" that one exists.

According to whom? Can you quote a legitimate survey of climate scientists that shows even a plurality that doubt it is real and man made?

I'm not a climate science expert, but I've read the results of surveys conducted in academia asking climate science experts these questions and something on the order of 97% of them agree that climate change is real and that it is man made.

I think that qualifies as a consensus. These are published surveys one can download and read for themselves.

I'm not sure what it would take to prove climate change is real, but I consider the scientific consensus to be expert opinion. It would be neither the first nor the last time government has or will develop policy based on expert opinion.

If we maintain the status quo, we would be doing so in spite of expert opinion telling us it's not a good idea, and dependence on middle eastern oil, among other things, would continue. If we are right, we would have the status quo. If we are wrong, it could be a major disaster.

If we take steps to reduce emissions, we would be doing so in accordance with expert opinion, and we could reduce our dependence on middle eastern oil in the process. If we are right, we could avert a major disaster. If we are wrong, we have fewer pollutants and cleaner air.

Reducing emissions is the better policy, and not just because climate scientists say it's a good idea.

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Posted in: European weather chaos spawns outrage, questions See in context

creating policy based on unsound, and unproven theories, is bad policy.

That cuts both ways. The scientific consensus is climate change is real and it's man made. If I had to bet, I'd put my money on the consensus of scientists. If I'm wrong, I lose a few points of GDP and maybe reduce my reliance on middle eastern oil in the process. If I'm right, I may be able to avoid a disaster.

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Posted in: Snow, ice trap passengers in Europe's airports See in context

Careful GJ, next thing you know you'll be labeled a leftist and a socialist for suggesting the marketplace achieves anything other than the optimal results at all times. Some people aren't aware of the implications of the free rider problem or Greenspan's testimony after the financial crisis.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

@sfjp330:

You live in a dream world.

I know exactly what you mean. That would explain a LOT!

Do you really know what Toyota failed to do other than what you read?

That's a good point. I don't work for Toyota so I have no idea what kind of information they hid behind closed doors. They were pretty secretive about the whole thing, though. That didn't help their case.

Double standard in how Toyota is being treated?

I'm sure the company is very familiar with double standards.

I think there is still some confusion here concerning the difference between being fined for violating government rules and regulations regarding the handling of safety incidents and the civil or criminal liabilities arising from negligence in product design, safety, etc. These are different issues.

It's worth taking some time to consider because it will help explain why it seems there is a double standard.

The government is fining them for egregious violations of rules and regulations. I'm not sure I can make it any clearer. The fines are levied whether or not anyone died. Toyota neglected their responsibilities as an auto manufacturer in the US, and they are paying for it. GM, Ford, and Chrysler would be treated the same way if they violated the same rules in the manner Toyota did. Please read my post above about them being professional screw ups.

You keep bringing up how many people died in the last 20 years, but that has nothing to do with the fines levied on Toyota.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

@sfjp330:

You pointed out samples of recalls but you do not understand the true magnitute of the the problem.

No, I didn't point out examples of recalls, I identified the specific recalls that resulted in the fines that are the subject of this article. I understand the magnitude of the problem just fine, thank you very much. I also understand the difference between being fined for violating a law and being sued in civil or criminal court for damages or negligence.

It doesn't matter if every car on the road is a Toyota and only 3 of them have a problem. The government has specific rules companies are required to follow in the event of a safety-related incident. If the company doesn't follow the rules, they are fined. The more egregious they are in flaunting the rules, the bigger the fine. This is completely separate from civil or criminal legislation arising from the incident.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler have had plenty of practice in responding to safety incidents. As you pointed out, these manufacturers have had lots of problems in the past. They are quick to issue a recall when they are in doubt about a safety issue precisely because they don't want to be fined or found criminally negligent. They know what investigators and regulators are looking for and can respond quickly and effectively to government inquiries. All those problems you talk about from the past were learning experiences for them.

In other words, they are pros at screwing up.

Keep in mind, in those US manufacturer safety incidents you cited, their liabilities were not limited to fines. There was a whole slew of civil litigation to get through. That's because although they may have done a decent job following the government's procedures concerning responding to the incident, they are still very much liable for the damage they cause.

If you think fines were safety reasons, where were the U.S. goverment in Ford Explorer rollover cases and Chevrolet truck side tank with 1700 casulties? GM got off lightly don't you think?

Yes, I do think the fines were for safety reasons. Once you differentiate between being fined for not following the rules and civil/criminal liabilities, the difference between the way Toyota is being treated and the way GM, Ford, and Chrysler are being treated is understandable.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

@sfjp330:

From the article:

The latest fines involve two separate safety problems affecting certain Toyota passenger cars and trucks.

The first case deals with recalls in 2009 and 2010 of about 5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles with gas pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats. Toyota had recalled 55,000 all-weather floor mats in 2007 to address pedal entrapment, but the government said its investigation found that simply removing the floor mats was insufficient.

And why might simply removing the floor mats be insufficient? From Toyota's own FAQ about sticky gas pedals:

What is the problem that could cause accelerators to stick and led to the recall? The issue involves a friction device in the pedal designed to provide the proper “feel” by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable. This friction device includes a “shoe” that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. Due to the materials used, wear and environmental conditions, these surfaces may, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly. In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open.

So, are you suggesting that Toyota is wrong and that simply removing the floor mats is sufficient? If so, why? Toyota seems to imply that simply removing the floor mat won't fix the friction device inside the gas pedal. Oh, and:

In the second case, Toyota conducted a recall in 2004 of Hilux trucks in Japan with steering relay rods that could break and affect steering. Toyota told U.S. regulators in 2004 that the safety problem was limited to vehicles in Japan and the company had not received similar complaints in the U.S.

But a year later, Toyota told NHTSA the steering defect was also found in several U.S. models and recalled nearly 1 million vehicles. NHTSA said in May 2010 it learned about complaints from U.S. consumers that Toyota failed to disclose to the government when it conducted the recall in Japan in 2004.

Is your claim that Toyota did not give false information to regulators, or that the steering defect did not exist? Or, is the NHTSA simply lying when it says it learned from consumers that Toyota failed to disclose the recall in Japan?

These are all reasons for the fines. It has nothing to do with electrical problems. And by the way, the US government can demand a recall for safety reasons if they have reason to believe a product is unsafe.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

@sfjp330:

Maybe I wasn't clear about the point I was making. When I said GM, Ford, and Chrysler do their best not to make these kinds of mistakes, I was referring to the mistakes that Toyota made in response to the safety issues they were fined for, not the strategic missteps and corporate structural failures of the last 4 decades. The failures of the US automakers are well documented, and I am not attempting to rationalize them.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

@sfjp330:

You're not honestly suggesting the peanuts they will get as a fine will make a dent in the losses the government will take on the auto bailout, are you? Are you familiar with the numbers involved here?

As KevininHawaii so amply pointed out, the fine is a political message. This is not an attempt to somehow recover the money lost on GM. Now that Toyota is the big boy on the block they can expect more of the same. That's what happens when you're the #1 auto maker.

Anyway, you can bet GM, Ford, and Chrysler do their best not to make these kinds of mistakes anymore. The loss of goodwill, the fines, the lawsuits -- these all put a big dent in the bottom line. That's why these makers have so many recalls. It's like a reflexive reaction to problems for them now. Toyota is going through some growing pains and they are bumping up against a system and a public that has lived with 3 notorious car makers for decades.

@YuriOtani:

I am not a sheep and will not buy sodai gomi American cars because of the injustice done to Toyota by the US government.

I'm certain you would never buy an American car regardless, Yuri.

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Posted in: Toyota to pay record $32.4 mil in extra fines to U.S. gov't See in context

I'm going to have play the party-pooper here.

The fines are related to failing to notify the NTSB and otherwise generally dragging their feet or mounting ineffective responses to known safety issues. They may or may not have done this on purpose, but they were slow to react to the problem. It's no surprise the US government slapped them with a big fine after a highly publicized auto accident involving an entire family. The US government needed to show the American public that they took action against those who were responsible. Toyota executives could have anticipated this.

Protectionism in disguise and Japan bashing? Oh, please. If the US government wants to "punish" or "bash" Japan for competing with US auto makers they have many more effective tools at their disposal, and they've had literally decades to do it.

Anyway, if the Japanese want to find bashers or protectionists they not need look any further than their own shores. Plenty to go around on that island. Recall the US beef ban? Perhaps the US should respond in a similar fashion by banning all Japanese cars from the country until every one of them are individually certified as being free from these defects?

Toyota fumbled the response to these problems and they are paying the price. Nobody is forcing them to do business in the US: if they don't like that country's rules or agree with the way they are implemented, they can go elsewhere to sell their products. They can be thankful the US government hasn't taken a page out of the Japanese government playbook and imposed even more onerous safety certification requirements on them.

I'm sure Toyota will want to pay the fine and move on as quickly as possible -- messy, and very public, investigations and trials are bad PR.

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Posted in: U.S. walks out on Ahmadinejad U.N. speech after 9/11 remark See in context

we're seeing many of the same people who brought into the jacked up claims about Saddam's WMD buying into the as yet unfounded claims that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

I've read each of the above posts, and I don't think any of them indicate that someone has bought into the idea that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. I think that some of them strongly suspect Iran has a program, but as you mention, there currently is no solid evidence made available to the public of the existence of such.

However, the problem is the IAEA and permanent members of the Security Council and their allies do not trust Iran or Ahmadinejad and cannot confirm that the nuclear program, which as with most large scale nuclear programs can be weaponized fairly easily, is peaceful. Iran is exacerbating the problem by failing to cooperate with the IAEA.

Iran gives the distinct impression it is hiding something about its nuclear program. No one trusts the regime given its history or the behavior and words of its representatives. It's no surprise, really.

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Posted in: 3 firemen arrested for alleged gang rape of woman See in context

I read the link, and the only bubble bursting here is the one surrounding the argument that women initiate the violence in a rape situation 80% of the time.

The site you linked to is "No Nonsense Self-Defense," and it specializes in selling self-defense books and assorted paraphanalia. I think the basic jist of the argument is something like, "We think 80% of women initiate the violence during rape, so why not make that violence count!?"

The 80% figure you are referring to is an estimate provided by Mr. Marc 'Animal' MacYoung and his wife Dianna in allegedly hundreds of interviews that they've conducted personally. To their credit, they do seem like they sincerely want to help people in the area of self defense as they offer a lot of information on their site.

However, this finding is simply not legitimate. I would question not only their research methods (which they fail to disclose) but also their motivation as they are selling self defense products on the very same site where "fact" about woman-initiated violence in rape is posted. In the future, if you are going to make a claim that is so intuitively wrong, please quote from a more reliable source. Thanks.

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Posted in: Big night for tea party: O'Donnell wins Delaware See in context

@TimRussert:

Hehe. I think Joe Biden is out of his depth too, for what it's worth.

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Posted in: Big night for tea party: O'Donnell wins Delaware See in context

@vulcan:

they won't go left, no worry there. and the democrats have sickened the moderate republicans soo much they are pushing them to the right.

That may be true, but couldn't it just be anti-incumbent sentiment? I mean, right now the only party with a lower approval rating in Congress than the Dems is the Republicans. Or have all the moderates gone Tea Party?

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Posted in: Big night for tea party: O'Donnell wins Delaware See in context

O'Donnell is out of her depth. I think Delaware Republican Party chairman Tom Ross, when speaking of O'Donnell, put it well: "I could buy a parrot and train it to say, ‘tax cuts,’ but at the end of the day, it’s still a parrot, not a conservative."

I think we are in fact seeing the GOP splitting in two in front of our very eyes. It's too bad, too. When the GOP was the party of the big tent they gave voters a reasonable alternative. Now the Tea Party is dragging it to the extreme right. That's going to leave a big chunk of moderates in the middle.

Which party will represent their interests now? I think the Dems are well positioned pick up moderate votes if they continue to advance a moderate policy platform. After all, they don't have the Tea Party to contend with. The GOP not so much. They can't move to the middle without losing the Tea Party vote.

For the immediate election the GOP might be able to capitalize on anti-incumbent sentiment stemming from the recession and high unemployment, but in the longer term I think the GOP is hosed: if they go right they will lose the moderate middle, and if they go left they'll lose the extreme right. I don't think Ronald Reagan would recognize today's GOP.

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Posted in: Dems to voters: You may hate us, but GOP is worse See in context

Taxing these people will mean cutbacks on hiring,

Cutbacks in hiring are a definite possibility. You have to wonder by how much, though...

since most of them are small business owners

Well, only if your definition of "most" is the 2 or 3 percent or so of tax filers that report small business income that are actually affected by the tax increase. Are you familiar with the findings of the Joint Committee on Taxation?

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Posted in: Seattle cartoonist goes into hiding on FBI advice See in context

This cartoonist knew what she was doing when she did her "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day" piece, and now she is facing the consequences.

Freedom of speech does not exist in a vacuum. Freedom of speech comes with consequences. The same is true for all of the freedoms US citizens enjoy under the US Constitution.

If she had donned a t-shirt with racist epithets or ethnic slurs and spent a few days in the worst parts of town she would have learned a similar lesson about freedom of speech and its consequences.

When she is shot, stabbed, mugged, beaten, or killed, do you think anyone would be talking about her free speech rights? No, you can bet people would be saying things like "Gee, that was pretty stupid for her to wear that t-shirt and go to that part of town" or "Wow, she was really asking for it."

Does that mean everyone in that neighborhood is a criminal? Of course not. Most of the people are not the problem. It only takes one gang of thugs to mete out the punishment.

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Posted in: Senate Republicans say they'll block tax increase See in context

Oh yeah, and as far as the passionate argument made earlier about the new tax changes crushing small businesses goes, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 3% of filers with business profits would actually face higher taxes under the Obama administration's plan to let the tax cuts expire.

3% is not exactly a majority of small businesses, I'd say.

Almost enough to filibuster a bill in the Senate, though. WSY Mitch McConnell?

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Posted in: Senate Republicans say they'll block tax increase See in context

@Molenir:

Thats only true if you buy into Keynsian economic theory. Which sadly has been thoroughly discredited.

Be careful: setting up a strawman and knocking it down like that hurts your credibility and weakens your argument. Junnama didn't mention circa 1930s Keynesian economics, you did.

Anyway, the claim that Keynesian economics has been "thoroughly discredited" is factually incorrect. As with many economic theories, Keynesian economic principles have been refined and improved over the years, and Keynesian theories are very much alive. Many governments and economists are now revisiting Keynes' ideas with renewed interest as a result of the financial crisis and recession.

Some examples of Keynesian principles where opinion is changing in favor of Keynes include:

The use of fiscal stimulus Avoiding large trade deficits and surpluses The use of capital controls to prevent large, international, speculative capital movements Skepticism about the overuse of mathematical models in academics and decision making (think financial crisis).

Keynes talked about a lot more than just fiscal stimulus, and his ideas are still very useful. They are far from "thoroughly discredited." It appears it's not just the US, Great Britain, and China that have a renewed interest in Keynes. Many other countries are climbing aboard as well. Here is a wikipedia link for you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80%932009_Keynesian_resurgence#Displacement_by_monetarism_and_New_Classical_economics:_1979.E2.80.931984

If however you can look at reality, and see that mild reductions in government expenditures, scaling government back so that it is no longer in the red, overwhelms the potential downsides

In order to cut taxes you also have to cut spending, and I for one can respect and appreciate this perfectly reasonable conservative position. A lot of other credible conservatives think this way, too (too bad the Republicans under the Bush Administration didn't).

The corollary to that is if you don't cut spending you can't cut taxes either, unless you agree with Vice President Cheney that deficits don't matter.

The US is spending money on entitlements, fiscal stimulus, corporate bailouts, and two wars faster than a drunken sailor. Blame is irrelevant -- the deficit is not a political debate, but an undeniable fact about the country's finances. Some of the very same people who say "Tax Cuts!" are also saying "Hands off my Medicare!" even as health care costs are spiraling out of control, just as some people who say "stick it to the rich!" pay little or no taxes, want something for nothing, and won't give up their entitlements without a fight.

It doesn't matter: money is going out a lot faster than it's coming in.

Fact is, the US will have to raise taxes, reduce entitlements, AND get out of the wars it finds itself in. It won't do this to reduce unemployment or spur economic growth, mind you. It will do it to remain solvent. A higher tax on the rich is a good, and relatively painless, place to start.

Just as corporations try to charge as much as the market will bear to maximize profit, the US will distribute the tax burden among those most able to afford it.

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Posted in: Obama won't yield on tax hike for wealthiest See in context

@Molenir:

You are right about those historical brackets. However you failed to note, that at the time, there were tons of loopholes, that allowed people to may hardly anything. They didn't close those loopholes until after they brought those tax brackets down.

OK, so according to these historical tax rates, high taxes really began around 1918 (about 77% marginal tax rate for the top brackets), and pretty much stayed above 70% until 1981, when they dropped to 50% and were subsequently lowered again in 1986.

If there were tons of loopholes that allowed people to pay hardly anything, who better to find and exploit them than the rich? After all, they could afford the accountants and attorneys to get out of paying taxes. The rich were notorious for doing just this sort of thing.

So apparently, from about 1918 to 1981, the rich paid almost no taxes, right? I guess it's hardly any wonder they are rich, or that they can stay that way.

It seems to me if I was a non-rich US citizen I would want to nail the rich for all the taxes I could get them for, and who could blame me? Between the recent bailouts and the way they dodged taxes for most of the history of income tax, I might be inclined to feel it's time for them to really start feeling the pinch.

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Posted in: Obama won't yield on tax hike for wealthiest See in context

@Molenir:

At what point, are the rich paying their "fair share"? When is it enough?

To give a perspective on a possible answer to that question, I took a look at historical tax rates in the US. The highest tax brackets for selected years follows:

World War II: The marginal tax rate was 81% on $5,000,000 or more in 1941, 88% on $200,000 or more in 1942 and 1943, and 94% on 200,000 or more in 1944 and 1945.

The Korean War: About 91% on 200,000 or more from 1950-1953

The Vietnam War: The marginal tax rate was 91% on 200,000 or more at the beginning of the war in 1955, and 70% on 200,000 or more when the war ended in 1975.

Wow! Scary stuff! These are the brackets on the very highest incomes, and they are pretty high rates! I think it does show that historically the US is no stranger to high taxes.

I'm not saying these are "fair" rates, but it does show what is possible.

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Posted in: Obama won't yield on tax hike for wealthiest See in context

@TimRussert:

Income distribution is associated with the perceived "fairness" of a society, and some mischievous types can use the anger created by perceived unfairness to start revolutions and otherwise cause lots of trouble.

This includes the French Revolution as mentioned above, I believe the Bolsheviks fall into this category, peasant revolts in Europe, popular uprisings in the Americas.

There are some exceptions, but it seems the very poorest and most unstable countries also have the worst income distributions, where income is distributed at all. I'm not saying income distribution caused them to be poor, but it might be something to worry about when your country starts heading that way.

Whether or not one thinks the wealthy should redistribute their income, the exploitation of anger caused by perceived unfairness may result in problems for the wealthy later on.

These are some examples of what I was talking about.

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Posted in: Obama won't yield on tax hike for wealthiest See in context

Unfortunately history is not on the side of those who think the wealthy have no obligation to redistribute their wealth to those worse off, regardless whether you think it's right or wrong. Income distribution in the US is skewed more now towards the wealthy than at any time since just before the Great Depression, the US has the highest income inequality in the rich world, and the inequality is only expected to increase. The precedent for this trend is not encouraging.

If it keeps going this way, I think the US will either become a banana republic or the less well off will take from the rich.

Which reminds me, can someone please show me where it says in the US constitution that the US is a capitalist country, or the part where it says capitalism trumps majority rule? I seem to remember something about representative democracy, but not the part about capitalism.

If the population of the US decides against becoming a banana republic, and the less well off outnumber the rich (which they still do by a comfortable margin the last time I checked), then it seems to me they can use their voting power to redistribute the wealth of the rich and there isn't a whole lot the rich can do about it, except maybe leave the country and take their money with them. It doesn't have anything to do with whether income redistribution is wrong or right, it has to do with what the majority wants to do. That's the American way.

The only question is, how long will it be before the wealthy start redistributing their wealth, and how will actually happen? At the point of a gun, or the stroke of a pen?

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Posted in: Pressure builds on Florida pastor who wants to burn Quran on Sept 11 See in context

tkoind2:

The clash of cultures argument is often so absurd.

Agreed. Enough people seem not to be aware of this that it works for them. They still see their own religions as true and others as corrupt.

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Posted in: Pressure builds on Florida pastor who wants to burn Quran on Sept 11 See in context

Burning the Koran probably won't result in "imminent lawless action," but a reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking it would. This is especially true since the kinds of people most likely to respond in violent and upredictable ways are the ones most incited by the symbolism of this act.

I like what LFRAgain and Molenir said about freedom of speech and responsibility:

LFRAgain:

If I had to distill my stance on rights into one sentence, I'd say that with enjoying one's rights comes an equal dose of the responsible exercise thereof. Freedom solely for the sake of freedom, without responsible and mature restraint where called for, isn’t liberty. It’s anarchy. Terry Jones isn’t behaving responsibly.

Molenir:

However, doesn't matter where you live, freedom of speech doesn't necessarily mean freedom from consequences.

The way I see it, Mr. Jones is not putting US soldiers in Afghanistan in any more danger than they already are, but time and again these terrorists have demonstrated they will not hesitate to strike at any vulnerable soft target, including women and children, anywhere in the world without regard to consequences.

So I would say he is endangering the lives of anyone who might be a target of these terrorists, not just US soldiers overseas, and not just in the United States.

It would be nice to see this man of the cloth brought up on manslaughter charges if his little stunt causes some fanatical islamic militant to blow up a couple of Christian kids in Spain or something in retaliation.

The law in the US that protects Mr. Jones is a Supreme Court interpretation of the free speech clause of the US Constitution dating back to 1969. I think this interpretation leans too much towards 'free' and not enough towards 'responsibility'. It allows Mr. Jones to enjoy his freedom of speech while letting some other hapless victim take responsibility for it. A lot has happened since 1969. Perhaps this incident would be a good opportunity for the Supreme Court to reexamine the issue.

OssanAmerica brought up a good point as well:

More importantly we do have a number of countries that are allied with us, to varying degrees which are muslim nations. Nothing is gained from pissing them off either, it hinders our agenda.

If you believe that militant islamic extremists have as one of their goals the portrayal of the conflict in the Middle East as a clash between cultures and/or civilizations, not between the modern world and religious fanatics bent on taking us back to the 6th century, then you realize Terry is playing right into the hands of the very people he condemns: the burning of the Koran symbolizes the clash of cultures that the fanatics hope will mobilize the many diverse Muslim communities and countries around the globe against their enemies.

Mr. Jones will hand that to them on a silver platter.

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@susano:

I see. The people who disagree with you have lost control of their minds and their senses?

Or are we just plain stupid/liars as sabiwabi suggests?

Well, I guess the discussion is over, then.

Moderator, I suggest we rename this discussion topic. Instead of "Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11," maybe we should just call it "Do you believe you are a stupid liar, or that you've lost control of your mind and senses?"

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@sabiwabi:

Interesting that after 301 posts, the only evidence brought up that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks is that a few alleged members admitted apparently confessed. Compare that with all the holes in the official version that I and others brought up and

What I find interesting is how you attempt obfuscate the truth by blurring the distinction between whether Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 and whether the WTC was destroyed according to the official version of events.

You're attempting to tie the lack of evidence that Bin Laden was directly involved (ie: flying the airplanes himself vs. conspiring with others to do it), which by the way does not exclude Al Qaeda from committing the crime, to the accuracy of the findings of the 9/11 investigation into the collapse of the WTC, seemingly in hopes that somehow the lack of evidence in one will transfer to the other in an effort to bring down both.

The "holes" you refer to are a mishmash of speculation, opinion, observations, and misquotes that some conspiracy theorists have made in these posts, some of which were just completely wrong, as in factually incorrect, and others of which were either debunked or weren't significant enough to question the official version.

The official version of the events of 9/11, while not perfect, is still the best explanation for what happened.

you'd have to question the intelligence or sincerity of those who still claim to believe the official version.

So the people who don't agree with you are either lying or stupid?

I have only one thing to say to that, sabiwabi: sticks and stones may break my bones...

I think you know the rest.

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@SamuraiBlue:

That's correct, I'm not a pilot. As I said, I was just speculating.

The 20% success rate of a kamikaze pilot maneuver refers to the success rate of kamikaze pilots during WWII. Most reports put that at about 20%. You don't have to be a pilot to get that information.

As I mentioned previously, I am speculating what kind of maneuver I would try if I only had one chance of getting it right.

I really don't know for sure what would be the best thing to do, do you?

Should I try a kamikaze maneuver, which has about a 20% success rate, and which I may have never trained on before so as not to raise the suspicion of my trainers?

Or, would I try something more akin to steady level flight, which I did train for, and which has a much higher success rate, especially in a high stress situation like a hijacking?

I think I would go for the steady, level fight. That way, I might even have a chance of coming around for a second pass If I missed the first time. Kamikaze maneuver, not so much.

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@SamuraiBlue:

I do not understand why you are so frantic in trying to defend the official report that you completely lose touch of common sense.

Frantic? I guess that's one word you could use. I prefer the term persistent: that's the one my friends and co-workers use -- it's a useful quality for someone in my line of work. Frantic implies a kind of desperation that I just don't think is there. I'm more like a stubborn pain in the arse.

For what it's worth, it makes it easier that I don't feel I've lost touch with common sense. I suspect the posters espousing conspiracy theories feel the same way ;)

Common sense tells me I can't accurately predict what an adrenaline-pumped terrorist would have done or been able to do in the cockpit of a real jet aircraft in the middle of a hijacking. You have to admit, that's not exactly like flying a flight simulator on your home PC, right? Have you ever piloted a passenger airliner in the middle of a hijacking?

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to stop certain conspiracy theorists from speculating about just such a thing.

I'm just wondering, and mind you this is pure speculation on my part because I am definitely not a pilot, if I was a terrorist hijacking an airplane, and let's say I only had one chance of hitting a building, what maneuver would I choose, assuming I could choose a maneuver at all? Would it be a kamikaze maneuver with a 20% chance of success? Or would it be something more similar to a landing maneuver, which I'm happy to report, works quite a lot?

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@SamuraiBlue:

One of the biggest question concerning the Pentagon crash is why did the perpetrator with limited piloting skill chose to slow the plane down and level off at ground level and strike into the side of the building when it would have been more easier causing more destruction by simply nose diving the plane into the building like a Kamikaze attack.

Perhaps because he had limited piloting skill?

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Posted in: Do you believe that Al-Qaida was responsible for the events of 9/11 See in context

@timtak:

You are good at pointing out my errors.

Sorry, mate. I would have had to point it out eventually as the other conspiracy theorists would have been all over the idea that NIST didn't even believe their own findings. That would have been a tough one to explain without mentioning the misquote.

It seems that they have a working model (computer simulation) for how the fires could have caused the structural damage. They then say that they do not believe thermite was the cause. They do not say why they do not believe it.

I admit I was not a member of the NIST team, so I do not know exactly what they meant by what they said, other than "NIST does not believe that thermite was used to fail any columns in WTC 7." However, if you read their findings, you might be able to speculate why they said what they said.

So the NIST report explains the collapse for you?

Yes.

They primarily put it down to the fire, and particularly that the sprinkler system did not work.

Well, no, I wouldn't say they primarily put it down to the fire, although they mention fire was definitely a factor. They also note that the fact the sprinkler system wasn't working was a factor. I quoted some parts of the NIST findings in previous posts. Take a look.

From the NIST WTC findings one can see that it was more than fire or the sprinkler system that brought the building down. The design and construction of the building were integral to WTC 7 collapsing the way it did. It's a very interesting, albeit tragic read.

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