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SVANDUSEN's Comments

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U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 22:20:32 in Travel

“What if I was starting a conversation.”

Joseph Glackin on Jan 3, 2014 at 23:49:23

“I get the same thing.”
U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 21:15:18 in Travel

“That's good advice, thank you. The problem I have is that, all too often, my comment simply disappears without any notification whatever.”

Joseph Glackin on Jan 3, 2014 at 21:39:13

“Look for a VERY small line under the comment you were responding to:

This comment deleted.”
U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

U.S. Customs Destroys Musician's Handmade Instruments

Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 20:15:11 in Travel

“I am finding the same to be true myself. It was bad enough under the old system but now it is becoming ridiculous. Furthermore, it is impossible to determine what, if any, point of the supposed criteria was violated in making the decision to delete a comment nor, apparently is there any recourse.”

Joseph Glackin on Jan 3, 2014 at 20:55:42

“I have taken to saving my comment before submitting it. Then, when I get an immediate "comment deleted", I can pull it back up and see if I can divine what my sins were.”
P.J. O'Rourke: Boomers 'Improved Everything When We Took Over'

P.J. O'Rourke: Boomers 'Improved Everything When We Took Over'

Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 17:25:41 in Fifty

“Mr. O'Rourke is probably the only "conservative" commentator I feel is worth paying any attention to. Most conservatives probably wouldn't even consider him a conservative at all. He sees issues through a lense that gives everything a seriously ironic twist and expresses his views in a way that is devoid of the pedantry and visceral meanness spewed forth by virtually all other conservative spokespeople. He compels one to step back and go, "hmmm . . . I'll actually have to think about that a bit." Much of the time he is spot on.

He is especially spot on when speaking about our age group (I refuse to apply the term 'generation' to general populations. It should only be applied to the genealogies of families). We were defined, from birth, as a criminal element by our parents and their elders and are deemed to be so by far too many of our children and grandchildren.

Yes, we fumbled, we stumbled, we spun our wheels, and we've taken a few casualties; may they RIP, but we still got the ball a hell of a long way down the field. Those who actually 'got it' advanced the cause of individual freedom and expression in ways that should stand as a rebuke to those who came before and as an example and a challenge to those who are comming after.

Thank you, Mr. O'Rourke!!!”
Rep. Jack Kingston Proposes That Poor Students Sweep Floors In Exchange For Lunch

Rep. Jack Kingston Proposes That Poor Students Sweep Floors In Exchange For Lunch

Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 18:22:02 in Politics

“Oh certainly Congressman Kingston, let us further stigmatise children from low income families by having them so visibly performing menial labor, especially in a facility that is supposed to serve all the children attending school. At the same time, let us be sure to enhance the sense of entitlement in those children who are fortunate enough to come from families who are better off as they observe those less fortunate laboring to serve their needs.
,
When I attended public school, all fifth and sixth graders, who were not disabled, were required to work in the cafeteria, FOR FREE, regardless of their socio-economic status. In middle and high school some students were PAID a very small amount to do the same work. In neither case was the experience, in any way, enobling or teach anything worthwhile about the value of work. Rather it was demeaning, degrading, and stigmatising to those compelled to engage in that labor, whether they were paid or not.

I hope that such practices have been forbidden in schools throughout the country. If not, I hope they soon will be.

The Republicans and other conservatives are increasingly revealing their true natures. Fine,...election day is coming!!!”
Mitch McConnell: Republicans Need To 'Stand Up To' Conservatives 'Giving Conservatism A Bad Name'

Mitch McConnell: Republicans Need To 'Stand Up To' Conservatives 'Giving Conservatism A Bad Name'

Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 21:50:08 in Politics

“I believe it is the Republicans and conservatives who are giving themselves a bad name. Their behavior and rhetoric are even more disgraceful than what we were treated to in the mid-sixties when Barry Goldwater (a genuine statesman by comparison) ran for president and the conservatives dominated the Republican party. The blatant racism and spiritual delusion of the Tea Party and their allies smears and degrades what little intellectual credibility the Republican party has left.

It makes it far too easy for the Democratic party to coast along by emphasizimg conservative extremism rather than composing and championing a truly progressive and sustainability oriented agenda.

Also, it is a completely false to claim that the media and Hollywood are in any way truly liberal or progressive. They are dominated by multi-billion dollar corporations whose interests are fully invested in maintaining the status quo. The few journalists and celebrities who do consistently speak out on behalf progressive causes are to be applauded for their courage and good sense.”
Gore Vidal Underage Sex Hinted At In NYT Profile

Gore Vidal Underage Sex Hinted At In NYT Profile

Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 12:36:56 in Books

“Well said! I could not agree more!”
Gore Vidal Underage Sex Hinted At In NYT Profile

Gore Vidal Underage Sex Hinted At In NYT Profile

Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 12:33:12 in Books

“He should not be called a child either.”
My One (and Only) <i>Duck Dynasty</i> Post

My One (and Only) Duck Dynasty Post

Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 01:06:12 in Entertainment

“Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Thank you, Mr. Piatt.”
Do You Believe? Americans Less Likely to Believe in Historical Accuracy of Christmas Story Than a Decade Ago

Do You Believe? Americans Less Likely to Believe in Historical Accuracy of Christmas Story Than a Decade Ago

Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 19:50:41 in Religion

“I am not at all surprised by these trends. It has always amazed me that so many people, particularly those with rural or farming backgrounds, never seemed to catch on to the fact that, regardless of where you are, lambing season is NEVER in winter. It is always in the spring. Furthermore, under the Julian calendar, the winter solstice fell on December 25. Not only did the Church usurp and co-opt the solstice, it comandeered the celebrations of spring by creating the rather temporaly mobile recognition of Easter.

People are catching on, however (thanks in part to the vast information base available on the internet). There is much more to come. Just wait until they really start digging into the highly probable idea that St. Paul was a Roman intelligence operative.”
We Have a Dumb Religion Problem -- Not a Political Problem

We Have a Dumb Religion Problem -- Not a Political Problem

Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 18:14:55 in Politics

“Great article! It should also be noted that, when the factors of Dominion Theology, Christian Reconstructionism, and a former president (George W. Bush) fundraising for the purpose of converting Jews in order to precipitate the Second Coming are taken into account, we have and increasingly dangerous situation on our hands.

The media, including the Huffington Post (who have already done a great deal), need to do more to highlight these issues and investigate their relationship to government policy, foreign and domestic. Secular greed and spiritual folly have done more to embroil us in a global conflict, with no real end in sight, than most people are aware of or want to admit.”
A Progressive Perspective: Why Congress Should Approve the President's Request to Punish the Use of Chemical Weapons

A Progressive Perspective: Why Congress Should Approve the President's Request to Punish the Use of Chemical Weapons

Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 17:48:04 in Politics

“I live in the world where Iraq did, indeed, use chemical weapons against both the Iranians and the Kurds; again, with the complicity of the United States. I live in the world where the primary reason for invading Iraq in 2003 was NOT that they HAD used chemical on Iranians and the Kurds, but that they were stockpiling chemical and other so called "Weapons of Mass Destruction" for FUTURE use against rather vaguely indentified "others". I live in the world where the pretext for the invasion of Iraq was not only that there were stockpiles of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" but that Iraq was a haven for al-Qaeda, and was complicit in the 9/11 attacks on the United States. I also live in the world where it was determined, conclusively, that Iraq had no stockpiles of chemical or other "Weapons of Mass Destruction", that al-Qaeda had NO presence in Iraq until AFTER the overthrow of the Hussein regime, and that Iraq had had NO role whatever in the attacks of 9/11.”
A Progressive Perspective: Why Congress Should Approve the President's Request to Punish the Use of Chemical Weapons

A Progressive Perspective: Why Congress Should Approve the President's Request to Punish the Use of Chemical Weapons

Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 16:55:45 in Politics

“Given that the United States not only stood by but were actually complicit in the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds, it is very difficult for me to find justification for a military action against Syria for essentially the same thing. Granted the use of such weapons should never be permitted or allowed to go unpunished, it is, nevertheless, more than a bit suspect for our nation, regardless of what administration is in office, to take such moral umbrage and threaten such severe and potentially far reaching consequences. Let such action be taken by others, particularly Saudi Arabia, who have a far greater direct interest in the Syrian crisis, who are most certainly heavily involved in manipulating the situation, and who have been provided with more than ample military hardware and training by the United States and our European and Asian allies to take effective action if they so choose.

In short, the United States has little or no moral high ground to stand on regarding this matter. The true motives for engaging in military action, unilateral or otherwise, are shrouded, murky, sinister, and unworthy. Let our actions, for once, be limited to providing humanitarian aid to the devastated population and using what little legitimate influence we may still have to maintain pressure on the al-Assad regime to stand down.”

Katherine Schock on Sep 2, 2013 at 18:06:39

“Please allow me to be your very first fan! Couldn't agree more with the excellent response you have written. Since the U.S. has historically not only used these weapons, and also provided them to other nations for their use, it is highly hypocritical for our government to pretend that we are so humane and moral, that this offends our sensibilities...do as we say, not as we do is the credo of the U.S.! We need to clean the blood of innocents off our hands first, then we might regain some moral authority...I am not holding my breath! NO to intervention in Syria!”

Allene Stucki on Sep 2, 2013 at 17:20:24

“What world do you live in? The chief reason cited for invading Iraq was the use of "weapons of mass destruction" (gas) on the Iranians and the Kurds, was it not? That and the fear, misguided as it was, that he had even worse ones.”
Europe's Incomplete One-Year Anniversary

Europe's Incomplete One-Year Anniversary

Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 06:43:50 in Business

“The arguments against central banking really belong in the realm of 'flat earth'. We ard now in a world of global scope, whether we like it Mohamed A. El-Erian's comments particularlly in reference to the following paragraghs:

In Europe, national governments still differ on the causes of the region's malaise; and if you cannot agree on history -- or at least put it aside -- it is hard to press forward with a unified and
credible vision that gets sufficient buy-in from naturally-skeptical citizens.

In the United States, a polarized Congress has undermined virtually every policy step proposed by the Obama Administration to bring the economy closer to escape velocity for economic growth and job creation; and Capitol Hill has done so regardless of merit and need. As such, the Federal Reserve has felt compelled to venture deeper and deeper into experimental policies, raising concerns about collateral costs and unintended consequences.

are very pertinent.

Until the (global)) public realizes the manner in which Mega-corporate intrests have co-opted even the most democratic governments, and the enforcement agencies that these governments have avaailable to protect our interests, we will be at the mercy of human individuals who essentially regard us as of no value except as initiators of transactions.”
Ann Romney's Convention Speech May Not Air On Broadcast Networks

Ann Romney's Convention Speech May Not Air On Broadcast Networks

Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 18:58:20 in Media

“E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-w-w-w-w!!!!”
huffingtonpost entry

And a Child Shall Lead Them

Commented Mar 5, 2009 at 03:06:17 in Politics

“Let me say, first of all, that Jonathan Krohn is UTTERLY WRONG to pledge his intellectual, moral, emotional, and spiritual allegiance to conservatism. Conservatism is an outlook that was, is, and ever shall be intellectualy impoverished, morally bankrupt, and emotionally and spiritually bereft.

Nevertheless, dismissing someones thinking and articulation as 'precocious' or condes-cending to them because of their chronological age is really beneath contempt. Particularly when it's done by people who are barely literate or arti-culate themselves. The sad fact is that the young are out-thinking, out-expres-sing, and out-doing most of the so-called adults who fancy themselves to be the embodiment of 'mature thinking' and 'responsible action'. Mr. Krohn's thinking is, at least, literate, articulate, and, above all, clear and organized. It is unfortunate that, for the moment, he is aligned with the philosophy of reactionaryism and repression. It is also unfortunate that he is being exploited so blatantly by a movement and a political party that have elevated tokenism to the status of 'plank in the platform'.

Let us hope that, in a few years, 'life experience' will have served to remove his head from his a$$. Let us also hope that condescension and dismissal will not have embittered him or stifled his intellectual curiosity and willingness to arti-culate his views.”

gloriousbeing on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:44:04

“I'm sorry, but it is funny to me that you actually think Jonathan Krohn, in any way, is literate, articulate, and, above all, clear and organized." He is regurgitating what his parents have home schooled him on. He isn't "thinking" at all!!!!”
huffingtonpost entry

Mercenary King Erik Prince Resigns as Blackwater CEO

Commented Mar 2, 2009 at 17:50:56 in Politics

“Lest we forget---the SS was a PRIVATE army. It was an offshoot of the NAZI party, a POLITICAL organization. It was ATTACHED TO but never INCORPORATED INTO the Wehrmacht. It was, however, under the COMMAND of the Wehrmacht and, at least nominally, under its CONTROL. It was the acceptance of this arrangement and the attendant responsiblity for for actions carried out that formed a portion of the charges brought against Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. Keitel was charged, tried, convicted, and executed for war crimes. Other Wermacht officers were also charged, tried, convicted, and punished for war crimes involving actions committed independently and IN COOPERATION WITH units of the SS. SS personnel were also charged, tried, convicted, and punished for war crimes.

Blackwater personnel were and still are ATTACHED TO and function in COOPERATION WITH units of the regular armed forces and intelligence agencies in Iraq and Afganistan. Their role in combat operations, interrogations, and other intelligence gathering is known and documented. The involvement of Blackwater personnel in instances of prisoner abuse and the wrongful death of civilians is also known and documented.

If it is ever possible to obtain a legal definition of any of these acts as war crimes, it will be absolutely appropriate to indict, charge, and bring to trial in international court, not only rank and file employees of Blackwater but its EXECUTIVE OFFICERS as well.

Let us hope that this is done!!!”

MANK on Mar 2, 2009 at 18:41:28

“Do I remember that Prince is a Christian Right member in good standing?”
Republican Elephant Gives Birth to Healthy Baby Boy

Republican Elephant Gives Birth to Healthy Baby Boy

Commented Mar 1, 2009 at 21:51:45 in Politics

“Let me say, first of all, that Jonathan Krohn is UTTERLY WRONG to pledge his intellectual, moral, emotional, and spiritual allegiance to conservatism. Conservatism is an outlook that was, is, and ever shall be intellectualy impoverished, morally bankrupt, and emotionally and spiritually bereft.

Nevertheless, dismissing someones thinking and articulation as 'precocious' or condes-cending to them because of their chronological age is really beneath contempt. Particularly when it's done by people who are barely literate or articulate themselves. The sad fact is that the young are out-thinking, out-expressing, and out-doing most of the so-called adults who fancy themselves to be the embodiment of 'mature thinking' and 'responsible action'. Mr. Krohn's thinking is, at least, literate, articulate, and, above all, clear and organized. It is unfortunate that, for the moment, he is aligned with the philosophy of reactionaryism and repression. It is also unfortunate that he is being exploited so blatantly by a movement and a political party that have elevated tokenism to the status of 'plank in the platform'.

Let us hope that, in a few years, 'life experience' will have served to remove his head from his a$$. Let us also hope that condescension and dismissal will not have embittered him or stifled his intellectual curiosity and willingness to articulate his views.”

Phocus on Mar 2, 2009 at 07:24:59

“Svandusen...I tend to agree somewhat with your thoughts. But only to this point. If you are under 25 years of age and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you are over 25 and not a conservative, you have no brain.”

alkamm on Mar 1, 2009 at 23:52:22

“As Oscar Wilde said, "I'm not young enough to know everything."”
Paul Harvey Dies Aged 90

Paul Harvey Dies Aged 90

Commented Feb 28, 2009 at 23:45:43 in Media

“I listened to Paul Harvey, off and on, for decades, even when I didn't agree with him about anything. He had a way of making the most disagreeable opinions sound agreeable.

I remember his 1970 broadcast when he flipped over on the Viet Nam war. What a shocker!!! It's too bad some of the decision makers of the time didn't pay more heed.

I also remember another of his signature lines. "and here's a potpourri from page two."

He and his wife truly were two of the great pioneers of broadcast news and commentary. I guess someone else will just have to tell us "the r-r-rest of the story!"”
Dobson Resigns As Chairman Of Focus On The Family

Dobson Resigns As Chairman Of Focus On The Family

Commented Feb 27, 2009 at 17:43:58 in Politics

“Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:

1. Pressure Congress to institute measures that will guarantee the independence of the internet from corporate and government control.

2. Pressure Congress to investigate the connections between religious organizations and far-right political groups, lobbyists, PACs, and all major political parties to determine what, if any, influence was brought to bare on the formulation of foreign policy vis-a vis the Middle East, Iraq, and Afganistan and economic policy, domestic and global, during past and present administrations.

3. Pressure Congress to re-evaluate and redefine tax exempt activities conducted by ALL religious organizations with regard to political issues.

4. Monitor the activities of ALL levels of government with regard to the maintenance of separation of church and state and confront and challenge ALL efforts to dilute that separation.

5. Support the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center to monitor the activities of far-right religious and secular groups with regard to civil rights and to pursue legal recourse in instances of abuse.

6. Use the abundant resources of the internet, libraries, bookstores, schools, colleges, and universities to inform and educate ourselves and to formulate reasoned and supportable arguments that will effectively counter the falsehoods promoted by far-right religious organizations.

7. Use the internet and other media resources to communicate with other people of resonant outlook in order to create and reinforce a strong sense of reasoned community.

Simple! Obvious! --- Maybe that's the problem.”
huffingtonpost entry

Why Obama Must Not Work With Republicans

Commented Feb 21, 2009 at 19:24:53 in Politics

“The theocratic philosophy is bankrupting itself. Its principle points are becoming harder to defend in rational discourse before general audiences. While much of the public IS dumbing down, much of the public IS smartening up. This is hopeful. On the other hand, as many fundamentalists perceive their influence over our culture to be slipping away, and themselves to be increasingly marginalized, it is possible, perhaps even likely, that some of the adherents to these views will become desperate to cling to their hold on the mechanisms of power and policy. It is NOT outside the realm of possibility that some will even resort to acts of violence and terrorism.

What can we do? Well (sorry, Bailey Reynolds, but 'ignoring them' is only effective in limited circumstances), we can do the following:

1. Insure that the Internet remains free and open to all and NOT subject to corporate or undue government control.

2. Use the Internet and any other viable resource; libraries, schools, colleges and universities, bookstores, and so forth, to educate and inform ourselves and develop reasoned arguments for our positions, whatever they might be.

3. Exchange our views with our peers to reinforce a sense of broad, reasoned community (commenting on Mr. Schaeffer's article for example).

4. Challenge and confront efforts to impose theocratic control whenever and wherever they occur.

5. Insist that all levels of government maintain the principle of separation between church and state and insure our safety from acts of theocratically inspired violence and terrorism..”
huffingtonpost entry

Why Obama Must Not Work With Republicans

Commented Feb 21, 2009 at 17:58:32 in Politics

“It is gratifying to read the comments that have been posted in response to Mr. Schaeffer's article. Even professed Christians are profoundly disturbed by the antics of some of their crankier co-religionists. It is not enough, however, to merely bemoan the fact, to provide anecdotal testimony of past association and fortunate escape, or express vague hope that one day some of those people will 'see the light'. It is necessary to call for action. We must urge Congress to include investigation of the role that SOME fundamentalist groups and individuals have played in influencing the formulation of government policy as they begin to scrutinize the activities of former members of the George W. Bush administration.

We must urge Congress to:

1. Identify and make public the connections between various lobbyists and PACs with fundamentalist Christian organizations.

2. Identify and make public the connections between those entities and members of Congress
and administration officials, past and present.

3. Establish what, if any, influence fundamentalist Christian organizations have had over the formulation of:

a. Our policy in the Middle East in general.

b. Our policies with regard to Israel and Iraq in particular.

4. Reconsider and redefine the criteria for tax exempt activity on the part of ALL religious organizations with regard to influencing public policy in ANY way.

Some of this information is already available to the public, albeit in often rather arcane form. It must be highlighted, brought sharply into focus, and considered as grounds for possible action!”
huffingtonpost entry

Defending The Reader

Commented Feb 20, 2009 at 19:38:13 in Entertainment

“Obviously YOU missed the point (but then your username suggests that this is not unusual). Frankly, I couldn't care less whether or not some thirty-six year-old woman had sex with a fifteen year-old (at fifteen someone may be an adolescent but is definitely not a child). But that's not the point either. My comment refers, not to the film itself, but to Rod Lurie's review which seems to take exception to the the film's implication that the atrocities were committed by 'ordinary people' and not by bug-eyed slavering monsters who magically boiled up out of a crack in the ground.

It is exactly the ordinariness and 'normalcy' of people like Hanna which makes their actions so horrifying and troublesome. Bug-eyed monsters are expected to act like bug-eyed monsters. We understand that. It is when 'normal people' act like bug-eyed monsters that out understanding is taxed. It is this that we must wrestle with and come to understand.

THAT is the point!

Thank you!”
huffingtonpost entry

Why Obama Must Not Work With Republicans

Commented Feb 20, 2009 at 18:47:38 in Politics

“Thank you, Frank Schaeffer, for seeing the light and speaking out about it. This is a subject I have been monitoring and trying, in my own way, to make people aware of for over a quarter of a century.

This delusional apocalyptic vision dominates the thinking of evangelicals and other funda-mentalist Christians of various denominations. It is also part and parcel (without the Rapture, however) of the doctrine of many white supremacist organizations such as the Aryan Nations Church. The incestuous co-mingling of these groups and their infusion of Republican and conservative politics has manifested itself in our disastrous policies in the Middle East and a global financial crisis.

The press, with rare exceptions, has ignored this phenomenon for far too long and Congress has failed to acknowledge it at all. As the new Democratic majority in Congress presses to investigate the criminality of the Bush administration, let us hope they will follow the threads all the way to this truly dangerous movement.”
huffingtonpost entry

Defending The Reader

Commented Feb 20, 2009 at 14:55:22 in Entertainment

“Rod Lurie's review missed much of the point. While the holocaust was formulated, planned, and set into motion by a cadre of elites, the bulk of the actual 'dirty work' was carried out by very ordinary people, not just strutting peacocks in black uniforms but a vast army of bureaucrats --- little gray men (and women) in little gray suits, sitting at little gray desks, in little gray offices, in little gray buildings, doing little gray things --- for very dark purposes. The 'Einsatzgruppen', who did the majority of the rounding up and killing in the field, were manned by a cross- section of the German population --- including police officers. Daniel J. Goldhagen points out in his book, Hitler's Willing Executioners, that the 'average German' approved of 'eliminationist anti-semitism', was not unaware of what was being done, and, contrary to the mythology, did NOT have to be coerced into participation.

It is not just the highly visible, highly vocal, ranting racist who must be watched for. They often neutralize themselves with their own cartoonishness. It is the person sitting next to us on the bus, standing behind us at the checkout counter, working next to us on the job, worshiping beside us in church, socializing with us in off hours, and yes --- even we ourselves --- who may be capable of such deeds.

Yes, Ms. Weinreich, the point needs to be made again and again!”

AtlasShrugs on Feb 20, 2009 at 17:48:48

“Obviously you missed the point that the film suggests illiteracy is more shameful than the murder of hundreds of innocents. But, hey, we're supposed to appreciate how highbrow this film is because the 36 year-old woman has the 15 year-old boy who she calls "kid" read to her from great books after they have lots of graphic sex. Ah, great literature trumps child molestation, every time.”
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