I had neglected that fact. I need to add some cases to my logic, I think, to include a one party state in which elections continue but in which all other parties are outlawed. This, however, leaves out the People's Republic of China, which has a few minor parties that are related to or clients of the Communist Party of China. It also leaves out the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has moderate political parties, but also engages in the violent suppression of political protest.
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If you mean that the recognition of rights is not universal, I agree. We cannot come to a consensus about what they are. No government protects them perfectly, not even the supposedly free governments of the West. Modern governments keep coming up with superfluous Bills of Rights for travelers or investors or consumers while failing (or refusing) to enforce their essential rights.
If you mean that the recognition creates the right, I could not disagree more. If the rights in question are actual human rights and not privileges of citizenship, they belong to each and every one of us as a consequence of birth and do not depend on the recognition of (or even the existence of) any government. We had our Revolution because the British Crown and Parliament insisted on infringing our inalienable rights. As Americans, we are greatly indebted to the words and deeds of the Englishmen like John Locke who first expressed the ideas upon which our Revolution was founded. Locke mostly addressed the right to property, but the same principles apply to other rights (which are themselves property). The first humans had all their rights to property, to association, and so on, before any government existed. We would still possess them even if every government on earth were to explicitly deny their existence or prohit their exercise.
I puzzle this out as well, from the other side. At what point is it right and just to take up arms? More importantly, what bridge must we Americans cross as a nation before those on the right (such as Tea Party Americans and the NRA) embrace in their hearts the Spirit of 76 they invoked during the Tea Party rallies of 2009 and 2010? For my money, it's time to sling arms and muster on the green if either one of two things happens: the government begins confiscating weapons or if the government suspends elections. The first is prima facie evidence of the intent to oppress. The second is a literal, un-mistakeable repudiation of the consent of the governed from which all governments derive their just powers. A government might stand on shaky, unconstitutional ground long before these twin bridges are crossed. It might, in fact, be so far beyond the bounds of its constitutional authority that it is in effect no government at all, while still maintaining the appearance of representative governance. Under these lesser tyrannies, the citizens are entitled to less drastic forms of resistance and redress. However, many on the right seem unwilling to follow these ideas to their logical conclusions.
I appreciate all the folks who have committed to non-violence and who are striving for a political solution. Civil Wars are by definition terrible events. They should be avoided if at all possible. In order for the violent response to be to valid and righteous, it must be the very last option, after every possible warning to the the would-be tyrant to cease and desist and after every possible attempt at redress by the those in the shadow of the tyrant's boot. For every Committee of Safety, there must be a Committee of Correspondence.
I agree with you that the extra-judicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and that other guy who was him was illegal. It sets a very dangerous precedent. The indefinite detention langauge in the NDAA worries me to no end. Both majority parties (with the endorsement of their supporters, including me before I woke up and smelled the cow-pies) have played fast and loose with the Constitution for a long time, with the result that the Federal Government is tap-dancing on thin ice.
Legislation, or recognition, cannot create rights. Rights are inherent in the person and do not depend on any agreement by others that those rights exist. As such, the UN's Declarations of Rights either state the obvious or demand the impossible. Rights predate and transcend government, to the extent that when governments infringe upon the rights of the individual, the individual is entitled to seek redress comensurate with the severity of the infringement. The transcendance of our rights - including the right of self defense, the right to property, and the right to keep and bear arms - means that the UN's Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons is a steaming pile of crap.
The question we should be asking is which basic rights the use of the internet involves. We have the right to free expression. We have the right to free association. The Internet makes both of these processes easier, but it is by no means a prerequisite for either. We have the right to property, including the property in ourselves, and in the fruits of our labors. As such, we have a right to spend our wages as we see fit, including purchasing tools to ease the exercise of our rights. So, we have a right to buy access to the Internet, if we have the money for it. We have the right to speak freely on the Internet. We have the right to associate through the internet. We have the right to buy presence, to own the boxes, to own the networks, and so on and so forth, if we can swing it.
I think there's a lot to be said for being an American TCK. A TCK's world has more depth and more width than that of your average civilian, who only knows civilian life, American ways, and American weather. I wouldn't trade my upbringing as a milbrat, or my specific childhood experience of Europe, for anything. I hope your and your kids have a blast and that they grow in their understanding of the world. Godspeed and be safe.
I lived for a few years in Germany, courtesy of the Department of the Army, and found it deeply enriching. I hope your family gets to live abroad for a while as well. Your children will be much the better for it, I think, just as I think I am much the better for having lived overseas. Magyar culture is rich and old. The Magyars, along with the Poles, caused the Soviets a lot of problems in the middle of the last century.
I've never fired a Sig516 (or any other Sig), but I imagine it's a hoot to run. I'm not sure I would be able to forgive my parents for naming me for a weapons manufacturer, particularly since a lot of companies' names are the surnames of their founders. It could be really good or really bad, I supposed. "This is my son, Walther" would work a lot better than "This is my daughter, Fabrique National. We call her Fabby or Ricki most of the time."
It seems that WikiLeaks has something to say. Their 'Collateral Murder' gun camera video was heavily edited and enhanced, as anyone who had the chance to watch the complete footage - originally posted here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik] and now blocked due to graphic content. In fairness to YouTube, the propaganda is also now age-blocked [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0]. I have watched both and have come to the conclusion that the WikiLeaks folks have an agenda. This
My wife and I really enjoy gaming on our PS2, but we've also enjoyed PC gaming before. I would have to look at the specs for the PC version to see if our rapidly-aging machines could even play the game. The other reason we're thinking about the XBox360 is so we can play Sacred 2. We liked Sacred, but Sacred2 is just too massive for our desktops. I had to upgrade my old machine just to play Neverwinter Nights and KoToR2. The "new" machine is really my Dad's old machine, and is scarcely more powerful than the old one.
Needed vs desired? That's an interesting consideration. I've started thinking about collecting Walther semi-automatic pistols and even non-competition rifles. I guess getting a Walther in something heavier than
I'd love to expand my arsenal as rapidly as money, safety, and my beloved's comfort level would allow, but barring things like Davidson's Great Gun Giveaway and a random raffle win at a gun show or NRA event, I just don't have the chance to contemplate more than one new gun a year. I would jump the moon if I got an email to the tune of "Guess what? You won! Your new [gun of the month] should arrive at a local FFL dealer soon". The Buckeye Firearms Association (the state-level NRA affiliate in Ohio) is giving away a 12 ga Ithaca Model 37, but there have to be a few hundred thousand other names in the hat besides mine.
Bottom line, I'm letting my wife's preferences guide the next two non-gift gun acquisitions. She has expressed interest in a Charter Arms Pink Lady and a home defense pump shotgun.
I think the answer is 'No'. The Last new game I heard about for PS2 was SW:Force Unleashed. And it is old. But, we couldn't afford the PS2, and didn't really want it anyway.
If I am going to spend most of a grand on a durable good, it won't be a game system. It will be an appliance, a computer, or a firearm.
My wife and I have been catching trailers for this one on several recent Summit Films movies. We both love Lego SWII, Lego Batman, and Lego Indy, though we don't own Lego SWI or Lego Indy 2. We're looking forward to it. Is it going to come out for PS2, or only PS3?
We've been wanting an XBOX360. This might be our reason for finally buying one.
I like your core approach:
"I guess I've been looking for people who either were or are Christians who accept evolution and have found a way to fit it into their world view."
In my case, that means my sister. She got her degrees in Biology from a state school, so she's had to confront this directly. One of her professors floated the idea of NOMA - Non-Overlapping Magisteria - which, on closer inspection just means that you leave your faith at the lab-room door and your science at the church-house door without trying to apply the rules governing to the other. This, however, reduces faith, science, or both to the level of an intellectual accessory. Needless to say, my sister rejected that approach.
I haven't sat down for hours on end to pick my sister's brain, but I know she accepts evolutionary biology as a reality, so I do too. She's really smart, and while our theologies probably diverge on minor points, I have no doubt she believes the same basic things I do. Therefore, I trust her assessment of the situation.
I haven't deeply, deeply studied this, though examining the issue really messed with my head when I was younger. One of the things I learned as I was trying to decide, based on things like Genesis 1&2, if the Bible was reliable (and if my faith was therefore placed in anything real), was that Hebrew is a compact and therefore highly poetic language. It is not suited to the kinds of scientific precision that we Westerners, the intellectual descendants of the Greeks, and particularly Westerners of Germanic extraction, who place an even greater emphasis on having things clearly stated, are likely to prefer. Not all of it is intended to be taken literally.
Mirroring statements in the New Testament, which was composed in Koine Greek and (as I understand it) vernacular Aramaic, can be taken a good deal more literally, because Greek prose in particular isn't really designed for allegory or parables. So, when Paul says in Greek that we live and breathe because God wills it, I believe that is literally true, both physically and spiritually. This is not to say that I equate God with the Strong Force, the Weak Force, or any other Force. In terms of Quantum Mechanics, I understand God as the observer who makes all those innumerable probability waves collapse into our observable universe. He is not, as you've said elsewhere, the God of the Gaps, but the God outside everything but visible through it all.
The core principles for me are that "All Truth is God's Truth"; that the Bible is divinely inspired and has been transmitted to us faithfully in spite of all of Man's faults and is therefore authoritative, even in translation. What it reveals to us is essentially (though not always literally) true and can, with the proper understanding based on context, be reconciled to the world as we discover it through the scientific process. It does not contain everything we would like to know, just everything we need to know to begin to know and trust God. Our understanding of the Bible is likely imperfect, because we in the Body of Christ are imperfect, but the Spirit lives within us to help us understand more completely. Likewise, our scientific knowledge is imperfect, but we can use the scientific process to continue refining (and sometimes dramatically rearranging) what we know about our universe. We're not supposed to give up on either process until we die.
I am happy to be of service. If there is another bit of satire I can ruin by being overly technical, please, just let me know. I will gladly oblige you.
Blackwater was contracted to the State Department, not the DoD.