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Why Many People In The Middle Now Identify With The Left
Liberal Values - Defending Liberty and Enlightened Thought ^ | July 24, 2014 | Ron Chusid

Posted on 07/26/2014 9:00:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

While the country has become more liberal in some ways, the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right, and the Democratic Party has filled in the vacuum in the middle by also moving to the right on many issues. As a consequence, many people who previously considered themselves in the middle are finding that the current views of the left are closer to their views. Thomas Ricks, who wrote Fiasco, and excellent look at the Iraq War, described why he moved to the left at Politico:

Disappointment in the American government over the last 10 years. Our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the first big shocks. I thought that invading Afghanistan was the right response to the 9/11 attacks, but I never expected the U.S. military leadership would be so inept in fighting there and in Iraq, running the wars in ways that made more enemies than were stopped. I believe that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, not only launched on false premises but also strategically foolish in that ultimately it has increased Iran’s power in the Middle East.

Torture. I never expected my country to endorse torture. I know that torture has existed in all wars, but to my knowledge, its use, under the chilling term “enhanced interrogation,” was never official U.S. policy until this century. In fact, until our recent wars, the American military had a proud heritage of handling its prisoners better than most. During the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington reminded his men of the need to “Treat [captives] with humanity, and Let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British army.”

How we fought. I never thought that an American government would employ mercenaries in a war. And yet we did this in Iraq by hiring thousands of armed “security contractors” who in practice were subject neither to local law nor to the American military justice system, and so could and often did treat Iraqis badly. In September 2007, I remember, American officers, who by then understood the need to treat Iraqi civilians well, were outraged when Blackwater employees shot 37 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour Square—the rough equivalent of opening up on the lunch crowd in Dupont Circle. Yet to my knowledge, the U.S. government has not studied how the use of mercenaries poisoned the conduct of the war. Indeed, it gives every indication of planning to operate the same way in the future.

Intelligence officials run amok. I think that American intelligence officials have shown a contempt for the way our democracy is supposed to work in turning a vast and unaccountable apparatus on the citizens it is supposed to be protecting. I remain wary of Edward Snowden’s motivations and connections, yet still am worried by the intrusive surveillance by the National Security Agency he has unveiled. At the very least, in a democracy, we should be able to be informed about the actions that have eroded our privacy but supposedly were taken in our name.

Growing income inequality. I also have been dismayed by the transfer of massive amounts of wealth to the richest people in the country, a policy supported over the last 35 years by successive administrations of both parties. Apparently income redistribution downward is dangerously radical, but redistribution upward is just business as usual. The middle class used at least to get lip service from the rich—“backbone of the country” and such. Now it is often treated like a bunch of saps not aware enough to evade their taxes.

This led to a lengthy discussion at The Moderate Voice, where I also blog. Many of the bloggers and regular commentators there are in a similar position, thinking of themselves as moderates but finding their views are now more in line with the left, especially on social issues. While Ricks didn’t mention social issues, the desire to keep government out of the private lives of individuals has led many people to abandon the Republicans and the conservative movement.

Opposition to the Iraq War and related issues has generally been the defining issue for the formation of the liberal “netroots” and this dominates Ricks’ reasons. Republicans typically use fear and distort Democratic views, such as with the misquotation of Obama as the theme of the last Republican convention, to falsely paint liberals as being for socialism. There are no such economic views listed by Ricks, and the same is typical of many liberals. There is a far greater variation in views on the left than on the right, but the center of gravity has moved rightwards on economic issues. Liberals tend to be more pragmatists and closer to Eisenhower Republicans than anything close to socialist (by its classic meaning).

If the word conservative really meant anything, in many ways today’s liberals are the conservatives who want to preserve our market economy, while eliminating its abuses, while Republicans are the radicals who want to destroy the system and make our economy more like a banana republic. It is the Republicans who are irresponsible fiscally, financing their policies on credit (while Democrats are more likely to include financing for their policies), caring more about tax cuts for the rich as opposed to cutting the deficit, and rigging the system to redistribute wealth from the middle class to the rich. Besides the ethical problems with this, destroying the middle class is horrible for the economy, and in the long run doesn’t even benefit the rich either, unless you want to live in a banana republic. On top of this we have the Republicans engaging in irresponsible action such as shutting down the government and making an issue out of increasing the debt ceiling, resulting in a lowering of the country’s credit rating.

The Affordable Care Act is a good example of how both parties have moved to the right on health care. Obamacare is quite close to Richard Nixon’s health care plan, the GOP counter-proposal to HillaryCare in the 90′s, and Mitt Romney’s plan. Republicans used to push for mandates, exchanges, and recommended high deductible plans tied to medical savings accounts. Once Obama pushed for all of this, as opposed to previous more liberal health care proposals, the Republicans suddenly claimed that everything they supported in the past is socialism and amounts to a government takeover of health care. (Of course part of the Republican opposition is because Obamacare does differ from the old Republican proposals in including regulations to keep insurance companies from ripping off consumers while pushing to increase use of private insurance companies.)

Conservatives are likely to misinterpret the inclusion of concerns about income inequality by Ricks, as well as myself in this post, as indicating support for socialism. Concern about the deleterious effects of the concentration of wealth to our economy is not an exclusively liberal viewpoint–see the works of Kevin Phillips on this. Nor does this mean that socialism is being advocated as the solution.

Nicholas Kristof has an op-ed on income inequality which is worth reviewing:

First, economic inequality has worsened significantly in the United States and some other countries. The richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Oxfam estimates that the richest 85 people in the world own half of all wealth.

The situation might be tolerable if a rising tide were lifting all boats. But it’s lifting mostly the yachts. In 2010, 93 percent of the additional income created in America went to the top 1 percent.

Second, inequality in America is destabilizing. Some inequality is essential to create incentives, but we seem to have reached the point where inequality actually becomes an impediment to economic growth.

Certainly, the nation grew more quickly in periods when we were more equal, including in the golden decades after World War II when growth was strong and inequality actually diminished. Likewise, a major research paper from the International Monetary Fund in April found that more equitable societies tend to enjoy more rapid economic growth.

Indeed, even Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, warns that “too much … has gone to too few” and that inequality in America is now “very destabilizing.”

Inequality causes problems by creating fissures in societies, leaving those at the bottom feeling marginalized or disenfranchised. That has been a classic problem in “banana republic” countries in Latin America, and the United States now has a Gini coefficient (a standard measure of inequality) approaching some traditionally poor and dysfunctional Latin countries.

Third, disparities reflect not just the invisible hand of the market but also manipulation of markets. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote a terrific book two years ago, “The Price of Inequality,” which is a shorter and easier read than Piketty’s book. In it, he notes: “Much of America’s inequality is the result of market distortions, with incentives directed not at creating new wealth but at taking it from others.”

For example, financiers are wealthy partly because they’re highly educated and hardworking — and also because they’ve successfully lobbied for the carried interest tax loophole that lets their pay be taxed at much lower rates than other people’s.

Likewise, if you’re a pharmaceutical executive, one way to create profits is to generate new products. Another is to lobby Congress to bar the government’s Medicare program from bargaining for drug prices. That

Fourth, inequality doesn’t necessarily even benefit the rich as much as we think. At some point, extra incomes don’t go to sate desires but to attempt to buy status through “positional goods” — like the hottest car on the block.

The problem is that there can only be one hottest car on the block. So the lawyer who buys a Porsche is foiled by the C.E.O. who buys a Ferrari, who in turn is foiled by the hedge fund manager who buys a Lamborghini. This arms race leaves these desires unsated; there’s still only one at the top of the heap.

Fifth, progressives probably talk too much about “inequality” and not enough about “opportunity.” Some voters are turned off by tirades about inequality because they say it connotes envy of the rich; there is more consensus on bringing everyone to the same starting line.

Unfortunately, equal opportunity is now a mirage. Indeed, researchers find that there is less economic mobility in America than in class-conscious Europe.

We know some of the tools, including job incentives and better schools, that can reduce this opportunity gap. But the United States is one of the few advanced countries that spends less educating the average poor child than the average rich one. As an escalator of mobility, the American education system is broken.


TOPICS: Issues; Parties; U.S. Congress; U.S. Senate
KEYWORDS: bandwidthwaste; blog; blogpimping; democrats; fakenews; gop; gossip; gossipmongering; leftism; motormouth; personalopinion; ratchetjaw; teaparty
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1 posted on 07/26/2014 9:00:54 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Because they’re idiots?


2 posted on 07/26/2014 9:01:58 PM PDT by madmominct
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The country hasn’t gotten more liberal, the government has. Flyover country is thick with people that would be considered conservative if you only took their value system into account, and not political labels.


3 posted on 07/26/2014 9:03:25 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Because they’ve been lied to as to what the left really wants.


4 posted on 07/26/2014 9:03:25 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

re: while the country has become more liberal in some ways, the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right....

Really? When did that happen? Did we finally get rid of all the RINOs in the party?


5 posted on 07/26/2014 9:03:52 PM PDT by Nevadan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

funny...this smells just like it does when the farmer down the road spread a fresh layer of $#!T on his fields...


6 posted on 07/26/2014 9:04:09 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

ZOT this blog pimp.


7 posted on 07/26/2014 9:04:46 PM PDT by struggle
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To: madmominct

Because they’ve been indoctrinated.


8 posted on 07/26/2014 9:04:58 PM PDT by laplata (Liberals don't get it .... their minds are diseased.)
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To: struggle

And I don’t mean 2nd division, I mean this post.


9 posted on 07/26/2014 9:05:46 PM PDT by struggle
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

the D party has moved Right!????????????????

gee, all that Weed must a whole lot stronger than any of us ever imagined.....


10 posted on 07/26/2014 9:06:18 PM PDT by faithhopecharity ((Brilliant, Profound Tag Line Goes Here, just as soon as I can think of one..))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

And cherry picking a few tortuously worded survey questions does not a trend make.


11 posted on 07/26/2014 9:06:27 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The government is exploding and collapsing. Time is on our side.


12 posted on 07/26/2014 9:07:04 PM PDT by FreeperCell
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Somebody been hittin’ da happy smoke. The “people” who “identify” with the left do so only because they are lowlife, freeloading scumbags who will vote only for those who will give them a free ride.


13 posted on 07/26/2014 9:08:32 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (America is not a refugee camp! It is my home!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Indoctrination.


14 posted on 07/26/2014 9:09:14 PM PDT by laplata (Liberals don't get it .... their minds are diseased.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Really??? Since when does someone's blog posts count as newsworthy around here?

How about we allow the bloggers to get hits on their sites through their own means and not by dragging in curious FReepers?

What's next, we start posting facebook pages and their comments as well as personal blogs?

15 posted on 07/26/2014 9:09:31 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Because they are brainwashed from kindergarten through college that Conservatives and Republicans are evil.

The wonder is that there are any Conservatives at all after decades of this Jedi mind tricking that's been going on.

16 posted on 07/26/2014 9:10:00 PM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He makes some good points, but a society can have freedom OR equality of outcome, NOT BOTH.

In many ways the one is the opposite of the other.

A completely free society in which all runners cross the goal line in the same photo finish?

Doesn’t exist, never will.


17 posted on 07/26/2014 9:10:37 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: FlingWingFlyer

They probably trolled coffee houses in Seattle, Boston, and Berkeley for their statistical sample group.


18 posted on 07/26/2014 9:10:40 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: Nevadan
re: while the country has become more liberal in some ways, the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right....

WTF, mate? The Republican party is only right if you're using the relative measure comparing it to the Democrat party… and even then the difference is essentially/practically nonexistent.

19 posted on 07/26/2014 9:15:39 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

This dude is straight out of Orwell, liberal values equal freedom and enlightened thought. Freedom is slavery, war is peace, blah blah blah..


20 posted on 07/26/2014 9:19:13 PM PDT by Luke21
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To: struggle

This was the unit crest of my battalion at the 2nd Infantry Division. Get it?

21 posted on 07/26/2014 9:21:02 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: Utilizer; humblegunner

Why do we have a “Bloggers & Personal” section if we don’t post threads from blogs?


22 posted on 07/26/2014 9:22:49 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: Utilizer

BTW, people do post Facebook, personal blogs, vanities and tweets here. I did not link and excerpt this post. If you go to the blog, that’s on you. The entire article is right above you.


23 posted on 07/26/2014 9:25:15 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: Luke21
This dude is straight out of Orwell, liberal values equal freedom and enlightened thought. Freedom is slavery, war is peace, blah blah blah..

I'll take that as a complement, as I was striving for that sort of feel in this satire.
(Just like I've had people say that the Tao of Republican Orthodoxy brochure looked too much like a serious/official piece.)

24 posted on 07/26/2014 9:25:36 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I read it to my wife in a robot voice.
It made it funny instead of just naive and juvenile.
25 posted on 07/26/2014 9:26:04 PM PDT by right way right (America has embraced the suck of Freedumb.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What country are they talking about?


26 posted on 07/26/2014 9:26:43 PM PDT by Usagi_yo
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To: Luke21
Sorry, I misread my pings and thought you were replying to this thread.
27 posted on 07/26/2014 9:26:48 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“How we fought”

I have never heard ONE DAMN LIBERAL talk about the way the Taliban and AQI fought in that war. Oh, how dare we treat the Iraqis and Afghans the way we did. Not a single mention of the roadside explosives these ragheads used to blow soldiers to bits. No mention of the savage torture they inflicted on people they captures, like Danny Pearl, who had his head raggedly sliced from his shoulders.

The liberal message to America is simple. Drop dead, we’re siding with the terrorists.


28 posted on 07/26/2014 9:27:10 PM PDT by Viennacon (Barry Obama? No... Barack Hussein Soebarkah.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Liberals tend to be more pragmatists and closer to Eisenhower Republicans than anything close to socialist (by its classic meaning)

This essay is obvious propaganda and garbage written by a Communist pretending to be a moderate (what is a moderate, anyways, but an ignorant fool?), but I would like to mention that this statement is half-true. While liberals do resemble Eisenhower, Eisenhower and liberals are both Socialists.

Eisenhower had a top tax rate of 90% (the largest in America's history, aided and abetted by Congressional Dementocrats), hated the Robert Taft wing of true conservatives, only offered tepid support to Barry Goldwater in 1964, appointed the Communist Earl Warren to SCOTUS (it's debatable if he ever regretted the decision), whined about McCarthy's justified investigations into Communists, refused to repeal the New Deal laws, created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, started Project MKUltra, and completely screwed up the Little Rock Nine incident (ignoring the Tenth Amendment in the process). He's one of the most overrated Presidents, and seeing how a lot of modern-day liberals like Ike should give any reasonable person suspicion.

29 posted on 07/26/2014 9:27:19 PM PDT by Objective Scrutator (All liberals are criminals, and all criminals are liberals)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Was this posted under “humor” ?


30 posted on 07/26/2014 9:28:20 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“more equitable societies tend to enjoy more rapid economic growth.”

North Korea is booming


31 posted on 07/26/2014 9:28:44 PM PDT by Viennacon (Barry Obama? No... Barack Hussein Soebarkah.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well I’m not sure whether there is more of a tendency for Republicans to offshore American businesses.

I don’t believe there is. I think both parties are completely sold out.

But we don’t seem to be taking America’s side.

Just saying.


32 posted on 07/26/2014 9:29:09 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
and the Democratic Party has filled in the vacuum in the middle by also moving to the right on many issues.

I'm struggling to identify any dem movement that isn't pointed hard left. The far left has squeezed out the old southern democrats, Reagan democrats, etc. Moderate dems are rare and hard to find.

33 posted on 07/26/2014 9:30:38 PM PDT by umgud (I couldn't understand why the ball kept getting bigger......... then it hit me.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Unfortunately, equal opportunity is now a mirage.

Listen - these donkeys wouldn't know "equal opportunity" if it bit them repeatedly in the ass!

CA....

34 posted on 07/26/2014 9:31:51 PM PDT by Chances Are (Seems I've found that silly grin again....)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Neither party cares about Americans.


35 posted on 07/26/2014 9:32:17 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
At a guess, so the relevant blog could at least post to a link that most FReepers would not normally peruse such as EEtimes, Process Engineering, CADalytics, or an ARRL-type magazine -things like that.

Personal postings, well they generally start off with informing others straight off that it is a Vanity thread, so you are welcome to click if you wish.

This is almost as bad as posting from the examinerdotcom website that pretends it has actual news, but at the very bottom admits that it relies upon "citizen-reporters" instead of actual news sources.

Some random person's essay(s) and personal opinions on their blog site of choice is not what I think this site is all about -in other words, free advertising for someone.

36 posted on 07/26/2014 9:33:43 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The squeezer-out of this pap is one of the following, a: Nimrod, Poindexter or Horatiohornblower, but I’m not sure which so I’m going with Sinistertard instead.


37 posted on 07/26/2014 9:37:18 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: Utilizer

Well, until the site owner tells me that he’d rather I didn’t post from blogs, I’ll keep doing it if I see something I think most people here might want to read. BTW, I post all kinds of articles from 3D Print.com blog, Design Engineering, etc., although I really don’t know why I’m sitting here and justifying my threads to you.


38 posted on 07/26/2014 9:38:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What the government does in the name of Left or Right, shouldn’t move your own view is what is right or wrong. The guy is an idiot. If he truly believe wat he just wrote, then shouldn’t he be moving to the Right now because of all the things Obama is doing wrong?


39 posted on 07/26/2014 9:40:10 PM PDT by 4rcane
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t think the Dems swung to the right because of Republicans. I think it had more to do with their last convention and the Leftwackadoodles wanting to remove God from their platform and turn their backs on Israel. That shook some Dems up a bit and probably caused a swing to the right as the Bible Belt reacted.


40 posted on 07/26/2014 9:44:33 PM PDT by blueplum
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m sure I speak for many others when I say you don’t have have to justify a thing. You do yeoman work posting stuff here at FR.


41 posted on 07/26/2014 9:45:32 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Here is on assclown of a doctor


42 posted on 07/26/2014 9:47:51 PM PDT by doug from upland (Obama and the leftists - destroying our country one day at a time)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Yeah, well, whatever mate. 3D design and Design Engineering are good sources, but not blogs -and I happen to read Design Engineering often as a matter of fact. I just don't bother to post from sites such as that on general purposes.

At least if one of those was your source, instead of the barely-coherent ramblings of some donger off 'is face I might have found it worth more than just roo-bait.

As it is, unsourced, personal opinion dressed up as somehow newsworthy, and unreferenced -not to mention pointless- besides, I hardly see how that merits any mention whatsoever.

But hey, go on with your earbashing then. I'm out for a shout with a sheila who usually looks pretty good when she throws on a gob of lippy in a bit, and after that you can keep on showin' how your kanga's loose in the top paddock all you want then.

Cheers!

43 posted on 07/26/2014 9:54:09 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Democrats moved to the right? Not so much. The article is flawed, and I believe that Obama’s disapproval rating is proof.


44 posted on 07/26/2014 9:57:06 PM PDT by JSDude1
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The piece is unintentionally interesting. It shows the distortions in the lenses through which the left views the right. The author is obviously a leftist who believes himself to be a centrist. If he isn’t yet willing to call himself a socialist, he’ll get there next week.


45 posted on 07/26/2014 10:01:32 PM PDT by TChad (The Obamacare motto: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Republican Party moved right? No, idiotic writers, the Republican Party is still run by Democrats. We are not moving leftward, we are still right.


46 posted on 07/26/2014 10:08:57 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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To: Utilizer

Throw some shrimps on the barbie, mate! G’day!


47 posted on 07/26/2014 10:11:38 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nothing against you. I just looked at the blog post and wanted to zot it pure out of hate for liberal opinions.


48 posted on 07/26/2014 10:27:59 PM PDT by struggle
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Re: “First, economic inequality has worsened significantly in the United States.”

Yeah, big surprise.

Since the Reagan Amnesty in 1986, we have imported 30 million low skill, low education foreign immigrants.


49 posted on 07/26/2014 10:35:07 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Thanks for posting, Vet.

Knowing what our political opponents are thinking about is ALWAYS important to me.


50 posted on 07/26/2014 10:39:21 PM PDT by zeestephen
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