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Engaging on Philosophy – Interesting, where do you/I fall?

“Ask [Republicans] why the free market will work better than government when in this case the opposite has proven true again and again, and they’ll quickly move back to the level of philosophy, because as on so many issues, it’s much more about values than about the actual effects of policies. I’m sure Republicans aren’t actively pleased about the fact that so many of our people have no coverage, but they don’t care deeply enough about that practical problem to accept a solution that in any way violates their philosophical principles (or helps their political opponents, of course).

Liberals talk in philosophical terms far less often, in part because our philosophy tends to be less inclined toward rhetorically easy black-and-white constructions… After a lot of conversations with fellow lefties in the search for a single summation of what progressivism is, what I came up with was this: We’re all in it together. That’s the fundamental thing that distinguishes liberals from conservatives. Liberals believe we’re all in it together, and conservatives believe (for the most part, anyway) that we’re all on our own and we’re all out for ourselves.”

Engaging on Philosophy – Interesting, where do you/I fall?

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Closing Arguments

Law & Order, Nullification

“"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” Tom Paine wrote that in a pamphlet that helped rally Americans to the cause of liberty in those dark days of December, 1776.

We again face dark days.

Our founding forefathers fashioned a government based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, instead of life, we have a job and sometimes two jobs.

Instead of liberty, we have crushing debt.

And happiness?

We work hard, husbands and wives, ten, 12 hours a day.

We work weekends, and at the end of the week, we have less.

We have less real income, less benefits, less time with our kids.

The American Dream used to be each generation was better off than the previous one.

I mean, are you better off than your parents?

Will your children be better off than you?

We believe that our government has been sold to global corporations that are sucking the blood and the life out of this country.

I mean, it’s all right there in the newspapers what they’re doing.

NAFTA, illegal campaign contributions by foreign businessmen, the sale of foreign policy.

I mean, these people don’t care about us.

They don’t care about Americans.

They, they care about their bottom line.“

(Right, and we don’t? Who’s more at risk for their liberties taken away, their powerful government/businesses taking advantage – Americans or those who don’t have the protection of our institutions and rules and Bill of Rights that we run crying ‘foul’ to?)

Counter:

"This country began as an experiment in freedom.

The foundation of that freedom is equality before the law.

Everyone–whoever they are whatever they may believe–must be equally accountable.

Mr. Christie hopes you will ignore the evidence and nullify the power he says derives from a higher law…

These guys did a great job of memorization.

Too bad they didn’t learn from it.

We all remember that phrase from the Declaration of Independence about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the unalienable rights of everyone.

Notice that "life” comes first.

You can forget everything else about this case if you remember one thing.

These defendants, these conspirators targeted an ordinary citizen, someone just like yourselves– a guy with a job, and in the private sector with bills to pay, and a family to take care of and they took his life.

They took his life!

If it’s okay for them to shoot him it’s okay for them to shoot anyone including any one of you.

Without the law, there can be no freedom. And without justice, there can be no law.“

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

The Arab Spring Has Given Way to a Long, Hot Summer (July 6, 2011)

Looked at more broadly, the stalling of the Arab spring has both revealed and widened the breach between the US and Saudi Arabia. Saudi leaders were alienated by what they saw as the US abandoning the regime in Egypt after three decades of close cooperation. The Americans, for their part, were unhappy with the Saudi decision to intervene militarily in Bahrain. But such independent, uncoordinated policies are now likely to become more frequent, especially if international efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program come up short…

Relations between Israelis and Palestinians are increasingly strained. Israelis are more reluctant than ever to make concessions in light of the disarray on their borders, while the new voice for Arab publics emerging from the upheavals makes it more difficult for Arab governments to compromise. And while terrorist groups had nothing to do with the upheavals, they are in a position to benefit as governments with strong anti-terrorist records are weakened or ousted. Signs of exactly this are popping up in Yemen, and it only a matter of time before they do so in Libya.

Take all this together, and you see a series of developments that are beginning to produce a region that is less tolerant, less prosperous, and less stable that what existed. To be sure, the authoritarian old guard that still dominates much of the Middle East could yet be forced or eased out and replaced with something relatively democratic and open. Unfortunately, the odds now seem against this happening.

What, then, can outsiders do to affect the course of events? The honest answer is not all that much. Interests are greater than influence. There is little in foreign policy more difficult than trying to steer the course of reform in another country…

Yet the most important lessons from the Arab spring are also the simplest. Military intervention should, as a rule, be avoided. It is easier to oust a regime than it is to help put something clearly better in its place. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya all stand as warnings. Islamists who eschew violence should be talked to, not written off.