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May 06, 2011

Peace Activists Rally to Protest bin Laden Killing

POSTED BY SEVEN DAYS FREELANCE REPORTER KEVIN J. KELLEY

Add this one to the “Only in Burlington” file:

Two veteran peace activists called a news conference on Friday to condemn the killing of Osama bin Laden as an act of “murder” on the part of the Obama administration. The shooting of the unarmed Al Qaeda leader constitutes an assassination that violates standards of international justice as well as the founding principles of the United States, declared Burlington attorney Sandy Baird and Peace and Justice Center cofounder Robin Lloyd.

The two women acknowledged that very few Americans will share their view that bin Laden should have been arrested and put on trial rather than being, in Baird's words, “summarily executed.” But it's wrong to sacrifice principle for the sake of popularity, Baird and Lloyd argued.

“We are the only voices that don't seem entirely gleeful about the assassination of Osama bin Laden,” Baird said, likening the reaction to the killing to “crowds cheering as though it were a sports event.” She criticized Vermont's three congressional representatives for praising the action carried out by a U.S. Special Forces Team on May 1.

“These three men are moral beings,” Baird said in reference to senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch. “I'm shocked that they would view this murder as something to celebrate.”

Lloyd also denounced the U.S.-led bombing campaign that recently killed one of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi's sons as well as three of his grandchildren. That attack is “as appalling as the attack on bin Laden,” Lloyd said.

Asked whether the elimination of a top terrorist can be viewed as a positive outcome, Baird suggested that bin Laden's death is unlikely to make any difference in world events or for U.S. foreign policy. She and Lloyd said there's no sign that bin Laden's death will lead President Obama or Congress to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or to reduce Pentagon spending, which, Baird said, is the main cause of the country's deficit.

Peace and Justice Center program manager Anna Guyton, who joined Baird and Lloyd at the news conference at CCTV's office on North Winooski Avenue, suggested that bin Laden's killing will likely incite violence, not deter it. “Terror breeds terror,” Guyton warned.

Mel Duncan, director of the Minneapolis-based Nonviolent Peaceforce, added at the press event that peaceful protesters in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries “have done more to disempower Al Qaeda than our attack on bin Laden.”

Regardless of the legality and morality of the killing in Abbottabad, both bin Laden and Barack Obama apparently got what they wanted, Lloyd commented. Bin Laden “did not want to be captured alive, and the United States didn't want to capture him alive,” she said.

Sandy Baird and Robin Lloyd are prime examples of why the political left seems unable to make any headway in the United States. They are what used to be known as "limousine liberals." What they know of the reality of working men and women in this country is entirely theoretical (Baird is especially troubling in this regard, since she works at Burlington College, which notoriously treats its employees poorly). What if Baird and Lloyd put their energies into defending the rights of honest working Americans, who have been given the shaft for at least the past four decades, instead of spending their time and energy grandstanding on behalf of Osama bin Laden. They certainly win no one over to the liberal side of the political spectrum; in fact, they drive people away. See "The Death of the Liberal Class" by Chris Hedges if you want to know just what people like Baird and Lloyd have done to liberalism in the United States. When mainstream, honest, hard-working American liberals oust people like Baird and Lloyd from our ranks, then we can make some progress. And, if anyone doubts that their primary concern is drawing attention to themselves, then you are naive. These two are the poster children for what's wrong with the Left in this country. Disgusting.

I think this is all hilarious, although not futile. First lets prove Goodwin's law. All this censorship over a few internet posts reeks of Nazism. There, now that that's out of the way.

Posting on internet forums runs a thin line. When posts get way over the top and start heading for the gutter it turns off other posters. However, the purpose of the forum is to allow the expression of view points, every single of which will be offensive to someone. So what to do? I don't think the answer is black and white, however by allowing subjectivity to enter into the deciscion, such as "context" you necessarily open yourself up to criticizm over bias. If the mods, aren't up to that they either need to stop allowing posting or stop moderating. Sometimes the bias is perfectly warranted. The Burlington Free Press and their Goderators are terrible, they decry it as being baised, but no rational person could conclude otherwise. Over there it's personal, with staff taking the "If I don't like you I'm picking up my toys and going home" stance. To 7D's credit they are much more open about things, and do let quite a bit slide. I hope that this is not the start of a crack down, as that would be a shame.

Personally though I don't think comments should be censored at all. Frankly if having some anonymous poster call you stupid hurts your feelings you should probably not be visiting. Really I could care less if Greenberg for example called me stupid. Freyne used to let all of that stuff slide.

I'd have to disagree with you Tom. I think they have demonstrated that they are consistant and honest in their views. As I noted previously, a lot of pundits who condemed Bush Junior's war policies are suddenly just fine with Obama's embrace and continuation of these same policies.
For example an American President can now order the killing of an American citizen without trial, anywhere in the world.
Where once some denounced Bush's hit squads, these same people are fawning over Obama's sudden action hero status.
To my mind these are party hacks, willing to engage in Doublethink for the needs of the party.

What I find hilarious is that I have been attacked repeatedly in these forums - occasionally by 7D staffers - and not ONE of those comments has been taken down. People have impersonated me - ditto. Shameless advertising of businesses and events - ditto. It has never bothered me one iota, for the record.

But I had a post removed because I suggested that another anonymous commenter seek help if they thought that the word "masturbation" was the offensive part of "the president masturbates to pictures of dead terrorists." I mean, that's almost verbatim. There was nothing more incendiary than that.

Again, if you want to replace your blog commenting policy with a statement that comments may be deleted almost arbitrarily, that's fine. But to try to reconcile the way you choose comments to delete with the existing commenting policy is futile, and is frankly getting a little embarrassing.

First of all -- No! Other kind of beating. Jeezum.

I've got no problem with telling someone that their post is offensive, indecent, and inappropriate. Hell, I think you SHOULD say that if warranted. But I think you'll agree that that's not the same as "you've got your head so far up your ass you can't think straight." Especially when that's pretty much the whole post.

And even I'm not nerdy enough to debate Godwin's law in public. But if you want to discuss that point further... tyler at sevendaysvt com.

Jcarter: Anonymous insults don't hurt my feelings, either. (Then again, the Celtics losing to the Heat has made me very numb.) But I'm not sure I agree. I think everyone deserves to have their voice heard with respect, and that they should give the same respect to others. Spirited-yet-respectful disagreement is what this country was founded on, dammit. (That and a few other things.) But my goal is for more people to be chiming in with good comments. And I think a lot of people will refrain from doing that if they expect that they'll be shouted down or called angry names. You might think other people should just suck it up, but they might not. So I have to reconcile that.

And of course I can be accused of bias, I expect that. Like you said, the answer isn't black and white. I suspect that as long as there's a human moderator, someone will be mad at that person. That's why I like to comment myself and hash it through, so that hopefully you can see where I'm coming from.

Coincidentally, we've been talking about overhauling our commenting policy and the entire comments system. Not going to disagree that both are outdated and need a refresh. Advice on how we should do that is welcome. Like I said, my email is tyler at sevendaysvt com.

It's certainly very, very true that the poster named Jimmy has been repeatedly personally attacked on here, in often very strident and insulting terms, for his views, and those posts (coming, obviously, from left-wingers) have never been taken down.

No bias?

Anyone who has ever had even five minutes of conversation with Sandy Baird knows that she is a looney of the first order.

Tyler,

As far as remodeling the comments sections, two suggestions.

A.) In some old forums there was an edit button and that was great. That way for example, maybe in the heat of the moment you word things a bit harsh, you can revise it after the fact without losing the entire post and conversation. Or to correct the obvious typos.

B.) Would be an ability to give people credit. In may forums for example, you can give people "rep", or a post count. These things don't mean much, but when I am posting in those forums it is helpful as you can usually tell if someone has a history of flaming/trolling or if they are a legitimate poster. Given this is written and not oral it can be difficult to discern the manner and meaning, so if you know what type of poster it is sometimes maybe you give them the benefit of the doubt.

Links/images/emoticons etc would also enhance things.

@Tyler: If you're taking suggestions, here are mine:

- Require people to register and make it so that you can't leave a comment unless you're signed in with a unique username. Real names are not required so people could still be anonymous (which wouldn't eliminate personal attacks), but at the very least it would eliminate impersonations.


- I second JCARTER's suggestion of adding links.

- I also like JCARTER's suggestion to allow the opportunity to edit a previous post, though, conceivably, that could be abused in a back and forth/he said-she said discussion. Maybe an edit function that retains the original post but allows you to add an addendum to your post to clarify something you might later find to be potentially confusing.

- One step further, how about allowing readers the ability to respond to specific comments by creating a sub-thread within each comment. I've started seeing this on other news sites. This could help to eliminate folks having to quote entire paragraphs 15 comments later.

- Finally, invent and subsequently incorporate an automatic tact check into the comment function. I say: "I think you have your head up your a**" - tact check asks: "Did you mean 'I strongly disagree with your opinion'?"

Or, if it's possible, on the screen that allows you to preview your post and requires you to type specific letters/numbers to prove you're not a bot, why not install some sort of filter that says "Your post contains the following potentially offensive language, which might violate your terms of service: a**, d**k, sh*t. Do you wish to continue?" I imagine compiling such a list of words would be the highlight of the day in the Seven Days office.

BB,

most often, when you are allowed to quote another post you can edit the original quote so as to publish only the part of that original post that you were looking for.

Also, I have seen where if you do edit a post that you wrote, it simply adds "edited xx:xx xx/xx/xx" So that basically eliminates abuse of a he said she said.

When you boys are done here don't forget to flush the tissues down the toilet and wash your hands.

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