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Thread: London Riots

  1. #1
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    London Riots

    I need some insight:

    Why do rioters destroy things? I can understand looting (motivated by the desire to have more) but I don't get burning your own buildings. Please don't tell me 'It's because they are frustrated/angry/disenfranchised/whatever.' Tell me how being frustrated/angry/disenfranchised/whatever leads to self-destructive behavior or how self-destructive behavior relieves being frustrated/angry/disenfranchised/whatever. I just don't get it...

    Thanks,
    Mark

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    Senior Member JHow's Avatar
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    I don't get it either.

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    I suspect the reason you don't get it is because it doesn't relieve anything at all.

    In one of the classic papers in social cognition, Nisbett & Wilson ( Nisbett & Wilson (1977) - PsychWiki - A Collaborative Psychology Wiki ) noted that people would provide explanations or descriptions of the mental processes and motives underlying their own behaviour, when it could be empirically demonstrated that their behaviour conformed to an experimental manipulation the researchers had undertaken. In other words, if you're relying on people to know and accurately explain why they are doing something, you are misplacing your faith.

    Basically, what you're dealing with there is people responding to immediate circumstances and availability of opportunites to engage in behaviour they wouldn't otherwise consider doing. All of the "principle-based" explanations are post hoc justifications IMHO.

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Speak for yourself, I'm a baboon, thank you.

    Burning their city doesn't fix the problem, and as Hammer points out, it isn't some rational reaction to circumstances taken with a rational intent that it will alleviate their problems.

    WHy do kids knock down mail boxes? Why do country boys shoot stop signs full of holes? Why do the Orange COunty CHopper guys like to destroy cars and smash holes in their walls. Hell, why does America love demolition derbies? It all just blows off steam, it is an outlet for pent up emotion. No one sits around the house thinking, "You know, what we really need to do to straighten things out around here, is to go downtown and burn the furniture store."

    Why does some guy here burn down the convenience store run by a middle-easterner in town when he is mad about Afghanistan stories he saw on the news? Like somehow that immigrant trying to make a living selling soda and chips is responsible for soldiers being killed around the other side of the world.

    When the gulf war started, some kid blew away the turban-wearing owner of a small store, yelling about how the A-rabs were taking over. When it was pointed out to him that the man was Indian, not Arabic, his response was, "Close enough." I can't imagine even that idiot thought this would put an end to the middle east war. But it was a way he tried to reduce the emotions he felt.
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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    You guys all sound old.
    Think back to Pete Townshend, Destroying a perfectly good Guitar, and Amp.
    It's the Same thing.
    It's poor depressed Young men that are Pissed off and sick and tired of the establishment.
    Surely you stateside guys that lived through the 60s and 70s during and after the Viet Nam War remember feeling that way.
    I do!
    It's Called Rage.
    I don't Agree with it and I don't Condone it, but it exists just the Same.
    They need to get a Les Paul and a Marshall and go out and make some noise.
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    "Think back to Pete Townshend, Destroying a perfectly good Guitar, and Amp." Piffle...Townsend admits this started be pure accident, swinging his guitar about in a club with a low ceiling, when the crowd saw the guitar smash they cheered thinking it was part of the act, so it became thus.

    I've been in a riot, not the current ones...people just do what people around them do, if one guy smashes a shop window, everyone has a go...even if they would never normally do that kind of thing. By the same token, I've seen & been in the situation where it just takes one person to take a stand & call a halt...& the immediate crowd will do likewise (though I did think for a second I'd be torn limb from limb!). . I'd speculate that many of the agitators travel in from other areas & once on the ground, the crowd just imitates them, getting "swept up in the moment".

    If you leave your house with the intent to go to a riot, you'll probably end up in one.

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    I'm beginning to think it is a fad.

    In my own city, we've recently had a series of "swarming robberies"; essentially criminal flash mobs. A crowd of kids move into a store, en masse, and just start taking stuff and knocking stuff over. They've figured out that if there are enough of them, it's too much confusion for the store staff to manage or track. And if they have mobile devices to help coordinate (yeah, right, "if"!), then that enables them to carry it off.

    I suspect it is basically the same kind of "hey, you know what we could do?" feeding frenzy that sparked the peddling of sub-prime mortgages, except these kids wear hoodies instead of Armani, and they break windows instead of lives and families. Grand Theft Auto has come home to roost, folks.

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    Senior Member JHow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    You guys all sound old.

    By "You guys all sound old" did you mean we should therefore know about Pete Townshend's guitar -smashing? Or did you mean that our curmudgeonly-head-scratching posts somehow gave away our age? Just clarifying. : )


    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Think back to Pete Townshend, Destroying a perfectly good Guitar, and Amp...
    I think the analogy to the riots would be more like if Pete Townshend smashed Entwhistle's bass instead of his own guitar (don't think he ever did that?). The point is more smashing somebody else's stuff - I care less if people want to smash their own stuff.
    Last edited by JHow; 08-10-2011 at 08:17 PM. Reason: typos

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    I think you're missing the point...

    The important point I think you're all missing here is that most (all?) of these people rioting, looting and destroying don't own any of this stuff. Sure, they might be without a place to live for a while, they might be without a place to shop, but they'll find others. They probably view the owners of these places they're looting and destroying as their oppressors; slumlords and unscrupulous merchants charging outrageuos prices for substandard merchandise only because they're the only place in the neighborhood to get it. These people are expressing in the only way they know how "We may have to live in these rotten neighborhoods, in substandard housing, get substandard education, get substandard (if any) jobs, but you WILL NOT kill us with impugnity!"
    Just $.02 from an unrepentant hippy.

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    this was posted on trip-hop band massive attack's fb wall today:

    In context with the complicit support of the government, the banks looted the nation's wealth while destroying countless small businesses and brought the whole economy to its knees in a covert, clean manner, rather like organised crime.

    Our reaction was to march and wave banners and then bail them out. These kids would have to riot and steal every night for a year to run up a bill equivalent to the value of non-paid tax big business has 'avoided' out of the economy this year alone.
    They may not articulate their grievances like the politicians that condemn them but this is absolutely political. As for the 'mindless violence'… is there anything more mindless than the British taxpayer quietly paying back the debts of others while contributing bullets to conflicts that we have absolutely no understanding of?

    It's mad, sad and scary when we have to take to the streets to defend our homes and businesses from angry thieving kids, but where are the police and what justice is ever done when the mob is dressed in pin stripe.

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    I meant to add that the whole Western world including (especially?) the USA seems to be turning into a Third World country where the rich drive around in Rolls Royces and the poor walk around barefoot.

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    I don't know how the cops in England expect to control any riot, when criminals are allowed to sue the folks they attack for damages when they are injured in the comission of a crime. Where a man's home was his castle, is a thing of the past.
    Overwhelming force is the only way to control a crowd, think of the Korean businessmen in Watts when the inmates of that zoo rioted. The took armed positions around their stores, and actually only had to shoot a few to keep their stores from getting torched. Most of us teach our kids better, but I think the folks we see in the news have been allowed to do as they want all their life, with no supervision. Sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I don't know how the cops in England expect to control any riot, when criminals are allowed to sue the folks they attack for damages when they are injured in the comission of a crime. Where a man's home was his castle, is a thing of the past.
    Overwhelming force is the only way to control a crowd, think of the Korean businessmen in Watts when the inmates of that zoo rioted. The took armed positions around their stores, and actually only had to shoot a few to keep their stores from getting torched. Most of us teach our kids better, but I think the folks we see in the news have been allowed to do as they want all their life, with no supervision. Sad.















    Inmates of that zoo? Sir, are your dues with the Ku Klux Klan up to date? And some of these Korean merchants are racist, gun crazy maniacs. One Korean woman shot a young African American girl in the back as she was LEAVING her store, claiming she was afraid of her, not while she was facing her and might have been threatening her.

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    I use the zoo analogy as they were acting like animals, not civilized people. Maybe you missed the videos where they were dragging people from their cars, and attempting to beat them to death.
    I've never been a Klan member, I think one or both of my great grandpaws were though. Things were tough during reconstruction, so the Klan allowed southern folks to right some of the injustice of the time. Don't think I ever heard of a Klan riot though, remember them marching a color guard in the 4th of July parades back in the 50's when I lived in Maryland. They used to go around fixing up the old folks houses, and helping them take care of their yards. I remember they donated some tents to the boy scout troop I was in, and sponsored a little league team also.

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    Well, it took 13 replies before someone threw out the race card because of Bill Moore's descriptive (and I think appropriate) metaphor (zoo) to describe a sad chapter in African American history. And then, you accuse him of being a member of the KKK and take a cheap shot at the Koreans (racist, gun crazy maniacs) who were trying to protect their means of making a living. "One" Korean woman shot a black girl in the back. Maybe so. Maybe it was justified, maybe it wasn't. I wasn't there, I don't know the circumstances. But you failed to mention Reginald Denny who was nearly beaten to death during the Rodney King debacle because he made a wrong turn and was the only white guy in sight in that same sad episode of pent up "black rage".

    I don't think the source of rage we are witnessing in England right now has so much to do with poor people being deprived. I think it has much more to do with the socialist, cradle to grave expectation of entitlements that this generation of British citizens have been raised with and the fact that someone has something they don't.

    When I was in stationed in South Korea in the early 70's, where there was real poverty and government oppression, there was a saying among us GI's who had a tad more insight than some of our less literate fellow soldiers who hated everything about Korea and treated Koreans with contempt. We said "What a GI can't fuck up, he shits on". I was often embarrassed by the behavior of some of my fellow soldiers there who felt they could do and say anything they wanted to Koreans with impunity and often got away with it. I see the current trend in looting and rioting as more of the same kind of behavior, with the same bleeding hearts trying to find someone to blame for the "rage" of the oppressed masses.

    I went through my hippie phase too, but got "mugged" somewhere along the way and got rid of my rose colored glasses.
    Last edited by casey73; 08-11-2011 at 03:39 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    ...socialist, cradle to grave expectation of entitlements that this generation of British citizens have been raised with and the fact that someone has something they don't.
    Well, it took 15 replies before someone threw out the same tired old rhetoric.
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    Massive Attack may have a point, I agree that no one has been seen to answer for recent finacial disasters, but the average Briton's credit card debt was 14K/per head. It's not just the bankers who have been spending someone else's money. 5yrs ago credit card debts ran to 56billion in the UK.

    These riots have nothing to do with Rodney King/LA/Watts, or race specifically. They are principally "sport" organised on Blackberry private networks, social networking sites.

    Times are hard in the UK right now, we're all feeling it, the rioters are "fighting back" for something they haven't even lost yet, whilst many hardworking, law abiding Brits have had a pay freeze for years, or are on reduced hours/wages, coped with rising property prices & some have lost their jobs & homes. If I was unemployed, residing in council accomodation, I'd have far more expendable cash than I do now...I know plenty of folk in the same position.

    Blzmn wrote "I meant to add that the whole Western world including (especially?) the USA seems to be turning into a Third World country where the rich drive around in Rolls Royces and the poor walk around barefoot." Hmmm, perhaps that's the "worldwide" aspect of the "Worldwide Recession"? That's a crass generalisation and has little relevance to the recent London riots. Being poor in the UK pays pretty well actually, especially compared to the 3rd world. Rioting is becoming a national pastime here. Yes there are areas that are depressed & work is hard to find...there always have been & will be, I'm not unsympathetic, I've travelled all over the nation & seen it, but poor in my grandfather's day meant no food, no shoes. Rich people didn't need a Rolls, a white shirt would do (everyone else had grimey grey/cream "white" shirts), post WW2 things were MUCH harder than now. People are just too used to instant gratification & unrealistic expectations.

  19. #19
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    threats? foresight?


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    From the audio on the clip - "Of course all this could be avoided if Mr Clegg ends up hobnobbing with a coalition government at no. 10..." Errm, well, that just happens to be precisely what DID happen, Clegg chose to form a coalition with Cameron...riots were not avoided.

    If there's an impending horse race and you ask a bunch of people whether a horse will win the race, somebody will have "predicted" the answer is "yes"...that is the heaven sent gift of "hindsight" at work! :-) Unfortunately, you can't win money, or the lottery, with hindsight.

    France, Egypt, Tunisia, UAE and, lest we should forget Libya, have all had riots broadcast around the world in recent months/years...monkey see, monkey do.

    The steely resolve of the, "so hard done by" rioters was evident last night, some "light drizzle" kept them indoors...flamin' amateurs, the Strangeways prison rioters burned down their accomodation and sat on the rooftop for 3 weeks in a British winter! Now that's how you do it!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWJB View Post
    People are just too used to instant gratification & unrealistic expectations.
    i agree with this.

    then again in most cases of out and out rioting, three things come to bear:

    1) there is some specific perceived injustice which works as a spark (court decision, police shooting, etc)
    2) there is a general feeling of unfairness which provides the fuel (rage)
    3) the mob mentality (ie, a lack of accountability for one's actions as but one member of a much larger population) fans the flames

    if you take any of the three legs of the triangle down, the whole thing crumbles... but putting out the fire is a much harder thing to do than not having it start in the first place.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Riots, and Stampedes don't bother the Brits, They can do it at a Soccer Game!
    B_T
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    Sure, I brought up the race card. Many white people want to act like it doesn't exist; but a lot of them have it hidden up their sleeve. You see, I'm a light - skinned African American with long, straight hair; I've been mistaken for everything from Armenian to Yugoslavian. So I hear the things white people say about blacks that they never expect a black person to hear: N!@#ers do this, n!@#ers do that... So don't lecture me about that race card hidden up you sleeve! And yeah, I grew up in Maryland, too, which is south of the Mason-Dixon line, so I don't want to hear about all the Klan's philanthropic activities; they never did shit for me. The Klan was started by disgruntled ex-slaveowners who resented the fact that blacks were being granted the same inalienable human rights due all American citizens, and they made damn sure that those rights were taken away as soon as the Reconstruction was over, mostly by acts of terror and intimidation. Sorry for the history lesson, but the characterization of the KKK as merely a benevolent social club makes my blood boil.
    Back to the discussion at hand; this discussion is full of crass generalizations, that is the nature of these kinds of debates. But being poor in England is still being poor; you can watch the bastards who botched the economy, dressed in their Savile Row suits, drive by in limousines while you wait for the bus in the rain. I'll wager that the gentlemen in the limos are much more into instant gratification and unrealistic expectations.
    And by the way, I live in a part of L.A. called Koreatown; sure there are some honest respectable, hardworking Koreans, but there are some real scoundrels, too. For instance, I once had a roommate who worked for Koreans; he suggested that they might get more return business if they treated their customers better. Their response: "Oh no, you have to cheat them before they cheat you!".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hammer View Post
    I suspect the reason you don't get it is because it doesn't relieve anything at all.
    Yes. That is exactly it - I don't get why people do stupid, destructive things (that harm other people) when they get no relief from it. London right now is merely one example. Another is Vancouver, during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Restated, perhaps sharpened a bit, but not yet answered. But thanks for your input Mr. Hammer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHow View Post
    By "You guys all sound old" did you mean we should therefore know about Pete Townshend's guitar -smashing? Or did you mean that our curmudgeonly-head-scratching posts somehow gave away our age? Just clarifying. : )




    I think the analogy to the riots would be more like if Pete Townshend smashed Entwhistle's bass instead of his own guitar (don't think he ever did that?). The point is more smashing somebody else's stuff - I care less if people want to smash their own stuff.
    Actually, I think Pete's guitar-smashing antics were just a bit of showmanship on his part. Maybe a chance for some audience members to be vicariously violent...

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    "But being poor in England is still being poor; you can watch the bastards who botched the economy, dressed in their Savile Row suits, drive by in limousines while you wait for the bus in the rain. I'll wager that the gentlemen in the limos are much more into instant gratification and unrealistic expectations."

    OK, who are the bastards that botched the economy? You have them in the US too, what were the individuals names? No one is going to bother looking, or making a list...they will just assume that anyone who has a flash car and a nice suit is a "bastard who botched the economy" and use it as justification for vandalism, taking great care not damage their own BMW, or their Nike Airs.

    In London most people use public transport for daily trips, even bastards that botch the economy.

    I have shared my home with black people for years, watched them get up, go to work, lose jobs, get new jobs, jack in jobs that were "boring", or because they didn't like their boss, get angry about revisions to student loans, contribute to National Insurance, pay their taxes, benefit from the NHS...just like the Asians & Caucasians (whether British, E European, S African) that live in the same houses & towns. I'm not niaive, there are people with racial agendas in the UK, there is still discrimination, but it is not specifically relevant to the cause of this rioting. The problems and situations affecting ethnic minorities in the UK, whilst still concerning & serious, are not the same as those in the US. It is illegal in the UK to use a racially sensitive term in conversation with someone from a minority background (well it's illegal to do it at all, but such terms bandied about in one's own ethnic circles are unlikely to be reported)...sure perhaps 99.99% of cases go unreported, or are dealt with at the time, outside of the judicial system, but I am reminded of the case of an Irish guy who was driving in Wales & was involved in traffic accident...he described the woman who hit him a "silly English bitch". "Silly" & "bitch" didn't seem to be as upsetting for the woman as being called "English", the Irish guy served time behind bars. All parties were Caucasian.
    Last edited by MWJB; 08-12-2011 at 05:02 PM.

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    Be more specific Enzo. Please defend what those behind the riots in England are doing. Make me understand why that's okay.

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    DOn't be silly. Who's defending them? Who said it was "OK?' Talking about what does and does not motivate them is a far cry from defending them or calling their acts "OK."
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Please, Just Stop It!

    I understand the passion that al of you feel over the recent events around the world. I share your concerns while harboring my own personal ideology regarding the underlying causes, governmental responses, and the media stoking the flames about rioting in London and many other cities. There are about a "zillion" forums to debate these issues. I hope that this forum will not fall into a rancorous debate over politics.

    I have learned an incredible amount of information from participating in this forum. I now fear that politics will rear their ugly head and it will poison the discourse. I would hate to see any "us versus them" mentality develop here.

    PLEASE, let's keep our focus on music electronics and trying to help each other solve problems. The political debates can be resolved elsewhere.

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    Bluzmn, I'm sorry if you are mistaken for any nationality other than American, but your knowledge of history is wrong. I am not embarrased to be associated with the Klan of my great grandads, if you want to know what it was like then, watch the movie Gone With The Wind, the black folks of the time were pawns of the northerners coming down to steal whatever wealth they could.
    Interestingly if I were to make a comment to you concerning your membership dues in an organization like the Black Panthers, or the Black Muslims, what would your reply be?
    I think we need to get far beyond the race idea, and concentrate on all being Americans.

  31. #31
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Kazooman, the political BS down here is tame compared to what was on the old Ampage. But regardless, it stays down here in this section. I find the neocon views of some of these guys reprehensible, but up in the amp section, I don't care what their views on politics might be. I think if you look at the discussions up in the amps sections, you won't find the political rancor that festers down here.


    Interesting Gone with the Wind was brought up. My wife decided to reread the book on our recent vacation, and she had a very hard time swallowing the rampant racism within. EVery time she'd complain to me about it, I'd respond, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Drove her nuts.


    The Klan as benefit to slaves is probably right in there with Hells Angels maintaining order at a Rolling Stones concert. For the most part, order was maintained. Just a few little glitches...
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    Bill Moore, I'm afraid it is your knowledge of history that is flawed; basing it on a movie such as Gone With The Wind is just foolish. It was based on a novel, and when I was in school, that was still considered fiction. Sure, there were white carpetbaggers who took advantage of the unique opportunities of the reconstruction, but there were also black people voting and black men being elected to public office. In a large part due to the KKK, that didn't last long after the USA as a whole lost interest in the Reconstruction.
    As for the Black Muslims, as a Buddhist I'm not supposed to criticize other religions, but I can say that they have done a lot for the community and are a big influence in raising black pride. And I am proud of most of what the Black Panthers did, and still angry that the FBI murdered many of them with impugnity; they began as an organization to protect their community from police brutality, among other things. It's unfortunate, but it seems that any large, armed paramilitary group will contain a few thugs; just look at the LAPD!
    @MWJB-of course I don't have any names, and of course that's the way they'd like to keep it. But to some degree, the whole financial industry is culpable; the banks, the stock market, investment firms, you name it. Also the idiot economists who suggested the laissez faire policies and the politicians who enacted them.

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    I guess you are entitled to your beliefs, but to denigrate a group that fought to help their people who were disenfranchised after the war between the states, and praise a group who were waving clubs at a polling place, intimidating voters during the last election, is not the America I believe in!

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    wait, what?

    Ok, I got to get outta here.
    In the future I invented time travel.

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