Eco-Douchbags Give Londoners A Taste Of Their BullShit

July 28th, 2010

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Sorry if “douchebag” is an offensive term to anyone. This level of idiocy and blatant disregard for law and order and the rights and lives of others is simply too disgusting to not use such a word.

Via MSNBC:

Greenpeace Closes Down BP Petrol Stations in Central London Energy Protest

LONDON – As BP CEO Tony Hayward resigned under a cloud Tuesday, thousands of British motorists got an unexpected reminder of the oil spill that’s wreaked havoc in the Gulf of Mexico.

Protesters with the environmental group Greenpeace said they shut off fuel supplies at 46 BP gas stations across London just in time for the morning rush-hour. Small teams of activists used a standard shut-off switch to stop the flow of fuel oil at the targeted stations. The switches were then removed to prevent most BP outlets in the capital from opening.

And to ensure there was no chance of drivers buying gas, demonstrators in fluorescent vests and helmets locked green metal fences around some sites.

“What BP needs to do is not just change CEOs it needs to actually come up with a new strategy,” Greenpeace U.K.’s chief executive John Sauven said at one of the shuttered stations in Camden, north London.

I would sure as hell never call these bastards “eco-warriors.” There is no bravery or honor to their stunts. They’re not risking anything, because as we’ve seen all too often, these stunts too often end up with barely a slap on the wrist. A few attention-whores and naive yuppies pretending to be some kind of soldiers for the earth and getting media attention is all this amounts to.

It’s interesting to note that in this case, Greenpeace completely bypassed the high ranking executives of BP and other oil companies and took their douche-baggery directly to the working stiffs of London.

The article goes on to state:

Anna Jones, who was one of the handful up at dawn to ensure gas stations were shuttered, took a harder line.

“Big companies like BP are holding us to ransom, chasing profits at the expense of us,” the 29-year-old part-time dance teacher said. “The generation before us is largely responsible and the next generation coming up will have to deal with the consequences.”

“Part-time dance teacher”… This idiot simply has no idea how things actually work in the real world. I also have a feeling this is the first time in a long long time, she’s been “up at dawn” to do anything.

If she is so convinced that the previous generation is to blame for the world’s problems, then she should go kick her parents in the shins. Of course, that’s, to say the least, an over-simplification.

The reason petroleum is used so widely has nothing to do with baby-boomers being irresponsible bastards or companies forcing it on the population. Hydrocarbons are simply an excellent fuel. They’re stable, reasonably safe to store and use, have enormous energy density that is easy to release, they’re clean burning, easy to transport and even have lubricating and anti-corrosive properties. That is why they have been used so widely in transportation.

Creating effective transportation systems with the utility and economy of petroleum-powered vehicles is not an easy task, but it is one that there has been enormous progress on. Retooling factories and infrastructure, replacing vehicles and overcoming the weaknesses of electric vehicles is a task which will require a great deal of effort from scientists, engineers and technicians – not from “part time dance teachers” who like to get in the way of other people.

Things that can and will reduce use of petroleum:

  • Synthetic fuel production – Currently generally hampered by the requirement for large amounts of energy, especially process heat to produce hydrocarbon fuels from non-petroleum sources, Synthetic fuels can completely replace petroleum, if necessary, as long as suitable source of energy are made available. This is not a theoretical issue. It can be done. It has been done. It’s well known how it can be done.
  • “Plugin Hybrids” - The most viable option for near-term migration to electric transportation, these vehicles are already making their way into the worldwide fleet of cars. Next generation “parallel hybrid” vehicles will be available soon, with major auto manufactures heavily invested in them. It will simply take time to retool and then to replace the current automobiles of the world. Many cars on the road today will still be driving in ten years, so it will take time to see most of them replaced.
  • Fully Electric Vehicles – These may never completely replace gasoline or diesel road vehicles, but they can definitely play a role in transportation. Current battery-electric vehicles are just beginning to reach the point of being effective general purpose transport. It will take some time before the technology is cost competitive for full scale deployment, and there’s really no way around that, but progress is already being made.
  • Reduced use of petroleum for heating – Already heating oil is becoming less popular. Better sources include district heat, geothermal heat pumps and to some extent, electric heat. It will take some time to replace all the oil boilers. Better building codes and tax policies would help.
  • More electrified rail and public transit – Changes in tax codes would help a lot here, at least when it comes to private railroads, who have almost no incentive to electrify in much of the world. Public transit by lightrail works quite well, but is expensive and only is worthwhile in certain areas where there is densely clustered population
  • Nuclear marine propulsion – Already a mainstay of the navies of several countries, nuclear ship propulsion has decades of safe and reliable operation. It has only been used for civil vessels in a few circumstances. The enormous container ships that have become the cornerstone of world trade burn tremendous amounts of oil and are a significant consumer of petroleum. The cost of fuel for shipping makes could reactors an attractive and economical option

Things that absolutely, positively will never reduce the use of petroleum:

  • Being a douchebag
  • Irritating people who are just trying to get to their damn job
  • Acting as some kind of self-appointed non-government environmental police
  • Defacing the property of others
  • Locking workers, owners and customers out of businesses that they have the right to be at
  • Pretending you are some kind of warrior or somehow brave for being a douchebag

There is nothing brave about being a douchebag.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 7:50 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Enviornment, Just LAME, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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48 Responses to “Eco-Douchbags Give Londoners A Taste Of Their BullShit”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    I’m not so sure that pissing the public off with some stunt like this is going to garner them any sympathy. Pulling a stunt like that in New York say, would have earned them a few bloody noses, if not heads cracked open with a tire-iron. One can only hope that each time they do something outrageous like this, they are only advancing the day when everyone will have had it up to here with these jackasses.

    And they will cross the line. Each time we hear of them they have raised the bar a bit higher, no doubt because they know that they won’t get the attention they want by going over old ground. Eventually they are going to go too far and the axe will fall hard. Jerking a major metropolitan area around during rush-hour is getting very close. I don’t think they can escalate further without doing permanent harm, and their time will have come.


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  2. 2
    Bill Sticker Says:

    “Part time dance teacher”

    Is this representative of eco-activists in general?


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  3. 3
    Gordon Says:

    I have no idea how it is in the UK, but in Canada, nearly all service stations are owned independently by some local person. Generally working stiffs like the rest of us who have to be at the station early to get it going. Often they’re immigrants who are using business ownership as a means of social mobility. The fact that it says “BP” just means that it sells their brand of gas and may pay some franchise fee.

    It looks like they managed to bypass the executives and those who may have made poor decisions entirely.

    I agree with DV8, they keep this **** up, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Everyone wants to see a better world with less pollution, but sometimes, they just want to get to work to feed their family. In that case, I hope they keep this up and get their public opinion back down where it belongs.

            Bill Sticker said:

    “Part time dance teacher”

    Is this representative of eco-activists in general?

    I don’t have any real data, but it seems to be par for the course. I don’t know many professionals who are really part of this whole scene. Maybe a few marketing professionals, but they’re paid consultants.


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  4. 4
    Biff Henderson Says:

    Jackasses.

    This is the most offensive bull**** I have seen in a long time. They intentionally targeted rush hour to make people suffer and stand there like they’re the freakin authorities who have the right to break other people’s stuff and **** on the common commuter.

    How about someone asking “Hey, yeah, I do want to go beyond petroleum, but right now that’s not an option for me, so why are you stopping me from getting fuel so I can go to my job? How is this my fault?”

    If I saw this **** I would have gotten out of my car and physically moved their goddamned fence and anyone who stood in the way.


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  5. 5
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

    Whack “Anna Jones Greenpeace” into Google and you’ll get a bit more info on her. She’s got history.

    Feb 2008: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/media/press-releases/climate-campaigners-bring-protest-to-heathrow-20080225

    Greenpeace’s own website write up on a stunt at Heathrow Airport. Anna Jones is described as from Leeds and then in the footnotes:

    Anna Jones is Cambridge politics graduate who has worked as a dance teacher for children, for Peace Brigades International and the World Development Movement.

    Do not mock this person as being stupid, uneducated, or less than hard working. You do not get in and through the University of Cambridge without being smart, driven and prepared to put the time in. Having said that, if my brother is anything to go by, it can turn you into a bit of a douche.

    (Having said that if his ex-girlfriend is anything to go by, there are still some lovely human beings who’ve graduated from Cambridge)

    There’s other stuff you can find on Anna Jones if you like, on occasion she’s been listed as a full time campaigner, she’s taken part in a couple of other protests.


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  6. 6
    seborgarsen Says:

    It’s about time that reasonable people make a lock-out on Greenpeace offices globally. See how they like their own medicine, ****tards.


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  7. 7
    Soylent Says:

    If I was the gas station owner or one of the attendants I would first call the police. If they refuse to respond in a timely manner I would tell them that I’m going to attempt a citizen arrest(legal in the UK for indictable offences under certain conditions; in this case justified by a reasonable grounds for belief that the douché-bag is causing loss of or damage to property) and the longer they take to get here, the longer this person will have to sit hogtied waiting for police to show up.


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  8. 8
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            seborgarsen said:

    It’s about time that reasonable people make a lock-out on Greenpeace offices globally. See how they like their own medicine, ****tards.

    This is really tempting.


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  9. 9
    Chimp Says:

    Greenpeace are trading on a set of quite reasonable limitations in the way the British legal system works.

    First of all, the police will only intervene if the owner of the company cries “trespass”. In and of itself, being on a private property without authorisation doesn’t necessarily constitute trespass. There has to be notice, notice of intention and so on. It can be done, and a small business owner is quite likely to want to take this route; however, the franchisor, BP, most likely prohibits it in cases like this.

    A private prosecution for trespass or criminal damages is possible. However, for a small business owner, it’s extremely expensive. Now, as I understand things, in the US you could start a fund and accept donations to cover costs. In the UK, “maintenance” is (or at least was) actually a crime. There are good reasons for this.

    A citizen’s arrest is, again, theoretically possible. However, it’s more likely than not to lead to the arrest of the “citizen” and some quite serious charges.

    In my opinion, the only recourse the owner has, in practise, is to lay a complaint with the police. If the franchisor sits on that one, then I see no legal way out. It sucks in this kind of case. The owner should be pressuring BP for compensation for damage and lost business in exchange for not laying a criminal complaint.

    Before our US friends start in on how biased the UK legal system is, I would have to say that, in general, it works as well as most. It’s different from the US, and there are some parts of the US system that might do well in the UK (and vice versa).


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  10. 10
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            Chimp said:

    Greenpeace are trading on a set of quite reasonable limitations in the way the British legal system works.

    In my opinion, the only recourse the owner has, in practise, is to lay a complaint with the police. If the franchisor sits on that one, then I see no legal way out. It sucks in this kind of case. The owner should be pressuring BP for compensation for damage and lost business in exchange for not laying a criminal complaint.

    However, if, as the linked article claims, Greenpeace activists have closed the shut-off valves and then “removed” the switches, this qualifies as vandalism and probably theft.


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  11. 11
    Bruce Says:

    How did these guys not get their asses kicked?


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  12. 12
    Matte Says:

    Hmmm…anyone know of a good battery driven angle-grinder?
    I am finding more and more uses for one every day (wheel clamps, greenpeace protests…)

    Vandalism and theft, still not bad enough to warrant a citizen arrest. I wouldn’t go near a citizen arrest attempt unless the offender is inside my home, the penalties for getting it wrong is outmost prohibitive as described earlier.

    Back home I know of people who have been thrown i jail inspite of the person they “arrested” was found guilty and recieved a sentence, just not long enough to warrant the citizen arrest!

    Why are not Greenpeace stamped as a terrorist organisation?


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  13. 13
    Gordon Says:

            Chimp said:

    Greenpeace are trading on a set of quite reasonable limitations in the way the British legal system works.

    So it’s legal for people to come onto your property, break your things and then block you from entering?

    I suppose if I lived in the UK this would mean someone could come to my house and break off the light fixtures and smash my windows and then barricade my door so I could not get in. Apparently, should this happen, the police would not do anything, even if they saw it going on?

    (Note, they broke the pump control switches and vandalized the signs and storefronts.)

    Is it also ok in the UK to go and spraypaint cars in broad daylight while a police officer watches?


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  14. 14
    Chimp Says:

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    However, if, as the linked article claims, Greenpeace activists have closed the shut-off valves and then “removed” the switches, this qualifies as vandalism and probably theft.

    That’s true… but the police will only make an arrest if the owner complains. If there is something that affects public morality (they spray painted racial hatred slogans on the outside of the building) then the police would have jurisdiction to take action. If there’s nothing glaringly obvious of that sort, the police are pretty much powerless.

    One area where Greenpeace could get snapped is if a member of the public laid a complaint related to one of the many bodies that cover fuel storage, transportation and sale.


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  15. 15
    Calli Arcale Says:

    Oh what freakin’ ****s. I don’t usually use words like that, but this is awfully petty.

    Gordon: it is not legal in Britain to come onto someone else’s property, break their things, and block them from entering. But the way the system works, it may be more difficult than it is worth to get the police to deal with the miscreants. And Greenpeace knows it. They will only do what they think they can get away with. Like all cowards, they are limited not by their conscience but by likely consequences.

    That can actually be true in America too; it’s harder to go after protesters than it is to go after your average run-of-the-mill hoodlum. Of course, if they’d tried this here, the police might not have been called until after things had gotten a lot more violent. It is not unusual for gas station owners/managers to carry weapons here, given that gas stations are frequent targets for holdups.


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  16. 16
    maureen blaseckie Says:

    Everybody take a a deep breath….2, 3, 4 and out … 4, 5, 6.

    There.

    Okay, now then, how do you show someone the error of their ways? By pounding the crap out of them or by explaining exactly where they have deviated from the path of social convention?

    The Greenpeace activists have accomplished their goal by getting all of youse guys up in arms and ready to get up in their faces. This only further entrenches their mindset as martyrs to the cause and ratchets up their desire to open your eyes to their view of the world.

    Don’t forget, as you charge off in all directions, they targeted one company: BP. There are other petrol stations available in London so, at most, commuters are inconvenienced in having to drive down the road or perhaps turn left instead of right to find available pumps.

    Violence is not the answer. Guns are not the answer. Ignoring these juvenile attempts to garner headlines (a photo of a protester getting decked by an outraged commuter picked up by a wire service is a publicity seeker’s dream come true) is, however, a start.

    Pointing out why they are misguided like this blog has done, is the most effective way of putting such protests and protesters in their place. Frankly, as soon as I hear the words “Greenpeace activists took to the streets….” I turn to another channel for the same reason I don’t watch Fox news: I learned when my children were young, you don’t argue with a 3 year old.

    In other words, I don’t have time for tantrums now that my children are grown.


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  17. 17
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Chimp said:

    Before our US friends start in on how biased the UK legal system is, I would have to say that, in general, it works as well as most. It’s different from the US, and there are some parts of the US system that might do well in the UK (and vice versa).

    This is not really a British problem. These a-holes get either a slap on the wrist or no punishment at all around the world. It’s more a political issue than a legal one. They’re sacred cows that nobody can touch because they’re supposed to be so honorable and wonderful.

            maureen blaseckie said:

    Okay, now then, how do you show someone the error of their ways? By pounding the crap out of them or by explaining exactly where they have deviated from the path of social convention?

    Well, in that case, they don’t need to see the error of their ways. If you beat them badly enough, they will be incapable of causing much trouble thereafter.

    Regardless, some people are simply beyond ever understanding why some things are wrong and the only way to stop them is to keep them from doing wrong forcibly. This is why we have prisons. If they can’t function in a society, they must be removed from it.

            maureen blaseckie said:

    The Greenpeace activists have accomplished their goal by getting all of youse guys up in arms and ready to get up in their faces. This only further entrenches their mindset as martyrs to the cause and ratchets up their desire to open your eyes to their view of the world.

    No, they’re just making me more committed to exposing them for the self-serving bastards they are and stunts like this show it off nicely.

            maureen blaseckie said:

    Don’t forget, as you charge off in all directions, they targeted one company: BP.

    The target is the media but the ones hurt are commuters, station owners and workers.

            maureen blaseckie said:

    There are other petrol stations available in London so, at most, commuters are inconvenienced in having to drive down the road or perhaps turn left instead of right to find available pumps.

    First of all, they still don’t have a right to do it, but so what if there are other stations?

    There’s a highway right near me that has four lanes. for a while it had two lanes because two were closed for repairs. You might say “what’s the big deal, you can just use the two open lanes instead of the two that are closed.” Actually, it didn’t work that way, because squeezing all the traffic into the two lanes remaining resulted in major delays.’

    I accept such things when they’re done for necessary repairs, but not when some assclown is doing a stunt just to make life harder for everyone.

            maureen blaseckie said:

    Violence is not the answer. Guns are not the answer. Ignoring these juvenile attempts to garner headlines (a photo of a protester getting decked by an outraged commuter picked up by a wire service is a publicity seeker’s dream come true) is, however, a start.

    I don’t advocate violence. I’d like to see the quietly picked up, placed in handcuffs and taken to jail, then given a trail or the opportunity to plead guilty and receive a very stern punishment, not only for the magnitude of the incident but for the complete disregard for rule of law.

    I’d be satisfied with a months in jail, a permanent criminal report that shows up whenever a prospective employer, landlord or creditor does a background check and a few hundred hours of community service.


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  18. 18
    skh.pcola Says:

            maureen blaseckie said:

    Okay, now then, how do you show someone the error of their ways? By pounding the crap out of them or by explaining exactly where they have deviated from the path of social convention?

    Since most of these morons are grown up and have a modicum of worldly experience, I would opt for the latter option. Unless, of course, you really want to posit that these pustules on the arse of humanity don’t know that what they are engaging in is illegal/immoral/anti-social. However, your particular flavor of hippy BS is as pernicious as it is dangerous. You prefer the easy path to serfdom, while others take the difficult trail to freedom and the safeguarding of rights, such as private property and defense of livelihood. You can couch it in any platitudinal pap that you wish, but violence has been necessary throughout history to right the wrongs of thugs like Greenpeace and their fellow travelers. Try not to be one of those pukes, m’kay?


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  19. 19
    skh.pcola Says:

    Gah! “I would opt for the prior option…”


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  20. 20
    JCARLTON Says:

    Bolt cutters and sawzalls work wonders for those stupid fences. Sledge hammers have a multitude of applications in cases like this. But in the end this is what happens when you disarm property owners and spoil children.


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  21. 21
    ABison Says:

    I have no love for oil, but the local gas stations? How much are they responsible for anything? I wonder if Greenpeace and other enviros will give their donations from BP to some charity, groups which actually do the oil clean up, etc.


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  22. 22
    DV82XL Says:

            skh.pcola said:

    Since most of these morons are grown up and have a modicum of worldly experience, I would opt for the latter option. Unless, of course, you really want to posit that these pustules on the arse of humanity don’t know that what they are engaging in is illegal/immoral/anti-social. However, your particular flavor of hippy BS is as pernicious as it is dangerous. You prefer the easy path to serfdom, while others take the difficult trail to freedom and the safeguarding of rights, such as private property and defence of livelihood. You can couch it in any platitudinal pap that you wish, but violence has been necessary throughout history to right the wrongs of thugs like Greenpeace and their fellow travellers.

    Greenpiss isn’t stupid. They plan these little ‘spontaneous’ events and pick their targets and stages very carefully. They know in advance what they can get away with in each jurisdiction and tailor the protest such that it stays under the point where there will be serious repercussions.

    Look what we have seen on this site so far: They board and delay a Canadian ship bunkering coal in Canadian waters on the Great Lakes, not a US one in American waters, because Yanks might shoot, and have nasty laws concerning terrorists. In France they rip up track, but are very clear that they will not do it in Russia, where there could be ‘dire consequences’ (e.g. being shot.) And in this case it was London, the population of which takes these things in stride as a cultural norm, rather than New York say where there would have been violence.

    But as I wrote up-thread, they will make mistakes as they escalate this sort of activity, and one day they will cross the line, and the backlash will be severe. And don’t think for a moment, the powers-that-be aren’t waiting for that to happen.

    And FYI, it’s platitudinous not platitudinal


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  23. 23
    Chimp Says:

            Gordon said:

    So it’s legal for people to come onto your property, break your things and then block you from entering?

    I suppose if I lived in the UK this would mean someone could come to my house and break off the light fixtures and smash my windows and then barricade my door so I could not get in.

    Apparently, should this happen, the police would not do anything, even if they saw it going on?

    The answer is “it depends”. if the property owner called emergency services and claimed, without wavering, that their life was in danger, the response would (in most big cities) be very enthusiastic. However, the most likely response is a community constable turning up the next day to do paperwork.

    (Note, they broke the pump control switches and vandalized the signs and storefronts.)

    Is it also ok in the UK to go and spraypaint cars in broad daylight while a police officer watches?

    Well, was a time when that would have been stopped. Nowadays, one is expected “to take a deep breath and ignore it”.


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  24. 24
    Shafe Says:

            DV82XL said:

    And FYI, it’s platitudinous not platitudinal

    I don’t know what monotremes have to do with violence against douchebags.


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  25. 25
    skh.pcola Says:

    @DV82XL, that was my point, exactly. None of these faux-anarchist poseurs are so obtuse as to not realize that what they do is anything less than a crime…against the law, convention, or standards. And I realize that they aren’t stupid in the vernacular sense, but they do require a somewhat-high degree of organizational coordination from socialist, transnational organizations, for the most part. The rank-and-file are bought and paid for by outfits that salivate over the prospect of one world government. That’s not a conspiracy theory…look at the clamoring crowds at G-8 summits and other global governance events.

    “Platitudinous” or “platitudinal” both work in that context, since both are valid adjectives, BTW. But thanks for your grammatical hall monitoring. I’ve been here a long time, but lost my bookmarks due to a HDD crash, so it took me a while to remember what I used to enjoy reading. Glad that I rediscovered the website…


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  26. 26
    DV82XL Says:

            Shafe said:

    I don’t know what monotremes have to do with violence against douchebags.

    plat·i·tu·di·nous adj

    \-ˈtüd-nəs, -ˈtyüd-; -ˈtü-də-nəs, -ˈtyü-\

    platitude + -inous (as in multitudinous)

    Date: 1853

    : having the characteristics of a platitude : full of platitudes

    — plat·i·tu·di·nous·ly adv

    Nothing here about monotremes


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  27. 27
    DV82XL Says:

            skh.pcola said:

    The rank-and-file are bought and paid for by outfits that salivate over the prospect of one world government. That’s not a conspiracy theory…look at the clamouring crowds at G-8 summits and other global governance events..

    The rank-and-file that I have run into are mostly gap-year flâneurs looking to be ‘relevant’ with the hope that a stint in Greenpeace will improve their C.V. when they look for a job in the urban planning dept. of a major city.

            skh.pcola said:

    “Platitudinous” or “platitudinal” both work in that context, since both are valid adjectives, BTW. But thanks for your grammatical hall monitoring.

    I was just pulling your chain – I’m the last person here to lecture anyone on grammar and spelling.


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  28. 28
    drbuzz0 Says:

            JCARLTON said:

    But in the end this is what happens when you disarm property owners and spoil children.

    I’m not sure being armed would make much difference. They generally know how to stay just far enough away from the line where deadly force is justified to assure that arms are not usable.

    Last I checked you can’t actually use a shotgun on someone who is breaking your gas pumps. They have to present a direct physical danger to you or someone else or you’d be in much worse trouble. I can’t think of anything that Greenpeace would delight in more than having one of their low-level drones gunned down for one of the stunts.


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  29. 29
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Last I checked you can’t actually use a shotgun on someone who is breaking your gas pumps. They have to present a direct physical danger to you or someone else or you’d be in much worse trouble..

    Pity


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  30. 30
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Chimp said:

    The answer is “it depends”. if the property owner called emergency services and claimed, without wavering, that their life was in danger, the response would (in most big cities) be very enthusiastic. However, the most likely response is a community constable turning up the next day to do paperwork.

    Well, was a time when that would have been stopped. Nowadays, one is expected “to take a deep breath and ignore it”.

    Uh..

    So what exactly prevents people from throwing Molotov ****tails into random cars?

    I was in the UK recently. I don’t remember people breaking windows, lighting cars on fire, cutting down streetlights or prying open the tombs in Westminster Abbey and throwing around the bones of dead historical figures in a game of “dodgeball” where instead of an inflated ball, they throw Charles Darwin’s femur. All while the police sit there and say “Well, no life is in danger. Just take a deep breath and try not to get too angry about it and we’ll file the paperwork tomorrow”

    As London has eight million people in it, I would have to assume that there have got to be at least a few who are deranged or destructive enough that given a complete lack of any punishment or attempt to stop them, they would do things like that.

    “If you break stuff we won’t hold it against you, guys. Just be sure not to put any lives in danger. So, if you want to draw mustaches on every piece of art in the British Gallery or carve your name in the Rosetta Stone… well… we’re not actually gonna stop you, but we will file a report tomorrow”


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  31. 31
    Shafe Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Nothing here about monotremes

    Note to self: no more zoological humor. Like my monotreme friends, I laid an egg.


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  32. 32
    Chimp Says:

    The UK is a fairly normal developed society. It’s not aggressively disobedient, and most people are happy to act in a reasonable manner. Like any society, things happen. About half the time, the police will not investigate (in the sense of attempting to identify a perpetrator, build a case and prosecute it) even fairly serious crimes. Offences against property have an extremely low resolution rate, and are in fact seldom prosecuted.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1100496/Revealed-Police-failing-investigate-40-crimes–hard-solve.html
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6885415.ece
    http://www.lemondrop.co.uk/2010/06/25/mum-forced-to-smash-car-window-as-police-ignore-call-to-help-bab/
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4368795.ece

    The UK police force is actually pretty professional, and numerous. There are close to 170,000 uniformed officers, which proportionately is similar to the US. The impressive numbers of police in the UK, however, mask the huge tail to tooth ratio. Some estimates put it at 6:1 (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/7899007/Just-one-in-ten-police-free-to-fight-crime.html). The “6 out of 100″ figure is, I am fairly reliably informed, hyperbole.

    Suffice it to say, a call to 999 will nowadays not get you a squad of bobbies sprinting up blowing whistles unless you’re lucky. Furthermore, police on the scene of a “political” crime like the one we’re discussing won’t want any part of it. It’s a mountain of paperwork at best, and a potential career wrecker at worst.


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  33. 33
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            Shafe said:

    Note to self: no more zoological humor. Like my monotreme friends, I laid an egg.

    I’d not checked the site in 15 hours or so. Nor did I know what a “monotreme” was before looking it up.

    However, you sir are a genius.


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  34. 34
    Calli Arcale Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Last I checked you can’t actually use a shotgun on someone who is breaking your gas pumps. They have to present a direct physical danger to you or someone else or you’d be in much worse trouble.

    I think you might be able to in some states. Though most states limit it to defending your own person or another person, some extend it to other crimes, such as arson, and one could argue that tampering with the gas shut-off switch could be reason to suspect an imminent arson attack.


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  35. 35
    DV82XL Says:

    The State of Texas is the only jurisdiction in North America where the use of deadly force would be permitted by law in this instance and then, strangely enough, only at night. Their rules read as follows:

    Deadly Force to Protect Property?

    “A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect his property to the degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, theft during the nighttime or criminal mischief during the nighttime, and he reasonably believes that the property cannot be protected by any other means.”

    “A person is justified in using deadly force against another to pervent the other who is fleeing after committing burglary, robbery, or theft during the nighttime, from escaping with the property and he reasonable believes that the property cannot be recovered by any other means; or, the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the property would expose him or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury. (Nighttime is defined as the period 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.)”

    Protection of the Property of Others

    “A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect the property of a third person if he reasonably believes he would be justified to use similar force to protect his own property, and he reasonably believes that there existed an attempt or actual commission of the crime of theft or criminal mischief.”

    “Also, a person is justified in using force or deadly force if he reasonably believes that the third person has requested his protection of property; or he has a legal duty to protect the property; or the third person whose property he is protecting is his spouse, parent or child.”

    Reasonable Belief

    “It is not necessary that there should be actual danger, as a person has the right to defend his life and person from apparent danger as fully and to the same extent as he would have were the danger real, as it reasonably appeared to him from his standpoint at the time.”

    “In fact, Sec 9.31(a) [of the Penal Code] expressly provides that a person is justified in using deadly force against another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary.”


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  36. 36
    Calli Arcale Says:

    Ack, I hit “submit” before I was done. One example of a state where you could shoot somebody damaging your pumps is North Dakota. Here’s from their “Castle Doctrine” statue. Basically, you’re expected to warn them before shooting them unless that would be dangerous, or there’s no time before they go and damage your stuff.

    12.1-05-06. Use of force in defense of premises and property. Force is justified if it is
    used to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry or other trespass in or upon premises, or to
    prevent an unlawful carrying away or damaging of property, if the person using such force first
    requests the person against whom such force is to be used to desist from his interference with
    the premises or property, except that a request is not necessary if it would be useless or
    dangerous to make the request or substantial damage would be done to the property sought to
    be protected before the request could effectively be made.


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  37. 37
    DV82XL Says:

    I stand corrected


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  38. 38
    Calli Arcale Says:

    As in Texas, ND does have restrictions on how *much* force you can use. However, in this case, an argument might be made that it fits the circumstances for deadly force. (Note, however, that one could argue that shooting in the foot is not deadly force. The statute makes no distinction between levels of nonlethal force.) One would probably have to go to the case law or, if no relevant case has yet been heard, wait and see until such a case is brought before a judge and decided.

    In general, though, ND says deadly force can be justified if there is fear of imminent bodily injury. Unlawful entry is listed as one justification, though as the pumps are outdoors, it’s not clear to me whether they would count. Also, the person who uses excessive or deadly force has to know that there was unlawful or forcible entry either was occurring or had already occurred. There is a fair bit of leeway in the statute; it could come down to a jury’s opinion on the matter.


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  39. 39
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I think these bastards belong in prison or at least with a hefty fine, a permanent criminal record and probation. However, despite my disdain for these movements, I’d have a problem actually shooting and killing someone who is breaking off the fuel switches at a gas station. In general, I’d tend to want to avoid shooting at a gas station in a densely populated city to begin with.

    That said, I do see times when eco-”protest” groups reach the point where deadly force is totally justified. An example would be ramming ships in the Antarctic. That’s an unquestionable act of aggression and possibly piracy and a torpedo or anti-ship missile is completely justified to respond to that. Attempting to get a dingy up against the hull of a surfaced nuclear submarine after repeated warnings in a clearly restricted area is another example. I’d have no problem with them machine gunning any boat that attempted to do that. (the memory of the USS Cole is sobering and with much of the hull underwater and being most vulnerable when surfaced, allowing a boat to get up against a submarine puts the lives of the whole crew in Jeopardy. A few sticks of dynamite could potentially flood the sub before most could make it to the hatches)

    Much as I find these actions at BP gas stations reprehensible I can’t see them as rising to the point of capital crimes. Besides, I could not justify the kind of grief that it might cause to family members to lose someone because their only crime was being a very naive college student.


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  40. 40
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Much as I find these actions at BP gas stations reprehensible I can’t see them as rising to the point of capital crimes.

    Besides, I could not justify the kind of grief that it might cause to family members to lose someone because their only crime was being a very naive college student.

    I agree, however as in most cases of this sort, it would never have come to that. The bottom line is that the only real benefit of deadly-force in upholding the law, is that it serves as deterrent. Actions like this do not occur in places where there is a very high probability that the authorities will react sharply. Prison, as unpleasant as a stay might be, or fines do not serve as sufficient deterrence in situations like this; the real possibility of death may.

    This is, of course, part of a much larger debate on the issue of state prerogatives and power I know, but there is something wrong in a situation where draconian application of the law is reserved for those accused of copyright violations, but the authorities can only wring their hands when a handful of people can hold a major city hostage for several hours.


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  41. 41
    Shafe Says:

            DV82XL said:

    … and then, strangely enough, only at night.

    I’ve wondered about that one myself and come to realize that it’s straight from the Bible.

    Exodus 22:2-3
    2 “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; 3 but if it happens [a] after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed.
    “A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. -NIV


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  42. 42
    George Carty Says:

    I know our right-libertarian host won’t take kindly to this, but won’t universal health care in the United States also lead to a significant reduction in petroleum use?

    This would free Ford and General Motors from the tyranny of legacy costs (most of which are healthcare related), allowing them to market normal-sized cars instead of gas-guzzling monstrosities.

    US healthcare is massively overpriced because of government kowtowing to Big Pharma price gougers. The British NHS (which covers the whole population) is cheaper per capita than US Medicare and Medicaid (which do not), because the NHS (like other health services outside the US) drives a hard bargain on drugs, while US Medicare lets Big Pharma charge whatever the hell it likes!

    Perhaps US supporters of universal health care could split the opposition by playing the nationalist card, demanding “Why should Americans pay through the nose for health care in order to subsidize foreigners?”


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  43. 43
    George Carty Says:

    Another point – we don’t say “douchebag” in Britain, preferring “wanker”…


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  44. 44
    drbuzz0 Says:

            George Carty said:

    I know our right-libertarian host won’t take kindly to this, but won’t universal health care in the United States also lead to a significant reduction in petroleum use?

    Doubt it.

            George Carty said:

    This would free Ford and General Motors from the tyranny of legacy costs (most of which are healthcare related), allowing them to market normal-sized cars instead of gas-guzzling monstrosities.

    That’s not quite how it works. The enormous costs of healthcare leveled on American car makers by the unions do make it very difficult to make a profit on compact cars, but that’s really not the thing that causes so many large vehicles to be made.

    That article is very very biased. Saying Japanese cars are “better in every way” than every American car is bull****. I drive an American car and I happen to love it. American cars are not all crap.

    The US has always liked fairly large cars. The era of the “land yacht” like the full sized Lincolns and Caddies is largely over, in part due to fuel efficiency restrictions. These are replaced with SUV’s. SUV’s sell well. Even in the era of more expensive gasoline, a significant number of vehicles on the road are SUV’s. Large pickup trucks also sell very well. Even foreign-built “monstrosities” sell well in the US. The large (and not impressively fuel efficient) Honda Pilot is one of the best selling SUV’s in the US and

    The reason many Americans choose to drive large vehicles is simple: Because we can.

    Our roadways are wide, broad and easily accommodate these vehicles. Believe me, I know how this works elsewhere, because I’ve traveled enough. In Europe you have much narrower roads, much smaller passes and interchanges.

    Several years ago my family took a trip to Ireland and rented a van because we had so many of us with my Irish relatives included. You can drive a van in Ireland, but it’s a challenge. We were constantly pulling over to let opposing traffic pass by and, at times, inching through the roadway in towns and cities, to avoid scraping buildings. That simply would never be a problem in the US.

    The US is just newer. Most urban areas were built more recently and many actually had some kind of a plan to their construction, not just growing over time as more moved in. Roads in the suburbs are generally purpose-built for cars, and there was no path or road there before.

    Americans like big cars for the obvious reasons: They’re comfortable, you can fit more in them, they’re safe – regardless of what anyone says, there’s no substitute for having a big vehicle for safety.

    Yes, there are compact cars in the US too, but there’s always a market for larger vehicles.

    I drive a Chrysler Sebring. By US standards it’s a “mid sized car” but it’s significantly bigger than most of the private vehicles I’ve seen driving in London. In fact, it’s big enough that it might be a bit of a pain to drive it there. It’s five meters end to end and just under two meters wide. It weighs a ton and a half and has a 235 horsepower engine. Personally, I have no desire to drive anything smaller.

            George Carty said:

    US healthcare is massively overpriced because of government kowtowing to Big Pharma price gougers. The British NHS (which covers the whole population) is cheaper per capita than US Medicare and Medicaid (which do not), because the NHS (like other health services outside the US) drives a hard bargain on drugs, while US Medicare lets Big Pharma charge whatever the hell it likes!

    Perhaps US supporters of universal health care could split the opposition by playing the nationalist card, demanding “Why should Americans pay through the nose for health care in order to subsidize foreigners?”

    Uh… It’s not quite like that.


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  45. 45
    Matthew Says:

            Shafe said:

    I’ve wondered about that one myself and come to realize that it’s straight from the Bible.

    If I recall correctly, the rabbinic interpretation for harsher nighttime penalties for burglary is that, at night, the owner is expected to be there, so burglers are assumed to be planning violence.


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  46. 46
    matthew Says:

            George Carty said:

    I know our right-libertarian host won’t take kindly to this, but won’t universal health care in the United States also lead to a significant reduction in petroleum use?

    This would free Ford and General Motors from the tyranny of legacy costs (most of which are healthcare related), allowing them to market normal-sized cars instead of gas-guzzling monstrosities.

    US healthcare is massively overpriced because of government kowtowing to Big Pharma price gougers. The British NHS (which covers the whole population) is cheaper per capita than US Medicare and Medicaid (which do not), because the NHS (like other health services outside the US) drives a hard bargain on drugs, while US Medicare lets Big Pharma charge whatever the hell it likes!

    Perhaps US supporters of universal health care could split the opposition by playing the nationalist card, demanding “Why should Americans pay through the nose for health care in order to subsidize foreigners?”

    The biggest factor, as far as I can tell, is the tort issue, and the culture of defensive medicine it requires (doing every test under the sun for fear of being sued otherwise if somethign goes wrong). That, and the malpractice insurance, which in many places starts at 100K / year (assuming a 40 hr week, 50 week year, this requires a doctor to make at minimum $50/hr before even thinking about things like rent, a secretary, supplies, as well as little things like a roof over his head, repaying school loans, and eating a couple of times a day).

    A good empirical look at this is Mississipi. When they did their tort reform a few years ago (capping damages at 250K beyond any actual monetary loss suffered), they saw people’s medical costs (as measured by health insurance premiums) go down something like 48%. This was due, not primarily to decreased payouts, but mostly to the reduced number of frivolous claims (it was no longer profitable for lawyers to do large numbers of extreme longshot / frivolous cases, since there would be no jackpot multimillion awards to get commissions on).

    Drug cost issues pale in comparison.

    a couple of articles written about it (a bit of quick googling, since I need to get to the pool before it closes):

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Heres-your-demonstration-project-Mr-President—-its-called-Mississippi-59990137.html

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/14958

    http://www.atra.org/wrap/files.cgi/7964_howworks.html


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  47. 47
    Calli Arcale Says:

            Shafe said:

    I’ve wondered about that one myself and come to realize that it’s straight from the Bible.

    A lot of modern law does, or at least from the same legal culture as the book of Leviticus. There was considerable cross-pollination going on a few thousand years ago.

    Out of curiosity, I decided to see what the oldest recorded legal code (which clearly did influence the ancient Hebrew code) had to say on the matter. The Code of Hammurabi, edict 21, states that breaking and entering is a capital offense:
    If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.
    Edict 22 goes on to make robbery in general a capital offense:
    If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.

    It doesn’t clarify whether it is acceptable for the homeowner to actually carry out the sentence. The Code covers various sorts of manslaughter, but not that one.


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  48. 48
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Americans like big cars for the obvious reasons: They’re comfortable, you can fit more in them, they’re safe – regardless of what anyone says, there’s no substitute for having a big vehicle for safety.

    Depends immensely on the type of accident. Small cars have the advantage of being light, sometimes laughably so, leading to surprisingly impressive performances in the Euro NCAP crash tests. Of course, that doesn’t pay off when the other guy simply runs straight over the top of you in his big SUV.

    I’ll try to do some sort of analysis of the numbers over the weekend if you like, but as a side note now, the worst score the Euro NCAP boys have ever seen was a Nissan Navarro pick-up. You can find a video of the test on their site, it’s worth a watch but prepare to be slightly sickened by what you see.

    If you look closely, the reason for the shocking score becomes obvious: the driver flies forwards and is caught by his seatbelt, which then starts to pull him back. Sadly, his seat detaches from the chassis and simply bashes his skull in. The car as a whole survives very well, but it’s a deathtrap.

    Disclaimer: Nissan quietly recalled and remedied the fault on the Navarro to avoid any embarrassing “death by seat” lawsuits. The new score is three stars, which sounds average but is still quite poor for a 2008 car. For other fun, watch the Rover 100 (my brother used to own one) and check out the impressive bunny hop from the Smart Fortwo.

    PS: One thing that’s going to make proper comparisons difficult is market segment – SUVs (at least in Europe) are targeted at richer customers than small cars and hence can be packed with more safety features. If you’re adding £500 to a £40k car, no-one minds too much. Add £500 to an £8k car and it impacts your sales figures.


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