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I almost never talk about politics in this forum. As my friends know, I'm pretty conservative on just about everything but social issues; I love <plural homophobic slur> and <plural ethnic slur> and think chicks should be able to get good jobs, too. And that everyone should be able to smoke dope and drive fast as long as they don't bother other folks. I don't care to debate my beliefs; I've been a pseudo-neoconservative with a dash of libertarianism since I could put thoughts together.

I think the last time I actually posted anything with political overtones was on the first anniversary of the WTC and Pentagon bombings; I quoted a blog account by a dad who was considering the last moments of an unrelated three-year-old girl who died when the airliner she was riding in was crashed into the WTC. I also quoted a Shanksville firefighter who had been on-scene at the PA crash.


9/11. So, some people seem to have gotten over this pretty easily. My company lost six employees that day between the WTC and Shanksville crash. Even discounting that fact, I love NYC and loved the WTC (I'd been up there three or four times... And ever since I was a little kid, I'd always gaze at the towers whenever I'd drive by on the turnpike). So, I'm still pretty bent about the whole thing.

Back to the first paragraph; I think everyone should be able to do what they want. And you know what? Not just people lucky enough to be born into the luxurious heaven that is America (arguments? Name me one place that's better to live than the US, then explain rationally why you do not live there).

I'm sick and tired of hearing people who have never had to nor chosen to give anything to support their freedoms bitch and moan about the fact that the US has a moral agenda to spread freedoms to other people. It is as though these people think that life under Hussein was more or less like life where they live, except with pictures of Saddam here and there.

I don't care to debate the DNC/ANSWER talking points. They are specious. No blood for oil? That one sounds good, doesn't it? Tell you what, let's drill ANWR, then. No WMDs? Why wouldn't Hussein comply with the thirteen UN resolutions demanding documentation and inspection, then? And what about the Kurds? What about the gallon-or-so of sarin that showed up the other day? (I know, it was a Haliburton plant to prop up Bush).

Of course, the DNC/ANSWER agenda is silent, oh so silent, on comparative human rights. It's much more of an affront to humankind that we don't allow gays to marry than it is that the Chinese stifle peaceful dissent with violence. It's far more important to secure the rights of minors in America to abortion than it is to support the pursuit of rights for any women in the middle east to walk without a hajib, to drive a car, to pursue education or business, or to own property. And it undermines the whole role of America in Iraq that .025 of the troops behave like idiot frat boys and girls, to the point that it would have been better to leave Hussein in charge.

Let me ask you this. It is by no means assured that we will win our fight against Islamic fundamentalism. Will we lose our freedoms and culture faster under Bush or Kerry?

Fundamentalist Islam, in my book, seems a little more dangerous than Christian fundamentalism. Sure, the Christians would prefer that you not have abortions and do not practice homosexuality, but the Islamics have the same tenets. I haven't actually worked the numbers, but I don't think the occasional clinic bombing or shooting gets close to the severity of attacks by Islamics. There's certainly nothing as high in profile over here as the 3000+ killed in September '01. And while the Christians would support the 'American way' as they know it, the Islamics would replace it with Sharia. I'd rather live in 1950's America than 1990's Iraq or current Saudia Arabia.

Okay, so the crusades are an example of Christianity attacking Islam? Mmm-hmm. So, if the middle east was ruled by Rome (which is to say, western civilization) at the time of Christ, why were 'we' (which is to say, western civilization) fighting the turks and moors there a few hundred years later?

Also, you wouldn't know by reading the MSM, but there's a big scandal going on over at the UN. It seems that billions of dollars were diverted from the oil-for-food program. Guess who collected? You won't believe me, so do your own research. But it certainly seems from where I sit that there were good cash reasons why the French and Russians opposed our Iraqi action.

There are two hundred thousand US troops over there. These are people who put their lives on the line every day, even while they sleep, so that other people may have the opportunity to travel freely, work and play as they like, and not live or die at the whim of tyranny. These people are making real sacrifices.

The media has been having a field day with the Iraq prison scandal. Some bad people did bad things to some Iraqi detainees. Bad. We all agree. We are punishing the bad guys (and girls. I know you feminist-american types like to think you don't have it in you, but Lynndie says you do. So, there you go).

The media doesn't care to consider that under Hussein, these same people, or people like them, would have been fed to wood shredders, gang raped, or electrocuted as an institutionalized practice. And their families. And their clans, if they happened to be Kurdish. And their town, if they happened to back the US in Gulf War 1.

I know the hate-america-first crowd would like to claim that there was an institutionalized culture on the part of the Americans that led to these horrible abuses. I think that is asinine, but even if true, it hardly rises to the level of evil shown by the Iraqi government under the Husseins. In actuality, though, these people involved with the prison scandal represent a diminishingly-small percentage of the troops we have there. Hands up. Who here would 'torture' prisoners? I wouldn't. I served in the active duty military, so I empirically reject the notion that there is a culture in the military that supports such idiocy.

I'm reminded of an NYT article on the prison 'scandal'. I don't usually read the NYT as they are pretty biased, but some koolaid-republican site that I look at linked to the article. Anyway, this prisoner had been humiliated by the Americans who played loud music and forced him to remain naked for a while and put a woman (a *woman*, for garsh sake!) in charge. He was so humiliated that he could no longer face his neighbors. The Americans owe him restitution for the grave harm they had done. He suggested that a reasonable reparation would be to be moved to America in order to not have to face his neighbors in his humiliation. Yep, we're so darned evil and have treated him so badly that he wants us to pay to move him here.

Now, of course, people are up in arms that Bush is actually trying to honor the turn-over date he proposed way back when. He just can't win, can he?

Right. So with that introduction, here is what I really have to share with you today.

A little pro-America propaganda. Don't bother to read it; it's about moms of soldiers deployed, or about to be deployed, to Iraq.


Back to me. I am teaching my children that the freedoms that they enjoy are at constant risk from forces within and without.

You may consider this hyperbole on the face, but you would also accuse Bush of trying to turn America into a theocracy; that would certainly be a risk to our freedoms, would it not? So we agree.

Also, once the liberals give the country to Islam (since it is uncivilized to actually resist), things will certainly change. Take a look at France for an example of what attempting to appease Islam brings; in parts of Paris, women can't walk the streets without hajib or risk being attacked by street gangs. Don't take my word for it; do your own research. I don't want that here. Remember; I'm big into freedoms. Worship or not as you choose, but don't bother me with it.

I also teach my children that people who serve in the military are to be honored and respected for the choices and sacrifices they have made. The old saw about it not being any big thing because people are being forced into the military for economic reasons doesn't work; for every person serving in the military due to perceived economic necessity, there are several in civilian life depending on welfare and medicare and doing no work whatsoever. Let me tell you; it is way easier to collect welfare than it is to serve in the military. No one is forced into the military.

To the people serving over there, I would say, thanks for serving from the bottom of my heart. It makes me proud to know that there are Iraqis, the vast majority, who today have freedom. It makes me proud to know that there are people, Americans, who risk all, who leave their families for months on end, to secure rights for people they don't even know. Stay the course; it took seven years to stop the axis and forty years after that for us to get out of Germany and Japan; you people are doing a great and speedy job. I thank you, my family thanks you.



May. 22nd, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
First, here's a link that lists the Department of Defense as its source. Is that acceptable?


It seems a bit dated, but from what I've heard about it the figures aren't drastically different today. Notice that blacks make up 13% of the American population.

I'm not sure what you mean when you ask me if I work for economic reasons, and if that makes my employer bad. Capitalism is how we live, but that doesn't mean that it or the acquisition of wealth is right or just.
May. 23rd, 2004 08:56 pm (UTC)
Not really. CDI is a 501c3. This data is from a not-for-profit organization, possibly liberal in perspective, claiming to base its info on sketchily-attributed twelve-year-old government data. So, no.

I looked briefly on the DOD website but didn't see anything obvious pertaining to demographics. I'll (perhaps lamely) lean on my earlier assertion; unless something reputable (direct GSA or DOD, not claimed to be based on such) can be found, the accuracy of demographic data is in question.

Also, please consider the demographic makeup of the NBA. I will not argue that the NBA is disporportionately minority. How does that fit in with your thesis regarding the military demographics?

My statement about working for economic reasons; you had stated (as I understand it) that people were forced into the military for economic reasons (I'll separate the implicit racism from the argument). My point is that everyone is 'forced' into working for economic reasons. The military, I contend, is better than most entry-level or career options for the training opportunities and long-term career stability. I would also point out that it is not more dangerous than many government occupations (although the military, of course, embraces thousands of occupations) as something like 10% or less of the military is in a 'combat arms' role. I would also point out that the military promotes based on quotas, so minorities get promoted faster than you or I based on similar performance. So, if it's the case that there are disproportionate numbers of minorities in the service, maybe it's because they know a good thing when they see it.

LJ is making me break this into two responses...
May. 24th, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC)
The only response I have to the military reply is: anyone is more likely to get promoted in the military over me, as I'm homosexual and am not allowed in the military. I guess you think that's a good idea too.
Aug. 19th, 2004 12:53 pm (UTC)
No, I think it's asinine. Surely you've realized by now that I support homosexual rights? As I told the Navy in written correspondence way back in '87, the military deprives itself of many talented people through its bigoted practices. I was having this conversation with them because I was in the process of being kicked out for 'homosexuality or bisexuality'. I'm surprised you didn't know that.

Clinton, of course, had the opportunity to change this but chose to perpetuate the existing practice; the only change was to give the status quo a cutesy name. Under Clinton, more people were kicked out for homosexuality than under any previous administration.
Aug. 19th, 2004 02:11 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is old...
I was having this conversation with them because I was in the process of being kicked out for 'homosexuality or bisexuality'. I'm surprised you didn't know that.

Actually, I was aware. I just wasn't sure how public the details were of it.

I had forgotten about it, until we were talking. Then I was like, "Wait a minute...!" Are you still bisexual? That's my only real question. :-P

I've seen figures both ways (as it were) of more or less people kicked out of the armed forces for gayness during the Clinton years. You may be surprised that I believe there probably were more during the Clinton years. Because of that cutesy-named rule, more gays felt the need to "tell" since they weren't supposed to. As far as I'm concerned, if the US Government's homophobia supercedes its want of talented, willing Americans, it's their loss.
Aug. 19th, 2004 02:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, this is old...
Sorry, for some reason I didn't see this reply at the time.

I agree with your statement; it is their loss. At some point they will get the clue.

Details being public; I don't really talk about it but I don't try to hide from it, either.

Am I still? Ain't no one's business but those I'm involved with. ;)
Aug. 19th, 2004 02:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, this is old...
Am I still? Ain't no one's business but those I'm involved with. ;)

Quite a Democratic answer there. Republicans would take that as a challenge.
May. 23rd, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
Capitalism. Okay... Name three technologies or other beneficial, positive shifts that have occured due to events in other than capitalistic systems. Frankly, I can't think of any... In all fairness, I guess you could say that communist systems tended to earlier partial gender equality than capitalism.

Acquisition of wealth.... Okay, I'll share with you a secret. I want to be rich. Not to say I want to be rich and retire; if I were to win the lottery tomorrow (and I *do* play), I'd continue working. My tasks would probably change to favor volunteerism, so what?

But I have an agenda. I have things I'd like to do. I do find, though, that it's easier to put in the constant sixteen- to eighteeen-hour days (minus, of course, LJ time) if I have something comfy and fun to look forward to.

I like to have fun, working and not. I like to drive fast cars, I like to fly airplanes. I like to go on vacation to places far away from where I live.

Does that make me bad? I think not. A lot of people like the same things.

Sure, everyone loves fun and luxury. But not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices. When the person down the street is watching NASCAR, I'm working. When s/he's partying at the bar, I'm working. We each have the same lack of college degree... Or maybe s/he has one and I don't. Or maybe the reverse is true. I don't think it matters.

So, does it make it unfair for me to 'amass' wealth? I suggested in my earlier message that everyone has access to the same things based on similar labor (working hard or working smart). What would be unfair in my mind would be if my income and access to wealth-based goodies, based on my constant labor, were penalized to support the NASCAR person's income and access to wealth-based goodies. S/he works eight hours a day, I work almost twice that (more, when you consider that I work, at least some, seven days a week). Why does s/he deserve to benefit from my income (as opposed to my labor; s/he benefits from my labor when s/he buys a product dependent on my labor or, frankly, when s/he calls 911)?

S/he doesn't, any more than healthy welfare recipients deserve it. S/he's making his or her choices; this, here, now, as opposed to that, later.

I think there is some discussion to be had about things like, should my income be appropriated by the government to provide basic health care for him or her, to provide education for his or her offspring, to provide food and heat for his or her family if s/he chooses not to work. My ultra-conservative side would say no, but I'm willing to admit that there is possibly a societal benefit to providing a basic standard of living. If s/he was forced to actually provide service in exchange for a basic standard of living, I'd feel better. I'm no communist, but I'll accept 'to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities'.

I guess the last part of the amassing wealth question is, is it okay for my to pass my wealth on to my gold-digging and worthless progeny on my death or should I surrender the fruits of my life-long labor to the government to be distributed to the here-and-now NASCAR set? I'd say that these are my fruits; who's right is it to tell me how to use those fruits?
May. 24th, 2004 08:59 pm (UTC)
You like to drive fast cars, or like to drive cars fast?
I appreciate the invitation; unfortunately we will have to decline. The three of us are in the Casino industry, which makes for non-existent weekends. It's one reason I've been a non-presence at movie marathons for over a decade. Not sure how many you all have been at.

I hope we can take a raincheck and plan a weekend in the fall maybe. I would love to spend a lazy weekend with our families, no agendas or schedule. Or you guys could visit here as well. We have two foutons, and the shore is beautiful in October.
May. 25th, 2004 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: You like to drive fast cars, or like to drive cars fast?
I like to drive fast cars fast!

We haven't made it to too many marathons since moving north, then west.

You and your family are welcome at any time. October at the shore sounds lovely, too.
May. 23rd, 2004 09:46 pm (UTC)
If you three (or any subset) aren't busy the weekend of June 18 - 21, please consider coming to Vermont. [rabidkitten and I are having a party and would love to have you and your family attend.


Bjamexza Q. Pyndejo / James O. Payne, Jr.
Bxiie Q. Pyndejo

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