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San Francisco Cable Car

Monday, May 28, 2007

12 -- Memorial Day

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Memorial Day.
Rilla: Brings back memories.
rilla: Memories?
Rilla: Yeah. Of all the people who have died in war.
rilla: And are still dying.
Rilla: You can’t remember them. Memory is about the past.
rilla: I see. So no thoughts on all the death and carnage currently taking place around the world on Memorial Day.
Rilla: Something like that.
rilla: Been looking at the news lately?
Rilla: Parts of it. One Israeli dead.
rilla: How many Palestinians?
Rilla: No idea. Two more American GI’s killed.
rilla: Oh. How many Iraqis?
Rilla: No idea. The American death toll in Iraq for the month of May so far is 103. That’s one less than April. The total American death toll is around 3455.
rilla: Hmm. That’s way more than the number who died on September 11. How many Iraqis have died?
Rilla: I TOLD YOU I HAVE NO IDEA! Why do you go on and on harping about someone else’s death toll when Memorial Day is meant to remember OUR dead?
rilla: What’s the difference?
Rilla: Huh?
rilla: Their dead, our dead…what’s the difference? Shouldn’t we use this day to remember how dreadful war is and how many innocent people suffer because of it.
Rilla: Six hundred and fifty-five thousand.
rilla: Huh?
Rilla: That’s how many Iraqis are estimated to have died since the coalition invaded.
rilla: You…
Rilla: Yeah. While you were yadda yaddaing about all this memorial stuff I went and checked on that number. 655,000.
rilla: Staggering!
Rilla: Oh no. Don’t tell me you’re blubbering again. Doesn’t take much to set you off does it?
rilla: No wonder people don’t talk about the death toll on the other side. It defeats imagination. American deaths, Israeli deaths, British deaths. That’s all we talk about, because the numbers are so small.
Rilla: Here, here, calm down. Let’s use Memorial Day to celebrate summer and have a nice picnic and see who won the Indy 500.
rilla: I thought we believed in equality.
Rilla: Oh no. That’s the French. Equality, Brotherhood and Justice for all.
rilla: Ah! I guess we believe we’re just a little more equal than the rest of the world.
Rilla: Equal? No, no. We are the victims.
rilla: Reminds me of Star Wars.
Rilla: Star Wars? You mean the amazing new defense system that will protect us forever from everything, that only costs…
rilla: NO! I mean the movie.
Rilla: Oh! Luke and his hooded mentor and his princess with the permanent headphones and the jumpy pilot friend with the broken down spacecraft and the carpet-covered friend who chews gum all the…
rilla: Whatever. Yeah. That’s the one. We have a penchant for cheering on the underdog. Go Luke, go. Get that evil empire. Win the world with a colored tube-light sword. A bit of neon to the rescue of the universe.
Rilla: What’s your point?
rilla: What do you do when you’re no longer the underdog, the Cinderella team? Who do you cheer for when you have become the bully? What do you do when you have turned into the evil empire and everyone wants a piece of you?

Rilla: Run for cover? Hide... behind the flag?
rilla: What do you do when Luke Skywalker’s fighting against you? And being cheered on by the rest of the world? What do you call him then?
Rilla: A terrorist? Hey...wait a minute. Now I'm totally confused. If we're the Empire...who's Darth Vader?

Mark Twains' War Prayer


J said...

I guess the truth is often dependent on personal point of view. Me, I pray for all sides because everyone has a truth that is vital to them. War is an aweful thing, but hatred and prejudice are worse. At least in war you can begin to count the casualties. In hatred and prejudice eveyone dies or is mortally wounded.

I choose to use this day to remember all those who believed that there is something worth staking their life on. I only hope I can live that kind of faith.

Rilla said...

I hear ya J. The truth is totally dependent on personal point of view. That's why it's so crucial to try and know or understand other people's points of view if we are to get anywhere in terms of dialog, discussion, cooperation and peace. If only...
Unfortunately, hard as it is for us to accept and understand, even a suicide bomber believes that there is something worth staking life on. Too bad that something involves taking other lives. How do we break that viscious cycle?
I vote we devote this Memorial Day to reaching out and touching someone who is different from us. Hugs anyone?
Tell me who you hug or just talk to today...

LynNerd said...

Memorial Day - We will never be able to grasp the hell and heroism our troops have gone through in the history of our country. An honorable country. That's why our military fights, to keep our honor and our freedom. War is hell. It always has been. It always will be.
But since the history of the world, there has always been war. As long as there are evil people, there will be war. They want what's not theirs. They want to rule others and make them slaves. Only now the Islamic fanatics just want the Western Civilization or anyone who doesn't agree with their beliefs dead. They are murderers. They are the ones killing the 655,000 Iraqis. They don't want peace in that country. They don't want the people to be free. They want them under their thumbs. They don't want to work things out. They only have one view. Anyone who does'nt share their beliefs is to be slaughtered.

Give them time, they will do all in their power to kill many more than 655,000 Westerners. Not just in the U.S. They keep at it, plotting their evil deeds. And sometimes they are successful and sometimes good people, thank God, are able to stop them.

A Lebanese psychologist was interviewed on TV and she said the Islamic fanatics have no right to tell other people what to believe. She said she is an athiest. A radical Islamist religious leader called her an infidel. She said you don't see the Jews sending out suicide bombers. You don't see the Buddists sending out suicide bombers. You don't see other religions sending out suicide bombers and committing murder all over the world. She said, "Let people believe in what they want. If they want to be Christians, Jews, Buddists, etc. Let them believe in stones for all I care. Just don't throw them at me."
She basically warned the world how dangerous these Islamic fanatics are, so the world has to wake up, or millions will be killed in the name of the nutcase Islamists. The innocent Islamists are afraid of these terrorists. They're afraid to speak out for fear they'll be killed too. Children are being brainwashed to believe the Islamic fanatics' hatred for other ways of life. It is ingrained in them. And this isn't an honorable army who is fighting the good fight. They are lying in wait all over the world until they get a chance to kill as many innocent people as they can.

Some military analysts compare what we face today with WW II. There are many similarities. We barely defeated Hitler. It was a tough war. Many good people sacrificed their lives to keep the life they knew. Many were thrown in concentration camps because of their religion and slaughtered in the name of ethnic cleansing. Anyone who disagreed with Hitler was killed. But at least his army was out in the open and we knew where to find them and could fight them. And by the grace of God, we won that war. An ugly, horrible, war that scarred history. I love living in America where I can say what I feel and believe what I believe and can agree to disagree with people who don't believe the way I do. I respect other people's viewpoints, people who are different than me. I have the freedom to live in peace with people I disagree with. And I feel so blessed that I don't live under Darth Vader's thumb or any evil dictator's thumb. Sure, there are plenty of crooked, BS'ing politicians. But there are good and bad people in every lot.

Anyways, I got off track, but some military analysts believe the war we face now against these Islamist nut cases, pure evil doers, will be much, much harder than WWII. It looks very grim. There are going to be many horrible times ahead. The terrorists are not about to stop or let anyone try to discuss our differences. There's no discussing with them. There's only death. That's all they want.

Now, maybe if our media would stop making America out to be a big bully and if idiots like Michael Moore would stick their propaganda in their nostrils and people would wake up and see what's actually going on, then maybe there's hope for us and our grandchildren to continue to live in freedom. But hope is sometimes fleeting, especially when you hear the news and how our country is attacked and hated because our president has the guts to defend our country. Yes, he has made mistakes and relied on intelligence that was in error. As did the rest of the free world. As did the democrats who bash him. They bash him for their own purposes, not caring how they lower our troops' morale in time of war. If our country is to survive the evil preying on us and the rest of the world, the Republicans and Democrats and everyone else must put aside their differences and unite for the good of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that's what's at stake here. Not just in America, but all countries who cherish the rights and beliefs of their people.

So I'm thankful for Memorial Day, to remember all those who fought valiantly for the good cause. I'm thankful I have the freedom to come and go as I please, to worship my God without being persecuted. Freedom is something I don't take lightly, and I pray to God that the future won't be as bleak as I sometimes feel it will be. World peace would be so awesome. But as long as there are evil people, it won't happen.

So that's my take on Memorial Day and the world as I see it. I hope we can agree to disagree. I hate war, too. I get depressed each time I hear about all the people dying. Not just Americans, but all people who are seeking peace. The world is a scary place. We need to find peace within us and try to make the world a better place. It's the ripple effect, people helping people. Heroes are all around us. I thank God for good people. They give me hope.

Rilla said...

Hey LynNerd:

rilla: I am touched and delighted that you spent so much time on and gave so much thought to this comment. Thanks!
Rilla: Hey! LynNerd’s right you know, a lot of the problems with Iraq today are due to the insurgency of extremist groups such as Al-Quaeda.
rilla: Yeah, but aren’t we to blame for the insurgency? Toppling the government of a nation is like chopping the head off of a body…it loses its direction…
Rilla: You mean like when you chop the head off of a rooster, the body still runs around in circles, crashing into things coz it can’t see…until it dies…
rilla: Yeah…not the analogy I would’ve … anyway…coming back to the point, we were warned before we went into Iraq that only chaos would result from the power vacuum if we didn’t have a plan for peace following the war. All fine and dandy to bash up a poor country with intelligent bombs and shock and dazzle…but if your intention is to create peace…you must plan for it…our government didn’t. Because, it wasn’t interested in peace…only knocking off a nuisance dictator and that allowed it to cash in on big oil reserves, make money off of war supplies and divert our attention away from the growing problems at home…an age-old tactic.
Rilla: Hey that reminds me of Einstein?
rilla: Einstein?
Rilla: Yeah, wasn’t he the one who said you can’t simultaneously prepare for and prevent war…
rilla: Einstein…that brings me to LynNerd’s Hitler analogy. One of the big differences between that war and this is that then we really did have a plan for peace. We really did work at rebuilding the German and Japanese economies after we decimated their armies. And we had a lot of help doing it. Now all we seem to want is to use war to ram our supposed superiority down other people’s throats. We are stronger than you and if you don’t watch out, you’ll be the next. We’re really on the offensive here, cloaked in the sham of defense. And of course, war is great to fill your own pockets…and many in the highest places are doing that hand over fist…but how would you know, the press isn’t reporting it…only a handful of people, Michael Moore included, actually have the guts to face off to this big brother government and try to tell the truth…and, if you really believe in freedom of speech…
Rilla: Yeah, but what of her point about all those terrorists out there who will try anything to hurt people…
rilla: To that I say, as long as there are unhappy, frustrated, angry people there will be people who want to hurt you. Have you noticed, it’s rare for someone who is happy to want to hurt someone else. In other words, instead of blowing up more and more people and creating more and more angry disillusioned terrorist material who will come to get us more than likely, maybe we should question why people are so unhappy as to be swayed into believing fundamentalist propaganda and throwing away their lives…. Maybe if we worked harder at creating happiness by improving living conditions, health, education, housing, and justice for all, we’d have fewer terrorists to worry about in the long run. Peace is a hell of a lot cheaper than war. The army’s great for war, but what do they know about peace? It’s like LynNerd says…the world is a scary place and the only way we can achieve peace is to find it within us and then spread it by trying to make the world a better place. It's the ripple effect, people helping people. Simple people, everyday people…you and me. You’re so right, LynNerd…heroes are all around us. We should celebrate a Hero’s Day. Maybe we should change Memorial Day into Hero’s Day. After all, peace has its heroes too.

TBS said...

My historical take on the situation differs from Lynnerd.

WWII has often been called a just war but even so America was neutral until Pearl Harbor. To be sure, FDR was providing covert support to the Allies even before 1941. Hitler and the fascists would likely have prevailed but for: (a) America's entry into the War and (b) Hitler's major miscalculation in opening up an eastern front against the Soviet Union. The Soviets are credited by military historians as providing the decisive edge in the ultimate outcome. They also suffered much greater casualties than any other allied nation.

What is the present cause of Islamic fanaticism and why does it manifest itself against America in particular and Western nations in general? Our foreign policy is at least partly to blame. rilla makes the point about planning for the peace and this was exemplified by the Marshall Plan led by the US in rebuilding the shattered post-war economies of Germany and Japan. Unfortunately, US foreign policy was not quite so enlightened in dealing with post-colonial states like Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia in the middle east or Chile in S. America. We chose to prop up dictatorial regimes to serve as bulwarks against the perceived communist threat. Chile has fortunately transistioned to a stable democracy but not without widespread suppression of human rights in the Pinochet era. The middle eastern countries are floundering and many disaffected people blame the US for its support of: (a) Israel and (b) corrupt dictators in their own countries. This is probably unfair but arguably desperate people are not always rational.

My point is not to reflexively "blame the US". I think there is plenty of blame to go around - French and British colonial and post-colonial policies come to mind - but to think about whether our current political leadership could have chosen a different route if the ultimate objective is to preserve our national security. Sure, September 11 was a horrific and tragic event and going after the perpetrators in Afghanistan was justified. Saddam Hussein undoubtedly hated America for ousting him from Kuwait and clearly took pleasure in the events of September 11. But so did many people from around the world, mostly in third-world countries, where US foreign policy has helped the elite classes but not the masses. Saddam was mostly contained and the containment strategy while annoying to implement was quite cheap. The Bush administration chose to conflate Saddam with September 11, cherry picked the intelligence and picked war with Iraq not as a last resort. Also, it chose to go it largely alone. Well, we are in a mess now, and if anything, the Iraq war has probably spawned more terrorists than before. The war's cost in blood and treasure is well documented.

I am not sure if the Bush administration is corrupt but it is to my mind arrogant and incompetent. Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, you should be trying to bring about a change in policy direction. I don't believe our military presence in Iraq is effective any more - that is if any lessons are to be learnt from history.

Rilla said...

Hey TBS:
Thank you for putting things into a historical context. Impossible to begin to understand a current situation without delving into the past. If only we'd learn from past mistakes, both collectively and individually.

Anonymous said...

I'm chiming in late, here, but regarding lynnerd's comment, I feel I need to ask why Michael Moore's propaganda bothers you more than the one the governement used to justify going to war against Iraq??? I mean, if you REALLY believe their lies were a "mistake", I would say that proves how good their propaganda was and still is. And if indeed you respect other people's point of view, then, why not Michael Moore's? Isn't he a person entitled to his point of view? A point of view that he takes great care to justify with facts, I might add. I say : every single country in the world needs a Michael Moore. People who are not afraid to investigate, instead of just buying whatever BS is served to them. He says that each and every single information in his movies is a fact, and he defies anyone to prove him wrong. He's even offered 10000 dollars to anyone who proves the contrary. He hasn't had to pay anyone, so far. Is that why some people hate him so much? Because the truth he serves is unpalatable ? Why should you declare that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and then declare he's an idiot and want him to stick his opinion up his nostrils? Sounds a bit contradictory to me.

LynNerd said...

Hello "Anonymous"

Michael Moore is a traitor and does not tell the truth. And I'm entitled to my opinion of him, whether you agree or not. He's a nutcase and so is Rosie O'Donnell. They should get together and go bowling.

Celebrities who put their comments out there know they are going to get criticized. When I say I respect other people's views, I'm talking about the people in my life. People I live and work with.
Michael Moore loves to push other people's buttons. So he's asking for criticism.

As far as our government lying to us, history will tell the truth. Since you, me, nor anyone who's not entitled to the "intelligence" our government has, none of us knows the whole story. But as far as overthrowing Saddam, that was not a mistake. He was just waiting for the sanctions to be lifted and then planned to attack the U.S.

Our mistake was not overthrowing him in the first Gulf war. Thanks to Saudi Arabia's threats that we don't topple Saddam, we didn't, and how many Shites paid with their lives. They wanted our help and we let them down.

The Kurds have embraced freedom and stepped up to the plate and are taking care of themselves.
Too bad there's so much corruption in Iraq, people taking advantage of the situation. You can't say the U.S. hasn't worked at rebuilding Iraq. Good news doesn't seem to make the news. Our media would rather make the U.S. look bad
to the rest of the world. Bad news makes money for them, whether it's slanted news or not.

Too bad our good troops are over there in the middle of all that chaos, putting their lives on the line for so many Iraqis who won't step up to the plate for whatever reasons. Some are just scared to death. Some would rather be sheep and not think for themselves rather than be free. The cultural differences between them and us
and how we reason and view the world is obviously worlds apart. But the Shites wanted freedom and wanted Saddam gone.

The mistake of the U.S. was in believing that the Iraqis could rule themselves. And now that Syria and Iran have sent their terrorists there to stir up as much trouble as they can, it's even worse. And so many Iraquis have fled their country and have given up on it. Pretty sad. And their military is a mess because they're not getting paid. Our "mistake" was in trusting that the Iraqis would use the money we've given them to take care of their own people.

Just like sending aid to other parts of the world. The people who need the most help are left with no aid, and the corrupt leaders take the booty and keep it for themselves.

So "anonymous," although I do respect your opinions and I realize that this war has divided our country, we still need to remain loyal to this country because it is honorable and we're the ones that every other country has a hand out to when they need help, and the country that so many other countries want to throw stones at because they view us as the rich uncle who they want money and riches from but really don't like that rich uncle at all. So much so that they will dance in the streets when 3,000 of our citizens are blown up. They celebrate it and view it as America getting a good punch in the nose. Maybe they should stop looking for handouts from us and start helping themselves and others.

Anonymous said...

You might try checking your facts first. I have read nothing but dis-illusioned opinions and altered facts.

It is important to note I am NOT a Conservative... I just hate the Left because they breed mindless Lemmings who hug trees and live off of government grants while attempting to go to school for the rest of their lives...those that CAN, teach ... those that CANT, work in coffee shops. I know you are one of these Rilla...

655,000 Iraqi Deaths? Not likely. Just because you are following one report on the death toll, which is very high, and of course helps make your pathetic point, doesnt mean that that is actually how many are dead. I'd like to point out to everyone reading your opinion, that the 655,000 Iraqi Death toll figure comes from a British Medical Journal called "The Lancet". This number was reached as an estimate by taking a sample of the Population and extrapolating the amount of deaths over the entire population, by using the amount of deaths per family from the sample. This is likely as accurate, if not less accurate, than the UN estimate, which had 34,000 deaths in 2006. Simple math will suggest that over the course of the war, the UN stats in no way can total 655,000. The number likely lies in the middle, but you, in complete disregard for truth and fact, use the highest number you can find, without fact checking, in order to prove your point. Imagine a country run by people like you. Of course, by your own actions and, I'm sure personal beliefs, you can be compared to Bush, who also could be accused of not checking his facts, which of course may have put us in this "Occupation" in the first place. I suppose if your beliefs were such, that would make you a Hypocrit. However, I will point out I am speculating about your beliefs, so i'll drop it ;)

Memorial Day ... you clearly need to do more research here. Memorial Day is for America to remember American soldier deaths. When all hell breaks lose in the world, who does everyone turn too ... bitching and complaining and crying and begging? AMERICA! And just because you are not concerned with the current deaths around the world, does not mean the rest of us are not, and does not degrade the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day.

And you are correct .... we are MORE than equals in the world. While you are busy concentrating on the negative that is going on, you are missing the positive. It's a wonder why so many people from countries all over the world are rushing and dying to get here, if we are EQUAL... I think I will speculate here ...they are here to make a better life for themselves. A life that is far superior to any they could achieve in their own country. This is precisely why YOU are here and not in India or Australia or any other country that cannot compete in terms of a way of life.

Again, Star Wars .... NEW Missile Defense System? Sweetheart, Star Wars is from the Ronald Reagan era ... we call it Missile Defense now. Again, do your fact checking. It does not bode well for your Conclusions if your Facts are jaded. I suppose you couldnt possibly understand why we need a military or defense department. No no no, the world is such a nice peaceful place ... devoid of war and death and disease and poverty. We have no enemies and live under a borders with open arms. O_o

I seriously hope that these thoughts you have shared are not your own, because they are the exact same porpoganda, Liberal Kool-Aid drinking response of the Left.

You should also be thankful we live in the times we do. A few hundred years ago and you'd be dead for treason. One of the many freedoms .... SPEACH.... that our soldiers have fought for and died to protect .... yeah, Memorial Day ...

gnosisistic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heretic said...

America cannot possibly be the Empire from Star Wars .... otherwise Rilla would be dead for her speech. Hmmm....poor analogy. But, Liberals arent known for thinking outside of a Starbucks ... so maybe she wrote this at home.

gnosisistic said...

Rilla and rilla became the same person at the end :(

heretic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heretic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rilla said...

How sad that we have to resort to nastiness just to have a discussion.

heretic said...

Oh it's nothing personal Rilla ... your thoughts, which are shared by Left-Wing lunatics, represents all that I hate in Humanity. Well, alot of what I hate. I am sad that you feel the way you do.

But again, free speech, which you have taken advantage of, says I get to tell you what I think .... sad or not.

You have insulted American troops World Wide with your Memorial Day Blog. We remember the deaths of civilians world wide ever day; just watch the evening news. Memorial Day is reserved for OUR troops, and OUR troops ONLY. It's an American Holiday reserved for remembering American Troops. What is your problem with that?

heretic said...

In all fairness though, I have removed the last post.... You are correct, that was nasty and not called for. I apologize.

Rilla said...

Thanks heretic,
appreciate that. Also appreciate your dropping by my blog and reading my little spiel and taking the time express your views as well. Do you have your own blog? Would love to read it sometime...

heretic said...

I do not write Blogs per se, rather I write opinions of various sorts (generally world events) and look for responses. I live for the debate. However, I do not write on this medium. Perhaps I should start though. I think I will...

It has not gone un-noticed that you are not responding to my responses to your blog...

Rilla said...

Hi Sweet Heretic,
You're absolutely right. Memorial Day is an American Holiday and I'm sorry, I don't really have time to respond to every single one of the comments I receive. Work at the coffee shop is pretty hectic. If you do start a blog, let me know and I'll drop by once in a while.
Thanks again for all the interest.

heretic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heretic said...

Yes yes .... coffee shops can be quite demanding.

khemyst said...

A couple of points. I don't believe deaths have gone up in Iraq since the disbanding of Saddam's regime, and someone has previously posted a challenge to the estimate from Lancet of 655,000 deaths.

Hussein was killing his own people long before we came around. One could argue quite reasonably that this war was a convenient strategy to draw terrorists together in one place away from U.S. soil. If so, it seems to have worked. But- the day will come when terror attacks become as commonplace here as they are in Europe and Africa, Egypt, Israel and the Middle East.

Our politicians are mostly asleep at the wheel. They fight with each other for turf and graft/corruption/political gains while no one is at the helm steering the ship, watching for the safety and security of this nation.

15 years ago I did not blink an eye once when going through an airport in Geneva, seeing the police with submachine guns on straps, with their hands in a ready to use position, along with German Shepherd dogs.

Some of my coworkers freaked out. When will we be ready for that kind of airport and border security here?

People hate the US, but where else in the world can you find a civilized country where people of all walks of life can work together, eat together, play together, worship together, intermarry and not erupt in fighting, killing, genocide? Canada, perhaps, Britain, perhaps. But these places are also being influxed by immigrants who do not embrace the cultures they are joining.

True, there might be some discrimination in the workplace and we all might be a little apprehensive of the guy next door who looks different, dresses differently, etc.... but we've come a long way from the 60s mentality of segregation that was part of the Democratic party (Sen Robert Byrd is a former Klansman, and Al Gores Dad was a big opponent to the civil rights movement in the 60's.) Today the Democrats try to call Republicans racist. How many people of color were in Bill Clinton's inner circle? I think they were all WASPS, werent' they???? Again, that's another thread.

Point is, we don't have ethnic cleansing going on here...and lots of people want to come here, many want to live off the government. My daughter pointed out how many students from Asia and India whose parents were wealthy and owned property and wealth abroad would file FAFSA student loan/scholarship paperwork (lie about it as hardship cases) and get a free ride through college, while I had to pay the full load to put her through the honors program at UCLA. That's yet another topic in and of itself. Back to the main points.

Today, Muslims want to kill all infidels, Sunnis and Shiites hate each other. Ethnic cleansing continues in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa. Fascist regimes and dictators continue to kill people all round the world for political expediency and control.

(Another pet peeve of mine- when did everyone decide that conservatives were fascists? In my book, fascists are those who decide what is better for society over individual rights. This is mainly what leftists and liberals do- decide what is better for society as a whole, cradle to grave- the heck with individual choice and responsibility for those choices.

I am mainly a libertarian. Let me decide what's right for me.

But that is another thread. Back to the points.

All the different Asian countries are known for their prejudice against each other.... etc.

True, Bush may be incompetent, but it did not start with him. Our political system cannot and will not tolerate anyone on either side who truly wants to make a difference. Too many lobbyists and people with their hands in the governments pocket and writing checks for themselves. All one has to do is look at how much money has gone towards Katrina and see how little has truly been done. (another thread). Liberal social programs in action. But hey, lets focus the argument on Cheny and Haliburton OK? Guilty on both sides!! The Pot calls the kettle Black once more. Neither side is thinking outside of Starbucks!

I remember that Clinton was in the midst of his Lewinski scandal, so there were a couple of bombing sorties in Iraq. Hence the movie "Wag the dog"...nothing like a little tryst scandal to fuel an act of agression such as bombing.

While a previous poster said liberals can't think outside of Starbucks (I'd like to borrow that line) ... I feel liberals don't know how to do much more than raise taxes and throw money at problems, create social welfare programs. No accountability. How do you explain all the education efforts and our students still fall behind the rest of the world in academic achievement? Most of our engineers and computer scientists come from Asia and India. (They are the only resumes I see these days when I have openings)

Both sides have shipped more and more manufacturing jobs to third world countries, where they do not have the simplest of environmental protection laws they have here, so the rest of the world is now getting more and more polluted, and we are supposed to go to Kyoto and promise to pollute less and less (which means send more and more jobs overseas because we are already cleaner manufacturers than most other countries).

I have sat next to company presidents CEO/CFO's in airports and listened to them commiserate at how their plant in China is doing so well, and they complain that because they give them 2 square meals a day- the cost of food is higher than the cost of their wages! I'd like to feel sorry for those guys because it is taking a couple of million dollars out of their stock options or bonus payout, that was increased at the expense of cutting several thousand US jobs (wages and pension plans) to move their operations to China.

While we absorb more and more illegal immigrants, with fewer and fewer factories to support such an influx of unskilled laborers (if they are even willing to work), we will become more a bimodal population, mainly lawyers and politicians vs unskilled laborers. The politicians will have taxed the middle class to death. This provides a future vision of more poverty and more crime. Is that what we all want?

Ann Coulter is thought to be a pariah by liberals. I choose to think she writes more like Dave Barry- pointing out the contradictions in liberal thought and consistency and then arguing the point to absurdity. The left has Bill Maher, not much difference, though his attacks are more cruel (name-calling) rather than intellectual.

one quote: "Yes, this country has absorbed huge migrations of illiterate peasants in the past -- notably Italian immigrants at the turn of the last century. But also notably, half of them went back. We got the good ones. America was not yet a welfare state guaranteeing room and board to the luckless, the lazy and the incompetent from cradle to grave."

another: "Democrats are trying to turn new immigrants into wards of the state -- and with some success! -- so they will be permanent Democratic voters. Rich Republicans and their handmaidens in Washington are trying to turn immigrants into a permanent servant class."

also, how she resorts to the point of absurdity like Dave Barry:

"We fought a civil war to force Democrats to give up on slavery 150 years ago. They've become so desperate for servants that now they're importing an underclass to wash their clothes and pick their vegetables. This vast class of unskilled immigrants is the left's new form of slavery."

Lots of things wrong in the world. Things are pretty good in the US. Its time for the bleeding heart liberals to stop feeling guilty for our standard of living. We defended our turf, stopped a lot of agression in the world. One could argue that we picked and chose who to defend and looked the other way sometimes we should not have. We are not the world police, but should defend our interests and homeland security. We should not return to the "holding hands and singing Kumbaya of the Carter years, where he dismantled our mililtary. Europe did that and Hitler rose to power and we could have all been speaking today (well, at least those left with blonde hair and blue eyes that met "Arian" ideals")

One thing we know from History, it repeats itself, because the same mistakes are made over and over again. We don't walk too softly, but still carry one of the biggest sticks in the world, so that helps make this nation and its ideals one of the most despised in the world, but relatively safest to live in and acquire wealth (if one is willing to work for it). I just have a problem with politicians on both sides who want to take in the entire worlds poor and make it our problem. Its time to hold other countries (like Mexico) accountable (economically) for why their people don't want to stay there to live and make a living)

Rilla said...

Hey Khemyst:
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I appreciate it. I see there are things we agree on and others we disagree on. I do believe that is true of all of us, as individuals, we are not clones, and thank goodness for that. But that brings me to the point of labels. When we start attaching labels to people, people who are complete strangers and whose thoughts we cannot even begin to know, we do ourselves a disservice. Labels polarize and polarization ends discussion. All it does is get our population into mud slinging matches that keep us from talking to each other for real and that gets us nowhere. That is how the British conquered such a vast nation as India, to name only one example. Divided we FALL. Now, there are some groups out there who are very keen to keep us divided because it works to their advantage. I think we need to start thinking about our own advantages instead, let's get rid of the labels and have thoughtful, meaningful discussions that allow us to see what we do agree upon and address what we don't in an intelligent way. So, someting we agree on? No one with vision is at the helm of this nation and steering it in any meaningful manner. Unfortunately, as a divided nation we only play into the hands of those who benefit from the resulting confusion and hatred.

Here is another of the things I agree with you on. Throwing money at a problem, without planning and infrastructure and oversight, never solves it, and our educational system is a case in point. A popular misconception that I would like to address that has been raised several times in the discussions above is: People who suggest social welfare programs here and abroad are important have some vague notion of altruism that is devoid of expectations of responsibility. I disagree. Altruism is not the only driving force behind social welfare programs. Everyone is just as concerned for their own security as everyone else. It is a hard-wired human necessity. ALL of us desire security. The question is how do you go about it? One way -- build high walls and drop many bombs. Unfortunately, history has proven over and over that bombs and walls create more enemies not less, magnify the differences between the rich and the not-so-rich and cause resentment, hatred and all the accompanying problems of radicalism and revolution. There are only so many prisons you can build and so many bombs you can drop before you decimate the whole world, yourself included. Is there another option? My belief is that security can be gained a lot more cheaply by ensuring that everyone has access to basic necessities such as education, healthcare and opportunity. It is, at the end of the day, an economic/self-interested argument. Does that mean there will be no free-riders...of course not. There will ALWAYS be free-riders. Does that mean we should completely get rid of our defense. No again. The question is do you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Peace and its accompanying benefits are still cheaper than global war, free riders included. And yes, social programs must be implemented with care, and planning, infrastructure and oversight and the long term in mind. Throwing money at any problem, Iraq included, and doing nothing to back it up, never solved anything.
So in conclusion, I want to thank you again for bringing your well-reasoned thoughts to this table and offering to discuss them without invective. I hope you spread them around and listen to other's opinions with the same care you have done here. It is my hope that we can learn to drop the labels and name-calling that are so popular nowadays and have more such meaningful discussions. If it becomes a habit, a national pastime, we might see that we're not so different after all, inside or outside of Starbucks. CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT STARBUCKS HAS TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS ;)
Thank you!

Khemyst said...

Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who kept their swords -Benjamin Franklin

In terms of the "labels".. I don't think I used any labels other than liberals in reference to the Starbucks quote from another poster.

As far as the references to Starbucks- I don't subscribe to Ted Kennedy and others subscribing to the Keynsian model for economic theory. The belief is that the government's sole purpose is to redistribute wealth as it sees fit. This is in direct conflict with the success of the capitalism model, which I tend to subscribe to as a Libertarian. Let me spend my money where I think it needs to reward investment. I don't think my money needs to be taken from me to support National Endowment for the Arts students that fill a Converse Statue with dog feces stick a feather in it and spray paint it with gold glitter simply to get a cash grant. I'd rather take my $400 or $500 and buy a painting from a guy who creates art that I appreciate.

Some people seem to forget that " wealth has to be created" to support a larger society, particularly one that tolerates more and more that do not contribute their fair share and simply feed of the wealth like a parasite. To continue the model and train of thought, too many parasites or when a lone parasite gets too big, the host gets sick and eventually dies.

I work in manufacturing. I cannot afford to pay people to do nothing, because that eats profits, and there is nothing to pay shareholders. In our government, we pay taxes gladly to pay for police, fire, national defense, infrastructure (the roads I drive on, schools my kids went to, etc), but I really get disturbed when I see folks in the grocery store pulling out foodstamps and they are eating better than my family is, or the kids are getting junk food instead of good fruits and vegetables. But that is poor choice.

We have second third and fourth generation welfare in this country. We need to break the cycle.

back to the points you made about differences....and labels.....

many times i am called names and insulted because when I discuss political ideology- people start to attack me personally because they cannot keep up with the train of thought, or simply get frustrated because all they can quote is the shallow sound bytes either from the candidates, network or political party that they subscribe to. There have not been any candidates on the horizon lately that have vision... Some may sound like they have vision, but it is only crafty speechwriters, because one simply realizes quickly at the next train stop, next press conference, they are promising just the opposite to a different group of people, or they cannot answer questions from some pundits about how to fund this or that, or how to deal with the layers (like an onion) down one or two layers below the 20 second TV sound byte that sounds popular and "good for polling numbers".

"All image, no substance"... tis what most are these days.

I appreciate a forum where people don't simply resort to name calling simply because of a disagreement philosophically.

If we don't agree, lets discuss how and why, and exchange ideas don't infer in what I perceievd as a concescension that I am labelling and alienating others with my discussions.

Some of the points I mention were not to label any group of people but to point out specific incidents that fuel stereotypes. There is enough bad karma to blacken both sides of the political aisles and I would say simply that it is time for a third party of those who believe in voting out all incumbents and its time to start all over, because what we have isn't working.

Also. please don't assume i believe in dropping bombs first and asking questions later. I am a firm believer in "walking softly and carrying a big stick" The bullies leave you alone. The trouble is, you have to use that stick a few times and show you are willing to use it in order to not have to use it all the time.

I would say that yes, in my perspective, our government probably has used excessive force and at other times not enough

I won't go too much deeper into Carter disassembling the US military, but it started what we find we are in today.....we stopped carrying a big stick... Europe had the same problem. Washington DC has the highest murder rate in the US- the one place you cannot own a gun.... I guess criminals feel empowered! makes sense.... For our nation to be secure, it has to be strong, not necessarily use it all the time, but when it really matters.

I don't sit in on the same meetings as Condi Rice, but perhaps this Iraq thing was the only strategy to assemble and distract a bunch of terrorists away from the U.S. ..
Then again, I am not sitting in on the same meetings as Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden to hear what their strategies are to defeat terrorism, All I see is them attacking our president so he loses credibility in the world. Whatever happened to respecting the President after decisions are made, and not continually undermining the Presidency? Its a strategy that started with Reagan (Iran Contra) and continued with every president since. One might argue it even started with Nixon and Watergate, but I cant remember any retaliation against Carter.

Anonymous said...

khemyst seems to be on to something...

Sounds like someone who has thought for him/her self and has not subscribed to the usual rhetoric that is spewed from both sides.

khemyst's point on the murder rate in DC being attributed to the decent people not being able to arm themselves hits home. Case in Point.

It boils down to without arms, the people that have, will be overcome by the people who do have not, if for no other reason that Those that dont have, Want, and there are alot more of Those who dont have.

Giving to those who have not, simply will not solve the current problem we have with the 'Terrorists' as the Repubs put it (i like to think of them more as Assholes, but thats just me). They dont have much, and therefore either want to convert us so we dont have, or want to kill us so we dont have.

Heretic (from another computer)

crayfish said...

Wow! Looks like a bunch of movie buffs here. Anyone seen the latest Shrek? Been bustin' to see it. Is it as good as the first two?