miles standish proud

11/22/05

The Cliff Notes of my recent life were put into stark relief yesterday by Chris M, who, in my shorthanded truncation, said I went from a psychotropically-medicated man with a life in shambles to a smiling, bi-coastal hybrid gadfly with a wonderful wife and cute baby. In an effort to make sense out of one’s own life, I’ve adhered to that script in my mind as well – peaks and valleys, sure sure, but the nugget commentary seems like truth.

Which leads me to ask: yes, but why does that make my viewpoint invalid? Just because my life has gotten better in the last four years doesn’t mean I can’t have empathy for those whose lives have been ruined by those currently running the country. The better question is this: why are you conservatives so mean?

Look, here’s an incontrovertible fact: everything Bush proposes in terms of the economy actually helps me. Every time he proffers a deeply unfair tax program or exemption, pretty much every time he opens his mouth, Lucy, Tessa and I benefit financially. And still we quake with rage when we see the Republicans’ idea of a fair budget.

Too sanctimonious for you? Too fucking bad. If there is one thing I’d like to give thanks for, on this holiday, is that my family still possesses the ability to think outside our own goddamn circumstances. I’ve been broke, basically homeless, earning under the poverty level for years and didn’t have health insurance until I was 33. That is no longer true, but I know first-hand the feeling of being one car accident away from utter destitution.

And yet now, because we drive a Prius and own a house, and tend to go back and forth between coasts for work, my words – even those culled from disinterested third parties – are suspect. “Consider the source,” some of you like to say, whenever I bring up anything political.

J Boogie, despite being one of the biggest bores I’ve ever read, still offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of your typical rabid wingnut. He always tells me to go back to listening to NPR (which is a little like Barney telling Lisa to “go back to Russia” when she tried to serve gazpacho).

Conservatives have spent about 120 years decrying the liberal’s habit of “moral relativism.” Right-wingers, in contrast, like to think of their world in bi-valent terms with absolute evil and clear lines between good and bad.

Yet they don’t trust sources that threaten their polarity. This could be called “truth relativism,” in that something coming from NPR (or me) can’t be taken seriously because, well, consider the source. Like Dennis Miller said, before he went batshit, “right-to-lifers think that life begins the moment you agree with them.” In the fight between relative morals and relative truth, I’ll take relative morals for $2000, Alex.

I fully admit: every time I hear a good argument from a conservative, including those on this blog, my mind changes a little. I’m not threatened by this; I enjoy it. But right-wingers, your ability to not give a shit about other people really freaks me out. Frankly, I don’t know how you do it. That kind of willful control over your own opinions has got to be exhausting.

Here’s to a Thanksgiving holiday full of mead and spiked eggnog, and hopefully a minute of opening your mind to some guy in Cleveland who worked hard all his life and is still spending the holiday eating Pringles with his wife and two kids, living out of his car. He and I would like to toast your “relative truth” with an obscene gesture.

Or not. All of you have a safe and wonderful weekend.

0 thoughts on “miles standish proud

  1. KTS

    I know a guy in Oberlin, outside of Cleveland, who is a master chef. Now I shall retire. Thank you, Ian, for the forum. Yow!

    Reply
  2. killian

    Wow. Thank you. I feel like that’s a lot of what I’ve been saying/thinking on this blog for the last few months, but it’s exactly what I mean. Although tossing my heart and head around on such a daily basis may not be EXACTLY what the doctor ordered, it IS exactly what the patient needed. Thank you. This blog is an inspiration, warts and all. Love to you and yours.

    Reply
  3. CL

    There are few more important qualities than being able to think outside one’s own circumstances.
    Anyway…Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am very thankful for the blog and of your comments that get me thinking every day (whether it’s about “Afternoon Delight” or Abu Ghraib.)

    Reply
  4. Matt

    “J Boogie, despite being one of the biggest bores I’ve ever read, still offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of your typical rabid wingnut.”
    You don’t honestly believe that, do you? I mean, you may want to, but do you really think it’s either fair or accurate to distill your political adversaries down to a caricature? There was some other highly disgruntled commenter on here a few months ago — can’t recall his name now — but he wrote the same type of unhinged rants directed toward the right. How easy it would be for me to label him as a typical lefty.
    “Conservatives have spent about 120 years decrying the liberal’s habit of “moral relativism.” Right-wingers, in contrast, like to think of their world in bi-valent terms with absolute evil and clear lines between good and bad.”
    The first part is true, the second isn’t. Sure, terrorists are evil, but there are lots of places in the world where “right-wingers” saw there isn’t a side wearing a defining white hat (Afghanistan circa 1979, South America 1980s). The right backed the ones thought to be less bad, and for the most part it was right: communism was worse. However, it failed with the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran.
    “I fully admit: every time I hear a good argument from a conservative, including those on this blog, my mind changes a little.”
    I honestly think this is true for me, too. I’ve noticed a change in view over time on some matters that have been thoughtfully argued by liberals, which makes me wonder if some common understanding might be had. Then the subject of war comes up. . .
    “But right-wingers, your ability to not give a shit about other people really freaks me out.”
    I and most other conservative do “give a shit” about other people. I do care how many Iraqis Saddam threw into mass graves, the children he imprisoned because their parents had the wrong political views, to say nothing of his flaunting of UN resolutions, the ceasefire accord, etc. What freaks me out is how the left appears willing to ignore such things so long as the U.S., or more accurately, a Republican administration, doesn’t get involved, even when it is to correct an obvious injustice.
    At any rate, here’s wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving Day.

    Reply
  5. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Snap! Hey . . . you know I don’t really think you are a cartoon character, don’t you? All of your rants and posts are as serious as a heart attack. And I love them all. I had no idea when I met you in 1986 that 20 years later, I would start every day hanging on your every word. Ah. . . the mysteries of the new millennium!
    Thanks so much for your blog . . . I love your honesty and the little community that you have created here. Thanks for allowing me to add my frequent comments, however inane or off-topic they may be. I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! You guys are the greatest!
    And, I cannot wait until you divulge your big Hollywood news. It is turning out to be the cliffhanger of the year.

    Reply
  6. lee

    Ian, my sentiments exactly! Thanks for putting it out there!
    And Matt, if you really care about the Iraqis who Saddam had tortured and killed, where’s your sympathy for people all over Africa who are being extermitated as we speak? You wanna go over there and rescue them, too?

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  7. Beth

    Also, Matt, when Bush’s “rationale” for attacking Iraq was weapons of mass destruction, where was everyone’s concern about the country’s citizens then? Funny how the Iraqi people were mentioned only after the lies about WMD came out.

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  8. Chris M

    The point isn’t that *only your* circumstances have improved, it is that those of so many others have too. The point is, you haven’t been harmed by terrorists because no American civilians have been harmed by terrorists since 9/11. For that one should give thanks.
    The point is that Afghanistan has been greatly improved in only four years — ask Jiffer.
    The point is that rising real estate prices in Iraq have a meaning because real estate is a long-term investment. Ask Christiane Amanpour –well, never mind.
    Who are all the people with their lives ruined during the Bush administration? The soldiers who volunteered to fight and who died bravely and willingly for the country from which you announced your secession? You can say you “care” about dead soldiers but you mock and ridicule the very beliefs for which they joined the military and gave their lives. Such insensitivity. Are not many peoples’ lives ruined during every Administration? Every been to Rwanda? China in the 60s? Ukraine in the 30s? More American soldiers died in a couple of weeks at Iwo Jima than have died in all this time in Iraq. The post-9/11 War on Terror has already lasted longer than U.S. participation in WWII. The number of casualties is slight by any historical standard. Of course, to understand this, would require actual study of the history of warfare. But that is probably a “right wing” course of study.
    I imagine hundreds of thousands die every day while we drink Starbucks. And they did so during all those decades when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and when Democrats presidents were weekending at Camp David. To saying “right-wingers” and “conservatives” don’t care about others over and over and over again doesn’t make it so. In fact it is cartoonish.
    To the extent you are talking about me, you are talking about a centrist American independent (that’s conservative if you live in Europe and liberal if you live in Oklahoma) who voted for Clinton and thinks people like you (“the new base of the party”) are the reason the Democrats are so very weak and totally unacceptable to a huge swath of *actual adult voters.* That weakness is bad for America and the world.
    Far Left extremists are self-righteous and self-aggrandizing in their displays of even genuine compassion. They trivialize compassion. Beyond that, some use it to market and promote themselves. It is another component of their narcissism, their craveness. Conversely, the “look at me, love me” compassion act must also contain stock characters who are “bad” and “mean.” That’s where I come in, wearing black handle-bar mustache and dangling the keys to my Hummer (I will have you know that I am clean-shaven and drive a Camry!). It’s an old act but their is always a new audience for it.

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  9. noj

    Matt said:
    You don’t honestly believe that, do you? I mean, you may want to, but do you really think it’s either fair or accurate to distill your political adversaries down to a caricature?
    I say:
    J boogie is NOT a political adversary. He is on the (often hilarious) fringe of the fight. One cannot even engage him in a confrontation bec/during his rants he introduces so many red herrings and straw men that the essence of the argument is lost. Ian characterized him as a “rabid wingnut”, which is a fair characterization. Go re-read some of his posts. I’m sure Ian wouldn’t generalize so about a regular old run-of-the-mill conservative (like you, i think).

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  10. kevin from NC

    “because no American civilians have been harmed by terrorists since 9/11.”
    I think many American civilians have been killed by terrorists since 9/11, just not in the US of A. Since 9/11 and moreso since the Iraq (whatever we want to call it) American’s are less safe overseas than at any time since the big ones.
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I am thankful for this forum. I am thankful that folks are FINALLY waking up to this disaster of an administration… just 12 months too late.

    Reply
  11. LFMD

    Hey, did you just add that “or not. . . ” statement? You softie, you. I thought your obscene gesture was just fine, thank you.
    If you see Dennis McFarland over the holiday, tell him that he is my new favorite author, OK? Thanks. And, tell Lucy that she is a cutie cutiekins, OK?

    Reply
  12. Alan

    I read “fringe of the fight” as fringe of the fright and perfer that reading.
    The best illustration of the blindness of some is found in Iraq itself. While it may well be honestly true that “I do care how many Iraqis Saddam threw into mass graves, the children he imprisoned because their parents had the wrong political views, to say nothing of his flaunting of UN resolutions, the ceasefire accord, etc.” it is not the case that there has been much interest in the concurrent outsourced tens of thousands extra civilians killed by the Rumsfeld execution of the war – as opposed to the Powell plan of conquest not mere invasion. The point is that how the war has been waged has been as much the error as that it was waged that justifies anger against the administration. If it had to be done it ought to have been done properly, not in the rush when there was no need for rush, based on intelligence that allies like we Canadians could not see through and with the greater combined international forces that would have then gathered. That may be a fine point for some, pro or con, who consider that war is war, whether of the “left” or the “right” – whatever the hell those useless broad brush terms are supposed to actually mean.
    Ian is correct that there is a blindness amongst the neo-cons to this sort of forensic analysis of what their own theories have wrought as they have played out. There may be corresponding blindnesses in the opposition as well but this is not a question of math capable of leaving an ethical nil sum. It is only the governing who have the obligation to govern well. They did win this obligation along with their “political capital” but can’t spend it like a drunken sailor as the administration is now learning.

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  13. Matt

    Boy, it’s a good thing I have more time today.
    Lee wrote: “where’s your sympathy for people all over Africa who are being extermitated as we speak? You wanna go over there and rescue them, too?”
    Maybe. I agreed with the decision to intervene in Bosnia/Kosovo. I probably would favor some sort of action in the Sudan, though I haven’t heard or read much about the situation there lately. If your point is to ask where we draw the line since there are lots of bad things happening in the world, I think that could be used as an excuse to do nothing about everything.
    Beth wrote: “Also, Matt, when Bush’s ‘rationale’ for attacking Iraq was weapons of mass destruction, where was everyone’s concern about the country’s citizens then? Funny how the Iraqi people were mentioned only after the lies about WMD came out.”
    First of all, there were no lies. The 2004 bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report and the 2005 Robb-Silberman report on WMD intelligence both found no evidence of manipulation of prewar intelligence. Everyone believed at the time that stockpiles of WMDs would be found, even Hans Blix and the UN. The “Bush Lied” canard needs to end.
    Second, read the 2002 Iraq War Resolution and the 2003 State of the Union address. While WMDs was, for obvious reasons, at the forefront of justifications for the war, it was hardly the sole one. The humanitarian crisis in Iraq was mentioned repeatedly. Look it up. It’s dishonest to suggest they were never mentioned.
    noj wrote: “Go re-read some of his posts. I’m sure Ian wouldn’t generalize so about a regular old run-of-the-mill conservative (like you, i think).”
    Thank you. I think, however, that Ian does often generalize about run-of-the-mill conservatives. But if he wasn’t above, I apologize for misinterpreting him.
    By the way, among the many things I’m thankful for are Chris M’s posts.

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  14. kent

    > You can say you “care” about dead soldiers but
    > you mock and ridicule the very beliefs for
    > which they joined the military and gave
    > their lives.
    I have no doubt of the sincerity and dedication of people in the military — up to a point. The higher levels of the military are detached from the reality of the results of their actions, and act like it.
    And it is no stretch at all to believe, along with most people in the military, that there is no higher calling than to protect your country from harm. But I also believe that the way the war in Iraq was proscecuted is a political and moral disaster.
    It hasn’t been mentioned lately, but Bush has fundamentally changed the rules of engagement with the rest of the world. His doctrine is that it is within the US’s right to pre-emptively declare war on anyone that he believes is a threat. Who is next? And hell, he was _certain_ Saddam was going to nuke us, and was completely wrong. That kind of certainty is dangerous and scary.
    Bush is doing exactly what Al Qaeda hoped he would do when they flew those planes into the towers. He lashed out clumsily and arrogantly at the Muslim world. His goal was a holy war. Bin Laden wanted to immanentize the eschaton, and Bush, being an apocalyptic by faith and political persuasion, was eager to oblige.
    The strength of Islam is that all Muslims are one, and if you harm one of them you harm all of them. That means that the messed up, bloody war that we’ve engendered causes deep pain to the vast majority of Muslims who reject the violence and hatred of the terrorists.
    No Iraqi is more than two degrees of separation from someone who has been maimed or killed by an American. That is a heavy moral burden we’ve taken on, a debt to them we’ll never repay.
    We need to figure out how to take a step back from this situation, and look creatively for ways to defuse the violence in Irag. It’s obvious that our current solution — kill everyone who resists the occupation, seems almost genocidal, and ultimately futile.
    > Such insensitivity. Are not many peoples’
    > lives ruined during every Administration?
    There’s a difference between a President doing something with the best intentions, which leads to unintended consequences, and a President actively pursuing manifestly disastrous policies with vigor and certainty.
    Moral certainty gives a man a certain power in the world — he doesn’t have to prevaricate or dither, he just acts. But Moral Certainty has to coincide with reality to be of any good. Bush seems to think that if reality contradicts his beliefs, reality is wrong. I think that’s messed up.

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  15. J.Boogie

    LOL, the left-wing NPR liberal stooge talking about morals, you were good for another laugh today Ian. Ian, I noticed that you never quoted the New York Times today, perhaps you could do that for us tomorrow. Pick up today’s edition on the New York Times, and read the article about Vivian Tran, Chanelle Bryant, and Oriane Shevin; then tell us what happened to them tomorrow in your blog. The stuff you don’t say is always more important than the stuff you do say, moron.

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  16. Matt

    “The strength of Islam is that all Muslims are one, and if you harm one of them you harm all of them. That means that the messed up, bloody war that we’ve engendered causes deep pain to the vast majority of Muslims who reject the violence and hatred of the terrorists.”
    I wonder if this applies to our involvement in Afghanistan, too.
    “No Iraqi is more than two degrees of separation from someone who has been maimed or killed by an American.”
    If true, I wonder how many degrees of separation they are from someone who was raped, maimed or killed by Saddam. The number of Iraqis accidently maimed or killed by coalition forces isn’t even remotely near the number intentionally murdered by Saddam. That’s not an insignificant factor in the moral equation.

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  17. Claudia

    Matt, I’m thankful for your posts. They are, without fail, intelligent, well-written, respectful, and calm. I’m sure Chris M would second that.
    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
    Everyone.

    Reply
  18. Emily

    I’m thankful for Ian’s blog because it makes me think, cements my political positions, and rewards me with insanely cute pictures.
    I’m thankful for the debate between Matt, Chris M, Lee, Kent, etc, etc, because they post intelligent and researched points.
    AND I’m thankful for Laurie’s comments because she lightens the mood when we need it!

    Reply
  19. Alan

    Good Lord.
    “The 2004 bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report and the 2005 Robb-Silberman report on WMD intelligence both found no evidence of manipulation of prewar intelligence.”
    These bodies did not find these results as their mandate was limited and were not provided with full administration co-operation. Whether they would or not if they were empowered to and allowed to is another question.
    “Everyone believed at the time that stockpiles of WMDs would be found, even Hans Blix and the UN. The “Bush Lied” canard needs to end.”
    This is simply not true. Canada refused to join the war as there was not compelling evidence of WMD despite years of overflight surveillance and the inspections in addition to the Powell presentation to the UN. Other nations in the late winter of 2003 understood the weak quality of the evidence in exactly the same way. Whether it was due to a lie is another thing but to say they were expected is pure revisionism and only proves Ian’s argument.

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  20. kent

    “Everyone believed at the time that stockpiles of WMDs would be found, even Hans Blix and the UN. The “Bush Lied” canard needs to end.”
    I didn’t believe it. Dennis Kucinich he saw the classified intelligence as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and he did not feel it was compelling, and he voted against Bush’s Iraq resolution. Millions of people in the street all over the world did not believe that the war was justified.
    Everyone in the Washington NeoCon echo chamber believed it, but believe me, they are not everyone, and the fact that they THINK they are everything is a big part of the problem.

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  21. kent

    So J Boogie wants to bring up the morning after pill and Abortion. Why don’t you go all the way and bring up Nazis?
    Look up sometime how many people die of all sorts of prescription drug reactions, J Boogie, and get back to me. It’s sad that those women died, but I don’t see what that really has to do with anything. People die every day for all sorts of reasons, and it’s always a tragedy for the people who know them. Citing them to make your political point, whatever it was, doesn’t show them much respect.

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  22. Matt

    “These bodies [Senate Intelligence Committee and Robb-Silberman] did not find these results as their mandate was limited and were not provided with full administration co-operation.”
    In what way didn’t the commissioners of those two reports have the administration’s cooperation? The conclusion in both, after interviewing the CIA analysts, was that there was no “manipulation” of prewar intelligence on Iraq WMDs. The Robb-Silberman report even said there was no evidence of “politicization” of the intelligence comunity’s assessments. The more “honest” charge being levied is that the administration “cherry-picked” the evidence. That may or may not be true (in what decision to go to war has an administration ever highlighted the caveats?), but it’s not true that the administration’s decision went against the intelligence community’s overall assessment (remember Tenet’s “slam dunk”?). That is, the intel community thought Saddam was hiding his known WMDs, even though there were doubts. Intelligence gathering always involves supposition.
    ” ‘Everyone believed…’ This is simply not true.”
    Ok, everyone but Syria, Canada, Kent and Dennis Kucinich.
    “…to say they were expected is pure revisionism and only proves Ian’s argument.”
    WMDs most certainly were expected. One of the main arguments against the invasion was the possibility of Saddam actually using WMDs against us. A little time with Google will show who’s guilty of revisionism.
    “Millions of people in the street all over the world did not believe that the war was justified.”
    They thought that regardless of Iraq’s WMDs.

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  23. Alan

    So you win arguments because those folk that aren’t in agreement with you are wrong by definition therefore their facts are errors. Again, Ian’s case proven by your own words.

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  24. tregen

    Perhaps if the US loses the war in Iraq, the Iraqi’s could win the peace in Iraq. Should we put the interests of Iraqis above the national interest of the US?

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  25. caveman

    As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. All will be well in the garden. In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes Spring, but then we have Fall and Winter, and then we get Spring and Summer again.

    Reply
  26. Matt

    I don’t know what Alan is talking about, but I think I do with tregen.
    “Perhaps if the US loses the war in Iraq, the Iraqi’s could win the peace in Iraq.”
    How do you suppose? What would the implications of defeat be on our long term national security. Just about everyone, including opponents of the war, acknowledge that if we leave Iraq before their police and military are prepared it would spell disaster for the Iraqi people. Possibly even leading to civil war. Only those who think Bush Administration policy is the greater evil want us to actually lose in Iraq.
    “Should we put the interests of Iraqis above the national interest of the US?”
    I hope I’m misinterpreting things again.

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  27. badbob

    Ian,
    What about me? Badbob (real)? You’ve hurt my feelings by not ranting me.
    Have a great Thanksgiving. You have much to be thankful for. Listen to Chris M- he’s Right, er, correct.
    BTW-Don’t stand up on any chimney’s either (I saw your pic)..and don’t dare take that little redhead up there either!
    re- “…everything Bush proposes in terms of the economy actually helps me”
    Simple solution. Give more to charity to make up that “delta” you perceive to be going to Halliburton, Bush senior, or Exxon- your choice. Plus, it’s a good idea- no beaurocratic government middlemen to scrape of 20-30%. Us conservatives won’t complain.
    Now what’s this about “mean”? None of us were the bullies in your 4th grade (whatever) class.
    Badbob (real)

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  28. Andy

    I am now convinced that J. Boogie is not a real person but one of the following:
    1) Ian himself posting as the bizzaro-Ian just to stir up debate.
    2) Some sort of computer that, through a very complicated algorithm, automatically posts conservative comments on various blogs around the internet.

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  29. Matt

    Andy, I once entertained #1 as a possibility but ruled it out after concluding that Ian couldn’t write that bad if he tried.

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  30. Chris M

    oops…and now in the right post…
    Me: A dispatch from reality:
    The news:
    Hillary Clinton takes ‘wait-and-see’ stance on US troop pullout from Iraq
    Nov 23 6:49 PM US/Eastern
    With Americans embroiled in a heated debate over the US invasion of Iraq, Senator Hillary Clinton has taken a position considerably to the right of many in her Democratic party, including that of her ex-president husband.
    An early favorite to win her party’s 2008 presidential nod, the former first lady was guarded in remarks Monday on the way forward in Iraq, just days after John Murtha, a pro-military former Marine in the US House, stunned the political establishment by calling for a complete US withdrawal.
    Murtha’s remarks left lawmakers from both parties scrambling to stake out positions of their own, including Clinton, who expressed “the greatest respect” for the decorated Vietnam War hero, but said that pulling US troops would be “a big mistake.”
    The former first lady said a decision on withdrawing from Iraq should be deferred until after national elections there next month.
    “I don’t think realistically we know how prepared they are until we get a government on December 15,” she is quoted as saying, in remarks to an audience in New York, the state she represents in the US Senate.
    “My approach is we tell them we expect you to meet these certain benchmarks and that means getting troops and police officers trained, equipped and ready to defend their people,” Clinton said in widely-reported remarks.
    Those comments are the latest sign that Clinton — known during the eight years of her huband’s presidency as a “bleeding heart liberal” — has reinvented herself in the Senate as something of a hawk.
    Me: Hilary has a political future and wants to continue to have a political future outside NY. Murtha is an old and expendable congressman with a reserve of pro-military capital who has agreed to take one for Pelosi team. He will be compensated for doing so in some fashion. (Yes, Republicans do the same thing). What’s the goal of the Pelosi team? Get the loyal troops riled up. Raising money *now* for the next election for Democratic candidates for the House. Today’s lesson: It is easy to see that politics is largely devoid of any meaning once you understand how it actually works. Party loyalty is for suckers — and job and favor seekers.

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  31. badbob

    Chris M,
    Check this out I saw the other day:
    http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2005/11/murthagate-loud-tear-filled-call-for.html
    Heh.
    I really like it when they call Rep. Murtha a “War-Hawk” and such blather. Yes, he was in the Marine Reserves and served in Vietnam- 18 months active duty. Yes, he has been involved in military appropriations as a back bencher in the house for decades(his own district has many defense jobs) but I mostly remember that he encouraged Clinton to cut n’ run in Somalia in “94 and we all know how that emboldened the Terrorists…
    Badbob (real)

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  32. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    This political debate is thought-provoking and stuff, but did you hear the news about Nick and Jessica? This is the worst Thanksgiving ever. Say it isn’t so!

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  33. KTS

    No can do. Jessica is hot, and smarter than she seems. Nick, who is dumber, decided to check out the scene. End of story.

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  34. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    KTS! Happy Thanksgiving to you! I think that you speak the truth. Such is young love.
    I have something even bigger on my mind today. I have started reading “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey, mainly because Oprah told me to, and I do whatever Oprah says. Expat Mama — I see that you love Oprah too! Anyway, I started reading this book on the Jersey turnpike this morning, and I HAVE NEVER READ ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. This book will take your breath away.
    Ian, you are my link to the literati. . . do you have any kind of degree of separation from James Frey? You’ll probably tell me that you have dinner on a regular basis with him, and I will be jealous beyond belief. I am only on p. 105, and my heart has been broken about 30 times. Man, Oprah know what she is talking about when she recommends a book. . . by God, I recommend this book to EVERYONE.

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  35. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Impatient as always to see if you knew James Frey, I ran a search on your blog to see if I could find his name mentioned anywhere and OH MY GOD I STUMBLED UPON THE FACT THAT YOU WERE ON OPRAH. NOT IN THE AUDIENCE. YOU WERE A GUEST. I AM SO JEALOUS THAT I WOULD BE SPITTING NAILS IF YOU WEREN’T SO SELF-DEPRACATING AND LIKEABLE, IAN. I WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR OF OPRAH!!
    enough with the all caps. i am merely stunned. perhaps some day you can humor me (and other oprah fans like expat mama) by telling us about the oprah experience, because I WANT TO KNOW EVERY LITTLE DETAIL ABOUT IT.
    i cannot believe that you were on oprah. good god almighty. i am one degree of separation from the diva of all divas. . . . .
    what is next? Have you vacationed with Bono?

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  36. Ian

    I would not call my time on the Oprah show my greatest moment. It was definitely one of those “l’esprit de l’escalier” kind of things. I’ll tell the story on a blog sooner or later.

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  37. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    You know, if I had been on Oprah, I would have the date permanently tattooed on my body. My tombstone could read, “Here lies LFMD. Wife, mother, Tar heel. . . was on Oprah!”

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  38. CL

    LFMD, I do not recommend reading any book on the New Jersey Turnpike. At least crawl over to the side of the road so no one hits you.
    Anyway, you shoulda told me you were heading up to the Garden State. We could have chewed the fat!! Come up to Hoboken next time and we’ll simultaneously comment on the blog.
    C

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  39. LFMD

    Hi CL! I would love to meet you sometime! My family lives in Morris County — we drove up on Thursday and we are leaving early Saturday morning. It is a family blitz of sorts, visiting assorted relatives, etc. Everyone wants “to see the baby.” The baby, of course, is 6 years old. Unfortunately, our trip does not leave time for anything not related to “family seeing the baby.” Tim and I are simply The Baby’s escorts. Next time, my trip to Jersey will be all about me!
    The next time we come up to Jersey, I will definitely contact you. Hope that you had a good Thanksgiving!
    And, Ian, the point is not whether the Oprah show was your greatest moment, but the fact that you were sitting on her stage, in her presence. You were invited by Oprah to share her time. She uttered your name on national TV! Don’t even try to get all “ah, it was nothing” on me about Oprah! I think that is awesome.
    If you ever write a post about Oprah, I will tell you about my similar brush with greatness. . . when my grandmother and I were in the audience of the Phil Donahue Show (circa 1987), and I asked a question!

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  40. Matt

    I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and were able to spend it with friends and family.
    I just wanted to add something to my response above, where Beth wrote that concern for Iraq’s well-being was an afterthought to the war. From a February 27, 2003 New York Times editorial:
    “President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a ‘free and peaceful Iraq’ that would serve as a ‘dramatic and inspiring example’ to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East, and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time.”
    Indeed they had. But the New York Times bears a great deal of responsibility for helping to create the current misperception that the administration had never before mentioned such things, as evidenced by its November 13, 2003 editorial.
    “The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq.”
    Are they lying or can they not be expected to know what they wrote just 9 months earlier?

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