May 27th, 2006

Politics and friendship

I’ve written many times before about conflict with old friends and relatives over post-9/11 politics. I know I’m not alone; many here and elsewhere have similar stories to tell, and some have shared them with me, both on this blog and in private emails.

In my experience, the phenomenon most often occurs in the context of a social event, small or large. Almost invariably one ends up listening to someone go on and on with fierce anti-Bush invective, usually laced with more than a sprinkling of obscenities. And this is done without any thought that there might be someone within earshot who could find this offensive or even the least bit controversial.

If I voice even a mild objection, such as “I think Bush actually has done some decent things,” the invective has sometimes been turned on me. And this can happen with good and old friends, as well as close relatives.

I virtually never raise the issue of politics anymore (this blog takes care of that need), but it’s raised for me, over and over again. Therefore I can’t avoid it. And, strangely enough, at times after I’ve voiced my mild rejoinder, people who had been silent in the surrounding crowd have come up to me and whispered that they agree with me, but are undercover for fear of losing friends and/or jobs. Astounding.

By now, for the most part, my close friends and family have settled down, only occasionally raising the issue when I’m around. I encounter the phenomenon far more commonly when I’m in a group who don’t know me well. And I’ve only lost one close friend because of it, although there’s been a noticeable cooling on the part of a few others. I do get some teasing at times, but I’ll take that over the other.

So it drew my interest when, in a link from Dean Esmay to my post “Anger: still in style” (Dean’s observation, “Neo’s experiences mostly match mine”), commenter DBrooks offered the following story from his personal experience:

I find the level of discourse depressing and disheartening. What I have been struck by in my own experience with friends on the Left is they seem to think it is acceptable, even righteous, that they can be offensive, yet one is not allowed to be offended. To disagree or offer contrary evidence is viewed with scorn and intolerance.

An example–my wife and I have very dear friends whom we love like family. We have known them for 12 years, and have traveled in the Keys, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Colorado with them. They came for dinner last month, and the woman went up to my 10-year-old son’s room with him to look at some drawings he had done. He has a poster of GWB, and one of Ronald Reagan on his wall. These were given to him by his aunt. My good friend commented, “Why do you have that asshole on your wall?” referring to GWB.

My son was upset, and told me that she had used “bad language” talking about President Bush. He told me what she said, and, over dinner, I told her that I thought it was inappropriate for her to say something like that to a 10-year-old. Instead of apologizing, she became more and more angry, and told me I was “brainwashing the kid.” I said I would never think of commenting on some child’s choice of wall posters, at least not in a negative manner–unless it was someone like Stalin, Che, or Hitler. Her response? She said, “My point exactly.”

We haven’t spoken to them since by their choice, and my wife, who is very upset about the whole thing, really thinks they may never speak to us again. That we could lose such close friends over this incident is incomprehensible to me. Her anger seems more important to her than reality, or the people in her life. Just another casualty of our current political environment.

At one time it would have seemed incomprehensible to me; no longer. I highlight this story because it includes a point that actually makes the reaction comprehensible, even though I think the reasoning behind that reaction is flat-out wrong. The point is that this woman believes that Bush actually is someone like Stalin or Hitler (although I doubt she’d include Che; in fact he may be a hero of hers). So her statement, “My point exactly,” is–well, her point, exactly.

If one takes the absurd Bush=Hitler equation seriously, then of course speaking up about a child’s wall poster would be a righteous thing to do. Apparently, at least some on the left in this country–or whatever appellation one gives to the point of view this woman is espousing–have come to believe their own rhetoric about Bush.

So, Bush isn’t just a President with whom they disagree; he’s Hitler, he’s Stalin. Once that equation is accepted, anyone who supports his policies is a Nazi or a Stalinist: the enemy. The lack of actual concordance with Hitler or Stalin is irrelevant. Once the belief system is in place and that first premise is accepted, all the rest follows.

142 Responses to “Politics and friendship”

  1. knoxgirl Says:

    neo-neocon:

    I work with people who are quite conservative and people who are quite liberal. It’s a small company and it’s pretty obvious who thinks what. The conservatives avoid politics and remain silent when the subject comes up.

    The liberals have said, at times: Bush will use bird flu to declare martial law and take over the country; he’ll let the poor people die; Americans don’t care about helping other countries (this, only a few months after the tsunami) Bush purposely let people die in Hurricane Katrina; Bush is a brilliant mastermind of evil, and as dumb as a dog; started the Iraq war for money, oil, racism, to establish another “colony”; Bush wants to destro the planet; Bush hates Mexicans (!?); conservatives are evil; Bush and the republicans only care about money (this from our accountant who is famously stingy!)… this, I promise you, is only the tip of the iceberg.

    I have found that you cannot say even one moderate, mild statement without immediate backlash. And I will fully admit that these are otherwise thoughtful, consciencious, likeable people who I (mostly) love working with. One of them is particularly measured, diplomatic, and very reticent to be critical of others or to be judgmental. I think very highly of him on all non-political fronts… But let someone betray even a hint of–not even conservative!–non-leftist opinion and there is instant, barking invective.

    I too would have at one time thought that stories like that of DBrooks were exaggerations or made up. Not anymore.

    It will never cease to baffle me and I have friends that I have chosen to distance myself from because they cannot leave politics alone. So sad, because I am more than willing to close the subject.

    Anyway, not sure what the point of this was, but to sympathise with others out there with the same experience.

  2. douglas Says:

    “Well, I;ve never ever seen a single document that actually supports that, but if it is true, more fool you.”

    Well, at last agreement. Yes, it has been indeed foolish to send money into the palestinian territories. I’d be the first to say that. I suppose I can’t come up with the bank statements (that’s the whole point of Swiss accounts), but where has all the money gone? You tell me.
    Also, that still skewers your original comment- we HAVE sent the money- as you seem to admit now, so you were just doing empty posturing, or you just forgot that Billions have disappeared into the Pali black hole?

    Here’s your comment- how’d I get it wrong? Perhaps you didn’t write what you wanted to say, but that’d hardly be my fault. or would it?

    “confudeforeigner said…
    douglas said…
    Conned: “I agree with youabout the way right wing ideas are treated on left wing sites. I think it is something to do with political culture in america. You all seem to want to deal in certainties rather then acknowledge doubt and the possibility of the other guy being right. There is an almost religious fervour to much of the debate.”

    You mean like this exchage with confude?:
    confude:”The fact of the matter is that you/we’ve killed 100,000 plus civilians in the last 4 years and gawd knows how many in Iraq since the Kuwait thing.”

    You clearly missed this………

    confudeforeigner said…
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com:80/id/12319798/

    …like so much else.”

    Ymar, I’ve heard of Warcraft. Does that count?

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hey doug, did you get to level 50 in Warcraft, cause I don’t think you can go on a troll slaying expedition until you get up that high a level?

  4. confusedforeigner Says:

    douglas said…
    Confude: This is a reply?
    You clearly missed this………

    confudeforeigner said…
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com:80/id/12319798/

    …like so much else.

    What exactly does construction of a giant US embassy in Iraq have to do with the question of your presenting propaganda as fact with the 100,000 thing? I construct a lenghty rebuttal to your propaganda, and that’s all you have in reponse? I don’t think it’s going to be convincing anyone.

    Clearly dougy, you are confused. One wasn;t the answer to the other. I don’t expect an apology from you as your ilk doesn;t do apologies.

  5. confusedforeigner Says:

    Ymarsakar said…
    Americans, specifically Republicans or Jacksonians, have too much firepower in their homes and buried under some arms cache to be afraid.

    2:29 AM, May 31, 2006

    Why do you come across as such a sooky wuss then Yfronts?

  6. confusedforeigner Says:

    Maybe neos next essay should be:

    Unconditional support for Israel. How it benefits us.

    or…..

    Why we shouldn’t expose a vicious rapist in the family.

  7. confusedforeigner Says:

    There are plenty of workable models about for paying aid. The NGOs have been saying these things for years but the neocons don’t listen.

    What is Sharon’s estate worth by the way?

  8. confusedforeigner Says:

    Dugless said….

    I think we tried that already and it’s now sitting safely in numbered Swiss bank accounts under the name Suha.

    Well, I;ve never ever seen a single document that actually supports that, but if it is true, more fool you.

  9. douglas Says:

    “What if we invested as much in preventing war as in the fighting of it? (What, say, would the Middle East be if the billions spent in Iraq had funded instead a new Palestinian economy?)”

    I think we tried that already and it’s now sitting safely in numbered Swiss bank accounts under the name Suha.

  10. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Americans, specifically Republicans or Jacksonians, have too much firepower in their homes and buried under some arms cache to be afraid.

    Then whats the problem? Why does the nasty man want the big burly war criminals to go overseas to beat up on the brown people? Local brown people getting to uppity for yah? Demanding rights and such like?

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Americans, specifically Republicans or Jacksonians, have too much firepower in their homes and buried under some arms cache to be afraid.

  12. confusedforeigner Says:

    From bmc’s link – Tom Paine

    Perhaps on Memorial Day we can also remember alternative hopes. Not soft-headedness, but tough-minded measures required to build a different world. What if we invested as much in preventing war as in the fighting of it? (What, say, would the Middle East be if the billions spent in Iraq had funded instead a new Palestinian economy?)

    Changes in the way we memorialize the past make possible changes in the way we envision the future. But here, too, it is the sacrifice of soldiers that makes possible such change. Indeed, it begins with them. The fallen heroes remind us with their lives that war must stop.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

  13. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    I just can’t really find it persuasive that NGos and UN peacekeepers going in and doing the party-rape-get paid for it scam is actually braver and wiser than United States Marines

    Sorry … I just can’t let that go. These are the same Marines we have just discovered killed Iraqi civilians in cold blood?

    C’mon guys step away, and try and get a tiny bit of perspective.

    The “War on Terror” is a sham. You know what changed after September 11th? The people of the United States, forgot how strong they are. You gave in to fear, when the only thing they should have feared was fear itself. Osama bin Laden wants you to be afraid. So does George Bush.

    There are Americans who are not afraid. They accept that they are going to die, at some point. No problem. What they do not accept and will not accept is the notion that they must live as a slave to fear for the purposes of craven, cowardly men who, in their time, pissed the bed rather than fight an actual war, later to become powerful and use that power to line their pockets with your tax dollars.

    Here is a young patriot who’s example you should examine, you might grow a little, or a lot. Depends on you.

    http://www.peacetakescourage.com/page-home.htm

  14. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Color me prejudiced, but I hate oppressors and thugs putting their bootheels on those weaker than they. I makes me so want to eviscerate them.

    Yeah, me too!!

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    Well, for what it is worth douglas, I appreciate you fighting the good fight by digging up resources. And you might even have learned something from the experience. It is your choice, as it is the choice of every non-oppressed sentient creature to do or not to do. Or believe or not to believe, that is the question.

    Plame and Winston, hehe. I just can’t really find it persuasive that NGos and UN peacekeepers going in and doing the party-rape-get paid for it scam is actually braver and wiser than United States Marines that have only been deployed inside the United States.

    Color me prejudiced, but I hate oppressors and thugs putting their bootheels on those weaker than they. I makes me so want to eviscerate them.

  16. douglas Says:

    “I’m pretty sure I do read a broader range of sources than the bulk of posters on here.”

    That’s convincing. At least this time it’s correctly presented as opinion.

    “I’ve also been to a lot of the places that these little keyboard warriors pontificate upon but would be way too terrified to visit. You’re having a larf.”

    Categorical statement. No basis in fact to back it up. Even so, having been there, are you all knowing and an expert? Is it possible that someone who’s not been somewhere you have might gone actually have a better read on some things than you do? I’ve been to Turkey, but I wouldn’t present myself as an expert on Turkish opinion about anything in general. That’s what sources are for. Oh, and I think it was you who commented earlier that polls aren’t worth anything if you can’t read the questions- I agree, which is why if you go to any links to polls I give, they’ll have the poll available for you to look at. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “Nor do you know me but your nutcase supporters are more than comfortable inventing my positions.”

    Actually, we quote you. You invent.

    “‘Categorical statements’. Raed your neocon buddies for categorical statements. I’ve never read such a bunch of humourless self deluding hateful scared hypocrites in my life.”

    Classic. See above. You need go no further than the SAME POST to get a categorical statement from Confude. excellent technique, that name calling. Powerful, convincing, persuasive.

    “Simplest thing for you, matey, is to not read it. Ignorance is bliss after all.”

    Alas, we are not like you, Confude.

    Fortunately, not all on the left are either.

  17. douglas Says:

    Confude: This is a reply?
    You clearly missed this………

    confudeforeigner said…
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com:80/id/12319798/

    …like so much else.

    What exactly does construction of a giant US embassy in Iraq have to do with the question of your presenting propaganda as fact with the 100,000 thing? I construct a lenghty rebuttal to your propaganda, and that’s all you have in reponse? I don’t think it’s going to be convincing anyone.

    “As for your Eastern European father in law, that wouldn’t be untrustworthy irrelevant anecdotal evidence would it?”

    Indeed it would, but at least I present it as such. Take it as you will.

    neoneoconned said…
    no douglas i mean all of you. There seems to be a dearth of compromise in us political culture. Left wingers might as well troll on right wing sites because they get dismissed as such anyway – and vica versa

    Conned, you’re not really a troll here anymore (except perhaps as regards Ymar). We’ve engaged you, and you’ve been far more engaged in true conversation here than Confude… So I don’t see why you say this.

    “You’re kidding right?

    If you’re not, you are a victim of your own propaganda. “

    This coming from Confude?!

    confudeforeigner said…
    “Stop Press!!!!

    No brave Americans or heroic peace loving Israelis are known to have died in Jogjakarta yesterday, just a bunch of Muslims and Buddhists.

    Yet it was all over our news yesterday anyway, even that dispicable Fox news- and on an American holiday no less!

    “We await Pat Robertsons pronouncement on what his imaginary friend “God” meant by this message to the heathens.”

    Did someone here mention Robertson? Or are you swinging at shadows again?

    “In other Asian news….The US has sent a contingent of 40 marines to Dili to safeguard the US Embassy from the violence that is wracking East Timor.”

    Should we send more? Do you promise not to call it an Imperial occupation if we do? Hey, wait, isn’t the UN taking care of East Timor? Or was it the peace loving Indonesians?

    Probligo: “Why so is sending troops to Timor L’Este “unsurprising”? After all the US wanted nothing to do with the problem in 1996 – for fear of upsetting the Indonesians.”

    See, catch-22. Go in and get called Imperialist and insensitive to the Indonesians, stay out and get called uncaring, or worse…

    “If some of those who “debate” here were to use the same language and attitude in a face to face discussion I can well imagine their “Conservative” friends abandoning them.”

    But it doesn’t work like that, does it? We don’t go around sticking our politics into people’s faces in person (yes, here it is different, as one would expect). We actually make an effort to engage on thier ideological turf- for instance I present Confude not with articles from The Wall Street Journal, but with UN reports to contradict him, because HE sees them as relatively reliable and impartial- not because I do. See my point here. I don’t enter conversations by proclaiming the incorrectness of everyone else, as some have done on their entrance into this forum… I listen first.

    “we should have the truth filters on full blast… with the confirmation bias turned as low as possible.”

    Amen, brother- thus my post earlier about confude and the 100,000…

    “are nothing les than trumpeting falsehoods. That is the case here. US foreign aid is woefully inadequate and way out of proportion with military spending.

    I don’t wish to be snide but the comment invited a response. Propaganda is the enemy of justice etc”

    This again from Confude?! Why are you the arbiter of what the proportion of our military spending to foreign aid should be? Learn a little about what aid is really about, and American private charity here.

    “That “greatest country in the world” stuff is cringeworthy and counterproductive in my view.”

    With your worldview, of course it is. Which IS the greatest contry in the world (someone’s gotta be)? If it IS the US, it’s simply a statement of fact, and I don’t think anyone here would say it as braggadocio, but rather as a taking up of the reponsibility that goes with it, and an appreciation for it. Sorry if it rubs you the wrong way…

    confudeforeigner said…
    “Albaquirky,
    go here

    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6596

    A news website reporting the same report you mentioned in the first place isn’t a response. It’s just a different web address.

    “Further, I get my information from a much broader range of sources than most of the posters on here.”

    And you would know that how? You’ve certainly presented nothing to indicate you have a broad range of sources, at least judging by your links (or lack thereof).

    “What you say is ‘debunked’ is hardly that,…”

    Wow, I’m devastated. What a powerful debunking of my debunkment! Not even one link to anything other than a regurgitation of the wire story of the original propaganda. Mere declarations of ‘truth’.

    “…and you’ve forgotten Afghanistan too. Civilian deaths due to the security situation are the responsibilty of the occupying power. Make no mistake.”

    Right. When some terrorist blows up men women and children in a market, it’s the fault of the occupation. If someone is kidnapped and beheaded, it’s the occupations fault. Never mind the fellow holding the knife dripping in blood… Excellent logic. You demonstrate my points far better than I ever could illustrate them.

    What really troubles me about the likes of Confude are that he ends up making it too tempting for me to dismiss him offhand, because he’s demonstrated such inaccuracy and closed-mindedness. I go to a little effort to actually dig up facts (not just ‘reports’), and get sources like UN reports, that I feel will be seen as beating him on his own turf, rather than regurgitating some talking point from my side… but he has no respect for that effort, and will not return that effort. Shame.

  18. confusedforeigner Says:

    Ah, that isn’t a blanket statement,

  19. confusedforeigner Says:

    Alex said…

    Since you don’t know us, I’m pretty sure there is absolutely no way you could support that statement. And yet you state it as fact. You just know it. Kind of like you knew everything about tsunami aid. (Oh wait, you didn’t.)

    I’m pretty sure I do read a broader range of sources than the bulk of posters on here. I’ve also been to a lot of the places that these little keyboard warriors pontificate upon but would be way too terrified to visit. You’re having a larf.

    Nor do you know me but your nutcase supporters are more than comfortable inventing my positions.

    I think I made my point on tsunami aid.

    ‘Categorical statements’. Raed your neocon buddies for categorical statements. I’ve never read such a bunch of humourless self deluding hateful scared hypocrites in my life.

    Simplest thing for you, matey, is to not read it. Ignorance is bliss after all.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    You should believe Confud Cause he doesn’t support the Mullahs, and therefore you should support him? *shrugs* Like I said in a more recent comment to a more recent thread-post, I don’t think logic as used during regular discussion is the right method to treat those with such a unique and complex set of beliefs as Confud and Conned.

    Logic is too… inflexible in a way. Still useful, but I think consolidation makes more sense.

    There has been plenty of back and forth arguments with Confud, Sally, Conned, etc and etc. While some things are clarified, other questions are not and more questions crop up. Some questions not only don’t get answered, they can’t answered. Like what if Conned is totally wrong about 90% of his beliefs concerning Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bush? How do you expect Conned to answer this, even I can’t answer this because I am not Conned.

    I do, or did, a lot of internet debating. And there is a point, and I’ve already seen it here, where you just know that your opponent is simply avoiding you on some matters. It is like negotiation and realizing someone is hiding something. Unlike in real life, you have no body language, voice tones, and eye dilation to figure out what is what. You just have words and your own thinking.

    So it is much harder to get into someone’s head psychologically. And it takes longer for two people to figure out what is going on with the other. But after we do, I think everyone has a responsibility to shift their tactics and do something more constructive. I didn’t say they should stop talking and arguing, but that they should change the way they argue.

    I’m not talking specifically about Alex, or anyone else.

    But in general terms, the beginning, middle, and end of a debate or argument is pretty consistent all in all.

  21. Alex Says:

    Confude said:

    Further, I get my information from a much broader range of sources than most of the posters on here.

    Actually, you make a whole lot more categorical statements than most of the posters on here!

    Since you don’t know us, I’m pretty sure there is absolutely no way you could support that statement. And yet you state it as fact. You just know it. Kind of like you knew everything about tsunami aid. (Oh wait, you didn’t.)

    When you make broad unsupportable (and arrogant) statements like the above, you really undermine my trust in everything else you say. Why should I ever believe you?

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    That is, on top of suffering from a bad case of nation-envy, he’s also likely young, obviously naive, and easily impressed.

    I wouldn’t make that inference myself, Sally, as I tend to think it goes beyond the available justifications.

    BMC has made some progress towards enlightenment, defined as not hating America. But still, as we can still, there is still some progress to be made. I don’t want to single BMC out and get on his case, but it is important to note that while BMC likes and is inspired by America, BMC rationalizes his current dislike and disbelief of American policies as a disconnect between we who are Americans and the idealized America BMC believes in.

    So what does this mean? It means, that BMC has found a way to compartamentalize his mind. Which is actually an improvement, though much, other the usual kind of stuff we hear about America. BMC has compartamentlized his mind into liking America, and disliking current American policy through the justification the current Americans are stealing the glory and honor of their own ancestors.

    That could certainly happen, we see it all the time by the judges when they say that people taking people’s property through confiscating is just the rule of law rather than the rule of judges. The pro-abortion movement used the argument of “choice” and stole the success of America’s forefathers to implement abortion on demand.

    This doesn’t really mean however, that people like sam houston are not true Americans. It just means BMC believes this is the case, and that this justifies his disbelief of American policy. Becaus after all, if the supporters of American foreign policy were true Americans and were faithful to the ideals and principles of the Founding Fathers in securing liberty… then where BMC would be in disagreeing with American policy? He would have to start offloading his respect for the American Constitution then, because he has indeed put the US Constitution upon a pedestal. And the best way to actually ignore something is to put it on a pedestal and worship it, put it into the divine, where it does not affect the real world and the nutty gritty details.

    I tend to tsee this as the reason that while BMC admires the US Constitution, he his valued and proported solutions for world government veers totally from the US model.

  23. confusedforeigner Says:

    Well, I don’t think we have to look any further for the winner of the H & H poster of the month.

    Hypocrisy and Hyperbole that is.

    Heehee. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  24. Sally Says:

    worldcit: I must confess a sense of satisfaction that this is happening.

    That’s one point at least (and probably at most) on which we agree. That the indecent left in all its odorous variety — neurotic, depraved, seditious, and straight out loony — should find itself challenged in this way even when thinking it was safe among its own vile kind is a good indication that it’s in some serious trouble. Courage, after all, like rationality, is not one of their strong points.

    As for this particular “world citizen” himself, it might help to remember that he’s a confessed American wannabe, and a rather dewy-eyed proponent of that tired old lefty panacea, world government. That is, on top of suffering from a bad case of nation-envy, he’s also likely young, obviously naive, and easily impressed. His attempts at insult are as weak as his unformed “intellect”.

  25. bob Says:

    Sam. Take pity on bmc, he CONDEMs people even though he has trouble spelling or counting.

  26. Sam Houston Says:

    bmcworldcitizen said:
    “Sam wants to go to parties and not be bothered with all that upsetting war stuff, or worse, hang out with people who slap each other on the back and comment on how well it’s going “over there”.

    Reality needs to intrude here. Thank God for the Americans who are standing for true American values, and not allowing people like Sam the peace of their reality free Bubbles. More of the same I hope.”

    I’ll thank you for letting me speak for myself rather than have you put words into my mouth that completely misreprsent what I said.

    I welcome a civil debate of the issues. I refuse to participate, however, in childish name-calling, rants laced with obscenities, or “serious” discussion of conspiracy theories that make a sane person blush in embarrassment to hear them said out loud.

    Reality is the world in which I live. Reality is not the world in which some of the robotic Bush-haters and America-haters live.

    If you are going to paraphrase the thoughts of myself and others, try to come a little closer to the truth of their original words.

  27. confusedforeigner Says:

    Village Idiot,,,

    if you think that Syria is sympathetic to Saddam loyalists, then you need to read more. You really do.

    It is interesting that most of the criticism of Syria in the past has been for their brutal suppression of islamic militancy. Now we’re told that it is a) supporting said miltants and b) they’re nasty people who don’t love Israel. I don’t think I’d be too sympathetic to a country that is occupying my best and most valuable land either. Huh.

    It’s a funny old world ain’t it.

  28. confusedforeigner Says:

    Albaquirky,
    go here

    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6596

    Further, I get my information from a much broader range of sources than most of the posters on here. What you say is ‘debunked’ is hardly that, and you’ve forgotten Afghanistan too. Civilian deaths due to the security situation are the responsibilty of the occupying power. Make no mistake.

    Your claims regarding the numbers killed under Saddam are disingenuous at best.

    I have presented critcisms of US policies because it is US policies that are under the spotlight here. Surprise. Nobody is saying that the US is responsible for the world’s ills, just that you aren’t always the good guy. As has been pointed out, there are no altruistic nations. That should be the starting point for an adult discussion and we can ignore the whining antileft antiliberal antieveryonewhodoesn’t likeBush brigade comments from the kiddy posters, hopefully.

  29. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    While numbers are not the full story they give proportion and scale of the potential damage inflicted by hugely dysfunctional nation states.

    As a citizen of a small nation state, the US is beginning to look like more of the same. Jesus guy, have sense of history.

    You are the people, in this generation, on trial here. The honourable history of the US does not redeem you, it CONDEMS YOU.

    Like a grave robber, you steal the uniforms of dead American soldiers, men who fought bravely and with honour in justified conflicts. Slipping into the rotting tunics, you try to pass yourself off as something you are definitively not.

    No is fooled. You are spectacle, a ghastly global danse macabre. Go home.

  30. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    I find it impossible to have a calm discussion with people who say the most offensive things at parties or family gatherings because they immediately go on the attack and get extremely personal.

    I must confess a sense of satisfaction that this is happening.

    Sam wants to go to parties and not be bothered with all that upsetting war stuff, or worse, hang out with people who slap each other on the back and comment on how well it’s going “over there”.

    Reality needs to intrude here. Thank God for the Americans who are standing for true American values, and not allowing people like Sam the peace of their reality free Bubbles. More of the same I hope.

  31. bob Says:

    “Nevertheless, a certain significant fraction of the left should be dismissed in substantive terms, but paid attention to in symptomatic terms. There really is a neurosis to much of the left, consisting of a kind of generalized cultural guilt and displaced fear; in too many cases this deepens into a rage- and hate-filled hostility — toward Bush, toward America, and toward the West in general.”

    Sally, this was a great post.

    “So, such a media would present falsehood as fact and ignore context. Those without other sources of information would naturally be as anti-American as Confudeforeigner. Over time, of course, some would begin to see through some of the falsehoods and slant, but they would still be left with a false impression, due to the lack of positive information.”

    Sure, but as Sally argued above, rationality isn’t exactly the Left’s strong point. Confudeforeigner complains about American’s boasting about being the greatest country. But if you think about the past century which has brought unprecedented totalitarionism regimes that have slaughtered tens of millions of innocents: Japan, Germany, China, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Iraq, and now Darfur, the “boast” says a lot less about the U.S. than it does about the other nations of the world.

    While numbers are not the full story they give proportion and scale of the potential damage inflicted by hugely dysfunctional nation states.

  32. The probligo Says:

    “Surely you mean “Timor Do leste”. Bloody Kiwis!!”

    Confude, just for the record the full name is Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

  33. AlbuquerqueAmerican Says:

    A common theme in these comments is the question what do other nations think of the U.S? Of course, people in various other nations are not necessarily homogeneous in thought, but it is interesting how this discussion reflects back to a number of Neo-neocon’s earlier posts.

    It is probably fair to say most people overseas form their opinions of the United States based upon what they read in their news sources. Questions then arise as to how foreign media present their news reports (or non-reports) on the United States. It is fair to say that the slant from at least the “big guys” is most often anti-American.

    People then form their opinions based upon the world as they see it. A major portion of what they see comes from sources which present anti-American images in their `news’ reports. I doubt that this is a controlled conspiracy as such: it is much more likely to be a matter of those in the media business lacking diversity in world views (dancing in the ring) and being resistant to reevaluating and changing those views (the mind is a difficult thing to change).

    Neo-neocon has addressed the resultant situation several times. This post citing the novelist Milan Kundera presents the case quite well, and is well worth rereading. In short, manipulation of images is used to create a perception (Madison Avenue spends big bucks on the premise that this works), push-polls confirm and increase that perception, and, lo,

    Imagine for a moment that the media consisted almost entirely of people whose worldview is the same as that of Confude as reported by Douglas, not to mention Confudeforeigner elsewhere. Note that exagerated and false anti-American claims are presented as fact.

    For example, the falsehood concerning 100,000 civilians “you/we’ve” killed in Iraq. When debunked to a much lower figure for total civilian deaths, the number is slowly raised. Note also how every death is attributed to the U.S. A terrorist setting off a bomb in the marketplace, an auto accident in which U.S. personnel are involved, a Baathist attack on a hospital—all are treated as civilians the U.S. has killed. (Comments on maturity being the ability to make appropriate distinctions deferred.) Nor is there any explanation of context. The alternative of Sadaam remaining in power is not mentioned. Given the civilian deaths attributed to the Baathis regime (death by government) in its 24 years of oppression amount to an average 50,00 – 75,000 per year, suddenly the numbers over the past three years seem much less anti-American.

    But it is even more important to step out of the numbers game. The main difference is that, under Sadaam’s Baathist regime, it was the government which was doing the murdering. Under the U.S. occupation and now the Iraqi government, it is the government which is working to protect its citizens. The government has changed from being the enemy to being a protector.

    So, such a media would present falsehood as fact and ignore context. Those without other sources of information would naturally be as anti-American as Confudeforeigner. Over time, of course, some would begin to see through some of the falsehoods and slant, but they would still be left with a false impression, due to the lack of positive information.

    In any event, thank you, Neo-neocon, for your post. May you have a blessed Memorial Day.

  34. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    confude -

    “pretty much every poll”: that’s quite specific, eh? Still can’t swallow that billion in India.

    “palpable and overt”: that measurable, eh? Gee, that’s good enough for me.

    I didn’t follow the change of subject to Islamic militias. Have trouble staying on topic?

    “doozies” about Baathists in Syria. The majority of people leaving Iraq in the last few years have been from the capital and the area west of it – heavily Baathist areas. Many have gone to Syria, a sympathetic regime. So, yeah, I think it’s a fair conclusion that many of the unsatisfied Iraqis now in Syria had close ties to the previous goverment.

    Pat Robertson is a non-factor in American politics. The only time you hear about him is when he says something foolish that the opposition wants to use to create the impression that many Republicans are bigoted zealots. I can’t fault you for coming to that conclusion – it is believed by many Americans as well. But it simply doesn’t have evidence behind it.

    It will enhance your understanding the news coming out of America if you bear in mind that the newspeople are generally of the opposition party. They are not necessarily dishonest or unwilling to criticise their own, but that leaning does color their understanding of events. It’s rather like listening to only one version of what happened in a divorce.

    I don’t doubt that economic and partisan issues were a factor in Howard’s election. Nonetheless, he was elected, despite his support for the war. People may be opposed to the war, but apparently only a much smaller number are greatly opposed to it. That’s hardly surprising. Most people see complicated foreign policy actions in terms of tradeoffs, gains, and losses. It is that misapprehension that causes the Democrats here to be continually amazed at election results. They think all disagreement with the Republicans must be as implacable and extreme as theirs is. That’s why they keep citing popularity polls as deeply meaningful.

    Numerous conservative writers predicted that people would be tired of war in Iraq after three years, and would perceive it as going badly regardless of evidence. Several suggested that most of the allies could manage five years, but too many would be worn down by the constant negative play in the media and by the opposition parties. That’s about what’s happened, isn’t it?

  35. Ymarsakar Says:

    The world is horrified if the United States does something as it demonstrates the helplessness of the world to do anything by themselves to help without the US. And the world is horrified if the United States does not do anything, because it shows them their helplessness in making the US do anything we decide not to.

    Catch 22 as they say. And Catch 22s are always simple, they just aren’t very easy to get out of.

  36. Sally Says:

    worldcit: My GOD! Could they do that??

    You must have missed that documentary a while back, The Boys from Brazil.

  37. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    the world will allow victims to die sight unseen just so to spite America. Sounds to me like Afghanistan, Darfur, and Iraq redux.

    The “world” eh? That is a tad simplistic. Individuals across the “world” are horrified and deeply frustrated by these issues. You are a terribly man for generalising, that entire post is simply a list of unsubstantiated generalisations, a kind of neural core dump. Ymarsakar unplugged or perhaps unhinged:-)

    The root of problem is the lack of structures to channel the moral outrage into productive paths.

    In democracies, if we are sufficiently outraged, annoyed or disappointed we elect someone else. Our desires are channeled through our representatives and the stuff we want to get done, gets done.

    In terms of global governance though, we’ve had the same crap system since 1945, and no mechanisim to get rid of it. Hence paralysis.

    The “world” lacking functioning governance doesn’t translate to “oh, lets have a benign military dictatorship shall we? Won’t that be nice?”

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think BMC’s latest comments can be better understood through the topic of revolution and patriotism.

    Take the Hitler is Bush scenario, the autocracy, and the term limits. First, the historical lesson. Hitler came to power because Hindenberg, the President, gave Hitler the position of Chancellor to avoid political meltdown of the system. The Chancellor in return, used brown shirts to intimidate the Parliament to vote him emergency powers among other things. (Why does this sound like Palatine and George Lucas?)

    So how would this apply to Bush? The best thing a self-autocratic Bush would have done after 9/11 was to force Congress to declare war on all terroists. Since there will always be some terroists around, Bush could maintain a state of war, which legally reactivates all those concentration camp plans Roosevelt cooked up in the last war, almost indefinitely. Bush wouldn’t need the Patriot Act because a Congressional Declaration of War, fully and legally termed thus (not serious consequences, not funding a war waged by Presidential authorization or anything that actually occured) would give them 500 times the power the Patriot Act does. As we all know and suspect, Britain and the Netherland’s laws on detainment and arrest are many orders greater than the US laws. You see it in the Natalie Holloway case. People can get arrested, just cause the police wants to question you. You can be kept in jail without being charged for months and months, so long as some “corrupt judge” decides the police has a need. Now the new laws in Britain and the Netherlands expand even this amount of ridiculous police powers. And people have the audacity to try and complain about the United States Patriot Act? What ignorance.

    This goes back to the whole “War for Oil, Imperial domination, and capitalistic exploitation” thing the Left has in their heads. If they actually spent as much time thinking about how to implement the so called plans of their enemies, they would realize how stupid their solutions and descriptions are. But they don’t, they don’t give an iota of consideration to how a person can achieve dictatorship powers, make war for profit (UN Oil for Profit, and Sex for Peacekeepers), or any Imperial expansionist policy. This leads them to describing Bush as an auto-crat because they either don’t know what a real autocrat is, or they just don’t bother thinking about how a real auto-crat would gain power. Hitler, as they say, is seen through hindsight. Anyone now, can say “Oh, of couse Hitler was bad and we should have stopped them”. But those back in the day, were the same people crying out for peace and “negotiation” with Iran now. The human race hasn’t learned a lot of lessons that can’t be taught genetically.

    I said the words revolution and patriotism because it applies this way. Patriots have to find a way to overthrow tyrants and dictators, but without destroying their civilization in the process and killing the people they want to liberate. So the American Revolution is a successful move by patriots to take back their rights and their country, from someone who does not deserve to rule them (GB). If patriotism is the successful campaign to get rid of tyrants and dictators masquerading as “rightful rulers”, then revolutions tend to be the failures among the road paved with good intentions.

    Meaning, the Left loves to do revolutions that fail and I think they fail primarily because the Left is part of those revolutions. A group of fighters is only as good as the people in them, after all. When you have such a high quality of enlightened, heroic, and honest individuals such as the Founding Fathers, regardless of their faws, it really ups the chances for success.

    Going back to Bush. Americans would overthrow an unjust government because unlike every other Western world, the US has the 2nd Ammendment. The United States is not the greatest country in the history of the world because we have the best humans in humanity, although that does contribute, but because we are able to extract the greatness from humans from depressing the savage animalistic urges of humanity. The 2nd Ammendment is a way to do both. Much as the military does. The 2nd Ammendment allows people to make choices and decisions not out of fear, but out of considered thought. Humans are not enlightened, if we know we are incapable of defending ourselves we get the Fight or Flight response. This causes rioting, mobs, and all kinds of devastation. While the “wise world” believes that the US obsession with guns causes more murders and crime, Americans believe that the 2nd Ammendment makes humans more rational and less prone to mob violence and instinctual fear.

    In the end, this is only one of the reasons why Americans are less prone to tyranny than the rest of the world.

    If you really considered Bush’s position and had to plan out how to take dictatorship powers, how would you go about it? Declaring war on all terroists, prolonging it indefinitely is a good idea. So is cementing the loyalty of the army and air force, through bribes, loans, financial restitutions, and increases in pay. Forcing other nations to pay tribute or be devastated by bombs, is also a good way to get the money to pay for the military. Then there is the fact that the current crop of police won’t kill civilians on command, so what you do is what Hitler did, first remove the weapons from the civilians so they don’t fight back then get a bunch of young men without wives or close family connections and get them training as a “new branch of the police”. This will give you the black shirts required to crush and intimidate all opposition. You can’t be a tyrant without a group of armed thugs loyal only to you, and not the US Constitution cause you’re going to be destroying the US Constitution on the way to power.

    On a last note, Tsunami Reliefs. The US military provided lift capacity through our carriers and helicopters, which no other nation had available. Let me explain what this means. It means basically the same as if the US had given cancer victims a cure for cancer, when no other nation had that cure. Would it be fair then to say that the US was stingy because we only gave them one item, the cure, while everyone else gave them billions of money and years of their NGO time and care? No, it would not be. Because a rare commodity is priceless beyond its quantity. Thus with the US aid.

    No other nation could buy transports and transport them within a week to the Tsunami victims. The victims couldn’t wait. But they had to, if the US had not had the lift capacity to bring in the supplies. It don’t matter how much money people give out, if it doesn’t reach the people that needs them. UN NGOs and other NGOs just spend their time partying in UN paid for hotels, they don’t have a military-industrial complex to shift large supplies across the world.

    Because the world is jealous and envious of the United States military, and they turn this emotion into contempt and disdain for the “US wasting money on the military”, the world will allow victims to die sight unseen just so to spite America. Sounds to me like Afghanistan, Darfur, and Iraq redux.

  39. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Or install another Hitler clone? (Imagine Hillary with a mustache — hmm? Hmm?)

    My GOD! Could they do that??

    Heil Hillary … it’s got a ring:-) Or Heil Gore??

  40. Alex Says:

    Confude,

    It has nothing to do with proving the US is the best country in the world. It’s more about proving that the US isn’t the worst country in the world, as many, many people believe. Far from it. The US gets the blame for nearly everything that goes wrong, and almost no credit for things that go right. Your comment struck me as snarky because it seemed to imply that the US would ignore the recent earthquake, just like it ignores every humanitarian crisis. But this is, dare I say it, patently false.

    And, frankly, how many purely altruistic countries are out there? Why did Australia give so much? Might Australia’s generousity have at least something to do with the fact the devastation happened in its own backyard, among its major trading partners? Not to put down Australia in the least, I’m just saying that, in a case like this, you often see a mixture of altruism and self-interest. The US had a lot less at stake in this one, and still it gave — money and, most importantly, direct helicopter and logistical aid in the first crucial weeks. Money has a habit of being filtered through bureaucratic relief organizations until cents on the dollar actually reach their intended recipient, but the effect of an airlift is felt immediately.

  41. Sally Says:

    The only silver lining is the 2 term limit.

    Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that. The Illuminati, taking directions from the Mother Ship (hiding behind that comet whatsitsname) will surely have found a way to change the Constitution before the 2 terms are up, don’t you think? Or install another Hitler clone? (Imagine Hillary with a mustache — hmm? Hmm?)

  42. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Blast … missed the entire punch up!!

    So, Bush isn’t just a President with whom they disagree; he’s Hitler, he’s Stalin. Once that equation is accepted, anyone who supports his policies is a Nazi or a Stalinist: the enemy.

    This is of course absolutely true, and if there were not so many disturbing signs that Bush is a power hungry autocrat, it might be unfair.

    However the US has rarely seen a president pull so much power to himself, for so little genuine justification.

    Hitler and Stalin did not leap full blown onto the world stage, dripping venom from their fangs. In both cases it took 20 years of political manouvering before they had amassed the kind of power that allowed them to do the dreadful things they did. It is in this sense that Bush is a nascent Hitler, and proto Stalin.

    The only silver lining is the 2 term limit. Good thinking there, and it can’t come soon enough for me:-)

  43. Tom Grey Says:

    To Neo-neocon (of this blog!)
    Great post. It’s so sad that it seems so true.

    I think from the Anchoress, I now have the habit of complaining about obscenity, which I call “potty mouth”.

    I think if we laugh at those, especially but not exclusively Leftists, who argue using potty mouth language, we can maybe move to
    significant discussion.

    I don’t think it possible to argue significantly with those who are potty mouth passionates.

    Sally was mostly correct: the anti-capitalists hate America leading the globalization process using capitalism — the peaceful economic system. Voluntary agreement by the decicion making buyer. For good, or vulgar consumerist, or their own non-elite reason.

  44. confusedforeigner Says:

    Alex,

    OK there are a few things about that table that don’t ring true.

    The first one is that the Australian government has pledged AU$5 billion over 5 years for Indonesia alone. It will arrive too (which isn’t always the case). A lot of that is going to Bandah Aceh, which is a hot bed of Islamic extremism but was one of the worst hit areas. That is about the only thing I will ever applaud John Howard for, ever.

    The second one is that I can’t find anywhere else that says that the US govt is giving more than US$350 m in aid. Tied aid isn’t aid at all. The US generally gives figures which include said tied aid and roughly 70% can be termed as such.

    Public pledges and actual funds realized are very often quite different.

    Look, as I said I’m not belittling or demeaning the US effort but I hate that chauvanistic bent from some over there. That “greatest country in the world” stuff is cringeworthy and counterproductive in my view.

  45. confusedforeigner Says:

    Harry Mallory said…
    confudeforeigner:

    “Pretty much any poll since Iraq that has asked who people think is the most dangerous to global security have named your little Texan buffoon as number 1.”

    I object to the constant slanderous remarks. If you cant respect our President at least try to show some respect to people on this board by curbing the juvenile and hate filled remarks.

    Harry,

    you’re welcome to say anything you like about John Howard.

    Anything else I can help you with?

  46. Alex Says:

    Confude,

    1. Personally I stay away from Pat Robertson so I can’t say how much power he has over GWB, but the analogy to Al Sharpton does strike me as accurate.

    2. The US was indeed the largest single donor in the tsunami relief effort. Take a look at this table. You’ll see that the US gave over twice as much as the next biggest donors, Australia and Germany. The Australian government gave slightly more than the US government, but private donations put the US way out in front.

    You’ll probably respond with something to the effect that, as a percentage of GDP, it really wasn’t that much, yadda yadda yadda. But the main point is that the US does give hugely when things go wrong in the world. It has a lot to give, but does that diminish the gift?

    You wrote:

    …your statement regarding the tsunami aid is patently false. The US did NOT supply most of the aid.

    Can I get an apology?

  47. Harry Mallory Says:

    confudeforeigner:

    “Pretty much any poll since Iraq that has asked who people think is the most dangerous to global security have named your little Texan buffoon as number 1.”

    I object to the constant slanderous remarks. If you cant respect our President at least try to show some respect to people on this board by curbing the juvenile and hate filled remarks.

    If all you want to do is hurl insults, I cant see what value your comments have and so see no reason why you should still be around. If your really interested in a debate of ideas, they’d go along way if it wasnt constantly imbedded in ‘snark’ and condescension.

    I dont know, but maybe thats what it really means to talk to a liberal. Once again, making Neo-neocons points for her.

  48. confusedforeigner Says:

    The newly promoted village idiot said….

    As to Australia, yes, the chattering classes there are much like those of Canada and Western Europe. Oz nonetheless keeps electing Howard, who was supposed to go down in flaming defeat because he is a “Bush toady.” So perhaps you don’t even read your own country as well as you think.”

    Oh I forgot, the chattering classes are driving our societies into the mire and we have, and apparently are paying for “islamic militias in our cities”. Purleeeeeease.

    Howard’s reelection has more to do with a facile and confused opposition, and a steaming economy than anything else. Our involvement in Iraq is deeply unpopular and poll after poll has shown that Australians believe it has made us less safe.

    I don’t hang around with a bunch of lefties (quite the reverse) and you know stuff all about Australia. Or Syria for that matter. Who could forget your sneering Baathist comment? There’s been some doozies on here but that one took the cake.

    My reading of the situation in Indonesia is based on what is happening there on the ground. There is a palpable and overt anti western movement in the cities that simply wasn’t there when I first started visiting 20 years ago. Polls are pointless if you don’t publish the questions used.

    Pretty much any poll since Iraq that has asked who people think is the most dangerous to global security have named your little Texan buffoon as number 1.

  49. Sl0re Says:

    At 10:42 PM, May 28, 2006, confudeforeigner said…
    Sl0re said….

    “Really? I agree that so called “tied aid” is unproductive and you wouldn’t find a genuine NGO that wouldn’t agree, but it is hard to argue that withholding genuine aid to people in crisis would produce negative results in a humanitarian definition.”

    I didn’t realize you were speaking of just humanitarian aid. Did you? Because, again, on that score the US does well (as we did with the tsunami).

    “I think the inference is clear isn’t it? Miltary aid to a repressive regime as opposed to humanitarian aid for the greatest human catastrophe in decades.”

    It was not not but you cleared it up. Thanks for clearing it up. :)

    “I find that disturbing.”

    Ok.

    “As for Pat Robertson and his band of related evangelical nincompoops, nutty christians and zionists, they raise an awful lot of money for the Republicans and fund in no small way some of the more extreme elements in Israel too. IMO these are seriously perverted and dangerous nutters, financially way more powerful than any Islamist network.”

    Sure ‘his band’ and ‘related evangelical nincompoops’. Of course. But not all evangelicals are idiots or nuts. Most were not even Republican voters let alone ‘right wing’ 25 years ago. In our domestic left’s desire to paint themselves in the fashion the continental left, they pretty much went on the offense and did everything they could to attack and thumb their nose at the religious here (something not done in the UK or Australia by their left IMO…). So the religious (who were almost all protestant with no continental style / history of reactionary politics) started voting conservative.. now (the blowback) proves their starting point. They’re fighting theocracy… eye roll… no wonder the classical liberals (ie, the ‘right’) runs this country. The left are sanctimonious bumbers…

    As to being more financially powerful than the Islamists… Ok… Dangerous too?

  50. confusedforeigner Says:

    Sl0re said….

    Since foreign aid hardly seems to produce positive results (it can be argued that in many cases it has hurt conditions) maybe its ‘woefully’ past the time to reconsider it as a concept and ask that it be justified.

    Really? I agree that so called “tied aid” is unproductive and you wouldn’t find a genuine NGO that wouldn’t agree, but it is hard to argue that withholding genuine aid to people in crisis would produce negative results in a humanitarian definition.

    Sl0re said…

    “Sorry to harp, but it is instructive to know the the US gave more money by an order of magnitude to the IDF last year than it gave to the tsunami relief effort.”

    Why exactly?

    I think the inference is clear isn’t it? Miltary aid to a repressive regime as opposed to humanitarian aid for the greatest human catastrophe in decades. I find that disturbing.

    As for Pat Robertson and his band of related evangelical nincompoops, nutty christians and zionists, they raise an awful lot of money for the Republicans and fund in no small way some of the more extreme elements in Israel too. IMO these are seriously perverted and dangerous nutters, financially way more powerful than any Islamist network.

  51. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Pat Robertson is not a confidante of GWB. Never has been. Confude tends to believe the paranoid interpretations he hears about his opponents.

    As to Australia, yes, the chattering classes there are much like those of Canada and Western Europe. Oz nonetheless keeps electing Howard, who was supposed to go down in flaming defeat because he is a “Bush toady.” So perhaps you don’t even read your own country as well as you think.

    But I suppose if you can dismiss a round-the-world assessment of trade, polls, new treaties, and relative freedom measures as “diplomatic posturing,” then small matters like data wouldn’t bother you much. (thanks douglas, BTW, for saving me and my Romanians much effort).

    The equation is fairly simple. You hang out with people of a certain stripe, even internationally. You believe what they tell you, because it accords with your own view. Contrary data must be rejected, preferably with a sneer. Then you complain that others are idiots and treat you rudely. Huh. Go figure.

    The missing piece in the equation is not that Americans aren’t listening to people like you. The missing piece is we are listening and refuting it, which you continue to believe must be impossible. If you expect to be taken seriously, you must attempt to prove your points with data, not anecdote.

  52. Sl0re Says:

    confudeforeigner said…

    “I don’t wish to be snide but the comment invited a response. Propaganda is the enemy of justice etc”

    Then why do spin things to the point that they are propaganda?

    “Alex, 2 things, Pat Robertson is a confidante of GWB and his evangelical moral majority generate massive funding for the Republicans.”

    Confidant? Really? Not just another ring that is kissed on the campaign trail (just as our liberals have to make the required nice nice with idiots in their coalition). PS, he doesn’t run the moral majority if your referring to the formal organization… If your not, he doesn’t speak for the vast majority of evangelicals either.

    “I’m glad you recognize him for what he is but I think you underestimate his danger.”

    Or you’ve been lead to think he actually is more powerful in order to scare you or give you a bogus rhetorical weapon. Roberson is a crank and a fool. He’s the republican’s Al Sharpton. Making him into a bigger deal is paranoia.

    “Secondly, your statement regarding the tsunami aid is patently false. The US did NOT supply most of the aid.”

    Probably in the end. I didn’t see the final tallies but we were number one at times / in some stories on the topic… We may very well not have ‘been #1′. But we did fine. The biased figures did tend to leave out private US donations and the costs of deploying our military.

    “US foreign aid is woefully inadequate and way out of proportion with military spending.”

    Since foreign aid hardly seems to produce positive results (it can be argued that in many cases it has hurt conditions) maybe its ‘woefully’ past the time to reconsider it as a concept and ask that it be justified.

    “Sorry to harp, but it is instructive to know the the US gave more money by an order of magnitude to the IDF last year than it gave to the tsunami relief effort.”

    Why exactly?

  53. confusedforeigner Says:

    The probligo said…
    Stumbley, you are right!!! but for one small detail…

    The point raised was concerning Timor L’Este, not Indonesia.”

    Surely you mean “Timor Do leste”. Bloody Kiwis!!

  54. Ymarsakar Says:

    Just to jump in and clarify a point, but Confud is actually talking about government aid, not individual private aid. So when he says that the US government gave less than what we spent on our defense, he is accurate in the sense that someone using deception need not tell a lie.

  55. Ymarsakar Says:

    More than one blog is confusing and whiplashlike.

  56. Norma Says:

    I think Stumbly and nnc and ymarsakar should write their own blogs so we don’t get whiplash trying to sort them out from each other. This isn’t usenet.

  57. The probligo Says:

    Stumbley, you are right!!! but for one small detail…

    The point raised was concerning Timor L’Este, not Indonesia.

  58. confusedforeigner Says:

    buuqkdui
    Alex said…
    Oh and confude,

    Enough with the snark. A massive tragedy occurred, Pat Robertson’s a jerk, and the US is sending in troops (while the UN runs away). The tragedy is terrible, Pat’s old news, and sending troops to East Timor is extremely unsurprising.

    What will happen in the wake of the earthquake? If the tsunami is any guide, the US will probably give the lion’s share of the aid.”

    Alex, 2 things, Pat Robertson is a confidante of GWB and his evangelical moral majority generate massive funding for the Republicans. I’m glad you recognize him for what he is but I think you underestimate his danger.

    Secondly, your statement regarding the tsunami aid is patently false. The US did NOT supply most of the aid.

    I don’t want to denigrate what they did do and it was a hell of a lot, but some of the statements of belief about these types of things from Americans are nothing les than trumpeting falsehoods. That is the case here. US foreign aid is woefully inadequate and way out of proportion with military spending.

    Sorry to harp, but it is instructive to know the the US gave more money by an order of magnitude to the IDF last year than it gave to the tsunami relief effort. It wasn’t even the biggest donor.

    I don’t wish to be snide but the comment invited a response. Propaganda is the enemy of justice etc

  59. stumbley Says:

    confude said:

    “You’re kidding right?

    If you’re not, you are a victim of your own propaganda. The US did feck all for Indonesia and Australia has jumped in where the US singularly failed with meanigful aid and assistance. The opposite of the US approach.”

    No doubt the lads and lasses from Oz did their part. Your country has always responded well, and on the right side in many global situations. But to say the U.S. did “feck all” is, again, intellectually dishonest. We’ve sent nearly $2 billion in aid, in addition to parking aircraft carriers and hospital ships in harbors to purify water.

    As for the Indonesians’ like or dislike of America, there’s this (from the Christian Science Monitor, no right-wing rag):

    “The 2006 poll, conducted by the respected Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) also said “support for bin Laden and terrorism has dropped to its lowest level since 9/11.” In addition, the percentage of Indonesians with very unfavorable views of the United States fell from 48 percent two years ago to just 13 percent in January.”

    Now, the fact that only 13 percent of Indonesians hate us is not the same as 87 percent loving us, but it does square with what the commenter was saying…the world doesn’t hate the U.S., and in many regions, affection is growing.

  60. class-factotum Says:

    At my class reunion last fall, the host of one of the parties — a classmate — told the story of how one of his colleagues didn’t like how another colleague had a print of Mao in his office. I had to bite my lip bloody to keep from commenting as the others around me laughed and said, “Get over it!” The only reason I didn’t say anything was because I was a guest in this guy’s house. (If it happens again, I think I’ll have more backbone.)

    The next night, at a party on campus, someone at my table said that every time he goes to London for work, he has to explain that “he didn’t vote for him and he was against the war!” Everyone but me laughed. Instead, I said casually, “I did vote for him and I’m absolutely for the war. I think we’re doing the right thing.” I looked at them and dared them to challenge me.

    I don’t mind discussing politics with people who start with the same set of facts that I do and draw different conclusions about how to solve the problem, but most leftists I have met seem to be pretty ignorant and haven’t bothered to do their research. They just repeat the talking points.

  61. The probligo Says:

    “…and the US is sending in troops (while the UN runs away).

    …and sending troops to East Timor is extremely unsurprising.

    Alex, are you suggesting that the UN should leave its non-combatants in an area of conflict in the hope that the Americans might protect them?

    Why so is sending troops to Timor L’Este “unsurprising”? After all the US wanted nothing to do with the problem in 1996 – for fear of upsetting the Indonesians.

    As it happens, the Aussies have combatants in place already, the first contingent of Kiwis will get there when their Herc stops breaking down. Things will return to normal under their police action until after the elections next year. If the US want to send 40 to guard their embassy, I am sure that you can afford to so do.

    On the original matter…

    If some of those who “debate” here were to use the same language and attitude in a face to face discussion I can well imagine their “liberal” friends abandoning them. Sam Houston said it all from the beginning. But then why can he not sit down and quietly say, “Right, leave out all of the shit and lets talk seriously abou this.” He “finds it impossible”, I suspect, because he knows how difficult it will be to leave out the personal epithets and political cliches himself.

    He is right to be scared as well. But WE (because it is happening in NZ as well) should look to the real source.

    Most of the “opinion” that is being expressed on all media including the blogiverse is in fact not much more than the regurgitation of political labels and entrenched positions with only a minute amount of truly objective and independent examination.

    And that, dear friends, is where WE come in. Rather than just swallowing all of the shit that floats around these days, we should have the truth filters on full blast… with the confirmation bias turned as low as possible.

    WE are the control.

  62. Alex Says:

    Oh and confude,

    Enough with the snark. A massive tragedy occurred, Pat Robertson’s a jerk, and the US is sending in troops (while the UN runs away). The tragedy is terrible, Pat’s old news, and sending troops to East Timor is extremely unsurprising.

    What will happen in the wake of the earthquake? If the tsunami is any guide, the US will probably give the lion’s share of the aid.

    Would you like to clarify the point you were making?

  63. Alex Says:

    neoneoconned wrote:

    Left wingers might as well troll on right wing sites because they get dismissed as such anyway – and vica versa

    You are sadly correct that, on many sites, all opposing viewpoints are treated as trolling… however, I don’t actually think that that’s the case on this one. When you first came here you were very hostile and, as a result, you got met with a lot of hostility. But in the past week or so you’ve toned it down a bit and, if I’m not mistaken, you’ve been met with at least a little more respect.

    People like Steve J. are incurable trolls, but, after reading a bunch of comments from you and confudeforeigner, I’ve come to think that you and he are potentially much better than that. So let’s all try to tone down the rhetoric a bit.

  64. confusedforeigner Says:

    Stop Press!!!!

    No brave Americans or heroic peace loving Israelis are known to have died in Jogjakarta yesterday, just a bunch of Muslims and Buddhists.

    We await Pat Robertsons pronouncement on what his imaginary friend “God” meant by this message to the heathens.

    In other Asian news….The US has sent a contingent of 40 marines to Dili to safeguard the US Embassy from the violence that is wracking East Timor.

  65. Wayne Says:

    Let them go !!!! To bring up George Bush as Hitler and criticize your son as some sort of young Nazi is unacceptable. If these people can’t agree to disagree they’re not worth having as friends.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and take on liberals all the time ( except at work). I still have a few liberal friends left . I have no problem with they’re disliking GW but when it comes to this GW as Hitler talk I just show them the door.

  66. Wayne Says:

    Let them go !!!! To bring up George Bush as Hitler and criticize your son as some sort of young Nazi is unacceptable. If these people can’t agree to disagree they’re not worth having as friends.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and take on liberals all the time ( except at work). I still have a few liberal friends left . I have no problem with they’re disliking GW but when it comes to this GW as Hitler talk I just show them the door.

  67. bob Says:

    Something I’ve learned after a few years of reading political blogs is how political ideology crosses national boundaries and cultures. I see wonderfully articulate individuals blogging from Iraq, Egypt, Italy, France, and Iran who aspire and embrace the notion of democracy and understand that the process of bringing the Middle East into modernity will be a slow brutal process.

    I wonder what it is that binds individuals from such diverse backgrounds to be so deeply dedicated and steadfast to such values. It is a mystery to me. But
    I’m not a psychologist.

    Clearly they are not all brain-dead minions who are brainwashed by Fox News.

    Something else is operating here and I find it both inspiring and fascinating.

    With respect to neocon and her friends, I am sympathetic. The easiest thing to do is to cave to people you know and have loved all your life for the purposes of having some personal harmony.

    My frustration with folks on the left, many of whom are close friends, is how quickly they engage in adolescent behavior and want simple quick solutions to problems that will take decades to solve. It will also take decades to ultimately determine the success or failure of our policies.

    It’s a lot easier to become apolitical than it is to assert a minority opinion that is supportive of a policy that costs lives, money, and heartache. We have pursued unpopular complex policies before with great success. Korea comes to mind. It was a hugely unpopular war that ultimately left Harry Truman leaving office with an approval rating similar to George Bush.

    But no one can argue that the sacrifice provided the ability for South Korea to slowly and painfully develop a prosperous middle class. It took decades to achieve. Contrast the situation in Seoul with people eating bark to fend off starvation in Pyongpang.

  68. Ymarsakar Says:

    (they do, but they’re virtually irrelevant)

    Any extremists found on the Right is either crucified by people like me, or plain out executed like the Oklahomans did.

    But that is unnecessary because people like David Duke has linked up with the Leftist Brits, by both paying a visit to the dictator in Syria, and joining hands and singing kumbaya. So there is no need for the Right to clean house of the David KKK Dukes because they all went over to the Left, by their free will. Good riddance.

  69. Ymarsakar Says:

    Don’t get them started on the Euston Manifest, that was the first thread that they came on here to this site to talk about. Well, conned, at least. Not Confud.

  70. Cervus Says:

    neoneoconned, confudeforiegner:

    Are either of you familiar with the Euston Manifesto?

    http://eustonmanifesto.org/

  71. Sally Says:

    nconned: Also look at the tone of coments on here. Right wing ideas are dismissed as naive or the product of some psychological flaw – you can see why this may annoy people.

    Actually, of course, nconned didn’t say that. I’m pretty sure he’d be incapable of saying that — for him, the only thing that “may annoy people” is the dismissing of left wing ideas. And it was precisely this sort of odd, ironic, even comical blindness that was the topic of the post.

    Nevertheless, a certain significant fraction of the left should be dismissed in substantive terms, but paid attention to in symptomatic terms. There really is a neurosis to much of the left, consisting of a kind of generalized cultural guilt and displaced fear; in too many cases this deepens into a rage- and hate-filled hostility — toward Bush, toward America, and toward the West in general. For many of these — the depraved segment of the “indecent” left — it’s more important that Bush “lose” than that their country should benefit; or better that America itself should lose, than that their culture, from which they’ve been alienated anyway, should be strengthened; and, finally of course, better that the hated consumerist, earth-destroying, technological, capitalist culture of the West in general collapse at whatever the cost. This is the element in the West that the Islamists are well aware of, as we can see from the latest screeds from bin Laden, the Iranian President, and others, and that these fellow enemies of the hated West are counting on — this is indeed, therefore, the fifth column in our midst, whether conscious or nconscious.

    There’s little use in trying not to see this. Nconned, for example, in his new “serious” version, has been trying his level best to obscure the matter, saying that the right has its extremists too (they do, but they’re virtually irrelevant), and, most lately, wringing his hands, over and over again, with impressive single-mindedness, over the “frightening” polarization of “your” country, in the hope perhaps of diverting attention from the cause to the symptom of the illness — for him, and the many like him, the problem isn’t the illness, it’s calling it an illness.

    It’s unfortunately necessary to say that the illness is not identical to the left in general, nor with those, as the simple-minded accusation routinely goes, “who disagree”. There are a great many, like those who were behind the Euston Manifesto, for example, but certainly not limited to those, who are on the left, who have divergent opinions on the war and many other issues, but who have not been tipped over an important edge by their all-consuming hatred — these are, for want of a better term, the rational left, or the decent left, and with such — a few of whom are commenters here as opposed to trolls — it’s possible to carry on a reasonable debate, or even discussion. It’s unfortunately not with those who, for example, are incapable of distinguishing between Bush and Hitler.

  72. Ymarsakar Says:

    Confud’s from Australia.

  73. nyomythus Says:

    “conned”

    You all seem to want to deal in certainties rather then acknowledge doubt and the possibility of the other guy being right.

    The above … is a “certainty”

  74. nyomythus Says:

    “people who had been silent in the surrounding crowd have come up to me and whispered that they agree with me, but are undercover for fear of losing friends and/or jobs. Astounding.”

    This is so true — and it’s difficult to keep quiet because I don’t want to just sit there like an idiot not saying anything. I’m lucky my wife has a big mouth — a fiery Slovak national with no sense of American political correctness. Her response to the southern border was, “They need to bring all the trains and send them home!” She makes me look like Ralph Nader’s step son. Otherwise she is much more liberal on political views — this juxtaposed to us both being complete Bohemians make for an interesting goulash.

  75. neoneoconned Says:

    no douglas i mean all of you. There seems to be a dearth of compromise in us political culture. Left wingers might as well troll on right wing sites because they get dismissed as such anyway – and vica versa

  76. confusedforeigner Says:

    douglas said…
    Conned: “I agree with youabout the way right wing ideas are treated on left wing sites. I think it is something to do with political culture in america. You all seem to want to deal in certainties rather then acknowledge doubt and the possibility of the other guy being right. There is an almost religious fervour to much of the debate.”

    You mean like this exchage with confude?:
    confude:”The fact of the matter is that you/we’ve killed 100,000 plus civilians in the last 4 years and gawd knows how many in Iraq since the Kuwait thing.”

    You clearly missed this………

    confudeforeigner said…
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com:80/id/12319798/

    …like so much else.

    As far as India goes, I haven’t had much of a chance to analyse why Bush has had the temerity to offer all that nuclear technology to a country outside the NPT. It clearly isn’t an example of sticking to the script or the rule book though and does less than zero for the cobncept of non proliferation.

    But hey that’s OK. George isn’t bound by laws or treaties.

    As for your Eastern European father in law, that wouldn’t be untrustworthy irrelevant anecdotal evidence would it?

  77. confusedforeigner Says:

    Dean Esmay said…
    Actually we’re viewed quite favorably by the Indonesians since we’ve done so much to help them after the Tsunami, and to help them with their home-grown radical terrorist networks.

    You’re kidding right?

    If you’re not, you are a victim of your own propaganda. The US did feck all for Indonesia and Australia has jumped in where the US singularly failed with meanigful aid and assistance. The opposite of the US approach.

    As for the help against Jemaah Islamitah, we all in this part of the world, really appreciate all 2 FBI agents you sent in response to the Bali bombing. Sensational and brilliant!

  78. Ryan Says:

    Steve –

    How many posts this time before you again break down into screaming hate-filled child that you are?

  79. douglas Says:

    Back on topic- Neo, if this is the state of your personal relationships, is the blog a chace to say all those things you can’t with them, a place to find ideological fellowhip, or both or neither? Do they know about the blog? Just curious.

  80. Dean Esmay Says:

    Actually we’re viewed quite favorably by the Indonesians since we’ve done so much to help them after the Tsunami, and to help them with their home-grown radical terrorist networks.

    Indonesia’s a wonderful country that’s emerged from an oppressive government much like Pakistan’s to being one of the world’s liberal democracies, and in only a decade. Most impressive country and people.

  81. douglas Says:

    Conned: “I agree with youabout the way right wing ideas are treated on left wing sites. I think it is something to do with political culture in america. You all seem to want to deal in certainties rather then acknowledge doubt and the possibility of the other guy being right. There is an almost religious fervour to much of the debate.”

    You mean like this exchage with confude?:
    confude:”The fact of the matter is that you/we’ve killed 100,000 plus civilians in the last 4 years and gawd knows how many in Iraq since the Kuwait thing.”

    douglas:100,000? Get with the times, that’s long ago debunked. Where, pray tell, do you get your info? This article at Slate slams the survey, and they’re no fans of the Bush admin. He goes with Iraq the body counts numbers, but they’re dissected here. You won’t like the source, but I’d like to see you refute it with logical argument.
    Of course, then you’d have to explain why a more complete survey by the UN puts the number FAR lower… link
    They say:
    “War-related Death
    The number of deaths of civilians and military personnel in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion is another set of figures that has raised controversy. The Living Conditions Survey data indicates 24,000 deaths, with a 95 percent confidence interval from 18,000 to 29,000 deaths. According to the survey data, children aged below 18 years comprise 12% percent of the deaths due to warfare.”

    Confude:”On the numbers. It may be far lower than 100,000 but am I supposed to accept that 40,000 is acceptable?”

    douglas:No, what you believe is ‘acceptable’ is up to you. You’re supposed to realize you bought a line (hook and sinker included), because you didn’t bother to research something easily disproved because it fit in so nicely with your preconceptions. This says something about what you believe in general, and your abilities to discern fact from propaganda. But you’re not gentleman enough to admit you’ve been had, and concede the point.

    Note the effort to increase the stat back to 40,000 from the UN’s 30,000…
    Who has the ‘religious fervor” and ‘certainty’ there?
    Who is “…Intellectually dishonest and misinformed”?

    “which is why the american political system is in so much trouble. If you can’t even recognise that other opinions are as valid as yours then you are screwed.”

    Is it the American system or people like Confude that fit that description?

    Confude:”I can’t really comment on China or Eastern Europe and India is unreadable for me. I will say though that you have made no friends in Indonesia, despite their hatred of the extremists”

    Let me help you. Eastern Europe I know something about, having been there several times, and being married to a native whose father thinks the internet is the best thing ever because he can keep up on news and entertainment from the mother country- they mostly like us, but have some reservations, however nothing like much of western Europe.

    As for India- see this from 54% approval in 2002 to 71% in 2005. That’s gotta sting you a bit. Perhaps it’s because they understand the threat of radical Islamic terrorists better than anyone, having suffered more attacks from them than anyone else in recent years.

  82. Ymarsakar Says:

    I make the addendum that I was always far more interested in what people were thinking while they were writing than what they actually wrote. In this case, I am attracted to psychology and the human mind.

    For those who don’t think as I do, then extracting meaning from some word written on the net could be problematic.

  83. Ymarsakar Says:

    I doubt MilBloggers like Michael Yon, Blackfive, and Greyhawk are mushrooms with irrational fears.

    I would likely agree with some of it if I could make it out.

    Primarily disjointed because my brain moves faster than my typing. And I already type at 70 to 100. Such as it is, that after I halfway finish typing one thought out, I have 2 more thoughts and there you have the disconnection. I just don’t have the time to outline the inter-connecting logic, given the quirks of inspiration. People either have to ask for an elaboration or clarification, and they do if they are curious enough, or they don’t and reading comprehension stays the same.

    One benefit to me, and not anyone else, is that this allows me to understand all the various other quirks people have when writing. Thus other people’s ramblings more or less make sense to me, if I read them that is.

    Neo has noticed people reading her words and misunderstanding them either on purpose or through negligence. This is quite surprising to me, because I skim past some significant portions of Neo’s writings, and I get her meaning quite satisfactorily. Primarily this is because Neo writes in a methodothical manner, using multiple drafts.

    If I see where she is going, most of the time I just skip the intervening remarks and descriptions, and just get to the ending or the dialogue directed towards me. I do that when reading books as well, skip a whole bunch of descriptions.

  84. confusedforeigner Says:

    Grackhead said…..

    Maybe you’ve been to Syria, maybe not. Personal anecdotes from folks who have an ax to grind are of limited value. Stick to facts and opinion rather than anecdotal examples – not knowing who you are, how are we supposed to gauge your credibility? Your anecdote about what refugee Iraqis said to you somewhat depends on your judgement and interpretation; frankly I trust neither.

    10:42 PM, May 27, 2006

    I’m hurt. Boo hoo. I’d obviously be better off doing as you. Hiding at home being a mushroom and limiting raw data to a few wingnut websites that have the same axe to be ground and the same irrational fears.

  85. Steve J. Says:

    They came for dinner last month, and the woman went up to my 10-year-old son’s room with him to look at some drawings he had done. He has a poster of GWB, and one of Ronald Reagan on his wall. These were given to him by his aunt.

    This is child abuse.

  86. confusedforeigner Says:

    1. We have not been alienating the world recently. Our relations with India have never been better – there’s a billion people right there. Eastern Europe remains very fond of us. Russia – no worse. China – about the same. Arab nations – best-ever relations with about a third of them, deteriorated relations with a third, a third about the same. Net gain. Central Asia, best relations ever.

    Hmmm, I think you are confusing diplomatic posturing with the view of the populations.

    I’m puzzled you think it is a bonus to be viewed kindly by the dictators of central asia and the middle east.

    I’m puzzled that you think you’ve made friends in Australia. Howard is a toady for Bush (as he was for Clinton), yes, but Australia’s foreign policy (Iraq aside) is totally diverging from GWB’s approach in muslim nations and actually doing the job reasonably well. It pains me in a way to say it, but I take heart in that he has been forced to take a more ‘liberal’ approach because he has expended so much political capital in Iraq.

    I can’t really comment on China or Eastern Europe and India is unreadable for me. I will say though that you have made no friends in Indonesia, despite their hatred of the extremists.

    In trade terms you are more isolated than at any time in my experience but the EC is in the same boat. The third world and the smaller western trading nations would like to see some good will and some real action on free trade and all the posturing is creating division.

  87. confusedforeigner Says:

    Iraqi baathists allowed to roam freely in Syria!!

    Step up, sunshine, you can lose that ‘assistant’ tag now.

  88. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    If it’s any comfort, neoneoconned, I find ymarsakar’s comments disjointed and hard to follow. I would likely agree with some of it if I could make it out.

    neoneoconned and confudeforeigner: listen up. You make points, they get refuted, then you make the same points again. So let’s take some things from the top. You both seem very concerned that people in foreign countries are so angry at Americans, and you are quite certain that they are correct in their hatred and it is our – or at least Bush’s – fault. cf actually finds it persuasive that he encounters Iraqis in Syria who complain about the brutal security situation there. Helloooo? Those are Baathists! Do you think that might influence their impressions a tiny bit? Next time you’re there you might ask them about oppressive security as well. I also challenge your “credible sources” that US soldiers are carrying out summary executions of civilians.

    Look, if people believe that, no wonder they would hate Americans. Why don’t we start with a more basic point? There’s no evidence for your claim.

    1. We have not been alienating the world recently. Our relations with India have never been better – there’s a billion people right there. Eastern Europe remains very fond of us. Russia – no worse. China – about the same. Arab nations – best-ever relations with about a third of them, deteriorated relations with a third, a third about the same. Net gain. Central Asia, best relations ever.

    The chattering classes of Western Europe have had contempt for us for decades. It may be worse, or more focussed now, but it’s not new. Australia we may actually be improved with. Japan – continued excellent relations. South America, mixed, probably net worse. Central America, better and better.

    The UN is really ticked at us. Our relations with the UN are much worse. Don’t overvalue that in the context of our general worldwide improvement of relations with individual countries and regions.

    To continue to insist that the world really hates us, you must be overvaluing the opinions of the UN, the elites of Western Europe, and Islamist nations. That group is not the whole world. They are especially not the people whose opinions we should value most.

    But let me guess. A few weeks from now, drifting through another thread, I will run across the claim from you that people overseas hate us. And when others dismiss that out of hand, you will accuse them of being closedminded and unwilling to listen to criticism or other ideas.

  89. Dale St. Clair Says:

    OK Stumbley, you really got me there didn’t you?
    These people who’ve uprooted their entire families because of the deteriorating security and dire financial situation in Iraq can’t be trusted to tell me the truth but you’ll believe a few right wing blogs that all is calm there. There are tens of thousands of refugees in Syria Lebanon and Iran, are they all malingerers?

    Maybe you’ve been to Syria, maybe not. Personal anecdotes from folks who have an ax to grind are of limited value. Stick to facts and opinion rather than anecdotal examples – not knowing who you are, how are we supposed to gauge your credibility? Your anecdote about what refugee Iraqis said to you somewhat depends on your judgement and interpretation; frankly I trust neither.

  90. copithorne Says:

    Let’s say I come to your house and “borrow” $5,000 from your child. I have no intention of repaying that debt — I’m really just going to take the money from your kid. I need to take that money because I have a plan to kill thousands of people to build a better world.

    You will not be civil to me. If you shower me with obscene verbal invective, you would be showing admirable restraint.

  91. confusedforeigner Says:

    Stumbley
    Well, it’s probably due to that incredibly dire security situation in Baghdad, don’t you think?

    Touche. I’ve always thought that keeping a low profile was the better and more diplomatic option though.

    Stumbley
    We have no intentions of “occupying” Iraq in the sense that you imply, and you know it.

    Frankly no, I don’t. Who knows what the long term holds after Bush? I certainly don’t. What I would contend though is that US companies will continue to get the construction and supply contracts and that the interests of Texaco et al will be high on the ambassador of the days list of ‘interests’.

    If I recall correctly Cheney has said that Iraqi oil will have to pay for the US investment in bringing freedom and democracy to the people.

  92. Mark Sicignano Says:

    Stumbley,

    Thanks for that. I’m familiar with those reports. Certainly, on of the alleged incidents (Haditha) do not look good. The other incident in Fallujah is alledged, but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that one.

    Yes, if true, they are most certainly very troubling, but I’m not alarmed about them since I believe they will be investigated and followed up on in an appropriate way by our military. I do not believe that we have any indication of widespread incidents like this. Isolated incidents are not the same as the situation “going to hell”.

    confudeforeigner suggests, “numerous credible reports”. I supposed I took that as “credible reports of numerious incidents”. I do not believe it’s the latter. But he can point me in the direction of some information if he’d like.

  93. stumbley Says:

    “which will be the most heavily fortified and armed building on the planet seems a bit over the top if you’re not occupying the place doen’t it?”

    Well, it’s probably due to that incredibly dire security situation in Baghdad, don’t you think?

    We have no intentions of “occupying” Iraq in the sense that you imply, and you know it.

  94. confusedforeigner Says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com:80/id/12319798/

  95. confusedforeigner Says:

    OK Stumbley, you really got me there didn’t you?
    These people who’ve uprooted their entire families because of the deteriorating security and dire financial situation in Iraq can’t be trusted to tell me the truth but you’ll believe a few right wing blogs that all is calm there. There are tens of thousands of refugees in Syria Lebanon and Iran, are they all malingerers?

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Damascus is an awful lot closer than Quakerville, Ct, mate. I’ve been to some pretty scary places in my life but you wouldn’t get me to Iraq for all the cheeseburgers in Texas.

    A 42 hectare embassy, smack bang between and visually dominating the 2 main business districts of Baghdad which will be the most heavily fortified and armed building on the planet seems a bit over the top if you’re not occupying the place doen’t it? 42 frigging hectares!!!

  96. stumbley Says:

    I should have said “the facts we KNOW don’t look promising’

  97. Ymarsakar Says:

    My perspective is that people keep wanting to talk about Iraq when the subject is the psychology of people who Neo has met and talked with for years.

  98. stumbley Says:

    Mark:

    “Can you provide some links or specific references then? Or should we just take your word for it?”

    I’ll do it for him, since I’ve been harping on facts:

    http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/20060527/D8HSDRIG0.html

    It hasn’t been proven, but the facts don’t look promising. If true, this is appalling and reprehensible…but the Marines are doing something about it, and will punish those responsible. This is the kind of thing that happens in wartime, it’s why people like bmcworldcitizen and confudeforeigner have legitimate complaints about military activity to solve complex problems. However, it’s an aberration, an anomaly, and NOT business as usual with the U.S. military, despite what those on the left might think.

  99. stumbley Says:

    “Well, yes I do know a bit about it. I was in Damascus and an area of rural Syria not long ago and you don’t have to look hard to meet educated Iraqis who have fled due to the appalling security situation there.”

    Damascus isn’t Iraq. And of course, the people who have left in fear will tell you that things are going to h*** in a handbasket.

    Again, there are 18 provinces in Iraq. 15-16 of them are relatively calm. The “insurgents” (foreign fighters sponsored by Iran, die-hard Baathists and common criminal mercenaries) are concentrating their activities in Anbar (Baghdad) because the major networks’ news bureaus are there, and they get the maximum amount of propaganda exposure.

    It’s not ALL of Iraq. Especially not Kurdish Iraq. But you’d never know that watching the evening news on the telly.

    “That lovely big freedom loving embassy looks kinda suspicious though doesn’t it?”

    The British embassy in Washington takes up about a city block. I don’t think they’re going to take us over any time soon. This just goes to my statement about intellectual dishonesty. The fact that an embassy is large means that the country whose embassy it is, is imperialistic? Where’s the evidence? Where are the FACTS?

  100. Mark Sicignano Says:

    Confudeforeigner says:

    “There are numerous credible reports and worse, credible reports of US soldiers carrying out summary executions of civilians.”

    Can you provide some links or specific references then? Or should we just take your word for it?

  101. Mark Sicignano Says:

    How about when somebody sends you links to hysterical stuff written on the huff post or KOS or Truth Out, in an effort to convince you of the vast right-wing Chimpy McHalliburton Bushitler conspiracy. They want you to open your eyes.

    So in response you find a thoughtful post that counters their claims from somebody thoughtful like Austin Bay, or Neo-Neocon, or The Belmont Club, etc…

    The response I then get is, “Thanks, but I don’t have time to read stuff from your right-wing propaganda sights. I’ll take a pass.”

    Or if I try to point out that I’m not buying the conspiracy they’re selling, I am automatically labled a “Bush admin loyalist” (despite the fact that for two years, I’ve disagreed with plenty in the current administration, and shared that with the same person).

  102. confusedforeigner Says:

    Yfronts,

    clearly the obsessives hereabouts are those that see islamists under the beds and are so frightened of these sheepshaggers that they will convince themselves by whatever means that more war and more violence is the answer to ensuring their blessed security.

    To that, I say bollocks. Get some perspective.

  103. confusedforeigner Says:

    Stumbly said…

    “Well, when they “entertain a repressive security apparatus”, I might agree with you. Until then, I’ll just have to accept the words of people like Omar and Mohammed who, you know, LIVE THERE. “Sacrificing virtually every vestige of human comfort”? Really? Do you live there, C? Do you have family in the area? Do you know ANYTHING AT ALL about actual life in any of the 15 other provinces outside of Baghdad?

    “Or do you just think you are right and they are stupid?”

    No, not stupid. Intellectually dishonest and misinformed.

    Well, yes I do know a bit about it. I was in Damascus and an area of rural Syria not long ago and you don’t have to look hard to meet educated Iraqis who have fled due to the appalling security situation there.

    The security forces already are using murder and assassination as a too. There are numerous credible reports and worse, credible reports of US soldiers carrying out summary executions of civilians.

    As for the imperialist argument, we’ll have to leave that to history to judge, won’t we? That lovely big freedom loving embassy looks kinda suspicious though doesn’t it?

  104. Ymarsakar Says:

    See, this is what I’m talking about in my first post on this thread.

    When people aren’t confident in their beliefs, when they require outside auxilliary supplements like rage or something else, this is a problem. It is not a problem for us (although it is in a way), rather it is more of a problem for them. Or people like conned or confud who believe as they believe.

    People who are satisfied with their own belief systems, its consistency and conclusions, do not go around starting up arguments just for the kick of it. Intellectually honest and self-confident individuals will of course defend their beliefs, they aren’t push overs, but they won’t actively go out and start arguments again and again when they know it isn’t really resolving anything.

    We had a perfectly good place and time to talk about all this Iraq war war whatever on the two threads called “Why people hate this war”. People had plenty of opportunities to do so there.

    Confud, forget about conned, keeps bringing up Iraq. Why? You tell me why someone is so doubtful of his beliefs that he seeks confirmation through battle and argumentation.

    but the point of this thread is the divisions the war is causing.

    When does something not lead back to the “war”? Judging from people like conned and confud, it is never. It is never, about something other than Iraq here.

    Obsession is not true belief. Obsession is a process.

  105. stumbley Says:

    nnc:

    Opinions are valid when they are based on facts. When someone argues with me about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, and says “It’s all about oil” or “Bush lied about WMD’s”, those are opinions that are not based on facts…opinions that have been refuted many times. I call someone who uses those arguments intellectually dishonest.

    Look, it’s perfectly fine with me to disagree about the war because you’re a pacifist, or because you believe it’s been prosecuted badly, or because you thought that even though Saddam was a bad guy, it was not America’s place to try to dislodge him. Those are valid arguments, that can be based on valid points. To call America “imperialist” is just plain wrong. It is an opinion NOT based on facts.

    I can be convinced to change my mind, if an argument is fact-based and sufficiently persuasive. So far, none of the arguments that many on the left have put forth against the war meet those conditions.

  106. neoneoconned Says:

    No, not stupid. Intellectually dishonest and misinformed

    which is why the american political system is in so much trouble. If you can’t even recognise that other opinions are as valid as yours then you are screwed.

  107. stumbley Says:

    Confude:

    “So, having a vote for a government that has yet to do absolutely anything and who will almost certainly have to entertain a reppressive security apparatus is worth sacrificing virtually every vestige of human comfort for?

    Well, when they “entertain a repressive security apparatus”, I might agree with you. Until then, I’ll just have to accept the words of people like Omar and Mohammed who, you know, LIVE THERE. “Sacrificing virtually every vestige of human comfort”? Really? Do you live there, C? Do you have family in the area? Do you know ANYTHING AT ALL about actual life in any of the 15 other provinces outside of Baghdad?

    “Or do you just think you are right and they are stupid?”

    No, not stupid. Intellectually dishonest and misinformed.

  108. neoneoconned Says:

    look even blair can see where all this is heading link

    but the point of this thread is the divisions the war is causing. Does it not worry that the us is so divided. Or do you just think you are right and they are stupid?

  109. confusedforeigner Says:

    So, having a vote for a government that has yet to do absolutely anything and who will almost certainly have to entertain a reppressive security apparatus is worth sacrificing virtually every vestige of human comfort for?

    I think not.

    If oil isn’t the key, why aren’t you in Darfur instead of Iraq? Why aren’t you actually securing a peace in Afghanistan instead of letting it spiral out of control and leaving security to the lovely democrats of the so called Northern Alliance? War criminals and butchers every one.

  110. stumbley Says:

    “this militaristic adventuring is dangerous and ultimately ineffective.”

    Let’s see…26 million people now living with governments that are far less repressive than those they had before. Libya agreeing to give up its nuclear ambitions and weapons. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperating more fully in combating terrorism.

    Is everything perfect? Is Iraq Switzerland? Is Afghanistan Toronto? No, but they are far better off than they were 5 years ago. I’d call that effective.

    The “international community” complains that we’ve done nothing about Darfur or Rwanda. The “international community” complains that we’ve done too much in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “international community” is aghast at our treatment of Iran, and the spectre of possible military action if they don’t give up their quest for nuclear weapons.

    Well, what is it? Do we act, or do we let you all take care of business on your own, while millions die in Darfur, Congo, Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan, and while loony jihadists plot to blow up a couple more buildings?

    Where’s Canada in all this? Where’s France? Where’s Russia? China? I’ll tell you where…they’re skimming billions from Oil For Food and selling arms to “insurgents” under the table, making deals with people like Saddam. “Rape rooms? Shredders? Hey, it’s okay, Saddam baby, as long as we get paid.”

    I’ll take our “militaristic adventuring” over that lot any day.

  111. Ymarsakar Says:

    look stumbley you might find this difficult to believe but i don’t hate america. I distrust this american government because this militaristic adventuring is dangerous and ultimately ineffective.

    The logical extension of this belief is that the United States just hates Amanie, and doesn’t hate the Iranian people. But instead, we have the “US wants to bomb Iranians into the dark age” accussation along with the “Iranians elected Amanie” argument.

  112. neoneoconned Says:

    it scares me too stumbley but you are missing the point i was trying to make. US opinion is polarising. There is contempt on both sides.

  113. stumbley Says:

    neoneoconned:

    “this kind of junk scares me”

    Oh please. Have a sense of humor. Those t-shirts are designed to get a rise out of humorless progressives whose intolerance of any differing point of view is even more rabid than any of the slogans on the shirts.

    Here’s what scares me: http://www.channel4.com/news/images/feed/britain_teaser1919373_160x120.jpg

    If the U.S. were as controlled by fascists as many on the left believe, this blog would not exist, I’d be piling up paving stones and manning the ramparts against the government, and Michael Moore would be in jail or “disappeared.” This is still the best place on earth.

  114. neoneoconned Says:

    look stumbley you might find this difficult to believe but i don’t hate america. I distrust this american government because this militaristic adventuring is dangerous and ultimately ineffective.

  115. neoneoconned Says:

    the thing about the tshirts etc that scares me is that it is indicative of the willingness of americans to really despise those with whom they disagree.

    You area prime example of this – you admit that you would fight a us government with which you disagreed.

    america is in deep shit and seems barely aware of it.

  116. stumbley Says:

    I think for many people, politics is in the realm of emotions. Someone who makes them “feel good” is someone they’ll vote for; someone who makes them nervous or calls for sacrifices, or indicates that government might not make life as comfortable as they’d like is “bad” or “evil”.

    This comparison of President Bush to Hitler or Stalin is incomprehensible to anyone who has a grasp on reality, but it makes perfect sense if you believe that the President is as “militaristic” and “right-wing” as nnc does. The thought that America has designs on the rest of the world, that we somehow desire dominion over all the globe runs rampant amongst many on the left. I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

    The President has, on any number of occasions, given solid, valid reasons for being in Iraq. They’ve been discussed to death here and elsewhere on the internet. They have nothing to do with America appropriating Iraq’s oil, the destruction of all Muslims, our desire to nuke Tehran, or any of the canards distributed by many on the left. (Note to bmc and nnc—I say “many on the left,” not “all leftists.”) Yet, he’s still viewed around the globe as a dangerous cowboy.

    I put part of the blame for this misguided view directly at the feet of America’s mainstream press; the complete and utter bungling of reporting on Katrina is a prime example. Iraq The Model has a post today detailing how CNN has mistranslated a statement by Iraq’s foreign minster regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program, making the Iraqi’s statements into the complete opposite of what they were. This may be the result of CNN’s poor translation, or it may be more insidious than that. Given what we know today about CNN’s perfidy prior to the Iraq invasion, I’m inclined to suspect the latter.

    The fact is, what the world sees about Iraq and America, and what the facts actually are, are sometimes total opposites. If you’re getting your news from CBS or CNN, it’s likely that you’re getting a very warped viewpoint. Likewise, if you’re getting all your news from Fox or The Washington Times, it may be twisted in the other direction. I prefer to get my information from people like Michael Yon and Michael Totten; from Omar and Mohammed at Iraq the Model; from Memri; and from any number of other sources who ARE THERE on the ground, and whose opinions are not colored by American politics.

    I’ve spoken before about traveling in Europe in the ’80′s, and the feelings that people had for Jimmy Carter. They thought he was even more of an idiot than President Bush. Global dislike of America and its leaders is nothing new, and frankly, I really don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. If the U.S. was such a horrible place, why do we have 24,000 people a day crossing the border from Mexico illegally?

    And when all is said and done, what has America done to you, nnc, to make your life so awful? What sacrifices have you had to make, what harm has befallen you because of America’s foreign policy? I’d really like to know, because your anger at the U.S. is rather incomprehensible otherwise.

  117. Ymarsakar Says:

    It was a point I made sometime ago. People who are self-confident in their beliefs are calm, cool, and collected. Those who doubt themselves, tend to start yelling and getting angry for being challenged.

    The second part is about patriots. Patriots have a specific behavioral net. In essence, they have to make the decision Hirohito and von Stauffenberg made.

    When people are scared of tee shirts expressing different opinions, this means that they are not confident of their beliefs and would prefer to control liberty and freedom of expression. this is not a sign of cool, collected, calmness.

  118. neoneoconned Says:

    This kind of junk scares me. You really need to find some other route forward than empire buildingrepublicans and knee jerk critical democrats. I have no idea what it would be but you certainly can’t expect to invade every country that disagrees with you and get anything other than more trouble.

  119. neoneoconned Says:

    I agree with youabout the way right wing ideas are treated on left wing sites. I think it is something to do with political culture in america. You all seem to want to deal in certainties rather then acknowledge doubt and the possibility of the other guy being right. There is an almost religious fervour to much of the debate.

    You lot are really going to have to sort this out as it is dangerous for america and the whole world. Much as i dislike Bush I am well aware that there are many us politicians more right wing and militarist than him. The possibility of an even more right wing president would appall me and many lefties in america and lead to real trouble. The prospect of a left wing president would probably have yrmdwnkr in the street with his lightsabre (or worse)

  120. Kurt Says:

    Yes, this is rather depressing, because so many of those on the left would rather repeat points of faith (to them) than look at actual evidence. And they won’t listen to actual evidence, they’ll attack you and your motives instead, as Sam Houston notes above.

    What’s strange is that while I have learned it’s easier to just be silent or to walk away or whatever, if you don’t join in on the Bush-bashing and so on, then they also think you’re suspect anyway. So these days, I find it easiest to socialize with people I am already inclined to agree with, or with those rare people with whom I can agree to disagree (but I know very few of those).

  121. douglas Says:

    “Left wing ideas are dismissed as naive or the product of some psychological flaw “

    False. SOME left wing ideas are addressed here in that manner, but certainly not all. Some are even taken seriously- which is more than I can say for the reverse (Right wing in left wing circles).

  122. neoneoconned Says:

    i didn’t comment mainly out of sympathy. It doesn’t actually make much sense….for example what the hell does this mean?

    A true believer, like an American patriot, can explain to you exactly why he believes America is good and her enemies are evil. Without any doubt, without any need to resort to anger to bolster their self-confidence or contempt for the enemy. It simply “is”. It exists. For the true believer, reality is as reality is, and if reality is something else and that conflicts with his true beliefs, then he will change reality to his true beliefs. Nothing else matters.

    or this

    The psychology behind that is interesting. Because a true patriot, a true believer in America for example, would actually do armed insurrection if they believed the government of america was corrupt and taken over by the enemies of America, foreign or domestic.

    If a person is loyal to the government and always the government, bar nothing, then that person is a fanatic, he is a feudal retainer.

  123. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m going to start the projection game going by saying that conned has projected his actions onto the neo-cons. For example, conned did not pay any attention to what I said, therefore to rationalize this unacceptable trait, he says it is the neo-cons not paying attention to the opposition points rather than him not paying attention to the substantive ideas I had put down.

    As to what substantive ideas, that is very simple to quote one. The one about why if the left is so confident in their beliefs, that they need anger and rage to supplement their self-esteem?

  124. Ymarsakar Says:

    Correction, we’ve already considered the left wing ideas and found them to be flawed and unworthy of belief.

  125. Ymarsakar Says:

    Of Course neo understands the objections. She heard like lots of them from me, for example either here in our emails to each other.

  126. neoneoconned Says:

    all the above jumbled stuff from yradwnker just goes to illustrate the point i was making neo-cons pathologise or dismiss left wing ideas as not worthy of attention.

    Just out of curiosity neo do you actually understand the objections more than half of Americans have to Bush and the war?

  127. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left doesn’t act like true believers, since I tend to believe if they were truly confident in their beliefs, they would go off like a steam engine every once in awhile.

    They would not go off like a steam engine. Correction.

  128. Ymarsakar Says:

    The lack of actual concordance with Hitler or Stalin is irrelevant. Once the belief system is in place and that first premise is accepted, all the rest follows.

    I can’t really say whether this kind of belief system is better termed fanaticism, true belief, or simple religious zealotry. There are differences to those 3, but since nobody really talks about them I’ve found that I have had to make the differences up by myself.

    But I will say that anyone who tries to destroy the United States and replace it with their own system, is a potential enemy. However, this differs a bit from how the Left works. True patriots on both sides of a conflict can have a reasonable conversation. Why? Because, even if they are fighting for different countries and putting their faith and belief in different countries, they actually have a lot of common traits. Not all the time, even people on the same side can have different ideas about whether to use violence or not (Malcom X Martin Luther King J) However, the idea of reasonable discourse, a “parley” if you will, between two opposing mortal enemies, is something I accept out of hand.

    Yet the Left does not. Why? Is it because the Left has no history of military action, and therefore no history of reasoned conduct with the enemy? Is words and propaganda the only means by which they discourse with the enemy? Is it because the Left are not true patriots talking with true patriots because they don’t believe in a nation at all? Lots of questions, and few if any answers.

    The Left, in my view, don’t act like true believers. Because true believers are not crazy, insane, out of control, or anything like that. Fanatics are out of control, true believers have more control than that.

    A true believer, like an American patriot, can explain to you exactly why he believes America is good and her enemies are evil. Without any doubt, without any need to resort to anger to bolster their self-confidence or contempt for the enemy. It simply “is”. It exists. For the true believer, reality is as reality is, and if reality is something else and that conflicts with his true beliefs, then he will change reality to his true beliefs. Nothing else matters.

    The Left doesn’t act like true believers, since I tend to believe if they were truly confident in their beliefs, they would go off like a steam engine every once in awhile. The Left spends little to no time considering the consistency of their beliefs. They also don’t spend a lot of time considering how to best effect their beliefs.

    For example. If they believe Hitler is bad because he killed people, then they should think about how to stop people from being killed in the same manner (Iran). People like Neo have heartfelt and true beliefs in certain things like human rights, and that is one reason why she refused to stay with the Left.

    The psychology behind that is interesting. Because a true patriot, a true believer in America for example, would actually do armed insurrection if they believed the government of america was corrupt and taken over by the enemies of America, foreign or domestic.

    If a person is loyal to the government and always the government, bar nothing, then that person is a fanatic, he is a feudal retainer.

    In conclusion, a person with inconsistent beliefs and bad self-esteem, bolstered by the reassurance and warmth of rage and anger, cannot be said to truely believe in the things that they state as their beliefs.

    It doesn’t what the beliefs are. It only matters at what level do they hold their own beliefs in confidence. If someone fears even hearing the opposition, just how strong is that person’s mind anyways? And can a person truly be said to be a true believer, if he is so weak mentally that anything can pass through and grip him in a righteous rage?

    Fanaticism applies more readily to enraged beserkers. And the Left, are if anything, kind of beserk right now.

  129. Cappy Says:

    Dittos on the experiences, as discussed before. Maybe it’s still positive that the erstwhile friend still finds Stalin and Hitler to be negative. Not all lovers of Saddam are in that category.

  130. neoneoconned Says:

    People get annoyed because Bush is an incompetent leader who drags the USA into greater difficulties. If you travel the world you will find a mixture of disbelief and disgust at the actions of the USA.

    There is also a feeling that the whole thing is out of control and very little can be done to stop the “long” war, climate change, increasing greed and misery. So, given the opportunity to talk to someone who agrees with Bush you tend to get the full force of their frustration. Unfair – true, but it might give you some idea of how Bush and his henchmen have upset so many people.

    Also look at the tone of coments on here. Left wing ideas are dismissed as naive or the product of some psychological flaw – you can see why this may annoy people.

    But as a non-US citizen i too worry about the clear division in america. The world needs a united united states not one that appears to hate itself….It also needs a more thoughtful united states

    more stuff to be depressed about

  131. Sam Houston Says:

    I have had similar experiences and it saddens me to believe that it is getting worse instead of better. I find it impossible to have a calm discussion with people who say the most offensive things at parties or family gatherings because they immediately go on the attack and get extremely personal.

    Rather than engage them that way, I find myself walking away from them, having lost all respect for them. I doubt that I will ever see some of them in the same light again.

    This country is being split wide open. Not only does that sadden me, it scares me for our future.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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