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Nirek On June - 9 - 2014




First , let me say I am not a big fan of labels like “conservative” or “liberal”. I believe they are misleading at best.

Second, I have some questions and would appreciate some answers.

Why do you “conservatives” hate Obama so much that you are willing to stop any progress for the country?

Why do “conservatives”  want to continue drilling and fracking when the science shows clearly that we are destroying our environment by burning fossil fuels?

Why do you continue to deny facts? Science? Why are “conservatives ” for the XL Pipeline when it will benefit only the oil companies and the Chinese? It will hurt American citizens by taking their property  and any spills (there will be spills) will contaminate the ground water. Why do you insist on building this thing ?

Why do you blame President Obama for the deficit when he has made cuts trying to undo all the fiscal, physical, and environmental damage done by “w”?

Why are your Congressmen/women voting against improvements to the VA and Veterans benefits? How can you claim to be patriots when you vote to go to war, sending men and women into harms way, but refuse to help veterans upon their return from war?

Why do your Congressmen/women want to take health insurance away from millions of people who now have it after so many years without?

Why do the majority of Republicans vote against their own best interests? That confuses me so much. Republicans voted against everything except tax cuts for corporations and the rich. That just puts a bigger burden on all middle class and working poor folks.

Why do you folks believe lies that facts prove are lies? Why  have so many of you accused the Bergdahl family of awful things? Why do you think Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter without hearing all the facts?  Why did the Army promote Bowe twice while he was a POW? Why does Senator John McCain of all people think that we should have left Bowe there?

Why do you claim to be Americans,  yet you want to hold the people in Gitmo without charges and trials? That is not the American way.

In closing I reserve the right to ask more questions during the conversation. I will answer any questions you may have also. I do not fear discussion. So lets have a good civil conversation.

Best regards, Nirek

Written by Nirek

Proud progressive Vietnam Vet against WAR! Can't stomach chickenhawks.

270 Responses so far.

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  1. cyndibru says:

    Hi Nirek,
    Sorry it took so long to get around to responding to your other questions. Been busy with family stuff.

    Why do you folks believe lies that facts prove are lies? Why have so many of you accused the Bergdahl family of awful things? Why do you think Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter without hearing all the facts? Why did the Army promote Bowe twice while he was a POW? Why does Senator John McCain of all people think that we should have left Bowe there?

    Your first question to me is simply rhetorical. I don’t have a high opinion of the intelligence of the average American when it comes to being informed on most issues, and I think the frustration with believing the “lies and propaganda” simply differs depending on which side of the aisle you lean politically, nothing more. Stupidity and gullibility are rampant throughout the populace and political spectrum. I’m glad Bowe Bergdahl is home and I don’t believe we have all the facts of the case. There is plenty of time to figure it out. I think there are some people who question the wisdom of the trade made to secure his freedom. While I am not a fan of President Obama, this is one instance where I would have to say I don’t have all the facts and would have to trust that the President made the call he felt best, with the best of intentions. Do I think his feelings about Gitmo, etc played a part in it? Probably. Negotiating with terrorists gives me great pause, but so does knowingly leaving an American behind when we have a chance to get them out. I’m reserving judgment on this one until it plays out, and in the meantime I’m glad Sgt. Bergdahl is home, no matter what his future holds.

    Why do you claim to be Americans, yet you want to hold the people in Gitmo without charges and trials? That is not the American way.

    I think it is very hard to fight a “war” against terrorists and attempt to “win” such a war while holding to what are termed “American values”. The American people are very fickle. The Dems like to Monday morning quarterback the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror, but the fear and horror of 9/11 were very real…..and almost everyone in government at the time (Dems included) was determined to prevent another attack by whatever means necessary. I think they could have investigated and processed some of these Gitmo cases faster, as there were some people caught up in it who weren’t major terror threats. As for the rest, I lose no sleep over keeping them there and unable to participate in the activities of Al-Queda and other terrorist organizations. They are not American citizens and do not have the same rights. In fact, they do not adhere to the rules of war and should not expect their professed enemies to do so either. They should have been prosecuted at Gitmo under the military laws and justice should have been swift and severe in the cases of guilt.

    Why are your Congressmen/women voting against improvements to the VA and Veterans benefits? How can you claim to be patriots when you vote to go to war, sending men and women into harms way, but refuse to help veterans upon their return from war?

    It’s my understanding that votes against the bills prior to the scandal were mostly due to what was attached to those bills in addition to the VA funding, i.e. they were not clean veterans bills. Here’s what I think about those who serve our country: They should be decently paid to start with and they deserve and should swiftly receive every benefit they are entitled to. That said, we haven’t been in a real “war” since WWII. I don’t believe in sending our soldiers into harm’s way to fight for our country and putting stupid fetters on them. War means vanquishing your enemy by any and all means necessary, civilians and infrastructure be damned. There is no “moral high ground” in a war, other than the principles being fought for. You fight to vanquish the enemy and lose as few of your own troops in the process as necessary, period. And when it’s over, you TAKE the conquered territory, and govern or dispose of it as you see fit as the victor, and it should be to benefit YOU, as the victor. If you’re not prepared to do that, you have no business “going to war”. People said we went into Iraq for oil…..if so, where the hell is it? Why are my gas prices still so high? If we were going to help Kuwait militarily as treaty partners by going to war the first time, then we should have not only pushed the Iraqis out but OWNED Iraq by the end of the fighting and completely destroyed their government and their military. If we’re not prepared to do that, then we should stay the hell out of global conflicts. You can’t be the “nice guys with American values” and actually WIN anything worth winning in any of these conflicts if you’re not prepared to scorch the earth and start over. Let them fight it out amongst themselves and the chips fall where they may unless we’re willing to fight to WIN, not to make friends. I think we’ve seen that doesn’t work….in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. I’m not necessarily an isolationist, but I believe that our duty is to America first, and our soldiers’ lives should not be squandered for anything less than the survival of our way of life. Human nature is what it is; we’re never going to be all one big happy planet earth and we can’t “save” everyone.

    • Nirek says:

      Cyndi, as far as the votes against the vets Bill I respectfully disagree that they voted against it for any reason other than they want to hurt the President. The Republicans in the House have power and intend to do nothing that will make Obama look good to the people. They only disrupt. That is why they have a 7% approval rating.

      • cyndibru says:

        The House sent a vets bill to the Senate and shortly thereafter Sanders unveiled his. McCain joined him and they worked together to compromise between them, and the House voted to pass the compromise version. I don’t see those facts as fitting your narrative above.

    • kesmarn says:

      Cyndi, pardon me more jumping into the middle of this conversation, but I’m just trying to get a clearer understanding of where you’re coming from in terms of a political philosophy. So — a couple of questions: What are your thoughts about Ayn Rand? And who in your opinion would be a reasonable choice for voters in the Presidential election coming up in 2016?

      Thanks much in advance for your thoughts on these matters.

      • cyndibru says:

        No problem. My thoughts on Ayn Rand are that I attempted to read “Atlas Shrugged” and it bored me to tears and I gave up before I got very far. Very unusual for me because I am a voracious reader and I can only name 3 books in my life (I’m 50) that I have quit on…..that one, “Billy Budd” by Herman Melville (back in high school), and “Ancient Evenings” by Norman Mailer (I enjoyed several of his other books). Since I disliked the first book I tried from Ayn Rand I didn’t attempt any others and I have not been curious enough about her supposed political philosophies to study them in depth in any way.

        As for 2016, I’m not yet enamored of any of the currently mentioned candidates. I think a lot will depend on what political situation emerges from the 2014 mid-term elections.

        • kesmarn says:

          Interesting. For having not read Rand, you’ve presented many points that would line up almost exactly with her philosophy. (Painful as it was, I read all her stuff in college.) Especially her thoughts on altruism.

          So Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are not even on the back burner of your opinions for 2016? They seem to be popular with many in the libertarian camp these days.

          • cyndibru says:

            I think Ted Cruz is an idiot and I dislike him intensely. I do not see him realistically having any shot at the nomination and if by some abomination he achieved it, I believe I would have to actually vote for Hillary Clinton if she were the nominee.

            Rand Paul is interesting. I agree with him on some things and disagree with him on others. Of the “tea party” types, he is probably the least “tea party” when you really examine his positions. I think his biggest drawback is that he has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth (a common failing in politicians) and has trouble communicating some of his ideas in a way that doesn’t step on people’s toes. I think the problem with him is that he really doesn’t have much government experience and some of his ideas can be pretty radical. I don’t really see him winning the nomination either, but if I had to pick between him and Cruz, I’d take Paul, not that that’s a ringing endorsement!

    • gyp46 says:

      Just a couple of items you may be interested in, one: watch, “Why we went”, google Rachel Maddow show for that video, It will maybe enlighten you as to why Cheney from even before 9/11 pushed for the Iraq war, and two: examine the terrorist lists of 2002 before the Taliban were labeled, they are not in the official sense a ‘terrorist organization’, they have not promoted terrorism against us or any other nation, they have fought us but that alone does not make a terrorist, that makes them ‘soldiers’ of their homeland. They ‘did’ give shelter to OBL but that is the nature of Islam. Thanks gyp46.

      • cyndibru says:

        I think “the nature of Islam” when it comes to government is pretty much the entire problem….any Islamic government is going to be a problem, just as any government based on or intertwined with any specific religion’s rules and laws is a problem. And it’s a particular problem with Islam and especially the extremist interpretations of it. If you give support and shelter to those who kill innocents in the name of religion, you’re just as guilty of terrorism as those who perpetrated the acts themselves.

        • gyp46 says:

          I see you skipped over the important issue of ‘why’ we went into Iraq, why is that? Take the time to review that information and you may have your eyes opened. On the subject of ‘guilt by association’ as you seem to indicate the Taliban are guilty of, well if that is the case many of us are guilty of many things, from dope to robbery if we ever associated with someone who perpetrated any illegal action. Islam is no better or worse than Christianity as a ‘religion’, as a governing body though you are correct, no religion should be combined with a religion. Yet, just labeling some group as being terrorists does not necessarily make it so, actions are required to achieve that goal. If you associate with christians then by extension you have participated in the killing of innocents some time in the history of that religion if your thesis is followed to it’s logical conclusion.

          • cyndibru says:

            I “skipped over it” because in my original post you responded to I was talking about the FIRST time we went into Iraq, Desert Storm, and if we had conducted that war as I believe war should be conducted if you’re going to do it at all, there would have been no need to go into Iraq the second time. Cheney wasn’t VP the first time around so I didn’t find it relevant to what I was discussing and didn’t feel like going down that tangent with you. Secondly, I don’t find the Rachel Maddow Show to be an unbiased source of information about anything. It would be like me telling you to go watch a Fox News video or referring you to an article from a conservative think tank to back up a point I wanted to make — which I would never do because of course they’re biased from the start.

            As for the rest of what you contend above, I completely disagree. The Taliban are guilty of plenty all on their own when it comes to oppression and crimes against their own people, in current times, not far back in history. What you seem to derive as the “logical conclusion of my thesis” leads me to believe we would also disagree on what constitutes logical thinking.

            • gyp46 says:

              Seeing as how you refuse to examine facts, I see no use in further communication. RM laid out facts, backed by research and memos, along with interviews and comments by the involved persons. The plan to invade was entirely for ‘big oil’, the emphasis was on securing the oil fields, first and foremost, the record is clear!
              On the subject of the Taliban, they are as despicable a group as any group on earth, but that does equate to ‘a terrorist group’, how many governments has the USA backed over the years that killed their own people? Many, many, and many more. My whole point was the use of the term, especially by the ‘right’ over the Bergdahl exchange, those men were soldiers, picked up on the battlefield, not ‘terrorists’ bombing the World Trade center.

          • Kalima says:

            I find it a little bewildering that all of your comments here so far have been in defense of the Taliban, and whether or not they deserve the name of terrorists.

            In Afghanistan where they torture and kill their own people, behead those who disagree with them, shoot fourteen year old girls in the head, burn schools so that children cannot learn, recruit 8 year olds as suicide bombers, that is exactly what many people in Afghanistan think they are.

            Their extreme religious claims are basically fake, a way of controlling the population and keeping them afraid. They are hypocrites who will kill a woman for adultery, while being the most revered and best paying customers in the brothels of La Hore.

            Please excuse me if I don’t share your respect for them if the only thing you point out is that they are not on any international list of terrorist organisations. It’s a matter of geography and where you were lucky enough or unlucky enough to be born.

            Personally, for all they have done and still are doing against so many Afghans who saw their family members murdered right in front of them even before any foreign soldier put a foot on their soil, they should be. So quibbling about whether or not they are terrorists is at least for me, not that important when it comes down to human rights and the rights of oppressed women and girls.

            You refer to them as “soldiers’ of their homeland”, so who were they in the lull after the Russians pulled out and the U.S. moved in in 2001 while still terrorising the population?

            • Kalima says:

              Hello Gyp46.

              In that concept I agree that they have not attacked your country and therefore are not terrorists except to their own people.

              They are exactly what I wrote in my first reply to you, hypocrites who use extreme views to control and scare the population, and yes, I agree, just like the RR in your country except for the cold blooded murder of those who disagree with them. If push came to shove I believe that some fanatics in the RR would go to those lengths too if they thought they could get away with it. Maybe going as far as hanging homosexuals in the streets like they continue to do in Iran. They have a lot of blood on their hands already for bringing their warped non Christian mumbo jumbo to the governments of countries like Uganda.

              Once again my response to you above was prompted by similar comments you had made to other members in other posts, so I naturally assumed that your purpose was to defend this murderous scum who think nothing of ending the lives of their own people.

              Karzai was a bad leader and a drug addict who did little to improve the oppressed lives of the women and girls, but much for stuffing the pockets of corrupt politicians and tribal leaders. I have no doubt that after the last soldiers leave, it will be back to business as usual for the Taliban, and my heart breaks for the beautiful and innocent people of Afghanistan.

              Still back to the point of my first reply, they are not freedom fighters, they are just very bad people who are pushing their very extreme so called religious beliefs on their people.

            • gyp46 says:

              Kalima, I re read my post and can find ‘no defense’ of the atrocious actions towards women by the Taliban, my only point was the fact the the Taliban are not ‘terrorists’ who have attacked our country. Labeling is wrong if the facts do not back up the label. To themselves they are fighting an outside invading force, right or wrong, that is their view. So does that make them terrorists? Our press and ‘leaders’, and I use that term very loosely, use these labels to justify our actions, if we look back to the time just after 9/11 we entered Afghanistan to wipe out OBL and the AlQueda network, we achieved that, now, are we trying to ‘build’ another Iraq? We see just how effective that has been, con’t we!! I have no sympathy for those who would oppress their own citizens, be they Taliban or the ‘ultra right’ here, restricting the rights of voters and women, closing clinics in Texas, or blocking women by the use of vile language and killing doctors to achieve the same ends that those Taliban will do again in Afghanistan after we leave.

        • Nirek says:

          Cyndi, I agree with that, It goes for any extremist religious group. Especially Islamic.

    • Nirek says:

      Cyndi, thanks for getting back to me on the questions. I find that you are not as conservative as the people I asked the questions of. You have more in common with me , a progressive than with conservatives.

      I agree we have not been in a war that was necessary since WWII.

      I shamelessly ask you to read my first article about the life of a draftee.


      You will see why I am who I am.
      As to oil being the reason for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I disagree with you. It was the reason but not to keep the price of gas down. It was to have access to the oil and the ports and to get a pipeline to the ports.

      Thanks again, Cyndi, I hope we can have further discussions on many issues.
      Peace, my friend.

      • cyndibru says:

        I read your article. Thank you for the link. It was absolutely fascinating. I have often tried to imagine what it would be like to be drafted and have to serve. In today’s age of equality, what do you think about it still being only males who must register with Selective Service at age 18?

        • Nirek says:

          Cyndi, I am all for equality of the sexes, but I am not sure women should have to sign for the draft. Women can do something that men can’t, have a baby. I feel that should make it so they do not have to sign for the draft. Not all women have the physical strength to serve in the military, so it should be if they want to they can. Some can do anything us guys can and they should not be denied.

          I hope you do not think I’m a sexist because I’m not. I actually am against the draft unless it is a WWII type war.

          • cyndibru says:

            No, I don’t think you’re a sexist. But as a female I think that if biology doesn’t disqualify us from equality in every other facet of life, it shouldn’t disqualify us from the unpleasant duty of compulsory military service. What jobs an individual is physically fit for within the military itself is another matter and can be determined once in.

            • Nirek says:

              Okay, but I don’t want my granddaughters to go in the service.
              Selfish reasons. but I do understand that women can serve in many ways.
              It is just my experience in the way. I just don’t want them to be exposed to that lifestyle.

  2. Hey cyndibru, now I feel a little silly. You are correct, You were talking about the suppliers that sell to the power generating companies. Of course they aren’t going to intentionally put themselves out of business, but they CAN do research to find ways of making their products
    burn cleaner. Of course, natural gas is the cleanest of fossil fuels, and I don’t believe that coal can really be made to burn clean. But the power generators also have to invest in new ways to produce power using new technologies, as they are discovered and perfected. So, we can’t leave them out of the picture, entirely.

    I think it has to be a delicate balance between using our remaining fossil fuels and alternative energy. The fossil fuels would last longer and new businesses, here in the US would be created, and in turn, create jobs.

    I don’t think anybody can deny our dependence on foreign oil. I know this goes into other areas of “energy,” (not necessarily electricity), but our autos and trucks and trains and planes need energy to operate and investment in renewable energy, across the board, simply makes good sense.

    As far as conservatives go, the loudest chant I hear from them is “drill, baby, drill.” I rarely, if ever, hear them supporting alternative energy research. I have to wonder why that is. And, I might add, there are surely a few dems that line their pockets from donations by “big oil.”

    A HUGE portion of this nations wealth goes to foreign nations that really do not like us.

    • cyndibru says:

      Your points about foreign oil are very accurate. I think that is why you hear the “drill, baby, drill” slogan — it’s real meaning is that we should lessen our dependence on foreign oil. The point, while it may be simplistic, is don’t let these nations hold us by our short hairs because we’re reluctant to harvest our own resources. Most of the imported oil goes to power our vehicles, not electric power generation. Until we all have other types of vehicles, gas prices are always a concern. Until the costs of alternative vehicles comes down, the average American just can’t afford to purchase one, even if they’d like to. And high gas prices hit those people in the wallets hard, both for personal transportation and in the rising costs of goods and services.

      When it comes to supporting alternative energy research, where I think you and I might differ is what you mean by “support”. I don’t like the corporate subsidies we have NOW. I’d like to get rid of them. If you look at history, almost every subsidy for any reason (not just energy) started as a “good idea” that a majority in Congress thought should be “encouraged” by direct governmental funding or tax breaks. And then they run amok. So I’m not personally in favor of dishing out any more, no matter how “good” the cause is. IMO, it’s how we ended up with this vastly bloated government funding everything under the sun (no pun intended).

      I think the best incentive for progress is an economic one — invent the products or technology that fill a need, solve a problem, and you don’t need incentives. The world beats a path to your door, your company is successful. Right now, we need cleaner energy sources at affordable prices, and that’s why the alternative energy sectors are expanding rapidly, and that’s where I think the breakthroughs will come from. The “establishment” is rarely the innovator.

      • Nirek says:

        Cyndi, subsidies were to help the entity get started and should have had a sunset date. The coal,oil, and natural gas companies got subsidies and I think the renewable energy companies should too. The subsidies should all have a sunset date, though.

        • cyndibru says:

          Having a sunset date is certainly preferable to what we have now. I’d still prefer we eliminate subsidies all together, and if we use the criteria of who/what got subsidies in the past to justify giving out new ones, they’ll never end. But like most issues, it would be a step in the right direction.

      • I first say, that I really appreciate your thoughtful discourse. It is quite refreshing to have someone challenge my beliefs with a recognition of reality, as opposed to simple, mindless propaganda that I have encountered all too often.

        I completely agree that we should not give huge, billion dollars a year corporations, subsities or tax incentives. That came about by lobbying groups, or in other words, influence peddling, which surely, in a just society, should be ILLEGAL! This has been happening on both sides. Corruption is not always dependent on one political party or another.

        My main point of grievance is with those that do all they can to prevent energy alternative research and implementation. I DO believe that more of these attempts to stall or outright prevent, happen on the right, not on the left. That ties in with my whole point about conservatism. We simply can’t cling to the past or the present. This is more about money than it is about the furtherance of human well being. This is where conservatism, as it exists in America today, is just plain wrong.

        • cyndibru says:

          Thank you for the compliment. I am enjoying talking with you here. I frequently find that when we talk things through, there are many points of agreement. (you can be Bernie Sanders, I guess I’ll have to be John McCain, for now at least). At least something got done.

          I don’t like the lobbying either. If I were in Congress, I’d go batshit crazy listening to that all the time. But life has become so complicated in today’s day and age that NO congressperson can be an expert on things, so what do they do when they’re looking for someone to write legislation? They turn to the “experts”…..who also happen to have a financial stake in whatever “problem” the legislation is trying to address. Look at the ACA and the insurance industry, and just keep on going and you find that influence in everything, before you even GET to the money. When you look at how complicated and intertwined it all is, it can really give you a hopeless feeling.

          I don’t think anyone should prevent energy alternative research and implementation, and I don’t believe that is a CONSERVATIVE goal. It might be a corporate goal on the part of some companies whose products it would supplant, but that’s to be expected. I don’t see it as a conservative government goal.

          As a conservative, I don’t feel it’s ALL about money, but it’s certainly a component. There is a FINITE amount of it to go around. We as government can’t fund everything, no matter how good or noble it is. Yet every year, no matter who is in charge, someone wants to do MORE, and comes up with yet another need that somehow we as a collective must meet. But on a PERSONAL political level, money is one of the reasons I AM a conservative. I’d like to keep more of mine, to pay for what I and my family need and feel is important, and to pursue our happiness. I honestly don’t feel this big urge or need to worry about the furtherance of human well being, or fulfill the needs of all mankind. It’s just not possible.

          I believe this nation was founded on the principles of individual liberty, not the collective. Yes, there are times we need to do things that are for the common good…..defense, roads, police, fire, public schools, the list goes on….but it has to stop somewhere.

          My list of “worries” starts with me and my individual family, and moves outward from there, to extended family, friends, local community, state, nation, world. If you think of life on this planet as a big circle, I start at the center and work out. I think a lot of “progressives” or liberals call this egocentric and find it to be a moral failing, but me, I believe one’s first responsibility is to have one’s own house in order so as not to need or rely upon the charity of others, and therefore have some to give to those who are incapable (not unwilling) to do so. I’m not mean, cruel, or hard-hearted, but I realize and recognize my limits and means of influence and of responsibility. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what “may” happen, or how long I’ll live, etc. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and it’s all moot.

          My overall view of progressives and liberals is that they tend to be more emotion driven, and when they have “worries”, they extend to everyone. If you compare to my previous circle example, they tend to be on the circumference, through a global view lens and then work their way in. They feel more of a responsibility to “save” everyone, even from themselves, than I do. While this is noble, I don’t find it practical. While I’m satisfied with “good enough”, they tend to be crusaders. Which is fine, the world needs people like that. Occasionally, I’ll even be persuaded to join a particular crusade. But overall, I’m wary of it.

          • Nirek says:

            Forgive me Cyndi, but you actually sound more like one of us than you do like them. Maybe you are a hybrid. One who thinks. If that is an insult to you , I apologize. I feel it is a compliment.

            • Nirek says:

              Cyndi, bring your battery over and my solar array will recharge it , free.

              Maybe we should both be hybrids.

            • cyndibru says:

              No, I’m not insulted! I like the idea of being a “hybrid”. I’ll take the compliment, and can you throw in a battery recharge?

  3. Thanks Nirek, my pleasure! From one pole jockey to another!

    • Nirek says:

      KT, maybe we should let folks know we used to be linemen and climbed telephone poles for a living. I did for 32 years retiring in 02. Not sure how long you did.

      Just so folks understand where we came from.

  4. Nirek says:

    So far ,no takers on the question on veterans.
    Why are your Congressmen/women voting against improvements to the VA and Veterans benefits? How can you claim to be patriots when you vote to go to war, sending men and women into harms way, but refuse to help veterans upon their return from war?

    I would like an answer for that mainly because I am a vet and care about veterans of these latest wars, too.

    • MilesLong says:

      Actually, you’re wrong…again. The budgetary expenditures for the VA have been reduced by $2 billion a year since President Obama took office.

      Miles “Again, Too Easy Drill Sergeant” Long

      • JumpingJackFlash says:


        “Since 2009, Congress has given Secretary Eric Shinseki every penny he has said he needed to fund the VA fully, resulting in an astonishing 50% increase in the agency’s overall budget at a time when budgets everywhere else across the federal government have been squeezed, strained and slashed. Congress even exempted the VA from sequestration, a win that not even the Pentagon managed to score while still engaged in a war overseas.
        Congress also agreed to take the extraordinary step of giving the VA the annual funding it needs to cover veterans’ health care a year in advance so that the agency’s hospitals and clinics never run out of money. It is the reason the VA’s health care system continued to operate without interruption during last fall’s government shutdown, even as parks, federal buildings and congressional offices were forced to close or curtail operations for weeks.”

      • JJF and Miles, The problems at the VA are not one or the other.

        The influx of all the new patients resulting from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been overwhelming for the system.

        There are managerial and budgetary problems. Vets who are classified as “service connected,” meaning injured in combat, physical or psychologically can and have been able to go to private hospitals and the VA will pay those hospitals for treatment.

        The problem within the system is a huge overload of new patients. I would like to see facts that the Obama administration has ever reduced the VA budget. Any reduction or addition to the budget has to be done by Congress and then approved by the president. I have never seen anything that proves the Obama administration has approved cuts to fund for the VA.

        Congress is now in the process of increasing funds to the VA by nearly 50%. Of course a good bill that has passed in the Senate is being challenged in the House of Representatives. No big surprise there.

        Are these measure a result of the recent “scandal,” concerning the VA and it’s long, long waiting times for appointments. You bet your ass.

        But there is plenty of blame to go around, concerning the failings of the VA mission, and the vets who have earned better treatment.

        I would say the horrible miscalculations and planning by the Bush/Cheney administration, to make sure our vets get adequate care, before starting an unnecessary war, on two fronts, began with that administration.

        • MilesLong says:

          You are entirely correct.

          However it’s pretty much impossible to “discuss” anything if someone is always an incorrect or dishonest broker in the discussion.

          Miles “Simple Truth” Long

    • Nirek, look at OFF TOPIC. Yesterday the Senate passed a bill that will give millions more to the VA to help hire new doctors, nurses and pay for vets going to civilian hospitals if they can’t get to a VA facility. The money also goes to help vets with job training and education. The bill passed 93-3. It’s a huge victory for all veterans. 😉

    • cyndibru says:

      Sorry, Nirek…I haven’t moved on to your other questions yet because we’ve been discussing my previous answers in depth. I’m trying to take the time to really get into the issues you are raising rather than just giving a knee-jerk response. I’ll try to get to this one next when I have time.

  5. cyndibru says:

    Nirek, to continue our discussions on social security and taxes, I’ve moved your last responses here so we can discuss it further.

    I would say $40,000 to $100,000 is middle class and under is working poor. Over 100 grand a year , you might be rich.But that is my opinion and for my state, Vermont. It may be different in other states.Good question though. Lets keep talking, Cyndi.

    Nirek, I’d be interested if anyone else would care to chime in on this. I think it’s interesting, because whenever I’ve gotten answers from people, and you contrast them with what you can actually find in government documents, there is WIDE disagreement on what it actually means to be “middle class” and where “rich” begins. Yet, talking points about the middle class and the rich are tossed about constantly in the political debate. Think about the differences in tax proposals between the parties when it comes to individuals…..even the Democrats don’t seem to think “rich” applies until you get above 250K. The GOP, about 400K. And even then, there’s “rich” and then there’s RICH. Even the ACA provides subsidies up to the middle 90Ks. Under your definition, that would be the very upper middle class.

    When I think about it, to me 40-90K is lower middle class, especially in today’s economy, and 91-150K is middle class, and 151-300K is upper middle class. Above that, I guess you’re “lower class rich”,. My family’s income ranges from around 110K to 160K depending on the year, but that’s only been within the past few years with my husband’s most recent promotion, and it varies due to bonuses and personal investment performance. It started 30 years ago at around 35K between us and took basically a lifetime to work ourselves up to that. Anyway, I can assure you we are by no means rich. I see us as solidly middle class, for now anyway.

    Cyndi, we are real close on taxes! I agree with almost all of what you said. Where I would have a change is the super wealthy and corporations making BIG profits. They should pay a bigger % of their income in taxes.

    Simple question….why? I understand the arguments against the super wealthy and corporations now, under the current system, with the subsidies and loopholes. But if we made the changes we basically agree on, to where they no longer have those advantages, what is your justification for taxing them at a higher rate? If they made 5 million, they’d be paying at X rate. If they made 500 million, they’d be paying at X rate. They’d still be paying more if they made more….why pile on top of that? To me, that is penalizing for size and success.

    • Nirek says:

      Cyndi, if the changes were made and no loopholes were there I concede you are correct. It would be fair to do as you say, the more they earn the more they pay in taxes. However , do you think we could get rid of all the loopholes?

      • cyndibru says:

        Well, if you and I ran for office…..lol! I think we SHOULD. Whether we could or not is another question. You say I have some similiarities with Democrats — and I know that I do. I guess I’d have to think about this the way a lot of Dems think about the ACA and their preference for single payer….it would be the ideal, and anything that moves towards it would be progress.

  6. cyndibru says:

    Nirek, our energy thread ran out of room so I’m moving it up here.
    Your post read:
    Cyndi, sorry I shortened your name for my own sake. I’d like to know where you got that anecdote from. Honestly I doubt that birds are that stupid. That said , I have had small birds fly into my windows and knock themselves out for a while. So maybe there is a problem there.
    Solar on the other hand hurts nothing! My array of 24 panels makes all my power and more.

    I was a lineman for 32 years and know something about both power and telephone.

    Please keep the conversation going. Thanks.

    I originally heard the anecdote from my husband a few years ago and I believe he showed me an article about it in one of the industry magazines, but I can’t recall which one. I recall reading more about the resolution of it sometime last year, so I googled for info and found you some links below that back up what I said. From the first link I listed:
    “Flying eagles behave like drivers texting on their cellphones; they don’t look up. As they scan below for food, they don’t notice the industrial turbine blades until it is too late.”






    I’m glad you have solar power. Unfortunately, not everyone has the money, available space, the housing design, or lives in an area where that would work for them. My grandfather put solar panels on his home back in the 1980s, just sold his house after my aunt’s death and the system still works, but of course it is supplemented by conventional electric and gas service.

    You keep talking about solar and wind, and I’m all for that, but to me you don’t seem to be acknowledging the current realities that where these technologies are today is not where they need to be to provide a stable source of power that satisfies the electrical demand of our entire country, and we can’t just wave a magic wand and decree it so.

    • Nirek says:

      Cyndi, when President Carter put solar panels on the White House, the USA should have started doing more with solar. Unfortunately Reagan got elected and halted any kind of progress on the solar front. Carter was way ahead of his time and Reagan was not.

      We would have been further along if oil, coal, and natural gas companies had invested in solar and other renewable energies. We may have to burn oil or natural gas to subsidize the electric grid but we could make much of what we need through solar alone. Every school, office building, government building should have solar on their roofs.

      As for solar not working in some parts of the country, I live in central Vermont and make plenty of power with my little array. The costs have halved since I put mine in in August 2008. I am probably lower middle class by your standards but I paid for my array up front. It will have paid for itself next year. Then I will be reaping the benefits until I die.

      By the way thanks for moving this conversation to the top of the thread.

      Did you know the sun makes all the energy that we would ever need if we were to harness it. To me , we should have been close to that point already.

      • cyndibru says:

        You showed good foresight. And I understand your lament about what we “should have done” so we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now. It’s the same lament I have about many social issues……if people would just stop making choices that have negative consequences that will hold them back economically for years to come…..personal responsibility…..yada yada yada. But that doesn’t get us anywhere in dealing with the here and now. We always have to deal with the realities of now, not what we think the realities should have been if different choices had been made.

        I think it’s kind of naïve to expect coal, oil, or natural gas companies to lead the way in “investing” in alternative energies. Companies sell a product because there’s demand for it. If there’s a high demand and access to a steady supply, what incentive is there for a company to change the products it offers? That will change when one of several things happens…..competitors introduce new products that accomplish the same goals in a better way, which produces higher demand for THEIR products and less for the coal, oil, or natural gas companies, or consumers become educated enough

        • Nirek says:

          Cyndi,another renewable resource that we could use more of is hydroelectric. There is no good reason not to use micro hydro and mid sized hydro.

          • cyndibru says:

            I am not as familiar with hydro. I toured the Hoover Dam, absolutely fascinating. I know in my area, there isn’t hydro on the main rivers due to river traffic. When I think of micro hydro I think of the old mills and their water wheels. Do you have any links to info about micro hydro and mid-sized hydro that would explain more about them?

        • Nirek says:

          Cyndi, sure we have to use coal, oil, and natural gas but they are a finite resources. Those oil companies have purchased patents on batteries in the past to keep solar from growing and taking some of their business.

          “The Toyota RAV4 EV is an all-electric version of the popular RAV4 SUV. It is powered exclusively by NiMH batteries.

          328 RAV4 EVs were made available in November of 2002 and sold out immediately. After the 328th one sold, the program was unceremoniously shut down. The EV-95 battery was no longer available. Chevron had inherited control of the worldwide patent rights for the NiMH EV-95 battery when it merged with Texaco, which had purchased them from General Motors. Chevron’s unit won a $30,000,000 settlement from Toyota and Panasonic, and the production line for the large NiMH batteries was closed down and dismantled. Only smaller NiMH batteries, incapable of powering an electric vehicle or plugging in, are currently allowed by Chevron-Texaco.”

          There are others if you look for them. I believe corruption is part of the BIG corporations business plans that are unofficial.

          • cyndibru says:

            I’m assuming that there was some kind of application of the batteries you’re referring to above when it comes to solar power generation and storage? I can see where you wrap it all up into one package, but I see electric production to the grid to power our homes and businesses as something different than what powers our vehicles. Are you aware of any instances of withholding patented technology when it comes to electric power production?

        • cyndibru says:

          (Sorry, hit the reply button before I was finished)
          and have the financial ability to put long term benefits ahead of short term costs. I don’t hold out much hope on that one, based on past consumer behavior. When the technology is at the point that it works better and is more cost efficient, that’s when you’ll see the switch. Can government lead? Yes, and I think you’re right about how they should have been doing it all along with public buildings. In my area, that didn’t start with the Carter administration, that’s for sure. But since about 2005, the public school district I live in has done all of it’s new school buildings that way — solar panels, passive design, etc. It requires a significant up front investment, but it makes long-term sense. Unfortunately, other things like the new courthouses have not been done that way….for two reasons. #1, they rebuilt them in the urban core where they are landlocked, and #2, they’ve been done in the way that has been the least expensive to get what they need to provide the public services now. That’s what I mean about the current realities….short term costs are a big reality and environmentalists haven’t been able to convince even the public entities that sustainable energy should be at the top of their list of concerns when looking at new projects or retrofitting old ones, so convincing enough individuals isn’t likely either.

          • Hi cyndibru!

            You wrote,”I think it’s kind of naïve to expect coal, oil, or natural gas companies to lead the way in “investing” in alternative energies. Companies sell a product because there’s demand for it. If there’s a high demand and access to a steady supply, what incentive is there for a company to change the products it offers?”

            Actually, the federal government gives electricity producers generous tax incentives to invest in alternative energy. Why would any smart businessman/woman not look to the future, especially when they are selling a product that is derived from a dwindling resource? Fossil fuels are a finite resource, not to mention, dirty and harmful to the very home we live in, Earth? If I were generating and selling electricity, I surely wouldn’t wait for the competition to come up with a better way of generating that electricity. I would definitely want to be the innovative leader in the business.

            To me, this is one of the problems with conservatism. Conservative policies very often do NOT look to the future and rely only on the here and now. Yes, we have to rely on the here and now, but we must also plan ahead, just as you suggested that individuals do concerning their own social issues.

            Electricity is not a product we can choose to live without, at least not on a national, 21st century basis. It’s not like people can simply stop buying the product because they don’t like the seller. The product is electricity, and those who can produce it for less AND offer the added benefit of cleaner production will be the leaders in that industry. There is competition, but not a lot, like with other products that are manufactured and sold to the public.

            • cyndibru says:

              Kt, you said above:
              “Actually, the federal government gives electricity producers generous tax incentives to invest in alternative energy. Why would any smart businessman/woman not look to the future, especially when they are selling a product that is derived from a dwindling resource? Fossil fuels are a finite resource, not to mention, dirty and harmful to the very home we live in, Earth? If I were generating and selling electricity, I surely wouldn’t wait for the competition to come up with a better way of generating that electricity. I would definitely want to be the innovative leader in the business.”

              In my previous converations with Nirek, we’ve made a distinction between power generating companies, and the actual coal, oil, and gas companies. Power generating companies ARE investing in alternatives, vigorously. They’ve increased wind and solar, etc. But they still have to keep the lights and heat and a/c on for everyone, and with current technology, they can’t do it with alternatives alone.

              That’s just it. Most coal, oil and gas companies aren’t the power producers, they simply supply them. Most power companies (generating electricity and transmitting it) aren’t run by coal companies, natural gas companies, or oil companies. They’re separate entities that purchase these fuels to run their facilities. They ARE looking to the future, but they have to provide power in the present. And when they use alternatives, the percentage they purchase from coal, oil, and gas companies goes down, but until other fuel and technology SUPPLIERS continue to develop and innovate and come up with ways to generate on a grand and cost-effective scale, coal, oil and gas companies are going to be around. I think it’s naïve to expect THEM to contribute towards their own demise. They’re not worried until their competition starts outpacing them.

              Many power companies ARE doing less and less of their own generation and becoming more centered on transmission and distribution. Alternative energy is opening up and expanding a whole new sector and changing the traditional setup. I’m just saying it’s not the coal, oil, and gas companies who are going to be the innovators there or the ones to come up with the solutions.

            • Nirek says:

              KT, you are a far better wordsmith than I. Thanks for the help in making my point.
              I’m glad you are willing to get in the conversation. 😉

  7. SearingTruth says:

    “Whenever there is a sudden shadow we cover our children.

    Because sometimes they are killed by bullets from the sky.”

    A Future of the Brave

  8. Fergie, I don’t blame you! You can’t argue with crazy.

  9. Monica, just imagine what a wonderful existence this would be if everyone held this basic awareness? Oh well, like the late great John Lennon said, “you can say that I’m a dreamer…”

  10. SearingTruth says:

    “One of the greatest tragedies of our existence is that we are a people united by so many common goals, but divided by so many uncommon beliefs.

    I believe that our goals are more important. We all want to be free. We all want our children to be healthy and happy. Most all of us want peace so long as our own rights are protected.

    These are the ideals that we can all strive for together. These are the threads of humanity that cannot be torn apart.”

    A Future of the Brave

    • monicaangela says:

      The problem with your analysis is this: The fact that although you are correct in saying that we all want to be free and that we all want our children to be healthy and happy is true, however the problem is many in this nation, this world, etc., are egotistical, and although some wish for freedom for themselves and their family, happiness and health for themselves and those they love, they do not wish this for others.

      I believe that is where the problem lies. It would be wonderful if those that feel they should have freedom while others should not, should have health and happiness while others should not, could change their way of thinking and begin to celebrate opportunity and equality for all this world would be a better place. I agree, if it were as simple as you express it, problems would be easily solved, however egotism, is a major problem in this world and needs to be dealt with before we as human beings can enjoy the fruits of this world to their fullest extent.

      • SearingTruth says:

        Gentle friend monicaangela, I understand. If history has taught us anything, it is that humanity is not a fairy tale.

        No one is coming to save us. There will always be those who hate. There will always be those who fear.

        But there will always be more that are compassionate, and overcome their fear with reason and hope.

        Gentle friend, please to not underestimate the power of good.

        And always remember, you are the humanity so many seek.

        “Nothing is certain, except that humanity is good.”

        A Future of the Brave

        • monicaangela says:

          I agree SearingTruth, the problem appears to be insurmountable, but I do know that as you say, many, no, more people daily are starting to realize what is happening in this world and are beginning to correct their outlook on life.

          Occupy was and is an organization that is trying to help the populace understand this, moral Monday’s is an organized group doing the same and there are many more.

          When we as human beings begin to show our disgust for the attitudes of those who hate, of those who worship greed instead of generosity etc., we will begin to change, the world will begin to change.

          I have faith that things will continue to change, maybe it won’t happen in my life time, but I’m sure it will happen. I’m sure a time when human beings realize we are all our brothers keepers, when we begin to realize that where one is abused, we are all abused, where one is denied his/her civil rights, we all are denied those rights etc.,…the day will come, I’m sure of it, I just hope I live to see it.

          • SearingTruth says:

            Wow gentle friend monicaangela. That was an amazing explosion (and yes, I mean explosion) of truth and humanity. Thank you.

            You are a treasure of humanity.

            “Thank you for believing, in all of us.”

            A Future of the Brave

            • monicaangela says:

              Yes, I believe in all of humanity, now if only I could get all humanity to believe in themselves. Human beings are really good at self deception, if only we could find a way to make people automatically realize when they are deceiving themselves, maybe we would be at the beginning of changing the world for the better. :)

      • Hey Monica! I certainly agree with your more realistic take on life here and the rest of the world. I do think that egotism is a big part of our problems, as a society and a species.

        I think egotism ties in directly with the lust for power and the love of riches. Wealth and power compliment each other and their attainment has an aphrodisiac effect. Many people become intoxicated by it and it really turns them on in some twisted sense of self gratification. This feeling becomes addictive and any concern for others (if there ever was) soon flies out the window.

        Like all addictions, it leads to spiritual impairment and in more serious cases, spiritual death. The total lack of concern for others as long as the addiction continues to be fed becomes total.

        • Nirek says:

          KT, that “lust for power and and love of riches” goes against what the Bible thumpers should believe if they read their Bible instead of thump them. The meek shall inherit . . .

        • monicaangela says:

          It is an affliction that requires others to be lesser than. What good is having riches if everybody else has the same thing you have, that is the way an egotistical person feels, he/she prefers having others that have less than she/he does, is less worthy than he/she is etc. This problem is the reason the nations fight each other, the individuals within nations cannot live in peace, and IMO the reason the world will never be at peace unless we face this fact and begin trying to do something to confront this addiction which in my opinion is an affliction.

          • An infliction, indeed. I think we’ll ultimately have to rely on evolution. Until the human race can rid itself of it’s primal, aggressive and selfish nature, we will continue to have, what we have always had.

            This sort of discussion can run pretty deep, and I love it. As you probably know, Monica, I’m not a religious man, at least not in the orthodox sense. I do place a tremendous value on a very basic, even simplistic definition of spirituality. I see it as a basic recognition that we are all made of the same stuff. We are all just much smaller parts of a much greater whole. By treating each other well, by recognizing that the more we do for others, the more we do for ourselves, the better life will be for everybody and even the planet itself. To me, that is spirituality. No complicated dogma or scripture. No need for years of study in some seminary or temple…etc.

            But, once again, I don’t think we are near the evolutionary milestone we need to be near. Until we get over a very intrinsic tribalism, we will have what we have.

            • monicaangela says:

              I too shy away from organized religion, but am not foolish enough to believe there isn’t something spiritual that accompanies us on our journey through this world. I believe as you do, everything here is connected, we are all a part of the whole, and those that would abuse any part of the earth for whatever reason is really abusing him or herself in doing so.

              I believe Cultural-ism is as bad as tribalism, we also need to be rid of this idea that we are all of different cultures.

  11. kevinbr38 says:

    Hello to one and all.
    Like many, I have been forced to abandon HP as my ‘go-to site’.
    With assistance from Murph and Ad Lib, and dialog with others, I find myself here.
    Just reading this thread was a breath of fresh air.
    The comments themselves, the format, all of it.
    I am looking forward to becoming a regular poster here…
    Will need some time to get my sea legs though:)>
    As to the letter itself…
    it seems as if we have reached a point in our politics where everything has been labeled and galvanized…
    Left or right, liberal or conservative, progressive, libertarian, and who knows what else.
    There appears to be no room for common ground.
    I make no bones about the fact that I am a left-leaning progressive, who would probably have to be held at gun-point to pull the lever for republican.
    However, that doesn’t mean that I dismiss everything ‘the other side’ stands for out of hand.
    I would be more than happy to engage….
    Problem is, it seems that today’s conservatives/TeaOP’ers, or what ever one wishes to call them, are not open to debate.
    We are left to simply assume that their stances, their party platform is based on Evangelical dogma, (ALL that implies), fueled by unlimited sums of money pumped in by ‘special interests, like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and of course Rupert Murdoch…
    Who has created an unprecedented 24/7 propaganda machine.
    So, as long as their is no dialog, we must assume the worst…
    I rather suspect that our worst assumptions really are spot on, but never mind.
    We must organize, become involved in our communities like never before to get people truly informed, motivated and to the polling stations.
    We cannot have a repeat of the 2010 midterms.
    The stake couldn’t be any higher.
    Peace all.

    • Fergie1 says:

      Hope you got my welcome on whatever other thread I saw you on here Kevinbr. It really is good to see you here. And your post is right on the mark as usual.

    • SearingTruth says:

      Welcome gentle friend kevinbr38.

      “One gentle hand upon another.”

      A Future of the Brave

    • Nirek says:

      Welcome Kevin! Both to the Planet and the conversation.
      And peace to you also.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      We are so glad to have you with us. Welcome. And enjoy.

    • Welcome kevinbr38! Always glad to see a new “face,” here at the Planet. I really think you’ll like it here. The Planet is what HP should have been and maybe once was. I was a member at HP starting in 08, but when they sold out to AOL and the moderation became simply a waste of my time, I was very fortuitously guided here. I’ve never looked back.

      I hope you don’t mind me asking, what your worst assumptions may be, concerning the GOPTP? I’m a solid democrat and most likely will be for the rest of my days. I am also an atheist, but not really an anti-theist. But, that topic will be for another time, but for now, I am curious as to what many people think this country will look like under a GOPTP controlled government. What sort of bills might they get passed and what new wars might we find ourselves in?

      Anyway, once again, welcome to the Planet and I hope you find what you’re looking for here. I look forward to your comments and replies and any articles you may write. KT

      • kevinbr38 says:

        I am afraid that if given the power they would reverse decades of civil rights advances, halt same-sex marriage, reduce women to little more than child-bearing chattel, (all but totally eliminating Planned Parenthood),dumb-down, take even more funding way from public schools, pre-school education, slash Pell Grats, under fund the EPA, CDC, and NASA, and they would lower taxes even further for the 1% and corporations, keeping loopholes in place, and allowing said individuals to continue to take huge amounts of money out of our economy and stash it off-shore, oh, and allow evangelical Christianity to become even more intrusive in our politics/law-making..
        I’m sure I’ve left a few things out….
        Forgive the mini-tirade :)>

        • Nirek says:

          Kevin, I think your response was well done and spot on. Certainly not a tirade, mini or not.

        • Thanks for the reply kevin. I think you have listed some distinct goals that the GOPTP would love to achieve.

          I appreciate the answer to my question and I would love to ask others the same question.

          Your reply was NOT a rant in any way, as I see it. You simply answered a question, and I think it is a pretty accurate and informed answer.

    • Kalima says:

      Hello kevinbr38, and welcome to The Planet.

      I think that it’s worth remembering that the Kochs and the rest of them got very little for the money they threw into the pot in 2012. They lost big time.

      The Dems should stick with the important issues because they have enough ammo out there to show the difference between them and the GOPTP.

  12. MurphTheSurf3 says:


    I belong to a conservative site where I post under another name . I am often censored (i.e., my posts do not publish or they publish and disappear). I have been banned by other sites previously. Those site exist, more and more to reinforce unchallenged positions in support of ideology.

    At Planet POV we welcome conservatives, but when they come, they do not stay. Why? The challenges they get, they cannot refute effectively. They are not up to the test. I do not know Daily Kos well enough to speak to this there yet. So far, i have seen few voices from the other side and I suspect that the reason is the same as at POV.

    I can tell you this -- hang out at conservative (really on right wing, which is different) sites and you pick up on conversations that make it clear that mingling with libs and progs is discouraged as contaminating. I saw the impact of this at HP where fewer and fewer of my contacts with conservatives resulted in a real conversation- a give and take and a sharing of perspectives. This has hardly happened since Nov. 2012.

    I would love to figure out how to reengage across the spectrum….so far no flashes of insight.

    This is the kind of conversation that also needs to happen.

    • CityGardener says:

      “I belong to a conservative site where I post under another name . I am often censored (i.e., my posts do not publish or they publish and disappear).”

      Huh. Well, that answers a question my SIL and I were talking about this morning while I was making breakfast. He was wondering if there actually are Dems who register as repubs in order to take part in repub primaries.

      I like our mutual conclusion: (a) we’re certain, from skewed results in very small-vote areas that repubs in fact do this; (b) that we didn’t intend to. That wimpy leftwing ‘code of ethics’ stuff again, interfering with political advantage…

      • NoSillyName says:

        Good morning all. CityGardener, back in ’99, I was registered as an Independent and had to choose a party affiliation in order to vote in the CO primary.I registered as an “R” to vote against George W. Bush becoming the “R” candidate.I’d seen the interview in which he oh-so-smugly laughed that he couldn’t name any foreign leaders and generally showed his ignorance and lack of an inquiring mind. I would not have voted for any of the “R” candidates, but I assumed that GWB would be the candidate and that he would win. Sadly, I was correct. I switched back to “I” afterward, but it took quite a bit of time & effort to end the mailings from the Colorado Republican Party. All I can say now, derisively is “Heckova job, Georgie.”

        • CityGardener says:

          Huh. Creative registration. -- Now, there’s an interesting way of dealing with the threat of a moron candidate for the highest office. I know how much we all regret that your efforts didn’t work. My friends and I spent a lot of time thinking of a world where we wouldn’t be looking back at the reign of Grand Vizier Cheney and George the Stupid.

          Btw, I hope you don’t think of this as criticism -- I’ve gotten past thinking that my way is the only good way to try to protect our tattered democracy.

          “it took quite a bit of time & effort to end the mailings from the Colorado Republican Party.”

          For a couple of months back in the mid-2000s here in NC, we were getting lots of phone messages and a paper mailbox full of Repub “newsletters” -- i.e., simpleminded lies -- until I called the RNC main office in Raleigh and politely said that we are life-long Dems, and will never vote for their party whose policy is to falsify facts and gerrymander districts because they can’t win any other way. (In so many words.) The lady replied very softly, “Thank you for calling. I will take care of it”, and hung up. The disinfo flood stopped that *day*.

          • NoSillyName says:

            Hi, City Gardener: Definitely sad my lone effort wasn’t able to stop the flow of votes from all of those Rs who wanted Clinton impeached for a lie about sex. If anyone should have been impeached in recent history, it was George Cheney.

            Glad you had more success putting an end to the unbidden calls & “letters” than I had. I, too, called multiple times.It was somewhat interesting to see their slant on a variety of topics, but I had better things to do. At least, I brought the mailings on myself; you were innocent. Does the Party in NC simply assume that everyone who lives in the state is an R? lol.

            BTW, the horrendous outpouring of bigotry & racism that started during the ’08 campaign prompted me to change my registration back to my original “D”.

            • CityGardener says:

              Hey, NSN. I really like the neat term “George Cheney”. That’s exactly what we had instead of a Prez & Vice-Prez -- a donkey costume with Cheney in front and Georgie as the silent posterior.

              “Does the Party in NC simply assume that everyone who lives in the state is an R? lol.”

              If you’re white, and subscribe to newspapers, they sure do. So we usually make a point of using our outdoor voice when giving our political affiliation. It’s like adding a single grain of sand to the seashore but at least it’s not a cringing timidity or a refusal to identify ourselves. And after all, imho that’s what politics is all about -- at least it is if you’re a liberal/progressive/Democrat.

          • Nirek says:

            CG, this should be your theme song, my friend.

            I hope you stick around and visit more.
            Enjoy the song.

            • Nirek says:

              CG, I thought it was perfect for you. I also put a different version on the weekend music thread dedicated to you. Kinda thought you might see it there. Peter Paul and Mary did the other version.

            • CityGardener says:

              Nirek, your posts make it clear that you’re good people, so I expected to like the song (which I’d never heard before). I didn’t expect to have tears in my eyes halfway through the song. Didn’t expect to listen to it twice in a row, and didn’t expect to start planning who to send it to. (Everybody.)

              Thank you.

    • James Michael Brodie says:

      Agreed. We only advance as people when we have an open, honest, ans respectful sharing of ideas. Snark may be fun, but it is no substitute for the facts. Denial may be convenient, but it is no substitute for the truth.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        and snark and denial get us nowhere but a long walk in a small circle…

        • CityGardener says:

          “snark and denial get us nowhere but a long walk in a small circle…”

          …which is the title of the upcoming “History of the Republican Party, 1981-2014.”

          With you, I worry constantly about the weakness of our collective political position, that of suing for the attention of a group all of whose benefits derive from deliberately ignoring us.

      • Nirek says:

        JMB, scroll down and meet our new friend on the other “team”, Cyndibru. She is a Republican who I think is worthy of that term not “conservative”.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          You left this comment for me but I cannot find it on the scroll here: “Murph, you should remind him that Chrysler and GM are the “damn takers” not the workers.”

          He and I have chatted about this and his point is that when HE worked at Chrysler people actually earned what they got and built American (and thus he earned his SS, his Medicare as well). As for the bailout, that was needed to rescue workers from the greed of wealthy guys at the top (like the right wing heroes, the Koch’?) and bad government regulation (although he can name any). I asked about unions and he tells me that in his day they were not liberal and political. Completely cut off from history, even his own.

    • monicaangela says:

      I agree Murph. We, all liberals and progressives should search out and engage in conversation with as many conservatives as we can. I know that for many the problem is patience because what we call conversation for them appears to be nothing more than a shouting match where truth and lies are mixed to form a barrier to reason.

      I have conservative friends, and some of them enjoy debate, and will admit when their point of view is incorrect or at least admit when they can’t explain why they feel the way they do. I consider these friends moderates. I notice that when we are out with friends of theirs who are further to the right, they seem as though they have turned into different people. They do not discuss issues in a give and take manner, they appear to be trying to win the approval of their more right wing friends, and often times will make statements like “well you’re a bleeding heart liberal so we can’t expect any better from you,” when in the presence of those harder right wing friends; however, I have noticed that later after the outing, they will in a conversation say, I hope you didn’t take offense when I called you a bleeding heart liberal to shut down the conversation, but (name of the right wing friend) would have embarrassed us with some of his rants.

      So I ask, if those on the right are as controlled as my friends in the party seem to be, how will we ever have a discussion where those of opposite opinion can express their thoughts?

      If you ever find a website where right wing conservatives and even more right wing tea party individuals frequent, a website where truly honest discussion can take place without shouting and ad- hominem attacks or at least where these things are minimal or non existent, let me know. I would truly love to be able to learn the true reasons why so many people in this nation are so determined to support the right wing agenda.

      I have my suspicions of course, but I would truly love to have a discussion with a right leaning supporter of the republican party who can explain exactly why they feel they need to support the right wing agenda and then allow a critique of their reasoning.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        We had a conservative join us here at the Planet last week. That person wrote a piece in which he/she challenge us to defend several “liberal” positions. I took up the challenge and then asked him/her to do the same for the GOP. I got back a restatement of the original post. I push back and then nothing. I suspect that this person’s tenure here is done.

        That is the dance we do with those on the right.

        Your description of your friends fits right in with this does it not. I have a similar experience. I live in a red state and swim in a sea of red water.

        • monicaangela says:

          Yes the description does fit, I continue to wonder why many who profess to belong to the Republican party and adhere to what they consider conservative ideas appear to have a mental block, that will not allow them to investigate an issue to find out if what they are being told is true.

          My sympathies for your plight when it comes to swimming in a sea of red water, it must be exhausting at times, but as KT says (TIC) of course, “Go forth and part the waters.” I believe that if you can help one person who believes in the half truths of the republican party see reason you have literally made progress.

          I have many friends who were so enthralled with right wing media, they didn’t want to, were afraid to, or for whatever reason would not question what those in the media they watched told them. Some of them acted as though talking heads on TV and Radio could not tell a lie, I had some tell me it was against the law for them to lie on Radio and TV…….yep, there’s a lot of work to do to get through to some of them, but it is not impossible, hang in there. :)

        • Go forth Murph and part the red sea! 😉 Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

        • Fergie1 says:

          Also Murph, I have a brother and sister-in-law in New York who are die-hard Republicans. I don’t discuss politics with him any more as I am trying to keep the peace. We have spent many years apart and at this age it is just not worth causing friction. My brother is very intelligent and has held very high corporate positions (oh that explains it!), but that intelligence does not transfer to his political philosophy. My Mom was a Democrat in no uncertain terms! Just shows how we are all different packages.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            One of the folks in my coop is a retired auto worker. He was with Chrysler when it was bailed out. He was a union man all the way through. He is now on social security and medicare.


            Yeah, I know from whence you come.

            • CityGardener says:

              Murph wrote: “He is now on social security and medicare.

              In cases like this I pause to consider the truth of Ron White’s axiom.

            • Nirek says:

              Murph, you should remind him that Chrysler and GM are the “damn takers” not the workers.

        • Fergie1 says:

          Murph I had a similar experience here with either the same or different person. All I basically got were “motherhood statements” with no substance. Unlike my style, but in this instance I decided not to pursue the conversation which would be like suffering a concussion but continuing to bang my head against a brick wall!

    • S-Man says:

      Murph, I have some Conservative friends and we generally don’t discuss politics because they are not open to any kind of serious debate. They have their views and no facts or arguments penetrate their political bubble.

      • Hey S-Man. Human beings have a not-so-healthy habit of clinging to beliefs and ideas. Politics itself is just a coming together of beliefs and ideas with an attempt to put these ideas (based on deep seated beliefs)into action. To make them concrete in their personal lives and society at large. Politics is the mechanism for implementing ideas.

        So, people are going to cling to what they believe, or more often now, what they are TOLD to believe by the puppet masters and their minions in the media. Today’s political environment in America would make Joseph Goebbels himself salivate.

        I am a democrat, progressive and liberal because I know that clinging to old ideas in a rapidly changing world is suicide, if not on an individual level, certainly on a societal level. The dems are far from perfect, but at least they genuinely recognize the need for change. Dems do look ahead while the republicans look backward.

      • CityGardener says:

        S-Man wrote: “They have their views and no facts or arguments penetrate their political bubble.”

        The word “have” suddenly jumped out at me. Could the GreatDivide be as simple and trite as this -- that political beliefs are valuable, unchanging possessions for cons, but a body of constantly growing, changing information for libs? Seriously?

        How depressing: Political belief is something to own.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          You left this elsewhere for me at the end of a thread:

          Murph wrote: “He is now on social security and medicare.AND HE IS TOTALLY OPPOSED TO THOSE DAMN TAKERS AND THE SOCIALIST WELFARE STATE!”

          In cases like this I pause to consider the truth of Ron White’s axiom.

          What is Ron White’s Axion?

        • S-Man says:

          Those who are able to adapt continue to grow, those who don’t get left behind. This applies even more so to societies.

      • Nirek says:

        S-man, I have an acquaintance who is Tea party. He is against everything the POTUS does. He is a fellow veteran and has nothing bad to say about Bernie Sanders because Bernie has helped veterans. Go figure. Bernie claims to be a socialist emphasis on the lower case s.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        This is one of the characteristics of the zealot.

        Living in a bubble, standing in a circle speaking to and listening to only those who reinforce their world view.

        • monicaangela says:

          I guess that goes double for Christian Conservatives. :)

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            You wrote: Christian right or religious right is a term used in the United States to describe right-wing Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives principally seek to apply their understanding of the teachings of Christianity to politics and public policy by proclaiming the value of those teachings and/or by seeking to use those teachings to influence law and public policy.

            This is what I mean’t by Christian Conservative, I’m surprised you appear to not be aware of the Christian Conservative movement in this nation.

            Prior to that you wrote: I guess that goes double for Christian Conservatives. :)

            AND THAT WAS IN RESPONSE TO MY POINT ABOUT ZEALOTRY Not all conservatives are zealots. Not all Christian Conservatives are zealots. BUT, I admit that many area. In my area, most of those who are Baptists are certainly Conservative but the tinge of zealotry that comes with those most often the most conservative is less common than one would think. I get your point but in my part of world having some sense of the spectrum on which conservatives stand is both necessary and useful.

          • Fergie1 says:

            Hey Monica, there was no Reply button to your last comment re Christian Conservatives so am replying up here!

            Yes, I DO know the term and what they stand for. I’m from the West Coast of America. I’m living in Australia at present. I was working on political campaigns in SF since the mid 60’s! WAY back in the day of the wonderful George McGovern.

            Thank you for taking the time to share though. It was possible that I didn’t know so I thought I should shed more light on my background.

          • Fergie1 says:

            No point in repeating what Murph has written Monica. Especially since he has a much better turn of phrase than I! But I agree with his response. I consider myself a Christian humanist and am a progressive Dem to the core.

            Just sharing here! :)

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Fergie- LCA is the Lutheran Church in America which is made up of both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

            • monicaangela says:

              In politics, at least here in the U.S. there is an actual group that considers themselves Christian Conservatives.

              Christian right or religious right is a term used in the United States to describe right-wing Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives principally seek to apply their understanding of the teachings of Christianity to politics and public policy by proclaiming the value of those teachings and/or by seeking to use those teachings to influence law and public policy.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            In a sense, yes. It depends on what you mean by “Christian”. If Christian means fundamentalist, biblical literalist, domininionist, definitely…. If you mean LCA, or Episcopal, or, in my case, Christian humanist, no.

            • monicaangela says:

              Christian right or religious right is a term used in the United States to describe right-wing Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives principally seek to apply their understanding of the teachings of Christianity to politics and public policy by proclaiming the value of those teachings and/or by seeking to use those teachings to influence law and public policy.

              This is what I mean’t by Christian Conservative, I’m surprised you appear to not be aware of the Christian Conservative movement in this nation.

            • Fergie1 says:

              Agreed Murph. Although raised Catholic in a VERY liberal way, if I were to put a label on what I adhere to, it would be Christian humanism.

              Btw, I plead ignorance about what LCA is. When checking it out on the net, the answer was that LCA is the Lutheran Church of Australia! I’m pretty sure it means something else?!

      • Nirek says:

        S-man, my son in law is a Republican and avoids conversation about politics with me because he can only quote the lies of Fox. It frustrates me.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          And the lies from Fox are so obvious, so transparent, so easily deflated that most of those on the right have learned that they cannot engage in a serious discussion without losing so they choose not to engage.

        • S-Man says:

          Yeah, my friend views Phocs and spews their lies as well, any facts you give him are nothing but liberal lies.

  13. SearingTruth says:

    “Each step a crumbling one.”

    A Future of the Brave

  14. pinkpantheroz says:

    Now THIS is where the Planet excels. Good, clean dialogue between people of differing political leanings. What a welcome contrast to the place we once knew. With the occasional exception, there is great cut and thrust, and I for one am hearing more about the conservative platforms than I’ve ever before. It does help to know where ones political opponents are coming from -- the sane ones anyway. We may never be able to change peoples minds about things, but at least we get to discuss and comment.

    One thing, Adlib, Sir! With all the new arrivals from Half Pissed, it may be necessary to update the dialogue boxes, as we seem to run out of ‘reply’ space very quickly. Just a thought.

    Anyway, welcome all new contributors. You make me feel a bit overwhelmed with your knowledge and writing ability.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      The way to handle this is to restart the dialogue a couple of steps up. Go back to an earlier comment form the person you are speaking with and then post your newest reply there.

      The reason why the number of steps-in that the dialogue boxes take is that the boxes get too narrow to be easily read.

      P.S. I agree with your observations about our new members. I am activity recruiting as well.

    • Nirek says:

      PPO, I agree. I like to engage in conversation with folks who may not agree with me. Cyndibru is one on the “other team” who is willing to talk out the differences. I like her for that.

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