Friday, March 16, 2007



I was in college in 1970. Kent State, Vietnam, Nixon - it all had little effect upon me. I stayed below the radar, even as the campus I attended exploded around me.

At the end of that year, I enetered the Navy, avoiding the draft and the Army. I angled for the Naval Security Group, which mostly worked NOT on ships, and largely in Europe.

So I went into the Navy, and then off to Germany and Scotland. I avoided Vietnam by complying with the system enough to stay below the radar. It was as calculated an effort as the Dems on the Hill are taking now, and it’s roots were the same - deal with what can be done.
Nonetheless, for me it was a personal consequences kind of decision. The risk profile for my choices was much lower than ALL the alternatives I could see.

So I wonder how much of what we sae, what Obey said, is a personal calculation of probable outcomes, or a good-of-the-people kind of calculation.

I can see that we all have legitimate differences about how to approach the good-of-the-people decisions - some of us will do what is possible, others will work to change what is possible. I think we all fear that the choices being made about Iran and Iraq are NOT good-of-the-people choices, but good-for-the-person choices. I am confident that most of us believe Republican, taken as a whole, are making good-for-the-person choices, and we believe that many Democrats are no different. But we desperately want to believe that the Democratic leadership is NOT making those kinds of choices.

I don’t think they are. I do think they are making do with what is possible.

Is it possible for ANYONE already on the hill to change what is possible? That is the question, isn’t it? Do we believe that Reid and Pelosi can change the conversation enough to change the possible? I don’t think they can. What change was possible happened back in Nov. Now we must rely upon the tools of power already in place.

In the end, and on the hill, it is never what is right, only what is possible. It is always politics.

It is a strike against Senator Clinton that she wouldn’t change the conversation even if she could, that her calculations have little appearance of even trying to do the possible.

I am not against calculation - I am opposed to calculation of the personal kind when in public position.

Who among us sacrifice the personal good for the public? Very few I think. We all like our comfort too well.

Voting is good - it’s cheap and satisfies our need (if we feel a need) to participate in the process. It isn’t enough.

But we will never convince the majority of Americans to vote, much less to participate. Personal comfort is very hard to argue against.

We each have our own journey to where we are. My journey leads me to argue for what is possible, but I am aware and appreciative of those who work to change what is possible.



The Stations of the Cross

Ok, I’m in Vancouver, BC, it’s late and I’m tired, but God only knows when I’ll get another chance to post this thought - at least while I still remember it.

Sun I went to church (Episcopal) because my oldest granddaughter was doing a mime Stations of the Cross. She is 14 and attends the school associated with this church.

The narrators were also young teens. The choir was great - just listening to them warm up before hand was uplifting - and the kids were wonderful.

The thing is, the story is very moving. The words, as spoken by these young people, are very moving. But I thought, as I listened to the narrators, that Christians have it all wrong. There is no one redemption for all time. Redemptive sacrifices are made every day by inumerable men and women, and their sacrifices are every bit as important as Jesus’.

How strange it is, to recognize that one mortal sacrifice, while ignoring all the other sacrifices made every day in OUR name.

I am no longer a Christian, no longer a believer in a God of any kind, but I believe in sacrifice and the redemptive power of human beings giving it up for the team - the team being you and me, and all of us.


Friday, February 02, 2007


On Dominance

I think sex, and all that surrounds it, amplifies our natures with regard to dominance. Sex puts it all on the table, so to speak. There is no element of money, or tomorrow, or children, or work - it's just us without our clothes on. Literally and figuratively.

But sex isn't the be all and end all. It's the relationship that matters. It's about trust and honesty, and giving and receiving. Some of us are good at one and bad at the other. Some of us are good at planning, some not. All that comes into play. Literally and figuratively.

When I look back over my marriage (36 years and counting) I see patterns of dominance and submission in so many things we did well, and things we did not so well at all. For most of that time I lacked the insight to see what emotions and needs were active. Consequently I often responded poorly, even when the clues to the right response were right there to be seen, I just didn't know how to look.

It's not like there is a connection between who we are when we are pursuing external goals and who we are when are addressing our deepest needs. For example, you might think that men would be most likely to be dominant in a D/s relationship, but what I have read is that there are far more submissive men than there are dominant women. These men might have responsible jobs with a great deal of authority and autonomy, but in their heart of hearts, they want someone else to be responsible for things. Sometimes it's role playing, sometimes it's a life style choice.

This engaged interplay of roles requiring trust and honesty - that is what it means to have a good marriage. Interesting, isn't it, that in the dark corners of American life, some people have a firm hold on what it means to BE in a relationship. The fact that their life style is often highly sexualized doesn't diminish the value of their insights.

It's so easy to turn away from insight. We accept what is when what is possible could be so much more satisfying, but we lack the courage, or perhaps the interest, to let go, to reach out and see who we are, and who our partners are.


Thursday, January 04, 2007


Peter Wood on the New Anger in the NRO

Peter writes in the National Review Online:

The Liberalitarian Dust-Up
The Angry Left rebukes a would-be friend.

I have corresponded with Peter in the past over other opinion pieces, so I couldn't help myself from writing to him again. I need to say that I like Peter, that were we geographically close I like to think we would be friends, but his vision of the world is just slightly askew.

Anyway, here is what I said.

Peter, I think you just stepped in it big time. Chait is not exactly a leading light on the progressive left, and when it comes to pure vituperation,the left doesn't hold a candle to the Right Wing Noise Machine.

It's interesting to me that we keep meeting over these opinion articles of yours. You are entitled to your opinion, and I think a lot of you personally, but on this one, Peter, you're not holding the screwdriver by the handle.

You are right in this much - the progressive left IS angry. But we are also thoughtful, and much less afraid of the hordes of Muslim radicals than we are of Republican radicals. This country is in crisis, Peter, and that crisis has been precipitated by this administration's actions both at home and abroad.

Anger is not an inappropriate response - it just is. What you do with anger is what determines appropriate from inappropriate, and the 2006 elections speak to the actions of the progressive left, which actions were prompted by that anger. This country WILL change course, not because the progressive left was rude, but because it was ACTIVE, and results oriented.

The Left provided much more commodious quarters? Even recognizing that this is an opinion piece, don't you think that statement is a little over the top? Not to mention comparing Howard Dean and Ann Coulter. This Ann "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media." Coulter? What has Dean done to deserve such a comparison? I don't think working to attain a majority in both Houses of Congress qualifies, Peter.

The strange twists a mind takes, eh, Peter?

And then there is this from you: "Perhaps this can be added to the many reasons why “liberaltarianism” won’t work. It is an emotional mismatch. Cindy Sheehan just isn’t a good mate for Sherlock Holmes."

In a way, that statement encapsulates all one needs to know about libertarians - you compared a courageous woman, one whose son was lost to Bush's war and one who campaigns tirelessly in an effort to end that war, a war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives to no good end, with a made up man from another century, one whose only imperfection was a drug addiction.

The world is real, Peter, as is Cindy Sheehan. Sherlock is make believe, as is "libertarianism". Libertarianism is not a political philosophy, it's kool aid for the Ayn Rand true believers. That's why progressives aren't all that interested in a bastardization of liberal with libertarian. There's enough kool aid in the mix already. It's time for reality to set in.


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Innocence Lost

In the aftermath of 9/11 I lost something totally unexpected. At nearly 50, I finally lost my innocence.

I once imagined the world as run by adults, men and women more or less like me, except politically ambitious – or more accurately, ambitious, period. Politics – and government - was only one of many things on which I didn’t care to spend time and energy. I figured that adults were mostly parents – and therefore caring, mostly honest, mostly thoughtful, and all flawed. I imagined the difference between one politician and another as not much, and unavoidably so because of the poison of the money it took to get elected.

I was wrong. It’s not that one party, say, Republicans, is inherently bad and the other good. Both major parties could be good, or both bad. But prior to 9/11, I imagined them as both mostly good, with Republicans having the edge. I was comfortable voting Republican.

Clinton and his indiscretions only cemented my preference for Republicans. Oh, I had no illusions that leading Republicans were all faithful husbands to their various wives and faithful stewards of the nation’s well being. But none, so far as I knew, lacked the common sense and restraint to be fellated in the oval office. If Clinton was the best the Democratic party had to offer, then bring on the Republicans. After all, they at least were adults, unlike Clinton, right?

Then came the fiasco of the 2000 elections. I thought the outcome correct, but the process!!! How could it be more screwed up.

And then, 9/11. The towers imploding, Bush flying around the country, the whole surreal event captured live. Bush standing on the rubble, bullhorn in hand. Osama Bin Laden gloating - and the Saudi families being flown out of the country. Theater of the absurd.

I opposed the Afghanistan war. Not because I felt it wrong to go after OBL, but because I couldn’t imagine a war that would cost less and be more effective than just buying the entire place. And treasure is one thing, but blood is another. This nation’s children’s blood, Afghani blood – innocent would suffer right along with the guilty. Then and now, killing MORE innocents will never make up for the lives lost on 9/11.

And Iraq. Iraq was wrong on every level. We hadn’t finished up in Afghanistan, and now we were going to go to war in a country with the flimsiest of evidence of wrong doing? WHY?

There is no why but hubris. Hubris and evil.

And that is the innocence I lost. There is evil in this world, and it isn’t always intentional evil, the evil of Hitler or Stalin. Sometimes it is the evil of incompetence, the evil of hollow pride, the evil of bigotry, the evil of zealotry. That is the lesson I learned, that not all of us are adults, not all of us are caring, and that poisoned or not, it does matter who we elect, who gets to wear the mantle of President of the United States of America.

We get the government we deserve, and we got Bush and Cheney and the Republicans in charge of the House and Senate. We failed ourselves badly.

Too many failures of that magnitude and this country becomes an historical footnote in the Cartoon Book of World History, listed right after the Fall of the Roman Empire.

Until we do something, until we elect counterweights to this Maladministration, we are all Republicans in a time of Dubya, and our hands are stained with the blood of innocents.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Lebanon, crucified by Hezbollah and Israel

This attack by Israel on Hezbollah is a play by Israel to take out the Hezbollah rockets. ISRAEL escalated this into the debacle it has become in order to "degrade" Hezbollah's ability to damage northern Israel. This is the plan the IDF has had in place for months, awaiting only the cover of a Hezbollah attack - any attack.

Israel decided months ago that civilian deaths in Lebanon were an acceptable price to pay for removing the threat of the rockets.
Except - the rockets keep coming, Hezbollah hasn't given up, and the civilian deaths in Lebanon and Israel keep mounting. Israel erred, and badly. They have lost the support of much of the world, and they have not yet and are not likely to seriously harm Hezbollah, short of genocide. Looked at in that light, you could say that EVERY death, Lebanese or Israli, is a result of Israeli hubris and miscalculation - just as it is a result of Hezbollah hubris and miscalculation.

I think that Israel intended to harm Lebanon, as even they recognize that it is up to the Lebanese to end Hezbollah. So, if that is true, they intended the main effect of their attack to fall on civilians from the very beginning, and claiming to target Hezbollah is no more than a shallow cover for their real end - terrorizing the Lebanese population into ending Hezbollah, and thereby ending the threat to Israel of the Hezbollah rockets. See here Hezbollah Rockets for some discussion on the rockets. There is much more to be found on line, much of it by Israeli sources.

I think it is clear - when the neo-cons play with weapons, people always get hurt. The government in Israel is apparently little different from our own failed administration - prideful, arrogant, and misguided.


Friday, June 16, 2006


Michael Barone and USN&WR

Michael Barone.

Go look at Barone's 'thumbs up" blog roll. If he represents USN&WR, without a doubt I will never again subscribe or purchase that magazine. I will not read its website, and the only time I will read USN&WR articles is when they are posted as part of the work of someone I respect, in some forum OTHER than USN&WR.

To quote TBogg quoting Orwell, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

To which I add, Barone is a Pundit.

To argue thus: Vietnam and Watergate were arguably triumphs for honest reporting. But they were also defeats for America--and for millions of freedom-loving people in the world. They ushered in an era when the political opposition and much of the press have sought not just to defeat administrations but to delegitimize them.

If an administration - this one or any other - acts in illegitimate ways, then it IS illegitimate. It is not knowledge of that illegitimacy that is the problem. Barone clearly cannot see that.

What ,then, can he see?

USN&WR should stop publishing Barone. That would indeed be a service to the citizens of this country, and a blow for freedom.


PS - kudos to TBogg

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Linda and the Mommy Brigade

I read a post by Linda Hirshman on Prospect writing wrt women in the work place. I have read only a small sampling of her work, but I get the sense from that sampling that she feels that women should work because they may provide higher value to society as workers than as stay at home mothers.

My thoughts are, why would anyone do anything for society? Men don't. They work because they must. They must for economic reasons and for personal validation reasons. But I don't think men work for the good of society. Why should women?

Women are an underutilized resource. I am convinced of that. But if a woman can stay home because that is what she wants to do, who is to say she should do something different?

Frankly, if *I* didn't have to work, I wouldn't, and to hell with society. :)

I suspect she gets so much anger from the mommy brigade because her language threatens the societal validation of their choice. Without that validation, they would feel forced into the work force - and time and choice would disappear for most of them, just as it has for most men.

Better would be to argue for flexibility for both men and women, not a single minded devotion to working for the good of society. Hell, she might as well shill for the "selfish gene" if she is going to make society the ultimate good.

The fact is, just as in biological evolution (or at least so I speculate), society is advanced when the collective choices of individuals, acting in their own best interests, aligns with the interests of all. You really can't have one without the other.

Not for long, anyway.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?