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Below are the 9 most recent journal entries recorded in shitriver's LiveJournal:

Friday, August 11th, 2006
9:49 am
Anti-war democrats
"Anti-war" is too broad a term to describe us.
1. We are against any avoidable war.
2. We are against fraudulently initiated war.
3. We are against any war with vague, undefined objective.
4. We are against any war our nation fights which cannot be won.

We know we need to fight a war if:
1. National security is at stake. (We are as vulnerable to terrorist attack today as we were before 9/11 and as we will be when we "win" the "war" on terror.)
2. We can offer meaningful assistance to a persecuted people.
3. We are attacked by another nation.

Terrorism can be fought by:
1. Having a very special, very smart police force dedicated to that cause alone.
2. Open communication from local police forces and adequate staff to investigate all suspicious report.
3. The support of the armed forces in air strikes on specific locations of terrorist activity.

We will always have terrorism.
1. Even such a force could not thwart every single attempt.
2. Terrorists are willing to be thwarted 99 times to succeed once.
3. No war can overcome such will.
4. We need to get over it and quit whining. There's violent crime, oppressive heat, lightning, tornadoes, bad drivers, cancer, heart disease, etc. to deal with. Terrorism, even unchecked pre-Clinton terrorism, is a miniscule threat to you and me.

That is all.
Thursday, June 1st, 2006
8:51 pm
The right speaks.
For the first time in my memory, I've become quite hawkish.

The purpose of the Army is not, as is oft quote, to kill people and break things. The purpose of the Army is to scare the hell out of potential enemies, so the Secretary of State can swoop in and get us what we want.

Being a bit of a loose cannon at the moment is the only thing that is scaring Iran, and the only thing that really could scare Iran. Libya peed in their shorts so many times that they finally caved in to us. Now they're about as much a threat as, say, Morocco.

If you have a department of defense that's modestly budgeted, and subject to every opinion poll out there, nobody will be shaking in their boots.

Now I still say we pull out of Iraq. But here's how: we pull out, overnight, in one giant reverse-Normandy-style engagement. The "insurgents" look up, and all of a sudden there are no targets. Then we broadcast: "Did you see that? If there's one thing we can do, it's rapid transportation; whether it's troops or missiles. Shape up, or we'll come back just as fast".

I dare say a mobilization - demobilization - remobilization strategy would be cheaper than all this day-in-day-out hazardous duty pay. And the not-so-subtle threat of us hitting hard again is a much more intimidating factor than walking around day in day out with giant targets on our back.

So here's to keeping defense unpredictable, mobile, and above all, scary.
Thursday, May 18th, 2006
9:07 pm
A noble political suicide?
The US spent $455 billion on its military in 2004.

Here is a list of nations who spent over $50 billion
1. United States

Here is a list of "axis of evil" countries spending over $10 billion: None.

Here is a list of politicians who would suggest this is perverse, useless, and provocative in a negative way:
1. Anyone who never wants to get elected again.

I wonder how many Americans know we spend $1533 per person on our military. I wonder how many Americans know we spend 78% as much as the rest of the world?

The really sad part: I wonder how may Americans, if they knew this, would think, "we're doin' good"?

This is a bipartisan slam. I am ashamed.
Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
8:26 pm
Dooh Nibor
Bush has extended tax discounts to the ultra-rich (15% on capital gains... compare that to your own paycheck), and rescued some upper-middle class wage-earners (in the $100K/year range) from the alternate minimum tax. The reason: to appeal to his base and his party's donors. His rationale: to keep the cost of capital low, for expansion of businesses. The rationale is bogus.
In the context of a "robust economy", where the average income has fallen over $1000 while energy and housing costs have skyrocketed by any historical standard, I ask: Where will the demand come from? When the government gives money to the rich, they can invest in businesses, sure. Consumer demand, except for perhaps polo ponies, remains stagnant.
The cost of so-called entitlement programs, long the scourge of hardline conservatives, is too often associated with pure cost. This is so, even though we learned the cost of foreign aid to poor countries somehow makes a bee-line to our economy. Same happens when the poor get help and the middle class gets a break. They buy stuff they've needed a while. All ships rise.
I'm not saying Bush is stupid for doing this. It's a very savvy move. I say the GOP sheep who are buying his rationale are either A) getting something or B) asleep at the wheel.
BONUS: Investment tip for the 15%-capital-gains-tax-rate takers. Stick with government contracters. The deficit-spending runaway train is not about to derail.

Current Mood: nauseated
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
8:52 pm
Closet Conservative
Please, my conservative friends, do not quote me on this in contexts which you know it would embarrass me, but I (gasp) AM a conservative. I am a democrat because the republicans abandoned me slowly but steadily and visibly soon after I was allowed to vote. I believe in a small government, as small as practical. I believe the government should intervene in our private lives very minimally, certainly when we are harming or endangering others or, perhaps, when asked politely, to assist the government in capturing those who are harming others. I believe our values and our religious choices are ours, privately. Church run governments throughout history have been without exception, opressive. I'm even willing to consider that our annual military budget, 3/4 the size of the entire rest of the world's, may be a bit excessive. I believe that capitalism eventually is a level playing field for everybody, that subsidies of every ilk need to phased out, but all businesses (and indiviuals) must held accountable to standards which are sustainable and ensure that future earthlings have air and water. Plain and simple.

Now there are things the government can do more efficiently than the private sector. Rather than each of us paving private roads from our houses to our schools, jobs and churches, the government builds a network of roads in grids and spurs so that we may all travel effeciently to wherever we need or want to go. Cool. There are safety nets for those who are unable, temporarily or permanently, to make their own way. Cool, but the system must not be abused, and whenever possible we need to teach a man to fish rather than give him a fish, proverbially. There are police, and there should be more, who take those who steal from or harm innocent citizens, there are judges who try their best to make sure the police got it right, and jails in which to isolate criminals from innocents. And I demand these things are done well, efficiently, and without favortism to any particular subset of Americans. And I want to pay for it. As we go. This is the richest country on earth; borrowing seems unnecessary; to put the burden on our children seems evil.

To examine the conservative party's positions, you'd think I'd have a home there. But to watch them rule the world, and to not abandon rules of basic logic, one must minimally be perplexed. Now every man, woman and child in the United States owes $28,000-plus to large banks and foreign investors as his / her share of the deficit; and the only people who have that kind of money laying around are getting tax breaks. The cat who was in charge of the "budget" has been promoted to chief of staff! We are engaged in an expensive war that has tried to bring stability to a region so hopelessly complex in its sources of conflict that the most learned scholars admit there is no known viable solution. And we've done it by exporting democracy to a country with minimal electricity, running water, health care and security. AND we're surprised our progress is crumbling away! We're over half a year past a horrible hurricane, victims are still camped in motels and and other families's homes. The government is still stumbling through the who's-fault-is-it game.

In my life, the republicans have had one president who steadily governed by their most basic principals. They're almost ready to forgive him for commiting adultery. But they're eternally pissed that he called himself a democrat.
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
8:21 pm
Potential signage...
...for the hippie-fest, anti-Bush rally in Stillwater:
Weapons Misguided, Dolt
The angry majority hates you
Repent, Bush
Worst president ever
(Photo of Bush) (picture of screw)'D (outline of US)
Thanks for the deficit
(Picture of donkey) DONKEY (Photo of Bush) JACKASS
Tax cuts for the richest, deficits for our children
USA fiscally bankrup BUSH morally bankrupt
Thank you for pretending you're from Texas and not from Oklahoma
Somebody please read these signs to Georgie

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
7:54 pm
Poor Helen Thomas
If you don't call on a particular white house reporter for two years, your approval rate is in the sewer, blood is being shed in an even less unpopular war, and you are the president of the United States; you should expect a tough question. Kudos to the president for being prepared. Talk about Afghanistan, do not mention Iraq, do not mention a reason, and attempt to discredit a journalism who has asked tough questions for nine presidents. Nicely done.
I saw Helen Thomas tonight on MSNBC, smiling, saying it was nice to be called upon again. Class.
The Helen Thomas Challenge: What should her next question be in the unlikely event she is ever invited to pose one? My submissions:
1. Pre-emptive war is not a doctrine; it is a risky weapon we all agree may some day be necessary. At what point should a commander-in-chief be accountable for errantly employing this weapon, or at least forced to offer a plausible explanation? Pretend it cannot wait until the next election.
2. Illegal possession of weapons of mass destruction could hypothetically be a viable reason to go to war against a nation. Intelligence which yielded satellite images of such items might also prove helpful in HOW to fight such a war. Why were the weapons of mass destruction Colin Powell showed to Congress left unsupervised, by special forces, or at least by satellite surveillance, so that they might be recovered or destroyed? Clinton would have destroyed them with JDAMs. Did you consider such an approach? Also, please speculate why the insurgents's overmatched forces would hide weapons rather than employ them.
3. Al Franken agrees that all Al Qaeda activity in this country should be monitered. In the warrant-less wiretaps you authorized, what percentage of these phone calls were innocent calls to family or friends? Did you moniter your political foes? If no, can you prove it without endangering national security? Inasmuch that the FISO courts were created to protect baseless invasions of privacy while offering a quick, easy warrant for a case which warrants it, and inasmuch you deemed it subadequate, did you consider tweaking FISO so that freedoms could be protected while offering the intelligence community the needed authority and yourself the clear alibi from nefarious motives? Why not?
Monday, March 13th, 2006
8:11 pm
"Fundamentalists" R Republican
The biggest source of my inflamed hatred for the republican party, when I get bent out of shape that way, is their alleged sole ownership of Christian values. I don't know if they really beleive that or not, but it seems to be a pretty effective selling point lately. And this GOP selling point is not based on a sweeping overview of the New Testament (Don't get me started on whether Jesus Christ would be hawkish or dovish, exclusive or inclusive, etc.), but two issues: Homosexuality and abortion.
Let's talk about the fags first. There is scripture which pretty clearly equates homosexuality with sin. Let's assume that this is fact for the purpose of this particular argument. Now when I ask people who are anti-gay marriage and / or of the opinion that homosexuals should be excluded from their congregations, what discerns homosexuality from the hodgepodge of other sins available, of which we all partake and fall short of the glory of God? The answer is always the same. It is a sin in which they are living, and therefore unrepentant (or insufficiently repentant.) Fine. Why is one of my elders, at 300-plus pounds and growing, after a heart attack, charged with providing for his family, tolerated - no - adored, despite his obvious ongoing glutony? I say it's because despite a particular weakness, he is a wonderful man and inspirational leader. For that matter, a certain madsaxer plays a prominent role in the music service of almost every Sunday morning service despite being a gluton to both food and tobacco! The central issue shouldn't really be homosexuality being sinful or not, but whether this (or any) sin deserves to separate a sinner from his church or his state.
Jimmy Carter, in his wonderful "Our Endangered Values," points out that Christianity, to be valid and true, must be taken on by an individual by his own free will. Behaving like a Christian at gunpoint or under threat of imprisonment does NOT constitute Christianity. I am about as heterosexual as a man can be, but it is a gift from God, certainly not virtue. I am as tempted to engage in homosexuality as I am to drive a meat thermometer into my ear with a fungo bat. And I admit, whether it is enlightened or not, faced with the most basic and antiseptic acts of homosexual affection, I am squeamish. This does not give me the right to exclude gays from the comforts I enjoy as a congregation member, a Christian, or an American. Churches can sanction any marriage or not and can be bound by no law to observe that which they do not believe, as it should be. (See, separation of church and state ain't so bad, is it?) But to not allow a church which might see fit to sanction a marriage to perform one seems cruel and unconstitutional and well outside the authority of any New Testament scripture I have read. If Clyde and Bruno want to get married, it has no effect on the sanctity of the vow I made to love my wife for the rest of my life. If any married person thinks otherwise, he needs to examine his view of his promise to God and whatever other conditions he has placed on it.
Abortion is an issue on which I find myself fairly aligned with my GOP brethren, in that I believe it is wrong that federal law has focussed solely on the right of the woman. I abhor the thought of a fetus being destroyed (murdered, if you must.) Tell me cheerfully that you're pro-choice, and I am whistling cheerfully in agreement. Tell me you're pro-choice disdainfully, and I have serious issues. I'll tell you why. Law can no more put an end to abortions than it can reefer, robbery or murder. Abortions will be performed by trained doctors in clinical surrounds, or by pimps in the bathrooms of crack houses. Fact. Because women get raped. Because little girls, well parented and not, get knocked up. Because there are innocent potential little babies in pregnant crack whores who will give up niether crack nor whoring. The decision to have an abortion is an attempt to resolve a series of bad decisions which has already taken place. Is it overused? YES!!! The democratic position on abortion is to keep it legal, safe, and increasingly rare. (Thus the exagerated stories of liberals passing out condoms in public schools like it's Trick-or-Treat.) Should there be laws to protect fetuses as they approach viable, separate human-hood? YES!!! Governor Clinton, when he vetoed a bill banning partial birth abortion because it had no exclusion to protect the woman's health, offered to sign a bill banning all second trimester abortions in exchange for that exclusion. This would have made about twice as many eventual abortions illegal. This was, pardon the conjecture, piously rejected by the Senate Republicans and dropped. Pity. Compromise is not a sin. Partial victories are victories. Saving all babies, and making sure all babies born are wanted are both noble goals, which could lead to the same happy ending. Hey, maybe you're right and I'm wrong, but can one ARGUABLY be pro-life and pro-choice?
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
8:30 pm
Here is the first word, hoping I will be generous in forfeiting the last word. The info page for this group posts the ground rules. Read them. If they aren't your cup of tea, go somewhere else. This lj may merely be a true dialoge between my conservative and (otherwise?) well-reasoned cousin and myself; this would be fine by me. Or it may inspire a whole shit river movement, complete with T-shirts and whatever trashy merchandise which might make the buzzin cousins rich, and who knows, presidential candidates in 2008. That would be ludicrous, but also fine by me. 
Being a liberal, I hate the direction our government is leading us.  But I've REALLY had enough of liberal journals and uncontested Right-bashing; It's not productive, and it doesn't even make me feel better any more.  I really like talking politics with cousin Greg over the phone.  I think this format will be even better.  The benefit of having time to formulate a response, research, fact check, etc. will make for a richer discussion.  And the intelligent input of passers-by only make it that much better.  Anonymous posting is welcome, but please check back in and respond to those who you have engaged in conversation.  I will from time to time re-post this if this thing gets off the ground.
I've got some zingers to throw out here, but I will  wait until my cousin / co-moderator can get his account established, and post his first word.
NOTE:  I will be making entries as "themadsaxer".  Greg and I will interchangeably use "shitriver" as we feel we need to enter discussions as moderators.
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