Anatomy of a spin

Here’s what Charles Rangel said:

If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

Here’s the headline at Michelle Malkin’s sister blog Hot Air:

Rangel says men join the army only if they can’t have “a decent career”

And there you go. A fair and accurate statement is ripped from context and made to sound like something terrible – as if only total losers join the army. Only that isn’t what Rangel actually said. But no matter: Malkin’s usual mob of sensationalist dunces are all over it, puffing up Rangel’s words just as they did a few weeks ago with John Kerry. All these links say Rangel is insulting everyone who would join the Army, saying they only do so because they can’t find good careers.

No. Wrong.

Rangel is saying, correctly, that those we send to fight and kill and die in Iraq wouldn’t be doing so if they had a better option. Is there anything there to argue against? Is that a crazed statement? So out of nothing, we now have “a big story,” and Rangel will be raked over the coals and maybe even crucified. Such is the juvenile state of the Bush bloggers, who are reduced to playing idiotic word games. Intellectually, emotionally and morally vacuous.

Update: One of the world’s best bloggers gets it right:

Charles Rangel essentially said what we all know to be true. Nobody really wants to go to Iraq to fight and most enter into the service to take advantage of the increased bonuses and educational opportunities. So while John Hinderaker calls it “foolishness“, perhaps he can explain why neither he, Paul Mirengoff, or Scott Johnson (all three of whom have children old enough to serve) have yet to have a child enlist to fight this Clash of Civilizations that threatens Apple Valley via Baghdad.

Read his whole amusing (as always) post.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 35 Comments

I hate Malkin, sincerely. I think she is usually wrong and her smarmy knowitalll attitude makes me want to puke.

But you are wrong and she is right in this case. You are spinning this because, like Rangel, you are stuck in the Vietnam concept of the military, where the only goal is to avoid serving the country at all costs.

The idea of re-upping to remain in Iraq is so foreign to you that you can’t imagine it, yet it happens all the time.

This very basic disconnect is unhealthy to the country. The 2006 military is so totally different from the 1966 military it is not funny. Learn it, know it, live it. And by the way… F Charles Rangel, who is playing the politics of fear on day one of a Democratic congress, instead of truly leading.

Because true leadership and no longer playing fear politics is what we voted for in 2006. If we don’t get it, we will vote differently in 2008.

(BTW hello from Memeorandum, please write smarter posts if you continue to be linked by them.)

November 27, 2006 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

How many of these Malkin pissants served in the military? Especially in a time of war? If they did, and they did so while they had OTHER CHOICES, they have room to whinge. If not, STFyouknowtherest…

Of course, I’ll never know because I’ve got better things to do with my time than hit her site. Yeah, like crawling around on my hands and knees looking for claws the cats have shed and the vacuum has missed. Anything is better than Malkin!

November 27, 2006 @ 7:30 pm | Comment

toad, I get linked on memeorandum every day. If you want to defend this shit of taking a reasonable quote out of context and making a huge issue out of it, it’s your privilege.

November 27, 2006 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

Rangel is saying, correctly, that those we send to fight and kill and die in Iraq wouldn’t be doing so if they had a better option.

This is complete and utter tripe, just so you know.

Fighting in Iraq and having a “career” are not mutually exclusive. For some, the military is a chosen career. For others, such as those in the National Guard and Reserves, they can have both a civilian career and fight in Iraq, Afhanistan or any place else.

Further, there are those who have chosen to serve in the military despite the availability of “better” options. The examples of such are all over the place, if one cares to look.

So yes, it is a crazed statement. It is incorrect.

Please stop assuming you know the motivation of anyone else but yourself. Unless you consider it fair game for me to start speculating on why you would make such a post.

November 28, 2006 @ 5:21 am | Comment

Looks like some hawks have found your site through links. I noticed that Undertoad and Maydayog criticized Rangels’ generalization that most US soldiers in Iraq don’t want to be there yet merely offered their own opposing generalizations with no factual support:

Undertoad: “The idea of re-upping to remain in Iraq is so foreign to you that you can’t imagine it, yet it happens all the time.”

Maydayog: “Further, there are those who have chosen to serve in the military despite the availability of “better” options. The examples of such are all over the place, if one cares to look”

November 28, 2006 @ 9:02 am | Comment

Do you believe most of those sent to die are career soldiers? Have you heard about all the national guardsemn we’ve sent in? There are career soldiers and there are those who join for wnt of better options. And there are two points being confused here. The option Rangel put forward is one of having a good career or of entering the Army to fight in Iraq – NOT simply going and joining the Army. There’s a big, not-so-subtle difference there that the Malkinites like you won’t see. Compare the Rangel quote I give at the start o the post with the Hot Air headline, and try to see what I mean. You can do it, if you really want to.

November 28, 2006 @ 9:03 am | Comment

Sonagi, I’m not at all surprised. I linked to a bunch of Malkinist sites, which probably sent some of their readers here. Now I have to disinfect the entire blog.

November 28, 2006 @ 9:28 am | Comment

First, I occasionally post to this site when the topic interests me. If Richard does not remember me, that’s his problem not mine.

Second, of course my response is a generalization– as is Rangel’s. What, exactly, would you like me to link to? The collective thoughts and opinions of why people join the military?

The closest I can come is the Heritage study that has been linked incessantly around the web. If you haven’t read it already, it means you either truly don’t care about the subject and would rather make ignorant assumptions or that you are incapable of using Google effectively. Either way, again, it is YOUR problem, not mine.

Do you believe most of those sent to die are career soldiers?

Put the hyperbolic tripe away and use your brain. Soldiers are not “sent to die” anywhere.

Have you heard about all the national guardsemn we’ve sent in?

I’ve served five years in the National Guard, including a year-long deployment overseas. Currently I am employed as a consultant with one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the world. Yet I still choose to serve with the knowledge that I may deployed again.

I know many, many people like me. I’ve served with everyone from executives at major companies (BankBoston) to career law enforcement officers (FBI).

There are career soldiers and there are those who join for wnt of better options.

Oh, really?

Why did I join, Richard? The military certainly isn’t my career– I have a career outside of it. And as for want of better options…

The option Rangel put forward is one of having a good career or of entering the Army to fight in Iraq – NOT simply going and joining the Army. There’s a big, not-so-subtle difference there that the Malkinites like you won’t see.

I’ll pass this off as you being ignorant of the way the military assigns soldiers to combat duty. It is, for the vast majority of soldiers, not an individual choice. Soldiers are activated en masse with their units, and anyone joining the military today should assume that they will eventually be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. You are not lined up in basic training and asked, “OK…which of you wants to go to Iraq?”

Odd that someone with no military experience whatsoever would be lecturing a veteran about subtle differences when it comes to enlisting. I’ll pass it off as you just looking for another reason to whine and complain instead of some type of malfeasance.

November 28, 2006 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

Maydayog,

You speak for yourself and ONLY for yourself. For every bank president who is glad to exchange his suit for camoflage, there are plenty of soldiers like the single mom who came to pick up her daughter at our school. She was a reservist on short leave from Iraq. We all shook her hands, and she told us, “Just take good care of my daughter, please.” That mom did not look or sound like she wanted to be there, and why would she? She’s got a kid who needs her here. How long ago did she join the reserves? Five years ago? Ten years ago? In the mid-90s, could she have foreseen the wars we are engaged in today? Oh sure, a soldier has to be prepared to fight, but then why all the financial incentives? C’mon, May. If joining the military were really about patriotism, then Uncle Sam wouldn’t need to promise all those enlistment bonuses.

November 29, 2006 @ 6:36 am | Comment

You speak for yourself and ONLY for yourself.

Oh, I see. Charlie Rangel is able to speak for the majority, I’m only allowed to speak for myself.

Oh, wait…look below– you are also allowed to speak for the majority.

Just so I’m tracking with you and Richard:

Rangel is speaking for the majority, I’m only speaking for myself…

Rangel is not required to have proof of his assertions, I am…

Do I have that about right?

How long ago did she join the reserves? Five years ago? Ten years ago? In the mid-90s, could she have foreseen the wars we are engaged in today?

What does that matter?

Oh sure, a soldier has to be prepared to fight, but then why all the financial incentives? C’mon, May. If joining the military were really about patriotism, then Uncle Sam wouldn’t need to promise all those enlistment bonuses.

How is it that you are only capable of reductionist thinking? Who said it was only about patriotism?

The fact of the matter is…

You accused me of being a hawk, with no “facts” to back me up. You were wrong. It is a shame that instead of admitting that you insist on obfuscating the point. It just shows where your interests are vested.

The fact of the matter is that people join for a variety of reason– for some, it is patriotism. For others, it is money. For others, it is the only option they have. For others, they are looking for discipline. For others it is to carry on a family tradition. So on and so on.

Are either of you at all interested in the truth?

November 29, 2006 @ 9:08 am | Comment

I can only speak for myself, and I say we’re talking two separate issues. A lot of people join the army because a career there appeals to them. Period. And as Rangel says, if most were given a choice of a decent career elsewhere or of joining and fighting in Iraq, most if not all would choose the former. Fighting in Iraq is not what appeals to people about joining the Army. For all the reasons people have for joining the army, participating in the insanity of Iraq is not one of them. Usually it is for the various benefits, like college tuition, job security (I have at least 4 friends who joined the army for this reason), eagerness to travel, patriotism, etc. None of them joined to sacrifice their lives in a war we cannot win, in Bush’s pipe dream. If they found out they had a choice to fight in Iraq or have a cushy desk job, I strongly believe they’d choose the latter.

But back to the original simple point I was trying to make. Rangel is right, andhis words are being spun. The nutters are guilty of contorting his words to make it sound like everyone who joins the army is a loser with no alternatives. He never said that. To repeat, he said if a young man has a choice between fighting in Iraq and having a decent job at home, he’d choose the decent job. It’s really kind of simple, and the word games people like may are playing is tedious and tiring. I think we’ve exhausted this topic.

November 29, 2006 @ 10:36 am | Comment

I do not see much difference between what Rangel said and Malkin later writes–and I somewhat agree with what Rangel says. There are plenty of instances of Malkin distorting. this is not one of them.

Rangel’s statement says well enough by itself. The too often mentioned ‘it was taken out of context’ excuse is weak as the context says the same as the single sentence quoted.

November 29, 2006 @ 2:59 pm | Comment

Yeah, yeah. Face it: You just want to say that Rangel went on TV and intentionally spit on and insulted our troops. Yes, that’s what Rangel did and that’s how he feels. Right. Except it’s horseshit. As usual, the nutters take any phrase, any words at all that might be twisted to smear their opponents and then come out with guns blazing. Suit yourself. Suit yourself with the warm and fuzzy belief that Rangel went on national television to spit on America’s soldiers and hurt them. Yes, a great analysis, very fair and scientifically verifiable. And very shrewd of Rangel, very clever. Right.

Simple statement: If you have a choice between an good safe job and joining the service to fight in the Iraq inferno, most young men would choose the former if they could. Flay Rangel alive. Puff it up, Come on, keep on huffing and puffing. Cuz the nutters have nothing to go on in terms of successes or achievements. All they can do is smear, and I thank God the nation caught onto it finally. Go and say Rangel slandered our troops if it gives you comfort. Luckily, no one’s listening anymore except the other lonely drones in the echo chamber. The last election certainly made that point indisputable.

November 29, 2006 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

You can’t insult me like that, Maydayog. You can only go so far. Spewing such personal out-of-control insults is a sure sign of desperation and mental vacuity. Not to mention it’s downright rude. Go troll over at Hot Air.

November 29, 2006 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

I too dislike Malkin and disagree with her nearly all of the time, but I think TPDs criticism of her in this instance is off-base. There are plenty of people with valuable careers who nonetheless have chosen to serve their country in Iraq. Consider Philip Carter, proprietor of the great INTEL DUMP blog, who is an attorney recently returned from active duty overseas. Or Pat Tillman, whose political views put him to the left of the vast majority of Americans, who nonetheless felt compelled to join the Army after 9/11 and remained there even after he began disapproving of our foreign policy.

I am not and have never been in the military but I find this paternalistic impression of our armed services highly insulting. Undertoad is correct in citing the post-Vietnam tendency of the left to view military service as an occupation for only the ill-informed or puffed-up war-mongers. I say this as a member of the left myself, not as someone who frequents the Hot Air blogs.

One more thing- why the hostility to dissenting opinion here on TPD? Maydaydog and Undertoad made reasonable arguments and yet they were called names and labeled trolls by the uber-defensive Richard (following in Ivan’s footsteps, I see). That Maydaydog engaged in insults too is beside the point- hold yourself to a higher standard!

November 30, 2006 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Matt, I only get hostile if someone comes onto my site and assaults me with a barrage of insults. I allow disenting points of view; that’s what this site is about. Mayadog’s posts and your own were fine until M. got really personal. And I admit, Malkinesquie smears are a hot button with me and I have a low tolerance for them. If I got overly emotional, apologies. I did not insult Undertoad or Mayadog (certainly not anything along the lines of what mayadog wrote last night, I assure you). Or you. I think you’re wrong but I let you say why you think I’m offbase. I’m just tired of banging my head against the wall making the same point over and over again. Once more the right has taken a very innocent and totally insignificant quote, a real non-story, and puffed it up into something huge. It’s a technique I despise. But I think we’ve all had our say by now and know where the others stand. The only one in this thread I’m annoyed at is Mayadog, who definitely tried to bait me, and who last night politely referred to me as “a cretin.” That goes against my rules.

November 30, 2006 @ 10:27 am | Comment

Matt S,

Do my eyes deceive me? Are YOU giving Richard advice on how to run a successful blog?

You’re telling RICHARD to hold himself to a “higher standard?” Hm, now what “higher standard” can you offer him?

Well, let’s take a look at YOUR blog, Matt S. I’ve just downloaded your archives for the entire month of November, and the total number of comments you’ve received is (wait, this won’t take long); ah, 33. (Thirty-three.)

Matt S, your blog has received an average of about one comment per day throughout the entire month of November. (And I didn’t count how many of those comments were made by you.)

So, just what “higher standard” are you offering to Richard?

As for Richard “following in Ivan’s footsteps”, well, first of all, on TPD I always follow Richard’s authority. Second of all, the way in which you and others have flocked to insult me personally whenever I guest-blog, is exactly why I’ve decided to take an indefinite hiatus from guest-blogging here until the rules about insulting any and all bloggers (without provocation) become more clearly established. We’ll see how that goes.

But God help Richard if he ever follows in YOUR footsteps. Do you actually want his site traffic to crash all the way down to YOUR blog’s level?

November 30, 2006 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

And now I see, “Matt S” avoided that challenge.

Yeah, Matt S (and others) you can come around here and bitch about “free speech”, but the funny thing is, that somehow, RICHARD creates MORE free speech on this blog than anyone else in the Chinese blogosphere does.

You, “Matt S”, have almost NO traffic and NO comments on your site.

But Richard – EVEN WHILE he censors some comments – has a LOT of discussion going on.

Hmm.

So, if you REALLY care about “free speech”, then TPD is the best place for you to find it.

TPD sometimes censors some comments, and yet, TPD is a place where a LOT of people comment freely.

And NO other blog in the China blogosphere can match that. TPD gets more traffic AND more comments and more discussion than any other blog in China’s blogosphere.

Even while TPD occasionaly censors some asinine comments.

Hmm. It seems that TPD’s OCCASIONAL censorship is OUTWEIGHED by how TPD provides a forum for almost all commenters to take part in.

Matt, YOUR blog does not do NEARLY as much as TPD does, to provide a forum for all kinds of opinions of all kinds.

Hmmm…..

December 1, 2006 @ 2:04 am | Comment

The hypocrisy here is too much.

I’m called a lonely drone, nutter and Malkonite…but when I respond in kind I’m told I’m in the wrong.

Ivan and Richard deserve eachother.

Have fun!

December 1, 2006 @ 3:40 am | Comment

Ivan,

I’ve been a long-time reader of TPD and enjoy reading Richard’s commentary. Sometimes what he writes is a little sub-par (by his standards) and so when I criticize, I do so because I think he could do better. If I thought TPD was worthless, I wouldn’t bother coming around.

Also, I expect the same on my blog. I answer nearly all of the criticism of my posts, and when readers challenge something I’ve written, it only makes me think more carefully. It’s an unalloyed good.

And I’m afraid I don’t understand your point when you ridicule my modest number of hits and comments. Does having a popular blog leave you immune to criticism? Should I check the site meter of every blog I read to make sure they’re low enough for me to comment upon? One thing I like about the blogosphere is that a lowly blogger like me can join in a community and express an opinion. I never said Richard should emulate me or my blog. I don’t know where you got that impression.

Furthermore, my blog doesn’t intend to compete with Richard’s and I write it for the enjoyment of myself, my family, friends, and any stranger who happens to pop by. I have never intended to make any money off of it, to become famous from it, or anything else.

My blog does provide a forum for all kinds of opinions. I invite you to read my archives for evidence of this. Several readers have criticized things I’ve written, sometimes fairly or unfairly. I engage all of it.

Given your attempts to ridicule and belittle me by citing statistics from my blog (which have failed miserably as my ego is not that fragile and I frankly don’t care), I feel that my response has been far more civil than your attack merited. That is because I respect TPD and Richard and don’t want to foul up his bandwidth with any more ad hominem attacks.

December 1, 2006 @ 3:41 am | Comment

Richard, face it, a lot of the disagreement here is because of your opinion of Malkin. Fact is you would not believe her if she said water is wet. But even the most ignorant will get things right sometimes. And on this, Rangel is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. The Heritage Foundation found that a cross section of enlisted personnel and NCOs had higher education level than the general populace. The officer corps were excluded since the services require a minimum BS degree for almost all officers. Another finding was that there is a higher percentage of people with degrees in the military than the average corporation.

The problem here is one of perception. The military at one time was populated by low income, poorly educated people. The volunteer military changed that. The Marines now have a set of physical and educational testing standards that have to be met. The joke used to be that the Marines had two standards to enlist – you had to be upright and breathing.

All Charlie Rangel has done is to once again make the Dems look elitist and contemptous of the military. At the very least, one would expect that every prominent Dem would be a little more circumspect in what is said about the military. Just look at the fallout over Kerry’s “botched joke” (an explanation I personally do not believe). His own party leadership was pissed at him.

As for the example of the single mother in one of the above posts: why did you not ask her why in the hell she would enlist in the Reserves if she had a child to care for? Or, the reverse – why is she having a child when she is enlisted? Where the hell is her responsibility? No matter how you slice it, if you are in any branch of the military and it hits the fan – you can be called up and shipped out. She sounds like a spoiled brat. She wanted the pay, training and benefits – but doesn’t want to fulfill her part of the contract. She put herself in the position she is in. To me, she is no different than the pro athelete who signs a contract – has one good season, and then demands a new contract.

If Charlie Rangel chooses to give his opponents the brickbats to throw at him, that is his problem. Charlie’s biggest problem is not Malkin – it’s Charlie.

December 1, 2006 @ 3:58 am | Comment

Gojuplyr,

Well said.

December 1, 2006 @ 4:15 am | Comment

Matt S,

You have truly said it all, in your rambling, incoherent, sophomoriic, puerile, inflated and mostly pointless way. QED. You are dispensable, and this blog does not need you or anyone like you. This blog will prosper even better after sad little envious sophomoric creeps like you leave it alone.

Mayadog, I don’t know whether Richard and I “deserve each other” as you said – but one thing is clear to me: Neither Richard nor I deserve to deal with the likes of you. And neither do any of the thousands of readers of this blog (every day, thousands of them), who come here to read what intelligent people like Richard and his diverse company of guest bloggers write – and they don’t give a flying fuck about what YOU write, Mayadog. So, Mayadog: just fuck off. You, Mayadog, are dispensable.

And TPD is becoming even more widely read, more popular now, precisely because now we are becoming more serious about standards here. TPD is continuing to gain a wider (and more influential) readership, precisely because TPD no longer tolerates sophomoric whining like what Matt and Mayadog have written.

And so, Matt S and Mayadog, you, and others like you, are now more dispensable than you have ever been here. TPD is better off without you.

December 1, 2006 @ 4:24 am | Comment

Whew! Touched a nerve, didn’t I?

For the record, Ivan, I am not a troll (to paraphrase Nixon). I have written several comments in this space praising Richard’s commentary or that of one of his guest-posters. Richard himself has linked to my site and left a comment to one of my posts. If I only visited TPD to attack Richard or you than I suppose your reaction would be more valid. But please, my friend, get your story straight.

Richard has made it clear he disagrees with my opinion on this particular issue. I welcome feedback and I always read what he has to write. Why you find this so objectionable simply mystifies me.

Am I envious of Richard’s success? Please. The blogosphere is not a zero-sum world. As I said earlier, I do not compete with Richard. Our blogs are demonstrably different, as anyone making a cursory glance could detect.

And Ivan, bloggers far mightier than you or I routinely accept criticism and openly tolerate dissent that is far more visceral than anything I have ever written. They refrain from making self-righteous declarations that their readers are dispensable.

Again, I fail to see why my mild critique has elicited such thundering rebukes from you, as well as a pathetic attempt to ridicule me based solely on counting the number of comments I receive.

Good grief.

December 1, 2006 @ 5:01 am | Comment

I have thought long and hard about what I am about to post as I really do not wish to get into the middle of a pissing contest. (Truly disgusting visual). And because I do not believe Richard or Ivan require asslistance in defending themselves.

That said, Richard and I are probably in extreme disagreement on a great many things. And he will probably be throwing some brickbats my way for the above post concerning the woman who enlisted in the Reserves. I have never known Rishard or Ivan to back down from a debate of ideas. If you have a point – make it. If you feel you are being ignored or misinterpreted – say so. But do not expect to carry the day just because you say “this is the way it is.”

This site is rarely censored. I know this from personal, first-hand experience. One has to push the envelope beyond the extreme to get censored here.

There have been some – I believe – good points made in posts here that were not addressed. But it is up to those who posted those points to pursue them. Nanny nanny boo boo and Thbbbttt (the ol rasberry for those without sound) are not generally considered sufficient debate techniques.

Ivan, I would be reluctant to use blog size as a standard for credibility or quality. Does Malkin get more posts or visitors than TPD? Is she therefore more credible or worthy of being taken more seriously? That is, admitedly, an extreme comparison but does make the point.

We all are – and are not – dispensable. All at the same time.

December 1, 2006 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Yes the pissing match is tiresome- sorry for extending it. I was satisfied with Richard’s response to my comment (which was fair and reasonable), but Ivan’s over-the-top assault on me and my blog compelled me to defend myself.

I’m prepared to leave this thread alone and I hope Ivan feels the same, though I must admit that his vituperative comments with the gratuitous USE of CAPITALS are perversely enjoyable. I found them hysterical in both senses of the word.

December 1, 2006 @ 5:35 am | Comment

Maydayog said:

“The fact of the matter is that people join for a variety of reason– for some, it is patriotism. For others, it is money. For others, it is the only option they have. For others, they are looking for discipline. For others it is to carry on a family tradition. So on and so on.”

I actually agree with you. There are a variety of reasons why people join the military, and that is why it IS hard to generalize.

“You accused me of being a hawk, with no “facts” to back me up. You were wrong”

You mean you were against the war in Iraq from the beginning? Well, we have something else in common. Must be especially hard to serve in a war you think is wrong. My hat’s off to you.

Gojuplur said:

“As for the example of the single mother in one of the above posts: why did you not ask her why in the hell she would enlist in the Reserves if she had a child to care for? Or, the reverse – why is she having a child when she is enlisted? Where the hell is her responsibility? No matter how you slice it, if you are in any branch of the military and it hits the fan – you can be called up and shipped out. She sounds like a spoiled brat. She wanted the pay, training and benefits – but doesn’t want to fulfill her part of the contract. She put herself in the position she is in. To me, she is no different than the pro athelete who signs a contract – has one good season, and then demands a new contract. ‘

Oh, give me a break. She’s a single mom with a child to feed, not some athlete with a million dollar contract. I’m guessing you do not financially support any children. Am I right?

No way in heck would I have asked her why she joined. Such an insensitive question would have caused her more distress, and it’s none of my business.

It’s easy enough to say, “Well, you signed a contract,” but the fact is that some people are desperate. In many urban and rural areas, it is extremely difficult for non-colleged educated adults to find full-time employment that pays enough to make ends meet. I highly recommend the book “Nickled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich. To prove that full-time blue collar workers could get by, she spent a year doing various service and manual labor jobs and discovered that many non-colleged educated workers live from paycheck to paycheck with no extra money for medical bills or car repairs. Those five-figure bonuses and college tuition packages look attractive to people with no alternatives.

My family was working poor, and had I not received a state scholarship, I might have had to join the military in order to pay for college. A long, long time ago, it was possible for young high school graduates to work for a few years and save money for college. That is how my grandparents and many others of their generation paid for tuition way before Pell grants and Stafford loans. Nowadays, that is impossible, given that most unskilled jobs pay minimum wage, which isn’t even enough to pay all living expenses, let alone save tens of thousands of dollars for tuition. Financial aid has declined since I was in college. Poor students get less money overall, and the loan to grant ratio has increased.

December 1, 2006 @ 8:26 am | Comment

Ivan, yes, but…. I appreciate your standing up for me and my site. Whether its influential or important in the grand scheme of things is questionable and to me irrelevant – it’s a place people can go to interact, and where I (and I presume the other guest blogers) can get our ideas “out there.” I want everyone to be polite, but I also want to encourage those who disgree with me/us to comment here, and I think we have to have something of a thick skin. When you put yourself out there, there’s alway a risk. I agree, commenters who assault us wth insults as did Mayadog aren’t welcome. I also think it’s important to differentiate them from the likes of Matt and Gojup and others who take a dramatically different stand from my own. Matt’s original comment really bothered me and it got me mad. I admit it. But I can’t let that be my barometer for censoring. Censorship is for very special occasions, and if this blog is indeed growing, I want to think it’s because censorship is so rare, so people can come here and say just about anything, if they say it the right way.

December 1, 2006 @ 8:32 am | Comment

I did a little research on Charles Rangel. His comments should be interpreted in light of his personal background, life experiences, and constituency.

1. He is a highly decorated Korean War veteran who has criticized chicken hawks like Cheney.

2. He introduced a bill to reinstate the draft, in order to spread military service over a wider socioeconomic spectrum. His chicken hawk comments and push for a draft have made him very unpopular with the White House.

3. His district is diverse, but a majority of his constituents are Black and Hispanic.

December 1, 2006 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Thank you, Sonagi.

December 1, 2006 @ 10:29 am | Comment

Yes Rangel’s draft idea is interesting, but political suicide. The main reason there hasn’t been a major anti-war movement this time around has been the absence of the draft, which galvanized young people unwilling to fight overseas in a war of choice. Remember, Nixon’s defeat of Humphrey in ’68 was based on a “silent majority” that disliked the Vietnam War but disliked the anti-war protestors even more.

December 1, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

Rangel is wrong. I correspond with military personnel who are bright, well-informed and full of potential for other endeavors.

Two recently retired and are holding responsible positions. One is leaving to finish a degree in biology and has been offered several jobs as a programmer, which he has turned down.

Too much political posturing.

December 4, 2006 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

Jim, look at Rangel’s words and tell me what he said that in any way contradicts your own observation. Again (sigh), he is saying if they have a choice to have good secure job or to fight in Iraq, they will choose the former. You are putting words in Rangel’s mouth.

December 4, 2006 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

Sonagi, you could not be more wrong. Not only do I provide fininacial support for my children – I actually raise them. One thing they have all been taught is to keep their word. It is called ethics.

The pay, training and benefits are indeed a strong inducement to enlist. But……duh…..it is the military. The job of the military is to fight wars. Not exactly a 40hr/wk daily commute type of work. Or maybe you are suggesting your friend was too stupid to realize she was joining the military? If being in the military was not compatible with raising children she should not have enlisted. The socio-economic posturing is BS to cover for her own lack of maturity and responsibility.

And why would it be rude to ask her why she enlisted? You seen to be making an argument based on your assumptions about her enlistment. Wouldn’t knowing the facts make for a much more compelling argument. How do you know she didn’t enlist with he intention of taking advantage of the benefits and then trying to get out of serving? That has been done.

Richard, if Rangel is right, how do you explain all the men and women who have secure, successful careers in civilian life enlisting? Or that men and women who could leave the service to go to civilian careers are choosing to re-up?

I am not saying Rangel is bashing the military. Merely that his perception of the military is outdated and wrong. And the sad fact is that liberals in America seem to share the same misconception. By trying to defend Rangel’s statements you make Malkin look like the voice of truth.

December 5, 2006 @ 12:57 am | Comment

Thanks for your comment, but I am now closing this thread because not one single person who leans right has understood the distinction between serving in the military as a career and serving in the military to fight and possibly die in Iraq. I wanted to join the military myself at one point – lots of bright people do. But if they had asked me at the time, would you rather have a secure desk job in Arizona or join the military to fight in Iraq, I know what I would have answered. Just about everyone would choose the desk job, because the Iraq war is not a noble cause nor is it something worth dying for. Each death there is a tragedy because there was simply no need for it. Again, Rangel isn’t talking about joining the military to be stationed in a comfortable base in Germany, he’s talking about joining and fighting in Iraq. Why can’t anyone on the right see this important part of Rangel’s sentence?

December 5, 2006 @ 8:15 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.