Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #187 (March 17th, 2007)


Fourteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.


Are the Democrats and the

Republicans Just Two different

Mob families? Was 9-11 an Inside Job?


Now it's Dave's turn:

I'm not saying the United States hasn't made mistakes. I think one of their biggest mistakes that goes back at least to the beginning of the last century was in thinking that they didn't need to understand Islam in order to understand Arabs. If you could find an Arab and westernize him enough – "He's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch" The theory behind Shah Palavi in Iran -- Islam would be irrelevant. It took over a hundred years, but it finally caught up with them on 9-11, in my view.

The motive of the Reagan Administration – which I think dovetailed with American popular opinion of the time – was that the U.S. needed to get back at Iran for the Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981 and if helping Iraq to wage war on Iran was the way to do that, Iraq was the way to do that. I would doubt very much that they gave Saddam biological weapons -- I just don't think the United States would do that -- but when fate makes you the prime "Watchman on the Wall of Freedom" as the United States is and has been since the end of World War II you have a lot of different arenas you have to keep track of and make decisions about. The Democrat theory of the time, as epitomized by Jimmy Carter, was to reduce tension by pulling back around the world – which, arguably, led to the Shah's ouster and encouraged the students in Iran to press their advantage with the "Paper Tiger". Reagan was the opposite, crowding in where Jimmy Carter had withdrawn, closer in some places than in others. But I think both operated in the same long-standing U.S. Islamic policy vacuum of misunderstanding that this wasn't just one Arab fanatical despot against another Arab fanatical despot. "Pick your partner and let's tango."

It was only the enormity of the 9-11 atrocity that finally put Islam on the United States' and the West's radar screen as the Core Issue to be dealt with. Suddenly Mogadishu and Lebanon and Iraq and Iran and Indonesia showed up as all being part of the same fundamental (make that Fundamentalist problem). Whether the thinking on the Iraq invasion was "Well, we have to pick one and dive in and kick ass, so which one?" or not, to me that was the net effect and to me the net effect was a good one. We're five years past 9-11 and the average person (and I suspect the average Western government) is just starting to understand the parameters of Sunni versus Shiite and how much more important that is in the Middle East, structurally, than Iran versus Iraq or Lebanon versus Syria. Saddam was about the worst of the worst since his party, the Baathists, were a sick hybrid of Islam and Nazism. If you don't understand Islam, you can do a lot worse than accidentally picking the guy whose political forebears chose to wed Islam with Nazism as "first boy to go." So, yeah. "We Got Him". Major thumbs up from Dave Sim.

And, I think that given that the White House and the State Department and the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and everyone else on down to the commanders deploying forces in Iraq are starting to understand Sunni versus Shiite – that this isn't a civil war, this is a religious war that has been raging everywhere in the Muslim world since the seventh century – that they are, thereby, however inadvertently, reinforcing the consensus Western Christian viewpoint which is at odds with both the Sunni and Shiite Muslim viewpoint of "What Is God's Will?" and is the Largest Over-arching Concern and the thing that really interests me the most as a result.

What WE the people of The Democracies Formerly Known As Christendom are saying (although we don't seem to be at all aware that we are saying it) is "God's Will is that people are entitled to live in a peaceful world. If you make that world dangerous for innocent civilians, you are toast. If we have to stay here fifty years and kill every last one of you sick bastards who doesn't understand that basic core fact of God's Will then we will do so. We have the men, we have the armaments and we have the know-how. We will sacrifice Christian blood to make you understand and to bring you and to bring Islam to a better place. And we don't give a flying you-know-what whether you're Sunni or Shiite. If you make New Iraq a dangerous place we will kill you. Because THAT's God's Will. The only good Sunni or Shiite is a peaceful Sunni or Shiite. And the only good dangerous Sunni or Shiite is a dead dangerous Sunni or Shiite."

People are basically good, and that includes Muslims. The vast majority of Iraqis are peace-loving people, as the vast majority of people are peace-loving people. Instead of withdrawing from Iraq, if all of the democracies would pour troops in there and just jump on every warlord who puts together his own Fundamentalist Crips or Bloods gang with hob-nailed boots and grind them all into little red spots in the sand -- Sunni today, Shiite tomorrow, what's on the menu for Wednesday? -- I think the point would eventually get across over the course of a decade or two. God's Will is that everyone is peaceful. You can argue as much as you want but if you start shooting up the suburbs you are going to regret it and I mean a) immediately and b) fatally. There are a lot fewer people dying in Iraq now than were dying during Saddam's reign of terror or during the war with Iran, so presumably the vast majority of peace-loving Iraqi Muslims are cluing in. This is going to take a while and there are many years of tears and blood to be shed by Americans and by Iraqis but the United States is, indeed, making this a better place to live. It's wrong to target civilians and the only solution to people who target civilians is to kill them. I can't imagine that that would be anything but the majority Iraqi view as the situation improves.

I'm pretty sure that that's what President Bush is up to, so at least we'll have two years of common sense and a workable program before we have to start worrying.

As for the conspiracy stuff that 9-11 was in inside job, well, you know. I wish you luck with this in a way. If there's really something here then I don't think the "inside job" people are ultimately going to get away with it. But, I was definitely of the generation that obsessed about the Kennedy assassination. I must've read a dozen books on the subject and I could quote you chapter and verse of what did and didn't add up. And then at some point in the mid-seventies it just got out of control. The Congress did hold hearings on the Kennedy assassination – in fact on all the assassinations on Jimmy Carter's watch if I'm not mistaken – and reading the coverage of them, it was all over the map because the volume of information had gotten out of control. If you want a legislative body to do something about something you can't just present them with an entire library of facts and then sit blinking at them. "What is it that you want us to do with this?" Those of us in the first generation of Kennedy assassination "buffs" always thought that the power of subpoena would do it. Here are the files we want to see, here are the witnesses we want to hear from. But it didn't really add up to anything besides "Boy, it sure is a confusing mass of facts, isn't it?" As with a court trial you have to be telling the jury – in this case a Senate Committee – a story: you have to put the pieces together for them and say, "Look this is the only way that this adds up logically" if you're prosecuting or "There are too many holes in this to qualify as `beyond a reasonable doubt'" if you're defending.

World Trade Centre 7 came down at 5:20 PM as a classic controlled demolition job. Well, okay. So Vice-president Cheney sent the CIA in to WTC 7 to wire it for controlled demolition and someone gave the go-ahead roughly seven hours after the two primary towers came down. Well, what went wrong? Was another plane supposed to hit WTC 7 and never made it? Where is the evidence for a failed hijacking that necessitated triggering the demolition of WTC 7? With the rest of the "inside job" going off like clockwork, why did it take them seven hours to figure out that they better cover their tracks and bring down WTC 7? See, there's no story there. If it takes ten years for 9-11 "Inside Job Conspiracy Theory" to go mainstream, as it took ten years for Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory to go mainstream, what are you going to present when you get there? It really needs to be not only a matter of "The Government's story doesn't add up" – the mistake that was made by Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists – but also "This story does add up, and here are the culprits." Hey, you've only got five years left to get it together if the earlier investigation is an accurate template.

"Hillary Heralds 30-Year Plus Control of America By Interlocking Crime Family" – that is, the Bushes and the Clintons. "Pro-war Clinton candidacy success would mean same mob bosses have ruled U.S. since 1980" Well, again, I think that's just a loony way of looking at it and that anyone who does look at it that way is so far beyond the realm of civilized discourse as to be completely off the map. But, if you insist on me taking a run at it:

No, it seems self-evident to me that Bill Clinton looked at Ronald Reagan's success and wondered "How does he do that?" Republicans were so thoroughly discredited in the post-Watergate era that everyone just assumed the Democrats would have a lock on the White House for a good thirty years. Instead you had four years of Jimmy Carter and BOOT he's gone and you've got twelve years of Republican rule that's further to the right of Richard Nixon. And Bill Clinton is a realist or a pragmatist or whatever you want to call him and he sees that the way to beat the Republicans is to steal some of their program and use that as cover to get back in the White House and institute Liberal programs. "It's the economy, stupid." The economy is not a Democratic program, it's a Republican program. So Bill Clinton outflanks Bush, Sr. and the Democrats have the White House back. But the key point is that, in the larger scheme of things, Bill Clinton pulled the Democrats much farther to the right than they had ever been before. MUCH farther to the right. Which was a tactical thing to do but not a strategic thing to do because essentially what he did was to acknowledge that the Republicans were right all along and the Democrats were wrong all along. "It's the economy, stupid." That was an enormous concession to make just to get some watered down Gays in the Military legislation and a few really good glittery black-tie parties that leftists were invited to.

I'm not surprised that the Clintons and the Bushes are chummy. Bush Sr. was very much a squishy Republican and Clinton moved way over in that direction. But as we're seeing now, all that's done is to divide the Democrats who want to get back to where they were in the center, but Bill Clinton moved the center over into squishy Republican territory which the Republicans visit only on very rare occasions and then move back to the right. Anything the Democrats try to build in proximity to Clinton is going to disappear into the Republican vortex. So the Democrats are forced to hold down two positions: the Clintons in squishy Republican land and Obama over on the extreme left. There's nowhere for a centrist or moderate Democrat to go anymore. In Democrat terms you're either a raving hawk or a cringing dove.

So this item, to me, just looks like the cringing doves trying the only thing that they see as giving them a hope of winning: they have to destroy the Clintons. Which is really stupid, trying to destroy your best campaigner, your top fund-raiser and a popular former President and the husband of your leading candidate. You can have a spirited competition but when you start trying to destroy your own hierarchy – and the Clintons, at the moment, are the Democratic hierarchy – then you're over in Stalinist purge territory which is something leftists are always susceptible to. The Republicans if they haven't got a hope will just go through the motions and run Bob Dole or somebody. Let him get his ass kicked and wait until you have some logical chance of winning. But don't tear your party apart in a year when you should just be going through the motions. And 2008, the only sensible thing is to let Hillary run virtually unopposed and get her ass kicked so you have a chance in 2012. The Clintons with all they've done for the Democrats have earned a completely unopposed Hillary candidacy. Instead, the Democrats are going to demonize her as pro-war and the Clintons as too far to the right and tear the party apart.

It's for the best, in my view – the more years of Republican rule and a firm commitment to stay in Iraq the better the future looks – but it sure is amazing to watch otherwise sensible people getting ready to shoot themselves in the foot, then in the shin, then in the knee, then in the thigh…

Tomorrow: Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Monday: Talking Comics with Kitchenmania


If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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