THE PAVILION ANNEX

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:03 pm

Nason, Russia stopped the nazis.

We only fought because Germany declared war on us. Proof is when the war ended we restricted importation of jewish immigrants. The blacklist in the 50s had an anti-semitic twinge.

The Syria episode is all about shaming Iran in the end.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:09 pm

Good, and you seemed to absorb the logic of the piece. Excepting your final conclusion, which is the point of the strike is not to win nor to change outcomes nor to curb aggression: it's to make a point. That point being that for the first time in history there is a sense we can police wars. I would think you would be beside yourself with glee over this sort of thing, it's precisely what you agitate for so much of the time. This is the first step on a long road, but it's a first step that has been generations in the needing.

Secondly, you seem to be dismissing Assad's brutalization of his people. Were this Israel you'd be screaming like a banshee, but is Assad's regime entitled abuse its people in ways you won't let other countries do? Your conclusions seem more driven by ideology (opposition to anything the US does, marca registrada 2013) than by your actual stated goals for this world.

I agree that Russia will come around, however Putin is in largely the same position as Obama. That is: hamstrung by politics and alliances.

As is everyone unfortunate enough to have become glued to the tar baby.
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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:27 pm

Making a point? I don't seem to find that in my international law booklet.

Our point would be, we run shit.

A better point would be to help the fleeing Syrians. According to Oxfam not much is being done.

Also, according to Arundhati Roy upwards of 800 million people live on 50 cents a day in India, our ally. I wonder if we will help them. Doesn't look like it.

I mention Israel only because of its unreal view of itself in world affairs. Peace is a lovely point.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:38 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Nason, Russia stopped the nazis.


Largely, but not entirely true. The Nazis bumbled quite a bit, and were constantly worn down by the Brits. The Normandy invasion was designed to relieve the pressure on the Russian Front, a tactic that likely gave the Soviets the breathing room to mount a counterassault. Had Hitler not redirected his troops westward it's entirely likely the Soviet Union would have fallen, changing the outcome of the war (probably ending it in a swath of nuclear destruction between the US and Germany).

But second guessing history is a fool's game. In no way do I detract from the Soviets heroism and fight, but Hitler made some devastating mistakes which the Allies took advantage of.

FrankChurch wrote:We only fought because Germany declared war on us. Proof is when the war ended we restricted importation of jewish immigrants.


To the first part, well...no duh. We fought Japan because they bombed our harbor. What's your point? When a nation declares war on you, you fight.

As to the second part, nonsense. Immigration quotas were increased dramatically, with more than one million people immigrated to the US between the start of the war and 1950. This doesn't even include extra provisions for displaced peoples. Read up on the Displaced Person Act before you make this assertion again. Reference "Holocaust Survivors" in particular.

FrankChurch wrote:The blacklist in the 50s had an anti-semitic twinge.


I wasn't aware Jews were Communists. The commies I knew about, having studied Blacklisting in College (TV studies, don'tcha know), but hadn't realized Jews were tossed in for good measure. That must have been a shock to many of the people who testified before Congress like Elia Kazan and Bud Schulberg.

FrankChurch wrote:The Syria episode is all about shaming Iran in the end.


That's why Assad killed his citizens by the tens of thousands when they protested in the streets!

Okay, got it. It was all a plot to give the Americans a chance to shame Iran. Wow, you'd think he could have found a less bloody method, but...
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:42 pm

Frank, it astounds me how, in a single post, you can run the gamut from "The US should not be running the world" to "but we're letting all this horrible stuff happen to people in other countries" in the space of a paragraph. When we DO try to do something, such as punish Assad for gassing his people, you scream. When we sit back and do nothing, we're ignoring the situation. You want us to simultaneously protect everyone everywhere but without lifting a gun to do so. (And, notably, you only want us to protect people YOU like, not those people you don't)

This is what we all mean when we say it's as if you're wanting two mutually exclusive worlds at the same time.
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:20 pm

My final vacation post: http://marktiedemann.com/wordpress/?p=1989 (Er, final for this trip...)

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:28 pm

Some time back I posted a comment that if we intervene in Syria, no matter what we do it will be the wrong thing. If we don't use force, we're letting Assad kill his people unchallenged. If we do, we're imperialist bastards. Now I'm watching the conversation and guess what?

Frank: We should do something.

Obama: We're going to make limited strikes to degrade Assad's ability to strike at his people.

Frank: Not that! That's just American aggression!

You know what, Frank---we're often shits. But the fact is, if we did run shit, things would go a lot smoother than they do. Instead, we just...you know, nudge a lot...and get a facefull of crap for it.

If we withdraw from global politics utterly, we would be condemned. (You would condemn us.) If we never use our military strength under any circumstances, we would soon have no say in anything because no one would be afraid of us. (What good is having all this might if we never use it.) When we do use it, "obviously" it's for something other than doing the right thing. (And, you know, often that's true.)

But no matter what, we can't win.

But it is tiresome to time after time hear you say hardly a word about the bastards Over There. Assad is a shit, but I've bot heard you condemn him once except to use it as a backhanded way to slap the United States. I guess some folks just roll that way.

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:33 pm

Mark -- excellent post. You said everything I want to say, but you saud it better than I would have. Bravo.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:12 pm

Ezra, blessed are the peacemakers.

Like...Neville Chamberlain? Marshal Pétain?


...in science they look at a worm that has 300 neurons and about a thousand cells. Our brains have zillions of neurons. When the little worm turns left we have no idea why he does it or how.

Here you go Frank. I just saved you a thirty second google search.

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/ap.html

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/WormNotes1.html


So, has violence went[sic] down in Iraq and Afghanistan?

One excuse will as well as another I suppose. I know it's complicated. Nobody in this whole discussion is certain except you Frank. I can't get much past the bodies. If I saw someone being accosted on a street corner I hope I wouldn't agonize too much but would do what I could to help. The principle is the same with nations as it is with individuals. I understand completely why Hitchens grew disgusted with the Left over Bosnia. (Everyone but Frank will understand this doesn't mean I agree with everything Hitchens ever said.) Peace is desirable but sometimes the desire for peace is a form of moral cowardice.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby DanielBarron » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:49 pm

"Ezra, blessed are the peacemakers."

He actually meant blessed are the cheesemakers.

http://youtu.be/-xLUEMj6cwA

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:10 pm

Correction: I meant "said," not "saud." (Could that have been a Freudian slip? Maybe a Saudian slipper.)
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:38 am

Barber, you do know why you are wrong about what I said. I don't want to embarrass you but what I said made a lot of obvious sense.

Thinking we own the world is quite different than doing good things FOR the world: FOR and AGAINST are two different guises.

A pimp beats his trick because he runs her life. A human rights person frees a child prostitute and helps her go to school. Pretty durned different doggie lova.

----------

Bombing Syria would hurt Syria not help it. Why I am against it. I would love to see John Kerry as out of his tree about poverty here as he is about helping Al Qaida gain a toehold in Syria.

Obama won't even meet with Putin, who is saying he may send a missile shield to Syria. Great, a war with Russia, goodie.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:41 am

Mark, we should do good things not bad things. Bombs are not kisses.

Violence is not a good thing. It rarely is. Unless you support Vietnamese fighters to bomb Washington. We used chemical gas there, remember. Why can't they have a red line??

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:10 am

FrankChurch wrote:Mark, we should do good things not bad things. Bombs are not kisses.

Violence is not a good thing. It rarely is. Unless you support Vietnamese fighters to bomb Washington. We used chemical gas there, remember. Why can't they have a red line??


They can and often did. It's a question of ability to make good on the promise.

It's too easy to say violence is not a good thing. It's beside the point. Of course it's not a good thing. But what constitutes violence? In my experience, the bully doesn't respond to arbitration, he responds to a sock in the nose. Tell me you don't understand that. Assad is a bully, but when he bullies people die.

Now, you tell me what it is you think we should do. While Assad is killing his own people because they want free elections and reforms, what do you suggest we do to make him stop? And how long are you willing to let him keep killing his people while we engage in whatever nonviolent method you propose? At what point does "not doing violence to end violence" become another reason for people to hate us?

This is what annoys me about positions like this. Someone is perfectly willing to sacrifice any number of lives in the name of nonviolent protests just so they can feel good in their conscience that they haven't advocated violence. "Oh, the bad guy will fall from his own hubris when the moral revulsion of the world and his own deeply buried conscience finally comes to bear!" Bullshit.

So we either pull out completely---both sides will then be on their own, as far as we're concerned---and let the chips fall where they may. What then is the reaction of the world? "Why didn't you do anything?"

Like what? Assad doesn't listen. Not to us, not to Putin, not to the Arab League, which has behind the scenes been suggesting very strongly that he step down for some time now (it would be nice if they came out from behind our skirts and condemned the motherfucker publicly). Meantime, two results are in the offing. He keeps killing people who are making, in our view, perfectly legitimate demands for reform, driving the reasonable, peaceful citizens out of the country, into camps in other states where they threaten to destabilize those regimes by the sheer drain on resource, and leaving Syria open for the various bands of jihadist nutjobs who are even more prone to killing their own because they don't dress right or they read the wrong books or they missed a prayer. Or the rebels give up and the political situation returns to what it was---oppressive, tyrannical---but now the police start rounding up former rebels and new mass graves start being filled. Those are your two consequences if we do nothing.

What then? Provide aid to the rebels? Very well, but how much? Do we give them tanks? And how exactly does that differ from using those tanks ourselves? The violence continues, escalated because the two sides become more closely matched, but it's local, Americans aren't killing Syrians. I confess to find that a bit more appealing. I think we should've dumped arms into the rebel's hands right off the bat. Assad is an ass, nobody likes him.

We've been sending in food and medical supplies, but as in all such conflicts this all goes to the fighters. The refugees are another matter.

How about we do a blackbag job and snatch Assad and deliver him to the Hague? That might help, but more likely you just start an internecine war over who then gets to be in charge. Democracy does not magically assert itself, civil war continues.

What, Frank, would you have us do? It does nothing to sit on the sidelines and lob invective over violence. Yes, violence is bad. But it is part of what humans are. (I suspect you've been so insistent on our lack of knowledge about human nature because you'd rather this not be true.) Violence is often like a forest fire and sometimes the only way to put it out is to set more fires to contain it.

But I'm interested, Frank. What would you do?

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:55 pm

Orwell famously wrote in his essay on Gandhi that "non-violent resistence can work when you're opposing the British; it works less well when you're dealing with Nazis."

I'm sure that Frank will respond that the British were just as brutal (they were not -- they eventually gave up India); or that Orwell was a fink who snitched to the government (true, he did supply the British government with the names of people he knew to be secretly communists and thus possible security risks if hired for sensitive goverment posts); and that Orwell's recently published diaries show him to be anti-Semitic. (Yes, he writes anti-Semitic things in his diaries à la Mencken, but his published works show a vigorous opposition to anti-Semitism in Britain and everywhere else.) None of which invalidates his observations on Gandhi (who held some pretty wacky views himself.)
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion


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