Saturday, September 04, 2010

Defeating al-Queda in Pakistan

IF the US really wanted to fight al-Queda and the Taliban in Pakistan, we would be pumping massive amounts of foreign aid into flood-stricken areas of that country. We'd be feeding and housing people, rebuilding their homes and schools and hospitals (and, yes, mosques), raising dams, bringing electricity and data service to every village. When US workers finished up and departed (in less than a year), the people's infrastructure wouldn't just be would be improved. They would be better off, materially and spiritually, than they were before the floods.

(And not incidentally, we would supply jobs for many out-of-work infrastructure people in the United States.)

Look at the friends the US made in England and France during World War II. Look at the friends we made throughout Western Europe as a result of the Marshall Plan. The Taliban and al-Queda are popular because they feed and shelter and care for people -- so let's feed, shelter, and care for them better.

The Ivory Madonna has said it before and she will say it again: Envision a world in which anyone, anywhere, could go to a United States Embassy and get a good, nutritious meal for free. That would be a world in which the United States was much more secure.

Instead, we spend trillions...thousands of billions...on armaments and soldiers and logistical/infrastructure support for our troops in support of goals that no one can articulate, in a world in which our nation is less secure now than it was a decade ago.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers. Like the blog? Send the author a donation.  Subscribe in a reader

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Repeal That Doesn't

Comes news of "a new White House-backed plan for a vote in Congress to immediately repeal the law that bans gays from serving openly in the military."

Good news? Wait.

"In a compromise worked out Monday between the White House and some Democrats, the Defense Department's personnel policies wouldn't have to change until the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that the military was ready."

So Congress can vote to repeal DADT. Immediately. And the Democrats can take credit for repealing it. Immediately. Democratic candidates can lean on the LGBT community for those all-important campaign contributions, those all-important volunteers, and did I mention the cash? And the best thing about it...DADT will remain in full force until "the military is ready."

Isn't it delicious? Isn't it Karl-Rovian doublespeak? All the benefit of a repeal, without actually repealing anything. Once again, take full advantage of the stupid, stupid gays while simultaneously getting the pleasure of continuing to kick them in the face.

Let me say it right now: Any lesbian, gay man, bisexual, or transgender person who falls for this and contributes money to any Democrat is an idiot.

Here's what my creator, Don Sakers, wrote to Mr. Obama:

Mr. President, I have supported you faithfully on most issues, but I can no longer remain silent on your disrespect toward the LGBT community. Your latest proposal, to have Congress vote on a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that wouldn't take effect until the military is "ready", is insulting. Imagine if President Johnson had urged Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act, but promised not to implement it until Alabama was "ready."

You are trying to claim credit for a repeal without actually delivering a repeal. The LGBT community is not as stupid as you think; we will not fall for that trick.

A repeal that does everything except repeal? I expected such doublespeak from the Bush administration. I am saddened to hear it from the Obama administration.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers. Like the blog? Send the author a donation.  Subscribe in a reader

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Lifeboat Rules?

The Ivory Madonna believes in trying to understand her opponents. It's always tempting to dismiss those who don't agree with her as ignorant idiots at best, or evil sociopaths at worst. But neither leads to useful discussion or rational solutions, so she'd rather assume that her opponents have soi-disant "reasons" for their actions.

Which brings us to the recent Arizona immigrant law.

This law is a clear expression of the larger sentiment behind it: that immigrants are not welcome. That they consume resources belonging to native-born citizens. That they should not be allowed to partake in the bounty that the rest of us enjoy. In effect, it's a sentiment that says, "Hey, buddy, I've got mine, the hell with you."

This same sentiment is applied to the rest of the underclass: the poor, the unlucky, those without good jobs or medical insurance or influential friends & family.

How can we understand this? In what kind of world is this sentiment right and moral?

Actually, there is such a world. It's called Lifeboat Rules.

In matters of life and death, when there are only enough resources to keep a small, finite number alive...then it is right and moral to keep others out. If you let everyone swarm aboard the lifeboat, it will be swamped and all will die.

The Ivory Madonna believes that this is the key to understanding those who say "I've got mine, to hell with you." They feel that we are in a lifeboat: that there isn't enough to go around, that if we let more people aboard, we will all perish.

Now, the Ivory Madonna disagrees: she thinks that our country is wealthy enough -- in riches, in ability, in ingenuity, and in compassion -- to share the benefits of our society with all who come here to live. She feels that welcoming immigrants has served us very well in the past, and there's no reason to stop.

However, the important thing is that by shifting the discussion to whether or not lifeboat rules apply, we've changed the nature of the dialogue. And maybe we'll start talking rationally to one another.

The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers. Like the blog? Send the author a donation.  Subscribe in a reader

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Hidden Agenda to Abolish Divorce

Some people want you to believe that marriage is a matter for religion, not government. But be careful: these people have a hidden agenda, and the Ivory Madonna has discovered what it is.

If marriage belongs to religion, then so must divorce. Doesn't this follow as the night the day? If a couple can only be married by their religious official (priest, minister, rabbi, etc.) -- then obviously they can only be divorced by the same official.

The shrill people who shout that marriage is a religious ceremony -- including the Catholic Church and the Mormons -- maintain that they are trying to prevent gay marriage. But obviously, they're after bigger game. In short, they want to abolish divorce as well.

Straight people, think about this. Do you really want to go to your church to get permission to divorce? Do you honestly think that you will have much of a chance asking the Pope for a divorce?

After all, these same people keep shouting that it's vital for children to be raised by two opposite-sex parents. If you grant them that argument, how can you object if they force couples to remain together against their will...for the good of the children, of course?

Make no mistake, that's what they're after: a complete change in the way marriage and divorce operate in the United States.

Under current law, you go to a judge to get a divorce, not a priest. Marriage and divorce are matters of civil law, not the property of religion. Let's keep it that way.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.
Like the blog? Send the author a donation.

 Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Great Thing About Terrorism

The great thing about terrorism is that you don't have to be effective to be successful.

Look at Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the bumbling idiot who made a complete mess of blowing up Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The plane landed safely and undamaged; the passengers and crew were all alive and unhurt; in fact, the only person Umar managed to injure was himself. And even then, he couldn't even successfully kill himself. A suicide bomber who doesn't bomb anything and doesn't even commit suicide is, by definition, a failed suicide bomber.

Oh, but look at the reaction: Fear, alarm, panic in the streets. Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Demands that something be done. More inconvenience, more delays, more economic dislocation. Headlines everywhere about the need to do more to protect us from terrorists. The Ivory Madonna, who makes it a policy never to watch TV news, can only imagine the fearmongering histrionics that are filling the nation's airwaves and cables. In short, we have allowed ourselves to succumb to terror.

Umar must be thrilled.

Sure, he's a failure as a suicide bomber. But boy, is he a success as a terrorist!

People, what are you all afraid of?

Nobody got hurt (except Umar). Nothing got bombed. For Percy's sake, the plane even landed on time.

Oh, but next time....

Next time you could die in a car accident on the way to the airport. Next time you could get struck by lightning. Next time the plane's engines could fail, or it could crash on takeoff or landing.

All of those threats are much more likely than dying in a terrorist attack. Yet you manage to live with them without succumbing to terror.

The goal of terrorism is not to kill people. The goal of terrorism is to cause terror. And they can only be successful if we let terror spread.

Stop being an accomplice to terrorism. Stop spreading terror. Turn off the tv, don't read the fearmongers. Use your intelligence. Grow up and start acting like an adult. Get a grip on yourself.

Stop being afraid.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.
Like the blog? Send the author a donation.

 Subscribe in a reader

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood & Extremism

Everyone wants to link the Fort Hood attack to Islam. It seems to the Ivory Madonna that Islam is a red herring here. The Fort Hood attack had nothing to do with Islam per se. But it seems to have had everything to do with faith-based extremism.

Kill and wound two dozen military personnel because your personal faith tells you to. Shoot doctors because you believe (on faith) that your god told you to. Fly planes into buildings because you have faith that you're doing the right thing. Blow up a Federal building because you believe (on faith) that the government is evil.

Make death threats toward your opponents because you have faith that you're right and they are wrong. Rant and rave and scream and call people names, because you believe (on faith) that you and your opinions are superior. Vote to deny people human rights, execute innocents, go to war and bomb civilians...because of your faith.

Reason, people! Rationality. Eschew belief, question faith, look for evidence and use logic. That way, if you go on a rampage and kill people, at least you'll be able to credibly defend yourself in a court of law.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.
Like the blog? Send the author a donation.

 Subscribe in a reader

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hate Crimes

Will the new hate crimes bill open the door for prosecuting religious ministers who preach that homosexuality is a sin? Will it allow transvestite teenagers to claim hate crimes when they aren't invited to a classmate's birthday party? Will it mean that you're committing a hate crime if you observe to a friend that the guy panhandling in his wheelchair smells like a big pile of unwashed socks?

People, please read the English language. In order for an action to be considered a "hate crime," it must first and foremost be a crime.

Preaching against sin (be it homosexuality, extramarital sex, hypocrisy, or bowling) is not a crime.

Not inviting someone to a private birthday party is not a crime.

Observing that someone smells like socks is not a crime.

That being said, the whole concept of "hate crimes" makes the Ivory Madonna more than a little uneasy. How do we know that a crime is a hate crime? Short of telepathically investigating a person's mind to determine their inner motives (a trick which few of you have mastered but, I assure you, the Ivory Madonna learned long ago), the only way is to examine what went along with the crime. Trouble is, too often those factors involve things that qualify under the First Amendment as "speech': Verbal speech, nonverbal behavior, signs, printed or written text, etc.

Yes, some types of speech are not protected. Among them are speech that directly incites violence. But it's a mighty thin line between speech that promotes violence, and speech that accompanies violence.

None of this means that the Ivory Madonna thinks the bastards who crucified Matthew Shepard shouldn't pay extra hard for their crime. But laws giving extra punishment for particularly heinous crimes are a different matter from laws giving extra punishment for hate crimes.

The Ivory Madonna guesses that what's she's saying is this: suppose the murderes of a future Matthew Shepard were mute, and never gave any indication of their motives -- shouldn't their crime be punished just as harshly as any hate crime?

But do you hear the religious nuts arguing for the abolishment of the class of "hate crimes"? No, of course not. Because they themselves are the beneficiaries of that class. Religion has been a protected class under hate crime laws for a long time.

The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.
Like the blog? Send the author a donation.

 Subscribe in a reader