Menon’s arguments are quite rational, but with the current American Republican Administration having rational arguments doesn’t count for much.

 

“Here’s a prerequisite for avoiding war in Korea: stop believing in the North’s denuclearization, attractive and desirable as it might be (if achieved through diplomacy).

It doesn’t follow, however, that war can’t be avoided.  Kim Jong-un and his inner circle are not, in fact, irrational beings immune to deterrence.  Their paramount aim is to ensure the survival of the North Korean state. Starting a nuclear war would destroy it.  Yes, many people have perished in North Korea (whether due to repression or famine), but deterrence worked in the cases of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong, both of whom enacted policies that killed millions. Mao supposedly even boasted that China could survive a nuclear war because of its huge population.

Coming to terms with the reality of a nuclear-armed North Korea and trusting in deterrence may not sound like a perfect ending, but under the circumstances it’s undoubtedly the best way to avert catastrophe.  And that, unquestionably, is the urgent task.  There are other ways, down the line, to make the Korean peninsula a better place through dialogue between the two Koreas, by drawing the North into the regional economy and reducing troops and weaponry on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone.  These shouldn’t be ruled out as infeasible.

For them to happen, though, South Korea would have to separate itself from Trump’s war plans by refusing to allow its sovereign space (land, sea, and air) to be used for such a preventive war.  The symbolism would be important even if Trump could strike in other ways.

Seoul would also have to build on two recent positive developments that emerged from a surprise January 9th meeting between the Koreas.  The first is the agreement on Kim Jong-un’s proposal (initially advanced by the South last June) to send a North Korean contingent to the February Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  The second flowed from South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s follow-up idea of restoring the hotline between the countries and beginning discussions of how to tamp down tensions on the peninsula.  (Pyongyang shut down the hotline in February 2016 after South Korea’s conservative government closed the Kaesong joint industrial zone located in the North, which then employed more than 50,000 North Koreans.)  Moon’s suggestion doubtless eased the way for the subsequent agreement to hold future military talks aimed at reducing the risks of war.

There are further steps Seoul could take, including declaring a moratorium on military exercises with the United States — not just, as now (with Washington’s consent), during the February Olympics and the Paralympics that follow and end in March, but without a preset time limit. While such joint maneuvers don’t scare Pyongyang, moves like flying American B1-B bombers and F-15C fighter jets in international airspace off North Korea’s coast do ratchet up the tension.  They increase the chances of one side concluding that the other is about to attack.

Trump may continue his threats via Twitter and again denigrate the value of negotiations with Pyongyang, but South Korea is a powerful country in its own right. It has a $1.4 trillion economy, the 11th largest in the world (versus North Korea’s paltry $32.4 billion one), and ranks sixth in global exports.  It also has a formidable military and will spend $34 billion on defense in 2017 — more than North Korea’s entire gross domestic product.  It is, in short, anything but the Asian equivalent of a banana republic for which Donald Trump should be able to write the script.

Trump’s generals and the rest of the American foreign policy establishment won’t welcome independent initiatives by Seoul, as witness the condescending remark of a former official about the hazards of South Korea “running off the leash.”  Predictably, mainstream warnings have already begun.  Cunning Kim Jong-un wants to drive a “wedge” between the United States and South Korea.  He’s trying to undo the sanctions.  Agreeing to talks with Pyongyang will only communicate weakness.  The United States must demonstrate its resolve and protect its credibility.  And so it goes.

Policies based on these shibboleths, which portray South Korea as an American dependency, have brought us to the brink of war.  Continuing them could push us over the edge. “

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Welcome to part 4 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

So far in Stage 2 we’ve looked at why I personally don’t want kids and why the world would be better off if I didn’t. Today, we will look at one last key figure. I am ashamed to say, although I’ve had this discussion regularly, I was about to overlook this entirely for this series. Many thanks to The Intransigent One for reminding me to write of the ones who suffer the most from our culture’s addiction to procreation: mothers.

They are Life Threatening

I have never understood how a woman can look at someone going through a pregnancy, with all its aches, pains, discomforts, swelling, nausea, reduced mobility, exhaustion, hormonal imbalances, and think to themselves, “Now THAT is something I need to try”. And this is the best case scenario in a developed nation with some of the best medical care in the world. World wide, 830 women die every single day due to pregnancy or birthing complications. In Canada the maternal mortality rate is 7 deaths out of 100,000 births.

Even for those fortunate to live in a developed country and not die, things can, and often do, go wrong. From the CDC, common health issues of pregnancy include anemia (low red blood cell count), urinary tract infections, depression, hypertension, gestational diabetes, and obesity. It doesn’t stop there. Other health issues can include ectopic pregnancies (egg implanting in the fallopian tube) causing bleeding pain and dizziness; hyperemesis gravidarum – morning sickness that doesn’t go away resulting in weight loss, faintness, and dehydration; and placental abruption (separation from uterine wall) causing bleeding cramping and pain.  There are also a slew of infections to be on the watch for, including Bacterial vaginosis, Cytomegalovirus, Group B strep, Hep B, and Influenza. Each can pose serious risk to the mother and/or the unborn child.

And before you brush off that listing of depression, it is a leading cause of new mother fatalities, with violent suicides.

All that and we haven’t addressed the actual birthing process yet. It carries many risks of serious pain and injury which are often ignored or even unknown by  a lot of parents (I’m especially looking at you, fathers).  Let’s start by talking about labour pain.

You know what? No. Fuck that. Let’s start by watching some labour pain.

I told a bit of lie just now. That wasn’t true labour pain. The thing is, these guys were in control. The severity and duration of their pain was adjustable and avoidable. They could have opted out at any time. With a flick of a switch or a pulling of a plug, all their pain would immediately cease. Think of a time you endured pain because you wanted to prove a point. Contrast that with a time that you endured pain because there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. I can think of no way to precisely quantify that difference, but it’s huge. Recognize and respect that difference.

Oh hey, did you know there’s something called ‘eclampsia’? It’s a life threatening condition where high blood pressure causes pregnant women to get massive headaches, and get blurred or double vision. Or they could just suddenly go into seizures or a coma.
What’s that? You never heard of it? Neither had I until I was researching this piece. Just another horrifying thing that most people don’t know about going into pregnancy. Sure, it’s rare, but it still happens and an important thing to consider if one wants to make an informed decision about giving birth. There’s another thing that many people don’t think about, but this is far more common.

Tearing.

Or, iffin you wanna get all technical, Obstetric trauma: fourth-degree perineal lacerations; laceration of the cervix, vaginal wall or sulcus; injury to bladder or urethra; and repair of obstetric lacerations of the uterus, cervix, corpus uteri, bladder, urethra, rectum and sphincter.

It’s like this, but a little bit lower, if you know what I mean.

Now fellas, I really want you to think about this the next time you consider the ‘joys of fatherhood’. Imagine shoving a scalpel up your ass and slicing yourself open, sphincter to shaft.

That, my friends, would be the male equivalent of an episiotomy. It’s a procedure done in an effort to reduce the harmfulness of  obstetric trauma. Again, that’s cutting yourself from your stink-hole to your pee-pee in an attempt to REDUCE harm. It is even more unpleasant and insane than you imagine.

After you’re done cringing and have composed yourself, recognize that serious obstetric trauma is a reality for 16.9 out of every 100 mothers giving birth in Canada.  Probability wise, thats a little bit higher than a roll of a dice. Is that a chance you want to take? Is that a chance you want your significant other to take?

Such a serious injury does not go away quickly and can have some long term effects. For instance, postpartum urinary incontinence is fairly common yet rarely addressed.

Let’s sum up, shall we?

…except for one tiny little detail. Despite all the health issues that come with vaginal births, cesarians are far from desirable. The risks are as numerous as they are severe. There’s chance of infection (incision site, bladder, uterus), haemorrhage or extreme blood loss, injury to bowel or bladder, and scar adhesions. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Now, this may be a bit presumptuous of me, but I feel that most people are at least amicable with those they are planning to have a child with. And if you care about someone, how can you want them to endure this kind of pain and take these kinds of risks? I wouldn’t even wish it upon an enemy.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it turns out that pregnant women are twice as likely to be murdered than not-pregnant women. This makes murder the leading cause of death for pregnant women. A societal fuck-you-cherry atop a biological shit-sundae women have to risk just by “playing their role” in biology’s plan for them.

I cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily endure a pregnancy with all this physical and mental duress threatening their wellbeing. At the very least, I think we owe it to the future mothers of the world that information about these risks be more readily available, making their chances at an informed decision more likely.

They are Legion

I have one final reason to not have children before I move on to Stage 3. If I undergo a complete change in values and personality, as the Breeder often predicts I will, and suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to be a parent, there is still no reason to make my own. In fact there are millions of reasons not to. There are so many parentless, homeless children in the world all in desperate need of people to care for them. That is to say, there is already too much need for society to handle as it is. Why create more? It just further demonstrates how much the drive to be a parent is based on biological manipulations.

I think that about covers it. Some are powerful reasons why I personally would never want to reproduce. Some are excellent reasons I should not bear spawn even if I wanted to. Many are both – my case is iron clad. The Breeder, however, will not be dissuaded. Of course, the Breeder never tackles any of my objections head on. In the face of solid reasoning, there’s nothing for them to say. As denying isn’t an option, I’m met instead  with an attempt to devalue and deflect. It’s time to look at the other side of the coin. All my objections, *cough* while technically accurate*cough* don’t actually carry much weight when compared to all I would lose out on by not having children. Next time, I’ll look at the Breeder’s most common reasons I ought to reproduce in Stage 3: The Rebuttal.

  Interesting article from the folks over at JSTOR.

 

     “According to Willinsky, “The schooled representation of meaning sets language in the hands of those who hold the proper definitions.” In other words, appeals to the dictionary serve a political purpose; they preserve existing power structures, and fortify the way things are at the expense of the way things can be.

     It can appear trivial to expend so much energy on worrying about how we speak, because speech seems less tangible than physical action. But definitions always matter. In the judicial system, for example, they are key in assigning blame. The “reasonable person” standard is applied in self-defense cases to determine culpability; in this context, “reasonable” means average, ordinary. As legal scholar Jody David Armour writes in Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism, this definition of reasonable “takes the merely typical and contingent and presents it as truth and morality, objectively construed,” a pretty low bar for justice. Consider how a “rational person” test or an “omniscient person” test might change the meaning of criminality.

     Similarly, there was a time in the American South when blackness, that thing that determined where one could eat, drink, and sit, was codified into law as having “one drop” of black blood. And migrants fleeing violence in Central America are rarely granted asylum in the United States because of the legal definition of “refugee.” There are profound consequences from definitions, and they should not be ceded to the staff of a reference book.

     Even words without legal import can hold incredible power. Speech can’t bruise skin, but it can break a spirit. Is a feeling any less real because it happens “under the hood?” Is heartbreak not real pain? Why do we describe hurtful words as a punch to the gut or a slap to the face? For so long, the free speech debate has been built upon an incoherent premise: that speech is powerful enough to solve social ills, but can’t inflict as much damage as a fist.

     When is speech violence? It depends on how we define it. If we define violence as a physical act, then speech is never violence. If we choose to define violence as causing harm to a person, then speech is often violence. If we choose to define violence as intentionally causing harm, then sometimes speech is violence.

     If there is to be one takeaway from the work of Wittgenstein, it’s that nothing is essential in language. He spent his entire life feeling around for the atoms of speech, only to discover that he was grasping at an illusion. Language is what we say, what we mean, and what we understand—different meanings for different people in different contexts.”

Interesting stuff.  I think I’ll have to read some more Wittgenstein.

I guess it is possible. Pandering to the male-gaze has been the industry standard for all too long. Time to shake things up in my honest opinion.

Link to the article here.

Hi ho blog friends.   Just another quick look into our patriarchal rape culture, yes our culture, the one we inflict on the female folk.

“Sam Smethers says that the minority of people who hold these views have “a drag effect on our society, [and] are holding us all back with their hostile, negative attitudes”.

She adds that blame culture prevails because “it’s what’s been normalised in our culture: that women fundamentally are the ones responsible”.

She says people have got to “understand that it’s nothing to do with what the woman wears or how she behaves – it’s all about what the perpetrator does”.

Yeah.  Bald faced injustice like this has been going on for years and is certainly seems like we’re still in the naming the problem phase.  So much more work is required to de-normalize this mode of thinking in our society.   Fix your family first then your friends, the transmission of patriarchal norms stops with you.

  There is a frighteningly large segment of the population of Alberta that thinks that what the Republican Administration down south is gang-busterly-amazing-awesome-fantastic (full disclosure – by exhibiting knowledge of uncommon adjectives I disqualify myself from said group).

The Republicans, led by Trump, are merrily deconstructing American civil society; whether through willful action or diligent buffoonery, it matters not, as the end result is the same.  The glimpses I’ve seen of the full throtle shit show going on in the USA should be serving as a cautionary tale writ large for the gentle-folk of Alberta.

The Republicans and Trump’s toxic corporatism burnished with a faux veneer of populism is poison toward the idea that society should be a place for everyone and that caring for your fellow human being is a good thing.

2020 isn’t coming fast enough for America and the rest of the world.

Apparently though, here in my home province of Alberta, Jason Kenny and the possibly united right wing parties have seen the dumpster fire that is the Republican administration and have decided – “Wow, we should do that in Canada! Stat!”

*blinks*

Finding words to describe the incredulity I’m experiencing is difficult.  Here in Alberta, we’ve just come out from some 40 years of right/centre right governance.  The people of Alberta decided to vote in a centre-left party (led by a woman, no less) and have given Rachel Notley and the New Democratic Party a five year term to run the province not explicitly beholden to business and the corporate class.

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but things are going fairly well.  Rather than imposing austerity on the people of Alberta, the NDP government is running deficits to keep education and healthcare funded and spur employment in the public sector by encouraging civic projects and the like.  The last government of Alberta talked a mean game about diversifying Alberta’s economy, the NDP is making a bit of headway in that area introducing a carbon tax and providing incentives for businesses to get into the renewable resource sectors and technology.  The price of oil has for much too long dictated the overall welfare of the province.

A return to right-wing policies would be detrimental to the welfare of the policies.  The same could be said and more for the antediluvian, obtuse, and generally batshite-crazy that is currently passing for policy in the US.  We need less of this, not more.

I can only hope that the people of Alberta are more astute than our southern brethren.

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