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Today’s Garfield is bad timing, not anti-veteran

Today’s Garfield has raised eyebrows for some fans and readers. The strip depicts Garfield poised to kill a spider to which the spider responds by warning that if killed, the day would be an annual observance and ends with the words, “Does anyone here know why we celebrate ‘National Stupid Day’?”

Garfield creator Jim Davis says that the strip was written long ago and nobody tracked to see what day it would run on. Unfortunately, it ran on a day of remembrance – Veteran’s Day. Jim has issued an apology for the regrettable oversight.

Dear Friends, Fans, and Veterans:

In what has to be the worst timing ever, the strip that runs in today’s paper seems to be making a statement about Veteran’s Day. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance.

Regarding today’s Garfield comic strip, it was written almost a year ago and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today ? of all days. I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days, so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veteran’s Day. What are the odds? You can bet I’ll have a calendar that lists EVERYTHING by my side in the future.

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’d have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our Veterans have done for all of us.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any offense today’s Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable.

Jim Davis

Community Comments

#1 August J. Pollak
November/11/2010
@ 2:24 pm

Also, the F-bomb in today’s Family Circus. What was that all about?

#2 Tom Pappalardo
November/11/2010
@ 2:51 pm

Only working a year in advance? Why is Garfield Inc. so LAZY?

#3 Charles Brubaker
November/11/2010
@ 4:00 pm

It’d be interesting to compare how far ahead comic strips are.

If I recall, “Pearls Before Swine” is roughly 9 months ahead. Like “Garfield” there were times where there were unfortunate timings (infamously the one storyline where Rat lost the election to a dead guy).

#4 Ron Mabon
November/11/2010
@ 5:22 pm

I realize that producing Garfield is a major industry that probably involves the participation of more people than may work at Chrysler. Written a year ago? Wow. Who actually draws the strip? Who signs Jim Davis’ name to it? And, of course, who writes the publication date next to Jim’s signature (and when)? It seems like there would have been opportunities along the way for someone in Davis’ employ to notice that the gag and the publication date were perhaps not a good pairing. Just an observation…

#5 Jason Nocera
November/11/2010
@ 5:39 pm

A year ago, it makes sense that no one bothered to check the calendar. However, you would think that this week, someone might have said to themselves, “Hey, it’s Veteran’s Day on Thursday. I wonder what strip we’re running?” If I was the creator, I know I would be curious. It would have been easy to swap out – they have 365 new ones to choose from (minus Sundays ;) )

#6 jim Lavery
November/11/2010
@ 6:41 pm

For a minute there I thought maybe Ted Rall was today’s “Garfeild” guest cartoonist.

#7 Son of a Vet
November/11/2010
@ 7:55 pm

“I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days”

What an interesting excuse considering October 31’s “Garfield” had a Halloween theme.

#8 Mike Cope
November/11/2010
@ 7:57 pm

For the record, the above comment came from one of my uncle’s this evening when I mentioned the strip to him. He’s a big Garfield fan, but he wasn’t impressed.

#9 Pat Lewis
November/12/2010
@ 8:11 am

“What an interesting excuse considering October 31?s ?Garfield? had a Halloween theme.”

I thought that too, at first, then I realized: Davis wouldn’t need a calendar to remember that October 31 is Halloween, or that December 25 is Christmas. Same with New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, etc.

It’s not like he doesn’t know what date the cartoon will be published on; he just saw “November 11” and didn’t immediately think “Veteran’s Day.”

#10 Ted Rall
November/12/2010
@ 8:23 am

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You?d have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our Veterans have done for all of us.

Thank goodness for the Heroes of the Davis Clan. Without them we would have been invaded by rampaging Iraqis, Afghans and/or Vietnamistanis.

What, exactly, did they “do” “for” us?

#11 Henry Clausner
November/12/2010
@ 8:38 am

bad timing there for sure……

#12 Shawn Labadie
November/12/2010
@ 9:43 am

This is really no big deal. Most Americans couldn’t tell you the date of Veterans day every year and you combine that with the operation that Jim Davis has going to create Garfield and you are inevitably going to have slip ups like this.

I think that Jim did a great job of responding to it and I’m sure next year there will probably be a strip honoring our veterans on Veterans Day.

The only thing that puzzles me is considering he has a son who is currently serving, why wasn’t there a strip honoring veterans already prepared to run?

#13 Derf Backderf
November/12/2010
@ 12:17 pm

I love it when over-marketed corporations screw up and commit a marketing disaster. Gives me hope.

#14 Darryl Heine
November/12/2010
@ 12:22 pm

At least it isn’t controversal than that Non Sequitur Muhammad strip that many papers (except only one) didn’t run October 3, 2010.

#15 David Reddick
November/12/2010
@ 12:37 pm

Ted Rall you are such a douchebag it’s painful. If you hate your country so f*** much get the f*** out.

#16 David Reddick
November/12/2010
@ 12:38 pm

And Ted, what exactly have YOU contributed to the betterment of anyone except your the legend within your own puny little self-important mind? hm? Thank God for another useless Rall book about hating everything in his path and looking down his nose at everyone he meets who has an inkling of reasonable, honorable thought. You make me sick.

#17 Stacy Curtis
November/12/2010
@ 12:53 pm

Wow, even for Ted, that was pretty tasteless.

#18 Phil Judd
November/12/2010
@ 12:58 pm

A political Garfield…!!! Who’d have thunk it?..

#19 frank white
November/12/2010
@ 1:03 pm

I’ve always considered Veteran’s day/Rememberance day to be honouring soldiers who have actually died or been injured in battle situations. I’m confused by some of the above comments that seem to imply it applies to all of the members of the armed forces.

#20 Phil Judd
November/12/2010
@ 1:03 pm

Might help them sell more mugs an t-shirts now they are the bad boys of comics…

#21 Steve Skelton
November/12/2010
@ 1:07 pm

Frank,

I think you are thinking of Memorial day.

#22 Mark_Tatulli
November/12/2010
@ 1:10 pm

What cartoonist has a calendar without holiday’s and notable days? Is there even such a thing?

#23 jim Lavery
November/12/2010
@ 1:39 pm

Mark, I think what happened was that the robot team that “creates” the strip didn’t have its calendar software updated after the last leap year so now they’re several days behind schedule.

#24 David Reddick
November/12/2010
@ 1:46 pm

Jim L: that robot writing team consists of Jim and an assistant.
Mark: http://www.timeanddate.com. You can print out small versions of a years-worth of calendars without holidays or moon phases and it prints out cleanly to highlight certain weeks for themes and such.

#25 Lankester Merrin
November/12/2010
@ 2:35 pm

“national stupid day”

Yes, of course, Jim. Just a complete coincidence that a proven toe-tag liberal happened to have had his stance on the military come out on Veterans Day.

It’s a good a thing that only dopes read comics, Jim. Your business won’t suffer at all.

#26 Steve Skelton
November/12/2010
@ 2:46 pm

Judging from your website, Lankester, you are a ship lost at sea. You spew nonsense and hatred there, please stay there. You also just called everyone on this site a “dope”.

#27 Derf Backderf
November/12/2010
@ 3:50 pm

Geez, David Reddick, Rall certainly got under your skin, huh?

But love it or leave it? Geezus, at least be slightly original in your putdowns.

#28 Jason Nocera
November/12/2010
@ 3:57 pm

Well, David Reddick works at Paws, Inc., so this story hits close to home for him. Hey, Dave, at least now you know what to get Jim for Christmas!

#29 Mark_Tatulli
November/12/2010
@ 6:01 pm

My question is, how does a cartoonist have a calendar without important dates on it. It is essential. I keep two pinned to my wall to keep track of what’s going on. It’s a dumb mistake.

#30 Charles Brubaker
November/12/2010
@ 6:26 pm

Not the first time Jim Davis screwed up regarding the dates.

This Garfield cartoon ran on January 16, 1989…also known as “Martin Luther King Jr. Day”.

http://garfield.nfshost.com/1989/01/16/

#31 Robert George
November/12/2010
@ 6:48 pm

This just underlines how old school Ted is. He dislikes technology, eschews modern progressive thought and tactics, has little more than contempt for the cultural values of the people who would have to lead his revolution, his frustration with modern technology or frankly the idea of advancement or progress at all…. Ted is the last New Leftist, for good or ill,

#32 Robert George
November/12/2010
@ 6:52 pm

That said, obviously the hidden comment was in bad taste, unfair, and is the exact sort of thing Ted ends up apologizing.

#33 Stephen Beals
November/12/2010
@ 11:41 pm

The real story, for me, is that Jim Davis’ son is a Marine during a time of war. I already like the guy.

I know what I would’ve done. I would’ve coasted on my dad’s success.

#34 Mike Peterson
November/13/2010
@ 4:45 am

I think part of the “offensiveness” is not instantly associating November 11 with Veteran’s Day. It’s one of the few holidays still observed on its actual date because the vets raised hell when the gummint tried to make it a three-day shopping extravaganza a few years back.

There are only a handful of dates that should *click* in the mind, and November 11 is one of them — even if you hate the veterans, you should remember the date because some people get it off and the banks and post office are closed. And you’ve studied history and know the eleventh hour, eleventh day, etc. etc.

Not knowing November 11 is like not knowing December 25. (I’ll grant you, the fact that Independence Day is actually called “The Fourth of July” makes it a little harder to miss.)

#35 Ted Rall
November/13/2010
@ 8:01 am

What should make you sick, David, is the disgusting cult of militarism that demands that we be grateful for people who are “defending” us from people who pose…no…threat…whatsoever.

I love America. Its government, on the other hand, is a POS.

#36 Robert George
November/13/2010
@ 8:58 am

The troops don’t set foreign policy, Ted. Being a soldier is a form of service Ted. You go where your nation asks you, whether you agree or not. Like it or not, both the public and there elected representives supported all three of the wars mentioned. We, collectively, asked them to risk life limb and sanity for crummy pay, and they did it. That is why we thank them.

The militarist here is you, actually, because you want our service members to decide what the right fight is, not the people.

#37 jim Lavery
November/13/2010
@ 9:35 am

I think Ted’s complaint is that we shouldn’t be killing his little buddies in the Taliban.

#38 Dan Collins
November/13/2010
@ 10:35 am

Just when you thought chickenhawk neocon fascism has gone out of vogue…

#39 Ted Rall
November/13/2010
@ 10:55 am

The troops don?t set foreign policy, Ted…You go where your nation asks you, whether you agree or not.

Which is why you don’t volunteer. The U.S. hasn’t fought a war of self-defense since at least World War II. It should obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of history that enlisting today means being sent to attack poor and defenseless people who are not America’s enemies.

Like it or not, both the public and there elected representives supported all three of the wars mentioned.

Not actually. The U.S. hasn’t declared war since 1941. In brazen violation of the U.S. Constitution, every President since then has illegally started wars of aggression without getting a declaration of war from Congress. I would love it if the Tea Party would address this issue, what with them loving the Constitution and everything.

The militarist here is you, actually, because you want our service members to decide what the right fight is, not the people.

You don’t know what militarism is.

1. Glorification of the ideals of a professional military class.
2. Predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state.

In a democracy, or any relatively free nation, the military is subservient to civil society. It is not glorified; it should not expect or receive “thanks.” Soldiers perform their jobs, as do the rest of us.

#40 Shane Davis
November/13/2010
@ 1:54 pm

“In a democracy, or any relatively free nation, the military is subservient to civil society. It is not glorified; it should not expect or receive ‘thanks.’ Soldiers perform their jobs, as do the rest of us.”

Ted,
As a pretty constitutional kinda of guy, I agree with you about the fact that war should be asked for by the President and granted by Congress. I think this approach was installed in the Constitution by our brilliant Founding Fathers because in a way, it forces a ‘win or don’t do it at all’ choice from a political perspective.

There is no better example of our government ‘dorking? around in war’ than in Vietnam. If LBJ had been forced to declare formal war, he would have either pulled out altogether or allowed the military to do what it is there for…win. I don’t believe history would have played out the way it did if ?Declared War? was the only way for LBJ to fight in Vietnam, it would have short circuited his political scheming and waffling. So on that point, I agree.

However, I do have to say that thanking our Vets for service isn’t the same as glorifying war or killing the poor and innocent. Military objectives often include massive life saving missions, food and medical relief and disaster aid. That?s pretty noble stuff.

Also, our military willingly puts themselves into situations where, on a daily or even hourly basis, they can, be paralyzed, have their limbs blown off, shot to pieces, captured or tortured brutally for weeks until dead or have their head sawn off by a rusty knife. There is no one in this nation that is doing any job that faces those consequences.

Soldiers do their jobs, as the rest of us do, true, but the consequences and risks of most of our jobs share nothing with theirs. The worst that can happen to most of us is that maybe we don’t get the raise/promotion we want, we get laid off or maybe fired. The worst that can happen to them is the worst that can happen to human beings on Earth.

We should thank them because of the horrific risks they face that the rest of don’t, regardless of the politics that put them there in the first place I know a lot of Vets and to a person they joined because they love this nation with a strong, pure conviction. They serve because they truly believe that if someone doesn?t stand in the gap, our liberty and nation could be lost. Their intentions are among the most noble humans can have, so if nothing else honor them for that; their desire to protect and preserve us, even if you hate the slimy turds that throw them into cruel sausage grinders for their own selfish political agendas.

#41 Robert George
November/13/2010
@ 2:23 pm

Responding from an iPhone so I apologize in advance Ted:
1. I think it is not a tenable position to make lacking your profound cynicism about our government a moral failing. Not only that, but you’d be hard pressed to persuade me the first Gulf War was not a war of self defense, same with Afghanistan.
2. This is a relic of the cold war. Wars didn’t get declared because of the popular conception that war=total war (see Shane post for an example). In a nuclear worl total war is not realistic. But courts have upheld the authorizations, making them war constitutionally, and the publics support was not in doubt in ’01 or ’03. This is just a smokescreen of an arguement.
3. Asking enlisted men or commissioned officers to dictate our foreign policy is the second definition. Thank you for making my point.

#42 Ted Rall
November/13/2010
@ 4:31 pm

Robert:

1. How, exactly, was the first Gulf War a war of self-defense? Iraq invaded Kuwait because it was undercutting OPEC and sidedrilling Iraqi oil. Saddam asked for, and received the United States’ permission to do so.

Was Iraq going to attack the U.S.? Really?

2. Actually, presidents have been usurping Congress’ right to declare war since the Barbary Wars. But it’s still unconstitutional. Courts have sort of upheld these decisions–but these courts were wrong, just as courts were wrong in Bush v. Gore and Dredd Scott.

3. I will restate: no one should ever enlist in the U.S. military since it is used exclusively in wars of violent aggression against innocent people.

#43 Robert George
November/13/2010
@ 4:42 pm

1. The US’s permission is a myth Ted. They got a noncommittal response from outside the White House and invaded, not because of an OPEC dispute but because of a dispute over drilling in a shared oil bed. And they then nakedly annexed most of the country. At which point they massed troops on their southern border. It’s not rocket science to see the next step, and it’s definitely self defense to keep an aggressive dictatorship from controlling half the worlds oil (47%). Dodged Afghanistan though, I see.
2. The court decides constitutionality. That’s the system. Dred Scott got fixed by ammendment, remember?
3. And the people who join have an honest disagreement, and are trying to defend you. Risking their lives in the attempt, even if they fail. That deserves thanks.

#44 John Hudson
November/13/2010
@ 5:48 pm

Everybody here would have known that odd strange kid at school, the one who was always fascinated with guns, fantasised whilst looking at the the latest gun-toting movie blockbusters and who gets their imagination completely took over with shoot em up games. These kids (usually bullies, I might add) tend to not aspire to anything else in life except to join the military just to fulfill their anti – social tendancies. In normal society in later life they would be locked up, in the army they are given medals.
In normal society it’s the paramedics, doctors, fire-fighters who are the real heroes who protect us.

#45 Ted Rall
November/13/2010
@ 6:11 pm

Robert:

1. Dodged Afghanistan? Do you know anything about me? Also, I fail to see the big problem of having an American ally control 47% of the world’s oil (which, by the way, Iraq didn’t have). Saddam was, remember, a US ally. Which is why he asked permission.

2. The Supreme Court has made many mistakes. By its own admission, since it reverses itself. One of them is endorsing the brazenly unconstitutional act of allowing presidents to wage war.

3. Members of the military could not possibly be so deluded as to think they are defending me or any other American. The countries we invade–Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, etc.–pose zero danger to me or any other American. And everyone knows it.

#46 Robert George
November/13/2010
@ 6:19 pm

That’s alot more offensive than Ted, John, and as someone who works with disabled vets daily I can tell you it’s total bs.

#47 Rick Schmitz
November/13/2010
@ 6:37 pm

John, the one kid I knew in High School who went into the military was my best friend at the time. He was interested in military history and tanks. He was and is a kind soul, and gentle in every way possible, pretty much the opposite of the sort of person you have described.

It’s easy to look at some examples of human behavior in our own lives and make sweeping generalizations about a whole group of people… we should all be mindful to avoid simplifying a world that is stubbornly complex.

#48 Dave Stephens
November/13/2010
@ 6:57 pm

Can anyone be more offensive than Ted? Really? That bar is set pretty high…

#49 Robert George
November/13/2010
@ 7:51 pm

Ted: 1. I haven’t read your latest since the trip Ted. Honestly I don’t understand your Afghan position. Sometimes you have this pipeline based conspiratorial tone, other times a standard it’s been screwed up/ gone on to long center left critique. I don’t understand your position any lmore, and I don’t want to clobber u with your old positions. I’m sorry.
2. It’s constitutional until it isn’t. Weird but true. I’m surprised you aren’t more sympathetic to this line of arguement, given it would buttress your new book.
3. You don’t know anyone at all who has served lately? Because you could not have and honestly believe that. You can oppose the war and understand appreciate the guys fighting it, Ted.

#50 Rob Tracy
November/13/2010
@ 9:58 pm

As a disabled combat vet (Army, Infantry, 88-92 serving in Korea. the U.S. and Operation Desert Shield and Storm), and as a writer for comics I will personally bridge the divide here and say: Jim Davis, I forgive you.

That is what this article was about right? Jim Davis making a faux pas and accidentally stirring up controversy among vets?

As I vet I can tell you that I get very wiggly when someone thanks me for my service or calls me a hero. I joined the Army more because I was young and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself and thought the choice of having a career handed to me with college paid for was better than the options a poor high school dropout was looking at in a small town in Connecticut.

John I wasn’t fascinated with guns or drooling over action movies (in fact I met very few people like you describe while I was in… until the Gulf War started… then we got a few like that but almost all of them missed out on what they joined for). Your portrait of those who serve is an unfair generalization and shows you to be pretty ignorant.

My younger step-brother was already in Military Intelligence (my father was in the navy during Vietnam… one grandfather was a WWII vet, the other fought in Korea and my younger sister and her husband are both ex-Air Force) so I had some idea of what to expect and it sounded like a pain in the a** to me but better than the roofing and gutters job I had. Or selling frozen meat and seafood door to door which I also did.

I did what I did because it seemed like a good life choice for me. It gave me possibilities. I have an A.S. and a B.S. in large part because of the G.I. Bill. And like any job I did it until I didn’t want to do it any more and then I quit (Bush senior enacted the reduction in forces act which allowed anyone with more than 3 years of service to leave as if their contract had been fulfilled).

I was young and arrogant and I didn’t like being told what to do by people I knew in my bones were as dumb as doorknobs. I was tired of getting up at 5 in the morning and running six miles and getting rained on and bitten by bugs and being sent to places I didn’t want to go. Little did I know that when I got out, the regular working world… not much different.

So I get a little wiggly any time someone calls me a hero or suggests I did anything extraordinary. Yes, I’ve been shot at. More than once. Yes, I came close to grave bodily injury more than once and sustained injuries that I’ll carry throughout my life. But I’ve been compensated. And I did it for those compensations.

In my older age now I’ve come to appreciate the idea that I served my country. And I do like that. I do like to know that I was there so someone else didn’t have to be. I was there and trained to do what I did and I did my job and served. And that appeals to me now. But back then there were very few people that I knew who joined because they felt the need to serve their country. That was something the Marines would constantly spout off about but we all pretty much considered them brainwashed for better or worse.

So it really doesn’t matter to me what was implied purposely or mistakenly by the Garfield comic. I have an overwhelming amount of doubt that Mr. Davis would do anything like that on purpose. What would be the upshot?

But I do think that there are heroes to be honored on both Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Men (and women) who gave some, men who gave all. Most were drafted and forced into a life not of their choosing and they served this nation with extraordinary valor in protecting the lives of their comrades often to their detriment and sometimes to their deaths.

John and Ted, their sacrifices should be remembered. From today all the way back to the revolutionary war, free men gave their lives because the men and women we as a society elected to represent us asked them to. For whatever the reasons, these gifts should be honored.

Maybe there are some of us who just did our jobs and if you don’t want to thank us that’s cool. But it wouldn’t be too hard to find someone deserving of your thanks if you tried I think. Purple Heart citations, Silver Star Citations, CMH Citations. A brief internet search and I’m sure you could find some reason to give a kind thought to those who served.

There’s a time and a place for everything. Railing (or should I say “Rall-ing”) against the military industrial complex is something we need right now but I don’t agree that you throw out those who served with that bath water.

#51 Ted Rall
November/14/2010
@ 7:40 am

It’s obvious that America ought to better treat the veterans of its many illegal wars better. However, one should never forget that in a volunteer army, everyone is there voluntarily.

If I don’t approve of foreclosing on poor people, I shouldn’t work for a bank. If you go work for the military, especially one that only wages illegal and immoral wars, you have to expect that some people won’t think you’re due any gratitude.

#52 Robert George
November/14/2010
@ 8:11 am

If no moral people work at a bank, there will be no moral bankers. Not only that, but it’s not that simple for most people. There are few jobs, parents to care for and kids to feed. Imagining being on the streets as you were early in your career, but with a kid. The choice become more morally ambiguous in a hurry.

#53 Ted Rall
November/14/2010
@ 11:14 am

I was offered a six-figure staff editorial cartooning job. It would have required crossing a union picket line during a newspaper strike. I didn’t take it. It was an unpleasant but easy decision: doing the right thing often requires paying a personal price. Why do so few Americans understand that?

Joining the U.S. military is immoral. It is better to be homeless and starving, and to watch your children die of hunger, than to serve in a horrific invading army killing innocent people for no good reason.

The SS wouldn’t have become less evil had more good people signed up. The point is, no one should have signed up.

#54 Pete Murphey
November/14/2010
@ 12:59 pm

The most obvious reason for thanking the troops that serve
is that without a standing army we would be attacked on a regular basis, both here, and around the world. The US Military is also one of the main deterrents to international dictators, murderers and power hungry criminals.

While I agree with Ted that the over glorification of soldiers and the military is very dangerous, vilifying them or under appreciating the huge effect they have on allowing us to continue to enjoy the freedoms and benefits of our democracy and capitalism, which despite all of its flaws is still better than any other system on the planet, is even more dangerous.
Soldiers put much more on the line doing their job than cartoonists do and their impact on holding together our system of democracy is far greater. They should be thanked for that.

According to Ted’s own definition, the vets of World War Two were just as deluded and immoral as our current vets, since neither Japan or Germany was ever going to invade us after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and our soldiers certainly killed many thousands of innocent people while fighting that war. We could have just as easily stayed isolationist, which was the popular mood of the country at that time, and let the European and Asian nations fend for themselves.

Our involvement in the Korean war and Vietnam initially grew out of the hard lessons learned in WW 2. If any number of nations had acted earlier against Hitler, while he was still relatively weak and vulnerable, he could have been stopped, and millions of lives would have been saved. Truman acted quickly in Korea based on that lesson, as did Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam. Of course each war is different and not every one we have fought has been right or justified, but the decisions to engage are rarely the clear cut black and white ones, which Ted likes to suggest.

#55 Ted Rall
November/14/2010
@ 6:44 pm

The most obvious reason for thanking the troops that serve
is that without a standing army we would be attacked on a regular basis, both here, and around the world. The US Military is also one of the main deterrents to international dictators, murderers and power hungry criminals.

Many countries have small armies, yet no one invades them.

Mostly, international dictators are US allies.

#56 Rob Tracy
November/14/2010
@ 6:52 pm

Don’t ask Ted for proof of that though. He doesn’t play the internet link game. It would mean he could no longer say anything he wanted without being held responsible for his words.

#57 Pete Murphey
November/14/2010
@ 7:55 pm

“Mostly, international dictators are US allies.”

No, mostly, the biggest international dictators are our enemies. There are some exceptions of course, but they are not an argument for the inherent immorality of our troops, military or government. During the “good war”, which you find morally acceptable, we were allies with one of the greatest dictators and mass murders in all of history, Joesph Stalin. So certainly, by your own standards, this can not be the measure that determines
the justness of a cause or action.

#58 Pete Murphey
November/14/2010
@ 10:42 pm

“Mostly, international dictators are US allies.”

Ted Rall, explaining why US alliances with dictatorships undermines their moral authority.

“WCP: When you call for revolution, what would you see replacing the current system? Parliamentary democracy?

TR: I?m all the way on the far left, as far as you can get, so I would like to see a completely leftist proletariat dictatorship, but what I want is neither here nor there.”

Ted Rall arguing for a dictatorship to replace our current form of government. (http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/books/2010/09/27/meet-a-visiting-cartoonist-a-chat-with-ted-rall/)

Wow, that really thickens up the irony around here, doesn’t it?

#59 Dave Stephens
November/15/2010
@ 1:39 am

A bunch of cartoonists can certainly gripe about trumped up nonsense from anyone, including political cartoonists, but especially a political cartoonist name Ted Rall who will never run out of ludicrously vile things to say about the country that spawned him…

That said, Ted certainly makes things interesting around here, so keep up the ‘good’ work, Mr. Rall – we’ll keep griping about your nonsensical views and heck, we might even agree with you about some things, who knows?

#60 rick stromoski
November/15/2010
@ 5:39 am

There are a couple of ways that one can love their country. One way is how a young child loves their Mother. Mommy is all good, I love Mommy no matter what. Mommy can do no wrong.. Whatever she does is always right and if you don’t agree with that then you’re bad and I hate you.

There is another way to love your country, like one would a spouse. You love them and You expect them to always do the right thing, to be fair and just. To be open to criticism and other points of view without feeling threatened.To tell the truth and when they make a mistake, own up to it and correct it. And when they are wrong, to admit it and strive be their best.

#61 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 7:26 am

Pete: If you don’t know the difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat, and authoritarian dictators led by one man, you need to read up before you post. The word is the same, but it doesn’t mean the same thing. Not even close. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, everyone is free.

Rob:

Some US-backed dictatorships that come to mind without breaking into my first cup of coffee:

Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Uzbekistan
Kyrgyzstan
Kazakhstan
Tajikistan
Pakistan
Central African Republic
Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Some that are opposed to the US:

North Korea
Myanmar
Zimbabwe

Back in the 1970s, when there were a lot more dictators around, the US backed most of them too. Iran, Iraq, Latin America, etc…

But you already knew that.

#62 Terry LaBan
November/15/2010
@ 7:53 am

I can’t see the hidden comments for some reason. Did Ted really say he was in favor of a proletarian dictatorship? I think they tried that already, and it didn’t work out so well. Anyhow, I’m a man of the left, but arguing that the US military is ipso facto evil goes off the edge into dumbhead territory. Of course, history and reality are a lot more complex than that. It might be my imagination, Ted, but you’re sounding more and more like a LaRouchie. You don’t think the Queen of England deals drugs, do you?

As a syndicated cartoonist myself, I find it incredible that Jim Davis has no idea on what days his cartoons run. He doesn’t write or draw them–the least he could do is check the calendar. Millions of bucks a year for apparently doing bupkes! Nice work, if you can get it.

#63 Rob Tracy
November/15/2010
@ 10:37 am

Terry, Dave Reddick, who works for Jim Davis was already in here talking about how Jim does the strip himself with one assistant. You have some proof that someone else draws and writes it? I’d like to hear it.

Ted I have no doubt that the U.S. backs dictators. I know they do. It’s usually a stopgap measure to keep the nation from going to communism or forming a government hostile to the U.S. I’m aware it isn’t exactly a great thing that happens in those situations. Often the U.S. is forced to chose it’s own interests or the lesser of two evils (and sometimes they choose the greater of two evils because the U.S. interests are better served…. I know we’re not perfect).

But your assertion that many countries have small armies yet don’t get invaded… and that most dictators are U.S. allies… these are statements that can be proven or disproven by some relatively easy research. The fact that there may be many reasons why a country with a small military does not get invaded does not escape me. The idea that the U.S would not get invaded if our military was tiny sets off all my common sense detectors. Every country is different Ted. Just because Spain doesn’t need a large army doesn’t mean that the U.S. doesn’t. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the reason so many countries in this world don’t need large armies is because they are U.S. allies and we already have one. But that’s just my opinion. And I’m ok with labeling it so.

You see that’s the difference between you and me (and so many others on this site) Ted and the main reason I get so bent out of shape when you start making ridiculous claims. I’m willing to admit I’m offering opinion when I don’t have the facts ready to back up what I say. My opinion is usually informed and I’m pretty well read so I have confidence in my opinions. But I don’t present them as fact. You do.

#64 Steve Skelton
November/15/2010
@ 10:51 am

I think I drawed a pretty cartoon today.

#65 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 11:17 am

Rob: lol on playing the common sense card.

Common sense tells me that, when the US backs Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov–famous for personally supervising the massacre of about 1000 people at Andijon in 2005 and boiling his political dissidents to death–it has little to do with wooing his country away from communism. The Cold War is over, Rob.

The US likes to do business with dictators because they don’t care about their people–so it’s cheaper to exploit their natural resources in exchange for bribes–and because it’s easier to make a handshake deal with one tyrant than to deal with a messy parliamentary democracy.

Speaking of common sense, a simple look at a globe reveals why we would be a very difficult country to invade. We have friendly countries to our north and south, and oceans to the east and west.

Also, speaking of common sense, I don’t form opinions about matters about which I don’t have the facts readily at hand. If I have something to say about something, it’s because I’ve done my homework. It doesn’t mean I’m always right–but it gives me a heads-up on those who talk out of their hindsides.

#66 Pete Murphey
November/15/2010
@ 11:39 am

“Pete: If you don?t know the difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat, and authoritarian dictators led by one man, you need to read up before you post. The word is the same, but it doesn?t mean the same thing. Not even close. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, everyone is free.”

I?ve read Marx, Ted and I?ve studied a little history. The difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat, and an authoritarian dictatorship only exists as a utopian fantasy of Marxists. Authoritarian suppression by a mob of ?good people,? as a pathway to a chimeric future where we live in harmony as a classless society, is no less evil than
a good ( or bad) intentioned individual dictator. And history shows that?s where it ends up anyway, because it?s human nature for people to organize around power structures.
Class distinctions (wanting to do better than the Joneses) are a matter of evolution, not politics. Individuals always forge and compete to do better as a undertaking of survival, that doesn?t change with political constructions or proclamations declaring the end of social class differences.

#67 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 1:20 pm

The “dictatorship of the proletariat” does not refer to “authoritarian suppression by a mob of ‘”good people.'”

Here “dictatorship” means “political control.” I.e., the working class controls society. It has nothing to do with suppression. Confusion arises from the 19th century use of the word “dictatorship,” which had meanings which have fallen out of common usage.

#68 David Reddick
November/15/2010
@ 1:29 pm

Rob: Thank you for your comments… and for your service to this fine country (don’t tell Ted I thanked you, lol) To clarify, however, I specifically noted that Jim and one assistant currently write the strip. Art duties start at Jim and continue to a few other artists who assist in the final product.

#69 Pete Murphey
November/15/2010
@ 2:00 pm

“Here ?dictatorship? means ?political control.? I.e., the working class controls society. It has nothing to do with suppression. Confusion arises from the 19th century use of the word ?dictatorship,? which had meanings which have fallen out of common usage.”

Unless you’ve invented a new version of this that you want to tell us about, it?s hard to see how it doesn?t, since Marx advocated that the ?workers,? once in power, use the apparatus of the State to prevent a ?bourgeois? counterrevolution. If you don?t see the obvious path to authoritarian brutality and suppression in that construct you really are living in a fantasy. Of course you don?t even need to consider the theoretic implications of Marx?s statement, you just have to look at what happened after the Bolsheviks, who were the torchbearers of the proletariat, came to power: Lenin, Stalin and one of the most repressive and brutal state apparatuses in all of history.

I?m not sure how the Rallian version will avoid all this but I?m guessing the ?workers? of the new ruling class will be defined less by their income and more by their web vs print status.

#70 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 2:30 pm

I’m curious.

You see an “obvious path to authoritarian brutality and suppression” logically following the takeover by the workers. The workers, you say, “once in power, use the apparatus of the State to prevent a bourgeois counterrevolution.”

By your logic, then, what we have now is a regime led by–can we just call them the ruling classes? Who, being in power, use the apparatus of the State to prevent a proletarian revolution. Which, as we have seen, leads to “authoritarian brutality and suppression.” (c.f. Guantánamo, GWOT, Abu Ghraib, domestic spying, assassinations, torture, TSA, Patriot Act, etc.)

One way or the other, then, someone is in charge and uses the machinery of the state to suppress those who are not.

Personally, I would choose the vast majority of Americans–the workers–over a tiny cabal of overfed elites–to be in charge. It seems more…democratic, no?

#71 Terry LaBan
November/15/2010
@ 3:08 pm

Apologies to Dave Reddick and Jim Davis. I always thought he had a whole shop out there, cranking out Garfield–I’ve met several former Garfield assistants over the years, but maybe they all worked one at a time. They still ought to buy a calendar, though.

Ted, it is just unbelievable that anyone can write in the year 2011 that they believe there can be a just and fair “worker’s” revolution. As you yourself acknowledge, ANYONE who takes power, particularly absolute power,immediately becomes a new “ruling class”. History also shows they almost always begin to ruthlessly suppress their opponents. Stalin killed 20 million of his own workers, Mao another 20-some million of his, and let’s not even talk about small fry like Cambodia and Burma. All of them claimed to be running a dictatorship of the proletariat, and if you don’t agree I’d like to know when a true dictatorship of the proletariat ever DID exist. And then maybe you can tell me why believing in the value of an idea that’s not only completely discredited but is also responsible for more human misery than probably any other idea in history is more intelligent than believing in God.
I seriously doubt that many of the American workers whose judgement you claim to admire would trade their lives under this system for life in any Communist country, past or present. In fact, I understand a great many of those folks have recently weighed in on the subject, and their sentiments were definitely NOT on the side of establishing a worker’s paradise.

#72 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 3:13 pm

Discredited?

What idea could possibly be more discredited right now, as I’m writing this, than corporatist capitalism?

Murderous?

What idea could…well, you know the rest.

#73 Pete Murphey
November/15/2010
@ 3:42 pm

“What idea could possibly be more discredited right now, as I?m writing this, than corporatist capitalism?”

The worst of “corporatist capitalism” doesn’t hold a small birthday candle to the horrors and depravity of the least of any of the attempted proletariat dictatorships. Given history’s clear, empirical and unambiguous evidence on this, it’s baffling to see where your quixotic embracement of a Marxist makeover comes from.

#74 Dave Stephens
November/15/2010
@ 3:50 pm

Poor Ted – forced to use murderous, brutal and discredited capitalism to earn a buck. I feel for ya, Ted, really I do. But then again, spouting wack-a-doodle nonsense really IS your full-time occupation and, hey, you’re really good at it, so keep up the good work. You’ll sell a lot of books, make a little money and if you are REALLY REALLY LUCKY, when the revolution you desire comes to pass, you won’t be burned alive at the stake you helped create…

#75 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 3:52 pm

That’s ludicrous. Slavery–the highest level of capitalism–killed tens, maybe hundreds, of millions. Poverty kills 50,000 people a day worldwide–poverty caused by capitalism. How many people die in imperialist wars? Millions. How many people commit suicide due to poverty-related depression? How many people die in poverty-related crimes? How many die due to lack of adequate medical care? How many American Indians were killed during the theft of the U.S.? When it comes to mass murder, socialist regimes are small-time. Not that it’s ever excusable.

The thing is: mass murder is inherent to capitalism, not socialism. Capitalism can’t exist without poverty. Socialism can.

#76 Steve Skelton
November/15/2010
@ 4:03 pm

Capitalism is a two edge sword, Ted. There is no way to count the number of lives saved or the number of people with improved standards of living due to the free enterprise paradigm of the western world, ie, capitalism, that is without doubt the greatest inventive machine in the history of civilization.

#77 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 4:13 pm

Similarly, there is no way to count the number of lives saved by reducing income inequality and government-sponsored healthcare…tributes to socialism, without a doubt the greatest social justice movement the world has ever seen.

By the way, Soviet scientists weren’t slouches. Socialism can be highly innovative too.

#78 Steve Skelton
November/15/2010
@ 4:20 pm

Man, I hope we can get the healthcare thing right.

Capitalism is a two edge sword. That is probably the reason the U.S. is both the greatest country on the planet and the worst at the same time.

#79 Dave Stephens
November/15/2010
@ 4:44 pm

LMAO!! Go, Ted, go! Keep spewing left-wing poison and keep on hating the military and all the men and women in it – it’s gotta be working for you, right?

#80 Pete Murphey
November/15/2010
@ 5:02 pm

“The thing is: mass murder is inherent to capitalism, not socialism. Capitalism can?t exist without poverty. Socialism can.”

This will come to a surprise to all the people who died in Lenin’s famine or worked in his slave camps.

#81 Ted Rall
November/15/2010
@ 5:06 pm

Whatever it takes to avoid having to do mall caricatures, Dave, I’ll do.

#82 Terry LaBan
November/15/2010
@ 6:46 pm

@Ted Slavery?the highest level of capitalism?killed tens, maybe hundreds, of millions. Poverty kills 50,000 people a day worldwide?poverty caused by capitalism. How many people die in imperialist wars? Millions. How many people commit suicide due to poverty-related depression? How many people die in poverty-related crimes? How many die due to lack of adequate medical care? How many American Indians were killed during the theft of the U.S.? When it comes to mass murder, socialist regimes are small-time.

Really? C’mon–I’d think even YOU would admit that slavery, poverty,suicide caused by poverty, death due to inadequate medical care, etc., etc, are found in many, if not most, societies, and long predate modern capitalism. ALL of them were a large part of life–indeed, the major part–in every self-proclaimed communist government I’m aware of. Stalin and Mao both enslaved millions of their own citizens, and Lenin, Stalin and Mao all presided over historically epic famines caused by shortages their own governments created. Both the Russians and Chinese were poverty-stricken until their governments allowed them to make money as capitalists. And the North Koreans are today enjoying the benefits of the proletarian dictatorship by dining on grass. You know they sell mud cakes in the markets there for lack of anything else to eat? Socialism can indeed be highly innovative! The fact is, murder and poverty ARE inherent to socialism, at least the totalitarian kind. I can’t even imagine what would cause you to defend what are, without question, some of the most evil and destructive regimes that have ever existed, Ted. Frankly, I think for you religion would be a big step up.

My personal opinion is that well-regulated capitalism with a solid social safety net, which is what most developed countries have, is the best system humans can hope for. But, hey, I’m a liberal.

By the way, most of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas–probably 90%–died of infectious disease before they ever even saw a European. Which is the only reason Europeans were able to occupy the place to begin with.

#83 Dave Stephens
November/15/2010
@ 6:50 pm

I don’t do malls, Ted, I do events and illustrations, but thanks for not paying attention.

Hey, wait a minute – don’t you “do malls” when you promote your books? I would think so, but it’s hard to keep track of the many things that are beneath you…

#84 Derf Backderf
November/15/2010
@ 7:42 pm

I was once a garbageman, so NOTHING is beneath me. Just thought I’d get that out of the way in case Dave Stephens takes a shot at me for being an elitist.

“Well-regulated capitalism with a solid social safety net, which is what most developed countries have, is the best system humans can hope for” IS socialism to our current ruling masters and their lobotomized-by-FoxNews followers, Terry.

It’s always the same argument: The USSR proved that socialism doesn’t work. Except it does. In France and Norway and Germany and all the other countries where people live so much better than we do. The system we have isn’t working at all.

#85 Stephanie McMillan
November/15/2010
@ 7:44 pm

Terry said: “And the North Koreans are today enjoying the benefits of the proletarian dictatorship by dining on grass.”

It’s not a proletarian dictatorship, it’s essentially a monarchy.

and: “By the way, most of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas?probably 90%?died of infectious disease before they ever even saw a European.”

This is simply an over-the-top twisting of reality. It’s true that in the Americas, diseases spread faster than Europeans, but the ones that killed most of the indigenous population were brought by the colonists.

#86 Dave Stephens
November/15/2010
@ 11:08 pm

You are misunderstanding what Terry said (and is widely known among archeologists). The diseases that killed the indigenous populations were indeed brought by the colonists, however, the diseases traveled far and wide long before the colonists and laid waste again and again to native american populations – they died in percentages that were often in the 90 percentile range.

#87 Derf Backderf
November/16/2010
@ 5:19 am

I’m trying to remember what all this has to do with treasonous Garfield….

#88 Pete Murphey
November/16/2010
@ 7:08 am

“I?m trying to remember what all this has to do with treasonous Garfield?.”

It’s hard to get lasagna in communist countries…

#89 Terry LaBan
November/16/2010
@ 7:22 am

?Well-regulated capitalism with a solid social safety net, which is what most developed countries have, is the best system humans can hope for? IS socialism to our current ruling masters and their lobotomized-by-FoxNews followers, Terry.

Yeah, yeah, I know. The problem is we apply the term “socialism” to a vast and sometimes contradictory array of political systems, often depending on what point we want to make. I would argue that we and the Europeans have more in common than not. We’ve just done it more ass-backward than they have. Stephanie can call North Korea a monarchy if she wants, but what’s going on in that country is only a slightly more extreme version of what went on in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, etc. All places Ted Rall would apparently prefer to the bad old USA.
As for the Indians–it’s now generally accepted that the pre-conquest America’s had a native population roughly equal to that of Europe at the time and that European diseases killed most of them far ahead of actual contact. That’s why the settlers who came after the very first ones–DeSoto, Coronado–found much the continent to be relatively empty of inhabitants. Read the excellent book “1491” if you want to know more.

#90 Derf Backderf
November/16/2010
@ 8:09 am

If I’m not mistaken the Chinese invented lasagne and Marco Polo stole the recipe. That was before they became godless commies, of course.

#91 Pete Murphey
November/16/2010
@ 8:12 am

“If I?m not mistaken the Chinese invented lasagne and Marco Polo stole the recipe.”

This is why the proletariat hate Mondays (and the military).

#92 Terry LaBan
November/16/2010
@ 12:27 pm

Actually, I think the Italians were communists first.

#93 David Reddick
November/16/2010
@ 2:20 pm

I’m sure everyone realizes Ted is just enjoying the crap out of this banter. He is some sorta effed up and yet we’re all wring. lol And Derf reminds me of that little dog in the old Looney Tunes cartoon that jumps around the bulldog (Ted) saying “Whatta ya wanna do today, boss, whatta ya wanna do today?” HAHAHA

#94 David Reddick
November/16/2010
@ 2:22 pm

Wrong. not wring. I realllly need to spellcheck before I hit submit so as not to make such blatant misteaks.

#95 Corey Pandolph
November/16/2010
@ 2:50 pm

“Whatever it takes to avoid having to do mall caricatures, Dave, I?ll do.”

HA! HAHAHAHA! Oh, lovely.

#96 Ted Rall
November/16/2010
@ 3:00 pm

“You know they sell mud cakes in the markets there for lack of anything else to eat?”

Guess what? They do that in U.S.-occupied Haiti as well. You know, a country we invaded instead of helping because we’re so charming.

There is no such thing as a capitalist system without widespread misery.

#97 Dave Stephens
November/16/2010
@ 4:06 pm

That’s true – except for the fact that “widespread misery” is a made-up talking point – you don’t define “widespread” and you don’t define “misery” as if the majority of countries were not infinitely poorer and infinitely more miserable (see below) than the USA…

And your earlier and even more unsupportable statement that capitalism creates the world’s misery is even more silly… Before America existed, there was still infinite misery for thousands of years spread far and wide in the world – are we to blame for that, too? LOL

I’ll define misery as: starvation, exploitation, slavery, no rights to move, no rights to change jobs, no rights to vote, disease, crop failure (through political means), no rights to own land, no rights to free speech. The list is incomplete, of course.

#98 Terry LaBan
November/16/2010
@ 5:54 pm

C’mon, Ted–can’t you just admit that Stalinist Russia was a bad, terrible place and that North Korea still is? I’ll bet you most N. Koreans, if they had a choice, which they don’t, would trade “US-occupied Haiti”(guess I missed that imperialist exercise.Last I heard, even the Haitians don’t want to occupy it) for the country-sized prison camp they have live in in a heartbeat. Sure the Haitians are starving–they live under capitalism, right? What’s N. Korea’s excuse?
And by the way, far from being “small-time” on the abuse-of-people scale, the socialist-authoritarian regimes have slaughtered, enslaved and impoverished their OWN citizens, not to mention others, on a scale unparalleled in history. Face it pal–you have thrown in your moral lot with the ugliest, nastiest, meanest, most evil mother arrest-for-no-reason-and-imprison-for-10-years-or-just-murderers that have ever existed on the planet.
Which is funny, because if there ever WAS a worker’s revolution in this country, you’d be the first one they’d round up.

#99 Ted Rall
November/16/2010
@ 7:11 pm

North Korea is communist in name only. It is a hereditary monarchy.

But sure, obviously, Stalin was an evil, paranoid, mass murderer. Of course, he presided over a nation that was nominally socialistic.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s list Mao and Stalin as communist murderers.

What about Martin van Buren and Adolf Hitler? Then they must qualify as capitalist mass murderers too. Of their own people. As does Barack Obama, since he presides over a system that, among other things, kills 50,000 people a day worldwide. Not to mention 45,000 Americans a year dye to inadequate healthcare.

#100 Pete Murphey
November/16/2010
@ 8:11 pm

“Of course, he presided over a nation that was nominally socialistic.”

But you are not just recommending socialism as an answer to the supposed ills of capitalism, you are encouraging a proletarian dictatorship as well, which is not an economic system but a method of governing. Lenin, Stalin and Mao were the actual–and predictable– results of such governments. If you just want to argue a democratic form of socialism vs capitalism, its a different discussion. You would still be wrong about which one serves the people better but you could avoid being criticized as a blind acolyte of repressive governments that impoverish, murder and enslave people in the name of a workers paradise.

My guess is that you don’t want a European form of socialism because you think that there is a conspiracy of rich power brokers here that need to be forced–by violence if necessary–
into submission and prevented from ever participating in the political system again. They will be replaced by a harmonious group of factory workers, who will run the country as a committee, providing jobs, electric cars, four month vacations free health care for all and a state newspaper illustrated by underground cartoonists.

Hitler was a fascist, not a capitalist.

#101 Derf Backderf
November/16/2010
@ 8:30 pm

Aw, Reddick. I love it when a webcartoonist goes all 8th grade here.

#102 Dave Stephens
November/16/2010
@ 9:46 pm

Was there EVER a political system that actually worked like the “experts” predicted it would?

#103 Phil Wohlrab
November/17/2010
@ 1:21 am

Not to mention 45,000 Americans a year dye to inadequate healthcare.”

I had to check that number and it’s from a biased harvard study. I found this from opposing views.
“The authors of the study, Dr. David Himmelstein and Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a single-payer health system, or socialized medicine. ”

“* The authors of the Harvard study interviewed the uninsured only once — and never saw them again; this alone undermines the integrity of the findings.

* A decade later, the researchers assumed the participants were still uninsured and, if they died in the interim, lack of insurance was blamed as one of the causes.

Yet:

* Like unemployment, uninsurance happens to many people for short periods of time.

* Most people who are uninsured regain insurance within one year.

* The authors of the study did not track what happened to the insurance status of the subjects over the decade examined, what medical care they received or even the causes of their deaths.”

This sounds reasonable to me seeing as I myself have gone periods without health insurance usually during periods without full time work.

#104 Dave Stephens
November/17/2010
@ 4:11 am

You are extremely kind to even call that travesty a study.
There was no science done there at all, just blatant propaganda with the trappings of science… Sad that so much “science” is like that now.

#105 Terry LaBan
November/17/2010
@ 9:34 am

Oh, I get it Ted–North Korea, Stalin’s Russian, China’s Mao, Pol Pot’s Cambodia…those aren’t REAL worker’s dictatorships. Just like the Great Depression and the mortgage meltdown weren’t examples of the workings of a REAL free market. Utopia is just over the next hill.
Obviously, Hitler was a mass murderer. But not, as he defined them, of his own people(except indirectly, as the result of the war he started). And, come to think of it, he wasn’t exactly a capitalist either. Y’know what “Nazi” stands for? Look it up. I’m not sure how you fold Martin Van Buren into all that. And putting people who die because of lapses in the healthcare system in the same category as people who are shot in the basement of secret police headquarters for farting near a poster of the dictator is…how can I put it? Oh god, I really can’t. More intriguing, are you REALLY comparing Barak Obama to Hitler?! Ha! You’re a crypto-teabagger, Ted! I guess if you go far enough left, you meet Glenn Beck.

#106 Derf Backderf
November/17/2010
@ 10:13 am

Well, now waitaminute, Terry. Hitler opened Dachau to hold, not Jews, but his political opponents, communists and social democrats. That was in 1933. The FInal Solution and death camps came years later.

So it was most definitely “his own” that Hitler first eliminated. It was estimated that Hitler jailed over 3 million germans in camps during his rein purely for political reasons.

#107 Matt Bors
November/17/2010
@ 12:35 pm

Derf, stop typing facts. You’re ruining the internet.

#108 Derf Backderf
November/17/2010
@ 12:55 pm

No, no. Laban is awesome. I love his work. That’s a common misconception, which I only know because I’m a Kraut myself.

Besides, I’m saving all my historical inaccuracies for my cartoons.

#109 Terry LaBan
November/17/2010
@ 4:30 pm

Oh, fine. God forbid I should defend Hitler–I’m a Jew, fer cryin’ out loud. Still, even 3 million unquestionably Aryan political prisoners(really? That seems pretty high) pales beside Stalin and Mao’s 20 million (apprx) fellow citizens a piece. But who’s counting?
And thanks, Derf! I admire your work as well!

#110 Ted Rall
November/18/2010
@ 8:33 am

While we’re wallowing in the math of genocide:

Hitler’s armies slaughtered 20 million Russians. He started the war. So they weren’t “his” people. What’s the difference?

Most of those who died under Mao and Stalin died of starvation. Can you really equate the results of poor economic planning to invading a nation without cause? Moreover, both the USSR and socialist China were subject to a US-led trade embargo that made thing worse. Surely part of those deaths are America’s fault, then, right?

While we’re talking unjustified war, where do we stand? 2 million Iraqis, 1 million Afghans, 2 million Vietnamese…

A million corpses here, a million corpses there, pretty soon you’re talking real war crimes.

The point is, capitalism cannot exist without creating misery and death. Socialism can and has and does. Yes, socialist regimes have been known to commit mass murder. Which is horrific. But it’s exceptional, and actually goes counter to socialist ideology.

To look at it another way, it is easy to imagine a communist or even Nazi regime that doesn’t lead to death camps. It is not possible to imagine a capitalist regime without hunger.

#111 Pete Murphey
November/18/2010
@ 9:57 am

“Most of those who died under Mao and Stalin died of starvation. Can you really equate the results of poor economic planning to invading a nation without cause?”

If you can blame capitalism for slavery, suicides due to capitalist induced poverty and an exaggerated death count due to gaps in a health care system, sure, and with much more direct correlation to the economic system.

Whether there was cause or not for the Iraq war is a debatable point, however the intentions of Stalin and Mao in enslaving and killing their own people is not in question. Nor is the folly of their economic system, which was one of the least effective ones for producing and distributing goods and food and played a large role in the misery and deaths during the famines.

“The point is, capitalism cannot exist without creating misery and death.”

One cannot have life without misery and death. However capitalism, compared to socialism and communism, has created the highest standard of living, the cheapest cost for goods, the most innovation, and the most opportunity for anyone willing to participate. It is also the most generous of systems, producing more charitable giving than any other system on earth.

“Socialism can and has and does (existed without creating misery and death).”

Perhaps the silliest thing you have ever posted.

Example please? And have you switched from advocating a proletarian dictatorship to democratic socialism? They are two dramatically different things you know.

#112 Terry LaBan
November/18/2010
@ 10:15 am

Sorry, Ted, but you’re just completely full of crap on this issue. Personally, I think there’s a moral distinction between killing people you define as enemies and killing people who’s welfare you’re supposed to be protecting because you run their government. But even leaving that aside, your arguing that the socialist dictatorships have provided a higher quality of life and greater freedom for their citizens is just so absurd and out to lunch that I can’t even believe you’re seriously making it. That starvation you mention wasn’t just an accident–it was the result of deliberate government policies that were carried through with the full knowledge of their effects. And Stalin didn’t just starve his citizens–he imprisoned(in a massive, industrial complex of labor camps), shot and enslaved them on a scale that is completely unprecedented in history. And that too was a deliberate policy–developing the country industrially and settling the Russian Far East was deemed impossible without resorting to force. And all those policies were justified by socialist–really, communist– ideology.
Authoritarian socialism has NEVER existed without creating misery and death, and it never will. That’s why when, given a choice, people overthrow it. But hey, if you want to sit in your cozy studio and fantasize about communist and Nazi(!) regimes where no one commits mass murder or sends innocent people to death camps, go right ahead. While you’re at it, you can populate them with Smurfs.

#113 Ted Rall
November/18/2010
@ 11:33 am

No, Terry, I’m sorry. You simply don’t know enough about history or politics to engage with. Your vocabulary alone betrays so much ignorance–“authoritarian socialism” is an oxymoron, the USSR was not and did not claim to be communist, and to state that Stalin’s gulags were unprecedented is ahistorical–that one would need to teach you the basics before starting the argument.

Of course we can have life without murder and suffering being inflicted by our government and/or means of survival. That goal is what all real politics strives toward.

#114 Dave Stephens
November/18/2010
@ 12:24 pm

From Wikipedia – The Communist Party was the ONLY legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world.

From Ted: “the USSR was not and did not claim to be communist…”

WHO doesn’t know enough about history or politics? Looks like it’s Ted Rall…

But thats our Ted – when he is losing, his knee jerk reaction is to call his opponent stupid… Wow. Just, wow.

Hey, August – when Ted openly questions the intelligence of people who disagree, does that remind you of the 8th grade? But then that’s probably your style, too, right? ;)

#115 Mike Lester
November/18/2010
@ 12:44 pm

“You simply don?t know enough about history or politics to engage with. Your vocabulary alone betrays so much ignorance.” -TRall

The greatest cruelty ever inflicted on someone is the first person who told them they were smart.

#116 Derf Backderf
November/18/2010
@ 12:51 pm

You’re not going to win many arguments quoting Wikipedia, Dave.

“Communism” as defined by Marx is very different than the system that Lenin and Stalin installed. You guys are all tossing around terms from different eras. The Soviet Union was, of course, Totalitarian throughout it’s history. It was never socialist. It wasn’t even really Marxist. The Soviets misappropriation of Marx has forever tainted his theories, some of which are actually quite on the mark, particularly his views on organized religion. Although, I would offer that ESPN, not religion, is the modern opiate of the masses.

“Socialism” in a Cold War context was a boogyman term, used by American politicians for political gain. It has little to do with the “socialism” very successfully later used by most European countries to create prosperous and equitable societies, more equitable than the US anyways. And it has even less to do with the Obama “socialism” that sent Teabaggers into the biggest mass hissy fit in American history.

Ted sounds like a classic Marx theorist here. Who knew?

#117 Jesse Cline
November/18/2010
@ 1:09 pm

Arguing on the internet is the modern opiate of the masses.

#118 Pete Murphey
November/18/2010
@ 1:24 pm

“Ted sounds like a classic Marx theorist here. Who knew?

Just a reminder, the reason the discussion is about the barbarism in the Soviet Union is because Ted has been loudly advocating a proletarian dictatorship in the US, which is a Marxist concept, duly adopted and practiced by Lenin. If Ted, is advocating an authortarian political system, which a proletarian dictatorship absolutely is–even in its pure theoretical form–then he can?t detach himself from the history of that sort of government.

As I said before, if wants to whistle a new tune and argue for a version of democratic socialism and admit that his proletarian dictatorship comment was nothing more than a bit of left-wing, underground cartoonist rhetoric, he should tell us now so we can all go back to the drawing table to earn some money in the free market.

If he thinks that he can create a situation where people in the US to all earn exactly the same income without the use of authoritarian force, I?d love to hear how. That would be a feat even for someone with all of his immense historical and political brilliance.

#119 Alan Gardner
November/18/2010
@ 3:06 pm

Thought I’d just step in here and point out the obvious – we are WAAAAAY off topic. :)

For the most part, the tone has been civil so I’ve let the thread run its course. Please continue to keep the disagreements civil.

One last word… I applaud Dave Stephens for citing a source. You might not care that he cited Wikipedia (and I could care less about the point he was making), but that’s more than most of you all have done.

How did you all get through college?

Carry on. Civilly.

Alan

#120 Stacy Curtis
November/18/2010
@ 3:19 pm

Don’t listen to Alan.
He turned off the LIKE DISLIKE buttons and slammed your educations. :-)

#121 Pete Murphey
November/18/2010
@ 3:35 pm

“You might not care that he cited Wikipedia (and I could care less about the point he was making), but that?s more than most of you all have done.”

Excellent point.

#122 Eddie Pittman
November/18/2010
@ 3:39 pm

What about webcomics?

#123 Lucas Turnbloom
November/18/2010
@ 3:49 pm

Wait, I’m confused. Is Garfield a Marxist, or not?

#124 Terry LaBan
November/18/2010
@ 4:34 pm

@Ted No, Terry, I?m sorry. You simply don?t know enough about history or politics to engage with. Your vocabulary alone betrays so much ignorance??authoritarian socialism? is an oxymoron, the USSR was not and did not claim to be communist, and to state that Stalin?s gulags were unprecedented is ahistorical

Ok, Ted. Have it your way–I’m an ignoramus. I just don’t know enough about history to understand that Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot were actually pretty good guys. The USSR didn’t claim to be communist! That hammer and sickle on their flag? That was because Lenin’s dad owned a hardware store. Stalin didn’t run prison camps–he ran summer camps! Siberia was full of happy workers, playing Capture the Flag and making ashtrays for their parents in arts and crafts. Next you’ll say that dogs don’t poop on the sidewalk and the Chinese don’t eat rice. Apparently, not only do you get to have your own facts–you get to have your own universe. Of course we can have a social system without murder and suffering! All we need to do is get those workers some guns!
You want a source, Alan? You can start with Gulag:A History by Anne Applebaum(Anchor, 2004). I’d be happy to provide a more extensive reading list to anyone who’s interested.

#125 Derf Backderf
November/18/2010
@ 5:34 pm

I believe, Lucas, that the consensus is that Garfield is a post-Marxist, authoritarian-socialist with all-embracing capitalist tendencies who likes to dress up in Nazi uniforms for WWII re-enactments on weekends.

I have to say, Ted, you’ve lost me with the straight Marxist revolution-of-the-proletariat stuff. The great sticking point with Marx’s theory (and, Alan, I’m referencing my notes from Poli-sci 402, Ohio State University, Spring Qtr. 1983) is that his progression of societal development never takes into account the creeps.

If we’ve learned anything since 1848, it’s that a human’s default is set to “creep.” Big creeps like Stalin. Little creeps who obediently carry out their orders. Creeps who run Wall St. and fund secret wars. Creeps who don’t want poor kids to have healthcare or decent schools. On and on.

And if the working class DOES rise up, they do so only to loot the nearest BestBuy and then hunker down in a basement bunker with their 50-inch plasma tv and wi-fi, armed to the teeth and to hell with everyone else.

#126 Dave Stephens
November/18/2010
@ 5:57 pm

I agree – Marxist Dogma is weak and excuse-filled where its concepts has actually been applied.

When some mishmash of it fails, you hear, “Oh, that horror show? Not reeeeeally Marxist, no.”

When another mishmash succeeds, you hear, “See! See how well it works!”

Because dogma is rigid but people are NOT, there will never be a “PURE” example of Marxism to succeed or fail, so these same arguments will always be used.

#127 Dave Stephens
November/18/2010
@ 5:59 pm

oops
have been applied

#128 Matt Bors
November/18/2010
@ 6:42 pm

Unlike Garfield, Communism looks good on paper.

#129 Ted Rall
November/19/2010
@ 6:44 am

@Pete: Go ahead. Keep repeating that I advocate an authoritarian political system. The dictatorship of the proletariat, which we won’t live long enough to see, is the exact opposite of authoritarianism.

Actually, the US has many aspects of authoritarianism: oppressive and corrupt police, nonaccountable leadership, lack of real choice at the ballot box, privacy rights essentially eliminated, a president who reserves the right to assassinate anyone he chooses without due process.

@derf: Yeah, I’ve read a lot of Marx. I find the classic vocabulary clearer than the Cold War muck.

By the way, I read Applebaum’s book. Pretty dull and unenlightening. Solzhenitsyn is better, and droll too.

#130 Terry LaBan
November/19/2010
@ 7:33 am

“Actually, the US has many aspects of authoritarianism: oppressive and corrupt police, nonaccountable leadership, lack of real choice at the ballot box, privacy rights essentially eliminated, a president who reserves the right to assassinate anyone he chooses without due process.”

Oh my goodness! You mean…we’re actually living in a totalitarian dictatorship right NOW?! Guess I was just too ignorant of history and politics to figure it out. Time to start carrying around one of those pictures of Obama made up as The Joker.

“By the way, I read Applebaum?s book. Pretty dull and unenlightening. Solzhenitsyn is better, and droll too.”

Yeah, but Solzhenitsyn’s is 40 years old and is a memoir, not a systematic study. I found Applebaum’s book a fascinating read, but as you know, I’m gullible and believe everything the Conspiracy tells me. Like, y’know, that the Soviets were communists and all.

“The dictatorship of the proletariat, which we won?t live long enough to see, is the exact opposite of authoritarianism.”

Ted, you gotta meet this guy I know! His name’s Isaiah, and he’s made some amazing predictions as well. For instance, did you know that the lions are going to lie down with the lambs? Maybe the proletariat will join them, and they’ll all have a nice picnic.

#131 Pete Murphey
November/19/2010
@ 8:34 am

“The dictatorship of the proletariat, which we won?t live long enough to see, is the exact opposite of authoritarianism.”

Certainly not as Marx described it, his characterization is completely authoritarian; absolute power of the state to suppress the Bourgeoisie. But, for the sake of argument, let?s say that you have a different version than Marx in your mind, which is the epitome of freedom, could you explain how the handful of individuals who want it to take place here will bring it about in a non-authoritarian fashion? There will never be a majority of Americans who will support a Marxist government, so you won?t be able to bring about by the vote. Look at the last election, do you think that was a reflection of people wanting MORE government control?

How will you equalize income without using suppression, since you will obviously be using the state to take away property from people and limit other people in their ability to earn beyond a certain amount or pay what they want for a person?s service?

“Actually, the US has many aspects of authoritarianism: oppressive and corrupt police, nonaccountable leadership, lack of real choice at the ballot box, privacy rights essentially eliminated, a president who reserves the right to assassinate anyone he chooses without due process.”

Of course, corruption will happen in any system and if you think leadership is non-accountable now, wait until you have a committee of the proletariat running things,
particularly one which would not be subject to a vote of the people.

Even though our structure of government and capitalism has many flaws, it is still the one that has are the most amount of checks and balances built into its system. The three branches of government, brilliantly designed by the founders, balance each other out pretty well. Marx didn?t want competing branches of government but rather a Commune, which would be executive and legislative at the same time (The Civil War in France written by Karl Marx in Marx & Engels Collected Works: Vol 22 (International Publishers: New York, 1986) p. 331.). No chance of corrupt or overreaching power forming there.

The competition between companies and business forces them to constantly innovate, lower prices or improve services. This is what allows the wide availability of cheap goods and services and things like the computer, which you have been typing all your anti-capitalist rants on. All of this is motivated by profit. If you try and equalize income there is no motivation for people to take risks or innovate. You will have no Bill Gates, you will raise the price of goods and you will have no expansion of business. The less of this you have, the less money you have collected by the state to pay for all the services and non-earned income for the proletariat–who will be about as responsive in their jobs as slugs, since they will be earning a guaranteed income.

#132 Ted Rall
November/19/2010
@ 10:50 am

@Terry: This is what I mean. Authoritarianism and totalitarianism are not the same things. Not even close.

#133 Steve Skelton
November/19/2010
@ 11:08 am

Wrong! My wife is the total authority in my house.

#134 Pete Murphey
December/16/2010
@ 9:12 am

More recent evidence of the wonders of the Communist
proletarian revolutions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/opinion/16iht-eddikotter16.html?_r=2

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