Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fareed Zakaria on Iran: Islam Yes, Nukes No

A good, timely look at what's really going on over thataway, away from the FAUX News spin and beltway propaganda.

Everything you know about Iran is wrong, or at least more complicated than you think. Take the bomb. The regime wants to be a nuclear power but could well be happy with a peaceful civilian program (which could make the challenge it poses more complex). ... President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has quoted the regime's founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who asserted that such weapons were "un-Islamic." The country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa in 2004 describing the use of nuclear weapons as immoral. In a subsequent sermon, he declared that "developing, producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons is forbidden under Islam." ... Now, of course, they could all be lying. But it seems odd for a regime that derives its legitimacy from its fidelity to Islam to declare constantly that these weapons are un-Islamic if it intends to develop them. It would be far shrewder to stop reminding people of Khomeini's statements and stop issuing new fatwas against nukes.

When I lived in Dubai, many of my students were Iranian, and I got to see a side of the culture that most Americans simply do not. It is a shame that their current "leader" (himself largely a puppet for the real powers there) can't shut his damn mouth about Israel, and that their government doesn't want to stop handing cash and supplies to proxy warriors (read "terrorists") who continue to bedevil that nation.

If he did, and they would, we might actually get somewhere.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hello, new blog friends! (doom & gloom followup)

I see my article on Doom and Gloom for the Dumb and the Glum got some notice on an anti-Duopoly blog. But I guess they didn't appreciate my point of view.

In a piece for Op-Ed News, J. Edward Tremlett aims to debunk the "myth of the duopoly" but instead delivers a rambling broadside against a straw-man antagonist. It his were a serious critique, I would consider engaging his arguments. As this is not the case, however, perhaps it is better simply to allow the hyperbolic satire to speak for itself, as it were, thereby revealing its own position of enunciation.

Translation: "Given that I don't frequent the site in question*, I don't know that he's talking about real people with real ideas. But I'm too bored and lazy to confront anything he said and get clarification. Besides, he might get weird on me."

On Tremlett's view, the anti-duopolist is a composite image of Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, right-wing extremists, Naderites, anti-Semites, potheads, Freud's Judge Schreber, 9/11 Truthers, UFO researchers, self-described liberals, progressives, and the activist left."

Translation: "Damn, he pretty much tagged the movement for the crazy-quilt gumbo that it unfortunately is, which is why it's few legitimate points are ever-lost in the noise of its worse excesses."

Not surprisingly, by a process of political elimination, the only viable political position with which the author leaves his readers is cynical pragmatism and middle-of-the-road political defeatism, in other words, status-quo realism, the last refuge of the apologist for the duopoly.

See, this is where our new friend gets it wrong. Traditional liberalism and progressive politics are neither cynical or middle-of-the road political defeatism. They are the engine that has made this country's greatest strides forward towards equal rights and freedom possible. They are what keeps us safe and sane when challenged by the worst excesses of the Right, both normal and loony, and, when used effectively, gets us closer to where we need to be.

The problem of the Duopoly-decriers - and this is why this commentary by our new friend is so deliciously ironic - is that THEY are the ones who are being defeatist and cynical. Some of us are saying "things aren't perfect, let's fix them," but they are saying "things aren't perfect because the CONSPIRACY is making them imperfect, and there's nothing** we can doooooooooo!!!!!!!!"

Unfortunately, trying to convince our chicken littles that the sky isn't falling is often a herculean effort that gains little profit for either side. Better then to point out the absurdity and run like hades was upon you before they accuse you of being a shill.

* I'm assuming, anyway. Maybe he will enlighten me.

** except a violent revolution, which will probably see its loudest proponents hiding out "off the grid" until it all blows over, and then coming out to survey the rubble and calling it good... before unleashing a calvacade of executions and terror that will make what they were decrying look almost beneficent. Such is the way of things.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fema Coffins? Maybe not

Obviously, I don't support everything Freedom Fighter Radio stands for. But unless you want to say they faked the interview, I think this pretty much puts the foot down on the latest FEMA conspiracy theory.

"people, it is very important that we don't latch onto every story, or every rumor out there... it is very important to talk to both sides and talk to the people who are actually manufacturing these products."

Gets relevant around 1:53. Enjoy!

Doom and Gloom for the Dumb and the Glum

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they ARE out to get you -- It might just mean that you're paranoid. It's time for the thinking Left to unshackle themselves from the paranoid Duopoly-merchants in their midst and remember how change happens.

Get the full article here