Saturday, June 27, 2009

AHMADINEJAD WON INDEED AND THE REAL SOURCE OF INTERFERENCE IN IRAN’S ELECTION IS LIKELY THE UNITED STATES

June 27, 2009

AHMADINEJAD WON INDEED AND THE REAL SOURCE OF INTERFERENCE IN IRAN’S ELECTION IS LIKELY THE UNITED STATES

John Chuckman

A recent article called “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It” by Flynt and Hillary Leverett is not the only source with serious credentials offering reasonable, non-sensational explanations for events around Iran’s presidential election.

Kaveh Afrasiabi, a scholar who once taught at Tehran University and is the author of several books, says many of the same things.

Close analysis of the election results gives absolutely no objective basis for making charges of a rigged election. Mousavi’s expected win – expected, that is, by the Western press and by Mousavi himself - never had any basis in fact.

Afrasiabi also tells us that Ahmadinejad is extremely popular with the poor in Iran, a very large constituency, and he tells us further that Ahmadinejad spent a great deal of time traveling through the country during his first term listening to them. Ahmadinejad is himself a man of fairly humble origins with a good deal of genuine sympathy for the poor.

Of course, the public in the West has been treated to a barrage of propaganda about Ahmadinejad, conditioned by countless disingenuous stories and editorials to regard him as the essence of evil, ready to stir up trouble at a moment’s notice. These perceptions, too, have no basis in fact.

Ahmadinejad is a highly educated man, ready and willing to communicate with leaders in the West, although given to poking fun at some of the shibboleths we hold to. His office as president is not a powerful one in an Iran where power is divided amongst several groups, just as it is in the United States. He has no war-making power.

Even his infamous statement about Israel – mistranslated consistently to make it sound terrible – was nothing more than the same kind of statement made by the CIA in its secret study predicting the peaceful end of today’s Israel in twenty years or the statement by Libya’s leader, Gaddafi, saying Israel would be drowned in a sea of Arabs. Unpleasant undoubtedly for some, the statement was neither criminal nor threatening when properly understood.

The post-election troubles in Iran definitely reflect the interference of security services from at least the United States and Britain. We have several serious pieces of evidence.

First, Iran discovered and arrested just recently a group with sophisticated bomb equipment from Britain. They were caught red-handed, although our press has chosen to be pretty much silent on the matter. Of course, we all recall the arrest of a group of fifteen British sailors a couple of years ago, an event treated in our press as the snatching of innocents on the high seas when in fact they were on a secret mission in disputed waters claimed by Iran.

Robert Fisk recently wrote an excellent piece about photocopies of what purported to be a confidential official government report to the head of state, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, regarding the election results. It attributed a ridiculously small share of the vote to Ahmadinejad and was somehow being waved by Mousavi’s followers all over the streets. It seems clearly invented as a provocation, much in the fashion of the famous “yellow cake” document before America’s invasion of Iraq.

We know that Bush committed several hundred million dollars towards a program creating instability in Iran and that Obama has never renounced the operation.
Iran, surrounded by threatening enemies and the daily recipient of dire threats from Israel and the United States, has absolutely no history of aggression: it has started no conflicts in its entire modern era, but naturally enough it becomes concerned about its security when threatened by nuclear-armed states.

Such threats from the United States are not regarded idly by anyone, coming as they do, from a nation occupying two nations of Western and Central Asia, a nation whose invasions have caused upwards of a million deaths and sent at least two million into exile as refugees.

It is a nation moreover that definitely threatened, behind the scenes, to use nuclear weapons against Afghanistan immediately after 9/11, helping end that threat being one of the main reasons for Britain’s joining the pointless invasion in the first place.

In assessing the genuine threats in the world, please remember what we all too often forget: the United States is the only nation ever actually to use nuclear weapons, twice, on civilians. It also came close to using them again in the early 1950s hysteria over communism – twice, once against China and once in a pre-emptive strike at the Soviet Union - and again later considered using them in Vietnam.

As for the other regular source of threats against, Israel, it is a nation which has attacked every neighbor that it has at one time or another. In the last two years alone, it has killed more people in Lebanon and Gaza than the number who perished in 9/11. It is also a secret nuclear power, having broken every rule and international law to obtain and assist in proliferating nuclear weapons.

Of course, there are many middle class people in Iran who would like a change of government. Such yearnings are no secret and exist everywhere in the world where liberal government is missing, including millions of Americans under years of George Bush and his motivating demon, Dick Cheney.

But saying that is not the same thing as saying that a majority of Iran’s people want a change in government or that the election was a fraud.

And remember, too, Iran had a democratic government more than half a century ago, that of Mohammed Mosaddeq, but it was overthrown in 1953 and the bloody Shah installed in its place by the very same governments now meddling in Iran, the United States and Britain.

THE FANTASY OF FIXING WHAT IS WRONG IN EDUCATION BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ONTARIO'S DAY CARE-KINDERGARTEN PROPOSAL

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ANNE KOTHAWALA IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

Government pretty much is incapable of correcting the serious problems of our public schools.

Only a dedicated, tough, and highly intelligent premier – an Obama type – could make anything real happen, and I sure do not see any prospect of such a politician coming to power.

The right wing tried reform and utterly failed: Mike Harris and the boys made a series of totally ineffectual changes, including that bad joke we call the literacy test, something McGuinty has kept only because it is a useful political tool manufacturing statistics that seem to show progress.

McGuinty has done nothing but literally throw money at the teachers' union to buy peace for his government while we pay the bills. He has asked and received nothing in return, and he is too weak a character to demand anything real.

The teachers’ union is responsible for the extremely high cost of running our schools, costs which mean there are few resources for improved facilities and expanded services.

Just one tiny example of many I could cite: substitute teachers in Ontario are paid the same rates as regular teachers, a totally excessive and unnecessary cost. Further our teachers in many places are entitled to nearly a month of sick days – this on a 9-month work year – and it is a common attitude to routinely take them, leaving taxpayers paying two salaries for one poorly-taught classroom.

Even McGuinty’s weak minister has commented on the huge costs of sick days in Ontario.

The only way to improve public schools is to make teachers accountable. Accountability is a basic principle we accept in almost all our institutions except public education.

We have some wonderful, dedicated teachers, but we have a great many poor, unmotivated, even unintelligent ones, and the entire structure of administration in education, from vice-principals to superintendents, pretty well comes from these ranks.

Most have never had serious management experience, and most have no concept of accountability. That is why we have a mess.

The kindergarten/day care proposal is a sound one – the first meaningful thing McGuinty has come up with for education, but it won’t happen. The teachers’ union is already attacking it, and if it gets its way, the program will be costly and ineffectual.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SLEAZY SARKOZY TELLS PEOPLE HOW THEY SHOULD DRESS - WITH HIS EMPHASIS ON ONE GROUP HE DISPLAYS CLEAR ANTI-MUSLIM PREJUDICE

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

What right does the president of a country have telling people how to dress? Or disparaging how they dress?

Since when in Western society is it acceptable to attack people for their religious practices?

Sarkozy is intellectual sleaze, playing up to widespread, ignorant anti-Muslim prejudice.

Would Sarkozy have opposed the French nuns who wore the most oppressive outfits only decades ago? Indeed, some still do.

Would Sarkozy oppose elaborate bridal gowns with veils?

What about the popular styles of the 1940s which included huge hats with veils, often large and elaborate veils?

Is he going to oppose Mennonite women for their backward clothing?

How about the dress of certain ultra-orthodox Jews whose outfits look like something from several centuries ago?

To see images of some of these things, here are some sites to give perspective:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SdOdvLUhEfI/AAAAAAAAc6E/JQPP-9wqokk/s1600-h/nun.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SaF4EqbXfuI/AAAAAAAAbgo/lIoS4v34VY4/s1600-h/Mennonites_R.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SOUVIK_Yk6I/AAAAAAAAP8Q/HjPVxlDzHbE/s1600-h/MARY+WITHOUT+WORDS.jpg v

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SIiw63c6GlI/AAAAAAAAO2s/7wiAsalGPCg/s1600-h/HEAD+SCARF+-Andrea-BeretScarf.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NtgXlrcvXZA/SIixRnqWFCI/AAAAAAAAO3E/DfZZ4YlKGYw/s1600-h/NUNS+-+TWO.jpg

http://www.bestweddingdresses.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/singletier-20bridal-20veil.jpg

THE END OF KODACHROME

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

I too loved Kodachrome.

My picture library includes about 4,000 images on Kodachrome.

While long a holdout against digital photography, I finally went over to it when I thought the quality had reached a high level.

So I made my little contribution to Kodachrome's passing.

Still it is melancholy to see the end of such an extraordinarily fine product.

Kodachrome had a longer life in the finished slides than just about any other color film.

It was comparable to Technicolor for movies. Movies shot in Technicolor survived many decades for restoration, while other film stocks literally faded away, losing forever certain images.

Historical slides in Kodachrome from the 1930s are still good images. Other color films after only a few decades faded away.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

IGNATIEFF'S MISSING THREE DECADES NOT EVEN THE GREATEST THING HE IS MISSING

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY REX MURPHY IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

Three decades in Canada is only part of what Ignatieff is missing.

Perhaps more important is his lack of any real contact or bond with people.

There is something, not just aristocratic, but almost autistic about Ignatieff.

He just does not reach the emotions because he just does not feel them.

Contrast him with a wonderfully earthy and charming politician like Chretien, and you feel there is nothing there.

Even in the sphere of the intellect, supposedly Ignatieff’s great strength, I find him surprisingly wanting.

Again, compare him to Trudeau whose brilliance shines in every photo and is burned into memory, and there is little there but mannered words and the indulgent remembrance of a well-connected family.

Ignatieff is altogether an unimpressive politician.

If you add his absence and long lack of interest to Canada, he becomes even more unappealing.

And if you add his past defense of torture, mass murder, and imperial brutishness, there is nothing there worth talking about.

This sad situation is made sadder still by the utterly soulless Harper, a robot with no personality and no sense of ethics, giving us nowhere to place a comforting vote of trust.
_______________________

"Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion."

- Stephen Harper

Many thanks to the person above for posting this. Of course, we must also rememmber Harper supported America's mass murder in Iraq, and wanted us to join in the slaughter.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckmancartoons/56297395/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NETANYAHU HAS SOFTENED HIS STANCE ON TWO STATES? I DON'T THINK SO

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

"Softens his stance" is inaccurate.

Obama has backed Netanyahu into something of a corner. Those who want genuine peace have always believed it can only come when the U.S. makes demands of Israel for all the immense subsidies it has poured into that state and all the unpleasant risk it has assumed in doing so.

Netanyahu's response is to say, "Okay, I'll mouth your phrases, but I’ll make them meaningless."

It’s a nasty game various governments of Israel have played a long time. The decades-long “peace process” has been only a way to gain time to absorb more Palestinian homes and farms and water minus the Palestinians. It really is a ploy which covers what may fairly be characterized as slow-motion ethnic-cleansing.

Netanyahu’s conditions are ridiculous to any fair-minded person.

First, you cannot speak of negotiation when you set a precondition like recognizing Israel.

Withholding recognition is one of the only bargaining chips the poor Palestinians have: it is a perfectly ordinary tactic in international affairs.

You cannot tell Palestinians they must give it up before negotiations.

Or rather, you can tell them that, but it amounts merely to another way of saying you don't accept a two-state solution, another way of buying time to grind away at the poor Palestinians and what little they have.

Besides, how do you recognize Israel when its borders change almost weekly? Where is Israel?

It certainly is not the Israel of the various 20th century agreements underlying Israel’s birth, all documents showing two roughly equal states. Nor is it the Israel of the Green Line.

Perhaps most important, how do you recognize Israel as “the Jewish state” when nearly 20% of its population is not Jewish?

It is an absurd demand, and deliberately meant to be absurd.

To all fair-minded thinkers, the genuine barrier to peace just could not be clearer.

ONTARIO'S PROPOSED SYSTEM OF COMBINING DAY CARE WITH KINDERGARDEN IN SCHOOLS

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

This is a great idea, but it won't happen.

First, for now, Dalton the Magnificent has spent Ontario silly on GM and Chrysler.

Second, and more important for the long term, the teachers' union will never let this happen on its turf.

Already, the head of the teachers' union has spoken against it.

The burdens the teachers' union would place on a program like this would make its costs impossibly high.

Until a politician is ready to take on our Public Teachers' Guild, education can show no growth and imagination, precisely what this program promises.

____________________________

"...let them be with their moms (or dads)."

Comments like this show no understanding outside the writer's very limited life experience.

You might think it was 1954, and Ozzie and Harriet were hanging around the house all day, just waiting to make Kool-Aid and help with homework.

Seventy percent of women work today.

We also have "families" where children are almost things tolerated rather than precious objects, mothers who've had children with three or four men and are not prepared to devote themselves to mothering. This is a major problem in neighborhoods like Jane and Finch where so much hideous violence has happened.

A program like this would help them all.

__________________________

"I'm stunned....."

Yes, Mike, you are.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ON OBAMA'S NEED TO LEVEL WITH AMERICANS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

Jeffrey Simpson,

This is one fine piece of writing.

You have stated the situation with remarkable clarity.

Were I to sum the American situation up, I would say it is necessary for that tired old political bromide, the centerpiece of so many bloated speeches by local Congressmen at Fourth of July picnics, the American Dream, to be put into a well-earned retirement.

I think it safe to say, problems so long in their creation, with habits of thinking so deeply ingrained, are not going to be solved in a brief period.

The so-called green shoots we see may be nothing more than fragile plants, force-fed with fertilizer, destined to shrivel.

We may well be in for a long, dark period of adjustment.

Unfortunately, as with its many pointless bloody wars, the U.S., owing to its sheer mass, necessarily drags the whole world into the mess it has created for itself.

Any solution pumping countless billions into the economy and pushing banks and others to make credit available is just more of the same decades-long behavior.

Rather than taking the hit necessary to wring out the economy, a huge platter of more of the same is being served up.

I'm not sure this is the right thing to do, but the right thing is too painful for any politician to make policy.

In a sense, I think this points to an even larger issue, and that is the question over the very ability of a people like Americans to govern themselves sensibly, rather than a constant lurching this way and that, both in domestic and foreign affairs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

HATE SPEECH

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JENNIFER LYNCH IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

The very concept of hate speech is a dangerous one, smacking of Maoism.

It is so clearly an Orwellian concept open to endless abuse and no generally agreed definitions.

The expression can be used as a fair casual description: it is one I use to describe the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter.

But what it represents should never be regarded as a crime.

At the point when hate speech actually becomes threatening or dangerous as opposed to unpleasant and ugly, we have the entire criminal and civil law to deal with it.

Those who advocate the increasing criminalization of speech are always found, upon examination, to be acting out of special interests, not out of society’s great interests.

The very idea that you could jail someone for saying something is repellant to a free society.

To avoid having the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter assuming too great an influence in Canadian society, our schools need to do a proper job of teaching, by words and example, what it is to have a civil and humane society. I am afraid, increasingly, they fail in this task.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CONSERVATIVE MINISTER LISA RAITT'S ABSURD APOLOGY

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY LAWRENCE MARTIN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

It was an unpleasant melodrama.

It is simply idiotic to appeal to people on the basis that your relative died after you've shown such insensitivity.

If Ms. Raitt's personal experience had been so moving, why did it not inform her future speech?

Ridiculous.

This is American bathos politics at its worst.

And Ms. Raitt is an unpleasant narcissist.

No wonder Harper likes her.

A SILLY COLUMN ATTRIBUTING AFRICA'S PROBLEMS IN GETTING INVESTMENT TO NONSENSE ABOUT THE DARK CONTINENT

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY INNOCENT MADAWO IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

First, Moyo is right, aid almost never helps.

There are many reasons why this is so, including the fact that much of aid is consciously given as an ongoing bribe to get votes in international forums, to bribe corrupt officials into keeping business interests safe, to support the vast waste of militaries, and to supply good jobs to careerist aid workers from the West.

There are good aid projects, but they are always led by dedicated people and they usually are under-funded. The reality of politics just does not support such efforts over the other projects serving the purposes above.

But more importantly, I completely disagree that investment doesn't go to Africa because of some nonsense about the "dark continent."

That is just excuse-making.

Investment avoids places with poor government, places with backward laws, places with overwhelming corruption, places with instability, and places with civil disorder.

Those are circumstances that prevail through much, if not most, of Africa.

Would the writer invest substantial personal savings in enterprises in any of these places as opposed to investments in stable Western economies?

Of course not.

AN INAPPROPRIATE DEFENSE OF SARAH KRAMER AT ONTARIO'S E-HEALTH

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARCUS GEE IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

There is no defense for this woman who abused her responsibilities.

You cannot call yourself a manager if you don't question some of the ridiculous expenses she did not question.

Also, her excuse for the exorbitantly-paid consultants ($3000/day in a number of cases) was the idea of getting up to speed rapidly.

But that approach - throwing money at something - is the McGuinty approach to education, a guaranteed failure.

We have the testimony of one honest consultant who told us it was all so badly organized, he was sitting on his hands while being paid. He quit, but clearly most did not.

Of course, she was not alone.

McGuinty's Minister in this portfolio is a pathetic man. When he opens his mouth, you understand why things went so badly wrong.

He should be dismissed too.

In general, there are open applications on the Internet for this purpose which may be used free.

There are also other provinces already with systems. We could easily borrow or adapt.

The whole enterprise is a scandal, much like our public education system's failure to get the basics done.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WHO SAYS "GOD" MORE BUSH OR OBAMA?

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DANIEL FINKELSTEIN IN THE TIMES

Bush did say God told him to do several things.

John O'Farrell should do his own research on his question, rather than expecting others to do it for him. I'm sure Google would get you a hatful of such quotes in a few minutes.

In general, you cannot get at the truth of a matter like this by just adding up citations.

American presidents must bring God into their speech, going back to Washington, who was a deist, or Jefferson, who was altogether a skeptic. There is just too big a pool of Puritan descendents to ignore.

After all, only about fifty years ago, Congress added "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, itself already representing a rather obnoxious, fascist-tinged practice.

It is very clear that Obama is a sophisticated man, a genuine intellectual and one who questions things.

It was equally clear that Bush is a dull man no one would call an intellectual, one moreover whose idea of sophistication was to dance naked on a bar room table after drinking lots of beer(something he actually did).

I don't believe that Bush was any more religious than Obama, but he cheaply, very consciously exploited religious feelings of fundamentalists at every turn, having been advised that it was the thing to do.

When Obama mentions God, he clearly does it in the Washington tradition.

THE CASE OF CONSERVATIVE MINISTER RAITT'S EMBARRASSING RECORDED CONVERSATIONS

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

Sorry, Ms. Blatchford, I don't think you can convincingly defend Ms. Raitt.

You and other critics of the public's reaction miss the point entirely.

Yes, it was a private conversation.

Yes, Ms. Raitt undoubtedly knows about cancer.

Yes, Ms. Raitt may be an intelligent person.

No, use of the word "sexy" in and of itself is not horrible.

It is the total sense of this conversation that is wrong. We, virtually all of us, know that it is wrong.

It displays a truly callous monomaniacal ego at work, thinking only of the career advantages she can reap from the situation, not the kind of person most Canadians want making important decisions in government.

Ms. Raitt is not unique in politics with the narcissistic quality of her personality, but she has been caught and documented.

Even if Harper doesn't dump her and she doesn't resign, I think she will remain damaged goods as far as national politics go.

THE HORRIBLE CASE OF MR. ABDELRAZIK LEFT STRANDED ABROAD AND TIME TO BRING HIM HOME

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY IRVING COTLER AND DAVID GROSSMAN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

The real story behind the government's disgraceful treatment of Mr. Abdelrazik is our government abasing itself for fear of offending the least American sensitivity.

We know there are high-level Americans who have even the basic facts of 9/11 wrong - both the Homeland Security Secretary and Senator John McCain spoke foolishly only recently.

There has been in America generally a big head of steam and lack of clear thinking over the crime of 9/11, but we do not have to accommodate America's every whim and myth in these affairs.

America's head of steam is why they are in Afghanistan, and it is why we are there.

America's head of steam is why we've left a boy to rot in Guantanamo.

America's head of steam is why we've quietly cooperated in the transport and torture of several Canadians.

And America's head of steam is why we are doing irrational things like no-fly lists and bio-metric records of visitors.

It is time to act responsibly on at least this one matter of human rights.

OBAMA'S CAIRO SPEECH AND THE REALITIES OF ACHIEVING A FAIR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Obama’s speech was an extraordinarily sensitive one. Americans and others are used to hearing only clap-trap on this topic.

He actually said something, and what he said is correct.

But I have to say where is any evidence that sensitivity or truth carry any weight in American politics? And that is especially true in all matters touching on the Middle East.

America’s Right Wing has already attacked Obama’s words, as has the mob of professional apologists for Israel’s bloody excesses.

But even the great mass of Americans who take little interest in world affairs and know only the mantra lines the mainline press repeats endlessly.

Doing anything that at all conflicts with those lines earns you some hard looks.

Israel's supporters in America will use this to their benefit to prevent a genuine settlement in the Middle East, something we have every reason to believe Israel does not want.

After all, the constant, go-nowhere "peace process" serves simply to gain the decades of time for much of the rest of Palestine to be absorbed without its unwanted residents, for D-9 bulldozers to continue flattening homes and olive groves centuries old on the most specious of excuses.

Israel just ignores all agreements and documentation going into its modern re-creation from the Sykes-Picot Agreement to the Balfour Declaration and the UN maps for partition. All of them saw two states, somewhat equal in extent.

Ignored too are the UN Resolutions concerning the aftermath of the Six Day War.

Indeed, there is every reason to believe Israel engineered the Six Day War knowing full well it could handily win and make a great new land grab. We have the testimony of important historical figures on this matter, including President de Gaulle.

It was the same kind of dark-ops project as so many others, including the vicious attack on the USS Liberty in an effort to drag the U.S. into that war. The U.S. kept a massive silence over the attack on one of its ships, allowing the feeble excuse of a mistake to stand, a ridiculous claim in view of the facts the ship was extremely well marked and the attack lasted two hours.

Just as Israel’s illicit nuclear arsenal is ignored regularly in all the noise about North Korea or Iran. Ignored too was Israel’s help in proliferation by helping apartheid South Africa to briefly become a nuclear power.

The most damaging spy in American history, Jonathon Pollard, remains in prison, but there is a constant flow of intense pressure to release him.

Israeli spies were on to the perpetrators of 9/11, but the several spy groups – a phony moving company and a bunch of “art students” - were arrested afterward and sent home with no public statements about what it was that they had been doing.

If all these many events have not altered American public opinion and Israel’s place of unwarranted privilege in Washington, how will Obama ever succeeed?

I find it difficult to believe that Obama can turn around the momentum that has continued decade after decade, a momentum of slow-motion ethnic-cleansing in Palestine and America’s subsidizing the state doing it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

THE PALIN PARADOX? THE IDEA THAT AMERICAN ELECTORAL DISTRICTS WITH MORE MEN ELECT WOMEN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DANIEL FINKELSTEIN IN THE TIMES

Could be, but I believe there is another explanation.

Alaska is a place heavily peopled with militia-types, backwoods throwbacks, and Aryan-nation types, much like Idaho.

Sarah Palin fits the profile of an ideal candidate there, utterly uninformed about the world at large yet ready to offer an opinion on any of it, being blithely unaware of how parochial her every sentence is. Such places very much want parochialism, male or female.

Her having Russia as “a neighbor,” with its assumption of knowing something about world affairs, pretty much sums up the situation.

Her equivalent as a male is more far common, places like Texas, Mississippi, or Oklahoma growing them almost like a toxic crop.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

HITLER MAD? THAT'S THE EASY WAY OUT

RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DANIEL FINKELSTEIN IN THE TIMES

"Mad. But so too was Hitler"

Authoritative psychiatric studies of Hitler tell us clearly that he was not mad.

His not being mad is precisely what makes him so frightening.

Madness is tragic, not frightening.

Humans are simply capable of anything, given the right set of beliefs or obsessions.

It's the damned human race, a gang of nasty chimpanzees with the brains to be even more destructive than their ancestors.

GAY MARRIAGE AND DICK CHENEY?

RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

I think we all recall what Cheney means when he says something along the lines of "people ought to get a shot at" something.

Apart from blasting his friend in the face with a shotgun while drunk, he oversaw the murder and torture of a number people.

Sarcasm aside, this is the only statement the man has ever made which is ethical.

We've had gay marriage in Canada for a few years now, and there are no signs of the anti-Christ or Gog and Magog to be seen.

Even its previous opponents have come to accept it as the normal part of society which it is.

Of course, this one ethical Cheney statement likely owes its origins to his gay daughter, although Lynne Cheney would blow a gasket at anyone's saying that.

EGYPT AND AUTHORITARIANISM AND OBAMA AND INSTITIONALIZED HYPOCRISY

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY IRSHAD MANJI IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

Irshad Manji,

A very good piece, except for the unrealistic last part.

The truth is that the authoritarian government in Egypt is just what the Washington establishment wants, even if that might not be the case for Obama himself.

And the truth is the authoritarian government of Egypt is just what Israel's establishment is comfortable with. Israel's governments are very comfortable doing business it.

Now between those two forces in American policy, how likely do you think your recommendation is?

Despite all the phony rhetoric in Washington about democracy and rights, I cannot imagine their welcoming an Egyptian democracy.

Hypocrisy is institutionalized in foreign affairs.