Friday, March 30, 2007

This Is Not Your Father’s White House



This from a Russian news agency courtesy of Raw Story:

"The Pentagon has drafted a highly effective plan that will allow the Americans to bring Iran to its knees at minimal cost," RIA Novosti's official said.

Yeah, that was the plan in Iraq too and we all know how well that’s working out. I don’t know what they’re smoking in the White House but whatever it is, it’s powerful shit and clearly induces delusions of grandeur. It’s stunning that the Bush administration could be so stupid as to think that attacking Iran is a good idea. Even a competent White House would face a losing battle sending ground troops into Iran, but the Bush White House isn’t at all competent and will surely lead us toward more failure but this time, on a much grander scale. It is simply frightening how adept this administration and their Republican enablers are at ignoring facts and reality.

I can see it now, as our troops are being slaughtered by the thousands in Iran, we’ll be hearing how great the operation is going (“the plan is working, we just need 6 more months to close the deal”) and Senator McCain will be telling us that we can stroll the streets of Tehran with no worries at all. Sure, and next you’ll suggest that General Patraeus drives around Baghdad in an unarmed humvee. Oh yeah, you already did! Apparently McCain has traded sipping for gulping when it comes to the White House Kool-Aid.

When the Bush administration gets into trouble, they simply up the ante. When your justification for war is exposed as a lie, start a secret and illegal domestic spying program. When that is discovered, just do away with habeas corpus. When it is discovered that you are torturing Iraqis and there are pictures to prove it, just start kidnapping people off of foreign streets and ship them to secret torture centers around the world. And when you get caught firing US Prosecutors for purely political reasons in an effort to secure electoral wins in key states in ’08, ATTACK IRAN. Why not? It’s not as if Congress will impeach him right?

Just like Al Capone felt untouchable, so too does George W. Bush. I just wish I thought he was wrong.

51 Comments:

Anonymous david said...

I think the Iranians are having a lot of fun with the British. They took 15 Royal Navy personnel prisoner and No 10 is hooting and hollering as if this were the most evil of deeds. No mention of the Iranians seized in Iraq who were there at the invitation of the Iraqi government who have been sent to secret detention areas for "aggressive" interrogation.

What I don't get is why the USA thinks it has any business meddling in the affairs of other nations. Americans can get pretty angry if a foreigner tells them what they should do; hey, a New Yorker can become irate at the advice of a Californian! So what's with Manifest Destiny? Since when are Americans the Primi inter Pares?

America's hostility to the UN and other international bodies is directly related to America's inability to control them. America loves the World Bank and the IMF because it dominates, but the UN General Assembly and the ICC bugs it because they actually exert some autonomy.

If America is a Christian nation, I'd like to see a little more of the Golden Rule. And a lot less of this Either you're with us or you're against us. America needs to be more like NYC and less like Imperial Rome.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

David~

"I think the Iranians are having a lot of fun with the British."??


On the other hand.......

While there is much to criticize the U.S. and Britain for, do you not sometimes find yourself pausing and asking yourself: "Wait a minute, just
what am I defending or looking the other way from?"


http://www.iranian.com/Shorts/2007/march2007.html#30


SHAME
This is not our way
Tinoush Moulaei
March 28, 2007
I have always supported and defended Iranian culture and opposed any attack on Iran. As one who is proud of his heritage, I feel that I should also be the first to criticize Iran’s government on all issues. Today is yet another day that IRI has dragged our heritage through filth and muck. I just saw pictures of British sailors being paraded on Iranian TV. SHAME! This is not our way. I don’t know if the British sailors were in Iranian waters or not. I don’t believe Iran’s claims without proof and I give even less credit to British claims, especially considering the British government’s tradition of lying through their teeth for a piece of gold/barrel of oil! If Iran has proof of the British trespassing, then the government should provide the proof and then act in accordance with international law.

No matter what the facts around this incident are, parading these sailors on TV is unacceptable and should be condemned, more so by Iranians. These sailors should be treated with respect and human dignity. Iran’s government has done this before, but it’s not the only one. I’ve even seen pictures of Iraqi prisoners of war on American TV. We should not sink this low. This is despicable. I know that talking ethics to IRI is equivalent to playing piano in front of a herd of cows (a Chinese proverb), but I should add that it’s especially condemnable that they made the sole female amongst the 15 sailors, Faye Turney, wear ‘hejab’. It’s not enough that IRI shoves its values down Iranians women’s throats! They have to do it to a foreigner too, even when they want to use her as propaganda!? Such behavior is unethical, immoral and in violation of international law. Comment

RECKLESS
Holy water
Tina Ehrami
March 28, 2007
The arrest of the 15 British seaman in "Iran's territorial waters" just shows how selective the Islamic Republic of Iran is in matters of International Law . Somehow a UN Security Council resolution can be called a "torn paper" by the president, but as soon as British boats supposedly trespass into Iran's territorial waters, they get arrested! Then International Law suddenly becomes something Iran's politicians take serious!

The world apparently has to keep its mouth shut about all the human rights violations going on in Iran, about its shady nuclear program and the UN resolutions they recklessly ignore, but God forbid if foreign boats touch their territorial waters. Then International Law becomes holier than the Quran and the Bible all together! I just hope this whole thing doesn't turn into another hostage drama, like the American embassy 30 years ago. That would just be what Iran and Iranians all over the world would need right now. Not! Comment

2:20 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Well, dale h, you sound sold on Bush's plan to expand this war to Iran. So try to think of Iran as you would another person at a party. The last thing one wants is to punch the guy in the nose.

Consider what the Commodore Nick Lambert, commander of the Royal Navy operation which included these 15 sailors, had to say after their capture: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were in Iraqi territorial waters. Equally, the Iranians may well claim that they were in their territorial waters. The extent and definition of territorial waters in this part of the world is very complicated.”

The so-called territorial line in the water was drawn, not by Iraq or Iran, but by the British. As a Canadian I know all about territorial disputes; the border between New Brunswick & Maine shifts slightly every ten years. And that slogan "54'40 or Fight" refers to Americans threatening to invade Canada.

Where are those 5 Iranian diplomats seized in Northern Iraq by American troops on January 11? Iraqi officials --not just Iranian-- have demanded their release. They are held in secret and there's no news about them. Iran has treated the Royal Navy crew much better.

And let's get something straight. They Royal Navy wasn't searching for terrorists or illegal arms. No, they admit they were searching for black market automobiles being smuggled in to avoid import tax. Since when do coalition forces act as customs inspectors?

And another thing: it's the US/UK who don't obey international law. And then they demand that others comply to the smallest letter of the law. Iraq didn't have WMD and it didn't plan or partake in 9/11. Every Iraqi killed by America since this war began has been wrongfully killed.

The USA broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979. America was in a snit --not unlike when Castro took Cuba 20 years earlier. My advice: Get over it. Every nation has to go its own way. America can treat other nations as equals or as enemies. It's America's choice. However, if America picks a fight, expect the smaller countries of the world to fight back.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

So, the comments of conflicted Iranians have NO merit?
I claim that they do, and that your leap in claiming I support Bush's plan for war with Iran is, well, one frickin' leap!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes nations miscalculate and do stupid things. Iran has done a stupid thing that has reinforced the worst stereotypes that we Americans have of that nation. Now the Brits have two such examples of Iranian idiocy. Too bad Maggie's not still around. But then I doubt the Iranians would be playing pirates if she was!

My understanding is that it is a fairly standard 12 mile limit that was violated. You'll note that the initial GPS claims by the Brits were first matched by GPS readings the Iranians provided, before they changed their 'minds' and claimed 'violation' with 'new readings. And these clowns are to be trusted with the operation of nuclear plants?

As I said I do not hold the U.S and Britain blameless, but neither do I approach every situation as a blind ideologue unable to distinguish or allocate blame.

You ARE defending the indefensible with wingnutian logic that claims that Bill Clinton did it too!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous david said...

First, what merit do you give to two 'conflicted' Iranians is irrelevant. The Shah was an Iranian and he was installed on the Peacock Throne by the CIA who taught his secret police the fine art of torture.

There are plenty of 'conflicted' Republicans who think Nixon should never have resigned or regret the whole Civil Rights thing. I don't see that I should take seriously the thoughts of these Republicans.

12 Mile Limit? Friend, the rest of the world deals in metric. Stop being so 18th century. I repeat: It is acknowledged that this theoretical line in the water was drawn by the British. It has no validity in Iraqi/Iranian law.

And you worship Maggie T, dale h, and then think I'm being presumptious in calling you a warmonger? Hahaha. Old Maggie T who embraced the old fascist Augusto Pinochet when he was facing extradiction in the UK. She's a real rolemodel for the new Amerika.

The British newspapers are filled with scorn toward Blair. Not because he appears weak and hypocritical --though he does-- but because they assume his last act as Bush's loyal lapdog will be to hand Bush the excuse to invade Iran. (The Iranians captured British troops in 2004 and released them a few days later after an exchange of diplomatic niceties. This time, Blair has chosen to beat his chest and threaten. Why?)

As LGND's original post points out, this is not Pappy Bush's White House. Pappy knew invading Iraq would be a disaster. And his old friends in the Iraq Study Group have tried to explain that invading Iran would be catastrophic.

Don't call them clowns when you have a moronic cowboy for a President. The irony is too rich. In 2003, the Iranian leadership offered to help America and to recognize the right of Israel to exist and to stop funding Hezbollah. How did Bush react? They punished the messanger and tried to bury the evidence of the offer. Who is the real clown here? Or are you just prejudiced against people who don't dress like you do?

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

Working my way from the end of your patronizing, logically inconsistent lecture, to the beginning, first of all it is entirely possible to have a moronic President and still deplore idiotic, theocratic inspired behavior of whatever nationality.

As for the second hostage taking, maybe it's a case of enough is enough. Sorry for the American 'mileage' rather than the metric explanation, NOT!
If there wasn't an agreed upon 'limit', what exactly were the Iranians trying to prove with their two 'readings'?

What exactly was inaccurate or unfair in the Iranian quotes that I posted?

You are left to defend the irresponsible actions of theocrats, and you just aren't very convincing.

No, I don't begrudge you the extra Molson's that you needed to consume to defend a country governed by bat shit crazy theocrats. I have the good sense NOT to defend the one's governing mine! And it's not the tuque that you're wearing that elicits my scorn, but rather the selective outrage and moral blind spot that allows you to let the Iranians off so easily.

9:53 PM  
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10:43 PM  
Anonymous david said...

dale h, the point is not defending either position. You are defending the Bush/Blair position when you accept their talking points and run with them.

Let's face facts. The US/UK coalition knows full well the Iraq/Iran border has been contested for most of the last century. Saddam spent eight years at war with Iran trying to push the border back --with US help. (Remember that smiling Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand?)

The 15 Royal Navy personnel aren't being tortured. And giving the lone woman a head scarf is hardly cramming religion down her throat. Hostage taking is normal in this part of the world. Get used to it. Iran wants its five diplomats released. Where are they? Why weren't they simply expelled from Iraq if considered undesirables (although they had the permission of the "freely elected" Iraqi government)? Are they being tortured? Are they being held in some black hole in Eastern Europe?

Defending the indefensible? That's a laugh. Bush and Blair have lost all moral authority in the Middle East. They're the ones who lied to start a war of choice; they're the ones who refuse to hand over authority to the Iraqis; they're the ones who suspended the Geneva Conventions and pick & choose which UN resolutions they'll enforce.

Let's be clear. The US openly talks of attacking Iran and has sent two air craft carrier forces into the area for this purpose; the US air force makes daily sorties into Iranian air space; and there are rumors of special ops crossing into Iran to encourge resistance. And you're worried about a dispute about 15 members of the Royal Navy? Good grief! US troops murder that many Iraqis a day with impunity. Your concerns are misplaced.

Isn't it about time the Iraqi government decided what's to be done about its security? Or is the "freely elected" government just for show and not really any more important than the so-called democratic government of South Vietnam?

The White House knows it can always lead Americans by the nose into any tragic situation by invoking high moral standards. Americans are naturally fair & just. The problem is that neither side is blameless here and it just plays into the neo-con game to dress the Iranians in Black Hats and the Bushies in White Hats.

And don't give me "Enough is Enough". What a hoot! This is not baseball or basketball. International relations are an ongoing affair of debate and bargaining. It just reveals American's immaturity that it can't have diplomatic relations with Cuba or Iran, but has no problem with other oppressive regimes. Get over yourselves! Jaw-Jaw is always better than War-War. And, psst!, God is not on the side of the big battalions.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

Your moral relativism, or moral imbecility, is honking at us through much of what you say.

I do not defend my bad President and his irresponsible governance and I don't have to engage in facile 'get used to it' comments Re ANOTHER irresponsible country's behavior.

You state that neither side deserves defending and then you do just that on behalf of the Iranians!

One doesn't need to have been a hostage to know that the 'lone woman' was not given a choice to either not wear the scarf or not appear in the video. You assume that the detained Iranian 'diplomats' were engaged solely in diplomacy.
You accept rumors of special ops in Iran and that the Iranian detainees might be undergoing torture and you of course know that the Brits are not being tortured.

In short you assign the most benign interpretation to Iranian actions and by implication, defend them.

Seems to me thay it's YOUR nose being led around by those theocrats you're so inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to!
In fact, no matter how you try to slice it you are left with defending the actions of an Islamofacist State that even the Russians and Chinese have joined in sanctioning, again.

I stand by the descriptions BY Iranians of Iranian behavior as earlier posted:


"No matter what the facts around this incident are, parading these sailors on TV is unacceptable and should be condemned, more so by Iranians. These sailors should be treated with respect and human dignity. Iran’s government has done this before, but it’s not the only one. I’ve even seen pictures of Iraqi prisoners of war on American TV. We should not sink this low. This is despicable. I know that talking ethics to IRI is equivalent to playing piano in front of a herd of cows (a Chinese proverb), but I should add that it’s especially condemnable that they made the sole female amongst the 15 sailors, Faye Turney, wear ‘hejab’. It’s not enough that IRI shoves its values down Iranians women’s throats! They have to do it to a foreigner too, even when they want to use her as propaganda!? Such behavior is unethical, immoral and in violation of international law."

2:37 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Ha! Well, what are you, dale haha? A liberal dupe?

Oh, out of millions of Iranians you accept the two that agree with your opinion. Yes, and the White House accepted Chalabi and Allawi as representative of Iraqi opinion; that was a real farce! Crooks and Liars!!!! (I suppose you believed that fake Kuwaiti nurse who claimed the Iraqi troops pulled babies out of incubators and tossed them on the cold concrete floor.)

Dear me! And you think your beloved President is treating those five Iranians according to the Geneva Conventions? They haven't been heard from in nearly 3 months. Come on! This is classic American naiveness: Bush is always innocent until proven guilty --even when he's been proven guilty every time.

Check out Terry Jones's article: Call That Humiliation?
No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians Clearly Are a Very Uncivilised Bunch
.

I am sick of you fake progressive/liberals who are willing to call Bush a bad president, but then urge him to kill more innocent people and commit more crimes against humanity. All you really think is that he's incompetent and that he could have committed all his crimes with greater efficiency. Bah humbug!!!

3:39 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

David,

Must you attack everyone who disagrees with you in the slightest way? I’ve been a faithful reader of this blog for a long time. Much longer than you have been posting comments. Truth be known, I enjoy this blog less now then I used to – mainly because of comments of yours where you attack other liberals. Do us all a favor and save your venom for conservative interlopers.

I can assure you, with nary a shadow of a doubt, that my liberal friend Dale is not a warmonger. Frankly, I think Dale has a good point with regards to Iran holding these 15 sailors and marines. With a genuine warmonger in the White House, no good can come from this. The Iranians should repatriate the British. Should the US also repatriate the Iranians they picked up in Iraq? Yes, they should.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous david said...

I'm very sorry that you don't find my comments thought-provoking, Jonathan. However, I find the American version of liberal/progressive in serious danger of becoming meaningless. Or at least turning into a form of old fashioned Stalinism. (See Orwell's Homage to Catalonia for more on that.)

The so-called War on Terror has turned many liberal/progressives inside out. Christopher Hitchens, Tony Blair, and others have made some bizarre transformation like the pigs in the final scene of Animal Farm. It's curious to see people who once believed that All Humans are Equal suddenly embrace the notion that Some are More Equal Than Others.

As I type this the British Foreign Office is already frantically softening its position on the 15 captive members of the Royal Navy. Sanity has prevailed. A British diplomat will assure Tehran that a mistake has been made and that Britain will always ask before entering Iranian territory. And that's how diplomacy works.

Liberalism isn't about being atheists or secular or permissive. It's about individual rights and tolerance. It's about respecting conservatives and the faithful as well as the wild & crazy. Muslims are human too. The media's manufacture of Islamofascism is the great crime of the War on Terror. There is no such thing.

I'm sorry if you don't like being critiqued. It disappoints me that liberalism can't bear criticism and only wants to hear the neo-conservatives bashed. Of course, an unthinking, unreflective liberal is an oxymoron. It's essentially hypocrisy with a human face.

I just wish liberals in America weren't so eager to Save the World for Democracy. It usually means thousands die and those that survive don't get democracy or human rights. Show me the success stories from America's history of nation-building. I can't think of one country. Not one. But failures... that's another story.

7:21 PM  
Blogger dave said...

RN kidnappings coincide with Blair 'the Poodle's' popularity slump.
This is a UK version of the bushevik scam,a diversion pure
and simple.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

"I find the American version of liberal/progressive in serious danger of becoming meaningless. Or at least turning into a form of old fashioned Stalinism."

Sounds more like the schism between Sunni and Shiite, don't cha think?

What is truly meaningless is a liberal/progressivism, whether Canadian or just your 'version', which espouses tolerance, dissent, understanding and diplomacy, except when dealing with disagreements with your flawed postings.

I shared the comments of two Iranians that in fact reflect the values you claim to honor.

Perhaps you can share with us some Iranian comments that more accurately reflect the
true values of the Islamic Republic that you are so inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to in all disputes.

Your assertion that there is no such thing as Islamofacism appears to be unsupported if not in, uh, bad faith.

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=TSHA,TSHA:2005-52,TSHA:en&q=Islamofascism+

"The term is not generally used to describe historic fascist organizations because the most successful and notorious forms of historic fascism did not bind themselves to any of the traditional religious forms.[4] Yet comparisons were made between fascism with Islam as far back as 1937, when the German Catholic emigre Edgar Alexander compared National Socialism with "Mohammedanism"[5], and again, in 1939, when psychologist Carl Jung observed of Adolf Hitler, "he is like Mohammed. The emotion in Germany is Islamic, warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with a wild god."[6] Fascism, though not tied to any particular religion, certainly appropriated or invoked many religious and historical traditions and symbols for motivational and propagandistic purposes, ranging from Christianity to Norse paganism; at the time, it was called "clerical fascism." Examples of Fascist movements that embraced religion include Spain's Falangists, the People's Party of the pre-war Slovak Republic, Fascist Ustasha movement in Croatia, the Iron Guards of Rumania, and Plinio Salgado's "Integrationism" in Brazil.[7][8]

The most direct linkage between historical Fascism and modern Islamofascism is made through the World War II-era Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini, who was hosted in Nazi Germany after being forced to flee Palestine and, later, Iraq by British authorities, and whose nephew was the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.[9]"

"Show me the success stories from America's history of nation-building. I can't think of one country. Not one. But failures... that's another story."

It certainly is. Clearly, relying on whether or not you can think of something is less than enlightening to us Amerikans. Although the term 'nation building' was not in the lexicon at the time, you will find numerous referneces to just that with regard to the reconstruction of the infrastructure and political and economic systems of Germany and Japan after WWII. See also, the Marshall Plan.

Overlooking such obvious examples reflects the crippling bias so evident in much of what you post. Either that or an almost Orwellian selectivity regarding historical data.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Well, obviously we are not going to agree on some things. However, I do find it amusing that your defence of the term Islamofascism makes use of racist stereotyping and panders to the fears of the ignorant and narrow-minded.

The concept of "Islamofascism" is a Western construction that projects onto Muslim culture movements not in historical evidence. The anti-Zionist hatred of Jerusalem's Grand Mufti is rooted in local politics and not Nazism; the Irish also were sympathetic to Hitler's axis for purely parochial reasons.

There is a cynical side to the Marshall Plan. The original plan was to destroy all of Germany's industry and turn it into a backward rural country. However, the threat of Communism forced America to rebuild. (It also helped that many of America's Nazi sympathizers --such as the Bush family-- owned big chunks of German industry.) What Americans forget is that, until the present war in Iraq, most troops stationed outside the USA were still in Japan and Germany.

Friend, what you need to know is that Iranians are no different than you. Bush was warned recently by an expatriat Iranian who fled the Islamic Revolution that to drop one bomb on Tehran would ensure the power of the Islamic government for another 25 years.

The Iranian people have as diverse a collection of opinions as America does. Some are critical of the religious government, others supportive. Not one thinks America should attack Iran. And just as all Americans will unite in a time of war, so will the Iranians.

Please don't confuse "ought" with "is". Moralising about others is always dangerous. Don't point to the mote in your brother's eye when you have a log in your own. Yes, Iran 'ought' not to be holding 15 members of the Royal Navy, but it is your American government that is holding many times that number in secret. It is hypocritical to gnash your teeth at Tehran when you won't lift a finger to those being tortured and held in secret and denied all basic human rights. If you won't hold your own government accountable, how do you expect to lecture others.

I would also caution against cherrypicking comments by Iranians to support your viewpoint. Tinoush Moulaei and Tina Ehrami have far more complex and nuanced opinions on the situation than I'm sure you'd feel comfortable with. (And Tina does wear a head scarf!) This is the danger in trying to turn humans into propaganda tools.

The point is to define what is Liberal Humanism. And not to be distracted by warmongers who spread the same old lies every war. The blood libel is the oldest and has been applied to Jews, Christians, Persians, Chinese, and Mongols. The purpose is to demonize the Other. I don't even approve of demonizing Hitler; it just makes it harder to identify future Hitlers.

A liberal humanist must not demonize. And I hardly think my comments are hurting you; you Americans have been so devoid of Free Speech the past 25 years that it seems to shock you when people actually exercise it. We need to embrace and include; we don't need to fight and enforce conformity.

I'd like to end with words from the gentle, unsung hero of the past five years: Swedish diplomat Hans Blix. Had he been allowed to continue his UN weapons inspections for another six months none of the death and destruction that followed would have happened. And yet the Avenging Angel of America wouldn't wait, it cried out for blood. America's pride was too great. The gentle Blix, a bemused realist, summed up his philosophy thus: "The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race."

9:50 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Sorry. I know my posts are long enough as it is without double posting, but I wanted to share this link to Daily Kos: Pat Tillman and the Bush Cult.

It is important for progressive Liberal Humanists not to be sucked into the fictional narrative created by the neo-cons, Fox, and other holdovers from the Cold War. Americans have always simplied things into Good Guy/Bad Guy narratives. Life is far more complicated. It's time Americans realized that Jesus' tale of the Good Samaritan was meant to provoke thought; Samaritans were about as popular among Jews 2000 years ago as Iranians are today.

So, drop the Black Hat/White Hat narrative. We aren't living in a Hollywood movie. This is Life. Real Life. And people die, suffer, and struggle to survive in real time. There are no rewrites and one can't say sorry if one gets it wrong.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

David~

It's NOT the length, not the length of your posts that you need to apologize for, but rather the relentless, sanctimonious pseudo-intellectual tone and content! One sweeping simplistic generalization after another about Americans this and Americans that.

"So, drop the Black Hat/White Hat narrative." So, YEAH, practice what you preach and don't ascribe every single evil in the world to the United States.

Do you really imagine that if we DID vanish from the geopolitical map that the likes of you would be able to kumbaya your effete way out of complying with whatever Islamofacist...yes they do exist..demand that you would be presented with?

Let's be candid, if it ever did come down to the kind of struggle that your weakness invites we won't find you on the ramparts.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Well, I'm not sure which of my arguments you found to have a "relentless, sanctimonious pseudo-intellectual tone and content!"

I should point out that I had all this abuse heaped on me when I objected to "one sweeping simplistic generalization after another about" Iranians and Muslims.

I can understand, dale h, why I offend you. I am not buying into the narrative that America is the Promised Land. And I don't believe that those angry with America hate it because of its Freedom & Democracy. That is so Disney!

So, I understand according to jonathan that you are a good liberal. Well, then why does my liberal humanism threaten your manhood? What's with the homophobic terms of abuse "effete", "weakness", and implied cowardice?

Islamofascism is a false construct. It makes about as much sense as Christofascism. Or Zionism. Militant Islam is a grassroots movement of dispossessed Muslims angry at globalization and the subjugation of whole countries to Western imperial powers. There are no designs for world conquest or expansionism. It is not a nationalist movement and it's not middle class; two aspects of genuine fascism. Militant Islam doesn't even have a strong base in mainstream Islam; it is essentially a response to historical circumstances and will fade away as soon as circumstances change.

America is not the World's police force. America can best lead by example. And that means obeying its own Constitution and Bill of Rights; by embracing the United Nations and the International Criminal Court; and upholding the Geneva Conventions.

If you truly believe there is such a silly thing as Islamofascism, perhaps you'd like to enlighten us as to their diabolical plan. Maybe you have a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca we could all read.

P.S.: I think I write rather tightly argued and logical posts. I still do as I note you don't actually try to debate me point by point; you merely become hysterical.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

"Well, I'm not sure which of my arguments you found to have a "relentless, sanctimonious pseudo-intellectual tone and content!"

Most of 'em. Here's a recent beaut:

"you Americans have been so devoid of Free Speech the past 25 years that it seems to shock you when people actually exercise it."

Which of us Americans specifically? Mollie? Buellar? Anyone else on this blog?
Share your stories of arrests
or self censorship with our Canadian arbiter of American values

You may THINK that you write "tightly argued and logical" posts, but much of it is didactic scolding that concedes NO merit to the U.S. and attributes every virtue to the Iranians, or whatever other noble totalitarian government that looks good to you at the moment.

Effete:

1. Depleted of vitality, force, or effectiveness; exhausted: the final, effete period of the baroque style.
2. Marked by self-indulgence, triviality, or decadence: an effete group of self-professed intellectuals."

Those are the connotations I had in mind when I used the word. As is your intellectual style, your over reacted and jumped to an unwarranted conclusion and, I might add, exhibited a little bit of hysteria!

I wasn't implying cowardice on your part, I was flat out stating that I see no evidence from your writings that you would provide the least resistance do those who might not choose to reason with you, like the Islamofascists. I'll concede that a mix of moral obtuseness, naivete and just plain old wishful thinking may be masking timidity on your part.

I say that any movement or religion that tries to implement a "convert or die" policy toward the 'infidels' is inherently fascist.

The book "American Fascists" ascribes fascism to the 'Christian Right'.

I have made plenty of points that you were unresponsive to, so drop that pretense.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Dear dale h, I have no doubt William Randolph Hearst could have tricked you into going to war by providing the right pictures. You seem wholly unwilling to put anything into perspective.

You seem to think I'm promoting the joys and benefits of the Iranian government. I'm only pointing out that this is a fairly trivial incident in the world scheme of things. I believe it is totally irresponsible to fan the flames of the pigheaded people on both sides by urging the use deadly force.

As for LGND, try reading the original post. I think you'll find I am more in agreement with LGND than you are. That's one reason I like reading her posts. She's a sane voice in a sea of ideologue blogs.

I say that any movement or religion that tries to implement a "convert or die" policy toward the 'infidels' is inherently fascist.

Perhaps it's the poor education system in America, but fascism has nothing to with relgious conversion. Futhermore, Islam does not have a "convert or die" policy; that would be Ann Coulter.

It is also unfair to characterise the Christian Right as fascist or Christofascist. The Christian Right is a complex movement that is not entirely in step with neo-conservativism or certain fundamentalist leaders. It is by demonizing them that liberals undermine their cause.

Why is America in Iraq? It's half a world away and how Iraqis and Iranians live is not really any business of America. Why do American troops abuse prisoners, hold them in secret solitary confinement, bag their heads, torture them, and keep them imprisoned indefinitely?

Why is the White House spying on its own citizens? Why does the President enforce some UN resolutions and ignore others? Why does Washington talk Peace but rushes to make War?

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

I did read the original post. My responses were to your nonsense about your Iranian heroes.

Too bad about that absense of doubt on your part. Aside from the cheap shot about my weakness for picture stories, it's a trait that contributes to the self righteous, lecturing tone of your posts.

"Perhaps its the poor education system...." There you go again!. Our best universities are the best in the world. People come from all over the world to attend. Some are even let in from Canada!

Among fascism's components are blind adherence to a leader and an emphasis of blind faith over reason, found among fundamentalists of all stripes.

Haven't seen any govenrment officals advocating a military strike to resolve this hostage taking. Another one of your straw men, I guess.

As for the diatribe about Bush, no arguments from me. Like I said, you're too fond of straw man arguments for your own good.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous david said...

I am sorry, but I did not paint the Iranians as 'heroes'. It was you who painted them as 'villains'. That's what I consider dangerous nonsense.

Bush hinted at attacking Iran in January, didn't he? And what is your civic duty if you consider Bush such a terrible leader? Just sit on your hands and hope he kills only the people you don't like? And is Uzi Arad a strawman? He's keen to bomb Tehran. And thinks it would be a piece of cake for America.

And blind adherence to a leader? Gee, they really don't teach you much in American schools. Ahmadinejad is as idiotic as Bush, but he hasn't half the autocratic power of the US president. He is not Iran's Supreme Leader.

America does have some fine post-secondary schools. And they do attract many people from around the world. They could attract more Americans, but the elementary and secondary schools in America are in decline.

Song of the week in America: "Don't know much about history. Don't know much biology. Don't know much about a science book. Don't know much about the French I took...."

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

Excuse me but I'll take my counsel on "what my civic duty is" from my fellow citizens.

"And what is your civic duty if you consider Bush such a terrible leader?" Lemme guess. Lobby for impeachment or....?

You've given ample evidence that you're a gutless moral relativist. You know all of the liberal values, though you clearly lack the gumption to stand up for them. Now how exactly do I know that?
Because you write things that you would never dare say to an American's face.

I'm thinking if the Royal Navy lowered its standards enough for you to serve, and you were taken hostage, you'd raise your hand, exclaim 'dear me' and ask for the magic marker so you could cheerfully mark how far "off sides" you were!

I was specific about the absence of military threats during this crisis. I'm pretty sure you can read, but apparently not very well.

Oh, nice touch with the cheap shot song 'joke'. I'm sure you've won a lot of fans by insulting the entire USA.

Scratch a Canadian pseudo-intellectual and all you find is another dumb ass hoser!

8:53 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Actually, I know plenty of nice smart Americans. They were so smart they became Canadians! Our Immigration Dept was flooded by calls after 2004.

"Lobby for Impeachment"??? Ohhh, that sounds so manly. Not gutless like those citizens in Eastern Europe or South America who camped out in the civic squares and demanded the government resign.

Yes, you do the manly thing and lobby. And you might just get so mad at the torture and abuse of human rights by your government that you might even sit down and write a postcard.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

"Dear Me!"

'Manly' is to you as a bicycle is to a fish.

You are the embodiment of the cliche that "a liberal will not take his own side in a fight". Why there isn't a corollary cliche "a conservative will send someone to fight in his place" is a puzzle to me.

I'm confident that we'll take our country back over the next two years. You? Keyboard commando that you are, you'll continue to wag your finger, wring your hands, slur America
and praise those who would slit your throat....if they could keep from laughing too hard as you pleaded with them to allow you to remove your head from your ass.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous david said...

What I won't do is fight a conservative's fight. By accepting the neo-con narrative, you're guaranteeing that 2008 will be a 'near run thing'.

I live in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. I can count Iranians and Americans among my friends. And I know that this talk of hordes of homicidal jihadists slitting throats is just racist nonsense. If you want to cower under your bed, that's your business. But some of us know the world didn't change after 9/11 and life goes on.


You are the embodiment of the cliche that "a liberal will not take his own side in a fight."

And this is how you see liberals, is it? Your macho bravado is all about trying to live down a stereotype? How sad that the bravest Americans are middle aged women like Cindy Sheehan who are willing to stand up and speak Truth to Power. While the liberal boys spend their time kicking towel-heads to prove they're not stereotypical limp-wristed liberals.

I'd point out that America avoided World War Two as long as possible. Canada had already been at war with Germany & Japan for two years when Tojo and Hitler dragged America into the conflict. And it wasn't the liberals who were reluctant to fight --it was those 'manly' conservatives who make you feel like a eunuch. And it was the liberals who volunteered in the greatest numbers to fight the Good War.

Oh, and it was a Canadian who drafted the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was Canada who proposed the concept of UN peacekeeping. Yes, we Canadians may not be a manly lot, but we're not bloodthristy savages either.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

Didn't say or imply that the "Canadians weren't a manly lot", just you.

I'm familiar with Canadian and American History and I'm not ignorant enough to question an entire nation's courage based upon their entry date into WWII.

Like a lot of Nations after WWI we were wary of going again. Were there no Canadian isolationists when the Germans went into the Sudetenland? Into Czechoslovakia?
History shows that we took the time to rearm as well as arm the British.
Sorry we took so long. How'd we do? Suffer enough casualties to atone for our tardiness, in your opinion?

Here's one of the differences between you and me. I'm a liberal without a 'jerk in his knee'. I realize that no part of the political spectrum is ALWAYS right or always wrong, and I call liberals out when I think they deserve it. My posts on this site reflect that stance.

I served my country in the USMCR. Nothing for me to "live down". Doesn't make me either a hero or a 'bloodthirsty savage', but gives me an appreciation of sacrifice and a healthy contempt for the numerous chikenhawks in my Country's Repug party.

I called the quote about liberals a cliche. As with some cliches, there is a kernel of truth that describes a small number of people...like yourself.

We both know that it isn't just a 'conservative's fight' that you won't fight, that there is no 'when push comes to shove' for you as you backpedal furiously, rationializing the indefensible and explaining away "Iranian Fun".

I don't demonize 'towelheads' but I do employ liberal amounts of politically incorrect sarcasm toward theocrats and their supporters, whether they're grasping the reins of a camel or the handle on the cup of their Latte.

As for 911, I suggest your perspective changes depending on proximity to 'ground zero'.
The world changed enough to justify going after the Al Quieda and Taliban in Afghanistan.

But let me guess. If Montreal, Totronto or Vancouver had taken hits and you knew where they came from, would you be exclaiming "Oh dear! Our Bad!"?

I say it's an open question and that we can make a reasonable inference from your posts as to what your answer would be. I suspect in part that your response would entail ordering some
"astronaut huggies"!

10:11 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Well, I have no doubt the perspective shifts depending on one's proximity to "ground zero". The further away the more one screams for revenge and bangs the drum for war. It's the one's furthest from the battle who always glorify war. But then you probably knew what General Sherman had to say about chickenhawks.

The world didn't change after 9/11. And going into Afghanistan was simply cause & effect. Of course the reports out today say America has lost the war in Afghanistan. Another boneheaded blunder by your Commander-in-Chief.

And Canada considered Afghanistan a Good War and we have committed troops to the fight in the most violent part of the south. Of course, our first four casualties were killed by an American pilot hepped up on speed. Eight other Canadian soldiers were injured in that incident. And the American command acted as if they were the victims. Sheesh!

I realize America, which was founded by people suspicious and contemptuous of standing armies, has become a militaristic state. (Witness the success of the bloodfest movie 300 with its absurd contention that the Spartans were democratic or freedom-loving. That was the Athenians who are portrayed as 'effete'.) But I consider the American armed forces to be unprofessional and incompetent.

One should check out Geoffrey Regan's book Blue on Blue: A History of Friendly Fire.

And if you know so much about Canadian history, you'll know your government weaseled out of paying compensation to those dispossessed after the Revolution, that Canada was where the Underground Railway ended, and that Canada provided refuge for those Vietnam draftdodgers. And that lovely young girl, Phan Thi Phuc, who was the napalm victim in that iconic photo that so upset Nixon lives in Toronto. But I doubt these things are known in the United States of Amnesia, where every war crime is committed by a rotten apple and no one in authority is ever held accountable.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

Actually I know about every single historical fact that you've raised and I defend none of the reprehensible record.

So, yet another series of sweeping, condescending generalizations about an entire nation from a self-righteous, patronizing bore.
Your broad indictments are as laughable as they are fallacious.


Actually, it's the Persians who are portrayed as effete in the movie. Wouldn't expect you to get that right either.

There is a difference between glorifying war and standing up for yourself and others. Nothing you've written indicates that you understand the difference or that if you
did, that you would be the stand up guy.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

This piece supports my argument about the foolishness of so called liberals
who won't take their own side in a fight.


"Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism."

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009890

The Trouble With Islam
Sadly, mainstream Muslim teaching accepts and promotes violence.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.

Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.

Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand--but so far haven't--that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."

All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices.
Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us."

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous david said...

I am sorry, dale h, but you'll just have to come out of the closet and admit to being a neo-conservative. You really can't continue this schtick about being a Liberal who has seen the Light. It's an insult to true liberals.

What makes you think Tawfik Hamid is legit? A man who fronts neo-con views on Glen Beck, in The Washington Times, and on Fox. He's the equivalent of a member of Jews for Jesus.

The Far Right is littered with former Lefties who suddenly saw that a nice retirement nestegg could be theirs just by saying "I have sinned! Amazing Grace! I was once blind but now can see." It's all a crock.

"Dr" Hamid is about as legit as James "A Million Little Pieces" Frey. He claims to have once been a terrorist and to have been a good buddy of alQaeda's #2 man. Yeah, right. That's what gives him his so-called "expert" status.

I think you'll find Dr Hamid is just a well-paid frontman for the drive to invade Iran. That's essentially what the whole Intelligence Summit is about: It's a neo-con propaganda machine.

There is a rich literary tradition of the kind Dr Hamid falls into. Nuns and priests confess to the evils of the Vatican; former Liberals admit to undermining the fabric of the nation; drug lords see the truth of Jesus and make a lucrative career making educational videos. Chuck Colson is the patron saint of this kind of nonsense.

I really think you need a refresher course on what it means to be a liberal. Or simply admit you're a neo-conservative. And check your sources before you quote.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

There you go again acting as the 'Ayatollah of Liberalism" determining who has 'credentials' and who doesn't make the cut. You don't even have the rudimentary understanding of irony sufficient to recognize the illiberal nature of your read out of me.

I 'admit' what I've stated before. I have sufficient critical thinking skills to recognize that no shade of the political spectrum has a monopoly on the truth.
Any honest reading of my posts would reveal that I am liberal by any RESONABLE standards.

I don't consider your examples of 'straight jacketed' thought to be reasonable.

Happily, your posts have provided me more lively impressions of truth through many collisions with your errors!
(J. S Mill, I believe.)

"Refresher Course on what it means to be a Liberal"?!

Let me put it this way, every time I read your litmus tests of required actions and thoughts I realize who the real liberal is in our exchanges.

Get this into your dense head.
I don't place any merit in ad hominem attacks on any source I reference.( I mix my ad hominem attacks on you with factual rebuttals. Try it some time.) Like a stopped clock, even a right wing shill may be occasionally correct. Unlike you I even allow for the possibility that a left wing shill is sometimes wrong.

I believe that the arguments quoted from Dr. Hamid, hold merit. That is all that should be in dispute. If his points were easily rebutted, I suspect you would've done so rather than indulge yourself in ad hominem hysteria.

You've listed a number of examples of conservatives who've 'converted'.

Some of what some of them say may have merit on specific issues they address. I realize that qualifying as to 'some', 'sometimes' and 'may' is foreign to your methods of discourse.
However the absence of such qualifiers is the hallmark of what passes for thought among wingnuts and of illiberal thought. If the tin foil hat fits....!

Matthew Dowd is a more recent example of apostate. The talking points about his 'personal issues' made by Admin officials is very much in the spirit of what you do in these posts.

I really have to laugh at the implied inappropriateness of nuns and priests confessing the
'evils of the Vatican! An institution rife with illiberal thought and mired in protection and cover up of pedophilia in its ranks is part and parcel of a 'tradition' alright, though I'm sure it's not the one you're trying to highlight.


"...Refresher course on what it means to be a liberal"?!

Forget 'refresher', is there actually such a course? I'll check the curricula at the Universities nearest to me, U of Chg and Northwestern U. and get back to you. Unless there are some former Khmer Rouge on the faculty, I'm pretty sure I'm out of luck!

Maybe you can send me your check list?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Dear dale h:
Going back through other posts of yours in this blog's archives I can see you are an intensely partisan Democrat. And, despite protests to the contrary, you seem to take particular delight in abusive epithets and ad hominem attacks. However, I don't see that being a Democrat necessarily translates to being a liberal Democrat.

The specific problem I have is with your racist attitude toward Muslims. Your chosen expert is no such thing. He uses his self-anointed expert status to spout pure, unsubstantiated opinion. His entire essay/op-ed piece is generalizations tailored to pander to a neo-con audience. Hence, his guest appearances in all the Right Wing locations.

Criticisms of Islamic Fundamentalism are not new. And are, in fact, widespread in the Muslim world. It is largely a reactionary movement to the inequalities of globalization and not liberalism. Indeed, the reason why Wahhabism, a minor sect, has such a hold on Arabia is because they have lent the House of Saud legitimacy --but so has America, which actually has opposed liberalization in the area to maintain their interest in the region's oil.

Matthew Dowd has not renounced neo-conservativism. He, along with the likes of Chuck Colson, embrace the old political creed with the same gusto. They merely denounce their Trojan Horse as being too wooden to get the troops through the gate.

Obviously you are unfamiliar with the history of anti-Catholic literature. I can refer you to such amusing gems as "Fify Years in the Church of Rome" or various other tracts of anti-Catholic nonsense from the Victorian Era.

I know there are plenty of things to criticize in the Catholic Church. But, as a true liberal, I care about distinguishing between the fact and the fiction. Having read many of your posts heaping abuse on Republicans and Muslims, I strongly suspect you only care about scoring points.

I don't know anything about Northwestern Univ, but I do know the Univ of Chicago is the birthplace of neo-conservativism. I don't mind if you want to call yourself a liberal in domestic policy and a neo-con in foreign policy. But don't pull an Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter insisted in a British interview that John Stuart Mill was NOT a liberal but a conservative. She seemed to think she could redefine words at will.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

"I can see you are an intensely partisan Democrat. And, despite protests to the contrary, you seem to take particular delight in abusive epithets and ad hominem attacks. However, I don't see that being a Democrat necessarily translates to being a liberal Democrat."

You may THINK that you see clearly, but you can't see past the labels you so casually apply to anyone who disagrees with you. I'm an Independent and as I've said I reserve the right to criticize all sides. I also respond as I choose to self-righteous, pretentious, lecturing fools such as yourself.

"I know there are plenty of things to criticize in the Catholic Church. But, as a true liberal, I care about distinguishing between the fact and the fiction."

I took your original comments at face value. They implied that nuns and priests exposing the evils of the Vatican were somehow unseemly. I used the most recent EVIDENCE of how blowing the whistle on this Church was in fact necessary and heroic.

You dismiss the U. of Chicago as though it were a current bastion of neo conservatism which proves that you don't know anything about not just NU, or that you remember nothing about the departmentalization in a major University.

I realize how uncomfortable it is for you to read anything that would question the wisdom of tolerating the intolerant, but you haven't refuted a single point raised in the piece I copied.

I do not have a racist attitude against Muslims. Unlike you I refuse to patronize them by excusing every terrorist action they take or threaten to take, most particularly when they come from national leaders who are Holocaust deniers. You are an apologist for the intolerant, by your own standards a dupe and, most especially, a useful idiot.

As you can read I care not a`wit about what you do or "don't mind". As for the Ann Coulter "I shouldn't pull"?
You are about to be severely busted with the evidence of your mental sloth!

Now lets poke two final holes in the pretentiousness of your pseudo-education.
What in the hell does John
Stuart Mills' political leaning have to do with the merit of what I paraphrased? Or do you disagree that the "collision of truth with error" is a liberal approach to learning? OH, wait. Because you've labeled me you assume I misread Mill as a Conservative?

Thanks, but I'll look elswhere for guidance on The Great Books!

Labeling and dismissing out of hand the merits of people, ideas, arguments and institutions with facile labels, as you REPEATEDLY do in many of your posts, is the hallmark of someone educated well beyond their capacity to think and discern.

You should look more to how your expressed desire to distinguish fact from fiction is critically handicapped.

http://www.yale.edu/opa/campus/2005_freshman/20050827_salovey.html

"F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the kind of critical and multifaceted thinking encouraged by Yale College when he wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” To contemplate two contradictory ideas simultaneously may sound simple to you, but we live in a world in which controversies are thought to yield to one and only one correct answer. We have become conditioned, as it were, to acknowledge no more than two polarized perspectives on a problem, abandon one of them as soon as is feasible, and embrace the other with emotional fervor and moral certainty. We learn to caricature the opposition’s position, paint it as ethically bankrupt if possible, engage in polarized debate, and, after a time, declare victory."

Quickly now, Google up F. Scott's Liberal/Conservative credentials! That is what a "first rate mind" does, doesn't it?

I'll just take a wild stab that one must first expose oneself to opposing ideas before one can attempt to 'hold them'. And, that evidence of your 'ability to function' is seriously lacking!

6:41 PM  
Anonymous david said...

I have never much cared for F. Scott Fitzgerald. And I doubt he was able to hold two opposing thoughts in his mind and still function. Fitzgerald wasn't a political writer. And I'm not sure why you mention him. Except to perhaps be clever.

I also find your fear of relativism reason to suspect your liberalism. I can accept that you are an independent. That makes sense. And I can respect that. It is your slovenly use of specific terms that annoys me.

You take John Stuart Mill out of context. You seem extraordinarily confident that your Truth is colliding with my Error.

From "On Liberty", First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.

Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any object is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.

Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.


As you see me as a dense fool, I can only assume you don't see even the partial truth of my arguments. I have not defended terrorist acts. The seizure of the 15 Royal Navy personnel may have been improper or mistaken or illegal, but it was hardly a terrorist act.

You seem decidely furious to imagine the whole of America tarred by my brush, but you have no problem tarring all of Iran and Iraq with your narrow-minded opinion of religion.

I can only hope you can learn to hold two opposing thoughts in your head. Perhaps then you will learn not to fear relativism. It's the love of absolutes that is the ultimate enemy of freedom.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

Now I've got to deal with your short term memory problems? Go back a few comments and tell me again that you didn't dip a very wide brush into a very deep vat of tar. One example:
"Song of the week in America: "Don't know much about history. Don't know much biology. Don't know much about a science book. Don't know much about the French I took...."

Thanks for making my point about your litmus tests as to whose writings are worthy. Who cares about your dislike of Fitzgerald or that he wasn't a 'political writer'? Thanks also for illustrating how circumscribed your thoughts must be from excluding the non political. I wasn't being clever, just making the case for your second rate mind.

The Mill quote was mostly sarcasm, but still indicative of my opinion on the lack of soundness of your arguments.

You, of course, avoided any followup to your asinine Ann
Coulter reference. And you still can't cite any factual errors in the Iranian piece.

As to the merits of relativism. I believe that liberal democracy is superior to theocratic rule, that freedom of thought and religion are preferable and better than the absence of those freedoms. I believe that it is necessary to oppose those who espouse intolerance and that it is stupid and dangerous not to recognize that they exist.
Those beliefs do not make me an absolutist.
If you can't make those minimal value judgements about the worth of the society you live in, then you don't deserve the benefits it provides you. Hell, we know you wouldn't fight to defend them!

You have defended a country,
Iran, that is known to have sponsored terrorism, unless you think Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard are Iran's 'Peace Corps'.

Not sure how you square your distaste for love of absolutes, which I share, with your divisive pronouncements as to who is a "TRUE" liberal and whose writings are acceptable based upon your evaluation of the politics of the author.

You are too dogmatic in your assertions as to who's liberal and who's not. What one needs to do or refrain from doing.

No one enjoys being lectured to or patronized. The honking arrogance of one who assumes that he is smarter than everyone else, who devalues the arguments and sources of
those who oppose you, there's the reasons for my "fury"

As for my 'narrow mindededness about religion, let me be very specific. If the religious zealots in the Middle east want to engage in sectarian killings for the next century, that's their business. They want to threaten us with Jihad, then we have to deal with that.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous david said...

My, you are a humorless man. I take it you are unfamiliar with the work of Sam Cooke.

I hope you know Stephen Colbert is joking. Did you know more Canadians watch The Colbert Report than Americans? It's true.

Mind you, I can tell you're not used to a difference of opinion. I think you'll find Canadians can vigorously debate any question by taking strong positions. And, yes, we can hold two opposing ideas at the same time and function --that's a good definition of our country's existence.

Your article wasn't about Iran, it was about Islam. And it was mere opinion. What's to say? The Bush White House suppressed a ten page report on the threat posed to America by Saudi Arabia. That's where Wahhabism is based. Dr Hamid is making a good living on the neo-con lecture circuit promoting Islamophobia. You do better checking out CAIR to find out what Muslims are really like.

Since you do seem ignorant about the history of Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East. And seem unaware of the fact that both America and Britain sponsor terrorism. (One thing Tony Blair got out of this coalition was he stopped you Americans financing the IRA.) So, I'd recommend you read Jonathan Freedland's comment in the Guardian:
The standoff with Iran over 15 British captured sailors has revealed much about both countries - and the wider conflict
.

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

No one who knows me would describe me as humorless.
Neither would anyone describe me as so devoid of imagination or wit as to take such a cliched, cheap shot.

I realize that an invertebrate and shameless apologist for islamofascists, such as yourself, would no more take responsibility for your cheap shots against my Country than you would stand up for the values of the West.

Of course the descriptions of Iranian society indicted the perversion of Islam by the Iranian leadership. You've yet to refute the points made by the author you dismiss for other writings or statements. Ignorance prevents you from taking matters on a case by case basis. That takes some effort and intellectual honesty.

I hope you know that your hope that I understand Stephen Colbert is yet another example of the condescending and patronizing arrogance that you bring to these exchanges.

I'm not surprised at the Canadian viewership of Colbert. I'll hazard a guess that a majority of those viewers also have enough of an appreciation of Western values to agree with my stance on relativism, which of course you had no response to.

Just how willfully ignorant do you have to be to continue to try and maintain that you possess the only valid insight into these issues?

I think you're a man born out your time. If you were living in the 1930's I'm sure you would be deploring Germaphobes
and pointing out the full employment and nice new autobahns that Mr. Hitler had provided to the much aggrieved German folk. And, when you viewed the newsreel of Chamberlain waving the paper that signified "peace in our time" you would have squealed: "Dear me! Well done, Neville!"

Truthfully, I'm less interested in learning what Muslims are really like than I am in being aware of what Muslim theocratic government and laws are like:

http://kilden.forskningsradet.no/c17224/artikkel/vis.html?tid=25034

Spouse killings in Iran

Iranian laws are based on the shari’ah-laws, which in turn is founded on Islamic holy writings. According to Iranian law a man can kill his wife without punishment if he catches her with another man. But there must be witnesses to the incident – four men. If these criteria are not fulfilled, the man will be punished and might face death sentence. However, when a woman finds solid proof of her husband’s unfaithfulness, she has no right to kill, but can go to court and ask for divorce.

If a woman can prove her husband’s violence by, for example, getting statements from a doctor, she can be granted divorce. But a man cannot be sentenced for violence against his wife, and the police seldom act when a woman complains about her husband beating her. Both the police and the courts will send the woman back to her violent husband. Moazami tells that there is little knowledge among most women about their rights and they are not aware that violence can be a valid reason for divorce – however, this process is long and it can take up to five years before divorce is granted.

Now, unlike my batshit crazy President, I'm not willing to expend American or Canadian blood and treasure to forcibly drag these medieval Islamists into the 21st century. But, unlike you, I won't overlook or devalue the good in my own Country and rationalize or elevate the inexcusable in a country like Iran OR Saudi Arabia. That's what relativists do, much to the amusement of the tyrants they wish to ingratiate themselves with.

I won't assume that you are unfamiliar with the movie "A Bronx Tale". I paraphrase. As a 'True liberal, and a pandering relativist, you want to be loved and respected. However, because you're unable to take a stand for what is good and true in Western Culture as against those who revile us for our values, you end up with neither love nor respect, neither from other liberals nor from the Muslims you patronize.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous david said...

You seem to think you are the arbiter of Western Culture. But your holier-than-all-others Western Culture is BS.

The women of Iraq have fewer rights today under the glorious occupation of the West than they did under Saddam. That's really impressed them as to the virtue of Western Culture, I'm sure.

Domestic homicides and violence have always been paradoxical in ALL cultures. Still, if your solution to the moral outrage of honor killings is to nuke Tehran, I think you need some therapy.

Phyllis Schlafly is doing the lecture circuit in America explaining that a husband can't rape his wife as marriage implies consent. And she claims to be defending Western Culture. Women are more likely to be raped or murdered by their partners in America than are women in Muslim countries.

Of course, being a relativist, I'm more interested in what IS and not so much concerned with what people say OUGHT to be. America OUGHT to be a Utopia of Freedom, Equality, and Opportunity. But we all know that's a crock. Ask the citizens of New Orleans displaced by Katrina and betrayed by FEMA's racism and ineptitude.

I'm sure you're an enlightened and progressive person in your small circle of like-minded individuals. But don't get all sanctimonious because the rest of the world hasn't got to the same page as you. That's more insufferable than my lecturing, I'm sure.

And don't tell me what Western Values are. When did the Rust Belt of America become the center of Western Civilization? America: a land of extremes. A land of wealth and freedom where there is extreme poverty, racism, and intolerance. America, a land that sponsors terrorism and undermines other democracies for its selfish economic interests, but pretends it isn't doing it until 25 years have passed and then shrugs and says, "Oh, well, that was then. We don't do it now." (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) America, a land where any citizen can claim immunity from their countries crimes by saying, "Hey, I didn't vote for the fools."

Friend, I repeat the words of Jesus: Don't look at the speck in your brother's eye when you've a 2x4 in your own.

And how did you want me to respond to your take on relativism? That you are so intolerant of intolerance that you think the intolerant should be nuked? How absolutely compassionate and merciful of you. I can do without your kind of White Man's Burden.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Dale H said...

"And how did you want me to respond to your take on relativism? That you are so intolerant of intolerance that you think the intolerant should be nuked? How absolutely compassionate and merciful of you. I can do without your kind of White Man's Burden."

However you have successfully assumed the burden of sanctimonious blowhard Canadian critc of all things American.
North American Distributor for Sanctimony, in fact!
I half expected you to stand up and defend anything in your society that is good and true and can be attributed to
the influence of western culture. You unwillingness or inability to to so marks you as an historical illiterate and a quisling.
(No problem with my 1930's rendition of you? Seemed like a reasonable secenario for one like yourself who is comfortable with the supine?)

"Now, unlike my batshit crazy President, I'm not willing to expend American or Canadian blood and treasure to forcibly drag these medieval Islamists into the 21st century. But, unlike you, I won't overlook or devalue the good in my own Country and rationalize or elevate the inexcusable in a country like Iran OR Saudi Arabia. That's what relativists do, much to the amusement of the tyrants they wish to ingratiate themselves with."

I stand by these comments and I defy you to find the willingness to use nukes in this or anything else I've posted. As you said, "words have meaning".
Try practicing what you preach.

Your diagnosis of my need for therapy is duly noted. Now what about that psychological 2X4 in your own eye?


Nice try with Phyllis. She getting any traction with that crap.
Unlike the Muslim women who are raped and murdered, American woman
who survive at least have a shot at court justice.

As for the illiberal, intolerant, broad brushed, over the top diatribe on my Country?
Hey, we're under occupation by sanctimonious morons who are also prolific at dropping
biblical quotes! You have more in common with our wingnuts than you give yourself
credit for.

Lastly, "Friend, I repeat the words of Jesus......"!! The day I encounter a Christian who practices the precepts in the quotes they throw about, well it'll be the first time.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous david said...

So, you think you're under occupation. Friend, you are delusional. That sounds like the teenager who suddenly thinks Mom & Pop are alien beings. You are home, my friend. And the people praying in the mega-churches and watching American Idol are America. Just as much as you are.

I'm sorry. But I don't by your noble attitude of anti-relativism. It simply comes across as seeing ony the Good in your country and the Wicked in others. It just whitewashes your sins so you can pontificate about who is or is not good enough to be spared the iron fist of America.

So you say you don't approve of shedding American blood. Big deal. Your "Me Good/Them Bad" attitude is no different than Bush's "If your not with us, you're against us." You get to keep your hands clean while someone else does the dirty work.

Unlike the Muslim women who are raped and murdered, American woman
who survive at least have a shot at court justice.
You clearly haven't worked with women in crisis or you would know that getting justice for women in North America is like shooting blanks. The justice system is not kind to women who have been abused.

And I'm not sure what your constant attempt to label me a coward serves. It's purely gratuitous. Are you compensating for something? And please, don't pull this historical literacy crap. It just reveals your ignorance. The Norwegian Quisling is a political figure from the 1940s. I thought all Americans read Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down" in high school.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

The 30's reference was to N. Chamberlain, so you're wrong again on one of your attempted put downs. Having problems with continuity?

"I'm sorry. But I don't by your noble attitude of anti-relativism. It simply comes across as seeing only the Good in your country and the Wicked in others. It just whitewashes your sins so you can pontificate about who is or is not good enough to be spared the iron fist of America."

Would that be like you seeing only the bad about America and looking away from the crap everywhere else? Yet again you've mistaken me for someone who gives a shit about 'what you buy'.

I've repeatedly identified what I consider to be not just western values but human values. You ignore or distort rather than rebut. Is that because you're too constrained by your politically correct mental straight jacket, or just because you're a moral imbecile?

As for the cowardice. You have repeatedly identified yourself as unwilling to stand up for any part of your heritage, which doesn't have to entail diminishing anyone else's.
I call that one form of cowardice. Your 'Dear me's' bespeak another kind.

You slander my country with the impunity of a weasel safely ensconced on your side of the border.. c'mon down!

Find a bar, with some motorcycles outside, step inside and exclaim:
"Dear me! Look at all these knuckle dragging 'Mericans" and then just continue on with some of the flattering crap you've graced us with in this series.

Your over reaction to effete identified you as....effete!
Embrace it. It's what you are.

I believe I said abused women 'had a chance at court justice'. That is different from and better than what Muslim women in Muslim country's have. That's not "Us good you bad", its a simple statement of fact and a value judgment.

"You get to keep your hands clean while someone else does the dirty work."

You balless wonder. You are manifestly unfit to talk about the sacrifices of any Americans
I lost friends in Vietnam and I put my skin in the game when I enlisted. My only regret is that I can't call you a coward to your face. 'Friend'

P.S I miss the biblical quotes.

They provided a nice incongrous counterpoint to your sanctimonious and hypocritical rants. Don't you need those quotes to, you know, get yourself 'off the hook' with the Big Guy?

4:44 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Well, I am sorry. I thought when you said "quisling" followed by "the 1930s" you were making a connection. I was unaware I had to refer back a couple of posts.

And I can see you as a worthy sidekick to John Bolton. The moment you get into a quarrel you want to step outside and start bruising knuckles. Kicking butt seems to be the American male's substitute for reasoned argument.

You have repeatedly identified yourself as unwilling to stand up for any part of your heritage, which doesn't have to entail diminishing anyone else's

Where have I repeatedly identified myself as unwilling to stand up for any part of my heritage. What do you even know about 'heritage'? Whose heritage? Are you talking African, Chinese, Japanese, Cree, Ojibway, German, British, French, Italian, Russian, or Swedish??? Are you talking Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Wiccan???

It seems to me you have some Reagan-esque vision of Andy Hardy-like America with white picket fences where the Wild Ones hop on their motorcycles and ride down to the local bar where they can beat the crap out of 'effete' foreigners.

Would that be like you seeing only the bad about America and looking away from the crap everywhere else? Yet again you've mistaken me for someone who gives a shit about 'what you buy'.

The sad thing about today's America is that it ONLY cares about "what you buy". There is no American culture or heritage beyond the shopping mall. After 9/11, the only patriot thing Bush could think of was to urge American's to get out and shop. Sheesh! How the mighty have fallen!

I see plenty of Good in America. I love Jefferson, Lincoln, Emerson, and Thoreau. I love the New Deal and the New Frontier. I love King and Kennedy. I love American music and Hollywood movies.

Much of what I love about America seems to be in her past. It seems to have died in Vietnam and Watergate. The America of today is very much like a sleazy bar with a bunch of motorcycles parked out front. And I'd advise Thelma & Louise NOT to step inside --even if they are American.

Pride is the greatest of all sins. Pride goeth before a fall. What bothers me about your abusive posts is you can't take the smallest criticism. Your skin is way too thin and your skull way too thick. It is you who defend the indefensible when you embrace the horror that America has become and declare "My country right or wrong".

Personally, I'm delighted by Pelosi. I've joined Obama's website. I intend to cheer on this renaissance of America's best and brightest. But don't expect me to cheer for some fake "Heritage" that you somehow have distilled from Allan or Harold Bloom.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous dale h said...

"Well, I am sorry. I thought when you said "quisling" followed by "the 1930s" you were making a connection. I was unaware I had to refer back a couple of posts."

Like I said, brain surgeon, get your short term memory deficiency diagnosed.

"And I can see you as a worthy sidekick to John Bolton. The moment you get into a quarrel you want to step outside and start bruising knuckles. Kicking butt seems to be the American male's substitute for reasoned argument."

Actually, just as in real life it came up as the last response to a string truly gutless comments.


Which heritage?

Why the heritage that shelters and nourishes your weak ass in Canada...Western hertitage. Freedom of speech.
Even the gutless slurs you heap upon my Country and which, again, you would never dare say to an American's face are protected. Freedom of inquiry, conscience and religion.

Why am I not surprised that you want to be a cheeleader?
A calling for the ineffectuual, like you and Dubya.
And, after what you've said about this country? There's a dose of hypocrisy for ya.

I'm familiar with the Blooms and you've misconstrued, as usual.

It's arguable whether pride is the greatest sin. In any case, not to worry. Pride presupposes some measure of self-esteem and self-repsect.
Judging from your pathetic slurs, You won't be falling anytime soon. But thanks again for the scripture!

You might want to apply your dermatological and nerosurgical
knowledge to your own insufficiencies. Or, don't you read your shit?

Your 'personal delights', mostly in the past,clearly don't outweigh your personal animosities toward my Country.

So why don't you just keep your cheerleading ass on the sidelines. Or, in the interest of full disclosure lets just copy and paste your true opinions of America on each of your upcoming cheerleading hypocisies? Sound like a plan?

Real dilemma, for anyone with a moral conscience or intellectual integrity.
As you were, NOT a problem for you!

How do you blow smoke up the asses of American liberals about your hopes for their future when you have a trail of documented vitriol and unmitigated contempt for just about everything their country stands for or has ever done?

7:14 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Friend, what exactly makes my criticisms "gutless". In several places you've agreed with them.

As I see it, this righteous indignation comes from the belief that America is the Promised Land, the New Jerusalem. You are idolizing America and invoking the first three of the Ten Commandments in her defence. It doesn't make for intelligent discourse.

So you say there is something called Western Heritage and the only thing that comes to mind to define it is "Free Speech", but, because I have had the temerity to exercise said Free Speech, you would like to do me bodily harm.

I think you need to reread Milton's Areopagitica. Maybe even take a glance in Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky points out: 'Goebbels was in favour of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favour of free speech, then you're in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.'

The impression you give me is that America is a land that does not tolerate views you despise. I certainly won't be visiting any bars you recommend in the USA. However, I'd be happy to meet you in a Tim Hortons Donut Shop up here and you can scream all the abusive epithets and emasculating taunts at me that you want. I may even buy you coffee. Of course, being a gutless Canuck, if you attempt to do me bodily harm, I will have to charge you with assault.

Of course, there is no such thing as absolute Free Speech. Just as there is no such thing as absolute individuality. We are social animals and we live by consensus. We are not free individuals doing our own thing, man.

I thought you weren't a "knee jerk" kinda guy. But you sure jump to that "My Country Right or Wrong" nonsense. My country was created by committee. We debated, shouted, cursed, compromised, and muddled through. We are the Peaceable Kingdom. If you want, I can certainly run my own country down or talk it up. It's a free country --within reason.

There is nothing particularly Western about Free Speech. Indeed, as a concept, it really hasn't been expressed in the West as much as one imagines. Indeed, the Arabs were the hotbed of free inquiry during the West's Dark Ages. And the West has always liked to boast freedom for all, but usually meant only white men of property. (That was even the case in America in the 1780s.)

Now, it just seems to be you and me engaged in some pointless tit for tat argument. ("Two cheers for democracy!" --Can you spot that reference?) It's amusing watching you try to score this debate by awarding yourself points and handing me penalties, but it's really just a free-for-all. So this will be my last post on this topic. (I hope LGND and any other lurkers have been amused by the show.)

I embrace East and West, North and South. As Walt Whitman, that great American --and constant visitor to Canada-- said: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself (I am large, I contain multitudes)."

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

"Friend, what exactly makes my criticisms "gutless". In several places you've agreed with them."

I've pointed out many times that the contemptuous nature of your broad swipes at the U.S. are in fact gutless because I do not believe you would have the temerity to say them to the face of an American that you did not know.

I did mention freedom of inquiry, conscience and
religion, so again you've
miss-stated my position. Happened a lot.

No, it certainly wouldn't make for intelligent discourse if I were invoking any of the ten commandments.

No reasonable person could infer "my country right or wrong" from anything that I've posted. You're in such a run down America mode that any disagreement is mislabeled.

My country was created the same way, with a lot more bloodshed. Run down whatever you want. I'll call you on it when I see it as bullshit.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tinoush Moulaei said, in Make a Fuss:

when was the last time that you saw a movie showing the Americans as barbarian. What percentage of movies show the Pilgrims (if they can be called that) getting off the Mayflower and stealing from the Natives and burning their villages? Or, show the Pilgrims killing the very Native Americans that help them survive the harsh winter and then having a feast to thank god for granting them with victory over the barbaric Natives? Well, in case you didn’t know, that is the real root of Thanksgiving and yet every year we see the stories of the early American colonists slightly mischievously, but essentially warm-hearted and inviting the Natives to a feast. That’s pure fiction!

Take out a 20 dollar bill and look at the face on it. Jackson was an avid advocate of exterminating the Native Americans. Numerous quotes from him call for waging a genocidal war against the Native Americans. And his picture is branded on American currency. Imagine if Germany still had pictures of Hitler on their currency! And, this is just real history. If Zach Snyder had made a production showing the American army as hooligans and barbarians during World War II, a petition with 2500 signatures would be the least of his worries!

Public opinion is controlled via TV and in the current political environment, we are in the crosshairs. I don’t think we should show mindless, flag-waving, “patriotism”. We should not put “God Bless Iran” sticker on our cars, nor should we hang yellow ribbons. I would criticize that kind of sheepish patriotism too. But, we need to claim what is ours. We need to be offended when an offense is targeted at us. And above all, it will serve us well to be informed about the issues and defend them.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Dale h said...

And if we looked more closely at the history of every country in the world from say the dark ages forward, West AND East, you would find a similar if not worse record of barbarism by ALL. The U.S is not the only country guilty of hagiographic treatment of it history and historic figures.

Extermination attempts against indigenous populations and sectarian slaughter is a human condition, not just an American condition.

The 'Framers' of the U.S Constitution did indeed give us a framework to constrain and ameliorate the worst that men do to each other. That it has taken so long to redress so many grievances and injustices is less an indictment of the document than it is of the weaknesses of man.

At least we've got a document that the best among us hold up to our faces from time to time and ask: "What about this?"

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine words butter no parsnips.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?

The debate over Iranian interference in Iraq proceeds without ridicule on the assumption that the United States owns the world. We did not, for example, engage in a similar debate in the 1980s about whether the U.S. was interfering in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and I doubt that Pravda, probably recognizing the absurdity of the situation, sank to outrage about that fact (which American officials and our media, in any case, made no effort to conceal). Perhaps the official Nazi press also featured solemn debates about whether the Allies were interfering in sovereign Vichy France, though if so, sane people would then have collapsed in ridicule.

10:58 AM  
Blogger TinaE said...

To David...for what it's worth, I do NOT wear a head scarf!!!

Regards,

Tina Ehrami

9:50 AM  

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