Theocracy Destroys Democracy

Given the election-related turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran, can democracy ever take hold in a theocracy? How should … Continued

Given the election-related turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran, can democracy ever take hold in a theocracy? How should the Obama administration respond to the disputed election and to Iran’s ruling clerics?

Theocracies, as long as they are supported by the military, are always intractable dictatorships. I never had much hope that, if the opposition to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a strong showing in the Iranian elections, the nation’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would let the outcome stand. Religious men who call themselves “supreme leaders” are not in the business of presiding over fair elections that give a sporting chance to opposition politicians who say, for example, that people should be allowed to run their own lives instead of being guided by the divinely inspired fiats of old men with beards. They are not in the business of supporting an educated politician who says that his country must no longer be isolated form the rest of the world. Isolation, paranoia, and ignorance are the basic governing tools of theocrats. It makes me sick at heart to think of the brave Iranians, men and women, who are marching in the streets, speaking out against tyranny and making themselves targets by not covering their faces.

I should emphasize that as I write, the situation in Iran–as far as we can tell from the dispatches of correspondents who are still there–remains fluid and combustible. We know that the election was a fraud, since there is no possible way that paper ballots could have been counted quickly enough to declare Ahmadinejad the clear winner in a few hours. We know that the “supreme leader” must be nervous, because he is trying to buy time for things to calm down by ordering a partial recount of some disputed ballots. And we know that the only way a revolution could succeed is if the army joined those who dispute the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s rule.

What we don’t know is whether Iran would cease to be a theocracy if there were another revolution, following the one that put the ruthless fanatic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in power in 1979. One can only hope that Iranians have learned something about the dangers of making religion the supreme arbiter of politics from what has happened under Islamic rule in Iran.

Those who have criticized President Obama for not making a high-profile statement condemning the election results as a fraud, and supporting dissenters, are mistaken. They are ignorant of history. The old Soviet theocracy (with communist ideology the “supreme leader”) used tanks to crush the Hungarian revolt in 1956. Statements by American politicians, and broadcasts by Radio Free Europe, misled the Hungarian freedom fighters into thinking that they could expect military support from the United States if they continued their defiance of the Communist regime. We were not about to confront the Soviet Union in Hungary, any more than we are about to send troops to Iran. We had blood on our hands in Hungary for mouthing off when we had no intention of actually taking action, and we could have blood on our hands in Iran if our president says anything to make those courageous people in the streets think that they are going to get any practical help from the United States. I am particularly glad today that John McCain, who has called for Obama to speak out forcefully, is not our president.

But let there be no doubt that Islamist theocratic rule is at the heart of what has gone wrong in Iran. This is a country in which clerics have the political right to issue decrees about everything from women’s dress to what people can say and write. There can be no guarantee of individual rights or democracy under religious rule. Never has been, never will be. What the clerics can’t do, it seems, is control what everyone thinks.

“Supreme leader.” What a ridiculous concept. It nauseates me to hear international newscasters use this title as if it were legitimate.

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

Some of you seem to view last week’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum as primarily an issue of anti-Semitism. I said in my post, written just ten minutes after news of the shooting broke, that the only thing we knew about the man, given the location he picked, is that he must hate Jews. As the police looked over his personal papers and web site, they found (as is almost always the case) that the shooter’s anti-Semitism was inseparable from his views about white supremacy. He not only hated Jews but blacks, Catholics, immigrants, a justice system that had already sent him to jail once, and–naturally–the government. The man had both the National Cathedral and the offices of that neocon flagship, The Weekly Standard on his hit list. You think this doesn’t qualify him as a general lunatic and hater as well as an anti-Semite?

We are seeing a definite rise in venom on the part of all homegrown right-wing extremists, whoever their target is. These people are all conspiracy theorists and their sense of rage has been abetted by right-wing loonies, like Rush Limbaugh, with a national podium. We have heard talk in recent months that FEMA is planning to build concentration camps for Americans who dissent from the policies of the Obama administration. Limbaugh actually implied that the combination of Obama’s speech in Cairo with his visit to Buchenwald was in some way responsible for the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. How’s that for rational though? In this wacko universe, the president is too soft on both Muslims and Jews. Right-wing extremism in America always includes anti-Semitism, but it is a much larger phenomenon. (Farnaz, don’t bother to say again that there’s no such thing as a “semite.” Anti-Semitism is the standard term used by historians to describe what you prefer to call Jew-hating. You’re entitled to your preferences, but I generally follow standard scholarly usage.)

There is no evidence that anti-Semitism in America is any more virulent than other forms of political, religious, and class hatred. The FBI hate crimes report for 2007 (the last year for which statistics are available) shows that there are more than nine times as many hate crimes against blacks, and nearly three times as many against gays and Hispanics, as there are against Jews. Of course, it’s all part of the same package–and that must be the focus of Americans as a people and of decent political leaders. I was encouraged by the fact that the lines of visitors to the Holocaust Museum on the day it reopened after the shooting were much longer than usual. This is not Europe in 1938, and comparative victimization is a bad way to address the larger threat from the violent right, embodied as fully by the assassination of Dr. George Tiller as by the killing of an African-American security officer at the Holocaust Museum.

For those of you who think guns are beside the point, all I can say is that it is much harder for lunatics and haters to acquire guns in Europe than it is here. The haters are always going to be with us and we’re not going to change their so-called minds. We can, however, keep guns out of more of their hands. If the shooter at the Holocaust Museum had been in possession not of a rifle but of a knife, Officer Stephen Johns would probably be alive today. It is much easier to kill people, especially trained security officers, with guns than with knives. That’s why guns were invented.

About

Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • Ken16

    Galloping non sequiturs again. After noting that Von Brunn had “the offices of that neocon flagship, The Weekly Standard on his hit list,” she immediate begins decrying right-wing extremists and further claims that “Right-wing extremism in America always includes anti-Semitism.” Such a claim is usually made by a reflex that automatically identifies anti-semitism with the term “rightwing” without bothering to examine the meanings of the words or paying attention to the philosophical underpinnings of Conservatism and Liberalism. Anti-semitism finds a much more congenial home on the Left.Von Brunn hated the Bible and Christians, believed socialism was the best economic approach, and despised the pejorative “neocons.” Most of his ravings agree more closely with Susan Jacoby’s published opinions than Rush Limbaugh’s, but that doesn’t prevent her from attempting to discredit her philosophical and political adversaries by illegitmately linking them with a lunatic killer.After noting that Brunn served time in prison she argues that gun control somehow might have prevented this crime. Never mind that it was already illegal for him to have and use firearms. It is risible to suggest that this violator of gun laws would be constrained by a gun law.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “There is no evidence that anti-Semitism in America is any more virulent than other forms of political, religious, and class hatred.”A statement such as this would be risible if there weren’t so many like it even as the murdered JOhanna Justin-JInich, Wesleyan undergraduate, lies dead in the ground, killed a few weeks ago by the Catholic antisemite, David MOrgan.The Germ. Christian vonn brunn, an antisemite above all, went to the USMHH because, he said, “It’s time to kill the Jews.” TO KILL JEWS.After awhile Susan, keeping your head buried in the sand will ruin your mind. Me, I fear nothing. I learned long ago that the only way to deal with antisemites is head on:”Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. …”I do not answer you here in this way, but I have been known to do so with others, and I shall continue. BUT. I will not let you or anyone else remain unchallenged in the wake of two racist murders. As per the DHS report on the rise of extremist groups, with a black president and resurgence of antisemitism, we can expect a rise in antisemitic violence.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “(Farnaz, don’t bother to say again that there’s no such thing as a “semite.” Anti-Semitism is the standard term used by historians to describe what you prefer to call Jew-hating. You’re entitled to your preferences, but I generally follow standard scholarly usage.)”Susan, I have no problem with “antisemitism.” Please reread my comment on this. The problem is with “anti-Semitism,” and I am far from alone with this. Some editors have caught up with the fact that this is 2009, time to question reification, and, accordingly, follow contemporary orthography, contemporary, ESPECIALLY for scholars. (Where have you been?)Farnaz

  • justillthen

    Hello Susan, You do continue to make lots of assumptions and leaps toward certainty in conclusions, not to mention your clear bias toward bearded men in positions of power and all things religious. Of course, that is the essence of your charm!…We do not “know that the election was a fraud”, but you do make that assumption quickly. We cannot be clear that ballots could not have been counted, though much of Iran is unknown. We do not “know that the “supreme leader” must be nervous” based on your assumption of buying time by a recount. And we do not “know that the only way a revolution could succeed is if the army joined those who dispute the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s rule.”Your jump toward revolt and revolution is extraordinary, along with the postulations of what may or may not happen, and what the Iranian people should know and glean from it all. I do not know that you have an idea of their experience, but you certainly seem as judgmental of Iran and Iranian politics as the next Fox News broadcast. “But let there be no doubt that Islamist theocratic rule is at the heart of what has gone wrong in Iran.”Islamic theocracy was the popular answer, (the majority of the people sought it and supported it!), to the despotic rule of the Shah, a propped puppet of America. It was at least as corrupt at it’s core as the Revolutionary leadership was, undoubtably more so. It may be easy enough to criticize the Supreme Bearded Leader for his form of rule, but the evolution of this country and it’s people may well have done better, to this point, than under the tutelage of American Christian Capitalists. They are, historically, inept and destructive. Not to mention foreign and self interested.

  • justillthen

    Hello Ken16,”Anti-semitism finds a much more congenial home on the Left.”You have said this before, and I disagree again. As I have said, there are far too many subtleties of either the Left or the Right to place all fringe philosophies squarely in one camp or the other. Yet Von Brunn shares little with the Left, in my view, as does anti-semitic sentiment. Do remember that anti-semitism was the motto of Christian hatred, and self-affirmation of the faithful, for centuries. Jews killed their Christ in their minds, and pogroms were the answer for what to do with their Shadow. When your Master says “Forgive and Love”, but we do not want to let go of Hate, we can justify it’s performance in “Acts of Faith”. …. Anti-semitism.Though Christianity began as a liberal philosophy, it quickly became orthodox and so fundamental and stagnant. And Right.Those with a noted lack of inclusiveness are usually Right Wing. How do you like my non sequitur?

  • lufrank1

    Organized Religion = Humanity’s Bane.

  • Athena4

    Von Brunn was an equal opportunity hater. He hated the neo-cons not because they were conservatives, but because they supported Israel. This guy just didn’t fit into the “liberal vs conservative” mold, and don’t try to put him into it. That being said, he was, by his own admission, influenced by the anti-Semitic right-wing fringe. The kind that thinks that Limbaugh is too liberal. As for Iran, I think that Obama is playing it perfectly. The Iranian opposition has not asked for outside help, and would probably not accept it from the U.S. anyway. They would be immediately tainted by the charge that they’re Uncle Sam’s poodles, or whatever. Keeping our hands off is best for right now. I know it’s tough to see people dying in the streets for democracy and not to be doing anything about it. But the truth of the situation is that if we go mucking around in there, the more likely we will tip things towards Ahmenijad and the conservatives.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Ken16, Antisemitism is equally at home on the right and the left. The common denominator is the two thousand year old antisemitic history of Christianity/Catholicism. The Catholic/Christian neocons, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, are not antisemitic. WaPo, like the tabloid it is, has taken the USHMM murder as an opportunity to bash the right. While I’m as far from the right as anyone could get (no offense) I do have a problem with misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda.

  • justillthen

    Hello again Farnaz,”A glance at this blog any time antisemitism, indeed, any time Jews come up will tell you the difference between the response to any issues relating to Jews and any issues relating to anyone else.”In other words, Jews have it tougher than anyone else, yes? Back to ‘most persecuted’ and ‘most misunderstood’? Or you just never left that designation?It is common to seek validation of our stories, Farnaz. I do not disagree with either designation as accurate. It is the adverb “most” that is the most troubling… Yet, it is most common, in telling the story.Hypothetically, who is more more regularly murdered in Israel, Palestinian or Jew? In America, Muslim, Christian or Jew? In Iraq, Sunni, Shiite, Christian, or Jew? In Africa, (take your pick where), Black Muslim, Arab Muslim, any color Christian, any color Jew?In America, we focus, no, fixate, on JonBenet Ramsey or any participant in an anti-semitic hate crime, (it certainly was that! even though NO Jew was shot or maimed in the act), but the media turns a blind eye on murders of muslims or blacks. Unless it is a story of a muslim man beheading his own wife, and then THAT rates excitement.I resent so much cultural attention spent over and over again on the hardships of any one people, small as they may currently be, when there are many more living and dying in far worse ways, just because those that accept and censure media content have a personal bias. Would that the world was less individually and tribally focused, and were more collectively invested.Eh, Farnaz?

  • Susan_Jacoby

    I’m breaking my rule–just this once–about not commenting on comments until the following week.I have no interest in recent changes in scholarly orthography. “Anti-Semitism” has always been good enough for such distinguished Holocaust scholars (of differing political views)as Saul Friedlander, Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning, and Lucy Dawidowicz, and it’s good enough for me. As a veteran of changes in scholarly orthodoxy and orthography, I am highly skeptical about the latest fashions. Yes, I continue to call 13-year-old girls girls, which is what they are, rather than women, which is what many feminist scholars want to call them. I also call 13-year-old boys boys, because they are not men.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    justillthen:You have oft repeated how “tired” you are of “the Jews,” how “bored.” I know that your post is bait for me, but in the memory of Johanna Justin Jinich and Stephen Tyrone Johns, I will not take it.There are other ways of dealing with bigots. Although I have not reached the level of exhaustion that many have with the likes of you, I am BORED because your discourse is B.O.R.I.N.G.Why not click onto last weeks blog, and find something among your co-bigots, that is, at least, more contemporary?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Susan:”I have no interest in recent changes in scholarly orthography. “Anti-Semitism” has always been good enough for such distinguished Holocaust scholars (of differing political views)as Saul Friedlander, Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning, and Lucy Dawidowicz, and it’s good enough for me.” You are going back too far. Things have changed. I presented at the AJS conference this year. I’ve been trying to find something to download for you. I’ve also raised the orthography issue via email with AJS. You are not alone in your usage of “anti-Semitism.” However, it is obsolete among scholars, I assure you. I will get back to you on this.Farnaz

  • jedrothwell1

    There is evidence that the Iranian election results were faked, but there is even better evidence that Ahmadinejad actually did win by a large majority. Independent, rigorous polls conducted by U.S. experts shortly before the election indicated that Ahmadinejad was leading by a larger margin than he actually won by. In other words, he may have stolen the election from himself. See:”Polls suggest Ahmadinejad is the president Iranians want” Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty (published in the Washington Post and elsewhere).This puts the Obama administration in an awkward position. I expect they realize Ahmadinejad actually won.Needless to say, it also puts Ahmadinejad in an even more awkward position. He cannot convince people that he actually won. He should have known better than to steal election he was likely to win anyway. He should have conducted polls. His best bet now would be to hold the election again.People who are yelling that the election was stolen and Obama should SAY something or DO something should realize that the situation is complicated and beyond our control, and Obama’s best choice is to shut up and stay out of it. If he even hints that we officially support Moussavi, it would be the kiss of death, perhaps literally — it might endanger Moussavi’s life. Anyway, Moussavi is not exactly a model citizen by our standards. He presided over 5-minute kangaroo court proceedings and executed hundreds of political prisoners. Maybe we should not endorse yet another homicidal dictator in a country we know nothing about. That hasn’t worked out so well in the past, in that part of the world.

  • ScottFromOz

    Susan, if you substitute “Business leader” for “Religious leader” in the first paragraph, you have the description of the USA today. What we have here is not Democracy, but Capitalism. Democracy is government by the people for the people. That’s not how the country is run now. What we have would be more aptly described as an oligarchy.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Susan:”I have no interest in recent changes in scholarly orthography. “Anti-Semitism” has always been good enough for such distinguished Holocaust scholars (of differing political views)as Saul Friedlander, Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning, and Lucy Dawidowicz, and it’s good enough for me.” Wake up, please, and smell the stench. Air fresheners are always welcome.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Mousavi is an Islamic leftist who supported Homeini in the Islamic Revolution.His recent endorsement of secular reform, freedom of information, etc., is to be viewed with a degree of skepticism. The disintegration of the economy, however, suggests that he may have begun dialogue with “the West.”The economy of Iran, which should be among the strongest in the Middle East, is a disaster. Unlike what some may think, Ahmedinejad was not first elected for his Jew-hating rhetoric. To the extent that his first election victory was legitimate, an extent that was not large, it was based on his promise of economic reform, a promise that he did not keep.As a glance at any of the Iranian web sites shows, in the weeks preceding the election, he threw money at the poor at a level that alarmed Iranian economists. Since his puppet reign, there has been worker demonstration after worker demonstration as the promise of employment did not materialize. Ahmedinejad beat up and jailed the protesters.Until and unless the army cuts loose Homeini, unlikely, until and unless external election monitors are stationed at every voting site, the situation in Iran will not change.

  • justillthen

    Farnaz, Bait? You mean B.A.I.T?:-)If it is it is an attempt at engagement on the points that I repeatedly bring up but you never touch, leastwise not honestly. You are far too biased. As I have said in recent posts to you, I am no longer attached to being understood by you or having a meaningful dialogue with you on points, as I find you are unable, or unwilling, to listen and respond honestly. I merely prod lightly to see that all remains the same. Again, I am not “bored” or “”tired” of “the Jews,” as you put it, (this is not for you, but for others…), but tired of the imbalanced fixation on Jews in the media to the exclusion of many other deserving stories. The biases are overwhelming. And the work of uplifting the Jewish ‘face’ in the media comes at the expense of a smearing of other tribes and peoples with negative campaigns. Again, the biases are overwhelming.It is tribally fixated voices, like yours, that keep fear and separation and exclusivity alive in the global community. Hence my last statements in my last post to you. Please forgive my B.O.R.I.N.G.N.E.S.S. (Cute…). And I thought my comments were interesting enough. Shows how pervasive delusion must be! :-)Peace, Farnaz.

  • blasmaic

    It’s easier to kill most things with a gun than with a knife. Not just security guards, but anyone who is trying to kill you. No matter what laws are passed, bad people will get their hands on guns. Then good people will be carrying a knife to a gun fight.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    justilthen:B.O.R.I.N.G. Given your oft-repeated expressions of boredom and tiredness with “the Jews,” I have oft-wondered that you have not been hospitalized due to exhaustion from your co-bigots’ obsession with the Christians/Catholics.Were I of your mind, I’d go on vacation. The next time I see a church wedding on tv, cross-wearing actors, reports on the “views” of Christians/Catholics on abortion, stem cell research, the president, gays, my aunt Reza, and acceptable underwear, I shall surely scream.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    justilthen:Do all of us exhausted by the Christians a big favor and write to Christian owned WaPo, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc., and tell them that the Chrsitians/Catholics are not alone in the world. Suggest they wake up, look around. Take a breath.

  • daniel12

    Part threeThe crux: We can no longer be moral in that essential sense without hypocrisy–if we ever were without hypocrisy. We can no longer say we treat all people equally. The people with the most desirable qualities clearly think they deserve the best, and the less fortunate come more and more to be filled with a mixture of envy and self-hatred. Quite simply, what we typically call morality no longer exists, is no longer adequate because man becomes more and more capable of ascertaining differences, categorizing,–and it could very well be the human race is breaking up to be not so much the unity “human race” as a riot of individual differences which at best seek to compose a higher, more flexible and adaptive, human race. So what is the solution? How does each individual live a life of liberty and happiness when more clearly every day we ascertain differences between individuals and condemn all too many to just being undesirable?My solution is not without controversy. I say clearly try to overcome the ethical dangers inherent in eugenics and in fact turn eugenics (with no small aid from the genetic sciences) into morality itself by closing individual differences between people genetically in a sort of advanced type of leveling. Not seek to abolish individual difference of course–in fact that would be impossible–but close differences enough so that all people have a relatively fair measure of beauty and intelligence and other abilities. This way we would not have the all too evident stark differences we have today and the less genetically gifted living a life of agony as so many of us strut and preen and congratulate ourselves on our humanity, our fair treatment of people, our belief that every person deserves a life of liberty and happiness. Certainly the alternative to not seeking a clear solution is unpleasant. Imagine individual differences between people becoming even more stark. In such a world all we know of morality would not only give way to immorality, morality would become impossible. Morality is impossible in a world where some men are Gods and others are only…clay.

  • daniel12

    Part twoAs our gaze goes backward into our human past we notice that this conflict of which I speak–how to reconcile differences between individuals (genetic) with the moral need to be fair to all men–is not so obvious for the simple reason that not only did democracy not really exist by which individuality is celebrated, perhaps democracy did not exist because men had yet to demonstrate a threshold level of individual difference (genetic) by which democracy could be born in the first place. But the democratic idea has been advancing, has been proving all Procrustean beds by which men are held to a level of equality in nondifference exactly that, Procrustean. And the problem has now become undeniable with the realization of the theory of evolution by natural selection, the importance an individual difference (genetic) can make to our entire species. In short, now we know for certain individual difference (genetic) is important–in fact for the first time in human history the importance of individual difference (genetic) has superseded all leveling discourses whether they be religious, socialistic or otherwise.What this means is that among all the other perils to democracy the main one–the possibility that a lack of centralization of power and the increasing location of power in a spread of individuals leads to a state of chaos–not only does not recede, it becomes more acute than ever before. And we are rudely faced with the utilitarian ethic as never before in contradistinction to the possibility of chaos. True, American democracy is not the first society to study individual differences (genetic–even though not necessarily framed “genetic” as we know it) between people and elevate those with the better qualities over the less fortunate, but now the problem is becoming acute and making more a myth every day that all will be living a life of liberty and happiness in America. We might declare all are equal and no person is more valuable than another because he possesses a more desirable quality, but that familiar scenario from high school–the most beautiful girls thinking they can do better than take up with all but the most desirable boys, and all the boys thinking they can do better than take up with the ugliest girl–just becomes writ larger every day and penetrates to every aspect of society.

  • daniel12

    To Onofrio and Lion’s den and all those concerned about my views on genetics and people…Part oneDifference and equality: Squaring the genetic differences between individuals in America with the rights of man.In American life there is a particular conflict no one sees, or if noticed considered next to completely solved by a quite simple exercise of the moral sense, a declaration that all men deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This conflict I speak of is the one between the quite evident qualitative differences between individuals (genetic) and our belief that morality as it now stands is sufficient to mitigate these differences, smooth them over in a way that results in those with the less fortunate qualities reconciled to the more fortunate. I submit that our morality is at best ineffective and at worst a sham, a piece of hypocrisy, with respect to the supposed ability to make all feel as if a life of liberty and happiness is being lived, that sadness, envy and sorrow do not exist, and that all men are equal.Human morality has never been equal to the qualitative differences between individuals. Before the theory of evolution by natural selection existed–this theory which brings to attention individual differences (genetic) and the critical role they play in whether a species survives or goes extinct–individual differences for all their obviousness were forced into various types of Procrustean bed of which the most evident one for our purposes here, our discussion of the conflict between individual differences (genetic) and the rights of man in American life, our democracy, is the Christian religion. In American life, for all our celebration of individuality and the political structure both made by difference and representative of that, we have had both our right and left wing parties heavily influenced by Christianity, the one party (right) more directly aligned with Christianity, but the left not left out at all,–in fact the left if anything is more leveling of difference, and this of course is called socialism.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    On Geeneeyas:Who is John Galt? MOre than half the nazis at the Wannsee Conference, in which the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem was, well, “finalized,” held Ph.Ds, from German universities, of course.While academia had been nazified, there were, among the nazi Ph.Ds those whose degrees pre-dated academic nazification. Their education was the best available in the known world. We shall never see its like. Arguably, these men were “geniuses.”Arroint thee, Geeneeyases.

  • cgillard

    Freedom of religion means also freedom from religion. We have religious morality encoded in our laws and seem to think that it is just a matter of majority rules rather than freedoms and rights.If couples are encouraged with civil rights and privileges then the couples should be defined in a non-religious manner. If religious sects chose to have spiritual marriages of various kinds with consenting adults then for their purposes there should be no interference except in respect to any subject to civil definition.God and country is a form of nationalism that is present everywhere. In fact religion and nations or civilizations as we have called the early ones have tended to be synonomous. The laws and the Gods or Kings commandments tended to go together too.Freedom of religion is a work in progress and it still has a long way to go.

  • Major_Variola_ret

    If you’re worried about a nuclearReligions are terrorist weapons.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    After all, it was only the Christian US and the Christian/Communist USSR that used Christian nuclear weapons to exterminate humans, and the Communist/Christian USSR extermination was an “accident.”

  • ccnl1

    Not a lot of topic commentaries so far but before you begin:For information on Mir Hussein Moussavi see,

  • spidermean2

    The Bible has warned of the trouble with “religion by works”.Unless the world understands this, the world will explode.There is no freedom in a society ruled by “religion by works”. Dictators always arise from these religions like Islam, Catholcism, Buddhism, etc. You can never find a dictator whose religion is based on salvation by grace and freedom of conscience. The First Ammendment in our Constitution was pushed thru by these people. Freedom only belongs to true Christians. If it seems that many countries in the world are free today, it is because America has made it that way.But America has changed and stupidity has abound. For a time it will lose its power until the idiots here will be destroyed first. There is no freedom and power in STUPIDITY. For a while, it is allowed (for stupidity to have power) to pave the way for its destruction.If we see some stupid countries having immense power, it is due to the fact that it is being prepared for its destruction.

  • Chops2

    Well said susan, especially on the gun point.With regard to the Iranian theocracy debate, I would merely like to point out while Americans all scold the Iranians for having to get the candidates vetted by the religious leadership, that this also happens here too. While the Pat Robertsons, Hagee’s and their ilk are not a supreme coucil, they may as well be. Republicans particularly do not stand a chance of being given the nomination without theocratic support.And yes, it is anti democratic that the “best” candidate may not win simply because he does not have the adequate religious credentials. In the U.S. more so than virtually all western democratic nations.

  • screwyou

    Susan, I would argue that fundamentalism destroys democracy whether in the form of formal theocratic structures or simply as a political movement. The crux of the issue is that fundamentalists see the world very simply as right or wrong, black or white. Issues are not to be discussed, instead rulings are sought through a set of scriptural interpretations. To hold a different opinion than the “word of god” is a sin: there can be no debate. This is counter to the very essence of democracy, which has deliberation and creative compromise at its very core. Sometimes your side wins and sometimes it loses, but democracy offers protections for the losers and sets constraints on the winners to ensure stability and sustainability. Life is not black and white, laws are subject to revision, and societal values and norms can change. Since fundamentalists have turned their backs on democratic principles, they are unable to accept democracy and constantly seek to destroy it – by revolution, terrorism, or any other means they have at hand. Theocracy is not the biggest danger that democracy faces, it is only the ultimate expression of this faith-based anti-democratic tendency.

  • onofrio

    Daniel12,A tip, Dan le Doze: be more succinct. Your epic treatises are growing ever more turgid.Lay ‘em on that *bed of Procrustes* and lop liberally. Who knows, you may even prune them readable.Then get some sun.

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”If you’re worried about a nuclearAnalysis unbound

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Le poème est magnifique. Anticrustean, methinks.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    I keep wondering whether to let Susan Jacoby’s many errors stand. She would then repeat them in a book, which would be demolished by any graduate with a mediocre degree in the history of 19th and 20th century European thought. Or maybe 19th and early 20th century philosophy, could be a bad degree then. Or even 20th century global history, wouldn’t even need to have passed, just absorbed about 45%. Now she’s labelled the Soviet Union, a state determinedly atheist with its own pathological ideology a ‘theocracy’, like Russia under the czars and Russian Orthodox Church, but not quite. Well,Here’s one objection: Here’s another: if communism was just an outgrowth of the Russian Orthodox Church why did the Russian population steadily That’s enough from me. Should SJ so choose she’ll answer with great—if greatly inaccurate—verve as will many of her supporters. And I know, one shouldn’t threaten another’s worldview. Makes another angry!

  • onofrio

    “Anticrustean” Zesta! :^)

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    spidermean2,

  • spidermean2

    walter-in-fallschurch, check this out. In 1790 Rhode Island was the 13th state to ratify the Constitution, AGREEING ONLY after the Bill of Rights (First Ammendment) was included. Check that out why and who are the first inhabitants of Rhode Island.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Arachnid agent provocateur…”The idiots think monkeys are not yet perfect so they need to devolve into liberal idiots.”The Circle of Life, eh. Or perhaps Planet of the (Liberal) Apes. That was a great laugh. Thank you, Mean Spider.You’ve convinced me. Monkeys are perfect just as they are.

  • onofrio

    I understand that monkeys are omnivorous. Some eat insects, and even spiders…

  • Judy-in-TX

    WALTER-IN-FALLSCHURCH | JUNE 17, 2009 12:13 PM:

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    Judy-in-TX

  • justillthen

    Farnaz, How cute!Please do not scream, surely. Leastwise not any more than you do regularly here. The echo, you know, can be devastating. Hey, when did I ever say that the Christian Phalanx in the media was any form of joy? Like I have said to you, (do you recollect, or does all pass by your radar if it does not apply to the mission at hand?), don’t get me started on the Bloody Christians.Your diversion of Christian influence in the media is understood, and expected, but still does not affect the point. I do not have statistics on percentages of christian and jewish influence in the media, but do not need them to validate the obvious. Don’t tell me that you are unaware of the coalition of the willing … Abrahamic Theologies … in concerted opposition to the ‘Other’, Undesired Theology. Christians and Jews have been in accord for ages, even as Christians have been persecutors of Jews for ages. You know this, even as you rail against All Things Christian, and Islamic. Israel exists as a result of Christian support, and would have been crushed without it. You know this as well.Please spare me the arrogance. Why do you imagine that you are the most persecuted of all tribes, again? So sorry, but I did not hear your answer.

  • rick22407

    Good essay Susan…You say… “What we don’t know is whether Iran would cease to be a theocracy if there were another revolution, following the one that put the ruthless fanatic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in power in 1979…” I think that a hidden revolution has already occurred as noted by Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh in today’s NY Times. While we have been hoping that Iran’s liberal young majority would bring a revolution, the real revolution has gone unnoticed: the Revolutionary Guard has effected a silent coup d’état. Ayatollah Khamenei — who was scorned as a religious lightweight by many more established mullahs when he was chosen for the top post in 1989 — has repeatedly shown himself willing to undercut the “Islamic” in Islamic revolution. In doing so, he has painted himself into a corner — a permanent alliance with Mr. Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guards. And this fraudulent election will only push them closer together.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    justilthen,RE: Your postI do not get to YOUR point because you have none. You continually seek to justify the unjustifiable, and you are free to do so. However, it should be glaringly apparent to you that I will not underwrite your delusions.All I can do is question the cause of your religio-ethnic boredom, your many false claims about the media, etc. That my replies, are, in fact, never expected by you speaks volumes,Your accusations against me are transparent diversionary tactics. I’ve told you before that I have done all I can for you. Why you persist in initiating these pointless chats with me, I do not know. However, in hopes that you may yet gain insight into your distorted thinking, I leave you with this:”Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. …”

  • Chops2

    Spidey:Please note that people like yourself have been saying it will happen in their lifetime for over a century and yet it hasn’t. Conclusion: you r a gullible tool.My concern is people like yourself and Bin Laden who r the most likely to self fulfill the prophecy of total destruction rather than it being by some biblical plaugue or some other bollocks u believe.

  • rick22407

    Thomas Friedman provided the following quote from Gidi Grinstein in his commentary in today’s NY Times: “The rise of these moderate forces [in Iran], if it is real and sustained, would be the most significant long-term contribution to Israeli national security,” argued Gidi Grinstein, the president of the Reut Institute, a think tank. “If some of these moderate forces started to converge, then the overall status of Israeli security would improve radically.”I disagree. The racist so-called “State of Israel” will remain as illegitimate as ever. It will just lose the fig leaf of being able to claim that “at least we are better than those extremist terrorists who oppose us”. This would only expedite the inevitable demise of this apartheid state that presently occupies the Mediterranean prime waterfront real estate that it has stolen from the Palestinians. Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA

  • justillthen

    Spidermean, “That can’t be achieved while a person is alive, idiot. Dream on.”Yes, in fact it can. But one requires tranquility of mind, release of attachments, (if only for the moment), and fixity on Nothing.Even you could do it, if you were so motivated and practiced toward that end.:-)

  • justillthen

    Hello Farnaz,”I do not get to YOUR point because you have none.” Indeed I do and they are clear and apparent. Does not take digging even. You simply refuse to acknowledge them, as you always have. “You continually seek to justify the unjustifiable, and you are free to do so.”I will assume that you are suggesting that I am justifying anti-semitism, for my being bored with the prominence of Jewish issues in the media is by no means unjustifiable. Anti-semitism is not justifiable, and I do not condone it and have not in these posts. You, however, cannot hear that or if heard refuse to recognize this as a potential valid truth. And so my past posts referring to your inability to countenance conflicting views.”All I can do is question the cause of your religio-ethnic boredom, your many false claims about the media, etc.” I have made clear, again, my reasons. There is no need for you to question it, excepting that you have rejected it as valid. However, my claims “about the media, etc.”, are valid and are common knowledge. There is no debate on the subject. Your denial is the delusion, dear, and is what speaks volumes. You were happy, however, to lay blame on christian ownership of media outlets. Well, again, christians and jews work handily together, and a shiny and accessible example of it is in entertainment and the arts. Media. As I have said before, I do not hate them for it. I just seek out other sources of information that is less biased toward the Jewish-Christian causes and against those that are in conflict with those causes. Not because I am against that which would benefit either group, but because those two form a formidable force and dominate politics and finance of the West. I seek better balance as well as better inclusiveness. Those require the willingness to address issues honestly, first, and that is rarely done in politics or religion, not to mention finance. And it requires the willingness to operate less as a tribe and more as a collective, sourcing strengths and weaknesses.”I’ve told you before that I have done all I can for you.” Why, thank you Farnaz for all the good help. It has been a delight, really, and immeasurably valuable. Kind of you to extend such care.I am sure that you see no point in these thoughts of mine, so I shall retreat for the time into my delusion. Hey, Farnaz, please hold the light for us that are blind. Tah-tah. “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. …”

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”stupid Muckenfuss wrote “Nirvana is NOT “having nothing”. “Divesting onself of earthly possessions has nothing to do with Nirvana, you idiot.You are delusional. You have nothing to say. You offer opinions without substance or reality. You use words and phrases and concepts that you do not understand. You are ignorant and you are pleased to be and remain that way. When you encounter words and concepts which you do not understand…which you do with great frequency…you merely manufacture your own definitions of such words and phrases as to support your own moronic ideas. You do not think. You react. You are not equipped to think. Logic is foreign to you, clear thinking is obviously something which you cannot achieve (such as your ludicrous suggestion that an ape and a human mated to produce the common ancestor of apes and humans!) and you base all your supposed arguments on presuppositions which always fail. You pretend to be a christian when in fact you are merely a fundamentalist evangelical who neither understands nor follows the socialistic teachings of christ. Your miserable command of the language suggests that you have not…or cannot…graduate(d) from high school.You are a bigot. You are prejudiced against everything that a good, non-thinking, neocon republican bigot should oppose…in that you are consistend and even predictable.Your prejudice against gays is not based on science. It’s based at”If they could just see”. The words of every bigot. “I’m not a bigot. It’s just that I see things clearly that others somehow can’t see.”Do yourself a favor: get a gun and blow your brains out. Failing that, get a dictionary and ask your mother to show you how it is used.

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:No lecture is needed, moron. Didn’t you study biology in high school?Evidently not.

  • justillthen

    Hello Onofrio, Thank you for your post. I believe that Jews and Christians have lived for centuries in varying accord. It is clear that Jews have often been persecuted, and often have been viewed as second class citizens while living in western, christian dominated cultures. After the rise of islam they often experienced similar treatment in islamic dominated cultures in the near east and africa. OK. They also have lived well in those cultures, survived and grew, often thrived. Persecution is often the focus of the stories as if that was always and consistently the case. But it was not, and again, the Jewish people often thrived. Indeed, repeatedly through history they often became pivotal forces in trade or politics or science or finance. They are a great people, and resilient against adversity.Excuse my use of the term “ages”, though it is in this context that I used it. I am not one that believes the common misconception that they were always accorded spit in the face wherever they went. Though, again, it is clear they have received more than enough spit in the face.But then, Onofrio, there is not a people around that have not received more than enough spit in the face. WASPs have arguably avoided getting spat on, but then many of their ancestors fled persecution in ancestral homes to find a New Land where they could continue to be the Persecutor. Perhaps you are right, Onofrio, and I should stop “chasing my tail about Farnaz”. Yet again, perhaps this is one way, or a current incarnation of my ‘way’, to be the Change that you suggest. Currently I comment about boredom. Not very eloquent, granted, and clearly not very popular or alluring. So, point taken.Thank you. Peace.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel 12There is no fair way to say who is superior to whom. People have a variety of traits, talents, and capacities. There is probalby a nitch for everyone. But how to get each person into his nitch which which suits him best? Who is to be in charge of that? Would people simply appoint themselves to be the controllers of other people’s lives? And what if you were the one defining the standards for everyone else? That might be fine for your group, but what if another more powerful group seeks to set a standard for you which you think is unfair?The idea of equality and equal rights is a matter of fairness. Let people be what they are, and let them make their own way, as they will. That is fair, or at least more fair. I have never been worried about the conflict which you cite between equality of people versus the differences in people. The real conflict in people’s lives and in fact in all of human existence in the intense desire for freedom, but also security. This explains why people want money and power, for by money and power, people think that they can be free and secure, together, at the same time.But in fact, the constrains of physicial existence circumscribe our freedom, and the fact that we live in a dangerous world undermines our security.

  • daniel12

    To Spidermean2: Obviously your post handle was derived by Mr. Stan Lee’s Spiderman, a human altered down to the genes by science. Why is it you have that handle when you cannot accept the theory of evolution by natural selection let alone (presumably) that a human can be made into something of a spider? Or do you believe the latter but not evolution? And how is that possible? Or does your Christianity allow people changed into something of spiders but not the theory of evolution? Or does your post handle have nothing to do with spiderman and you mean by spidermean that you are as mean as a spider? And how to square that with you being a good Christian? Or are you a bad Christian? You puzzle me.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel 12There is no fair way to say who is superior to whom. People have a variety of traits, talents, and capacities. There is probalby a nitch for everyone. But how to get each person into his nitch which which suits him best? Who is to be in charge of that? Would people simply appoint themselves to be the controllers of other people’s lives? And what if you were the one defining the standards for everyone else? That might be fine for your group, but what if another more powerful group seeks to set a standard for you which you think is unfair?The idea of equality and equal rights is a matter of fairness. Let people be what they are, and let them make their own way, as they will. That is fair, or at least more fair. I have never been worried about the conflict which you cite between equality of people versus the differences in people. The real conflict in people’s lives and in fact in all of human existence in the intense desire for freedom, but also security. This explains why people want money and power, for by money and power, people think that they can be free and secure, together, at the same time.But in fact, the constrains of physicial existence circumscribe our freedom, and the fact that we live in a dangerous world undermines our security.

  • daniel12

    To Onofrio from Daniel. I try to write clearly and succinctly but I probably never will be able to do so. I have filled notebook upon notebook with my thoughts, written paper after paper, and now at the age of 45 I fear I pretty much write as well as I will ever be able to do. But I will try again and again to write better. I am quite persistent. I just wish that would mean clarity of thought.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Daniel12, you are very clear, and you are terribly misguided. God only knows what great gifts you have, how much pleasure they could bring you, if you would only surrender this geeneeyas idolatry. I cannot begin to tell you how horribly wrong you are.

  • daniel12

    I know this will sound like a dumb question, but does anyone understand Iran? I do understand that the country is controlled by that bigshot Khameanie, but how much? What is what in that country? How to tell how close or how far from a more or less decent and open democracy? It seems Iran is the most difficult Islamic nation to understand. Or do I feel that way because Iran is so much in the news and the more complex Islamic nations are not mentioned very much? I find myself perplexed by Iran–as if by a subject I have difficulty finding the best books to get a foothold on. Or maybe Iran is just too difficult to understand period. I do wish more information on Iran were present. I guess with Iran even the best American papers are at a loss. No one seems to have enough and reliable information to make a good opinion on Iran.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    I believe that the Iranian “Supreme Leader” sought to cancel the election results and consolidate his power as just another Middle Eastern strong man. I believe that in this effort, he misjudged the reaction of the very large and well-educated middle class. I also believe that within the government, many high offiials also see their own positions threatened by the Supreme Leader’s attempt to subvert the Islamic Republic under his personal strongman rule. These government officials are dragging their feet in suppressing the demonstrations, so that they might frustate the will of the Supreme Leader. But the entire government is now threatened, and I believe, doomed. It is hopelessly mismatched to a complex and sophisticated nation. I believe the uprising of the Iranian people is now unstoppable. I believe that fatal cracks have now appeared in the Iranian governmnent, and it is now irretrievalby doomed. What will come next? I hope it is not a bloody and violent civil war. I hope it is the emergence of a real, organically home grown democracy.

  • rick22407

    Muckenfuss wrote:“I have never heard any citizen of the “so-called State of Israel”, nor any proponent/apologist of/for the “so-called State of Israel” make that claim that you think has been concealed by a fig leaf. To what/whom/when do you refer?”Have you really never heard the Israeli prime minister say that he will be justified to launch a preemptive strike against Iran because it is a terrorist state and a threat to Israel? That is the fig leaf that I speak of. If/when a moderate government takes over in Iran, he will lose his fig leaf, and that is why he was pulling for Ahmadinejad to win the election.

  • Muckenfuss

    Rick22407:I have never heard the Israeli Prime Minister say “at least we are better than those extremist terrorists who oppose us”. When did he say this?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    DITLD:RE: Your post on IranThe situation in Iran is very complicated. Interestingly, Wikipedia has been modified to eliminate some relevant facts about Mousavi. He was a strong early supporter of Khomeini, what is generally considered an Islamist leftist. The merits of his previous administration are hotly disputed. He is not a thug, the likes of Ahmedinejad, but he is not the emergent Abe Lincoln of Iran.In the last several weeks, Khomeini began to cut Ahmedinejad loose. The economy is horrible no matter what you may read to the contrary in English on the web. The extent to which Ahmedinejad legitimately won the first time is the extent to which people believed him when he promised jobs.Iran’s poor have been grossly neglected by the oligarchy which has managed to survive all just as it has done throughout most of the ME. Keep your eye on Egypt. The thug Mubarak, supported by the US, is grooming his thug son to replace him. He and the thug oligarchy grow fat while Egyptians starve to death as I write.A couple of weeks before the election to gain the votes of the poor, Ahmedinejad threw so much money at them that Iran’s economists spoke out in alarm. He has done this from time to time as he cannot revamp the economic infrastructure, lacking the ability and the support. In between throwing money at the poor, working class, lower middle class, he arrested and beat them when they demonstrated for jobs.Jew hating and threatening to bomb Israel did not get him elected the first time and did not get him re-elected if he was re-elected. The fact that thousands are demonstrating suggests a heartening level of instability, suggests that the army is unwilling to arrest the marchers or Khomeini has ordered that they be left in peace.I suspect that if Mousavi triumphs he will attempt to begin to initiate reform. His promises that women may dress as they please, that information will flow freely into and out of Iran, are questionable. However, he will, I think, because he must, initiate dialogue with the west.

  • Muckenfuss

    Susan Jacoby:Farnaz is entirely correct: there is no such thing as a “semite”. You are pleased to imply that you, yourself are a scholar, while further implying that Farnaz is not, and you presume to lecture her.If you were genuinely interested in scholarship, you would abandon “popular” terms and phrases in favor of accurate ones.

  • rick22407

    Muckenfuss:I have never heard the Israeli Prime Minister say “at least we are better than those extremist terrorists who oppose us”. When did he say this?Do you deny that he has said that Iran is a terrorist state, that Israel has the ability to attack Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons development sites, and that if Obama doesn’t take these sites down, he will? Do you deny that he has called the Iranian leadership a “messianic apocalyptic cult”? Is this different than calling them extremists or terrorists.Do you argue that this is different that saying that he is morally superior to the Iranian leaders?

  • SamWest314

    Your statement:is completely lame. There are as many instances where a gun saved a life from a home invader or thug. Using such statements to make your point simply indicates that perhaps you don’t think as rationally as you would like people to believe.

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”There is no freedom in a society ruled by “religion by works”. Dictators always arise from these religions like Islam, Catholcism, Buddhism, etc.”There have been Buddhist dictators? Please name them.

  • jimward21

    Every political system must get the new generation (every 30 years) to buy into it. The young aren’t buying the Islamic revolution any more (do they even remember the Shah?), so Iran is toppling. In the US we turn over our politics every 8 years.

  • schaeffz

    It is very amuzing to me at how self-important you all seem to be! Thanks for the entertainment. Unfortunately, none of you have even shown one ounce of compassion, care, or concern for the struggles of anyone who is downtrodden in this world, in Iran or in the good ol’ USA. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in jail, comfort the grieving, hug and nurture the children, love your enemies…this we all can do right down the street, right now. Please consider the possibility that your self-importance can easily be sidelined in order to make someone else in this world more important, maybe just for a short time. Then the world will be better today than it was yesterday. Thanks.

  • spidermean2

    Chops2, Doomsday is not caused by God. It’s the stupidity of man that will cause Doomsday. And Bin Ladin is NOT a man of God.God gave us the Bible to learn and avoid Doomsday but the idiots can’t understand a single word of it.Darwinian Evolution is an invention of man’s stupidity. If there’s one single doctrine why man is doomed, blame it on Darwin’s evolution.Hitler, communism, Von Brunn, McVeigh, North Korea, etc are products of Darwin’s evolution stupidity.Without an evolutionist country backing it, I don’t think Iran can make nukes all by themselves.Stupidity is self destructive and it’s the evolutionists’ own stupidity that will destroy them, not God.

  • spidermean2

    Muckenfuss wrote “Spiderstupid, there have been Buddhist dictators? Please name them.”Yes stupid Muckenfuss. Heard about Mao tse Tung, Pol Pot and their gangs? They were all buddhists before they became communists, idiot.

  • analyst72

    Theocracy Destroys Democracy!

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”They were all buddhists before they became communists, idiot.”They were NOT Buddhists when they became communists. Idiot.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    spidermean2,that is NOT what the evidence for evolution indicates. anyone who says that has “learned” evolutionary theory from someone who is, well, ignorant or intentionally misleading.monkeys and humans are descended from a common, now-extinct ancestor. we’re like distant cousins with a common great great grandfather.as for your “point” about rhode island, i guess i’m an idiot because i don’t get it. i’d like to read a more thorough “explanation” of what the heck you’re talking about.

  • Muckenfuss

    WalterInFallsChurch wrote:” “That the monkeys evolve into humans…”that is NOT what the evidence for evolution indicates.” True, but I’d say that spiderstupid has offered sufficient evidence that HE devolved from monkeys.

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote: “Heard about Mao tse Tung, ” No, I have not. I have heard of Mao Zedong, however.

  • spidermean2

    Muckenfuss wrote “They were NOT Buddhists when they became communists. Idiot”They became communists because buddhism and communism has many things in common, idiot.You should ask yourself why there is no Islamic country that turned into communist. That is because there is no common denominator unlike with Buddhism, idiot.

  • Muckenfuss

    Schaeffz wrote:”Unfortunately, none of you have even shown one ounce of compassion, care, or concern for the struggles of anyone who is downtrodden in this world, in Iran or in the good ol’ USA.”You are a pompous, self-important ass. I suggest that you go back and read posts from whenever to now. You will find a great deal of compassion has been expressed here.

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”They became communists because buddhism and communism has many things in common, idiot.”Buddhism has absolutely nothing in common with communism. Idiot.

  • spidermean2

    walter-in-fallschurch wrote “monkeys and humans are descended from a common, now-extinct ancestor. we’re like distant cousins with a common great great grandfather.”The real question is, who or what is the ancestor of that common ancestor? I think one would say an offspring of man and ape?

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”The real question is, who or what is the ancestor of that common ancestor? I think one would say an offspring of man and ape?”So, a man and an ape produced an offspring which is the common ancestor of both man and ape? Do you spend any time thinking up these idiocies, or do they just come to you naturally?

  • Muckenfuss

    Spiderstupid wrote:”stupid Muckenfuss wrote “Christianity: give what you have to the poor.”You can’t give if you have nothing. Buddists think that having nothing is nirvana. Sounds like communism where everybody has nothing except for their leaders.”Idiotboy, I was merely quoting your christ. If you want to disagree with him, thats between the two of you.Nirvana is NOT “having nothing”. Nirvana is the perfect peace of the state of mind that is free from craving, anger and other afflictive states.You should have your own radio station. You could call it Radio Free Stupid.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    dear spidermean2,huh?! especially the “there are only two probabilities” part. you still don’t get it? there are MANY possibilities, NONE of which is “humans” or “apes”. only in a fairy tale could the common ancestor of humans and monkeys be a human or a monkey (or an ape).in “evil”-ution talk, “common ancestor” of two species is another DIFFERENT species which gave rise to the two species.let’s use biblical genealogies so you can understand. what you’re saying is like saying the ancestor of noah is either ham shem or japeth.

  • Omyobama

    “Theocracy destroys Democracy?” Sorry — I thought this was a post about the effect of the Christian Taliban here in the States.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    spidermean2, you said,wow…wierd.”The First Ammendment in our Constitution was pushed thru by these people.”if by “these people” you mean jefferson & madison – who put the religion clause in the first amendment to protect americans from religious crazies who think other religions (and atheism) are “stupid” or “idiotic” – then you’re right.”Freedom only belongs to true Christians.”that’s just nonsense, and the source of all religious persecution.obviously all people deserve “freedom”, until they go around abusing it by killing, stealing etc – infringing on others’ freedom. hopefully this is not what you mean. if by “freedom” you are using a “code word” to mean salvation (i.e., sign up now so you don’t ever really have to die), well, all judeochrislamic religions offer that. and every religious person thinks they’ve picked the right god.”If it seems that many countries in the world are free today, it is because America has made it that way.”this part is at least partly true, but probably not for the reasons you think. our founders really did create a government that made everyone else say, “duh – a government should not be religious.” this idea had been around for a while, but america was created as a new country at just the right time by just the right people. man, we’re lucky it all happened the way it did. we’re lucky jefferson and madison prevailed over those who wanted to “establish” jesus as our national diety.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    dear spidermean2,Genesis 36:12 says the “Amalekites” are descendents of Abram’s great-great-grandson Amalek.Genesis 14:7 describes Abram, still childless, attacking the Amalekites.

  • spidermean2

    The idiots call the Christians as Taliban as if it’s the Christians who are enforcing the rules of the minority to the majority. Twisted brained idiots and as such they force their idiocy to the majority. 1. They want to legalize potIn time they will define monkeys as humans and should have human rights too so they can marry them.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Nazila is an interesting name. No doubt a relative of ccnl. However, given “virtual” experiences this morning, I doubt internet access was cut off. I suspect volume may have been a problem.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    ccnl is a habitual liar whose most recent comment is highly offensive and has been reported to the management.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The situation in Iran is interesting and very frightening. What exactly is up is very difficult to say. Mousavi is correct, I think, when he says that a recount is pointless. If the meeting with all the candidates occurs, can something more than nominal change occur….When the Iranian soccer team gets involved, one knows things are serious. No, I’m not kidding.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Is this blog to become a psychotherapy center for repressed Catholic racists?Yet again ccnl (Concerned Catholic Nazi Liar) dredges up false postings that he set up, just as he posted as Susan Jacoby, Spark1, Shark2, Stadtbear, Observer24, Tracythedolphin, and, most recently, youraffectionateuncle and Whistling.CCNL has been repeatedly warned by the management to cease and desist with these lying accusations against me. Unsurprisingly, he also accuses two Muslim bloggers and one Hindu.Again and again, he ruins threads, shuts down this blog. His posting is highly offensive and has been reported to the management.

  • rick22407

    Another excerpt from the Nazila Fathi and Alan Cowell article in today’s NY Times may be helpful for those of us who may not be so familiar with the Iranian system of Government: “In Iran’s theocracy, established after the Islamic revolution of 1979, the supreme leader has vast power over the military, the judiciary and broadcasting. He also appoints six of the 12 jurists on the Guardian Council, which oversees Parliament and certifies election results, and so exerts profound influence on legislators. The president and Parliament are popularly elected by the people, and in recent years as popular demand for social and economic freedoms has grown, frictions have sharpened between the various arms of government.”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    As per the dishonest CCNL:”CCNL has been repeatedly warned by the management to cease and desist with these lying accusations against me. Unsurprisingly, he also accuses two Muslim bloggers and one Hindu.”Reality 101-WAPO HAS NOT told me to stop presenting evidence to Farnaz’s problem with being honest.And I have no idea what Muslim and Hindu bloggers Farnaz is referring to.You were told that posts accusing others of using false monikers would be removed. As for me, it took me awhile to realize what you were up to. You are all the bloggers I listed, and all those whom you did. You set me up just as you did with the fake Susan Jacoby posts, with youraffectionateuncle, etc.I believe that NadineBatra, who no longer blogs here, perhaps due to your endless harassment of her, is Hindu. Zebra4 and hsnkhwjI have no interest in you whatsoever. I have asked you several times not to post to me. There was a point at which I thought you might have something to offer, but I quickly saw that you lack the necessary critical acumen. You allow your various fears and prejudices to get in the way of genuine analysis. You wanted links; you have them. I leave you to your co-bigots. I realize retirement has left you with nothing to do, but I have no wish to be a stand-in for the much missed Jihadist. She engaged your hatred of Muslims. I will not. Neither will I engage your hatred of Jews or anyone else.I leave you to your co-bigots.

  • daniel12

    It seems for some reason everyone has gotten hotheaded and turned this thread into a battleground like Jacoby’s other threads of a while back. Hopefully things will calm down somewhat…I wish I could determine a scientific principle why this is so to at least predict the hotheadedness and avoid that thread for the week–and ideally determine why and prevent it from happening at least too often….

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “It seems for some reason everyone has gotten hotheaded and turned this thread into a battleground like Jacoby’s other threads of a while back. Hopefully things will calm down somewhat…I wish I could determine a scientific principle why this is so to at least predict the hotheadedness and avoid that thread for the week–and ideally determine why and prevent it from happening at least too often….”

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,Many thanks for continuing to post on Iran despite the usual tripe from CCNL. Your observations and links, as ever, are germane, enlightening, challenging… Bravissima.

  • onofrio

    What happened to the *zero tolerance* protocol regarding identity speculation on this blog? CCNL has been dishing it out again, with no sign of intervention from WAPO.WTF?

  • Muckenfuss

    Rick22407:I see. You are unable to support your claim, as usual.Why am I not surprised.

  • spidermean2

    Gay relationship is a disease. With the U.S government (Obama/Clinton) exulting this disease, America has stripped itself of the Godly right to lecture Iran or NKorea. It must address its own STUPIDITY first before minding its neighbors’ business.If we’re not careful, there could be a war of FOOL vs. FOOL and WW3 would be a battle of FOOLS.

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”Not so btw., how are the events taking place in Iran being viewed in Australia?”With great interest. It has been featuring prominently in the news bulletins. The better current affairs media are rolling out the pundits, expats, et al, trying to divine the near future. There’s lots of learned shrugging and agnosticism going on.There’s a sense that something momentous could be unfolding, but no one knows quite what to make of it. It’s not yet portrayed as a viable *good thing*, though tentative hopes are lurking.

  • rick22407

    Dear Muckenfuss,Surely you are able to see that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s name calling of the Iranian leadership, where he refers to it as a “messianic apocalyptic cult”, is equivalent to calling it an extremist/terrorist regime.Also you can see that this verbal attack is equivalent to claiming that the Israeli leadership is of higher moral standing (better than) the Iranian regime.You can see that these statements are equivalent to my claim that Netanyahu said “we are better than those extremist terrorists who oppose us”. That you pretend to not be able to see this just draws attention to the fact that you are in denial, and cannot bare to face reality.Try this link for more data: I could produce many more, but it would not help. Your mind is clearly closed on this subject.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,”There’s a sense that something momentous could be unfolding, but no one knows quite what to make of it. It’s not yet portrayed as a viable *good thing*, though tentative hopes are lurking.”Musavi probably envisions an Islamic state, essentially capitalist, but with leftist reform. It would, of course, be possible to have an Islamic state that grants human rights to women, allows freedom of speech, the free flow of information, etc., but even in fairly secular Tanzania, one cannot slam the prophet with impunity and expect to jes’ walk on by without serious consequence. The “ideal” Muslim state remains elusive.As for Musavi’s vision, Khomeini isn’t going anywhere soon. Then, too, he would have to deal with the clerical oligarchy which controls all of Iran’s wealth, his present political backers, some of whom will be a problem later on, etc. The end of the morality police is a possibility. As for the rest, I don’t know….Right now, it would be enormously helpful if they stopped shooting at the demonstrators.In the Iranian community in NEw York and California, there is enormous hope. Many wealthy Iranian Muslim families, many middle class, left Iran and would return. Some Jews, Christians, et al, would probably want to see their native country again, bring their children. The wealthy would want to invest, if it made any sense at all.It is impossible to describe the wonder of Iran to someone who hasn’t been there, the culture, the splendor. Iranians are devoted to learning, have a wonderful sense of humor, temperament.Between the oppressive buffoon “Shah,” part visionary in his own right, and the oppressive Khomeini, much has been lost, but some things have been gained. Class mobility can be a real possibility at this point. The Europeans, the US need to tread very carefully, but especially, Europe, especially France. They have not helped. NOt at all. Neither did we, needless to say. If only….Cry the beloved country(s).

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,I’ve ventured into the Yunus Emre link you gave. What a gift! It’s exactly my cup of tea. Many thanks for your thoughtfulness, sagely Q!Initial delights of the ignoramus:Love the vital gnosis, the mystic desire, the sense of quest…molto, molto.Again, you are a herald of treasures.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,We regard no one’s religion as contrary to ours.————Yunus Emre

  • YourAffectionateUncle

    Lovely. Lovely. When abroad in your world we are always cheered by kindred spirits. As always, a good tactic is to accuse others of the fear and loathing held dear in your own heart. Your insults hurled at the innocent in triumphal scorn, your vituperative skills, your internecine hostility to your co-religionists. Things of exquisite beauty, really. Indeed kindred spirits, inflamed and to be cherished.

  • Muckenfuss

    Rick22407 wrote:”I could produce many more, but it would not help. Your mind is clearly closed on this subject.”My mind is not made up on this subject.I asked if you could substantiate a phrase that you included in quotes, indicating that you were directly quoting someone. I asked who that someone was. Clearly, you cannot substantiate your direct quote with facts.

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”We regard no one’s religion as contrary to ours.Beautiful, Farnaz. Shames me, certes. I’ve been hurly-burlying with an Opus Deist homophobe back on the previous thread – yes, it’s still staggering on, undead. Persiflage has been posting his usual good sense; I’ve been flailing away intemperately. When I see such lines as you cite, my bitter contentions become noisome to me, and I ache to belong to something vital, whole, and generous. A fullness.”Lo, my name reeks”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Re: the basijAre you getting reports on the basij in Australia? I haven’t seen anything on the web reporting on them in English, although they are identified on English-language web sites.Re: The US and fascist-type buffoonsUnder Bush, we decided in favor of democracy, remember? Perhaps, it’s me, but I’d prefer it if the US and Europe took a break from manipulating the governments of other nations. Ditto China and a few others….The Shah was corrupt, ran a secret police, etc. HOwever, he did try to bring IRan into the twentieth century and there was class mobility under his “Shah” reign. What he wanted to do, he could not have done. It was that simple. Even if he had not been corrupt, even without the secret police it could not have been done. The country was not ready.There are extremist elements, elements that are very conservative, wary of the WEst, etc., who grew as a result of the “Shah’s” reign. There are more of them now. Needless to say, they will not simply go away. ON the other hand, there is a sizable secular population that has really had it.A nation so divided, so full of promise, I cannot tell you. You cannot imagine….You would have to see, meet the people, go to Shiraz, etc.

  • rick22407

    Muckenfuss wrote:“I asked if you could substantiate a phrase that you included in quotes, indicating that you were directly quoting someone.”

  • Muckenfuss

    Rick22407 wrote:Picky? I don’t think so. You did not paraphrase anything, you used quotes indicating that you were directly quoting a source. On closer examination, that proved to be untrue. Naturally, you would consider such behavior to be a “trivial matter”. I like accuracy and reliability. Words mean something.

  • rick22407

    Nazila Fathi and Alan Cowell report in today’s NY Times that “Iranians posting on Twitter, the internet messaging service, called on demonstrators to gather in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini square at 4 p.m. local time. “All wear BLACK — we pray together,” one Twitter posting said” ___ So I suppose that previous reports in the media that the government was shutting down access to the internet were inaccurate. Or perhaps they tried but failed.

  • onofrio

    Another question that may shed further light on Titwisy’s darkness – what he thinks of the Society of St Pius X.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    What the CCNL the Provincial Philadelphia Catholic “researcher” did not read: MY POST or Any of the Iranian Web sites. WHERE he has not been: IRANWHOM he is not in ongoing contact with: Iranians living in Iran.WHOM he does not Know: Iranians living in the USWHAT he does not know: Everything

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    There now, ccnl has gotten his dose of attention from the brown Iranian Jewess keeping the fires warm for the much-missed Jihadist. I am not she, do not suffer fools gladly or otherwise.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,”As for Opus Dei’s *austerities*, they centre on the traditional Catholic practices of self-flagellation and wearing the *cilice* – usually a hair-shirt, also a spiked chain-like metal device tied around the inner thigh. The founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá (sainted by John Paul II) was a strong advocate for these sarcophobic rituals. It’s all supposed to effect *mortification* of the sinful, fleshly nature.”You know, I just looked it up in Wikipedia. Hard to see how it exists within the RCC. Are there any other groups like it? It seems vaguely “cultish” at first glance. Is it any more so than any other religious sub-group?

  • justillthen

    Shall we diddle each other again, and again, ever more so profusely…

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Walter, I don’t think he should make any public statements in support of anyone. Nor should any European leader. Given the human rights violations, it would be be good if a ME, Asian, or African leader commented in some way. I doubt that will happen. This is being watched all over the world, in the ME, Asia, Africa.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz, you said,excellent point.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Walter,Things are getting worse. I really think we should be pressuring countries in the region, other Muslim nations to speak. We may already be on the ground, so may be the Europeans, probably the English. Journalists have been arrested and detained, maybe worse.I think we should stay way out of this. The situation is explosive. The next twenty-four hours will tell us….

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    What will happen next in Iran?The government is racist, anti-woman, homophobic, xenophobic, sexophobic, antiquated, and paranoid, totally and completely worthless,probably crippled by the weight of its own diseased bearuocracy, but also, like any wounded animal, very dangerous.But destruction of the Old Regime is possible; this new and sophisticated movemnt is within stricking distance of delivering a death blow.What will happen next? If the people continue to demonstrte in silence, it will be difficult to attack them. If the people continue to assemble in such huge numbers and then march in long parades down broad avenues, it will be difficult to mount an attack on them en masse. If the people continue to chant from their roof tops at night, it will be difficult to put a stop to it.I believe if the government exerts police or military force, the people will not back down. They may disperse, or stop for a while, but pent up frustrations are too extreme, for them to back down.Over the past 30 years, I have met a number of Iranians. When you have an Iranian friend, you get so that you don’t even want to talk about Iran because they become so emotioaal, missing home, missing family, wishing violence on the dictators, threatening suicide. Multiply this drama by millions, and then bottle up it up, unexperessed for a couple of decades, and this is what you get: an unstoppable upwelling of emotion which is much more profound and dramatic then mere fear.I think that the one who should be fearful is the Supreme Leader, who may end up like “Grand Imperial Dictator” of Rumania, Ceaucescu, who was chased from his palace, (a la Marie Antoinette) and handed over by his body guards to his grusome fate at the hands of the angry mob.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    “I think that the one who should be fearful is the Supreme Leader, who may end up like “Grand Imperial Dictator” of Rumania, Ceaucescu, who was chased from his palace, (a la Marie Antoinette) and handed over by his body guards to his grusome fate at the hands of the angry mob.”here’s hoping it happens that way!of course the reason other middle east leaders aren’t speaking out is they don’t want to be next.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Walter, DITLD,Did you click on the link? They are still shooting the students in the streets. You cannot imagine how the “Supreme Leader” is coming off in Pakistan, India, Asia, Tanzania….Not good. “Supreme” is not the word they’re using.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    If you click on the link, you will see a video of the police or paramilitary (basji) gunning down students in the streets. Shooting them.

  • Muckenfuss

    Farnaz, Yes. Action at along last.Hows the weather in Brooklyn? I went to look at brindle scottie puppies this afternoon. They are 9 days old! Bought a female to breed with my brindle male. Thats a year off, thank god.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Good grief, is it Doug Muckenfuss?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Uncle Doug Muckenfuss?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Well, Landsman Muckenfuss, tell us about the puppy.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Lantzman Muckenfuss,The weather’s okay for a great change. It’s been raining almost nonstop day after day. Cool. People wearing light jackets. How is the weather where you are?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Muckenfuss,Like a lot of people I know here and abroad, I have not slept. I just remembered to eat. Daughter is with sister stationed at computer. Mate is at work similarly stationed. I am here writing and receiving emails, getting and making calls to and from all over. I can’t paste some of what has been sent to me, unfortunately, but we are not getting as much coverage of events in Iran as other countries are getting. No one seems to doubt that we have people on the ground, that England does, as well….If so, who are they and what are they doing?If you click on the link I posted below, you will see a video of the police or paramilitary (basji) shooting students in the street.

  • rick22407

    Farnaz,You recommended below (@June 28/ 5:31 pm) a Wikipedia article relative to recent events in Iran. I think the link that you provided is not the one intended. It is about Hezbollah (Ansar-e_Hezbollah), and not in the context of current events in Iran.If you find time to look it up again, I (and maybe others) would like to read it.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz,

  • rick22407

    Sorry, it was June 18/ 5:31 pm

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Walter,Yes, fingers crossed. There has been too much bloodshed.

  • rick22407

    I just saw Wolf Blitzer interview NY Times columnist Roger Cohen by telephone from Iran on CNN.Probably 3 million people demonstrated in Tehran yesterday.With the Ayatollah Khamenei’s loss of tolerance for the demonstrations, the one scheduled for tomorrow at 4:00 pm (7:30 am EST) `is shaking out to be more like “High Noon”.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    i just saw khamenei’s speech from today on c-span. man…totally freaky… it’s like orwell’s 1984. supporters would chant (god, or perhaps farnaz, knows what) certain things in farsi(?) at certain points in the speech – things they were obviously somehow prompted to chant… these people live in an alternate reality.

  • YourAffectionateUncle

    “IMHO, internecine, shmernecine.”Oh, but we will always be with you. Thirty thousand buildings destroyed in Gaza. No doctors, no power, no food. Hungry children. A new generation reared in hell behind ghetto walls. And to think it only took sixty years for them to seduce themselves. Exquisite isn’t it? Sacred hatred knows no bounds nor will a single nation fail to grasp its advantages.

  • rick22407

    Charles Krauthammer, a well know Jewish neocon apologist for the past 8 years of the Bush administration, and any outrageous aggression that the racist so-called “State of Israel” decides to perpetrate, is now castigating President Obama for not more aggressively siding with the demonstrators in Iran:“…And what do they [the courageous demonstrators] hear from the president of the United States? Silence. Then, worse. Three days in, the president makes clear his policy: continued “dialogue” with their clerical masters…”“Dialogue with a regime that is breaking heads, shooting demonstrators, expelling journalists, arresting activists…”“They want to bring down the tyrannical, misogynist, corrupt theocracy that has imposed itself with the very baton-wielding goons that today attack the demonstrators…” [Sounds like that brilliant statesman Benyamin Netanyahu doesn’t he, but he left out “messianic apocalyptic cult”.]“This revolution will end either as a Tiananmen (a hot Tiananmen with massive and bloody repression or a cold Tiananmen with a finer mix of brutality and co-optation) or as a true revolution that brings down the Islamic Republic…” [We may see tomorrow at 4:00 pm Iranian time (High Noon)] “All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None…” “The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening…” “And where is our president? Afraid of “meddling.” Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror — and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America’s moral standing in the world…”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    continued:Indeed, Rafsanjani is perceived by Khamenei and Ahmadinejad as the individual backing Mousavi and the reformist camp. But Rafsanjani, Khamenei, and Mousavi are all products of the Islamic Revolution. They the founding fathers of the Islamic Revolution and are proteges of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Khomeini. Their goal is not to change the Islamic regime.Still, the supporters that have rallied around Mousavi have other goals in mind. This is a coalition of students and young people whose future holds limited opportunities for meaningful employment, women who have been marginalized from the public landscape, and a middle class that has taken up the cause of human rights. They are not willing to settle for the crumbs that have been sent their way by Khamenei, who is now proposing a partial recount of the votes, perhaps even new elections. They want freedom and democracy. Some of them wish to go further, demanding that Iran become a full-fledged democracy.Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guard, the pillar on which the regime’s power rests, all understand the dilemma with which they have to deal: if they give the order to brutally crack down on the riots, which have already spread to other cities, they are liable to ignite an even bigger conflagration.If they do not suppress the demonstrations, they will be perceived as weaklings who blinked first. In turn, this could whet the appetites of the demonstrators, perhaps moving them to issue more demands.Iran has reached a crucial junction. The direction in which it turns depends only on the working class. The demonstrators today are those from the middle class, those who are not deprived and who are now working towards attaining freedom and liberty. If they gain the support of the working class, the weaker sectors of the society, the poor, the texture of the campaign will take on a completely new dimension. The demand for freedom will be coupled with the demand for bread. In this case, it is difficult to assess whether the regime can withstand such a development.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    This is from the PostGlobal blog at WaPo. YOu can read a journalist from Iran, from Quatar, etc. there. This article from Melman at Haaretz is accurate. It does not say enough about the economy which is not good. It says nothing about Mousavi’s earlier administration.But as Melman points out we have no more reason right now to think there was more election fraud in Iran than there was here.The US and Europe must keep out of this. IRAN needs voices from the region.Cries for Freedom, Cries for BreadThe Current Discussion: Are we witnessing a pro-regime coup in Iran? What should the world do in response? How will the election aftermath affect Iran’s projection of power into the Middle East?The scenes from Tehran are beginning to remind us of the tumultuous period leading to the fall of the Shah over three decades ago. Yet it is still too early to eulogize the Ayatollah’s regime. Who better than the clergymen to understand the structure and the history of revolutions in Iran?Street protests, marches, and strikes make up the formula that has twice brought about regime change. It happened the first time in 1953: a large-scale strike of workers in the oil industry led by Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, who was swept into power and who forced the young Shah Reza Pahlavi to flee the country.Later that same year, Mosaddeq was overthrown following riots organized by the CIA and British intelligence (MI6), and the Shah was restored to the throne. Mossadeq was placed on trial for treason and sentenced to three years in prison.In 1979, the Shah was removed from power, thus marking the end of the Pahlavi dynasty. The Iranian revolution was characterized by massive demonstrations initiated by the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers.Mossad chief Meir Dagan asserts that the alleged voting irregularities in Iran are no different than the mishaps which occur in democratic countries. If he is correct, then the latest developments further highlight the notion that the current tensions have less to do with the election results per se. At the most, allegations of voter fraud are just an excuse, or a pretext.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Muckenfuss,I’ve tried ignoring him in the past, and it didn’t work. He literally lay in wait for my posts. I’m not kidding. After I’d, he’d accuse me of being a paid agent for JDL and various other organizations.I guess they just don’t have the time to monitor this stuff. Still, there must be a way for them to deal with it….

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Wow, Muckenfuss, Action!

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Amazing detection/analysis! RE:the masochistic austerities favoured by that organisation.I don’t know much about them, didn’t know they practice masochistic austerities. What austerities? What is their theology?Wonder what TTWSY and so forth (Persiflage’s name for TTWSY) thinks of Fr. Hans. Can’t expect much, I suspect. On Reese’s last thread, I asked him why Fr. Reese, STevens-Arroyo had said nothing about the murder in the museum, about the killing of Jewish Johanna Justin-Jinich by an antisemite a few weeks ago. Said antisemite was a known JEw hater, btw., known to the police. He slaughtered the girl, his fellow Wesleyan student in the campus bookstore. Scary answer from TTWSY, I thought. Cannot figure him/her out, not at all.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Another question that may shed further light on Titwisy’s darkness – what he thinks of the Society of St Pius X

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”That would be an excellent question. Are you going to ask?”Should hostilities break out again, I might. As for Opus Dei’s *austerities*, they centre on the traditional Catholic practices of self-flagellation and wearing the *cilice* – usually a hair-shirt, also a spiked chain-like metal device tied around the inner thigh. The founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá (sainted by John Paul II) was a strong advocate for these sarcophobic rituals. It’s all supposed to effect *mortification* of the sinful, fleshly nature.In my view, it’s a bit rich for such practitioners to get on a high horse about sado-mashochism, as Titwisy does.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz,

  • Muckenfuss

    Farnaz:I flew to Winston-Salem early this morning to view the pups and make my pick. She is fat, active, and very responsive to being handled by humans…in spite of not having her eyes open yet. The parents were on the premises, and both have very good natures and are well socialized. I’ll get her in about eight weeks. She’s one of 9 pups in the litter, which worries me a little — pups from large litters tend to produce large litters themselves, and that can be a problem.While I agree that Iran should be considered a hands-off territory to the US and other nations during this possible revolution-making period, should Israel decide on a preemptive strike against Iran, I would support Israel.

  • rick22407

    Muckenfuss: “…should Israel decide on a preemptive strike against Iran, I would support Israel.”For Israel (or the US) to attack Iran would be a gift from Allah to the Iranian regime. Nothing could be more effective to pull the Iranian people together behind the current regime. Fortunately for the racist so called “State of Israel” their government may be criminal, but it is not suicidal.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Witnesses say police are using tear and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters rallying in Tehran to demand a new presidential election.Eyewitnesses contacted by The Associated Press say the protesters gathered in central Tehran in open defiance of the cleric-led government.The witnesses say some 3,000 protesters chanted “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to dictatorship!” near Revolution Square in central Tehran. Police confronted them by using tear gas and water cannon.Witnesses say thousands of police and plainclothes militia members filled the streets to prevent rallies.Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned opposition leaders on Friday to end street protests or be held responsible for any “bloodshed and chaos” to come.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    NOthing is right here. If you’ve seen the pictures on Twitter, nothing is right. It is like an orgy of protest. Young men and women with their faces painted green. Wild, exhilarated, intoxicated. It is like some of the young people behaved at Tienanmen Square, God forbid. But something is wrong with this picture. I’ve been resisting the notion that we are behind this, we and Britain, which a lot of people think.Something is wrong with this picture. Very wrong. The way Mousavi handled the net, went outside the established guidelines for campaigning. More and more I’m getting a very uneasy feeling.

  • rick22407

    Congressman Hoekstra (Republican, former Chairman of House Intelligence Committee) now that this has become as you say a full scale crack down, what should the US do?Answer: He has polished America’s image. Now he has to speak out on behalf of the Iranian people. This is a real opportunity to be a game changer in Iran that we must leverage off of.Be more specific about what the president should do.Answer: The president is a great orator. He must make a forceful statement on behalf of the people of Iran and the Middle East for freedom and democracy. Senator Bayh (Democrat of the Select Committee on Intelligence), is this the time for increased sanctions?Answer: The president is handling a rapidly evolving complex situation as well as you could expect. He has put us squarely on the side of the reformers in a smart way. This regime is losing legitimacy with their own people and with the rest of the Islamic world. We can’t let them change the narrative to that of meddling Americans and western imperialism. Tough rhetoric when we are not prepared to take action makes us look impotent.[I agree with Senator Bayh and Susan and Farnaz. Let’s not urge the Iranian people to revolt when we are not ready to back them up, ala Bush the 1st and the first Iraq War.]

  • rick22407

    Fareed Zakariah’s GPS introduction shows the video and talks about Nada, the teenage girl gunned down while protesting side by side with her father, says this video has gone viral and now her death has become a rallying cry for sympathizers around the world.He also reports that his Iranian journalist and film maker friend Maziar Bahari has just been arrested in Iran. He was a guest on Fareed’s GPS just two weeks ago. He is just one of 23 journalists that we know of who have been arrested.

  • rick22407

    Fareed goes on to state his own personal views: first that we are seeing the end of Iran’s theocracy, not just the end of this regime, but the end of the Iranian system. In this election, the two main candidates were both lay people. The Supreme Leader was supposed to be infallible. He called the election result a divine blessing. Then he backtracked and endorsed a review. Then in his most recent remarks at Friday prayers he took a harder line and called it a definite victory for Ahmadinejad. Within the ranks of the establishment cracks are appearing. Even the very powerful speaker of the parliament Larijani reported questioned the election results. So the basic idea of Iran’s revolution, that a group of clerics with special access to divine revelations are the final legitimate authority; that idea has cracked. The final authority it appears comes from the people.Fareed’s second observation is that this election really was about Iran’s relations with the rest of the world and even America. The large group of people that were voting against Ahmadinejad; what were they voting against. Not his economic policies. Iran has been mismanaged for 30 years. Mousavi kept criticizing Ahmadinejad’s aggressive and confrontational foreign policy, and he offered the prospect of better relations with the world. It is clear now that a large number of Iranians passionately want their country to be more connected with the modern world. And that means in particular relations with the US. Now we know that millions of people in Iran want integration and not isolation. [I agree with much of Fareed’s assessment but not his initial assertion that this marks the end of the Iranian system. It is way too early to conclude that.]

  • rick22407

    President Obama has struck absolutely the right note. He is offering moral sympathy but is not engaging himself politically, not interfering; because that could turn out badly and it could be exploited by the neocons in Iran to crush the revolution. I don’t know if the resolution will prevail. It may take time. The longer it lasts, the better are its chances. We don’t want it to escalate into a total showdown; because if it does escalate into a total showdown now, the chances are that the worst elements, the Iranian neocons will prevail.Obama has redefined America’s relationship with Islam and thereby weakened the capacity of the clerics, but we should have no illusions that Iranian nationalism is going to be easy to deal with. Even if Mousavi wins we will still have a problem in the nuclear area. But hopefully the nature of the dialogue will change for the better.How will this end?Answer: It won’t work out the way Eastern Europe did, intensely pro-American. Let’s just hope it doesn’t work out the way Tiananmen did.If Ahmadinejad remains the winner, should Obama continue to negotiate?Of course.

  • rick22407

    Zbigniew Brezinski agrees with Fareed that this could be the beginning of the end, but the beginning could be quite prolonged. We have to be very careful in how we handle it and in trying to understand it. Brezinski was in the White House when at the time of the Iranian theocratic revolution and at the time of the solidarity movement in Poland. There are some interesting analogies but also some very important contrasts between the two. It is particularly important to understand the contrasts. Tell us about the differences… why is this not going to look like 1989 in Europe or the flowering of freedom in the former Soviet Union?Answer: One very important reason. The revolution in Eastern Europe, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, and so forth were for democracy, and there are aspects of what is happening in Iran that are similar, for democracy. But the movements in Eastern Europe were also intensely nationalistic. They were opposing foreign domination or imperialism. That element is missing in Iran. And that make the movement weaker.In Iran we have two different forces at work: (1) those who are for democracy but are also nationalistic and (2) those who are supporting the regime who are in many respects very similar to our neocons. They look at the world as divided into good and evil. Many of them see America as the personification of evil. This makes things much more complicated and our role much more sensitive.Continued….

  • rick22407

    Very good comments by CCNL on the main thread; particularly the one of June 19 that calls for Israel to pull back to its 1948 borders as originally established by the UN. I doubt if you realize what you are asking for though CC, as the original UN approved borders of 1948 were of an Israeli state that was much smaller than the state established by the Green Line of the 1949 armistice following the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. The original 1948 “state” would occupy about 20% of the pre-1967 war bounded “state”.Even this would not solve the existential problems faced by this racist so-called “State of Israel”. The UN, dominated by the victorious allied powers following WW II, had no right to create this racist so-called state out of whole cloth on Palestinian land.The Fourth Geneva Convention (or GCIV) relates to the protection of civilians during times of war “in the hands” of an enemy and under any military occupation by a foreign power. This expressly forbids an occupying power from mistreating occupied civilians, stealing their natural resources (like water, Israelis use 80%), and expropriating their land.

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,Just back from a brief retreat. I have read the Seymour Hersh article you recommended – thank you. Your suspicions of US/UK string-pulling in the current Iranian situ are well founded, methinks. I wonder how much control the Obama administration has over the covert puppetry revealed by Hersh. I marked well the following comment:”A member of the House Appropriations Committee acknowledged that, even with a Democratic victory in November, “it will take another year before we get the intelligence activities” [in Iran] “under control.” ” That was written in July 2008.Seems that the forces set loose by Cheney and Co still have momentum. Can Obama reign them in? Does he want to?

  • rick22407

    The Sunday morning talk shows are always interesting, but even more so this morning. On Fox News Sunday:Chris Wallace asks Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace what is stake here depending on which side wins in terms of the future of Iran and in terms of relations with the US and Israel?Answer: The current regime could lose by winning if they continue to clamp down by using overwhelming force. They lose legitimacy by the day. We may start to see what we saw in the late 1970s with the Shaw, that the main arteries of the regime start to collapse, We may start to see strikes by the merchant class and the oil industry which could really cripple this economy.And what would it mean if Mousavi were to win, because he is a product of this regime. He was the original prime minister?Answer: The Mousavi of the pre-election is different from the Mousavi of the post election. Before the election he took a moderate approach, but now he is challenging the authority of the Supreme Leader. Mousavi and his supporters are asking for a fundamentally different Iran now than they were pre-election.Is this the people against the regime or are there now splits among the clerics? Answer: We now have unprecedented fissures among the elites themselves who now realize that this “death to America” culture is now bankrupt in 2009.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz,i mean i share your disappointment, but it’s just well…that crazy religious people won…. this may set the table for reform in (however many years it is until the crazy religious mullahs let the next election happen) iran. (naively hopefully…)how crazy is it that we are hostage to khameni’s view of good society?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,You write:I’m sure he was well aware of the forces set loose and has been kept abreast of developments since he entered office.Certainly, he was aware of the repeated incidents in the Strait of Hormumz (use google) year after year, as well.The US has at least three well-grounded concerns: (1)that Iran will block the flow of oil through the gulg (2) Iran will continue, if not step up, terrorist groups that that pose a real threat to US security (3) that Iran will nuke Israel, which would, of course, eventuate in nuclear war in the region and beyond.Then, of course, the US wants dat ole Iranian oil. Add the UK, btw. US/UK.Today’ front-page WaPo report on election irregularities is completely consistent with what Yossi Melman wrote (I pasted his article below:And here is the link for the article:There is considerable support for the demonstrators in many Muslim nations, but it appears less and less likely that they will prevail. Meanwhile, the question is what has become of Rafsanjani and Mousavi? Where are they? We must remember who they are. Along with Khameini, they were three of the prime movers of the Islamic Revolution. Rafsanjani was tortured by Shah. I can only hope that they survive this. They have credibility in Iran.Perhaps Walter-in-Falls Church is correct. Perhaps this demonstration of dissatisfaction will end in progress for Iran, a change devoutly to be wished.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Correction to previous post: Meant to write “Strait of HORMUZ.”

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,”Then, of course, the US wants dat ole Iranian oil. Add the UK, btw. US/UK.”Since they lack

  • rick22407

    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday called for the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years… In comments directed as much at the Islamist Hamas movement as at Israel, Fayyad said competing Palestinian factions need to take advantage of international support for the creation of a Palestinian state, something the Obama administration is pushing as a priority. Fayyad, a political independent long at odds with Hamas, did not mention the Islamist group by name. But he focused much of his speech on unifying the Palestinian government in advance of possible elections next year, considered a necessity if peace talks with the Israelis are to succeed. In particular, he said all Palestinians should recognize the Palestinian Authority as responsible for security and should help create the institutions that will “embody” the future state. [Aha…there is the rub…that will not happen; i.e. Hamas will not accept that the PA is responsible for Palestinian security. It will be interesting to see if new elections are actually held next year. I doubt it.]In what amounted to the formal Palestinian response to recent speeches by Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Fayyad spoke at Al-Quds University. Fayyad’s comments hit upon many of the standard Palestinian touchstones — demands for a Palestinian capital in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem and an immediate freeze on Israeli settlements — and criticized Netanyahu’s recent speech for focusing on historical arguments rather than concrete steps to reach peace. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, whose organization rejects Fayyad’s status as prime minister, dismissed the speech and said that the expanded working relationship between Palestinian and Israeli security forces under Fayyad is “the greatest danger” facing Palestinians. [Reported by Howard Schneider in today’s WP.]

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    ContinuedBTW, on Twitter and the CIA, recall Moldava, or use google.I have also posted that it is no great leap to see the UK involvment in this. That ship that just happened to stray into Iranian waters a few days ago, among other things, did merit attention. HOwever, the UK is doing what it can to make its involvement obvious, and its long and egregious involvement is part and parcel of the current problem.”UK has frozen 1.6 billion of Iran’s UK assets”For a brief video take on CIA involvement with Iran, you might want to check out Youtube. If you do, you will see why UK/US shenanigans with IRanian finances will not work.CIA, Iran and the Election Riots – June 14, 2009Former CIA Spy Speaks OutAmong many other reasons there are:1. The fear that Iran will block the flow of oil through the gulf.2. Iran’s increased support of terrorist groups distinctly hostile to the US, that increase enabled by our mess up in Iraq3. The fear that Iran may actually nuke Israel, thus resulting in nuclear war throughout the region and beyond. And let’s face it, nuclear weapons could reach us from Iran.4. ETC.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Although if I tried, I’m sure I could think of people I hate more in this world than Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, but I would have to think long and hard. I also love my country, this country, the US, and, quite frankly, I am at a loss to understand what it has done, what it had thought it could accomplish with its meddling in Iran’s elections.My hope is that CIA strategists foresaw the possibility of defeat and envisioned some reform, perhaps, more openness to the West stemming from perceived discontent. While I think this could happen, I also think the opposite is a distinct possibility, that those who died, who have been permanently injured suffered in vain. Iran’s struggle has been a struggle to be free of foreign domination. The ultimate result of that domination is Khamenei, put in place by Rafsanjani, and Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad is well aware of a foreign presence in Iran.For those of you who have read my posts on Iran, you will recall that in June 2008 Congress authorized four million dollars for destablization of Iran. Scroll down for a link to a New Yorker article on this, or use google. Tons of material is available on the web. Prior to the ten per cent recount by Khamenei, Yossi Melman, senior reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that according to MOSSAD intelligence, there had been no election fraud. See WaPo PostGlobal for Melman’s article or simply scroll down.As for the elections, it is worth repeating that Mousavi went outside the prescribed terms for campaigning by using the net, while Ahmadinejad did not, that Mousavi reported his victory before the polls had closed, thus adding fuel to the sometimes fiery demonstrations that followed.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Susan Jacoby:The media, the “fourth” estate, has failed the US once again; I wonder what you think of this.Below you will find four posts of mine, two providing background on US/UK interest in, involvement with, domination of Iran. The subsequent posts speak to US/UK agitation with Iranian elections.Given my history, my background, I am among the very last people in the world to speak up for the current regime; in fact, I cannot and will not do so.However, I do question what we have done in the last few weeks, do wonder if we have an endgame in mind. I hope when you next post, you will consider some of what I have written, that you will use your fine powers of mind to think AND post beyond the sloganeering that has characterized so much reporting, editorializing to date.

  • rick22407

    Last Friday, Khamenei said: “I want everyone to end this sort of action.”Khamenei also said, “Trust in the Islamic Republic became evident in these elections.”“In fact, I believe the loss of trust by millions of Iranians who’d been prepared to tolerate a system they disliked, provided they had a small margin of freedom, constitutes the core political earthquake in Iran”, writes Richard Cohen from Tehran in his column in today’s NY Times. “Moussavi is trying to calm their rage and coax the multiple security forces to his side. The problem is he’s not visible enough…” “There are rumblings from the influential parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, who is close to Khamenei but not Ahmadinejad. With Rafsanjani, Khatami and the defeated conservative former Revolutionary Guard leader, Mohsen Rezai, the dissenting front is broad…” “Whatever happens now, all is changed in Iran. Opacity, a numbing force, has yielded to a transparency in which one side confronts another. The online youth of Iran will not be reconciled to a regime that touts global “justice” while trampling it at home…”I bow my head to the youth of Iran, the youth that is open-eyed, bold and far more numerous than the near-beardless vigilantes. One such youth was Neda, whose music teacher, Hamid Panahi, was at her side when she died. I asked Panahi if she said anything after the bullet struck. “Yes,” he told me, “She said, ‘Mr. Panahi, I burnt.’ ” [Who can translate the meaning of that? “I burnt”?]

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    More from Roger Cohen’s article:And she concludes: “I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so that they know we were not just emotional under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mogols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children.”Rafsanjani will survive this, I would imagine. That is what he does: survive. I can only hope that Mousavi does not martyr himself as he seems hell bent on doing. Best case scenario, Rafsanjani will prevail. Next best case, Moussavi will come out of this alive and Iran will undergo much-needed reform.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Obama will be holding a press conference at 12:30. He is expected to address the human rights violations in Iran.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    A number of years ago, I met a woman from Iran. When I knew her, she was working in the United States on a temporary work visa with plans to return to Iran. She seemed to me like those Iranian – Persian women, that we have seen on the TV news lately, bright, attractive, and with a kind and sweet disposition.She said that in Iran, she could not wear a pretty dress in public or the morals police would sneak up on her and hit her with a stick. When she said this, she was red-faced with hysteria. She said that in Iran, she could not carry a purse in public, but had to carry all her things in a plastic bag. When she said this, she laughed sarcastically, and maniacly, and cried.These seem like such little things. She did not yearn to vote, to have freedom of speech, or religion, nor even to live in a democracy; she yearned to wear a pretty dress and carry a purse. I think her out-rage was her realization of how things could be in Iran, by seeing how things are in the United States. She did not seem interested in the big-ticket items of democracy, but all she seemed to want was the “pursuit of happiness.” I would not ever want such wrath as hers ever directed at me. I feel this kind of deep-seated and visceral anger towards the government is going to be difficult to suppress.I will always remember her.Meetings with a few people like her is all I have to go on, in my knowledge of Iran.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    In my experience, Iranian women want the same things all human beings want: the ability to develop their abilities to the fullest extent possible. This cannot be done in Iran today. It could not be done under “Shah.”

  • Muckenfuss

    I think it’s harder for today’s Muslims to accept liberal interpretations of the Quran because it’s linked so directly to Muhammad, while the Bible isn’t so closely associated with Moses or Jesus?In that sense, I’m religious. On the God question, I’m more inclined to believe in a creator of some kind, not God. If I wanted, I could still call myself religious and have a fully scientific worldview.

  • HumanSimpleton

    SCREWYOU posts;” Life is not black and white, laws are subject to revision, and societal values and norms can change.”In general yes, but that is not cast in stone by any means. Some issues in life are black and white.Does not mean they should not be debated, instead that they should not be assumed as being wrong just because they are black or white.Extreme positions should not be considered inferior to middle ground by default.Theocracy *is* the biggest danger in existence today. As long as theocracy is the implementation of the will of the celestial dictator, how can it be not?

  • rick22407

    …Significant cracks have emerged within the establishment, certainly the largest since the bloody first couple of years after the revolution. Relentless official attacks on foreign agents as the instigators of unrest have not papered over these divisions.As the Association of Combatant Clergy, which represents more liberal mullahs in Qom, said in a statement: “What sane mind believes that a peaceful movement of millions of informed people — including workers, shopkeepers, farmers, students, clergy and others — could be agents of a so-called enemy?”I said the Islamic Republic has been weakened. Why? I see five principal factors. The first is that the supreme leader’s post has been undermined. The keystone of the arch is now loose.The second is that the hypocritical but effective contract that bound society has been broken…That’s over. Repression will be broad and ferocious in the coming months… The third is that a faction loyal to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fiercely nationalistic and mystically religious, has made a power grab so bold that fissures in the establishment have become canyons…The fourth is that Iran’s international rhetoric, effective in Ahmadinejad’s first term, will be far less so now… The fifth is that the regime has lost a whole new generation — and particularly the women of that generation — by failing to adapt.Thirty years from the revolution, the core question of this election was: Must Iran stand apart from the forces of economic and political globalization in order to preserve its Islamic theocracy? Or is it confident enough of its Islamic identity, and its now firmly established independence from America, to trash the nest-of-spies vitriol and an ultimately self-defeating isolation?

  • rick22407

    Netanyahu’s Peace StipulationIsraeli Premier Is First to Seek Recognition of [racist] Jewish Homeland [writes Howard Schneider in today’s WP]The documents accepted by Israeli leaders during breakthrough peace talks with the Palestinians in Oslo in 1993 said nothing about their country’s status as a [racist] Jewish state or homeland — a concept absent as well from other accords negotiated by the two sides as recently as 2007. “It has never been an Israeli demand,” said Ron Pundak, a member of Israel’s negotiating team in Norway and now director of the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv. “When we negotiated Oslo, the issue of the characteristics of our state was never an issue. I think it is a mistake that we demand of others how we define ourselves.” Sixteen years later, with the Oslo accords tattered by years of conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided that a final peace will require more: Palestinian recognition of Israel, not just as a diplomatic or political entity, but as the legitimate homeland of the [racist] Jewish people. Palestinians view the demand as unnecessary, a bid to derail their quest for a state of their own… Netanyahu laid out the demand in a speech at Bar-Ilan University last week in which he gave qualified backing to the “two-state solution” advocated by the United States and much of the international community… The issue is also seen as a proxy for discussion of the status of millions of Palestinian refugees in the region. For Israel to survive as a [racist] Jewish homeland, Netanyahu said, the refugees — descendants of the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced to leave their homes during the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation — will have to be absorbed by countries other than Israel, expunging any “right of return.” …

  • rick22407

    The Green Revolution(s) Thomas Friedman is taking a page from Farnaz’s book and is talking about Iran and oil in his column today in the NY Times.There has been a lot of worthless chatter about what President Barack Obama should say about Iran’s incipient “Green Revolution.” Sorry, but Iranian reformers don’t need our praise. They need the one thing we could do, without firing a shot, that would truly weaken the Iranian theocrats and force them to unshackle their people. What’s that? End our addiction to the oil that funds Iran’s Islamic dictatorship. Launching a real Green Revolution in America would be the best way to support the “Green Revolution” in Iran. Oil is the magic potion that enables Iran’s turbaned shahs — “Shah Khamenei” and “Shah Ahmadinejad” — to snub their noses at the world and at many of their own people as well. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad behaves like someone who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. By coincidence, he’s been president of Iran during a period of record high oil prices. So, although he presides over an economy that makes nothing the world wants, he can lecture us about how the West is in decline and the Holocaust was a “myth.” Trust me, at $25 a barrel, he won’t be declaring that the Holocaust was a myth anymore.

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