Tag Archives: double standard

Skipping toward another debacle in the Middle East

The elites of D.C. have been out of touch with the wishes of the majority of Americans for years now, but are they really going to launch a military attack upon another Middle Eastern nation — one that borders Iraq, no less — that the majority of Americans do not want? Will U.S. President Barack Obama ignore the right-wing political taunts that he’s a wimp, or will he rush in to Syria like a fool, causing even more civilian deaths?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed yesterday that “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.”

“Make no mistake,” Kerry added. “President [Barack] Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Wow.

I’m trying to wrap my head around the mega-double standards that are spewing forth right now from D.C.

The casual use of killer drones against poor people in the Middle East is not the use of “the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people”? (Killer drones aren’t heinous? When’s the last time that you had to try to dodge a drone that was trying to kill you? Have you seen “Oblivion”?)

Is the method of the slaughter truly of more importance than the fact of the slaughter itself?

What’s with this fucking nerve-gas fetish?

If I shoot you or bomb you (the conventional way or with one of my “more humane” killer drones), it’s OK, it’s perfectly pardonable, hey, you have to crack some eggs to make a Freedom™ omelet — but if I gas you, that’s really heinous?

March 2003’s so-called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (it couldn’t be “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” because that spells OIL, you see) — the U.S.-military-led invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, which was in violation of the wishes of the United Nations Security Council — and its aftermath caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

If you simply claim, as the goody-goody-two-shoes United States of America always does, that your goal is to bring “democracy” and “freedom” and “liberation” and puppies and kittens and cute, fluffy baby bunny rabbits, does that mere claim justify, does that mere claim excuse, a body count of tens of thousands of civilians?

Oopsie! Your loved ones are dead! But it was for [fill in noble goal here]!

It widely is reported that an estimated 100,000 people, presumably on both sides, have been killed in Syria’s civil war of about two years now. The conservative estimate of the number of Iraqi civilians who died because of the bogus Vietraq War exceeds 100,000.

I’m trying to understand why the vast majority of Americans have not lost any sleep over the staggering number of Iraqi civilians whom the U.S. war machine has snuffed out over the past decade in the name of “liberating” them, but some Americans now claim to care so much about the alleged — emphasis on “alleged” — gassing deaths of a few hundred Syrian civilians.

If it’s really all about the safety and welfare of the Syrian civilians, where is the concern that even more Syrian civilians would die in the U.S.-led military bombardment of Syria and in the further chaos that easily could ensue, just like it did in Iraq? Have we really forgotten all of this already?

Is this about the well-being of Syrian civilians or is this about the United States of America (1) collectively egoistically wanting to save face because President Hopey-Changey proclaimed the Santa Claus- or Easter Bunny-like existence of some “red line” and (2) wanting to periodically flex its big military muscles on the world stage like the narcissistic, bullying nation that it is?

Given the United States’ own track record of the casual slaughter of civilians casually dismissed as “collateral damage” and refusing to be held accountable to any international body, John Kerry’s lofty words — such as “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders” being “a moral obscenity” and the necessity of “accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people” — ring pretty fucking hollow.

If Americans, except for a perma-minority of pro-military wingnuts (most of them chickenhawks) — aren’t clamoring for a U.S. attack on Syria (and they’re — we’re — not) — maybe, just maybe, part of the reason for that is that enough Americans realize how incredibly hypocritical it is of the United States of America to talk of the lawlessness and mass-murderousness of any other nation.

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Nicolas Maduro wins mandate!

Venezuelan presidential candidate Maduro celebrates after official results gave him a victory in Caracas

Reuters photo

Nicolas Maduro, the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, celebrates his victory in Venezuela’s presidential election yesterday. The sore losers on the right are trying to cripple Maduro right out of the gate by casting unsubstantiated charges of election fraud, just like the wingnuts do here at home.

I say that tongue in cheek. Of course 50.7 percent of the vote isn’t a mandate (the definition of which to me is something like “unquestionably strong majority support,” which, I suppose, would need to at least approach 60 percent), but I am struck by the irony of how the unelected Bush regime (and its friends in the corporately owned and controlled media) called its 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004 a “mandate” while the very same wingnuts say that Nicolas Maduro’s 50.7 percent in yesterday’s presidential election in Venezuela means that the Chavistas are in deep doo-doo because Maduro didn’t do better than he did.

Why wasn’t George W. Bush’s 50.7 percent painted as a problem for his party in 2004 — even though, in retrospect, it seems fairly clear that Bush’s 50.7 percent was, in fact, far from being a “mandate,” actually a harbinger of upcoming presidential election losses for the Repugnican Party?

(Bush’s 50.7 percent in 2004 was higher than the 47.9 percent that he got in 2000 — when he was defeated by Democrat Al Gore, who got 48.4 percent of the popular vote — but Barack Obama, with his popular vote wins of 52.9 percent in 2008 and 51.1 percent in 2012 [to Mittens Romney’s awfully ironic 47.2 percent], earned more popular votes that Bush ever did.)

It fits the right wing’s narrative nicely to assert that Nicolas Maduro is a weakened president from Day One. It wasn’t in the wingnuts’ best interests to assert that Bush was a weakened president, so instead they claimed the opposite — that his 50.7 represented a “mandate.” Bush himself bragged about having earned “political capital” that he was going to spend on a shopping spree.

Indeed, Bush not only spent any “political capital” that he’d actually earned, but he ran up his party’s credit card debt, a debt that still plagues his party. (Not only do the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still talk as though Ronald Reagan was the last Repugnican president, but I clearly recall that even while Bush still sat in the White House in 2008, neither John McCainosaurus nor Sarah Palin mentioned him in their televised national debates or in their public appearances, but also pretended that Reagan was the last president from their party.)

So: If you are a right-wing politician, then your 50.7 percent is a “mandate.” But if you are a left-wing politician, then your 50.7 percent means that the vote was so freakin’ close that you might as well just step aside and allow your opponent to take office instead of you.

Sickly, even many on the left fall into this double-standard bullshit, and, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) noted in November, while Bush’s “re”-election immediately was branded a “mandate,” even though he “won” only 286 electoral votes in 2004, Obama’s win of more than 300 electoral votes in November was “definitely not a mandate.” (After all of the votes were counted, it turns out that Obama won 332 electoral votes in November.)

When push comes to shove, it doesn’t matter whether Nicolas Maduro won a “mandate” yesterday. All that he needed to do was get the higher number of votes — to the victor goes the spoils — and he apparently did that. His right-wing opponent, Henrique Capriles, has demanded a recount, and Maduro has said that he’s fine with every vote being recounted.

Of course, Maduro can’t claim, as the unelected Bush regime falsely did in 2004, that he has a “mandate,” but at the same time he shouldn’t allow himself to be stymied by the right-wing sore losers’ attempts to cripple him right out of the gate. A win is a win, and very apparently he, not Capriles, was chosen by the majority of the people.

(Despite right-wing charges of rampant election fraud in Venezuela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose organization monitors elections around the world, said last year, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” [Of course, Jimmy Carter is just a “socialist,” too, so of course he would say that!])

Maduro, no doubt, has his work cut out for him. My guess is that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, after he had consolidated his political power, in his later years didn’t work as hard for the people as he had in the past (in fairness, though, of course his battle with cancer no doubt slowed him down), and Maduro needs to be more about improving Venezuela than about maintaining a rock-star brand name, especially the Chavez brand name.

Chavez  is gone, and while it’s fine to carry on his ideals — I hope that they are carried on not only in Venezuela, but that they spread to the United States of America one day — it’s a mistake to make a movement about one person instead of about principles, because while principles can be eternal, the flesh is weak and quite impermanent.

As long as Maduro and his supporters refuse to get caught up in the right wing’s bullshit propagandistic narrative that Maduro didn’t really win the election, and as long as Maduro works hard for the greatest number of Venezuelans — as his own person, and not as the clone of Chavez — Maduro can be re-elected in another six years.

In the meantime, all of us on the left, regardless of which nation we live in, need to be vigilant about the double standards. The bar always has been set higher for those on the left than it has been for those on the right, and at the minimum we on the left need to stop cooperating with that bullshit. The wingnuts act like they’re winners even when they’ve lost, and we on the left tend to act like we’re losers even when we’ve won.

And Senor Presidente: That pornstache prolly should go. Just sayin’.

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Hurricane Charlie hits Florida

Tampa Bay Times image

This unaltered, copied-and-pasted photo of Charlie Crist looks like there is a storm behind him. Or is it supposed to be an image of Hurricane Charlie, yet another hurricane fucking up the Repugnican Tea Party National Convention?

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who used to be a Repugnican but now calls himself an independent, has added to the tempest in Florida by declaring in the Tampa Bay Times today that he endorses President Barack Obama for re-election.

This probably is the money shot of Crist’s commentary:

As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.

But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the [Missouri U.S. Rep. Todd] Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.

The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.

Unsurprisingly, Crist is being attacked by the right for his Reverse Zell Miller.*

This shot at Crist is hilarious, though, in its unintended hypocrisy:

“Today we have seen a repugnant display from a self-centered, career politician. While the people of Florida, and thousands of visitors who’ve traveled here, are facing an emergency, Charlie Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come first.”

That is a statement from the chair of Florida’s Repugnican Tea Party, Lenny Curry.

Curry uses the impending Hurricane Isaac as an excuse as to why Charlie Crist shouldn’t get political in the state of Florida right now, yet the entire fucking Repugnican Tea Party has yet to cancel its convention in Florida, despite the destruction that future Hurricane Isaac promises to bring upon the state and the Gulf Coast.

To be a member of the Repugnican Tea Party is not only to be a traitor to the United States of America, but it is to be an incredible fucking hypocrite, too.

*Zell Miller is the conservative “Democrat” who, in one of his last acts in office (he was a U.S. senator for the backasswards state of Georgia from July 27, 2000 to January 3, 2005), appeared as a speaker at the 2004 Repugnican National Convention, where he endorsed George W. Bush’s “re”-election over the election of Democratic candidate John Kerry and bashed the Democratic Party. I was saddened to see when I looked him up on Wikipedia that Miller, who has acid for blood, apparently is still alive, kept so by his sheer spite.

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McCarthyesque hearings only show that Islamophobia is a problem

Peter King

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman King ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

My terrorism is better than your terrorism: Because he is Irish American, the Irish Republican Army is not a terrorist group, according to Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Peter King, who has supported the IRA even while in Congress. The U.S. State Department, however, classifies the IRA as a terrorist group, which would make King a terrorist sympathizer — yet he is judging others on their alleged support of terrorism. King is pictured above in Washington, D.C., today. Below is what Reuters reports is a close-up photo of the lapel pin that King quite unfuckingbelievably is wearing today as he presides over his “fair and balanced” hearings on Islamic “terrorism” in the United States.

A lapel pin depicting the World Trade Center ...

Reuters photo

Wow.

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Peter King, the ringleader of the McCarthyesque hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives on how much of a threat Muslim Americans pose to us (it is a foregone conclusion that they pose a threat to us, you see), has been a vocal opponent* of the so-called “Ground-Zero mosque,” yet he is presiding over “hearings” on this issue that he claims are fair and balanced — while he wears a lapel pin depicting the twin towers, the U.S. flag and the mindless post-9/11 slogan, “United we stand.”

When called to the carpet on the blatantly offensive nature of King’s prejudiced, discriminatory “hearings,” King proclaimed that “To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness.” 

Wow.

Where it comes to Israel and the Zionists (the Israel-firsters), the vast majority of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party — and, to be fair and balanced, the majority of the members of spineless Democratic Party — can’t be politically correct enough. Even when Israel slaughters scores of innocent Muslim civilians — and when it comes to slaughtering innocent Muslim civilians, Israel is surpassed only by the United States** — to criticize Israel’s actions, no matter how heinous, is beyond taboo, and essentially is equated to Holocaust-denying anti-Semitism.

But no political correctness for the Muslims! declares King, proving his bias and his utter unfitness for the role of arbitrating on the issue of Islamic “terrorism.”

I use quotation marks there because when the same actions are committed by groups that King and his ilk approve of, it’s never called terrorism, but is called “self-defense” or the like. King supported the Irish Republican Army even while in Congress, but because he supports the members of the IRA (King is Irish American), their actions are not terrorism, you see.

(The U.S. State Department classifies the IRA as a terrorist group, perhaps rightfully or perhaps because of the U.S. government’s longstanding partnership in crime with Britain. I’m not sure. I’m just stating the facts that the U.S. government has deemed the IRA as a terrorist group, and King has supported the IRA even while in Congress.)

With these nationally embarrassing “hearings” on Islamic “terrorism,” King and his wingnutty ilk plainly are grandstanding for personal political gain in the name of national security — just as Joseph McCarthy, another wonderful Irish American, did. These Repugnican Tea Party traitors miss the “good old days” when Islamophobia gave the unelected, treasonous Bush regime a seemingly endlessly supply of political capital and political cover to shove their right-wing agenda down the throat of the shell-shocked nation.

What if some very brave, very fair and balanced members of Congress wanted to hold hearings on, say, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and/or Israel’s fucking routine massacres in which far more Arabs are slaughtered than are Israelis?

Such hearings would never fucking happen. They’d be branded immediately as “anti-Semitic” and shot down.

Yet it’s wide open fucking season on Muslims and Arabs.

And yet we scratch our heads and ask of them, “Why do they hate us?”

Rep. Peter King’s McCarthyesque, bigoted, hateful charades are much more likely to stoke the fires of anti-American terrorism than to put those fires out.

Which, perversely, is probably exactly what he  and his treasonous ilk want:

9/11: The Sequel.

After all, the original was so great for the Repugnican Party.

– 

*Slate.com notes that “King was the first politician to speak out last year against a liberal, anti-terrorist American imam’s proposal to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero.”

**Yeah, I hear you screaming, “What about 9/11?” But 9/11 was perpetrated by a group of individuals, not by a nation. (Even then, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, as is Osama bin Laden, and not one of the hijackers was from Iraq.) The aggression against Muslims and Arabs by the United States and Israel is state-sponsored aggression, not the aggression by rogue individuals whose actions in many cases cannot be controlled.

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Two dudes kissing: Get over it or help the homophobes to get over it already

Adam Lambert, left, gets ready to kiss one of the dancers as ...

Adam Lambert, left, kisses one of the dancers as he performs ...

Associated Press photos

Openly gay artist Adam Lambert plants a kiss on an androgynous (but presumably XY-chromosome-possessing) keyboard player during his performance at last night’s American Music Awards. I love Lambert and I loved his same-sex kiss, except that in the video of it the kiss seems to be a bit rough, even perhaps with at least a tinge of violence to it, and I prefer it to be warm and tender. (And parents probably do have a legitimate complaint that during his performance he shoved a male dancer’s face in his crotch…)

I love Adam Lambert. Not just his music, but his balls.

No, he hasn’t taken the path of Levi Johnston; I mean, I love his chutzpah.

Of any complaints that he was sexually demonstrative with other males during his performance at the American Music Awards last night, he said:

“I do feel like there’s a bit of a double standard in the entertainment community, on television, on radio. I feel like women performers have been pushing the envelope, especially, for the past 20 years. And all of the sudden a male does it and everybody goes ‘Oh, we can’t show that on TV.’ For me, that’s a form of discrimination and a double standard. And that’s too bad.” 

Yup. Ditto.

And it’s because in a patriarchal, misognynist society, female-on-female sexuality (in which the women really are heterosexual or are at least bisexual, of course) is considered to be hot (or at least tolerable) by many (if not by most), but male-on-male sexuality, even just a kiss, is considered by many (if not by most) to be repulsive and/or even obscene. (Must protect the children!)

(Male-on-male violence, of course, is perfectly OK, even for the kiddies.)

So many Americans have a problem seeing two men kissing because it’s so rare that they ever actually see two men kissing. What you rarely see can seem strange and foreign and even unsettling when and if you ever actually should see it.

The solution to this problem?

And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Gay and other same-sex-loving men who wish to show affection in public — holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. — should do so if they are reasonably physically safe in doing so. (Kissing before some skinheads with baseball bats might not be such a good idea, for example.)

Of course, I can’t say that I am big on public displays of male-on-male affection that are not heartfelt but are just for political purposes. (Lambert’s on-stage same-sex sexual antics appear as though they might have been at least somewhat for the latter.) However, there might be times and places for even political same-sex public displays of affection.

Nor am I calling for public man-on-man sex or even for prolonged open-mouthed man-on-man kissing in public; if you must have prolonged open-mouthed kissing or fondling of the genitalia or the like, please get a room if you are in public (regardless of your XX or XY chromosomal status and your sexual orientation).

But again: If you are a male and you wish to demonstrate, with another male, affection in public that any heterosexual couple would be able to demonstrate without drawing condemnation (or maybe even a law enforcement officer…), then do so, unless you have good reason to believe that you could get physically harmed by doing so.

(Of course, if ending up in the ICU — or becoming the next Matthew Shepard — is your idea of a great political statement, then who am I to try to stop you?)

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Americans are in no position to lecture others on stolen presidential elections

Smoke billows from a burning bus as a supporter of Mir Hossein ...

A supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi hurls a stone at riot police ...

Supporters of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

Supporters of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

A supporter of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein ...

AFP and Reuters photos

You won’t see this at home: An opponent of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes a “V” for “victory” sign with a burning bus as his backdrop in Tehran, and other anti-Ahmadinejad protesters hurl rocks at riot police in Tehran. There were no such demonstrations of love for true democracy in the United States of Amnesia after the Bush regime stole two presidential elections in a row and launched a bogus war that has cost thousands and thousands of lives and billions and billions of dollars. Yes, the American sheeple have been quite tamed, rendered quite harmless.

“Ahmadinejad Re-elected Under Cloud of Fraud,” the Salon.com article by Middle East expert Juan Cole is titled. While I wouldn’t expect a mention in the headline that George W. Bush was “re-elected” under a cloud of fraud in 2004, it would have been nice to have seen a mention somewhere in the article following the headline that the United States of Amnesia is in no position to lecture any other nation about stolen presidential elections.

Don’t get me wrong. If I had to put money on it one way or the other, I would put my money on Iran’s election having been stolen. I’m no expert on Iran, but my understanding of Iran — which Cole’s article, assuming that it is accurate, reinforces — is that it is a theocratically totalitarian nation, which makes “democracy” there just a show.

But the United States of America long has been a corporatocracy/plutocracy, under which “democracy” often if not usually is just a show.

Just as the clerics in Iran really pull the strings, it’s those with the big bucks in the pay-to-play United States who really pull the strings. In both nations, it seems, elections are dog and pony shows meant to give the masses the illusion that the majority of the people actually are, as former “President” Bush might put it, the deciders.

Americans delude themselves over how much freedom and democracy they truly have. We have friendly fascism here in the United States. You aren’t physically forced or tortured or enslaved here; here you economically are forced/coerced and tortured and enslaved, so to speak. (And you are lulled to sleep by such things as endless mindless television, mountains of junk food and cigarettes and alcohol and pharmaceuticals meant to numb you and to enrich the corporations that manufacture them, and a perpetual parade of consumer goods that you don’t need but that you desperately want nonetheless.) But we American commoners are controlled just as effectively as are the masses in Iran; make no mistake about it.

Actually, the American sheeple apparently are better controlled by their plutocratic/corporatist overlords than the Iranians are controlled by their theocratic overlords, as evidenced by the fact that when the Bush regime stole a presidential election not once, but twice, nary a single brick or large rock was thrown through a single store-front window, to my knowledge. In Iran, however, the people have been rioting for two days now over Iran’s apparently stolen presidential election.

Reports The Associated Press today:

TEHRAN, Iran – Protesters set fires and smashed store windows [today] in a second day of violence as groups challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election tried to keep pressure on authorities. Anti-riot police lashed back and the regime blocked Internet sites used to rally the pro-reform campaign.

Ahmadinejad dismissed the unrest — the worst in a decade in Tehran — as “not important.” He said Friday’s vote was “real and free” and insisted the results showing his landslide victory were fair and legitimate. Along Tehran’s Vali Asr street — where activists supporting rival candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi held a huge pre-election rally last week — tens of thousands marched in support of Ahmadinejad, waving Iranian flags and shouting his name.

Mousavi released his first statement since two days of violent protests began, calling on authorities to cancel the election. He said that is the only way to restore public trust. Mousavi, who has accused authorities of election fraud, urged his supporters to continue their “civil and lawful” opposition to the results and advised police to stop violence against protesters. He has claimed he was the true winner of the election.

The violence spilling from the disputed results has pushed Iran’s Islamic establishment to respond with sweeping measures that include deploying anti-riot squads around the capital and cutting mobile phone messaging and Internet sites used by the Mousavi’s campaign.

There’s little chance that the youth-driven movement could immediately threaten the pillars of power in Iran — the ruling clerics and the vast network of military and intelligence forces at their command — but it raises the possibility that a sustained and growing backlash could complicate Iran’s policies at a pivotal time….

So far, Mousavi has issued mixed signals through his website before it was shut down. He urged for calm but also said he is the legitimate winner of Friday’s election and called on supporters to reject a government of “lies and dictatorship.” He has not been seen in public since a news conference shortly after polls closed.

In a second day of clashes, scores of young people shouted “Death to the dictator!” and broke the windows of city buses on several streets in central Tehran. They have burned banks, trash bins and piles of tires used as flaming barricades to block police.

Riot police beat some of the protesters with batons while dozens of others holding shields and motorcycles stood guard nearby. Shops, government offices and businesses closed early as tension mounted.

In a news conference, Ahmadinejad called the level of violence “not important from my point of view” and likened it to the intensity after a soccer match….

About a mile away from Ahmadinejad’s news conference, young Iranians set trash bins, banks and tires on fire as riot police beat them back with batons….

[Yesterday] Mousavi, a 67-year-old former prime minister, released [an Internet] message saying he would not “surrender to this manipulation.” Authorities responded with targeted detentions, apparently designed to rattle the leadership of Mousavi’s “green” movement — the trademark color of his campaign….

Mousavi’s newspaper, Kalemeh Sabz, or the Green Word, did not appear on newsstands [today]. An editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the paper never left the printing house because authorities were upset with Mousavi’s statements….

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, closed the door for possible compromise. He could have used his near-limitless powers to intervene in the election dispute. But, in a message on state TV on [yesterday], he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a “divine assessment.”

Again, democracy in Iran apparently is just a show, when, in fact, the clerics pull all of the strings. In his Salon.com article, Cole notes, “With the backing of the clerical supreme leader, Ahmadinejad’s victory is unassailable in the theocratic Iranian system, where Shiite clerics hold ultimate power.”

Of course, “democracy” in Saudi Arabia is just a show, too, with the monarchy there pulling all of the strings, but for some oily reason the U.S. government accepts monarchy in Saudi Arabia but demands democracy for certain other Middle Eastern nations.

The rioting in Iran indicates to me that a good number of Iranians are passionate about true democracy, a passion that my fellow Americans lost long ago, as evidenced by the fact that today my fellow Americans are willing to accept such unacceptable things as stolen presidential elections and the launching of bogus wars for the war profiteers, with nary a tire burned or a store-front window smashed.

We Americans do participate from time to time in peaceful protests, such as the “Not My President Day” rally on Presidents’ Day in which I participated at the California State Capitol in early 2001, and the anti-war rally that I attended there shortly before the unelected Bush regime launched its bogus Vietraq War in March 2003, but the thing about peaceful demonstrations is that, being peaceful, the powers that be are able to simply ignore them. Which they do.

P.S. I have to note that I find this Associated Press news photo from today

Protestors shout slogans as about 250 demonstrators turned out ...

(caption here) to be pretty fucking poignant, because it was at the “Not My President Day” rally here in Sacramento in early 2001 that I held a homemade sign that read “George Dubious Bush is not MY president!” — and I see that a young Iranian woman in The Hague, Netherlands, displayed a very similar sign about Ahmadinejad during a protest there today…

To this day I consider George W. Bush’s presidency to have been illegitimate, and I never could write “President” Bush without the quotation marks, because to have done so would have been to give him the legitimacy that he never possessed.

Finally, I have to wonder if the “green revolution” in Iran has any connection to the international Green Party, if the green theme was intentional on the part of Mousavi and his supporters or if it is a coincidence… I’m a Green at heart.

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Leave him alone

Updated February 7, 2009 (see below)

U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps pauses during an interview ...

Reuters photo

Michael Phelps (photographed last month above) apparently is not allowed to live a young man’s normal life because we own him because of his Olympic ability.

Although I love men’s swimming and diving (and men’s gymnastics, too — and wrestling is OK…), I didn’t follow the last Olympics and American swimmer Michael Phelps is doable enough, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been hot for him.

But 23-year-old Phelps, who has won a record 14 gold medals, shouldn’t have to live up to some arbitrary standard of “perfection” that the vast majority of the rest of us don’t live up to.

Apparently Phelps was photographed smoking (pot, presumably) from a glass pipe at a house party when he was visiting the University of South Carolina (and he might be criminally charged for this, although I don’t know how a photograph proves what it was that you actually were smoking or whether you were even really smoking anything at all; you could jokingly hold a pipe to your lips), and because of the pressure he has had to apologize for this.

The fact that marijuana should be legalized if alcohol and tobacco are legal completely aside, why should Phelps have to live up to some arbitrary standard of behavior?

I mean, fuck — is the man even allowed to masturbate?

Those who think that there is any connection between Phelps’ athletic achievements and his apparent desire to live the normal social life of a man of his age need to get a fucking life.

Update (February 7, 2009):

Salon.com’s Joe Conason wrote a piece on this topic for Salon.com dated Feb. 6.

Included is his piece is a link to the rather poor, rather boring photo of a barely recognizable Michael Phelps apparently with his mouth pressed to a glass bong.

“And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean four-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14-gold-medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be OVER,” the cheesy website that posted the photo boasts.

Yeah — boast about potentially destroying someone’s career for some harmless thing that he did in his off time. Phelps legally could drink and get much more messed up than he could on marijuana, but let’s see if we can ruin his career (and increase traffic to our website) because we have a photo of him apparently smoking some weed!

More interesting than the original Internet story on Phelps’ apparent party behavior — a story that is about as earth-shattering if we had learned that yes, indeed, Phelps does jack off — are the comments posted to it.

Apparently there are plenty of people out there who believe that Phelps “represents his country” and that he should be a “role model” for our youth.

Oh, fuck, Michael Phelps does not represent our country — any more than George W. Bush or Dick Cheney represented our country (the fact that they stole office in late 2000 entirely aside; and plainly they represented their fellow corrupt power- and money-mongering oligarchs and plutocrats, not the common American people).

Each of us represents him- or herself and anyone who believes otherwise is juvenile. People need to grow the fuck up and stop attaching their egos to the success or to the wrongdoings (real or perceived of others) who, they assert, “represent” them.

Unless you can swim like Phelps can, he did not represent you at the Olympics. He represented himself. At best, we can say that he represented his team of fellow American Olympians.

As far as the “role model” thing goes, you need to raise your own fucking children and not expect Michael Phelps or any other athlete to do that for you. And if you are a decent parent at all, you will realize that yes, your children, when they are Phelps’ age, probably will party, too. Get over it.

And further on the “role model” thing, where is all of the “role model” talk when we have people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney stealing elections and creating bogus wars that result in the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent civilians and in the wholly unnecessary deaths of thousands of our young military personnel and in the plundering of hundreds of billions of our tax dollars from the U.S. treasury by Cheney’s Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp?

Gee, I think I’d much rather have my child smoke some weed than to commit treason.

Americans’ values and thinking are fucked up beyond all recognition to the point that they strain out teeny-tiny gnats while they swallow gargantuan fucking camels.

If this doesn’t change — now — this empire surely will go the way of the Roman and the British empires.

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