September 29, 2008

Wall Street Bailout cartoon roundup

all cartoons property of their owners and courtesy of Cagle's Political Cartoon Page (see sidebar link)

July 10, 2008

Thoughts on Iran

This rant on Iran has been a long time coming. More specifically, this rant on double standards as they apply to US policy on Iran.

Ok, we have here a case of Israel making threatening moves on Iran. Threatening talk, too. And Iran responds by testing long range missiles that could threaten Israel. For this the US State Department condemns Iran.

Imagine two hypothetical countries. One country is allowed to achieve nuclear weapons. The other country, nearby, now feels unsafe unless they can get nukes too. Country 1 feels threatened by country 2's attempt to get nukes. We allow country 1 to attack country 2, but we don't allow country 2 to retaliate or even defend itself. Country 2 sees its fears confirmed and works harder to get nukes. We allow country 1 to attack country 2, but we don't allow country 2 to retaliate or even defend itself. Country 2 gets really mad and starts making threats. We call them foolish and crazy. And terrorists.

Meanwhile in countries 3-85 leaders are organizing campaigns to rape ethnic minorities into extinction, starve the political opposition, steal the entire GDP and run, and scores of other atrocities.

The nuclear cat is out of the bag. It's not going back in. Get used to it. The number one state sponsor of terrorism (Pakistan) has it. Why not encourage Israel to take care of them? They're a hell of a lot more dangerous than Iran. Leave Iran alone.

I don't even support sanctions. Making the Iranian government feel victimized only makes them more paranoid. The Iranian people aren't some backwards tribesmen. They have, or want to have, everything we have. Much of it has to be hidden from the government, but only part of their government is elected. The religious guy who sits at the top (Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) is the real problem. Iran's got a lot of unemployed young men and Khameni's a good "grassroots organizer". He can whip up a riot in mere hours in response to American or Israeli actions. Normal people trying to lead normal lives have a hard time getting rid of a guy like that. Especially when the evening news is talking about Gaza and the West Bank. Everybody's upset about Israel.

In fact, there's only 3 ways they will ever get rid of him and his ilk.
1. Things get so bad the people have nothing left to lose by taking to the streets against him.
2. All the young men get jobs and get wives and kids.
3. Some great inspirational person or event broadly changes public opinion.

Obviously this does not address outside intervention, but if history teaches us anything, it teaches that overthrowing governments often has unintended consequences. In fact, that's how Iran got into the mess they're in now. We overthrew their government in the 50's and the guy we left in charge got overthrown by the current bunch back in '79. The regime change thing is very tricky. Best to let each country work out its own government.

Which brings us back to the nuclear issue. Israel has the bomb. That makes the Supreme Leader nervous. US support of Israel's policies against the Palestinians makes the Iranian people mad enough to support their government sometimes. Can we blame them for wanting nukes? We've shafted them for decades and given them a neighbor that can nuke them unchallenged. A neighbor widely seen in the region as a bully.

We're not the only country allowed to exploit our natural resources. We're not the only country allowed to pollute. We're not the only country allowed to exploit our workers. And we're not the only country allowed to have an arms race. Even if we beat everyone else to it by decades.

June 23, 2008

George Carlin dead...

This is terrible.

At least he went quickly. He didn't suffer for years. He was active right up to the end.

Oh god. This is terrible.

May 30, 2008

Is technology the whore of capitalism?

From Huffington Post comes a movie review for War, Inc. that asks a fascinating question.

The promise of technology was to relieve us of onerous labors, leaving us more time for delight and relaxation. Instead, technology has provided new onerous labors to replace the old, placed greater production demands on the laborer, or left unemployed and poor those it has rendered unnecessary to production.

What the hell, Technology? Why did you break your promise?

Come to think of it, where did you get off making such a ludicrous promise in the first place? How exactly was free time going to be redistributed in a world of every-man-for-himself capitalism?

What da hell wuz you thinkin'?

Here's his thought provoking answer to his own question

Did technology really think we would all be socialists by now? Silly goose. Is that why it made those promises it couldn't keep?

Read the rest. It's an interesting idea.

He speculates about the influence of technology in the development of capitalism (and war). Technology makes it cheaper to produce with fewer workers but that savings disappears into a capitalists pocket. Our ancestors seemed to think that technology would encourage social equality. A lot of technogeeks today would agree. So far it doesn't seem to be working. Instead technology encourages capitalism. Which encourages inequality. Which encourages war. Which encourages technology...

I never realized that my lost leisure time has been out making war.

May 29, 2008

goodies from Cagle's cartoon page

Doc Savage!

Talk about serendipity. I've been reading The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps recently and really enjoying all the tough guys and sharp broads and all the other fun cliches you only get in that kind of detective fiction. Normally I'm a sci-fi/fantasy reader, but detective stories are my first fallback so it makes sense that I would enjoy Doc Savage. If you haven't read any, DO. They're more fun than anything on TV. World-famous detective, also world-famous band of sidekicks, techno-toys, James Bond type villians (long before Bond), Doc Savage has everything. Think of a cross between Batman and Buckaroo Banzai. So when I found this marvelous site that reads, reviews, and rates the Doc Savage books I was like a kitten with a new toy. Now I know what to get when I finish the Black Lizard.