“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"If the Iranian security forces are now taking the middle ground, then Ahmadinejad is truly in trouble."

Seven men killed by the Basiji at the end of Monday's march, were secretly buried by police in Cemetery 257

Robert Fisk: Fear has gone in a land that has tasted freedom

In defiance of the ban on foreign reporters, The Independent's Middle East correspondent ventures out to witness an extraordinary stand-off on the streets of Tehran

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 The Independent

The fate of Iran rested last night in a grubby north Tehran highway interchange called Vanak Square where – after days of violence – supporters of the official President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at last confronted the screaming, angry Iranians who have decided that Mirhossein Mousavi should be the president of their country. Unbelievably – and I am a witness because I stood beside them – just 400 Iranian special forces police were keeping these two armies apart. There were stones and tear gas but for the first time in this epic crisis the cops promised to protect both sides.

"Please, please, keep the Basiji from us," one middle-aged lady pleaded with a special forces officer in flak jacket and helmet as the Islamic Republic's thug-like militia appeared in their camouflage trousers and purity-white shirts only a few metres away. The cop smiled at her. "With God's help," he said. Two other policemen were lifted shoulder-high. "Tashakor, tashakor," – "thank you, thank you" – the crowd roared at them.

This was phenomenal. The armed special forces of the Islamic Republic, hitherto always allies of the Basiji, were prepared for once, it seemed, to protect all Iranians, not just Ahmadinejad's henchmen. The precedent for this sudden neutrality is known to everyone – it was when the Shah's army refused to fire on the millions of demonstrators demanding his overthrow in 1979.

Yet this is not a revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Both sets of demonstrators were shouting "Allahu Akbar" – "God is Great" – at Vanak Square last night. But if the Iranian security forces are now taking the middle ground, then Ahmadinejad is truly in trouble.

As the fume-filled dusk fell over the north Tehran streets, the crowds grew wilder. I listened to a heavily bearded Basiji officer exorting his men to assault the 10,000 Mousavi men and women on the other side of the police line. "We must defend our country now, just as we did in the Iran-Iraq war," he shouted above the uproar. But the Ahmadinejad man trying to calm him down, shouted back: "We are all fellow citizens! Let's not have a tragedy. We must have unity."

Clearly the decision of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to instruct the Council of Guardians to recount Friday's election vote had done nothing to dispel the suspicion and anger of the reformist opposition in Iran.

First it appeared that the council would examine every election result. Then only a few. Then Iranians were told that it might take 10 days to learn their decision. It was as well, perhaps, that Ahmadinejad had flown to Yekaterinburg for the Shanghai summit to bore conference delegates with his speeches instead of the Iranian people whom he believes he represents. But on Vanak Square last night, all this meant nothing.

Plain-clothes cops – perhaps at last realising the gravity of a situation which their own obedience to Ahmadinejad's men had brought about – persuaded middle-aged men from both sides to meet in the centre of the road in the middle of Vanak Square's narrow no-man's-land. The Mousavi man, in a brown shirt, placed his hands around the arms of the bearded Iranian official from the Ahmadinejad side. "We cannot allow this to happen," he told him. And he tried, as any Muslim does when he wants to show his desire for trust and peace, to kiss the side of his opponent's face. The bearded man physically shook him off, screaming abuse at him.

The two rows of police were now standing shoulder to shoulder, their linked arms holding both mobs back, as they stared at their own comrades opposite with ever increasing concern. An American-Iranian a few metres away, shouted at me in English that "we've got to prove they can't do this anymore. They can't rule us. We need a new president. Either they get their way or we get ours".

It was frightening, the absolute conviction of these men, the total refusal to accept any compromise, one side demanding obedience to the words of Ayatollah Khomeini and loyalty to the ghosts of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the other – emboldened by their million-strong march on Monday – demanding freedoms, albeit within an Islamic Republic, which they had never had before. Maybe they now have the police on their side; if last night's example was anything to go by, either some senior officer – or perhaps the cops themselves, appalled at their behaviour over the past four days – decided that the special forces would no longer be patsies to the frightening power of Ahmadinejad's ever-loyal bullies.

Only hours earlier, seven men killed by the Basiji at the end of Monday's march, were secretly buried by police in Cemetery 257, a large graveyard close to the Khomeini shrine, where the founder of the Islamic Revolution lies beneath a mosque of golden cupolas and blue-tiled walls. No such honours for the seven victims of the Basiji. They lay beneath a covering of earth, no markers on their graves, no word sent to their families of their fate.

But the pro-government newspapers in Tehran did report their deaths and one even gave its front page to the outraged condemnation of Tehran University's Chancellor at the Basiji intrusion onto the campus on Sunday night, when the security forces killed seven young men, wounded several others and smashed and looted the university dormitories. Farhad Rabar said he would pursue the killers through the courts, adding that "the invasion of the University of Tehran, which is the symbol of higher education... has caused a wave of sorrow and anger in me".

Is it too late to end this fratricidal violence now? For each side, the integrity of their cause is fast becoming more powerful than rational dialogue. The freedom which Mousavi's supporters have tasted – to ignore and disregard and despise the clerical autocracy which has so humiliated them – is now so intoxicating that they are confronting their political enemies in the street with a strange, unnerving, but genuine humour.

At one point last night, men and women wearing the green ribbons of Mousavi's election stood on the pavement beside that chilling 100 metres of no-man's-land next to chadored ladies clutching the Iranian flag – Ahmadinejad's patriotic symbol. They even chatted about the outcome of this fearful confrontation between their two sides.

It was a different narrative three hours earlier when Ahmadinejad's men and women held their own demonstration in Val-y-Asr Square. No word was said of Monday's opposition mass rally, nor of the street demonstrations in the cities of Shiraz, Mashad, Babol and Tabriz. Indeed, most Iranians have no knowledge of these events; Ahmadinejad's censors have seen to that. The banners were predictable. "Death to the Traitor" – Mousavi, of course, was the "betrayer" of the Republic. "Death to anyone who is against the Supreme Leader" – which was a bit odd because neither Mousavi nor his millions of supporters are against Ayatollah Khamenei (albeit that the two men dislike each other); it is Ahmadinejad for whom they have a visceral hatred and whom they are trying to depose.

The former parliamentary speaker, Gholamali Haddadadel, spotted Mousavi's weakest argument when he addressed a crowd that could not have been more than 5,000 strong. "Does Mousavi know how many people voted for Ahmadinejad in the rural areas and in the villages?" he asked. "Iran is not just Tehran. We know that Mr Mousavi got 13 million votes, but Mr Ahmadinejad got 24 million." But of course, those are the very statistics which Mousavi and his allies dispute. Preachers and Sayads lectured the little multitude, their bodyguards – even paramedics – keeping careful watch over them. There was a famous Iranian religious singer to preach to this banner-shrouded audience.

It was on my way out of Val-y-Asr that I noticed a truckload of men, all dressed in camouflage trousers and white shirts, many carrying police clubs, setting off to north Tehran. They were followed by the newly energised Islamist demonstrators, off on the four-mile trek up to Vanak. Two conscript soldiers were standing amid the Mousavi supporters there when an old man asked their advice. Should he stay if the Basijis break through the cordon? "The Basijis beat people hard – very hard," one of the soldiers said. And he patted the old man on the shoulder and shook his head.

And the plot thickens:


  1. I just do not know where this is going. The iphones are nice, but a barreta would be betta.

  2. Does Mousavi know how many people voted for Ahmadinejad in the rural areas and in the villages?" he asked. "Iran is not just Tehran."--

    Which is just what I was thinking as I was reading along.

    Maybe it's going to a full scale, months long/years long civil war. Like Spain in the 30's.

    At this time Ahmadinejad is out of the country?

  3. Gas is over $3 dollars in California, stock market down today.

    At least get some 5 gallon gas cans, filled up out in the garage.

    And a wheat rust or blister is working its way into the area...

  4. Cumulonimbus Shitus Clouds developing.

  5. I hope they understand that "when you attack the King, you better KILL the King."

  6. Well, I gotta go to bed. I must admit, Deuce, that if they did pull it off it would be a heck of a thing.

    I don't see how they could do it, but it would be a heck of a thing.

    Maybe they'll "Catch Lightning."

    Even if they don't, I'll bet they've got some Mullahs shittin their drawers about now. :)

  7. Thr frustration, elijah, whas in knowing the McCain could never beat Obama. Not in a thousand years of tears.

    Amd McCain was the best of the bunch, that the GOP could offer.

    Even now, they are trending south, still. The GOP proposal to outlaw cigarettes, beyond the straw that broke this camels' back.

    So there it is, Obama doing great in the Levant, Iraq, Afpakistan and even Iran. Things are going our way in all of them.

    Obama's being tested, across the Islamic Arc, and coming up smellin' okay, so far.
    The domestic issues, smells like someone never took out the trash.

  8. Tell us, elijah, as you are as well or better read than most, where is the insurgent network we've been supposedly building, in Iran?

    Did it ever really exist?

  9. Mideast peace possible only if imposed:
    1 hour ago

    JERUSALEM (AFP) — A Middle East peace deal is possible only if it is forced on Israelis and Palestinians by US-led efforts, one of Israel's best-known authors has written as he hit out at a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Netanyahu's speech on Sunday "tells us between its contorted lines that there will be no peace here if it is not forced upon us," David Grossman wrote remarks published on Wednesday in the liberal Haaretz daily.

    "It is not easy to admit it, but it seems increasingly that this is the choice Israelis and Palestinians face."

    "A just and secure peace -- forced on the parties through firm international involvement, led by the United States -- or war, possibly more difficult and bitter than those that came before it.

    You all read it here, first.
    Well before it was a headlined proposal in Jerusalem

  10. But now, there has been a mention of US led foreign intervention, in the Levant, headlined each day since Bibi's speech on Sunday.

    The "wall" has been breached.

  11. "A just and secure peace -- forced on the parties through firm international involvement, led by the United States -- or war, possibly more difficult and bitter than those that came before it."

    Or both, first the war, then the foreign intervention.
    The Israeli losing, even if they win.
    Exhausted by beating the Arabs, with no munitions left, to fight Nato piecekeepers.

  12. Those Nato piecekeeping troops, they'd be welcomed as Liberators, you know.

  13. Westhawk merges with Small Wars Journal
    After four years of writing on national security issues, Westhawk is ending its service at this site. Although this is the end of Westhawk, it is a new beginning for me at Small Wars Journal.

    I have joined the team at Small Wars Journal as Managing Editor. I will continue to write at the Small Wars Journal Blog under my real name, Robert Haddick (click here for my biography). And I will continue to write “This Week at War” for Foreign Policy Magazine.

  14. The Anatomy of the Long War’s Failings.

    The cost for what has been accomplished to date is completely disproportionate to the limited gains. How did we get to this point?

  15. Washington Post - ‎14 minutes ago‎
    Ensign was widely regarded within the Republican Party as a rising star and was positioning himself to run for president in 2012 -- making a recent stop in Iowa

    Kiss those POTUS dreams goodbye, big boy.

  16. $106 Billion Bill Passes in House
    Washington Post - ‎4 hours ago‎
    The House passed yesterday a $106 billion bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, as Democrats backed President Obama despite their misgivings about his strategy in Afghanistan.

  17. The Telegraph:

    ..."Mr Obama said the United States would need to pursue "tough diplomacy" towards Iran whatever the result of its electoral tumult.

    "Either way we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighbourhood and has been pursuing nuclear weapons," Mr Obama told CNBC.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in the strongest remarks so far by a Western leader, he said there was election "fraud."

    Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets of European cities on Tuesday in support of Iran's defeated presidential challenger, including in Athens, Copenhagen, Hamburg and London.

    Iran has responded to international criticism of the vote and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protesters by summoning EU envoys and lashing out at foreign meddling.

    "Enemies, particularly the US, Britain, and Israel (are) interfering in Iran's internal affairs, plotting against the government and giving media support to enemy groups, rioters and social and political hooligans who are trying to fuel chaos in the Islamic Republic," said the organisers of Tuesday's pro-regime rally.

    The authorities have warned they would nip in the bud any "velvet revolution" and have rounded up scores of people in Tehran and other cities, including prominent reformists close to former president Mohammad Khatami.

    A founding member of Iran's Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi's human rights group was also arrested on Tuesday, a colleague told AFP."

  18. This is the window of opportunity, in Iran.

    It's cost US a trillion bucks, to get where we are, today. Where is the infrastructure of insurgency, now that it is time to turn it on?

    What have we been doing for the past six years, below the fold?

    Do the assets exist?
    Is the lack of overt covert activity due to Bush's lack of preparedness or Obama's failure of will and resolve?

    Nurse Hatchett, whose daddy worked that show, said she doubted if the arrested revolutionaries had "bomb making materials".

    In her usual foggy way, she failed to say why she thought that. Either she knows that the US has not supplied these materials, or assumes that the Iranians are lying about their activities.

    Both are viable. Neither are exclusionary or exclusive of the other.

  19. Or are we watching a repeat of:
    Hungary, 1956
    Cuba, 1961
    Prauge, 1966
    Saigon, 1975
    Nicaragua, 1978
    Beirut, 1983
    Basra, 1991

    Or Prauge, 1989?

  20. God forbid it; but anyone trying to "impose" a "Piece Plan" on Israel is going to find that the IDF is not the dreaded Republican Guard.

    Presumably, arming up the Arabs is the preferred solution to the Jewish problem; i.e. Israel will be defeated if only the Arabs have enough of the right stuff. (That was the USSR's hope as well.) The Arabs will never have the right stuff - an F16 does not a warrior make.

    When the Romans twice defeated the Kingdom of Israel and captured Jerusalem, the Jews had no means of retaliating against Rome. Things have changed.

    For whatever it is worth, our sacred texts cover a time when the "nations" will collaborate to destroy Israel. The "nations" would be well advised to read those texts. Note: Armageddon.

    Re: assets in Iran

    You can bet that millions (billions) have been spent filing mountains of paperwork on Iranian resistance. As our host has noted, however, where are the Berettas? Administrative duties are both taxing and expensive, without adding the additional burden of actually delivering something tangible.

  21. I am coming to believe, allen, that See-mor Hirsh was purposedly misled, and his reports both infuriated the "left" and massaged the "right".

    Many a time, in these blog banters, the only argument that could be made, after repeated less than stellar public performances, were the 'super secret special ops' that if you knew about, well, they'd have to kill ya.

    doug and I were in the Trotten camp, that we should be distributing Cash and Colts to the potential dissidents in Iran. We should be ready to pay the Generals, to switch sides, now while the iron is hot.

    The window will close and all the sanction efforts, they'll have been for naught. Not because they did not, ultimately, work but because when they did we were not ready to act.

    I'm thinking it was a failure of preparedness, more than a failure of Obama's resolve. But then, if I really knew, they'd have to kill me.

  22. Or we could be playing the cards to perfection, as we write and read.

    No sense calling the game when the ball is still in the air, and there are minutes on the clock.

  23. Even an agnostic with a pagan's understanding of the three Abrahamic Books can see the various prohesies, allen.

    In that regard, this Nation, here in America has condoned infantacide with the sanctioning of the taking over 40 million lives.

    Even an agnostic with a pagan's understanding of the three Abrahamic Books can see and understand the implications of that.

    If someone was a true believer, well, the case for a coming Armegeddon is damn near a slam dunk, seems to me.

  24. But an agnostic with a pagan's understanding of the three Abrahamic Books can hope that the whirled will see its way through, to piece and security, regardless.


    It is over...period...exclamation point.

    Look, General Patton was able to turn an entire army in less than 72 hours (if memory serves) during the Battle of the Bulge. His contemporary counterpart would demand a year-long study in advance of such a precipitous, imprudent move. Moreover, he would have to have more troops, more equipment, and far better intelligence before he would dream of acting.

    If we lose 5 troops in a day, from the language of the reporting and the demeanor of the Pentagon you would think it equivalent to the Battle of the Somme.

    Do you really think these pencil pushing clowns are going to go up against an adversary like Israel?

    When the first jackboot touches Israeli soil, it will face an instant army of 700,000 - heavily armed, well trained, with the fanatical devotion of the Stonewall Brigade. To win will require fighting every Israeli man, woman, and child - including stupid Jewish reporters and talking-heads. If you knew the first thing about us, you would know that, despite our incessant bickering, we stick together when the shooting starts.

  26. Heard all of that, before, amigo.
    Through the echos of Patton's many lifes.
    In the history of the Confederate States of America.

    We'll all watch and see, as events unfold.

  27. bobbie can head over to Iran and feel right at home, they're his kind of people, so reports the folks at Forbes.

    ... It's easy to make friends with Iranians. Women walk up to you in the street to chat--an utterly unique experience in the Muslim world. Men quote poetry to each other. ...

  28. Everything is coming up roses--

    Pipes sees regime power play in Iranian '(S)election'

    Ethel C. Fenig

    Mideast analyst Daniel Pipes finds much unexpected good news in the outcome of the Iranian "(s)election," as he refers to it, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the declared winner. This is the choice of the real power in the country, Supremel Leader Ali Khamene'i.
    Ahmadinejad remains the lunatic face of Iran to the world, making it difficult to argue that the mullahs' regime is mellowing and its possession of nuclear weapons poses no threat. Had Mousavi won, policy would have remained roughly the same because, as one Iranian insider puts it, "the government of Iran executes foreign policy decisions made by Iran's supreme leader," yet the regime would have appeared much less threatening.

    Ahmadinejad symbolizes the rejection of Barack Obama's overtures to Iran and, as such, his selection represents a slap in the face of the American president's pro-Islamist policies.

    Ahmadinejad remains in charge of the Iranian economy, which he is progressively wrecking, thereby reducing the country's capabilities to make mischief abroad.

    Ahmadinejad also determines the social mores, which he has tightened to the point of rebellion, assuring that his subject population grows more alienated from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Supporters of the opposition candidates have not accepted the results, leading to riots in Tehran. In the description of the Los Angeles Times, "Searing smoke and the smell of burning trash bins and tear gas filled the night sky. Protesters poured into key squares around the capital, burning tires, erecting banners and hurling stones at riot police on motorcycles, who responded with truncheons."

    Yesterday's sham election may be a turning point, the moment when the much-suffering population found its collective voice against the regime. It bears noting in this regard that the Iranian population in 1978-79 mounted what was perhaps the largest-scale rebellion ever against a government. It could do so again.

    As Pipes explained earlier, religion and state are not separate in Iran; the Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i

    controls key institutions (foreign policy, the military, law enforcement, the justice system) of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In contrast, the president primarily concerns himself with the softer domains such as economics and education.

    And Mousavi, the loser is not really the good guy; he is the architect of Iran's nuclear program, an individual who also hates Israel--but not as loudly--and the United States. To paraphrase the late Menachem Begin, Israel's Prime Minister, who when asked who he preferred to win--Iran or Iraq--wished them both the best of luck. And so I wish both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi both the best of luck.

  29. This is your worst nightmare

    For this man, "Death Before Dishonor" is not some nifty slogan for a conspicuously flaunted tattoo.

  30. Pipes makes the case, the riots, the revolution, flow directly from Obama's "Speech in Cairo" to symbolize the broader array of policy inititives.

    Both Mr Bush and then to a greater extent Mr Obama went over the heads of the mullahs, speaking directly to the Iranian people.

    Not advocating direct revolution, as did Mr Bush 41 in Iraq, but Mr Obama telling the tale of US moderation and even handedness in the pursuit of piece with the Islamic whirled. Pointedly Iranian, exemplified by his 'harder' line with Israel.

    A sizable portion of the population, tired of the economic deprivations, blamed upon the economic sanctions, heeded that message.

    The mullahs have answered, if the bad news bears are right.

    Prauge '66 seems most apt.

  31. The continued policy of the United States is that the solution resides in Islamic Republics.

    This was a mischarted course, but one that is irreversible, at this point and in the foreseeable future.

  32. I think Mr Simon's is correct, Obama does not see the revolution succeeding. He does not want to worsen the nonexistant negotiating 'relationship' with Abracadabra.

    But an enhanced sanctions regime, if it is to be created, has to find its' footing in the EU. It has to be their idea, for it to succeed.

    Obama still wants to offer the carrot. Letting the French weild the stick. Remember just who suffered a years' worth of car-b-ques.

  33. I think these end of the world schemes have their Judeo/Christian root in Zoroastrianism, and their battle of light and dark and the coming of their world savior, Saoshyant

  34. bobal,

    The event at Armageddon is not the end of the world. It will herald, however, a new world order.

    Without question, Zoroastrianism has had a profound impact on various civilizations. With that said, the Jewish texts, mythology and commentaries are far older than Zoroastrianism. As the Quran scrolls prove, our fundamental, orthodox belief system has not relied upon outside influences. What is written is written.

  35. Tiananmen Square, 1989.
    I had forgotten that one, with those Chinese students and their styrofoam 'Statue of Liberty'

    Will Tiananmen Be Obama's Roadmap?
    By David Paul Kuhn

    Tehran is beginning to feel like Tiananmen.

    The inspiring images of this Iranian green revolution, of the young striving for freedom, carries an eerie symmetry with Tiananmen Square. A brave student in a burka standing against armed police feels like that man who stood against those tanks.

    We are left to wonder, will Iran recall this moment in two decades? Will Iran have changed? For all the change in China, the repression remains. Tiananmen was recalled this month only beyond China's borders.

  36. bobbie sets great faith in Mr Campbell, allen. The fountainhead of intellectual enlightenment, and he disagrees, with you, explicitly.

    “Persian belief was reorganized by the prophet Zarathushtra according to a strict dualism of good and evil principles, light and dark, angels and devils. This crisis profoundly affected not only the Persians, but also the subject Hebrew beliefs, and thereby (centuries later) Christianity."”

    Joseph Campbell

    Does that make Mr Campbell and his acolytes "Jew Haters" or just anti-semitic?

    To disparage the history of the Jewish texts so. To knowingly misrepresent the Jewish religion and it's written heritage.

  37. The right divides on Iran.

    The Iranian election has produced a deep division on the American right, clarifying a rift between those forcefully backing the opposition and those who view the election as a sham and its outcome as an irrelevance in a irremediable conflict between the U.S. and Iran.

    The split has elements of the old neoconservative/realist divide, but it doesn't break down that simply. Congressional Iran hawks like Joe Lieberman, Eric Cantor, John McCain, and Mike Pence are arguing for, if anything, more vocal American support for the Mousavi-led opposition. Pat Buchanan is with Obama. Michael Ledeen is out-and-out hopemongering. Instapundit turned his website green.

    The group United Against Nuclear Iran — which also has neocon credentials — by contrast, sees the election as just a symptom of the country's deeper problems, and is taking the opportunity to make that public point. Max Boot is in that camp. John Bolton dismisses the election, and its "'moderates,'" as a "sham," and Dan Pipes was "rooting for Ahmadinejad.

  38. Mr Campbell and his acolytes, psuedo intellectual "Jew Haters".

    Who'd have ever guessed, let alone even bet, on that turn of a card, just three or four days ago.

  39. To recognize the mythical roots of an idea isn't to disparage a derivative tradition.

  40. And it was late derived, kind of the topping on an ice cream cone, so to speak, certainly not the whole cone, which is a magnificent cone.

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. To disparage the Divine Word, as just topping on a dessert, proof enough of the attitude of disparagement.

    That it is done with knowledge and forethought proof, again.

    Belittling the beliefs of God's Chosen People. Purporting them to be nothing more than an intellectually tasty myth.

    Shame on you, bobbie!

    Why, that's just hatefuly bigotted.

  43. You are not even a polite pagan.

  44. DR,

    I'll try again.

    Zoroastrianism has profoundly influenced numerous civilizations.

    The "fundamental", "orthodox" essentials of Judaism predate Zoroaster by far. The “fundamental”, “orthodox” essentials of Judaism predate Christianity by far. The “fundamental”, “orthodox” essentials of Judaism predate Islam by far. That intercourse among civilizations leads to shades of gray on the street should come as no great surprise.

    Dr. Campbell was a great man. In both hearing and reading him, I have found no trace of anti-Semitism or Jew-hating. Moreover, he and I are not in disagreement, as much as that may disappoint you.

    To be clear, honest, honorable men may disagree; but a bigot is a bigot, is a bigot...

  45. You read the scriptures as if it were literature, part of an intellectual secular pursuit of knowledge.

    Denying the Divinity of the Word.

    In all three of the Abrahamic books.

    Not to mention the Book of the Latter Day Saints.

  46. There is the rub, with Mr Campbell, allen. If the Abrahamic books are that of progressive myth building, then they are not divine.

    That happens to be my viewpoint, by and large, but not one that I care to argue.
    I would not disrespect your core religious beliefs in that way. Which is what Mr Campbell does, by deconstruting religion as cultural myth.

    As destructive to the positive moral teachings contained in the Big Three +1 as Darwinian dogma or suicide jihadi.

  47. Boy oh boy, bobbie, are you finally coming on board the Commerace Clause band wagon!?!?!

    You are ready to allow for legalized intra State marijuana usage?

    Welcome to the Libertarian Camp, bobbie!

    Well I'm glad that somebody at least is trying to correct the Great Misinterpretation of the New Deal era, where anything and everything was declared to impact interstate commerce (including growing your own vegetables in your own garden) -- and therefore could be regulated by Congress under the enumerated power called the "Commerce clause."

    That is, of course, if you agree ideologically with the roll-back of Federal encroachment, or if this is just another case of your slip sliding situational ethics.

  48. So, bob, how's the weather? And the missus?

  49. And no one's asked allen how his son's liking college life thus far. Or what he's majoring in. Or how he's spending his summer.

  50. Simply, I want Mousavi to win the elections. Even if he's in the pockets of the mullahs and just as bad, the perception would be that he wouldn't have won without the support of the people... and that in itself would already be a significant victory.

    And the next time the Iranian leadership make a decision, they would have to consider: would our people go along with this?

    That's important too.

  51. Good, Trish, thanks for asking. Weather in the high 80's, wife and I are going out to Wampum Day at the Casino.

    Hope you are well.

    And I ask Allen those questions as well, not knowing about his son.

    Gotta run, wish me luck.

  52. I agree, O' Wobbly One. All politicians are crud, ours, and theirs. But, Turmoil in Iran is good for us.

  53. DR,

    Again, sorry to disappoint, but you use "myth" as a pejorative. It need not be so.

    Words such as honesty, loyalty, truth, justice, good, bad, etc are metaphysical; i.e. there is no rational, meaningful way to measure them. That does not make them less real.

    By the way, I can swallow a red herring from time to time. Your red whales on the other hand...

  54. trish and bobal,

    ...son is doing well...majoring in psych, girls, girls, girls, beer...

  55. DR,

    With all due respect, I believe you confuse religiosity with spirituality.

    Any religion which cannot withstand deconstructive, critical examination has no purpose other than a political one.

  56. DR confuses his mind trips with reality, Allen.

  57. Joseph Campbell,

    Does that make Mr Campbell and his acolytes "Jew Haters" or just anti-semitic?

    To disparage the history of the Jewish texts so. To knowingly misrepresent the Jewish religion and it's written heritage.

    Good ole joe...

    Had a HISTORY of making opinion about how Jewish beliefs were unimportant to him...

    Zoroastrianism came into being right around the time of King Cyrus (about 450 - 550 bce) , Jews had already been a nation - state for about 890 years at that point...

    Campbell was quite the myth teller... except he always had a dismissive tone about Jewish texts..

    I remember on on air conversation he had, he talked how his birth faith left him empty and how he sought out all the other faiths (and listed them) except he NEVER sought out learning about the Jewish faith..

    I suspect he had issues.

  58. The iranian verse iranian battles that are going on have nothing to with openness to the western world...

    The "reformer" is a murdering, israel hating, western hating fool...

    Let's not project OUR ideals on the mobs that are running wild...

    On a positive note? Hamas members are beating the crap out of iranian students...

    A true revolution may just ignite...

  59. DR: Belittling the beliefs of God's Chosen People. Purporting them to be nothing more than an intellectually tasty myth.

    Your usage of the words "God's Chosen People" shows your lack of education, better, you education by those who dont KNOW anything...

    Jews dont call themselves that....

    That we CHOOSE to live to the 613 mitvots is the root of the Christian mistranslations (again) of who and what we are..

  60. Iran Tightens Crackdown and Claims U.S. Interference
    Iran expanded a crackdown on journalists and for the first time directly accused the United States of interference in the disputed presidential election.
    Media Decoder: In Iran, Fewer Journalists Each Day
    Washington Taps Into a Potent New Force in Diplomacy

  61. joe buzz:
    And Putin advising us against the perils of business taxes….
    Putin warning
    These are interesting times.

  62. I do not purport to an expert on Jewishness, wi"o". I use the common phraseology. As I said an agnostic with a pagan's understanding.

    Totally accurate or not.

    It is not amongst the 20 primary issues that concern me.

    That Mr Campbell is essentially against the religous divinity of modern religion, to include the Jewish, a quick glance of his excerpted work confirms. Especially if the timelines that allen and wi"o" describe are accurate.

    That is well outside my area of experience or self-purported expertise, but not so for Mr Campbell.

    A quick glance at his quotes, on the link bobbie provided shows that he what taught is diametricly opposite of the reality related by our Jewish posters.

    That blatent disregard for Jewish reality can, most likely, be attributed to hatred of the Jewish people.

    Those that promote his concepts of religious development are expounding his anti-religious and anti-semetic themes.

    bobbie promoting the Campbell thesis of Christ as a Zorro Master and that the Jews were radically transformed during their exile in Babylon.

    Anti-semitism, to be sure. By any past Elephant Bar Standard that bobbie has used, previously.

  63. Good God, here we go again. More inane bullshit about Magical Magiis sitting in the clouds dispensing lollipops, and punishing evildoers.

    Enough, already. If I want to listen to this bullshit I'll go down to the local church, synagogue, pyramid-worshipping, bullshit magical believers congregation closest to my house.

    Religion has been a horseshit, sorry mess ever since the Greeks gave up on Zeus, and the gang. At least they were a little fun. And, they did make Some sense.

  64. bobbie claiming to a proponent of Thor, the God of Thunder from Asgard.

    Well, that's the Marvel Comic version of Thor, the God of Thunder.

    bobbie abandoning his local Lutheran church for the fine writing of Stan Lee and Company.
    An iconic rendering Thor, the God of Thunder.

    While here is the newst Captain America cover!

  65. That at the end, of Episode 1, Thor is saving the United Nations, an interesting Saturday morning cartoon twist, in 1966.

  66. Manipulating what Limbaugh called those little minds of mush, way back when.

    The answer to such long term cultural manipulation through messaging, banning cigarettes!

  67. Episode 2, the theft of the UN in the pursuit of world domination.

    Gotta love it.
    A time machine extraordinaire

  68. The turbaned terrorist taken as a common criminal prisoner, by the Police, after being beaten by the mighty Thor, God of Thunder.

  69. And the names of Emanuel and Barack, they translate to Thunder and Lightning, according to what mat said, right?

    And Thunder is considered divine?

  70. Yes, why bother with the religious inanities that drive modern realpolitik when we could be getting expert advice on the stock market (talk about inane).

  71. Rufus..

    Here it is in a nut shell...

    grab some beer, your wench & your own property...

    have fun...

    ever since my great uncle moshie taught that other who come along try to make it more complicated...

    that's it..

  72. Because they're mostly driving politics that I don't give a shit about. I could, absolutely, NOT care less what happens between Israel, and the Palestinians.

    Neither have oil, and both are a drain on my pocketbook; and it's Not going to change.

    The Iranians are some of the stone craziest bastards in the history of the universe. However that deal turns out, THAT won't change.

    At least the market gives me back a little money every now and then. No Damned preacher ever has.

    Why is Thor saving the UN any less credible than the tales of Sodom an Gomorrah, or de flood, or the partin of de waters? Hell, at least Marvel has pikturs.

    While we're looking over there Obama is getting ready to pass the biggest scam (cap and trade) in the history of the universe using science that's even less credible than a six thousand year old universe governed by a magic man in the sky.

    And, health care should be getting ALL our attention, but they're going to fuck that up while we're obsessing over a handfull of assholes building settlements in indian country cause God gav'em the territory. Fuck!

  73. Your Great Uncle Moshie was a Smart Man. We need more guys like that.

  74. Good God, here we go again. More inane bullshit...

    Scroll, Rufus, scroll!

  75. For the rest of y'all:

    Read Rufus, cause he never takes my advice anyhoo.

  76. I gotta praktis on that scrolling thingie.

  77. Rufus...

    I understand your frustration...

    I do

    All the JEWS seek is to be left alone...

    If the Euro-trash, the assyrians, the romans, the persians, the arabs would just stop trying to rape my wife, make slaves of my kids and murder me....

    But rufus, learn history, my people have given far much more to the world that our small size and we have earned the right to not be gang banged...

    try to have some historic perspective please...

    Israel does not seek American kids to die for her, sitting on 1/650th of the middle east, surrounded by hostile arabs, persians and yes hostile eurotrash all we seek to to be allowed to survive in our own small, naturally barren lands...

  78. WIO, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of giving my money to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and every other crazed religious nutball that think they have a "Right" to this or that piece of real estate.

    If someone's trying to kill you, or rape your women, KILL THEM!

    DON'T come whining to me that if you kill them Condi said she might cut back some on your allowance.

    Let me make this clear. I'm not sure I give a shit who comes out on top over there. Any Fucking Country that, given Israel's history, would sell Patriots to the Chinese, and UAVs to Russia might not deserve to exist.

    And, I don't think the Jews have "Given" anything to anybody, Ever. But, obviously, Israel has never had ANYTHING that wasn't for sale.

    Just leave me out of it, WIO. You're a nice guy, but I'm just not interested. I don't know how far down my "give a shit" tree you'd have to climb to find anything about Israel, but I'm sure you'd have some severly barked-up knees when you got there.

  79. Not interested? Doesn't sound that way to me. With that kind of anger and animosity, it sounds like there's some kind of interest.

    What's the matter, bubba? What happened?

  80. Want to know what I'm pissed about? Rip-off cell phone companies. They piss me off. If you think about it, the telephone is probably as expensive in today's dollars as it was 50 years ago.

  81. As bad as deflation may be, I would love to see the cell phone rip-offs sucking wind as their profit margin evaporates daily.

  82. Tuesday June 16, 2009
    H2: Victor Davis Hanson, Spengler With Hugh Hewitt

    06160902 Hewitt: Hour 2 - Hugh continues talking about Iran and the Obama administration's poor reaction to it with preeminent military historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson and David Goldman of the Asian Times, aka Spengler.

  83. Scroll down a little and select recent show number 2.

  84. I hear rufus's anger...

    However what he just doesnt understand is what Israel gives the world...

    He can't understand, and I accept his ignorance and anger...

    If rufus could picture a world without Israel, take away ALL invention, gifts, innovation, contribution to the humanity of the world it would be a much worse place...

    for him to not see the differences?

    his issue..

    I agree with some of what he says, but if what he says is true, then let Israel sell what ever they want to whomever...

    Let israel SETTLE (or more correctly LIBERATE) lands it chooses too..

    and let the USA stop standing on their necks...

    the USA has helped and hurt Israel over the decades..

    IF in 1967 AMerica lived up to it's world?

    the middle east would be different today..

    IF Jimmy Carter had not screwed with Iran in 1978 the world could have been a different place...

    but what if's get you nowhere...

    Today, Iran is about to explode and possibly change the way the PLANET does business...

    But never mind, just let them blow things up and let the dust settle...

    Becareful of what you wish for....

    YOU may get it..

  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. Obama will probably sit on his hands through one opportunity after the other until one presents itself in Africa or Haiti where he will commit US troops.

  87. THAT is what pisses me off. NOBODY is "standing on Israel's neck."

    If they attacked Lebanon, or Wiped out the Palestinians, we "MIGHT" cut off, temporarily, a few dollars of their "aid." PERIOD.

    The Israelis epitomize every "dirty, money-grubbing Jew" characterization that has ever been thrown the way of the Semite.

    They sell their honor for a few shekels of aid, and then cry that we're "standing on their neck."

    Whit asked "why the anger?" I'm just tired of hearing grown men whine about a little gal that stands, maybe, 5' 2."

    Bush wouldn't let them "do the job" in Lebanon. Condi was "standing on their neck." What a load of horseshit. Now, they've voted (79%) for Obama. He's really throwing them under the bus; so what do we hear?

    "Bush made us lose in Lebanon." "Condi was Mean." "You're still going to send that $2 Billion, aren't you?"


  88. whit,

    Re: anger at Jews


  89. Re: Condi

    Napoleon stood 5'3" (in boots)...AND?

    No, I didn't think there was a point.

  90. Horseshit. They don't earn "jack" of my money.

    Tell me one goddamned thing they've done to earn ol Ruf's money.

  91. I'm getting ready to write a check to the IRS. Part of it is going to Israel. Another bit is going to Egypt (we can't give Israel some money if we don't give Egypt some, right?)

    Now, please, please, please tell me what I'm going to get for that money.

  92. I'll tell you why I'm writing it. I'm writing it because AIPAC is so powerful that Harmon knew she had no chance of committee head if AIPAC didn't recommend her to Pelosi. How's that for power?

  93. I will agree with rufus on one point, Israel has produced some of the most nauseatingly, petty, venal politicians imaginable. The name “Olmert” will live in infamy.

    On the sale of technology and intellectual property, I take a free market approach: Israel should sell to the highest bidder. Those will China and India in the years ahead. With about a decade of that, we are going to look a whole lot better.

  94. rufus,

    When the American government was too cowardly to openly support an anti-ballistic missile shield, it went to Israel to get the job done. If that ever has to be deployed, thank a Jew!

  95. This just came in the email:

    Law of the Garbage Truck

    One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

    He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

    The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

    Life is ten percent what you make it, and ninety percent how you take it.
    Have a blessed, garbage-free day

  96. Or, have a "Nice" day, a "shitty" day, a "garbage-free" day, or another kind of fucking day you wish;

    But, do it on your own fucking dime.

    Missile Defense? Are you shitting me? You sold our Patriot to the Chinese. Fuck! Please don't help any more.

  97. I listened to Spengler on HH. I never listened to him before. All in all,it was a mediocre and forgettable interview. I think Hewitt was a little taken aback by it.

    I was not impressed with Spengler. Hanson made more sense to me. FWIIT.

  98. Yes, rufus, missile defense. You might recall that little matter of SALT and its sundry renditions. That would be the SALT allegedly subscribed by both parties and their presidents.

    When I take my laundry to the nice Chinese lady each week, I do not curse her for doing my dirty work.

  99. There's also an old saying, "garbage in, garbage out."

    The gambling god Thor was good to me today at the machine called 'Nordic Quest'. $25 free Wampum bucks in, little over $75 USA bucks back out. And that's not garbage in, garbage out!

    (It helps if you get four of the Valkyrie Gals in a row--then you get the exciting 50 free spins!)

    You can tell when a religious tradition really is dead to this world--when it's featured figures show up on a slot machine at the Casino. By this reckoning, Norse mythology is dead,(Nordic Quest) as is old Egyptian (Epyptian Goddess, Egyptian Queen, Luck of the Nile), Irish (Four Leaf Clover)(The Little People). I long for the day I can play Mo's Monsters, The Riches Of Marrakesh, or, maybe, The Fatwas Of Fortune.

  100. Oh, and rufus, if that nice Chinese lady overcharges for doing my dirty jobs, I can go elsewhere, assuming someone else wants the dirty jobs and the grief.

  101. I have no idea what you're talking about. Salt I left enough nukes to destroy the world about a hundred times, and

    SALT II was never even ratified.

  102. Well, we can agree on that Bubba.

    But, how about I just do my own laundry?

    And, Israel can do someone else's.

  103. Well, hell, a little Good news before naptime. $260 Billion of Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. Last Year.

    Oh, Most of it was in MANUFACTURING.

  104. Oh, while you're over there scroll down a little bit for the foreclosure stats. Pretty interesting.

  105. rufus,

    SALT I was ratified in 1972. Among innumerable other things, it prohibited the development and deployment of anti-ballistic defense systems. While both the US and USSR were permitted to defend two sites each from attack, this proved an absurdity.

    In 2002, the SALTs and their ancillary treaties and understandings were repudiated.

    During this 30 year interval, work went ahead, under various guises. Much of the R&D was farmed out to Israel, camouflaged as Patriot etc. Saddam was unintentionally helpful in this regard.

  106. Nah, that's not right. Salt I did not prohibit ABM. It only limited the number of sites. And, Salt II was never ratified. You're grasping at straws that aren't there.

    SALT Treaties

  107. rufus,

    I'll try again.

    If only two sites each could be protected, it made the cost of developing a full blown, unusable, prohibited national system impossibly impractical and exorbitantly expensive. As valuable as DC may be, neither the political will nor resources required could justify spending a trillion dollars to defend it. Moreover, it made little sense to do so when a nuclear exchange would have left the remainder of the nation waste.

    Since neither the US nor USSR had any intention of ever living up to their treaty obligations, the question became how to surreptitiously violate them. Black budgets and pretenses were the answer. The USSR lost the race.

    I do not have to grasp at straws when the facts come readily to hand.

  108. You're just babbling, Allen. You're making no sense. We never stopped working on our missile defense. It just took awhile for the technology (especially, computer technology) to catch up with the mission.

    Initially, we, more or less, perfected the Amraam. Then, the Patriot (which the Israelis promptly sold to the Chinese,) then the PAC III, then we were ready to start building the ABM Interceptor, (but we had to get a Republican in the White House, first.)

    All of these programs were carried out on U.S. soil, by U.S. Scientists, and paid for by Moi. To try to claim that we "farmed out" our missile defense research/development to Israel is just silly. It doesn't pass the "Huh?" test.

  109. Anyway, good night. I'm taking my tired old redneck ass to bed.

  110. Goodnight, Rufus.

    I saw just the other day we've cut the missile defense budget now, anyway.

    Bedtime for me, too. Gambling takes it out of one.

  111. Political Peak Oil

    Government is creating political peak oil for reasons of its own. Someone benefits from the expanding web of regulations, taxes, fines, restrictions, and opening up to lawsuits that Americans are now experiencing. It is great job security for government bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and faux environmental activists, at the very least. But it is hell on the productive class of a country. Long term, this type of government destroys the productive potential of generations of citizens, until they wake up and get rid of it.

    The government is not the country. The government is a parasite on the country and on the people. The installation of particular persons in high governmental office leads to a pathological bloating of the parasite with the blood of taxpayers and commercial enterprise

    Al Fin