Iran and Revolution

It doesn’t seem like a good idea to attempt to silence a people that is basically brought up on the idea of revolution, especially if that revolution took place during the lives of many and its ideas formed the foundation of a nation. It would be like trying to install monarchy in the United States in 1800. In any case, it’s difficult to get a sense of what is happening, but this has been a news item – Grand Ayatullah Husayn (Hossein) ‘Ali Montazeri has issued a statement condemning the electoral fraud: Continue reading

First Elections, Then Violence.

It has become a rather disturbing tendency probably since the 1990s and the “non-violent” revolutions in Eastern Europe. Now it happened in Zimbabwe – elections, wrong results, violence, and it looks like people are reacting the same way in Iran – elections, confused results, violence. I suppose unless people trust the governmental electoral process, these things are bound to happen. Yet on the other hand, American elections are known to have all sorts of shameful practices of supression, intimidation, misinformation and so on. It seems that even the world’s oldest and healthiest democracy is not really trustworthy. If you look at the rise of extremist violence, or just simple partisan discourse in the US today, even the legitimately elected president has to deal with issues of legitimacy among those who voted against him. And it wasn’t very different during the Bush years either – then it was 2000 “stolen” election, now it is Obama’s mystical birthcertificate and so on. Legitimacy, it seems, is a rather thorny concept…


John McCain Goes To Washington: The Great Undecider!

Ok, so just took a quick look at how the economy is going and how the great McCain is saving us all from the crisis – I mean he’s there in DC doing his thing and all – New York Times reports:

“We’re in a serious economic crisis,” Mr. Bush told reporters as the meeting began shortly before 4 p.m. in the Cabinet Room, adding, “My hope is we can reach an agreement very shortly.”

But once the doors closed, the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many in the room by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.

Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.

Come again? Yes, you’ve read it right – let me repeat it – “…and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, DECLINED TO TAKE A STAND.” This is what I am talking about! Is it just me or is this election just about the best thing ever?

How To Lie Well: Moral Superiority Trump Card.

Clearly politics and the upcoming elections are on my mind so hopefully we’re not going to lose that audience that daily comes to our blog in search of information about “colon” or is desperately looking for nude pictures of Karita Mattila (today’s popular search terms). Hearing all the talk about McCain’s lies on TV and in the blogosphere, my initial reaction was and continues to be the following: McCain’s lies are a problem because he does not understand the basic premise of lying that goes back to Plato’s Republic – it is better to lie and do whatever one pleases while appearing to tell the truth and being a generally decent human being. [Socrates, of course, attacks this premise and spends a long time trying to argue that it is profitable to live a decent life].  In other words, McCain needs to learn to lie well, i.e. lie like a real politician – if I were a voting member of the public with Republican sensibilities, I would not vote for McCain simply because he is a bad liar and therefore would make a horrible president. But don’t just trust me on this one, read this piece from The American Conservative: Continue reading

Appearance of Democracy

With all the accusations of electoral violations – direct and indirect – in the recent Russian elections, past American elections (2000 and some in 2004) and the presently growing more and more tense elections in Zimbabwe, one wonders why those who clearly do not like the idea of giving up power even try to hold elections.  Mugabe was in power for 28 years, why hold elections and try to rig them? I mean why is the appearance of democracy, even though everyone knows it’s just an appearance, so important? If Putin declared that he wanted to stay for the third term (or indefinitely), I am sure there would be some protests, but with the repressive resources of the police and the army, any of those could have been easily put down.  There would be international problems as the Western democratic governments would not like it, but so what? It’s not 1917, and the West supports many despotic governments? Why play the game of democracy?

Continue reading

European Parliament Resolves Something on Russia.

European Parliament condemns Russia’s politics and follows it up with a resolution:

European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2008 on Russia

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the objectives of consolidating democracy and political freedoms in the Russian Federation, as laid down in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Russian Federation, of the other part(1) , which entered into force in 1997 and expired in 2007,

–   having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultation, Continue reading