Monday, February 28, 2011

Let's Talk About Libya

I know there are a ton of things going on domestically that should grab my attention. That billboard that just got taken down in SoHo that was an insult to every black womb in America for instance. But I can't turn away from what's going on in the Middle East. It's too crazy and it most offends my sense of justice.

Right now, my biggest concern is what's happening in Libya. I said Iran was run by assholes, but those assholes have nothing on Moammar Qaddafi. Seriously, this dude has issues! You can't open the home page of any national news site without seeing information about this situation. Even Fox News has a whole section about it.

When every report was about Egypt, I was riveted, but I was also concerned. But Egypt was the biggest story. Their revolution sparked the most interest. But what could be bigger than Egypt? Old school genocide. That's basically what Qaddafi is doing. And that shit ain't right.

Here is a quote from that expresses the essence of this situation:

Terrified residents of Libya's tense capital braced for the possibility of more bloodshed Saturday as a defiant Moammar Gadhafi vied to preserve his four decades of power.

You can find that article here. That sentence ought to make one appreciative of what they have. As Americans (I wanted to say North America, but I can't include Mexico), we are blessed by having the right to not get shot in the streets because of a struggle with the government.

I'm more worried about being shot in the street from senseless violence or nutzoid paranoia. But I can count on knowing that most of the people in the country are reasonable and could never come up with a good reason for mass murder aka genocide.

The Libyans aren't so lucky. They have a leader who is the worst kind of person. He is putting what he wants and thinks he needs over the interests of so many other people. People he was supposed to protect and govern. By the tenets of any religion that acknowledges a Hell, that's where this man is headed.

He thinks it's okay to have the Army and random militiamen fire on protesters. He thinks it's okay to threaten the servicemen who don't want to shoot with execution. He thinks it's okay to hold onto power when that power has been vacated because you crossed a line.

I think this says it all:

"We can destroy any assault with the people's will, with the armed people," he said on state television Friday. "And when it is necessary, the weapons depots will be open to all the Libyan people to be armed."

This man is seriously disturbed. He thinks there are a majority of Libyans on his side. He thinks they will come out and fight for him to keep his regime going. He thinks that even in the face of being shot at random by his mercenaries for daring to leave the house, the people will pick up guns and shoot their countrymen to maintain his rule. These people who have very little chance of rising from the middle class or poverty are supposed to support his policies that haven't supported them?

I don't know what's going to happen. Will this be another Tahrir Square or will it be another Tiananmen Square? Only time will tell. But at least the international community is doing what they can to prevent this from being another Darfur. If you don't know what I'm talking about, utilize Google. But here's the basics. In Tahrir Square, the protests succeeded. In Tiananmen Square, the government fired on the protests and the uprising ceased. In Darfur, the whole situation devolved into a civil war with death toll estimates ranging from 20,000-200,000.,

And with a leader so intensely ignoring what's happening in his own country, the Libyans had to do what they could to get messages out to the rest of the world about what was going down. Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi took a gamble Saturday that didn't pay off. He switched from banning foreign journalists to allowing them into the country. He brought them into Tripoli, though to be one of his strongholds, expecting them to report of the stability in that area. According to The New York Times, the exact opposite is what happened.

Libya deserves better. It's really too bad Obama can't send in the Navy Seals who dealt so decisively with those three pirates. Not the recent situation. I'm talking about back in April of 2009.  They got the job done.

I could talk about how the situation in all these Middle East countries is affecting Europe's and America's oil prices. But my rant wouldn't sound very patriotic, so I'm leaving that along for now. I'd rather focus on the latest news. As I'm typing this, there's an update on the New York Times website title Near Tripoli, Rebels in Libya Gain Firepower and Defectors.

It provides a powerful story of what's happening right now on the ground. Read the article please. The parts that stand out to me is that the Libyan opposition is no longer called "opposition" or "protesters" exclusively. They are also now "rebels". It has a negative connotation, but it is accurate. Their leader refuses to step down and they are currently operating outside the confines of their national law. Libya is no Egypt.

The Libya that will emerge from this situation cannot be predicted. Qaddafi will not step aside. Both sides are gearing up for a battle. How this will end, the only thing that is certain is that it will be bloody. Lives will be uselessly lost. No one thinks that the regime will stay in power. How long it takes to get them out of power is yet to be determined. But if that asshole and his sons think there's any way out of this that leaves him in charge, they're delusional.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Iran Is Being Run By Assholes

Knowing that Iran is run by Shiites makes me sympathetic to their struggles. They are dealing with a combative region, full of Sunni leaders who don't respect them. They deal with the United States that constantly exhibits conflicting values, especially when they conflict with our "interests". Yeah, I'm talking about that bullshit ass nuanced initial response to Egypt.

But back to Iran. Now that I've established that they face issues that could grant them sympathy, I've come to this conclusion: They are being run by assholes. One hypocrisy after another.

Here's the one that really grinds my gears. The population of Iran wanted to protest in support of what was going on in Bahrain (and Egypt and Tunisia). Instead of just taking to the streets, they asked for permission. They tried to get protest permits.

The same day that those permits were denied is the day that Iran released a statement endorsing the protests in all those other countries. They tried to co-opt these peoples' fights for their basic rights with Shiite fundamentalism. And they did it while shutting down their own peoples' right to protest. That is my new favorite definition of irony.

Now the leaders of Iran are reporting another setback at a nuclear power plant. Oh, boo-hoo. I feel so badly for you that your power plant isn't working. You know why it isn't working? Because America got together with some computer geniuses and hackers and sent you a nasty bug that shut down your systems. Maybe not the nicest thing to do. That's a big duh.

But they did it because you all don't play nice. You steal elections and crush local protests, and now you are upset that your new source of energy isn't working. Well perhaps if you weren't trying to make nuclear fuel, those mean Westerners would stop sabotaging your power plant.

I must admit I have mixed feelings about the idea that the West doesn't want Iran to have a card to play in the hypothetical nuclear war that could end us all. But then I realize how unreasonable those in power in Iran behave and I feel less conflicted.

I'd like a world where there are few to no nuclear bombs. Right now, the US is constantly lowering the number of bombs we have. And we're also trying to lower the number of bombs around the globe. So my opinion ends up falling squarely against those in power in Iran who are trying to increase the number of nuclear bombs in the world.

<a href="">This is the article"</a> that has set off my rant. I can't say I'd feel bad if their nuclear plant went off line. I know that when properly handled, nuclear power plants are a very safe and efficient way to provide electricity to a constantly growing population. I know that. But I think I'd feel better about Iran using nuclear power if they weren't such assholes. That's all I'm saying.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gail Collins' Presidential Primary Book Club

Gail Collins is one of my favorite columnists for the New York Times. I am on my Blackberry religiously, reading every word she's ever published. I noticed her at first because she's a woman, but I stayed with her because her articles has a touch of whimsy mixed with cynicism that just made me smile inside.

If I were you, I'd read her most recent post about Mike Huckabee. It's titled Presidential Primary Book Club and that's why I made my title the same. Read it and you will see what I mean about the mix of cynicism and whimsy.

In order to understand the basic point of this blog post, you need to simply read this quote. It is the entire first paragraph of her article.

One of a journalist’s most important duties is to seek out information in places the readers wouldn’t go themselves, like following troops into combat or covering charter revision commission hearings. In that spirit, I have been reading all the books written by likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Do you get my point? No? Sigh. The point is that I don't actually want to read these damn books these Republicans keep writing. I still haven't read all the books Obama wrote, why the hell would I read anything those guys have to say? But I do want the book condensed into a snarky version of its essence for me. And with these columns, I'm able to pretend I'm sitting down on Wednesday nights with a glass of wine and reaping the rewards of being in a book club without all the work.

Gail Collins discusses Mike Huckabee's book the same was she discussed Tim Pawlenty's book. You should read that column too. It was liberal gold. Mike Huckabee is obsessed with the number 12. Could that be because of his religious leanings? He also flipped from supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he's changed his mind. And he used to cook squirrels in a popcorn popper in college. I can always count on Gail Collins to throw in some totally unimportant fact that I'm truly glad I now know.

Tim Pawlenty is obsessed with his family. He gets painted as a frat boy who's entire book is self-congratulatory. Based on how he seems on TV, I don't think her interpretation is too far off. Oh and he thinks he's funnier than he is. Not a crime, but it certainly invokes images of W. doing a dance for the reporters while trying to buy time before a press conference. I can't wait to see what the next guy/gal is obsessed with.

What she discusses is particularly interesting to me for a number of reasons. 1. I just love learning about modern politics as it's happening.   2. Whoever the Republican candidate is will affect whether Obama will be a 4 year or 8 year president.   3. Her liberal views on these matters line up with what I already feel and therefore want to hear more of.

I think it's okay to succumb to confirmation bias if you know that it's happening. And I'm amused by the way she amplifies the worst in the books. She's pointing out something I've been reading rather often in political analysts columns in various mediums (mostly CNN,, and AP Mobile). It's that the field of Republican candidates for president in 2012 will be quite pitiful.

There is still plenty of time for someone to emerge that actually has favorability ratings that are trending upward. But for now, they are screwed. And I for one cannot wait for the next installment of the Presidential Primary Book Club.

A Blog Introduction

I already write two blogs. The first one is A Researcher of Life, which is basically a personal blog that talks about my life that I'm trying to build for myself in my 20s. The second one is My Life's Love Medley, which is a lovely amalgamation of the love lives of 8 of my closest friends.

So why do I need a third blog? I'm not sure I do. This may end up being absorbed into my main blog, the narcissistic one, in a few posts because I find I have not enough to say to fill an entirely separate blog. But for now, I feel that I have enough to say about the world around me to fill a separate blog.

I feel pretty often like writing a blog post about Egypt/Tunisia/Bahrain/Libya or Chicago's mayoral race or Obama's stance on gay marriage. I also want to write about books I read, like Spousonomics and all the Charles Dickens classics. And yes, I even want to write about the upcoming announcement of the next cast of Dancing With The Stars.

But I feel like writing about that on my other blogs would take time away from something else I love discussing: me and my friends. Talk of Easy and my nonexistent career are consuming that blog. So I need somewhere else to talk about politics and economics and the media and the weather.

That is what I hope this new blog will be. Will anyone bother reading it? I don't know. I do know I don't have the desire to go searching on the web for people who are interested in reading the types of things I like to say. That's why my first two blogs only get a couple hundred reads per month. But that doesn't matter. Because I have things to be said. And I'm far too wordy for Twitter.

So begins Rants About The Real World. I may split up the days based on the different topics I may want to discuss, but for now, I'll just let it be and see what comes pouring out of my mind on a variety of subjects. Check it out if you'd like. At least for the week I'm promising to give it before deleting it and absorbing it into the other blog.
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