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Links With Your Coffee - Thursday

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  • The Satirical Political Report - An Offbeat Look at the Hot-Button Issues of the Day » McCain Opposes Gay Adoption of Highways

  • Gwynne Dyer: Tehran calls Washington's bluff in high-risk war game - 15 Jul 2008 - War news - NZ Herald

    It seems to me that our only reasonable path in preventing Iran from aquiring nuclear weapons is economic pressure. Iran with nukes would be less of a problem than the consequences of using force to prevent them from developing such weapons.

    The Iranians have clearly concluded that all the American and Israeli threats to attack them are mere bluff. Israel could not destroy all of Iran's nuclear facilities unless it was willing to drop several nuclear weapons on Iran.

    The United States could do the job using only conventional weapons, but in reply Iran could close the Gulf to tanker traffic and cause a global economic crisis. So the US and Israel must be bluffing, unless they are crazy.


  • Crackergate | Cosmic Variance
    PZ Myers has gone and gotten himself embroiled in another one of those imbroglios. For those of you who don’t trouble to read any other blogs, the story began with the report of a student in Florida who smuggled a Communion wafer — the Body of Christ, to Catholics — out of Mass. This led to something of an overreaction on the part of some local believers, who referred to the stunt as a “hate crime,” and the student even received death threats. (You remember the part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says “Blessed are those who exterminate those who insult Me,” right?)

  • TIME GOES BY | Generic Drugs
    I know you are out there. I know that there are still some people who see generic medications as being somehow inferior to brand name drugs. This is a big issue, worth billions of dollars to major corporations, but I do have a funny story to tell you about generics.

  • Robert L. Borosage: Wall Street Socialism


 

Comments

Re: Generic Drugs

I find it sad that people would want a name brand drug over a generic. It's amazing how much the mind can alter physical being. I mean, you think if the anxious guy in the story was able to convince himself that the generic medication with a different look was having no effect, then he might be able to convince himself to not be so anxious.

I've always preferred generic and have recently reaffirmed that preference when the last time I had a prescription given to me I was given the option of a generic at $22 or a name brand at $300. Thats a huge difference.

Norm, I have to say I didn't expect to come here and find you buying into the propaganda that this has anything to do with Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

you buying into the propaganda that this has anything to do with Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

That's the point, right. There is no good argument that the possibility of aquiring nuclear weapons is a justification for attacking Iran, or involving ourselves in their internal affairs.

I was waiting to see if you'd mention crackergate. It's been a lot of fun over there at Pharyngula. Thanks for the link, always happy to see what Sean Carrol thinks.

How about if we led by example and stopped our--and Israel's-- nuclear weapons program?

How about if we led by example and stopped our--and Israel's-- nuclear weapons program?

That would be outstanding. We lack the moral high ground. How can we ask others to get rid of their weapons or not develop them when we not only continue to keep ours, but continue working on them?

It seems to me that our only reasonable path in preventing Iran from aquiring nuclear weapons is economic pressure.
That would be outstanding. We lack the moral high ground. How can we ask others to get rid of their weapons or not develop them when we not only continue to keep ours, but continue working on them?

My point is that by entertaining arguments about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program and how to stop it, in the current political context, we buy into the propaganda and happily submit to the Bush regime's framing of the argument (their so-called "reality").

Why even pretend that it's a serious matter for debate?

There is no good argument that the possibility of aquiring nuclear weapons is a justification for attacking Iran.

oh, well there's a completely unsupported bit of opinion fluff. it's a mistake i often hear atheists (and politicians), make, not understanding the difference between "no evidence" and "no conclusive evidence". well, as long as we're casually throwing our opinions around disguised as incontrovertable fact,how's this one:

there's no good argument proving that the president of iran is NOT threatening to nuke israel,given his many belligerant statements to this effect,phrased in many different ways and in front of many different audiences.

as someone who does, in fact, feel threatened by the possibility of a nuclear iran, i would say there ARE in fact good arguments that "the possibility of aquiring nuclear weapons is a justification for attacking iran."

don't get me wrong. i didn't say CONCLUSIVE arguments, and i didn't say america had a reason to feel threatened. but it might have a very good reason for defending israel, even outside of the military pacts between them. namely, it's mostly america's behaviour over the last 10 years or so that gives iran a reason to feel threatened. which may be the reason they're developing nukes in the first place.

i'm all for america getting the hell out of the middle east, and for israel to do what it takes to make peace with her neighbors. but pretending there's no argument at all, and ignoring the fact that we have to clean up our messes will make things worse in the long run by far. as the wicked witch said, "these things must be done delicately, delicately.."

Hey Jonathan - I saw on another post that you live in Israel? Is that right? If so, are you an American living there or are you an Israeli very actively following American politics?

So the US and Israel must be bluffing, unless they are crazy

Perhaps people can now see the advantage of having these rogue nations think that maybe, just maybe, we might be crazy.

My point is that by entertaining arguments about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program and how to stop it, in the current political context, we buy into the propaganda

One of the best indicators of delusion is when someone dismisses reality as 'propaganda'. Everybody knows Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons - they openly admit it.

How can we ask others to get rid of their weapons or not develop them when we not only continue to keep ours, but continue working on them?

Yeah! And you know the best way for the police to stop speeding would be for them to get out of their cars and refuse to chase speeders. And they could disarm criminals by getting rid of their own guns! Lead by example! These aren't superficial, ridiculous arguments!

yes, jill, i'm an american living in israel- or an israeli who grew up in america. i have dual citizenship and have lived in both countries about equally as long. and i dont follow american politics as actively as many people here, but tend to get interested around election time.

Hey Becker,

I thought of a name for your band.

Roughshod

yes, jill, i'm an american living in israel- or an israeli who grew up in america.

I had no idea before you mentioned it in that post. That's interesting and brings something different to your comments (don't be intimidated but you are now speaking for your whole country ------- just kidding)

syngas- thanks for the suggestion. great name, acually, but not my style. anyway, i'm already in a band called 4wd, which is pretty close. (the bass player named it, he's a death metal guy).

jill, i'm not intimidated by the thought of speaking for my country at all- of course, that's because i have no official position and don't have to try to justify every stupid thing the government or army does. i always thought it would be a great idea for any country to have a spokesman who was completely free to say what s/he thought, but so far i haven't seen one.

Everybody knows Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons

Right, and everyone should know why they want such weapons. It's not for offensive purposes, obviously. They want them for the exact same reason every other nuclear power has them: deterence. Iran even has better reason than anyone else to want to deter, since they are constantly being threatened by the USA and Israel. They've tried diplomacy, but got nowhere. They suspect, with good reason, that a attack on their country is bound to happen eventually (Washington have wanted to get Teheran back since they lost it in 1979). Of course they aren't going to sit idly by and let it happen. They will try to defend themselves. The best defense is possession of nuclear weapons. They'd be fools not to pursue them.

Iran's eventual development of nuclear weapons is a direct consequence of American hostility towards Iran. It's not Iran wanting to drop nuclear bombs on a neighboring country and then receive immediate obliteration in return, despite what the propaganda wants you to believe. The regime in Teheran isn't suicidal - quite the opposite: As all other power systems, it's trying to survive and to perpetuate itself. Knowing this, them wanting to acquire nuclear weapons makes perfect sense (I don't agree with it, of course).

kristian, i also think i have some idea of why iran might feel threatened and why it might want to "go nuclear". i even sympathize, to a certain extent. but how does this knowledge help anyone? i mean, if my little brother is being picked on by a bully and picks up a switchblade, how does my knowing how he feels help me keep him out of jail, or the bully from getting killed, or my little brother from getting killed (because everyone knows that anything goes when the other guy pulls a knife, no matter how little he is?).isn't the best thing to disarm the kid and stand between him and the bully- that is, if there's time, which in this analogy, we have plenty of?

but how does this knowledge help anyone

It helps the Iranian people by undermining Washington's propaganda campaign which is designed to start a war against them.

Understanding that Iran wants these weapons for defensive purposes leads to two realizations:

  1. Iran getting nuclear weapons is not the end of the world. It's bad. All nuclear proliferation is bad. But Iran aren't more likely to use these weapons offensively than any of the existing nuclear powers, so it's no worse than Israel, Pakistan, India, etc.. getting them, which we let happen without this level of hysteria (but of course, they are all American allies).

  2. It could easily have been (and still can be) prevented by suspending the threats and pursuing diplomacy instead.

also, regarding "deterence"as being a reason for the aquiring nukes: although israel has never made any official announcement of nuclear capability (i guess all those tests must have escaped the notice of the world) it's generally assumed they have the capability. how has this functioned as deterrence? they've fought at least 4 defensive (arguable, i know) wars since the "word got out", not to mention being completely randomly peppered with scud missiles, thought at the time to possibly contain biological/chemical warheads (the first iraq war in '91). i mean, everyone knows that nobody sane would actually use the things, right? they haven't been used since america, in an appalling display of overkill, destroyed nagasaki in '45. what sort of crazy, millenniest, messianic, religious fanatic regime would do such a thing? oh, wait...

sorry, was busy writing didn't see your last post.first, this

It helps the Iranian people by undermining Washington's propaganda campaign which is designed to start a war against them.

makes no sense. other than this, i appreciate the "just calm down" aspect of your post, but can't agree with a single thing you said except

Iran getting nuclear weapons is not the end of the world. It's bad. All nuclear proliferation is bad.

anyway, i'm all for calming down. the level of sabre rattling rhetoric from all sides is insane. but if there's an actual personality, as opposed to spokesmen, driving this thing and sounding really, really beligerant all the time, it's ahmadinajad.

they've fought at least 4 defensive (arguable, i know) wars

Arguable? It's complete nonsense.

what sort of crazy, millenniest, messianic, religious fanatic regime would do such a thing? oh, wait...

Right, that's the usual argument: The Iranians would use them since they are crazy fanatics. That assumption is necessary for the logic behind the war-monging to make sense even slightly. But if your reasoning necessitates the assumption that your enemy is completely crazy and suicidal and longs for its own destruction, then you really should stop and thing twice.

The Teheran regime may be crazy by White House standards, but certainly not by much. And the assumption that they are suicidal is completely absurd. No regime able to stay in power for thirty years can be suspected of not putting their own survival first and everything else second.

i also think it's pretty unlikely iran would use nukes, just less unlikely than any other country known to have them. i don't think you're taking into account the tremendous disconnect between the people and the leaders of iran. it's really unusual, quite amazing. and the fact the regime has lasted 30 years proves nothing- 1, it hasn't had nukes before, and 2, it has used everything it has had, in the 8 year war with iraq.

but i don't want to be put in the position of arguing for attacking iran or its nuclear facilities. i'm only saying if "someone" decides to do it, it won't be some inexplicable act of insanity or cruelty- though in americas case, i concede the bottom line may be greed. and certainly in NO case would i recommend the use of nukes by anybody.

The hypothesis that Iran will attack Israel with nuclear weapons is the basis of the current propaganda campaign. Washington has tried other themes, such as Iran "interfering" in Iraq, but that's obviously not enough to sell another imperialist war to the US people. So they're left trying to sell "Iran wants to nuke Israel and perhaps Denmark".

If we're going to war on such an hypothesis, it should at the very least (a) make sense and (b) be supported by very strong evidence. I have argued that (a) fails since the Teheran regime cannot be assumed to be suicidal. You, for reasons unknown, disagree. But with regards to (b): What are the strong evidence that Teheran would even want to nuke Israel in the first place?

with regard to a., it is a well known fact that suicide attacks are part of the islamist war tactic handbook, but that's beside the point. what makes you think iran assumes a nuclear attack on israel would be suicidal? i know it's easy to scoff, but don't answer too quickly. there isn't precedent for one nuclear power attacking another with nukes, and it just doesn't follow necessarily, even leaving religion out of the equation (which one obviously can't in the case of iran). it doesn't take much imagination to put yourself in the drivers seat in the face of a nuclear fait accompli. the outcome is far from certain- escpecially in the case of israel, the only state with anyone actually questioning it's right to exist- let alone a LOT of anyones.

as for b.,if you don't accept an israeli (non nuclear)attack on iran or the threat of it as sufficient "evidence" that iran may want to pop the cork, refer to my remarks above about ahmadinajads copious and constant rhetoric, outragous and out of all proportion even on the "world rhetoric scale". sorry no links, but i think it's pretty well known, and too consistant to buy anymore the nitpicky arguments about "what he really meant in farsi".

yes, i know he's "only the president". i too rest my hopes on this fact. and on the western leaders sound judgement and wisdom. oh, i'm depressing myself again.

the point here, again, is it's past the point of pointing fingers. it doesn't matter how iran or anyone else "feels" at this point. the ball is in motion, and we can only hope our(and their)leaders aren't as stupid as they seem. see "cuban missile crisis". if there's a finger to be pointed, as i said it starts with americas greed, and moves to irans religion, which makes it a. hate israel for no good reason and b. be a zillion times more sensitive to perceived "humiliation" (you know, like other countries trying to tell them what to do- an activity israel has pointedly stayed out of) and winds up with israels (justified, in my unpopular opinion) existential paranoia and overdeveloped military muscles. but (sigh) it doesn't matter who started what at this point.

what makes you think Iran assumes a nuclear attack on Israel would be suicidal?

A) to build a nuclear weapon, you need to be able to graduate from college

B) At nuclear bomb college most people would learn that there are a number of nuclear powers in the world, USA, China, Russia, France, UK, India Pakistan, etc. and that at least a few of them would retaliate the obliteration of Israel.

Not only that but as a radiative cloud kills the Palestinians, Jordanians and the Saudis, I imagine there might quickly be some consensus from the middle east as well.

Nuclear weapons are defensive weapons. Their destruction is so large that its just silly to think of using them for any offensive purpose unless you plan to die soon yourself.

The idea that the leaders of Iran are so crazy as to not understand that simple reality is itself crazy.

Saddam was a real wack job and he wasn't that stupid. he could have released chemical weapons, but there is no real evidence that he did. Our troops mostly got sick when we bombed or they burned the material.

yes, yes, i know all the reasons they WOULDN"T use them.no need to be nasty, redseven. but for someone who apparantly went to college, the list of countries you gave that might "retaliate" for the destruction of israel is pretty funny. i'm trying to imagine the pro-zionist china/pakistan/russia/india axis getting all worked up about it. the list of shakey assumptions needed for you to be 100% convinceed of the truth of b. would make you a poor candidate for a b.a. and about a. well, that is just literally not true. you just have to be able to BUY people with degrees.

about radiation clouds, yes, yes, you're quite right, of course. the standard answer in israel for that one is "have you noticed, in general, arabs being concerned about killing other arabs? no? well, the persians are even less concerned".

pretty shakey, i know, but it's all i got from devils advocate 101.

i have to go back to the point that started this thing (for me): i wish people would pay more attention to the difference between no evidence and no conclusive evidence. the fact is there's evidence on both sides here, pretty heavily weighted AGAINST iran's use of nuclear weapons,(as you geniuses have noted) though not conclusive. the evidence FOR iran getting stupid is less weighty and also inconclusive and speculative. why have i chosen to argue the weaker side of the argument? simple- no matter what happens, israel is a target. even though there's no reason at all for hostility between iran and israel. that's just how it is, it's a part of mideast reality hard to explain to outsiders. and knowing that we might be "avenged" by, say, china (sorry, still laughing) is essentially unhelpful. we can't afford to be wrong in the name of high minded ideals, other peoples assumptions,or political correctness.

oh, redseven, i just realized you weren't being nasty, and i apologize for some of the defensive/offensive tone in my reply. good thing it's only words and not nukes, ay? so easy to make mistakes...

btw, here's the latest in this story. this, obviously, is the intelligent way to go on this. if only these aren't mere words...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1003990.html

oh, redseven, i just realized you weren't being nasty, and i apologize for some of the defensive/offensive tone in my reply.

No worries. I had just woken up from a nap when I wrote that so I might have come off with more attitude then needed.

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