Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Outraged at the news, again. Sigh.

with 7 comments


OK, I was writing a nice post about Lincoln, but the news this morning was so annoying I thought I would spread my annoyance around. This will make the upcoming weekend all the more pleasant in comparison, since I don’t usually post on weekends. See how I look out for my readers? Yes, this rant is for their own good.

Moving right along, yes, the lady and the teddy bear case continues to make far larger headlines than it warrants. She was convicted of insulting Islam (but cleared of more serious charges) and sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation. OK, fair enough, she avoids the lash but a sop was thrown to the orthodox Muslims. Unfortunately, some of them weren’t happy with the verdict, and there have now been demonstrations in the Sudan calling for her to be executed. Lovely, just lovely.

My problem here is that a demonstration by hundreds of extremists is given front page news, but statements by Muslim groups with memberships in the tens of thousands condemning the verdict as ridiculously out of proportion to the offence…get short shrift. So people who basically only keep up with the headlines will get the impression that Muslims are all violent extremists. Again, lovely, just lovely. It’s as if all people were ever saw about Christianity in the headlines was stuff like the Westboro Baptist Church or Jim Jones.

While in this case I do believe this to be an innocent cultural misunderstanding on the part of a good natured but possibly somewhat naive teacher, incidents of this kind are not always so innocent. Many of the newspapers who published the insulting images of Mohammad a few years back were basically Nazi rags trying to stir up trouble. The point is that there are powerful people who want to demonize Islam for their own purposes, and one should always look at whose fingers are in the pie when stuff like this happens. That many in the west now believe that all Muslims are medieval terrorists because of their religion…shows just how effective propaganda really is.

It wouldn’t surprise me now if there was more fallout from this. Muslim extremists everywhere can get excited about this sort of thing, and the supercilious judgemental western press just adds fat to the fire. Heck, here’s a chance for the Pope to get back into the news by making some backhanded slam at Islam. He hasn’t managed to get any headlines lately.

Moving right along, I am also annoyed by some legal cases in the news…and Bush’s weird attempt to sign a permanent treaty with Iraq without actually calling it a treaty so that Congress doesn’t have to approve it. The legal stuff deserves a post of its own, since lawyers are second only to global warming as an existential threat to humanity. OK, I exaggerate, but still, some stuff in the legal system in the US now is pretty strange. How did we get to the point where the rich are legally entitled to make obscene profits, and society has to provide it if they don’t?

However, back to Bush. Yes, he and the Maliki government of Iraq have signed a long term agreement to provide the Iraqi government with 50,000 soldiers to protect them from their own people, permanently. Well, it’s on a piece of paper, but no one has actually signed it. And it’s not a “treaty” it’s a “set of principles.” Some of us aren’t fooled, this is bullshit. An agreement with a foreign government to permanently station troops in their country is a treaty no matter what one calls it. That the Bush administration is trying to make a blatant end run around both Congress and the will of the US people shows just how little Bush really stands for freedom and democracy.

And as I often state, legitimate governments don’t need foreign troops to keep them in power, so for all practical purposes now we are admitting that Iraq is an occupied country like the old Soviet occupied Eastern Europe. The Eastern European communist regimes all called themselves democratic states too, that apparently is what one calls an occupied country with a quisling government these days. While we are not as bad as the Soviets in that we are not trying to force some sort of ideology down their throats, the fact is the plan to occupy Iraq forever is because American oil and weapons companies stand to make so damn much money in Iraq that the numbers are incomprehensible. With this kind of wealth sniffing at the Bush family’s door, it isn’t a surprise that they will resort to any subterfuge to keep the USA in Iraq.

Will America go on to democratize central Asia and the Middle East, and coincidentally enough control the lion’s share of the world’s energy and mineral resources for decades or centuries to come? Or will the Russians and Chinese be gleefully picking up the pieces after the US effort self immolates itself with deficit spending and blowback? We’ve already made China, Iran, and Russia vastly richer and more powerful than they dared dream even a decade ago…so it’s not looking good. Stay tuned and have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image of few Muslim men embarrassing their faith is a low resolution grey scale copy of the original work and is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit: AFP)


Written by unitedcats

November 30, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Propaganda, Religion, World

7 Responses

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  1. I like many of the points you raise in the opening paragraphs. I don’t really have much to say about the legal wrangling pseudo treaty. As for the title there is a Harvard poll that shows 60% of Americans believe the 08 election coverage is essentially garbage. Those are my words not Harvards but the poll is negative towards the news outlets. One may say outraged. Have a great weekend.


    November 30, 2007 at 12:53 pm

  2. But wait… The kids, if I recall correctly, were the ones that chose the name of the teddy bear. So shouldn’t all those kids be executed?

    Seems logical and fair…


    November 30, 2007 at 1:44 pm

  3. Hi Doug,
    Would love to know your take on the happenings in Malaysia. This comes just after you spoke about the functioning democracy there.

    archana raghuram

    November 30, 2007 at 10:46 pm

  4. I’m beginning to think that “functioning democracy” is an oxymoron. Malaysia, Russia, Sudan, Somalia, and the Congo are overdue for posts. Maybe that will next week’s theme. :)


    November 30, 2007 at 11:30 pm

  5. But Doug, we are trying to force an ideology down their throats. Ours is just democratic capitalism.

    World Famous John

    December 1, 2007 at 5:34 pm

  6. Thanks Doug. Will wait for your post.


    December 2, 2007 at 5:09 am

  7. I’m not sure that “money talks” or lining people up to stuff pieces of paper in a box really counts as an ideology, but I do essentially agree. Our fervour to “spread democracy” is no different than “spreading Christianity” or “spreading communism” or any of the other rationalizations people make up to excuse invading and occupying other countries.


    December 2, 2007 at 8:27 am

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