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The Pot and The Kettle: Which One’s Iran?

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This morning's headline is clear: Iran Threatens the U.S. if Attacked. The Associated Press reports: "If the United States were to attack Iran, the country would respond by striking U.S. interests all over the world, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday."

Imagine that. What a horrible man and a horrible country. How dare they suggest that they have the right to retaliate if a foreign power challenges their sovereignty, security, and territory!

Yes, I know, they are horrible people. They have no tolerance for foreign troops amassed at their borders. They react with hostility to neighboring governments dancing to alternative political or religious views. The president of that nation and many of his supporters openly and officially condemn and marginalize certain minorities.

They kill people in the name of their god. He and his followers also routinely condemn those who do not believe in their version of god to eternal damnation. They surreptitiously plant operatives in other nations hoping to influence the politics and economics of those nations in their favor. They posture on the world stage with arrogance and self-assurance that they hold the higher moral ground.

Actually, I'm confused. Who are we talking about? Them or us?

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About Ricky

  • Baronius

    Richard, please identify one religious war in which the US has participated.

  • moonraven

    Baloneyus:

    Iraq is one religious war the US started, with God hopping around like a parrot on GWBush’s shoulder….

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    moonraven already answered, but it’s worth repeating: Iraq. Do you really think we’d be slaughtering Christian civilians?

  • moonraven

    However, I am not sure that your overall comparison is an apt one.

    As someone who spends a fair amount of time in the Middle East each year–right next door to Iran, so to speak–I can say without question that I have a lot of respect for the president of Iran–and absolutely none for anyone in the US government.

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    moonraven? Are you expecting me to argue with your point? Don’t hold your breath.

  • moonraven

    No, I am not expecting you to argue.

    I am just going on record, as they say.

    Holding my breath is not something I ever do….

  • Baronius

    Sigh.

    Iraq invaded their Muslim neighbor Kuwait in 1990. The US and several other countries joined the war in defense of their ally. Iraq signed a cease-fire agreement in 1991 and proceeded to break its terms, with continual attacks on US and French aircraft, and obstacles to UN weapons inspection. Under international law, the 1990 war lasted until 2003 with the legal overthrow of the Baathist government.

    The US is a secular state which does not forbid members of a religious group to be elected to office.

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    There are more Jews in the Iranian legislature than there are Muslims in our own Congress. There has never been a non-Christian in the White House. And how many self-admitted atheists are there in Congress?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    There are more Muslims in the Israeli Knesset than in our Congress, for that matter, Richard.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    So what? That doesn’t make the US a religious state. We don’t have mandatory tithing, mandatory religious services, or religious oaths. We grant everyone the right to practice their religion and to speak about it freely. Heresy and blasphemy aren’t crimes. Voting rights and land ownership are available to members of every religion. Religious leaders have one vote per person, the same as anyone else. We don’t rely on any specific religious text for our legal system. We allow every religion to establish schools. We have secular and religious states (of every affiliation) as international allies, as trading partners, and as foes. We allow free travel to religious sites. We accept immigrants regardless of religion. I could list more.

  • Baronius

    Oh, what the heck. I think I will go on.

    If we’re a religious country, what denomination are we? There’s never been a nation whose official religion was “Christianity – misc/unspecified”. We’ve had a Catholic president, a couple of Quakers, and a bunch of Episcopalians. A Greek Orthodox nominee, and a few more Catholics. Our Supreme Court has a minority of Protestants, three Catholics, and two Jews.

    That doesn’t mean we’re a Judeo-Christian nation. We’re a Judeo-Christian population. Look at France and Mexico. Their populations didn’t change (much) in religious beliefs, but there have been times when Christianity was a crime. The religion of the people isn’t necessarily the religion of the government. The US is a secular state.

  • D’oh

    Baronius says – “The US is a secular state.”

    Quoted for Truth

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Do you really think we’d be slaughtering Christian civilians?

    When civilians are accidentally killed in a war no one asks what religion they are, and there are a fair number of Christians in Iraq, and I’d bet money that some of them have been killed in the aftermath of the invasion. In fact, I know some have been targeted by terrorists there, and since I assume you blame all terrorist victims on the US, that means the US is slaughtering Christian civilians too, right?

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Baronius,

    While it is fair to say that America is a secular state, it is fairer and more accurate to say that America is a secular state which a Christian base. The only official holidays in the United States which have anything to do with religion, are Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter. Sunday is excepted in the United States constitution as not being a business day (see the provision on the presidential veto in Article II of the constitution of 1789).

    The phrase “the holidays” refers to Christmas or Easter in America. Everything and everyone else is parenthetical.

    Sorry, just because you take all this for granted as being normal doesn’t make it neutral.

    In Israel, Saturday is the sabbath, the holidays refer to PessaH or the month of Tishrei, which has Rosh haShana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

    And in Israel, everything and everybody else is parenthetical – just the way I like it. But by no means is Israel a religious country. Nevertheless, it is not neutral, just as America is not neutral.

    And speaking of the sabbath, it arrives in a couple of minutes, so I’ll see you all in 25 hours or so.

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Reuven

  • moonraven

    Baronius believes that immigrants are accepted regardless of religion.

    And he also believes in the Easter Bunny.

    How many recent muslim immigrants does he know? He doesn’t say.

    The muslim formerly known as Cat Stevens was not even allowed to ENTER the US–and he was not on that plane as a potential immigrant.

  • Nancy

    Isn’t he still a US citizen?

  • moonraven

    Cat Stevens is a UK citizen, so far as I know.

  • D’oh

    A UK citizen, and was barred from entering the US for a “fatwah” issued by him against author Salman Rushdie over the book “the Satanic Verses”.

    The injunction has since been lifted.

  • D’oh

    Oh yes…and just to demonstrate the irony, and horror of someone who had changed due to religious influence…the same man who issued that fatwah perform the following…

    the Tao of D’oh.

  • Nancy

    Well, if he’s a non-US-citizen, then it’s our perogative to keep anyone out for any reason we want to, just like the Brits or French or Chinese or whomever around the world can also bar non-citizens from entering if they like.

  • D’oh

    (to Nancy..the link is Cat Stevens performing the song “Peace Train”, live.)

  • Nancy

    Don’t know many current culture refs, sorry. What’s it about (generally – don’t need lyrics)? It’s entirely possible he’s innocuous & doesn’t deserve it, D’oh, but if he’s not a US citizen, even BushCo is within their rights to bar him. And you KNOW what I think of BushCo.

  • D’oh

    It’s an old bit of culture ref from the 70’s, Nancy..the title says it all , in a happy hippy kind of way, far different from Yusef Islam’s fatwah against an author…hence the horror of the dichotomy.

    Wasn’t arguing about his being barred, just laying out some background for thought.

  • Nancy

    Oh…sorry. I’m not terribly hip on a lot of “pop” culture stuff. Never paid much attention to it, I’m afraid. It was all over my head.

  • moonraven

    d’oh,

    Please provide the factual support for your contention about the form Cat Stevens.

    It is my understanding that he was denied entry to the US based on hs being on a no-fly list because he had donated money to Islamic organizations.

    Nancy, please do NOT start on your xenophobic anti-immigration rant again.

  • moonraven

    former Cat Stevens, sorry.

  • D’oh

    moonraven – would depend on which time he was denied, it had happened more than once.

    My apologies that I don’t have a link handy, it’s very old news, and I am on a new computer (3 months old) and no longer have access to all of my archives since replacement was due to hard drive failure.

    I’ll try and find it, but don’t hold out much hope. Both incidents were covered by the MSM at the times of the happening, not something I’d fabricate…especially in light of the heartbreak the incidents cost me due to having grown up listening to Teaser and the Firecat as well as Buddha in the Chocolate Box.

    In either case, a nation does have the absolute right to deny access to those it deems dangerous or even undesireable.

    Fair enough?

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein
  • D’oh

    Damn Richard, you beat me to the same link!

    There was video of his speech, but I can’t seem to find it.

    the Tao of D’oh.

  • Nancy

    Can’t even if I wanted to – gotta go for (most of) the weekend.

  • moonraven

    The enemy within is much scarier than Cat Stevens could ever be.

    Compare him with Dick Cheney. Which of the two would you rather not have in the US?

    I am not in the US, but I am a US citizen and, of the two, I would take old Cat in anyday….

  • moonraven

    And I didn’t even like his songs!

  • Nancy

    No argument there, MR. I ditto. Ciao.

  • D’oh

    Fallacious argument, even tho I agree.

    Cheney, for all his faults (and there are too many to be listed) is still a US citizen…Stevens/Islam is not.

  • Martin Lav

    Now that’s it Moonraven YOU’VE FINALLY CROSSED THE LINE WITH ME……..don’t like Cat Steven’s music? That’s going way too far!

    I love his music!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Yeah, Cat Stevens wrote sweet, innocent songs and that outweighs his post-60s drug-induced religious mania.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Cat’s songs–especially the infamous “Moonshadow”–have been absolutely beaten to death in ESL programs all around the planet.

    Even if I had started out liking them, I would have ended up hating them.

  • Martin Lav

    I hate anything to do with the moon too!
    er….moonraven…. seriously maybe that song and I get your irony, but well for me…..
    Cats in the Cradle brings tears to my eyes, but maybe it’s just for boyz to men.
    Or was that Harry Chapin?
    No matter, love that song and the Cat sang it I thinks….

  • Clavos

    It was Harry Chapin…

  • STM

    Cat Stevens … what a cat

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, you haven’t been here in a while, have you? “The holidays” refers to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve/Day. Easter gets less attention than St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day – both of which used to be religious feast days, but have been sucked into America’s secular blender.

  • STM

    That sounds like a complete rort that Kwanzaa business. What poor gibberer invented that and turned it into a made-up holiday?

  • Baronius

    “What poor gibberer invented that and turned it into a made-up holiday?” Ron Karenga, inventor of the “seven principles of blackness”. It’s amusing that American non-blacks are just getting up the guts to make fun of Kwanzaa, but blacks seem to be grudgingly accepting it. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out.

  • STM

    I must admit my question was rhetorical and a gee-up; I knew it was Karenza, and he was hardly a paragon of virtue – a violent cult leader who did three years in jail for torturing his own followers. The vast majority of African-Americans are descended from people of West African descent, yet Karenza used Swahili as the language of choice for “Kwanzaa” (Kwanza is the real name) – which is the language I most often hear down the local pub about 2am just before closing/booting-out time.

    No problem celebrating a culture … just make it more fair dinkum. At the moment, it’s just made-up bunkum.

    Perhaps the PC mob in the US should take that on board (but I bet they won’t), and then perhaps the black community could come up with something more befitting their real origins.

    Otherwise, what does it really mean? Not much, I’d wager. Still, I must admit I’ve always loved any excuse for a piss-up.

    Perhaps we could have Convictaa here in Australia to celebrate our cultural origins – a week of thieving (borrowing), forgery, conning, drinking, fornicating, speaking treasonously, and refusing to accept any demands put upon us by authority figures. Actually, that’s just a normal week Down Under.

    But there you go – the seven pillars of Australianess.

    I have now officially invented the new holiday of Convictaa and will begin agitating immediately to have it introduced …

  • Clavos

    a week of thieving (borrowing), forgery, conning, drinking, fornicating, speaking treasonously, and refusing to accept any demands put upon us by authority figures. Actually, that’s just a normal week Down Under.

    You Aussies sure know how to party!!

  • D’oh

    STM says – “I have now officially invented the new holiday of Convictaa and will begin agitating immediately to have it introduced … ”

    I second that emotion and move for passing without objections…

    I’ve said ti before, and I’ll say it again…Mother England had three sons

    the “good son” – Canada…polite and goodhearted to it’s collective soul

    the “naughty son” – Australia…proof that the downtrodden, the political agitators, thieves and Irish are better people than most

    and “the bastard son” – U.S. – what happens when you mix Puritans with just about everything else too far away for Mama ta spank…

    but I digress…

  • STM

    Doh … you forgot the kiwis. They hate being left out

  • D’oh

    Thought they were grandkids…but good point.

    heh…

    Let me see if I don’t have some goodie fer a cobber ta taste…

    the Tao of D’oh.

  • SHARK

    This article is a piece of shit; not work the digital paper it’s printed on. It has no humor, no satire, no irony, no imagination, no originality — and its point is about as subtle and interesting as a case of Ebola.

    It inspired one of those moments when I say to myself, “Jeesus, I hate that these people are on ‘my side.'”

    …Which is why I prefer the term Liberal Reactionary Situationalist to all others.

    =====

    re: Cat Stevens – the only time I’d hear that crap in the 70s: we’d end up at some yahoos house after a concert, an anti-war march, or a hedonistic drug-addled orgy in the local park. Some dopey chick or dude would put on a Cat album — and I’d KNOW at once that our Host was what we used to term a “jesus freak”. At the first strains of “Peace Train”, SHARK would jump thru an open wiindow screaming.

    It still gives me the creeps when I hear it.

    =====

    Re: Dave Vox Populi Nalle’s opinion on anything: Y’know, after NALLE LIED and ALTERED OLD COMMENTS TO COVER IT UP, I really have a hard time reading anything he writes. I don’t take it seriously anymore. It’s like he’s feeling SO FUCKING GUILTY that he’s gotta pop into every thread and say the equivalent of “Hi everybody! Anybody want some candy?”

    Either that, or he’s posting some EXTREMELY well-researched, well-balanced, semi-non-partisan new essay of importance to the universe in order to distract from his NEW ROLE as A DECEPTIVE LYING FRAUD.

    That’s kinda too bad. I miss actually reading his stuff and taking it seriously.

    signed,
    SHARK <–the only name i’ve ever used

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    Shark must have been looking in a mirror when he wrote the first comment. Shark, are you driven by cheap whiskey or crystal meth?

  • Clavos

    He’s driven by his new crusade…

  • Clavos

    the “good son” – Canada…polite and goodhearted to it’s collective soul

    Except, of course, for the Quebecois.

    But then, they are not sons of Mother England…

  • Baronius

    STM – I love that list. It kills me that you put forgery before drinking (to improve the quality of the counterfeiting) and sex after drinking (because we usually make our bad decisions with some alcohol in our bloodstreams). You’ve used this list before, haven’t you?

  • D’oh

    It’s tattooed on the back of their necks when they graduate school.

    the Tao of D’oh.

  • SHARK

    re: “…a week of thieving (borrowing), forgery, conning, drinking, fornicating, speaking treasonously, and refusing to accept any demands put upon us by authority figures.”

    We have one in the US.

    It was originally called “Mardi Gras”.

    Last year, it was called “Katrina”.

    Yer welcome!

  • Marcia L. Neil

    According to historical accounts, the U. S. also has no tolerance for foreign troops amassed at the borders. Because the atomic bomb and perhaps ICBMs as well were originally intended to crack glaciers or fill the Niagara Falls river basin, Iran is in the spotlight as a possible “how do you like it?” putative force.

  • Zedd

    Baronious

    Democracy is our religion.

  • Zedd

    STM

    KWAANZA is non of your business really.

    Please compare that holiday to a celebration of a virgin birth and because of that we go shopping and put gifts under a tree IN THE HOUSE and we tell children that a fat man dressed in a red fur outfit, riding rein deer, came through the chimney and put them there. OR a man who dies and comes back alive three days later so we hide eggs and put them in baskets and dress like large rabbits (in the US). I understand that in Australia its a large rat looking mammal.

    Mind you, I am a Christian but come on…. None of this sounds all that sane now does it?

    Kwanza celebrates and highlights principles. Each day celebrates a principle. I haven’t celebrated it yet but it think its a noble idea. It doesn’t matter what country the person who thought of it came from.

    You are not Jewish and you celebrate the life of a Jew.

    Just being myself… Sorry :o)

  • Tedd

    Zedd

    You are so clever.

    Zedd

    he he he he

  • S.T.M

    Hello Zedd … yes, you’re right about fat men in red suits etc. I still think Kwanzaa might be better if it actually really related to African/American heritge. And of course it’s my business … what happens if I go to the US and have to buy someone a Kwanzaa pressie?

  • Baronius

    Zedd, it’s true that I shouldn’t care about holidays I don’t celebrate. Sure, Kwanzaa is silly, but a lot of things are silly.

    But Kwanzaa really bugs me, and here’s why: it’s being marketed as an alternative to Christmas. The US has some ethnic holidays, like Columbus Day. We have some religious holidays, like Hanukkah and Christmas. Hanukkah and Christmas schedules don’t conflict, because they represent belief systems that don’t overlap. But Kwanzaa is an ethnic holiday being pushed as a replacement for a religious holiday. It’s as if celebrating Christmas isn’t an authentic experience for a black American.

  • Zedd

    Baronius

    No its not supposed to be a replacement for Christmas at all. It has nothing to do with Christmas or replacing religion. It support religion. Its secular but spiritual in its effect. It may have begun as an alternative to Christmas but right now its not. It took some of the good things from Hanukkah and added some core African values, which are actually African American values. Why should it bother you??

    It celebrates and emphasizes Unity, Self Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Whats silly about that??

    Again come on…. a man who is born of a virgin, a star that leads men who walk across the world, a fat man in a red fur suite, talking angels, flying rein deer, entering and departing through a chimney, a choir of angels in the sky yet no one asks questions…… Ummmmm now which sounds silly??

    Again, I’m a christian and a committed one too but as for what sounds silly or even rational………..

    Rituals don’t have to be European approved to be legit.

    STM

    Why would you get someone a Kwanzaa gift. I mean it would be sweet, especially if they didn’t celebrate Christmas and if its a client, it would be a home run out of the park but under normal circumstances, most Whites don’t get Black people Kwanzaa gifts. Also it could be offensive, if the person doesn’t celebrate it.

  • Baronius

    I apologize for going way off-topic here. If anyone wants to return, feel free.

    What’s so silly about lighting a candle in remembrance of “Purpose”? I can’t imagine anything sillier. The fact is, nearly every ritual is absurd. People just don’t think of good ones very often. That’s why everything from folk masses to “Survivor” torch-extinguishing ceremonies have that air of the ridiculous.

    “Rituals don’t have to be European” – of course not. Conan O’Brien does a very funny routine about European holidays: “on this day every year we put on wet clothes and go to bed early”. I’m not endorsing Christmas on behalf of the brightly-dressed elves. Any time a secular holiday nudges out a religious holiday, I’m offended. Even when that secular holiday is modern, mall-oriented Christmas.

    The only way for Kwanzaa to succeed is for it to crowd out Christmas. You’ve said that was its original purpose. I’m opposed to it on that grounds.