abba's way, barack obama, obama, politics, theology

Democracy Posts

Alleged Democracy April 18, 2011
Alleged Democracy – Free Verse by Stephen C. Rose. In an alleged democracy where 45 percent pay no taxes at all we are condemned to a slow death unless fairness seeps back into an elevated consciousness
Tremble Iran April 14, 2011
Pro-Democracy Will Win Out In Iran. There is an ontological reality to democracy because it is a universal willed value. It is our commonality writ large in the cosmos. For this reason Iran will fall before its power.
Journalists Abused April 12, 2011
Free journalism is the lifeblood of democracy. Human Rights counsel aimed at the Palestinian Authority should be a template for the protection of all journalists on the front lines of the democratic revolution worldwide.
Supreme Court April 4, 2011
Vulgar Court – Quatrain by Stephen C. Rose. In The New Yorker Comment “Money Talks”, Jeffrey Toobin describes the assault on Democracy by our shameful Supreme Court.
Global Triage March 15, 2011
Global Triage. Abba’s Way – Tolerance, Helpfulness, Democracy, Non-Idolatry and Daily Use of The Lord’s Prayer Is The Antidote to Corporate Global Self Slaughter

How Things Are in Iran on The Eve of Destruction

Wow. Here it is.



The government is revving up, too. It is installing speakers on the streets to drown out our cries of “down with the dictator” with cries of “down with the USA.” But instructions on how to rip the wires off the speakers have exploded throughout the Internet, and our voices rise from countless throats.

It tries to deny our existence in the provinces far from the cities, with oil dollars, Chinese tear gas, and Russian hackers helping make the point; telephones are tapped, activists imprisoned, a stroll down the street and we are faced with gangs of Basij and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iranians can watch MTV and pornography on satellite television, but the BBC and Voice of America have been jammed. The Internet has been reduced to a trickle, newspapers shut down.

When the government kicked out foreign reporters and imprisoned the local ones, we turned on our phone cameras, holding them up while dodging batons and sniffling through tear gas, trying not to trample each other while running from their blows.

The government blocked Facebook and news sites, but Web sites have been blocked for ages in Iran, and the computer students are all over the place with their backpacks filled with flash drives and proxy programs, always a step ahead of the bearded dinosaurs and their dying ideologies.

Death sentences are being passed out to scare the people off, and this time around, they have given up on the intellectuals and are sentencing 20-somethings to death for throwing rocks at soldiers bearing guns. But every street bears the name of a martyr, every house has a lost one from either the Iran-Iraq War or the revolution, and martyrdom compels us to carry on. “We are all Sohrab, we are all Neda” is our motto.



Moment of Truth In Afghanistan, Iran, Israel-Palestine, SE Asia, Africa, FSU Afghan War Needs New Strategy: US Commander McChrystal

I include many areas where the world faces huge challenges, including the former Soviet Union (FSU).

We make a mistake when we segment challenges. One boat rocks others. We may not be gaia but there is some truth to our interdependence.

In all these situations, violence is active or incipient. In all of them, there is no solution being proposed that promises an end to the prospect of more of the same.

To cite examples:

There is every possibility that Iran will remain firm in refusing to stop enriching uranium and this will activate Israel eventually. If that happens the US may not be far behind.

There is every chance that the civil violence (if that is not an oxymoron) in many areas of the FSU will continue and that worsening economic conditions there will exacerbate conflict. Again involving other nations including the US.

In Africa there are at least five situations in which any notion of rights and decent behavior is a pipe dream without international action that would involve the US.

In Asia, Burma and Sri Lanka are merely the most conspicuous examples of continuing repression. I have not even mentioned North Korea.

And in Afghanistan we have the head US military man suggesting that with more resolve and manpower we can succeed — a truth that is no more likely to hold than the belief that Iraq will be a stable and unified democracy over time.

No serious thinker following Nietzsche and living through the Holocaust believes that the world can permanently weather a continuation of the dynamics which gave rise to the cataclysmic wars of the 20th Century.

We cannot weather full economic breakdown and a global nuclear winter.

How then are we to proceed?

I see no way other than for our President to declare a global emergency and address the underlying issue of a global military-industrial complex and a reliance on force that is fueled by governments still operating with 20th century notions that the sword is the instrument of peace and justice.

President Obama needs to declare a restructuring of the moral apparatus of the world. Realpolitik must be seen as the politics of negotiation and peace. Religion must be seen as the proximate capacity to dream, not as a license to kill. Economies must be made to create sustainable communities, not fortress societies.

Only the leadership of courageous persons can accomplish the movement needed today. Specifically, in Afghanistan we need to understand that there cannot be a military victory, period. In the future the only real victories will be those of aroused peoples who insist that the ways of war be permanently shelved. This will mean more movements like those in Iran following the most recent elections.

The President needs to stand at the helm of a global civil rights movement. He needs to show that realism is not inconsistent with this. He needs to hark back to Eisenhower and identify the military-industrial complex as the true enemy of civilization.

This is a moment of truth. This is not one person’s belief. It is the stance of all who have lived under the lash of the global war machine. We must reject the leadership of those for whom belief in force has overcome belief in themselves.

The moment of truth is a reappropriation of who we are and of our inherent possibilities.


Iran Concocts Falsehoods to Gloss Over Real Divisions

This is part of the government push back pure and simple. Since the world did not know the depth of division in Iran until the election was upon us, the notion that the aftermath was planned is suspect on its face. We are at the beginning of a protracted effort which will eventually result in the collapse of the theocratic state.

Is Iran Coercing Reformer Confessions?

Reports on Iranian Web sites associated with prominent conservatives said that leading reformers have confessed to taking velvet revolution “training courses” outside the country. Alef, a Web site of a conservative member of Parliament, referred to a video of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice president in the reform government of former President Mohammed Khatami, as showing that he tearfully “welcomed being defrocked and has confessed to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, Mojtaba Zolnour, said in a speech Thursday that almost everyone now detained had confessed — raising the prospect that more confessions will be made public. Ayatollah Khamenei is supreme religious leader.


Iran’s False Sense of Security

Iran’s False Sense of Security

I well remember the letdown we felt after the 1960s when it seemed we were entering what I then called a minor dark age. History is cyclical and I thought then that it would take until 2020 for things to swing back to a time when what we called a beloved community was possible. This was the grail of the civil rights movement.

A similar letdown is being experienced in Iran I am sure.


But President Obama was utterly correct to tie Iran’s future to the arc of history which bends always to justice. It is not unlikely that the time of change in Iran will be measured in months instead of years. We do not know now whether the result in Iran will be the creation of a year-long struggle that will definitively unseat the current two headed excuse for fair governance and replace it with one that respects the rights of all and does not use repressive violence on the country’s citizens; or whether the current terror will last for generations, an anomaly in a world that one hopes will see things differently.

I shudder to think what a Bush administration reaction to Iran’s situation would have been. More Nedas, no doubt.

The Obama administration has been better than one might have hoped in sounding the chimes of freedom without turning them into saber rattling. The Obama administration has also signaled that it will not be killing civilians in Afghanistan. It is, in short, making the right moves. The turning of the arc of justice depends on forces that are closer to what we might designate as god within persons, the courageous impulses of those under the lash of repression. It seems to me that Iran is continuing to do just what people like Bull Connor did in this country to try to impede the march of justice. Bull failed and so will Iran’s two-headed excuse for a government.