Archive for June 21st, 2010

Soccer’s Rise, America’s Decline

June 21st, 2010 No comments

I had fun with my German students today as I informed them of right-wing attacks on the game of soccer by Glenn Beck and others. As Rachel Maddow suggested, is xenophobia really at the root of this powerful anti-soccer sentiment?

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It seems that with every new World Cup tournament, more Americans get sucked into the excitement that the rest of the world has been feeling all along. To me, this seems like a sign that America is opening itself up and allowing itself to join the rest of the world community in watching a competition that, unlike the summer Olympics, it doesn’t actually have a good chance of winning.

Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer American football, and I’m just as frustrated by soccer’s low-scoring and all-too-frequent ties as the next guy. But it is encouraging to me that Americans are finally allowing themselves to get sucked into a sport in which a “World Championship” doesn’t just mean we include teams from Canada.

It’s no big secret that America’s run as sole superpower is approaching its end, and that we’ll probably be just another second-rate world power by the next century. Then we’ll finally have to compete on the world stage with a soccer ball as opposed to cruise missiles and smart bombs. If right-wingers can’t get over their need to see America kick the crap out of other countries, they’ll just have to look to our athletes instead of our military.

Ambassador Ginsberg wants war with Iran

June 21st, 2010 No comments

According to our ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg, the U.S. has done such a poor job of containing Iran that Iran is effectively containing us! They’ve played the diplomacy game so well that their new “northern alliance” including Syria, Hezbollah, and now Turkey puts them in a perfect position to finally start that war they’ve been after:

Reports out of Syria after the summit indicate that Hezbollah is primed to provoke a preemptive crisis with Israel to open a “northern front” against Israel should Iran be convinced Israel is preparing to attack it. The pieces are in place: Iran has shipped to Syria SCUD and M-600 ground-to-ground missiles capable of reaching every major Israeli population center and talk of war is in the air.

Never mind that Iran knows it would be crushed and ground into dust if it goes after Israel—the invasion force is gathering. Israel is in dire peril unless…

Unless what, Ambassador? A pre-emptive nuclear strike on the part of the U.S.? That would be a great idea. What could possibly go wrong? We all know how much the rest of the world loved our pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, and just how well that worked out for us. Military action in Afghanistan, too, has obviously been tremendously beneficial to the U.S. and made us all more safe.

I’m sure the rest of the Muslim world would understand if we were to nuke Iran. I’m sure none of them would go rushing to join Al Quaeda in their jihad against the west. A nuclear strike against Iran would make us all much safer.

Never mind that Ahmedenijad, Khamenei, and the rest of the evil bastards who run that illegitimate government would probably escape unharmed while millions of innocent Iranians—many of whom were marching in the streets to protest that very government only a year ago—would be blown to smithereens. At least it would send a message that you’d better not fuck with Israel.

I think the world already understands that, Ambassador. And as awful as they are, I think the Iranian government understands it too. It’s to their benefit to take a strong posture against Israel and the West, but they know damned well that actually following through on their rhetoric would be suicide.

Rahm Emanuel’s thoughts on Barton’s apology

June 21st, 2010 No comments

Whenever I see Rahm Emanuel’s name in a headline I always prepare myself to get pissed off, but much to my shock I actually agree with him this time.

Rahm Emanuel says the GOP philosophy is to paint BP as the victim, pointing to Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP for what the congressman called a White House “shakedown.”

“That’s not a political gaffe, those are prepared remarks. That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here as BP, not the fishermen,”

Sure, the republicans ran scared when they saw what a terrible reaction Barton’s apology got, but it was a rare moment of honesty in which the republicans’ true feelings were actually on display. It’s encouraging that he had to walk back his statement and retract his apology, but we all know that he was being sincere the first time around, while the retraction was pure bullshit—a political calculation.

Hopefully the days are coming to an end when politicians can openly side with Big Business over the public interest, but I have a feeling the conservative (i.e. corporate) media will find a way to turn it around. Thanks to Limbaugh, many people already see BP as the aggrieved party and think the right response to the oil catastrophe is less government regulation and more drilling.

Rahm is right—the Republican Party is firmly on the side of Big Oil and will do whatever it can to help BP mitigate its financial damages.

But what Rahm doesn’t say is that most of the Democratic Party is on the side of Big Oil as well, and while they’ll attack BP with strong rhetoric with one hand, they’ll be making back-room deals to BP’s benefit with the other. I hope I’m wrong.

Israel Eases Gaza Blockade

June 21st, 2010 No comments

This is definitely the most positive story of the day. The blockade on Gaza was a gross overreach on the part of the Israeli government, and I’m glad they’re finally pulling back. I understand the need Israelies feel to protect themselves, but slowly starving an entire population only militarizes the Palestinians further and ensures that the rest of the Muslim world continues to hate them, and the U.S. by extension.

The fact that international pressure has finally forced Israel to ease the blockade shows just how wrong America’s approach has been. By blindly supporting the government of Israel no matter how right-wing and self-destructive it is, the U.S. has damaged both itself and Israel. By attempting to weaken Hamas, both our governments have effectively strengthened it.

We’ve been so concerned with being a good friend to Israel that we’ve actually been the opposite. If your best friend is engaging in self-destructive behavior—drug use, for example—a good friend wouldn’t support that behavior. The right thing to do, as a friend, is to step in and tell them when they’ve gone too far.

Categories: Political Tags: , , ,

Blog 3.0: The Plan

June 21st, 2010 No comments

So here’s how I hope this is going to work:

Seeing as how I suffer from a major disadvantage in the blogosphere of being at least 6 hours ahead of the rest of my country, I can’t exactly comment on stories as they break. Instead I wake up in the morning and learn about everything that happened during America’s prime-time, the time when I’m asleep.

Because I have to go to work in the morning I can’t take the necessary time to both read and comment on my blog, and because I have no iphone I can’t blog during breaks in my workday.

So I’ll pick a few stories each morning that I’ll then come back to in the afternoon and comment on, one after another, each in its own separate post.

Anyone reading from America can wake up in the morning and check my blog, where they’ll find my comments on a handful of stories they read about the previous day.

I hope that people will find my new blogging style both entertaining and illuminating. Naturally, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Categories: Personal Tags: