Sunday, February 19, 2012

Half Of What You See and None Of What You Hear

"Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear."
If people followed the old axiom of believing only half of what you see, and none of what you
hear, I think it would be a lot less likely that we would find the US at war with Iran.
On second thought, maybe that's exactly why the US finds itself on a path to war with Iran.

Our leaders don't believe anything that Iran says, and apparently only believe half of what
they are able to see either with inspections or their own intelligence surveillance.

Unfortunately, when the public is bombarded with messages that demonize Iran and screech that
someone has to STOP them before it's too late, it appears that most of us tend to follow the dominant narrative. (wow, did I just write that, I don't talk like that..."dominant narrative" what the heck is that? oh well)

Do any of us ever stop to consider what gives the USA the right to determine who has nuclear
weapons?  And, while considering that, try to remember that the USA remains the only country to ever actually detonate a nuclear weapon against another country.  The argument is often presented that "those crazy Mullahs don't respect life the way we do, and can't be trusted" so they definitely
should not get anywhere close to having nuclear weapons.

But do any of you remember what we used to call the "Evil Empire"?  You know, the Soviet Union?
The Soviet Union collapsed back in 1991, but from about 1949 until then, we somehow were able to
live with the Soviet Union possessing nuclear weapons.  The Soviets were presented as the worst
thing imaginable, yet they managed NOT to use a nuclear weapon against their mortal enemy in all
those years.  And how about the other members of the nuclear club - United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel (unacknowledged).

What would be so different about Iran having nuclear weapons, if indeed that is actually what they
are pursuing?

Why does the leadership in the USA ignore the findings of its own intelligence agencies, which have
stated that (and you can read it yourself here
"Judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. Judge
with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (DOE and the NIC have moderate
confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear weapons
program.) Assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear
weapons. Judge with high confidence that the halt was directed primarily in response to increasing
international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear
work. Assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the
option to develop nuclear weapons."

We don't hear anything that sounds like this coming from most of the top US officials.
We hear about red lines that can't be crossed, and options that are on the table, and
threats, and bad guys, and yes once again Al Qaeda.

Iran is a signatory to the NPT (,
and as such has the right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes.  Iran has inspectors from
the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) checking their facilities for compliance, and has not been shown to be not in compliance.

Is there anything that Iran could do that would make the US and its allies feel happy and secure?  There has been so much hysteria whipped up, it's doubtful that anything Iran could do or say, short of surrendering their sovereignty, would make much difference. 

The US remains sadly in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "the largest purveyor of violence in the world", but somehow we behave as if we're scared witless of a country with limited military capabilities.

But getting back to that NIE referenced above, are we really going to go back down the road of
attacking another country regarding non-existent weapons of mass destruction?  I recognize that
it's difficult when the majority of the media is hyping the supposed threat of a nuclear Iran
to not be swept along with the tide.  But folks...we've seen this movie before.

Where does the trajectory of this thinking lead us?  Are we to preemptively invade every country
that wants to have nuclear power?  Or just the countries that we deem to be unfriendly?

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I'm told that the only constant thing in the universe is change.
Now I tend to be a creature of habit.  I like things to be consistent.
I'm not usually a big fan of change.

I remember worrying about whether I would like the latest album by my favorite group.
I didn't want the sound to change.  And I remember how I would feel relieved when the sound may have been different, but it was still something that I liked.  And then I would worry about the sound of
the next album.

But instead of worrying, I should have thought of it as a new opportunity.  A new door opening
to something which, while unknown could be a path to grow and gain new experiences.
Now there are plenty of changes that happen in our lives which are much more significant than
what our favorite group's next album sound might be.

Maybe the ownership of our company changes.  Perhaps we get a new boss.  We see the end of one
relationship and the start of a new one.

It's not always easy to look at change as being a good thing.  But often there's opportunity
available if we open ourselves up to the possibilities.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Might of Right

We've all heard the saying "Might Makes Right".  And as much as we want to believe that we're a civilized society, everything seems to come back to that.  Much lip service is paid to the "Rule of Law", but often those with power completely ignore laws when they become inconvenient. 

Along with persuasive arguments to convince others of the merits of an idea, when resistance or opposition is encountered, the power elite resort to force..."Might Makes Right".

It doesn't always have to be overt and brutal.  When you have the resources of the power elite, you are able to manipulate public opinion and manufacture consent before you have to bring in brute force.  The power elite can pay their media servants to make their case eloquently and with arguments that sound eminently logical.  But it doesn't necessarily make it right.

The rightness of a thing is usually derived from the consent of the people in things that are more or less universally agreed upon.  Like, I think we would find universal agreement on it being a good idea to have clean water available for everyone.

But the power elite may have an interest in taking actions which threaten the safety of the water supply (fracking comes to mind).  And in order to take such actions it becomes necessary to provide a counter argument, that these actions will actually produce some beneficial result. So, their media servants are unleashed to convince the public that something demonstrably BAD, is OK to do, because they will tell us it produces jobs, or it lessens our dependence on foreign sources of energy, or some other logical argument.