Sunday, January 3, 2016

It begins, appropriately, with death!

 DDGD January 4, 2016

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Today’s Post is brought to you by…  The Pundfuckery Institute: Where you will learn how to fuckup, gracefully, and maintain your relevance despite your obvious stupidity.

The Delirica  

Considering the nature of our times, Saudi Arabia started the New Year in the most honest and appropriate way possible: with murder. Forty seven of them to be exact, including that of a prominent Shia cleric and human rights activists: Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Sheikh Al-Nimr’s stands on human rights were quite balanced, that is, he wasn’t just defending Shia rights in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but he also stood by the Syrian Revolutionaries, the majority of whom Sunnis, in their fight against the Alawite regime of Syria seen as part of the Sha camp. His death, therefore, is quite a blow, and is bound to further polarize the region along sectarian lines. Most of the other 47 executed were Sunnis who were accused of being extremists, as such the calculations involved in this move had a domestic as well as a regional component.

As Hassan Hassan, associate fellow at Chatham House and co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, pointed out in The Guardian, executing Nimr is Saudi’s message “to outsiders and locals alike that no matter what the world says authorities will condemn and execute those who cross the red lines.”

Not to be outdone by its regional rival, Iran started the year in its own no less appropriate way, that is, by resort of hypocrisy. This is how the spokesman for the Mullahs Foreign Ministry condemned the execution:

"The execution of a personality such as Sheikh Nimr who had no means other than speech to pursue his political and religious objectives only shows the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility."

Coming from a country that conducted close to 1,000 executions last year (against criminals and political opponents), and is knee-deep in supporting a regime that had been imprisoning, torturing, raping and liquidating prodemocracy activists and opposition members “who had no means other than speech” to pursue their goals, thus crushing the nonviolent protest movement, and plunging the country into civil war, this condemnation is not just any hypocrisy, it’s the pinnacle to hypocrisy. And when we consider that Iran is no less guilty of executing opponents, including Kurdish and Arab Ahwazi activists, and that it currently has 27 Sunni clerics on death row in its prisons, the term hypocrisy does ring hollow, especially we when also consider that the Ahwazis themselves whose identity and rights are subject to continuous suppression are Shia Arabs, yet Iran is still trying to project itself as a defender of the rights of the Shia Arabs of the region. Also, and with his vocal support of Syria’s revolution, Al-Nimr was taking stands against Iran’s policy of aligning with Assad and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

On the other hand, it’s important to bear in mind here as well that the comparison being made is between two ongoing contemporaneous forms of abuse; there is no attempt here to justify the actions taken by one side by claiming that the other side has “started it.” Nor is this an attempt to whitewash one side’s guilt by pointing to the other side’s similar tendencies. Rather, the point is to show how both sides, due to their own ideology, sense of identity and current perception of their interests, are busy perpetration certain quite similar abuses that warrant equal condemnation from those speaking in the name of human rights, as well as serious efforts at containment and redress by the international community, as condemnations by themselves change nothing.   

For the world is duplicitous in all this, because it had recently voted to give Saudi Arabia a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and because shortly before that it voted to legitimate a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, one that carried the promise of normalization even as Iran was busy supporting systematic mass murder and ethnic cleansing in Syria.

And the world is guilty, because it still fails to apply the standards of human rights evenly, or to even make a serious attempt in this connection, with some states condemning Iran, and others Saudi, on the basis of ideological belongings, material interests and geopolitical calculations, their own discourse, and the actions of these two states notwithstanding.

Indeed, there is enough guilt, blame and duplicity to go round and round and round fueling our current historical descent into the abyss.

Happy New Year Everyone!

The Deliricon

Plan B: An old invention by the punditocracy of democratic states meant primarily to save their face whenever their analyses, interpretations and predictions prove embarrassingly false, such as when they claim that a certain world leader plans to do A, when, in fact, he planned to do B all along. By claiming that this leader was somehow forced to resort to Plan B, members of the punditocracy avoid admitting that they earlier interpretations were wrong.

The Trumpoline: A political journey of self-discovery that involves repeated highs and lows, climax and anti-climax, all measured using an instrument known as the PAS, or the Pure Assholery Scale. A politician who embarks on this journey has to be an asshole to begin with. His moments of High Assholery usually coincide with his ability to inspire similar behavior among friends and enemies alike. Moments of low assholery, on the other hand, coincide with a more restricted ability to inspire imitation, usually involving only the faithful followers, and some of the most ardent enemies. Social mathematicians have recently developed the Assholery Flux Index (AFI) to describe the dynamics of ongoing rhythmic fluctuations of so-called Assholeric Behavior in politicians and other public figures, by monitoring the range of Assholeric micro-behaviors over time as being a function of Ego (E), Stupidity (S), Greed (G) and Unenlightened Indifference (UI). Or to put it in mathematical terms:

Where DoC stands for: Dawn of Consciousness, and IRQs for: Inherent Remedial Qualities.

Thus, each Assholery Flux Index corresponds to a particular range of Assholeric Behavior on the Pure Assholery Scale. An AFI >= 1 corresponds with a range of behavior that is severely anti-climactic in nature on PAS, while an AFI <= 10 corresponds with a range of behavior that is High or Climactic on PAS, and so on. 

The Daily Delirynth

Back on The Trumpoline: Al-Shabaab recruit video with Trump excerpt: U.S. is racist, anti-Muslim. There is nothing too surprising here really. Donald Trump’s behavior as a presidential candidate has been assigned an AFI >= 10 since the beginning of his campaign. It currently stands at 11.235, and still rising. At this stage, it seems to be already climaxing, but has not yet fully climaxed. Be that as it may, the previous American record of AFI 9.6, previously held by Richard Nixon, has been broken. People like David Duke, who might have seemed more ideologically “promising” during the time of their “rise,” have been held back by an Ego that could not fully break out of its shell. The interactive element of their Ego, that is, the element that required public feedback and external input, simply could not rise to “expectations.” Hence, they never scored higher than 5 on the Assholery Flux Index. 

Vladdipus Has A Plan, but which is it? Russia has a 'plan B' for Syria that would allow it to 'redefine the international order.' And what is this plan? What else? Creating a pro-Assad enclave under their control with Iranian support. But how is a revelation exactly? And why is it being called a plan B. It was my contention all along that Putin had a very specific plan for Syria and this was it.

…the real reason behind Putin’s move into Syria is not any sort of values affinity with Assad. Putin is here repeating what he previously did in Crimea and is still trying to do in Eastern Ukraine: take over and secure a territory that holds strategic significance for Russia. Russia has for long maintained a military base in the coastal city of Tartus, one which it updated and modernized shortly before the onset of the Syrian Revolution in March 2011.

This newest venture is not simply about safeguarding this base. Now that the Obama Administration has repeatedly shown how strongly it is committed to minimizing America’s military footprint in the world, Mr. Putin sees an opportunity for expanding and strengthening Russia’s presence along the Mediterranean, and for ensuring that the future of that presence is not dependent on anyone’s goodwill but is assured through Russian military might.

But if some want to plan-b it, so be it. The important thing is that the whole thing is coming out now, and people are beginning to discuss it openly. On the quiet frontier though, none of this is likely surprising or even unnerving to the Obama administration, and other Western powers. There is an old consensus that has been quietly building up in certain ideological circles, that such a challenge to the global borders, and by extension the international order, was bound to happen, and that getting out of the way is the smartest thing to do.

The problem I have always had with this line of thinking is the indifference it showed to the human toll of it all. Not that this “culling” process will have any serious impact on the herd, to be put it as offensively as possible seeing that offensiveness is the new normal these days (thank you Trumputin), for birthrates will continue to offset any such losses. The fight to impose certain redlines on mass violence should not have been abandoned. Mass violence is not inevitable. It’s our indifference and our restricted imagination that make it so. The diagnosis was right, but the prescribed treatment was all wrong.

As for Plan B, if anything the situation in eastern Ukraine shows that Putin seldom has one. He might thought, and this is only a speculation, that a compromise on the future of Assad in Syria might make the U.S. more amenable to give him some leeway in eastern Ukraine, enough to let him create an autonomous entity nominally still part of Ukraine but practically under his control, but, by coming around to his way of thinking on Assad, the U.S. seems to have taken that admittedly hypothetical card away from him.

Syriosis: Syria rebel group pulls out of coalitionFalaiq Al Sham will redeploy around Aleppo where pro-government forces have stepped up assaults.” I seriously don’t understand how anyone can expect rebels to keep on focusing on the fight against the Islamic State when no one is protecting their backs against attacks from Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies. Fickleness breeds fickleness and extremism more extremism. But this is the official policy of the Obama Administration.

Saudi-Iran Rift Threatens Syria Diplomacy “The latest bid to launch Syria peace talks is in jeopardy after Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran.” Rejoice Ye Hypocrites Of The World! Now you have something new on which to blame the impending failure of your meaningless talks.

Quote of the Day

“You can’t do it nicely. You can’t be moral when your mission is to occupy millions of people and deal every day with civilians as a soldier relying on force when they don’t want you.” --Achiya Schatz

Tweet(s) of the Day

Video(s) of the Day

Rebels claim to have blown up a T-90 Russian tank, one of Putin’s favorite deadly toys.


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