Cover of "Neither East Nor West: One Woma...

Cover via Amazon

I am not satisfied with the information that we receive in the US from our media about Iran. With some on the Right insisting that we or Israel must attack Iran, I am reading several books on the country to gain a better insight on possible peaceful solutions. The best of the books I am currently reading is Neither East Nor West, One Woman’s Journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran by Christiane Bird who also wrote a book entitled A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan about the Kurds of Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey and Western Iran. The Kurds are the most populous ethnic group in the world without a country to call their own. They have the misfortune to occupy a territory that is rich in oil that the three countries, Iran, Turkey and Iraq are unwilling to cede to the Kurds.

If you want to understand Iran more thoroughly in these turbulent times, I highly recommend Christiane Bird’s book. Another book that I wish I had in my possession to read is Kermit Roosevelt‘s Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran, first published in 1979 and long out of print. Roosevelt was FDR’s grandson and CIA station chief for Iran and surrounding countries. In his book, he related what dirty tricks the CIA used to bring down the freely elected Iranian government of  Mohammad Mosaddegh and restore the Shah to power. The Iranian people have not forgiven us for that, and it was part of the reason the US was referred to as the “Great Satan” after the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Kick the grenade

English: Osama bin Laden interviewed for Daily...

English: Osama bin Laden interviewed for Daily Pakistan in 1997; behind him on the wall is an AK-47 carbine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my response to an article I found on

A popular sport in the Middle East today is the game of kick the grenade. In practice, the game is played with the pin in the grenade, while in actual play the pin is removed. The object of the game is to kill or maim all of the opposing players until one team wins by the survival of one or more of its players. There are two leagues, the Iron Fist league and the Midwife league. Teams are organized by country and usually divided into Sunni and Shiite teams. The Sunni teams are owned by Saudi Arabia, and the Shiite teams are financed by Iran. Osama bin Laden was a star player on the Sunni, al-Qaeda team before his untimely death. At season’s end, the winning team receives the Pottery Barn Cup for one year’s possession. However, if you break it, you own it.

Not only is the sport dangerous to its participants, it is also dangerous to innocent spectators and referees. From time to time, outside countries such as the US and the coalition of the willing decide to take charge of the refereeing. Most recently there was international dissatisfaction with the job that Saddam Hussein was doing, and we replaced him, while trying to change the rules. In doing so, we managed to upset both the players and the spectators leading to a temporary breakdown in the rules. Now that the US and others have left Iraq, the game is returning to its original rules.

I support

living wage employer sticker at buffalo st. bo...

living wage employer sticker at buffalo st. books, now a cooperative business (Photo credit: arimoore)

I support

President Barack Obama
Reforming the GOP
Equal rights
Taxing the wealthy
A living wage
A woman’s right to choose
Equal rights for all
Freedom of speech
Freedom of religion
Gun control
Green energy
Rebuilding infrastructure
Uniform voting laws in all states
Peaceful negotiation with Iran
A Palestinian state
Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Economic assistance to people of Pakistan
Universal healthcare
Ending war on drugs.

Long gas lines

Uttercast: News Shortage?

Uttercast: News Shortage? (Photo credit: doughaslam)

If you have been watching TV coverage of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, you have probably noticed the long lines of motorists waiting to purchase gas for their vehicles. The lines are the result, not of shortages, but of the absence of electricity to power the gas pumps at the service stations. During 1973-74 and again in 1979, gas lines like the ones you are seeing in New Jersey and New York formed everywhere in the US because of actual shortages of gasoline. The shortages were relatively small, 6%+, but there was panic buying. Short tempers caused fights to break out in lines as some motorists tried to jump ahead of others who had been waiting longer.

What you are seeing today in a small part of the country could be the future of the entire country, if we or Israel bomb Iran. The mere threat of Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz could create shortages and send gas prices soaring. The US Navy may be able to keep shipping safe in the area, but insurers will raise their rates immediately on ships in the area. The threat of an Iranian attack will be sufficient to keep some ship owners out of the area. If you do not want to spend time in lines awaiting your opportunity to buy gas in rationed quantities at high prices, tell your politicians not to attack Iran.

Please see Strait of Hormuz | Strait of Hormuz part 2 | Strait of Hormuz part 3

John Bolton

John Bolton - Caricature

John Bolton – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

There is speculation that if Mitt wins, he will name John Bolton as his Secretary of State. If true, I think that is one of the best reasons for not electing Mitt Romney. John Bolton is a Neocon who supported the war in Iraq and supports attacking Iran. Just moments ago on Megyn Kelly’s FOX News program, Bolton voiced the usual criticism of President Obama over the terrorist attack in Libya. In his opinion, Barack sees the world through blinders and Barack believes that the GWOT (Global War On Terror) is over. If that is true, how does Bolton explain the widespread use of drones throughout the Middle East and Pakistan?

Article on drones over Pakistan