Pity Nominees

September 9, 2008

Pity Nominees


Back in 1996 when Bill Clinton was riding on a high popularity rating Republicans nominated Bob Dole and Bob Dole elected Jack Kemp to become his VP.


In 2008 the air somehow feels the same.  In 1996 it was pretty obvious that Clinton would be re-elected and no one wanted to seriously challenge him.  So Republicans threw Dole a bone to get rid of him and send him off to retirement at the same time.  Kill two birds with one stone.


Dole who realized his huge underdog status and was too old to put up a good campaign selected Jack Kemp to pump up the energy.  His platform was based on telling people don’t elect Clintons because you’d have 4 more years of scandals.


Well we had 4 more years of scandals that made history!  How fun was that?  World was at peace, economy was good and news was “All Monica ALL the time”! We went through impeachment of a President for only the 2nd time in history.  The basis of the kangaroo court was lying about oral sex.


The aftermath was funnier.  Republicans leaders fell one by one for worse sexual escapades than Clinton’s staining a dress.  They all apologized and resigned in disgrace.  To top it all off Bob Dole became the spokesman for Viagra!


Now 12 years later many of the talking heads and pundits are the ones who made their careers because of Clinton.  Most people in Fox News and MSNBC and the likes of Ann Coulter became famous during the “All Monica ALL the time” period.  Maybe you recognize some of them.


Today not only Republicans have a less than popular president but his approval rating is only second to none other than Nixon who resigned the office!  So the atmosphere is the same as in 1996.  Democrats are in a good position and Republicans found someone to throw another bone to and send off to retirement.


McCain just like Dole doesn’t have the stamina to run another campaign so he elects Palin to energize the crowds.  Palin herself can be a subject of another article all by itself.  The inexperience, the “populist” message that they keep pushing, the Miss America aspirations and pot calling kettle black, all and all a very intriguing strategy.  By the way, Ahmadinejad portrayed himself as a “populist” and we all know what happened next.  If you look back many of those who portray themselves a “populist” turn out the opposite.  Bush himself is another example with his cowboy boots and “guy you like to have a beer with” message.


McCain/Palin’s message is Obama’s inexperience like Dole/Kemp’s message was four more years of scandals.  Since we replaced “fun” with “scandals” we can easily replace “change” with “inexperience” and hope for 4 good years of Obama.


The Obama/Biden ticket is positioned well but the Republican’s machine is a well oiled machine that has come through 2 close and controversial races in 2000 and 2004.


Obama/Biden ticket needs to stay on message and not get distracted.  If controversies pop up take advantage of it like Bill Clinton did.  Use it to your advantage but stay on course.  Don’t be afraid and don’t rock the boat.  If at all possible don’t engage in pissing contests like Kerry did when he was being swift-boated.  He kept saying he doesn’t need lectures on bravery from someone who dodged the draft.


McCain/Palin should hope for a miracle but plan for a retirement party into the sunset.  Maybe in Key West with margarita songs.  If for some freak of nature they win I just hope they realize it was an upset and don’t say what Bush said when he threatened people by saying he had earned political capital by winning the election and he intends to use it.



August 12, 2008

 Arrogance is not a US naturalization requirement.  I know after you become a US citizen some of your American friends and coworkers say that they expect to see more arrogance and attitude from you, but that is really a joke.  You know that right?

It is really annoying to see this kind of attitude from some of our beloved Iranian-Americans.  Not just us, when I see another hyphenated American with heavy accent get on TV and express his/her expert opinion on say economy, it is really something when you hear them say; well ______ (his/her country, fill in the blank) is now ahead of “us” in economy in many respects.  What we need to do is address _______ (his/her country) role in world economy head on, take the “cow” by the horn “sort of speaking” and don’t allow “them” to ignore “us”. Again imagine seeing that in a heavy accent.  Isn’t that annoying?!


The other day I had to again participate in another divorce ceremony where the couple had to use the services of an “Agha” who is an Iranian mullah (most likely an Iranian-American mullah :-), usually in suit and approved by the Iranian Govt to perform religious ceremonies such as aghds, weddings or divorces.


I’ve become an expert witness in these things and am starting to think about charging people for it.  You know in these religious ceremonies a minimum of 2 men are required and a man is worth 2 women.  Many of our men either don’t care for these traditions or find it beneath them and think they are too “civilized” to do it and ridicule those who do. Our women don’t want to sign their name as half a man either and who can blame them?  So yours truly comes to the rescue and gladly sign my name without hesitation.  After all it is the couple’s business not mine, I’m only there to help a friend.


Now back to our story.  I was in this Agha’s living room with the blessed divorcees and the ex-husband’s brother as the witness.  Everything was going well and we were having tea and cookies and waiting our turns to sign these documents which everyone clearly examines as if they are Iran’s response to the 5 + 1 nuclear incentive package.  I put up a show of interest but of course I really don’t give a hoot! I even asked Agha about a “clarification” to show everyone how concerned I am and how a simple mistake could cost people their future.  Of course there is no mistake and the Agha explains the issue to me while I finish my 2nd cup of tea.


The ex-husband’s brother and I sign our names as witnesses and then it was the ex-husband’s turn to sign who by the way has another wedding coming up which was a topic of a side discussion with the Agha and if he could get a discount now that he was doing his divorce with him too.


Suddenly he rolled his eyes and asked Agha about the part where he was supposed to claim his country of citizenship.  Agha told him that he had to say Iran which made the man suddenly jump up his seat and claim he is no longer an Iranian citizen since he became a US citizen and wants to put USA as his country of citizenship.  Are you freaking kidding me?!


Agha told him that the divorce will not be valid because only the Iranian Parliament can strip his Iranian citizenship via a ‘vote’ and in order for that to happen he needs to complete an application and send it to Iranian Parliament for action and that could take years and they probably won’t approve it anyway.  The guy deflated and promptly complied and said ok if that is the case he’ll sign it, as if he was looking for a justification and the excuse was good enough.

I see this kind of arrogance over and over again from all races and backgrounds.  I mentioned this story since we are Iranians but it is really not a positive.  It is sad to think you need to worsen your image and consider it an improvement.  Stay cool and true to your heritage.  You’ll look and sound better.



Preventing another war

July 10, 2008

Preventing another war.


We often hear the argument that Iran’s regime is the worst in history and all Iranians should focus their energy and efforts to bring down this regime.  American media is also filled with rhetoric against Iran and additional terms used after 9/11 such as Islamo-Facists which is commonly used by those who know nothing about Iran or the region.


When Bush went to war with Iraq we all know by now that he cherry picked the intelligence reports and even relied on false intelligence and information.  His last option for Saddam was that he and his sons should leave the country or else.  He also used Saddam’s ruthless behavior as another basis for wanting to free Iraqis from his dictatorship and bring them democracy.  Something he was dead set against, nation building, during his 2000 presidential campaign, but that’s another subject all by itself.


We are now faced with yet another campaign to start another war with Iran.  The premise is always the same, diplomacy is our first option.  What diplomacy are we talking about?  Israeli war games in the Mediterranean or US war games in Persian Gulf? Just because we listen to drummed up diplomacy by the Bush administration doesn’t mean that everyone, including many in US Govt or media agree with it.


There are enough outlets in America to have understood what NIE report said, how we ended up in Iraq war and how dangerous it is to continue this path.  Others simply believe what they are being fed. Iran is a pariah and all roads end up in Rome.  Any discussion should keep this basis as a matter of fact.


Iran can’t be trusted but US and Israeli foreign policy can be trusted.  The only reason US is not at war with Iran is because of the massive failure in Iraq and not having enough boots to walk in Iran, otherwise Bush and Cheney’s dream of regime change their way in Iran would have had come to fruition.  The only reason we see diplomacy with Europeans, not Iranians, is because US lost all of its legitimacy in the world and the only reason you see Europeans not saying much is because they don’t want to embarrass US any more.


They want to exercise and war games as much as they want and as soon as Iran tests some missiles, they cry foul.  Are US or Israel expecting their bombs and missiles to just hit the nuclear targets and destroy everything without anyone saying anything?  Is that how it goes?! Same attitude was used in Lebanon and how much did it cost Israel? It is obvious that US military is no match for Iran.  It was obvious in Iraq.  But what did that get the US? What happened to all the promises made prior to the war? How much is oil now? How much did US spend in Iraq and how much more is it going to be spent?


Now another side of the story is about Iran’s violation of human rights and women’s rights and so on.  Well, that is a problem for Iran.  Women’s groups are fighting in Iran.  One of them won the Nobel peace prize and the fight goes on.  Did they ask for foreign military help?  Do they even know how to use foreign military help?  Let us fight our own battles.  There have been far worse regimes in the Iran and the world in the past, present and future.


When you compare Iran to fascism, you are being charitable to fascists.  People in Iran are living their lives and are the best allies of America in the region.  Better than Israel who wants to keep the war going in the region.  Who in America knew about Shiites and Sunnis?  It is time to face the realities and stop talking about war if you really want peace.


Iranians brought down one dictatorship and can deal with existing and future ones.  It just takes time but it is our right to do it ourselves.  Of course people can claim to do it for us, but they are just as mistaken thinking by turning Iran’s clock back by 30 years they can bring peace to the region.  Unless of course you are willing to kill millions of souls and if you’re willing to do that, then why are we wasting our time and talking about it?  No sense in talking about pre-emptive strike killing millions.  It is just as dead of an idea as giving legitimacy to racism and sexism.  We’re supposed to look to future not to past, ask for peace not war. If you want peace don’t start a war.

THE Greatest!

July 8, 2008

THE Greatest!


I remember it was the mid 70s.  I was in 8th or 9th grade when they changed the educational programs, so I was in 1st or 2nd rahnamy-ee. Lunch boxes were in fashion and kids had different kinds.  There were 1 level, 2 levels and up to 4 and sometimes 5 levels lunch boxes or as we called them, ghablame-yee.


On the multiple level lunch boxes, 1st level would be for rice, 2nd level for khoresht (stew), 3rd level for salad and 4th level for deserts, and 5th level would be for fruits and other stuff.  If you had fewer levels you’d bunch things up.  Mine was 2 level, 1st level for the food, 2nd level for deserts and snacks and stuff.


When the lunch bell rang we would run to the yard and everyone get their lunch boxes and sit next to your friends and chow down and talk about school, teachers and sports and stuff.


Live TV was a new thing and they were showing live sporting events, such as World Cup and boxing.  Muhammad Ali was a popular sports figure in Iran and people loved him.  He was followed with great interest and when they started showing his live matches; interest in him just went to another level.


The live boxing broadcasts were in the middle of the night, like 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning but it didn’t matter.  We would gladly wake up and follow his every move and have a great time.  At times we wouldn’t go back to bed for the remainder of the night and just discuss the match and be happy when he won and sad when he lost.


In the morning when we got to school the first thing we’d talk about was Ali and his fight the night before.  We could not stop talking about him and his moves and his foot dance around the ring.


During lunch we’d talk about the match exclusively and some of us would get up and start shadow punching and the rest of us would hurry up to finish up the lunches and start boxing with each other.  Halfway through the lunch break, all the students would finish their lunches and you’d see everyone in the yard either shadow boxing alone or with each other! Kids would not play the usual soccer or other games and just box in the yard.


We loved him.  We really, really loved him.  The mornings after he lost there were no shadow boxing in the yard and we were in discussion on how the referee did not see the low blow or that he had a cold or something.  We’d then talk about his early years when we were younger and had some faint memory of him trash talking.  When we couldn’t remember his old days, we’d remember the TV reports prior to his new games about his past and his trash talking or clowning around and toying with his opponent in the ring.  So in the mornings after his losses we’d be trash talking instead of shadow boxing.


In the late 70s I moved to America for school and it coincided with his retirement but the memories of those days are always with me.  Muhammad Ali is the one man who is respected all around the world.  No one is more universally known or respected than Muhammad Ali.  He is in fact THE Greatest!


I hope to get a chance to visit The Muhammad Ali Center one day and I hope to share my story in their guest book.