Iranian government overthrown by peaceful pro-democracy protesters, jubilant Iranians elect Obama as their next leader, Ahmadinejad flees to North Korea.
Well, that’s more interesting than my usual Friday “Through Thick and Thin” headline, eh? While I have written a fun post about the battle of Stirling Bridge, possibly history’s best example of why accountants should never be put in charge of armies, today I will restart my Friday review posts. There’s always something to review. History unfolding, scientific breakthroughs, cat news, stock market tips, End Times omens, what have you.
And this week, protests in Iran. This is actually fairly easy to understand. Everything the mainstream media says about Iran is garbage, so that immediately really simplifies my analysis. Basically, there’s always people rioting and demonstrating about something somewhere. We can’t rely on the media to tell us what they are rioting about, but the coverage of such events is revealing. To wit:
If foreign demonstrations get extensive media coverage and are portrayed as popular “pro-democracy” movements, this means the government in question has told the USA to fuck-off and they aren’t about to let the UN and the IMF run their countries to expedite western looting of their resources. This of course would be the case in Iran. If the demonstrators are opposing a US backed toady government, they will get zero mainstream media coverage. This would be the case in Georgia or Thailand. And if the demonstrators are actually opposing the hyper concentration of wealth and power that epitomizes the modern era, such as the protesters at the recent G20 conference, they will be portrayed as radical anarchist thugs. See, one can learn something from the mainstream media, one just as to know how to interpret it.
Back to Iran, I don’t really know what’s going on, and I have no idea how this will turn out. The fact that the protests are even allowed would indicate that it’s probably not the horrible dictatorship that some would like us to believe. It’s also a pretty good bet that whatever the actual results of the election, Ahmadinejad still has a lot of supporters, again, a point that one will rarely see in the western press. And lastly, one has to realize that a lot of the media is using exiles, radicals, and outsiders for their information about Iran. Um, these people might not be the most unbiased sources. In any event, here’s an interesting blog that goes into a bit more detail about western media coverage of foreign unrests: Penny For Your Thoughts. And lastly, despite the endlessly repeated claim that the Iranian election was stolen, it’s entirely possible that it wasn’t. Personally I suspect this will all blow over and Ahmadinejad will continue as Iran’s president, but we’ll see.
In our other foreign policy demon-de-jour, North Korea is making threats again. Of course they aren’t the only one. Obama has called North Korea a “grave threat to the world.” See, that’s the secret to Obama’s success, the man can say stuff that’s absurd beyond all measure, and do so without smirking, laughing, or choking. North Korea is a threat to South Korea, not the world. For the record, North Korea is a small, impoverished, badly run country on the other side of the planet. I’d say that Hollywood has destroyed the typical American’s ability to assess the magnitude of foreign threats, but sadly the American people’s penchant for over-reacting to threats pre-dates the mass media. At one point in the nineteenth century about 20,000 men, fully one third of the US army, was engaged in trying to catch Geronimo and his band of a few dozen braves. Their crime? Refusing to stay on the reservation and cattle rustling. Hmm.
In other world news, a 14 year old boy was recently struck in the hand by a meteorite. This is only the third time in recorded history where a person has been struck by a meteorite, the second being a boy in Uganda who was struck in 1992. The first was the Hodge’s meteorite that came through a roof in Alabama in 1954 and struck a woman napping on a couch. She was badly bruised but able to walk, and the story received world wide media attention at the time. Granted, three hits in fifty years means that people have probably been struck fairly often by meteorites, but it either wasn’t recorded or no one knew what had happened. I mean, if a person was out and about one day, and a rock hit them, most people would assume some miscreant had thrown it from the bushes. There is also a note in a medieval (or older) Chinese archive about an event where “thousands of people” were killed by “iron falling from the sky.” It’s pretty safe to say if this occurred as described, it was a meteor fall.
In one last note, I have started a Doug’s Darkworld twitter: DougsDarkworld. For one thing I will be using this to announce updates to Doug’s Darkworld. Primarily though this will be a place where I will post links to articles and such that I thought were really interesting or instructive, but was unable to fit them into a post. I suppose I might also make the occasional trenchant remark about ongoing world events … no screaming though, I promise. It’s bad enough my neighbours and cats have to hear me screaming when I watch the news on TV.
Have a great weekend everyone!
(The above image predates 1927 and is public domain under US copyright law. Courtesy of the National Archives. This is one of my all time favourite pictures, I apologize if I’ve used it before. This is Geronimo and his band photographed while they were being hunted by the US Army. This is significant because this is the only photograph ever taken of a native American military force operating in the field against the US Army. Whether one calls them freedom fighters or criminals, brave or foolhardy, it’s a remarkable moment captured in time.)