Archive for June 2009


an American nightmare

June 29th, 2009 — 5:39pm


(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

Everyone from Bill Cosby to Ronald Reagan seems fond of placing the blame for our black community’s fate squarely on the shoulders of African-Americans, largely excusing the rest of America from any blame for their plight.

The emergence of the modern Welfare State in particular is blamed as the single most detrimental force on our African-American community, since it supposedly allowed “welfare queens” with “80 names, 30 addresses, and 12 Social security cards” to pull in over $150,000 of tax-free income a year. As the argument goes, the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962 created a system that disincentived marriage by rewarding single mothers with loads of free cash.

All they had to do was remain out of wedlock, and the checks would just keep on rolling in.

This view was popularized by a Nobel Prize winning physicist, William Shockley, who argued that these programs “tended to encourage childbirth, especially among less productive members of society (particularly blacks, whom he considered to be genetically inferior to whites), causing a reverse evolution.” Shockley popularized this hypothesis, bringing it to both Congress and the public, and even put forth a proposal offering financial rewards to minorities if they were voluntary sterilized.

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do what to a chicken?

June 26th, 2009 — 1:17pm

It’s almost impossible to see what’s going on in Iran and not bring in the grandest human frameworks of Justice, Freedom, Right vs. Wrong, and Good vs. Evil.  The men currently controlling Iran’s theocratic totalitarian government seem as sinister and vile as a Sith Lord or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.  They’re violently repressing a people desperately struggle for the right to choose their own path in life.

To live as they choose, not as they’re forced to on fear of death.

Thing is, the men holding the reigns of coercive power in Iran are just men.  They aren’t supernatural creatures possessing any fictional powers whatsoever.   Shattering that fantasy, dispelling the alchemic grip on power they seem to have, is an essential step in understanding what’s really going on in any situation – especially this one.

The following passages were sent to me in an email from an Iranian-American whose family has extremely close and very old ties to Iran’s clerical regime.  The same regime that’s currently in power, the one the people are currently revolting against.  He has immediate family members there now so for obvious reasons he doesn’t want to be named, but his words tell the story behind the evening news.

It shows the men in power not as super-villains, but simply as the petty, insecure thieves that they are.  It lifts the veil that masks their true nature, and shows them for who they were before they got the firm grip on power they have now.

And besides that, it’s pretty damn entertaining.

A quick note that’ll help you follow everything: remember that Khomeini is the cleric who lead the ’79 Revolution and who’s since died, while Khamenei is the Supreme Leader now who you see on TV all the time.

chickenface

“Ruholah Khomeini was born in the rural, desert town of Khomen in 1902.  His last name just means “from the city of Khomen.” Lived there until he was old enough to go to cleric school at which point he moved to Qom to start his schooling. The main place where you can become a certified cleric in Iran is in the city of Qom. All boys who want to become one when they grow up have to leave their family wherever they are living and move there to do their schooling (it’s like the Harvard of Shi’ite Islam).

After several years of learning and being under the advisement of a fully certified cleric, with his approval you become a certified cleric. This is the equivalent to becoming a priest in Catholicism. Although clerics can marry there’s still a catch.

There are harsher punishments if a cleric breaks a code of Islam, just being around a woman without the veil for a cleric warrants the death penalty. In addition to this clerics also must give up all material desires, kind of like Buddhist monks. They aren’t allowed to have material possessions. Furniture is considered a luxury so that’s not allowed either. Most of them live in very small houses with just a kitchen and a place to sleep. They wear a ceremonial robe and these Arab-style slippers.

Now here’s something that you always see but probably miss. Their head-garment. The color of their head-garment means a lot.  It signifies their bloodline. Clerics with a distinct bloodline known as the Saayad bloodline wear black head garments. Anyone not from the bloodline wears white. I call them head-garments instead of turbans because I’m not a racist fuck, and because they aren’t required to cover the whole head, some just put it around like a donut, it really comes down how the cleric wears it. But anyway, the Saayad bloodline requires some explanation of its own before I go on.

Since the creation of their sect, the Shi’ites kept tabs on anyone who had blood relation to the 12 saints of Shi’ite Islam. These records have been passed down for over a thousand years. If you are among the people who are from the bloodline you are considered a Saayad. This only applies to males though. Women have another name for it which I forget right now but I’ll let you know when I remember. The bloodline can only be passed to the next generation through a male as well. It’s designated by giving the person the title of Saayad on their birth certificate although no one uses the title on a daily bases, it’s mostly just for documents and such. If the bloodline reaches a woman and there are no men to carry it on, the title ends there for that family. This is why it is kind of rare to find Saayads these days.

A lot of Saayads, however, are born into religious families since because of their title they have a moral obligation to follow Islam by the book. Because of this, a majority of the clerics are Saayads. It only makes sense that people with a religious title would be born into a religious family and would want to further pursue a career in their religion. During the era of the Shah this stuff didn’t mean crap. It was a title of respect, and nothing more.

However, since the ’79 Revolution, this title could make a huge difference and practically makes you nobility. People with the title gain a lot more respect under a religious government than they did under the Shah. How much this could help someone in their life, lets just say if you want to make friends with people in the government or gain someone’s respect it gives you some leverage. Some people you  know of who are Saayads are: Khamenei, Khomeini, Khatami, and Mousavi.

Back to the clerics. Basically before the ‘79 Revolution the clerics weren’t worth two shits. They just proceeded over weddings and funerals and gave weekly sermons if they had their own mosque. There was really no money in it and because of this most of them were beggars. Khomeini was all about changing all of that.

He believed that religion is above all and that the power should be given to the clerics since they know what’s best for the people. Furthermore, he thought the clerics were under appreciated and that the poor were misrepresented. (He didn’t grow up with the best childhood living in a rural farm and all.) So that was basically his whole campaign for a revolution.

Because of this the government ended up kicking him out and letting him back in multiple times. When they got rid of him he would make secret audiotapes that were sent to the people in Iran spewing his propaganda at them and convincing them that change was needed. It seemed like something that would never happen until the Shah made a stupid mistake…

President Carter made a statement in the media one day about how certain countries need to be more open or they might find themselves undergoing a revolt or big change if they don’t meet the needs of their people (some shit like that, this one little part I got from an Iranian sociology professor rather than my family so I’m a little fuzzy on it, you might already know it better). The Shah became afraid from hearing this and decided to let Khomeini come back and gave people the freedom of speech. Before that if anyone talked badly if the Iranian government they were considered a national threat and were dealt with by the Sovok.

The Sovok was the Iranian equivalent of the KGB in that they had their hand in a little bit of everything, but they were secret at the same time. They were very powerful people, your stereotypical guy in black suit and sunglasses that comes and takes your neighbor away to secretly interrogate him. So after the Sovok wasn’t a threat anymore all the parties that wanted to cause a revolution started going to work, with Khomeini being the strongest voice. People began rioting, just as they did now, and the Shah was a pussy so he gave up and gave him Iran.

Now this is where Khamenei comes in. Khamenei was a worthless beggar before the revolution. He was born and raised in the holy town of Mashad and became a cleric in Mashad.  It’s possible to become a cleric elsewhere, but Qom is where it’s at.  The he decided to go for further learning in Qom.

Oddly, people from the town are famous for being very stubborn and ironically perverted. This can be noticed in the sermons of the clerics from Qom who devote almost all their sermons toward something regarding sex. Don’t believe me? Read Khomeini’s manifesto on the illegality of fucking chickens and what the conditions are for eating a chicken that’s already been fucked. (I’m not joking, it really exists, you can’t make this shit up.)

While there he followed the advisement of Khomeini and at that point became involved in politics. From then on he followed Khomeini and his ideals. However when Khomeini was outcast from Iran, Khamenei was arrested and afterward agreed to stop conspiring against the government and went back to teaching. This wasn’t enough to make ends meet though – you won’t ever read this shit in wikipedia or any textbooks – and when he moved to Iran he had to beg for money, often playing the bongos in return for change to get by.

Seriously, he hung out on street corners playing the fucking bongos.

People say he had a scooter he always rode around and would ride around in traffic, asking people for change at stop lights and such too. Well after the revolution happened, Khamenei’s devotion to Khomeini paid off and he became a key figure in the government of Iran since then. He became the first cleric to serve as the president of Iran in 1981. I’ll spare you the rest of this stuff since you can find a lot of it on wikipedia.

Now going onto the government and why the people are sick and tired of it. Basically, the government hasn’t stayed true to its promise, and the poor are still poor and the rich were driven out of Iran pretty much. The clerics have all the money. The average salary of an Iranian is equal to about $300 a month, which is pretty good with their cost of living…. the average cleric makes $50,000 a month just for being a cleric, and $500,000 a month if they actually preach at a mosque. Compare that to the cost of living here, and their salary would well over $1,000,000 a month just for sitting on your ass and wearing a fancy robe.

Also, many of the clerics have gone against their teachings, you can see a lot of them wearing fancy Italian shoes and expensive slacks. This goes against the teachings of anti-materialism that they learned. Also Khamenei, the poster boy for clerics, moved into a mansion about 20 years ago with the excuse that he needed it for extra protection.  (No one knows the location of his house as it’s kept secret for his protection.)

The reason the people are so pissed off now isn’t just because the elections were supposedly rigged. It’s also because the government spends too much money serving the clerics (majority of taxes go toward “religious funds” which translates to the clerics’ salaries). Also the government has ownership over 100% of business and all institutions. Even private businesses are technically owned and monitored by the government. These were all things that Mousavi promised to stop, he also promised to get rid of Iran’s bad image of Anti-America and Anti-Israel

In reality most Iranians don’t give two shits about the affairs of a bunch of Palestinians that throw rocks over a country the size of Delaware.”

- learn more about Tremble the Devil -

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lessons from Iran

June 19th, 2009 — 11:24pm
      

       
        Twitter seems to have found a calling that no one saw coming – it's helping loosen the grip a totalitarian regime has on tens of millions of lives.

What's going on in Iran right now is unprecedented on multiple levels, but the most surprising is the role Twitter is playing in allowing any flow of information at all out of Iranian cities. It's still fucking Twitter so there's tons of mis- and disinformation to sort through, but somewhere within all the noise is the reality of what's going on. And Twitter certainly realizes this, they rescheduled a crucial network upgrade to prevent a tweet blackout which would've effectively cut Iranians off from the world.

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overtaken by events

June 11th, 2009 — 12:25am

California is going to explode. And it’s not just because of the $18.6 billion dollars in cuts that Arnold is going to have to make, which is going to include eliminating entire welfare programs.

The budget crisis, unemployment, all of that is going to the last of your average Californian’s worries before the summer’s out.   Probably the last of  many of our worries, as what begins in California will inevitably spread to many of our doorsteps. Getting to that point though,  that requires a little bit of explaining.

In one of the opening scenes of the coming-of-age cinematic classic Dazed and Confused, the history teacher yells after her class on the last day of school that over the summer during the holiday weekend “when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha,”  they shouldn’t forget “what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, rich white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”

There’s a lot of truth to that sentiment, although it’s not something anyone studies much in high school – where we focus on the social and philosophical elements of the American Revolution and, for the most part, ignore its underlying economic element. But if those rich white men had been taxed more fairly, the Revolution might never have occurred.  Something you’re reminded of every time you see the cheeky slogan on a DC license plate.
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