Tag Archives: united arab emirates

Theater of the Absurd: King James Goes to Miami and a Vuvuzela Fatwa

Lebron James Flies Away

Well it is settled.  After weeks of speculation and media prostitution “King” Lebron James the First is leaving the City on the Lake and the Cuyahoga River, the fair city of Cleveland for the sunny beaches and maybe if you are a Clevelander the sunny bitches of Miami.    Of course as always I want to be fair and balanced about this as I am in all things to ensure that Lebron supporters and detractors find something to be mad about when they read this.

You see I don’t condemn Lebron for taking a pay cut, yes a pay cut to go to Miami to play with two buddies and 2010 Summer Olympic teammates, Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade who are like King James among the top players in the NBA.  The NBA above all is about titles if you are to be considered a great, not individual statistics and regular season wins as important as those are. Everyone looks at rings and King James’ fingers are conspicuously naked in this regard.  I can understand the desire of King James, Wade and Bosh to band together and maybe enjoin others to their cause in the quaint South Florida village of Miami Beach from whence they shall go out to do battle flying on Miami Air across this great land to put the rest of the NBA in its place and establish themselves as the “Three Kings” of the NBA. Unfortunately he has left his legacy in the toilet in the manner that he made his exit from Cleveland.

Now of course I think the way that King James and his court went about this was pathetic and self serving and obliterates his reputation as an otherwise decent man who had given a great deal to his home town and state. King James was a beacon of hope in a land of otherwise abject misery, at least according to a recent poll and an icon of all that was good.  Unfortunately his little show made him look like a spoiled child.  It would have been better for him to let the people of Cleveland know that it had been a good ride that he loved them and appreciated all that they had done for him over the years early on and let them know that he wanted to move on while continuing to do good things for the community.  Sure Cleveland fans would still hate King James but it would not give the appearance of rubbing their faces in Cav excrement.  King James hurt his town while actually doing something that most people would never criticize him for and would never hold themselves to.  How many people would move to another city to get a job where thought he money may not be as good that they can work with friends who like them are among the best in their business and have the chance to do something special together? I doubt that many would not blink an eye in signing the contract and calling the moving van.  However it seems that while King James was repugnant in the way that he made his move that most of us would not condemn him for the actual move.

This was an unseemly affair but it entered the realm of the absurd when Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert published a letter in Comic Sans font on the Cavaliers website.  The letter using great invective sounded like a teenager who was just dropped by his girlfriend screaming betrayal and cursing the person’s future endeavors.  My God and this man owns and NBA franchise? I guess that if you have enough money you can buy anything. But even so to act this childish and churlish flies in the face of what any smart PR agent would do like issue the following statement: “While we disagree with and are incredibly disappointed in Lebron’s decision and the manner in which he announced the decision we wish him well and commit all of our talent and resources to building a better franchise and bring the NBA championship to Cleveland and the loyal fans that deserve it.”  You see that would have been smart, but Dan Gilbert appears to have the emotional maturity of a 14 year old boy in heat, or whatever hormonal surges we as 14 year old boys are wont to have.  Gilbert has made himself look like a complete fool in his published tirade. I can see being upset but this tantrum is best done off the world wide web in the privacy of one’s home or office with no one having a cell phone to video it for You Tube.  No smart Mr. Gilbert; you could have been the hero but instead have played the fool. What agent is going to recommend that his clients sign with Cleveland now with the possibility that they might be demonized when they leave? I reckon that not many will be beating down your door for that privilege.

Despite this he had been good to King James; he was willing to spend a butt load of money to keep him Cleveland, fired his coach shuffled the front office and if they could have convinced other players to come and enjoy the six months of lake effect snow offered by the City on the Lake King James might still be in Cleveland, but neither King James nor Dan Gilbert could get them too.

The people of Cleveland should be disappointed and I don’t blame them for being angry. King James was one of them a hometown kid and that was beloved by his fans and they rightfully feel betrayed by him and this sense of betrayal was only made worse by King James’ silly display of self in making this announcement and the media prostitutes that began this talk even before the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs.  The Cleveland fans deserved better from everyone involved in this sorry display, tantalized by the prospect of maybe finally having a championship team after more than 50 years they have seen their best chance of a national title die for good Lord knows how long and Dan Gilbert has ensured that the Cavaliers will not field a championship team anytime soon.

You see I view King James’s desire to want to join together with some of the best players in the league to win championships and take less money to do so amazing. So many players will get some team to pay them abhorrent sums ensuring that few other players of quality can be signed and these overpaid players do nothing but revel in themselves for years while producing no championships for the teams that they play for and the fans that pay their salary.  Yes this is about King James but he wants to win. In fact in Cleveland he was the franchise and opposing teams knew that and the good ones that faced the Cavaliers in the playoffs were good enough to shut them down because it was Lebron against the other team one man against five.  See in the regular season the Cavs could get by because most of the league is pathetic and had no answer to him but the really good teams deep in the playoffs stopped them in their tracks.  Lebron had to want more; one of the most celebrated players in the game without a ring and despite his efforts as well as the efforts of the Cavs couldn’t land the high powered players to play in Cleveland.  Lebron decided to look elsewhere and when the Heat signed Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade was willing to go from being the main man to one of a triumvirate no wonder he went there.  Of course there is no guarantee that they will win as many real NBA commentators suggest but there is something to be said for the camaraderie of these men, something that is not always seen in professional sports.

So enough about this sordid saga it will play out eventually a Fatwa will be issued against King James, in fact I think that Dan Gilbert did just that in his letter.

Subject of a Fatwa

Speaking of Fatwa’s this is too good.  The good Imams of the United Arab Emirates General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments have decided that the favorite annoying noisemaker of South African football fans is verboten in the UAE, at least the loud ones, but wait are there any others?  Anyway the  General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments fatwa against vuvuzelas (Fatwa 11625) is now the law of the sand in the UAE much to the disappointment of UAE football fans who were so looking forward to using them at matches in that country.  I guess it really blows for them; don’t tell Pat Robertson he might get ideas.

Peace and laughs,

Padre Steve

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under sports and life

Iran Makes Noise in Persian Gulf: Obama Dispatches Patriots and Ships to Deter

Mahmoud Ahamadinejad threatens a “harsh blow at global arrogance”

Something is going on in Iran.  The despotic regime of Mahmoud Ahamadinejad has been cracking down on dissidents and protestors over the last few months since the disputed presidential election.  Two opposition leaders were hanged yesterday.  The opposition is calling for protests on February 11th to coincide with the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.  At the same time government supporters and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces are planning both pro-regime activities as well as anti-opposition crackdowns in the days leading up to this event.  To add to the volatile mixture Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahamadinejad has threatened a “harsh blow against global arrogance” on the 11th.  There has been no explanation of what Ahamadinejad meant by his cryptic comments by the Iranian news service but  the Obama administration is taking them seriously by sending additional Aegis Missile ships equipped with anti-ballistic missile systems as well as Patriot air defense missiles to the Persian Gulf. To give you a glimpse of some of the confusion surrounding the current situation in Iran and in its implications for the West I have linked a number of articles from a wide variety of sources here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/iran-nuclear-us-missiles-gulf

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/01/31/iran.protests/index.html?section=cnn_latest

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60U18R20100131?type=politicsNews

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8490929.stm

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/01/missile-shield-gulf-ups-ante-iran/?test=latestnews

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&article_id=111329&categ_id=17

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201022\story_2-2-2010_pg20_1

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/gulf-countries-accept-air-defences/story-e6frg6so-1225825224604

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8811080764

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Supreme-Leader-Claims-Iran-Remains-United-Against-Outside-Threat-82073702.html

http://www.rferl.org/content/Irans_Protesters_Must_Keep_Their_Eyes_On_February_11/1942248.html

http://www.opendemocracy.net/volker-perthes/iran-2010-11-four-scenarios-and-nightmare

http://en.rian.ru/world/20100129/157712614.html

http://www.rferl.org/content/Iran_Media_German_Diplomats_Involved_In_December_Riots_/1941229.html

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1146909.html

http://www.energypublisher.com/article.asp?id=25925

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116955&sectionid=3510303

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hos0sGvW5l2cEN2xO2ex4fhamzIw

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L3838323,00.htmlhttp://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3838323,00.html

http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201001284565/World-Politics/iran-morality-police-vanish-as-more-protests-loom-in-tehran.html

Massed Protests in Iran have been met by force

If you take a look at the details of these various reports there are a number of possibilities in regard to Iran, its internal political tensions and its repeated threats to US and Western interests. There are a myriad of possibilities many of which while directed outward are also directly related to the internal unrest in Iran in which a new generation who have grown up under the religious totalitarianism of the Mullah’s and men like Ahamadinejad who are convinced of the certainty of their beliefs and determined to impose them not only on their own people but their neighbors.  Ahamadinejad’s belief in the return of the 12th Mahdi to bring in a new era where the Caliphate will be established in Jerusalem is another wild card to factor into any equation.

Shahab-3 Missile test launch from mobile launcher

In the past year the Iranians have been increasingly more bellicose concerning their nuclear program and ballistic missile programs and have thwarted US, EU and UN initiatives to ensure that the nascent nuclear capacity is only capable of peaceful use and not capable of producing weapons grade uranium which could then be used in nuclear weapons.   They have expanded the number of centrifuges used for enriching uranium as well as continued to disperse and harden nuclear facilities against possible Israeli or US preventive strikes.  Additionally they have continued to increase their ballistic and cruise missile capabilities and the newer versions of the Shahab missile are capable of striking Western Europe.  The Revolutionary Guard forces have been actively supporting the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon which in 2006 waged a successful war against Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border.  It has continued to improve its asymmetric warfare capabilities as well as Naval and Revolutionary Guard Naval force capacity for disrupting shipping in the Straits of Hormuz through which a large percentage of the world’s oil is transported.

Iranian Missile Boat and Helicopter

Ahamadinejad’s latest remarks are ambiguous and could mean a number of things ranging from empty rhetoric designed to evoke a response from the United States or Israel up to military action.  Possible events within the continuum could be measures to destabilize Iraq where recently Iranian forces briefly occupied an Iraqi oil facility on the border near Basra before leaving when Iraq sent troops and threatened force to retake the facility.  Likewise a missile test of an upgraded or longer range Shahab could be planned, a military exercise in the Gulf or a test of a nuclear weapon which they might have succeeded in developing in their clandestine labs from previously enriched uranium.  The timing of the threat could also mean a military attack against Israel or US allies in the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia.  Iran could in a “doomsday” strike launch a nuclear weapon (should it have an operation weapon) or chemical or biological weapons against Israel or even the rival Sunni Moslem Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, provoking a retaliatory strike which could embroil the region in a major war and might have worldwide implications. While I would think that the military attack would be a lower possibility the timing which coincides with the anniversary of the Revolution coupled with domestic unrest could mean that Ahamadinejad may feel that the benefit outweighs the risk.  It also could mean a stronger domestic crackdown on Iranian dissidents, whichever course of action the Iranians take it could make life even more interesting.

Shore based C-802 Surface to Surface Anti-Ship Missile in Iranian service

With the full spectrum of possibilities from simple rhetoric to a military strike laid out the Obama administration reportedly has sent Patriot Missile batteries to shield key Gulf allies and dispatched additional Aegis anti-ballistic missile capable ships from the US Navy to the Gulf.  Past remarks by the administration have been perceived as weak by the Iranians and the demonstration of US resolve by the dispatch of additional forces to the region may be designed to show that the Obama administration is not indecisive but capable of countering military threats to the region.

Additional ships of the Arliegh Burke Class that carry SM-3 missiles and Ant–Ballistic Missile systems have been moved into the Gulf along with Patriot Missile batteries

The administration’s move is prudent considering the potential threat.  Iran does not have the capabilities to fight a sustained war but could if fueled by the apocalyptic vision of Ahamadinejad mean that the Iranian government is willing to risk a confrontation with the United States because it perceives the Obama administration as weak.  I think that such an assumption by Ahamadinejad would be a serious mistake, however if he were to attempt a military or asymmetric-terrorist act of some kind he could create chaos until the United States and our allies eliminate his offensive capability.

Iranian Nuclear facilities are dispersed around the country and in hardened sites

Potential problems that Iran could cause the United States could include disruption of transition efforts in Iraq through military or terrorist activity as well as to cause casualties or damage US military forces in that country. Far less likely is the possibility that the Iranians could offer support to their rivals in Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan if for no other reason than to disrupt the US/NATO mission in that country. Likewise the Iranians could attempt to cause economic and diplomatic problems in the region that would adversely affect the US and world economy that could be done short of war.

To deal with all possibilities the United States must not only be militarily ready to respond to any military threat but also to be able to exercise the full spectrum of diplomatic, economic and intelligence resources of its own and our allies.

So in about a week and a half we will know what the cryptic Ahamadinejad meant by his latest outburst, hopefully there will be some clarification before then so the US and its allies in the region can coordinate an effective response.  With tensions rising and uncertainty in the air it is important for the US, Israel and the West to get this right and hopefully give the Iranian opposition time to force Ahamadinejad and his supporters in the Iranian clergy and the Revolutionary Guard from power.  There is both danger and opportunity in the coming days and one can only hope that the Iranian opposition will be successful.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

Leave a comment

Filed under Foreign Policy, Military, national security