Somewhere In Iran

June 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, politics straight up | Leave a comment
Tank cars carrying fuel, winding their way through some of the mountainous country somewhere in Iran.  c. 1943   Nick Parrino, photographer (Library of Congress)

Tank cars carrying fuel, winding their way through some of the mountainous country somewhere in Iran. c. 1943 Nick Parrino, photographer (Library of Congress)

Roger Cohen is on the ground in Tehran, reporting from the thick of it. He says, at the end, “Iran has waited long enough to be free.”

What does that mean, though, “to be free”?

Americans like to think they are “free.” We have “free” elections. In fact, we had a presidential election last November. How has the outcome of that election changed the dynamics in this country? It didn’t. Working people continue to be treated like cash machines by elected officials and corporations. Free to vote as we wish, we are barred from justice.

Seventy-two percent of Americans want public health. They gave the Democratic Party the White House and majorities in the House and Senate. But what do we get? A whole lot of STFU. Why? Because single-payer health care cuts into the profits of powerful corporate interests.

For American citizens to be “free, we need to abolish corporate “personhood” and prohibit them from “attempting to influence the outcome of elections, legislation or government policy.”

This blog post from 2005 provides some insight into what Ahmadinejad represents. It sounds pretty awful to me. But what does Moussavi offer as an alternative? We won’t know unless he wins an election.

I don’t know what the Iranian people mean by “freedom” or “democracy,” but I hope they are more successful than Americans have been at achieving it.

Advertisements

An Iranian Voice

June 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, politics straight up | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,
Shah of Persia, Mohammed Ali Mirzi,  the first Persian monarch to rule under a constitution, deposed in July 1909.  Photo by G. Grantham/Bain News Service, c. December 19, 1907 (Library of Congress)

Shah of Persia, Mohammed Ali Mirzi, the first Persian monarch to rule under a constitution, deposed July 1909. Photo by G. Grantham/Bain News Service, c. December 19, 1907 (Library of Congress)

There is a lot of concern being expressed in the blogosphere about the outcome of the Iranian presidential election. While I certainly agree that a weaponized Iran is not in anyone’s interest, it seems to me that the certainty with which Americans are declaring the election a fraud is based more in wishful thinking than in fact.

Abbas Barzegar
, an Iranian PhD candidate in religious studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, spent the last week in Iran covering, as he put it, “the election carnival.”

His opinion is that Mousavi’s chances of winning were very slim. He has a thoughtful opinion piece in the Guardian explaining his view, which ends with the following:

In the future, observers would do us a favour by taking a deeper look into Iranian society, giving us a more accurate picture of the very organic religious structures of the country, and dispensing with the narrative of liberal inevitability. It is the religious aspects of enigmatic Persia that helped put an 80-year-old exiled ascetic at the head of state 30 years ago, then the charismatic cleric Khatami in office 12 years ago, the honest son of a blacksmith – Ahmedinejad – four years ago, and the same yesterday.

Dear Conservatives …

June 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Posted in politics straight up, terrorism | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,
Cold Harbor, Va. African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle.  Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Grants Wilderness Campaign, May-June 1864.  Published April 1865.  John Reekie, photographer (Library of Congress)

Cold Harbor, Va. African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle. Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Grant's Wilderness Campaign, May-June 1864. Published April 1865. John Reekie, photographer (Library of Congress)

An open letter by Sara Robinson:

Dear Conservatives:

Your fellow Americans demand an answer — and we want it now. Just one simple question:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?

Just answer the question. Yes or no. Don’t insult us with elisions, evasions, dithering, qualifications, or conditional answers. We need to know what your intentions are — and we need to know NOW. People are being shot dead in the streets of America at the rate of several per month now. You may not want responsibility for this — but the whackadoodles pulling the triggers make no bones about who put them up to this.

You did.

Iranian Government

June 12, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

The BBC has an excellent article explaining how Iran’s government is structured.

Hans-Heinrich Dieckhoff, German Ambassador to the United States, 1937-1938

June 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Historical | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,
German Ambassador cools his heels. Washington, D.C., Nov. 22. German Ambassador Hans Dieckhoff cools his heels as he waits alone in the diplomatic room before being ushered into the office of Secretary of State Cordell Hull on whom he paid a farewell call today before leaving for the homeland.  November 22, 1938.  (Library of Congress)

German Ambassador "cools his heels." Washington, D.C., Nov. 22. German Ambassador Hans Dieckhoff 'cools his heels' as he waits alone in the diplomatic room before being ushered into the office of Secretary of State Cordell Hull on whom he paid a farewell call today before leaving for the homeland. November 22, 1938. (Library of Congress)

Hans-Heinrich Dieckhoff served as German ambassador to the United States from 1937 until until recalled in response to the American recall of its ambassador in protest over the Kristallnacht in November 1938. He was the last to occupy the post until after the war.

(The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation) When, in September 1941, the broadcasting department began to develop the twelve topics of the propaganda – especially No. 5: That Jew Roosevelt aspires to worldwide Jewish supremacy – the German Ambassador to Washington, Hans Dieckhoff, commented: “That is a sure way of seriously compromising our other statements, which happen to be accurate, on the domination of the United States by Jews.”

Dieckhoff’s memorandum outlined how to deal with the matter:

“In our counterattack we should avoid calling Americans Jews unless we are completely certain that they are. If we state that an American public figure like Roosevelt is a Jew when every American knows that he is not, we will make our other claims suspect . . . . I recommend taking the following line: Isn’t the President continually surrounded by advisers and close friends who are Jews? Isn’t Felix Frankfurter, Whom the President appointed to the Supreme Court, one of his most trusted advisers? Isn’t Judge Rosenman, who writes the President’s speeches, a Jew? Isn’t Morgenthau a personal friend as well as a neighbor in Hyde Park? Isn’t Mrs. Morgenthau one of Mrs. Roosevelt’s closest friends, and doesn’t she see her every day? Aren’t Mr. and Mrs. Morgenthau Jews?”

Coolest President Ever

June 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Posted in health, Obama! | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

The Nation needs coolness more than clarion calls; intelligence more than charisma; a sense of history more than a sense of histrionics.   (No, folks, irony is not dead -- the man in the poster is Richard Nixon)  c. 1972 (Yanker poster collection, Library of Congress)

"The Nation needs coolness more than clarion calls; intelligence more than charisma; a sense of history more than a sense of histrionics." (No, folks, irony is not dead -- the man in the poster is Richard Nixon) c. 1972 (Yanker poster collection, Library of Congress)

Given the recent acts of domestic terrorism, no one would question President Obama canceling today’s town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Not only did the president go but he helped out a school kid who had skipped school to attend by writing a note to show her teacher:

“To Kennedy’s teacher–Please excuse Kennedy’s absence… She’s with me.”

“Blame Enough For Thee, But Not For Me”

June 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Posted in politics straight up, terrorism | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

When Shep Smith blamed blogs, was he referring to Fox Nation?

Yeah, I can see how it wouldn’t make sense to blame your own network:

What’s up at HUD?

June 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Department of Housing & Urban Development | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,
Housing conditions in the settlement of workers in Alabama Canning Co. Two families to a house, but they are separated. Housing conditions fairly good. Location: Bayou La Batre, Alabama.  1911 February.   Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer.

Housing conditions in the settlement of workers in Alabama Canning Co. Two families to a house, but they are separated. Housing conditions fairly good. Location: Bayou La Batre, Alabama. 1911 February. Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer.

What’s Shaun Donovan, the Secretary for Housing & Urban Development, up to?

In mid April the LA Times reported statements by Secretary Donovan about energy-efficient housing:

(LATimes) Donovan said his agency was in the early stages of discussions with federal energy officials to develop “a relatively simple scoring system for housing that would allow you to understand what you’re buying and at the same time allow lenders to factor that into their mortgage. Ultimately, if your energy bills are going to be lower, there ought to be some [mortgage] benefits to that.”

The system might also factor in transportation costs to employment centers in some way, he said, because “most people don’t realize that the average American family spends over 50% of their income on a combination of housing and transportation.” Even with far-flung suburbs’ lower prices for houses, “their transportation costs are huge” — and metropolitan sprawl itself represents a massive energy-consumption inefficiency.

It sounds as though Secretary Donovan is working hard on behalf of his employers, the American people:

(Economist) A “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan” announced in February, aims to help 7m-9m homeowners stay in their homes. On May 12th it announced that a $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers could be used as down-payment on a mortgage from the FHA. Earlier this month, HUD said it would provide $2 billion in stimulus funds to stabilise neighbourhoods hit by foreclosure. More than any other HUD secretary, Mr Donovan is sitting “at the table” with the president and Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary.

[snip]

Even as he battles the housing crisis, Mr Donovan is setting an agenda, one not seen in decades. He wants HUD to be more than the department of subsidised housing, and hopes to focus too on the urban development side. A big fan of statistics, he looked at foreclosure patterns and observed that neighbourhoods with the highest rates were in the least sustainable places, in isolated suburbs and older urban areas far away from jobs and schools. This suggests that the recession may shake out and slim down cities, making them eventually better places to live.

Mr Donovan is already collaborating with Arne Duncan, the education secretary, and the heads of the Departments of Energy and Transport, as well as Mr Geithner. He is keenly aware that HUD is not just for cities—that traditional “urban problems”, such as poverty and affordable housing, are now regional problems. Conversely, he is aware that urban development is also about better transport links and better schools. It all hangs together.

Fidel Castro

June 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

I discovered this excerpt from a 1959 interview with Fidel Castro at CBC Retro:

Visit CBC’s digital archives to see the rest of this interview as well as others, including an interview of Jimmy Hoffa conducted in 1960.

Megan McArdle: Murder Apologist & Advocate

June 1, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Bush, God machine, law, terrorism | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine.  Published 1936 May.  Paul Carter, photographer

Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine. Published 1936 May. Paul Carter, photographer

This is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever read. That her friends and family don’t shrink back from her in horror brings shame on them.

Megan McArdle spends the first few paragraphs of her response to Ezra Klein explaining how she’s pro-choice. I guess that’s an attempt to give her argument a patina of reasonableness. Her mind-blowing argument is that we should not impinge the terrorists’ ability to terrorize us:

We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders–had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer’s actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions. Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court. If you think that someone is committing hundreds of gruesome murders a year, and that the law cannot touch him, what is the moral action? To shrug? Is that what you think of ordinary Germans who ignored Nazi crimes? Is it really much of an excuse to say that, well, most of your neighbors didn’t seem to mind, so you concluded it must be all right? We are not morally required to obey an unjust law. In fact, when the death of innocents is involved, we are required to defy it.

This is what eight years of the lying, skeevy Bush/Cheney cabal has wrought. We now live in a country where torture goes unpunished and murder is not only justified but described as a reasonable response to “an unjust law.”

How is this not a nightmare?

How is this not deeply twisted and anathema to everything this country is supposed to represent?

The mind reels.

UPDATE: Apparently McArdle is channeling Francis Schaeffer, a 1980s advocate of using terrorism to achieve the goal of making abortion illegal.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.