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Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Say it loud:
I'm white, stupid and proud.
Barney Frank may be one of only a handful of people in politics that can still speak blunt truth.
Labels: health care
posted at 11:52 AM
When the health care debate began, Congress was quick to throw the best option out the window. Single-payer health care.
It appears we've reached the point where a public option, something that would offer an alternative to monopolistic for-profit health care, is now about to be abandoned by the large Democratic majority in Congress, because the Republicans have insisted:
"No, that's Socialism."
And even before the Democrats can reach the point where they can suggest the completely ineffectual and useless notion of health care co-ops, the Republicans are noting, quite obviously:
"That there would be Socialism."
We will, at some point this year, end up with something called "health care reform." It will be worthless to the average citizen, will further enrich insurance companies and pharmaceutical makers, and will still be declared by the Republicans as a boondoggle, and, who are we kidding - Socialism.
President Obama and the Democrats are worse than worthless, and will deserve to lose many seats in the midterm elections. The Republicans, while transparent and hypocritical, are, if nothing else, consistent.
Did you know that there is only one person in the United States that can have government-mandated health care without being labeled a Socialist?
And Republicans love her, because she has since become cost-effective.
posted at 5:59 PM
Woodstock + 40 (pounds)
Every time I begin to think that a generational shift may be occurring, I am bombarded with reminders from the Baby Boomer generation that they aren't quite done destroying the country, or making everything about them.
The 40th anniversary of the Woodstock concert?
No. The health care debate.
I couldn't help but notice that the same generation which took drugs in the mud of Bethel, New York in 1969, is now flinging mud at the best opportunity to give access to health care to all citizens of this country.
The grandma whose death-by-unplugging is so feared by multitudes of dimwits at town halls and online? She was at Woodstock, undoubtedly laying the groundwork for becoming a grandma, and probably any unwashed scumbag with a tab of acid in his pocket.
This greedy generation, which was all about peace and love when it was their turn to go to war, was all about rape and pillage in the 80s, when easy millions beckoned you from a different locale in New York.
But just selling out for money wasn't enough, you wanted power, too. That's natural. Your bloated generation, in numbers and size, thought nothing of sending other people's children off to war in 2003. Of course, in keeping with your "principles" the war wasn't about ideology, it was about another chance to make money with no risk to your own skins.
Have you achieved anything since 1969?
"Oh, sure," you say, "pick on George W. Bush. He's an easy target."
Yep, and you elected him. Twice.
"Can we at least get credit for Bill Clinton?"
I laugh, because you think that his presidency somehow validates your alleged principles. And I suppose it does.
The Baby Boomer's first president: A real triumph.
The Glass-Steagal Act of 1933, which established the FDIC and prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial companies? Repealed by Clinton's signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999.
Any of you addled fatasses recall anything bad happening recently as a result of that?
Welfare reform in 1996: Threw millions of people off of the rolls, and actually increased poverty in the next decade.
Oh, and the Baby Boomer pièce de résistance: Health Care Reform in 1993.
Like so many other things you've failed at as a generation, you had good intentions. But once you realized that it would be hard, and might cost you a second term, you put your hands behind your back, started whistling, and shuffled off to have a one-sided chat with some intern.
You have achieved NOTHING since 1969.
And now you're feeling your oats again, storming town hall meetings where people might actually get to ask questions and learn something about the health care proposals, and instead drowning them out as you scream about fears that some bureaucrat might pull your plug when you end up in the hospital for your inevitable gastric bypass surgery.
I can't help but marvel at how much better off this country would be if Roe v. Wade had been passed in 1953 instead of 1973.
I am of the generation which follows you. The one that will be the first in American history to do less well than the previous generation, which is no coincidence. I am asking you for a favor, which would actually give you the opportunity to do something for someone besides yourselves.
Can you stop, just this one time, trying to keep everything for yourselves? You have Medicare, can you let the rest of us have something to keep us from dying when our appendixes go bad?
But since it isn't in your nature to do for others, will you at least consider dropping dead?
posted at 10:26 AM
"Unlikely to serve full term"
The Italian news service, ADNKronos, published an analysis of the situation in Iran. Ali Ansari from the London-based think tank Chatham House, and co-director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland told AKI:
"I would not want to predict a revolution but I definitely do not think Ahmadinejad will fulfill his full term."
Government opponents pledged to continue their protests after the swearing in of Ahmadinejad this week and there is speculation that the government may be unable to repress the simmering opposition, particularly as the economy is weak.
"I think they are in a very difficult position and unless ultimately they find some compromise, I think they will have serious problems," said Ansari.
"I mean the underlying thing you have to bear in mind about Ahmadinejad is he is taking over a country whose political and economic health is not good. So if you wait long enough, the economy will basically bring him down."
Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, also gave insight:
"The firebrand president's allies among the political elite distrust him profoundly, his cabinet is in shambles, and conservative rivals in the parliament have threatened a no-confidence vote," said Maloney, in a report published this week.
A hundred people are facing trial in Tehran on various charges, including conspiracy, rioting and vandalism allegedly committed during the street protests after the poll.
Defeated opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and Iran's former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, have denounced the hearings, that were due to resume on Saturday.
"Though battered and detained, the opposition remains energised and appears to be prepared to wage a long-term mutiny against the regime's effort to stifle any dissent," said Maloney.
Keep up the support!
posted at 1:01 PM
Kianoosh Asa - 40 Days
Protesters marked the 40th day since Kianoosh Asa was found murdered after disappearing for 10 days into the hands of security forces. Here's the video:
The video was shot in Asa's hometown, Kermanshah.
Also, Iranian blogger, Mehdi Saharkhiz, has posted some incredible photos on his blog, click here to see protests near Modares Highway in Tehran.
As a frame of reference:
View Larger Map
posted at 10:10 PM
Video - 6 August
Shot late in the day Thursday:
Marg bar diktator!
posted at 10:05 PMCatching up
Twitter being under attack all day severely limited information getting out of Iran on Thursday. Here's what I've found:
Reuters reports that:
The renewed protests come despite a heavy police presence and the mass trial of some 100 leading reformers accused of fomenting the unrest that has continued for eight weeks since disputed June 12 polls returned hard-liner Ahmadinejad to office.
"Hundreds of people are in Vanak square, chanting 'death to the dictator'. Others are also honking car horns," said the witness. "Hundreds of riot police are there as well."
The witness said riot police tried to disperse protesters.
"They are telling protesters to leave the area or face being arrested," the witness said.
Some video up next.
posted at 9:59 PM
Association of Iranian Journalists shut down
Late Wednesday night, a group of armed men stormed the offices of the Association of Iranian Journalists in Tehran.
A member of the press group, who requested not to be named, was quoted in the report as confirming, "It is true, it has been closed down."
The International Federation of Journalists was quoted in the report as condemning the raid, as well as calling for the Islamic republic to release over 40 journalists currently held in prison.
"Government actions against media and journalists erode further the credibility and standing of the Government in national and the world opinion," an IFJ statement read.
Full article from the Jerusalem Post available here.
posted at 11:37 AM
Could it be...SATAN?!?
Today (Thursday), Iran's hardline newspaper, Kayhan, congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for standing up to Western countries, and warned that the Islamic Republic would stand up against American plots.
From the AFP article:
"The US is not going to give up its plotting against Iran," said Iran's leading hardline newspaper Kayhan, which last month criticised Ahmadinejad over a number of controversial political decisions.
"But it has clearly understood it can't stand against a powerful Islamic Iran which saw 85 percent turnout in the election. It has realised that adopting its old methods is useless," said the paper, whose editor is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"But what is unfortunate is that some reformists are not learning from the lessons from the Satan who has deceived them," the paper said referring to Ahmadinejad's rivals who have refused to acknowledge his victory.
It's noon in Tehran, I've not found anything yet about the protests that were being rumored for today.
posted at 12:40 AM
NO to Nokia
If anyone thinks that the vast opposition in Iran has forgotten about Nokia/Siemens role in selling equipment to the regime which helped to track down dissidents, well, you'd be wrong.
With video goodness:
Reports that people are trying to get action together for Thursday, I'll pass it along as I hear of it.
posted at 4:09 PM
The Guardian translated the text of a Farsi blogger named Mehdi Saharkhiz, who wrote earlier today about the level of force used by security in attempting to break up demonstrations today.
posted at 3:59 PM
"Brave Iranians Back us Up!”
Video shot Wednesday in Tehran, with the chant “Back us up! Back us up! Brave Iranians Back us Up!”
posted at 3:54 PM
Rafsanjani to deliver sermon again
Sheyda Jahanbin Tweeted that Iran’s former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will deliver the sermon again on Friday 14 August.
Friday August 14th’s prayer will be by Rafsanjani again. Hope to see another big turn out.
The last time Rasfanjani gave the sermon, it was a momentous day in Tehran...
posted at 2:17 PM
Murder to be investigated
Tosali, who was 12, was at the demonstrations which took place last Thursday at Behesht Zahra cemetery, and got separated from his father. At some point, he was clubbed in the head by a police baton, and died from his injuries. Ali is believed to be the first child to die as a result of the unrest.
Government authorities refused to return his body to his family for four days.
posted at 1:18 PM
Karoubi speaks out
Defeated presidential candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, has called on the government of Iran to stop squelching democratic protests.
"Using frightening methods to suppress people will bear no result. Allow people to protest in the streets and to chant slogans ... an imposed state of security will harm our national security ... mass arrests of moderates and having such mass trials will endanger the country's national interests."
Full story from Reuters is here.
posted at 12:39 PM
If there is still a great deal that you want to learn about Iran's recent history, there is a really fine three-part series by the BBC that really goes over it in depth.
You may stream or download it here, and the other two parts can be linked from the same page.
posted at 10:28 AM
Gibbs revises statement
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, said yesterday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "Iran's elected leader." From a Reuters interview aboard Air Force One:
"Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that's not for me to pass judgment on," Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.
"He's been inaugurated. That's a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we'll let them decide about that."The Obama administration has been walking a very thin line, wanting to support the Iranian opposition, while at the same time dealing with the reality that Ahmadinejad is likely to be the face they must look at in any diplomatic overtures, at least in the short term.
Hopefully, this eases, at least a little bit, the minds of all who want to see real change in Iran.
posted at 10:08 AM
"Share the Shah's fate"
The Associated Press observed today's protests outside of the Iranian Parliament.
Hundreds of protesters chanted "Death to the Dictator" before security forces broke up a demonstration near parliament, striking people with batons and blasting them with pepper spray, witnesses said.
Some of the protesters wore black T-shirts in a sign of mourning and others wore green — the color of the opposition movement. A middle-aged woman carried a banner warning Iran's leaders if they do not listen to people's demands, they will face the same fate as Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.It's a very thorough article, definitely worth a read.
posted at 10:00 AM
Try harder, will ya?
There is just no propaganda like state-sponsored propaganda.
Iran's PressTV, reporting on the swearing-in ceremony today, also analyzed the activity outside Parliament, which was fascinating, even though there wasn't any.
Parliament News reported that more than 5,000 security forces were guarding the downtown block while other reports said officers with sniffer dogs patrolled the area searching for possible bombs.
All shops and businesses in the area were ordered to close. Security forces had cordoned off the neighboring areas near the Majlis hours before the ceremony began, reports said.
In a separate move, Head of Tehran's metro company Jafar Rabiyi said the authorities ordered the trains not to stop at two stops near Parliament -- Baharestan and Mellat stations -- until the end of the inauguration ceremony.
Rabiyi stressed that the move was not due to any technical problems and was only because of the swearing-in ceremony, announcing that the trains would stop at regular stations after the event.
Despite the heavy security presence, opposition supporters held sporadic demonstrations in protest at the inauguration of President Ahmadinejad, who garnered almost two-thirds of the vote, repots said.
Several people were arrested and police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, according to the reports.
However, Iranian deputy police chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said the inauguration ceremony was held in a peaceful environment.
"Despite mass propaganda by satellite TV channels and foreign media calling on the people to gather in front of Majlis, no illegal protests were held [in the area]," Radan said.
Sporadic demonstrations were held, and there were no illegal protests in that area. Which is it? Or were these legal protests, and if so, why are you beating and arresting people?
posted at 9:52 AM
Reuters is reporting that there are protests all over Tehran today, and the crackdown is still in effect by security forces:
"I was beaten by police who wanted to disperse protesters," said a witness, who declined to give her name.
Another witness said dozens of protesters gathered at the vicinity of Tehran's Bazaar.
"They were chanting Allah-u Akbar (God is greatest) and Mousavi we support you. But riot police dispersed them," said a witness from southern Tehran, where the Bazaar is located.
Police arrested at least 10 protesters, witnesses said.
Some of the reports I have read place the number of arrested much higher. This video looks to have been taken outside of Parliament, in Baharestan Square:
posted at 9:43 AM
Protests @ Tehran's Bazaar
Crowds of protesters have gathered in what looks like the bazaar in Tehran, take a look:
In this other video, the people are still angry about Russia's fast acceptance of the fraudulent June 12th election results:
And rightly so.
posted at 9:38 AM
What Ahmadi said
The English website of Iran's parliament has summarized what Ahmadinejad said in his address today:
In his first address during his second term, the president struck a defiant tone at ‘oppressive powers’ who seek to deal with the Iranian nation through ‘interference and foul language.’ “We will resist oppressors and try to correct the global discriminatory mechanisms in order to benefit all the nations of the world,” he said.
Ahmadinejad also took a swipe at Western powers, including the United States, France and Germany, for their refusal to congratulate him on his reelection. “We heard that some of the Western leaders had decided to recognize but not congratulate the new government … Well, no one in Iran is waiting for your messages,” he said. “Iranians will neither value your scowling and bullying nor will they pay attention to your smiles and greetings.”
The ceremony was attended by 244 of Iran’s 290 lawmakers, as the Reformist faction of the Iranian Parliament had boycotted the ceremony, news reports said. The official website of the faction added that from its 70 members only 13 had taken their seats at the Majlis, while a number also walked out as the president began his address to the parliament.Other notable figures not present at the ceremony were former president Mohammad Khatami, the head of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani, a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts. Defeated presidential candidates, Mohsen Rezai, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi were also absent.
He is a real charming son-of-a-bitch.
posted at 9:30 AM
The one that get away
France24 tells the story of protesters being arrested around Saei Park in the Vali-e-Asr district of Tehran. Iranians managed to free one demonstrator from his captors, the video is here:
Meanwhile, Omid Habibinia has been busy Tweeting:
More than 20 protesters arrested at Sepah St, Black Shirt forces attacking ppl brutally.
More in a minute.
posted at 9:18 AM
Iran's PressTV gave an estimate on the size of the security force for today's swearing-in ceremony in Tehran:
More than 5,000 security and police forces gathered around the building of Majlis in central Tehran. Sniffer dogs were securing the area.
In any case, the video seems to indicate that this was the case, or that someone has opened the world's largest used motorcycle dealership. Still, Iranians are trying to gather:
posted at 9:06 AM
Trudy Rubin - Neda
Columnist Trudy Rubin, has posted a very interesting read about the state of the Iranian government. From the essay:
Whoever is in charge, the deaths of Neda and the others have pushed some senior clerics to compare the current situation to the repression under the former shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. "Was the regime of the shah able to resist the wave of dissatisfaction by using terror, oppression, censorship, torture, forced confessions, and lying propaganda?" asked a senior cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
The elderly Montazeri is a longtime critic of Iran's current leadership, but in the past has been put under house arrest and muzzled. The fact that he can now issue such stunning critiques reflects an Iranian regime uncertain how to proceed.
A must-read, it can be found in its entirety here.
posted at 9:22 PM
Riot police massing
Hundreds of riot police and Basij thugs are gathering near Iran's parliament as the swearing-in ceremony/farce for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has begun in Tehran. The streets leading to parliament are also being occupied by government forces, in an attempt to keep protesters from gathering.
Farda News interviewed Ahmadinejad, who made unveiled threats to the demonstrators:
"A new period has begun," he told the Association of Basiji Scholars at a meeting in Mashhad last Thursday. "Let me take the oath of office, and wait for the government to begin its work," he told the Basiji members, who are affiliated with the militiamen clubbing demonstrators in the streets.
"Then, we'll seize them by their collars and stick their heads to the ceiling," he said.
A very long day is beginning...
posted at 9:01 PM
Ahmadinejad swearing in Wednesday
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in for his second term as Iran's president at 0900 local time in Tehran, which is about three hours from now.
A peaceful protest is planned, as Moussavi supporters are asked to gather outside to protest as Ahmadinejad takes the oath inside the Parliament building. Opposition leaders say they have no intention of stopping their dissent, even after the swearing-in.
Wednesday is going to be busy, I will update as soon as I get information.
posted at 6:24 PM
What you are is not in dispute
We are only haggling over the price.
This is important, stop being douchebags, and get this done the right way.
Labels: health care
posted at 12:37 AM
Heavy government forces today
Video from different times today of the tight security on Vali Asr Boulevard in central Tehran:
Lots of those bastards on motorcycles.
View Larger Map
posted at 2:29 PM
Voices and car horns
New video of demonstrations today, with crowds chanting "Marg bar diktator!" while motorists honk their horns along in unison.
The clerics and Ahmadinejad are still using all of the disgusting tactics at their disposal, but the people of Iran seem less and less concerned with their own safety as each week passes.
posted at 2:01 PM
Video of a peaceful opposition protest in what may be the central part of the capital.
Some photos here from Gooya News:
A bunch more can be seen here.
posted at 1:35 PM
3 August - update
A BBC report about today's ceremony and protests:
After the ceremony, witnesses said hundreds of people had attempted to hold a demonstration in Vanak Square in the north of Tehran, but that they were dispersed the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij militia and police.
One protester called Maryam told BBC Persian the protest had been peaceful and that they were attacked indiscriminately. “Plain-clothed officers started attacking people from the middle of the crowd,” she said. “People were chased away and many were beaten up. Electric batons and tear gas were being used to displace the crowd.”There were also reports of a demonstration being prevented by riot police in Vali Asr Square. Mr. Karroubi is also said to have appeared at one rally.
Additionally, Lera Setrakian of ABC News in Dubai tweeted:
A supporter says Karroubi was at today’s #iranelection protest, at Beheshti & Valiasr. Fars News wrote he participated in “illegal protest.”
She also wrote that her source in Tehran told her that
“the buildup of forces around Vanak, Valiasr, Fatemi & Enghelab Square was unprecedented… fearsome.”
posted at 1:07 PM
Video has surfaced of protests in Tehran today. It looks like it was shot by someone on their cell phone, while they were pretending to have a conversation, possibly near Vanak Square:
View Larger Map
The second video appears to be an opposition protester being arrested:
More as it filters in...
posted at 12:28 PM
New protests, 3 August
This tweet from about an hour ago:
Confrontation for the past hour in Vali Asr. Sq and Knowledge Park , Basij and security forces using tear gas.
This seems to be in reaction to the swearing-in ceremony/farce from this morning.
posted at 10:24 AM
Ayatollah Khameini officially swore in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this morning in Tehran, but the event was boycotted by two former presidents of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, along with Mousavi and Karroubi.
If you like really awkward body language, you'll enjoy the video:
At the ceremony four years ago, Ahmadinejad kissed Khameini's hand to show his loyalty, but not this time. These guys do not like each other one bit.
posted at 10:17 AM
Show-trial folk are the best folk
Iran's official news agency, IRNA, is reporting that 100 opposition political activists and protesters stood trial in Tehran today, on charges that include attacking military and government buildings, having links with armed opposition groups and conspiring against the ruling system.
According to FARS English site, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Tehran's public and revolutionary courts said that the foreign media contributed a major role in the post-election frenzy in Iran.
"It should be noted that foreign media, including BBC Persian, VOA, Al-Arabia, Radio Farda and Radio Zamaneh, have played a salient role in training and provoking illegal gatherings and unrests," he said.
The prosecutor alleged that Newsweek reporter, Mazyar Bahari had told him that the policy of the western media was based on inculcating fraud in Iran's 10th presidential election even before voting started.
"I asked the issue from Mr. (Mohammad) Khatami (former Iranian president) in an interview and after the interview I witnessed a movement in the country which accorded with the classic paradigms of velvet revolution," he quoted Bahari as saying.
The government's claims of legitimacy just get more and more pathetic by the day.
posted at 7:17 AM
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