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Is a Military Crackdown Coming in Iran?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

It is starting to look like a crackdown is coming in Iran. Earlier today Iran’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, again endorsed the results of the election and threatened protesters that if they continue their activities there will be “bloodshed.” Iran expert Gary Sick suggests that Khamenei may not actually be in charge of the country right now.

Around Khamenei’s neck yesterday was the simple plaid kerchief worn by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the military organization that, unlike the regular army, reports directly to the supreme leader.

“There’s a question in my mind whether Khamenei is calling the shots or whether the Revolutionary Guards are calling the shots,” said Gary G. Sick, a Columbia University professor who was at the National Security Council in 1979. “But clearly the Revolutionary Guards, their whole organization and their leadership have assumed a position in the constellation of voices in Iran that is extraordinary, and they say they are absolutely loyal to Khamenei.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who sat cross-legged in the front row at prayers yesterday, emerged from both the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, the largely working-class, volunteer organization that is part paramilitary, part social welfare. Khamenei has nurtured both groups as constituencies and instruments of social control independent of the clergy.

“Khamenei depends on them almost entirely,” Sick said of the Basiji. “He is in no position to contradict them or take exception to their wishes. They are very conservative and want to protect the system as it is.”

At the Washington Note,Steve Clemons has posted four possible scenarios described by a friend who may be living in Iran and wanted to remain anonymous. This person suggested that in the wake of Khamenei’s speech today, there are really only two possible outcomes remaining: Continue reading

Friday Start The Weekend Open Thread


¿Qué quieres tomar?

Left Behind


“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man,

in whom there is no help” – Psalm 146:3

Two pieces of news this week – Bill Clinton meets with some bloggers and tells them to apply pressure to Congress and the Obama administration from the left and the Washington Post fires liberal columnist Dan Froomkin who was pressuring Congress and the Obama administration from the left.

Last week the LGBT community got a lump of coal in their stocking and this week it was healthcare reform advocates’ turn in the barrel.  Since he became the “presumptive nominee” Obama has broken so many promises that Arthur Silber advises:

Don’t try to keep a list of all of Obama’s broken “promises.” Instead, keep a list of the promises you think he made that he’s kept. In this manner, your work will be brief and undemanding.

So what are the nutroots focused on?  Getting religion.

From PZ Meyers:

Netroots Nation, the big lefty political/blogging meeting, is organizing sessions for their conference in August. Unfortunately, they seem have given up on the idea of a secular nation, because this one session on A New Progressive Vision for Church and State has a bizarre description.

The old liberal vision of a total separation of religion from politics has been discredited. Despite growing secularization, a secular progressive majority is still impossible, and a new two-part approach is needed–one that first admits that there is no political wall of separation. Voters must be allowed, without criticism, to propose policies based on religious belief. (emphasis added)

I wonder if Carrie Prejean will be on the panel for that discussion.

Times are tough in the Kool-aid Kingdom.  It’s like the epitaph on the hypochondriac’s tombstone says:

“I expected this, but not so soon.

What I didn’t expect was that we would be left behind in Left Blogistan.  Richard Nixon described the secret to getting elected President as a Republican as “run to the right as far and as quickly as possible in the primaries, then run back to the center as quickly as possible in the general election.”

Obama’s theory appears to be “run to the left in the primaries and then run to the center in the general election and keep on heading right after you’re elected.”  Obama hasn’t just broken campaign promises, he has betrayed some of his earliest and most loyal supporters.  Well, maybe not his earliest supporters and certainly not his biggest donors.  His moneybags backers should be really happy since they got exactly what they paid for – a conservative wolf in a liberal sheep’s clothing empty suit.

Despite the fact that Obama quickly morphed into Bush III, the Republicans kept calling him a socialist and threatened to obstruct pretty much everything he proposed.  This caused the sippy-kup kidz to rush to Obama’s defense, heedless of the fact that they crossed the border separating moonbat from wingnut, dragging the Overton window with them.

Those of us that never jumped on the Obama bandwagon Kool-aid kart are sitting here all alone in Liberal territory watching “progressive Democrats” defend the same policies for which they wanted to impeach Bush II, such as torture, indefinite detention and domestic spying.

Now, five months into Obama’s administration (and over a year since we warned them) some progressives are starting to wake up and smell the arugula.  But are they apologetic and contrite, humbly admitting that we were right all along?  Hell no!  They have nothing but contempt for our “paranoid band of shrieking holdouts” and act shocked and surprised as they wail that “nobody could have foreseen” what is happening.  They still think we are traitors for not supporting the man who betrayed them.  Go figure.

For years I used to get so frustrated by the way Democrats capitulated to the GOP when it really counted.  It was after the 2006 electoral tsunami that the truth begin to penetrate my think skull.  Even though they had just finished kicking ass and taking names in November, the first thing Nancy Botoxi did in January 2007 was take impeachment “off the table.”

The 2006 exit polling showed that the voters wanted to end the war in Iraq.  So what did the Democrats do?  They voted to fund it with nary a whimper.  All the GOP had to do in the Senate was threaten to filibuster and Dirty Harry Reid would fold like a cheap suit.  “We need bigger majorities and the White House too!” was their excuse.  Then Harry and Nancy (and Barack) led the stampede to pass the FISA revision with retroactive immunity in it.

Finally I realized the truth.  With the Democratic Party, failure is a feature not a bug.  They don’t want to win.  That’s why they hate Bill Clinton so much – he screwed up and won.  Twice. The Democratic victories in 2006 had more to do with the failure of the Republicans and the efforts of non-Villagers than it had to do with the DLC or DNC.

Now the Democrats have huge majorities in Congress and the White House but we’re still supposed to take an old cold tater and wait.  Meanwhile they want mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.

The lesson here is : You can’t trust any politician.

Not any of them, not even Hillary or the Big Dawg.  Put your trust in principles and ideology and advocate for the policies that reflect them.  Support only those candidates that will commit to what you believe in.  Demand promises from them before giving them your vote and then accept no excuses once they are in office.

Never cut politicians or political parties any slack.  Keep up the pressure – even if they did good in the past, keep asking them “What have you done for me lately?”


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Friday: Here comes the sun, doo-n-doo-doooo!

The sun!  The Sun!  I think it’s out this morning.  I must get my camera and take a picture so I can remember this day.  Hallelujah!  My pasty white skin rejoices for the return of vitamin D production.  I think I shall weep with joy. Let’s have breakfast on the beach at the New Jersey Shore.

Ruh-Roh.  It looks like the foul weather may be contributing to the spread of the H1N1 virus.  Too many school children are cooped up inside and they are being the hardest hit.  Remember that this flu is the result of antigenic shift, which means that most of us have no immunity to it.  The more people infected, even with a mild to moderate flu, the more chances the virus has to mutate into something a lot more virulent.  If you’re sick, please don’t go to work.  It’s still early in the pandemic.  It’s not too late to pester your workplace about their plans in the event that you come down with it.  Your employer would be doing a public service. Vaccine makers are getting busy.  When the vaccine arrives and you have a chance to get it, get it.

Speaking of health, Congress is planning to do a number on those of us who have high salaries in states where high salaries don’t mean diddly.  What exactly are we going to get in return for a tax on our employer based health benefits?  I don’t have a “cadillac plan”, whatever that means.  I have to stay in network to keep a low co-pay and my choices of doctors is limited.  But now I have to cough up more money to fund a plan that reforms nothing?  Like I don’t have college to pay for?  Sigh.  It’s not the tax that bothers me so much as the fact that we won’t be bringing down the costs of health care until every one of us is covered.  And we can’t get to that point if our elected officials are too fricking cowardly to take on the insurance industry.  Screw bipartisanship.

Ayatollah Khamenei tried to guilt protesting Iranians into rejecting the “media belonging to Zionists, evil media”.  Does he mean Twitter?  Twitter sounds so cute.  Ahamadinejad is back in Iran and trying to backtrack his comments of a few days ago when he called the protesters “dust” and compared them to the fans of the losing team at a soccer game.  I think that is the equivalent of the Obot scream, “Get over it!  We won, you stupid, uneducated, working class, sino-peruvian lesbians!”  Or, what was it Markos called us?  Ah, yes, a “shrieking band of paranoid holdouts”.  That’s what Iranian protestors are.  Well, Ahamadinejad is trying to walk it back:

“I only addressed those who made riot, set fires and attacked people. Every single Iranian is valuable. The government is at everyone’s service. We like everyone.”

Ahuh.  Alright then.  Now, we wait to see if the protestors are convinced to put down their deadly two fingered victory salute and go home.  Given then number of protests in cities all around Iran and the growing crowds, I have my doubts, but I’ve been wrong before.

Iranian PUMAs at a protest in Tehran

Iranian PUMAs at a protest somewhere in Europe

Update: Since I started this post, Ayatollah Khameini has declared the election results “fair” and has told everyone to get off his lawn and go home.  Yeah, that ought to go over well.

Juan Cole has more good links and analysis at his blog Informed Comment.  According to Twitter, a new protest is scheduled for tomorrow.  Protestors are asked to bring their Qurans and sit down if they are attacked.  A perfect weekend event for the whole family!

Paul Krugman says Obama’s proposals for reining in bad banks is only half-assed. Ok, Paul didn’t say that.  But that’s what he meant.

Obama is vetting candidates for his old seat while claiming to not endorsing anyone.  Meanwhile, Larry Sabato recaps the off-off-year elections, including the gubenatorial race here in New Jersey.  It turns out that Corzine really is disliked here.  It isn’t just me.  Sabato doesn’t get the tax issue with Corzine though.  It’s not that Corzine raised any taxes.  There were a few minor ones here and there, like the iTunes tax.  No one much cares about those.  It’s that Corzine did *nothing* about the ridiculous property tax system.  Municipalities are still raising them  We’re hostages to our houses.  What the state needed was a bold visionary for major tax reform with new funding mechanisms that would stop dumping the entire burden for funding the state on the backs of homeowners.  Corzine wasn’t it.  Oh, and he nullified my primary vote for Hillary.  WHERE’S MY VOTE, JON??

The Washington Post fired Dan Froomkin yesterday.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  With David Broder and Crazy Krauthammer, WaPo is becoming the print version of Fox News, a conservative propaganda unit.  This is not your Watergate newspaper anymore.

A crowd in New York City chased Robert Pattison, the blood sucking star of Twilight, into the path of a taxi.  What was left out of this report was that the cabdriver got out and started screaming at him.  (just kidding)  Come on, people, repeat after me, “He’s not a real vampire.”

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Could “reform” possibly look worse than what we’ve got?

I don’t know how anyone could consider this reform (h/t Alegra) –

EXCLUSIVE: The Finance Committee’s Health Reform Outline
A Senate source just passed me the latest outline of the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform proposal. This is the post-CBO revision. Apparently, after the committee staff received the scores, they dug deep and quickly developed this proposal to circulate among members and then send back to CBO. It was presented earlier today at a closed-door meeting.

(shaking my head) It’s actually unbelievable…. You’ve got to read it yourself: Health Care Reform Draft Proposal.  It’s a pdf of an image so I can’t copy and past the text.  But, one of Ezra’s readers posted this evaluation (this is just a bit from the middle.  He’s got more detail in a chart): Continue reading