Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Inside peak into how congress works

The House of Representatives just passed an envirnmentally friendly energy bill that some are calling a huge step in combatting global warming. The vote was 219 for and 212 against, with 8 republicans voting for the democratic bill. The right wing media has been attacking the 8 Republicans arguing that if it weren't for them the Democratic legislation would never have passed. But that is not the case according to the Democratic party.

Democrats in washington are claiming (according to sam stein) that Nancy Pelosi allowed 44 Democrats to vote aganst the bill because she knew the bill would pass, making their votes not vital. And that if she did not have the votes to pass the bill these 44 would have supported the bill to get it passed.

The reason they voted against something they wanted to pass is classic Washington strategy. These 44 Democrats hail from conservative leaning districts. And in thinking of the next election, they want to show their constituents their conservative street credability. And in a a few years when we have the next election no one will remember this little strategy and these 44 Dems will look like they stood up to the envirnmental rights bill.

This also works the opposite way. Republicans that voted for the bill are hoping it won't pass the senate and become law. This way they get some street credablity for standing up yet they did not actually change anything and so cannot be held too accountable.

So once again America, we are last on our elected representatives priority list.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Equal right for the non rich

Our country was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. The definition of all men has changed over time here in the US. When our nation was founded it really meant all white, educated, land owning men. Slowly over time other groups had to fight for their rights even though our laws supposedly guaranteed them.

In the early 1900's we saw women protest en mass for their equal rights. In the 1960's we saw black protest as well lead by the famous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Preacher Malcolm X amongst others. Today we see gay people fighting for their right to legally wed.

For whatever reason, fear, hate, not wanting to give up power, the leaders of our nation did not want to give these equal rights away without putting up a fight. Right now I think its time for a new group to begin its march for equal rights. The poor and the middle class.

This group is constantly being stepped on by the leaders of the country. The uneducated. The immigrants. The home with two working parents just making ends meet. The person who is just barely staying afloat and gets sick and loses their job and home. The guy who retired ten years ago thinking he would be comfortable with his small retirement package from GM until they went bankrupt and decided to cancel all health insurance for those already retired.

Those people from the Michael Moore documentary Sicko who have health insurance but are getting squeezed by their Health Insurance Company who wanted to save money, so they had to decide, between which fingers to save after a machine accident, or having to decide between food or surgery.

Or the family's in one of the Carolina's who can't leave their home because they happen to live next to one of the world largest pig farms that is producing so much pig feces waste and not properly removing it, resulting in poisonous fumes that make it too toxic to go outside. Or those who chose to gamble on the stock market, who thought the game wasn't rigged, and found out it was and they lost a lot.

Or the poor in Californian who have no health insurance and use free clinics but will soon be told sorry we cannot help you anymore because of the crisis going on right now with the California budget. One Californian activist predicts people will begin to die on the streets of LA because there wont be enough free clinics and supplies to treat everyone. Or the teachers in California have to worry about their jobs after the Governator approved the firing of 1/3 of all California state teachers.

Millions and millions of us are falling through the cracks with out anyone coming to the rescue. Yet we see the richest of us being saved by the same government that is failing the poor. As a wrote in a previous blog after hurricane Katrina it tooks days to get water into Louisiana. Which was more time than it took for Congress to pass a bill to make trillions of dollars available to wall street thieves who stole it all to begin with, almost crashing the entire economy of United States in their wake.

To me, it may not be as obvious as having separate bathrooms for two people with different skin colors. But the size of my bank account definitely determines what laws I am asked to follow . Just ask OJ Simpson, and every corporation that ever dumped toxic waste into the environment who destroyed peoples health and were not responsible under the law. Just ask the people in Michael Moore's Sicko who lost a loved one because the insurance company refused treatment that would cost a lot of money, legally killing people. Just ask the government lawyers who sued Microsoft for monopolistic practices and who won while Bill Clinton was still in office and than when Bush took over he threw out the case, after the government won the case!?!?!?

The size of my bank account also determines what laws are passed. Rich banks too big to fail get trillions in cash to shore up their bankrupt tyrannosaurus rex size companies. The rich lobby of the health insurance gets laws written that favor their profit margin over the public interest. Just now being talked about in congress is a clean air act that will prohibit the regulating of power plants if they are related to global warming, because the regulation would effect the companies bottom line.

When did the bottom line become the new mantra of the nation. The bottom line is the rich in the country get laws passed, everyone else doesn't. Everyone in Congress as well as the past dozen presidents have been millionaires. If we having millionaires running the country are we surprised that laws are passed to benefit only millionaires.

I am merely saying it seems those laws are discriminatory in nature. If a jury is not made up of peers it is not a legal jury. If our government does not represent the people it might not be legal.

Any time someone on the corporate run news brings up any of these points they are jumped on for using class warfare. But i cant think of anything else to call it. If it walks like a duck, well you know.

If you begin to slowly crush me under you boot for over a hundred years than i quickly trip you to get you off of me how can anyone of reason believe i am the trouble maker.

So who is with me? Any lawyers in the house? Any ACLUers up in here? Could this be my calling in life?

Governor Sanford in Argentina

Governor Sandford admits to having cheated on his wife by having an affair with a women in Argentina and the Republican establshment tells everyone to back off, its a private issue, they said we are all human and make mistakes, "he is in our prayors", "our heart goes out to the family".

So why weren't the Republicans this sympathetic when Bill Clinton cheated, they tried to impeach him right?
Thanks washington for being a model of true leadership.


So after a week of protesting after the election the Mousavi camp asked for a recount and was granted a 10% recount by the Guardian Council. The Council has determined some fraud in 50 cities where up to 140% of the registered voters voted. But since the extra votes amount to only 3 million in an election where Ahmadinejad won by 11 million some are saying nothing can be done. But Mousavi has powerful allies.

After the week of protests the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei gave his Friday sermon basically warning protesters that he has been reasonable and if the protesters are not reasonable the full strength of the law will be felt.

The next day Mousavi held huge rallies. The biggest since the Revolution and the army cracked down. Up to 20 dead, hundreds arrested.

But the most important part of the battle was being fought behind the scenes in Qom, the religious headquarters of Iran and the Shia world. A Mousavi ally, Rasfanjani took the battle to Qom to fight for the support of the powerful clerics. And it looks as if he succeeding according to the daily beast writer Reza Aslan, where some kind of power sharing agreement might be arranged.

Rasfanjani is one of the most powerful figures inside Iran. He was a close friend of the first Supreme leaders, and was crucial in the selection of the current one. He also leads a committee that has the power to oust the Supreme Leader if he fails to do his duty, the Council of Experts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Palestine vs. Iran

It's so odd that the American elites have so much concern for the freedom of the Iranian people who are living under a brutal regime. But when it comes to the Palestinian living in Israel, also under a brutal regime their seems to be no loved lost. Just one more picture of the hypocracy of the American ruling elite. Two groups of people in two different countries both throwing rocks, being arrested, lives being taken from them but an oppressive regime. One the American corporate media tells us to sympathize with. The other we are told deserve it.

I mean we just had an 8 year term of elites running an operation in the white house who overthrew a brutal middle eastern regime. We were told that America fights for freedom and democracy all across the planet. I am confused (sarcasm)

As my dad would say, " whats that old armenian saying, (the country of origin changes each time) your mama"

Arab world happy and not so happy about Iran

RAMI G. KHOURI has an interesting piece up at;

The discussion is about how the middle east feels about the events in Iran. The findings are split. Many are happy that the people have the fight and will to stand up and fight the regime. Yet the leaders of the Middle Eastern Nations are worried. Could it happen here they think. Most Middle Eastern Nations are not ruled democracy and many fear the spread of grassroots uprisings taking their power.

And while many would like to see the the regime topple because of Iran's goals of exporting the revolution to places like Lebanon and Iraq, they also enjoy the way Iran stand up to the west, the US, Israel, and the UN.

You broke it you buy it

Credit ­Suisse bank has chosen to reward its executives with bonuses. Not cash, not stock, but the toxic assets that are bringing down wall street and the economy. Its a great idea. While most banks have decided not to punish those who dealt in toxic assets many instead, have been rewarded with the usual bonuses. Thus sending the message what you do has no effect on your salary or your future here. On the other hand Credit Suisse, acting like a responsible leader is telling their workers you broke it you buy, teaching them in the process that they have responsiblities to shareholders, executives and the world.


Saudi Arabia blood money

I just found this interesting blog from an American who live in Saudi Arabia. She wrote one entry about blood money, which is money one family pays to another when someone has been killed and the blame can be placed on someone, as an apology. The idea is based on Muslim law, and eye for an eye. The family who has lost someone has the right to have the killer publicly executed, but most times mercy is granted and payment is made.

According to the blog, http://americanbedu.com/2009/06/05/saudi-arabia-payment-of-diyyah/,the going rates for mercy is the following;
* 100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
* 50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
* 50,000 riyals if a Christian man
* 25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
* 6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
* 3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday/Thursday Iran

As I have been reading more into the power structure of Iran the Revolutionary Guard has a very interesting story. At first they were charged with being a personal security force of the Supreme Leader they have morphed into an economical/political power player with operations in 20 countries, in an attempt to export the Iranian style revolution.

Ahmadinejad, the incumbant president, a former commander in the revolutionary guard has been slowly helping revolutionary guard commanders take over high levers of power in the government. Under Ahmadinejads, Revolutionary Guard commanders have been appointed to 14 of the 21 cabinet positions, and have taken over as mayors of 30 cities, as well as wining 80 of the 290 seats on the Iranian Congress(Majlis).

This growing power in the politcal halls has meant increasing advantages when the Revolutionary Guard's many front companies bid for government contracts. With their advantage the Guard has built one of the wealthiest empires in Iran with ties to more than 100 companies and control of more than 12 billion dollars in contracts.

The Guard has its hands in such industry as dentistry, travel, oil, and construction. But the pride of the Guard is their controversial uranium enrichment facility at Natanz which is not subject to the parliamentary budget process.(Kim Murphy la times)

As far as the protests go Rez Aslan of the daily beast.com has much hope for the protesters. Paraphrasing a Aslan interview on msnbc he said the last heavy protests of 99' by the students were brutally repressed by the state because the protesters were one group of society. Today they cannot happen because everyone is protesters.

He continues, “What's really fascinating about what's happening right now in 2009 is that it looks a lot like what was happening in 1979. And there's a very simple reason for that. The same people are in charge -- I mean, Mousavi, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Medhi Karroubi, the other reformist candidate -- these were all the original revolutionaries who brought down the Shah to begin with, so they know how to do this right."

Its very powerful to hear that the same strategy that caused the revolution in 1979 is being used today by the same men who organized the revolution in 1979, to put pressure on the current power structure. Under these conditions it seems the Supreme leader and his power base are in trouble and might have to flee the country, which leades to another irony. In 1979 right before the Shah was overthrown he also left the country, today the current president Ahmadinejad is in Russia. It seems to easy to say that he will never come back to Iran.

some of the most blatent abuse on video to date.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday In Iran

More protests rock Iran today, after a night of Basiji security forces breaking into houses and terrorising the public. So if the election wasnt rigged why such force? If the election wasnt rigged why are you shutting down communication networks like internet, cell phones, and banning foreign media from reporting.

Reports during the day were that the police were watching the protests without interference and that only the basiji security forces and the Revolutionary Guard was still beating people up and shooting at them.

Monday night security forces ransacked Tehran Universtiy, destroying computers, killing many, and arresting hundreds maybe. Faculty have cancelled finals and resigned in masses.

On the twitter front government forces have set up fake accounts to spread false information. Twitter also pushed off their scheduled maintenance when they were asked by the State Department. Iranian users of twitter have also asked twitters users from arount the world to change their location to Tehran and time zone to gmt +3:30, this will help confuse the Iranina intelligence services who are looking for Iraninas twitters users so the accounts can be shut down.

The Guardian Counil, upon reviewing the election have decided to recount part of the votes, not making many protesters to0 satisfied.

The most influencial cleric in the nation Montazeri has declared the election results a fraud. Montazeri was once the chosen cleric to take the reigns from the first Surpeme Leader of IranGrand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini before he became pulblicy outspoken about the governement.

Articles around the web starting to break down the power structure in Iran, and they are saying the battle in the streets is just a proxy fight between the two powers that run the nation.

One power is the Supreme Leader, and Ahmadinejad, and the military and security forces like the basiji and the Revolutionary Guard. During Ahmadinejad's first time he put many Rev. Guard offices in charge of many levels of power, the first time in Iranian history where military figures held political posts.

The other power structure represented by Mousavi, is made up of the clerics, the university's the students, and it is lead by the ex president/billionaire Rafsanjani.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran day 3

All the tweets coming out of Iran are hard to keep up with. And the fact that twitter has decided tonight to shut down for mainanence might be the biggest bonehead move of the decade next to George Bush invading Iraq who did nothing to provoke the attack.

But the biggest news today beside the huge protests was the declaration by the Supreme Leader of the nation Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all election results, that he will have a government body review the election results for irregularities. This is a suprising change considering over the weekend the Supreme leader on two seperate occasions publicly congragulated Ahmadinejad on his victory. Yet its still unclear what this review will lead to since the Supreme Leader on numerous occasions throughout the presidential campaign has shown his preference for Ahmadinejad becoming the new president. The governement body to review the election results also has been directly or indirectly appointed by the Supreme Leader.

The losing candidate Mousavi showed up in the capitol for a large demonstration today, the first time he has been seen in public since Friday, News reports are suggesting the protests today saw anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million Iranians flooded the streets, stretching 5 miles long.

Reports are also coming out that those who attended Ahmadinejads victory speech yesturday were government workers who had no choice and were forcably bused in.

The protest during the day was peaceful. Police and security forces were seen standing by and watching. When the crowds began to chant they were overwelmed by voices quieting them.

Yet violence erupted again as day turned to night. Many have claimed that Lebanese Hezballah forces have been brought in to beat up protesters. This has been done in the past. Protesters surrounded and burned the central building of Iran's hardline Islamic Basij militiamen. Twitter reports gun shots and protesters clashing with police and smoke plumes all over Iran.

The protesters have also turned to their favorite tool to strike back at the government, technology, as hackers around the country have been attacking and crashing governement websites throughout the day.

One idea that is circulating as a possible solution to this crisis is some sort of power sharing agreement between the two factions.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran, all hell breaks loose

So Iran held a presidential election on Friday and the election was very popular this year. Many came out to support their candidates and the internet and text messaging were very widely used. This morning the election results came in and the world was stunned. No one is buying the huge win for incumbant Ahmdinajad. The students who supported the reform candidate took to the streets in protest, so the police turned violent. Next thing you know the internet and cell phone service around the country goes down, and buses go up, in flames. 

Is this part two of the 79' Revolution? Part one being the overthrow of western infuence in the nation, part two being the instalation of complete democracy and the final ousting of a dictatorship? After the 79' Revolution removing the Shah the conservate and reform niche's of the nation battled it out on the streets to see who would lead the nation. The conservatives won. And everytime since, that the reform party has tried to make a dent in conservative power they have not been able to. Some say because they are unwilling to go violent and aggressive against the ruling powers. But maybe thats whats needed. and maybe now is the time. 

One election official working in the Ministry of the Interier the governmetn body that counts the election results says their was no fraud because no votes were counted. The election was handed to Ahmidinajad. Other rumers are saying voting boxes filled with votes were being burned all around the country.  Since the president, Ahmidinijad has limited power, many beleive the Supreme Leader, the real leader of Iran, has approved the election fraud. 

Yet others are saying maybe not. Maybe Ahmidinijad has staged his own coup without the consent of the Supreme leader. But the fact that a coup was staged is pretty much undebatable. Juan Cole explains why, a few of his examples are, 1. the history of Iranian elections shows different ethnic areas vote more favorably for their ethnically related candidate yet in this election that did not happen, all areas voted the same. 2. In the past region and town voting habits were broken down and released publically, this did not happen this year. 

Many on the street are saying Ahmidinajad's 63% of the vote is too much to be deemed believable. "if he got 51, 52% it might have seemed beleivable but not 63%."

Day one after the results were released was pretty insane, what will happen next is anybodys guess.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Biden threatens Lebanon

Remember a few years back the Palestinians of Israel had a democratic election Hamas rose to power ousting the American backed PLO? And do you remember our governments response was to stop funding the official government and start fomenting a civil war? Well Vice President Biden basically just made the same kind of threat to Lebanon, who is set to have a democratic presidential election on June 7th. 

The AP is reporting that Biden in a speach warned that all future United States government funding to Lebanon would depend upon the upcoming elections. Could we expect a civil war in lebanon if the rebels win?

Stupid things to say

Talking about the new Supreme Court nominee,

Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when [Sotomayor]’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.”G. Gordon Liddy