June 16th, 2009

creepy but cute

Iran election recount in contested areas

Story broke out minutes ago that Iran's Guardian Council says it is prepared to recount disputed ballot boxes in election. From BBC:

Iran 'to hold election recount'
Iran's powerful Guardian Council says it is ready to recount disputed votes from Friday's presidential poll.

Moderate candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has contested President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, alleging widespread fraud.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran says the council's announcement is a complete U-turn. The official results sparked three days of huge protests. Iranian radio says seven people were killed during demonstrations on Monday.

The Guardian Council said the votes would be recounted in areas contested by the losing candidates.

Our correspondent says this could effectively allow the defeated candidates to challenge all the votes.

New demonstrations have been called by supporters of both President Ahmadinejad and Mr Mousavi and are due to take place in Vali Asr Square in central Tehran.
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UPDATE: Analysis by FiveThirtyEight

Recount in Iran?

The BBC is reporting that Iran's Guardian Council has announced that a "re-count" of Friday's votes will take place, following incredible protests and an official challenge to the results by Mousavi and Karroubi.

Commentators have rightly questioned whether a recount would provide any actual relief to the Iranian electoral process. Indeed, Mousavi and his supporters have demanded that Friday's balloting be invalidated, and a new vote held. The question is, under what circumstances would each option provide a better gauge of the Iranian public's actual will? It depends on the type of irregularities that actually occured:
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I was forwarded this document is making rounds in Iran, not sure if it has been distributed widely or not... it reports the /original/ numbers that are being reported, it has not been verified (as to whether it is legit or not), but it is interesting if it turns out to be legit as it would imply a fraud in the part of the leader's office



It's addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei and [allegedly] signed by Iran's interior minister -- Sadegh Mahsouli -- it reports:

Total: 42,026,078
Mousavi: 19,075,623
Karoubi: 13,387,104
Ahmadinejad: 5,698,417
Rezai: 3,754,218
Void: 38,716

/I wonder if this will be accepted as a solution by the reformists & people.
UPDATE: New arrest, my favoritest Iranian cleric blogger and former Khatami VP has ben arrested D: http://www.webneveshteha.com/ WTF. Not too worried re: they doing anything to him, but they're trying to really scare people and prevent information from getting out. D: D:
Martha

~IRAN ELECTION FALLOUT DISCUSSION/LIVE POST~

WTF

WOW, SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY, HYUCK!


Obama Blocks Visitor List Access, Echoing Bush


The Obama administration has denied requests from both reporters and government watchdogs to reveal the names of White House guests, echoing Bush administration policy.

MSNBC.com reports that their attempt to get visitor logs was denied:

The Obama administration is arguing that the White House visitor logs are presidential records -- not Secret Service agency records, which would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The administration ought to be able to hold secret meetings in the White House, "such as an elected official interviewing for an administration position or an ambassador coming for a discussion on issues that would affect international negotiations," said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt.

These same arguments, made by the Bush administration, were rejected twice by a federal judge. The visitor logs are created by the Secret Service and maintained by the Secret Service, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in 2007 and again this January. CREW had requested records of visits to the Bush White House, as well as the residence of Vice President Dick Cheney, by leaders of Religious Right organizations.

 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog focused on special interests, was also rebuffed.

CREW sought records of visits by top coal executives in an effort to learn the extent to which these individuals may have influenced the administration's energy policy. Taking the exact same position as the Bush administration, the Obama administration claimed the records are presidential, not agency records, and otherwise exempt in their entirety because of the possibility in some instances they could reveal information protected by the presidential communications privilege. In prior litigation U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth agreed with CREW that the records are agency records that must be disclosed under the FOIA.

The group is filing a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security.

"We are deeply disappointed," CREW attorney Anne L. Weismann told MSNBC, "that the Obama administration is following the same anti-transparency policy as the Bush administration when it comes to White House visitor records. Refusing to let the public know who visits the White House is not the action of a pro-transparency, pro-accountability administration."

President Bush fought for years to keep White House visitor logs private, arguing that they should fall under the presidential communications privilege. In January of this year a judge rejected that argument.

jonstewart-rave

Sarah Palin Named Nation's First Humor Czar

Lee Stranahan

Filmmaker, Writer, Photographer

Posted: June 15, 2009 11:17 PM


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a hastily called press conference, Sarah Palin - the Governor of Alaska and a key to Republican success in the 2008 Presidential election -- was today named as the United State's first "Humor Czar"; a newly created position in The Department Of Homeland Security. Palin, who is as well known for her intellect as her sense of humor, will be responsible for overseeing and approving all of America's "jokes, gags, satire, mirth, merriment, irony, one liners, bits, sketches and other humor related materials."

Humorists including David Letterman, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Rock, Will Durst, Andy Borowitz, Andy Cobb, Lee Camp, Whoopi Goldberg and Obama Girl could not be reached for comment as they were all being transported to Guantanamo Bay, newly rechristened "Budd Friedman's The Improv At Guantanamo Bay." Early reports are all expected to plead guilty on Palin's upcoming "Showtime At The Tribunal!" special and have asked supporters to please tip the waitresses, because they work hard out there.

At the news conference, Palin was flanked by comedians Larry The Cable Guy and Dennis Miller. Both expressed support for Palin and agreed comedy had gone 'too far' in a direction they called "un-funny, un-American and un-good." When asked by reporter Tommy Christopher about the ramifications of mass censorship, Mr. The Cable Guy replied, "Censorship? Git 'er done!". Most reporters chuckled, especially when Governor Palin glared at them with a wide, twisted grin on her face.

In a dramatic twist at the press conference, comic Dennis Miller caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror standing with Palin and Larry The Cable Guy. A look of sudden recognition came over his face before he grabbed a loaded revolver from a Secret Service agent, made a quick reference to 13th century French architect Jean de Chelles and then blew his own brains out. Palin roared with laughter.

Palin made a brief statement in which she said that jokes about rape clearly crossed a line, particularly since rape was so serious a crime that women should be required to pay for their own rape kits and should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term if they were raped. She said that it wasn't funny that Alaska's rate of rape and sexual assault were high above the national average and that it also wasn't humorous in any way that her promotion of 'abstinence only' sex education had resulted in her teenage daughter becoming an unwed teenage mother. Reporters sat quietly since none of this was, in fact, funny and Palin has recently banned irony.

Palin responded to questions about whether Letterman had unfairly exploited her children for publicity by throwing her baby with Down's syndrome at Helen Thomas's head, then pointing in another direction and screaming 'Socialist!' a high screechy voice.

When asked about her former running mate John McCain having made a joke in 1998 about Chelsea Clinton being 'ugly', Czarina Palin pointed out that jokes about the Clintons are funny. A nearly dead Dennis Miller agreed.

The announcement of Pain's new position was made by Governor Palin's husband, Todd. It's not clear if the Obama administration is aware of the appointment.

Source


Palin made a brief statement in which she said that jokes about rape clearly crossed a line, particularly since rape was so serious a crime that women should be required to pay for their own rape kits and should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term if they were raped. She said that it wasn't funny that Alaska's rate of rape and sexual assault were high above the national average and that it also wasn't humorous in any way that her promotion of 'abstinence only' sex education had resulted in her teenage daughter becoming an unwed teenage mother. Reporters sat quietly since none of this was, in fact, funny and Palin has recently banned irony.

I particularly like this section.  I would have loved for someone interviewing Palin this week to have mentioned these tidbits while she was wailing in fabricated angst over the EEEEVIL David Letterman.

AHMADINEJAD WANTS MORE KILLING!!

AHMADINEJAD WANTS MORE KILLING!

so my friends on facebook who are persian like me posted this video on their status saying that "Ahmadinejad asking permission for more killings! Is this guy for real?!" and then some other persians commented on it saying:

Farzad Nader at 11:19am June 16
Ahmadinezhad is asking permission from FuKING Religious Supreme court to kill people. This is disgusting!!!!!!!

Anyway I watched it, it's strange.. he does talk about the protests being against the islamic republic and need more force against them and then he talks about israel.. it's all very confusing.

maybe a person more fluent in persian could give a better translation. here's the video:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/video/video.php?v=1164187231061&ref=nf

on the link it says it's from June 19, 2009 at 5:01 A.M.
jacksparrow-bs

GOP GETS PANTIES IN TWIST OVER ABC SPECIAL....REMAINS SHRILL WHILE DOING SO


So, in response to the earlier post from Drudge Report regarding the ABC special at the White House on healthcare, I thought it might be worthwhile to post a related but different viewpoint as well as some background.

First off, in regards to the event itself, there was more information available, including a statement from ABC itself.  I'd like to point out to some folks that this also includes a mention (bolded below) of the fact that, as I speculated in an earlier comment on the previous post, ABC alone is doing audience selection:

 
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A 'PRESCRIPTION' FOR A MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY.... A week from tomorrow, President Obama will sit down with ABC News' Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer for a prime-time discussion on health care policy. It's scheduled to be called "Questions for the President: Prescription for America."

It doesn't seem like the kind of interview/forum that would spark a controversy. A national debate on health care policy is beginning; Americans have concerns; and the president is apparently anxious to explore this in more depth. Gibson and Sawyer will no doubt ask plenty of pointed questions, and Obama will have plenty of GOP talking points to respond to. What's more, ABC, in addition to the assembled audience, will reportedly work with Digg to let viewers have input into which questions get asked.

Sounds like a reasonable approach to a major policy debate? Well, it depends on who you ask.

The RNC and conservative blogs in general are outraged by the discussion. Drudge insisted earlier that ABC is "turn[ing] its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care," adding that "the media and government [will] become one."

Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay wrote to ABC News last night, calling the health care discussion with Obama "astonishing," because viewers will be hearing from the president, and not members of the congressional minority party. McKay suggested the program may "become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat [sic] agenda" (yes, even in formal correspondence, the RNC uses incorrect grammar, on purpose) and demanded that "the Republican Party ... be included in this primetime event."

Kerry Smith, ABC News' senior VP, responded to the RNC today.

...ABC News announced plans to broadcast a primetime hour from the White House devoted to exploring and probing the President's position and giving voice to questions and criticisms of that position. We hope that any American concerned about health care will find our efforts to be informative, fair and civil.

Second, ABC News prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers -- of all political persuasions -- even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum. ABC News is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue. ABC News alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience.

Third, there already has been extensive coverage of the upcoming health care debates, on ABC and elsewhere, and there will be much, much more. Indeed, we've already had many critics of the President's health care proposals on the air -- and that's before a real plan has even been put before the country.

 

 

I suspect the RNC and its allies are just trying to work the refs, hoping that by throwing a fit now, they can push Gibson and Sawyer to push more absurd questions during the program.

In the end, though, it seems like a rather strange thing for Republican activists to get worked up about.

Source



Next, in reference to the whole "OMG we're having STATE-RUN MEDIA, WHY CAN'T HE JUST CALL A PRESS CONFERENCE, WTFBBQ!!!" crowd, I'll simply refer you to an April 27th article that was written by the AP.  Basically, it indicates that Fox had decided not to run the press conference, and the other networks were concerned about having to pre-empt their programming because it costs them in advertising revenue.  In light of this, it seems a logical step to take, one that should make the networks happy.  It allows the public the opportunity to listen to and question the President on his healthcare plan, but also isn't sapping away ad revenue from the networks.  If anything, it's probably giving them a very valuable program to increase revenue.  I wouldn't be surprised to see this type of model repeated on other networks in the future with this administration.  Collapse )

 

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Sure sounds to me like the administration is making an attempt to "show more flexibility in working with networks" doesn't it?


 

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McCain-economy

WWMD: What Would McCain Do?



It is summer 2009, and John McCain is president

In which the author imagines what America would be like if the GOP's man had won. Critics of Obama, take note.

By Michael Lind

Jun. 16, 2009 |

Picture, if you will, an America apparently like our own. A country like ours bogged down in war on two fronts and suffering from the greatest economic slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s. An America indistinguishable from ours in every respect except that when you turn on the nightly news you see the face of President John Sidney McCain ...

 

 

OK, Rod Serling as host of "The Twilight Zone" probably would have said it better. But seriously -- where would we be in the summer of 2009, if in last November's election John McCain rather than Barack Obama had been elected president of the United States?

 

 

"No difference!" would be the answer of those alienated populists and leftists for whom Republicans and Democrats are merely different tentacles of the same Bilderberger or Trilateral Commission octopus. Certainly from the perspectives of socialists or libertarians -- or fascists or Islamic theocrats -- the consensus shared by America's two parties seems much greater than their differences. But from the vantage point of mainstream American politics, the differences between the Obama administration and a hypothetical McCain administration would have been real and can be vividly illustrated by counterfactual history.

 

 

Let's start with foreign policy. Within the framework of U.S. geopolitical primacy shared by both parties, Barack Obama has departed significantly from the foreign policy of George W. Bush in both substance and style. With respect to substance, he is fulfilling his campaign promise to draw down U.S. involvement in Iraq cautiously while increasing resources for the fight against bin Laden's jihadists and their Taliban supporters, who, unlike Saddam Hussein, planned or suborned the 9/11 attacks.

 

 

McCain, by contrast, not only supported Bush's unnecessary and unjustified Iraq war, but has consistently been more hawkish than Bush, as difficult as that may be to imagine. Remember, during the 2000 Republican presidential primary McCain, not Bush, was the initial favorite of the neoconservatives, who proudly called themselves "McCainiacs." During the second Bush term of 2005-09, Republican realists like Defense Secretary Robert Gates (whom Obama wisely has retained) replaced neocons and neocon-friendly hawks allied with Dick Cheney such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. If McCain had been elected, it seems likely that this would have been reversed. Neocons like Elliott Abrams, instead of dwelling in exile at the Council on Foreign Relations, might well be back making foreign policy in the executive branch.

 

 

 

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Source

This is a thought I keep reminding myself of when everything hasn't been changing as quickly as we'd all like to see it on various issues of Gitmo, Iraq, GLBT, DADT, etc. I'm also vividly reminded about what we could have had when I saw John McCain's recent comments about how the Obama administration is handling the Iran Election issue.

Edited to fix formatting FAIL.

Obama-wtf

I am no longer surprised.....at anything


Uighurs: U.S. Let Chinese Abuse Us At Gitmo

While at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, Uighur detainees were interrogated, abused and threatened by a delegation from the People's Republic of China, recently liberated Uighurs told the Huffington Post in a phone interview from Bermuda.

"When the Chinese delegation came we didn't really want to meet with them and answer their questions. They brought us out anyway," said Khalil Manut through a translator. "They made threats, turned down the temperature in the room, made the room very cold."

The Chinese interrogated each of the detainees in 2002, said Manut and the other Uighurs.

"Basically they made many, many threats against them and against their families and even said, 'We will either take you back or we will make sure that you end up here for a long time. You will never be free,' and things like that,' said Manut.

The Chinese delegation -- which the Uighurs estimated at five total interrogators -- questioned some of the Uighurs for 18 hours straight in the extreme cold, depriving them of food and sleep. Ablikim Turahun, one of the freed Uighurs, endured such an interrogation. He said that after six hours he was sent back to his room to eat, but before the meal came he was taken back to the Chinese for another six hours. He was then sent back to his room and given a meal. Just as he was falling asleep, he was brought back again for a third straight six-hour session in extremely cold temperatures.

"They said, 'You're not talking now, [but] we have ways to make you talk when we take you back.' Basically implying they would torture us and get whatever out of us," recalled Manut. The threats against their families have not been carried out, they said.

The government of Bermuda recently accepted four Uighurs who have now relocated from Guantanamo to the island nation. The government of Palau may accept some of the remaining 13 Uighurs, but discussions are ongoing. The United States has deemed them not to be a threat, but U.S. politicians are afraid to allow them to relocate to America.

The White House declined to comment on the Uighurs' accusation, but a May 2008 report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice indicates that the U.S. did allow the Chinese delegation to interrogate the Uighurs. ABC News wrote about the report when it was released.

"Another FBI agent stated in his survey response that several Uighur detainees were subjected to sleep deprivation or disruption while being interrogated at Camp X-Ray by Chinese officials," the IG report reads.

In a footnote, the report goes on: "While the Uighurs were detained at Camp X-Ray, some Chinese officials visited GTMO and were granted access to these detainees for interrogation purposes. The agent stated that he understood that the treatment of the Uighur detainees was either carried out by the Chinese interrogators or was carried out by U.S. military personnel at the behest of the Chinese interrogators."

The FBI agent also reported that "...one Uighur detainee, Bahtiyar Mahnut (#277), claimed that the night before his interrogation by Chinese officials he was awakened at 15-minute intervals the entire night and into the next day. Mahnut also claimed he was exposed to low room temperatures for long periods of time and was deprived of at least one meal."

Elizabeth Gilson, the attorney for Mahnut, told the Huffington Post that the American guard's involvement in the Chinese interrogation was one of the most troubling parts.

"We know that it's true," she said. "It's one of the most shameful parts of this shameful episode. Not only did they allow the Chinese delegation to intimidate and scare these men to death, our American soldiers were told to soften them up for the interrogation."

Yet the Uighurs now in Bermuda say they feel no ill will toward the United States. Rather, they blame the Chinese for their detention.

"We don't blame United States for seven years spent in captivity, because the communist Chinese government is the main reason for this," said Manut. "Because of the Chinese communist government we left our homeland and we fled out of China and we ended up in Afghanistan."

Once captured, said Manut, he was well aware that he was unable to be sent to a third country because of diplomatic pressure being applied by the Chinese. "Because of the communist Chinese government no one accepted us, although the United States cleared our innocence a long time ago," he said. The United States State Department has been trying to relocate us to a third country for many, many years but the countries around the world, nobody had the guts to stand up against Chinese and no one wanted to break their business ties with China. No one was willing to give us a home, accept us, so United States couldn't find a country to relocate us. We know all these details, therefore, the seven years that we spent in Guantanamo, it's not because of the United States. That's why we don't have any ill feelings toward the United States."

Source


Yet another reason why the Bush/Cheney administration needs to be thoroughly investigated.
good news everyone!
  • 7950

Sex Selection: Nobody's Business?

Last week, when Ross Douthat made a case for "regulating abortion," I asked him and other pro-lifers how far we should go. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act has a maximum jail sentence of two years for doctors who perform the forbidden procedure. Is that the kind of regulation we should apply to abortions? Would the country stand for it?

Today, let's turn the tables on those of us who oppose abortion regulation. How far should we go? Would you oppose regulation even of abortions aimed at preventing the births of girls? Because there's increasing evidence that such abortions, which take place by the millions in Asia, are now being done by the thousands in the United States as well.

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I still believe that these abortions should be allowed; your body is your body, even if I find this atrocious...which I do. and frankly, MOST people don't want another child of the same gender when their first few are that gender. I don't see anything that shows whether they screened for sex preference after the woman popped out a few boys first, and studies in China have shown that the women who go against the grain and have more than one child are largely happy to have a girl once they have a son.
MISC - moustache

Timeline and History of Protests in Iran - UPDATED 6/19

This is a HUGE post but full of information.

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Links

For further information on the Basij, Global Security has a good article about the history of the Basij.
CNN has a good article where eyewitnesses describe the type of violence usually unleashed by the Basij.
Here is another good article from GS again giving more background information on the ruthless Ansar thugs.
BBC profile of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

source is Tatsuma on Fark, most recent thread here
• the grid

What happens in Vegas...

Republican Senator John Ensign admits to extramarital affair



Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada is admitting he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff.

Ensign told The Associated Press in a statement, "I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions."

An aide in Ensign's office said the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008, with a campaign staffer who was married to an employee in Ensign's Senate office. Neither have worked for the senator since May 2008. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity.

The aide declined to comment on Ensign's political future.

Source

Another one down for 2012.

From the Washington Independent:

Eleven years ago, Ensign voted to impeach President Bill Clinton on two counts related to the cover-up of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Five years ago, Ensign took to the floor of the Senate and said this:

"Marriage recognizes the ideal of a father and mother living together to raise their children. Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation. Marriage, as a social institution, predates every other institution on which ordered society in America has relied."
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Support Iran now, don't let the risks that they are taking be in vain. If you want to learn more about the subject please read below and I truly sorry that this is such a long post.

Iran: A nation of bloggers from Mr.Aaron on Vimeo.



Background on what's going on and who the major players are.

So if you don't know that there's a massive uproar in Iran right now, you must be living in a bubble. Although I don't approve of bubble-ness, we are all prone to it and this note is an attempt to plug you back in the real world.

The uproar in Iran is the result of the 10th presidential election...The result of candidates, promises, expectations, openness and a collision with the results and reality spilling onto the streets of Iran.

Iranian elections work like this: you have x number of candidates. If one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, then they are elected president. If not, then there's a run-off between the two candidates with the highest percentage of the votes.

This year, there were four candidates:

Ahmadinejad-incumbent, conservative, hard-liner.
Mousavi-popular reformist candidate, former prime minister in the 80s
Karroubi-quasi-reformist
Rezai-hardliner conservative

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As a female medical student inside Iran put it "What can anyone say in face of all these atrocities? What can you say to the family of the 13 year old boy who died from gunshots and whose dead body then disappeared? This issue is not about cheating(election) anymore. This is not about stealing votes anymore. The issue is about a vast injustice inflected on the people. They've put a baton in the hand of every 13-14 year old to smash the faces of "the bunches who are less than dirt" (government is calling the people who are uprising dried-up torn and weeds).

This is what sickens me from dealing with these issues. And from those who shut their eyes and close their ears and claim the riots are in opposition of the government and presidency!! No! The people's complaint is against the egregious injustices committed against the people. "
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1) How the Government works: http://s2.buzzfeed.com/static/imagebuzz/terminal01/2009/6/15/14/how-iran-works-3160-1245089753-17.jpg
2) How the Government works and who is who: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8051750.stm... Read More
3) Iranian Military 101: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/who-controls-irans-military-and-how-big-is-it.html#

also, when the revolution first happened there was no council to approve candidates, that happened a bit later. here's a great article on it: http://elections.7rooz.com/link/330/
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Ask yourself, what if your dorm looked like this: http://entesabat88.persianblog.ir/post/2/
PLZ read & repost on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.

BEST SITES FOR COVERAGE
1) http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/
2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/13/iran-demonstrations-viole_n_215189.html
3) Names of twitter users reporting from inside Iran: http://www.simoncolumbus.com
4) WaPO Guide to online sites that are giving good video/photo/article/update coverage: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/15/AR2009061502253.html?hpid=topnews
5) Great Robert Fisk Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-iran-erupts-as-voters-back-the-democrator-1704810.html
6) Another great Robert Fisk Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-irans-day-of-destiny-1706010.html
7) http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/where-will-the-power-lie-in-iran/
*********************
US INTERVENTION/OBAMA RESPONSE

Some people are saying that they think the US should make more bolder statements, I personally disagree with that because Iranians are not really asking for US intervention or anything like that. They want international awareness.

Statements FROM IRAN: "Its better that the American people make a lot of noise & Obama doesn't. We don't want to give Ahmadenijad any chance to say that the US govt meddled" the people in Iran are risking their lives after 30 years of brutality and the least that the outside world could do is to spread the word about what's happening, to make sure the people are not risking life and limb without it going unnoticed.

We don't want US/Western military intervention because
1) We don't want our country to turn into another Afghanistan or Iraq, any type of real change has to come from the people and the people have to fight for it.
2) Ahmadenijad and the hardliners would benefit from it, because he would claim that the resistance is not coming from outside of the country, but rather from western nations. They would say that the West/Israel/etc. are doing this in order to take over Iran, etc. and would use those claims to crush the resistance.
**********************
DEMANDS MADE BY PROTESTERS


As mentioned above, these protest have moved beyond being about what may be a rigged election, it's about respect, it's about basic human rights and freedom, it's pent up frustration and the breaking point was this election.

7 point statement distributed among the protesters in Tehran yesterday

1. Dismissal of Khamenei for not being a fair leader
2. Dismissal of Ahmadinejad for his illegal acts
3. Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as the Supreme Leader
4. Recognition of Mousavi as the President
5. Forming the Cabinet by Mousavi to prepare for revising the Constitution
6. unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
7. Dissolution of all organs of repression, public or secret
*****************************************
Many Iranians are asking for support by spreading their message and others are also asking people to help them w/ creating proxies so that they can go undetected under new IP addys

Help Iranians Cyberwar: http://bit.ly/S8UpD just read the link, it will explain a lot

How to set up a proxy so Iranian web users can get around the censors: http://blog.austinheap.com/2009/06/15/how-to-setup-a-proxy-for-iran-citizens-for-windows/ Here's a mirror site if that one is slow: http://proxy4iran.googlepages.com/howtocreateproxy

Thank you for reading this long post.
*betty draper reading

WH to CA: "Clean up your own damn mess."

White House says no to California budget help

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday dashed hopes that the federal government would help California overcome a mammoth budget crisis that has brought the state dangerously close to an economic meltdown, saying the state will have to solve the problem on its own.

"It's obviously not an easy time for the state of California," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a briefing when asked if the administration would provide emergency financing for the state.

"We'll continue to monitor the challenges that they have, but this budgetary problem unfortunately is one that they're going to have to solve," Gibbs said.


California's revenues are plunging amid recession, rising unemployment and the prolonged housing crisis, and the state is unable to borrow its way out of its immediate financial trouble by issuing debt because of its budget gap.

It will run out of cash within weeks if it does not balance its books, according to State Controller John Chiang, who estimated last week California was "less than 50 days away from a meltdown of state government."

One potential rescuer has been the federal government, and for nearly a year California Treasurer Bill Lockyer has pressured the U.S. Congress and the president to help the state with debt markets.

While U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said this spring the administration was looking into assisting California and other states, it has yet to offer any help beyond that included for all states in the $787 billion economic stimulus plan passed in February.

"Obviously many states throughout the country because of the slowdown in our economy find themselves with severe budgetary constraints," Gibbs said. "The president believed and addressed part of this in the recovery and reinvestment plan by ensuring the largest amount of fiscal relief that we've seen move to states in the history of our country."

Gibbs said he didn't "know the degree to which we've analyzed each of California's individual (budget) cuts."

This is not the first time a U.S. president has closed the federal wallet to a struggling state or city.

In 1975 the New York Daily News ran the headline "Ford to city: drop dead," when then President Gerald Ford denied assistance to New York City that would have allowed the U.S. financial capital to sidestep filing for bankruptcy.

WASHINGTON'S REBUFF ADDS TO DEBT MARKET WOES

Standard & Poor's ratings agency on Monday put $67.1 billion of California's debt on alert for a possible ratings cut because the state may run out of cash by the end of July.

Dick Larkin, director of credit analysis at Herbert J. Sims & Co Inc in Iselin, New Jersey, predicted a downgrade.

"To say they've got big problems is an understatement. The budget problems are too large for the rating agencies to be comfortable with single-A ratings on the state."

Washington's view toward California is one more reason to not hold the state's debt, said Tom Tarabicos, a financial adviser at Wells Fargo Financial Advisors Network in Roswell, Georgia.

"We're selling every California bond we can," Tarabicos said. "We don't like them."

Instead, Tarabicos said he may buy into California's general obligation debt next year should its yields rise to reflect inflation and continued risk to the state's finances from ongoing economic weakness.

"Sometime next year you'll be able to buy California GOs somewhere around 7 percent or 8 percent," Tarabicos said, referring to general obligation bonds, adding:

"Nothing is going to change in that state, fiscally, over the next two or three years. I just don't see anything positive coming out of there. It's going to be dead for quite a while."

(Reporting by David Alexander and Lisa Lambert in Washington, Jim Christie in San Francisco and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Attack of the Zombie Republicans

Attack of the Zombie Republicans

The GOP’s living dead won’t stop haunting their party, says lifelong Republican John Batchelor. Now Rush, Newt, and Dick are doing what zombies do best: laying waste to everyone’s brains.

The Republican Party has become many bad things—intolerant, inert, fly-blown, incoherent, and delusional—but the worst is that the GOP is no longer young. The GOP, according to a Gallup poll, has lost, forgotten, ignored, just generally scared off the younger voters, non-white voters, and female voters in all demographics.

What is a political party that is vastly white, middle-aged, male, Southern, pious, conservative, aggrieved, impotent, nostalgic, rude—and regarded negatively by more than half the respondents? Time magazine’s Republican political consultant Mike Murphy looks at the demographics and warns of a coming “ice age” for the party. That is grossly optimistic. No longer in second place, the voter self-identification polls place the Republicans well behind the leading independents and the second-place Democrats. The GOP is the equivalent of a shrinking third party on its way to becoming a museum piece beside the Whigs, the Greenbacks, and the Prohibitionists. The GOP is like a zombie cartoon reading the daily headlines of the last four years and asking, “Am I dead?”

The attack of the living dead Republicans does have the camp fascination of a George Romero movie as pieces of brains fall out. Last week, Deputy Minority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, in some quarters regarded as cunning, boasted soberly not only that, without any polling evidence, “I think we’re got a shot at taking back the House,” but also that the Obama administration was comparable to Putin’s rule in Moscow. Cantor did not explain if he meant that the Obama administration is Soviet socialist, which is balmy, since Moscow is a robber baron paradise these days, or if he meant the Obama administration stands for tyrannical one-party rule, which is dopey, since Cantor appears to think of himself as virile leader of the opposition.
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GOP Pushed For Incomplete Health Care Study, Then Politicized It: Hill Dems

GOP Pushed For Incomplete Health Care Study, Then Politicized It: Hill Dems

On Monday afternoon, critics of a major health care overhaul seized on a report from the Congressional Budget Office showing that a Democratic reform bill could cost $1 trillion over ten years despite adding only 17 million Americans to the ranks of the insured. But the results are incomplete, and they know it.

The CBO findings made for a traditional attack based around fears that the government would spend larges swaths of taxpayer money with minimum systematic change.

"CBO makes it clear -- the Democrats' plan will force millions of Americans to lose the care they have now," Sen. Mike Enzi, the ranking Republican on the Senate HELP Committee, said in a statement. "Anyone who says that if you like the care you have, you can keep it under this bill doesn't have their facts straight."

House Minority Leader John Boehner sent out an email alert on the report, saying the Democrats "costly plan is exposed." His colleague, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, meanwhile said the CBO score card was "troubling when we're trying to save money that we would be calling for that kind of expenditure."

The CBO's findings, however, are for an incomplete piece of legislation, making the cost-per-coverage estimates much worse than they will ultimately be. Republicans on the committee knew this, according to Democrats. But they pushed for the bill to be studied by the CBO now. And when poor results came back, they ran with them.
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Obama FCC Nominee Comes Out Against Fairness Doctrine (VIDEO)

Obama FCC Nominee Comes Out Against Fairness Doctrine (VIDEO)

So, for the better part of the past year, right-wing radio talkers have been sore afraid that President Barack Obama was going to reimpose this piece of legislation called the "Fairness Doctrine." And right along, I've been trying -- vainly! -- to chill people out, and let them know that no such thing was going to happen.

What is the "Fairness Doctrine?" Imposed in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine mandated that the scarcity of media resources made it necessary that FCC license holders allow competing points of view to have equal time and access. In practice, the Fairness Doctrine was always tricky to enforce, and so in 1987 is was done away with. In the immediate offing, right wing radio flourished. Of course, since then, the media has expanded to include satellite radio and cable television and the internet, eliminating the original "scarcity of resources" argument that underpinned the Fairness Doctrine in the first place, while greatly complicating a media sphere that the law couldn't handle well when it was implemented nearly sixty years ago.
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Dem, GOP centrists meet in secret

Dem, GOP centrists meet in secret

Centrist House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working together privately on healthcare reform.

The talks have been so secretive and politically sensitive that some members interviewed by The Hill refused to name other legislators involved in the bipartisan effort.

Members of the centrist GOP “Tuesday Group,” the New Democrat Coalition and the 52-member Blue Dog Coalition have been discussing both the policies and politics of moving their middle-of-the-road ideas in a body of Congress usually dominated by liberal or conservative ideology.

Those centrist factions are wary of the proposals their respective leaders will introduce this month. Blue Dogs are leery of the so-called public option in the healthcare reform bill that is expected to hit the House floor this summer. Meanwhile, GOP centrists opted to release their own healthcare plan a day before House GOP leaders are scheduled to unveil their reform package.

Noting that some members could be retaliated against by their leaders, some lawmakers declined to mention to whom they were talking. Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) said that he wouldn’t “throw [Blue Dogs] under the bus” by revealing the identities of his Democratic colleagues.

Asked last Friday about talks with GOP centrists on healthcare reform, Blue Dog Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.) confirmed that his colleagues are actively working on compromises.
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AP source: Obama to sign order extending benefits to same-sex federal employees

 

By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Associated Press Writer




WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama plans to extend health care and other benefits to the gay and lesbian partners of federal employees.

White House officials say Obama plans to announce decision on Wednesday in the Oval Office. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president had not yet made the announcement.

The move would give partners of federal employees access to health care and financial benefits such as relocation fees for moves. Officials say Obama would detail more details of the decision on Wednesday.




http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_GAY_BENEFITS?SITE=NVREN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
 

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Financial Regulatory Overhaul Is Detailed

Financial Regulatory Overhaul Is Detailed

The Obama administration last night detailed a series of proposals that would involve the government much more deeply in the private markets, from helping to steer consumers into affordable mortgage loans to imposing new limits on the largest financial companies, in a sweeping effort to prevent the kinds of risk-taking that sparked the economic crisis.

The plan is an attempt to overhaul an outdated system of financial regulations, according to senior administration officials.

It would vastly increase the powers of the Federal Reserve in an effort to create stronger and more consistent oversight of the largest companies and most important markets.

It also would create a new agency to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.


President Obama is expected to formally unveil the proposal today. The administration also plans to release an 85-page white paper detailing the plans and justifying each element as a direct response to the causes of the financial crisis.

Many of the specific proposals will require legislation, and today's announcement will drop the plan into an already heated debate on Capitol Hill about the eventual shape of reform. The financial crisis has forced broad consensus that changes are necessary, but there are wide disagreements about the details.
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*betty draper reading

Letterman protest draws OMG HUGE CROWD of 15 protesters

Letterman protest draws more media than activists

NEW YORK (CNN) — A protest rally against David Letterman over a failed joke about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughter attracted more members of the media than protesters Tuesday afternoon.

A crowd of 15 protesters upset with the late night comic held signs and occasionally shouted as they stood across the street from Letterman's studio.

But they were often hidden from view by the more than 35 members of the media there to cover the protest, and out-shouted by a few very vocal counter-protesters.

Radio talk show host John Ziegler — who is behind the FireDavidLetterman.com Web site that organized the protest, and who is an outspoken supporter of the former Republican vice presidential candidate — told reporters that the turnout at the event was not representative of the number of people who have responded to his site and e-mailed.

He also argued that Letterman should have been fired, and the only reasons that he hasn't been fired were "the media's love of David Letterman and the media's distrust and, I believe, hatred of Sarah Palin."

He also called Letterman's apology — issued on Monday's program and accepted by Palin — bogus and said that the comedian should make a charitable donation to an organization of Palin's choosing.

Ziegler made a film about the 2008 presidential campaign called "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted."

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OMFG CAN YOU FEEL THE OUTRAGE???? WHY HAS LETTERMAN NOT BEEN FIRED YET??? HE'S ANGERED AND OFFENDED MORE THAN A DOZEN PEOPLE!!! HOW WILL CBS EVER SURVIVE?????

LOL

REPORTERS MAKE TOTALLY NON-FORCED AND CONSENSUAL ADMISSION TO ENTERING N KOREA ILLEGALY

Two US journalists who were jailed last week in North Korea have admitted to entering the country illegally, according to state news agency KCNA.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee "admitted and accepted" their sentences, KCNA said.

The two women were sentenced to 12 years in a labour camp after being found guilty of crossing into North Korea from the Chinese border in March.

KCNA also said they had admitted getting footage for a "smear campaign" about North Korea's human rights.

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Totally nothing suspcious about this at all!