Iran: At Least They Care

Reuters reports that tens of thousands of Iranians are demonstrating in the streets of Tehran in protest of the recent election results, which look fraudulent to just about everybody (more on the exception below). People are demonstrating in spite of an Interior Ministry ban on rallying, which I assume means people protest at some personal risk.

I admire the protesting Iranians. At least they give a damn. Here, politicians steal critical elections and we shrug our shoulders and pretend it didn’t happen.

Of course, we have our own version of the Iranian security police, which are the wingnut bullies in media and elsewhere who abusively shout down anyone who dares point out, you know, facts. We also have some pretense at a mediating process, meaning cases are sent to courts. But we know how that turns out.

It’s been, what, seven months since the November elections? And has Al Franken been seated in the Senate yet? The endless dispute has nothing whatsoever to do with determining the will of the people, of course. It’s about using the courts and anything else to block the will of the people and advance a minority, extremist agenda.

This shows our political system is about as corrupt as Iran’s. The only difference is that we’re a little more subtle about it.

The wingnuts are screaming because CBS republished a New Republic article that compared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to George W. Bush. But if you read the article, I’d say the New Republic makes a good case for the comparison. In fact, I bet many of you can think of similarities between Ahmadinejad and Bush (rememeber when we used to call him “Bunnypants”?) without reading the article. And the similarities are getting more obvious all the time.

The Washington Post is running an article that suggests maybe the Iranian elections weren’t stolen, but I don’t think anyone is buying it. Juan Cole certainly isn’t.

15 thoughts on “Iran: At Least They Care

  1. It will be difficult for the regime to restore order without a massive crackdown, and it’s not certain that it would succeed even so. I think we are looking at a revolution.

  2. I don’t think it is as bad as our media portrays (I could be wrong). Iran has always been portrayed unfairly in our media in my opinion. Iran’s success runs counter to the strong Israeli interests in this country; therefore I don’t think they get a fair measure here in our media. I don’t doubt the election was rigged, but who are we to bitch, as I commented in the previous post.

    Glad to hear Panetta has called Dead-eye-Dick out on his (hoping we get attacked – see I told ya so ramblings). The right is outraged, give me a fucking break, how many times did we hear the wingnuts accuse liberals of wishing for defeat in Iraq? What a bunch of fucking hypocrites.

  3. In Ukraine and Iran, the people hit the streets.
    In America, in 2000, who hit the streets? Attorney’s for the Republican Party.
    And you’re right about Franken v. Coleman.
    We are a sad example of a ‘democracy.”

  4. Just to play defence for a moment on our ability to “bitch”… …

    Both of the things cited so far, the 2000 election mess and the Franken election mess, have happened legally. The 2000 election was no doubt stolen, but it was done principly through various shady but still legal moves.

    The reason there were no giant protests is the same reason bush was able to steal the thing in the first place … there wasn’t any real passion in the populace at large for either candidate. Put simply, nobody really cared. That’s a sweeping generalization, of course there were people on both sides that cared dceeply, but the general mood of the country was essentially apathetic.

    In 2004 people cared more, but it was pretty clear that W actually did win, fair-ish and square-ish.

    And the thing with Franken, while undoubtedly a travesty of justice, is still being done legally, within the bounds of the system. And again, what allowed it to happen was a populace pretty much evenly divided. People care a lot more this time around, I think, but there have been no real hints of fraud or vote-fixing … just legal parsing, finer and finer.

    So who are we to judge an election? We’re the owner/operators of one of the oldest functioning democracies in the world, with a system that is imperfect to a very large degree, but is still actually working.

    It seems pretty clear to me that the Iranian elections were rigged … not in a shady-but-legal way, but purely fictionalized.


  5. “It seems pretty clear to me that the Iranian elections were rigged … not in a shady-but-legal way, but purely fictionalized.”

    You may be right but I don’t think we are getting fair reporting on this. The media has made the Iranian president into a cartoon like anti-Semite. I’ve seen interviews with him where he denies that he said the Holocaust was a hoax and the he ever called for the destruction of Israel; he says it was translated wrong (yet we hear this story repeated every time his name is mentioned). If he really believed it why would he deny ever saying it? I don’t think he is afraid of offending Israel. I just don’t think we get the real picture in this country.

    As far as rigged elections being dealt with legally, I don’t think it matters, the 2000 election was decided on purely political grounds, had the supreme court had one less conservative and one more liberal they would have decided for Gore, so it really acted as a purely political puppet court. I think our legal system broke down in that instance.

  6. For one, I will be holding back on any opinion about the Iranian election outcome until there are direct reports from independent observers. As the election itself was not observed by independent observers, it will be difficult at best to find for one side or the other and impossible if current diplomatic prejudice is the basis or agenda for determining the outcome, such is that history.

    The Iranian demographics are terra incognita for most westerners, and it is quite likely that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had firm support outside wealthy Tehran and the larger cities having universities. Most of “red America” shows the rural population can outnumber or overwhelm voters in large cities in most of those states, why would Iran with 70+ millions be any different in that regard.

    Accusing one party without proof of election theft is not a smart move even though such accusation sits well with the propaganda that has been a steady diet of the west for decades. It is precisely that mass of propaganda that makes for a heightened skepticism about the charges of election fraud; those making the charge must have certain knowledge and experience. The total demonization of Iran has been an American cottage industry since the overthrow of the Shah, an American installed puppet. All opinion from that quarter must always be held suspect.

    Patience grasshopper, the facts will flower in the fullness of time, it is early days yet.

  7. If you swap out all the names, it’s very scary how similar things are between GWB and Ahmadinejad. Too bad the wingnuts don’t like hearing anything but talking points. I’m always amazed at the lengths to which people will refuse to change their minds when confronted with the truth.

  8. “”Patience grasshopper, the facts will flower in the fullness of time…”

    This is so not the case.

  9. I think we are looking at a revolution.

    I think so too.

    Don’t you wonder, though, if the Iranian electorate would’ve wanted to oust Ahmedinejad when Bush was in office? He sure didn’t put up with BushCo’s aggression, for all the other faults he may possess. Now the two big American bullies are out of power, and younger Iranians are looking around and wondering if maybe they can have a more open life, and be engaged with the rest of the world. Not so much unlike us, last November.

    The 2000 election was no doubt stolen, but it was done principally through various shady but still legal moves.

    Actually, no, we learned some time later that a large part of Florida’s electorate was intentionally disenfranchised because the office of Katherine Harris put non-felons on Florida’s can’t-vote “Felons List.” Her office also intentionally left people off who should have been on the list. The first group was almost exclusively African American; the second almost exclusively Cuban American. This ploy had to be illegal four ways from Sunday, under the Civil Rights Voting Act (mid 1960s). Katherine Harris should have gone to prison for it, but instead Floridians sent her to Congress.

  10. Al Gore did NOT make an issue of the results of the 2000 election after the SCOTUS made a decision. In my opinion he could have turned out millions to protest, but it would have smelled like 3-day old fish. Here’s why.

    Al Gore never disputed the authority of the Supreme Court TO decide the election. He could have said in advance of a ruling,’The Constitution provides for how elections like this are to be decided – and it’s not in the Supreme Court.’ Under those circumstances, I would have rioted for him if he called for it after the SC ruled.

    Gore accepted the authority of the SC by NOT contesting the procedure in ADVANCE of a ruling. He did the right thing by NOT disputing the Supreme Court, after a decision because to do so would have been a call for civil war, and I don’t mean that in any rhetorical sense.

    So I agree the election was stolen, but we were robbed with our consent.

  11. Its a bit senseless to go back to the 2000 Election at this point, but I’ve always wondered about Dough Hughes point. Isn’t our Presidential Election a series of 50 separate state elections (since I’m not a lawyer I actually can’t answer that…)? If that is the case then the highest court should have been Florida’s Supreme Court that told the election commission to continue counting votes? Therefore, the US SC did not have authority to decide that election by telling the election commission to quit counting the votes! In regards to the poor minorities who did not have a chance to vote, for the life of me I can’t figure out why neither Gore or Kerry didn’t make a stink about it. They could have really used it as an antidote illustrating the plight of poor America. Being Democrats they perhaps don’t really care about poor Americans(?).

  12. You sentiments resonate with the ones I had within minutes of hearing this. They have my admiration and respect and it shames me that we did not have the backbone that they did. They inspire me.

  13. Excuse me for being unclear – There is no provision in the US Constitution for the SCOTUS to decide a presidential election. There are clear & precise procedures in the 12th Amendment, which prescribe that the event no one wins by a plurality of the electoral vote, then the House of Representatives will decide.

    IMO, Al Gore made the political calculation that he stood a better chance with the SC than with the House. The election was unconstitutional in that it was decided by methods that the US Constitution does not provide for, but by acceeding to the method, Gore was bound by the result. That’s why there were not riots in 2000, not a lack of character on the part of American voters.

    I’m a fan of Big Al, but I think he blew it. His first obligation as POTUS would have been to the Constitution, but he made a political calculation to ignore the 12th Amendment, because of the odds. He should have DARED the House to thwart the popular vote he has won, and probably been defeated as a statesman, instead of a being defeated as a calculating politician.

  14. Thanks Dough Hughes – you really summed it up much better than I can. Its a pity… I just found the book Ultimatum at the library yesterday and the fictional President in 2035 who is stuck finally sorting out global warming (due to the rising seas Florida and lots of the Gulf Coast region are going under water) was a volunteer for Al Gore in the year 2000… its funny how they talk about it.

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