Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran: This Is What I Am Talking About

Iran Is A Major Country

Iran is not a full-fledged democracy, it is a semi-theocracy of unelected mullahs holding supreme power. But at least it holds elections. Saudi Arabia does not. Egypt does not. Iran has much stronger democratic credentials than Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

I Wish Iran's People Power In The Streets Upon Every Arab Country

Mass movements are science, they are not alchemy. They can be brought about. They are the best way to topple authoritarian regimes. They are super cheap. It is so much cheaper to drop 1,000 laptops than a humvee.

We need mass protests in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and every Arab country that does not have elected leadership. That is the only sane way to conclude the War On Terror.

Iran Should Shoot For Complete Democracy

I fear these mass protests might go to waste like those in Burma for lack of a clear articulation of the ultimate goal and the tactics and strategies to get there. This is not just about one rigged election. This is about total democracy.

In The News

Joe Klein: What I Saw at the Revolution TIME It was as if someone had opened a door and an entire country had spilled out. ...... the working-class Ahmadinejad supporters and the wealthier, better-educated backers of Mousavi ...... put the internal rivalries at the highest levels of the Iranian government on public display for the first time, and in the most embarrassing fashion. ......... much of the cheese-buying public — the working class, the elderly, the women in chadors — seemed to adore Ahmadinejad. One of the favorite slogans of his supporters was "Ahmadinejad is love." ........... The lines at the central mosque were every bit as long as they were at the voting stations in sophisticated north Tehran. There was a smattering of Mousavi supporters, but the Ahmadinejad worship was palpable. ........ as concerned with Ahmadinejad's crude populist style as with his crude populist economics. ....... He also criticized Ahmadinejad's incendiary rhetoric on international issues like Israel and the Holocaust ........ "My mother supports Mousavi, and my father supports Ahmadinejad," he said. "I was uncertain until I saw them debate. Ahmadinejad seemed stronger. I don't think I would want Mousavi negotiating with other governments." ....... the reformers I spoke with seemed as unyielding as Ahmadinejad, if more politely so, when it came to discussing what Iran would be willing to concede in negotiations with the U.S. They were adamant on Iran's nuclear enrichment program ..... "It's natural that the first step should be taken by the Americans," said Karroubi, the most progressive of the four presidential candidates. "We didn't stage a coup against your elected government," he said, referring to the CIA's participation in the 1953 overthrow of the Mohammed Mossadegh government. "We have not frozen your assets. We don't have sanctions against you." ....... "Only the skin color has changed" from George W. Bush, he said. ....... "Look, for the past 30 years, the Supreme Leader — first Khomeini, now Khamenei — has blamed all our problems on the Great Satan," a prominent conservative told me. "If you take away the Great Satan and we still have problems, how does he explain it? Almost everyone here is in favor of ending this war with America. But no one has less incentive to make peace than the Supreme Leader." .......... It seems likely that no matter how many people flood the streets in protest, the Supreme Leader will continue to back Ahmadinejad.
Iran: Four Ways the Crisis May Resolve the unique combination of discord on the streets and infighting in the corridors of power currently under way in Tehran. .......... President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei appear to have been taken aback by the surge in support for the pragmatic conservative candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. .......... there are still millions of Iranians strongly backing Ahmadinejad. ...... it's unlikely that the opposition will be in a position to destroy the government. ....... "adjust" the result so that no candidate has a clear majority, forcing a runoff election between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. ....... at his first press conference following the announcement of his victory, Ahmadinejad reportedly asked his opponents to submit lists of candidates for membership in his Cabinet. ............ (Mugabe's opponents settled for the deal only when they had been so pummeled that they could see no hope of unseating him.)

Obama Lays Out 'Sweeping Overhaul' of Financial Rules Bloomberg the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. financial regulatory system in 75 years, seeking to correct a “cascade of mistakes” that toppled major securities firms, froze credit markets and destroyed $26.4 trillion in stock market value around the world. ......... adding an additional layer of regulation for the biggest firms. It would create an agency for monitoring consumer financial products, make the Federal Reserve the overseer of companies deemed too big to fail, and bring hedge and private equity funds under federal scrutiny. ......... “An absence of oversight engendered systematic, and systemic, abuse.” ......... has called the “sweeping overhaul” of regulations one of his top domestic priorities, said he wants to sign legislation by the end of the year. ....... “For community banks that had nothing to do with this crisis, this will be massive regulation that will burden them with new costs” ......... the proposal simply adds to the layering of the system without addressing the underlying and fundamental problems ......... The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency would oversee products from mortgages to credit cards. It would have authority to ban “unfair terms and practices,” punish companies for violations with fines and penalties and write rules to set higher standards for banks and non-bank companies. ........ The central bank would get responsibility to oversee all systemically risky financial firms, a move that aims to eliminate gaps in oversight that contributed to the collapse of Bear Stearns .......... higher capital requirements and stronger regulatory scrutiny “our proposals would compel these firms to internalize the costs they could impose on society in the event of failure. ........ Geithner said he sees “no plausible alternative” to having the Fed oversee institutions that pose system-wide risk. “We’re redrawing the boundaries of authority
Iran Upheaval Highlights Internal Political Fissures Voice of America The turmoil has boosted the stature of some of Iran's leaders. It has also diminished the stature of others - particularly the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ....... another struggle, perhaps a more significant one, taking place in the corridors of power in Tehran ........ 2005 ..... Then, the relatively unknown mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ........ the Iranian government seems stunned by the reaction and unsure what to do. ...... Rafsanjani's public silence. .... he is fiercely working behind the scenes. ........ Rafsanjani can use his chairmanship of the body as leverage with the Supreme Leader to undercut the president. ........... the protests as Iran's biggest crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution ......... we'll have to watch to see if the demonstrations continue, if the government continues to backpedal ....... The Guardian Council is apparently only going to scrutinize electoral results from selected districts. But Mir Hossein Mousavi has called for a fresh election.

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