Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EU And Congress Want More Sanctions, Iranian Lawmakers to Demonstrate Along Gaza Border

Reuel Marc Guerecht
Dana Milbank

The strange chess game with Iran continues this week. At the UN's Human Rights Committee's meeting in Geneva this morning, a resolution signed by 56 countries was introduced, calling on Iran to investigate the violence that happened on the streets of Tehran during the protest rallies after their fake election. Iran protested, not wanting to be the only country to have ever been singled out along with Israel at these meetings.

The European Union and the US Congress are going to approve even more sanctions against Iran, aimed at their oil and gas sector. Iran has to import 15% of its natural gas from Turkey, and it can always sell its oil to China.

Iran and Israel are drawing each other as dance partners so much lately, you'd think that their might be a fatal attraction between these youngsters. The right wing leader of the Iranian parliament has requested visas from Egypt for 200 Iranian lawmakers: "... if Cairo allows the delegation to enter Gaza, it would be the first time a high-ranking Revolutionary Iranian delegation was ever permitted to tour the Gazan-Israeli border under the eyes of IDF border positions. Larijani is planning to stand up at some point on the border fence, flanked by the enclave's Hamas rulers, and deliver a message of hate for Israel and support for the Palestinian Hamas extremists.

Tehran has another ulterior motive for grandstanding in this style. One is to steal the international limelight Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan attracted by his blockade-breaking flotilla of May 31 - and go one better. The scenario Larijani has scripted will take his flock of Iranian lawmakers right into the Gaza Strip and show themselves on the Israeli border as a provocative challenge for the Israeli patrols on the other side." This is in addition to the Iranian container ship that is headed for Gaza and will try to also sail past the Israeli blockade. A second ship is scheduled to leave Iran on Saturday: "The Iranian ships will not be in international waters but instead in Egyptian waters and then technically in Gaza's territorial waters - which are under the control of the Israeli navy," he said.

"[This is] unlike the Turkish flotilla, which entered international waters when the raid happened. Therefore these Iranian ships will be subject to Egyptian naval control and ultimately when they get into Gaza will have to face the Israeli navy."

These theatrics are hoping to bolster Hamas as a tough, pro-Palestinian force among Arabian countries, and not the irrelevant, impotent bunch of thugs that it is currently portrayed. The Israeli head of Shin Beit has said that Hamas has stockpiled over 5000 missiles, and is currently buying land around Jerusalem. If any of this provokes the Israelis into another hot-headed action, oh, say, launching some missiles at Iran from their nuclear subs stationed in the Persian Gulf, then Iran wins a public relations war as well as seen as a victim by the aggressor Israel, and even the US won't be able to extricate them from the loving grip of the tar baby... As I predicted, it's going to be a long, hot Summer, tighten down your wigs...

Iran's population is split about 50% for the Green Movement, and 50% pro Ahmadinejad and his policies. Many of the more talented young people are immigrating to other countries, or are planning to after they graduate from college. This brain drain will be costly a few years from now. Reuel Guerecht makes a good suggestion that the best way for the US to support the Green Movement is to spend $50 million for communications: "More specifically, the opposition needs access to satellite-fed Internet connections across the country. Unlike landline connections, satellite-dish communications are difficult for the government to shut down. Just monitoring them would be a technical nightmare for the regime. The opposition needs more access to the wide array of satellites that are accessible from Iran — including Arabsat, which was founded by the Arab League in 1976, and France’s Eutelsat.

THE democracy movement also needs a large supply of digital-video broadcasting cards, which function much like prepaid telephone cards and allow downloading and uploading of digital content from satellites. The Green Movement’s technology experts have done back-of-the-envelope calculations: just $50 million per year could open the entire country to the Internet. Millions less would still allow the diverse range of pro-democracy groups to communicate with each other and more effectively counter the regime’s security forces. Compared to what the United States peacefully did to help anti-Communists during the cold war, such aid would be a pittance, financially and operationally." Hillary has gotten her sanctions, and more are on their way, but Obama can help in a big way by the aforementioned communications satellite and Internet connections. If the Green Movement can communicate with each other without being shut off by their government, they will be able to keep alive and spread future ideas.

getting older while keeping you head above the oil level...
Last week I read conflicting reports on the joys of aging. One said that by the time a person reaches 50, they have gotten comfortable with who they are, and by the time they reach 80 or so, they are pretty happy with themselves. My first reaction to this was that I will bet that prescribing anti-depressants to this age group is pretty high among doctors. I know that among my father's group of professional friends, everyone of them took something to lessen the psychic pain of missing a loved one who had died before them, be it child or spouse.

Another report I read stated that currently, the highest age group for suicides is in my group, 50 - 65. I will admit to entertaining suicidal thoughts lately, but I think that everyone goes through that as their bodies begin to fail and the amount of medications you have to take daily mount up. I have also been fighting some mild dementia, hence, this blog, to try and keep my mind sharp and bring back my sense of humor. Then, there are the depressing moments that yo have no control over. One old friend of mine that I used to work with suggested I FRIEND on Facebook another person we both worked with. When I did this, she responded that sorry, she didn't remember me... which I found depressing, that I was becoming a figure like Zelig, fading from the old histories and memories of old acquaintances... Because I really want to be remembered with brilliance and fondness. So, I guess the truth is some grey area in between, that a person's happiness depends on accepting their lot in life. I find that I'm more emotional than I was 10 - 15 years ago, and I can cry over some dumb television show just as easily as over a beautiful sunrise, and have more compassion for other people's stories and the hardships they have faced.
There was a book of photographs of old people i saw in the 1970's, who's title just about sums it up: Getting Old Is Not For Sissies..

I find the BP spill incredibly depressing, especially the same old ways their officials have of lying and trying to deflect hard questions. When their chief engineer was asked why they were using the same old technology from thirty years ago to clean up the oil reaching land, and why there hadn't been any advances made in those thiry years, he replied that it was because they hadn't had any really major oil spills to force them to make those advances, but in squirrelier words... I think most of our country feels impotent and hostage to BP and whatever they use to clean things up. And each time their attempts fail to contain the oil spill, we see fish and plants, and an incredible diversity of life-forms dying. And yet, what alternative to oil and more drilling do we have? For the amount of money that is in the black budget of the Pentagon, we could attach solar panels to every existing house and commercial building in the US. I just haven't seen any pragmatic plans to offer alternative energy, and a lot of BS commercials promising a better way... If BP goes bankrupt or out of business as a result, it may put Britiain into an economic tailspin it can't get out of, so many pensions are invested in BP. I think that the kind of person who becomes a CEO of these large companies is morally bankrupt. Lies come out of their mouths, it's second nature to BP, Goldman Sachs, AIG, GM, and that's barely scratching the surface. How could you believe anything that's said if you were a shareholder or an investor? The whole idea that less regulation is what is needed because the industries are better at regulating themselves is such a sham when the industries are always full of lies. It's just not the kind of culture I want to see our grandchildren inheriting.

late night BP jokes:

"There is good news! BP today finally managed to almost completely stop the flow of information." –Bill Maher

"There is good news. Scientists sent a probe down there in the Gulf of Mexico today and they found traces of seawater." –Bill Maher

"The first big match of the World Cup is the U.S. vs. Britain. The loser has to clean up the Gulf." –Jay Leno

"BP's stock has dropped 51 percent since the oil spill. Now that they're leaking money like they're leaking oil, maybe they'll get up and do something about it." –Jay Leno

"A review of BP's 582-page plan to deal with a catastrophic oil spill was found to be full of errors and severely flawed. BP listed their lead drilling specialist as a Mr. Jed Clampett of Beverly Hills." –Jay Leno

"A lot of people are upset and wondering why President Obama is willing to sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but not BP CEO Tony Hayward. I think Obama is afraid — Ahmadinejad only threatened to destroy the world and Hayward is actually doing it." –Jay Leno

"Thanks to BP, the Gulf now has two new islands: self-service and full." –David Letterman

"This afternoon, President Obama met with Bill Gates at the White House to discuss energy reform. It was very cool. Bill Gates offered to plug the Gulf Coast oil leak with five billion unsold Zunes." –Jimmy Fallon

"BP, which of course stands for 'Born Polluted,' is spending $50 million on a PR campaign to make themselves look good. In fact, they said they would burn the midnight oil if they hadn't spilled it." –Jay Leno

"According to a new report, BP has the worst safety record of all the oil companies. They've paid over $372 million in fines. Oh, they don't call them fines. They call them 'campaign contributions.'" –Jay Leno

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