Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iran's Nuclear Liar, Time To Nationalize Wall Street

Thomas Friedman
Kathleen Parker
Dana Milbank

"The countries we need to be worried about are the ones whose teachers, bureaucrats, savers, investors and innovators — not spies — are beating us in broad daylight at our own game."  - Thomas Friedman
"As described by Sarah, the "Mom Awakening" can be visualized as mama grizzlies on their hind legs ready to maul anyone who tries "to do something adverse toward their cubs." - Kathleen Parker
"It would be accurate to say that Democrats are in a screaming panic about losing control of the House in November." - Dana Milbank

One of the things I learned from the stories about the Iranian scientist we abducted from Saudi Arabia and is now on his way home, is the fact that we have spies and diplomats stationed in Iran, and they have the same living in the US. This means that a level of communication and diplomacy exists between our two countries. We have our spies and diplomats stationed in a "special sections" division of the Swiss embassy in Tehran. When you read in the newspaper that the Iranian ministers have called the Swiss ambassador to give a talking to, it usually means there are more direct words being had between Iran and the US. Iran also has a "special sections" division in the Pakistani embassy, composed of the Iranian spies and diplomats, and this is where the US intelligence officers dropped off the Iranian scientist, who felt that matters were going too slowly getting a ride back home, and a Pakistani air-flight could be expedited. It did, and he's on a plane home today... Whether he will get a hero's welcome or if they will put him in jail and torture him remains to be seen, it depends on his answers at his debriefing...

Along with conflicting Youtube videos he made, there are also conflicting stories as to what happened. The first one sounds like the one he will tell Iranian authorities to prove what a good Iranian nuclear scientist he really is and it will keep him from being jailed: "He said he was abducted while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. "A white van stopped in front of me... They told me in Farsi that they were part of another group of pilgrims and said 'We are going towards a mosque and we will be happy to take you as well'," he told Atlantic TV. "When I opened the door to get in and sit down, the person at the back put a gun to my side and said 'Please be quiet, don't make any noise'." He said he was drugged and woke up in a military plane which took him to "American territory". He added that he was put under intense psychological pressure to accept millions of dollars and tell US media that he had defected from Iran with sensitive documents and was claiming asylum in the US - a deal he said he refused to accept." I wish someone would put me under such psychological pressure to accept millions of dollars, this sounds the lamest part of his story. I do hope that he is reunited with his family, though.

And notice the snide, offhand way that the American intelligence officials have dismissed him:
"But in the US, unnamed officials and security sources are claiming that Mr Amiri defected and was put into a programme similar to a witness-protection. Later, he apparently became concerned for family members he had left behind, had a breakdown and decided to return to Iran, US reports claim. A US official told the BBC: "He provided useful information to the United States. The Iranians now have him. In terms of win-loss, it's not even a close call."

I also found out that there are at least three English language newspapers printed in Tehran, I haven't read them enough to see if they are all government slaves or if they are independent in thinking and reporting... The international sanctions seem to be having some effect on Iran, and it is shaking the confidence of the Revolutionary Guard, who were playing with their newfound wealth like Mr Grasshopper... The cost of goods is up by 20%, and gasoline is becoming difficult to find, but you can still get a mean cappuccino in the shops in North Tehran... What was not planned was the strike by merchants in Tehran's bazaar, in effect closing it down for the second week in a row. The government wanted to impose a 70% tax increase on sales at the bazaar, and the gold and fabric merchants went on strike over it. Police were sent in to try and force the merchants to open their stalls, and a popular and successful merchant was shot and killed, which created the current general strike that is reaching beyond the bazaar. The government has said, ha, ha, we didn't really mean 70% increase, we meant 15%, there must have been a typo somewhere, but it hasn't calmed the situation. Traditionally, the bazaar merchants have been conservatively oriented and supported government policy, which is why this strike is being taken so seriously..

Andy Barr at Politico reports on the latest musings of Kentucky candidate Rand Paul, attempting to bond with the nebulous tea party folk. I guess they would be called Randlings: “I think I will be part of a nucleus with [Sens.] Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who are unafraid to stand up,” Paul said. “If we get another loud voice in there, like Mike Lee from Utah or Sharron Angle from Nevada, there will be a new nucleus.”

If able to put together such a coalition, Paul said the group would fight for “term limits, a balanced-budget amendment, having bills point to where they are enumerated in the Constitution — those issues resonate with the tea party. I know Republicans are trying to get something going, and I don’t know their list, but if I had a contract with America, these things would be in it,” he said. “These are not radical ideas — they are reform-minded, good-government ideas.” In many ways, poor Rand is performing like a lite version of his father, Ron Paul. Which makes me wonder if Ron actually carved his son from a block of wood, I keep looking for the strings...

The head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, just said that we are running out of tools and tricks to get out of this recession. It's going to take at least 10 years, and then we won't recover to the level we were before everything melted down. Now, in order to convince us to keep the Bush tax cuts, Mitch McConnell is saying that tax cuts don't contribute to the deficit. Unfortunately, if there had been no tax cuts, our deficit would be about $6 trillion less than it is, the GAO says differently. The logic, of course, is explaining how taking in less money stimulates the economy and brings a deficit down, oh look, Pinocchio's nose is growing longer!

The most obvious solution is to just say "Fuck You" to Rush Limbaugh and take over all of the Wall Street firms. Let their obscene profits be used paying off the national debt, since they helped create such a large part of it. We could do away with income taxes...

Good thing Levi and Sarah didn't trash each other very much in the press:

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