Monday, February 14, 2011

Repression Goes Full Circle Back To Iran

Paul Krugman
Robert Reich
"How can voters be so ill informed?.. And what they’ve been hearing ever since Ronald Reagan is that their hard-earned dollars are going to waste, paying for vast armies of useless bureaucrats (payroll is only 5 percent of federal spending) and welfare queens driving Cadillacs. How can we expect voters to appreciate fiscal reality when politicians consistently misrepresent that reality?" - Paul Krugman
"The Republican bromide -- cut federal spending -- is precisely the wrong response to this ongoing crisis... The best way to revive the economy is not to cut the federal deficit right now. It's to put more money into the pockets of average working families. Not until they start spending again big time will companies begin to hire again big time." - Robert Reich

Now come the attacks on Barack Obama, lightly veiled as analysis, on whether he did enough to help the citizens of Egypt, or that he didn't do enough. Publicly, he took a pretty neutral stand, while behind the stage he made a couple phone calls to Mubarak, trying to get him to see the light and resign. In reality, Obama and the US had no influence on whatever direction their revolution went, he ended up being a bystander. Hopefully, at the end of his term in office, he will not take credit for this event, much like the fans of Ronald Reagan took credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall. It just happened during Reagan's turn in office, he had nothing to do with it other than applauding from the sidelines.

What I want to know, is where the camels came from during the clashes between the protesters and the pro-Mubarak crowd. Do they keep camels within the city limits, or did these guys have to truck them in? Nobody ever explained this bizarre scene, or how much a camel jockey gets paid to run through a crowd, whipping people... Even more pathetic was the demonstration by Cairo policemen, protesting that they don't get paid enough, so they are forced to go out and supplement their salaries from the general population. Also, they were just taking orders, please don't hate them...

Equally brave, are the thousands of Iranians that took to the streets today, protesting in solidarity with their Egyptian brothers and sisters. The government has been saying for days that this is not sanctioned, and those who protest will end up as corpses, in that flowery descriptive way that only official Persian brings... Over 10,000 police and basij have been shooting into crowds and beating the crap out of anybody they could reach, yet still people came out knowing this would happen. And it could go either way, die down tomorrow or erupt into a violent frenzy, as citizens begin to fight back. A couple of chants that were heard were:
“An Iranian dies but doesn’t accept humiliation”
“Death to the dictator”
In response, the official: "Fars news agency called protesters “hypocrites, monarchists, ruffians and seditionists,” and ridiculed them for not chanting any slogans about Egypt has they had originally promised."

This could be attributed to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Friday speech, where he tried to take credit for Egypt's revolution being inspired by Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, but nobody seemed to buy it. Actually, the student organizers in Egypt were influenced by an American political philosopher who said that the best way to topple a police state is with anti-violence. This was adopted by students in Kosovo, who used it to their advantage, and counseled the Egyptian students over the 18 days of protest. The iranian opposition decided to put Ahmadinejad's words to the test, and applied for a permit to protest Monday, with the results of 30 - 80 people reported dead. so far, the best advice seems to be coming from: "Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who is on a visit to Iran, urged governments in the Middle East to listen to the demands of their people.

“When leaders and heads of countries do not pay attention to the demands of their nations, the people themselves take action to achieve their demands,”

There's a lot of frenzied activity going on in the House of Representatives, where the tea party repubs try to coerce the old guard repubs into destroying as much of Obamacare's cost saving incentives as possible. None of this matters, since none of their proposals will make it past the floor of the Senate. during the midterm elections, we heard the repubs claim how their main priority is crating jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Not one bill addressing this issue has been introduced. Instead, there have been three anti-abortion bills, one amendment to the 14th Amendment, a couple of proposed budgets that makes gigantic cuts so that hundreds of federal employees will be laid off... The crazies like Little Jeffie Sessions and Peter King have been unleashed. Jeff is the kind of guy that makes you wonder if the people in his district knowingly voted in this retarded person, the danger being if they admire and look up to him. The only idea that I have is that his district is predominantly black folk, who voted him in as a kind of vengeance, a flippance at the system... From TPM: "Here's a fun exchange on CNN this morning that neatly encapsulates that culture. It starts with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) -- the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee -- attacking President Obama's budget proposal for not reducing the deficit by more than $1 trillion over 10 years. From there, Sessions dodges the expected questions about why his party doesn't take the first swing of the ax at Social Security. And after clumsily passing the buck back to Obama, Sessions admits that $1 trillion is a pretty good start ... when Republicans propose it!

"A one trillion reduction is insignificant," Sessions insists. "This is nowhere near what's necessary to avoid the fiscal nightmare that this nation is facing. ... It doesn't touch any of the entitlements, it only has some reductions in the discretionary accounts."

That's a slow ball, right over the center of the plate if your job is to reinforce conventional wisdom, and the anchor, Kiran Chetry, knocks it out of the park. "At what point does everybody get together and just say, 'Alright, it's time to tackle these bigger issues: Raising the Social Security retirement age. Medicare doesn't just go to everybody.' When is that gonna be tackled."

But, Sessions responds, on tough issues over which Congress has the ultimate say, it's the President's job to take all the political risk!

"We've heard nothing from our chief executive, the President of the United States," he said.

To Chetry's credit, she reminds Sessions that Republican leaders are mostly silent on this issue, even though they control half of Congress. But once again, the only options on the table are ones that make it harder for regular people to get by.

"Have we heard a lot of Republican leaders out there saying exactly what they would do when it comes to this," she asks. "I mean is anybody coming out and introducing a bill that raises the retirement age before you can collect your Social Security income?"

Nope -- Obama must go first. "None of this will ever pass if the President is not supporting it," Sessions added. "He should be helping us. He should be really leading. He's the leader. He asked for the job to be President."

So what is leadership? Apparently it's House Republicans, who recently proposed a bit under $100 billion in discretionary spending cuts this year. Multiply this by 10 and you approach $1 trillion. That's leadership! Just not when Obama does it.

"Even the $100 billion house proposal in reducing spending will amount to $1 trillion," Sessions said. "And that's a step!"

I lament that I can't be up watching television 24 hours per day, I miss about 70% of the good stuff, but I often need to be entertained by brainless pablum. My current favorites are Justified, White Collar, Harry's Law, and Fairly Legal with Sarah Shahi... Though there was an excellent Carlos Santana concert on HDnet last night, it attracted a local fox to come near the front door...

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