Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Franken Beats Frankenstein


If democracy were a pizza shop, it would truly be free. Because the political equivalent of getting your pizza in 30 minutes or less just ain't happening all the time.

After nearly eight months of waiting, the Minnesota State Supreme Court finally named Al Franken the winner over incumbent Norm Coleman. GOP Gov. Pawlenty is expected to do the right thing and immediately certify the election results as he'd promised.

Of course, all this could've been avoided if Coleman had just done the classy thing months ago and conceded. But no. Representing a party that puts itself and its supremacy and primacy above all else including America, Norm Coleman, a guy who was one tragic air crash away from permanent irrelevance, put himself above both. And, believe it or not, he still isn't done fighting, as Coleman is now threatening to get the federal courts involved.

After protesting that Franken didn't respect the will and voice of the people when he was ahead by several hundred votes, Coleman started singing a different tune when a recount showed that Franken had indeed gotten more votes. When Coleman challenged Franken's lead of 225 votes, he only shot himself in the foot and gave Franken an additional 87.

But a 312 vote split in a state in which 2.4 million votes were cast ought to teach us all a couple of lessons. First, it underscores the importance of voting and the dictum that every vote counts. Secondly, let us not forget Coleman's shameful and shameless behavior in keeping Minnesota from having a second senator to vote on some of the most momentous legislation in recent American history.

When Republicans tell you how how much their party loves America, remind them of Norm Coleman.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Caption Contest


Agh! At first, I thought the Republicans put out a death threat on Sonia Sotomayor.

The Food Policy Vacuum


Almost a week ago, Tara Lohan published an interview on Alternet with documentarian Robert Kenner, whose latest project is Food, Inc. While tens of millions of people flocked last weekend to the theaters to see Transformers II, Food, Inc. was also released in theaters on Friday with hardly any fanfare. Indeed, you can be officially and legally classified a nerd if you'd rather sit through a documentary about how our food is processed, packaged and marketed than a CGI-laden sci fi epic about Optimus Prime.

But we don't have to be activists or nerds to want to educate ourselves about what we're putting into our mouths and stomachs, not to mention the very legal jeopardy into which tens of millions of us can place ourselves just in merely exercising our first amendment rights to criticize these food conglomerates and their products. After all, we all have to eat.

It may surprise you to know about the veggie libel laws that are in effect in 13 states. One of the first victims of the veggie libel laws was Oprah Winfrey. Even though Winfrey, one of the most powerful and influential people in the entertainment industry, was eventually vindicated, the very threat of the lawsuit was enough to put her into a state of permanent silence.

One of the many valuable bits of information gleaned from Ms. Lohan's interview with Kenner was that neither the FDA or not USDA have the power to recall food. Jurisdiction over even hamburger that has been proven to kill people seems to depend entirely on whether or not E.coli-tainted meat was a plain hamburger or a cheeseburger (if a cheeseburger, then the FDA claims its hollow jurisdiction because then a dairy product is involved).

In other words, when it comes to recalling tainted or even deadly food, we're actually using the honor system. The individual corporations are in charge of policing themselves. And one suspects, given the irresponsible, bottom line-driven mentality of corporations, for every recall we hear about in the news, there are probably about 100 others that ought to be taking place.

If that seems like an alarmist and flippant number pulled out of thin air, a quick internet search of food giants such as Monsanto and Smithfield Farms and the unimaginable evils they have visited on the entire world will suddenly make that 100 to 1 ratio seem frighteningly plausible.

Kenner is not a food activist but a filmmaker. Yet he tells Tara Lohan that the focus of his documentary Food, Inc. kept changing as he learned more about Big Agro and its legalistic bullying tactics and iron curtain of secrecy that surrounds its products. Under the shady veil of proprietary secrets, corporations such as Monsanto have launched countless hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits against small farmers who have been judged guilty of using patented GMO's, have criticized them publicly or who had merely attempted to differentiate their non-genetically modified product from Monsanto's own tampered product.

Kenner puts his finger right on a point that thus far has hardly even been mentioned in a prominent forum: That the health care debate that's raging on Capitol Hill and from coast to coast really doesn't address one of the core issues that actually underpins such reform, which is food reform.

According to Kenner and the two food experts in Food, Inc., Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), one third of children born after 2000 will develop Adult Onset Diabetes and such diseases have already been conclusively linked to some of the food we're eating. Diabetes is obviously a potentially life-threatening disease and can be very expensive to treat. Alone, it can devastate a health care system already too expensive for nearly 50,000,000 Americans to afford, a managed health care system that's all too eager to deny coverage to even premium payors based on "pre-existing conditions."

Even educated people such as Pollan and Schlosser are content to label the current disconnect from the interests of the US consumer as a mere "policy deficit". Yet the way I see it, it's a policy vacuum in which responsibility has been systematically kept out of the hands of federal regulatory agencies such as the FDA and the USDA and into the grasping hands of multinational corporations such as Monsanto and Smithfield.

As Kenner also states, real food reform and passing much more stringent laws cannot begin until we have transparency and a free flow of information between the government and these corporations and the American consumer. It's a system in which even if one chooses to eat healthy by buying organic, you're penalized for wanting to do so by the outrageous prices charged for it. There are local farm stands, many of them producing affordable organic produce but those of us who eat meat are still ingesting chemically-laden beef, fowl and pork that are produced not on pastoral farms but inhumanly crowded feedlots and killing floors.

At the end of the Lohan interview, Kenner seems almost absurdly optimistic about the inevitability of real food reform. It's absurd when one does a little reading up on the enormous forces that corporations such as Monsanto, Smithfield Farms and others bring to bear in order to silence critics, whistleblowers and those who merely want to educate the public about what they're ingesting.

But Kenner is absolutely right when he says that we cannot even begin to responsibly initiate a dialogue about health care reform until we first begin to make inroads toward one of the underpinning root issues that forms a health care debate, which is what we put into our stomachs.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Great 40th Anniversary Video

Gays Have Always Been Among Us











(This one is especially adorable.)

















...and they always will be. The sooner we get used to that fact and accept them into mainstream human society, the better.

Happy Stonewall Day, guys and dolls.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Have We Learned From Stonewall?








Back then, the national gay community still called themselves "homosexuals", protested in an orderly fashion, the men in natty business suits with the requisite thin black ties, the woman in prim, knee-length skirts. And the only reason why the Stonewall Inn riots that began 40 years ago today aren't better known is an accident of timing. Mere days after the last of the riots in Greenwich Village had been quelled, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. The month after, our attention and wider scope of posterity was diverted yet again to a little arts and music festival on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York.

On a somewhat more reduced yet no less significant scale, what we're now witnessing in the streets of Tehran we'd seen on Christopher Street when the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that was the only one in the city that allowed same sex dancing, for selling liquor without a license. During the countless preceding raids, the patrons allowed themselves to be loaded into the paddy wagons and waited to be booked and tried for the crime of being gay.

On the late night/early morning of June 27-28, 1969, all that changed.

By the time the police knew what had hit them, four of them were in the hospital, one with a broken wrist, and were chased by an enraged mob back into the gay bar from which they'd just emerged. Armed with nothing more than garbage, bricks appropriated from a nearby construction site and their bare hands, the gay community of Greenwich Village rose up in a screaming, quivering fury and said with one voice, "No more." What seemed to set the crowd off were eyewitnesses who saw NYPD officers beat and tear the shirt off a lesbian patron.



What is most readily and easily forgotten, however, is that the riots were conducted not merely by white young gays but also straight sympathizers, lesbians, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and the middle-aged and even elderly as well as the young. The flash point, don't forget, was the public molesting and assault of a young lesbian at the hands of the authorities, a thankfully nonfatal precursor to Neda Agha Soltani.

It's safe to say that the Stonewall Inn riots became one of the widest and strongest columns of the ongoing gay rights movement for which it had been a catalytic and unifying influence. Since then, American voters have elected over 400 openly gay and lesbian public officials and we now have gay marriage in six states with New York expected to become the seventh. Yet in a way, it could be said that the still vibrant and potent LGBT community in our nation still lags behind virtually every other civil rights movement for any other wronged and oppressed American minority with the possible exception of Native Americans.

We ought to have at least seven states already that allow same sex marriage but on election day 2008, all that changed in what used to be the most progressive state. In several aspects, it seems as if the gay rights movement has taken one step forward and two steps back when one remembers the much later Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Clinton era that was recently upheld in a despicable brief filed by the Obama-era Justice Department. In fact, the DOJ's brief upholding DOMA was so heinous that it actually synonymized gay marriage with incest and pedophilia.

Somehow, that took all the warmth and fuzziness out of parallel State Department and White House decrees that same sex couples working for the federal government get the same perks and privileges as traditional married couples. I suspect I may not be alone in saying the gay rights movement makes me proud to be a liberal more than anything and the government's genteel jihad against gay rights makes me ashamed more than anything to be a Democrat.

And, to go back to California and Proposition 8 for a minute, the gay rights movement practically had one of its columns kicked out from under it last November because it proved several things few if any of us expected. #1, that a small minority of evangelicals could sway seven million voters into denying a basic, inalienable right to people outside their community and #2, it marked the first time that gay marriage had been overturned in a state that had formerly allowed it.

In other words, a fringe minority had changed existing state law.

Same sex marriage is by far the most polarizing issue in the gay rights movement, perhaps for the simple reason that it throws on its ear the universal and fundamental human ritual of wedded union. We fear that which we do not understand, even if it does not threaten us.

To we liberals and progressives, the sight of two men or two women kissing passionately at a wedding altar is one of the most joyous, life-affirming and natural sights imaginable. But, unfortunately, it seems that perhaps we are as much in the minority as the evangelical propagandists who'd spent tens of millions of dollars telling people to tell people whom they can't marry.

Granted, gay marriage in the Stonewall era wasn't even a pipe dream except for a few radical dreamers and the rise of political leaders such as Harvey Milk and Barney Frank wouldn't be for another decade or so. Yet we live in a nation in which it is no longer legal to discriminate or harass based on sexual orientation yet sweet young gay men like Matthew Shepard are beaten and left to die on barbed wire fences.

We are a nation in a painful state of transition in which Republicans and Democrats alike oppose gay marriage and liken it to sexual perversion while making mockeries of their own traditional marriage vows.

We have not have learned nearly as much from the Stonewall Inn riots of two generations ago as we may like to think. And the gay rights movement, while it may at times be shrill and militant, is deep down at heart just as scared and vulnerable as it was on that hot, humid, chaotic night 40 years ago today.

Open Letter to Dan Froomkin


(At first, I'd intended for this to be a private letter to Dan Froomkin, until yesterday, one of the best reporters employed by the Washington Post. However, sometimes private correspondence transcends mere personal communication and addresses themes, perhaps even in an unexpectedly eloquent fashion, that demands a wider audience. This is a ver batim transcript of an email that I just sent to Dan Froomkin in response to his excessively gracious final byline and perhaps it contains some small lessons that ought to be heeded by what is plainly a dying print media.)

Dan:

You and I both know that, the social diktats of graciousness aside, the Washington Post only was a great newspaper and that it is not great now nor will be in the foreseeable future as long as it discards diamonds such as you and polishes turds like Deb Howell and Charles Krauthammer. Being only a pissant blogger, I am not encumbered in the slightest by the useless conventions of social norms handed down by the irrelevant czars of Political Correctness. This is why I am a political blogger extraordinaire. I do not give a fuck whose toes I step on. So if you'll pardon my putting a knee on your chest...

You could've completely laid them out in the particular instead of in the abstract and I'm sure that a journalist of your stature still could have gotten a paying gig at a prestigious progressive organ such as The Nation, Mother Jones or maybe a Fellowship at Media Matters, where Eric Boehlert wound up. It's one thing to be a disgruntled ex-employee giving his former boss the finger at a public exit interview. It's another thing entirely to speak truth to power and the fact is, the Wa Po fucked up more times than could be remembered during the entire Bush administration.

During the extremely rare times that reporters such as Dana Priest and Anne Hull actually did their job and revealed the existence of Black Prisons in eastern Europe or the Walter Reed Hospital scandal, those of us on the left side of the tracks cheered for their journalistic integrity while forgetting that this was the way the craft of journalism was intended to be crafted- Mercilessly objective, passionately devoted to the truth and unafraid of stepping on well-shod toes.

Much more commonly, we saw, instead, partisan politics being played in the pages of the byline of Deb Howell, a person who saw no problem whatsoever in not only taking the sides of conservatives who had been proven wrong time and again but even publicly taking down her own colleagues for their beliefs (you had felt the sting of her tongue) even to the point of censoring without explanation or just cause the comments section that invariably took exception with her.

Much more commonly than the occasional Pulitzer prize-winning expose we saw time and again Bob Woodward, a mere shadow of his former Watergate-era self, hoarding information from his readership and superiors at the Washington Post and, instead, not revealing these things until his next blockbuster comes out. It's been obvious for years now, Dan, that he only keeps his press credentials alive and remains on the Wa Po's payroll so he can continue digging up dirt that only gets to our eyes and ears only years after it was at its peak relevance.

For those aforementioned reasons alone, the Washington Post is no longer a great newspaper at all and hasn't been for at least 10 years. E. J. Dionne and precious few others aside, I wouldn't wish them well and certainly don't now in light of your politically-motivated ouster. It wasn't enough that all throughout the nascent Obama administration your White House Watch byline continued to try to put its feet to the fire as it had the Bush administration's. You had spoken truth to power far too many times and, far be it from no one listening, it seems among those who were listening were your own editors.

You were right about one thing, if nothing else- we and the media had ignored those who were right all along and continue listening to those who were wrong all along (like Howell, Krauthammer, etc). Yet your ouster, at the height of your column's popularity, betrays an even darker sense of urgency that brings to mind Gary Webb and every other decent, hardworking reporter who was ever excommunicated from the 4th estate. That not only do we tune out those on the side of the angels, but these Cassandras will also suffer the ultimate price.

Meanwhile it seemed as if everyone in the White House press pool but Helen Thomas had, to varying degrees, played some part in the systematic disinformation campaign that had for eight years risibly masqueraded as a free and democratic press. Instead, as the years wore on, each increasingly rare press conference during the Bush years didn't resemble press conferences as much as a bunch of 150-200 pound upholstered gerbils eagerly and gratefully bellying up to Ari Fleischer, Scott McClelland, Tony Snow or Dana Perino for their placebo pellets that passed for actual journalism.

You could have afforded to be a lot less gracious and your termination, effective yesterday, has resulted in far fewer readers upon which the Washington Post can depend. I read the blog posts, the comments. When things like this happen to good reporters such as you, it further weakens an already weakening dinosaur like dead tree publishing, which still isn't as perishable as the medium in which the rest of us work.

Robert Crawford

Fox News at its Finest, Part 6

In Fox "News'" Bizarro World, every time a Republican gets involved in a sex scandal, he's immediately transformed into a Democrat. That's because only liberal Democrats can have so much fun! So let's welcome lame duck South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford into the warm, back-rubbing, crotch-grinding embrace of the Democrat Party. All the same, wishing it so ain't gonna make it happen, so Fox truly needs to do some, dare I say it, R & D into which elected officials are R's and which ones are D's.

Of course, Fox has had problems in the past distinguishing one party from another...








The stupidity of Fox's parent network even seeps down to the local affiliate level:


However, let it not be said that Fox "News" isn't visionary, as they'd anticipated Arlen Specter's defection almost two years before it actually happened.

Caption Contest


"What is this? I rig one election, get dozens of people killed, arrest and detain my political enemies, clamp down on the media, jam internet access and cell phones and that automatically makes me a dictator?"

Friday, June 26, 2009

First Aid and Insurgency Tips For Iranians


I find it hard to believe that I have to post things like this but this is what it's like living in Iran, a nation in a state of siege. These are some of the latest retweets (RTs) from Flowersophy, my source in Turkey, as she's getting them from inside Iran:
Create protection against Baton beatings,take a piece of wood/metal,bind it under your arm,use it as a shield as you run

Wear gloves, tear gas canisters are warm, they can be thrown back at the police, do this fast!

Motorbikes:use nails, spikes, create full road blocks, if they get off their bikes, push them back

Cover your faces, do not take pictures of your fellow protestors faces! Hide the faces if you publish them on the net

The plastic film that you put on a gun shot wound on the chest must be secured with tape hard! Dont let air be sucked in

First aid bag: Band aid with tape, water with spray bottles, plastic film, Ice bags, poles to bind next to fractures etc

I can't imagine living in a nation in which it may save your life to know some of these things.

How much longer will be before these disorganized protesters turn into an actual insurgency that uses guerilla warfare, evolution planning and weapons? Because these kids aren't going anywhere and if this fascistic shit from the government keeps up, that's going to be the logical outcome of this.

Are We Listening Now?


Though the cleric is usually considered beyond public reproach, Mousavi seemed more than willing to take on Khamenei, who broke with tradition by openly taking sides in the country's factional political rows. - Borzou Daragahi, LA Times.

What's happening in Iran right now ought to serve as an object lesson to wouldbe revolutionary Republicans who are even now slavering for regime change as to the political cost of playing partisan politics.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Dead?


Can anyone tell me if this is true? Only the first picture in this photoset says that. The remaining ones say he was only rushed to the hospital when he stopped breathing. I've seen nothing else that'll confirm it. Apparently, the news just came out about 20 minutes ago.

TMZ, the website that broke the news, is only saying that "it's looking bad."

Update: TMZ just confirmed it. Michael Jackson is dead.

Iranian Doctor Describes Neda's Final Moments on BBC

This New Angel Just Made Heaven a Whole Lot More Beautiful.


Is there any guy of my generation who didn't have this picture on either a poster in their room or on a tee shirt (I had the tee shirt, yellow, and wore it until the picture faded and cracked and Farrah looked like a big-haired Phyllis Schlafly.)?

RIP Farrah. You confounded the critics who said you couldn't act with roles in such movies as "The Burning Bed" and "Extremities."

Iran Daily Revolution Grief, Pt. 2


From Flowersophy, my source in Turkey, comes these depressing news items east of the Eden we've made of Iraq:
People fighting with mullah's security forces in Valiasre square in Tehran now.

Iran state tv says Saudi govt also behind protests.| Seems Iran is the only country NOT behind protests! (First we find out these Sunni Arabs financed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, now they're backing the Shi'ite regime in Iran? Is this really about OPEC's stability?)

MESSAGE TO BASIJI, GUARDS, ARMY What happens to you WHEN the regime falls? We have YOUR photos. THE WORLD saw you KILLING US.

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali, top shia cleric in Iraq, joins worldwide alarm over Khamenei handling of protests. (If true, this is another major crack in the Inner Party.)

Iran TV trying to say no violence yesterday & says the woman on CNN was fake. They are very worried, keep going

MORE DETAIL ON REGIME CHANGE FROM WITHIN IRAN. KEEP UP PROTESTS PLEASEhttp://bit.ly/17X4eP (According to this article, Rafsanjani has enough votes to shit can Khamenei, which may or may not mean regime change.)

Don't read CNN (i add Fox news). They get their news from Iran state TV. Follow BBC, BBC Persian (I concur. Even CNN's anchor, when listening to that frightened woman last night over the phone, looked as if he didn't know whether to shit or wind his watch.)

From other Twitter sources:
Where is the UN on Iran? Claudia Rosett on the thundering silence: http://tr.im/pHO4

What is big difference between our awareness of events of #iranelection vs killings in Darfur? Lack of connectivity there?

RT Iran: Today, at Neda's grave whoever had a green sign got arrested right away.

RT from Iran: Persian Kiwi is safe hiding and far from computer (This is good news. I've been following him closely since he's actually on the streets and has proven to be a reliable eyewitness reporter on Twitter.)

Tehran Mousavi Protests Iran Revolution - Breaking News Protest Timeline http://r.ieves.com/g1.aspx (Updated only 'till yesterday, tho.)

PostWorldNews Possible Runoff Vote in Iran between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad? http://tr.im/pCyi (I don't see that happening unless Khamenei is toppled from power.)

Khamenei faces battle of wills (a late-breaking report by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, who writes, "They are rounding people up and, as it was chillingly put to me, in Iran's prisons 'we have room for all of them.' In addition protestors are being paraded 'confessing and repenting' on Iranian state TV.".)

Letter From an Iranian Hospital


(Courtesy of Revolutionary Road, which has been covering the Iranian crisis since the beginning.)
The original email in Farsi:

من پزشک هستم و در بیمارستان رسول اکرم در خیابان ستارخان مشغول به کارم. دیروز تعداد 38 نفر به دلیل اصابت گلوله در اورژانس بیمارستان ما پذیرفته شدند که 10 نفر آنها کشته و بقیه زخمی بودند. الگوی زخمها حاکی از این بود که مردم به رگبار بسته شده اند زیرا بسیاری از مجروحین دو یا چند گلوله خورده بودند و محل اصابت گلوله ها نیز بسیار نزدیک به هم بود، به عنوان مثال پیر مردی 68 ساله در دو ناحیه کتف چپ و سمت چپ شکم مورد اصابت قرار گرفته بود و یا پسری 18 ساله از ناحیه کف و مچ دست هدف قرار گرفته بود. شرح حال اخذ شده از مجروحین و نیز الگوی زخمها نشان می داد که تیر اندازی از پشت بام انجام شده است، مثلا جوانی 32 ساله از کمر مورد اصابت قرار گرفته بود ولی گلوله از جلو و از قسمت ران خارج شده بود.

بنا به گفته مجروحین تیر اندازی به طور ناگهانی و زمانی آغاز شد که سیل جمعیت در حال عبور از کنار یک پایگاه بسیج در شمال میدان آزادی (اول بزرگراه محمد علی جناح) بود. به گفته مجروحان یک اتومبیل در مقابل درب آن پایگاه به شکلی پارک شده بود که کسی نتواند با شکستن در وارد آن شود و این امر نشانه برنامه ریزی قبلی برای تیر اندازی می باشد. به گفته شاهدان حدود 4 نفر بسیجی از پشت بام این مرکز به طور ناگهانی اقدام به تیراندازی نمودند به نحوی که حتی کسانی که قصد نجات زخمی ها را داشتند خود نیز مورد اصابت قرار می گرفتند. یکی از مجروحین می گوید در حالی که پشت یک اتومبیل پناه گرفته بودم زخمی شدم.

در این مرحله مردم خشمگین به اتومبیل پارک شده در مقابل این پایگاه حمله کرده و آنرا به آتش می کشند ولی نمی توانند وارد پایگاه شوند. در ادامه پلیس ضد شورش به همراه گروه های دیگری از بسیجیان برای پراکنده کردن مردم خشمگین از راه می رسند که در این مرحله نیز در قسمت هایی از طول خیابان جناح (به عنوان مثال در نزدیکی مترو) عده دیگری نیز کشته و زخمی می شوند.

طبق اطلاعاتی که امروز صبح از پزشکان بیمارستان امام خمینی کسب شد، به این بیمارستان نیز در طی دیشب 38 کشته که با گلوله مستقیم کشته شده بودند منتقل شده است.

لازم به ذکر است که در بامداد امروز پلیس امنیتی تمامی جنازه ها را به زور از بیمارستان تحویل گرفته و آنها را با وانت به محل نا معلومی منتقل کرده است و خانواده بسیاری از آنان حتی از کشته شدن فرزند خود نیز بی خبرند. در بین کشته ها و مجروحین تعدادی کودک 15 و 16 ساله نیز دیده می شوند.

امروز ساعت 9 تا 11 صبح دانشجویان و پزشکان بیمارستان رسول اکرم در خیابان مجاور این بیمارستان تجمع کرده و به توزیع برگه هایی حاوی اطلاعاتی پیرامون تعداد کشته ها و زخمی ها اقدام نمودند. این تجمع در نهایت با حضور پلیس ضد شورش به پایان رسید.

--
با احترام

رای من کجاست؟

The English translation:
Two protested guys who had been injured in recent violences were transferred to Evin prison. The prisoner, Kourosh Shahbazi and Karim Bagherpour yazdi who are from Tehran had been injured last week. Yesterday,they have been transferred from Sepah Baghiatollah hospital to Evin prison.As they are not allowed to call and to be visited by someone, we do not have any news about their current physical condition.

>>>On the twelfth day of the nationwide protests, thousands of university students and people in Shiraz, have staged protests since 17:00 local time in Eram Square, Abiverdi district, Chamran Highway, and Daneshjou Square. The regime’s suppressive forces have placed people under brutal attacks, arresting and injuring many of them.

>>>Since the morning on Thursday, thousands of relatives of those arrested in the people’s nationwide uprising held a sit-in outside the Tehran branch of the ‘Revolutionary Court’ of the religious fascism ruling Iran.

Agents of the suppressive State Security Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security have besieged the protesters and are preventing other people from joining them.

If any native Farsi speakers can verify whether or not this is indeed a faithful translation, I'd sure appreciate it.

It seems the old estimates of 17-19 protesters killed by Iranian government forces has long since been blown out of the water. However much of a horror show last Saturday the 20th was, yesterday was far worse not to mention unexpected since the people switched tactics and decided to peacefully protest with their very physical presence and a partial strike.

The international press can be partly forgiven for their ignorance since their press credentials have been stripped and many foreign journalists have either been restricted indoors, arrested outright or expelled from Iran.

Yet the press must stop claiming that Mousavi was defeated. They must stop saying that Ahmadinejad won the election by a landslide because to do so is to reduce these brave protesters to mere malcontents and disgruntled voters, sore losers.

They must also start believing these dispatches that are being smuggled out like wartime samizdat. The doctor who'd purportedly written this letter said that his hospital alone has seen 38 protest-related homicides. That qualifies as a mass murder spree. People are being hacked to death with hatchets, children are being shot multiple times. This isn't law and order. This isn't peacekeeping. This is butchery, plain and simple, the kind of butchery that we saw at Tangiers Point in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

When the law doesn't exist, we immediately revert to our barbaric nature, at least those with the backing of the government. And I fear this is our future should martial law ever be declared in our nation in the wake of another electoral or constitutional theft.

The American and international press has to get the true word out any way they can like CNN did last night. They need to apprise the rest of the world about this Iranian human rights crisis unfolding before our eyes and to speak the truth so loudly and insistently that even Obama can no longer ignore it.

This One's For the Ladies



(Only a few feminist blogs and an AP news article written today have offered an adequate appreciation for the astounding courage and resiliency of the Iranian women who from the beginning have stood up and stood at the very vanguard of the protests in Tehran and elsewhere. Even when they couldn't throw rocks far enough, they collected them and handed them to the stronger men while putting their very lives at risk. Therefore, it's only appropriate that I honor them with a photo essay to recognize their unexpected courage and passion in standing up to a regime that has already repressed them for generations and have only suffered under some of the most shocking acts of misogynism on the planet earth. Let it be known that all these images were actually taken in Iran in the past week and a half and not at the much safer and more orderly protests by Iranian Americans in the US or elsewhere in the world.)








































Finally, my choice for what will be the iconic photo of Iranian protest after this is all done and over with:


So, ladies, hats, or in your cases, head scarves, off to you all.

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