Bloggers and Iran’s Fear

Iran is afraid of bloggers, and is instituting the death penalty to harshly curb their rights.

Via BoingBoing:

New legislation has been proposed in Iran that could make blogging a crime punishable by death. Cyrus Farivar has a story on today’s edition of the PRI radio show The World: Iran considers harsh penalty for some bloggers (3:30).

Over at Global Voices, Hamid Tehrani writes:

On Wednesday, Iranian members of parliament voted to discuss a draft bill that seeks to “toughen punishment for disturbing mental security in society.” The text of the bill would add, “establishing websites and weblogs promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy,” to the list of crimes punishable by death.In recent years, some Iranian bloggers have been sent to jail and many have had their sites filtered. If the Iranian parliament approves this draft bill, bloggers fear they could be legally executed as criminals. No one has defined what it means to “disturb mental security in society”.

Such discussion concerning blogs has not been unique to Iran. It shows that many authorities do not only wish to filter blogs, but also to eliminate bloggers!

A translated English copy of the proposed legislation is here. [International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran]

Aside from being a gross violation of human rights, it is an admission by the Iranian government that they are too weak to stand up to opposition.  Apostasty will be used to silence religious criticism, and “corruption” is a catch-all that will surely be used to silence political opponents.

When a country resorts to murder to keep power, it eventually finds that a tighter grip is a weaker one.  All America needs to do is be diplomatic and friendly, depriving Iran of a common enemy to unite against.  As sympathetic friends, we’ll find ourselves in the better position of being inspirational to the brave people in Iran who fight back.

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Dear Obama: Listen!

Please listen to Jamelle!  (US of Jamerica):

Obama’s little riff here basically sums up his foreign policy approach.  I actually wish he would use this language to challenge John McCain’s national security “credentials,” since it’s a pretty effective characterization.

Barack’s language is right on, and applies neatly to foreign policy.  From the difference between talking tough and needing to act out, to the wisdom of walking away and “saving it for when you need it”.  These points, especially given the state of our military and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran(Pending Cheney pressing a big red button while Congress just watches), hit home in an easily understandable way.

McCain’s Credibility With the Press

Via Majikthise, Kevin Drum body slams John McCain’s credibility:

Let’s recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. “Man of conviction” cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. Anti-torture cred allows him to get away with supporting torture as long as only the CIA does it.

Any one of these issues would be a major headache for a Democratic candidate, or for any “non-blessed-by-the-media” Republican candidate.  We need to pop the karma-bubble around John McCain, or face watching a man wearing a full body media narrative stroll into the White House.

McCain’s Dismal Foreign Policy Expertise

John McCain is going to run as an expert on foreign policy, an experienced heavyweight with security his centerpiece strength.

Which makes this pretty fucking alarming (via Greg Saunders at TMW, emphasis mine):

The foolishness of this John McCain “gaffe”, to use the media’s favorite understatement, should terrify anyone who actually thinks the commander-in-chief should have a basic understanding of the wars we’re fighting :

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

Wow. If foreign policy is supposed to be the area in which McCain is an expert, I’m terrified of what he might do to the economy.

McCain’s being transparent.  He wants to yell “boo, Al-Qaeda!” when pressed with a foreign policy question, even when it makes less than zero sense to do so.  If McCain’s experience amounts to staring at a wall while people whisper the answers in his ear he’d better come up with another angle to market his presidency.

Dana Perino Performs Stand Up for Press

AP (emphasis mine):

White House press secretary Dana Perino called the charges of stifling dissent “nonsense.”

The president welcomes robust and healthy debate,” she said. “He has many members of his administration that represent different viewpoints. He has dissenting views on a variety of issues that get worked out through a policy process that is usually not fed out in the press.”

There’s no one in the administration that is suggesting other than a diplomatic approach to Iran,” Perino said.

Of course not.

McCain’s Yes We Can Video

Most are familiar by now with this celebrity video interpretation of Obama’s inspiration:

Some dash clever deviants have made their own version, bitingly satirizing John McCain (via Indepdendent Basis):

The ending is priceless.

McCain the Warlord

With all the talk of the “independent vote” McCain is snapping up, it’ll be easy to get swept up in the media glow and view the man as a sane, reason-governed paragon of virtue. As a compromise candidate for a Republican field racked by distasteful failures and disunity.

John’s stance on war is not sane. We’ll do well as an electorate to remember this (ThinkProgress):

NBC’s Nightly News provided further details about McCain’s one-hour guided tour. He was accompanied by “100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead.” Still photographs provided by the military to NBC News seemed to show McCain wearing a bulletproof vest during his visit.

McCain recently claimed that there “are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.” In a press conference after his Baghdad tour, McCain told a reporter that his visit to the market today was proof that you could indeed “walk freely” in some areas of Baghdad.

Catch that?  Walking through a market with 100 soldiers, helicopters and gunships, and a bulletproof vest, is walking freely.  This man doesn’t see the same world we live in.  So comments like these really make me shiver (Huffington Post):

Sen. John McCain told a crowd of supporters on Sunday, “It’s a tough war we’re in. It’s not going to be over right away. There’s going to be other wars.” Offering more of his increasingly bleak “straight talk,” he repeated the claim: “I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

Iran?  Syria?  Where will Jolly old McCain drag this country next?  Is he prepared for the cost of war?

“And right now – we’re gonna have a lot of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] to treat, my friends,” he said. “We’re gonna have a lot of combat wounds that have to do with these terrible explosive IEDs that inflict such severe wounds. And my friends, it’s gonna be tough, we’re gonna have a lot to do.”

We are no friends of John McCain.  Friends don’t look into the heart of war’s consequences, into shattered spines and amputated legs, into children with hairline fractures in their personalities, and say “it’s gonna be tough”.  These are the words of men who inject us with fear and then offer to sell us security at the sale price of our rights and dignity as a nation.

And this man wants to be our next President.