Weblog Archives




  Monday   June 15   2009


The American Empire Is Bankrupt

"This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

"Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.

"There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”

"It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak. And the rage that has kindled a handful of shootings and hate crimes in the past few weeks will engulf vast segments of a disenfranchised and bewildered working and middle class. The people of this class will demand vengeance, radical change, order and moral renewal, which an array of proto-fascists, from the Christian right to the goons who disseminate hate talk on Fox News, will assure the country they will impose."


 10:21 PM - link


Joe Johnson Photographs


 10:18 PM - link


What is happening in Iran is a military coup. Only the people don't seem to be standing for it. Iran won't be the same after this. Pay close attention.

More at The Real News

The meaning of the Tehran spring
By Pepe Escobar

"It is 1979 in Tehran all over again. From Saturday to Sunday, the deafening sound deep in the night across Tehran's rooftops was a roaring, ubiquitous "Allah-u Akbar" (God is great). Then, in 1979, to hail the Islamic revolution; now, in 2009, to signify what appears to be the hijacking of the Islamic revolution. Then, the revolution was not televised; it was via (Ruhollah Khomeini) radio. Now, it is being broadcast all across the world.

"Let's cut to the chase: what Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi qualified as "this dangerous charade" and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "the sweetness of the election", or better yet, a "divine assessment", has all the non-divine markings of intervention by the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC). This follows President Mahmud Ahmadinejad officially gaining 64% of the vote in defeating Mousavi in what in the days before Friday's vote had widely been called as a very close race.

"Scores of protesters equating Ahmadinejad with Augusto Pinochet in 1973's Chile might not be that far off the mark. Call it the ultra-right wing, military dictatorship of the mullahtariat.

"This is emerging as a no-holds-barred civil war at the very top of the Islamic Republic. The undisputed elite is now supposed to be embodied by the Ahmadinejad faction, the IRGC, the intelligence apparatus, the Ministry of the Interior, the Basij volunteer militias, and most of all the Supreme Leader himself.

"The elite wants subdued, muzzled, if not destroyed, reformists of all strands: any relatively moderate cleric; the late 1970s clerical/technocratic Revolution Old Guard (which includes Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami and Mousavi); "globalized" students; urban, educated women; and the urban intelligentsia.

"Even fighting a cascade of political and economic setbacks, for the past three decades the regime has always been proud of the Islamic Republic's brand of popular democracy, and its alleged legitimacy. Now the revolution enters completely uncharted territory as thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest against the result."


 10:04 PM - link

  Sunday   June 14   2009


I just discovered this group yesterday. David Byrne invited them to play at Bonnaroo. Four demented women from Norway. I can't stop listening. Fantastic!

Their Amazon page, with a free download of "A Bar in Amsterdam".

Their website: Katzenjammer

 03:11 PM - link


The recent elections in Iran have turned out to be a complete fraud. It seems we may be witnessing the beginning of a civil war. This is not good. Not just for Iran, but for the whole region.

Stealing the Iranian Election
by Juan Cole

"Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen

1. It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province."


Class v. Culture Wars in Iranian Elections: Rejecting Charges of a North Tehran Fallacy
by Juan Cole

"Mir Hosain Mousavi was a plausible candidate for the reformists. They were electing people like him with 70 and 80 percent margins just a few years ago. We have not been had by the business families of north Tehran. We've much more likely been had by a hard line constituency of at most 20% of the country, who claim to be the only true heirs of the Iranian revolution, and who control which ballots see the light of day."


Iran's Political Coup

"If the reports coming out of Tehran about an electoral coup are sustained, then Iran has entered an entirely new phase of its post-revolution history. One characteristic that has always distinguished Iran from the crude dictators in much of the rest of the Middle East was its respect for the voice of the people, even when that voice was saying things that much of the leadership did not want to hear.

"In 1997, Iran's hard line leadership was stunned by the landslide election of Mohammed Khatami, a reformer who promised to bring rule of law and a more human face to the harsh visage of the Iranian revolution. It took the authorities almost a year to recover their composure and to reassert their control through naked force and cynical manipulation of the constitution and legal system. The authorities did not, however, falsify the election results and even permitted a resounding reelection four years later. Instead, they preferred to prevent the president from implementing his reform program.

"In 2005, when it appeared that no hard line conservative might survive the first round of the presidential election, there were credible reports of ballot manipulation to insure that Mr Ahmadinejad could run (and win) against former president Rafsanjani in the second round. The lesson seemed to be that the authorities might shift the results in a close election but they would not reverse a landslide vote.

"The current election appears to repudiate both of those rules. The authorities were faced with a credible challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had the potential to challenge the existing power structure on certain key issues. He ran a surprisingly effective campaign, and his "green wave" began to be seen as more than a wave. In fact, many began calling it a Green Revolution. For a regime that has been terrified about the possibility of a "velvet revolution," this may have been too much."


Iran: There Will Be Blood

"Last night in London after appearing on Keith Olbermann's show, I got an email from a well-connected Iranian who knows many of the power figures in the Tehran political order asking to meet me. I told him that the only place possible was Paddington on the way to Heathrow -- and there we met.

"He conveyed to me things that were mostly obvious -- Iran is now a tinderbox. The right is tenaciously consolidating its control over the state and refuses to yield. There is a split among the mullahs and significant dismay with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A gaping hole has been ripped open in Iranian society, exposing the contradictions of the regime and everyone now sees that the democracy that they believed that they had in Iranian form is a "charade."

"But the scariest point he made to me that I had not heard anywhere else is that this "coup by the right wing" has created pressures that cannot be solved or patted down by the normal institutional arrangements Iran has constructed. The Guardian Council and other power nodes of government can't deal with the current crisis and can't deal with the fact that a civil war has now broken out among Iran's revolutionaries.

"My contact predicted serious violence at the highest levels. He said that Ahmadinejad is now genuinely scared of Iranian society and of Mousavi and Rafsanjani. The level of tension between them has gone beyond civil limits -- and my contact said that Ahmadinejad will try to have them imprisoned and killed.

"Likewise, he said, Rafsanjani, Khatami, and Mousavi know this -- and thus are using all of the instruments at their control within Iran's government apparatus to fight back -- but given Khamenei's embrace of Ahmadinejad's actions in the election and victory, there is no recourse but to try and remove Khamenei. Some suggest that Rafsanjani will count votes to see if there is a way to formally dislodge Khamenei -- but this source I met said that all of these political giants have resources at their disposal to "do away with" those that get in the way.

"He predicted that the so-called reformist camp -- who are not exactly humanists in the Western liberal sense -- may try and animate efforts to decapitate the regime and "do away with" Ahmadinejad and even the Supreme Leader himself.

"I am not convinced that this source "knows" these things will definitely happen but am convinced of his credentials and impressed with the seriousness of the discussion we had and his own concern that there may be political killing sprees ahead.

"This is not a vision he advocates -- but one he fears."


For a minute-to-minute update:

Iran Updates (VIDEO): Live-Blogging The Uprising

"3:46 PM ET -- Major uptick in violence reported. In the last hour, there has been a sharp spike in the number of (unconfirmed) reports about intensified violence:

From ABC's Jim Sciutto: "inside the protests tonight, if you support ahmadinajad, no police, you criticize him, get pepper spray, tear gas, batons... Anti-govt protests have spread to other Iranian cities, incl Rasht... We witnessed police spraying pepper gas into the eyes of peaceful female protesters... Two worlds in Tehran tonight. Support Ahmadinejad, free rein. Oppose him, risk police attacks, tear gas, batons, arrest8 minutes ago from web"

From an emailer Salim: "This is beginning to mirror what I witnessed in the first revolution. When people start taking over military centers. There is report that a basiji center in Northern Tehran around Tajrish has been captured by the protesters. This would potentially mean weapons in hands of protesters. I'll let you know if I heard more." "


Iran’s Day of Anguish

"She was in tears like many women on the streets of Iran’s battered capital. “Throw away your pen and paper and come to our aid,” she said, pointing to my notebook. “There is no freedom here.”

"And she was gone, away through the milling crowds near the locked-down Interior Ministry spewing its pick-ups full of black-clad riot police. The “green wave” of Iran’s pre-election euphoria had turned black.

"Down the street outside the ghostly campaign headquarters of the defeated reformist candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, the baton-wielding police came in whining phalanxes, two to a motorbike, scattering people, beating them."


Robert Fisk: Iran erupts as voters back 'the Democrator'
A smash in the face, a kick in the balls – that's how police deal with protesters after Iran's poll kept the hardliners in power

"First the cop screamed abuse at Mir Hossein Mousavi's supporter, a white-shirted youth with a straggling beard and unkempt hair. Then he smashed his baton into the young man's face. Then he kicked him viciously in the testicles. It was the same all the way down to Vali Asr Square. Riot police in black rubber body armour and black helmets and black riot sticks, most on foot but followed by a flying column of security men, all on brand new, bright red Honda motorcycles, tearing into the shrieking youths – hundreds of them, running for their lives. They did not accept the results of Iran's presidential elections. They did not believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won 62.6 per cent of the votes. And they paid the price."


Theocratic Governance Strikes a Blow for Despotism

" “I feel like I went to sleep in one country and woke up in another." So said a Western reporter about the riots that have swept Iran following the disputed election for President between Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hussein Mousavi. Following weeks of increasingly animated, large demonstrations in favor of Mousavi as a reform candidate, and despite polls just before the voting that showed Mousavi with a lead, Ahmadinejad emerged with a “landslide victory” from the Ministry of Interior’s election commission, which counts the votes and which conveniently reports to Ahmadinejad."


 01:18 PM - link

if it isn't one thing, it's your daughter

My daughter, Katie, has been trying to run away to Colorado. It hasn't been easy. Actually it's something she has been thinking about for the last year. Her sister Jenny just had her husband, William, move to Afghanistan for a year courtesy of the US Army. Jenny has wanted help with Robyn (10) and Evan (4). Katie was laid off a month ago (a good thing) and finally decided to make the move. She had everything packed up a week ago Saturday ready to load into the U-Haul. She went camping at Baker Lake planning to return Tuesday to load the truck and leave Wednesday morning. An hour and a half after setting up camp she broke her right leg and badly sprained her left ankle.

Sunday she went to the ER and had the leg set, a temporary cast put on, and a recommendation of surgery for the right ankle. To make a long story short, she made it back to the Island Tuesday and I drove her to Everett Bone and Joint on Wednesday where they rereset her leg. She had a spiral fracture of the tibia. They put an inflatable boot cast on and said to have her have it checked in two weeks. It may or may not need surgery. In either case she won't be driving for two months so there was a lot of plan changing going on. In the end the U-Haul was loaded Friday night and her brother Robby volunteered to drive her to Colorado. We took Katie and her son Mike out to a late lunch-early dinner Saturday and dropped them off at Katie's mom's where the loaded U-Haul was waiting. Robby got off work and Katie, Mike, their dog Shorty, were on the road to Colorado by 7:30 with Robby at the wheel. They are now somwhere between Whidbey Island and Fort Carson, Colorado.

Mike and Katie ready to go

Mike and Shorty

We miss them.

update, monday: They left Saturday night around 7:30 and arrived at Jenny's in Colorado Springs at 5am this morning. The truck is unloaded and Robby is flying back tonight. Everyone made it alive.

 11:41 AM - link