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At Dissident Voice, Ben Schreiner writes Sanctioning Iran: Punishing the Crime of Defiance:

It is often argued [...] that sanctions — imperfect as they are—offer an alternative to war.

As Zbigniew Brzezinski writes in a recent Washington Post op-ed, “a reckless shortcut to war…is not the wisest response to a potentially grave crisis.”  Instead, Brzezinski goes on to argue that, “A more prudent and productive course for the United States would be to continue the painful sanctions against Iran.”

But such arguments by sanction enthusiasts obscure the fact that sanctions are indeed an act of war.  After all, what else are we to call the deliberate crippling of a nation’s economy?  And in any case, if the American economy were made to scream, we can be assured there would be American bombs aplenty.

What’s more, though, not only are sanctions clearly an act of war, they often serve as a prelude to an escalated confrontation.  And one certainly need not venture far beyond Iran to find evidence of Washington’s favored sanction today, invade tomorrow strategy.

“Targeted” Sanctions

The second lie so often accompanying the use of sanctions is that they are somehow “targeted.”  In the case of Iran, the true nature of the supposedly “targeted” sanctions was exposed well before the latest round of escalation.

As a July letter from the Iranian Hemophilia Society written to the World Health Organization warned, sanctions have “seriously endangered the lives of tens of thousands of patients, particularly children, suffering from special diseases.”

Likewise, in an August report to the United Nation’s General Assembly, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon wrote that, “The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.”

Indeed, as a New York Times piece from early November reported, Iranians “suffering from cancer, hemophilia, thalassemia, kidney problems and other diseases are increasingly told the foreign-made medicines they need are no longer available.”

A recent report in the British Guardian newspaper, meanwhile, has noted that “millions of lives are at risk in Iran because western economic sanctions are hitting the importing of medicines and hospital equipment.”

But such reports have fallen on deaf ears in sanction-happy Washington. After all, for Washington, ordinary Iranians are legitimate targets.

As U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, a co-sponsor of the latest Iran sanctions bill, once averred, “It’s okay to take the food out of the mouths of” innocent Iranians.

Kirk was of course simply trying his best to channel Madeleine Albright, who, when asked in a 1996 appearance on 60 Minutes whether the half million dead Iraqi children due to sanctions was “worth it,” coolly affirmed that, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.” [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006On Saving This Government:

I must save this government if possible. What I cannot do, of course I will not do; but it may as well be understood, once for all, that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed. — Abraham Lincoln
When Lincoln said that, it was a Civil War which threatened to divide our country. Today, there isn't a war between citizen and citizen, but between citizen and government. Why? Because the Bush administration has attacked the interests of the American people, squandered its fortune, and caused so many to die in war. Today's divide is not between north and south, but between the people and its government, a government which has proved over the last few years that it is created by and for the powerful rather than the citizenry of these United States.

There are times when a certain form of governance becomes toxic, where those in the public trust act not as civil servants, but as self-serving politicos. We are living in such a time.

The Congress no longer belongs to ordinary Americans; it belongs to the lobbyist who can cut the largest check. The Presidency no longer leads, but misleads. And the Judiciary (specifically the Supreme Court) is set to belong to the most vile, extreme, and un-American element of our society.

Democrats can either surrender this government to a party which seeks to destroy it, or we can take Lincoln's advice and play our available cards.  To those who say filibusters—judicial, patriot act, etc.—are too politically costly, I say that failure to filibuster is conceding that this nation isn't worth fighting for. Instead of worrying that we will be labeled "obstructionist," I say we filibuster Alito, filibuster the Patriot Act, filibuster time and time again until this crazy government comes to a screeching halt. Enough is enough. The list of scandals is overshadowed only by the list of names of the 2,190 whose deaths have yet to be honored by this administration.


Tweet of the Day:

Australia has gotten so hot that the Bureau of Meteorology had to add new colors to the weather forecasting chart. http://t.co/...
@drgrist via TweetDeck




Another wide-ranging show today on Kagro in the Morning. Greg Dworkin rounded-up the Hagel nomination, the debt ceiling, platinum coin seigniorage (the Word of the Day!), Gabby Giffords on guns, and the Tea Party nosedive. Next, Bloomberg's insane teachers' union/NRA comparison with Laura Clawson. One legislator's quest to screw with Virginia's voter ID law.  And a tip of the hat to LetsGetItDone, whose work on The Coin is garnering praise from some Very Serious People, including the former head of the U.S. Mint!


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Comment Preferences

  •  I got some good news today (41+ / 0-)

    Came home and found an email from Getty Images. They had invited me to submit five of my 200 photos that are found at Flickr to become part of the Image Bank. Had to fill out many forms but perhaps it might be worth it.

    The first was no surprise; my most popular of my 200 at Flickr is a public figure. Or at least Abu Talib should be. Oh I will proudly cash any check for promoting his great work as a community leader.

    Have you ever heard of Abu Talib?

    The second, I guess they just want photos of the Casino Pier before Hurricane Sandy took it out. It’s an old Seaside Heights snapshot.

    The Casino Pier on a Brighter Day

    The third, well what can I say?

    "Wuz Up?"

    Now the fourth, I’m very pleased that they picked that one. I’ll never actually get all of my ducks in order but I’ve always loved that shot.

    A Bronx View – Getting my Ducks in Order

    Unfortunately I cannot submit the fifth because I don’t have a model release form and I have no idea who they are to get one. Oh well.

     Coney Island Harbor Seal

    In the agreement I still have the right to share those first four photos as long as I’m not getting any money for it but since I often write “Do whatever you want with my pictures,” please no longer feel free to share those four yourself anymore.

    Anyway, I’m tickled pink. 5 out of 200 that ain’t bad. I think I’ll go Flickr Pro now and start transferring some of those 15,000 I have sitting over at Photobucket.

  •  The Civil War is Between the 99% and the 1%. (13+ / 0-)

    The structure of our system in our time requires government to represent the 1%, but that doesn't make government our actual enemy.

    People make one hell of a mistake when they conflate "Democrats" with "we."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:34:15 PM PST

  •  Given Brzezinski's role in the conditions (11+ / 0-)

    that led to the rise of anti-American theocracy in Iran, you would think he would be the last person anyone should listen to on the subject.  I'd be more interested in the voices of people who told Carter not to listen to him, if there were any.

    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

    by Troubadour on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:35:25 PM PST

  •  the Iraq War(s) redux (6+ / 0-)
    But such arguments by sanction enthusiasts obscure the fact that sanctions are indeed an act of war.  After all, what else are we to call the deliberate crippling of a nation’s economy?  And in any case, if the American economy were made to scream, we can be assured there would be American bombs aplenty.
    What’s more, though, not only are sanctions clearly an act of war, they often serve as a prelude to an escalated confrontation.  And one certainly need not venture far beyond Iran to find evidence of Washington’s favored sanction today, invade tomorrow strategy.

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

    by annieli on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:36:57 PM PST

    •  I didn't want Obama to pick Hagel (12+ / 0-)

      for Sec. of State. I wanted him to pick a Democrat.

      But I have to admit, it makes me smile a little watching the Republican/Neocon war-mongers (who lied us into Iraq and are trying to start another stupid war with Iran) squeal about it.

      "Come, dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be. As a trend, as a friend, as an old memoria." - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:53:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ditto, at least Hagel can be a stalking horse (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, Jeff Y, Jim P, basquebob, hazey

        for some WH strategic moves, OTOH,

        The number of Syrians registered or awaiting registration as refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt has surpassed 540,000, about half of them children, the United Nations said. The number could exceed one million later this year, the agency said.

        “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

        by annieli on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:54:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Remember Syria had a huge number (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, JeffW, basquebob, Jeff Y, hazey

          of refugees from the Iraq attack and the subsequent sectarian civil war? Like Riverbend Girl, who I've heard nothing about since her last post soon after arriving in Syria.

          I know many, maybe most, never returned to Iraq, in fear of the new sectarian arrangements in their old neighborhoods.

          i wonder how many are twice refuges now?


          The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

          by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:35:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  of course liberals did want Hagel (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Y

        which is precisely why Obama picked him.

        He never gets tired of the fun.

        His crowning achievement is appointment of torturer-in-charge to head the agency that keeps us all safe by killing civilians with drone strikes ordered by the CIC.

        oh well- Roosevelt had his Japanese internment camps.

        I guess this is just the cost to have the greatest president of my lifetime.

        big badda boom : GRB 090423

        by squarewheel on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:39:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Never ceases to amaze me... (9+ / 0-)

    How modern day Republicans can scream about Obama's "big government," after the government nightmare the Bush administration gave us.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:40:33 PM PST

  •  So what WOULD you do about Iran (0+ / 0-)

    and other rogue nations? Iran's regime should be anathema to Progressives!

    •  Not start another war, that much I know. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Jeff Y, JeffW, randallt

      It's not an easy problem to solve.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:44:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why Should We Solve Them? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Y, DeadHead, Jim P, annieli

        Given the big picture.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:46:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeff Y

          It still remains a problem for us regardless, as deciding whether it should be a problem is a problem in and of itself. Who knows how much money is spent simply pondering the Iran question?

          Kind of like, if you choose not to choose, you still have made a choice. Or something. ;)




          Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
          ~ Jerry Garcia

          by DeadHead on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:12:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed (4+ / 0-)

      Sanctions are preferable to war.  Lets not pretend that the Iraq war has been easier on the Iraqi people than the sanctions.   There is an even easier solution: if The Iranian regime cares about its people drop the stupid nuclear weapons program already

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:45:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IF it has a nuclear weapons program... (9+ / 0-)

        ...which is far from proven, although the Iranian record for secretly engaging in nuclear weapons work in the relatively recent past and lying about it does not give much comfort. The International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have not found proof that Iran is currently working on creating a bomb, but they haven't been allowed to go everywhere. And the production of more threshold level enriched uranium as well as the building of suspicious facilities that have yet to be inspected is not encouraging on this score.

        But who gets to decide who has nukes or not? Those sanctions, which are, if you believe the links above, making it hard for Iran to obtain medicine for children, were initiated by the nation that has the second largest (and presumably best) arsenal of nuclear weapons on the planet and are backed by four other nuclear-armed nations. There is something just a tad sanctimonious about that. Just as there is about threats from Israel, which reputedly has an arsenal of 200-400 nukes.

        The Iranians believe they have the right to the full nuclear cycle: from raw uranium ore to finished fuel pellets for the array of nuclear powered electricity-generating plants it wants to operate and for medical isotopes. Of course, the problem is that all nuclear operations can be dual use: the power to provide light and heat cities and the power to obliterate them. Only free rein for well-skilled inspectors can keep country from using the tools needed for the former to create the latter.

        Nuclear proliferation is not a good thing, to be sure. And the authoritarian, reactionary, theocratic Iranian regime's oppression of its own people is appalling. But sanctions that make it hard for to obtain medicine for children?

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:28:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a matter of weighting (0+ / 0-)

          Similarly, one can also say it's not proven that there are difficulties in obtaining medicines.  IN any event, shipping medicines or removing them from the sanctions list is pretty straightforward.

          THere's something highly unsavory to permitting group of people who are by all accounts prone to violence, including against their own countrymen, access to nuclear weapons because they decide to hold those countrymen hostage.  Remember the government that wants the weapons and the kids needing medicines are two separate groups of people.   A small cadre is holding an entire nation hostage to get what it wants.

          Who's to say that our nasty theocratic regim would give the kids the drugs, since they're already holding those kids hostage?

          It isn't pretty but none of the option are good

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:37:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Prone to violence... that's hilarious! (0+ / 0-)

            I seem to recall that one of our countries has the other surrounded by military bases and is fighting a hot war along the entire eastern border of the other, and has a long history of successfully meddling in the internal political affairs of the other.

            Must be Iran, since they're the violent ones, right?

            "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

            by 2020adam on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:34:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Might want to talk with residents (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              charliehall2

              of NOrthern Israel about your view.

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:51:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  and I love this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              charliehall2

              Iran should have nuclear weapons because Iraq War.  

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:52:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Pfft (0+ / 0-)

          Paragraph 1) Either they are pulling a Saddam and trying to convince everyone they are more involved with a nuclear weapons program than they actually are. Or they really do have a program. Id go with B as our secret service has been putting a good amount of effort into stopping them. And this times its not Bushies cronies doing the work.

          2)Your Paragraph answers your own question. Who gets to determine who has nuclear weapons? Those who already do...

          this actually is for a good reason. Back in the day when we first developing nukes. This shit was a big deal. "I am become death the destroyer of worlds" shouted a man who's intellectual capacity probably outstrips the collective body of this site.

          It required a great deal of effort to get a nuke. It required a complex society with strong organization and sophisticated educational systems.

          Now we have nations who are just now developing nukes. What else from the 1940s do we consider sophisticated? Does a nation who could just now develop black and white TV's sound like a nation who should have access to nuclear ANYTHING?

          No the nation is a Child of nations and should not be allowed to have sharp objects.

          Build me something that makes me shout that gibberish THAN go for a nuke.  

          3) Horse pucky. Iran has repeatedly turned down the opportunity for  Russians to ship them all the nuclear material they needed for the sole reason of wanting to develop their own nuclear industry so they have access to nukes. There really is no other reason for their behavior.

          4) Gota crack some eggs to make an omelet.  Not an exact analogy as we not targeting the children but sacrifices must be made...

          If you look historically (at least from the numbers Ive seen) and I am stepping well outside of my area of expertise here. Nations tend to give up after a similar % of their population gets lost or economic damage.

          German WWII, Germany WWI,  Japan WWII. The United States South Civil War, France First part of WWII

          It takes a lot of pressure to break a nation.
           

          •  You think Iran is uneducated and ... (6+ / 0-)

            ...unsophisticated? How many Iranians do you know?

            I made no claim that Iran is not intent on developing nuclear weapons or headed down that path. However, your claim that there are only two choices—Iran is either head-faking or actually building a bomb—could be right or could be dismissing a third choice, that it is doing just as it says.

            As for you claim that the answer must be "B" because the U.S. (and perhaps Israel) are bollixing the supposed weapons program has no basis in fact. The uranium-enriching centrifuges have presumably been screwed up by cyber-attacks on two or more occasions. And some of Iran's nuclear scientists have been assassinated or kidnapped. But what evidence is there that the centrifuges or scientists were working on weapons rather than nuclear power systems? There are hints and they are discomfiting. But proof? Not even close.

            "Gotta crack some eggs to make an omelet?" In the context of harming children, that's a foul little cliché.

            Four of your examples of broken nations refer to those with which the United States had been in wars it did not start and hundreds of thousands of fatalities and millions of casualties had been incurred. In the fifth, the breaking of France was accomplished in short order by the Blitzkrieg at the behest of one of history's worst monsters.

            Not the greatest analogies, to say the least. Where exactly is the war that Iran has started? What are the total casualties?

            Pfffft, indeed.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:43:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Third choice: naval power plants... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annieli

              ...the small size of reactors, especially submarines, requires close-to-bomb-grade enrichment. These could give our navy trouble in the Persian Gulf.

              Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

              by JeffW on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:45:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Iran fights proxy wars (0+ / 0-)

              most notably in Lebanon, against progressive forces in that country and against Israel. Its client Hezbollah has basically destroyed the only outpost of progressive values in the Arab world, and has rained terror (almost literally) on Israel despite the fact that the UN has stated clearly that Israel holds no part of Lebanon any more, having withdrawn completely over a decade ago.

              Sorry, but the mullahs have blood on their hands, including one entire country.

            •  A lot (0+ / 0-)

              I work with some on a daily basis. They are fine. Their home nation is not.

              Iran IS UNSOPHISTICATED AND UNEDUCATED. The fact that they are a sophisticated nation is a myth at best, willfull ignorance most likely.

              It it is not an option to say they are doing as they just as they say they are.

              Arguing this is like standing in the parking lot 5 days latter yelling something about about there being 3 seconds left on the clock.

              Its not a claim its a bet. Serious people do serious things. Bush was a fucking idiot with little reason to do anything other than stupidity. The people involved here are a bit different than the know nothings that followed orders of blind action.

              The analogies are just fine. Pick your own time period if you would like. Those wars are just the most recent and fresh in peoples minds. Or did you live during the siege of Carthage?

              Iran is funding terrorism and has already killed many American citizens. We are at war.

              There are three options.
              A) We let Iran do what they want they get nukes. The terrorists will gets nukes and we will have nuclear terrorism by their own lack of organization or by direct intention.

              B) We break Iran via sanctions.

              c) We are forced to burn Iran to the ground to prevent them from getting nukes. Hundreds of thousands die if not millions.

              Lets hope for B)

          •  On your third point you fail to mention (0+ / 0-)

            that the US has forced agreements which were reached to solve this matter, through negotiations which didn't involve the US, to fail basically because the US got into a huff because it wasn't involved in them.  

            Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

            by InAntalya on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:56:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And the point (0+ / 0-)

          About Russia being willing to provide fuel is pretty damning, sadly

          Then again, living in the same neighborhood as Israel and being between two US wars would make me want nukes too

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:12:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the idea is that sanctions are supposed.. (0+ / 0-)

          ...to hurt, so if you exempt vulnerable people it's not worth doing.  Personally I think the most genuinely targeted and overall fruitful approach would be to subvert Iran's government, but a combination of misplaced legality and less-misplaced takeaways from recent history make that impossible at present.

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:44:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Who cares about the nukes (0+ / 0-)

          I'd rather continue sanctions on Iran to destroy their theocratic regime so they can one day return to western secularism like they had under the shah.

          If it means millions of innocent people suffering because of it, so be it.

          Quite frankly it sickens me that people can care so much about the well being of Iranians and simultaneously hate on people that they hate so much (like Israelis).

      •  But our intelligence, Britain's intelligence, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrJayTee

        Israeli intelligence, at least chief figures in them, say there is no nuclear weapons program. Who says there is are all neo-cons and right wingers, and not in Intelligence.

        Remember when we were demanding Saddam hand over his WMD and he couldn't, because he didn't have them?

        I actually saw the original broadcast, where Madeline Albright was asked if the 500,000 children reported dead from Iraqi sanctions was worth it. She says "Yes."

        What's that tell us about who, and what, is a real threat to humanity?


        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:50:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, not that I've heard (0+ / 0-)

          Both the intelligence communities and more portably the IAEA seem to be unsure and switch back and forth about what's going on.  At lest last I heard.   If there were good evidence I can't see why Obama and Cameron would be pushing for more sanctions.  

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:10:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are links within this link (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MrJayTee

            which will take you to the source quotes http://fcnl.org/...

            Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, head of the Israeli military (IDF):
            "[Iran] is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn't decided to go the extra mile."
            "I don't think [Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei] will want to go the extra mile. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people."
            4/25/12, The Guardian
            Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak:

            "[Iran has] not yet decided to manufacture atomic weapons."
            04/25/12, The Raw Story
            Director of National [US] Intelligence James Clapper:
            "We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons ... We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.
            01/31/12, Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
            Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta:
            "Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. ..."
            2/8/12, Face the Nation

            "I think [Iran is] developing a nuclear capability [but] our intelligence makes clear that they haven't made the decision to develop a nuclear weapon." 2/28/12, Senate Budget Committee<

            There's a whole lot of others. So where is this "they're building a nuke weapon" coming from? The same crowd that keeps lying us into wars, apparently.


            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:27:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're building a phony debate here (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annieli, charliehall2

              There is a consensus between the people quoted above and their alleged contradictors that Iran is seeking to get its nuclear military capacity to the point where making that final decision to develop weapons would be relatively easy.  

              You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

              by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:49:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the "phony" part of the debate (0+ / 0-)

                is the assertion that they've already decided to do that, when there's no such evidence.

                "John has a shotgun in his home, and that means he can and will go out and shoot up Main Street."

                Israel has 200 nukes. The Saudis, Egypt, and some UAE states have announced their intention to build nuclear power plants which would make them just as capable as Iran is.

                Frankly, given actual history, I'd think the Wahhabi's with a nuke capability would be the US's worry.

                Sorry, I don't buy the war-mongers crap.


                The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

                by Jim P on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:39:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Misreporting of the IAEA's Iran reports. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P, InAntalya

            Everyone from the Times on down consistently obfuscates the bottom line in these reports, which have consistently held that whatever else they are engaged in, the Iranian Government does not have a nuclear weapons program. They may eventually get to the point where they could start one, and they may then decide to do so, but that simply is not what is happening right now.

            "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

            by 2020adam on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:39:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Like the infamous "wipe Israel off the map" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              2020adam

              which gets reported as fact to this very moment.

              When the actual idiom used means "a spot on the pages of history" meaning a minor, transient thing.

              The misleading interpretation implies obsession with ending Israel, when the actual statement meant "small potatoes, it'll disappear on its own eventually."

              Of such tricks is propaganda made.


              The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

              by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:21:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That has always bugged me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                2020adam

                Plus the focus on ahmedinejad when he's only the President.  

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:56:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  It was fact (0+ / 0-)

                as reported on the Iranian government's official web site.

                Stop lying.

                •  It was a horseshit translation as proven (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  2020adam

                  by Farsi-speakers such as Juan Cole. http://www.nytimes.com/...

                  "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

                  Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

                  You have no fucking link, you can't possibly provide a fucking link, and you're a fucking liar. Or are you just so fucking stupid and gullible you'll say whatever you're told?

                  Or is it you think other people are stupid and gullible?

                  Whatever, get lost.


                  The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

                  by Jim P on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:41:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm right, you are wrong (0+ / 0-)
                    If Mr. Steele and Mr. Cole are right, not one word of the quotation — Israel should be wiped off the map — is accurate.

                    But translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his Web site (www.president.ir/eng/), refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say "wipe off" or "wipe away" is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

                    http://www.nytimes.com/...

                    And here is the original official translation:

                    http://web.archive.org/...

                    Maybe he was mistranslated, but the source of the mistranslation is his own office. He wanted us to understand that he said "wiped out".

                    I'm sick and tired of people like you making excuses for a genocidal wannabe. You would have been quite happy in  the Ministry of Truth in Oceania.

            •  The point is that their current program... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              charliehall2

              ...is designed to get to the point where they can start an explicit weapons program very easily.  As is constantly noted by Iran's relative defenders here and elsewhere, give them some credit for not being stupid: they know how to situate their nuclear program in a way that obfuscates and postpones the weaponization issue to a point where it can't be stopped short of full-scale war, and that's what they are doing.  Personally I think the issue isn't where a country is with nuclear weaponization but what kind of regime they're under--we could give Argentina nukes tomorrow and nobody would worry except maybe Chilean paranoids--so my view is that we're approaching this all wrong.

              You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

              by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:52:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Obfuscation works (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                charliehall2

                I notice the quotes are all from February through April, but each of the relevant agencies have concluded that there is a program and that there isn't a program at various times.  (This summer had a shift in the public statements I think).

                Still the fact tht the regime won't accept fuel, which is a cheaper and easier way to get power and medicine is impossible to reconcile with the absence of an aim to weaponize.

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:59:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Remember, children died from Iraq sanctions... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, charliehall2

          ...because Saddam Hussein made that decision. (And I don't mean the decision to do something to bring about sanctions, I mean how he chose to run Iraq under the sanctions which was to divert all of the permitted oil revenues to non-civilian spending.)  It's an interesting question whether our policies should be bounded by the policy responses of our most sociopathic enemies, but saying that sanctions killed Iraqi children misplaces the real blame.

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:47:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ask around the world who the number (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, basquebob, 2020adam, MrJayTee

      one creator of terror is; who the most dangerous rogue nation is, and judging from your question, you might want to be sitting down when you get the answer.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:42:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a damned thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, annieli

      at this point.  We've blown through trillions getting into wars in places we should not have been in in the first place.  

      I'm tired of America being the world police.  We're not paid for it like we are, and we waste our resources and lives, and kill millions of people for what seems to me to amount to a 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss' routine for those we 'liberate' or help.

      "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

      by Sarenth on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:52:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember hearing about this guy disappearing (7+ / 0-)

    a few years ago, and then nothing.

    And now this:

    These Shocking ‘Guantanamo’ Photos of Kidnapped FBI Agent Robert Levinson Were Probably Taken in an Iranian Secret Prison

    Nearly six years after the disappearance in Iran of private investigator Robert Levinson, and two years after his family received an anonymous email confirming that the former FBI agent was still alive, five photographs taken by Levinson's captors have been released. "I am here in Guantanamo," reads a sign Levinson is holding in one photo. "Do you know where it is?"

    According to U.S. investigators who spoke with crackerjack AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, yes they do: Levinson is probably in an Iranian secret prison.

    http://gawker.com/...

    "Come, dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be. As a trend, as a friend, as an old memoria." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:40:43 PM PST

    •  Yes, if true it's pretty horrible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y, JeffW, basquebob

      It was a terrible mistake for him to go to Iran in this first place. The Iranian intelligence are not dumb. They knew his background even before he entered the country.

      "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

      by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:50:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been held in an Iranian (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead, Jeff Y

      prison and had similar photos and a video made of me while there so it is possible that these are real.

      Another American who was arrested at about the same time I was was released after being held for five years - he admitted to supplying the CIA with information according to the information I have - so it's possible that Mr. Levinson will be too.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:20:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't they have haircuts in Iranian prisons? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y

      Something just seems very weird about this whole deal.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:53:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hegemony 101 (7+ / 0-)
    Such examples of the callous thinking of the Washington elite offer clear evidence of what Noam Chomsky deems the “Mafia principle” of U.S. foreign policy at work.
    “The Godfather does not tolerate ‘successful defiance’,” Chomsky explains.  “It is too dangerous. It must therefore be stamped out so that others understand that disobedience is not an option.”
    The Islamic Republic, of course, is well acquainted with the “Mafia principle,” having fallen under U.S. sanctions since its very inception.  Tehran’s original sin being nothing less than the toppling of the favored American puppet, the Shah.
    Yet as Iran’s power in the Middle East has continued to grow, the ire of the Godfather has only mounted.  And the Don’s indignation has found no more reliable outlet than the ratcheting up of punitive economic sanctions — ordinary Iranians be damned.
    Such is the punishment for the crime of defiance — the crime of national independence.  As Americans love to say, freedom isn’t free.  Especially, we might add, for non-Americans.

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

    by annieli on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:47:26 PM PST

  •  Iran could end this by following IAEA rules (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Capt Crunch, Jeff Y, JeffW

    It's the UN which imposed the vast majority of them anyway.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:48:46 PM PST

  •  It seems that everything done about any problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    is both good and bad, but nothing is ever solved.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:57:22 PM PST

    •  to some, it seems that way internationally (0+ / 0-)
      Neorealists conclude that because war is an effect of the anarchic structure of the international system, it is likely to continue in the future. Indeed, neorealists often argue that the ordering principle of the international system has not fundamentally changed from the time of Thucydides to the advent of nuclear warfare.

      “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

      by annieli on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:01:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  White House party pooper (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MTmofo, annieli, DeadHead, basquebob

    :)

    "I pooped my pants," said Al Roker. "Not horribly, but enough that I knew."

    http://www.latimes.com/...

    "Come, dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be. As a trend, as a friend, as an old memoria." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:00:36 PM PST

  •  Don't believe in saving social security (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Willinois, Sarenth, 2020adam, Mike Taylor

    Unless social security is in a lockbox,  don't believe politicians when they say they want to save social security by decreasing entitlement reform.  Currently social security is in a surplus and is being used to fund budgetary deficits.  Government is incapable or has no desire to pay Social security what it owes to it.  

    So when politicians want to decrease the pension to seniors they really want to make social security in perpetual surplus to increase the revenues at the back of seniors and working people so that the wealthy don't have to pay more in taxes.  This thus have the effect of broadening the tax base or making the tax rate less progressive.

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:12:05 PM PST

  •  Seems to me that sanctions are inevitably going (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Sarenth

    to be regressive, that is, hurting the poor much more than the wealthy, and thus do much more physical than political harm. We see in our own country that political policies that are blatantly regressive in this manner get all sorts of traction, even from the ill-informed people who would be hurt by such policies, so it really calls into question how much "good" sanctions can possibly produce. I suspect an even-handed calculus would determine that the answer is "more bad than good".

  •  I read that Chuck Hagel opposed sanctions on Iran. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax

    It sounds like Hagel is more dovish than a lot of Democrats Obama could have nominated for Defense Secretary. I hope Hagel's views are an influence on Obama.

    This is one reason why the Hagel nomination should be a source of encouragement for progressives, despite all the bellyaching about him being a Republican.

    •  Too bad he's reactionary... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, here4tehbeer, Eric Nelson

      ...on women's health issues...

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:31:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hagel has a hundred faults, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb

      and I was happy he was out of politics. Because he's got a gravitas, and straight-talking feel about him, that would be very appealing to Presidential voters if the circumstances allowed. Not now, but possibly in four or eight years.

      I think Obama picked him because a) he's clearly a thumb in the eye of Netanyahu and Likud who have deliberately been making things harder for us with their actions, and b) he'll break the not-working-by-a-long-shot pattern of relationships we have in the Middle East. Get us on a more even footing in the region.

      It's a very astute and considered pick by the President as far as foreign policy is concerned.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:01:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  from the wed - how big is your prostate ? (0+ / 0-)

    WTF is up with that ?

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:37:24 PM PST

  •  Cuba (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sarenth

    It has long been argued, and I believe, that the sanctions against Cuba have not worked and have been counterproductive only causing misery and resentment among the target population towards the US.  A better strategy would be more trade and more engagement.  The more the people are exposed to Western goods and ideas the more they will come to accept them and desire them.

    If this could work with Cuba, is Iran really that different?

    Then again it has been 50 years and we haven't been able to convince our leaders to try this approach with Cuba yet.

  •  maybe not the end of civility but getting there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW
    There's caring about politics, and there's... that: a guy — obviously, a guy — refusing to tip a server at a restaurant because of tax policy. The photo comes via author Michael Kindt from California — and probably L.A., because, I mean, c'mon — as evidenced by the mention of Proposition 30, which was a bill passed this past Nov. that raised sales taxes and taxes on the rich in California.
    "I wish it didn't have to be this way for the both of us," said some schmuck that printed these cards, then went out to dinner, bought an entire meal and left this there instead of a few bucks. But, do you really think that's true?
    http://gawker.com/...

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

    by annieli on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:59:28 PM PST

  •  Eli Broad... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Eric Nelson

    was here in Los Angeles today to celebrate the topping out of his contemporary art museum.

    It doesn't mention it in the article, but Fox11 news just showed Broad himself speaking at the dedication ceremony, and he gave a stirring defense of union workers, saying he had started himself in the UAW, and proudly declaring how the museum had been built with union labor.

  •  Do we have to provide fodder? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Yea, I agree that sanctions are an act of war. And they hurt the least among the Iranians (or whoever) the most. But wouldn’t a massive push to expand US (and world) production of alternative/green/renewable energy produce pretty-much the same economic effect against Iran (i.e. greatly reducing world oil consumption as opposed to stifling Iran’s international trade)? And republicans wouldn’t get to say “Those liberals want to lift sanctions off that Israel-hating Iran” (because there would be no need for economic sanctions against Iran under the scenario of a massive global expansion in alternative/green/renewable energy).

  •  I recall the humanitarian "concern" over the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    effects of the sanctions on Iraq was cited as a reason to not wait any longer and go to war.

    No one could really say for sure how many extra people were dying but no matter what it was we needed to go to war be cause it was just too many.

    And then what?  100,000... 200,00... 500,000 more people dead because we went to war?

    Yeah, that war saved lives didn't it?

  •  US sanctions on Iran are also causing some (0+ / 0-)

    problems and bad feelings towards the US in Turkey because Turkey is reliant on Iranian natural gas and there are efforts underway in the US to close the loophole which allowed Turkey to pay for the gas it imports from Iran with gold.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:06:18 PM PST

  •  We'll Makes Iran's Health Care As Bad As Ours! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli

    Take that!

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:16:36 PM PST

  •  Ok, what's the alternative? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm all for critiquing and acknowledging the bad, but what better alternative is there right now?

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:32:56 AM PST

  •  Sanctions are always effective (0+ / 0-)

    I realize that sanctions are a dirty business. But they are sometimes preferred versus going to an all out bombing campaign in my opinion. Bombs no matter how smart they are still fall on civilians and still cause untold devastation to those unlucky enough to be living in that area. Sanctions are meant to apply pressure from within to resolve whatever critical issue is leading the country to war. It's not pretty most times, but it is preferable to all out war.

    I can imagine that most if not all of the news of suffering coming out of a country like Iran are pretty true as to what is occurring. But in some cases the country will cause or exacerbate the suffering and shortages to try to shame us from imposing the sanctions further. It's quite literally a game of seeing who will blink first. Will the Iranian government concede their position or will the U.S. and it's allies say enough is enough and back down from those sanctions. It's a dirty game of war. And I agree with the diarist that it IS war, not just Sanctions. But it is often preferable to actual warfare.

    My question on the sanctions is this. "Are they helping or harming any diplomatic solution?" And "Are they pushing the Iranians to war?" We should re-evaluate the sanctions based on the answers to these questions. Because sanctions can create a deeper problem of unrest the longer they are in place. Sanctions are meant only to be an economic pressure cooker on a government. They are often short term as well. If the people of that country are meant to suffer to harshly then war will be inevitable and we caused it.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:53:51 AM PST

  •  Obama considering Lieberman for Treasury (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli

    Its getting to the point where its hard to tell when someone is kidding, isn't it?

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:13:21 AM PST

  •  "FBI Stats: Violent Crime and Murder in the US (0+ / 0-)
    Have Decreased by 50% Over the Last 20 Years"

     http://www.fbi.gov/...

     http://www.reddit.com/...

    Don't hear much about that on the news. The facts don't fit the narrative.

    Hat tip halo-one at reddit.com

  •  I sometimes wonder just how short memories (0+ / 0-)

    inside the beltway are.   Those same people being hurt by sanctions are the very ones we all cheered on for months when they were taking to the streets, defying the government that does the very things we impose sanctions 'for'.

    Sanctions are blackmail, and you never make a friend out of someone by blackmailing them.  They may obey you, but you're simply reinforcing fear, distrust, and hatred.

  •  Sanctions seem to also be used to soften the (0+ / 0-)

    presumptive enemy as a prelude to war.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:49:33 AM PST

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