Scientists Call it Peer Review, Conservatives Call it “Suppression”

Peer Review

Whenever the Right claims that have uncovered some kind of liberal conspiracy, do not head for the fall-out shelter, wait for the noise and mindless chatter to clear. Yesterday and even earlier this morning the Right was claiming that a report  by Alan Carlin and John Davidson of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics was breaking scientific news, a nail in the coffin of climate change science. Turns out, no surprise,  they were wrong. “Suppressed” Climate Change Document was Junk Science,

Curiously, while the authors work for the NCEE (National Center for Environmental Economics), part of the EPA, they appear to have rather closely collaborated with one Ken Gregory (his inline comments appear at multiple points in the draft). Ken Gregory if you don’t know is a leading light of the Friends of Science – a astroturf anti-climate science lobbying group based in Alberta. Indeed, parts of the Carlin and Davidson report appear to be lifted directly from Ken’s rambling magnum opus on the FoS site.

[    ]…But it gets worse, what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we’ve discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports….

They don’t even notice the contradictions in their own cites. For instance, they show a figure that demonstrates that galactic cosmic ray and solar trends are non-existent from 1957 on, and yet cheerfully quote Scafetta and West who claim that almost all of the recent trend is solar driven! They claim that climate sensitivity is very small while failing to realise that this implies that solar variability can’t have any effect either. They claim that GCM simulations produced trends over the twentieth century of 1.6 to 3.74ºC – which is simply (and bizarrely) wrong (though with all due respect, that one seems to come directly from Mr. Gregory). Even more curious, Carlin appears to be a big fan of geo-engineering, but how this squares with his apparent belief that we know nothing about what drives climate, is puzzling. A sine qua non of geo-engineering is that we need models to be able to predict what is likely to happen, and if you think they are all wrong, how could you have any faith that you could effectively manage a geo-engineering approach?

Finally, they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid.

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

H/T to TNR, Fake EPA Scandal Of The Day. Not to pick on some over caffeinated rightie bloggers whose missives from mom’s basement might suffer from the lack of fresh air and sunlight, the corporate media have the same lazy habits and seem to have lifted their reports from those bloggers, CBS Jumps a Whale Shark at DKos. A direct link from the DK post,

Just for starters, the contrarian report that CBS accuses the EPA of ‘suppressing’ revives the old zombie lie that a warming sun is to blame for global warming, except when it’s not, then the earth is actually cooling. The old favorite of the fossil fuel industry goes like this: without any of the hundreds of solar observatories detecting it, the sun warmed up in 2004 and 2005 just in time to cause the hottest years in the NASA Global Temperature Record marked by heat waves and monster hurricanes that caused the deaths of thousands of people all over the world. When other historically warm years came along, that’s actually global cooling and the sun again magically cooled off without anyone noticing.

There’s no need to point out that the sun, the most studied object in the universe after earth itself, shows no signs of doing anything of the sort, nor is there any point in presenting data showing unequivocally that the earth is not cooling unless one conveniently cherry picks an interval right after the hottest year on record. Because — now follow along boys and girls — the sun can’t be the sole cause of global warming on a cooling earth. But here’s some data sets just for kicks.

And another direct link via DK, EPA’s Alan Carlin channels Pat Michaels and the Friends of Science

A new uproar in the blogosphere has broken out over the supposed “suppression” by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of an internal review of the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. The review purported to show that the latest “research” calls into question the scientific consensus on climate change. It turns out that the report, written by Alan Carlin, with assistance from John Davidson, of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, is drawn heavily from the contrarian blogosphere, especially Ken Gregory of the Calgary-based “astroturf” group Friends of Science.

And in one case, a lengthy “analysis” of a recent peer-reviewed paper has been lifted, without attribution, straight out of World Climate Report, the climate “news” blog run by uber-contrarian Pat Michaels.

Highly recommend the Deep Climate post who has updated his orginal with more on the corporate astroturf on whose findings the “suppressed” junk science was lifted.

CBS isn’t evil, they and 60 Minutes in particular has done some good work over the years. In a way that is what makes this latest failure in fact checking all that more disappointing.

By way of TPMCafe, San Diego sheriff seeks probe in use of pepper spray at political event

The investigation was ordered after Francine Busby met with Undersheriff Bill Gore to complain about the use of pepper spray at her fundraiser Friday at a home in the upscale Cardiff neighborhood. Busby is seeking her party’s nomination for a rematch next year with Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) in the 50th Congressional District.

[   ]…The deputy called for backup and used pepper spray on the crowd. More deputies arrived. Barman was arrested for allegedly assaulting a deputy, and a second attendee, Pam Morgan, 62, of Rancho Santa Fe, was cited for obstructing an officer.

Busby said today that the deputy “clearly overreacted.”

“There was no noise, there was no problem, these were middle-aged men and women talking very quietly,” she said.

According to the report from TPM a rowdy neighbor who had been shouting expletives at the Busby house and clearly anti-Democrat was the one that called to report all these middle-aged trouble makers – make sure you bring the mace. If this district does not sound familiar, its convicted felon Duke Cunningham”s(R) former stumping grounds.

Antique Map the Americas and Poles 1526. Much like today’s global warming deniers, in 1526 there still would have been a few flat earthers and they could have probably found an odd academic or two to support their case.


Absolute Proof Herman Melville Wrote Dreams From My Father

Black and White Lighthouse wallpaper

Its almost impossible to keep up with every conspiracy theory thrown at President Obama. The rabid Right is doing the same thing to Obama what they did to Bill Clinton ( Vince Foster’s supposed murder, the Clinton’s Arkansas mob, etc). Throw as much garbage as they can imagine in their fetid imaginations and hope some of it sticks. The birthers are still at it despite more then enough proof of citizenship. One that  never got much traction was the by one winger that Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father was ghost written, by who else, Bill Ayers. Hilzoy writing at Washington Monthly recalls the first wave of absurdity from Jack Cashill,

“Although there are only the briefest of literal sea experiences in Dreams, the following words appear in both Dreams and in Ayers’ work: fog, mist, ships, seas, boats, oceans, calms, captains, charts, first mates, storms, streams, wind, waves, anchors, barges, horizons, ports, panoramas, moorings, tides, currents, and things howling, fluttering, knotted, ragged, tangled, and murky.”

Cashill is back with further drivel. Drivel that counts for proof in Bizzaroworld,

“In his Indonesian backyard Obama discovered two “birds of paradise” running wild as well as chickens, ducks, and a “yellow dog with a baleful howl.”

In Fugitive Days, there is even more “howling” than there is in Dreams. Ayers places his “birds of paradise” in Guatemala. He places his ducks and dogs together in a Vietnamese village being swept by merciless Americans. In Parent, he talks specifically about a “yellow dog.” And he uses the word “baleful” to describe an “eye” in Fugitive Days. For the record, “baleful” means “threatening harm.” I had to look it up.”

Hilzoy’s take down is fuuny and well worth a read. The level of analysis that Cashill uses is along the lines of Hitler liked dogs, Bush had a dog, Bush must be a Nazi. Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne wrote a softcore novel that included lesbians and rape. Lynne Cheney must be a pro rape lesbian. The logic or rather lack of logic of the propositions about Bush and Lynne Cheney just don’t add up to the conclusions. The Bush and Lynne Cheney examples are pretty bizarre, though no less then Cashill’s. That has not stopped several conservative blogs from linking to Cashill approvingly, with echoes of approval in the comments. So once again, like the birthers, what passes for proof on the Right rests on the same solid fact finding Bush apparently used to swear there were WMD in Iraq. Let’s pretend for a moment the Right has discovered some ground breaking technique to discover previously missed cases of ghost writing. After making a list of the words that Cashill and a mystery contributor have noticed appear in the writings of Ayers and in Dreams. It turns out that Ayers, using the Right’s rock solid investigative literary technique, did not write Dreams, but Herman Melville did. In Moby Dick, Melville uses fog  7 times, misty 7, ships 42, seas 40, boats 44, oceans 14, calm(s) 27, captain(s) 66, charts 2, first mates 2, storms 8, howling 11, murky 2. Cashill and fellow analyst seemed especially fascinated by Obama’s use of the word baleful. Melville only uses it once in Moby Dick, but by these standards that pretty much locks down all the proof anyone should need. Herman Melville, born 1819, died 1891 is definitely the author of Dreams From My Father, published 1995. Insert your own ghost writing joke here.

Milk Splash wallpaper and weekend round-up

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In tough times authroitarians stick together, Authoritarian Regimes Censor News From Iran

Out of fear that history might repeat itself, the authoritarian governments of China, Cuba and Burma have been selectively censoring the news this month of Iranian crowds braving government militias on the streets of Tehran to demand democratic reforms.

Between 1988 and 1990, amid a lesser global economic slump, pro-democracy protests that appeared to inspire and energize one another broke out in Eastern Europe, Burma, China and elsewhere. Not all evolved into full-fledged revolutions, but communist regimes fell in a broad swath of countries, and the global balance of power shifted.

A similar infectiousness has shown up in subtle acts of defiance by democracy advocates around the world this week.

At least Bush and Cheney were clever enough to know that its eaiser and incredibily effective just to manufacture their own news, How the military analyst program controlled news coverage: in the Pentagon’s own words


1.) I recommend we develop a core group from within our media analyst list of those that we can count on to carry our water. They become part of a “hot list” of those that we immediately make calls to or put on an email distro list before we contact or respond to media on hot issues. We can also do more proactive engagement with this list and give them tips on what stories to focus on and give them heads up on issues as they are developing. By providing them with key and valuable information, they become the key go to guys for the networks and it begins to weed out the less reliably friendly analysts by the networks themselves . . . .

That news broke back in late spring of 2008. To date the major networks have never investigated and reported on their complicity in helping the Bushies sell their agenda to the public.

Let’s say you were the official leader of a political party and it was your deep belief that a piece of major legislation was wrong. Wouldn’t you do your research, put it together in relatively easy to digest pieces and proceed to make your best case. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) skipped straight to to throwing a adolescent fit on the floor of the House, Hi kids! It’s Minority Leader Boehner.

When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, “Hey, people deserve to know what’s in this pile of s–t.”

The commentary at the link is satire, yet is more cogent then the Republican leader of the House. Republican and their pundit water carriers decided they would just ignore the CBO report that clashed with their feelings about climate change legislation, The CBO Gives A Big Boost To Climate Policy

I doubt this will stop the GOP from continuing to predict economic doom, but it’s a credible counterargument. Kevin Drum pulls out a handy table from the report that breaks costs down by income group. Low-income families come out slightly ahead under the cap-and-trade program, while the cost to the wealthiest two quintiles amounts to $245-$340 per year—less than a dollar per day..

That is actually a worse case scenario. Greening up old buildings and more energy efficency in the products we use could mean that the savings in energy could cancel out the costs altogether and as President Obama said in his statement on the cap and trade program is a jobs program.

Now my call to every Senator, as well as to every American, is this:  We cannot be afraid of the future.  And we must not be prisoners of the past.  Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth.  It’s just not true.

Conservative columnist Mark Steyn has used irrefutable logic to prove that South Carolina Governor betrayed his family because of liberalism.

Blue Lagoon Waterfall wallpaper

Blue Lagoon Waterfall wallpaper

Mountaintop mining proposals to face more stringent review

“The administration’s decision will bring tighter scrutiny, but it is still important to pass the Cardin-Alexander legislation that would prohibit blowing off the tops of mountains and putting the waste in our streams,” said Alexander, a committee member. “Coal is an essential part of our energy future, but it is not necessary to destroy our environment in order to have enough of it.”

The sponsors of the legislation are Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. It should be embarrassing for the Obama administration to not see the long term costs of mountain removal while one of the more prominent conservatives in the Senate does.

The National Mining Association and that wacky James Inhofe R-OK claim that stopping coal extraction by means of MTR will costs jobs is blatantly ludicrous. One major reason the coal industry likes MTR is because it uses fewer workers. It also doesn’t address either the immediate or long term consequences in the loss of non-coal industry jobs, the lost of clean water from mountain streams or the destruction of America’s natural heritage. Then are probably plenty of Republicans like Alexander who do not want to leave their children an America that is nothing but slag piles and parking lots. Like most of these environmental battles there has been a deluge of disinformation and lobbying financed by the deep pockets of the coal industry versus grass roots citizens and their contributions to environmental organizations. Thus far Obama hasn’t shown the bone headed determination to continue the practice the way the Bush administration did, but seems somewhat reluctant to take the stand supported by the majority of voters.

Defying parody once again, Rush Limbaugh lays the Sanford affair at President Obama’s feet

I’m not [kidding]. My first thought was he said, ‘To hell with this. The Democrats are destroying the country. We can’t do anything to stop it. I gave everything I had to stop it here in South Carolina.’ … Folks, there are a lot of people looking at life and saying, ‘screw it.’ They’re saying, ‘screw it.’ Before Obama takes away their money, before Obama takes away their house, or the economy takes away their house, there are people who are saying, “To hell with all this…. I’m just going to try to enjoy it as much as I can.’

Following Limbaugh’s logic he’ll be defending the wave of nation wide hedonistic bacchanalias by his fellow Republicans.

And speaking of who has taken what money, could us Democrats that didn’t support turning Iraq into America’s largest welfare state have a refund for the one trillion dollars Bush spent. More then enough to cover a public health option and extend unemployment benefits for the economy Limbaugh’s fiscal philosophy left in shambles.

When it Comes to Iran, Republicans Shrill and Irrelevant

There were reports that moderate reformists Mousavi had been jailed but Nico Pitney reports at HuffPo,

10:06 PM ET — Rafsanjani, Mousavi meet with parliamentarians. “Mousavi and Rafsanjani met senior parliamentarians on Wednesday. The semi-official Fars news agency said only that the ‘election and latest developments’ were discussed and it was not clear whether the pair were trying to make peace with the hardline-dominated parliament or trying to win support.”

Which is even more interesting in light of this report from the IBTimes in the UK, Rafsanjani has enough support to remove Khamenei: reports

As the Iranian government continues to crackdown on protestors against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, behind the scenes there is reported to be movement which, although hidden, could bring an end the reign of the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr Ahmadinejad.

Behind the scenes Khamenei’s arch rival, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is believed to be working to remove the Supreme Leader and is even reported to be considering abolishing the post of Supreme Leader altogether in what would be the biggest constitutional change since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Rafsanjani is the head of Iran’s Expediency Council and crucially the Assembly of Experts which is responsible for overseeing and if necessary removing the Supreme leader. He is also a prominent backer of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated presidential candidate who has become the focal point for protestors.

That some of Iran’s most powerful clerics and political leaders are unhappy with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei are important developments. One’s that make the Right’s continued shrill and disingenuous contributions to the national debate as irrelevant as their attitudes toward what should be done in Iraq in 2002 ( We’ve had boots on the ground in Iraq for six years, taking what the Right considers the strong policy position of the kind President Obama should take toward Iran – Bomb Strikes Shiite Market In Baghdad, More Than 60 Dead – “A series of blasts this week have killed more than 160 people”. Read between the lines of this editorial from a neocon on winger welfare at the far Right Hudson Institute, A Weak American President

President Obama has staked his reputation on being a human rights guru to people around the world. But his remarks at Tuesday’s news conference and behavior since taking office have instead exposed a different persona–that of human rights charlatan.

The conservative movements has decided, with a few changes in punctuation, to keep writing the same editorials over and over again. Never do they spell out what they would do that would save Iranian lives and at the same time convince the current regime in Iran to give up. M’s Bayefsky, much like Andrew McCarthy at  National Review or Michael Barone are throwing temper tantrums from the peanut gallery. These are the same people that support suspension of hapeas corpus, suspending most of the 4th amendment and think torture is as all American as apple pie. All the sudden Iranians are tortured and torture becomes a cudgel to beat Obama with. Where is the shame from these shameless hypocrites who have caused as much if not more misery and death in the middle-east as Iran’s hardliners. Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are Iran’s conservative movement. Morality is what ever they feel like defining on any given day. This washed up neconservatives still seem to have an endless suppy of hypocrisy. They are well aware of what they have written in the past and have left a stinking trail of moral relativity. Any opportunity to portray a Democrat as weak is the only game they’re playing. They honestly feel that life is a school yard where shrill, loud and repetious lying will win out over reason. When the neocons claimed to speak for the Iraqi people, who did they drag out Ahmad Chalabi – an Iraqi expatriot. As it turned out that Chalbi was more of an eccentric embarrassment then anythong else the Bushies pretended like they never heard of him. So here in 2009 we’re to believe the Right has turned over a new leaf, they’re ready to make honest points and come to moderate grown-up policy decisions. Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd separates facts from fantasies about the Iranian protests

Let’s talk about Obama. At his press conference on Tuesday he once again condemned the government violence against the protesters.

That’s appropriate.

But he also said that the crisis is about Iran, not the U.S. and the West. What do you think of this policy, and what impact is it having with the various parties inside Iran?

People in the West, especially in America, tend to think we have more influence than we do. Iranians are more concerned with their own issues than whether the U.S. is with them or against them.

[   ]…But this is an internal matter. For the U.S. to get involved in any way is a huge mistake in my opinion. It makes Iranians very suspicious. One reason they were able to get 3 million people out on the streets from a broad socioeconomic spectrum across all political lines — you don’t get 3 million people on the streets of Tehran if they’re all students like in 2003 — is because the lower class, the middle class, the upper class, students, old people, families, religious families, women in chadors, men in beards, they all came out. These people also voted against Ahmadinejad or felt the vote wasn’t fair.

At first, none of them would have believed that the U.S. had a hand in this. But the government is now trying to say that’s what’s happening. The story could start to stick if Obama or Western governments start coming out strongly on one side. Nationalism starts to come into play. The government’s own propaganda machine, which is pretty strong, will be able to label a lot of people in the opposition as being stooges of the CIA.

This incredulous claim by Iran TV is a good example “Foreign bullets.” NBC’s Ann Curry: “Today Iran’s state tv reported that Neda was murdered by a foreign bullet. It is the only source for this claim.”(emphasis mine). For now President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei only have to convince the hardliners, the fence sitters and the Basij/Security forces of this kind of propaganda to keep them fighting the protesters.

Threats Watch leans right, but they do some good work on occasion. They seemed to miss the irony completely in this post where they compare the Iranian protest to Tiananmen Square.

Iran has executed its Tiananmen Square. Baharestan Square has become synonymous with barbarity, cruelty, massacre and inhumanity.

An Iranian blogger (whose URL I will not publish) live blogging from Baharestan Square in central Tehran today captures but brief glimpses of the unimaginable horror that took place today. Bus loads of protesters were stopped and unloaded from their buses by “black-clad police” and literally herded. When the massing was sufficient, as the barely controllably distraught Tehran caller to CNN described first hand, hundreds of the regime’s Basij thugs poured out of an adjoining mosque and commenced a massacre with axes, clubs, guns and gas.

Anyone who has been able to seat through some of the videos of the protests knows how deeply deplorable the Iranian regime has reacted. TW, like many on the Right has taken the self righteous and hypocritical stance – there can be no negotiations with people that kill their fellow citizens with tanks or axes. Yet he mentions China’s Tiananmen Square. China has become an authoritarian capitalist state – you name the company from General Motors and Ford to Microsoft, Apple, John Deere, Bank of America – hundreds of American companies do business with China. Very large probability that TW wrote that post on a computer made with Chinese parts. We don’t just share hot dogs and diplomatic relations with those, you know Tiananmen Square thugs, we help finance their government.

An Iranian post on how to fight back more effectively against the Basij, It might save their lives

Tear gas

A fabric socked in vinegar can very well protect you against tear gas. Cover your nose and mouth with the fabric and keep plenty of water around to wash your eyes if you come in direct contact with tear gas. Urban Legend: burning tires will reduce the effect of tear gas. Not true, it actually increases the effect and it smells bad too.

Riot formation

Basij and police security guardsmen perform best when crowd disperses and becomes separated. The worst scenario for the riot police is when the crowd is together and inseparable. South Korean labor protestors in the 90s were the best organized units in history of rioting. Thousands of them held on to each other (locked arms) and no matter what, they did not let go. It made it impossible for the riot police to disperse them.

More at the link.

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Republicans Care More About Dominating News Cycle Then Helping Iranians

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From Trita Parsi who is president and cofounder of the National Iranian American Council, What Obama must do now on Iran – Condemn violence, without picking sides.

Accusing President Obama of weakness may generate some headlines, but it misses the point. A closer look reveals that the president’s approach has paved the way for the current stand-off in Iran and that he is supported by those seeking their rights in Iran.

Many have argued that the president shouldn’t side with any particular faction in Iran since doing so could backfire. Having the US on your side is not necessarily a good thing in Iran. Washington neither wants to make itself the issue in Iran, nor is it eager to help Mr. Ahmadinejad stage a comeback.

Not all, but most Republicans do not want the world or the American public to listen to what Iranians want, but to listen to Osama Bin Forgotten’s party, the necons. Do the Iranians in the street or Mir-Hossein Mousavi want a little shock and awe. One does not have to be hip deep in foreign policy credentials to know, given a choice between dealing neocon chickenhawk fantasies and the riot police, Iranians would probably prefer the later. I hope no one was holding their breath hoping the last two elections would revive the realpolitik sensibilities of those Eisenhower Republicans of years gone by. Thankfully Obama has resisted the kind of antagonistic empty saber rattling of the Bush years which served the interests of Iranian hardliners like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States,” Obama said in an interview broadcast Monday on CBS’s “The Early Show.”

The Iranians want to make sure that the world knows and sees what is happening on the streets of Tehran and other cities. And they want the US to stay out of the fight – at least for now.

But here is one legitimate criticism , the Iranians are missing two words from Obama: “I condemn.” Protesters and political leaders I’ve spoken to in Iran want the US to speak out forcefully against the government’s human rights abuses and condemn the violence.

President Obama has a news conference scheduled for tonight and while his recent statements have been clear enough in their condemnation of the violence perpetrated against protesters, he will probably reiterate his human rights stance tonight. The Right’s continued insistence that Obama ratchet up the rhetoric, knowing that such talk gives more legitimacy to the Iranians hardliners is one of the reasons there it is easy to suspect the Right is enjoying the blood shed. The Right’s feigned concern about students shot down in the streets is more of that compassionate conservatism kabuki theater left over from the late 90s, still shrill and empty as usual. The Right is latching on to this moving interview from an Iranian protester, Iranian protester pleads for U.S., world to intervene

Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely — is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it’s illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My message…to the international community, especially I’m addressing President Obama directly – how can a government that doesn’t recognize its people’s rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.

Obama has sworn that he will not let Iran become a nuclear power. New sanctions are not likely to have anymore effect then the old ones. Its a frustrating situation, but would the Right truly have more of our families and friends die on yet another battlefield, this time based on the words of one protester. One part of the interview that the Weakly Standard and other conservative sites are not excerpting is this,

Mohammad: Yes. Let me tell you something. For about three decades our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime. Now Iranians are united again one more time after 1979 Revolution. We are a peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of the international community. We don’t want to be isolated. Is this much of a demand for a country with more than 2,500 years of civilization? We don’t deny the Holocaust. We do accept Israel’s rights. And actually, we want — we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.

Remember that the neocons were recently pleading for the bombing of Iran because they were an America/Israel hating nation, full of Islamic radicals and Holocaust deniers. Those bombs might have hit the radical mullahs, but they would hit people like  Mohammad. The current situation is not cause for the Right to becoming unhinged they’re just continuing their derangement when it comes to talking in sensible terms about life and death decisions, Andrew McCarthy at the National Review,

“The fact is that, as a man of the hard Left, Obama is more comfortable with a totalitarian Islamic regime than he would be with a free Iranian society. In this he is no different from his allies like the Congressional Black Caucus and Bill Ayers, who have shown themselves perfectly comfortable with Castro and Chàvez.  Indeed, he is the product of a hard-Left tradition that apologized for Stalin and was more comfortable with the Soviets than the anti-Communists (and that, in Soros parlance, saw George Bush as a bigger terrorist than bin Laden).

As we all know conservatives like McCarthy do not ever listen to or portray moderate centrists like Obama as they really are much less actual liberals. The “hard left” McCarthy refers to is actually the blow-up doll he keeps under his bed. It a thing, he can make it say and do and believe in any straw man argument that McCarthy feels up to wrestling with. hilzoy’s suggestion that Andy might be off his meds is incredibly polite considering the bottom of the political gutter from which McCarthy draws.

After attacking Obama for it, Krauthammer refers to Khamenei as ‘Supreme Leader.’

And Spencer Ackerman’s take on the Trita Parsi article, ‘Ordinary Tehrani’ Praises Obama’s Response to the Uprising

Monday Edition: Those Wacky Republicans

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Another chapter is the never ending saga of those wacky Republicans, Missouri lawmaker on child hunger: ‘Hunger can be a positive motivator.’ According to State Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-MO) commentary on hunger in the state of Missouri a hungry kid is a motivated kid,

Who’s buying dinner? Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted. […] Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another. […] Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break. […] It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts.

If simply feeling hungry and getting a McJob was the obvious answer to all hunger problems then why are there so many hungry people in the world. Nothing new here, just more recycled far Right social-darwinisn. If you’re poor or hungry its not just your fault, its a severe character flaw. As Think Progress notes most food distribution programs in Missouri are affiliated with churches who are the ones directly receiving those federal funds. Should a local reporter get the chance they might ask Davis is she thinks children should be eligible for the same socialized medical benefits she receives or should they skip school all together and just get a job.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Endorses Birther Bill

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has now signed up with the Birther cause — the people who think Barack Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen and should be required to produce a birth certificate (which he already did, anyway) — World Net Daily reports.

Its an Oklahoma poltical sack race between Coburn and James Inhofe to see who can be the first certified to be too mentally incompetent to serve.

Glenn Beck Embarks On Another ACORN Smear-a-thon, This Time With A Heavy Dose of Obama Conspiracy Theory. Its so easy being a Republican agitator. You just spew out a long convoluted load of garbage and never offer any actual proof. ACORN has been among the first to report voter registration fraud and actual voter fraud ( where someone tries to vote more then once) is very rare.

One of the elite thinkers on the Right Michael Barone writes in this column fantasy filled drivel that North Korea’s nuclear program – the one that was going full steam ahead under Bush 43 is somehow Obama’s fault. That Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was elected when Bush was president is somehow Obama’s creation. That Obama should not let Congress legislate, that Congress should take dictation from Obama the way a Conservative Congress did for Bush. That Obama is a bad bad person for even considering releasing photos that  prove Bush tortured people just like Ahmadinejad. And of course that the economy Obama inherited from Bush and a Republican Congress for the first six years of Bush’s term, is all Obama’s fault. Further more that Obama’s continuation of many of the same polices that Bush initiated are proof positive that Obama is a socialist. Maybe Mr. Barone should wear a larger tin foil hat, his current one seems to be cutting off blood circulation to his brain.

Maybe if Republicans scream loud enough … Where the weekend beltway news is dominated by Republican blather regarding Iran and President Obama, with the exception of Richard Lugar. There are few options regarding Iran and the rightwinger’s seem to boil down to two. One, talk tougher because…well they truly deeply believe that will make a difference. Two, start bombing. Bombing might kill many of the reformers, but as we all know freedom is not free, it is something Republican always expect others to pay for.

Iran Clamps Down on Foreign Media

Amber Compass wallpaper

Another thing homegrown conservatives have in common with Iranian’s conservatives is a basic hatred of the press. Where liberals are critical of the fairness of news coverage, conservatives simply despise the press as an institution. That is unless they own and control that press like US conservatives own and use outlets like the Washington Times, The New York Post, The Weekly Standard and Clear Channel affiliates. Iran’s system is a dream come true, they own and control the content of the broadcast media. The press, acting as the world’s witnesses and documentarians are seen as a threat by Iran’s conservatives. It is always the same, those that desire rule by authority do not want anyone distorting the narrative they want the world to believe, Unrest in Iran Sharply Deepens Rift Among Clerics

There was no verifiable accounting of the death toll from the mayhem on Saturday, partly because the government has imposed severe restrictions on news coverage and warned foreign reporters who remained in the country to stay off the streets.

It also ordered the BBC’s longtime correspondent in Tehran expelled and ordered Newsweek’s correspondent detained.

State television said that 10 people had died in clashes, while radio reports said 19. The news agency ISNA said 457 people had been arrested.

Vowing not to have a repeat of Saturday, the government on Sunday saturated major streets and squares of Tehran with police and Basij militia forces. There were reports of scattered confrontations but no confirmation of any new injuries by evening.

Iran’s Moderates Inspired by President Obama

Not all conservatives have been critical of President Obama’s handling of events in Iran. Henry Kissengers gave a nod of approval. Though he didn’t mention Iran in particular, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage recently said that Obama was smarter at foreign policy then Bush. Who has been critical of President Obama, the very same foreign policy gurus of the far Right that have been wrong about  how to fight non-state terrorism like that from al-Queda, that didn’t think it was important that Bush let Osama Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora and that the road to democracy and peace in the middle-east started in Iraq. To err is human, to always be wrong is to be a neocon like John McCain, Sean Hannity, Mike Pence (R-IN), Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and most of the usual suspects.

I speak for Mousavi. And Iran

Now they are gathering to mourn those who have died. The people of Iran have a culture that elevates martyrdom. In the period running up to the revolution, when people were killed at demonstrations, others would gather again in the days following the death. This cycle carried on for six months, and culminated in the revolution. Today they are gathering in Tehran for those who were shot on Tuesday, and if there are more killings, this will continue.

So why do the Iranian people not want Ahmadinejad as their leader? Because he is nothing but a loudspeaker for Khamenei. Under Ahmadinejad, economic problems have grown worse, despite $280bn of oil revenue. Social and literary freedom is much more restricted than under his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami. The world views us as a terrorist nation on the lookout for war. When Khatami was president of Iran, Bush was president of the US. Now the Americans have Obama and we have our version of Bush. We need an Obama who can find solutions for Iran’s problems. Although power would remain in the hands of Khamenei, a president like Mousavi could weaken the supreme leader.

Some suggest the protests will fade because nobody is leading them. All those close to Mousavi have been arrested, and his contact with the outside world has been restricted. People rely on word of mouth, because their mobile phones and the internet have been closed down. That they continue to gather shows they want something more than an election. They want freedom, and if they are not granted it we will be faced with another revolution.

Thirty years ago we supported each other. When police used tear gas, fires would be lit to neutralise its effects. People would set their own cars on fire to save others. Since then, the government has tried to separate people from one other. What we lost was our togetherness, and in the past month we have found that again. All the armed forces in Iran are only enough to repress one city, not the whole country. The people are like drops of water coming together in a sea.

People say that Mousavi won’t change anything as he is part of the establishment. That is correct to a degree because they wouldn’t let anyone who is not in their circle rise to seniority. But not all members of a family are alike, and for Mousavi it is useful to understand how he has changed over time.

Before the revolution, Mousavi was a religious intellectual and an artist, who supported radical change but did not support the mullahs. After the revolution, when all religious intellectuals and even leftists backed Khomeini, he served as prime minister for eight years. The economy was stable, and he did not order the killings of opponents, or become corrupt.

That has to sting. Who inspires the movement toward a more moderate Iran, not the abject failure and idol of the Right, Bush 43, but President Obama. From a CBS interview on Friday, Obama: Iran Protestors “Seeking Justice”

Q: Let’s move on to news of the day. The Ayatollah Khamenei gave his – speech today and gave his sermon. He said that the election in Iran was, in fact, legitimate. He said, quote/unquote, “the street – street demonstrations are unacceptable.” Do you have a message for those people in the street?

A: I absolutely do. Well, first of all, let’s understand that this notion that somehow these hundreds of thousands of people who are pouring into the streets in Iran are somehow responding to the West or the United States. that’s an old distraction that I think has been trotted out periodically. And that’s just not gonna fly.

What you’re seeing in Iran are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their voices were not heard and who are peacefully protesting and – and seeking justice. And the world is watching. And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way. And, you know, already we’ve seen violence out there. I think I’ve said this throughout the week. I want to repeat it that we stand with those who would look to peaceful resolution of conflict, and we believe that the voices of people have to be heard, that that’s a universal value that the American people stand for and this administration stands for.

One fairly common theme that runs through much of the Right’s criticism of President Obama is that he has not used strong enough language to condemn Iran’s leaders. You can’t blame some more moderate observers to entertain the idea that with all their chest thumping rhetoric the Right is actually hoping Ahmadinejad and the Iranian hardliners win. If Obama makes current events in Iran about the US it gives the Ahmadinejad/Khamenei side a propaganda tool, a way to dismiss the demonstrations as a phenomenon somehow brought on by the US. More from the CBS interview,

Q: People in this country say you haven’t said enough, that you haven’t been forceful enough in your support for those people in the street, and which you say?

A: To which I say the last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. That’s what they do. That’s what we’ve already seen. We shouldn’t be playing into that. There should be no distractions from the fact that the Iranian people are seeking to let their voices be heard.

Now, what we can do is bear witness and say to the world that the, you know, incredible demonstrations that we’ve seen is a testimony to, I think what Dr. King called the the arc of the moral universe. It’s long but it bends towards justice.

Another Beck conspiracy theory: Maybe Treasury is “selling black market bonds” – If you like your tin foil black helicopters flying low you almost can’t beat Glenn Beck. Senator James Inhofe comes close sometimes and Michelle Bachman deserves honorable mention.