The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘US

How to help Iran – an Iranian view

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My friend Naj, who writes an excellent blog at iranfacts.blogspot.com, is certain that pro-reform statements or actions taken by American politicians can have only negative impact on Iranians. She urges us to ask our politicians to hold back:


How to Help Iran?

Tell your elected representatives, especially the American ones, Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative to “SHUT THE HELL UP!”

Obama’s handled this PERFECTLY well so far!

Make him know that on behalf of your Iranian friend, Naj.

The slightest American meddling will throw all that spilled blood out of the window! Let us accomplish our own deed. Then, all we ask of your government, is to respect whatever government becomes official in Iran, even if it may be Ahmadinejad.

An American friend of mine just sent this to her congresswoman:

Dear Congresswoman Tsongas,

I am writing to you as a concerned American citizen who is an active member of the international community. With the recent electoral upheaval in Iran, there are many people, many friends of mine, who are caught between a rock and a hard place. They do not necessarily still live in Iran, but love for their family, country, and heritage is a huge part of their identity.

The main fear they have is that anything other than a course of neutrality by individual countries could very easily foment further bloodshed against civilians in an attempt to control protests, display power, and cultivate fear. President Obama has so far done an excellent job of maintaining neutrality, but it is concerning that various members of congress want to take a more hard-line stance, and are haranguing the president for not having done so.

As your constituent, Congresswoman Tsongas, I am asking you to please do what you can to maintain official US neutrality toward the current situation in Iran, and please do not support any bills that would involve US interests directly in this matter.

Sincerely,
[name preserved]

Posted by Naj at Sunday, June 21, 2009


If only we could learn this lesson! For many reform movements, American support is the kiss of death, marking them as a threat by foreign enemy rather than an expression of the people.

You can contact your Senators and Representative by using the contact form in the right sidebar. Go for it!

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Name 10 things the government does well

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A dear friend of mine left a challenge in a comment.  Here ’tis:

Other than the military, can you name 10 things that the government has done really well, better than the private sector?

It’s an important question, for skepticism toward all government (rather than reform of bad government) is not only common, but at the root of a couple of major political outlooks.  And because it’s important, it seemed worth a post of its own.

Here’s my quick response. Maybe you can do better:

You betcha. Off the top of my head, I’ll give you twenty, most of which are under-funded for the work they do:

  1. The FAA. Crashes are a rarity here, thanks to equipment safety tests and massively successful air flight controlling.
  2. Medicaid: private sector insurance companies make money by ditching their customers when they get very sick. Medicaid picks up the castoffs.
  3. Social Security: What if Mr. Bush had succeeded in privatizing SS before the markets crashed? Can you imagine how many old people would be working at WalMart, since their SS would have been cut in half? And did you know that before SS, thousands of older Americans simply starved to death?
  4. SCHIP: Healthcare insurance for children who would not otherwise have it – enormously preventive of school absence, long-term illness, loss of physical and mental development
  5. Read the rest of this entry »

Spot the health insurance hokum in this TV ad

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It appears that a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights has begun running healthcare ads designed to knock down changes in healthcare insurance before they can stand.

But good old FactCheck.org points out that the ad knocks down a straw man instead.   Some examples:

clipped from www.factcheck.org

CPR Ad: “Not So Innocent”

A conservative group’s ad implies Congress is on its way to instituting a British- or Canadian-style health system.

Summary

A group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights began airing a television ad this week that criticizes government-run health care and falsely suggests Congress wants a British-style system here in the U.S.:

  • The ad neglects to mention that President Obama hasn’t proposed a government-run plan and, in fact, has rejected the idea.
  • It claims that a research council created by the stimulus bill is “the first step in government control over your health care choices.” The legislation actually says the council isn’t permitted to “mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies.”
  • The ad quotes a Canadian doctor who has been critical of his country’s system, but leaves out the fact that the doctor has praised other government-funded systems, such as those in Austria and France.

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A conservative group’s ad implies Congress is on its way to instituting a British- or Canadian-style health system.

Lots more good details may be found at the link.

The health insurance industry is a marvel of cynical ingenuity: it keeps itself profitable by insuring people who are healthy (whose claims, on average, will not exceed their payments), and terminating people when they become too sick to be profitable (i.e., when those people most need health insurance).

The industry – having become fabulously wealthy by offering insurance to selected clients, while posing as a helper to Americans generally – has a great deal to lose from an honest public discussion. Expect more alarmist hokum.

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How did we get stuck with an empire?

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Bill Maher, whose cynicism is usually a little dark for my taste, asks a good question:
clipped from www.truthdig.com

‘How Did This Country Get Stuck With an Empire?’

With military personnel deployed in 150 countries, Bill Maher says bringing the troops home from Iraq is only the tip of the iceberg. “Can you imagine if there were 20,000 armed Guatemalans on a base in San Bernardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber.”
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Quick – name one military base of any other nation that camps on foreign soil.  One. Just one.

It is scarcely conceivable, as his Guatemalan example illustrates.  Yet our nation supports one hundred fifty such bases, at hundreds of millions of dollars per year, each.

Perhaps the answer to Maher’s question springs from something like this:

“We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only about 6.3 percent of its population … our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity.” – George Kennan, 1948 (architect of much Cold War U.S. foreign policy)

Does that sound like a force for good?

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Why bombing Iran won’t work

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And a few things that just might.

Tehran
Tehran – Image via Wikipedia

“You can’t bomb knowledge,” said Robert Litwak, Director of the Division of International Security Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [...]

[B]ombing … Iran’s nuclear sites will not deter future technological developments [...]

US military action … would only trigger major responses worldwide, … a worsening of the fragile state of Iraq and “a rally around the flag effect in Iran.”

Washington will need to recognize that “what is politically serious in Washington is politically insignificant in Tehran.” What the US has previously viewed as a big step toward normalization, such as allowing the importation of pistachios and carpets, has little weight in Iran [...]

Pres. Obama and other political figures have not recognized the need to use sensitive language when dealing with Iran. Iran has expressed its disdain for phrases such as “carrots and sticks,” that the US has repeatedly used [...] [T]his mistranslates to say that the US plans to deal with Iran as a donkey, either reward it with carrots or beat it into submission. “This will backfire on us,” … stated Robin Wright, journalist, author and public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Clipped from niacouncil.org

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Written by Monte

March 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm

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