Omid Memarian

Friday, February 29, 2008

U.S. Intelligence: Iran Possesses Trillions of Potentilly Dangerous Atoms

A friend of my mine sent a link to the below article bout Iran's nuclear program. It's quite amusing, don't miss it if you have not read it:

"Vice President Dick Cheney and his staff were briefed on the atomic situation in Iran Tuesday with the aid of colorful interlocking plastic models and a short film.

"The United States will not stand idly by while Iran gains the protons, neutrons, and whatever else they need to threaten the free world," Cheney said at a press conference that afternoon. "Iran has demonstrated time and time again its ability to combine atoms of hydrogen and oxygen right out in the open, and we cannot allow that to go on any longer."

Iranian officials claim the atoms are being used only for peaceful, life-sustaining purposes, and that it is physically impossible for Iran or any government to create or destroy matter in order to comply with U.S. regulations."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How nasty can the campaigns get?
(Published in California New Service)

I think the new round of attacks among presidential candidates started when Senator Clinton accused Baack Obama of plagiarism last week. Obama explained why he used a few lines from his friend, Deval Patrick about the value of words and called the accusation silly.” As a result, Clinton received the longest booing in the debates so far and then said that she was honored to be with Barack Obama in the race. But in politics “being honored” does not mean anything, at least not for long. The truth is that the “silly season” of politics has arrived and it will unsurprisingly only get more and more silly and nasty.
Silly Season in Politics! (Left: DON'T GO THERE: BRIT PAPER STARTS 'UGLIEST MONTH'(Credit: Drudge Report), Middle- Clinton: 'Shame on you, Barack Obama' (Credit: CNN Politics), Right:Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, is dressed as a Somali Elder by Sheikh Mahmed Hassan, left, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya, near the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia in this file photo from Aug. 27, 2006. The garb was presented to Obama by elders in Wajir. Obama's estranged late father was Kenyan and Obama visited the country in 2006, attracting thousands of well-wishers. (AP Photo)
Obviously, Clinton has chosen to be harsh and attack Obama’s character and policies to get more support and halt Obama’s momentum. There is no evidence that her new wave of attacks will help -- since it didn’t seem to help during the past few months -- but she is determined to do this, and I have to confess she is good at it. To show how tough she can be, she not only used the phrase “Brack Obama, shame on you” the other day, but also mocked Obama’s message theatrically at a recent campaign rally in Providence, Rhode Island: “Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know that the world is perfect." It doesn’t seem that the Clinton campaign will stop the attacks before the critical March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas.More...

Tabloid TimesHowever, I do not believe that the silly season started with Clinton or Obama. The credit of going silly should be given to The New York Times for claiming a “romantic relationship” between McCain and the middle-aged blonde and charming lobbyist Vicki Iseman.. Especially for calling the relationship "romantic, that there is nothing we can check, no one we can ask, no digging we can do.” However, these days people are talking about this “romantic relationship,” referring to the Times article. I don't know how the Times can handle the ethical issue of that particular sentence, but I know that the silly season has truly arrived.

It’s not just Times going tabloid – a news show on CNN even referred to it as: “Tabloid Times?” -- because when it is a silly season, anybody could go silly, especially when nobody is sure who is behind some of these attacks. The rumors about Clinton and her personal aide, Huma Abedin, are one example. The attempt by mainstream media and particularly right-wing websites to play on theObama” and “Osama” similarity in sounds is another.

Silly claims such as those of lesbianism and Islamic extremism could have founda fertile ground” for the general elections. After all, the silly season has just started.
(Published in California New Service)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama: “There Will be Blood”
(Published in Huffington Post)

After a disappointing debate in Texas on Thursday night, and two mailing ads sent by Obama’s campaign criticizing her health care plan and failure of NAFTA, Hillary Clinton has adopted a harsh tone against her rival Barack Obama. Perhaps her top advisor’s criticized her for her friendly comments towards her rival, particularly when she said: “No matter what happens in this contest, and I am honored to be here with Barack Obama.” At that moment, I truly thought she was acknowledging that she has failed to stop Obama in the primaries and she will end the attack on Obama, his experience and his campaign. For the first time, a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket seemed possible. But it does matter and, in fact as CNN pointed out in one of its news program, “there will be blood”. My prediction simply didn’t come true.
Hillary’s campaign was hoping that her strength in face-to-face debates would reverse Obama’s momentum in the Democratic presidential contest. Not only it did not help, but it might have further damaged her after her slanderous comment that Obama’s plagiarized words were not “change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox”, which prompted booing from the audience. On Saturday, she lashed out at Obama: “Shame on you, Barack Obama.”

She also invited Obama to a duel in the next Tuesday’s debate: “Meet me in Ohio. Let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”
It appears the current Clinton campaign strategy is to target Obama’s Character to win in Texas and Ohio. To do this she also compares him with President Bush. “Do you think people voting in 2000 knew what they were getting?” she said, referring to Bush’s first-term bid for the presidency as a governor of Texas. “People thought they were getting a compassionate conservative. It turned out he was neither. We’ve been living with the consequences of those mistakes.” She accused Obama of questioning her health care plan, which no other democrat had done before, and at the same time compared him with an unpopular republican President, something which no other candidate has done.

Clinton’s do-or-die strategy and attacks on Obama are very unlikely to succeed. She has been going downhill since the New Hampshire primaries, and the same message week after week is failing to bring her new supporter. Pressure to keep her White House hopes alive by winning the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4th has pushed her campaign to attack Obama rather than redrafting her message to bring new ideas to the race, and attempt to change the course.

The truth is that Obama and Clinton’s policies are not very different for ordinary people, whom are not likely to digest the detail policy sheets of each candidate. Therefore, fighting with Obama’s message of hope and change is an uphill battle for Clinton particularly since thousands of people have found their voice in Obama; l Clinton’s effort to discredit Obama’s message will only deepen the divide and polarize the democratic party further, and possibly help Republicans in the general elections.
(Published in Huffington Post)

Friday, February 22, 2008

When a picture speaks for itself

I found the below picture very smart and ironic. The photographer, Hasan Sarbakhshian, is my friend and a former colleague in Tehran who works for AP:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran addressed a crowd in Azadi Square in Tehran as a man held Iran's national flag during a rally to celebrate the 29th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (Photo: Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mr. President Don't forget Iran

For those of you, who have not read Christopher Hitchen's latest article about Iran in the Wall Street Journal, I suggest you to take a close look at his argument:
"Dear Mr. President: A few months ago, it became possible to hear members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran "would not be left to the next administration." As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular.
That slight advantage has now, if you will permit me to say so, fallen victim to diminishing returns. The absurdly politicized finding of the National Intelligence Estimate -- to the effect that Iran has actually halted rather than merely paused its weapons-acquisition program -- has put the United States in a position where it is difficult even to continue pressing for sanctions, let alone to consider disabling the centrifuge and heavy-water sites at Natanz, Arak and elsewhere...

Consider our advantages. To begin with, all visitors to Tehran report an extraordinary level of sympathy with the U.S. among the general population. On my own visit to the country, I was astonished by the sheer number of people who had relatives overseas, and who wished they could join them. Most especially among the young, pro-American cultural and musical "statements" are as common as they were in Eastern Europe before 1989.

We have removed from power the two most hated enemies, not of the Iranian mullahs alone, but of the Iranian people. It is true that many Iranians feel nervous about having American forces on their Afghan and Iraqi frontiers, but it is equally true that our ability to demolish the Taliban and the Saddam Hussein tyrannies has greatly impressed many Iranians. Iranians are acutely aware of the backwardness of their country. Iran may be floating on a lake of oil, but still conducts much the same backward, rug-and-pistachio economy that it was operating when the mullahs seized power almost 30 years ago.

Changing my gear and tone a little, I want to mention another kind of advantage altogether. Iran is scheduled to suffer from a devastating earthquake in the very near future. Its capital, Tehran, is built on a cobweb of fault-lines: a predicament not improved by the astonishing amount of illegal and uninspected construction that takes place, thanks to corruption and incompetence, within its perimeter.

I want to underline what might be called a seismic imperative. A serious earthquake in Iran could wreak untold damage not just on the Iranian people but on their neighbors, and the clerical regime is doing nothing to prepare for this eventuality or to protect against it."(Read the full story here.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Senator Clinton’s campaign’s accusation on Monday that Barack Obama has lifted language from other politicians, calling it plagiarism, shows how rhetoric is playing a vital role in this presidential election.

Obama in San Francisco, November 2007- Photo by: Omid MemarianIt also shows that Clinton’s campaign has targeted Obama’ dominant factor: the way he uses simple words to inspire millions of people. But is that a big deal? Is that really “plagiarism”? When I heard Obama’s speech, particularly when he said: “Don't tell me words don't matter. 'I have a dream' -- just words?” I never thought that I hadn't heard those words somewhere or from someone before. Why? Simply because, there is not even one single unsaid thing in the world that we could comfortably say people haven’t said before. (Haven’t you heard this before?)

Politicians do not, and also cannot, invent words. They simply use them at the right time, at the right place and for the right people. Millions of people say, “I have a dream” on a daily basis. But there is just one “I Have A Dream” which marks an opening to a history of hope, struggle and change. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to credit Martin Luther King every time we use this phrase? It is more important to observe how what politicians say fits what they are and what people expect of them.

Accusing Obama of plagiarism, however, shows how frustrated Clinton's campaign feels about his simple use of words, which have made a huge impact on millions of people.

Millions of people say, “Yes, we can”. But these days, this simple sentence, has become one of the most inspiring phrases we hear. Is that also plagiarism? I’m not sure this is a good tactic to stop Obama’s momentum, but at least it shows how Clinton’s campaign feels vulnerable about the power of words used by Obama, something that Clinton lacks badly.
(Posted on California News Service)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why McCain’s experience could be harmful
(Published in HuffingtonPost)
McCain’s emphasis on his experience with national security issues could do him more harm than good in the general elections in November. But the more important question is whether it will harm the country.

While he is well respected for his heroic past, his positions on the most critical national security issues facing the United States do not majorly differ from those of neoconservatives in the White House who have led the nation into two wars, fostered terrorism throughout the Middle East, alienated U.S. allies with arrogant unilateral behavior, and left no hope for peace anytime in the near future.

McCain’s campaign is based on
fear strategy, just like Bush’s was. His tough stance on fighting Islamic fascism is essentially the same strategy the Bush doctrine is based on. In speeches, McCain puts Islam in the same bag as terrorism as a tool to scare up support among U.S. voters. The human tragedies of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, water boarding, and the Surveillance Act are just part of what this fear has engendered in recent years. This rhetoric will enhance America’s difficulties with millions of Muslims who relate terrorism to many other issues, but not to Islam .

The reliance on this magnified fear leaves many problems on the table —
Osama bin Laden is still free and once in a while releases a menacing tape, the Taliban are resurging in Afghanistan , insurgents are flowing through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Iraq, and prospects for the Middle East peace process are muddy. Therefore, relying on McCain’s experience in foreign policy means sending another war president to the White House. His efforts to show loyalty toward conservative principles will push him toward the neo-conservative warmongering discourse that president Bush has pursued.

And as recent history has shown, this definitely will not help the U.S. get out of its current crisis.
While the United States’ foreign policy might be more successful if it were based on bringing different parties together in the Middle East in order to isolate terrorists and fight terrorism effectively — as well as supporting any multilateral actions taken toward solving global problems — McCain has instead decided to become more bellicose . He warns us new wars are coming and threatens Iran:
“It's a tough war we're in. It's not going to be over right away. There's going to be other wars. […] I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars ."
McCain is trying to keep the political discussion centered on foreign policy, and off the economy and domestic issues, but his experience, while not necessarily worsening the situation, will not solve anything. His remark that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for the next 100 years also reflects a take on conservative military policy that is heavily weighted towards combat. This is why McCain’s recent vote against Congress’ torture ban came as no surprise. On the path he is taking, torture and many other unsavory actions are inevitable. If this is the outcome of being experienced, it seems it is better to bring fresh ideas into the White House to change the way the world’s views the U.S. and the values institutionalized in its constitution. (Published in HuffingtonPost)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

David Shuster: Chelsea Clinton "pimped out" remark

There has been enough debate about David Shuster's statement on Chelsea Clinton t. To a large extent, it seems this "statement" could be interpreted in different ways. Although, I think there was an obvious will to disregard Clintons, which seems odd and bizarre for Shuster's show. I think between Mtv and MSNB he has chosen the wrong one. I asked my friend Charlie, whom I like his opinions, to give me some input about this and below is his response:
“The verb "to pimp" literally means to provide prostitute sexual services (usually women,, but not always) for customers. The person, a pimp, is the man who keeps prostitutes, takes the money that they make, and gives a little back to the women who do the work.

Now the MSNBC anchor was not trying to say that Chelsea Clinton (a woman) was actually a prostitute. But he was trying to be cool and hip in using this lower-class slang, and he was certainly aware that using that language was degrading to the Clinton candidacy. (Chelsea has been calling super delegates to try to convince them to vote for her mother at the Convention and Shuster was trying to say that doing that wa inappropriate.)

I support Barak Obama, but Shuster's use of the word "pimp" was way over the top. In looking at the tape of shuster's comment, the comment was made in an offhand way, but if you see the full tape (link below), which starts with his apology, you will see that the two other observers thought it was perfectly OK for Chelsea Clinton to work for her mother.

American ways can be pretty confusing, and we are so big, with so many different groups and regions that often greatly disagree with each other. (Remember we did have a real Civil War from 1861-1865 in which over 600,000 soldiers died, from both sides.) We have avoided that level of violence since then because it would be bad for business and the economy in general. And there has usually been enough work so that those who wanted to, could get ahead. That is not a very elevated rationale for stability, but it tends to work. (The major exception of course involves the African Americans until pretty recently, who were viciously suppressed by both official and private-level violence.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

IRAN:Candidate Purge Smacks of a "Vendetta", Critics Say
(Below is my piece that published in IPS News Agency)

By Omid Memarian*

BERKELEY, California, Feb 12 (IPS) - The mass disqualification of reformist parliamentary candidates by Iran's Guardian Council, which oversees the electoral rolls, has diminished the possibility of fair elections on Mar. 14, observers say.

The Guardian Council is comprised of influential clerics and lawmakers. Half of its members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the other half by the Parliament, both of which are conservative.

Last week, authorities confirmed that more than 2,400 candidates would not be allowed to run for the Parliament's 290 seats. Three former ministers, a dozen provincial governors, prominent reformists, and MPs who worked under the reformist president Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) are among the disqualified candidates. Surprisingly, 20 sitting MPs have been barred from running in the parliamentary elections.

Also, for the first time since the 1979 Revolution, a member of Ayatollah Khomeini's family is among the disqualified nominees. Ali Eshraghi, a grandson of Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, was rejected because of "lack of loyalty to Islam and the constitution".

"Among political activists and candidates, there are several types of opinions and approaches to [the upcoming] elections," said Zahra Eshraghi, Ali Eshraghi's sister and also a sister-in-law to Khatami. "Some of them say that they will not run any candidates -- though they are not condoning a boycott, because boycotting the elections may facilitate the election of individuals who might make things even worse."

"Another group states that they will participate, offering a list of candidates, however, advising people to choose whomever they wish," Eshraghi told IPS, "Yet another group says that they would settle for the bare minimum, meaning that even if one, two, or three of their candidates are elected to Parliament, it is better than sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing."

The unprecedented disqualifications, whose scale is greater than it was in elections four years ago, will almost certainly retain the conservatives' absolute majority in the next parliament.

Last week, Khatami called the mass disqualifications of reformist candidates a "disaster" and warned against "pre-determining people's votes".

"I believe that the government never intended to let us participate in the Parliamentary ‎elections," Seyyed Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as Khatami's vice president from 2001 to 2004, told IPS in a phone interview. "By laying off managers from all levels in the government during the past two years, it seemed like ‎the administration was attempting to institute a system in which no one would be left to criticise ‎it. It was natural for them to look at elections with the same mindset."

He said that while the sheer number of ‎disqualifications surprised even many in the conservative camp, ‎the general strategy of disqualifications had been "talked about openly and ‎repeatedly by officials in the administration ever since the new group took office."

On Sunday, Ahmad Tavakkoli, a conservative who represents the capital Tehran in Parliament, wrote a letter to the Guardian Council urging it to reexamine the petitions of the rejected candidates. He criticised some Council members for their lack of experience and cited difficulties related to registration of candidates on the Internet.

"Pre-determining people's votes" has apparently been orchestrated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hardliner government, which has been among the least tolerant toward its critics since the Islamic Revolution. "Military commanders and those ‎affiliated with the radical, hardliner movement now serve as our governors and supervisors," Abtahi said.

While many believe that the disqualifications could taint the legitimacy of the elections, Abtahi believes that Ahmadinejad and his advisors are not afraid to bear the cost. "There was a time when ‎the government shied away from doing things like that, but the current administration actually prefers to take responsibility for disqualifying reformist candidates," he said.

The reformist candidates who have been qualified by the Guardian Council are mostly relatively unknown, although they could form a considerable minority in Parliament.

While many experts, including a faction of conservative camp, believe that the disqualifications will damage the government's credibility, Eshraghi said that the government appears ready to accept the consequences. "In fact, this is a massive political elimination, a vendetta, done by the government," she added.

Ali Mazrooie, a former member of parliament who has been disqualified by the Ministry of Interior, told IPS that it was unprecedented for the Ministry of Interior's oversight committee to disqualify ‎candidates for "lack of belief and conviction in Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran" ‎and "lack of belief in Constitution and absolute supreme leadership," some of the reasons that have been given to exclude candidates.

"That was a job formerly reserved for ‎the Guardian Council," Mazrooie said.

"The government's view is that it is doing a very good job, and that this is precisely what it was elected to do," Zahra Eshraghi, the granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini, told IPS. "They didn't risk leaving the disqualifications [only] to the Guardian Council, where some candidates might dodge the disqualifications, making it to the parliament."

Guardian Council has until Feb. 22 to study the rejected candidates' petitions.

(Read the the piece on IPS News Agency.)

"Israel's Secret Success" and the reason Zionists should withdraw West Bank

Daniel Gavron, in his today's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times has argued that Israel should withdraw West Bank and go back to its 1967 borders. Among the other voices that come out from Israel, Daniel's voice is realistic and fits to what exactly should happen in order to solve the long bloody conflict in the Middle East:
"What matters is that we are acting from a position of strength, and we ought to be investing our energy and creativity in working out a long-term solution with the Palestinians that will be acceptable to both of us.

What we should not be doing is what we are doing now: besieging and blacking out Gaza, killing and arresting dozens of Palestinians in the occupied territories every month, and constructing walls and fences between us and our neighbors.
(Read the rest of the story here)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can endorsements send Obama to the White House?

Following Tuesday's primaries, some might think that the impact of endorsements is overrated; in Massachusetts, Senator Obama had the support of the State's senators and its governor, yet still lost. But this impression might be misleading.

Senator Obama has been in a tight competition with Senator Clinton, a contender who enjoys not only her husband, ex-president Clinton's support, but also long-time ties to the Democratic Party. However, since scoring some high profile endorsements, such as Ted and Caroline Kennedy's, he has risen in the polls, money has been pouring into his campaign, and he is receiving a larger number of delegates than expected.

Endorsements by two other people would greatly improve Obama's position among democrats who are experiencing a contagious divide in the party: Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore.

Pelosi's support of a candidate might signify which would work best with Congress if they made it to the White House. Meanwhile, Gore's support would acknowledge 'an opportunity to truly change the way of doing business in Washington.' Both Pelosi and Gore have made noteworthy contributions in the past two years, and their support could translate into a significant move towards a candidate within the Democratic Party as well as general public opinion.

It's true that the Speaker, who has remained neutral in the presidential race, will chair the Democratic convention and it would thus be inappropriate for her to endorse one of the candidates, albeit Congressman George Miller of California did endorse Obama. Although Miller's endorsement of Obama was apparently made independent of the Speaker, he is Pelosi's top advisor and would not take such action without her implied consent. 'This is perhaps the closest thing to getting a Nancy Pelosi endorsement as you can without actually getting it. Miller is incredibly close with her politically.'

A trend might be emerging among democrats to the effect that Obama is the candidate who can rally the party and independents behind him in the general elections.

"The fact that Obama and Gore have been speaking regularly, about every two weeks or so" might be a signal that "[Gore] must have pondered how it would feel to play kingmaker and shore up someone else's path to the White House."

Endorsements can still play a role; depending on the "who"s and "how"s, a game in which Obama seems to have the upper hand. (Published in Huffington Post)

Updates---Sources: Gore Won't Endorse (CNN)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

How the world sees America: Critical of the U.S. at the Bolivarian University

Friday, February 08, 2008

Iran nixes candidacy of Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson

Ali Eshraghi is not an exception. He was disqualified by Iran's government to enter the parliament. He is the grandson of Ayatollah Eshraghi, Islamic Republic's founder. I am almost about to finish a story about this issue, which has received huge media coverage, and will publish it soon. I will post it here as well:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- The grandson of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini described his ban from next month's parliamentary elections Thursday as an insult to his family and said he would never beg to run.
Ali Eshraghi says he won't publicly protest the decision in order to protect his family's name. Ali Eshraghi -- who bears a marked resemblance to the late founder of Iran's Islamic republic -- is one of thousands of prospective candidates excluded on the grounds they were not sufficiently loyal to the principles of Khomeini's 1979 Islamic revolution. (Read the rest of this story here)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

2008 Democratic Convention Watch

if you are confused by the complicated process of counting delegates ans super delegates and the other details about the coming presidential election visit "2008 Democratic Convention Watch." A group of young people have launched this and I found it pretty amazing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Least-Hawkish Candidate for Iranian Americans

BERKELEY, California, Feb 6 (IPS) - "We are witnessing a rather stark shift in the Iranian-American community," Trita Parsi, director of National Iranian American Council, a nationwide non-partisan institute based in Washington, told IPS. "The Republican Party has lost much support in the community, and it doesn't help that McCain is the likely Republican candidate, mindful of his singing about bombing Iran. This breaks a pattern in which the community has tended to support the Republican Party for fiscal reasons."

"Obama's momentum seems to be even stronger in the community than in the country in general. Many people I've spoken to tend to believe that the difference between Clinton and Bush isn't great enough," Parsi said. "Her vote in favour of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment [which threatens to "combat, contain and (stop)" Iran] has particularly hurt her in the community, and reinforced the perception of her proximity to the Bush foreign policy."

(Published in IPS New Agency)

The Black Vote in Oakland

Some of the students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism went out to talk to American-Africans outside Oakland poll booths during the exciting super Tuesday voting. This is an original example of what citizen journalism can accomplish:(Watch it )
"The African-American vote has become a major focus during this national election with the presence of the first serious black contender, Barack Obama. Black voters are largely choosing between Obama and Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton, who Toni Morrison affectionately called the "first black president." Of those interviewed in Oakland on Super Tuesday, the vote leaned heavily towards Barack Obama and no one voted Republican. (Go to the page...)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Divdive and the most impressive videoclip for Obama: The Yes We Can Song

If you ask me what the most impressive video clip of this year’s presidential elections is, I would choose, without hesitation , the one made by Dipdive and forty other young singers, actors and actresses... Even though the "Obama Girl" clip was very popular at the beginning of the campaign, and probably still is, this "Yes, we can song" is extraordinary.....

Journalists are people too--Let my people vote!

During the last year I've heard a lot about whether journalists should vote and participate in political campaigns or not. Some people are against any kind of political activity by journalists. But how can journalists be responsible citizens without participating in the most important political process that has the power to bring change to their society? I found Ruth Hochberger's piece in Huffington Post very interesting. She challenges the way that the old school of journalism prohibits journalists from voting:
"Journalists pay a dear price for the special privileges they enjoy. They often have to suppress their opinions when others are enjoying a good political debate or argument. They often have to button their lips when friends or relatives trade gossip or inside information on something they've learned in confidence. They cannot make contributions to causes they may feel passionately and earnestly about. They can't take an offered free ride or keep free samples. They can't take holiday gifts from people they work with. They can't march on Washington or even their state capitols. Most reporters and editors accept such limitations as part of the conditions of employment." (Read the rest of the piece here.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Record-Breaking Administration: 935 False Statements in two Years

Mainstream media should pay closer attention to the report published by The Center For Public Integrity that states, "The Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003." The report questions the source of the disseminated misinformation, and more importantly, highlights the consequences of subsequent incidents:

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.
During the last five years there have been many journalists, activists and former officials, who have been consistently warning us about unreliable statements and lies about Iraq and other national security issues, made by top ranking officials. We are conditioned to accept what "a high ranking official" says as gospel, in spite of these precautions, without questioning the reliability of the sources, and continue to believe erroneous statements we hear and read in newspapers, radio, and TV channels.


Despite the difficulty in finding the truth in minefields of lies and fabrications, maintaining integrity and remaining objective is now more vital than ever, especially for journalists. There are grave consequences for a society when a faction of mainstream media becomes part of an administration's propaganda machine and leads a nation astray; conversely, fighting for truth and maintaining journalistic integrity has its price as well, as in the case of Phil Donahue whose show was canceled when he openly opposed the attacking Iraq on his program, or Jeff Cohen who lost his job for taking a stance against the war in Iraq. Regardless, if we as journalists cannot catch and take stance against over 395 lies, who can? (Published in HuffingtonPost)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

World Leaders...A funny flash animation

Click here to watch it

Saturday, February 02, 2008

"New IGS Report Examines Iranian-American Political Views"

"The Institute of Governmental Studies has released a new research report entitled "Political Attitudes and Patterns of Political Participation of Iranian Americans in California," which was conducted by IGS Research Specialist Dariush Zahedi in collaboration with Susan Rasky of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. (Read the rest of this report here- PDF format)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Has Iran Won?

The Economist has discussed the current situation of Iran's nuclear plan:

"IF YOU are locked eyeball to eyeball with an adversary as wily as Iran, it does not make much sense to do something that emboldens your opponent and sows defeatism among your friends. But that, it is now clear, is precisely what America's spies achieved when they said in December that, contrary to their own previous assessments, Iran stopped its secret nuclear-weapons programme in 2003.

Iran's jubilant president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, immediately called the American National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) a “great victory” for his country. Subsequent events suggest that he was right. Western diplomats are despondent and international efforts to get Iran to stop enriching uranium and working on plutonium have been thrown into confusion."(Read the rest of the story)