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The Third Estate
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Looking In the Mirror

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I've been paying - if not close attention - real attention to what's happening in Iran. The people protesting are nothing short of courageous, and I wish them well. But, being an American, I have to think about what the events in Iran say about us. The civil disturbances in Iran threw the U.S. into rather unflattering light in two important respects. I put off writing about it, but thankfully others have raised these points. First, the Iranian people are in the streets after a stolen election, whereas in the U.S. in 2000 we sat around quietly and accepted the outcome. Yes, yes, the circumstances were somewhat different, but not really that different. In a republic the candidate with the most votes is supposed to win the office, and that didn't happen, and we just put up with it.

Second, well, I'll just quote Juan Cole:

Moreover, very unfortunately, US politicians are no longer in a position to lecture other countries about their human rights. The kind of unlicensed, city-wide demonstrations being held in Tehran last week would not be allowed to be held in the United States. Senator John McCain led the charge against Obama for not having sufficiently intervened in Iran. At the Republican National Committee convention in St. Paul, 250 protesters were arrested shortly before John McCain took the podium. Most were innocent activists and even journalists. Amy Goodman and her staff were assaulted. In New York in 2004, 'protest zones' were assigned, and 1800 protesters were arrested, who have now been awarded civil damages by the courts. Spontaneous, city-wide demonstrations outside designated 'protest zones' would be illegal in New York City, apparently. In fact, the Republican National Committee has undertaken to pay for the cost of any lawsuits by wronged protesters, which many observers fear will make the police more aggressive, since they will know that their municipal authorities will not have to pay for civil damages.

The number of demonstrators arrested in Tehran on Saturday is estimated at 550 or so, which is less than those arrested by the NYPD for protesting Bush policies in 2004.


You don't lose your civil liberties all at once, but one at a time. Usually when you're not paying any attention.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 11:03 AM
11 Comments:
  • Too true, unfortunately. And we still don't close GTMO, and just out of curiosity, what happened to the secret CIA detentions; have you seen anything that indicates that they were in fact, closed?

    By Blogger Belle, at 10:47 AM  
  • As a reader of your blog since fall 2004 I am going to call out your blatant, and obviously unrecognized, hypocricy. You say "First, the Iranian people are in the streets after a stolen election, whereas in the U.S. in 2000 we sat around quietly and accepted the outcome. Yes, yes, the circumstances were somewhat different, but not really that different. In a republic the candidate with the most votes is supposed to win the office, and that didn't happen, and we just put up with it." I am glad the Iranian protests have finally provoked you to use the word "stolen" with regard to the 2000 election. You did not hedge your language in this post. You stated it as if it was accepted wisdom.

    Yet, if you look at your own blog posts for the past 5 years, I will bet you will not find the word "stolen" without the word "likely" somewhere in the same sentence in any relevant blog post. In order to protest a "stolen" election you actually have to recognize it as stolen, not as "possibly" stolen, or "likely" stolen, but as flat out stolen.

    You, of all people, should be the last to complain about the lack of protests because you passed along the same false meme as other political scientists that the 2000 election was NOT stolen, or only likely stolen.

    If someone like you, who cares so much about American politics, could not call a spade a spade, I can hardly blame most Americans who are less passionate and less informed than you. The American people accepted the stolen 2000 election because even supposed experts in politics accepted it (after being brainwashed by the Republican Party). I suspect that now, with the Republican Party in such bad condition, many more people like you will suddenly start to revise your historical analysis and say, "Oh yeah, the 2000 election really was stolen, and we did absolutely nothing about it." Your analysis is better late than never, but please recognize your own role in the American lassitude regarding 2000.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 10:18 PM  
  • Way to overreact dude.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 1:09 AM  
  • I know the truth hurts, but at least you recognize it now.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 12:12 PM  
  • What "truth"?? I guess I shouldn't be surprised at your rudeness, given you had the gall in the past to comment that our marriage was unlikely to last since we were not spawning. You seemed like such a nice person when I met you long ago, but I know better now.

    By Blogger Dr. Brazen Hussy, at 12:17 PM  
  • "I guess I shouldn't be surprised at your rudeness, given you had the gall in the past to comment that our marriage was unlikely to last since we were not spawning."

    It's nothing personal.

    It's a simple fact: When married people have kids, the kids act as an anchor for the couple, forcing them to get counseling when they have problems, staying married longer "for the sake of the children" than they normally would, etc.

    I didn't say your marriage would not last, just that the odds are against it. It's a probability assessment. I have every hope and wish that you defy the odds and stay married. But sociological arguments are true regardless of your particular situation.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 12:28 AM  
  • "A simple fact"?? Where do you get your statistics? How many people do you know with divorced parents? How many single parents do you know? The "simple fact" is that people who choose not to have children [note that this group does not include people who wanted children but were unable to have them] do not get divorced as often as people with children. I've done a ton of reading on this topic and if I had the time I'd give you citations but I have a job.

    You blatantly insulted my marriage. And you keep doing it.

    By Blogger Dr. Brazen Hussy, at 7:40 AM  
  • You seem to have skipped the first sentence I wrote. "It's nothing personal." This is an academic debate, not an attack on your marriage.

    I know plenty of divorced parents from my parents' generation. I know of no divorced parents from my generation or my grandparents' generation.

    Singe-parenthood is unfortunately on the rise, but that is a result of poor economic conditions among the lower-class. Fathers have a tendency to walk away because they cannot provide economic support for their families.

    However, if you look at parents who are highly educated and go to church often, they have the longest lasting marriages and the most kids.

    The high level of education provides sufficient income to raise a large family, and the church provides a social support system. Thus, if you are not part of a religious community and you only have a high school education, your chances of divorce are quite high, even with kids. Having kids just makes it more likely you will stay married.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 8:37 AM  
  • Marriah, where did you get that data from? I spent a long time looking at research on this question and the relationship between childlessness and divorce was weak at best. The biggest predictor of divorce was age at marriage along with SES. Church attendance wasn't that important either, although having different religions had some effect.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 9:20 AM  
  • "it will be interesting to see if you are married in, say, 40 years." - Nov. 21, 2006

    THAT IS PRETTY FUCKING PERSONAL, ASSHOLE.

    By Blogger Dr. Brazen Hussy, at 7:59 PM  
  • I would say "interesting" is a neutral word.

    Now, if I had said "I doubt you will be married in 40 years", that would be very rude of me, tactless, and you would be very justified in seeing it as personal because it would be a very personal comment.

    I hope you are married in 40 years, but it will still be interesting to find out the result.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 9:45 AM  
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