Posted on 29-01-2010
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

Here is an amusing story from Iran.  In a seeming reaction to the “Green Revolution” that brought thousands of protesters into the streets this summer, Iran’s regime seems to have reacted by taking the green band in Iran’s flag and turning it to blue.  See here and here.  Before rigging the elections this summer, the regime had warned the opposition not to attempt a “color” revolution as seen in other parts of the world (Orange in the Ukaraine, Rose in Georgia, etc.).  This is a move steeped in multiple ironies.  Green is the representative color for Islam and is now possibly being disowned by a putative Islamic regime.  Replacing green with blue turns would result in the Iranian flag sharing the red, white and blue combination of the two “Great Satans” of the regime – the United States and the United Kingdom.  For additional humor inherent in this situation, see the cartoon below that ran during the summer and was reposted on Andrew Sullivan’s site today.  See link.

Khamenei tears the green stripe off the Iranian flag

'Khamenei Tears Green Stripe (Associated with Mousavi) Off Iranian Flag' Cartoonist: Jihad 'Awartani, Source: Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), June 26, 2009.

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Posted on 29-01-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It is in many ways a sad reflection of the nature and structure of American politics, when the televised event that occurred today when the President visited the Republican Party retreat is news in large part because it actually occured (and before the cameras no less).  Others (notably transplanted Briton Andrew Sullivan) have noted the major difference between American democracy and the one in Westminster, where the Prime Minister has to show up for question hour and defend his or her policies to the questions raised by the opposition.  Unfortunately the monarchical trappings of American democracy run deep and many Presidents probably felt it beneath their dignity to subject themselves to a grilling of this sort (which is still light compared to what happens in a parliamentary democracy).

There already has been some chatter that Republican operatives think it was a mistake to give President Obama a chance to call out Republican misstatements in front of the camera. See link.  Hopefully such considerations will not prevent events like this that allow a debate of a rare genuine debate of policy issues (in contrast to the histrionics that are inevitable in the tit for tat cable TV soundbite process) from happening in the future.  After all the Republicans also get their chance to call out the  President for his misstatements, and some did try today.  In other news Fox “News” appears to have cut away more than 20 minutes before the event ended to start playing the Republican party meme that the President was lecturing, leading a good deal of mockery on the liberal blogs.  Cannot wait to see the inevitable Jon Stewart spoof.

A few cherry picked comments I am glad the President managed to get in his response (link to transcript and embedded video is at end of post): Read the rest of this entry »

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