To Massachusetts Swing Voters

As an independent voter who agrees with that portion of the Progressive agenda that seems well supported by facts I appeal to the undecided and independent voters of The Commonwealth to not fill Teddy’s seat with a Republican. If you are considering voting for the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, allow me to point out that as reasonable as he may seem now he will surely be subsumed into the national Republican madness. Republicans serving at the state level are allowed the freedom to vote their consciences and make decisions based on facts, at least part of the time. For this reason it may be tempting to those who favor conservative economic policies, and still believe that Republicans have any interest in delivering on this part of their platform, to vote for Mr. Brown. Aside from his comments which show him to be appealing to the worst in voters by toeing the national Republican party line regarding health care reform, I believe you should most seriously consider the condition of national politics before voting for any Republican. In the current situation there is only one Republican senator who dares vote against the party line if she decides that the facts don’t support it, Olympia Snowe of Maine. Every other Republican senator votes with the party line every time regardless of the facts involved in any individual vote. This behavior by Republican senators is reprehensible in the extreme. They have ceased to represent their constituents and now solely represent their campaign donors.

Regardless of how reasonable Mr. Brown’s decisions may have been (I have no idea not living there or knowing anything about him) while serving in the state senate he will quickly be absorbed into the senate Republican caucus and that will be the end of him representing your interests. From that point forward he will vote with the increasingly more extreme platform of the national republican party as represented by such luminaries as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Michael Steele. I’m not appealing to those voters who believe that Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck, and Ann Coulter have more than two brain cells between them. If you can’t see through their transparent selfishness, fear, greed, and paranoia… well I can’t help you. Try a psychiatrist. If however, you’re not a Fox News fan and just would really like to see this country turn away from debt spending, I’m talking to you. I’ll not debate which party is more likely to reduce the national debt in this article; it deserves a whole post, or ten, of its own. Just know that a vote for Mr. Brown would be a vote for the politics of fear, mis-aimed preemptive military strikes, trading hard won civil liberties in exchange for the appearances of security, theocratic tendencies, and denial of existence of empirical facts. Martha Coakley may not be an adequate replacement for Teddy Kennedy but your interests are a damn sight more likely to be represented by her than they are by Scott Brown who has sold his soul to the RNC.

Thank You Ayatollah Khamenei

I don’t find myself agreeing with Republicans very often these days, and I’ve never agreed much with Texans, but I’m in complete agreement with Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) right now. Today he was the only U.S. Congressman to vote against a resolution condemning the Iranian government and supporting the dissenters. In his statement he said:

I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little.

I agree with him that all too often American politicians rush to grandstand without bothering to study anything but the surface of an issue. What is going on in Iran right now is very dramatic, and very complex, and America has played several parts in the story, not all of them good. Indeed, our government has a pretty poor record over the last 30 plus years of meddling with Iranian internal affairs. Just to mention a few, we replaced their last democratically elected government with a monarchy and supplied their enemies (Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) with weapons. If the United States wishes to promote democracy in Iran we would do better to not make “official” statements in opposition to the current Iranian government. Doing so just gives this admittedly corrupt and brutal theocracy the excuse they need in order to quash the dissent. If that happens the flickering candle of democracy in Iran will be put out before it can become a bonfire and it may be many years before it can flicker to life again.

While I am against the sort of usless non-binding resolution grandstanding that the House engaged in today I’m all for the stated purpose of the resolution. It just wasn’t something that needed to be said. The people of Iran who yearn for the freedoms of a Western-style democracy know very well that we stand with them in principal. It is uncomfortable to see friends in peril and not being able to do anything to help them. It’s a natural human reaction, I think, to want to at least speak out in their defense. This is all admirable and correct, but in this particular complex case the best way to help Iran towards freedom is to keep our official mouthpieces shut.

At least we can all be grateful for one thing, there is little doubt who has the moral high ground in Iran right now. Yesterday Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for an end to the demonstrations protesting the election results and even threatened the protesters saying, “If there is any bloodshed, leaders of the protests will be held directly responsible.” Be clear that this is a serious threat to use violence against peaceful protesters. By all reports the protesters in Iran have been entirely peaceful and non-violent. These are not wild looters run amok. In a truly civilized country using violence to crush peaceful dissent is simply unthinkable. It hasn’t happened in the U.S. since the 1968 Democratic Convention “police riot” in Chicago and the “Kent State Massacre” in 1970. Yes that’s sarcasm. Sometimes Americans annoyingly think their republic is perfect and not susceptible to the failings of other governments.

In any case, I’d like to thank Ayatollah Khamenei for making perfectly clear to everyone inside and outside of Iran what the source of Iran’s problems really is… himself. I desperately hope that the good people of Iran will one day break their chains and replace their primitive theocracy with a government that respects them and their basic human rights.