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June 19, 2009

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This is one of those days you want to skip and just ask someone what happened.

Probably the only time I made a correct prediciton on international events was when I predicted what Iraq would turn into. I hope that I am wrong again, but I do not see this ending well for the demonstrators. I think Mousavi will back down and leave them for his own security.

Ahmadinejad will be President, but what limited power he has had will be even more limited. He knows he holds the position now totally at the whim of the Supreme Leader. And the Iranians will realize that their President really is a figurehead and give up. nothing will change until a new Supreme Leader comes along who actually believes in some change being necessary and important.

Iran, on the plus side, will probably become much reduced in influence in both the region and the world.

I missed out on the earlier threads, but one of the things that cheeses me off about the neocons and their ilk is that they consider themselves brave crusaders for democracy when they know damn well that non of their blood, or that of their family, is going to be shed.

The people of Iran will be in my thoughts tonight. And should a better regime than the current one prevail, it will be the people of Iran, and not the chest-thumpers in the united States, who achieved it.

The Iranian blog post was beautiful.

Oh God, I'm so worried for them.

I've never wept at a blog post before, but that young Iranian's is seriously testing my composure.

Let's see if I've got the facts straight here.

The policies advocated by Mousavi during the election campaign were very similar to those advocated by Ahmadinejad and in any case, the office they were running for was mainly ceremonial - it has been described by those knowledgeable about Iranian politics as the 18th most powerful position in Iran.

Mousavi was seen as slightly more liberal on certain matters as Ahmadinejad, but was also linked to extremely corrupt politicians (and Ahmadinejad has opposed corruption) and Mousavi also has a history of thuggish behavior during the 1990's even as he runs as a reformer. In any event, they were both among the 4 out of 500 politicians that the theocracy found acceptable - the other 4 hundred ninety something candidates were simply rejected as unacceptable. It was simply not a democratic election under any reasonable definition of the term.

The election may or may not have been rigged in favor of Ahmadinejad. Some experts in electoral statistics and in Iranian politics claim that the results, while suspicious, can not be rejected as fake with any certainty, some other experts disagree.

And for this they are ready to die? For the selection of one thuggish candidate hand-picked by the theocracy over the other?

For nothing?

Let them die for nothing then, doing otherwise would be interfering with Darwin.

Just in case anyone here is not aware of them already, a pair of links that may be useful:

http://www.farsinet.com/news/

http://www.parstimes.com/news/

Both in English.

Let them die for nothing then, doing otherwise would be interfering with Darwin.

This comment was obviously designed to provoke but, that said, I'll succumb and ask: Don't you think this might, possibly, have gotten bigger than Mousavi?

spartikus: I just saw that. I was reminded of when I was little, and I made faces, and a friend's mother used to say: be careful; your face might get stuck like that. I think souls are a lot more likely to get stuck in ugliness than faces are. If I were lastWord, I'd find that an unnerving thought.

Let them die for nothing then, doing otherwise would be interfering with Darwin.

Ah, social darwinism. How lovely. Don't you have an American Medical Association message board to troll?

This comment was obviously designed to provoke

No it was designed to get people to correct me if I did not have the facts straight.

No corrections so far.

Don't you think this might, possibly, have gotten bigger than Mousavi

It hasn't yet but it could. What would that mean? Is that what you think went wrong in the elections in the US in 2000? Not enough firebombs, not enough broken windows, not enough attacks on police stations?

People are making a big deal out of the choice of one thug hand-picked by a brutal theocracy over another thug hand-picked by a brutal theocracy.

You are being manipulated, and it might do you well to stop for a second and figure out who is doing the manipulating and why they are doing it.

Or you could just satisfy your smug self with insightful analysis like:

I was reminded of when I was little, and I made faces, and a friend's mother used to say: be careful; your face might get stuck like that

Bravo.

Godspeed to the Basiji hunters.

No corrections so far.

You are quite, and technically, correct about Mousavi. I grant you that.

And it's quite likely that in a few hours the protesters will face a line of hard men who will not hesitate to execute their orders.

Sometimes "the mob" is ugly. Sometimes very ugly. And sometimes "good intentions" are manipulated for ill ends.

Nevertheless what is happening in Iran, as it did with the protesters in Tiananmen 10 years earlier, strikes me as an example of the very best of human nature.

You make think these people failures. And for that, I feel sorry for you.

This seems a particularly good answer to lastWord.

Thank you.

No corrections so far.

spartikus linked to my rebuttal.

It's kind of late at night to get around to asking this, but I'm sitting here sick to my stomach, and I don't think I'm going to be able to get to sleep.

I've read about people creating proxy servers to help the protesters. I had thought that that this was something that took special equipment and knowledge, but now I'm not so sure. Does anyone have any advice on how to do this? Or, is the answer that, since I have no clue what I'm doing, I should just leave well enough alone?

"Or, is the answer that, since I have no clue what I'm doing, I should just leave well enough alone?"

probably that.

blog.austinheap.com has tutorials and so forth on proxies. However, according to his twitter feed, he already has over 2000 proxies in action and hasn't finished sorting through all the offers yet. I set up my proxy a few days ago and haven't heard back from him; I'm assuming that this whole thing will be resolved one way or the other before my little bit is even called for.

So if you really feel driven to do something and are willing to put in a little study time, you could check out his site, but at this stage you probably aren't depriving anyone if you don't.

I think lastword at 12:25a is rational. I disagree with the last sentence though for reasons mentioned in J. Michael Neal's linked comment.

There is a chance, however small, that the protesters will prevail. Perhaps what they are doing will start a trickle now that becomes a flood later. It is a high risk / potentially high reward gamble.

I would not say the protesters are stupid to take the risk. I would say they are courageous. At the same time, I also think it is courageous if one judges it nobler to be alive tomorrow for his children.

lastWord makes some good points actually that I've been wondering about myself, but I certainly don't like his tone: generally I'm a bit sensitive to people invoking Darwin in such matters (though most of them are only half serious and it is quite common) probably because I've worked with mentally disabled children when I was young and also because I know a thing or two about the Nazis.

Ridiculing the protesters also means ignoring several aspects of both "unsuccessful" or even only partially reasonable protests:

1.) protests are not necessarily tied to one issue, they tend to morph into something that transcends the initial catalyst if the feelings of discontent are widespread enough and a lot of people take to the streets

2.) even protests that have been brutally crushed and didn't lead to immediate change can be very effective in making a statement and exposing the brutality of a regime, cf. Prague Spring etc.

3.) martyrs are very powerful figures, especially but not only in the ME, that can keep a protest movement going for decades

LastWord's first post was fairly rational, if off in tone. But the response, that this has become bigger than Mousavi, was also an important point, and LastWord chose to simply snort at that. Tellingly, LastWord also chose to make what I perceive to be a snide one-word reply to Hilzoy's sensible suggestion that people should adopt a generous outlook when engaging with other commenters. I of course apologize if that "bravo" was meant sincerely, although that would hardly seem in keeping with the rest of the comment.

And while I'm about as ignorant about Iran as the next guy, and I don't have any clue what will happen next, I think that this movement really isn't about Mousavi any longer - an entire generation of students have seen the regime double down in opposition to an honest vote count, and witnessing the violence and yesterday's speech by Khamenei will affect how they perceive their current system of government for the rest of their lives.

Ten days ago, it seemed likely that Ahmedinejad would win in the first or second round, and that if he lost then very likely no substantial policy changes would happen - either side would continue to back Hezbollah and the nuclear program and all sorts of other things I don't like. Two days ago, maybe Khamenei could have called for a run-off election with improved monitoring to allay concerns, and franky I suspect Ahmedinejad would still have won, or that if Mousavi were to become President even under those circumstances he would remain just another face of the theocratic elite. Critically, the central power broker of the regime would remain (publicly) in sympathy with (regulated) democracy and with peaceful resolution of national divisions.

But if Mousavi becomes president now, it will be by standing astride the ruins of a clerical establishment that Khamenei discredited yesterday, and it will be far from certain the the establishment will regain the authority it once had. And if, as seems more likely, Ahmedinejad remains president, a lot of Iran's smartest people will know how he did so. The days when either Ahmedinejad or Mousavi could win and the Iranian state could remain unchanged by their inauguration are now past.

"Let them die for nothing then, doing otherwise would be interfering with Darwin."

lastWord is rational but he misses the point.

He makes some interesting points but none of them address what's going on in Iran.

The people who are protesting are angry because they strongly believe the election results are not legitimate. Ahmedinijad was declared the winner too quickly, and the numbers don't look right.

It doesn't matter if Mousavi is kinder and gentler. It doesn't matter if he's Mr. Rogers with a beard.

To the Iranians, it's not a question of "the good guy didn't win". It's a question of the legitimacy of the process.

So, should they die, that is what they will dying for. And you have no standing whatsoever to decide if that's worth it to them, or not. It ain't your blood.

' And you have no standing whatsoever to decide if that's worth it to them, or not. It ain't your blood.'

Are you talking to me?

I didn't try to decide if it is worth it to them. I said there is value in each direction. Which was contra to lastword who it seems suggested there was no value in the protest because a) the outcome is a certain failure and b) even in victory the regime will be essentially the same.

The quote was lastword's, not yours, unless you are masquerading as yet another person. Please try to keep up.

This comment was obviously designed to provoke

No it was designed to get people to correct me if I did not have the facts straight.

No corrections so far.

This type of absolutist "right until proven wrong" bullshit is the kind of crap that I expect from knucklenuts like Jonah Goldberg, who I'm sure you're enamored to find yourself being compared to. Spare
us all the smug self-righteousness and try some empathy on for a change.

Pretty good critique of how neo-cons don't get Iran:

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/06/19/who-said-no-comment/

The NIAC statement sums up the reason why this matters in a way little else could. The whole world is watching, Iran. Think carefully about how you will treat your people.

People are making a big deal out of the choice of one thug hand-picked by a brutal theocracy over another thug hand-picked by a brutal theocracy.

It may surprise you, but most Iranians don't see themselves as living under a brutal theocracy. They see themselves as having replaced a brutal, repressive regime designed to reward the well-connected (the Shah) with one based on concern for the common people, following a path of righteousness as laid out by Islam.

The revolution of 1979 was a populist revolution. It's success was seen as victory for regular Iranians. Many, perhaps most, Iranians would like to have more personal freedom, but they didn't see their government as fundamentally illegitimate (just like I think Bush's embrace of torture and spying on American citizens was an abridgment of freedom and human rights but that didn't make him illegitimate).

This, however, is different. The regime is employing force against peaceful mass protests. This is a line the Iranian government hasn't crossed before (although it has used force on a smaller scale). There's a good chance this will tip the scales and Iranian citizens will come to view the government as illegitimate. What that means for the future I can't say but it's a sea change in Iranian politics.

as it did with the protesters in Tiananmen 10 years earlier

That should read 20 years earlier.

But if Mousavi becomes president now, it will be by standing astride the ruins of a clerical establishment that Khamenei discredited yesterday, and it will be far from certain the the establishment will regain the authority it once had.

Yes, this could be considered quite the setback for Khamenei in his quest to secure his family's future. He saw a personal enemy within striking distance of the presidency, and he seems to have overreacted. The clerical establishment could readily regain its authority, but it would require a different Supreme Leader to do it. An actual Ayatollah, instead of an improperly jumped-up Hojatoleslam (sp?), might do it. I hear Grand Ayatollah Montezeri is available, but I suspect that would be trickier to swing than Rafsanjani.

"Are you talking to me?"

No, lastWord.

Feel free to line up behind his point of view if you like, but I don't really see that doing so has much of an upside.

The protests in Iran appear to be about the legitimacy of the process, rather than "my guy didn't win and I won't stand for it".

If Iranians want to put their lives on the line to protest the illegitimacy of the process, I don't see that lastWord, or anyone else, has any standing to say whether it's worth it or not.

Worth it to who? lastWord? I don't see him in the street.

The people who get to decide if it's worth it to the Iranians are the Iranians.

If Iranians want to put their lives on the line to protest the illegitimacy of the process, I don't see that lastWord, or anyone else, has any standing to say whether it's worth it or not.

Agreed.

Lastword's fundamental mistake is assuming that he knows better than the protesters whether their actions are worthwhile.

The protesters not only are the ones bearing the risks, they also understand better than any of us what their motivations are, what the political situation in Iran actually is, the difference between Mousavi and Ahmedinejad, and a million other things.

They deserve our respect.

Liberal Japonica

'The quote was lastword's, not yours, unless you are masquerading as yet another person. Please try to keep up.'

Fuck you.

This was russell's thesis: 'lastWord is rational but he misses the point.' And i'm the one that wrote the 'rational' comment.

Bomb I-Ran!
Bomb I-Ran!
I do not want to Bomb I-Ran!

Would you like
To Bomb I-Ran?

I do not want to Bomb I-Ran.
I would not like
That Krauth-I-Am.

Would you bomb them
here or there?

I would not bomb them
here or there.
I would not bomb them anywhere.
I do not want
To Bomb I-Ran!
I would not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

Bomb I-Ran!
Bomb I-Ran!
I do not want to Bomb I-Ran!

Would you like
To Bomb I-Ran?

I do not want to Bomb I-Ran.
I would not like
That Krauth-I-Am.

Would you bomb them
here or there?

I would not bomb them
here or there.
I would not bomb them anywhere.
I do not want
To Bomb I-Ran!
I would not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

Would you bomb them in a house?
Would you bomb them with a mouse?

I would not bomb them
in a house.
I would not bomb them
with a mouse.
I would not bomb them
here or there.
I would not bomb them
anywhere.
I do not want
To Bomb-I-Ran.
I would not bomb them,
Krauth-I-am.

Would you bomb them
in a box?
Would you bomb them
with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not bomb them
here or there.
I would not bomb them anywhere.
I would not bomb them in I-Ran.
I would not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

Would you? Could you? In a car?
Bomb them! Bomb them! Here they are.

I would not, could not, in a car.

You may like them. You will see.
You may bomb them in a tree!

I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car! You let me be.
I would not bomb them in a box.
I would not bomb them with a fox.
I would not bomb them in a house.
I would not bomb them with a mouse.
I would not bomb them here or there.
I would not bomb them anywhere.
I would not like To Bomb-I-Ran.
I would not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

A train! A train!
A train! A train!
Could you, bomb them,
on a train?

Not in a train! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! Krauth! Let me be!
I would not bomb them in a box.
I could not, bomb them with a fox.
I will not bomb them with a mouse.
I will not bomb them in a house.
I will not bomb them here or there.
I will not bomb them anywhere.
I would not like To Bomb-I-Ran.
I would not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

Say! In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, bomb them,
in the dark?

I would not, bomb them, in the dark.

Would you, bomb them, in the rain?

I would not, bomb them, in the rain.
Not in the dark. Not on a train.
Not in a car. Not in a tree.
I do so like them, Krauth, you see.
Not in a house. Not in a box.
Not with a mouse. Not with a fox.
I will not bomb them here or there.
I will not bomb them anywhere!

You will not bomb
Them in I-ran?

I will not bomb them,
Krauth-I-am.

Could you, bomb them,
with a goat?

I would not, bomb them,
with a goat!

Would you, bomb them,
on a boat?

I could not, bomb them,
on a boat.
I will not, bomb them,
with a goat.

I will not bomb them in the rain.
I will not bomb them on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I will not bomb them in a box.
I will not bomb them with a fox.
I will not bomb them in a house.
I will not bomb them with a mouse.
I will not bomb them here or there.
I will not bomb them ANYWHERE!
I will not bomb green eggs and ham!
I will not bomb them, Krauth-I-am.

You do so like them. So you say.
Bomb them! Bomb them! To your dismay.
Bomb them and bomb them, I say.

Krauth! If you will let me be,
I will bomb them. You will see.

Say! I think I will Bomb I-ran!
I will! I’ll bomb them, Krauth-I-am!
And I would bomb them with a boat.
And I would bomb them with a goat...

And I will bomb them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so bad, so bad, you see!

So I will bomb them in a box.
And I will bomb them with a fox.
And I will bomb them in a house.
And I will bomb them with a mouse.
And I will bomb them here and there.
Say! I will bomb them ANYWHERE!
I do so like
To Bomb I-Ran!
Thank you!
Thank you, Krauth-I-am!

(related)

d'd'd: please respect the posting rules.

"This was russell's thesis: 'lastWord is rational but he misses the point.' And i'm the one that wrote the 'rational' comment."

Yes, dave, and I was actually agreeing with you. lastWord was rational, however IMO by focusing on the differences between Mousavi and Ahmedinijad he misses the point -- the differences between the two candidates does not seem to be what is driving people into the streets. They appear to be far more disturbed by their perception that the electoral process was interfered with.

And the 'you' and 'your' in this:

"And you have no standing whatsoever to decide if that's worth it to them, or not. It ain't your blood."

refers to lastWord.

In any case, regardless of what motivates the Iranian protesters, it's neither lastWord's nor any of our place to decide whether their actions are 'worth it' or not. It's their lives and their blood being spent, only they can decide whether it's worthwhile.

Here is a graphic Youtube video showing the last moments of a woman's life. She has been shot by the Basij. Those around her grow increasingly panicked as she slips away.

My first thought was this could very easily be the young woman who wrote the blog post referenced here.

If we are to follow lastWord's thinking, then I suppose the human race is better off that someone like her has been culled from it's ranks. I tend to feel the opposite.

That video was removed I'm afraid. Probably considered too graphic for youtube?

Seb: you can see it here, at 12:42, under the para. that begins: "Here are two more VERY GRAPHIC videos depicting the same scene, of a woman who has just been shot and dies on camera."

If you're wondering whether or not to watch it: a woman is lying on the ground, bleeding out of her mouth and nose, and dies. It's awful to watch.

Here are a few facts for lastword:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/15/iran.elections.qa/

The results were announced two hours after the polls closed. That means that over 40 million votes were hand-counted in that time.

Moussavi, an ethnic Azeri Turk, lost his home district, which an expert quoted by CNN in the link above, is equivalent to Obama losing the African-American vote to McCain.

I think we can assume that the Iranians pouring into the streets at risk of their lives know that the president is not where the real power lies. It seems obvious to me that the anger is at Khameini, whose regime is brutal, corrupt, and riddled with inter-cleric power struggles. His electoral interference is salt in the many wounds of a country that suffered its own devastating war with Iraq, and lost a generation of men to it. Now there is inter-generational conflict as well; Khameini is on the way out one way or another.

lastword's handle, in combination with attitude, told me that addressing him/her is likely not a fruitful enterprise. Sitting comfortably in front of a keyboard, blithely invoking Darwin to make the commenters squeak may be just a pleasant way for lastword to while away the time. But contrasting that behavior to the Iranians bidding goodbye to their families and heading into the streets, I rather think Darwin would not call lastword the fittest.

"If you're wondering whether or not to watch it: a woman is lying on the ground, bleeding out of her mouth and nose, and dies. It's awful to watch."

I'll take your word for it.

Andrew Sullivan also has that video, though I would not suggest even opening his site right now unless you are prepared for horrific images.

There are moments in my life when the reality of the world hits me over the head and I wake up just a little bit more. A big one was when I read Sophie's Choice at a time when I had little kids myself, and all of a sudden it came home to me that the Holocaust had happened to real people, people just like me, people going about their daily lives in completely ordinary ways.

I mean, it came home viscerally instead of abstractly that the people who lived and died then were just people, not some "special" kind of people populating a story that was somehow outside ordinary life. Thus, what happened to them could happen to me. I was nothing "special" in the opposite sense, of having some kind of immunity to finding myself in a horrific story. Horrific stories are all over the place when human beings are involved.

I get annoyed with Andrew Sullivan on a regular basis, but his work this week publishing hundreds of tweets and dozens of pictures and videos, culminating with this video, has given me another one of those moments of waking up.

This girl that we can all watch dying was someone's daughter and someone's friend and probably/possibly someone's sister, student, teacher, cousin, mother, employee, employer. She got up this morning ... and now she's gone, and we can all watch that happen. And I only wish that the fact that it can all come to our screens would make it all that less likely that this is the way we will continue to carry on the world's business.

I don't have any hope for that, but I suppose the bottom line is still: one step at a time, one day at a time, keep breathing if you can.

The results were announced two hours after the polls closed. That means that over 40 million votes were hand-counted in that time.

Twelve hours, not two hours, Mrs Polly.

"One of the central questions was how 39.2 million paper ballots could be counted by hand and final results announced by authorities in Tehran in just over 12 hours. Past elections took at least twice as long." cite

The people who are protesting are angry because they strongly believe the election results are not legitimate.

Of course the election wasn't legitimate, it was restricted to the 4 candidates out of 500 that the theocracy decided they could accept. Did Khameini interfere in the election? He interferes in every election at every step in the process. If Mousavi had won, the election still wouldn't have been legitimate. In the unlikely but ossible chance that Mousavi received fewer votes, the protestors are destroying the tiny flawed bit of "democracy" in Iran, not preserving it.

It may surprise you, but most Iranians don't see themselves as living under a brutal theocracy

But, as Mrs. Polly says, the regime is brutal and corrupt. Why should one presume that the result will be good if the protests have gotten "bigger than Mousavi"?

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq there were those who didn't believe the claims that Saddam Hussein had a viable WMD program, but argued that removing him from power would, through a process that was never fully explained, be good for the Iraqi people anyway. So far that is looking like a bad idea.

Maybe the protests in Iran will result in a more open society. Maybe they will result in a clampdown by the theocracy resulting in tens or hundreds of thousands of people killed or jailed. Maybe there are forces behind the protests that you do not know about now but that would change your opinion of the situation if you knew the truth. And maybe it will all be forgotten in a year. It seems like people are relying on hope as their plan.

Here are a few facts for lastword

I've seen the arguments - some of them from knowledgeable sources I generally trust - that the election was certainly blatantly rigged. I've also seen arguments from knowledgeable sources with a good track record claiming that the election might seem suspicious but that there is nothing that indicates with any confidence level that it was rigged.

Is that enough to send people out into the streets? And if so, is that true generally, or just in Iran? In your country, if one side in an election felt that it had been treated unfairly does that justify gathering illegally, shutting down cities, throwing rocks and other objects at police, breaking windows, setting cars on fire, burning down buildings used by the other candidate and setting bombs?

If we are to follow lastWord's thinking, then I suppose the human race is better off that someone like her has been culled from it's ranks

Evolution is amoral. That's one of the reasons it is such a dangerous idea.

It is true the the two Iranian Presidential candidates did not differ greatly on most issues. However, and it is important,
a) the candidates did differ, at least a little on some issues,
b) that was the only extent to which the Iranian people had any say in how their country was run, and
c) experience had appeared to show that their choice would be reasonably accurately recorded.

When that last did not appear to happen, they got upset. Not so much because there was a great deal of difference. But just because they had come to expect at least that little bit of control over their fates . . . and didn't get it. The lesson for all tyrants being: don't let people come to expect anything at all at all from elections. Or the first time they get seriously disappointed, you will be history.

The state-run television called the race for Ahmedinejad within two hours of the polls closing. The official results came ten hours later.

In no previous election, even ones with far lower turnout than this one, has the counting been completed and results announced in less than 24 hours from the closing of the polls.

The official results, once announced, are supposed to be certified three days after the election; this is to allow time for challenges and resolving any irregularities.

This time, the certification came almost immediately, on Saturday.

Also, at the same time as the official results were announced, text messaging (SMS) service was blocked, heavy riot police presence appeared on the streets of Tehran and other big cities, and

One of these would have raised questions. All these irregularities at once, combined with the scale and implausibly even results across localities, sent a clear message: Your vote doesn't count. Given that that's the bulk of the democratic breathing space within the dictatorship...

Is it just me, or is 'lastWord' totally doing a dead-on impression of now_what?

Interesting.

mattt: if so, it's w/o having the same IP address.

Also: while I was logged in as Moe, I went through the spam. You have no idea how many messages the troll from a bit ago posted, using pseuds that were not his/her own.

Jesurgislac, the CNN article I cited has Iranian expert Karim Sadjadpour claiming the results were announced in two hours: "was "a stolen election." Watch Sadjadpour explain why election was "stolen" »

"There are a lot of signs there were major improprieties. First of all there were 40 million votes cast and just two hours after the polls had closed they announced Ahmadinejad's victory: and these votes are hand counted in Iran..."

but if your source says 12, I'll accept that. I2 hours is still an impossibly short time to hand-count 40 million votes, and the point is not that fraud is disputed anyway.

lastWord's "evolution is amoral" line is simply ridiculous. The process of natural evolution exists whether it is an "idea" or not, and yes, it is not a moral process. Even in the minute possibility that evolution didn't exist, its non-existence wouldn't be an idea either, it would simply be.

Social Darwinism, however, as so coolly expressed by lastword, is the sort of idea that appeals to sheltered men and women sitting safely at their computers, while other humans are in the throes of heroic struggles half a world away.

@Mrs. Polly: My comment at 4:19 pm conveys why the confusion exists: the election was called by the state tv within two hours (an impossibly short time to count the percentage of the votes that they said this was based on), and the official results came later. Both were an impossibility to be based on actual counting of paper ballots.

Is it supposed to be “survival of the fittest,”? or the willingness to adapt, guarantees your survival?

"mattt: if so, it's w/o having the same IP address"

They're similarly pompously smug, though. But there are a lot of pompously condescendingly smug people out there. (I'm probably several of them more often than I'd like to think.)

12 hours is still an impossibly short time to hand-count 40 million votes

40,000,000 votes / 60,000 polling locations =~ 667 votes per location.

The claim in the news sources is that these were very simple ballots.

Say two people in each location, one to read the ballots, one to keep a running total of the results. 5 seconds per ballot. Should take about an hour for the actual counting.

The hard part would be the communication back to a central location of the results from 60,000 different polling places. The Iranians are smart enough to build nuclear reactors, they can probably come up with a way.

The way I would do it would be to take the cube root of 60,000 and round it to 40 to make it easy. Divide Iran into 40 regions, those 40 regions each into 40 sub-regions responsible for 40 polling locations each. Each sub-region needs to aggregate the results from 40 polling locations. When that's done, each region needs to aggregate the results from 40 sub-regions. When that's done, the central election HQ needs to aggregate the results from 40 regions.

The whole process shouldn't take more than a few hours.

When you put a few hundred thousand people to work on a problem that can be done with a parallel algorithm you can get things done.

12 hours is still an impossibly short time to hand-count 40 million votes

Not at all, in Germany for instance the polls close a 6pm and you generally have a winner by 10 or 12pm. Hand-counting is very efficient.

Not so much, when they are not counted at the precincts, but rather put on trucks and carried to be counted at centralized locations. The Interior Ministry completely changed the rules on who was allowed to count the votes for this election.

Hmmm...

We know that the army is not ready to kill the people of Iran - #Iranelection

and...

Hojateleslam bin Moslemin Rafsanjani holds the honour of the army of this great nation - #Iranelection - Allah Akbar

I went to the video before I read the graphic description. I thought I could handle it. I couldn't. She looked right into the camera- I saw her look at me. Don't watch it.

"Is it supposed to be “survival of the fittest,”? or the willingness to adapt, guarantees your survival?"

Darwin gave the edge to adaptability.

Is it supposed to be “survival of the fittest,”? or the willingness to adapt, guarantees your survival?
This question is a category error - it has to do with the definition of "fitness", which in this context is about the survival and expansion of species or variants across the generations and not about individuals within their lifespans. Evolution often has little to do with individuals' survival (think of the fate of most of the progeny of a dandelion puff, for example), and jokes and Lamarck aside, evolutionary success isn't about individuals' ability to change their nature.

This misunderstanding of "fitness" ties more powerfully into LastWord' deeply mistaken statement that "Evolution is amoral". I'm reasonably well informed about evolution, if rather less so about morality, but i can assure you that there have been a lot of very interesting and often compelling arguments put forward about how behavior that we perceive as moral could also be evolutionarily beneficial to societies and even to the genes of individuals who follow those moral guidelines. Indeed, philosophers such as Kant were theorizing about how moral behavior can contribute to success without resort to divine agency long before Darwin published the Origin. Suffice it to say that "survival of the fittest" may well mean "survival of the moral", if one takes the long view.

According to the Rachel Maddow Show there are reports that several Iranian cities had voter turnouts >>100% (143% in one case).
I almost expect US RWers to claim soon that ACORN was active in Iran ;-(

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Whatnot


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