Fear and Doubt

From the Times:

Even Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has kept a defiant if low profile, made an unusual public concession. After insulting the huge crowds that poured into the street by dismissing them as “dust,” the president issued a statement on state television, according to The Associated Press:

“I only addressed those who made riot, set fires and attacked people. Every single Iranian is valuable. The government is at everyone’s service. We like everyone.”

14 Responses to “Fear and Doubt”

  1. ethan-p Says:

    Every single Iranian is valuable…except the ones dismissed as dust. What a scumbucket.

    Khamenei, not to be outdone, laid down the law today. Wow, so – he’d believe that election fraud could be perpetrated on a level of 100,000 or a million votes; but never on a scale of 11 million votes? None of this is surprising, given their history. I suppose that astonishment is a better word. Also, it’s no surprise that all of these election shenanigans are clearly the fault of the west.

    Lies indeed. Perhaps Khamenei is a giant douche on such a massive scale that other douches (like Ahmadinejad) gravitate towards him like planetary bodies in an elliptical stinky douchebag orbit.

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    Well ethan, in defence of the indefensible, I’d suggest there are much stronger terms that Ahmadinejad could have used besides “dust”.

    “Scumbuckets” for example.

    So in his patronizing, and easily maligned dismissal of the election demonstrators, the relatively mild term is a sign Ahmadinejad was using at least a modicum of verbal restraint. Remember also that you are expressing outrage over a snippet, likely a “translated “snippet” at that, so the broader context of his remarks – properly translated may have a very different tone.

    Frankly, I’m surprised at the anger in your comment, it’s almost like a wwnj talking about a liberal, and appears several degree of vitriol higher than anything I’ve heard Ahmadinejad say lately.

    So what’s the basis of this outrage, too much fox news or wwnj radio?

    Before continueing with this dialogue, I’d like someone to show me where there are half decent examples of election fraud of a type that could conceivably alter 11 million (?) ballots.

    Because without some kind of reasonable evidence ethan-p and the others just come across as fools in a blind outrage, like those who believe Iraq was partly responsible for 911 or that blindly beleive in the fairy tale that OBL outwitted NORAD from a cave in Afghanistan without some serious help from people in positions of influence.

  3. Smith Says:

    The easiest way to alter 11 million ballots is to just not count them. I don’t know why you and the Ayatollah seem to think people will believe that it is impossible to alter the results because the number was so large. It is not difficult for the government to ignore the ballots and just make up their own numbers. For all your beliefs about government conspiracies, I would expect you to be the last person to find it inconceivable the Iranian government could possibly tamper with elections.

  4. ethan-p Says:

    knarlyknight – That was more of a tongue-in-cheek response. I don’t think that it would normally be fair to take a badly translated snippet so far out of context, but given their history and reaction to recent events…at face value, they ain’t worth shit.

    The reality is that I’ve thought that the Iranian leadership were scumbuckets and/or douchebags for a long, long time. Given the precedent for Iranian bullshit and their scapegoating of the western world, I tend to look at everything that they say with mistrust. I think that the aforementioned leaders have repeatedly shown their propensity for douchebaggery. For our purposes, these opinions probably don’t need to be carefully validated. For the record, I also put Kim Jong Il in the ranks of the giant douchebags under Ethan-p’s Greater Principle of Gravitic Douchebaggery. Like the Iranians, Kim also uses the western world as a scapegoat, which provides his excuse for heavy militarization at the expense of his people, who have no power, no civil rights, and no food.

    Besides, it’s not like anyone is accusing them of some outlandish conspiracy to build landing strips for gay martians. This is just based on evidence of a rigged election (e.g. reports that Mousavi had less votes than campaign workers in many regions).

    Also, I didn’t say that I was outraged. I’m just more astonished by their audacity. I really hope that the Supreme Leader of Iran loses more support of the people, as well as his job.

    Anyway, all of my tongue-and-cheekiness and astonishment aside…I’m with Smith. What he said.

    …oh also, the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad are fuckface scumbucket douches; and Netcraft confirms it. ;)

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    Nice Strawmen, Smith!

    You create a strawman to assert that I find it inconceivable the Iranian government could possilby tamper with elections. That is an error.

    In fact, I find it more probable that the Iranian government would tamper with election results than that the American government would do so. (And I do think that American election results have been tampered with, although to what amount I have no idea.)

    I’m just asking for a basic, even a low, standard for evidence when such significant claims are made. (Reams of evidence is available with respect to US elections, but that is O.T.)

    How does your claim that 11 million ballots were not counted line up with actual processes or the total election turnout? Your math is suspect – with a population of 70 million (many below voting age) and an election turnout of 80% of eligible voters, it doesn’t make sense to claim that 11 million ballots were missing. I can only assume you don’t know what you are talking about and will now scramble blindly to change your conspiracy theory.

    From Time:

    As always in Iran, this election was run by the Interior Ministry. In each ward, ministry and local government officials and respected local leaders form committees to oversee the election process. Iran’s powerful Guardian Council appoints thousands of officials to supervise actual voting at polling stations. Candidates can also send an observer to each polling station to watch the voting and ballot count.

    Also, there were puzzling aspects of the results, but no more so than what we’ve seen in various American counties in the early to mid-2000′s

    Support for Ahmadinejad was strangely consistent across the country, a real change from previous elections, when candidates drew different levels of support in different regions.

    There were several other puzzlers in the results:

    According to official figures, Ahmadinejad handily beat Mousavi in Mousavi’s hometown of Tabriz — a shocking result, given the candidate’s popularity in his own region.

    Ahmadinejad beat Mousavi in the big cities, even though Iran’s very limited polling and anecdotal evidence indicate that Mousavi is far more popular than the President in cities.

    The official figures put support for the other main reformist candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, at below 1%. That is far less than what was expected, and a drastic departure from the pattern in previous elections.

    Puzzlers for sure, reasons for skepticism indeed, but a basis for concluding the whole election was a sham? No, not unless you are a conspiracy theorist of the worst kind.

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    I’m not going to argue with either Ethan or Smith who say the Iranian regime is bad, or the degree to which it is bad. I concede that point while maintaining that their dislike and distrust for that regime is colouring their ability to seperate fact from realistic or false allegations.

  7. ethan-p Says:

    KnarlyKnight, I totally understand what you’re saying: sure, they’re dicks, but where’s the proof of wrongdoing here. I hope that I wasn’t coming off like I’m attacking you. It’s not like that, I was really being more sarcastic than anything else; trying to get a laugh.

    As far as documentation of fraud, I have none. But I did hear repeated reports on NPR that Mousavi had less votes than he had campaign workers in many regions. Doesn’t that strike you as odd, and worthy of investigation?

    In the ayatollah’s speech today, he basically said that no matter what, the election results will stand. In light of information like what I mentioned above; surely that seems pretty fucked up, no?

    (And I won’t call you Shirley)

  8. ethan-p Says:

    BTW – By regions, I meant polling districts.

  9. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Actually zero coverage I’ve seen on CNN has said ‘There is a fraud.’ everyone has said ‘There is a really sizable chunk of the Iranian population reacting like there is a fraud.’

    It seems we’re reacting to something that isn’t even there, for the sake of having a reaction.

  10. knarlyknight Says:

    Lots of sarcasm on the intertubes and its surprising how many people just don’t get it. I usually do (and Shirley does too).

  11. NorthernLite Says:

    Interesting study released by The Chatham House.

    The survey made four main observations:

    -In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100 percent was recorded.

    -At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that his announced victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent conservative majority.

    -In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad had received not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters and all new voters but also up to 44 percent of former reformist voters — despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.

    -In the 2005 election, as in the elections of 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates — and Ahmadinejad in particular — were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That makes it “highly implausible” that the countryside swung substantially toward Ahmadinejad.

    Full study:
    http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/publications/papers/view/-/id/755/

  12. knarlyknight Says:

    Ethan- candidates who get fewer votes than they have campaign workers are victims of fraud, I see no other explanation. But repeated reports on NPR to that effect is only as valid as their source(s) of that information, and that sounds more like rumour than a verifiable claim. I’m sure some Iranian campaign worker(s) may have made the claim, but is it true? Beats me.

    NL, the Chathamhouse paper was good, I scanned it fast and didn’t find their arguments more than mildly convincing, especially about Ahmadinejad being unpopular in rural areas as that is contrary to the poll 2 weeks before the election and what was supposed common wisdom. However, just looking at the raw numbers, swing voters and especially the turnout rates in the various provinces set my spider senses on fire: those do not look like real numbers to me. Just like the WTC buildings 1, 2 and 3 do not look like a gravity induced collapse, the election result numbers do not pass the smell test: they are explosive.

    I’ll keep some skepticis about the claims of Iranian 2009 election fraud, but for all intents and purposes count me in the camp who believe it was significantly rigged.

  13. NorthernLite Says:

    Yeah, the thing I liked about that study was that they didn’t come right out and say “this election was stolen”, they just collected data and presented the findings and kind of leave it to the reader to come to their own conclusion.

    In any case, it’s good to see democracy blossoming in the Middle East from within.

  14. ethan-p Says:

    KK – Hey, I’m not saying “there was definitely fraud”. I’m saying that the results seem questionable, and there is clearly some official douchebaggrey associated with the fallout. I’m fairly certain that this will get bloodier.

    I also think that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s dismissal of…well…everything is pretty lame. Then again, I’ll fully admit that when it comes to Iran, I’m pretty biased. I’m kind of a freedom junkie like that.

    I do kinda dig the “candidates who get fewer votes than they have campaign workers are victims of fraud, I see no other explanation” – pretty funny. Are you playing on the Khamenei logic? (I could see 100k, 200k, or even a million, but there’s no way we could doctor 11M results.)

    Your healthy skepticism is appreciated. All too often, I try to play devils advocate and fail miserably. I know where you’re coming from, and I’m with you.

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