Saturday, September 24, 2022

Last Call For Iran, Iran, So Far Away Con't

The largest protests against the Iranian government in more than a dozen years have spread to a number of Iranian cities as the repressive crackdowns of the government of hard-liner President Ebrahim Raisi have triggered a massive response in return.
The largest anti-government protests in Iran since 2009 gathered strength on Saturday, spreading to as many as 80 cities, even as the authorities escalated a crackdown that has reportedly killed at least 50 people and brought the arrests of dozens of prominent activists and journalists, according to rights groups and news media reports.

Internet access — especially on cellphone apps widely used for communication — continued to be disrupted or fully blocked, affecting Iranians’ ability to communicate with one another and the outside world. News from Iran has trickled out with many hours of delay.

While the 2009 protests erupted over an election widely condemned as fraudulent, the current demonstrations seemed focused on the Iranian security forces, with reports of vicious beatings of security officers and firebombings of the local headquarters of the notorious morality police.

In many cities, including Tehran, the capital, security forces responded by opening fire on the crowds. On Boulevard Ferdous and at the Shahrak Ekbatan apartment complex in Tehran, officers fired at windows; in the city of Rasht, they threw tear gas into apartments, according to witnesses and videos on social media.

Iranian state media said Friday that at least 35 people had been killed in the unrest, but human rights groups said on Saturday that the number is likely to be much higher. A previous death toll of 17 issued by the state news media included at least five members of the security services.

The videos posted online and the scale of the response from the authorities are difficult to independently verify, but video and photographs sent by witnesses known to The New York Times were broadly in line with the images being posted widely online.

Deep resentments and anger have been building for months, analysts say, particularly among young Iranians, in response to a crackdown ordered by the country’s hard-line president, Ebrahim Raisi, that has targeted women.

That comes on top of a litany of complaints over the years over corruption, mismanagement of the economy, inept handling of Covid and widespread political repression. The problems have persisted under Mr. Raisi, who came to power in an election in which any potential contenders were eliminated before the vote, particularly those from the reformist faction.

During the tenure of Mr. Raisi’s predecessor, the moderate Hassan Rouhani, the morality police had been discouraged from enforcing Iran’s often draconian laws against women, particularly the requirement that they wear the hijab in public in the “proper” fashion. But Iran’s powerful supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is now said to be resting in bed after emergency surgery, engineered the ascent of Mr. Raisi, eliminating an important outlet for the frustrations of Iran’s younger generation.

Those frustrations are now boiling over. The small Kurdish city of Oshnavieh reportedly fell to protesters when local security forces retreated after days of intense fighting, the editor of a Kurdish news site said.

“Since last night, Oshnavieh has been governed by the people,” a Kurdish official, Hussein Yazdanpana, said in an interview, adding that women had thrown off their mandatory head scarves in celebration.

“The liberation has far-reaching consequences for other cities,” he said, describing the town as a gateway to other Kurdish areas of Iran.
Ammar Golie, an Iranian Kurd based in Germany who edits the news site NNS Roj, has been in regular contact with residents of Oshnavieh, which is in West Azerbaijan Province and has a population of 40,000 ethnic Kurds. He said the residents had set up roadblocks at the gateway to the city’s only two roads.

Videos posted on social media show large crowds marching in the streets of Oshnavieh, many wearing traditional Kurdish garb, and chanting, “Freedom.” Another video shows intense gunfights over control of the city’s Police Headquarters.

Mr. Golie said local contacts had told him that an army battalion and a unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corps from the nearest city, Oroumiyeh, had been deployed to crush the protests and take Oshnavieh back.

“We are expecting blood to be spilled,” Mr. Golie said. “It’s an extremely tense situation.”

The nationwide uprising was ignited by the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of the morality police on Sept. 16. Ms. Amini was arrested on accusations of violating the hijab mandate. Women have led the past week’s demonstrations, some ripping off their head scarves, waving them and burning them as men have cheered them on.

For seven days and nights, Iranians have taken to the streets, facing bullets, tear gas, beatings and arrests to send a message to the clerics who have led the nation for 43 years. They have chanted for an end to the Islamic Republic’s rule, according to witnesses and videos shared on social media
You mean a government willing to use "religious freedoms" in order to control women and ethnic and religious minorities in a theocratic police state may not be able to maintain popularity for long without having to constantly resort to lethal force?
There's a lesson here for those to choose to learn it.

Dems Playing The Money Game

And they're finally playing it to win, dropping $60 million to help Democrats in state legislature fights, where we've seen that Republican domination has only led to misery and fascism.

A Democratic-aligned group is investing nearly $60 million in state legislative races in five states, a significant sum in an often overlooked political arena where Democrats have struggled for decades.

The group, the States Project, said it was focusing on flipping a single seat in the Arizona State Senate that could swing it to Democratic control and on winning back both chambers of the Michigan and Pennsylvania Legislatures. The group also aims to defend Democratic majorities in Maine and Nevada.

The large infusion of cash from the States Project amounts to a recognition of the critical role that state legislatures play in American politics, orchestrating policy on abortion access, what can be taught in schools and other issues that animate voters. In every state except Minnesota, Virginia and Alaska, a single party controls both chambers.

Next year, the Supreme Court could give the legislative bodies yet more power if it endorses a theory, often called independent state legislature doctrine, that would give state legislatures nearly unchecked authority over elections. Left-leaning groups like the States Project argue that state legislative contests this year in several key battlegrounds could have an outsize impact on future elections.

“The alarm bells are ringing in our state legislatures,” said Adam Pritzker, a founder of the States Project and a Democratic donor. “With the rise of the Tea Party and the balance of power dramatically shifting toward the right, the rest of us have been asleep at the wheel for too long at the state level. And now, this threat is truly off the charts.”

The $60 million investment represents all of the States Project’s spending for the 2022 election cycle. The group estimates that it has already contributed about half of the money to candidates and legislative caucuses.

While Democrats have historically been outgunned by Republicans at the state legislative level, in part because of gerrymandered districts created after the Tea Party wave of 2010, they have ramped up their spending over the past few years and are coming closer to parity this year.

On the television airwaves, Republican candidates and outside groups have spent roughly $39 million, while Democrats have spent roughly $35 million, according to AdImpact, a media-tracking firm. In Pennsylvania and Arizona, Republicans have spent nearly $1 million more than Democrats on ads since July.


The time for this fight was in 2010 and 2014, we'd be in far better shape as a functioning representative democracy if the people representing us weren't violent, racist white supremacy conspiracy theorists with theocratic delusions

And yet we elect the people who are like us as a whole. The problem remains that white America wants to go back to the supremacy era of the 50's (1950's, 1850's, 1750's, take your pick) and at this point it's going to be incredibly hard to stop them.

But we can do it.


The Road To Gilead Goes Through Arizona, Con't

Just six weeks before midterm elections, a state Judge has lifted a Roe-era injunction on Arizona's Civil War-era abortion ban and it will be allowed to take effect, criminalizing the procedure across the state.

An Arizona law that bans abortions in nearly all circumstances can again be enforced after a Pima County judge lifted an injunction that had left the pre-statehood law dormant for nearly five decades.

That decision Friday was immediately praised by abortion foes and lamented by abortion rights advocates — and it stands to be a potentially galvanizing force just ahead of November's midterm elections.

Republican state Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court to rule on the injunction after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country.

The court's decision earlier this year, in the Mississippi case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, put the question of abortion policy back in the hands of states.

Arizona had conflicting laws on the books, leading to the court challenge and confusion among abortion providers about what was legal and what was not.

The Friday ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson provides clarity in allowing enforcement of the old law, which bans abortions in all cases except when necessary to save the pregnant person's life.

But abortion rights advocates are likely to appeal, meaning the state of abortion law in Arizona is still far from settled. Providers expressed shock, outrage and enduring confusion over the ruling, which came a day before another abortion law was set to go into effect.

“Today’s ruling by the Pima County Superior Court has the practical and deplorable result of sending Arizonans back nearly 150 years," Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement. "No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives today."

The basic provisions of the law were first codified by the first territorial Legislature of Arizona in 1864: It mandates two to five years in prison for anyone who provides an abortion or the means for an abortion. The state adopted the law with streamlined language in 1901; it remains on the books today as ARS 13-3603.

"We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue," Brnovich said in a statement Friday. "I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans."

The abortion fight will definitely be on the ballot in Arizona, where women will have to decide whether or not they want a law written before women and Black folk even had the right to vote rule their lives.

2018 was a 49-49% split among white women, and Democrats did very well. But if 2022 is another year where white women vote majority Republican again though, it's going to be bad.

Vote like your country depends on it, because it does.
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