Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 15, 2013

"Ahmadi Bye Bye, Rowhani Hi Hi"

So I just ordered crow for dinner. I was wrong with my Iran election prediction. While I expected that Hassan Rowhani would get the highest vote count in the first round of the election, I did not expect him to get over 50 % and thereby win outright. I had expected 35+% for Rowhani and 25%+ for Ghalibaf. Rowhani won with 50.76% and Ghalibaf conceded after having reached only some 16.56% of the votes. The total voter turnout was 72.7%. Rowhani will be inaugurated as president on August 3 2013.

I take some consolation in that fact that I was not as wrong as the Washington Post editors:

Mr. Rouhani, who has emerged as the default candidate of Iran’s reformists, will not be allowed to win.
Or as wrong as the Israeli-Iranian expert Meir Javedanfar
[I]t is safe to say that moderate candidate Hassan Rowhani has no chance of success. There is little doubt that Mr Rowhani and the Stanford educated reformist Mohammad Reza Aref are far more popular than the conservative candidates. However, the supreme leader would not allow votes in their favour to be counted.
As I have maintained all long: Iran is a democracy, the Supreme Leader is not a dictator and in Iran the votes do count.

So who is Hussein Rowhani (Rouhani/Rohani)?

While he had the support of the "reformists" Rowhani is a centrist who has for a long time been a top politician:

Few question the revolutionary credentials of the mid-level Shi'ite cleric, who was active in the opposition that toppled the Shah in 1979. He remains on the security council and is also on the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, two eminent advisory bodies in Iran's multi-tiered power structure.

Rohani boasts military experience through prominent roles in Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq, including as commander of national air defense, according to his official biography.

He has, however, maintained a centrist outlook shared with former president Rafsanjani, a close ally.

Rowhani is a cleric and studied jurisdiction in Qom and Glasgow where he also received a PhD. He speaks fluently English, Arabic and Farsi as well as some German, French and Russian. He has written many books and articles.

Rowhani was the chief negotiator on the nuclear issue between 2003 and 2005. In a 2006 Time magazine piece he defended Iran's nuclear program and warned:

Could it be that the extremists all around see their interests — however transient, domestic and short-sighted — in heightened tension and crisis? This situation, if not contained with cool head and if miscalculations continue, can easily turn into a crisis with potentially global ramifications for the rule of law under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and for the economic and security interests of all concerned in the region and beyond. It is high time to cease sensationalism and war mongering, pause and think twice about where we are heading.
Rowhani did not like how the Ahmedinjad government handled the nuclear issue. While he wholeheartedly defended that program he urged, mostly for economic reasons, for a more conciliatory approach in the negotiations.

In a interesting 2005 speech on his own nuclear negotiations, which was analyzed here (pdf), he clearly pointed out that the whole conflict with the "west" is about much more than the nuclear issues:

The speech also sheds light on how Iran perceives the various key players involved in the crisis: the United States, the EU3, Russia, and China. The American goal is to bring Iran to the Security Council based on the nuclear issue. But Rohani perceives the United States as having a broader agenda. “We would not come out of the UN Security Council with only a solution to the nuclear case. They intend to raise all of their issues, such as the Middle East, terrorism, and the rest, there.”
There is more from and on Rowhani and the negotiations here and here.

Rowhani will be socially as liberal as Ahmedinejad was. But will probably have less conflicts with the conservatives within the political system. We do not yet know what his economic priorities are or how he will implement them. As he is near to Rafsanjani he may be less social-democratic than Ahmedinejad and go for less redistribution. He is likely to be more conciliatory in the negotions about the nuclear issue, something the Israel-firster hawks who want war already fear, but he can be expected to not give in to the outsized demands the U.S. has put on the table.

My congratulations and best wishes to Hassan Rowhani and to the Iranian people.

Posted by b on June 15, 2013 at 16:33 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Perhaps he is Iran's answer to Obama: different face and rhetoric but the same policies underneath. I'm not sure how much more conciliatory he can be with the nuclear program. The US will not relent on sanctions no matter what Iran offers.

As for economy, I was speaking to an Iranian friend who had just returned from Iran a month ago and he was saying how startled he was at the amount of new construction and on-going projects in Tehran compared to his previous visit 5 years ago. The city seemed to be "flowing with money" according to him. He is VERY anti-government but was very proud of how Iran has stood up to the whole world and managed to progress despite sanctions.

P.S. Perhaps you meant "crow" the bird, rather than "craw," which, I believe refers to some part of an insect's digestive tract?

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 15 2013 16:55 utc | 1

P.P.S. A very strong post and as usual much closer to being right than most. No need to eat anything other than your favorite foods.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 15 2013 16:56 utc | 2

@Lysander - I corrected the crow and I will not eat the feathers, thanks.

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2013 17:02 utc | 3

"So I just ordered crow for dinner. I was wrong with my Iran election prediction."
You'd make a lousy Neocon, b :)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2013 17:11 utc | 4

Even Rafsanjani, who was disqualified as candidate for is age, calls the Iran election as most democratic in the world.

The folks in Washington who believe that elections in Iran are fake and "not credible" will have some explaining to do. With Ahmedinejad missing who will be their next Hitler?

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2013 17:17 utc | 5

I wish Rowhani the best. Not my choice by a mile but could be a smart choice. From his wiki biography it does seem like he has a revolutionary background. He is from a prominent Anti-Shah family. He was arrested many times by the SAVAK secret police. Went into exile in Paris with Ayatollah Khomeini. Served in a number of defense posts during the Iran-Iraq war. Set up several Iranian foreign policy journals/newsletters. Longtime member of the Supreme National Security Council, was chief nuclear negotiator.

On Foreign Policy he knows his stuff and no one can question his revolutionary credentials. On economic policy it will be interesting. With Iran gripped in sanctions his more free market approach could prove hard for many to swallow.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 15 2013 17:18 utc | 6

So I just ordered crow for dinner. I was wrong with my Iran election prediction.

In fairness, if Rowhani had gotten 0.77% less votes it would have gone into the second round like you said. If no candidates get over 50% it is automatic second round. He got 50.76%. Just squeaked through on the first round.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 15 2013 17:25 utc | 7

Well , it was a shocking news for me but all of other candidates send their congratulate message to him and accept the result ... we have to respect laws and accept the people choice ... although he won with 50.7 percents of vote ...

and this show that Iran election is free election and 2009 election was free as well but some candidate were bad losers ....

although I don't like him but now he is our president and we have to show some respect to him because people chooses him ....

Iran won't change his Strategic policies but may change its tactic ...

Posted by: A Person | Jun 15 2013 17:43 utc | 8

OT - police clears Gezi Park in Istanbul now - livestream http://www.livestation.com/en/reuters and http://www.dha.com.tr/dhayayin/

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2013 17:53 utc | 9

Iran could be a democracy without the supreme leader preselecting candidates :-))

This here is Putin enjoying himself in a Russia Today interview

There is a comment somewhere in the middle on "Iranian crafty politicians exploiting the tensions with the US".

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2013 17:53 utc | 10

I was just wondering how many of us "congratulated" president Obama on the night of his victory in 2008. So I went back to MOA archives, and saw this AMAZING post dated on Oct. 30th/2008 from "debs is dead". Since it was excellent as it was, I will just quote it here and leave it to any one of you to change the name "Obama" to "Rowhani", "Ahmadinejad", "Khatami" etc. as you may wish:

"No. I won't. I was gonna refute some of the hopes being expressed here but apart from the even more useless and destructive opening to be able to say I told you so, there isn't much else that could be used for.

If the obama thing does turn to shit though, remember that the failure isn't a failure of man, that it is impossible to have a society that isn't focussed on feeding off the weakest, because all humans are too selfish.

It should be seen as a failure of the process, that it is the amerikan model of government that is flawed and cannot ever deliver a power structure which puts the needs of all humans ahead of the desires of a select few."

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Jun 15 2013 17:54 utc | 11

Happy with the result. I voted for Rouhani but was surprised myself by both the very high turnout and a first round win for Rouhani.

Posted by: Pirouz | Jun 15 2013 18:27 utc | 12

@Somebody #10;

"Iran could be a democracy without the supreme leader preselecting candidates"

Actually the "democracy" part is not the part with which I had my main problem. If anyone came accross some of my comments on the site www.raceforiran.com (nowadays it has changed in to goingtotehran.com), he or she would know that I always described Iran from 1997 on wards as a defacto liberal democracy.
There was a time when in "western democracies" only certain classes were allowed to vote. From the late 19th century onwards this changed into everyone is allowed to vote but the candidates were defacto restricted to the representatives of only a certain class. As Mark Twain once famously said: US has the best congress money can buy.

So no, I am not expecting a miracle in Iran or any where else in the world. I would be content with describing Iran as a "democracy" (provided that the "Western democracy" is the yard stick) if the establishment were to restrict its "elimination" to the "anti-system" candidates (which includes first and foremost a "would-be" candidate of my choice). And it was so between 1997 and 2013. Sadly it is no longer so!

Still, describing Iran as a "democracy" is not my main problem. My main problem is what I just explained in my post #11.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 15 2013 18:28 utc | 13

For those of you who may wonder why on earth I put "_2" after my name: The commenter #12 is the reason :-)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 15 2013 18:31 utc | 14

@1 "he was saying how startled he was at the amount of new construction and on-going projects in Tehran compared to his previous visit 5 years ago"

Perhaps they realize that the best way to deal with the sanctions is to provide some economic stimulus with construction projects. This is something that US/EU governments - being wholly owned by banksters - are unwilling to do. Is this the right assumption? What I know about the Iranian economy wouldn't fill a thimble.

____

It will be interesting to see now how the US deals with the new administration. I don't see how we can hold out much hope - especially with the goings on in Syria. Likely we'll deftly transmute the tensions of nuclear crisis directly into tensions related to Syria. I have literally ZERO expectation that the United States will take this opportunity to do the right thing.

____

@4 - LOl, I always appreciate the humor. Especially when it comes like this with a heavy dose of truth.

____

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 15 2013 18:36 utc | 15

9) Erdogan thinking provocation on a Saturday night works for him?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2013 18:49 utc | 16

re 1

As for economy, I was speaking to an Iranian friend who had just returned from Iran a month ago and he was saying how startled he was at the amount of new construction and on-going projects in Tehran compared to his previous visit 5 years ago. The city seemed to be "flowing with money" according to him.

Although I haven't been in Iran, I can confirm that that was the impression I had from neighbouring Turkmenistan. The convoys of Iranian trucks exporting their products were very difficult to overtake - they were so long - on Turkmenistan's abominable rutted roads. I took that to be evidence of Iranian entrepreneurship. It was not state-organised contracts, as Turkmen-Iranian political relations are currently difficult.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 15 2013 18:59 utc | 17

As I have maintained all long: Iran is a democracy, the Supreme Leader is not a dictator and in Iran the votes do count.
My impression is, as you say, that democracy works in Iran in the same way as in Turkey or Egypt. The country

Posted by: alexno | Jun 15 2013 19:23 utc | 18

Sorry, mistake

The middle class vote western, but the country people are conservative Islamic and vote for the regime. For a moderate to be elected is already something for relations with the west.

The situation is not that dissimilar from Turkey, where Erdogan could be elected tomorrow, by his conservative support, in spite of the Taksim demonstrations.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 15 2013 19:32 utc | 19

I think that rowani was a compromise deal made in some dark rooms.

Evidently and very unfortunately the western "quiet colour war" has worked to a degree. That's why "reform" was the ticket that guaranteed to get the masses votes.
Of course, things being what they turned out to be, I do not expect any major tirades from the west. After all it's their candidate that won.

Evidently, someone had to give in, either Khameini or rafsanjani and knowing about rafsanjanis ways one could assume that rafsanjani once again betrayed his people.

I'm expecting rowani to play seemingly loyal to Khameini but to quietly sell out and betray him and the Iranian people.
I'd be very glad to be proven wrong but I wont hold my breath.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 15 2013 20:48 utc | 20

19) Am not so sure, Erdogan seems to have managed to unite left and right against him. AK party got just under 50 percent in 2011 elections, up from just under 47 percent in 2007 up from just under 35 percent in 2002.

So 35 percent was the conservative core 10 years ago, the rest was acquired by successful policies from not so core constituencies.

Erdogan's policies have changed from no problem with neighbours to problems with most neighbours and protests are costing the economy.

And - the Kurds Erdogan is negotiating with take part in the protests.

I do not see how he can retain the 2011 vote. Most people do not vote for polarising politicians.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2013 20:49 utc | 21

Obama cant stop his lust for wars.

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/06/15/309188/us-jets-missiles-to-stay-in-jordan/

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 15 2013 21:40 utc | 22

I was wrong about result.
I hope i am wrong about him . He is a bad news.

Posted by: Loyal | Jun 15 2013 23:12 utc | 23

@13
It was Will Rogers, not Mark Twain. Twain said once "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself."

Posted by: Caroll | Jun 15 2013 23:30 utc | 24

There are first official statements from western governments.

Basically all western governments incl. zusa register rohanis success "with relief" and are "looking forward to cooperate with him".

In other words: rohani is a traitor and western whore.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 15 2013 23:52 utc | 25

@22 loyal,
No. The bad news is that quite a few of your countrymen cannot even nominate their own candidate. Principlists should have thought about it when drunk with unrepresentative power looked in contempt on their fellow citizens (even on ahmadinejad wing of the establishment) and saw in themselves the right to eliminate THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT CANDIDATES just so that they would win an election in which they were nothing but a miserable 3rd runner!!
The reason for Rafsanjani's elimination was not his "age" it was because principlists thought even with mashaei gone they couldnt win. They had to remove Rafsanjani too! And that is the tragedy of these elections, and that is why there is nothing to congratulate about.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 16 2013 0:04 utc | 26

Pirouz_2 (25)

So what? Why don't you celebrate as you seem to be pro rafsanjani? After all his go-for has won and, so I read, the youth celebrate rohanis victory (which he expressed so well fitting with the churchill (war criminal) "V" sign").

There is now talks about "fresh wind in Iran", doubtlessly blowing from and payed for by the west.

So, why aren't you happy?

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 16 2013 0:11 utc | 27

@Mr. Pragma,
LOL...

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 16 2013 0:25 utc | 28

Mr Pragma, even if Rohani wanted to 'sell' the country, he certainly can't give it away for free. Simply put, the US can't lift sanctions even if it wanted to. Even if Iran offered to halt all centrifuges and ship out all its uranium. Reason being is that with free trade and scientific exchange, Iran becomes an economic powerhouse that dwarfs every single middle eastern country. Including Israel, including KSA. Hundreds of billions of investment dollars would flood the country.

The Israel firsters will never allow that. And so, even if Rohani goes hat in hand to the west, they will make him eat it.

Iran has been prepared to limit it's enrichment for years and has offered several very generous compromises...all declined by the west and answered with even more sanctions. If Rohani is out there looking for compromises, he is about to find out that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 16 2013 0:36 utc | 29

By the way Loyal, don't worry too much. What can Rowhani possiblly do beyond what khatami did?? After all khatami even had the backing of the 6th majlis and couldnt do shit. What are you afraid of?
Anyway, Rowhani is a member of the "assembly of the experts". Surely he couldnt get to the assembly of "experts" if he were not an "expert"?? And think of the bright side, what if that heretic called mashaei had been qualified and won? Can you imagine how embarressing that would be?? The guy whom your side did not let become a vice president??

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 16 2013 2:32 utc | 30

"For a moderate to be elected is already something for relations with the west..."

It doesn't matter whether Iranians elect a "reformer", a "conservative" or a "populist." The only candidate that the "west" will support is a Quisling. And there are none of them on offer.

The United States will not make peace with any Iranian government which will not agree to fall in with US imperialism's plans for the world.

Those who believe that the US welcomes this result should get out more: it hates it. It would greatly prefer another propaganda campaign claiming that the election was stolen and that the "reformer" was counted out. It is now in the position of having to grit its teeth and pretend it welcomes Rohani's clear victory. In fact it hates it because it knows what is coming next: a re-iteration of the commitment to Palestinian liberation, a re-assertion of Iran's right to develop nuclear energy sources and a renewed treaty of friendship with Syria.

Mr Pragma,@26, who ought to know better, forgets that the V-sign was the anti-imperialist "peace" sign in the sixties. Russia has no need to worry about Iran. It would appear that Iran has reason to be disappointed with Russia's performances over Bushehr and the delivery of defensive weapon systems.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 16 2013 2:32 utc | 31

Iran is becoming more and more dynamic. It's definitely the country to watch and learn from. They will even have an international expo on how to have the economy functioning under sanctions. Many countries should emulate Irans desire to remain unconquered. It's inspiring.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 16 2013 6:32 utc | 32

@32 and all the other lovers of iranian political lifestyle:

so you call that "democracy" when a religious institution like the guardian council in Iran chooses 6 or 8 candidates with a "good enough" pious background out of several hundreds as the only ones to be allowed to stand for election? Could you enlighten me and others which institution in the US or Europe or elsewhere you see fit for such a guarding role, just that I know how to behave and where to go to if I want to use my democratic rights

Posted by: thomas | Jun 16 2013 7:43 utc | 33

Wow, that didn't take long.

JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli official said Sunday that sanctions on Iran should be increased to pressure Tehran to end its suspect nuclear program, despite the election of a reformist-backed president, as nuclear efforts remain firmly in the hands of ruling clerics.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister of intelligence and strategic affairs, spoke to Army Radio a day after the surprise victory by Hasan Rowhani in Iran's presidential election was announced...

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 16 2013 8:31 utc | 34

well , are you know that Iran Supreme leader gave Rowhani highest IRI Military medals because he was commander of Iran Anti aircraft systems network in Fav Operation ( In Iran-Iraq ) war and under his command Iran Anti Aircraft systems managed to shot down more than 80 Iraqi fighters ...

and He only have 50.7% of votes , so he can't ignore 49.3% voters and even most of his voters are believing in nuclear program .... and he always saying that he did thing under Iran supreme leader watch and that because Iran couldn't go war against USA in 2001 and 2003 ( although we can't go to direct war with USA and NATO but now we can deal much more damage to them and their Arabs allies ... ) and for him keeping Islamic Republic and Iran safety was the 1st precedence...

about Rafsanjani ... he has the same goal as Supreme leader in foreign policy but he believe that Iran should avoid direct conflict against west till the proper time ... after all nuclear program begun under his command

Posted by: A Person | Jun 16 2013 8:57 utc | 35

Lysander, #34,

Disgusting but shows who is calling the shots.
If there was no israel/lobby there would be no fight between Iran/US.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 16 2013 9:05 utc | 36

The way I see it, the West is bound to act nice to the new president and actually, Ruhani will negotiate with them from now onwards from a position of strength..

Remember this new president was screwed over by the EU/US during the "reformists" era. It was during the reformists rule that Iran was labelled "axis of evil", despite all their efforts to improve ties between Iran and the West. Now whether he likes it or not, he'll be bound by the trend set by Dr. Ahmadinejad in terms of foreign policy but be a bit more flexible on domestic policies. Basically, the West will have to play extremely nice with him, hoping that he keeps the hardliners in at bay and give them something in return for the years of "being tough" against the hardliners - for now.

He, knowing how he was screwed over by the West in their previous administration, will also stand his ground on key issues. I don't think Iran's position on Syria, nuclear file will change. Dr. Ahmadinejad's nuclear policy's made it such that any government that gives in slightly to Western demands will be seen as a collaborative government that seeks to weaken Iran. One thing all Iranians agree on is their country's nuclear program.. In fact, some even advocate for Iran to have the bomb - although not in the majority yet. But this could change is the West keeps pushing ahead with the mad policies.

I see the reformists next chance as acase of "once bitten twice shy"..They tangoed with the West, hoping that it'll improve their standing domestically. it backfired miserably and cost them dearly. I'm even tempted to say they'll be even more tougher than Ahmadinejad on many fronts.

The noise coming out Europe about their enthusiasm and desire to work with this new government is hogwash..They're only hoping the reformists don't pay them back in kind for backstabbing them in the past...


Interesting time.. ;)

Anyway, Iran made us all proud..Congrats to all!!!

Posted by: Zico | Jun 16 2013 10:06 utc | 37

Could you enlighten me and others which institution in the US or Europe or elsewhere you see fit for such a guarding role, just that I know how to behave and where to go to if I want to use my democratic rights

that is indeed a great question. do you have any idea how senators and congress critters are chosen? do you think you would be able to become either of those? just how does one get the chance to even run in an election?

money is not enough, ideas are usually counter productive. if indeed there is a council of top clerics then at least you know who they are and you can appeal to them. who do you appeal to in the US?

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 16 2013 10:24 utc | 38

West cant stop discrediting Iran, now alleging that they will deploy 4000 troops to Syria. Just nonsense.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 16 2013 10:36 utc | 39

@thomas - so you call that "democracy" when a religious institution like the guardian council in Iran chooses 6 or 8 candidates with a "good enough" pious background out of several hundreds as the only ones to be allowed to stand for election?

The reason why you do not understand Iran is your wrong impression of "religious institutions" in Iran.

The guardian council and the supreme leader are jurisdictional institutions. The people there are highly trained judges who are tasked to set out the law. They do not have (at least not primarily) any religious functions like a bishop or priest in the Christian worldview. As the law in Iran is based on Islam they are of course highly trained in Islamic interpretation. But many of them have lots of additional "western" law training. Rowhani has a PhD in law studies from Glasgow. Former President Khatami has written a lot about Kant. These folks ain't boorish preachers from the backwoods.

The presidential candidates are chosen or rejected according to laws. The law says they have to have proven capabilities and have to support the constitutional underpinnings of the Iranian state. That is not much different than in any other democratic state. Most of the several hundreds rejected are simply rejected for their lack of proven capabilities. That has nothing to do with being "pious".

Unless you get that Iran and its institutions are a primarily legal, not a religious framework you will never be able to understand the country.

Posted by: b | Jun 16 2013 11:05 utc | 40

b (40)

Thanks for that necessary and well put explanation.

In the end pretty every system bases on or is strongly influenced and driven by "religious" (in one way or another) values and/or ideas.

And by that I do not simply mean that western parties often even have a religious term like "christian" in their name.

What, for instance, is the so highly valued "freedom"? In the end it's a concept based on another concept which in the european history has its feets in a christian world-view (as opposed, for instance, a mechanistical world-view with humans seen a mere bio-automata).

The image of wild and salivating Imams running countries and suppressing people is for the major part an invention or, at best, an exaggeration of western propaganda largely based in human weaknesses like the tendency to define as norm what ones own culture and/or society perceive as normal.

Some modesty would fit the western nations well. After all many positions they bring up today against Islam such as the position and role of women have been rather different in the quite recent past. Actually, this is a funny example because in Iran women have the right to vote. In many European countries this same right is a novelty of merely the last decades.

Last but not least the "wild terrorist-friendly Imams" of Iran have factually acted way more peaceful and civilized than most western "democracies". It wasn't Iran to bring war-horrors to other countries; it was the western "lighthouse democracies".

Looking at the facts one is led to see that the "wild Imams" have acted by far more cultivated, educated and rational than the much beloved (or so say the presstitutes) western democratic leaders.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 16 2013 11:27 utc | 41

#33 Tomas

Who put forth the conservative/democrats candidates in the american election? The american people? No the insitutions in respective camp.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 16 2013 12:04 utc | 42

40) dear b.:-)), I do not really wish to go there, because the comparison is wrong, but any dictatorship in history - chose the dictatorship you like - was "legal" in the sense that there always has to be a set of codified rules otherwise societies just do not function. You are mixing up dictatorship or authoritarian regimes with despotism that is a completely different kettle of fish. Actually despotism is very rare in history as a complex society just cannot be run by that. And one of the powers of dictatorship/authoritarian regimes ist that people prefer relative safety and the rule of any law to an anarchy they cannot control and deal with.

May I remind you that one criminal German dictatorship used to be supported by a large faction of highly trained judges and the other German dictatorship had no shortage of lawyers and judges either.

Iran is a religious dictatorship with checks and balances. Any ruler, despot, dictator or authoritarian needs a legal framework to justify the rule, and to base it on god is the most convenient of all.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 16 2013 12:20 utc | 43

Somebody #43

No you shouldnt "go there" because it isnt a dictatorship, its authoritarian (by western standards) and supported to great majority of its people.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 16 2013 12:44 utc | 44

@32 and all the other lovers of iranian political lifestyle:

so you call that "democracy" when a religious institution like the guardian council in Iran chooses 6 or 8 candidates with a "good enough" pious background out of several hundreds as the only ones to be allowed to stand for election? Could you enlighten me and others which institution in the US or Europe or elsewhere you see fit for such a guarding role, just that I know how to behave and where to go to if I want to use my democratic rights

Posted by: thomas | Jun 16, 2013 3:43:58 AM | 33

conditioned response

as weve seen time and again the institutions in US or EU ignore the people who supposedly put them there

Posted by: brian | Jun 16 2013 13:36 utc | 45

@somebody

The very first definition I found in the internet for "dictatorship" was:

"A country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator."

Absolute power means power that doesn't accept any legal bound, any limitation, any check and any balance.
The system of governance in Iran is religious by their own acceptance but calling it a dictatorship display either a lack of knowledge of elementary political theory or a biased and tilted point of view towards muslims.

Posted by: ATH | Jun 16 2013 13:55 utc | 46

I think you mean that he studied "jurisprudence" (Rechtsprechung).

Posted by: Albertde | Jun 16 2013 14:00 utc | 47

"These folks ain't boorish preachers from the backwoods."

Nevertheless, a government based on a religion presupposes a morally-superior caste with a more intimate knowlege of the Godhead than your proverbial man-in-the-street. How can this not lead to ructions?

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 16 2013 14:57 utc | 48

Religious belief should be treated like tobacco, alcohol, and fatty foods: permitted but not encouraged.

Posted by: Watson | Jun 16 2013 15:09 utc | 49

Cuba is a good example: all religions are free to flourish(afterall, in the sacred precincts of one's own mind one may believe whatever one wants) but the govt is officially atheist. And no one sect is allowed to set itself off from the rest of society as the Real Deal.

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 16 2013 15:20 utc | 50

@somebody

The very first definition I found in the internet for "dictatorship" was: . . . .
Posted by: ATH | Jun 16, 2013 9:55:33 AM | 46

ah now you'll just end up confusing everything.

"Accuracy" ain't exactly one of this chap's strong-points.

Get's in the way of the never-ending stream of unverified blatantly-propagandistic bullshit, you see.

Posted by: nobody | Jun 16 2013 15:37 utc | 51

And now Netanyahu weighs in on how the Iranian president-elect (spelled "Rohani" in this article -- soon, I assume, the English writing world will settle on an accepted spelling) is no better than the current president, and, besides, it's Khamenei who calls the shots. So, best to intensify sanctions, ASAP.

"We are not deluding ourselves," he said. "We need to remember that the Iranian ruler at the outset disqualified candidates who were not in line with his extreme world view, and from among those whom he did allow, the one seen as least identified with the regime was elected. But we are still speaking about someone who calls Israel the 'great Zionist Satan."

Netanyahu said that in any event it was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's Supreme Leader, who determines Iran's nuclear policy, and not the country's president.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Netanyahu-warns-Dont-be-fooled-by-new-Iranian-president-316688

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 16 2013 15:50 utc | 52

Over here in Australia our Head of State ( the Governor-General) is the representative of the Queen of England – and has no real power except in a grave crisis. Our Prime Minister is chosen by the majority party after a national election and not by the people directly i.e. is not directly elected – and can be sacked by her party at any time. Yet I'd argue that the model for elections for representatives in our lower and upper houses of National Parliament is more representative than that of the USofA.
I think the guided Iranian Presidential elections is no better or worse than the US. Obama was pretty much the selected candidate of the Establishment for empire building – much the same as Rowhani it would appear was the man chosen by the Iranian establishment as befitting this time in history. Free and Fair elections are a matter of perception and management – more a figment than a reality. All countries do it differently.

Posted by: mark delmege | Jun 16 2013 15:58 utc | 53

@ 48

Rephrased:

"Nevertheless, a government based on an atheism presupposes a morally-superior caste than your proverbial religious man-in-the-street. How can this not lead to ructions?"

It worked so well for religious people in Soviet Russia or in China, isnt?

Lets stick with the facts - vast majority of Iranians are Muslims, and they themselves embraced Islamic rule. Its not up to you or me or Oboma to decide what type of government they suppose to have.

Plus, we are talking about much more peaceful Iran's government than most of the Western ones. Also respectful to other believe systems, unlike some of West, East and most of Sunni ones.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 16 2013 16:09 utc | 54

Speaking about democracy and sovereignty, Iranian style is actually a better working system than American. In US wins the one with the most cash and/or corporate backing. While the same applies (to some extent) to every election system, but Americans wouldnt be electing (nor two party-system would allow) idealists like Chavez or Nejad, who cared about their nations more than corporate interests.

Its also very ironic - US is a superpower, and yet their government is under the feet of a tiny nation on the other side of the World. It wouldnt happen in Iran, their system prevents it.

Bottom line, we Westerns should get off our white horse of supremacy how others should run their countries, and while there is no perfect system anywhere in the World, Iranian is a pretty good (better for its nation than USA's is for its) one and reflects people's desire.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 16 2013 16:21 utc | 55

"Could you enlighten me and others which institution in the US or Europe or elsewhere you see fit for such a guarding role, just that I know how to behave and where to go to if I want to use my democratic rights"

The United States has one of the most strict vetting processes on the planet, and it is managed entirely by the two major parties which are, in turn, managed entirely by moneyed interests. Obama was so successful because he actually managed to present a veneer of someone who might do right by the American people, but managed to convince those he needed to that he'd use that veneer to sell their policies.

To call the United States a democracy at this point is really really stretching things. The last even remotely successful third party candidacy was in 1992, and that only because the man was a billionaire who had enough influence to be taken seriously by the media. Take a look at a man like Nader or Kucinich, who in reality have platforms that a majority of the American people - according to polls - are behind. But for that exact reason, they are marginalized into conspiracy theorists and UFO abductees (while ignoring that Reagan vetted policy with an astrologer) by the corporate media.

There's an old joke that exactly right: "The two party system is exactly twice as good as a one party system."

The Iranian system doesn't seem particularly democratic, but it certainly doesn't seem any worse than the joke of a system of "political opportunity" we have in the USA. And at least their you can be sure that the candidates have the interests of their country at heart. Here the nomination goes to who will sell out the American people for the lowest price.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 16 2013 17:19 utc | 56

@ 33:
Most of the guys here wrote exactly what I ecpected them to write re my criticsm of labeling Iran as a "democracy" whom we have to be "proud of". You are coming around with comparisions of the US electoral system and how corrupt and bad it is, but thats not the question here. We are talking about Iran's electoral system and that it is in my view not at all fulfilling the conditions of participation in a democratic process as laid down in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1946 already to which Iran is a party.

And at least in the US you may have, beside the 2 party system, have parties / organisations / groups / individuals like the greens, the socialists, the independents, even the greatest m...f... to stand for election, not being preselected and allowed to be voted for. That's much better and very different to Iran.

Let us discuss all this Obama stuff you mentioned this coming week when he will be doing a public speech again in Berlin, this time in front of the Brandenburger Tor and not at the Column like 2008 as a presidential candidate. You will see and hear that the tenthousands who will come will be booing him out for his policy, be it Guantanamo, NSA, Syria, Assange etc. But in the case of Iran he will have most people applauding him I guess.

The only one trying to answer within the Iranian context was b. @40, but he got it totally wrong. So for b. it is "law" if the whole political and societal system is based on a religious system / belief / forced on everybody, even worse because in the Islamic religious system the iranian shiite one is already different to other islamic "sects", let me put it that way, but it is demanding slavish obedience from you as an individual.

So b., it would be okay when we would have here in Europe that papal institution of the catholic church or of any other christian sect to tell us what to do, spread homophebia and women's subjugation and denigration, deny science and preach the recurrence of Jesus etc., or am I wrong?

Posted by: thomas | Jun 16 2013 17:25 utc | 57

spread homophebia and women's subjugation and denigration, deny science and preach the recurrence of Jesus etc.,

this sounds a lot like the republican party platform.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 16 2013 17:34 utc | 58

The Catholic Church already has that kind of influence in many European countries (Spain, Italy, Poland). And usually the main right-wing parties in those countries use to follow the Catholic doctrine and even 'advice' from the clerical leadership. So the differences may not be that large compared with the Iran regime.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 16 2013 18:04 utc | 59

@54, your objections are puerile. There's only one type of atheism and everyone knows what it means. It maintains no priesthood, rabbinate, gurus or adepts. As for your "facts", no Russian was ever prevented from believing the body of Jesus is present in the host. Nor Chinese from believing the no.8 has special properties. Was Muhammed Allah's amanuensis? Perhaps, but the evidence is sketchy at best, certainly not enough to base an entire country on.

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 16 2013 21:05 utc | 60

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 16, 2013 11:50:21 AM | 52


dont be fooled by the old israeli president...as many jews have been

Posted by: brian | Jun 16 2013 23:23 utc | 61

I was not going to do this- at least not now- because it is too long. But it is relevant to what people say in here and I think it would be good to know some *facts* about the Islamic Republic. So I'll try to keep it short, and since I doubt that it will be received with much enthusiasm, I am not sure if I will do the long version. Anyway, here it is:

Mr. Khomeini, in one of his public speeches in the 80's:

"If from the beginning when we brought down that corrupt regime, and broke down that corrupt barrier, we had acted in the revolutionary manner and broken the pens [B]of all the press[/B], and closed down all the corrupt journals and the corrupt press and if we had tried their editors and if we had banned the corrupt political parties and had prosecuted their chairmans and had punished them and had set up hangging scaffolds in all major squares, and had massacred all the corrupts, right now we would not face these troubles.
I beg forgiveness from the allmighty and the dear Iranian nation, for our mistakes. We did not act in a revolutionary manner, if we had, these [political parties] would not dare to express themselves, we would have banned all parties, we would have banned all [political] fronts. [B][There has to be] One party only, and that is the party of god, the party of the oppresed. And I repent from my previous mistake. And I declare to all these corrupt political parties, that unless they behave, we will confront them in the revolutionary manner.[/B]"

Also I could find this piece of news from an old Ettelaat newspaper (from Iran):
Etellaat news paper (in Iran) Some time towards the end of June 1981 (it is wrriten in Persian and is displayed between 3:57 and 4:00 minutes in the youtube clip):

The heading of the news says:
"The arrested people from the demonstration of the June 20th, were executed by firing squads without even the determination of their identity"

The content of the news says:

"Public relations of the district attorny office of the Islamic revolutionary court, regarding the criminals who were arrested because of participating in the recent counter-revolutionary activities and for whom the court had issued sentences and the sentences were carried out [ie. execution] has made the following announcement:
'We respectfully bring to the attention of the families whose children were arrested during the recent counter-revolutionary activities in Tehran, and for whom a sentence was issued by the court and was executed: Please, bring your own (photo carrying) birth certificates together with the (photo carrying) birth certificate of your children, whose pictures are being published on this page on the side, to the central office of the Evin prison and receive [the body] of your children'
It must be mentioned here that names of the persons in these pictures have not been determined."

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Jun 16 2013 23:51 utc | 62

Somehow the links did not come out.
For the first speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7gJvLKl--s
And for the second piece:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBRoyPQxRTY (minutes 3:57-4:00)

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Jun 16 2013 23:54 utc | 63

Thomas, at #33 you wrote

Could you enlighten me and others which institution in the US or Europe or elsewhere you see fit for such a guarding role [...]

Only to claim in #57

You are coming around with comparisions of the US electoral system and how corrupt and bad it is, but thats not the question here.

The way I understand your comment that was precisely your question, what institutions in the US or Europe are playing the guardian when it comes to selecting which faces people are allowed to vote for.

Who for instance elected Barosso, or van Rompuy, the two men calling the shots in the EU? It wasn't you Thomas, and none of your fellow Europeans. So who were the faceless men making sure these two clowns are elevated to their positions?

Who is responsible for the decision that Merkel and whats his name, Steinbrueck, are the candidates for chancellor in this year's German election? Brown nosing party hacks with career ambitions, that's who.

In Iran voters had six candidates to choose from, how many candidates for chancellor are there in Germany this year? How big is the difference between Merkel and Steinbrueck in real terms?

And you can bet your bottom dollar that before the Christlich Soziale Union CSU in Bavaria, ruling the lands since 1948, will have a Muslim party leader and candidate for Ministerpraesident the guardian council in Iran will endorse a Christian applicant.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 17 2013 0:22 utc | 64

@Juan Moment;

"And you can bet your bottom dollar that before the Christlich Soziale Union CSU in Bavaria, ruling the lands since 1948, will have a Muslim party leader and candidate for Ministerpraesident the guardian council in Iran will endorse a Christian applicant"

I most certainly hope that you turn out to be right. And to be honest, I think that it is possible that you turn out to be right.

"Who is responsible for the decision that Merkel and whats his name, Steinbrueck, are the candidates for chancellor in this year's German election? Brown nosing party hacks with career ambitions, that's who."

Just out of curiousity, do you feel like congratulating when at the end of "elections" a new parliament is formed in Germany?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 17 2013 0:38 utc | 65

64) Actually, people do decide these things, it just takes time and organization. At least if the voting system is proportionate and the threshold for representation not unrealistically high.
A majority vote two party system is more like a roll of the dice.

Minor fact, the CSU did not rule Bavaria since 1948 - there was a Social Democrat president from from 1954-7 leading a coalition. The CSU today has no absolute majority and needs a coalition.

German Green party was founded by grassroot movements in 1980 and gets up to 24 percent nowadays - eg in conservative Baden Würtemberg. Die Linke gets something close to 30 percent in former GDR areas. Angela Merkel is in a league of her own - she was a complete outsider in the CDU having spent most of her formative years in the GDR (yes she speaks Russian, yes she had to take lessons in Marxist Leninism)

Social Democrats have a historic aversion towards Die Linke and are competing for the same type of voter - that is the only reason CDU and Liberals (liberal as in free markets) remain in the game.

Religion has no real role in German politics, especially since close to 20 million Eastern unbelievers joined the club. You get something like one third claiming to have no religion, one third Protestants and one third Catholics. People saying they are Catholic or Protestant tend to be very relaxed about it ie not really living it. Divorce rate is circa 50 percent, one third of kids are born out of wedlock.

But, of course, politicians have to work with the way power is distributed in a society and cannot change the balance of power.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 17 2013 1:41 utc | 66

Hi All,

As an Iranian, I am still very confused!

Not sure how the supreme leader allowed people to select what they want!

Currently I am out of Iran but I was there 4 years back and had seen the mass protest in the fraud election 2009.

I guess we people forced the rulers to obey what we want by non-violent battle we performed in last number years.

I hope I am true and election (or selection!) of Rowhani is not a set-up for cooling down the crowd's willingness of regime change!

Posted by: Savvy | Jun 17 2013 1:49 utc | 67

Savvy, I live in Iran. 4 Years ago people voterd for President Ahmadinejad and now they voted for President-elect Rohani. It's quite simple. There never was a selection. No need for confusion.

Posted by: Sasan Taymourian | Jun 17 2013 2:25 utc | 68

Savvy;
Still obssessed with the idea of "fraudulent elections"?? :) You people have really some nerve!!
So let me guess any time election results go against your vote it is fraudulent and any time elections go according to your wishes it is the will of people? And you people have the gall to call that democracy? Tell you what, since you know so very well what it is that the Iranian nation wants, I say we call of any future elections and let you decide who the president should be. After all you know what the people want and no polls are necessary!
I really can't decide wether the greens or the principlists are more pro-dictatorship. Just as I think no one can be worse than the principlists -thank god- one of you guys pop up and make me realise that there are greens who are even worse! Or are they? Dammit...I cant decide...nah...I think you guys are pretty much the same.
By the way go thank the leader; had Mashaei been allowed to participate there was a darn good chance that these elections would turn out to be "fraudulent" too (ie. your side would loose again!). But since unlike you I don't claim to know Iranians better than the polls, I just say "there was a darn good chance" instead of claiming that Mashaei would have won. As I said, we would never know (and it wouldnt make a hell of a lot of difference anyway) because unlike your candidate, he was not allowed to participate.
As I said go thank the leader.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 17 2013 2:26 utc | 69

Pirouz_2, to answer your question, no, I don't feel congratulatory after parliamentary elections, not just German elections but pretty much anywhere for that matter. For the simple fact that parliaments as they are constituted today are a scam.

The problem is actually not the parliamentary system as such, that's a damn fine idea, what sucks and debases this idea into a near meaningless gathering of slime balls are the political parties.

Lets stay with the German parliament for arguments sake. Long before a vote on bills before the house is taken can I tell you which way it'll go. Every vote. Always along party lines. The hands go up when the party whip tells them to. For that I don't need parliamentarians, robots could do the same just cheaper, much cheaper. Thinking about it, all it takes is a couple of hundred lengths of string attached to broomsticks on hinges with a cardboard hand glued on, all being pulled by one person. Hey presto, a modern parliament for less than $1000.

Half the freaks in there haven't even read the laws and regulations they are voting on. Why? Cos it's not required to do their job. Their job is to pretend, act out a play called Democracy for us. Should I sit there and applaud every time they allow new actors on stage?

What do they deliver? Broken election promises, backroom deals, corruption and political incest. Looking at parliament footage, most speakers are talking to a 80% empty room. Ridiculous.

What is needed is a system where parliamentarians are not elected, but randomly selected. Like jury duty. If its good enough to pick people who apply the laws then that system is surely good enough to pick the people who make the laws. A parliament by the people for the people, not one by spineless career politicians for the people.

Out of all eligible citizens a computer randomly picks the 400 or so new parliamentarians. What you get is a cross section of society, the lawyers and the punks, the grandmas and the unemployed, the nurse and mechanic, the cop and the pawn broker, the smart and the not so smart, but for my part I am certain we would get a group of people I would trust more with making decisions than the pin stripes and hairspray troops the current system regurgitates.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 17 2013 2:40 utc | 70

Juan Moment;
Do you feel like congratulating Iranians over this elections?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 17 2013 2:50 utc | 71

Mr. Pragma
*There are first official statements from western governments.

Basically all western governments incl. zusa register rohanis success "with relief" and are "looking forward to cooperate with him".

In other words: rohani is a traitor and western whore.*

the recent trend looks very disturbing
http://www.countercurrents.org/auken070613.htm


Posted by: denk | Jun 17 2013 4:13 utc | 72

Mr. Khomeini, in one of his public speeches in the 80's:

"If from the beginning when we brought down that corrupt regime, and broke down that corrupt barrier, we had acted in the revolutionary manner and broken the pens [B]of all the press[/B], and closed down all the corrupt journals and the corrupt press and if we had tried their editors and if we had banned the corrupt political parties and had prosecuted their chairmans and had punished them and had set up hangging scaffolds in all major squares, and had massacred all the corrupts, right now we would not face these troubles.

Obviously Mr. Khomeini was a well talented observer and a very wise man.

Those same words that he said, could be said and would be to the point in most western countries.

The question is to be asked though, whether those corrupt media and politician and in particular the parties came to be and to act the way they do by mere hazard or whether there is a concept behind it and a common root and if so what this common root is.
For as long as that root isn't exterminated any fight for a better and more humane world is bound to be a Sysiphos fight against symptoms.

Iran - with its religious leaders - actually is what zusa baselessly claims to be: A lighthouse, a guiding light and an important source of hope.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 17 2013 4:55 utc | 73

test

Posted by: denk | Jun 17 2013 5:38 utc | 74

Somebody @66, what is your point? You write "Actually, people do decide these things, it just takes time and organization." No kidding? Just like the Iranian guardian council is made up of people and takes its time to make decisions.

Also, whilst I appreciate your stock take of the current political landscape in Germany, I don't draw the same conclusions. Today's SPD is no different from the CDU, not on matters that count. Thats why Merkel will get back in, there ain't no difference between the two so the mob might as well stick with Mutti.

Former East German apparatchik Merkel and her bunch of house trained lap dogs, Steinbrueck and his bullshit fees for speaking engagements, baby face Roessler, Seehofer with his entourage of relatives, and my all time favorite Martin "Feed Me" Schulz, I mean look at those characters, your political elite, the products of German party culture. Do you ever wonder if party leaders are windbags like the ones you continuously end up with, just how stupid those must be who selected them in the first place?

Mind you, here in Australia its no different. The worst of the worst rise to the top, the back stabbers and sell outs. Party rooms where political discourse can be described at best as mental masturbation and philosophical inbreeding, evolution of the wrong kind. Always ready to support a war somewhere whilst vilifying refugees on leaky boats as the greatest threat to the nation.

Pirouz_2 @71, I don't congratulate people unless they have achieved something, and voting for a politician doesn't fall into the achievement category for me. They went out and ticked a name, no biggie.

Mr. Pragma @72, maybe you are just more pragmatic than me, and in light of its courageous stance towards the killer regime in Israel and Zato in general you are even right, but from a human rights perspective Iran is neither a lighthouse nor a source of hope, not by a country mile.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 17 2013 6:12 utc | 75

Juan Moment (75)

Human rights?
The bloody truth, whether this is seen and understand or not, is that most of the (supposedly) precious values and achievements in the western world is but an illusion.

Take freedom, possibly the most valued issue, as an example. The people do *not* live in freedom but merely in an illusion of freedom, nurtured not even so much by the governments magic talents but rather by the peoples desire.

Freedom is not a fruit that can be plucked from a tree nor is it something that can be given; freedom is to be earned by each and everyone. It requires understanding, the understanding, for instance, of the difference between freedom and choice and the fact that most instances of "freedom" are at a closer look but choices; choices prepared not by the supposedly free people but by their regents and systems.

And freedom requires what most "free" societies (or, more precisely, their rulers) deny most strongly; they insist on their system, their culture, their religion, their view being the right one and paint all other ones as more or less bad.
Freedom, however, requires to learn and understand that there is rarely the right and the wrong. right and wrong are baseless concepts unless seen in a context, a situation, a time. Freedom is a way not an item to comfortably consume; freedom as a right is without value, no matter whether that "right" is called "basic", "human", "constitutional" or otherwise. Given as it is or as it is supposed to be is no more valuable than the give people the right to fly in the air, it's worthless.

And last but not least, we could make a real, albeit a small step toward freedom if we looked closely at those who demand freedom for everyone or who complain about the supposed or alledged absence of that "right". Usually they are politicians, media whores or demagogues who may desire a lot of things but sure enough not meaningful rights for the people.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 17 2013 6:49 utc | 76

Judging by #1's friends comments, if the priestly caste think they can get out of trouble by printing up rials, they better think again because people won't take kindly to their depreciated rials buying basically nothing while their costs rocket upwards.

Posted by: heath | Jun 17 2013 7:16 utc | 77


Out of all eligible citizens a computer randomly picks the 400 or so new parliamentarians. What you get is a cross section of society, the lawyers and the punks, the grandmas and the unemployed, the nurse and mechanic, the cop and the pawn broker, the smart and the not so smart, but for my part I am certain we would get a group of people I would trust more with making decisions than the pin stripes and hairspray troops the current system regurgitates.

Being saying this for approx the last 15 years

"Serious" people tend to laugh when someone proposes such a system.

As near to random as one could get.
True governance by the Demos.

The problem is that the "serious" people have swallowed the "meritocracy" nonsense. And they still labour under the illusion that some "expertise" is required. And they love their "experts", that lot.

Most people seem to think a shallow popularity contest is in some way vastly superior to what you propose.

Posted by: nobody | Jun 17 2013 13:37 utc | 78

Good interview in video by real news on Iran:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10256

Posted by: ben | Jun 17 2013 13:58 utc | 79

@Pirouz_2

Any way you spin it, it wont come out the way you need it.

Here's a quote from the Leveretts regarding the election in Iran:

"...In the end, most Iranians seemed to believe – and acted as if they believed – that they had a meaningful choice to make."

This is, in essence, the definition of legitimacy: the system of governance in Iran was formed after a popular revolution and is still getting the approval from the population after 34 years.

Posted by: ATH | Jun 17 2013 14:30 utc | 80

Although Most Iranian voted for Rowhani a liberal for presidency , they voted with almost the same margin to Conservative candidates for City council election.

Posted by: Loyal | Jun 17 2013 17:07 utc | 81

"Freedom is not a fruit that can be plucked from a tree nor is it something that can be given; freedom is to be earned by each and everyone." Pragma

Anotherwords "freedom isn't free"? Gosh, isn't that what every goddam reactionary, right-winger, war-fanatic and state-sucker in America says. And you say the same. Thank God we have someone who is qualified to determine who has "earned" their freedom, and who hasn't.
Never leave us, Pragma, we'd be lost without you!
But make no mistake, I'm a Pragmatist!

Posted by: Mooser | Jun 17 2013 17:37 utc | 82

@ATH #80

"Any way you spin it, it wont come out the way you need it."

I think there is a misunderstanding here. I am not trying to spin it in anyway to make it come "the way I need it". I am not sure how you think that you know what I "need"? Perhaps you are confusing what I want with what you "need"?
Look, I am not claiming here that the majority of Iranians don't want the IR system. Nor am I claiming that my ideas represent the majority of Iranians, or even a large number of them. Far from it, I belong to a tiny minority who could perhaps be measured by the fractions of a percentage of the population. That does not mean that I am wrong or have no right to have a candidate of my own or to have to express my opinion or to organaize to convince more people to join me however.
Still I am not talking about even my own rights.
Look, I am making a very simple straight forward argument:
The leader and every other politician within the system did everything they could to bring people to the ballot boxes. Still more than 28% of the population did not vote. To give you a perspective on how large a number that is, Mr. Rowhani won with the vote of ~%37 of the population. That means some 28% of population had no dog in the race. Apart from that *many* people who voted, did so because they thought voting would be even worse than not voting.
Apart from that, and perhaps even more important than that, the two most important candidates very eliminated from the race. Just so that it would become clear, let me give you this example, imagine that in the next world cup, without any qualification matches, apart from Singapore and Iran which are very far away from passing their group matches let alone becoming champions, more importantly Brazil and Spain are barred from participating in the world cup and then all of a sudden we have Germany as... lo and behold: World champion!
Now no one can claim that if Brazil and Spain had not been barred, that they would have become the champion and the runner up. After all we never let them play to see whether they would win or lose! But nevertheless can you call that a real race? Can you comfortably call Germany the champion and congratulate them for winning the cup???

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 17 2013 18:17 utc | 83

"freedom isn't free" on the lips of the Reaction is a way of sloughing off "collateral damage". But Pragma asks the important follow-up questions: Freedom for whom? To do what?

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 17 2013 18:20 utc | 84

@pirouz_2

I am not judging your person, I am just qualifying the opinion you broadcast. And it sounds like you are aiming at delegitimizing the system of governance in Iran as much as you can.

The Iranian system is obviously not perfect (whose is / was ?) but based on the facts, not ideology, under the current circumstances, it is resiliently showing a great deal of backing by its citizens. 72% real participation rate is truly amazing for a country like Iran and nowadays even states like France, with her 230 years old revolution, considers it a pretty good rate. You shouldn't forget as well that 13% more participated in the previous election, seen today as a rehearsal of the upcoming “springs” in the middle-east. These extra folks, that have abandoned the electoral process this time, are mostly extremists rejecting the whole system and feeling the need to see events, which unfolded inconclusively 4 years ago and not at all this time around, that will cause the violent downfall of the political structure and the return of the ancient regime (for the majority of these folks) or a Marxist form of government (for a tiny minority.)

As for the disqualification of Rafsanjani and Mashayi, and all others, this was based on the existing rules of the election process and had nothing illegal. The law might seem unfair to you, but respecting it gives one more chance of improvement than breaking it. Since the vast majority accepts the legal framework of the system in Iran they feel that they have more chances to improve its working mechanism by abiding by it rather than following a minority with the agenda of violently breaking it. As far as your comparison to Brazil and Germany goes, it is like for them not making it to the world cup based on poor elimination phase results or having cheated in several of their qualification games.

The law in general and the legal framework for a nation-state in particular are by definition a limiting factor to the absolute freedom found in nature. The statesmen's art is to devise a limiting system based on the culture and history of the whole, legitimized by the majority of the citizens and bringing sufficient enough sovereignty which will guaranty to the maximum security and wellbeing of the whole.

And, for the "need" part...sometimes the aim is so blatantly subjective that it cannot be separated from one's emotional needs.

Posted by: ATH | Jun 17 2013 21:48 utc | 85

Mooser (82)

Anotherwords "freedom isn't free"? Gosh, isn't that what every goddam reactionary, right-winger, war-fanatic and state-sucker in America says. And you say the same. Thank God we have someone who is qualified to determine who has "earned" their freedom, and who hasn't.
Never leave us, Pragma, we'd be lost without you!
But make no mistake, I'm a Pragmatist!

Freedom is as free as Mathematics. Theoretically, everyone is entitled to it. But then, who wants theoretical rights?

In order to enjoy it, we ourselves have to walk a distance to earn it. Not to earn it from someone who decides whether we are worthy or not but to earn it in a similar way we earn the capability to use mathematics.

Fact is that - like in a restaurant with a menu - we don't have freedom but choice - a very important difference. And like in the restaurant it's not us who created or offered the choices but someone else. Our choices as citizens are parties and candidates and it's not us who puts the choices.

Fact is that pretty everywhere people using their freedom to protest and say say their opinion are stopped in their tracks, very brutally, if necessary unless their opinion happens to be within a frame considered acceptable by the powers that be.

To put it simply: Pretty everything that is considered "freedom" is actually depending on others to accept us having it and to not block us forcefully. That evidently is a paradoxon.

Freedom has been demanded so often although it should be evident that this is a contradiction in itself. It has been demanded from kings, from tyrants, from congressmen, from bankers and from many others - except one: ourselves.

Most impressive words documents dealing with it call it "freedom" but actually mean "a somewhat more comfortable cage and some options" - and so do most citizens.

And just btw: freedom has nothing to do with left and right, nationalists or communists. Actually all those categories are incarnations of the choice system that is, a limitations game that actually blocks freedom.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 17 2013 23:48 utc | 86

Out of all eligible citizens a computer randomly picks the 400 or so new parliamentarians. What you get is a cross section of society, the lawyers and the punks, the grandmas and the unemployed, the nurse and mechanic, the cop and the pawn broker, the smart and the not so smart, but for my part I am certain we would get a group of people I would trust more with making decisions than the pin stripes and hairspray troops the current system regurgitates.

While this sounds nice (and seemingly offers some real democracy) it is not a solution to the problem but merely a small change in the mechanics.

Suppose you inherit a business, a mid-size company. Would you put its command into the hands of grandmas, nurses, and cops? Hardly.

A state is a immensely larger and more complex mechanism (or organism?) than a company with some 1000 employees. To make it more difficult, unlike a company that has quite clear and measurable goals, a state has goals that are often not or at least not easily measurable and, more importantly, that are not natural and evident like for instance "profit".

It is sad, I confess, but fact is that the vast majority of grandmas, nurses, cops, and brokers don't have the slightest idea about the relevant concepts needed for running a state or even just defining its goals and guide lines.
Most people vote based either on very few issues (usually selected in a very selfish thinking), on tradition, on opposition or even on gut feelings and sympathy.

In the end a good state is based on some rather lofty goals (which I do not ridicule but widely share) and idealistic concepts that are proven unrealistic (but nevertheless desirable).

Actually we do not need grandmas, nurses, cops, and bankers to formulate those goals; they have been formulated many times throughout history in religious contexts and, even better, most religious systems widely agree on the major points.

The points we complain about in Iran isn't so much the religious basics but rather the ways to implement them, for instance the perceived (and often exaggerated) "brutality" of implementation. This, however, isn't a lot to do with religion but rather with the extreme tension created by western powers. Being in a situation where a society is faced with military attack since many years necessarily shifts priorities and creates a less tolerant system.

Last but not least, I strongly prefer a somewhat uncomfortable system with honest leaders over on with lying leaders. For example both, Russia and zusa, impose serious limitations on certain civil liberties; but Putin is open about it and explains it while obama lies through his teeth whenever he talks and puts immense resources into somehow keeping the nice system front up (with decay, murder and ruin behind it).

To come back to he beginning, this (the quote above) is just one example for the reasons we are *not* free. Changing some screws and settings of a machine doesn't change the system. Real freedom begins with reflection leading to see the reality, which again is the conditio sine qua non for any changes whatsoever.
Exchanging and replacing whores of bankers and the military industry may *seem* to bring change but it doesn't if the replacement are, no insult intended, clueless idiots. Sorry.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 18 2013 0:22 utc | 87

Mr Pragma, from where I am standing your airy fairy musings on "freedom" have little to do with Iran hardly being a lighthouse shining the way when it comes to human rights.

A country where people are executed in public does not qualify as a source of hope. Unless of course you get into seeing dead people tangling from cranes, which you may well do. I for my part don't.

_____________

Regarding your views on 400 ordinary folks randomly selected not being as wise as 400 elected party hacks out to ride the taxpayer gravy train, I have my doubts. Actually, I say bullshit.

It seems you and I have a fundamentally different idea of what politicians are meant to be. In my mind their job is to represent the people, not lead them. Big difference.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 18 2013 1:19 utc | 88

Juan Moment said:

"In my mind their job is to represent the people, not lead them"

Actually it looks like you are the one with neo-con ideology. What you are stating here is the ideology mostly claimed by "end of history" philosophers who see the Western polity as the ultimate phase of the history and the final stage of the state-nation dissolving it. They claim that these "highly evolved" societies do not need political leadership anymore but just regulators taking care of the distribution of the money supply and adjustment of the laws in "the paradise".

It is obvious that this concept is in complete contradiction with the basic formulations of democracy, rule of law and the role of the citizens and the civil society. A nation-state is not a legalistic/economic machine where passive citizens are represented by cohorts of lawyers and financial investors regulating and fine-tuning internally the whole while managing externally the war efforts. Politicians should formulate and broadcast their ideas, citizens will vote for them looking for effective leadership from their side, when elected, towards a future that they believe is the best for them and their children. Without such a process any talk of democracy is void and null.

Posted by: ATH | Jun 18 2013 2:31 utc | 89

Juan Moment (88)

from where I am standing your airy fairy musings on "freedom" have little to do with Iran hardly being a lighthouse shining the way when it comes to human rights.

Human rights neither is the only relevant issue nor the only relevant measure. You are free, of course, to choose any issue of your liking to measure a state. You are not free, however, to limit others to your choice.

Iran is a lighthouse and a source of hope in many respects.
One is that Iran shows that religion, saecular views, and democracy *can* go together. Another more important one is that a country *can* say "Thanks, no" to the zio/zusa establishment and can not only survive but actually thrive in many areas.

A country where people are executed in public does not qualify as a source of hope. Unless of course you get into seeing dead people tangling from cranes, which you may well do. I for my part don't.

This statement of yours is a double betrayal. First it plays the "find 1 bad thing to condemn a whole system" game. Second, Irans opponents are killing in many more diverse and usually dirty ways. Furthermore the executions in Iran, as ugly as executions are anyway, are based on court rulings which again are based on law. That's something important and something one can not say of israel und zusa.

Regarding your views on 400 ordinary folks randomly selected not being as wise as 400 elected party hacks out to ride the taxpayer gravy train, I have my doubts. Actually, I say bullshit.

So what? That's not what I said anyway. I agree that it's bullshit for the major part, but then, it's bullshit you invented.

It seems you and I have a fundamentally different idea of what politicians are meant to be. In my mind their job is to represent the people, not lead them. Big difference.

Indeed. And one of the built-in shortcomings of western democracies.

You fail to explain *why* it's important to represent people as well as who should lead.

Let me help out.

Peoples representation is indeed very desirable. For one simple and evident purpose: Whoever leads needs, unless he wants to run a tyranny, to know what the people want and need. And indeed, in that regard a group of citizens chosen by hazard is a better way to establish that important element of state governance than by selecting from a strongly biased pool of, say, bankers and the like.
But there is an important point you don't adress: represent to whom?

But there's still the question "who rules?" (and how). For this many important preconditions are to be met (which the vast majority of citizens do not meet).

The solution of the problem you mean (but fail) to adress is not different or new ways of selecting representatives. The solution is to make sure that those representatives are listend to and listened to respectfully - and - to have a mechanism in place to, if necessary, enforce that.

The required mechanisms therefore are not or only to a small degree changes in the selections of peoples representatives (although the proposed "lotto" system would quite probably be an improvement). The required mechanisms would be more along the line of giving the people more direct influence where desired and technically feasible and, very importantly, to give the citizens a tool like "un-electing" politicians.

Another extremely important step would be to break and abolish party systems. We have seen again and again that those systems develop a high dynamic of their own, leading to many undesirable and undemocratic issues such as politicians being more loyal to their party than to their constituents up to the point of making parliamentary proceedings and votings a farce.

And again it can be seen that Iran actually is way in front of fukuz. Unlike in most western democracies Iranians have a chance to vote for politicians and ideas rather than parties and representatives who again the vote (or simply deal) - often very differently - for other representatives or leaders. Furthermore, unlike in zusa, an Iranian president can not be simply baught.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 18 2013 2:51 utc | 90

Fair enough ATH, if a leader is what you are looking for, by all means, go and follow some dogmatic party manifest and whomever its well paid disciples decide should lead them.

I prefer my MP to represent my electorate in government and not the government in my electorate. Important distinction.

It is obvious that this concept is in complete contradiction with the basic formulations of democracy, rule of law and the role of the citizens and the civil society.
Democracy can be as direct or indirect as a group of people choose it to be. But hey, why don't you explain to me what role the citizen has in your concept of democracy? Following?
Politicians should formulate and broadcast their ideas, citizens will vote for them looking for effective leadership from their side, when elected, towards a future that they believe is the best for them and their children. Without such a process any talk of democracy is void and null.
That is exactly the rotten system we have, a couple of parties and their functionaries telling lies and false promises to get elected - fucking over the people once they are in. In four years we repeat the crap. If it weren't for apologists and conformists like you we would possibly see some progress.

The people you call your leaders are just overgrown versions of your student council president, inflated egos with a need to tell others whats right and wrong. Intelligence has little to do with getting elected. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of MP's in many countries have IQs a full standard deviation below your average MoA reader.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 18 2013 3:52 utc | 91

Mr Pragma @90, you wrote

Iran is a lighthouse and a source of hope in many respects.... Another more important one is that a country *can* say "Thanks, no" to the zio/zusa establishment and can not only survive but actually thrive in many areas.
As I said in my original reply, I agree with you on that. My contention was with human rights, Iran ain't no beacon of hope, no matter which way you twist the issue.
First it plays the "find 1 bad thing to condemn a whole system" game.
Would you like me to link more pages listing grave human rights abuses? And where did I condemn the whole system?
Second, Irans opponents are killing in many more diverse and usually dirty ways.
This argument is not only lame but also wrong. Wrong because I am in no doubt that Iran had its hand in running death squads in Iraq and torture is also not unheard of in Iranian intelligence circles. And lame coz it is no excuse that its enemies are also engaging in grave human rights violations. Following that argument we might as well all shut up and let every government maim and torture, coz others are doing it too!
Furthermore the executions in Iran, as ugly as executions are anyway, are based on court rulings which again are based on law.
Has it occurred to you that politicians can come up with laws that contravene principles of human rights? Or is it where you went to school that the teacher said 'once its a law, its all good'?

As for the rest of your comment, this one phrase says it all.

But there's still the question "who rules?" (and how). For this many important preconditions are to be met (which the vast majority of citizens do not meet).
Thats right, Mr Pragma knows that only a small minority of people are born to lead, the ones fulfilling his important preconditions before they can be declared fit to lead.

Would you please list those preconditions and which state leaders meet them?

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 18 2013 4:53 utc | 92

Gosh, isn't that what every goddam reactionary

Mooser, the most reactionary person posting here is you, at the moment.

You contribute almost nothing but snark, in reaction to the comments of others.

@ATH
A nation-state is not a legalistic/economic machine where passive citizens are represented by cohorts of lawyers and financial investors regulating and fine-tuning internally the whole while managing externally the war efforts.

And yet that is pretty much what we in the "West" have allowed our "Nation States" to become.

Politicians should formulate and broadcast their ideas, citizens will vote for them looking for effective leadership from their side, when elected, towards a future that they believe is the best for them and their children. Without such a process any talk of democracy is void and null.

The above seems to be a vote in favour of a "Professional" Political-Class.

"Professional" Politicians ARE the problem. The continuation of a "Professional" Politicial-Class is certainly not a solution to the lack of real representation.

Posted by: nobody | Jun 18 2013 5:45 utc | 93

"If it weren't for apologists and conformists like you we would possibly see some progress."

Basically, If you can't be part of the solution, then pls just shut up and get out of the way. Because all you are doing is perpetuating the corrupt useless system we already have

Posted by: nobody | Jun 18 2013 5:47 utc | 94

@ATH

”And it sounds like you are aiming at delegitimizing the system of governance in Iran as much as you can.”

In my comments regarding Iran and its elections I try to stick by facts. I don’t try to fit the facts into my worldview, on the contrary I let facts lead me to whatever conclusion is logical. And I recommend the same approach to everyone. Now which one of the facts that I have given do you disagree with? Kindly count my facts with which you disagree.

“but based on the facts, not ideology, under the current circumstances, it is resiliently showing a great deal of backing by its citizens. ”

As I reminded you before in my previous comment, I do not dispute the fact that the majority of Iranians do not have a major problem with the system of the Islamic Republic. So I am not sure why you feel the necessity to repeat it.
By the way, the fact that you may have the backing of the majority of your citizens, does not mean that the system is admirable. Having the majority’s support is necessary but not sufficient. Hitler’s coalition with DNVP had majority’s support (turnout 71.6%), voter turnout in Turkey in 1983, under the junta of Kenan Evren, with extremely heavy restrictions on political parties was more than 75%. This Erdogan character has had his last election with a turnout of more than 85%. I can go on, but I think I have already made myself clear.

”As for the disqualification of Rafsanjani and Mashayi, and all others, this was based on the existing rules of the election process and had nothing illegal”

Which rules? GC does not give any reason for its decisions regarding disqualifications. Just so that you can see what I mean, our good host ‘b’ believes that Rafsanjani was disqualified due to his “age”. Mr. Kadkhodaei did not mention anything regarding “age” but rather he http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-22/217940-iran-bars-rafsanjani-mashaei-from-election.ashx#axzz2TvGrdVIH”> said:

”The spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, said Monday that candidates who were limited in their physical abilities would be barred, a comment that was widely seen as aimed at Rafsanjani.”

Interestingly Mr. Khamenei (with a handicapped arm) only 5 years junior of Mr. Rafsanjani is qualified to hold the position of Supreme leader. And Mr. Rafsanjani himself is not too old to hold the position of the head of the expediency council. But he may be too old for being the president.

Mr. Mohammad Marandi speculates (the same link):

“I think one of the most important arguments that’s being put forward against him (ie. Rafsanjani) is that four years ago he and his supporters questioned the validity of the presidential results, to say the least,”

There is also the MP, Mr. Tavakkoli, who http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=158123”> is not sure that based on what reason the decision was made against Rafsanjani:

“What was the most important reason for the disqualification of Ayatollah Hashemi? Letter of the law or political expediency? Kadkhodaei (the speaker of the GC) last night said that GC will follow the law and regime’s high expediency. The decision for the disqualification of Ayatollah (Rafsanjani) was based on which type of reasoning? The letter of the law or the high expediency?”

So based on what Mr. Tavakkoli's quote from Kadkhodaei (ie. The speaker for GC), quite contrary to what you think the disqualifications don’t have to necessarily be based on the letter of the law, they could also be based on the high expediency of the regime as well!! (LOL...so much for the rule of law, huh?)

And of course then there is also the case for Rahim Mashaei. Our own ‘b’ says that he should not have been disqualified.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-22/217940-iran-bars-rafsanjani-mashaei-from-election.ashx#axzz2TvGrdVIH”> Mr. Marandi thinks otherwise. Marandi speculates (what else can anyone do other than speculation, GC doesn't have to give out any reason for its decisions!):

“He’s not a political heavyweight, he’s never had a high ranking official position, meaning for example as a government minister...But I think most importantly what would lead to his disqualification is the fact that he and the president used government funding for his unofficial campaign in numerous provinces and in Tehran over the past two or three months. And that definitely goes against the spirit of the law,”

Now I know what the letter of the law means, and Mr. Kadkhodaei also said the letter of the law, but I am not sure what “spirit of the law” means in this case.

And of course there is also Ayatollah Moemen who is one of the GC members who http://khabaronline.ir/detail/286329/”> said as early as mid April 2013 that:

”Have no doubt that if we so much as smell “deviance” from a candidate, that we will disqualify him.”

Of course “deviance” means only Mashaei and co; that is common knowledge. So in essence Ayatollah Moemen has already given the reason for Mashaei’s disqualification (and I think being a member of the GC he is a hell of a lot more qualified than Mr. Marandi)

So As you can see Brazil and Spain did not lose their qualification games nor did they cheat! It was deviance and the high expediency of the regime (read that as doing ones best to secure a principlist victory) which was the reason, not the letter of the law.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 18 2013 7:12 utc | 95

I've spent quite a bit of time considering how to best implement a jury system of government like the one Juan Moment has outlined and if it were to work long term I believe there are two other elements which need to be liberated from greed & apathy.
The first is the public service. It isn't until you actually spend time working with professional politicians that you realise that as bent, vain and generally fucked up as those types are, most are captives of their senior public servants.
You see this in the day to day administration stuff pollies do, more than in the few 'headline' or dog whistle issues they campaign on. The vast majority of stuff pollies enact - the stuff that steals our freedoms and rights, is dreamt up & pushed by power hungry public servants eager to turn that concept around and make the people, the nation's citizens, their servants.
So they regularly trade everyone's right to privacy away so they can more easily control the few citizens whose activities inconvenience them.
The other one, a big one, is truth.
I mean objective presentation of facts.
We've got a smarmy neo-liberal who is all waves & shit eating grins, running aotearoa at the moment.
He's been in for long enough now that his lies are becoming too obvious for the outright denial to continue, so he doesn't even try, he runs with one of the most barefaced amnesia agendas I've ever witnessed & he gets away with it, chiefly because he keeps smiling and waving and the media go along with it, never challenging him and presenting some of the most fact free opinionated news I can ever remember seeing here.
Mr Smarmy still keeps his voters happy - ask any of them about the blatant scams the bloke has been caught up in & they'll say "Oh I think our Prime Minister is such a nice man with a beautiful smile - not that I follow politics".
If a jury government were to function better than what we have now, it would need to be aided by an honest and objective bureaucracy and be operating in an society where reality & not spin was the common currency.

If that wasn't the case, the center of political power would shift, as it always does when a revolution is neither full spectrum, nor ongoing. It would move to either the senior public service or the mass media, or most likely a mixture of the two.
After a time parliament would become an irrelevant debating chamber. No one would even notice because once people accepted they no longer had a role in picking their representatives, their interest in who the representatives were - what they did would wane as the other two institutions gained power.
A massive cultural shift in the way Public Servants are considered by society would have to occur in a jury system.
It would have to be made plain that this wasn't a job for people wanting careerist style personal advancement, that this job was strictly for citizens interested in the best outcomes for their community.
That there would be some good rewards, but these would be taken back if someone betrayed the trust placed in her/him. There would also be major punishments for any public servant who betrayed their community.
Some sort of well resourced independent media organisation would need to be created and the performance its employees must be above reproach as well.
Then we would need be sure that over time that power would not end up in those organisations charged with keeping these others honest.
It's tough in fact you spend enough time considering this stuff & you start thinking "maybe what we need is a way of isolating the gene that causes lack of empathy, greed, sociopathy, whatever you choose to call it.
Then we just put down all the peeps who have the gene."
Sociopaths hunting sociopaths - soon all the sociopaths would be the hunters, & the weak & vulnerable the hunted.
Scary eh.
Permanent revolution? Permanent revolutions quickly become staid institutions who violently maintain the status quo - so that's out.
So there has to be a deliberate inbuilt system for making all the political structure change radically every few years by ceding power to people from far outside itself.
An ever evolving jury system that stretches far beyond the bounds of parliament.

That sort of design becomes more difficult to realise with each passing year of neo-liberalism.
State education is being deliberately run down - not to save money because in many ways an under educated society is far more expensive to administer, but because as less and less citizens are capable of accurately understanding the reality they live within, the easier it is to create more ignorance and superstition, to become a society where the notion of everyone having a say is more frightening than a dictatorship.
Neo-liberalism's first priority is to return to a situation like that which existed before the age of enlightenment; when leaders were essential because they were the few people who knew enough about the world to make sensible decisions.

Posted by: debs is dead | Jun 19 2013 8:58 utc | 96

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