Writers of “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” say colliding American constitutional system makes political situation worse since the Civil War
More than 50 people gathered at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Chevy Chase, Md., on Saturday at noon to listen to two congressional scholars, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein discuss their book.
Mann and Ornstein published “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” (Wikipedia Link) over a year ago and argued growing Republican extremists caused Congress to be more dysfunctional than it has been since the Civil war. They came to this event to gave a fresh analysis after the recent election in November.
“The fact is we are not in a good shape and we hoped to see some changes.” Norman Ornstein said in his ten minute speech before taking questions. “We could just easily have entitle this news and expanded paper back edition ‘It’s even worse that was,” he said.
Also, Mann addressed the problem reminded since the book released on April 2012. “Norm and I have worked over 40 years and I have never seen such this,” he said.
Mann and Ornstein asked media to work with government to solve the problem which they called “Congressional Dysfunction.”
“I like to warm up the audience and got laughing because it’s all down hill”, Ornstein said.
“We need to stand against the lie, but now we say, ‘You lied, here is your cable TV Show,’” Norman Ornstein said.
Ornstein and Mann’s reputation for their nonpartisan positions.
Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute that is on Republican side andThomas Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“We received emails from Republicans more than anyone else. People identified themselves as Republican, not to attack us, but to thank us for helping them try to recapture their political party,” Thomas Mann said.
“It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” was a best seller on the The New York Times List. Also NPR and The Washington Post reviewed it.
The primrose flower a sign of coming spring in north of Iran, Gilan- photo here
I was going to work, like other days 4:00 AM. and like other days I was listening WTOP, our local radio station. The anchor said tomorrow is the first day of spring. It was true. Actually it is true. March 20 is first day of spring. I don’t know but I expected that he mentions this is an Iranian and some other nations new year such as I have heard several times about Chinese new year every end of January. But nothing.
Maybe, he or his editor doesn’t know. Or maybe, they know but they don’t care. Why they should care about a holiday for a county that every day its name is appearing on top news as unfavorable. For example, if you just search Iran name in today’s news, these are some news:
Unfortunately, for years an extreme regime in Tehran worries the world. Islamic Republic of Iran is going to its path. The path is similar to north Korea to rich nuclear bomb. Even Ayatollah Khamenei denies it but Iran doesn’t let IAEA to monitor some questionable military-nuc sites. Why? If Iran is clear why doesn’t accept the monitoring. Of course another big issue is human rights violence such Islamic Republic sacrifice its people.
Iran’s proceeds for years are on scale. For years, Islamic republic were accused to involve in bombing, assassination, and other kind of dangerous plots. This bring a bad reputation for Iran. Iran is not only a unpleasant regime and the true is there is a nation in the Middle East: Iran. Iran of Iranian.
Now, come back to my introduction. The spring is coming. Iranian new year and some neighbors countries will start tomorrow. What can I say except wish peace and freedom for Iran. I believe if they come, I will hear from my local radio that the first day of spring is coming. It is Iranian and some others new year. Yes, this is the only area that start the new year exactly on starting spring!
Iranian Arash Sigarchi’s “Window of Anguish” is honored with the top award at the BOBs. The Best Social Activism Campaign focuses on Syrian bloggers’ freedom, and “Fakosan” wins in the Education and Culture category.
The blog “Window of Anguish” by Iranian blogger and journalist Arash Sigarchi won the Deutsche Welle International Blog Awards, known as the BOBs. An international jury awarded prizes in six categories. Winners will be invited to receive their prizes at a ceremony during the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on June 26 in Bonn, Germany.
At sigarchi.net/blog, Arash Sigarchi writes about human rights topics and a range of social and political issues in Iran. “The prize is very important in the Persian blogosphere, which is closely watched and censored by the authorities. Arash Sigarchi is a blogger who left Iran but continues to report tirelessly on what’s happening in his homeland and build bridges to people in Iran,” the jury said of its decision.
Arash Sigarchi writes on human rights issues centered on Iran
Sigarchi’s blog is widely read inside and outside Iran, and the author remains well-connected with sources and conditions in the country. He has lived in Washington, D.C. since 2008. In 2004 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his writing. With the help of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi, he saw his sentence reduced to three years but was permitted to leave prison to receive medical treatment for tongue cancer.
“The BOBs builds bridges among people, cultures and countries,” said DW Director General Erik Bettermann. “The prize honors people who take a strong stance on freedom of expression and human rights and thereby support the spread of civil society and democracy around the world.”
The DW recognized people’s work in social media in the Best Social Activism Campaign category. The Jury Award for this category went to the Facebook page Free Syrian Blogger & Activist Razan Ghazzawi. The page was started to call attention to the detention of Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi, who was traveling to Amman on December 4, 2011. After Ghazzawi was released in February 2012, the site continued its work and dedicated itself to other imprisoned Syrian bloggers.
“By giving the award to this site, we are calling attention to the numerous initiatives in the Arab world that support bloggers and activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah, an Egyptian BOBs prize winner from 2005, and Bahrain’s Ali Abdulemam,” the jury said.
In the Special Topic Culture and Education category, the jury gave its blessing to the blog “Fasokan.” The 36-year-old Boukary Konate has been writing at fasokan.com since 2008 and documents his efforts in French and the local language Bambara to close the digital divide in rural regions of Mali. The jury said his blog represents “a bridge between the rural culture in villages and the Internet.” Konate, who was born in a village in Mali and later became a teacher, uses a portable battery and solar power cell to show people how they can improve their lives by using access to the web.
The jury faced tough decisions in selecting winners in six categories
The Egyptian mapping project Harassmap won the Best Use of Technology for Social Good category. The website provides an anonymous way for women and girls to report sexual harassment, then categorizes and localizes the incidents on a map. The site also supports girls and women by giving them a place to speak out about sexual harassment. “To the project’s credit, it addresses a taboo topic that affects many, many women in Egypt, and raises the public’s awareness of the issue.”
The Best Video Channel award went to Kuang Kuang Kuang. Wang Bo and a team of other Chinese artists use their character Kuang Kuang in comics and animations to criticize the government’s policies and comment on social problems. The group is able to use satire and a large dose of creativity to get around the Chinese censors, the jury said.
The Reporter without Borders Prize was awarded to the Bengali journalist Abu Sufian for his blog of the same name. He uses the blog to draw attention to political grievances, including authorities’ arbitrary measures. The jury said Sufian risks his life by “reporting on topics that traditional media fail to cover.”
In addition to the Jury Awards, Internet users cast more than 65,000 votes for the blogs and projects that most impressed them. The Best Blog / English winner went to The Chronikler. All of the User Prize winners can be found at www.thebobs.com.
Internationally established awards
The Jury Award winners will receive their prizes at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on June 26, 2012, in Bonn, Germany.
Internet users from around the world submitted over 3,200 sites in 11 languages and six categories. The many submissions attest to the trend of people using social media and online networks to create social change. The jury created a short-list of 187 candidates.
BOBs jury member and prominent Chinese blogger Isaac Mao
This year’s 12-member jury panel included Chinese blogger Isaac Mao, one of the organizers of the Chinese Blogger Conference that has been held in China since 2005.
Premium partners for the contest are Reporters Without Borders and the re:publica conference. Media partners are: Global Voices Online, Jetzt.de, Arabic Media Network, Somewhere in…, Bdnews.com, iSun TV, Categorynet, TV5 Monde, Gooya, sailingsilang,com, Berita Satu, La Información, La Nación, Terra and Lenta.ru.
The top prize of the 2012 DW Blog Awards went to an exiled Iranian who, despite his own suffering, keeps an objective eye on Tehran. Other efforts to protect journalists and close the digital divide also earned honors.
Arash Sigarchi, an Iranian currently living in Washington, got the nod from a panel of bloggers and media experts for writing the best blog at the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award – the BOBs, DW announced Wednesday.
His blog, Window of Anguish, provides readers with an even-handed perspective of the Iranian regime’s actions.
Sigarchi continues to write about human rights and Iran
“Arash has maintained an objective view of events despite the personal attacks and tragedy he suffered at the hands of the government,” Arash Abadpour, the BOBs Persian-language jury member, told the 12-member jury panel.
Sigarchi began blogging in 2002 and was arrested two years later because of his writing and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi took on Sigarchi’s case and won his temporary release and a reduction in his sentence to three years, which he continued serving in January 2005.
While in jail, his brother was killed in an automobile crash and Sigarchi was diagnosed with tongue cancer. He was released to receive medical treatment and when the Iranian judiciary requested he finish his sentence he was granted a visa for the United States and left Iran in early 2008.
Window of Anguish is widely ready in the Persian blogosphere
While Sigarchi continues to live in the United States, where he works for Voice of America, he represents an important source of information for readers inside and outside of Iran, Abadpour said.
“State influence on traditional media is getting stronger and stronger,” Abadpour said. “Arash is a blogger who found his way in mainstream media and still keeps his connection to Iran in his blog.”
Facebooking for freedom
The BOBs jury also honored ongoing efforts to promote democracy by giving its award for the Best Social Activism Campaign to Free Razan, a Facebook campaign that originally pushed for the release of Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi. But even after Ghazzawi’s release, the campaign continued working to secure the release of other detainees.
“With this award we are drawing attention to the many initatives across the Arab world that support bloggers and activists and to show that the revolutions are not done yet,” Egyptian jury member Tarek Amr said. “Detainees need the attention of the world. Some people are closely watched and some are anonymous but also deserve the world’s support and awareness.”
Government actions were also central to the jury’s decision to award its Reporters Without Borders prize to Abu Sufian, a Bengali blogger on a personal crusade to call authorities to account for their policies of extrajudicial killing, which has claimed thousands of lives.
Abu Sufian blogs at great danger to himself
“When Abu Sufian’s publisher told him to stop his work, he quit his job to cover the issue,” explained Bengali jury member Shahidul Alam. “Mainstream media have backed off the topic saying it’s too dangerous, and this is one man who is putting his own life at risk to cover these killings.”
Boukary Konaté of Mali was another blogger fighting a personal battle to win the jury’s esteem. Konaté, who has blogged since 2008 in French and Bambara at Farsokan, describes his work to bring the capabilities of the Internet to rural populations in Mali.
“There is a lot of talk about mobile education communication, but there are major gaps in the world that still need to be filled,” said French BOBs jury member Claire Ulrich. “Farsokan is a person’s passion to show others what they need to know not to be on the wrong side of the digital gap and also illustrates the revival of indigenous languages and cultures on the Web.”
Criticism through comics
While many of the blogs in the DW’s 2012 International Blog Awards leveled direct attacks on repressive regimes, the creators of Kuang Kuang Kuang, use illustrations to comments on events in China.
Jury members faced a series of difficult decisions
“I never expected my animations from China to get so much attention from people around the world,” Wang Bo told DW in an e-mail. “I see the prize as encouraging creativity and artists’ independence as well as their works’ value as entertainment.”
The cartoons represent one way to provoke thought without being shut down by authorities, Chinese jury member Isaac Mao said.
“People don’t know what they don’t know and that plays into the hands of the censors,” he added. “Creative ideas like this help to spread independent views.”
Mapping the path to equality
Maps represented another way of spreading and illustrating information, jury members agreed when choosing the Egyptian project Harassmap as the winner in the category Best Use of Technology for Social Good.
Despite statistics showing that as many as 90 percent of Egyptian women are subjected to sexual harassment, the problem is not a part of the national consciousness and society blames women for harassment and makes them afraid to talk about the crimes committed against them, according to Amr.
“In social media, we are noticing that women are beginning to speak up and that needs and deserves to be supported,” he added. “Harassmap puts numbers in the faces of the Egyptian people who aren’t aware that sexual harassment is happening.”
It is the personal efforts like those made by all the BOBs winners that make the BOBs especially important around the world, according to DW Editor-in-Chief Ute Schaeffer.
“Iran, Syria and Russia represent regimes attempting to protect themselves,” she said. “That means bloggers play important roles because they are the ones calling politicians to account for their actions.”
President George W. Bush meets with international bloggers and journalists on human rights Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Here is my speeches”
Today is December 10, and President of United state invited me and some Journalists and blogger from several country. Following text is my speech in With House:
It`s a pleasure to be here as an Iranian journalist and blogger.
As an Iranian person I want to tell you Mr. president, Thank you for always separating Iranian people from Iran`s government.
History is a good science because it tells us that 60 years ago Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, helped to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also, history tells us Five Hundred years before Christ, there was a king in Persian that helped to develop Human rights. Cyrus the Great was a supporter of peace for other countries and he freed the Jews and repatriated them to their region following their Babylonian captivity.
Yes, history also tells us, Now there is a president in the Islamic republic of Iran that said “Israel must be wiped off the map.” You can compare these two act together.
I know you understand that Iranian people have problems with their government. Now I want to tell you about my experience on how I could promote reform despite the government and try to stop it.
I`ve been working as a journalist for over ten years. I started my blog seven years ago, when the Iranian ministry of intelligence pressured me to censor some news.
I wrote articles about Iran’s nuclear energy activity and asking it to stop but they forced me not to publish these articles. Censorship is the worst thing to journalists so I decided to challenge it.
Some other journalists and I use a new technology for the war against censorship. The Style of work was easy. Everything that was impossible to publish in newspapers, we published on weblogs.
After a short time, my blog became famous for reporting real, uncensored news.
Unfortunately, Iran`s government became sure that the Internet and blogging helps spread democracy and for this reason, they started the filtering and persecution of blogs.
They didn’t tell people that everything was being filtering. They told them we filter only immoral sites.
There is a lot of Persecution. They arrested me in 2005 and first sentenced me to 14 years of prison and then in the appeal court reduced it to 3 years. Also, around the same time, the Iranian government arrested more than 45 bloggers and journalists and held them in solitary confinement for a long time.
Now, More than five Millions sites and blogs are filtered in Iran.
In the meantime, Sepah Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) decided to start ten thousand new blogs. A special Magazine of IRGC announced that the US government wants regime change in Iran by using public policy tools like the Internet and blogs.
I want to tell you why blogging is important and why it help to the spread of democracy in Iran.
Iran is the fifth Classification in the world and we have half a million bloggers. They write, take pictures and publish their blogs daily or weekly.
Iran doesn’t like this because my colleagues publish important data. We write about “abuses of human rights in Iran”, “Iran`s nuclear activity”, “women rights” and other things. I want to tell you a fresh example:
President Ahmadinejad elected Mr. Ali Kordan as “interior ministry of Iran” four months ago. They told us, Ali kordan is “Honorary doctorate in law from Oxford University”. Iranian bloggers very soon discovered Ali Kordan doesn’t have this honorary degree. More than twenty thousand blogs wrote that the new minister lied. This wasn’t the end of his case. After a short time, we realized he doesn’t have any degree, either a Masters or a bachelor degree. He only had a simple diploma. Finally, the Iranian Parliament impeached him after ninety days only. That was Success for Iranian blogger community.
Blogging rose in Iran. Now, Iranian student use this technology to publish their activities. Also, most of all women use it. They are involved in the campaign for “one million signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws” and they write about their successes and experiences on blogs.
Before ending my talk, I want to give you some messages from Iranian bloggers. I asked them what they would like to ask the President of the United States. I asked about 45 people Inside Iran. More than 30 persons had the same request. They believe that Iran is buying filtering technology from American and Chinese company. They ask you, please don’t allow American companies to sell such technology to the Iranian government for extending ofg censorship and Filtering..
Another point raised was about supporting democracy in Iran. Iran has a Young population. 70 percent are under the age of 35. Also, 60 percent of Iranian bloggers are under this age. For this reason, they need a new media.
And Finally, They wish to tell you, although Iran’s government supports some terrorist groups, but the Iranian people are not the Axis of evil.
But it will not grow in the same way as U.S. democracy, says Arash Sigarchi
By Jane Morse , Staff Writer
Washington — It is possible for democracy to take root in Iran, but it will not grow in the same way as democracy did in America, says Arash Sigarchi, an Iranian journalist who has been imprisoned for his outspokenness.
“Iran must gain democracy through ways other than the ways used in America,” he said in an interview with America.gov. “I think if you increase the people’s awareness and improve education of the Iranian people, they can gain democracy themselves very well.”
Sigarchi lives in the United States now, but in January 2005, he was imprisoned in Iran for discussing “censored” topics on his blogs.
In January 2007, he was granted a medical furlough to seek treatment for cancer. After his release, he spoke frequently to the foreign press and public about the repression of freedom of speech and the arrests of other journalists in Iran. He now fears for his life if he must return to his homeland.
Speaking through an interpreter to America.gov, Sigarchi said it might surprise the average American to know there is a democratic tradition in Iran, although it is nothing like that which developed in the United States.
Some 2,500 years ago, he said, Cyrus of the Achaemenid Empire, which included much of modern Iran, issued the first charter for human rights. “Even though democracy and human rights can hardly be imagined coming from a king, many kings in Iran’s past history have done this,” Sigarchi said.
“But if we set that history aside,” he said, “and look at the recent era, in the recent 100 years when we had the Constitutional Revolution take shape, we have experienced relative democracy in Iran every once in awhile. For example, the few years after the Constitutional Revolution and before Reza Shah Pahlavi came to power. Or we were beginning to feel democracy before the British-American 1953 coup overthrew Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh’s government. And the first two to three years after the 1979 revolution in Iran, there was sort of a democracy.”
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, which took place between 1905 and 1911, led to the establishment of an elected parliament. The revolution opened the way for significant changes in Iran, including greatly expanded press freedom and a proliferation of newspapers.
FIGHTING FOR FREE SPEECH
Now 30 years old, Sigarchi has spent most of his life as a journalist on the frontlines in the fight for freedom of speech in Iran.