Monday, June 29, 2009
Meanwhile, Iran's hatred of the British spilled over into a game of diplomatic brinkmanship, each country expelling or recalling ambassadors, and Iranians arresting UK staff. While it doesn't change much - Europe's general outrage isn't going to frighten a mullah class that hates the West already - it does escalate the isolation Iran is going to be getting from the rest of the world over this election sham.
And so, we turn our attention to Honduras. Aw dammit, not Central America AGAIN! You'd think they'd have fixed their "free dictatorship" systems decades ago...!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The pro-Khamenei/Amhadinejad people are moving forward on an 'official' inauguration by next month, clearly confident that they will prevail in this, but Nico's reporting that more than half of the Parliament members invited to a celebration snubbed the event (180 MPs did not show out of 290), clearly showing a deep split at the higher echelons of the Iranian government. I really doubt a lot of people outside of the Revolutionary Guard will show up for such an inauguration... heck, they might be a little busy elsewhere at the time...
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If wishes were horses... A wish to get in Khamenei's face for five minutes, and explain to him how he's already lost the Iranian people, that with every dead body there's family members and friends who will rise up, that sooner rather than later the regular army is going to rebel because it's their brothers and sisters dying in the streets, that he needs to stop the violence himself, that there are other ways... But it's too late now. There are no wish-granting djinn, there is no way some shmuck like me could wrangle a visit, there is no one who can talk sense into a dictator once he's got bloodlust in his heart.
* The whole Obama-Asked-Nico issue is a non-story. As staged set-up questions go, this doesn't rise to the level of that whole Gannon fiasco. One, Nico Pitney is a real editor/reporter working for a real news/politics blog. Two, Nico posted beforehand he was going to the Obama presser to ask a question emailed to him from an Iranian. Odds are Obama and/or his staff saw that and knew it was coming away. And Three, considering how screwed up the Mainstream Media is nowadays, why NOT ask a blogger?
* I vaguely recall once thinking South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford could have made a decent Veep candidate for McCain in 2008. But then he had that brainfart on national television where he couldn't recall a single good thing McCain did as a Senator. And then when Obama pushed for a stimulus package that went towards funding projects at the state level, Sanford openly fought it trying to score political points on the national stage. Problem was, his OWN STATE REPUBLICANS fought back BECAUSE THE STATE NEEDED THE MONEY (personally, I have met people moving from South Carolina to Florida because the job market in SC is worse than in FL... what the hell?). And now, Sanford got caught disappearing for roughly six days. Lemme count each point out on this one:
- Sanford ditches his own security detail.
- Sanford doesn't alert his own Lt. Governor that he's going off for the weekend, and doesn't leave instructions or a telephone number in case of emergency. Basically, leaving South Carolina leaderless for what turned out to be six days.
- Sanford leaves his wife and kids at home. Doesn't let his wife know where he's going.
- Sanford is gone during Father's Day, basically ignoring his four sons. Nice Family Values gesture there, boss.
- Sanford's staff claims they don't know where he is.
- Sanford's cell phone is traced to being used in Atlanta before he completely vanishes. Officials find someone who spotted him boarding a flight at the airport.
- Sanford's staff then claims he's gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial. Problem is, that's 2,000 miles and 11 states long.
- Sanford finally returns Wednesday. And it turns out his staff lied - or he lied to his staff - about where he was. Sanford had gone to Argentina (!). Odder still, the U.S. embassy in Argentina didn't know, noting it was odd for any elected official not to check in with them.
And Sanford is acting like he's going to run for President in 2012? Not if he's acting crazier than Palin.
UPDATE: Sanford just had a press announcement. He wasn't hiking. He wasn't in a fugue state (where a person under stress suddenly goes atraveling and doesn't snap out of it until he/she is in Mexico or in this case Argentina). And he wasn't "Going Galt".
Sanford was off on a f-ck run.
He's apparently resigning as head of the Republican Governors Association or some such thing (does that leave Crist or the Governator in charge? I mean, other than Palin and Jindal, who's left?). He ought to be resigning from a few other things, especially his job. Idiot didn't think his overseas journey through, did he? If he was smarter, or craftier, he'd have left the Lt. Gov in charge, at least pretend to go to hiking, and bring his Argentinian girlfriend to him to a secluded lakeside cabin in North Carolina or something. Sheesh. Instead, he pulls this crap, forcing everyone to question what, when, why, where and who, basically forcing himself to admit to this affair. IDIOT.
Also, running off for some nookie ON FATHER'S DAY??? I don't think his kids should have to get him any more Father's Days presents ever again.
* It seems rather crazy that the Democrats are gonna try for bipartisanship on the healthcare reform and environment reform bills they're trying to pass when the Republican side is offering no concessions and want to force the Democrats to water their own bills down into non-relevance.
* I've tried to get my parents to rely on more than one news source - and they do read the two local papers but I don't think that closely - but I'm catching them watching Glenn Beck. I can handle them watching the other Fox Not-News talking heads, especially since my dad did admit that O'Reilly was a blowhole, but BECK??? As such, my parents are highly miffed about the Walpin firing, during one dinner visit I basically just sat there and nodded and hummed while they griped at how partisan the firing was. Then I went and checked online through various other websites and news sources about this. TPM had a decent concise review I'm linking here. Where the Far Right is yelling conspiracy and investigation and criminal charges, a more balanced review showed that both sides were in the wrong: Obama is apparently supposed to give Congress notice to any IG firing; Walpin's conduct during the AmeriCorps/Kevin Johnson probe was questionable and partisan enough to have others involved in the investigation (especially US Attorney Lawrence Brown) complain about it. Mom, Dad... Obama may have screwed up the firing, but Walpin ain't a martyr.
Now, back to your previously scheduled Iran updates.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
EDIT: I went and cut the Adsense stuff anywho. Wasn't making any money on it.
I think it worked.
Yeah, I know this doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, while real people are dying on the streets of Iran for their rights and their freedoms... but we need to, all of us need to let the Iranians know we are with them...
With the current news that the protests are now switching to strikes, that the police are increasing arrests, and that the Guardian Council overseeing the election has basically said "Nothing to see here. Move along," this is proving to be a long struggle. The struggle for freedom never is:
...Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. - Thomas Paine
This won't end in a week. Maybe in a month. Possibly a year. But it will end. We can only pray it ends the right way: with less blood spilled and Khamenei and his pawns driven from power.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Iran as we know it emerged in the 1500s as a shi'a nation under the Safavid dynasty. It was pretty much stable (with a few Afghan problems) until the late 1700s under the .
From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, Iran got caught up with border wars with Russia and later on became a pawn in Russian vs. British interests in the Middle East (aka the Great Game), which weakened the regime. So for all that whittling away at a once-great Persian empire, the Iranians could blame the Russians and the British.
From the early 1900s - say, 1925 - the Qajar dynasty ended and the first Shah propped himself up. Unfortunately, World War II made Iran a major pipeline for the British and Soviets, and with that Shah's pro-German leanings, the Allies invaded in 1941 and installed the Shah's son () as a puppet. So again, the Iranians could blame the Russians and the Brits.
In 1953, a popularly elected prime minister was nationalizing the oil industry. The Brits encouraged the United States to depose the prime minister, which they did. This led to Pahlavi becoming a dictator, crushing political opposition for 25 years. So for that, the Iranians could now blame the Americans.
In 1978-79, the Ayatollah Khomenei led an uprising against the Shah, driving him out into the protection of his American patrons. One hostage situation later, a lot of bad blood builds up and remains there between the U.S. and Iran. Iranians could still blame the Americans for that.
In 1980, Saddam Hussien figures he could smash and grab Iranian territories to expand his rule and greater access to Gulf seaports. So he goes to war against Iran, 8 bloody years of it, even with Saddam using chemical weapons. Iranians could now add Saddam to the list of blame.
From the 1990s to 2005, Iran was able to focus on internal matters and improving their economy. On foreign matters, they had to deal with Saddam to their West and the Taliban to their East, with Russia and their breakaway Islamic states to the North. Times are hectic, but slowly reforms are being made, and quiet attempts at reconciliation with the West being made. But Sept. 11, 2001 happens, and in 2002 Bush comes out with his "Axis of Evil" speech putting Iran on the spot. Getting bunched together with Iraq (whom they hate) and North Korea (with whom they really didn't do a lot of business) doesn't do the moderates in Iran's government any favors. Equally harsh is that the United States stops their dealings with Iran, even after the successful team-up they made driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan. Slipping prestige and a hard-line reaction to Bush's bullying by the governing mullahs prevent moderates from running for elections in 2005 (either the moderates failed to get permission to run, or they refused to out of frustration). When a hard-line crazy guy Ahmadinejad became President, Iranians suffer under his poor rule (corruption, global embarrassment, etc.). However complex the whole mess is, Iranians could seriously blame Bush and his neocon cronys for inflaming the situation.
Now, it's 2009. basically calls a questionable election result too early and too eagerly for . Even though enough Iranians know among themselves there's no way Ahmad could have won all those provinces so handily, even with widespread reports of ballot box tampering and fraud. Now acting like a bullying teenager caught in a weak lie, Khamenei is threatening violence on anyone who dares question him, and starts acting in a very Shah-like manner with violent arrests, use of acid sprays, the works. Thing is, for all of Khamenei's rhetoric against the Brits, and the Americans, and Zionists and 'foreign interlopers', the Iranian people know that's not really true. There's no evidence the Brits or the Russians or the Americans tampered with the election. It wasn't BBC or Fox News rushing to proclaim Ahmadinejad the winner "by divine will" inside of an hour after the polls closed. This time, the Iranians have no one to blame but their own leaders. And that's why I think the protests are going to continue, because Khamenei is now the target of blame. The violence will get worse, which is the pity of it all, but it's not gonna stop until he's gone.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Khamenei threw down last time I posted, saying that any future protests would be violently put down, and saying it would all be on Mousavi's hands. Of course, Khamenei isn't about to admit that the person ordering the violence is himself responsible, can he... So today there's more violence in the streets. The cops are now using anti-riot gear, tear gas, water cannons, and now reports of acid sprays - apparently an old trick from the 78-79 uprisings. Again Congratulations, Khamenei: You're now the moral equivilent of the Shah. You must be... so thrilled...
Still not too sure what can be done from this end of things other than to pray for everyone's well-being - and that God's Mighty Anvil falls on Khamenei real frakkin soon - but with escalation to violence by the regular police, that means wounded and dying. Part of me is wondering if we can check with groups like the Red Cross/Crescent or Amnesty International about what can be done for the peoples of Iran.
UPDATE: One question to consider for ponderment. What happens if this round of violence doesn't keep people off the streets like the mullahs hope? The Iranian economy is starting to crimp from the growing number of strikes, closed offices, and lack of normal telecommunications. Khamenei and his lackeys aren't controlling the images getting out to the world. The longer this gets strung out, the more likely international condemnation from other Islamic nations will increase. For all the violence we're seeing - and I know this sounds cynical because it's not my life on the line - this really isn't as bad as it *could* be: the Iranian leadership is too afraid to kill too many people lest they create a literal army of dead martyrs. They're trying to kill *just enough* people to induce fear and hopelessness... but that doesn't seem to be working as more people are out in the streets chanting. And they're still making too many martyrs for the protesters' cause.
This isn't China, where the protest was focused primarily in Tianneman Square, where the army could go bulldozing in and flatten 2000-3000 people, and be able to do it mostly off-camera (this was before twitter and cell-phone cameras ever existed). The protests are in multiple cities, covering a broad array of the population (while the secret thug police have been smashing up colleges, they're going after the more high-profile targets but missing everyone else marching in the streets), and with enough of the population armed with 21st century technology that the mullahs can't stop.
One other point about this not being China: lack of viable allies. China in 1989 still had a Soviet Union to back them up internationally, and the nuclear firepower (and growing financial power) to ensure the United States and the West not argue the point too often or too loudly. Iran? They may be on good speaking terms with Russia, but this isn't their fight (Russia could benefit from a more liberal Iran that's not agitating other Islamic ethnicities to rise up). Can you think of any Islamic nation (not internal terror group, btw) that has openly accepted the questionable voting results, or would now ally with a mullah-led state that's openly supressing their own people?
Another point about this not being China: the regular Iranian army is still not moving in. With China, in went the tanks, out went the bodies (except for this guy. Oh Gods. I still hope he's alive and following this story), and that was that. The longer the army stays on the sidelines, the better. And the Iranian army can afford to stay on the sidelines. The mullahs can't go after the army too harshly if they do prevail, because that will get the army back into the fight on the protesters' side: the citizenry will be grateful to the army's non-intervention if they prevail, and whatever civilian power comes into office will need the army to stablize what will be a chaotic next few years. It's win-win for the regular army to just sit there. Mind you, if they do go in it's game over for the protesters and it'll be a win of sorts for the army: but only as long as Khamenei stays in power. And Iran will be another unstable military/mullah junta with zero international credibility. One would question if Russia or China would help Iran continue their nuclear program...
Now there is the Revolutionary Guard special forces army, but they don't have enough manpower/firepower to take care of all the protests nationwide, and if they go in to bloodily wipe out any one citywide protest that would actually cause an inverse reaction where the protesters will throw up more barricades and prolong the fight like it was 1840s France... or 1979 Iran...
What was my point again? I admit, I meandered there. The point is, Khamenei played a game of chicken with the protesters: the protesters called his bluff. And while the body count is going up, the bodies are showing up on global TV and creating an environment where global political pressure is going to fall on Khamenei (not Mousavi). This can, as said before, get a lot worse. Depends entirely on how stubborn Khamenei is compared to how worried he has to be that he's already lost one way or another...
Friday, June 19, 2009
@elilake: "Shorter Khamenei: Ajad won, u are all going to take it, if u don't my goons will murder u." - posted by Ambers.
That might be a bit too concise, but Khamenei's speech basically went that way: he claims the vote counts were legitimate, that the protests are all the work of foreigners and dirty Zionists, and that the "British are the worst" (WTF? England hasn't f-cked with Iran since 1945. Let's be blunt: the U.S. has been a far worse transgressor. Why bring the Brits into this? Unless the guy hates Dr. Who or something... ooooo, Khamenei's a tasteless bastard, now we HAVE to get rid of him). And that any continued protests will lead to more violence that will be blamed on the Zionists and foreigners.
The biggest problem with Khamenei's speech, other than that he's a damn liar, is that he's throwing off the gloves. The odds that the Revolutionary Guards (not the regular Iranian army, nor the local street thugs) are about to jump into the fray went up to - literally - dead certain. The violence is going to get worse. The big question is now, will the other mullahs and will the regular army step up for the people?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Sullivan linked to a 16-point brief as a means of sifting through the mass of rumors and unconfirmed reports, which itself is commenting on a thread posted at Anonymous Iran. The best verifiable news?
7. Protests have occurred not just in Tehran yesterday, but in Ahvaz, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Shiraz, Tabriz and EVEN Qom. [Largely verified, although we are checking the Qom claim.]
13. As of today, not a single report of the military’s intervention into the peaceful protests has been established. Not a single one. [Verified. Apart from a brief reports of tanks on the streets on Monday night, there has been no evidence of Iranian military challenging the demonstrations.]
Also, when the ICHC political section Pundit Kitchen (site no longer valid) had some protest photos uploaded, I couldn't resist:
Keep watching. Keep praying.
(Update 8/30/2016): Yeah, it's been seven years since this article. I'm still getting traffic to it, even though some of the political dynamic have changed since 2009. I'm mostly here to fix the links with permanent (hopefully) additions of the original photos I created in I Can Has Cheezburgr site, which should help those still looking for this blog.
Click the Iran tag at the bottom of this article, you should get the more current blogging I've done on this ongoing situation. Thank ye.
Monday, June 15, 2009
(image from digby's Hullabaloo blog)
Stand up. Sing out.
P.S. Obama's supposed to be speaking re: Iran by 5 pm, makes it less than 1/2 hour from now. Hope he's wearing a green tie. >:-)
UPDATE: John Cole of Balloon Juice caught some flack from Sullivan about Cole's questioning how changing your font color is gonna save the world. Thing is, Cole, Sully wants to do something, anything, that includes being the funnel through which all the news about Iran is going through, and changing font colors as a sign of solidarity is merely part of the moment. It's akin to an expression of passion, for the Iranians standing up. It may be meaningless in the real world, but it's from the heart...
The Iranian people are asking for our help. But what can we do? Any military saber rattling and the Ayatollah and his cronies will be screaming 'imperialism' and 'Death to America', and then claim the protesters are traitors and justify to themselves their 'right' to line 'em all up against the wall. Think the violence is bad now, think how bad Ahmadinejad and Khamenei would get the second the U.S. or any other nation in the region (Turkey or even Syria, for example) makes any noise about all this. Any action we could do would cause an unequal and more violent reaction. So the 40-plus million unarmed Iranians rising up against the crooked election are going in physically alone against their own armed police and armed military. Rest of the world is praying for 'em (other than the usual suspects of idiots like Hezbollah and U.S. Neocons), but prayer can only go so far...
I wish to GOD I could more than sit here and cheerlead. I'm no soldier else I'd be AWOL and parachuting in on my own. I'm no politician else I'd be in ambassadors' faces calling for sanctions and military intervention. I'm no wise man else I'd have found a solution to this whole sorry mess years ago.
Keep watching. Keep praying. Pray to God this will end up like the Philippines in 1986 when People Power worked.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Iran's 2009 Presidential election promised to be interesting for one thing: to see how much cheating the clerics who actually run Iran would commit to block the reform-minded forces from winning.
Let's try to note a few things first:
- The incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been unpopular during his term of office (I'm tempted to use adverbs like "monstrously" or "hideously" before the word "unpopular", but that would be rude). His administration has been dogged by charges of corruption, by inability to deal with the current global recession, and by various controversial statements that - if you're being charitable - bordered on Holocaust Denial and outright elimination of Israel.
- Iran's election isn't as open as they claim: all candidates have to be approved by an oversight committee -
The Guardians of the Universesorry Guardian Council - basically meaning the candidates have to kiss the ring of the Ayatollah just to even get the right to step outside their house. While I can gripe about how candidates have to suck up to our two established parties here in the U.S., at least they aren't forced to suck up to a non-elected dictator who rules for life and answers to no one (and despite the rhetoric, Limbaugh doesn't have *that* much pull).
- For all I'm reading on how Iran holds it's elections, I see no method of independent review and oversight to ensure fair results: all the counting is done by an election commission that answers to - you guessed it - a non-elected dictator who rules for life and answers to no one.
The election's done, and the shouting is just switching to bonfires and street riots. The reform candidate Mousavi is claiming voter fraud: and interestingly there's already a damn good chart on Sullivan's blog showing just how sick the election results are proving. My God. The chart goes in a STRAIGHT LINE. Incoming election results DON'T work like that: they peak and valley, up and down, they fluctuate as the results differ from region to region as they report in. I took classes on statistics and research methods for my journalism and library science degrees: polling results are organic, they ebb and flow. A straight line like that can only occur through direct interference with the numbers: a straight line is a FRAKKING ALGEBRA EQUATION. They're not even trying properly to fake it.
C'mon. They're giving a guy like Ahmadinejad who couldn't consistently break 50 percent in the pre-election polls (the only polling service that gave Ahmad-whateva anything close to that was some outfit called Alef, which I just noticed has ties to Iran's official broadcasting service: nearly every other polling service was showing close wins either way but mostly to Mousavi) a 69 to 28 percent victory? Anything over 52 percent and we're talking fishy numbers here. He's getting 69 percent? Obama didn't get 69 percent. Reagan in 1984 didn't get 69 percent of the popular vote, for God's sake, and that was one of the biggest butt stomping election wins in American history.
I have just one question for the Ayatollah: if everything happens by the Will of Allah... Why did you have to cheat? I just have one other thing to say to the Ayatollah: Congratulations. You are now just like the Shah of Iran that your dad drove out of power. Enjoy.
Sullivan's explanation about why the Ayatollah and his lackeys cheated is the simplest: the clerics panicked. People who enjoy the status quo always do.
And now it's on to an easier bigger, and even nastier, question: does the Iranian military enjoy the status quo enough to roll in the tanks and squash the rioters? Or will enough officers in the military see an opportunity here, to end an unpopular theocracy and broker a peaceful transition of power from the clerics to honestly-elected officials? Because we've seen this film before: that time, it didn't have a happy ending...
UPDATE: Keep reading Sullivan. He's as obsessed about this as I am, and he's got better sources of information.
On the bad news side, there's reports of deaths in the streets now. Mousavi apparently under house arrest. On the good news side, Sullivan's most current update suggests people have been protesting well into 4 a.m. Iran-time. The Iranian people are NOT backing down on this yet. Gods, I hate this waiting. It'd be nice to be able to do something to help, other than just cheerlead from the keyboard. But for all this can affect other nations, this is an internal affair: there's nothing we can do to get our government to anything to help the people of Iran. The best we can hope for is that enough cops, enough soldiers realize the Ayatollah's days are numbered...
UPDATE II: Mousavi not under house arrest (for now), violence has gotten worse for both sides, with reports of college dorms getting shot up and students and professors disappearing. For the most part, the army and official police are staying out of the fight. The real bloodshed is being spilled by some sort of auxiliary security force called Basij, with additional reports that Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon being bussed in for out-of-town muscle (I immediately thought of Hessians when I heard about that). There's still too much unresolved and up in the air. If you're seeing this, Keep reading Sullivan (and yes Cole he's sliding into poetry readings: so what, I'm tempted to break out some e.e. cummings before too long!).
Thursday, June 11, 2009
As I said before, in a message to all goddamn Right Wingnuts: who else are you gonna shoot, huh? You're shooting Unitarians, you're shooting doctors, you're shooting police officers, you're shooting up our churches and our schools and our businesses and now our museums. THERE WERE KIDS THERE! My nephew and niece could have been there, my cousins living in that area could have been there. GODDAMN YOU.
I've been to the Holocaust Museum. Visited with my sister more than 12 years ago. Has it been that long? It's a very solemn place to be, humbling as hell to look at mock-ups of the boxcars and the camps, to track the flow of events from a person's ID booklet to see what happened to them from the ghettos to the roundups to the aftermath. And of course the neo-Nazis want to shoot up that place, to blow it up: they deny the Holocaust out of one side of their mouths while out the other side they insist Hitler should have finished the job. Of course that place will be a target. It's a pity that the guards working there are on the front lines of an increasingly violent battle that's honestly moving from the wingnut blogs onto the streets. It's a pity Stephen Tyrone Johns died: all he did was open the door to let the gunman in. Jesus. Johns was my age.
And of course, the big Far Right media is gonna swear off this, that O our constant ranting about socialism and Obama's birth certificate and evil libruls taking your guns away isn't really driving all the gun-and-bomb-happy wingnuts to the brink. Glenn Beck is even trying to dismiss the gunman (and by extension all Nazis) off as a "lefty" and that it's all Obama's fault "for stirring up a boiling pot"! O'Reilly claims this isn't even newsworthy. Hannity never mentioned it last night, focusing instead on the firing of Miss California a D-list type celeb who became the poster girl for the Far Right because of her marriage views. And Limbaugh, ringmaster for this goddamn Far Right Circus of Stupid? He's leading a charge by other conservative media hacks to drive Shep Smith off of Fox Not-News for being the only one on that channel to make direct links between this shooting and a Homeland Security report warning of increased far-right violence... a report the Far Right immediately attacked so viciously that they forced the Homeland Security Secretary to apologize for the report. EVEN THOUGH THAT GODDAMN REPORT IS TURNING OUT TO BE GODDAMN ACCURATE. I don't see anybody apologizing to Napolitano, do you? Of course not. The goddamn Far Right Noise Machine and their gun-toting brownshirts never apologize for a goddamn thing.
It's official. Look at the escalating political violence. Look at the so-called patriotic Right calling for seccession, even elected officials like Texas' governor dropping hints about it. The Far Right has declared war on the United States. It's not a question now about "if". It's now a question of "when" there will be another shooting. It's now a question of "how bad" it's gonna be. But it shouldn't be a question of "who's next" on the hit list. Because that's US. Everyone who's not in their goddamn shrinking purity club. We're next.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
They're actually a political group fighting for file sharing, copyright reform, government transparency (Sunshine Laws of FOIA stuff) and increased right to privacy. But they want to be pirates. In a good way. :)
The Swedish Pirates are a relatively new group (2006?) but are already the third largest party in Sweden... albeit at .63 percent of the vote in 2006. You need 4 percent to secure a seat in Sweden's national government. But today is 2009, and with that 7 percent turnout the Pirates have 2 seats in the EU.
The big news is how the Pirate Party plays for the up-and-coming generation - the 18-to-29 group - and there the Pirates have a decent 21 percent fanbase. Mostly because the issues they support (file sharing above all) are issues directly affecting youths who grew up with music and video downloading.
These Pirates could well surpass the now stodgy Loony Parties for political coolness. Avast!
Wonder if we can start a Pirate Party here in the U.S. We *do* need a viable third party what with the Republicans committing ritual self-immolation...