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Senate 2008 Elections

Here’s the dish on the new committee leadership

Trusted sources have confirmed that Senator John Rockefeller will step down from his chairmanship of the Select Intelligence Committee to assume the all powerful post of Commerce Committee chair. The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is the counterpart of Energy and Commerce in the House and deals with issues pertaining to interstate commerce, transportation, science and technology, and consumer products regulation among others.

California Senator Diane Feinstein will take over as chair of Select Intelligence, which is charged with overseeing US intelligence agencies and assuring that they provide the executive and the legislative branch the accurate and timely information it needs to make critical national security decisions. The fifteen member committee receives regular intelligence briefings that other members are not privy to and holds closed hearings on sensitive national security issues.

Iranian Americans play active role in 2008 election

America.gov, a US State Department publication for international audiences, published this report on the unprecedented level of Iranian-American involvement in the current election, including interviews with NIAC, PAAIA, IABA, and others. 

From America.gov’s Beverly O’Neal:

Los Angeles — Iranian Americans are well-integrated into their communities and are eager to have their voices heard in the 2008 presidential election, according to several Iranian-American organizations.

“Whether it’s volunteering for a campaign, leading fundraising efforts, organizing voter registration drives or get-out-the-vote efforts, Iranian Americans are in the thick of things in this election like never before,” Patrick Disney, assistant legislative director of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council (NIAC), told America.gov.

Full article below the fold…

Iranian-American Artists Urge You to Vote November 4!

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Remember: Election Day is November 4!

Click here to find your polling location.

After Postponing Announcement, Bush to Open Interests Section After Election

According to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, the Bush administration is planning to announce the opening of a US diplomatic interests section in Iran following the November 4 election.

Plans for the announcement had been postponed in August out of fears that it would unduly influence the Presidential election. The issue of foreign policy on Iran has proven to be one of the most divisive of the entire election; Senator McCain and Obama disagree strongly on whether to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.

An interests section in Iran would house the first American diplomats since the hostage crisis in 1980, and would greatly facilitate Iranians’ requests for visas to the U.S.

Sarah Palin on attacking Iran: “We can’t second guess Israel”

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In her much-publicized interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin was asked: “What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?”  Her answer:

PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

GIBSON: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

PALIN: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Forgive me, but is it wise to have this type of blind faith in any country’s decision to attack another country’s nuclear program?  When you’re talking about a full-scale military attack taking place in the world’s most volatile region, with over 200,000 American troops stationed in two neighboring countries, and with as much uncertainty as there is about how close, if at all, Iran is to obtaining nuclear weapons…isn’t it okay to think about it a second time?  Or maybe even a third, just to be on the safe side?

NIAC covers the Democratic and Republican conventions for the Iranian-American community!

NIAC Legislative Director Emily Blout and West Coast Director Sara Shokravi will cover the Democratic National Convention in Denver for the Iranian-American community. From Denver, they will report on the week’s events and meet with NIAC members, local and national organizations and elected officials.

Throughout the proceedings, NIAC will present an Iranian-American perspective through daily reporting, right here on NIAC’s blog, NIACinSight.

Sara and Emily will also host an informal get-together for local members and the general public in Denver on Tuesday, August 26.  Come say hello to NIAC staff and learn more about the organization at  Café Europa at 76 S. Pennsylvania Street between 7 and 9pm.

Director of Community Relations Babak Talebi and Assistant Legislative Director Patrick Disney will attend the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota from September 1 through September 4.

If you are attending either convention and are interested in meeting with NIAC staff or contributing by writing on our blog, please contact Hormoz Rashidi at hrashidi@niacouncil.org.

Two Coasts One Voice

Over the last few weeks, I have been tasked with looking into ways to spread the word about NIAC’s electoral education outreach in the Persian-language media. During this experience, I was both astounded and impressed by the sheer volume of Iranian media outlets (both print and broadcast) based in the United States. It was very unexpected and reassuring to see the lengths of our community’s efforts at creating a media landscape beyond the standard American media outlets. Although the clear lack of professionalism in some of the outlets was discouraging, the vast majority of them were a very pleasant surprise.

Election 2008: The Importance of Involvement

Over the past few weeks I have been working feverishly gathering information and resources concerning the upcoming elections (both Presidential and Congressional). I remain amazed at the wealth of electoral knowledge and information that is easily available to everyone. No doubt many of the people who are reading this blog have already received NIAC reminders concerning the elections (as the notices are time sensitive those who have later primaries or caucuses will not receive theirs until later) and have seen how much information is really at your fingertips when it comes to voting and participating. It is our position at NIAC that every Iranian American can help initiate change and progress and to do so requires diligence and effort.

The Iranian American vote

I have often been asked, “There are so many Iranian Americans in California, how come the Presidential candidates are not asking for our votes?”

This is a good place to start our discussions about the Iranian-American voter and our potential impact on electoral politics. There are so many factors that help determine the relative impact of any community on the political process, and certainly the number of potential voters is one important variable.

(Below the fold I’m going to start our discussion about the potential impact of our community on the political debate, and begin a series on the 2008 election cycle…)