We Was Robbed!

What a travesty!


At World Cup, U.S. soccer coach Bob Bradley says disallowed score was ‘good goal’

To the thousands of U.S. supporters at Ellis Park and the millions back home watching Friday’s World Cup match between the United States and Slovenia, a clear injustice had been perpetrated. With no explanation as to why referee Koman Coulibaly had nullified Maurice Edu’s apparent go-ahead goal against Slovenia, rage rang out like a vuvuzela blaring inside a tollbooth.

Like everyone else, the U.S. team was incredulous and incensed. However, in the murky culture of soccer, where officiating decisions are rarely clarified during or after a match, Coach Bob Bradley took the mysterious call almost in stride.

“We’re all accustomed to the fact that, if it is an NFL playoff game and there is a call of some question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees. But FIFA operates differently,” Bradley, a New Jersey native, said of the sport’s international governing body on Saturday.

“Soccer is a different game. There are some aspects of it that are not made 100 percent clear, that seem to add to the discussion about the games. On our end, we get used to that. That’s just how it is sometimes, and then you move on and you get ready for the next game.”

Make no mistake: The U.S. delegation was grumbling after the final whistle of the 2-2 draw and, like many fans around the world, watched replays of the sequence dozens of times in search of answers. But because Coulibaly made a judgment call, FIFA guidelines do not offer a process to formally protest rulings made on the field.

Report: U.S.-Slovenia ref may be banned

According to a Yahoo! Sports report, World Cup referee Koman Coulibaly, whose unexplained call took away the United States’ go-ahead goal in the final minutes of Friday’s game vs. Slovenia, will face an expedited review and could be excluded from the rest of the World Cup.

The story credits a FIFA source as saying Coulibaly’s performance will be reviewed Saturday following a game in which replays showed he had some crucial missed calls and failed to control rough play.

“If he is found to have made a serious mistake, especially one that affected the outcome, then he would be highly unlikely to play any further part in the tournament,” said the source, who is close to senior figures on the refereeing panel. “FIFA is determined to keep refereeing standards high and does not want high-profile mistakes.”

See also:
U.S. Coach Says World Cup Goal Shouldn’t Have Been Disallowed
Donovan frustrated by disallowed goal
For U.S., Only Frustration Is Clear
Roddick fires volley over disallowed US goal
We Wuz Robbed!
Denied winning goal, USA tie Slovenia 2-2: slideshow
Analyst: Why FIFA Won’t Let Ref Explain His Call
FIFA to comment Monday on ref from Mali who ruled out US ‘goal’ against Slovenia
Report: Controversial referee likely to get boot
Gamblers Crying Foul Over Koman Coulibaly Call In World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup: America’s Ire on Disallowed Goal a Good Thing for Football
Handballs and Bad Calls; Time for FIFA to Add Replay to the World Cup
Did the U.S. get robbed of the winning goal against Slovenia?

For the record, I am not a fan of introducing any type of instant replay into FIFA soccer. Part of the beauty of the game is that the time doesn’t stop, 45 minutes a half, straight through, without interruption. As for Koman Coulibaly, that was his first World Cup referee assignment and it damn well better be his last. He was horrible. However, banning Coulibaly from refereeing further World Cup games is no consolation for his monstrous mistake that may keep the U.S. from advancing.

/oh well, it is what it is, let’s just hope that we can beat Algeria on Wednesday and, for good measure, Slovenia beats or draws with England

Intifada At Isfahan

Iran protests intensify, prompting state of emergency in Isfahan

Iran security forces and opposition protesters stepped up clashes on Wednesday in the city of Isfahan, the birthplace of Iran’s top dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Montazeri’s death this past weekend, and the rituals marking his passing, coincide with a new push by regime opponents during a 10-day religious commemoration.

The government has responded by harassing two reformist clerics who could replace Montazeri, as well as stripping the opposition’s top political figure – Mir Hossein Mousavi – of his sole official post.

In Isfahan, pro-regime basiji militiamen used batons, chains, and stones to beat mourners who gathered at the city’s main mosque to remember Montazeri, the spiritual mentor of the Iranian opposition, whose websites reported the clashes.

“While people were reciting the Quran [in the mosque], plainclothed forces attacked them and threw tear gas into the mosque yard and sprayed those inside with pepper spray after they closed the doors,” reported the reformist Parlemannews. “They severely beat the people inside,” then doused the clerical speaker with pepper spray and arrested him.

“Tens of thousands gathered outside for the memorial but were savagely attacked by security forces and the basijis,” witness Farid Salavati told the Associated Press. He said that dozens were injured as riot police and vigilantes clubbed and kicked men and women alike – some in the face – and arrested 50 people who had gathered to mourn the grand ayatollah.

Montazeri – the chosen successor of Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until a falling out in 1989 – had been unrelenting in his criticism of the officially declared reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, as well as of Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is invalid,” protesters shouted on Wednesday, referring to violence since June, in which severe force has been used against Iranians who marched to reverse the official result. They wanted to see the “Green Movement” presidential candidate, Mr. Mousavi, elected. Scores died in June and thousands were arrested; protests have flared repeatedly around the nation since then.

In Isfahan, the clashes on Wednesday portend more violence, as protesters and pro-government forces alike prepare for the religious peak of the Shiite calendar, Ashura, which falls on Sunday. By the end of the day on Wednesday, it was reported that the governor had announced a state of emergency and reportedly called in the military for help.

“The regime has no alternative but to try to block the commemorations of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, because it has been state policy to demote him,” says Mehrdad Khonsari of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London. “But given the events of the last six months, this only aggravates the situation [and] becomes a catalyst for more protests and is counter-productive.

“Every demonstration is a dress rehearsal for the next demonstration. Once Ashura is over next week, there will be more demonstrations,” says Mr. Khonsari. “The fact is there is no likelihood that these protests are going to come to an end anytime soon.”

See also:
Police, protesters clash in southern Iran
Iran forces clash with cleric’s mourners: websites
Iran: unrest reported in Isfahan
Iran warns that it will deal ‘fiercely’ with protesters
Iran security forces clash with protesters in Isfahan
Iranian security forces suppress new wave of opposition protests in Isfahan
Isfahan beset by violence
Iran behaves increasingly like a ‘police state’: US
Iran Beats Mourners, Signaling Harder Line
Esfahan / Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center N32°40′ E51°40′
Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear Technology Center
Could This Be A Tipping Point?

It looks like this coming weekend might be shaping up as the largest nationwide Iranian opposition protest yet and, judging by recent events, it could also be the bloodiest. I can only hope, especially after reading this, that all the Green Movement pain won’t be in vain and these protests eventually reach the point of no return, critical mass, the overthow of the Iranian mullahs, regime change.

/Go Green!

Squelching Dissent, When Free Speech Becomes An Enemy Of The State

Venezuela to Add Charge Against Globovision, Cabello Says

Venezuela will open a sixth administrative proceeding against the Globovision television network and will “inspect” 29 radio stations after some media outlets supported marches against the government this week.

Diosdado Cabello, who as minister of public works and housing oversees the state telecommunications regulator, announced the measures today in a speech at a pro-government march in downtown Caracas shown on state television.

Cabello took 34 radio stations off the air July 31 and opened five earlier proceedings against Globovision. He said today that the mass media were behind marches against President Hugo Chavez around the world yesterday and a thousands-strong march through Caracas today by foes of Chavez.

State-run Venezolana de Television spent the day showing images of the pro-Chavez rally where Cabello spoke. Globovision broadcast from the opposition march for hours. Other news broadcasts showed both marches.

Cabello said he had ordered that Globovision be charged over viewer messages that scroll across the screen during a talk show. He said the station allows viewers to post messages in favor of violently overthrowing Chavez while filtering messages critical of Globovision.

See also:
Chavez minister vows more Venezuela radio closings
Venezuela opens new probe into anti-Chavez TV, announces 29 more broadcasters will be closed
Venezuela opens new probe into anti-Chavez TV
Critics denounce Venezuela’s Chavez in multi-city protests from Argentina to Honduras
“No More Chávez” worldwide rally begins
Venezuela rivals march in Caracas

And, in a disturbing, eerily parallel tangent to this story, check out who praises Hugo Chavez and admires the way he handles the Venezuelan media.

Now, you may ask yourself, who the hell is Mark Lloyd? Well, he’s the Obama administration’s Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Communications Commission.

Chavez comes to the FCC

If for a moment you thought the Obama administration was going to sit there placidly while some on talk radio were so bold as to criticize its actions, think again, because here comes Mark Lloyd, the new diversity officer of the Federal Communications Commission and a man with a mission.

It’s not a pretty mission, not if you value free speech, but it is a mission made clear by Mr. Lloyd’s own words.

There he was in 2008, participating in a conference on “media reform,” telling us what a wonderful leader Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was and wincing at an unpleasantness the dictator had to deal with, the uppity owners of media, people who had some objections in mind.

He spoke of Mr. Chavez’s “incredible revolution, a democratic revolution,” and of the “property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela” who “rebelled” and who “worked to oust him.” Still, said Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Chavez “came back with another revolution, and then … began to take very seriously the media in his country.”

Dang those property owners. Aren’t they a pain? Mr. Lloyd seems to think they are a pain in this country, too, at least those who own radio stations. As much becomes clear when you read a report he and some others produced for a left-wing think tank that said conservatives dominate talk radio, not because they are more popular than liberals, as the evidence clearly shows, but because most station owners are white men who apparently heed their monolithic ideology more than the marketplace and their pocketbooks.

The solution to this supposed problem? The report advised limiting how many stations can be owned, which means you would take property away from some people. You would get a lot tougher on renewing licenses of those who don’t play the game according to profit-eroding, make-local-groups-happy rules, and you would assess enormous fees to give money to public radio if there was insufficient saluting of all this. It adds up to go broke or go broke.

Do you maybe begin to see that Mr. Lloyd is not as distant as you might like from Mr. Chavez, who has been happily revoking radio licenses of the politically non-compliant in his country? To Mr. Lloyd, as he wrote in a 2006 book quoted in an Internet article, the whole free speech thing is at any rate a bit of a fraud meant to serve global corporations and obstruct policies of the kind our society needs.

See also:
Don’t call this ‘diversity’
FCC’s New Hire Targeted Conservative Radio Stations in Writings
Two surprising appointments by Obama administration
Mark Lloyd – the Federal Communication Commission’s Chief Diversity Officer

/if you’re a free speech advocate, Mark Lloyd, given his public pronouncements and published writings about the media, seems to be an odd, even scary, choice to be appointed to his current FCC position by the Obama administration, is there an agenda here?

It Was 20 Years Ago Today

Tiananmen Anniversary Muted in Mainland China

Mainland China remained quiet Thursday on the 20th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, while tens of thousands of people staged a protest in Hong Kong.

Beijing, the capital, was on virtual lockdown. Key foreign news Web sites were blocked, dissidents were placed under house arrest, and police blanketed the vast square where a still-undetermined number of pro-democracy activists were killed in a violent clash with the military June 4, 1989. Journalists were kept away from the scene.

Several foreign governments called on Beijing this week to revisit its policy of ignoring the crackdown. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that China “should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal.”

On Tuesday, Congress urged China to agree to a U.N.-backed inquiry into the crackdown, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she had directly petitioned President Hu Jintao to free the estimated 30 people still being held for participating in the protests.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented in a speech Thursday that “June 4, 1989 . . . marked a terrible sacrifice in Tiananmen Square.”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has pushed for closer ties with the mainland, said: “This painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never happened is not an option.”

Over the years, Beijing has taken a two-pronged approach to the massacre. Domestically, the incident is ignored in history books, and discussion about it is banned to the point that many young people know nothing of what happened. In arguments directed to the international community, Beijing has said the crackdown was necessary to ensure social stability, which it says was a precondition for the market-driven changes that have since transformed China into the world’s third-largest economy.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang limited his remarks to a sentence: “On the political incident that took place in the 1980s, the party and the government have already reached a conclusion.”

In the weeks before the anniversary, authorities erased most traces of the massacre from the capital. Twitter and other Internet services that people could have used to coordinate gatherings were blocked, as were news Web sites such as CNN and the BBC. Foreign newspapers and magazines that had been covering commemorative protests in Hong Kong were delivered with pages ripped out. Writers, activists and even mothers of victims were put under surveillance or house arrest.

On Thursday, the only place on Chinese soil where a large-scale protest took place was Hong Kong, the former British colony that has maintained its own legal system since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

Police estimated that 62,800 people, dressed either in white or funereal black, showed up for a vigil in downtown Victoria Park. Organizers put the figure closer to 150,000. Either way, the turnout was the largest since the annual event was first held in Hong Kong in 1990.

Xiong Yan, one of the 21 student leaders placed on Beijing’s “most wanted” list in 1989 and now a U.S. resident, attended the vigil, but Wuer Kaixi, No. 2 on the list, was back in Taiwan after being denied entry.

The Tiananmen Mothers — a Chinese democracy group led by Ding Zilin, whose teenage son was killed at the square — thanked the Hong Kong people for their support. In a statement, the group accused the Chinese government of using “the economy to lure and buy people.”

Lester Lai, 22, a recent university graduate, said he had come to the vigil because “economic progress is never an excuse for a government to kill its people.”

Deng Ying, a 30-year-old tourist from the mainland, said that in China, the authorities take advantage of the fact that they can ban “anything they are unhappy about.”

In this instance, she said, Hong Kong was acting as “China’s conscience.”

See also:
No ordinary day at Tiananmen Square
Demonstrators honor memory of Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong
Dalai Lama pays respects to Tiananmen Square victims
Tiananmen Mothers Press For Answers, 20 Years On
Thousands turn out to commemorate Tiananmen Square massacre… only in Hong Kong, not China
Tiananmen Square: 20 Years Later
Tiananmen Square: 20 Years Later
Police swarm Tiananmen Square on anniversary
China Blocks Twitter Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary
China blocks Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

/just say no to the Chinese communists’ attempts to shove their bloody, evil, inhuman massacre of unarmed citizens down the history memory hole