Patterico's Pontifications

6/14/2009

Lakers Win

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 8:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Lakers win, giving Phil Jackson his 10th championship ring [as a coach — H/T Paul] and Kobe’s 4th, but his first without Shaq.

– DRJ

Mousavi Seeks Fatwa

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ABC News quotes a spokesman for Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi:

We are going to stay in the streets and ask the mullahs to give fatwas that Ahmedinejad is not our president. We are going to ask the Leader, through the will of the people, to change his mind,” said Mostafa Makhmalbaf, who is speaking to the foreign press on Mousavi’s behalf from his home in Paris.

“I don’t think we can do a total Revolution in Iran but we can make some change,” he told ABC News, describing what would be an unprecedented reversal for the Islamic Republic.”

Could this pressure the mullahs to take sides for or against Ahmadinejad and, ultimately, Khameini?

– DRJ

More from the “Media Hates Bush” File

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 6:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I just ran across this CBS News editorial dated June 8. It reprints an article from The New Republic that compares Ahmadinejad to George W. Bush:

Meet Iran’s George W. Bush
***
“Mousavi is not Iran’s Barack Obama. He’s more like John Kerry, and this election year is strikingly like 2004 in the United States. The incumbent president is deeply unpopular at home and abroad. He came to power with a dubious mandate, but governed in a polarizing fashion that has divided even his one-time allies. Iranians have paid the price in every area of life that is touched by the government. The election is Mousavi’s to lose–but to win it, he will need to unite a divided opposition, and inspire at least a few of the beleaguered urban voters who have stopped going to the polls.”

The American media is like a first grade reading book, but instead of “See Spot run” the template is “Bush is bad.”

– DRJ

Biden: “Everyone Guessed Wrong”

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 6:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today on Meet The Press, Vice President Joe Biden answered questions on the Stimulus:

“MR. GREGORY: But the point of the stimulus was it would stop the unemployment picture from getting worse, right? Wasn’t that the claim?

VICE PRES. BIDEN: And it has.

MR. GREGORY: It has? Well, here…

VICE PRES. BIDEN: It’s not getting worse.

MR. GREGORY: But here’s the reality, and that is…

VICE PRES. BIDEN: Relative.

MR. GREGORY: …that when this report was issued by your economic adviser…

VICE PRES. BIDEN: Yes.

MR. GREGORY: …and Dr. Romer from the White House, the assertion was that you could keep unemployment at 8 percent and then it would go down after that. In fact, it’s now at 9.4 percent. Was it oversold?

VICE PRES. BIDEN: No, look. No. What we did is we took the econometric models that were used by businesses as well as academics. At the time no one realized how bad the economy was. The projections, in fact, turned out to be worse. But it was–we, we, we took the mainstream model as to what we thought and everyone else thought the unemployment rate would be. But the fact of the matter is the–I don’t think anyone can dispute the unemployment rate would be considerably higher, but for–at least 150,000 jobs higher, but for this economic stimulus package.

MR. GREGORY: Right. But the, but this package was sold on the premise that it would in fact keep unemployment at 8 percent. It’s exceeded that…

VICE PRES. BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

MR. GREGORY: …with the recovery plan.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: It wasn’t sold on that. It was sold on it would create…

MR. GREGORY: That’s what the report said, Mr. Vice President.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: …or–no, it said it would–what would happen was it would save or create jobs. It’s doing that. It is doing that. Everyone guessed wrong, at the time the estimate was made, about what the state of the economy was at the moment this was passed. Now, we’re going to recalibrate this in terms of what we’ve inherited, what in fact is going on out there. But look, the bottom line is that jobs are being created that would not have been there before. All you’ve got to do is go into New York City. There’s 14,000 teachers working who got their, got their notices. Go with me up to New Flyer bus company up in Minnesota, come–I mean, there–it’s–throughout the country, it’s creating jobs.

MR. GREGORY: Regardless, though, the economy is worse off with or without this stimulus plan that this administration expected.

VICE PRES. BIDEN: The economy was worse off when we made the assessment than anyone thought it was. The economy is actually getting better, things are getting better. We have a long, long way to go. But now you see what’s happening. We’re having a, a situation where housing is starting to improve, where lending is starting to come forward, where we have a situation where we’ve gained some control of the automobile companies who otherwise would have had to been liquidated in terms of them staying in business and having a prospect of growing. So I think if you ask out there, look–and look at what the, you know, these measures of confidence in the economy are. Everyone feels mildly better about where the economy’s going.

Everyone feels “mildly better”? That’s lowering the bar.

– DRJ

PS – Biden won’t rule out running for President.

L.A. Times Coverage of Iranian Election: Predictably Pathetic

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:46 am

Compare and contrast L.A. Times coverage of the Iranian election with the information you can get on a blog like Hot Air. Here’s how the L.A. Times is covering the Iranian election this morning. In an article titled Iran election anger boils; Ahmadinejad defends results, we see a big picture of Dinnerjacket raising his hands in victory, a caption quoting him describing his “relection” (editors?) as “free and real” — and a description of him as “[v]igorous and assertive.”

It takes the paper until the 15th paragraph to let the reader know that the U.S. is skeptical:

In a television appearance today Vice President Joe Biden spoke skeptically about the election results.

“It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated, that there’s some real doubt,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” when asked if Ahmadinejad had won the vote.

You want better coverage than that? Yes, you do. So go to the Internet. Start at Hot Air, where the headline is: Senior U.S. official: Yes, the Iranian election was rigged. The very first sentence tells us: “The White House is playing it cool lest U.S. support for Mousavi discredit his supporters but U.S. analysts have little doubt. The fix is indeed in.” Further down we are told: “No one but no one is taking the election numbers seriously, which makes this a full-blown legitimacy crisis for a regime that’s never been very legitimate to begin with.”

DRJ also had an excellent post on the crisis last night, noting: “Text messaging, cell phones, universities, websites, and newspapers have been shut down, and the streets of Tehran have erupted in violence.” Sounds like a normal election to me. “Free and fair” indeed.

Mousavi’s Twitter feed is here. By checking Allahpundit’s friends feed one is able to discover a number of other valuable Twitter feeds with insight, including Yashar Khazdouzian, IranRiggedElect, TehranBureau, Jim Sciutto of ABC, Alireza, Iran Election 2009, Raymond Jahan, and Change_for_Iran. (You doubted the power of Twitter? You saw it as an escape from knowledge — a medium where people talk about what they’re having for lunch? Great. Get left behind while the rest of us use it.)

Meanwhile, we have this:

According to our private phone conversations with people in Tehran, hundreds of parents have gathered by a police station in Yousef Abad, now known as Seyyed Jamal Aldin Asad Abadi, with their hands raised to the sky saying “Obama, please help us, they are killing our young children.” They were gathering there because their kids are missing and they were trying to find out where they are.

The Iranian people are some of the most pro-U.S. people on the face of the planet. They marched in support of the American people after 9/11, in marked contrast to the celebrations in the Arab world. And now they’re forced to put their hopes in a clown like Obama, who has pledged to meet with Dinnerjacket without preconditions. Will that promise still hold in the face of an election that — despite the L.A. Times‘s lack of clarity on the point — is a clear-cut case of fraud?

Why do I think the answer may be yes?

UPDATE: How could I forget Michael Totten?

Meanwhile, the people in Iran are calling for people to bring down Khamanei’s web site by linking a page that automatically reboots it every second. They claim victory in having brought down Dinnerjacket’s web site. The Iranian authorities themsleves shut down communications infrastructure in Iran to interfere with the elections . . . It’s a valid question to ask: why should they be treated any differently?

UPDATE x2: At the very least, for journalistic reasons, I plan to check in frequently at Ahmadinejad’s and Khamanei’s web sites, to see if this scheme is working.

Very frequently. Because of the journalism. (P.S. I am removing handwringing language from the post about whether DNS attacks are legal. What the Iranian government is doing isn’t legal.)

UPDATE x3: Lots of good stuff at the Huffington Post, here. Yes, it’s the Huffington Post — but it’s very good and being updated constantly.

UPDATE x4: More from Hot Air here. Dinnerjacket is refusing to guarantee Mousavi’s safety. He must feel very confident that Obama lacks the guts to do anything even if he assassinates the opposition.

And a photo from the protests, which looks to me like it has the potential to become iconic:

And the latest: a Twitter report that there are tanks in the streets of Tehran.

UPDATE x5: nk asks in comments: what are the links for Dinnerjacket’s and Khamanei’s sites? They are here: Khamanei and Dinnerjacket. Khamanei’s site still appears to be up, despite the entreaties (linked above) to take them down.

A good place to follow the Twitter updates on the election without having to sign up for a Twitter account: go to Twitterfall and click on #iranelection at the left. You’ll get a scrolling of Twitter updates relating to the election.

UPDATE x6: I just sent $50 to TehranBureau.com. I encourage others to do the same.

UPDATE x7: If you can’t access the Tehran Bureau web site to make a donation, you can PayPal the money to this e-mail address.

Israeli PM Netanyahu Agrees to Palestinian State

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:40 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a major foreign policy address, Israel’s Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate without preconditions but insists any agreement will have conditions:

“In an much-anticipated foreign policy address Sunday night Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel, but only if the Palestinians recognize Israel’s nature as a Jewish state.

Netanyahu said that he embraced President Barack Obama’s vision, adding, however, that the Holocaust was not the reason for the establishment of the Jewish state.

The prime minister said that the descendants of the Palestinian refugees must not be resettled within Israel borders and that Jerusalem must remain united. Israel, he said, would not build any new settlements or expropriate new land for existing settlements.”

Netanyahu’s speech also focused on Iran’s threat to Israel, and it may be no coincidence that his announcement came just one day after Ahmadinejad’s election victory. A Debkafile report speculates that the Obama Administration’s support for Ahmadinejad’s opponent, Mousavi, was designed to encourage the mullahs to change leaders but it failed:

“But the White House decided to seize on Mousavi’s build-up as a candidate capable of beating the hard-line Ahmadinjed and leading Iran to change in order to vindicate Obama’s hopes of a successful dialogue with Tehran.

By falling through, this scheme placed a big question mark over the US president’s essential strategy of diplomatically engaging rogue states to de-emphasize conflict.”

Every modern U.S. President has tried and failed to solve the Palestinian problem, and I doubt Barack Obama alone can do any better. Given Obama’s lackluster support for Israel to date, Netanyahu cannot bargain from strength but I wonder if this is his effort to ensure Israel has a say in whatever Obama tries next.

– DRJ


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