Patterico's Pontifications

1/7/2010

Healing Honduras (Subtitle: We’re Not Through with You Yet, Honduras)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 10:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Despite all the dangers America and the Obama Administration face in the world, this recent State Department briefing shows the Obama Administration is not through with Honduras:

QUESTION: Well, I just want one on Honduras. I mean, isn’t it a little besides the point now? I mean, you’re going to kind of implement the San Jose process. You already have a president-elect. You have an inauguration coming up. You’ve already pretty much said that you’re going to accept and deal with the new government. So what is this kind of symbolic box-checking of making sure that you implement the San Jose Accords before the new government —

[STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN IAN] CROWLEY: Well, I don’t think it’s symbolic at all. I mean, obviously, what happened back in June represents a breach in the heart of Honduran society, and to some extent that tension is still there. So yes, you’re right; there is a new government that will be installed on January 27th. The real question is: Can that government be a vehicle through which you begin a healing process and you have a situation where the Honduran people can unite behind this new government? That is our primary effort here: How do we help Honduras move forward and to overcome the clear tension that resulted in the actions taken last June?

QUESTION: Well, but the tension was from Zelaya’s rule and the people that wanted him back in versus the people that –

QUESTION: Why?

QUESTION: Whatever.

MR. CROWLEY: That’s true. By the same token, our interest here is in seeing a true restoration of constitutional and democratic rule, and to see Honduras advance as a stable and contributing member of the international community.

QUESTION: But – I understand that, but if you undo what you —

MR. CROWLEY: And, oh, by the way, we do have some decisions to make in the future about the future nature of our relationship. As we said back in November, the election was a step forward. We felt that the results did reflect the will of the Honduran people. That said, the election by itself was not enough to – we have some decisions to make in terms of the nature of our relationship, the nature of assistance in the future.

So there are still steps that Honduras has to take, and we are encouraged by comments by President-elect Lobo, but we are there to continue to move this process forward not only to get to January 27, but most importantly, to see that government advance once it’s in office.

QUESTION: Well – I’m sorry.

QUESTION: Is that —

MR. CROWLEY: Is that —

QUESTION: Well, I’m sorry. No. I have a couple more questions on this.

MR. CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: How – I mean, I understand about moving forward, but how by undoing what you did – not what you did, but what was done in Honduras at the absolute last minute right before the inauguration of this new president that you – by this new president repairs the constitutional breach that took place? And why would you need to reevaluate what kind of relationship you need with Honduras going forward? This was all about the interim government and the former deposed government. And why would you punish this new government for what happened before that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, remember, not only do we support a government of national unity that reflects all of the components —

QUESTION: For a day or a couple of days?

MR. CROWLEY: Right.

QUESTION: Sorry.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, no – we support the formation of a national unity government that represents broad interests in Honduras. But most importantly, you need to have this truth commission that is part of a healing process that has to occur if Honduras is going to advance. So it is – there are a number of steps in the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accords. Some of them have been implemented, but not all, and this continues to demonstrate our commitment to the people of Honduras and to the future relationship between the United States and Honduras. But there are definitely – Craig is there to communicate clearly to a variety of parties that there are still things that Honduras has to do.”

The healing process? The Obama Administration is supposed to represent America’s interests. Instead of being the leader of the world or even the world’s policeman, an Obama-led America sounds more like the world’s therapist.

— DRJ

Fort Hood Shooter May Claim Insanity

Filed under: Crime,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Army is proceeding with a mental status hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and Hasan’s defense attorney may assert an insanity defense:

“Defense attorneys for accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan are racing to collect evidence that could show their client is insane before a psychiatric evaluation is completed.

The Army on Wednesday evening told Maj. Hasan’s defense lawyers that it had convened a so-called sanity board to evaluate whether Maj. Hasan is fit to stand trial. The three-person panel is expected to make a recommendation by the end of February, a timeline that has defense attorneys frustrated.”

The Army has reportedly appointed a prosecutor with experience rebutting an insanity defense:

“Defense attorneys faced a similar challenge in the case of Hasan Akbar, an Army sergeant accused of killing two U.S. soldiers in a grenade attack in the early days of the Iraq war. Sgt. Akbar’s lawyers argued he had a history of depression and was too mentally ill to be capable of premeditation.

In 2005, an Army jury found Sgt. Akbar guilty and sentenced him to death. The defense is appealing the verdict. Col. Michael Mulligan, the officer who prosecuted Sgt. Akbar, recently joined the team that will prosecute Maj. Hasan.”

The article speculates the defense will point out Hasan acted oddly before the shooting, including that “he lived in a cramped one-bedroom apartment, a place far smaller than he could have afforded on his salary” and that “he gave away many of his belongings” just prior to the shootings. However, it seems to me this conduct will further open the door to testimony that Hasan’s motive was jihad. While it’s probably inevitable that this motive will be raised at trial, I’m not sure the defense wants to help prove it in a preliminary hearing.

— DRJ

Defense Secretary Gates to Remain for Another Year

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 8:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports Defense Secretary Robert Gates will remain in his post for another year:

“Gates, who has said he considers himself a Republican, told President Barack Obama in December that he would stay on at least through the end of 2010, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told The Associated Press.”

Walter Russell Mead recently described President Obama’s foreign policy approach as part-idealist, part-pragmatist. Obama is like most presidents in this respect but I think he’s more of a pragmatist, albeit sometimes a reluctant one. Thus, it does not surprise me that Gates has become his foreign policy soulmate.

— DRJ

Texas Longhorns vs Alabama Crimson Tide (Update: Alabama Wins)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 4:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The NCAA national championship game is tonight. Time for a poll!

— DRJ

UPDATE: Alabama wins 37-21. Roll Tide.

So Far, Obama’s Words don’t Match his Acts

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 4:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Earlier this week, I applauded President Obama for talking smart and tough on terrorism. His statement today was equally commendable. Unfortunately his actions fall woefully short of what he says:

As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough the Director of National Counterterrorism Center was away skiing after the attempted Christmas day plane bombing, the White House amazingly is now claiming they told him to go on vacation in the immediate aftermath before the full scope of what happened had even been determined.
***
It was obvious for days afterward Obama was the least bit concerned as he sunned himself and golfed for four days before even addressing the media. Oh, and do they think we forget the infamous “the system worked” comments of Janet Incompetano? Obviously they didn’t understand the severity of what went down so why would they object if Leiter went on vacation.”

President Obama in Hawaii

I’m still glad Obama finally seems to realize we’re at war with more than a few guys in Afghanistan and that he’s talking seriously about terrorism. Now he and his Administration need to focus on acting decisively, a trait that has proven much more difficult for him as President.

— DRJ

2010 Themes: This way to the egress

Filed under: General — Karl @ 12:35 pm

[Posted by Karl]

On Monday, The Hill’s Aaron Blake asked a number of questions for analyzing the 2010 midterm elections. The second question was, “How many more Democrats head for the exits?” Since then, three prominent Democrats have announced they will not seek relection — Sens. Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd, plus Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. And Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry abandoned his campaign for governor. But these announcements may tell us less about 2010 than the instant reactions — or Blake’s piece — might suggest.

First, as lefty bloggers like Steve Benen were quick to note, even now, more GOP incumbents are retiring in the House, Senate and governorships than Democrats. Moreover, the number of vulnerable seats at issue with these retirements remains roughly equal. The conventional wisdom is that open seats are generally easier pickups, but regardless of where one comes down on that question, the landscape is close to a wash numerically.

Second, the retirements do not always benefit the GOP. Dorgan’s retirement is a likely GOP pickup, especially if (as expected) Gov. John Hoeven gets into the race. But Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal looks like a much stronger candidate than Chris Dodd, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (fmr. Sen. Ken Salazar is out) looks to be a stronger challenger than Ritter, and probably anyone could be a better candidate than Cherry. Granted, the fact that fresh faces apparently poll better than Dem incumbents does not bode well for Dems generally, but it demonstrates that an open seat is not always the best scenario for the party out of power, either.

Nevertheless, retirements can be an indicator of internal weakness. After all, one might expect fewer retirements among the party in power than in the out party. In addition, as Sean Trende noted back in October, in 1994, even if all of the Democrats who voted for the Clinton budget or the assault weapons ban had run for re-election, Republicans could have defeated enough of them to retake the House. It is too soon to say whether 2010 is shaping up as another 1994 — but the GOP does not have to win as many seats this year as they did in 1994, either.

–Karl

Thanks to RCP’s Jay Cost, for inspirational supporting links via Twitter.

Charles Johnson Fails to Correct False Statement About Glenn Reynolds

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:58 am

Charles Johnson hounded Andrew Breitbart for days for failing to make a correction Johnson believed should have been made. (Breitbart made the correction, even as he debunked Johnson’s evidence.) But Johnson is apparently quite content to leave his own assertions uncorrected.

On January 3, Johnson wrote a post titled Instapundit: ‘Shoeshine Boy’ Picture Not Racist:

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) says this picture of Barack Obama as a shoeshine boy isn’t racist — because Rush Limbaugh was a shoeshine boy.

Obama Shines Palin Shoes

In his original post, Reynolds called the Photoshop “racist.” Yes, he posted an update that linked Tom Maguire questioning this characterization, and said he found the racial stereotype to be “a bit shaky.” But Prof. Reynolds also subsequently posted this update:

STILL MORE: Okay, reader Michael Demmons thinks I’m excusing racism here. Well, my first reaction here was that the pic was racist; I was trying to be fair by noting Maguire’s response. I still think the pic was racist, but now that every criticism of Obama is called racist, I suppose I’ve gotten jaded . . . .

That update has been up since at least January 4.

Let’s review:

  • Charles Johnson: “Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) says this picture of Barack Obama as a shoeshine boy isn’t racist . . .”
  • Glenn Reynolds: “I still think the pic was racist . . .”

Despite this clear disparity between Charles’s post and the truth, there is no correction from Charles Johnson. Three days later. And counting.

I guess it’s OK to leave false statements uncorrected after all. As long as they’re about bloggers you have decided you no longer like.

P.S. But do we know Charles Johnson saw Reynolds’s update?

Yes, we do. I e-mailed him about it early yesterday morning.


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