Patterico's Pontifications


Iranian Clerics Defy Government

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 8:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A pro-reform group of Shiite clerics in Qom, Iran, have declared last month’s Presidential election invalid because “evidence of vote-rigging were ignored … peaceful protests by Iranians were violently oppressed … dozens of Iranians were killed and hundreds were illegally arrested.” However, the Reuters’ reports says the clerics’ defiance is largely symbolic:

“Qom is Iran’s center of Shi’ite learning, about 80 miles south of Tehran. The assembly has little political influence but its statement is a significant act of defiance since Qom is the power base of the clerical establishment.”

Meanwhile, the Iranian government continues to blame the UK and the US for its problems:

Iran accuses foreign powers, especially Britain and the United States, of inciting the anti-government protests to carry out a “velvet” revolution to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Tehran had arrested nine local British embassy staff but seven of them were later released.

On Friday, hardline cleric Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council that certified the election result, said the detained British embassy staffers had confessed and would face trial for inciting street protests.

In response to the detentions, EU countries summoned Iranian envoys and have pledged a strong, collective response to any Iranian harassment of staff at European embassies.

I haven’t seen a response from the U.S. on Iran’s detention of the British embassy staff. Does anyone know what America’s position on this is?

UPDATE: Dana provided this link from Monday in which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “We find that the harassment of embassy staff is deplorable, and we will continue to support the United Kingdom in calling for their release.” I haven’t located any statement by Barack Obama.


Obama’s Nuclear-Free World

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama will travel to Moscow on Monday for two days of meetings, and the White House has announced the negotiations could lead to a new nuclear arms control treaty by the end of the year:

“Obama is scheduled to arrive Monday in Moscow for two days of meetings. Negotiations on arms control are expected to dominate, with the current START I accord set to expire Dec. 5.

Both sides agree in principle to cut warheads from more than 2,000 each to as low as 1,500 apiece.

It’s important that any agreement “be free of the cold war burden of intrusive inspections,” [Gary Samore, the president’s coordinator for weapons of mass destruction] told reporters ahead of Obama’s arrival.”

Even though the START I deadline is 5 months away, the Administration is concerned it won’t have time to get Senate ratification of a new treaty, and it is looking at other “ways to enforce some aspects on an executive level while waiting for ratification.” It’s difficult to imagine ratification can’t be accomplished by December given the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Maybe the problem is not with the Senate but with Obama.

Yesterday’s New York Times published an article about a paper Obama wrote 20 years ago as an undergraduate student at Columbia University. The topic was how to negotiate with the Soviets to cut nuclear arsenals and create a nuclear-free world, and it’s clear Obama still embraces his college dream of a nuclear-free world. However, I wonder if Obama fears he will not be able to get Senate ratification if he is willing to go to any length (including eliminating inspections) in search of that dream.

Obama’s current nuclear-free goal focuses on convincing all nations to voluntarily disarm existing stockpiles and agreeing to international control of fissile materials. In other words, he believes he can put the nuclear genie back in the bottle:

“Each of those steps would require building a global consensus. It would also mean persuading countries to give up the coveted freedom to make fuel for reactors — and instead, probably, buy it from an international fuel bank.

Most of all, Mr. Obama and like-minded leaders will have to establish a new global order that will truly restrain rogue states and terrorist groups from moving ahead with nuclear projects.

“I don’t think I was that unique at that time,” the president said of his Columbia days, “and I don’t think I’m that unique today in thinking that if we could put the genie back in the bottle, in some sense, that there would be less danger — not just to the United States but to people around the world.”

This is the height of naivete’.


Former Honduras President Flying Home (Updated)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 2:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is currently flying to Honduras from Washington DC, accompanied by other planes carrying South American leaders who joined to support Zelaya. Meanwhile, in Honduras, protesters, military guards, and police helicopters are waiting at the Tegucigalpa airport and the Honduran military has orders to prevent Zelaya’s plane from landing.

It’s interesting that the Zelaya caravan originated in DC.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Zelaya ended up in Nicaragua and is flying to El Salvado, but he may try again tomorrow. Honduras claims “Nicaragua is moving troops to their border in an attempt at psychological intimidation.”

And it seems the U.S. government may be taking an active role in the negotiations and in putting pressure on Honduras:

“Without OAS membership, the isolated interim government faces trade sanctions and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidized oil, aid and loans.

Micheletti’s vice foreign minister, Martha Lorena Alvarado, said the interim government sent the OAS a letter expressing “willingness to conduct conversations in good faith.” In Washington, senior Obama administration officials took that as a positive sign.

Speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the State Department, the officials said the United States and other OAS member countries are coordinating contacts and outreach to facilitate a resolution, despite their insistence on having no formal relations with the interim government.”


Is It Verboten to Criticize Sarah Palin on a Conservative Blog?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:45 am

Yesterday Ed Morrissey wrote that Palin’s resignation

destroyed her own credibiity in a single day.

I liked Sarah Palin and supported her inclusion on the GOP ticket last fall. I thought she had more toughness than this. It’s a big disappointment, and it’s the end of any hope of Palin getting taken seriously as a politician on the national level in the future.

That post currently has 3267 comments and counting. I haven’t read through them all, but based on something Ed wrote today, many of the commenters apparently suggested that Ed is a “Palin-hater”:

My caveat in the opening paragraph wasn’t about getting “beat up”; I’m a big boy, and I can take honest criticism. It’s correcting the falsehood in the comment strings that I’ve been a Palin-hater. If people actually read what I’ve written about Palin over the past year, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m going to give people my honest opinion, no matter what.

Wow. People are actually calling Ed Morrissey a “Palin-hater”?

Meanwhile, staunch conservative Ace of Spades also posted a line that I quoted on Friday: “It’s over. You can’t resign from a governorship and then run for higher office.” Now, apparently Ace is also getting the business from his commenters, and has begun to respond in his comments section:

[I]f you do not believe that Sarah Palin has some double-secret probation plan for the presidency, you must hate her too, and you’re rooting against her, and cheering for the other side.

This is fucking insane and it must stop. I will not be bullied by this ludicrous magical thinking brigade who insists that only Nice and Positive Words must be uttered or else one is contributing one’s Evil Energy to the Wrong Side.

It’s insane.

I disagree with you. I have tried to do so pleasantly but I am tired of the imputation of bad motive simply because I am more realistic and less prone to flights of hopeful fancy than you.

Is Sarah Palin, like Rush Limbaugh, an icon that cannot be criticized on a conservative blog without having the readership turn en masse against the blogger? It sure looks that way. Somehow, I’m thinking Allahpundit is happy to be on vacation this week — so he can sit back and watch other conservatives be subjected to this abuse.

Me, I have no idea what Palin’s doing, and I’m content to watch it all unfold without expressing much of an opinion. I rather doubt there’s some major scandal in the works. And I understand and share the anger that comes from watching cretins like Tom Boggioni take cheap shots at Palin’s children.

Still, if conservative stalwarts like Ed Morrissey and Ace do have an honest opinion concerning Palin’s amnnouncement, and they express it — are they now blackballed?

That’s absurd.

As conservatives, we need to have room to express honest opinions and disagree. If we can’t do that without writing off people who have supported conservative principles for years, then this party will never reform and regain power.

And to the Palin critics, I would say this: we don’t really know what’s going on here. So why not sit back and let events unfold without criticizing her so harshly right out of the gate?

Latest “MoDo” Column: Plagiarizer’s Source Getting Even More Vapid

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:07 am

You know Maureen Dowd’s friend? The one who sends Dowd e-mails, which Dowd then plagiarizes word for word? Yeah, she sent Dowd some pretty idiotic lines today:

Caribou Barbie is one nutty puppy.

. . . .

And so it was, Todd Purdum learned, as he traveled Alaska reporting on Palin for Vanity Fair, that the governor’s erratic and egoistic behavior has been a source of concern for people there.

“Several told me, independently of one another,” Purdum writes, “that they had consulted the definition of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — ‘a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy’ — and thought it fit her perfectly.”

That sounds like a diagosis right there! Of course, those people aren’t psychologists, or they wouldn’t have to look up the definition. They’re just catty people who don’t like Palin. Sort of like the person who e-mailed Dowd this column. But if enough catty Palin-haters say the same thing, that’s good enough for a few paragraphs in a MoDo column!

The White House can drive its inhabitants loopy. So at least Sarah Palin is ahead of the curve on that one.

As Alaskans settled in to enjoy holiday salmon bakes and the post-solstice thaw, their governor had a solipsistic meltdown so strange it made Sparky Sanford look like a model of stability.

Who wrote that line, Maureen? We need their e-mail address so we can write them and tell them how clever it is!

UPDATE: I think I figured out who MoDo’s friend is: Liz Trotta, who calls Palin “inarticulate,” “undereducated,” “flaky,” and “wacky” — someone who “used her good looks and her gender to really get ahead in the political world”:

The giveaway: she thinks MoDo’s column was a “well-written, funny piece.”

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