Patterico's Pontifications


Honduras Election: Good News?

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 9:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For months, the Obama Administration claimed the Honduran government illegally removed President Manuel Zelaya and insisted he be reinstated. Honduran leaders resisted, stating they followed the law when they ousted Zelaya. Following the U.S. imposition of economic sanctions, Honduras accepted a U.S. brokered deal in late October that required the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress vote on reinstating Zelaya and that all parties recognize the results of the November 29 presidential election.

However, in a bold move, the President of the Honduran Congress has set the date for the vote after the November 29 Presidential election — rendering Zelaya’s reinstatement moot or, at most, making him a lame duck since he is not eligible for another Presidential term. Brazil and Argentina announced today they will not recognize the Honduran election results if Zelaya is not first restored to power, but the United States may be relenting:

“Under the October 30 deal, both sides agreed that Congress would vote on whether to return Zelaya.

But the agreement set no timetable for the 128-member body to vote, and the president of Congress said Tuesday that it would to decide on whether to reinstate Zelaya three days after the November 29 elections.

The US State Department insisted Wednesday that the Congress decision did not undermine the accord.

“Since the accord never actually gave any kind of deadline… scheduling the vote on December 2nd… isn’t necessarily inconsistent,” spokesman Ian Kelly told journalists.

Kelly said that the democratically-elected president “has to be restored before the end of his term.” Zelaya’s term expires on January 27.

“We will decide how to — how to pronounce on the election when we see how it is conducted,” Kelly added.

This is a good result for democracy and the Honduran leaders seem like modern-day Profiles in Courage. U.S. leaders, however, are not as steadfast. Even the very disappointed Manuel Zelaya “criticized the ‘contradiction’ of the US stance in comments from his embassy refuge.”


NOTE: Today’s Department of State briefing regarding Honduras is below the fold. It’s quite humorous.


Sullivan Goes Dark; Pledges to Re-Open Investigation Into Sarah Palin’s Uterus; UPDATE: Sully Plans to Be Up Half the Night Writing About Trig

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 pm

Ace Uterus Detective Andy Sullivan is on hiatus, as he searches a new treasure trove of clews to the Mystery of the Palin Pregnancy:

This is only the second time in its nearly ten-year history that the Dish has gone silent. The reason now is the same as the reason then. When dealing with a delusional fantasist like Sarah Palin, it takes time to absorb and make sense of the various competing narratives that she tells about her life. There are so many fabrications and delusions in the book, mixed in with facts, that just making sense of it – and comparing it with objective reality as we know it, and the subjective reality she has previously provided – is a bewildering task. She is a deeply disturbed person which makes this work of fiction and fact all the more challenging to read. And the fact that she is now the leader of the Republican party and a potential presidential candidate, makes this process of deconstruction an important civil responsibility. We take this seriously as we always have. We want to be fair to her, and to her family, and to the innocent people she has brought into the spotlight. And we are not reporters. We are merely analysts trying to make sense of evidence already in the public domain, evidence that points in all sorts of directions, only one of which can be true.

Since the Dish has tried to be rigorous and careful in analyzing Palin’s unhinged grip on reality from the very beginning – specifically her fantastic story of her fifth pregnancy – we feel it’s vital that we grapple with this new data as fairly and as rigorously as possible. That takes time to get right. And it is so complicated we simply cannot focus on anything else.

This baby just finished reading Sullivan’s post.

UPDATE: It just gets weirder:

I hope to be up half the night trying to write a post on the great mystery of the stories about Trig, stories that have bedeviled the blogosphere and many others for months.

[Cue Twilight Zone theme.]

UPDATE x2: From the iowahawk archives. Thanks to Stashiu for the reminder.

Military Tribunals, Then and Now

Filed under: Law,Obama — DRJ @ 6:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senator Barack Obama thought military tribunals were fine for KSM and he was hopeful, but not sure, of a conviction:

“The irony of the underlying bill as it’s written is that someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is going to get basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He’s gonna have counsel. He’s gonna be able to present evidence to rebut the government’s case…. I think we will convict him. And I think justice will be carried out.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama endorses a civilian trial and recently passed along assurances that KSM will be convicted:

“In one of a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”

Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed’s trial. “I’m not going to be in that courtroom,” he said. “That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

In interviews broadcast on NBC and CNN Wednesday, the president also said that experienced prosecutors in the case who specialize in terrorism have offered assurances that “we’ll convict this person with the evidence they’ve got, going through our system.”

Obama said the American people should have no concern about the capability of civilian courts to try suspected terrorists.”

What a difference a new job title makes. Overall, though, Obama seems rather pliable on this subject. Maybe Attorney General Eric Holder really is the boss. He certainly talks like it:

The attorney general said he is certain the men will be convicted, but even if a suspect were acquitted, “that doesn’t mean that person would be released into our country.

Tempers flared when Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., challenged Holder to say how a civilian trial could be the best idea, since Mohammed had previously sought to plead guilty before a military commission.

“How can you be more likely to get a conviction in a (civilian) court than that?” pressed Kyl, to applause from some in the hearing room.

The attorney general said his decision was not based “on the whims or the desires of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. … He will not select the prosecution venue. I will. And I have.”


PS – No, I don’t really think Holder is the boss.

Afghanistan Decision “Very Close”

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 5:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama told CNN his decision on Afghanistan was very close:

“U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday he is “very close” to a decision on boosting troop levels in Afghanistan and would make an announcement “in the next several weeks.”

It’s been over a year since Obama was elected President following a campaign in which he forcefully spoke about the need to fight the war in Afghanistan. In July 2008, he described the war as precarious and urgent:

“The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism,” Obama said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

On the same trip, Obama joined two other Senators in a statement about the importance and urgency of Afghanistan:

“We need a sense of urgency and determination. We need urgency because the threat from the Taliban and al Qaeda is growing and we must act; we need determination because it will take time to prevail. But with the right strategy and the resources to back it up, we will get the job done.”

It’s been almost 3 months since Gen. McChrystal tendered a written report requesting more troops. During that time, Obama has reportedly held at least 8 meetings with his advisers that focused on Afghanistan but the talk of urgency is gone now.

Instead, Obama says he needs more time because he wants to get it right.

President Obama has many responsibilities as President but his foremost duty is to act as Commander-in-Chief of the military and to protect America. Sending men and women into battle is a difficult job and it’s not one to take lightly. But America’s troops are already fighting in Afghanistan so delaying this decision is also a decision. It’s past time for Obama to decide.


Obama ‘Furious’ at Afghanistan Leak

Filed under: Media Bias,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama is in China and has granted 10 minute interview to several news organizations. In a CBS interview that Newsbusters describes as “running defense” for Obama, the President expressed anger at whoever released information about his Afghanistan deliberations:

“Rather than press the President on why he has failed to make a decision on Afghanistan, in the taped interview, [CBS newsman Chip] Reid explained: “I asked the President if he’s as angry as Defense Secretary Robert Gates about all of the leaks coming out of his administration about the Afghanistan deployment decision.” Obama replied: “I think I’m probably angrier than Bob Gates about it….For people to be releasing information during the course of deliberations, where we haven’t made final decisions yet, I think, is not appropriate.” Reid followed up: “Is it a firing offense?” Obama responded: “Absolutely.”

After the interview clip, co-host Maggie Rodriguez was glad to see the President putting his foot down: “Good to hear that he has a zero tolerance policy on the leaks. That is no joke.”

I hope the Administration goes after all unauthorized government leakers. My only request is that they do so chronologically … starting with the person or persons who leaked the existence of the SWIFT banking program to the New York Times.


From the Buried Lede Department: 75 to Be Held Without Trial

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am

The Washington Post‘s lede:

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an attempt to bar using funds from a defense spending bill to build or modify prisons in the United States to hold detainees from Guantanamo Bay, a move that suggested congressional Democrats may be lining up behind President Obama’s vision for closing the military prison.

Gotcha. Hey, anything else going on? Let’s read on to paragraph 12 of the article, shall we?

Administration officials say they expect that as many as 40 of the 215 detainees at Guantanamo will be tried in federal court or military commissions. About 90 others have been cleared for repatriation or resettlement in a third country, and about 75 more have been deemed too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted because of evidentiary issues and limits on the use of classified material.

We told you about this category in earlier posts. The concept of holding people without trials was discussed by Obama in a May speech. In May, Karl fleshed out the details: some detainees will be held because we can’t try them — and some might even be tried and acquitted . . . and then held nevertheless.

Kinda makes KSM’s trial seem like a show trial, huh?

Hope and change, baby. Let’s all watch and see how other news organizations handle the news that Obama has identified 75 people that he plans to hold indefnitely without trial. Mention it in the 12th paragraph? Don’t mention it all? The options are unlimited, Big Media news editors!

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