John Robson, columnist and commentator with Sun Media, is also an Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and a commentator-at-large with News Talk Radio 580 CFRA in Ottawa. With a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D in American history from the University of Texas at Austin, he has worked in academia, think tanks and politics as well as doing print, radio, TV and online journalism in Canada. He is married to Brigitte Pellerin.
John Robson - June 26th, 2013
According to a Sierra Club Canada press release, Barack Obama’s global warming bowl of mush yesterday, in which he didn’t even take a clear stand on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, “may turn out to be one of the most important speeches in American history”. Right. Forget “I Have a Dream” or the Farewell Address or the Gettysburg Address. Give a formulaic shout-out, take off your jacket again, mop your brow theatrically and drone on and your words “may turn out to be” studied, cited and cherished two centuries hence.
John Robson - June 17th, 2013
If you’re wondering how only 8 of 686 would-be candidates were allowed to run in Iran’s presidential election, it’s very simple. The Guardian Council of the Constitution approves candidates… or doesn’t if they’re not sufficiently keen on wholesome principles like death to Israel and death to the Great Satan and an Iranian nuclear bomb and such like. And where does this GCC come from? Again, very simple. The Supreme Leader chooses six members while the Parliament (whose legislation it can veto and whose candidates it can also veto) chooses six from a list prepared by the head of the Judicial Power who is (but you saw this coming) appointed by the Supreme Leader.
Even if you do get to be President, you don’t run the country. That’s the Supreme Leader, chosen by the Assembly of Experts (directly elected from candidates approved by… itself, and vetted by that darn Guardian Council again). Oh, and the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution can create things that aren’t laws but are binding and can’t be overruled except by the Supreme Leader… who appoints the SCCR personally.
Which raises the vexed question: Even if you could run for president of Iran, or for its parliament, why would you want to? That so many people would vote for a fake moderate anyway (a “pragmatist” according to the New York Times and we all know what that means) suggests most Iranians wish this question had a better answer than it does. But those who rule them for their own benefit without their genuine consent probably don’t care. Certainly this tangled self-perpetuating institutional framework suggests they don’t.