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.
John Robson - May 28th, 2013
Dame Stella Rimington, former head of Britain’s domestic security service MI5, just said Britons should spy on one another on behalf of the government. Specifically, The Daily Mail reports, she claimed:
The community has the responsibility to act as the eyes and ears, as they did during the war … where there were all these posters up saying the walls have ears and the enemy is everywhere. There have often been indications in the community, whether it’s Muslim or anywhere else, that people are becoming extremists and spouting hate phrases.
Which would be a welcome admission that Britain is honeycombed with Islamic radicals thanks to decades of wilfully obtuse immigration and multicultural policy despite the careful “whether it’s Muslim or anywhere else” (since when people shouting “Allahu Akbar” attack infidels we all know it could as easily be, say, Quakers or Mormons as anyone else). Except for two small points.
First, Britain is already a “surveillance society” thanks to the passion of Tony Blair and others for closed circuit cameras everywhere. With the government spying on everyone, why do citizens have to join in?
Second, one of the alleged suspects in the broad daylight murderous attack on soldier Lee Rigby had been under surveillance by the authorities for years. They just didn’t bother doing anything.
Nor, of course, can ordinary Britons do much of anything, thanks to the foresight of Blair et al in taking away their guns, when they encounter a blood-stained weapon-brandishing member of whatever the heck it is whose members shout that Allahu thing. Except confront them with their bare hands, a cell phone and legendary British pluck and wait for PC PC to show up and arrest the obviously dangerous people shouting rude things outside a mosque.
Other than that you’re bang on, Dame Rimington. Thanks.
John Robson - May 13th, 2013
Although many media outlets buried the Benghazi story last fall lest it interfere with the reelection prospects of the awesome Barack Obama, they’ve noticed now that the administration was clearly lying about the root cause of the attack and serious journalists would have been on the story right away. What happened wasn’t a demonstration over that silly video that got out of hand, it was determined Islamist militants targeting a U.S. facility with heavy weapons, and senior executive branch people knew it all along. So are we done?
Not remotely. What has yet to be dealt with in any serious way is what the president knew and when he knew it. During the election, on Oct. 26, Obama told an interviewer “ the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.” Yet we now know that there was no effort to deploy forces to stop the attack on the consulate and, indeed, Special Forces were ordered to stand down.
So the questions are: What order, exactly, did the President give and when and to whom? What did they then do or not do to implement the order? and What did the President do after giving that order?
As far as we can tell, the answer to question three is that he went to sleep, wasn’t kept informed and the next day flew off to a fundraiser. Which is a shocking response indeed, if true, and a scandalous lie if false. It hasn’t yet become a major issue because the question hasn’t yet been forcefully asked. But it will be.
And then, of course, we’re going to work back to questions two and one. It’s not over. Not by a long shot.
John Robson - May 9th, 2013
A strange exchange between an unidentified reporter and federal Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews at a press conference yesterday. The minister jeered “Certainly you’re not surprised that there are members of the Communist Party or ex-members of the Communist Party inside the New Democratic Party?” When asked by an apparently naïve journalist “Is that a bad thing to you?” Toews said ”No, I’m just saying why would you be surprised? They’re New Democrats”.
Now it’s a bit troubling that a reporter would seem puzzled why communism might be regarded as bad; possibly she never heard of Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot. But what’s amazing is that Toews would say “No” and then accuse his opponents of it anyway, almost as though he buys the hard left view that communism is harmless but pinning the label on people is an effective partisan smear by right-wing hacks.
Both of you, smarten up. Of course communism is bad. It claimed far more victims than Naziism and launched far more wars.
John Robson - May 7th, 2013
So apparently now there’s this big issue with the corpse of Boston Marathon alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Have we gone nuts?