Thursday, June 11, 2009

Iran Votes

Iran votes tomorrow, and if the bits we have been getting in the West is any indication, it would appear it will be a close vote. CNN reports:
Whereas President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a sure bet just 10 days ago, the race has closed this past week, in what is clearly turning into a referendum on his four years in office.

Rivers of green have flowed through the streets, those decked out in the colors of his main challenger, former Prime Minster Mir Hossein Moussavi.

The week started with tens of thousands of his supporters forming a human chain along 17 kilometers of the main Tehran artery Vali-Asr Street.

Called out by text message and email the numbers exceeded all expectations, their ranks swelled by thousands more who joined the chain spontaneously or just lined the route to watch.

"Ahmadi bye bye, Ahmadi bye bye," they sang. Others held up posters that said 'NO LIARS.' It has become the opposition slogan
Of course, the “democratic process” in Iran doesn’t work like it does in the west, as Kayhan Barzegar explains.
More than 450 Iranians registered to run for president, but the 12-member Guardian Council only gave its seal of approval to four, pictured above. Clockwise from top left, they are: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president; Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist who was prime minister from 1981 to 1989; Mohsen Rezai, a conservative and former commander of the Revolutionary Guard; and Mehdi Karroubi, a moderate and former speaker of parliament. According to Iran's Constitution, candidates must be politicians or clerics, hold Iranian citizenship, and be Shiite Muslims who believe in the principles of the Islamic Republic.”
Barzegar has an excellent overview of all the major candidates running this election. Laura Secor at the New Republic also explains why Ahmadinejad remains popular with a portion of the Iranian electorate.
Iran has its own version of the Red State dynamic. Although just 35 percent of the population lives in rural villages, which are more traditional and conservative than the cities, these people make up almost 65 percent of those who have voted in elections since 2005. Rural Iranians have been well-served by the Islamic Republic in general, and by Ahmadinejad in particular. The villages are poor, but since 1979, the Islamic Republic has brought them electricity, education, clean water, roads, local governance, and countless other improvements. Rural Iranians benefit from generous subsidies, becoming clients of the state even while urban Iranians have grown increasingly alienated.”
Let’s hope we see the end of Ahmadinejad's tenure as president, for this reason alone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Run for your Lives

Reason Magazine has a list of the 10 worst Time Magazine cover stories.

Worth a look, at least to be reminded of some of the now forgotten mass hysterias of the last 30 years.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Obama Takes a Firm Stand, and Pathetic Liberal Relativism

Joshua at One Free Korea has another great piece delving into the North Korean nuclear crisis and the world’s response to it. He highlights a positive development within the Obama administration, that thankfully rejects some of the worst ideas he was peddling during the presidential campaign.
"I continue to be gleefully amazed by the toughness and seriousness of Obama’s words on North Korea. Now let’s see if they translate into effective action. In his young presidency, Obama has already jettisoned some of the sillier foreign policy fantasies he’d articulated in his campaign. One early casualty is the idea that the U.N. can be an effective tool for dealing with sociopaths. Obama now seems completely prepared to act with or without the assent of Russia and China, and thus, the U.N. The result will be a tougher resolution and better diplomacy:

His patience tested, President Obama on Saturday promised a new and stronger response to defiant North Korea, saying that while he prefers diplomacy he is now taking a “very hard look” at tougher measures. A Pentagon official said no military moves were planned. Obama’s blunt language seemed to point toward nonmilitary penalties such as financial sanctions against North Korea, either within the United Nations or by Washington alone. U.S. allies in Asia may consider new moves to improve their own military defenses.

“We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation,” he said, alluding to recent North Korea nuclear and missile tests. [….] “We are going to take a very hard look at how we move forward on these issues, and I don’t think that there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which North Korea is constantly destabilizing the region and we just react in the same ways by, after they’ve done these things for a while, then we reward them,” Obama said
. [AP, via USA Today]
Thankfully, South Korea also has a president in office who is taking a firmer stand against provocation from the North than his predecessors would have taken.
I hereby make it clear again that there won’t be any compromise in issues threatening the lives of the people and national security,” Lee said at a speech marking Memorial Day to honour the Korean War dead.

North Korea was not only threatening the South but the world’s peace and stability by carrying out nuclear tests and launching missiles, he said.

“Even at this very moment, the North is ratcheting up the level of threats as we are also stepping up our defence posture, resulting in a trigger-wire confrontation,” Lee said
Perhaps with both men in office, we may see actual changes to our North Korean policy, which has failed so miserably over the last 15 years.

We also get news today that the two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea have been sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison camp. CNN reports:
The Central Court of North Korea sentenced Laura Ling and Euna Lee for the "grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing," the Korean Central News Agency said.

As a result, the court sentenced the women to "12 years of reform through labor," meaning they will serve out their sentence in a labor prison.
The cesspool at the Huffington Post sees no reason to stand up for these two women, and side with the North Korean regime and its legal system. Here are but a few choice bits.
I am sorry people, but these reporters brought this on themselves. You cannot put everyone at risk for your own glory. Reporters do this all the time and they knew what they were doing.” - december30

"Lets hope NK doesn't treat is detainees, the way America does...
Also, they could be spy-- don't do the crime, if you cant do the time
." - MisterHands

"People are demanding their release, but also recognize that if the women violated N. Korean law the outrage over the prison term has to be tempered with resignation.

Respect their laws
." - WeAretheOne
Truly incredible.

All I have to add to that steaming pile of vomit, is that I reject the Kim regime’s legitimacy and all of the organs within its government that further his regimes authority and interests, and watching some hand wringing moron act as if this state is a legitimate one like France or Colombia, is astounding. You must be an extraordinary soft head to equate Guantanamo Bay to the Kim family’s concentration camps, and his regimes willingness to kill and starve millions of its own people to maintain control, but there it is on display for all to see at the Huff; the relativism some liberals possess when it comes to matters of justice is astonishing and disturbing. Standing up for universal human rights and justice should be liberal values, not upholding the legal status quo in some pseudo-Stalinist state.

The only thing sadder than seeing a liberal side with a totalitarian regime over a reporter is watching other liberals agree with them. The only respect any should provide Kim Jong Ill and his legal system, is a basket to collect his head at the bottom of a guillotine.

Fuck Kim Jong Ill and his regime, and fuck his appeasing comrades in the west.