An apparently quiet Sunday in Iran after much smaller than usual protests on Saturday were forcibly suppressed by the state security apparatus. Included in this new clip is video apparently showing a young woman dying after being shot by militia.
** OBAMA TODAY - SUNDAY. President Barack Obama has no scheduled public events today.
Yesterday, in advance of Father’s Day, he took daughters Sasha and Malia on an unscheduled ice cream outing.
Behind the scenes, however, things are a bit less jolly.
Obama and his advisors are monitoring the situation in Iran, which has been quiet today – Tehran time is eleven-and-a-half hours ahead of California – after small demonstrations yesterday were violently put down by Iranian security forces. 10 or more people are believed dead.
Obama issued this statement yesterday in response to the violence from the Iranian regime: The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
There are continued signs of a power struggle amongst the Iranian political elites. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pragmatic cleric who heads the Assembly of Experts (which has the power the power to remove the supreme leader) and dislikes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly been in the holy city of Qom trying to rally other clerics. Ahmadinejad repeatedly accuses Rafsanjani, who is reported to be one of the richest men in Iran, of corruption.
His daughter, a former member of parliament who has been speaking at the opposition rallies, was arrested yesterday, along with four other members of Rafsanjani’s family who have not been identified.
Other developments today show the danger of relying on rumor and twitterized reporting.
Many such reports yesterday had it that the leading opposition presidential candidate, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, had proclaimed that he is “ready to be martyred.” Supposedly at a rally somewhere in Tehran, which no one had video of.
Highly dramatic, if true.
Today Mousavi’s web site denied those reports, as did a close Mousavi ally speaking to the Associated Press.
And Ali Larijani, speaker of the parliament, who actually sat next to Ahmadinejad at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Friday sermon, was widely reported to have declared that the majority of Iranian voters disputed the purported outcome of the presidential election.
But today, Larijani denounced Britain, America, and other countries for supposedly interfering with Iran and its democratic choice, Ahmadinejad.
So it goes.
Obama is also monitoring the North Korean crisis. That North Korean ship suspected of carrying weapons technology and believed headed to Singapore is now apparently headed to Myanmar. A Navy destroyer, USS John McCain, is shadowing the ship.
Obama is also contemplating the future of his health care reform. A CBS News/New York Times poll shows 72% in favor of the public health insurance option. But there is also major concern in the Senate about the cost and how it gets paid for.
Humorist John Hodgman roasted “the first nerd president of the modern era” (who flashed the Star Trek Vulcan salute, twice) and discussed the nerds vs. jocks culture war at last night’s Radio & Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington. Hodgman, “PC” in the long-running Apple commercials, was also a doctor on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Not that I would know.
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama has had his daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors, all in the Oval Office.
He has no scheduled public events today.
Obama is of course monitoring the situation in Iran, where protests today fizzled in the face of a massive security presence ordered by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The time in Tehran is eleven-and-a-half hours ahead of California.
Leading opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi has not surfaced today, and there were conflicting reports whether he had asked his supporters not to attend a big rally scheduled for 4 PM Tehran time in the city’s Revolution Square.
According to CNN, protesters in the low thousands did attempt to demonstrate today in Tehran but were blocked, sometimes brutally, by security forces run by the Revolutionary Guard, which as noted in my column Friday morning took over the security apparatus in the capital city.
Only one death is reported by 8 PM Tehran time, that of an apparent suicide bomber at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, who emerged as the leader of the fundamentalist revolution in Iran 30 years ago. The bombing may have been carried out to foil an apparent plan by Mousavi to take refuge there as a political gambit. There may, of course, be other deaths, as the security forces are using force.
Obama is also closely monitoring several other crises: In North Korea, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
North Korea may launch a long-range missile toward Obama’s home state of Hawaii on the 4th of July, and continues saber-rattling rhetoric and acts. The US Navy is following the passage of a suspect North Korean ship, which is hugging the China coast, toward Singapore.
The Pakistani Army offensive against the Taliban is widening. There have been no major terrorist bombings in reprisal for most of the last week.
Iran, of course, is the big ponderable, if not imponderable. See my column linked below.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has no scheduled public events this weekend.
Returning home to LA last night, he had a bit of a scare when his private jet made a sudden emergency landing at Van Nuys private airport.
Schwarzenegger had been scheduled to land at Santa Monica airport.
Smoke suddenly started coming out of an instrument panel in the cockpit and the pilots decided to land at the nearer private field. LA fire units responded as the plane arrived.
Schwarzenegger referred to it as “a little adventure” and posted a picture of the plane on the Van Nuys tarmac with several emergency vehicles parked next to it.
Nothing nearly so dramatic as his exiting the plane in Eraser.
Scheduled big protests on Saturday in Tehran and elsewhere fizzled in the face of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s declaration and thousands of Iranian security troops. The footage shown here is from previous events.
** OBAMA AND THE AYATOLLAH. Two weeks after his landmark address in Cairo, where he honored traditional Islam and extolled engagement with modern Islam, President Barack Obama finds himself in a conundrum. Determining what to do about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who just told the people of Iran, in an unusual nationally-televised sermon at the end of Friday prayers, to stop acting like they live in a democracy.
It’s a particularly tricky question for Obama, because he has an unusual dual role to play: Inspirational global icon and president of the United States.
As the president of the United States, it’s Obama’s job to figure out the needs of America and go about meeting them. As a global icon, he is expected to inspire. …
** OBAMA’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT: NORTH KOREA, AGAIN. President Barack Obama changed the old kabuki in dealing with his second North Korean crisis. The first time around, back in April, dealing with a long-range missile test that failed to place a satellite in orbit, Obama treated the effort as more of the same rather baffling attention-seeking by the Hermit Kingdom. This time, after a string of provocations including an underwhelming underground nuclear detonation, a series of missile launches, and the imprisonment of two California-based journalists, Obama went in another, tougher, direction that may lead to a naval confrontation. … From my June 12th column.
** REMEMBERING AMERICA: OBAMA’S D-DAY SPEECH AND TWO DAYS IN JUNE. There’s no question that timing is, as it were, of the essence in politics. Consider the timing of President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim world, coming as it did just two days before the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
Most focus simply on the Cairo speech. But that speech exists in a larger context, alongside the speech over the weekend in Normandy which bookended it on Obama’s second big international tour.
On Thursday in Cairo, Obama gave his rhetorical best to reposition a mostly peaceful America in the future of the Muslim world. On Saturday in Normandy, he reminded of America’s glittering, and far more martial, past. … From my June 8th column.
** REPOSITIONING AMERICA: OBAMA’S CAIRO SPEECH AS THE ULTIMATE IN EVENT MARKETING. In the biggest example of event marketing that comes to mind, President Barack Obama used his ballyhooed speech today at Cairo University to reposition America in the Muslim and Arab worlds.
“I have come here,” he said, “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
The fact is that Obama didn’t really say anything new. The positions he laid out are positions he had in his campaign. But he did say it all at once, and quite well. He did say it in a 50-minute address aimed directly at the Muslim and Arab worlds. He did say it in Cairo, largest city in the Arab world and a critical city in the history of Islam. And he did say it at the leading modern university in Egypt in an event co-sponsored by the world’s chief center of Arabic literature, the ancient Al-Azhar University.
In that sense, to borrow a phrase from Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message. The context is the key to the effort.
In an even larger sense, the message is himself. Both who he is, and who he is not. … From my June 4th column.
** TERMINATING THE DARKNESS: HOPE FLOATS, BUT ANXIETY ABIDES. … From my May 31st column.
** THE AVOIDABLE TRAGEDY OF CALIFORNIA’S PROP 8. … From my May 26th column.
** OBAMA’S NEW CALIFORNIA-BASED CLIMATE POLICY: SIX KEY THINGS TO KNOW. … From my May 20th column.
** 24 AND THE TORTUOUS POLITICS OF TORTURE. … From my May 18th column.
** ANGELS AND DEMONS AND RELIGIOUS POLITICS. … From my May 15th column.
** WHAT DOES OBAMA’S AFGHAN COMMAND CHANGE MEAN? … From my May 13th column.
** THE HYPE FLU’S BIG FADE. … From my May 11th column.
** STAR TREK‘S NEW COMING-OF-AGE SAGA FOR GENERATION O. … From my May 8th column.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate last fall, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record last July 11th, crude oil closed at $69.55 per barrel on Friday. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is up about $36 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, due in part to some positive economic signs and in part to geopolitical jitters over North Korea and Iran. The price is down a couple of dollars in the last day or so, reflecting an easing of some tensions in Iran.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.