Bloggers on the exoneration of Iranian vigilantes.

Bloggers on the exoneration of Iranian vigilantes.

Bloggers on the exoneration of Iranian vigilantes.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 20 2007 5:23 PM

Iran's Vigilantes

Bloggers are appalled by Iran's exoneration of six vigilantes. They also think Alberto Gonzales is done for after his poor performance before the Senate and worry that Alec Baldwin's an unfit father.

Iran's vigilantes: The Iranian Supreme Court exonerated six members of the Basiji Force—an armed Islamist vigilante group—of brutally killing five people they deemed "morally corrupt." (One couple was slain for walking together in public.) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was once a member of the Basiji Force, which acts with the blessing of Ayatollah Khamanei.

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Charles Mudede at Slog, the blog of Seattle alterna-weekly the Stranger, calls the Islamic court's ruling "some real primitive shit" and adds: "Even the 4th century Greeks had come to the conclusion that the execution of the law must not be in the hands of the house (oiko) but in the hands of the public (agora). Does Aeschylus' trilogy, The Oresteia, have any other meaning? And here we are in the 21st century, reading on the internet that there are still places on this interconnected planet that allow individuals to take the law into their own hands, their own house—the locus of divine law and other such inhumane mysteries/miseries. It's utterly amazing."

LOTF at Opium and Saffron, an Iran-focused blog, writes: "How does one defend Iran without defending the Iranian government? Its similar to the quandry anti-Iraq war protesters in the U.S. face in their attempts to oppose the war, but at the same time support the soldiers. Recently I saw Rostam Pourzal speak. He's the president of the U.S. branch of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. I was amazed at his portrait of the Iranian people as prosperous, happy and supportive of their government."

Noting that the case is still subject to an appeals process, "moderate conservative liberal" Michael P.F. van der Galiën guesses: "Lets see, these murderers are members of a militia favored by Khamenei and… Ahmadinejad was a member of it… It seems to me that chances are slim that the full membership of the court, will decide differently: these, excuse me, thugs will - most likely - get away with [it]."

Righty Chad at In the Bullpen says: "[I]t is rather disturbing in the greater sense that the Iranian government believes all citizens of so-called Western nations are morally corrupt.  Using this guideline it would be permissable to simply kill all citizens of said nations under Iranian law, but also morally correct to do so because this law was handed down by a cleric.  I needn't remind anyone, but Iran is building a nuclear program."

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Read more about Iran's Supreme Court exoneration of the vigilante murderers.

Adios, Alberto? By all accounts, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony Thursday before the Senate, regarding the firing of federal prosecutors, was a dismal performance. Conservatives are jettisoning Gonzales' cause, and liberals are not so quietly tapping their fingers until he's fired.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has led the lefty pack on scrutinizing the federal prosecutors' firings and was surprised by how quickly Republican senators abandoned Gonzales: "He's given people too many causes of termination to choose from. You can want him to go for subverting the federal justice system. Or if that's too much for you to handle you can say he should go for running Main Justice like some ungainly combination of a Young Republicans summer camp and Michael Brown's FEMA. And if even that creates too much collateral damage for you to deal with you can just say he should go for lying about everything that happened."

Conservative Byron York at the National Review's The Corner called it a "disastrous morning" for Gonzales: "The major problem with his testimony is that Gonzales maintains, in essence, that he doesn't know why he fired at least some of the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys. When, under questioning by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, Gonzales listed the reasons for each firing, it was clear that in a number of cases, he had reconstructed the reason for the dismissal after the fact. He didn't know why he fired them at the time, other than the action was recommended by senior Justice Department staff."

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Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice reduces the public perception of Gonzales to the following: "At best, the portrait that has emerged in recent weeks from a slew of news reports and his testimony yesterday suggest a weak individual who is easily politically dominated. At worst, the portrait that is emerging is of someone who an outright political hack and should never have been appointed at all. An unspoken sentiment among Republicans seems to be buyer's remorse."

Read more about Gonzales' Senate testimony. Slate tracked some of the Q&A; Dahlia Lithwick explained why the AG's strategy puzzled her; and the Gonzo-Meter predicts a 95 percent chance of departure.

Running with scissors:Alec Baldwin's irate voice mail to his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland—which is making the rounds on gossip blogs and TV talk shows everywhere—has prompted inevitable comparisons with Don Imus' verbal diarrhea.  Have a listen.

UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge asks, "If Don Imus deserved firing for what he said about the Rutgers' womens b-ball team, doesn't Alec Baldwin deserve to be fired from 30 Rock for calling his eleven year old child a 'rude, thoughtless little pig'? Such vicious verbal abuse of one's pre-teen child strikes me as at least as bad as what Imus did, if not worse."

To which legal blogger Ann Althouse replies: "Yes, if only we could somehow get an audio clip of the meanest sounding tirade each parent has ever unleashed on a child, we'd have grounds to demand that we all get fired. And kids, don't answer the phone, tempt that parent into leaving a recorded message. Because with the internet, you can have sooooo much fun with recordings. Or do you think only a rude, thoughtless little pig would make such a damaging recording public?"

Read more about Alec Baldwin's tirade.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.