26 June 2008
13 June 2008
Iraq's prime minister said Friday that talks with the U.S. on a long-term security agreement between the two nations have reached a dead end, saying the U.S. proposals "violate Iraqi sovereignty."
Nouri al-Maliki said the talks slumped because each side refused the other's demands. The initial framework agreed upon was to have been an accord "between two completely sovereign states, al-Maliki said. The U.S. demands "violate Iraqi sovereignty. At the end, we reached a dead end," he said.
The prime minister, who spoke to reporters during a visit to neighboring Jordan, said of the American demands that "this is not acceptable."
I'm sure there are a few agents at Langley right this moment figuring out how to assassinate this guy. What hubris? To think that he should have control over foreign troops in his country!
Here's a YouTube clip of Nouri al-Maliki's announcement.
11 June 2008
REDDING, Calif. - A high school principal in Redding, Calif., says there will be no student newspaper next year after its front page featured a photo of a burning American flag. Shasta High School Principal Milan Woollard says the latest issue of the student-run Volcano newspaper was embarrassing and that the paper is finished. The newspaper included an editorial supporting flag burning, in addition to the photograph of a student setting the flag ablaze.
I guess young Americans need to know from a young age that freedom of speech is reserved for those who have the "right" opinion (just as pretty much every other fundamental right can be taken away at the whim of authorities). Personally, I don't find the students' picture embarrassing in the least. I find patriotism and devotion to nation-states embarrassing. I think we need to close down all the student newspapers that put an unburnt flag on the cover.
Newspaper faculty adviser Judy Champagne says students added the editorial and photo at the last minute and that it was "bad journalism." Woollard says funds are tight and school officials had been considering eliminating the paper before it published the image.
Good grief! Quit waffling Judy. If you're going to fight for the dark side, at least stand up and wholeheartedly declare your allegiance. You're shutting down a newspaper because they added something "at the last minute." I'm sure that American media never adds anything at the last moment!
[I originally had a picture of a burning flag here, but I'm now getting a pop-up that says that the link isn't authorized by Yahoo. Please don't tell me that Yahoo is blocking pictures that it finds politically sensitive--although nothing surprises me anymore.]
6 June 2008
If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.
McCain's new tack towards the Bush administration's theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies' cooperation with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, before he'd support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.
As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation's telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.
But Monday, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, speaking for the campaign, disavowed those statements, and for the first time cast McCain's views on warrantless wiretapping as identical to Bush's.
[Someone needs to give McClone some pointers --> You don't start reversing course from all those golden promises until after the election.][N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. [...]
We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.
The Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush's longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration's analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001.
McCain's new position plainly contradicts statements he made in a December 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe where he implicitly criticized Bush's five-year secret end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
"I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is," McCain said.
The Globe's Charlie Savage pushed further, asking , "So is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?" To which McCain answered, "I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law."
McCain's embrace of extrajudicial domestic wiretapping is effectively a bounce-back from Fish's comments, made at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Connecticut last month. When liberal blogs picked up the story that McCain had moved to the left on wiretapping, the McCain campaign issued a letter insisting that he still supported unconditional immunity, as well as new rules that would expand the nation's spy powers.
The campaign's response was consistent with McCain's past positions and votes. But it riled Andrew McCarthy at the conservative National Review Online, who read the campaign's position as a disavowal of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, and a wimpy surrender of executive power to Congress.
"What does it mean when he says Sen. McCain does not want the telecoms put into this position again?" McCarthy asked. "Is he saying that in a time of national crisis, the president should not be permitted to ask the telecoms for assistance that is arguably beyond what is prescribed in a statute?"
That's when the campaign issued the letter explaining McCain's new views of executive power, and revealing that McCain would, in certain future circumstances, rely on the same theory of executive power in wartime.
A spokesperson for McCain's camp did not respond to a request Monday for an explanation of the difference between the new policy and the December interview.
5 June 2008
The first report details Administration prewar statements that, on numerous occasions, misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq. The second report details inappropriate, sensitive intelligence activities conducted by the DoD’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, without the knowledge of the Intelligence Community or the State Department.
“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” Rockefeller said. “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”
And McClone hopes to build on this policy?
4 June 2008
A Paris court also handed down a $23,325 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner. The court also ordered Bardot to pay $1,555 in damages to MRAP. Bardot's lawyer, Francois-Xavier Kelidjian, said he would talk to her about the possibility of an appeal. A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed a lawsuit last year over a letter she sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The remarks were published in her foundation's quarterly journal. In the December 2006 letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot said France is "tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts."