Tuesday, July 6, 2010
You can watch the video below:
The lawsuit, which three sources said could be filed as early as Tuesday, will invoke for its main argument the legal doctrine of “preemption,” which is based on the Constitution’s supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. Justice Department officials believe that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility, the sources said.
A federal lawsuit will dramatically escalate the legal and political battle over the Arizona law, which gives police the power to question anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. The measure has drawn words of condemnation from President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and opposition from civil rights groups. It also has prompted at least five other lawsuits. Arizona officials have urged the Obama administration not to sue.
Here’s the pertinent text from the Constitution:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The 14th amendment contains similar language:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
The Supreme Court has set extensive precedent in ruling on the issue, with McCulloch vs. Maryland (stating that states cannot tax the federal government) being the earliest example. But perhaps the most important case in terms of Obama’s challenge to Arizona’s illegal immigration law may be Edgar vs. Mite Corp. in which the Supreme Court ruled that “A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid Federal statute.”
Given that the Arizona law doesn’t conflict at all with federal law, that it in fact expands enforcement of federal law to the state level, and that it is perfectly possible to be in compliance with both Arizona immigration law and federal immigration law it would seem as though Obama doesn’t have a case.
Though another Supreme Court ruling may prove problematic. In California v. ARC America Corp. the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government need only have intended to act in a particular circumstance in order for the supremacy clause to be invoked, and that the state law need not even be in contradiction to federal law.
Given that later ruling, it appears as though Obama may have a case.
Really, this could go either way, but setting aside the legal minutia we should ask ourselves as citizens: What in the world is the federal government accomplishing by invoking the supremacy clause in a situation where a state is trying to enforce law the public overwhelmingly wants enforced but the federal government refuses to enforce?
Obama’s lawsuit against Arizona isn’t motivated by jurisdictional concerns but rather political concerns. Namely, that he doesn’t want immigration laws enforced.
The BBC says the 47-year-old singer was arrested Sunday after police responded to reports that a car had crashed into a building in Hampstead, an upscale residential area in north London.
Metropolitan Police say only that they arrested a man in his 40s early Sunday in Hampstead on suspicion of being unfit to drive. They say the man was taken to a police station and released on bail pending further inquiries.
The singer's publicists in London declined comment Tuesday.
Last year, Michael was questioned by police after his car hit a tractor-trailer, but was released. He was banned from driving for two years in 2007 after pleading guilty to driving on drugs.
By Michael Swartz
Traditionally, newspapers have enjoyed the freedom from restrictions on political speech. A good editorial board will consider all views for publication and exhibit some sort of balance among those they allot space for in the editorial pages. Being of the conservative persuasion I would expect to have my columns paired up against another representing the liberal or progressive perspective.
In broadcast media, it’s rare to find a radio or television station which promotes a multitude of editorial viewpoints; however, that singularity is countered by the fact that many markets have a wide variety of broadcasters and consumers can select the ones they rely upon. Similarly, the internet is the wild, wild West of media because its myriad and less edited viewpoints are available with a click of a mouse.
Get full story here.
Just as President Reagan channeled Thomas Jefferson on July 3, 1987 to interlink his proposed “Economic Bill of Rights” with the ideals of the founding period, contemporary Americans ought to reinstate the 40th president’s call for constitutional amendments that would force the federal government to operate within its means.
Reagan delivered his address most appropriately from the Jefferson Memorial and followed up with a radio address on Independence Day and explained how the key elements of his reform package would help to re-establish checks and balances against federal power. He also identified four basic economic freedoms that were in need of greater protection: 1)the freedom to work 2) the freedom to enjoy the fruits of one's labor 3) the freedom to own and control one's property 4) the freedom to participate in a free market.
Get full story here.
Every action a person takes in the United States is regulated by the government. Many of these regulations go unnoticed. But think about every action you take, and the bureaucratic agency that is regulating it. From brushing your teeth, to watering your lawn, the government has intruded into your life and regulated every action you take. But how did we end up in a society that has allowed itself to be regulated across the board?
We live in an age where the government fears the people. And rightfully so. They hustle our paychecks, bailout zombie corporations against the wishes of the public, and send our money overseas to pointless causes such as bailouts for Palestinian mortgages. Clearly, this government has taken many actions that are not supported by the people that pay for them.
Many people argue that we are rewarded richly for government pilfering via public schools, defense, and road systems, to name just a few government projects. But many of these services, if not all, could be provided with better quality and cheaper prices through the private sector.
Which leads one to wonder why we never hear privatization advocated by our politicians? Why should people always look to government for solutions to modern day problems such as the BP spill cleanup, instead of privately owned companies that could do the same work better and cheaper?
Get full story here.
Let’s play June unemployment report Jeopardy.
And the answer is: What are 652,000 Americans exiting the civilian labor force - more than the entire population of the City of Boston, Massachusetts.
Question: The explanation for how our nation’s economy could lose 125,000 jobs in the month of June and still have the unemployment rate fall from 9.7 to 9.5%?
Think about the magnitude of the number 652,000 people. It is as if an alien mother ship dropped down and eliminated every resident of the District of Columbia and took a few people from Maryland and Virginia as well. It is as if the entire city of Boston just decided to stop participating in the nation’s labor force. It is a huge number of people.
And it is a gigantic no-confidence vote for Obama’s economic policy from those who matter most – the American worker.
Get full story here.
ALG Condemns House for Passing $10 Billion States Bailout in War Supplemental, Calls for Senate to Reject
“Nancy Pelosi’s House has shown its true colors through the attachment of a non-essential $10 billion political slush fund to the war supplemental, which will be used to bail out bankrupt states like California and New York that refuse to make necessary cuts to balance their budgets, and whose teacher unions have run up an unsustainable tab for taxpayers.
“The final passage of the war supplemental remains in doubt in the Senate so long as these bailouts are attached. Pelosi was barely able to muster the votes necessary for passage, and even then only got what she needed through the passage of a House rule ‘deeming’ the supplemental to have passed.
“The end result is a piece of legislation that cannot pass the Senate, leaving critical resources for our fighting men and women uncertain. Defense Secretary Bob Gates that Congress’ failure could result in a failure to pay active-duty military, and General Petraeus has called the supplemental ‘essential for the conduct of this mission.’
“Yet Nancy Pelosi’s House is willing to put the mission in jeopardy by holding the supplemental hostage to a bailout of their favored political constituency. This is unacceptable to the American people, who expect troops in harm’s way to be funded without controversy. The Senate must do its part to remove any public union bailouts and pass a clean war supplemental.”
Get permalink here.
The public show of unity matters for the delicate Middle East peace process and for domestic political consumption on both sides. Of immediate concern to the Democratic Party is the effect a perceived rift could have on the midterm elections, as Republicans angle to use any perceived rupture with Netanyahu to argue that Obama is insufficiently committed to Israel.
Obama was cool toward Netanyahu during their last meeting, leaving the Israeli leader and his aides in the West Wing alone for hours as a subtle rebuke over Israeli settlement policies. The two were never photographed, which in diplomatic code sent a chilly message.
That encounter followed an announcement by Israel, during a visit to the country by Vice President Biden, of a plan to construct 1,600 Jewish homes in a part of East Jerusalem that Palestinians view as their future capital.
Despite Ambassador Oren's claims that the lack of photographs at the meeting was due to scheduling, the article later cites an anonymous official who said that the lack of photographs was, indeed, a sign of the administration's disapproval. (I assume that Oren sees his job as trying to put the best face on a bad situation.)
Still a significant portion of the article is devoted to explaining the political implications of the visit.
Already, from Illinois to Florida, Republican candidates have been raising Israel as part of a broader critique of Obama's foreign policy, seeking to chip away at national-security-minded independents and Jewish voters who traditionally support Democrats. When Obama made statements of measured support for Israel after a raid on a Turkish flotilla carrying aid to Gaza last month, Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate in Florida's Senate race, delivered a speech sharply criticizing Obama's Israel policy. "There is the emerging sense that this long-standing relationship isn't what it used to be," Rubio said.
Robert Dold, a Republican running for an open seat in the 10th Congressional District of Illinois, has accused the administration of an "alarming pattern" in the Middle East. In Ohio's 15th District, Republican Steve Stivers questioned Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) about her criticism of Israel's Gaza blockade, with his campaign saying, "The contrast is very sharp on this issue." And Allen West, a Republican running against Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd District, said Obama was "browbeating" Israel.
Indeed, on the whole, Democrats are less favorably disposed towards Israel than are Republicans. And it is quite possible that despite President Obama's continuing (but slightly declining) popularity among American Jews his heavy handed treatment of Israel may take a toll. The Post article reads a like a fence mending effort by the White House with American, just in case Jews are put off by President Obama's treatment of Israel. Even so, the exercise seems more like damage control than a sincere effort at reconcilliation.
In February, 2008, Candidate Obama famously said that being pro-Israel was not the same as being pro-Likud. In a sense, Netanyahu's election has made things easy for President Obama. With the exception of announcing the building of apartments in Jerusalem, it's hard to see any area where Tzipi Livni would have done things differently than Netanyahu or that Obama's behavior towards Israel would have been different. (Keep in mind also, that the administration chose not to make a diplomatic incident over the recent arrest of Russian spies operating in the United States, a much bigger "slap in the face" than the construction announcement in March while Biden was visiting Israel.) Never mind that Netanyahu's government represents a consensus of society, since he's from Likud, it insulates President Obama from criticism that he is anti-Israel.
It is thought that one of the reasons that Israel halted Operation Cast Lead when it did was so that it wouldn't run afoul of the new American administration and that government was headed by Livni.
The other day the New York Times reported:
The United States, American officials said, faced a hard choice: refusing to compromise with the Arab states on Israel would have sunk the entire review conference. Given the emphasis Mr. Obama has placed on nonproliferation, the United States could not accept such an outcome.
Would the Obama administration have followed previous administrations from both parties to protect Israel's nuclear ambiguity if Tzipi Livni had been the Prime Minister? Would the IDF have reacted differently to the flotilla if Livni had been PM?
Aided by a complicit media President Obama has been able to disguise his less than friendly attitude towards Israel as a reasonable response to an extremist Prime Minister. But the regular diplomatic flare ups between Israel and the United States suggest to many that the problem in the relationship may not be Netanyahu. His freeze on building went further than any other Israeli PM and it has not succeeded in bringing the Palestinian Authrority to the negotiating table. (Nor has Abbas taken any interest in stopping the official incitement against Israel in his government controlled media.)
It sure looks like the President, realizing the difficulties Democrats will face in November, is trying to keep one of the most loyal Democratic constituencies on board by arranging for a photo-op with the Israeli Prime Minister. Given the tendency of Jews to vote Democratic I don't know that it's necessary for him politically to mend fences (at least publicly) with Netanyahu. Regardless, today's meeting reeks of cynicism.
In Iran, the punishment for adultery is death by stoning. When the stoning involves a woman, she is buried in the ground up to her neck and hit with stones big enough to cause pain, but not large enough to kill her, so to make the punishment as slow and painful as possible.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 42-year-old mother of two, was convicted of adultery in 2006. Her confession came after 99 lashes with a whip and she later withdrew it. Her trial was held in a language she couldn’t understand. There were no witnesses to her crime, which the court charged her with through “judicial knowledge.” Basically, the judge felt like she was guilty so she was.
Ashtiani’s case has drawn worldwide attention, and humanitarian groups are furiously working to save her as her sentence could be carried out at any time. Today, Twitter lit up with the #Ashtiani tag as some begged the UN to get involved, while others reminded us that besides Ashtiani there are hundreds of other political prisoners facing stoning deaths as well in Iran.
Ashtiani’s own children, Sajad, 22, and Farideh, 17, helped launch the international campaign to prevent their mother’s stoning. “She’s innocent, she’s been there for five years for doing nothing,” Sajad told the Guardian. “Imagining her, bound inside a deep hole in the ground, stoned to death, has been a nightmare for me and my sister for all these years.”
The more international pressure put on Iran, the more likely it is that Ashtiani will be spared. Magda Pecsenye has listed several ways that people can help at her blog Ask Moxie, including contacting your representatives and using social media to spread the word.
I hope that Ashtiani can be saved, and I hope that the attention brought to her case will help other prisoners facing the same fate.
Controversial South African athlete Caster Semenya will be allowed to return to competition by the IAAF after an 11-month absence. However, the IAAF still hasn’t released any details as to how they’ve come to this decision i.e. whether or not Caster has a meat and two veg. So it remains to be seen in what capacity Semenya returns, but I don’t expect the IAAF to release details anytime soon. Get on it Wikileaks! Read more.
Leslie Van Houten, Charles Manson follower, and long time prison inmate could be up for parole in the near future following a planned hearing today. Get the story here, and see photos and video below.
Even for those of us who weren’t born yet, the name Charles Manson sends shivers up and down the spine. His name has become synonymous with the word ‘psychopath,’ and for good reason.
But you may be surprised to learn that one of his followers, Leslie Van Houten (pictured at top right), may finally be granted parole after spending decades behind bars. She was convicted back in 1969 for being involved in two of the Manson family murders. Van Houten has faced the parole board over a dozen times, and every time she has returned to prison.
Observers note that this may be her best shot at making it back to the outside world. ABC News reports that she is considered a perfect inmate, if there is such a thing:
“(she) has been described by her supporters and prison staff as a model inmate. She is working as a college tutor while studying for her master’s degree in humanities and has not had one prison infraction on her record in more than 40 years.”
As you can imagine, the victim’s families are not going out quietly. A woman named Debra Tate, who lost a sister in the brutal murders, is doing her part to keep Van Houten incarcerated. Tate spends most of her free time seeing to it that none of the individuals who were convicted in the Manson family murders ever see the light of day again.
She offers this metaphor to support the notion:
“Is a tiger dangerous if it gets out of its cage? We proved that at the L.A. zoo,” Tate said. “In the cage they are fine. You cannot let them out.”
What do you think, should Leslie Van Outen be given a second chance at 60-years-old? Give us your thoughts below. Check out some related photos and video below.
[The Wall Street reform bill] orders government officials to conduct some 68 studies, according to a CNNMoney analysis.
Instead of toughening up ethical and marketing standards for financial planners, Congress studies the issue in the financial overhaul bill. Instead of making it easier to sue lawyers, accountants and bankers who help commit securities fraud, Congress studies the issue.
The bill also studies, among other things: short selling, reverse mortgages, improved insurance regulation, private student loans, oversight of carbon markets and the "feasibility of requiring use of standardized algorithmic descriptions for financial derivatives."
So, great. Financial reform gives the banksters impunity from the last crash and makes another crash inevitable, creams off some rent for the Versailles consultants and lobbyists to do the "studies" that will shill for whatever the next bubble's scam is going to be (private investment accounts for Social Security? Carbon credits? "Green energy"?), and leaves the peasants in debt slavery for the rest of their natural lives.
What's not to like?
Christophe Schmidt (AFP)
TBILISI — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured Georgia on Monday with a pledge of steadfast support and called on Russia to end its "occupation" of two breakaway Georgian regions.
"The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Clinton said at a joint press conference with President Mikheil Saakashvili during a visit to Tbilisi.
Clinton also urged Moscow to abide by a ceasefire agreement that stipulates its forces must return to positions held before the 2008 Georgia-Russia war over the rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 ceasefire commitment… including by ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their pre-conflict positions," she said.
Clinton had earlier said that the United States would continue to denounce Russia’s military presence in Georgian territory despite Washington’s "reset" in relations with Moscow, which had raised concerns in Tbilisi of an abandonment of US support.
"We continue to object to and criticise actions by Russia which we believe are wrong and on the top of the list is the invasion and occupation of Georgia," Clinton said in a speech to women leaders.
"The United States supports the Georgian people, we support Georgian democracy," she said.
Saakashvili said he was encouraged that the US was continuing to stand by Georgia despite the "reset" with Moscow…
Or this, from Reuters:
U.S. warns Georgia not to give Russia excuse to act
By Arshad Mohammed Mon Jul 5, 2010
TBILISI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Georgia on Monday not to give Moscow any excuse to take aggressive action against the south Caucasus nation, still reeling from its August 2008 war with Russia.
Clinton repeated the U.S. rejection of what she called Russia’s "invasion and … ongoing occupation" of South Ossetia and said diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute had to be intensified.
But she also suggested the solution might ultimately be to strengthen Georgian economic, judicial and political systems, thereby giving people in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another separatist region, a reason to want to be part of Georgia.
"The more Georgia can deal with its own problems, the stronger the case becomes," Clinton told a meeting of Georgian women leaders in the capital Tbilisi. "That is the greatest answer. That is the rebuke that no one can dispute." …
So, according to the smartest woman in the world, it was Georgia’s fault that Russia invaded them. They weren’t be ‘democratic’ enough. And we all know what a stickler Mr. Putin is for democracy.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s "reset" of relations with Russia has raised questions among Georgians about whether Washington has subordinated their interests to better ties with Moscow…
Russia’s war with Georgia caused the worst rift with the West since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It also led some U.S. officials to question Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s judgment and the wisdom of his warm embrace by the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.
And by “some U.S. officials, Reuters means the Obama administration.
Before meeting Saakashvili, Clinton said: "I would strongly urge that Georgia not be baited or provoked into any action that would give any excuse to the Russians to take any further aggressive movements."…
In other words, do everything the way Mr. Putin says, and he might allow you to pretend to be an independent country. For now.
Among all voters, there has been a significant swing since 2008 when Democrats took their new majority won in 2006 to an even higher level. But when you home in on those people in this survey who are most likely to vote, the numbers are devastating. The NBC/WSJ survey, when combined with a previously released NPR study of likely voters in 70 competitive House districts by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger, point to an outcome for Democrats that is as serious as a heart attack. Make no mistake about it: There is a wave out there, and for Democrats, the House is, at best, teetering on the edge.
Anyway you slice it, the numbers are bad news for Democrats. Cook points out that Democratic voters are less enthusiastic about voting, and the generic ballot has swung in the Republican direction. This dire warning from Cook will send Washington Democrats into a further panic, which will probably result in them doing even more things that will crush enthusiasm among their base. They’ll ramp up their misguided faux deficit fear-mongering while millions struggle without a lifeline in the recession.
I want to make a small point about the generic ballot. Democrats currently hold an unusually large majority in the House. In 2008, Democrats won about 53 percent of all votes cast for Congress. To keep all their House seats, Democrats don’t need to win just the majority of votes cast for Congress but need to receive a similarly big majority of them. Even if Democratic candidates manage to get a majority of votes for Congress in November, if it’s only a small majority, say 50.5 percent, the result will be a large loss of seats.
This November, especially because of how districts are gerrymandered, Republicans could win what is declared an overwhelming victory, a net gain of 30 or more seats, even though Democrats receive more total votes for Congress than Republicans.
Have Michael Steele's follies finally gone far enough so that the RNC can fire him even though he's black?
Did Steele actually say that the war started by President Bush after the September 11, 2001 attack with the full support of the American people, and continued by Obama when he took office in January 2009, is a war of Obama's choosing? There's nothing new in saying that Steele is a buffoon who deserved to lose his job long ago and many times over since then. But this latest gaffe is too much, even for the Republican establishment, which of course supports our presence in Afghanistan. William Kristol has written an open letter calling on Steele to resign.
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Jed W. writes:
Whether Steele is an "Insensible oaf" or not is beside the point. He had a moment of clarity when he pointed out that we cannot win in Afghanistan.
And that he has backed off and is incapable of defending his point is also a side story. There is nothing to "win" in Afghanistan. The policy is immoral, illogical and disastrous. Chasing 7th century scum around the mountains of Afghanistan 10,000 miles away and spending vast fortunes and buckets of precious blood to do it does nothing to make us safer or win the so-called "war on terror" (whoever "terror" is). In fact, it diverts attention and resources from the real sources of danger to the west which are the Islamic nukes and the Islamification of the west in all its many manifestations . Fighting in Afghanistan is akin to the old joke about the man who loses a watch in a dark alley and looks for it a block away under a street light because the "light is better over here." The chorus of mainstream conservatives slamming Steele and lauding our nation-building adventure in another miserable corner of Dar el Islam is contemptible as well as stupid politically. That's because if the Republicans are perceived as the party of endless (9 years and that's not long enough) and pointless war, they're going to lose. And so are we.
All this is besides the point. The issue is not what our Afghan policy should be or whether we should be in Afghanistan; I myself have been saying since 2003 that we would be better off invading a troublesome Muslim country for three weeks once every five years than occupying it permanently. The issue is that Steele on his own initiative took a position opposed to that of the party he supposedly leads. If the chairman of the Democratic National Committee declared that Obamacare was wrong and must be repealed, obviously he would have to be dismissed from his position. The same goes for Steele's equally out-of-step-with-his-party position.
Your argument would be indisputable if the issue of the "war on terror" and Afghanistan was not so monstrous and the Republican blind company-line orthodoxy so disastrous as to trump it. Rather than bend over in every direction to apologize, Steele should have made a principled defense of his statement instead (though he's probably incapable of doing so). This policy and Republican bull-headed support of it are leading us right over a cliff.
I repeat that the substance of the Afganistan issue is not the issue. The issue is that he as the head of the RNC is not the person to be attacking the position of the Republican party. It's just absurd.
Posted by Lawrence Auster
Russell is a former Oakland Raiders quarterback. He was arrested on Monday, June 5, 2010 in Alabama for possession of codeine syrup for which he didn’t have a prescription. The drug is known as ‘Purple Drank’ or ’sip-sip’. The Mobile County Sheriff’s office said that the 24-year-old former quarterback was released on 2,500 bail shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday.
JaMarcus Russell was a star with the LSU football team and a No. 1 draft pick in 2007. He played for three seasons with the Oakland Raiders. During his NFL career, he played 31 games, threw 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He was released by the Raiders in May 2010. Oakland paid Russell around $36.4 million through the 2009 season. He is one of only two No. 1 picks to be released that quickly from his NFL career. In 1992, Indianapolis released top pick Steve Emtman after three seasons. Emtman was released because of injuries while Russell was released because of his lackluster performance.
Apparently, he was being considered for a second chance with the NFL when he was arrested in Mobile, Alabama. The Jets, Vikings, Bengals, and Saints were all said to be considering Russell for a back-up job. The interest has evaporated since his arrest.
JaMarcus Russell has a bond hearing scheduled for Wednesday and is due back in court on July 20, 2010. Neither he nor his agent have commented on the JaMarcus Russell arrest in Alabama for possession of a controlled substance.
You can watch the videos below.