Via BBC:Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has admitted that securing oil supplies is a key factor behind the presence of Australian troops in Iraq. He said maintaining “resource security” in the Middle East was a priority. But PM John Howard has played down the comments, saying it was “stretching it a bit” to conclude [...]
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Having seen a couple stories from folks complaining about the Live Earth Concert in Brazil being canceled, I figured, as someone who lives here, I'd make a couple simple points."Who knows what pressure the government is getting from global warming deniers to cancel this concert, so help us give them ...
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Demented sociopaths as well. Even nice friendly little wars involve lots and lots of bodies.
Still, they're very serious members of the permanent Washington class.
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Georgia has scheduled the execution of Troy Anthony Davis for July 17. He may be innocent.
Davis' supporters believe he is innocent and the human rights organization Amnesty International believe Davis could be innocent because there was no physical evidence in the Davis case, and no murder weapon found.
Out of the nine prosecution witnesses who testified against Davis, seven have now recanted most of their testimony that was used to convict Davis for murder. Jurors stated that they were not aware that most of the witnesses were pressured and coerced by police into signing the affidavits that were used against Davis. One witness reported that he had not even read what he signed. The National Coalition to Abolish The Death Penalty is also supporting Davis.Amnesty International released a press release on the Davis case, and Judge Rosemary Barkett of the 11th Circuit Federal Appeals Court said "If these people say, 'I was coerced by the police,' how could he [Judge Nangle] reject without a hearing?"
Much more information is available here.
Contrary to what some in the Left blogs seem to think, the Constitution provides and contemplates methods for the Legislative Branch to check an out of control Executive short of impeachment and removal. And that is a good thing. For in the history of the Republic, only one President would likely have been removed from office, Richard M. Nixon, had he not resigned (it is why he resigned actually.)
President George W. Bush is no exception. He will never be removed from office. Therefore, progressives who actually care about checking this out of control Executive would be doing a much greater service for the Nation if they would urge the Congress to exercise those powers the Constitution provides it to check the power of the Executive. To instead urge futile efforts to remove the President from office may make those who urge it feel good, but it does not urge a course of action that will actually do any good for the Nation. More.
It is good to see that the top recommended diary at daily kos recognizes this, as it lauds Congress' attempt to restrain this put of control Executive through the use of its most potent power, the Spending Power:
But no, right now only Dems are putting up the fight to preserve what's left of the integrity of the federal bureacracy (yeah right!):Last December, I wrote the following on the subject: The Separation of Powers, Not Impeachment, The Principal Bulwark Against Presidential Abuse by Big Tent Democrat Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 09:00:44 PM PDTLast week, the House passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (HR 2829). The bill contains an amendment which would forbid the White House from expending any funds in implementing President Bush's recent changes to the regulatory process.The same approach to fourthbranch's claim: choke the bastard off at the wallet (apologies to all the bastards out there). Thank you Reps Miller and Sanchez. Its good to know your keeping an eye on stuff like this. Now for enforcement.
The amendment, offered by Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement Executive Order 13422." E.O. 13422 amended E.O. 12866 which governs the White House regulatory review process.The appropriations bill funds the entire Executive Office of the President. Therefore, this amendment would stop the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) from expending any money in carrying out the E.O. Most notably, OIRA would not be allowed to review agency guidance documents.
In Unitary Moonbat's Impeachment History diary and thread, both too little and too much is said. The too little is about the POLITICS of the impeachment process. The too much is the selling of impeachment as the bulwark against Presidential abuse of power:
Henry's objections were numerous, but one of them was that Madison had created a president who could too easily become an absolute monarch or a tyrant. . . . Madison's reply was essentially what was quoted above. He believed it was impossible for a president to behave as Henry feared one might, because Congress held the power to impeach the executive and remove him from office if necessary . . .
But this is simply not a correct reading of the Federalist Papers or the Constitution. I'll explain why . . .
Let us start with Madison in Federalist 51:
In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent, is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted, that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.
. . . It is equally evident that the members of each department should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others, for the emoluments annexed to their offices. Were the executive magistrate, or the judges, not independent of the legislature in this particular, their independence in every other would be merely nominal.
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defence must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to controul the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controuls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to controul the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to controul itself. A dependence on the people is no doubt the primary controul on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
. . . [I]t is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self defence. In republican government the legislative authority, necessarily, predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is, to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them by different modes of election, and different principles of action, as little connected with each other, as the nature of their common functions, and their common dependence on the society, will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions. As the weight of the legislative authority requires that it should be thus divided, the weakness of the executive may require, on the other hand, that it should be fortified.
. . . There are moreover two considerations particularly applicable to the federal system of America, which place that system in a very interesting point of view.
First. In a single republic, all the power surrendered by the people, is submitted to the administration of a single government; and usurpations are guarded against by a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people, is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each, subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will controul each other; at the same time that each will be controuled by itself.Second. It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers; but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. . . .
Nowhere in Federalist 51 does Madision speak of impeachment as the bulwark against the abuse of Executive power.
Indeed, let us consider the area where Presidential power has traditionally been treated as at its zenith, the Commander in Chief power during wartime. During the FISA debate, I wrote a series of posts detailing the argument and court decisions that eviscerated the ridiculous arguments of the Bush Administration regarding the idea of a "unitary executive." In particular I relied on Hamilton and the Steel Seizure Cases. Here is an example:
A Little Bit of Monarchy
Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 01:07:10 AM EST
[The Government's position] cannot be mandated by any reasonable view of the separation of powers, as this view only serves to condense power into a single branch of government. We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens. Youngstown Steel and Tube, 343 U.S. at 587. Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in times of conflict with other Nations or enemy organizations, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.
In Federalist 26 Alexander Hamilton wrote:
In England, for a long time after the Norman Conquest, the authority of the monarch was almost unlimited. Inroads were gradually made upon the prerogative, in favor of liberty, first by the barons, and afterwards by the people, till the greatest part of its most formidable pretensions became extinct. But it was not till the revolution in 1688, which elevated the Prince of Orange to the throne of Great Britain, that English liberty was completely triumphant. As incident to the undefined power of making war, an acknowledged prerogative of the crown, Charles II had, by his own authority, kept on foot in time of peace a body of 5,000 regular troops. And this number James II increased to 30,000; who were paid out of his civil list. At the revolution, to abolish the exercise of so dangerous an authority, it became an article of the Bill of Rights then framed, that ``the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, UNLESS WITH THE CONSENT OF PARLIAMENT, was against law.'' In that kingdom, when the pulse of liberty was at its highest pitch, no security against the danger of standing armies was thought requisite, beyond a prohibition of their being raised or kept up by the mere authority of the executive magistrate. The patriots, who effected that memorable revolution, were too temperate, too wellinformed, to think of any restraint on the legislative discretion. They were aware that a certain number of troops for guards and garrisons were indispensable; that no precise bounds could be set to the national exigencies; that a power equal to every possible contingency must exist somewhere in the government: and that when they referred the exercise of that power to the judgment of the legislature, they had arrived at the ultimate point of precaution which was reconcilable with the safety of the community.
Article 1, Section 8 of the the United States Constitution states, in part, that the Congress will have the power:
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress . . .
Despite the clear and unmistakable words of Hamilton; despite the clear and unmistakable grant of authority to the Congress regarding the raising of military forces, the promulgation of Rules for the governing and regulation of the military, and for the declaration of war, and despite the ringing statements of the Supreme Court in Hamdi, some Conservatives and Republicans insist that the President, when acting in his capacity as Commander in Chief, has plenary power, unchecked and unfettered. . .
To now argue that it is impeachment that is the bulwark against the abuse of Executive Power is to hand the Right a gift, for that is the argument they make. They argue that Congress and the Courts can only resort to the most dramatic of remedies against Presidential wartime power - the power of the purse, the power of impeachment. It is wrong to argue this line in order to foward the preferred course on impeachment.
Liberals and Democrats must resist this impulse for two reasons -- (1) it is simply incorrect, and (2) it is extremely dangerous. In arguing in this fashion, the Liberal strips the Congress and the Supreme Court of the powers granted it to separate the immense powers of the federal government and allows for the abdication of the responsible role of an overseeing Legislature and a reviewing Court.So by all means, argue your views on impeachment but let us not throw over the separation of powers in the bargain. It is inaccurate and dangerous to do so. -------------------------------------
But of course, advocates for impeachment will downplay the other powers to check the Executive precisely because it undermines their argument for impeachment. I could even accept the disningenuousness inherent in this advocacy if there was even a slim chance of removal from offfice. But there is none.
So, in order to feel pure and superior, some impeachment advocates will ostensibly argues against other means of checking the Executive. It is very hard to see how this is anything but a vanity game at this point.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to Senator Pete Domenici's call for a new U.S. military strategy in Iraq:
"Senator Domenici is correct to assess that the Administration's war strategy is misguided. But we will not see a much-needed change of course in Iraq until Republicans like Senators Domenici, Lugar and Voinovich are willing to stand up to President Bush and his stubborn clinging to a failed policy ? and more importantly, back up their words with action. Beginning with the Defense Authorization bill next week, Republicans will have the opportunity to not just say the right things on Iraq, but vote the right way too so that we can bring the responsible end to this war that the American people demand and deserve.
"As evidence mounts that the 'surge' is failing to make Iraq more secure, we cannot wait until the Administration's September report before we change course. President Bush and the Iraqis must move now to finally accept a measure of accountability for this war, implement the Iraq Study Group recommendations, transition the mission for our combat troops and start bringing them home from an intractable civil war."
During the July 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN senior politicalanalyst Bill Schneider said of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain(AZ): "The straight talker is back. And he's hoping to turn intothe comeback kid." As Media Mattersfor America has documented, CNN and TheSituation Room have repeatedly touted McCain's "straighttalk" -- the theme of his failed 2000 presidential bid -- despite hisnumerous inconsistencies onissues ranging from the Iraq war and the[...]
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The xenophobic right, vocal in the UK but far more so in the U.S., would have it that Muslims don't speak out against terrorism and therefore must condone it. The worst of the xenophobes would have it that all Muslims, secretly or up-front, believe the jihadist, extremist linethat their religion is one of violence against unbelievers.
Will this do? to explode those myths?
British Muslims are leading a new campaign condemning the recent attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.And the Muslims United website gives the text of the poster:
The campaign, titled "Not in Our Name", will be launched across the UK with adverts in newspapers.
It emphasises "the Muslim community's rejection of any attempts to link any such criminal attacks to the teachings of Islam", organisers said.
Muslims from various professions have backed the campaign, including doctors.
The advert, accredited to "Muslims United", also carries a quotation from Koran reading: "Whoever kills an innocent soul, it is as if he killed the whole of mankind.
"And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind."
The emergency services have been praised for "working tirelessly and courageously" while the government has been commended for handling the crisis "calmly and proportionately".
The advert, which will also appear on billboards, buses and underground trains, calls for the community to stand united against terrorism.
The campaign has received support from Conservative Muslim Forum, Islamic Relief, the Islamic Society of Britain and Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association among others.
The Muslim communities across Britain are united in condemning the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow.I'm kidding of course - for the xenophobes and Blimpoids there can never be enough proof that Muslems as a whole are no more or less enamoured of terrorism to advance their religion than Christians as a whole, or Hindus, or Jews. Which should in itself be sufficient proof that the xenophobes who decry Islam in such generalized terms are as much a part of the moral problem, the problem of fostering hate and misinformation, as the vocal islamist extremists who encourage a mirror-image of their extreme views.
We are united with the rest of the country at this critical time and are determined to work together to avert any such attacks targeting our fellow citizens, property and country.
Islam forbids the killing of innocent people. We reject any heinous attempts to link such abhorrent acts to the teachings of Islam.
? British Muslims should not be held responsible for the acts of criminals.
? We commend the government for its efforts to respond to this crisis calmly and proportionately, and welcome both the Prime Minister Gordon Brown?s and the Home Secretary?s emphasis on the need to distinguish between the overwhelming majority of British Muslims who are law-abiding citizens and a few criminals who seek to inflict harm and terror on our country.
? We express support for the emergency services who are working tirelessly and courageously to avert these attacks and ensure the safety of our country.
? We urge the media and all politicians to continue to maintain the values of our open society, free from prejudice and discrimination, sustained by tolerance and mutual respect for all.
? We call on our government to work towards a just and lasting peace in areas of conflict around the world and to take the lead in helping eliminate the injustices and grievances that foment division and nurture violence.
The unity of our society must be maintained and we must not allow divisions to emerge between us. We must remain friends, neighbours and colleagues, and take Britain forward as one nation ? towards a Greater Britain.
Muslims United Campaign Supported by
Al Birr Foundation UK Al-Muntada Al-Islami Trust Al-Quran Society Arab Club of Britain Association of Muslim Lawyers Algerian Assembly of Europe Al-Khoei Foundation Algerian League of Britain Bradford Council of Mosques Bristol Muslim Cultural Society British Lebanese Association Confederation of Sunni Mosques- Midlands Conservatives Muslim Forum Council of European Jamaats El- Nour Association Eritrean Muslim Community Association European Academy for Islamic Studies European Trust Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe Federation of Student Islamic Societies FOSIS Glasgow Central Mosque Imams and Mosques Council Imams Forum- UK IMWF Dewsbury Islamic Cultural Centre ICC / Central Mosque Islamic Forum Europe Islamic Foundation Islamic Relief Islamic Sharia Council Islamic Society of Britain Kensington Mosque Trust Lancashire Council of Mosques Lebanese Muslim League Leeds Grand Mosque Leeds Islamic centre Leeds Muslim Forum London Muslim Centre Luton Council of Mosques MAB Youth Markazi Jamiat Ahl e Hadith UK Masjid Al Tawheed-Leyton Mayfair Islamic Centre Moroccan Citizen Advice Bureau Muslim Aid Muslim Association of Britain Muslim College Muslim Council of Wales Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre Muslim Directory Muslim Doctors & Dentist Association Muslim Health Network Muslim News Muslim Parliament Muslim Safety Forum Muslim Scouts Fellowship Muslim Student Society Muslim Welfare House Trust Muslim Women Society Muslimat UK National Association of British Arabs Noorul Islam Mosque- Leyton North East Scottish Muslims North London Central Mosque- Finsbury Park Pakistan Foundation Pakistan Human Development Funds UK Pakistan International Forum UK Q News Shariah Council Somali Association of Britain The Islamic Shariah Council Tower Hamlet Council of Mosques UK Islamic Mission West London Moroccan Wedadiya World Federation of Khodja Shia Ithna Ashariya WF KSIMC World Islamic Mission - Scotland Young Muslims Organisation
MS. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
It can't be put it into enough words without using all of the four letter words that come to mind, to aptly describe how the rivers of greed in this country are never dammed up, and how they flood this country with death, debt, and the destruction of people's lives. And, this will keep on until Americans stop measuring people by the number in their bank accounts and investments, and allow them to keep buying out our government, one sawbuck at a time.Technorati Tags: Shirley Smith Schwarzenegger NonProfits Wealth
Cleveland, Ohio – Today at the United Steelworkers conference, John Edwards outlined his agenda to create One America where everyone's hard work is rewarded and families can build a better life. The plans includes gradually increasing the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2012 and ensuring that it continues to rise so minimum-wage workers will share in our nation's prosperity.
"Raising the minimum wage is one of the most important steps we can take to lift working families out of poverty and into the middle class," said Edwards. "No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. If a job takes you away from your family every single day—or for many low-wage workers all through the night—it had better pay you enough to support them. As president, I will raise the minimum wage and put our economy back on the side of working families."
The national minimum wage now fails to keep working families out of poverty. In May, President Bush signed the first increase in the minimum wage in nearly a decade. The wage will increase from $5.15 to $5.85 on July 24 and to $7.25 in two years. While the upcoming increase will give a much-needed raise to millions of families, it is far from enough. The higher minimum wage came after nearly a decade of delay and still remains inadequate as a tool to fight poverty, reward work and reduce inequality. Even at $7.25 an hour, the real value of the minimum wage will be more than $1 below half the average wage, a historic benchmark. The $7.25 wage is only about 40 percent of the average wage.
Edwards believes we need to raise the minimum wage to strengthen the middle class and strengthen our economy. Raising the minimum wage gives millions of workers more buying power and allows them to support their families with less government aid and contribute to the economy. By raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2012 and then indexing it so that it automatically rises each year along with average wages, Edwards believes we can lift up working families and build an America that rewards work instead of wealth.
Edwards has long fought to raise the minimum wage, traveling across the country during the past few years to help pass successful minimum wage ballot initiatives in six states in 2006. Edwards' call to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2012 is just one part of his plan to build an America where every person has the same chances to succeed that he has had. He has also laid out detailed plans to guarantee universal health care, strengthen unions, and crack down on predatory lending.
For more information, please click here to read the fact sheet.