Some clown in the White House, who probably isn't that important since Bush didn't pack him up and take him to the Crawford pig farm for his annual spring vacation, told reporters today that the massive anti-American demonstrations in Iraq today were a good sign since they show how democratic the country has become. They were ripping apart and burning American flags and chanting death to Americans.
Tens of thousands of Shiites-- a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags-- rallied Monday to demand that U.S. forces leave their country. Some ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug.
The protesters marched about three miles between the holy cities of Kufa and Najaf to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. In the capital, streets were silent and empty under a hastily imposed 24-hour driving ban.
Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered up the march as a show of strength not only to Washington but to Iraq's establishment Shiite ayatollahs as well...
Among the snapping flags and giant banners, leaflets fluttered to earth, exhorting the marchers in chants of "Yes, Yes to Iraq" and "Yes, Yes to Muqtada. Occupiers should leave Iraq."
Salah al-Obaydi, a senior official in al-Sadr's Najaf organization, called the rally a "call for liberation. We're hoping that by next year's anniversary, we will be an independent and liberated Iraq with full sovereignty."
And the head of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, Nassar al-Rubaie, blasted the U.S. presence as an affront to "the dignity of the Iraqi people. After four years of occupation, we have hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded."
A key Washington official saw it differently.
"Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions," Gordon Johndroe, the National Security Council spokesman, said aboard Air Force One. "And while we have much more progress ahead of us-- the United States, the coalition and Iraqis have much more to do-- this is a country that has come a long way from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein."
Col. Steven Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman and aide to Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, praised the peaceful demonstration and said Iraqis "could not have done this four years ago."
Pelley: "McCain says the House, the Senate and the majority of the American people are all wrong when it comes to Iraq, and he set out to prove it last week by walking into the heart of Baghdad. What he said about security after that walk set off front page outrage in the media. But we were the only reporters with McCain, and tonight for the first time, you'll see what really happened when the Arizona senator met the Iraqi wild west."
McCain: "I disagree with what the majority of the American people want. Failure will lead to chaos; withdrawal will lead to chaos... I understand why they would provide me with that security, but I can tell you, if it had been two months ago, and I'd have asked to do it, they'd have said, 'under no circumstance whatsoever.' I view that as a sign of progress."
Pelley: "You were a little annoyed with yourself, I think."
McCain: "I'm going to misspeak, and I've done it on numerous occasions, and I probably will in the future. I regret that, if ... I divert attention to something that I've said from my message, but, you know, that's just life, and I'm happy with-- frankly, with the way that I operate. Otherwise, it'd be a lot less fun."
..."I think the president has great responsibility for [the Iraq situation]. The buck always stops there."
Pelley: "But you seem to give President Bush a pass, even though you're so hard on this war was managed."
McCain: "I say that he is responsible, and I'll continue to say that he is responsible. Should I look back in anger or should I look forward and say, 'Let's support this new strategy. Let's support his new general, and let's give it everything we can to have it succeed'? The consequences of failure are chaos and genocide, and we'll be back."
Pelley: "CBS News did a poll in March, and asked people how old do you think the president of the United States should be? More than half said in his 50s. Would you hazard a guess how many thought the president should be in his 70s?"
McCain: "I don't like this line of questioning at all. I find it offensive. I'm sure that it was a small number."
Pelley: "It was zero, Senator."
McCain: "OK. Zero. But the fact is that it's how you display yourself. I work seven days a week, 12, 14, 16 hours a day. I didn't see anybody in that town hall meeting who was worried about my age. It's how you conduct yourself. That's going to be the key to it."
Pelley: "Let me bring up another issue that surrounded South Carolina in the year 2000. There was a political issue, a local issue about whether the Confederate flag should fly over the Capitol. ... You waffled on that."
McCain: "Yes. Worse than waffled. ... I said that it was strictly a state issue, and clearly knowing that it wasn't.... That it was a ... very offensive symbol to many, many Americans."
Pelley: "Why did you say that?"
McCain: "I'm sure for all the wrong reasons. ... For ambition."
BARBARA'S DAILY BUZZFLASH MINUTE
The myth that Karl Rove is a genius is just plain misguided and downright erroneous! It doesn't take genius to make a charlatan! When political strategy is nothing more than fraud, deception, and hoax it's just another swindle pedaled by a two-bit liar!!! It certainly isn't something to be admired!Technorati Tags: Barbara's Daily Buzz Syria homeless economy Howard Kurtz Gonzales
Okay, sure, it's Isikoff. So there is certainly an element of "let's plant this story to substantially lower expectations for the testimony" at play here. After all, the name Ed Gillespie does appear in the story, which[...]
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It's hard not to come to the conclusion that Chuck Schumer knew what he was talking about when he suggested that Ms. Goodling was requiring loyalty oaths from new hires.
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Update [2007-4-9 11:54:52 by Big Tent Democrat]: Jack Balkin makes similar points with much less verbiage.
Linda Greenhouse yesterday wrote with seeming mirth about Chief Justice John Robert's biting dissent in the EPA/Global Warming case. In particular, Greenhouse appeared to enjoy Justice Stevens' invocation of federalism as a basis for granting standing to the petitioners:
In the majority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens found five votes for the conclusion that Massachusetts not only met all three tests but was also entitled to special deference for its claim to standing because of its status as a sovereign state. Invoking no modern precedent — because there was none — to support this new theory of states’ rights, Justice Stevens deftly turned the court’s federalism revolution, which he has long opposed, on its head and provoked an objection from the chief justice. States have “no special rights or status” when it comes to standing, Chief Justice Roberts said.
While this is all just another manifestation of legal realism from all of the Justices, I do think it has some interesting implications that go beyond this discrete issue. I'll discuss why I think so on the flip.
Any lawyer SHOULD tell you that standing is an utterly ad hoc area of the law. Any judge that wants to hear a case can find standing. Any judge that does not, can choose not to finding standing. I have no real solution for this problem of uncertainty in our "justice" system.
But I do think there is a larger truth that the Stevens-Roberts dispute on federalism and standing reveals - that the narrow view of standing the SCOTUS has taken since the rise of Rehnquist requires a different type of legislating by the Congress - one where its power to legislate must expressly provide methods of enforcement against the Executive Branch. Consider Chief Justice Roberts' dissent:
Global warming may be a "crisis," even "the most pressing environmental problem of our time." Pet. for Cert. 26, 22. Indeed, it may ultimately affect nearly everyone on the planet in some potentially adverse way, and it may be that governments have done too little to address it. It is not a problem, however, that has escaped the attention of policymakers in the Executive and Legislative Branches of our Government, who continue to consider regulatory, legislative, and treaty-based means of addressing global climate change. Apparently dissatisfied with the pace of progress on this issue in the elected branches, petitioners have come to the courts claiming broad-ranging injury, and attempting to tie that injury to the Government's alleged failure to comply with a rather narrow statutory provision. I would reject these challenges as nonjusticiable. Such a conclusion involves no judgment on whether global warming exists, what causes it, or the extent of the problem. Nor does it render petitioners without recourse. This Court's standing jurisprudence simply recognizes that redress of grievances of the sort at issue here "is the function of Congress and the Chief Executive," not the federal courts. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 576 (1992).
Chief Justice Roberts here says that it is not the job of the Supreme Court to say what the law is. His defenders would says I forgot to add "absent specific concrete injury." That may be what he adds, but, I do not believe that is what he means. It is my view that standing is merely an ad hoc crutch to courts who want to avoid questions and cases. Disputes between the Congress and the President are clearly such questions.
But I do sympathize with Chief Justice Roberts' point - the standing jurisprudence does indeed allow for his position. In fact, it allows for just about any position any Justice wishes to take. It is why it is such bad law.
But he is right in this sense - Congress can expressly grant standing in such cases. Many may disagree with me on this. Here's why:
Article III, §2, of the Constitution limits the federal judicial power to the adjudication of "Cases" and "Controversies." "If a dispute is not a proper case or controversy, the courts have no business deciding it, or expounding the law in the course of doing so." DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U. S. ___, ___ (2006) (slip op., at 5). "Standing to sue is part of the common understanding of what it takes to make a justiciable case," Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U. S. 83, 102 (1998), and has been described as "an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III," Defenders of Wildlife, supra, at 560.
"An essential and unchanging part of the case or controversy requirement[?]" Ha! That was Roberts quoting Scalia. So why should Congress bother? I think it would make it more difficult for the Roberts and Scalia's of the world to pretend they are not judicial activists, thwarting the will of the People. That's why.
But that is just another aspect of the game playing all sides do on "judicial philosophy." I've written on this disingenuousness before:
What is interesting about the discussion which arises on antitrust law issues is the unquestioned belief that the courts are to act with policy driven concerns in mind. And this comes from the Right most prevalently. Consider this from Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit in a 1991 case:The modern conception of the Sherman Act is of a statute that seeks to protect consumers from monopolistic practices rather than competitors from competitive practices.The modern conception of a 1890 law? Doesn't seem very originalist to me. And here is a proclaimed originalist, unlike Posner, who only "admires" the originalism of Scalia and Bork.
There are two problems that a "conservative" legal philosophy has and causes. The first is related to the modern federal government. This passage from US v. Darby illustrates this:
The power of Congress over interstate commerce 'is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed by the constitution.' Gibbons v. Ogden, supra, 9 Wheat. 196. That power can neither be enlarged nor diminished by the exercise or non-exercise of state power. Kentucky Whip & Collar Co. v. Illinois Central R. Co., supra. Congress, following its own conception of public policy concerning the restrictions which may appropriately be imposed on interstate commerce, is free to exclude from the commerce articles whose use in the states for which they are destined it may conceive to be injurious to the public health, morals or welfare, even though the state has not sought to regulate their use. Reid v. Colorado, supra; Lottery Case, supra; Hipolite Egg Co. v. United States, supra; Hoke v. United States, supra. Such regulation is not a forbidden invasion of state power merely because either its motive or its consequence is to restrict the use of articles of commerce within the states of destination and is not prohibited unless by other Constitutional provisions. It is no objection to the assertion of the power to regulate interstate commerce that its exercise is attended by the same incidents which attend the exercise of the police power of the states. Seven Cases v. United States, 239 U.S. 510, 514 , 36 S.Ct. 190, 191; Hamilton v. Kentucky Distilleries & Warehouse Co., 251 U.S. 146, 156 , 40 S.Ct. 106, 108; United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. [312 U.S. 100, 115] 144, 147, 58 S.Ct. 778, 780; United States v. Appalachian Electric Power Co., 311 U.S. 377, 61 S.Ct. 291, decided December 16, 1940.
This expansive federal authority must be exercised by the Executive, and legislated by the Congress. But what happens when the Executive refuses or does so in a way not consistent with the Congress' enactments? Who decides?
The invention of the "political question" doctrine, again honored when convenient, see Bush v. Gore, is a real problem here. The Supreme Court must become, for better or worse, a Constitutional referee of disputes between the Congress and the President.
The Bushie argument has been, in essence, the Congress must take extreme measures to enforce its will - impeachment, defunding, etc. That certainly was not what the Funding Fathers had in mind when they wrote about the separation of powers. But "conservative" philosophy would lead us there. This is the work of "the unitary executive," states rights and "judicial restraint." But it is not just the philosophies, it is the cynical invocation or ignoring of these "principles" as political expediency requires. It leads to the building of unbearable structural tensions on our Constitutional system, which could lead to unforeseen constitutional changes.
This could be good or bad, but let's be clear, no one knows how it might turn out. It is a leap into the unknown - hardly a conservative position.
One does wonder why male editors regularly provide platforms for ladies against ladies.
And, no, one doesn't really wonder.
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This is just a personal note that one of the people who helped launch me professionally passed away in late march, and his obituary appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times. G. Bruce Baker -- who was a key architect...
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The Los Angeles Times delves deep into the issue of the White House's parallel RNC communications system today. Democrats, particularly the House's chief investigator, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), have been pushing to get their hands on those emails -- based...
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Jimmy Lohman
Being the "front runner" is a mixed blessing, as Rudy Giuliani is learning the hard way. In one mildly rough week, Giuliani's standing with Republican voters dropped some 8-10 points - pretty dismal when you consider that his competition is the most low-grade field of presidential aspirants ever assembled. While Democrats ponder their preferences among at least four highly qualified and formidable potential candidates, listless Republicans are seriously questioning whether their crumbling vestige of a political party can come up with anyone who does not belong in a padded cell.
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Why wont the American press corps in Washington–or anywhere else- cover the Bush administration properly?The Progressive Daily Beacon: Alberto Gonzales is is busy "studying" the truth…in related news, Michael explains Jesus Camp for law students….and for weeks, it was unclear who whined to the White House last year that not enough [...]
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