Vagabond Scholar: A thorough takedown of McCain’s “100 years” comments. General Petraeus blames the writers’ strike for his repeat performance. William K. Wolfrum: Martha Burk and the Masters: Five years later, the sexism is more obvious than ever.Dennis Perrin: Murdering TimeSpin Cycle: Powell praises ObamaOpen Secrets: Expanding Washington’s influence industry by 8 percent [...]
Read The Full Article:
I made clear at the time that I found this simply astonishing:
So, according to Straw's version, the Saudi Arabians threatened to withdraw from co-operating in intelligence matters with the UK unless all investigations into this possible crime were dropped.I am pleased to say that the High Court sounded equally astonished yesterday when they issued their damning verdict on Blair's interference with the inquiry into Prince Bandar's allegedly illegal deal on the grounds that to continue the inquiry would damage national security.
The Saudi Arabians? The country which had fifteen of it's young men fly planes into the Twin Towers is now in a position to threaten to withdraw intelligence aid to country's threatened by al-Qaeda?
Am I living in some parallel universe? Since when did a country that had fifteen of it's citizens take part in the world's worst terrorist atrocity get to, effectively, threaten other country's security - by withdrawing intelligence co-operation - unless they ceased investigating them for possible crimes?
This was yet another Blair decision which I found blatantly illegal. I am pleased that the High court have found they way they have. The government must now decide whether to reopen the investigation into the Al-Yamamah deal. And if Brown doesn't there are plenty of others waiting in the wings to take this matter further.
The judges rejected claims that the inquiry had to be closed down for security reasons because "lives were at risk", and said the success of Saudi blackmail attempts had been unlawful. The judgment named Saudi Prince Bandar as the man behind what they characterised as an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
The judges said: "We fear for the reputation of the administration of justice if it can be perverted by a threat ... No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice. The rule of law is nothing if it fails to constrain overweening power."
The court said that the Saudis should have been made to understand "the enormity of the interference with the UK's sovereignty, when a foreign power seeks to interfere with the internal administration of the criminal law. It is not difficult to imagine what they would think if we attempted to interfere with their criminal justice system".
Among those waiting to see what Gordon Brown will do is the anti-bribery committee of the OECD, who spent last week in London grilling British officials about the apparent flouting of an international treaty. Investigators in Switzerland and the US Department of Justice, who took up the Saudi case when Britain abandoned it, will also be awaiting the government's next move. Ministers have so far refused to assist the US which has made requests for documents under a mutual legal assistance treaty.
Campaigners and MPs yesterday called for Brown to distance himself from his predecessor and allow the BAE inquiry to restart. Susan Hawley, of Corner House, one of the two groups of campaigners who brought yesterday's case, said: "The judges have stood up for the right of independent prosecutors not to be subjected to political pressure and they have made sure that the government cannot use national security arrangements just because a prosecution is not in their interests."
It's over to Brown now to see if he will reject the judgment of Blair which has now been deemed illegal by the High court. Or is also going to be blackmailed by the Saudi authorities?
It's a big world out there. I should blog it.[...]
Read The Full Article:
On Sept. 14, 2001, President Bush issued Executive Order 13223, allowing the administration to implement a “stop-loss” policy. Under stop-loss, “military personnel can be prevented from leaving the armed forces upon completing their enlistment terms.” Stop-loss policies were created after the Vietnam War. However, the Bush administration has overstretched the military by extensively using these orders to make up for declines in re-enlistment as the Iraq war drags on.
Yesterday on PBS’s Newshour, ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters — who now advises Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign on national security affairs — called the dangers of stop-loss policies a “myth of the left.” “Stop-loss is old,” said Peters. “This is not a new thing. In time of crisis, soldiers can be extended. They know it.”
Peters was sharply rebutted by Bobby Muller, president of Veterans for America, who pointed out that many high-ranking military officials have also warned that the Bush administration’s policies are overstretching the armed forces:
BOBBY MULLER: You might think that Bobby Muller is parroting myths created by the left in this country when I talk about stop-loss, but Colin Powell is not parroting any left-wing fantasies. General Casey, General Cody, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, they’re on record. This is not sustainable. There are people being held…
RALPH PETERS: But that’s a different issue.
BOBBY MULLER: I suggest that you may be out of touch with the military today if you think that all of these people that sign up for four years or five years of active military duty really expected — just like the National Guard — that they would wind up being extended for, additionally, a couple of years beyond their contract period?
No, sir, they’re not expecting that.
Yesterday, Bush finally announced that he would be “cutting Army combat tours in Iraq from 15 months to 12 months.” This move after months of warnings from his top military advisers. “The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,” Army Chief of Staff George Casey said back in September. This week, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen noted he was “very public for many months that we need to get off 15 month deployments as fast as we can.” In July 2007, Gen. Colin Powell also observed, “[T]hey probably can’t keep this up at this level past the middle of next year, I would guess. This is a tremendous burden on our troops.”
If Peters believes that there is nothing wrong with stop-loss, is he advising McCain to sustain this policy…perhaps for 100 years?
One of the interesting subthemes of the John McCain candidacy is that while he's very, very serious about foreign policy, he actually doesn't know very much about it. Consequently, various factions of the Republican foreign policy establishment are now[...]
Read The Full Article:
Insider Advantage4/8. MoE 3.6% (4/2 results)
Clinton 48 (45)
Obama 38 (43)
All polls of likely voters:
Public Policy Polling(pdf) 4/7-8. MoE 2.9% (3/31-4/1 results)
Clinton 46 (43)
Obama 43 (45)
Rasmussen4/7. MoE 4.0% (3/31 results)
Clinton 48 (47)
Obama 43 (42)
SurveyUSA 4/5-7. MoE 4.1% (3/29-31 results)
Clinton 56 (53)
Obama 38 (41)
Strategic Vision4/4-6. MoE 3.0% (3/28-30 results)
Clinton 47 (49)
Obama 42 (41)
Quinnipiac 4/3-6. MoE 2.7% (3/24-31 results)
Clinton 50 (50)
Obama 44 (41)
Average of six polls:
There's not a whole lot of movement here. The numbers have bounced around a bit, but most of the disparity between the pollsters is probably due to different screens to determine likely voters. It's notoriously difficult to poll for a primary, because it's hard to use past primaries as a model, especially when the composition of the electorate is changing, in this case with tnes of thousands of voters changing their registration to Democratic.
A month ago Clinton was polling 15-20 points ahead of Obama in Pennsylvania. Now Obama has gotten the margin down to about 8, with 12 days left before primary day. Some of that movement was due to Pennsylvania voters not knowing Obama. In every state, initial polls a month or two out from election day show Obama performing much worse than he's performed in the end. Clinton also took a hit in late March, most likely from her Walter Mitty moments of falsely claiming to have been under sniper fire.
Clinton appears to have stabilized after the hemorrhaging of the sniper stories. If the election were held today, it appears that she would do just as everyone has always expected, and win the Pennsylvania primary by a clear but modest margin. In other words, while she may slightly cut the delegate gap by a dozen or so, she does not appear to be on path to a big win that can put her back in contention for the nomination.
The only decisive result that appears possible is for Obama to narrow the gap and either finish a few points behind Clinton, or possibly even win it. For Clinton to have an argument that she's got momentum, she probably has to win PA by 15 points or more, something that would be seen as a major throttling of Obama. But a 4 point win will do her very little good, and won't open up the financial spigots to help her make up her deficits in North Carolina or hold on to her very narrow leads in Indiana.
Obama should be expected to have a strong ground game; he has in most states. Clinton has much of the PA Dem leadership in her corner, so her ground game should also be good. If the Clinton team is able to use the press to leak out something damaging to Obama in the final 72 hours before the campaign, they may be able to separate from Obama and post a win of over 10 points. If Clinton is hurt again between now and the 22nd, Obama might be able to close within 5 points or even win outright. But based on the polls today, the most likely outcome appears to be a clear but modest Clinton win that proves little other than that she was able to use her demographic and political advantages to eke out an OK win in a state where she was always expected to win. Should that happen, we'll have to look ahead to North Carolina and Indiana for a more decisive outcome that may finally force her to admit that she cannot win and that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.
Former president Bill Clinton is the latest to hand out a juicy fib -- circling back to Bosnia to cram four falsehoods into 23 words: His wife, he said, "one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995."AP is now on the story as well. This isn't good. It's also rather dumb. Bill Clinton has become a lightning rod for controversy. He's the last person the campaign should be using in public, for anything, let alone to push revisionist talking points that everyone knows aren't true. It's not clear who on the Clinton campaign came up with the bright idea to lie about Hillary's Bosnia lie, and claim that she only said it once, but it's not clear who's the bigger moron - the person who came up with the lie, or the person who agreed to say it.
Where to start? If his telling is accurate, it depends on what the definition of "one time," "late at night," and "immediately apologized" is. (And it was 1996, not 1995.)
"Hillary Clinton actually made the comments numerous times, including at an event in Iowa on Dec. 29, and an event on Feb. 29 and one time -- bright and early in the morning -- on March 17," ABC's Sarah Amos and Eloise Harper report.
"Sen. Clinton wasn't as quick with her apology as President Clinton may remember either. In fact, it took a week for her to eventually correct herself, first talking to the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board on March 24 and again apologizing the next day in Greensboro, N.C."
Politifact.com gave Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's handling of the matter the dreaded "pants on fire" designation.
ABC's Jake Tapper counts up a total of eight different misstatements/exaggerations in his telling of the tale on Thursday.
Spring is a time of renewal and change for the environment. It also appears to be a time of monumental changes for the technology industry. Unfortunately, the changes in the business world are not nearly as scenic. While cherry trees and daffodils are blooming across the continent, the nation?s computer hardware producers are [...]
Read The Full Article:
Yesterday we detailed Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer's ties to the Northern Mariana Islands, Jack Abramoff's prize client, and particularly the islands' governor, Benigno Fitial.
The Denver Post followed up and put the question to Schaffer as to why he'd been so loyal to a little island territory thousands of miles away. The answer? Quit asking. From the Post:
Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams declined Thursday to discuss his candidate's role in island politics. "The Denver Post continues its character assassination of Bob Schaffer," he said.