Keith Olbermann Issues Egotistic Statement To His Viewers

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Keith Olbermann on Monday issued a brief written statement to his viewers concerning his recent two-day suspension for violating NBC's policy regarding political contributions.

As NewsBusters readers likely suspect, the man with the largest ego on television is playing this episode for all it's worth (h/t Hot Air):

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NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Keith Olbermann Issues Egotistic Statement To His Viewers

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Keith Olbermann on Monday issued a brief written statement to his viewers concerning his recent two-day suspension for violating NBC's policy regarding political contributions.

As NewsBusters readers likely suspect, the man with the largest ego on television is playing this episode for all it's worth (h/t Hot Air):

read more

NewsBusters.org blogs

Foley Plans Statement On Whether He’ll Challenge Results

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said Sunday that he’ll announce at 1 p.m. Monday his latest plans as to whether and how he’ll proceed with any possible challenge of official election results, announced Friday, that show Democrat Dan Malloy defeating him last Tuesday by 5,637 votes out of more than 1.1 million cast.

Foley said in a telephone interview that he doesn’t know yet what decision he’ll be announcing at a press conference in the lobby of Goodwin Square at 225 Asylum St. But he said lawyers have been examining statewide election results, and “our analysis” should be completed by Monday.

Foley said that the alternatives, if he decides to challenge the results of the closest Connecticut governor’s election in more than half a century, include:

-Pushing for a statewide recount, if the analysis of the results shows changes big enough to reduce the margin to within the 2,000-or-less-vote difference that legally triggers an automatic recount. Last week, there was a 2,000-vote swing in his favor because of erroneous recording of Torrington’s votes.

-Initiating a lawsuit to seek a remedy such as court order for a statewide recount, even if the official margin exceeds the 2,000-or-less vote threshold, if “irregularities” are found that are serious enough to “affect the outcome of the election.”

Capitol Watch

Chris Christie Gives The Sherman Statement

October 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Chris Christie has consistently stated that he isn’t running for President — three times so far — but the question keeps getting asked.

Perhaps, this will put an end to the speculation:

So, he says he’s out there saying the state is cutting spending without raising taxes, but stresses, again, that he’s not running for president.

Christie says, “If nominated, I shall not run. If elected, I shall not serve. How about that? I’ll try that one tonight.”

What else do you want the guy to say? He isn’t running, move on.

H/T: The Pajama Pundit




Outside the Beltway

Reid accuses Angle of lying about “War is lost” statement

October 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Integrity.


He’s not shy about it, either, as Aurelius discovers on Reid’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as Reid’s “fact check” website.  Too bad Harry Reid hasn’t got a clue about YouTube.  While he claims that Angle referenced a remark made on March 3, 2007 about having to reach a political solution to the war [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Leading law professor contradicts Merkel’s statement that Sharia isn’t practiced in Germany

October 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Merkel said there would only be one law in Germany, but Hilmar Krüger says that that isn’t even the case now, and that that’s good. He thus joins Rowan Williams in not understanding how having one law for all, rather than different sets of laws for different classes, fosters harmony and peace in society — by removing a fundamental basis upon which one group may come to resent another. “Sharia law being used in Germany in Muslims’ domestic disputes,” from The Local, October 9 (thanks to Rosanne):

A leading law professor has contradicted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that Sharia law was not practiced in Germany, saying a variety of Sharia-based rulings were being made all the time.

“We have been practising Islamic law for years, and that is a good thing,” Hilmar Krüger, professor for foreign private law at Cologne University, told Der Spiegel magazine.

“We have been chopping off hands for years, and that is a good thing.” “We have been stoning adulterers for years, and that is a good thing.” “We have been collecting jizya from the dhimmis for years, and that is a good thing.” No no no, Hilmar Krüger would doubtless respond: that is not the kind of Islamic law that has been practiced in Germany for years, and not the kind he thinks is a good thing. The difficulty with that is that there is no distinction within Sharia itself between elements of it that are palatable to Westerners and compatible with Western law and elements that aren’t. It is also a system of laws that asserts its authority over everyone, not just Muslims. As such, now that elements of it have been introduced, if Krüger is correct, it is essentially inevitable that there will be increasing calls to allow for the practice of the rest.

Family and inheritance rulings were often made according to Sharia law, he said, listing a range of examples.

Women who are in polygamous marriages legal in their countries of origin can make claims of their husbands in Germany regardless of the fact that their marriages would not be lawful here. They can claim maintenance from their husbands and a share of an eventual inheritance, said Krüger.

German judges often refer to Sharia, as the Federal Social Court in Kassel did a few years ago when it supported the claim of a second wife for a share of her dead husband’s pension payments, which his first wife wanted to keep all to herself. The judge ruled they should share the pension.

In another case, the Administrative Appeals Court in Koblenz granted the second wife of an Iraqi living in Germany, the right to stay in the country. She had already been married to him and living in Germany for five years, after which the court said it would not be fair to send her to Iraq alone.

A judge in Cologne ruled that an Iranian man should repay his wife’s dowry of 600 gold coins to her after their divorce - referring to the Sharia which is followed in Iran.

Erlangen lawyer and Islam scholar Mathias Rohe told the magazine that the use of laws from various countries was an expression of globalisation. “We use Islamic law just as we use French law,” he said….

Rohe might one day find to his unpleasant surprise that Islamic law and French law are not exactly equivalent in the demands they make on those who would consider themselves outside the purview of those laws.

Jihad Watch

NOW supports Brown despite ‘whore’ statement

October 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

It is becoming clear that activist Democratic women have no standards beyond political ideology.
American Thinker Blog

President Obama Issues Another Signing Statement

October 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(John Elwood)

In my efforts to bore readers into submission, I’ve blogged a fair amount here about presidential use of “constitutional signing statements.” As then-Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger explained early during the Clinton Administration, such signing statements are frequently used to “express[] the President’s intention to construe or administer a statute in a particular manner (often to save the statute from unconstitutionality).”

As I’ve discussed previously, earlier this year, President Obama discontinued the use of “constitutional signing statements” in response to the July 2009 kerfuffle with Congress (recounted here). It was reported that he would not stop construing laws to avoid conflicts with Executive Branch positions about the President’s powers; he’d just stop publicly announcing that fact in signing statements.

Well, some things in the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2010 apparently raised sufficient concerns that the President departed from his prior practice and he issued another constitutional signing statement today.

Today’s signing statement was of a common type: expressing the understanding that language in a statute providing for disclosure of information to Congress would be construed in manner consistent with the President’s duty to safeguard confidential information. See the testimony of this disreputable hack at pages 10–11 for more on this type of signing statement. 

Here is an excerpt of President Obama’s statement:

In a March 15, 2010, letter to Congress, the Department of Justice summarized my Administration’s understanding of a number of provisions. In particular, section 405 establishes an Inspector General of the Intelligence Community in the ODNI. In accordance with longstanding executive branch policy, my Administration understands section 405’s requirement that the Inspector General make an immediate report to congressional committees regarding investigations focused upon certain current or former IC officials as not requiring the disclosure of privileged or otherwise confidential law enforcement information. Moreover, the whistleblower protection provisions in section 405 are properly viewed as consistent with President Clinton’s stated understanding of a provision with substantially similar language in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999. See Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, William J. Clinton, 1998 (p. 1825).

One of the common defenses of President Bush when he was being pilloried for his use of signing statements was that his statements were substantively indistinguishable from those of his predecessors. President Obama is taking no chances on that score. As with his signing statement of another bill during June 2009 (where he invoked a similar signing statement by President Reagan), today’s signing statement invokes a similar statement by President Clinton.

As suggested by the testimony above, President Obama could have found a more recent precedent among those issued by his immediate predecessor.  But that may not be a comparison that the Administration is trying to encourage.




The Volokh Conspiracy

In ‘Signing Statement,’ President Obama Affirms Right to Keep Tight the Circle of Congressmen in the Loop

October 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Congress told President Obama in the new Intelligence Bill that if he didn’t describe covert actions to all the members of the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees, he at least needed to give them a “general description” of the activities. But in a signing statement the president issued today, the president said he was interpreting the notion of providing a “general description” to mean that he would notify them that there was something he wasn’t telling them.



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Political Punch

Of Course the Intelligence Authorization Would Have a Signing Statement

October 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Because that’s just how these carefully crafted bills are treated by President’s guarding their Executive Power.

DDay pointed me to the signing statement that Obama issued in conjunction with the new Intelligence Authorization. There are three key points, IMO.

Presidents still control all the secrets

One thing Obama does is reaffirm the President’s right to control all the secrets.

Section 331’s requirement to provide a “general description” of a covert action finding or notification provides sufficient flexibility to craft an appropriate description for the limited notification, based on the extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States and recognizing the President’s authority to protect sensitive national security information. [my emphasis]

I’m not all that surprised or bugged by this. Basically, he seems to be saying that the members of the Intelligence Committees who just won the right to be briefed on covert operations will have to be very creative to understand the statements crafted with “sufficient flexibility” to keep them in the dark. But hell, this is still a damn sight better than it was.

Note, though, that Obama insists-as most of the legal filings we read here do-that the President retains all of the authority over secrets (presumably including deciding when to leak them broadly to people with no clearance).

Congress still won’t get to see OLC memos

I’m rather more intrigued by this statement, which I take to suggest that the Administration will share the “legal basis” (as in, “the AUMF”) for covert ops, but won’t share documents over which the Administration claims a privilege (which has included OLC documents).

Also, as previously indicated, my Administration understands section 331’s requirement to provide to the intelligence committees “the legal basis” under which certain intelligence activities and covert actions are being or were conducted as not requiring disclosure of any privileged advice or information or disclosure of information in any particular form.

This is pretty important, given that last we heard there were OLC documents authorizing FBI wiretaps and drone strikes that-as far as we know-remain totally secret. Which still means the President will insist on writing law for himself until the Courts tell him differently.

Congress may never know the results of John Durham’s investigation

Then there’s this bit, which would clearly include John Durham’s investigation of the former and some still current members of the intelligence community (heck, it might even include John Brennan’s role in Dick Cheney’s illegal wiretap program).

In accordance with longstanding executive branch policy, my Administration understands section 405’s requirement that the Inspector General make an immediate report to congressional committees regarding investigations focused upon certain current or former IC officials as not requiring the disclosure of privileged or otherwise confidential law enforcement information.

Not only does this say that Obama refuses to let the Inspector General tell Congress whether there will be any accountability for torture, or even (given the broad claims the Administration made to shield Dick Cheney’s Plame testimony) what Durham found after he has closed his investigation, but it also suggests that the IC IG may not tell Congress things that CIA’s IG told Congress in the past. For example, this would cover some of the deaths by torture which were investigated but not prosecuted.

Perhaps more troubling, this statement would seem to shield all of FBI’s investigative work-things like surveilling peace activists and conducting data mining of its massive databases.

I’m going to do some more research on what Obama’s trying to do with his statement about whistleblowers.

Moreover, the whistleblower protection provisions in section 405 are properly viewed as consistent with President Clinton’s stated understanding of a provision with substantially similar language in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999.  See Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999:  Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, William J. Clinton, 1998 (p. 1825).

But I assume it sharply limits the rights of intelligence community whistleblowers.

This is not as bad as some of Cheney’s signing statements.  But it’s clear that the President wants to avoid oversight of his super duper powers.

Related posts:

  1. The Compromise Intelligence Authorization
  2. Nancy Pelosi: How Dare the Administration Say they Would Veto Intelligence Reform?
  3. Woodward’s Secrets

Emptywheel

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