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...and praise be, the weekend is here too.
Ginsburg apparently doesn't believe in the supremacy of the Constitution because to do so would apparently be arrogant. She implied that the failure to consider the reasoning of foreign judges diminished the importance of the Supreme Court, although she didn't give details other than to say that the Canadian high court is "cited more widely abroad than the U.S. Supreme Court," and she made the telling observation that "you will not be listened to if you don't listen to others."Well, I would say that that is precisely the attitude that had led to the following development, as the New York Times noted here from last year…
Ah, so that's it. We have to play nice in the international legal sandbox so that other people will pay us some respect. Ginsburg and her legal eagles apparently believe that the law is like a popularity contest and the system with the most friends wins.
“One of our great exports used to be constitutional law,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. “We are losing one of the greatest bully pulpits we have ever had.”And if you guessed that Dubya and his playmates have had something to do with this also, specifically on the matter of torture, then you win the complete “24” anthology on DVD, with a bonus feature of “Jack Bauer’s Most Violent Interrogations.”
From 1990 through 2002, for instance, the Canadian Supreme Court cited decisions of the United States Supreme Court about a dozen times a year, an analysis by The New York Times found. In the six years since, the annual citation rate has fallen by half, to about six.
Australian state supreme courts cited American decisions 208 times in 1995, according to a recent study by Russell Smyth, an Australian economist. By 2005, the number had fallen to 72.
The story is similar around the globe, legal experts say, particularly in cases involving human rights. These days, foreign courts in developed democracies often cite the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning equality, liberty and prohibitions against cruel treatment, said Harold Hongju Koh, the dean of the Yale Law School. In those areas, Dean Koh said, “they tend not to look to the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The rise of new and sophisticated constitutional courts elsewhere is one reason for the Supreme Court’s fading influence, legal experts said. The new courts are, moreover, generally more liberal than the Rehnquist and Roberts courts and for that reason more inclined to cite one another.
President Obama's nominee for top legal dog at the State Department, Harold Koh, believes that Islamic sharia law could be applied in American jurisdictions in "appropriate cases."As noted here, that is a flat-out lie.
On the US President, Mr. Sarkozy said: "Obama has a subtle mind, very clever and very charismatic. But he was elected two months ago and had never run a ministry. There are a certain number of things on which he has no position. And he is not always up to standard on decision-making and efficiency," he said.What a pipsqueak – as noted here…
The US President had underperformed on climate change, said Mr. Sarkozy: "I told him: 'I don't think that you have quite understood what we are doing on carbon dioxide'."
In another swipe at the American leader, Mr. Sarkozy was quoted today making a dubious joke about the Obamania sweeping the European media. According to L'Express news magazine, Mr. Sarkozy talked to another set of visitors about Mr. Obama's planned visit to the Normandy beaches in June, Mr. Sarkozy said: "I am going to ask him to walk on the Channel and he'll do it, you'll see."
France currently has about 1,600 troops in Afghanistan (see update below) as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), most of them deployed around the capital Kabul. In the wake of 9/11, France offered its military resources and capabilities to support the US-led military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom. French fighter aircraft regularly offer close air support to ISAF ground troops.(Actually, this more recently updated article tells us that France now has about 2,780 troops in that region – better, but a long way from our force numbers.)
France participates in the operational training of the Afghan National Army. In eastern Afghanistan, France deployed four teams of special French Military instructors (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams, OMLT), each consisting of 50 soldiers inserted into units of the Afghan army. France has also sent more combat aircraft to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Last month, two multi-purpose Rafale fighter jets returned to Kandahar Air Base to support ISAF troops against insurgents.
At the NATO defence ministers’ meeting, French Defence Minister Hervé Morin confirmed that Paris is considering a greater role in Afghanistan. He declined to give details but suggested that President Sarkozy could announce a change in French policy at an April NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met for the first time in Paris with Sarkozy on February 1. Scheffer told a press conference: “I can’t say that [Sarkozy] gave me definite assurances, but the impression I had after the talks...and the indications I received suggest that France might well take on more responsibilities in Afghanistan, but of course it’s the French government’s decision.”
No one is minimizing the significance of 9/11, but it happened more than seven years ago. Seven years after Pearl Harbor, Americans were rebuilding Japan and Germany. So it's entirely proper for Obama to rebuild America's relationship with the Muslim world. And he can start at home, by ending racial profiling.I really don't know how to respond to that exactly, but I'll try.
Their origins -- organic, programmatic, accidental or otherwise -- don't matter much anymore. If -- and we'll have to see the numbers at the end of the day -- 100,000 Americans show up to protest their taxes, the onus to dismiss them as a nascent political force shifts to the Democrats.Oh, that’s funny.
Up to 10 million people on five continents are expected to demonstrate against the probable war in Iraq on Saturday, in some of the largest peace marches ever known.And “the onus to dismiss them as a nascent political force” shifted to the Repugs.
Yesterday, up to 400 cities in 60 countries, from Antarctica to Pacific islands, confirmed that peace rallies, vigils and marches would take place. Of all major countries, only China is absent from the growing list which includes more than 300 cities in Europe and north America, 50 in Asia and Latin America, 10 in Africa and 20 in Australia and Oceania.
Many countries will witness the largest demonstrations against war they have ever seen.
The majority will be small but 500,000 people are expected in London and Barcelona, and more than 100,000 in Rome, Paris, Berlin and other European capitals. In the US, organisers were yesterday anticipating 200,000 marching in New York if permission is given. A further 100,000 are expected to march in 140 other American cities.
(And also posted over here.)
…Obama's first few months in office have seen a sustained assault by a loose coalition of Catholic organizations and leaders who are committed to convincing their fellow church members that Obama doesn't share their values. They have strongly criticized his selection of Kansas Democratic Governor (and pro-choice Catholic) Kathleen Sebelius to be HHS Secretary and have circulated unfounded rumors that the Vatican rejected several candidates to be Obama's ambassador there. Most visibly, the right-wing Cardinal Newman Society and a number of Catholic bishops have protested the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama to speak at this spring's commencement. Even Cardinal Francis George, who sat down in the Oval Office for a half-hour meeting on St. Patrick's Day that he hoped would "foster fruitful dialogue for the sake of the common good," slammed the school's action, calling it "an embarrassment to Catholics." (Notre Dame has made clear it will not rescind the invitation.)By the way, Francis Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, has been showing his animus towards Obama for a good while now. I honestly don’t expect that to change.
None of these attacks should pose a serious problem for Obama. But lined up against his early moves to restore liberal social policies that many pro-life Catholics oppose, they make it easier for the President's Catholic critics to question whether he respects their values and positions.
Bill Clinton also benefited from Catholic backing at the polls, but he squandered some of that goodwill when those supporters concluded that he failed to carry through on his promise to reduce abortion rates.In response, I give you The Big Dog himself (from a campaign story when Hillary ran for president here)…
“When Hillary was in the White House, she supervised our efforts to number one, let young women who have children out of wedlock live with their parents and still keep all their welfare benefits so that the grandparents can take care of the kids while the women went to school. Number two, led a serious effort to reduce teen pregnancy and we had the lowest teen pregnancy rate since the statistics had been kept when we were doing that. And guess what? Without overturning Roe v. Wade, or trying to keep people all torn up and upset or calling them killers, the abortion rate went down almost 20 percent on our watch.”And I would say that this validates Clinton’s claim about the steadily decreasing number of abortions in this country overall since 1990 (though medical abortions rose from 2000 to 2005 with RU-486, as opposed to surgical ones).
But the issue wasn’t put to bed just yet. Several minutes later, one of the activists shouted, “What about pro-life, Bill?”
A visibly agitated Clinton responded again, his voice growing stern, his language more forceful.
“I gave you the answer. We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree,” he said. “If you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother as an accessory to murder in prison. And you won’t say you wanna do that because you know that because you know that you wouldn’t have a lick of political support.
And then Clinton related the issue back to his wife: “You can’t name me anybody presently in politics that did more to introduce policies that reduce the number of real abortions instead of the hot air putting out to tear people up and make votes by dividing America.”
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish--where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source--where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials--and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.Pretty smart fellow, that John F. Kennedy.
Start by blaming the timorous lawyers who advise the governments attempting to cope with the pirates such as those who had been engaged in a standoff with U.S. hostage negotiators in recent days. These lawyers misinterpret the Law of the Sea Treaty and the Geneva Conventions and fail to apply the powerful international laws that exist against piracy. The right of self-defense -- a principle of international law -- justifies killing pirates as they try to board a ship.Funny how we don’t care about the Geneva Conventions when we’re trying to obtain “reliable” information from torture, but now suddenly we expect it to apply when it suits us. And by the way, we can’t enforce the Law of the Sea Treaty for a simple reason – we never ratified it!
“The United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,” a 1796 treaty reads. “It has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,” which is how Muslims was spelled back then.“Not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,” huh? Gee, maybe all those wingnuts screaming here about what Obama said recently (clipping the quote, of course) would do well to keep that in mind (as well as these words from a former Catholic president – this ties in a bit to this post, by the way).
“If we arm our crews with light machine guns, they can probably buy heavy machine guns,” (Arthur Bowring, the managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association) said. “And if we buy light rocket launchers, they can buy heavy ones.” The answer to piracy, he said, was better law enforcement ashore.So it looks like perhaps indeed our best defense against the pirates is to be vigilant and monitor them from ashore as closely as possible (though I have no doubt that they’ll come up with more creative ways to plunder in response).
Most ports severely restrict vessels from having weapons on board, and changing those regulations in each country would be difficult, (Shipping Consultant Matthew) Flynn said. The United States Coast Guard has been especially wary, fearing that the weapons could be used for terrorist attacks.
Because a commercial vessel might stop in a dozen countries during a voyage, it would be hard for it to carry weapons if any port along the route forbade that, Mr. Flynn said.
International regulation of shipping has shifted heavily away from the countries that register vessels and toward the local and national governments at the ships’ ports of call. This has made it even more complicated to come up with common international standards, because so many countries are involved.
Protecting tankers from pirates is especially difficult. They are a favorite target in Asia and Africa because they are relatively slow moving and may carry valuable cargo like gasoline and diesel, which are easily unloaded and resold.
Accidental fires are a constant worry for tanker crews, which train for them constantly. A tanker crew that is exchanging gunfire with pirates could run the risk of igniting vapors from the cargo, or the cargo itself, shipping executives have said.