Friday, February 08, 2013
Thursday, February 07, 2013
"There is now an out in the open civil war within the Republican Party," conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace wrote in a Politico op-ed this week.
Karl Rove has launched a new group, the Conservative Victory Project, which will aim to select GOP Senate candidates, weeding out future Todd Akins and squashing the prospects of anyone deemed unelectable.
It's not sitting well with conservatives. Its first purported opponent is Steve King, a very conservative congressman with a history of colorful comments, who may be considering a run for Senate in Iowa.
After pantheon of Tea Party campaign groups (The Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express) bashed the new effort, on Wednesday a cluster of conservative leaders demanded the new organization fire its spokesman, Jonathan Collegio, for calling Brent Bozell, a pundit who runs the conservative Media Research Center, a "hater" in a recent radio interview. Collegio had alleged that Bozell, a critic, has an ax to grind against Rove.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, endured the humiliation of having a shoe thrown at him today as his visit to Egypt turned sour.
The trip, the first by an Iranian leader since the overthrow of the Shah 34 years ago, had been intended as a triumphant occasion that healed the rift created when Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel.
But as Mr Ahmadinejad left the al-Hussein mosque in Islamic Cairo a bearded man burst through the crowd and twice tried to throw shoes at him.
Also, while the cat's away, the mice will play:
A former Iranian prosecutor and associate of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was freed without explanation after two days of detention, state-run media reported.
Saeed Mortazavi was arrested by judicial officials on Feb. 4 after a dispute between Ahmadinejad and long-term rival Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani exploded in public, with the two trading accusations of wrongdoing and improper conduct in the presence of lawmakers.
During the parliamentary session, Ahmadinejad showed a video apparently featuring Mortazavi and which the president maintained, implicated Fazel Larijani, the speaker’s brother, in fraudulent business dealings.
Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt was seen as a realignment between two cold-shouldered rivals, particularly after the Iranian revolution in 1979 where Anwar Sadat granted asylum to the deposed Shah, as well as a state funeral.
Muhammed Morsi seemed particularly eager to mend relations between the two nations, but apparently, Morsi forgot to consult with his own itinerary. At Al-Azhar mosque, Ahmadinejad was publicly upbraided for his Shi'ite incursions into Sunni matters (Azhar is a Sunni mosque) and of duiscriminating against Sunni citizens in Iran.
And then, of course, came the shoes.
If you want to understand the relationship of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to the United States, you need look no further than his attitudes towards Iran, whom he saw as a grave threat not only to the United States and Israel, but to Egypt itself.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
A Justice Department memo determined the U.S. government can use lethal force against an American citizen overseas if the person is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or one of its affiliates, according to a document posted on the NBC News website.
The paper provides insights into the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings carried out by the use of drone strikes against suspected terrorists. Several of those strikes have killed Americans, notably Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American who had been connected to plots against the United States but never charged with a crime. Awlaki died in a drone attack in September 2011 in Yemen.
The 16-page white paper - titled "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaida or an Associated Force" - is a policy paper rather than an official legal document.
The reservations one should have about this are numerous and obvious: American citizens deserve due process and this opinion doesn't even provide for any legal oversight whatsoever. That right there opens a rather large can of worms.
And of course, other nations' sovereignty, the idea of assassinating anyone else on foreign soil...as I said, a whole raft of issues.
And yet, I can't completely oppose the measure, at least based on the memo that has been leaked.
It appears that proper diligence has been used to be outline that an "imminent threat" exists from an American citizen who has all but repudiated his American citizenship. "Turned traitor," we used to call it. Also, due care must be exercised and attempts to capture this citizen for judicial process must be exhausted first and war conventions observed.
Yes, I know, it's lip service without judicial oversight, to be sure.
The Supreme Court has already acknowledged that due process does not apply to an American citizen who has joined opposition forces actively engaged militarily against us and much of this seems to fall under those and other guideliness the courts have already established.
Yes, there is danger of over-reach, to be sure, and I'm troubled mostly by the lack of oversight in real time (I have no doubt there will be plenty of oversight in arrears from Congress and the courts.)
But a lot of the case I'm reading against this policy seems to me to fall into nearly the same categories that rightwing gun nuts use to justify assault weapons: hypothetical cases of heavy-handed government bearing down on its citizenry, when in point of fact, the number of people this policy has affected so far number in the single digits and most of those have actively repudiated any reasonable measure of citizenry or fealty to the US.
Still, this is worth keeping an eye on.