Friday, March 31, 2006

NYT: "Rice Floats the Idea of U.N. Sanctions on Iran, but China and Russia Reject It" (and her?) (Joel Brinkley)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meeting here on Thursday with representatives of the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, raised the idea of imposing unspecified sanctions on Iran, but she received a decidedly cool reaction from China and Russia.
Her proposal came a day after the Security Council approved a statement criticizing the Iranian nuclear program that was a result of heavy compromise. Previously, she had said that sanctions were a possibility but that it was premature to discuss them.

The above is from Joel Brinkley's "Rice Floats the Idea of U.N. Sanctions on Iran, but China and Russia Reject It" in this morning's New York Times. Shocking, we're sure, but it appears that what Wally termed "THE NAH-NAH-NAH-NO-ONE-LIKES-YOU! STRATEGY" didn't quite pan out for her.

How will things pan out in the Senate today? Remember Arlen Specter's pushing for Russ Feingold's proposal for censure of the Bully Boy to come to a vote. Markus notes John Nicols'
"Russ Feingold's Legal Firepower" (The Online Beat, The Nation):

Congressional Democrats have pretty much abandoned their Constitutionally-mandated responsibility to check and balance the excesses to the executive branch – so much so that the one Democrat who seeks to hold President Bush to account for ordering the warrantless wiretapping of American's telephone conversations accuses for party's leaders of "cowering."
So where is Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold finding support?
Among Republicans. Or, more precisely, among prominent alumni of past Republican administrations.
When the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes as extraordinary session on Friday to consider the Feingold's motion to censure the president for ordering federal agencies to engage in eavesdropping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's requirement that judicial approval be obtained for wiretaps of Americans in the United States, the dissenting senator will call two witnesses.
Making arguments about the extreme seriousness of the warrantless wiretapping issue -- and the need for a Congressional response -- will be noted constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein, who served in President Ronald Reagan's Department of Justice as Deputy Attorney General, and author and legal commentator John Dean, who served at Richard Nixon's White House counsel before breaking with the president to reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Watergate era.

On the same topic, Martha notes Zachary A. Goldfarb's "A Rebuke Rarely Exercised: As a Weapon, a Censure Motion Lacks Muscle" (Washington Post):

The question of censure is once again before Congress. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee meets to discuss a resolution introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) that would rebuke President Bush for his secret surveillance program. Old newspaper clippings and historical writings show that censure has a mixed record as an effective means for Congress to express disapproval of presidents.
Thirty-four years after the Adams episode, in March of the second year of the second term of President Andrew Jackson, the Senate rebuked the president in what remains the most famous case of censure.
In the campaign of 1832, Jackson and his opponent, Whig Party leader Sen. Henry Clay, had debated vigorously the merits of the Second Bank of the United States -- whose recharter Jackson had vetoed. After the president was reelected, the Whigs, who held a Senate majority over Jackson's Democrats, demanded a document he had read to his Cabinet regarding the bank.
When the president refused, according to Senate historians, the Senate voted 26 to 20 to declare the president "in derogation" of the Constitution. Jackson responded with a lengthy protest.
That was not the end of the story.
Three years later, Democrats regained the Senate majority and sought to repeal the censure. They called for the 1834 Senate journal to be brought forward, and the "secretary took up his pen, drew black lines around the censure text, and wrote 'Expunged,' " Senate historians have noted. "The chamber erupted in Democratic jubilation. . . . Dressed in the deep black of a mourner, Henry Clay lamented: 'The Senate is no longer a place for any decent man.' "
One reason censure has not had much legitimacy as a tool for rebuke is that it is expressed by a congressional resolution without the force of law, and "you can express a resolution that apple pie and motherhood are good for American life," says professor William W. Van Alstyne of the College of William & Mary law school. Yet it has kept on coming up.

Rod passes on this scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

* EXCLUSIVE: An hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and political analyst. When the New York Times called him "arguably the most important intellectual alive" Chomsky responded, "What did I say wrong?" His new book is "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy"

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