UN powers give ultimatum demanding Syria cooperation

From an AP article in the Guardian by Edith M. Lederer:

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday demanding Syria’s full cooperation with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister and warning of possible “further action” if it doesn’t.

The United States, France and Britain pressed for the resolution following last week’s tough report by the U.N. investigating commission, which implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the Feb. 14 bombing that killed Rafik Hariri and 20 others. The report also accused Syria of not cooperating fully with the inquiry.

The three co-sponsors agreed to drop a direct threat of sanctions against Syria in order to get support from Russia and China, which opposed sanctions while the investigation is still under way. Nonetheless, the resolution was adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which is militarily enforceable.

The resolution requires Syria to detain anyone the U.N. investigators consider a suspect and let investigators determine the location and conditions under which the individual would be questioned. It also would freeze assets and impose a travel ban on anyone identified as a suspect by the commission.

Those provisions could pose a problem for Syrian President Bashar Assad, as well as his brother, Maher Assad, and his brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, the chief of military intelligence. The Syrian leader has refused a request from the chief U.N. investigator to be interviewed. Investigators also want to question his brother and brother-in-law.

The U.S. invited foreign ministers of the 15 Security Council nations to attend the meeting to send a strong message to Syria to cooperate with the inquiry, and a dozen ministers showed up, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ministers from Russia, China, Britain and France.

Rice told the council that Syria had been put on notice by the international community that it must cooperate with the inquiry by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis.

“With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community – through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East,” Rice said. “Now, the Syrian government must make a strategic decision to fundamentally change its behavior.”

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the Security Council is “putting the government of Syria on notice that our patience has limits.”

“The people of the Lebanon have become all too acquainted with grief,” he said. “We owe them a better future, and this resolution is one way of providing them with that better future.”

France’s Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy stressed that the aim of the resolution was “the whole truth about Rafik Hariri’s assassination in order that those responsible for it answer for their crime.”

By adopting the resolution, he said, the council showed solidarity with Lebanon and support for the Mehlis commission’s work, which has been extended until Dec. 15, and demanded “firm and urgent cooperation” from Syria.

After listening to the council members, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa lashed out at Mehlis and the Security Council for accusing Syria of “committing a crime” without producing the evidence and adhering to the presumption of innocence.

“It seems that there was a set intention to point a finger at Syria … pointing the way to this resolution,” said al-Sharaa, who was personally accused in the Mehlis report of lying to investigators.

Al-Sharaa said accusing Syrian security forces of advance knowledge of Hariri’s assassination was tantamount to suggesting U.S. officials had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or that Britain knew about the July transit bombings.

A visibly angry Straw called al-Sharaa’s comments “the most grotesque and insensitive comparison.” Rice told reporters afterward it was an “unbelievable tirade” that showed the Syrians were intent on trying to discredit the investigation.

At the end of his speech, al-Sharaa insisted Damascus wants the truth and said “Syria’s decision was and is to fully cooperate with the international commission until conclusive evidence is found of the perpetrators of this heinous crime.”

“I look forward to the full cooperation of Syria in form as well as substance,” Straw retorted, “but I have to say after what I’ve heard I’m not holding my breath.”

Assad on Saturday ordered that a judicial committee be formed to investigate Hariri’s assassination. A presidential decree said the committee will cooperate with the U.N. probe and Lebanese judicial authorities.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, whose country has large Lebanese and Syrian communities, made clear that any further action against Syria would require Security Council approval.

“Brazil will not favor hasty decisions that may lead to an undesirable escalation of the situation or further endanger the stability of the region,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the resolution was useful because it showed the council’s determination to discover the truth behind Hariri’s assassination. “The final text of the resolution, of course, is not ideal,” he said.

Russia said last week it opposed sanctions against Syria, its longtime ally. Late Sunday, Lavrov criticized what he described as attempts to turn the Security Council into an investigative body, in comments broadcast by Russia’s Channel One television.

Although the final text dropped the threat of sanctions, it said if Syria doesn’t cooperate “the council, if necessary, could consider further action.” That could ultimately include sanctions.

In another concession to try to get Russia and China on board, the co-sponsors also agreed to drop an appeal to Syria to renounce all support “for all forms of terrorist action and all assistance to terrorist groups.”

Syria, meanwhile, is pushing for an emergency Arab League summit to try to rally regional support, said Arab diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity because the request had not been officially made.

The diplomats, speaking at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, suggested a smaller gathering of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt might be organized should other countries decline to participate out of concern over harming ties with the U.S., France and Britain.

The diplomats said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa sent an envoy to Gulf countries informing them of the Syrian request. They said Syria hoped for the meeting later this week, after the end of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan.

The Syrian media criticized the U.N. resolution before the vote Monday, with the English-language Syria Times saying it was “openly politicized” and too heavily influenced by the U.S.

“It’s immoral and totally unacceptable that the will of the (international) community remains captive to a unilateral diktat and … accepts tyranny and hegemony,” the paper said.

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, said Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Moallem toured Gulf countries this past weekend bearing a message from the Syrian president concerning “the dangers Syria faces” as a result of the U.N. action.

SANA quoted Moallem as saying the resolution was “dangerous” and aimed at hurting Syria, not uncovering the truth in the Hariri assassination. But Moallem said Syria will “continue to cooperate” with the U.N. investigation despite.

While Syria has rejected accusations of its involvement in Hariri’s killing, it buckled under international pressure and withdrew its soldiers from Lebanon in April, ending a 29-year presence in its smaller neighbor.

I am not excited, or impressed.

Also reporting:
Bangkok Post
RIA Novosti

Happy Halloween!

I hope you like the theme for Holloween!

Hit control+F5 to do a hard refresh to make sure you are seeing all the changes.
:evil_wp: :mrgreen_wp: :twisted_wp: :shock_ee: :vampire_ee: :snake_ee:

I am celebrating today so I am leaving this post as an open thread. Please talk about whatever you want, since I won’t be blogging for a while, or maybe not at all for the rest of the day.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, What is the Big deal?

From OYEZ, U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia:

Planned Parenthood v. Casey
505 U.S. 833 (1992)
Docket Number: 91-744

April 22, 1992
June 29, 1992

Privacy: Abortion, Including Contraceptives
Facts of the Case

The Pennsylvania legislature amended its abortion control law in 1988 and 1989. Among the new provisions, the law required informed consent and a 24 hour waiting period prior to the procedure. A minor seeking an abortion required the consent of one parent (the law allows for a judicial bypass procedure). A married woman seeking an abortion had to indicate that she notified her husband of her intention to abort the fetus.

These provisions were challenged by several abortion clinics and physicians. A federal appeals court upheld all the provisions except for the husband notification requirement.

See I do not understand what the big deal is with this law. It did not say you had to get your husband’s permission, it says that the wife had to notify her husband, the father of the child.

I am sorry women think this is too much responsibility to take for killing a growing child.

I hate I am put in the position of having to answer such ideas. I am not for taking away a women’s reproductive rights, but I am for limiting access to abortions. An abortion should be a last choice, not the first one.

Question Presented

Can a state require women who want an abortion to obtain informed consent, wait 24 hours, and, if minors, obtain parental consent, without violating their right to abortions as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade?


In a bitter, 5-to-4 decision, the Court again reaffirmed Roe, but it upheld most of the Pennsylvania provisions. For the first time, the justices imposed a new standard to determine the validity of laws restricting abortions. The new standard asks whether a state abortion regulation has the purpose or effect of imposing an “undue burden,” which is defined as a “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” Under this standard, the only provision to fail the undue-burden test was the husband notification requirement. The opinion for the Court was unique: It was crafted and authored by three justices.

Telling your husband, the Father, is an undue burdon?

From Find Law:

Dissenting Opinion:


1. Although Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 , is not directly implicated by the Pennsylvania statute, which simply regulates, and does not prohibit, abortion, a reexamination of the “fundamental right” Roe accorded to a woman’s decision to abort a fetus, with the concomitant requirement that any state regulation of abortion survive “strict scrutiny,” id., at 154-156, is warranted by the confusing and uncertain state of this Court’s post-Roe decisional law. A review of post-Roe cases demonstrates both that they have expanded upon Roe in imposing increasingly greater restrictions on the States, see Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747, 783 (Burger, C.J., dissenting), and that the Court has become increasingly more divided, none of the last three such decisions having commanded a majority opinion, see Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 497 U.S. 502 ; Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417 ; Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 . This confusion and uncertainty complicated the task of the Court of Appeals, which concluded that the “undue burden” standard adopted by JUSTICE O’CONNOR in Webster and Hodgson governs the present cases. Pp. 944-951.

2. The Roe Court reached too far when it analogized the right to abort a fetus to the rights involved in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 ; Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 ; Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 ; and Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 , and thereby deemed the right to abortion to be “fundamental.” None of these decisions endorsed an all-encompassing “right of privacy,” as Roe, supra, at 152-153, claimed. Because abortion involves the purposeful termination of potential life, the abortion decision must be recognized as sui generis, different in kind from the rights protected in the earlier cases under the rubric of personal or family privacy and autonomy. And the historical traditions of the American people – as evidenced by the English common [505 U.S. 833, 840] law and by the American abortion statutes in existence both at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s adoption and Roe’s issuance – do not support the view that the right to terminate one’s pregnancy is “fundamental.” Thus, enactments abridging that right need not be subjected to strict scrutiny. Pp. 951-953.

3. The undue burden standard adopted by the joint opinion of JUSTICES O’CONNOR, KENNEDY, and SOUTER has no basis in constitutional law, and will not result in the sort of simple limitation, easily applied, which the opinion anticipates. To evaluate abortion regulations under that standard, judges will have to make the subjective, unguided determination whether the regulations place “substantial obstacles” in the path of a woman seeking an abortion, undoubtedly engendering a variety of conflicting views. The standard presents nothing more workable than the trimester framework the joint opinion discards, and will allow the Court, under the guise of the Constitution, to continue to impart its own preferences on the States in the form of a complex abortion code. Pp. 964-966.

4. The correct analysis is that set forth by the plurality opinion in Webster, supra: a woman’s interest in having an abortion is a form of liberty protected by the Due Process Clause, but States may regulate abortion procedures in ways rationally related to a legitimate state interest. P. 966.

5. Section 3205’s requirements are rationally related to the State’s legitimate interest in assuring that a woman’s consent to an abortion be fully informed. The requirement that a physician disclose certain information about the abortion procedure and its risks and alternatives is not a large burden, and is clearly related to maternal health and the State’s interest in informed consent. In addition, a State may rationally decide that physicians are better qualified than counselors to impart this information and answer questions about the abortion alternatives’ medical aspects. The requirement that information be provided about the availability of paternal child support and state-funded alternatives is also related to the State’s informed consent interest, and furthers the State’s interest in preserving unborn life. That such information might create some uncertainty and persuade some women to forgo abortions only demonstrates that it might make a difference, and is therefore relevant to a woman’s informed choice. In light of this plurality’s rejection of Roe’s “fundamental right” approach to this subject, the Court’s contrary holding in Thornburgh is not controlling here. For the same reason, this Court’s previous holding invalidating a State’s 24-hour mandatory waiting period should not be followed. The waiting period helps ensure that a woman’s decision to abort is a well-considered one, and rationally furthers the State’s legitimate interest in maternal health and [505 U.S. 833, 841] in unborn life. It may delay, but does not prohibit, abortions; and both it and the informed consent provisions do not apply in medical emergencies. Pp. 966-970.

6. The statute’s parental consent provision is entirely consistent with this Court’s previous decisions involving such requirements. See, e.g., Planned Parenthood Ass. of Kansas City, M., Inc. v. Ashcroft, 462 U.S. 476 . It is reasonably designed to further the State’s important and legitimate interest “in the welfare of its young citizens, whose immaturity, inexperience, and lack of judgment may sometimes impair their ability to exercise their rights wisely.” Hodgson, supra, at 444. Pp. 970-971.

7. Section 3214(a)’s requirement that abortion facilities file a report on each abortion is constitutional, because it rationally furthers the State’s legitimate interests in advancing the state of medical knowledge concerning maternal health and prenatal life, in gathering statistical information with respect to patients, and in ensuring compliance with other provisions of the Act, while keeping the reports completely confidential. Public disclosure of other reports made by facilities receiving public funds – those identifying the facilities and any parent, subsidiary, or affiliated organizations, 3207(b), and those revealing the total number of abortions performed, broken down by trimester, 3214(f) – are rationally related to the State’s legitimate interest in informing taxpayers as to who is benefiting from public funds and what services the funds are supporting; and records relating to the expenditure of public funds are generally available to the public under Pennsylvania law. Pp. 976-977.

JUSTICE SCALIA, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE WHITE, and JUSTICE THOMAS, concluded that a woman’s decision to abort her unborn child is not a constitutionally protected “liberty,” because (1) the Constitution says absolutely nothing about it, and (2) the longstanding traditions of American society have permitted it to be legally proscribed. See, e.g., Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 497 U.S. 502, 520 (SCALIA, J., concurring). The Pennsylvania statute should be upheld in its entirety under the rational basis test. Pp. 979-981.

Three Brilliant legal minds agree…

Read more on Legal Information Institute.

People For the American Way Attacks Alito

From the People For The American Way’s SaveThe Court.org:

Samuel Alito has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit since his appointment by the first President Bush in 1990. In that time, Alito has compiled an extensive, extreme right-wing judicial record on numerous matters of importance to the protection of the rights and interests of ordinary Americans — a record that has earned him the nickname “Scalito” for his ideological resemblance to Justice Antonin Scalia. Alito’s judicial opinions demonstrate that he is an out of the mainstream opponent of fundamental legal rights and protections for all Americans and must not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. For example:

Hostile to basic reproductive privacy rights
: Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights. In Casey, Alito stated that he would have upheld a provision of Pennsylvania’s restrictive anti-abortion law requiring a woman in certain circumstances to notify her husband before obtaining an abortion. His colleagues on the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court majority disagreed and overturned the provision.

What is so bad about informing your husband?? I get it, no rights are considered absolute except a women’s right to kill a growing child.

Rejects basic protections for workers: In a number of dissenting opinions, Alito has taken positions that, if adopted, would have made it more difficult for victims of race and sex discrimination to prove their claims. In one case involving claims of race discrimination, the court majority sharply criticized Alito’s dissent, stating that Alito’s “position would immunize an employer from the reach of Title VII” in certain circumstances.

I love this one, they do not actually cite a case that we can look up. So they get to spin his dissent anyway they like; cute huh?

Leads revolution against federal laws protecting individual and other rights: According to one of Alito’s opinions, Congress had no authority to require state employers to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, a ruling that was repudiated by the Supreme Court in a later case in which conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist, no friend of civil rights, wrote the Court’s decision. Alito also dissented from a ruling by the Third Circuit that Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause to restrict the transfer and possession of machine guns at gun shows.

I would like to look up the case PFAW!! How can we discuss cases without citing the actual cases?

Fails to consider racial discrimination in capital punishment: An African American had been convicted of felony murder by an all white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck because of their race. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant’s claims. The full Third Circuit, in a split decision, reversed Alito’s ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution’s exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, “[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants . . .”

Sorry, but skin color does not get consideration. Each lawyer gets a set amount of people they can exclude from the jury. That is the name of the game. How can one lawyer completely exclude black people from the jury? Obviously, not enough black people were on the jury call, which is random. They call from a specific pool, which is usually either registered voters or licensed drivers. Maybe there are not enough registered black voters, or licensed drivers, in that district.

President Bush Nominates Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. For Supreme Court Justice

President Bush on Monday nominated Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stay tuned for more…

Others reporting:
Stop the ACLU
Confirm Them says Filibuster talk already.
Blogs for Bush, you can stop hoping: Bush has made a great choice.
Michelle Malkin has more.
Bright and Early
Confirm Them
Confirm Themâs Open Thread
The Nose on Your Face has Reidâs Reaction!
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
The Political Teen wishes it would have been Brown.
Confirm Them has photos of todayâs event.
Rightwing Nuthouse
Joâs Cafe
The Conservative Cat.
I am disappointed that Tammy Bruce is a Sexist
Washington Post

Transcript: President Bush’s Radio Address 10-29-05

From the White House:


THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week marked another important milestone in carrying out our strategy in Iraq. On Tuesday, the Iraqi election commission formerly certified the passage of the new Iraqi constitution, after nearly 10 million Iraqis turned out to vote on it two weeks ago. This is a moment of tremendous significance for Iraq, the region, and the world. Three years ago, when Saddam Hussein ruled with an iron grip, the prospect of Iraqis voting on a democratic constitution would have been unthinkable. Now, the Iraqi people have shown that individual rights and rule by the people are universal principles, and that these principles can become the basis for free and decent governments throughout the Middle East.

Continue reading “Transcript: President Bush’s Radio Address 10-29-05”

Olberman’s Conspiracy Theory Blown

You may remember a previous article about how Countdown had the âNexus of Politics & Terrorâ segment that Keith Olbermann has been hyping for several days. Olbermann uses far-out conspiracy theories to attempt to make it look like the Bush administration uses fake terror alerts when bad news is reported about them; to divert their attention.

So I ask you where are the terror alerts? We had the Miers withdrawl, and then the indictment of Libby, so where are those false terror alerts designed to “wag the dog,” or divert our attention?

I guess it’s back to the drawing board for Olberman.