Republicans still aren’t backing down from the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline. Their latest move is to hitch a provision to a Democrat-supported payroll-tax cut bill that would force the Obama administration to approve the pipeline construction. But Obama is promising to veto the bill if it passes:
“Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll-tax cut, I will reject,” Obama told reporters Wednesday after meeting at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Obama said he would not accept a payroll-tax-holiday bill to which Republicans add “extraneous” provisions.
The flouting of justice degrades those who do it as well those who stand by and witness it. Which is why the America that woke up this morning must consider itself a little dirtier than it was yesterday before Philadelphia’s District Attorney Seth Williams announced that he had given up on the city’s efforts to execute convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. The press conference came just two days before the 30th anniversary of Abu-Jamal’s cold-blooded murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.
Abu-Jamal has spent the intervening three decades promoting himself as a martyr to American racism. He became a cause célèbre and a hero to European critics of America and naive college students and other leftists willing to believe any lie so long as it was based in an allegation of white prejudice. Though his guilt in the murder of Faulkner was proved time and again, liberal activists and an army of lawyers working on Abu-Jamal’s behalf managed to run out the clock on efforts to enforce the death sentence the killer deserved. After judges who Faulkner’s widow rightly described as “dishonest cowards” ordered a new sentencing hearing this year on the bogus grounds that jurors received misleading instructions in 1982, the DA felt he had no choice but to give up and allow Abu-Jamal to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole. The liars who smeared Faulkner and bought into the myths about the case have won.
Some observers may be puzzled as to why United Russia–Vladimir Putin’s Potemkin Village of a political party–failed to clear 50 percent of the vote in Russia’s parliamentary elections, notwithstanding Putin’s nearly complete control of the mass media and his supporters’ apparent willingness to engage in election fraud.
Part of the answer may come from this eye-opening Wall Street Journal article on Russia’s “air safety crisis.”
In a post last week entitled “Obama’s Weak-Tea Statement on Iran,” Jeffrey Goldberg noted Obama’s pathetically weak statement on the Iranian takeover of the British embassy, but wrote he thought Obama is tougher than his words suggest. The day before, in “On Obama’s Many Promises to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program,” Goldberg reached the weak-tea conclusion that there was “no proof” Obama would not act if sanctions fail.
Perhaps no “proof” — but there has long been a lot of evidence, starting with David Brooks’ 2007 interview, in which Obama said Iran sees nuclear weapons in “defensive terms” and thus would be “deterrable” if it gets them. Brooks reported:
The European Union is coming down hard on Turkey for its repeated violations of free speech and its detention without trial of several dozen journalists. Now, Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs, has used a trip to Denmark to complain that Europeans unfairly criticize Turkey’s lack of press freedom and official intolerance of criticism. “I am sick and tired of being in a position to answer those criticisms everywhere I go,” he said in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Well, that’s rich. Why? Because last year Bağış tried to sue me for thousands of dollars in a Turkish court because I had dared describe in an interview about U.S.-Turkish relations how many American diplomats believed corruption a major problem in Erdoğan’s inner-circle. Who knew that describing the reality of diplomatic concerns would violate Turkey’s free speech sensitivity? The irony is that such criticism had been made not only by American officials, but was also acknowledged by diplomats at Turkey’s embassy in Washington. Wikileaks to the rescue: A 2004 cable from the U.S. embassy in Ankara supported concerns about Bağış: