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Afghanistan mosque suicide bomb attack kills at least 41
Today's Headlines
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Home Front: Politix
Former Biden Aide: Obama 'Financially Illiterate'
Don't bother saying it ain't so, Joe.

According to a former staffer for Joe Foreign Policy Whiz Kid Biden
The former Senator-for-Life from Delaware, an example of the kind of top-notch Washington intellect to be found in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body...
, the Vice President is selfish, disloyal and concerned about his own manhood. Jeff Connaughton, the author of "The Payoff," a book that came out in September which indicts Democrats for being controlled by the big banks, tells anecdotes about Biden that reveal Biden to be less of a good guy than he portrays himself.

Story #1. After Biden gaffed during the 2008 campaign and said Obama would be tested as president, Obama waited until a few days after the election to chide him. Biden met with Connaughton and some other advisors:

"Biden told us that Obama had called him and told him sharply that he didn't need public tutoring: 'I don't need you acting like you're my Henry Higgins.' Biden said his private reaction was, 'Whoa. Where did this come from? This is clearly a guy who could restrict my role to attending state funerals or just put me in a closet for four years. I'm going to have to earn his trust, but I'm not going to grovel to this guy. My manhood is not negotiable.'"
Posted by: Au Auric || 10/26/2012 03:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10794 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You don't have to convince us.
Posted by: JohnQC || 10/26/2012 10:45 Comments || Top||

#2  We know.
Posted by: DarthVader || 10/26/2012 11:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Financially?

That's only one subject among many. His illiteracy knows no bounds.
Posted by: AlanC || 10/26/2012 14:38 Comments || Top||

#4  I am happily surprised the President knew who the hell Henry Higgins is. Actually I suspect this is a made up stoooooooooorie and the President don't know shit from the Rain in Spain, altho I think he'd love to bow at Ascot Opening Day.
Posted by: Shipman || 10/26/2012 16:36 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Joe Biden: 'Did Your Son Always Have Balls the Size of Cue Balls?’
The father of one of the former Navy SEALs killed in the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya says President Barack Obama wouldn’t even look him in the eye and Vice President Joe Biden was disrespectful during the ceremony when his son’s body returned to America. He also says the White House’s story on the attack doesn’t pass the smell test.
Posted by: tipper || 10/26/2012 05:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Shrillery also vowed to get the movie-maker.

Yeah, prosecute the guy who made the crummy anti-islam trailer.
Posted by: Bobby || 10/26/2012 6:31 Comments || Top||

#2  Are they *still* telling lie?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 10/26/2012 8:11 Comments || Top||

#3  *facepalm* Seriously, Joe? You need to stay off the internet, bud. It's becoming a bad influence on you.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 10/26/2012 9:44 Comments || Top||

#4  No class or respect for the fallen hero or the Presidency and Vice Presidency.
Posted by: JohnQC || 10/26/2012 10:44 Comments || Top||

#5  Blaming the filmmaker was really low, especially since his life wasn't worth a 'hill of beans' afterward. However, Hillary looked genuinely distressed, however, and left town with hubby, who is apparently urging her to release docs showing she requested additional security but her orders were never carried out, according to Ed Klein. She does serve at the "pleasure of the President"...
Posted by: Lumpy Elmoluck 5095 || 10/26/2012 13:55 Comments || Top||

#6  However, TGIF!!!
Posted by: Lumpy Elmoluck 5095 || 10/26/2012 13:56 Comments || Top||

#7  Yes, TGIF means that it's time for another document dump...
Posted by: Steve White || 10/26/2012 14:07 Comments || Top||

#8  Tasteless comment removed
Posted by: badanov || 10/26/2012 15:22 Comments || Top||

#9  I don't want Joe Biden any nearer to me than fist distance.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 10/26/2012 15:58 Comments || Top||

#10  An Angie strike!
Posted by: Shipman || 10/26/2012 16:37 Comments || Top||

#11  Your comment Badanov is tasteless, but my neighbor has a rather largish male Ridgeback that I believe I could coax into replacing you for the task as described.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 16:47 Comments || Top||

#12  Mr. Biden, did you always have an IQ equal that of Cue Balls?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 10/26/2012 17:42 Comments || Top||

#13  He was just curious, as his are either cotton balls or moth balls.
Posted by: RandomJD || 10/26/2012 18:18 Comments || Top||

#14  ...The late CAPT Carroll LeFon, USN - AKA Neptunus Lex - related a conversation he had with then-Senator Biden about a Naval Aviator from Delaware who had been lost in an aircraft accident:

"...I love him less well: As a lieutenant, I served as the casualty assistance calls officer for the family of a friend that had been killed in a training accident. His grief-stricken wife insisted upon “seeing the body,” and when I tried my best to tactfully demur, one of the bereaved family members called the senator on the phone to speak to me. After about five minutes of increasingly emphatic browbeating, I turned away from the family and quietly whispered into the phone that there was nothing left to see – nothing recognizable at least – the plane had burned for hours after the mishap. Did the senator have a way for me to share this with the family that would help lessen their grief rather than increase it?

He did not."

- http://www.neptunuslex.com/2008/08/22/friday-musings-52/

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 10/26/2012 18:59 Comments || Top||

Anti-Terror Authorities Question Where Money Goes From Group With Special License From Obama Adm
In July, the Obama State Department approved an extraordinary license for a newly formed U.S.-based organization, the Syrian Support Group, to raise money for Syrian rebels -- overriding the administration's own sanctions and Obama's Executive Order against such activity.

To some counterterrorism and terror finance authorities in Washington D.C., this extremely rare privilege raises considerable concerns.

This is especially true because two related figures with the organization, Louay Safi and Mazen Asbahi, have previously been tied to terror fundraising efforts by Islamic organizations identified by the U.S. government in federal court as fronts for the Moslem Brüderbund.

The Syrian Support Group was incorporated in April 2012, according to records obtained from the District of Columbia Corporations Division.

On May 24, the group sent a letter to the State Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, and on July 23 that same office issued the license -- a copy of which was obtained by The Blaze -- allowing them to "export, reexport, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army ('FSA') financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA."

The Free Syrian Army is affiliated with the Syrian National Council governed by that group's military bureau, which is overwhelming dominated by Islamist groups, including the Syrian Moslem Brüderbund. The SNC's political director, Louay Safi, used to be one of the top Islamic advisers to the Pentagon and was only one of two officials authorized to certify Mohammedan chaplains for the U.S. military services.
Posted by: Au Auric || 10/26/2012 02:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10794 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Also at the Blaze: Ed Klein is claiming Bill is urging Hillary to release documents exonerating herself. Apparently she ordered additional security but never carried out...who killed the request?
Posted by: Lumpy Elmoluck 5095 || 10/26/2012 13:49 Comments || Top||

#2  Hmm... as far as I know only one person can overrule the Secretary of State like that.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 10/26/2012 14:02 Comments || Top||

-Election 2012
Average GDP Growth Less than Half of What Obama Predicted
Posted by: DarthVader || 10/26/2012 16:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10794 views] Top|| File under:

Obama's 'firewall' crumbling. Romney draws level with President in 'safe state' of Wisconsin
Posted by: DarthVader || 10/26/2012 13:59 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10799 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And in a well thought out, hard hitting response, Obama ....

puts a picture of Romney up on twitter in a dunce cap.

Posted by: DarthVader || 10/26/2012 16:07 Comments || Top||

#2  This the Wisconsin that the One failed to stick his neck out over the recall of Scott Walker? Oh, and the recall failed. Yet it is labeled as a 'Safe State'?
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 19:01 Comments || Top||

#3  It's going to come down to Ohio, and there it's going to come down to Cleveland, and how many voters the machine can roust to cast a ballot for Zero (or how many they can cast for him without voters.)
Posted by: Glenmore || 10/26/2012 21:50 Comments || Top||

#4  That just opens them to more ridicule, Darth. ;-p
Posted by: Barbara || 10/26/2012 21:57 Comments || Top||

#5  Mittens has seemingly pulled ahead of the Bammer - finally - in all the major polls since mid-week, but he's still decisively short on EVs.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 10/26/2012 22:32 Comments || Top||

Virginia AG on Patrick Moran: 'No Indication That Any Offense Took Place'
When the story broke, Dr. Steve wanted to know what would happen to the miscreant. The answer appears to be: nothing.
Oh, oh, I feel faint, I'd best go lie down...
(CNSNews.com) -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says "there's no indication that any offense took place" when Patrick Moran , the son of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), discussed voter fraud with an undercover news hound on Oct. 8.

Moran resigned as his father's campaign field director Wednesday, after the video -- produced by the Project Veritas activist group -- was published online.

The video shows the congressman's son engaging a discussion -- which he did not initiate -- about forging utility bills, which can be used as voter identification at the polls in Virginia. They'd "have to look legit," Patrick tells the undercover news hound.

Cuccinelli said he does not expect to be asked by the State Board of Elections to investigate Moran.

Asked why, he responded, "Well first of all it's not my decision. Second of all because unlike take the Shenandoah Valley situation (a case involving voter registration fraud), we literally had voter registration forms that were pulled out of the trash. I mean the offense had already occurred," Cuccinelli said Thursday on the WMAL radio show "Mornings on the Mall" with Brian Wilson.

"Here they (Moran and the news hound) were talking about how one might commit an offense, but there's no indication that any offense took place. That's a major, major difference. We don't go after people because we don't like their openness to these sorts of things. We go after people for criminal violations when they actually commit violations," he said.

Cuccinelli also said the Attorney General's office "does not have authority to investigate" Moran, unless it is asked to do so by the State Board of Elections.

Asked why he doesn't have the authority to investigate, Cuccinelli replied, "Because we have lousy enforcement laws, in my humble opinion, related to our election laws. Now -- having said that -- when the State Board of Elections votes unanimously as they did yesterday to ask us to investigate something--they asked us to investigate the trashing of voter registration forms in the Shenandoah Valley-- then we are brought into a case but not until then."

He continued, "Right now, the only person who will have any authority over this is the Commonwealth Attorney, the elected prosecutor for Arlington County, because I believe this happened in Arlington."

In a statement issued Wednesday night, Patrick Moran said, "In reference to the 'O'Keefe' video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.

"In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not," he said. "In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year's critical election."
Posted by: trailing wife || 10/26/2012 12:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10798 views] Top|| File under:

West Virginia Dems Separating from their Fearless Leader
ALSO front-page WaPo.
Among the millions of wavering voters in the presidential race, the most prominent might be West Virginia's Joe Manchin -- a U.S. senator, a candidate for reelection and a lifelong Democrat who, less than two weeks out, is undecided about whether to support Barack Obama again.
Didn't a convicted felon beat out the One in the Dem primary?
Manchin isn't alone among West Virginia Democrats attempting to separate themselves from the president. The governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, and a prominent congressman, Nick J. Rahall II -- both facing reelection challenges -- have also declined to publicly endorse Obama.
Choices have consequences.
A federal "war on coal" has harmed West Virginia and united Democratic dissenters against the Obama administration, Manchin declared in an interview last week, observing of the president's electoral fate: "I think he knows he's not going to do well in our state. . . . And you know what? It's personal. When people lose their jobs, they look at you and ask, 'So, what am I to do?' And they blame him."
Ah, yes. Here we go!
During this year's West Virginia Democratic primary, a Texas prison inmate received about 41 percent against Obama in a protest vote, with Manchin carefully committing to no one.
Posted by: Bobby || 10/26/2012 06:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10796 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Fire Obama coal signs are everywhere in my coal area. Even engines are parked that had been moving coal by rail. I still believe many lifelong Democrats have no home anymore. I believe many will not vote. The Democrats are ripe for a Tea Party moment. Joe Manchin will just change his hat. They will tell you what you want to hear then business as usual.
Posted by: Dale || 10/26/2012 6:56 Comments || Top||

#2  The EPA is one of Champ's "hope and change" tools. All you have to do is pull up RNO, ARLP, OXF, or JRCC on the NYSE to see what is happening to our coal industry. High gasoline and energy prices are part and parcel of the administration plan to force us into electric cars, solar, and wind (his investments and kickback base). He's taken the energy political lobbying to an entirely new level.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 7:59 Comments || Top||

#3  Joe could help his campaign by not only publicly abandoning the One but throw in Harry Reid while he's at it. Cause Harry is just as much to blame as the WH for the War on Coal.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 8:41 Comments || Top||

#4  Montana, Illinois, Wyoming, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado are also significant coal producers. I wonder if these states coal miners are also ticked off?
Posted by: JohnQC || 10/26/2012 10:59 Comments || Top||

Obama Shows I.D. to Vote
Posted by: Uncle Phester || 10/26/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So did he use the Barry Soetoro, Barry O Davis or B Hussein Dunham identification ?
Posted by: Au Auric || 10/26/2012 0:59 Comments || Top||

#2  I was hoping that Willard, with a very straight face, would say someting like this in one of the debates:

"....that is why Mr. President, I am asking for your vote".
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 8:29 Comments || Top||

#3  Just goes to show how easy it is to get ID in this country.
Posted by: JohnQC || 10/26/2012 10:51 Comments || Top||

#4  Snark of the Day, JohnQC.
Posted by: Glenmore || 10/26/2012 10:57 Comments || Top||

#5  That really is going to leave a serious mark JohnQC.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 16:25 Comments || Top||

#6  *golf clap*

I'm jealous, JohnQC. That works on so many levels :-)
Posted by: Frank G || 10/26/2012 21:02 Comments || Top||

Texas Vows To Arrest UN Election Observers
Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
"Y'ain't from around here, air yew?"
"The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable," Janez Lenarèiè, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), sputtered said in a statement. "The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.
"Yew cain't go in unless y'r gonna vote or y'r a poll worker. Which air yew?"
"I'm a Special Rapporteur!"
"That ain't neither o' them. So stay outside!"

Lawmakers from the group of 56 European and Central Asian nations have been observing U.S. elections since 2002, without incident. Their presence has become a flashpoint this year, however, as Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud while Democrats counter that GOP-inspired voter ID laws aim to disenfranchise minority voters.
"You don't need a photo ID to cash a check, do you? And you don't need a photo ID to get on a plane! Why should you need a photo ID to vote?"
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott further fueled the controversy on Tuesday when he sent a letter to the OSCE warning the organization that its representatives "are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place" and that it "may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance."
"Yeah, Tex?"
"Git a rope!"
Posted by: Elmomort Creregum2827 || 10/26/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10799 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Don't fuck with Texas.
Posted by: texhooey || 10/26/2012 0:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Tonight's Fun Fact: Janez is actually a guy...
Posted by: tu3031 || 10/26/2012 0:29 Comments || Top||

#3  How long until we discover these worthless phuechs were invited to observe by our Champ and his team. Nice insurance package in the event of a election overturn. I'm sure they could find or allege something was wrong, somewhere.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 3:04 Comments || Top||

#4  A glimmer of sanity in a World gone mad.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 10/26/2012 3:25 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm less happy about this.

The U.S. is an OSCE member and therefore has the obligation to invite those observers. American will find this unnecessary but the U.S. has signed the respective treaty.

Of course those observers need to comply with the laws of the countries they are visiting and they of course do that. So if they cannot enter a poll station in Texas by law they will not attempt it. No need for such a bravado warning. This can be done in diplomatic ways, too.

Publicly threatening them with criminal prosecution is uncalled for because 1) these observers enjoy diplomatic immunity and 2) it serves as a bad example for countries that are far less accommodating to these observers (e.g. Russia or Belarus).
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 4:27 Comments || Top||

#6  European Conservative is right. We do have an obligation to let them observe.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 10/26/2012 7:31 Comments || Top||

#7  we have the most open and honest elections in the world. In fact, every instance of intimidation and poll-stuffing is investigated and dismissed by Eric Holder. Perhaps they can confine themselves to Philly and first-hand document and stop NBPP intimidation?
Posted by: Frank G || 10/26/2012 7:43 Comments || Top||

#8  The problem is: Everything that happens to those observers in the U.S. will encourage dictators in countries where the OSCE observers - as powerless as they are - could really shed a bit of light when it comes to fraud. I know a bit about what happened in Belarus and I don't want to give those authorities there the argument: Well look, even in Texas...

OSCE observers always observe the laws of the country they are visiting. And they are not all "lefties". I personally know a few, and they are conservative members of the German Bundestag, for example.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 8:00 Comments || Top||

#9  With all due, and sincere respect to you and your Bundes colleagues EC, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and the other "Red States" are NOT eastern Europe of the Former Soviet Union (FSU). This scheme is as insulting to most of us as it would be residents of your lovely, and quite civilized regions of Ostallgua, Schwangua, Rieden, or Hopferau.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 8:16 Comments || Top||

#10  Not at all. I'd be happy to accommodate OSCE observers in any Bavarian poll station. They'd learn something.

"As a rule, the status of the election observers is set forth in an agreement between the host country and the institution organizing the mission. Moreover, the election observers undertake to comply with the rules of the seconding organization (Code of Conduct for OSCE/ODIHR Observers, Code of Conduct for EU Election Observers). These stipulate that the observers must adhere to strict neutrality and refrain from expressing any opinions on the electoral process or results to the media or general public. The findings of their observations are included in the statements and reports submitted by the election observation mission."

Voting in Germany is an extremely painless affair. It has never taken me more than 5 minutes to vote.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 8:30 Comments || Top||

#11  Well EC, you have Angela, we have the mystery man. You're a bit ahead of us this go'round in the trust category. Everything that happens here is seen under the lens of... what will this bugger pull next. And unfortunately, it's a foggy Chinese lens, not a Karl Zeiss by the way.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 8:37 Comments || Top||

#12  The problem for the OSCE and way too many foreigners is that its the UNITED STATES of America. They fail to grasp the extensive powers and authorities of the state governments in this union.

The outsiders confuse the centralization of their own government organizations with the arrangements of power in the US. A lot of centralized power in Washington is based upon the coercive effects of funding which tie the states to follow federal guidelines. Elections are locally funded so Washington has very limited authority beyond the specifics of the Voting Rights Act which implements the 15th Amendment.

The whole issue of voter photo ID is a state prerogative and is only challenged through arguments that various methods fail within the parameters of the Voting Rights Act. By granting other means of access to photo IDs the states undercut the usual excuses why people in any category couldn't comply. Thus the federal government has no say in the process.

Something similar happens with the death penalty. Texas has one. Foreigners are treated just like the locals if they commit a capital offense. The federal government has very limited means to intervene, usually confined to procedural issues rather than the issue of the death penalty itself.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 8:59 Comments || Top||

#13  Only way to protect them...
Posted by: Skidmark || 10/26/2012 9:16 Comments || Top||

#14  If the UN observers want to left alone they just have to enter from the South wearing a sombreo.
Posted by: airandee || 10/26/2012 9:19 Comments || Top||

#15  OSCE has remedied how many crooked elections around the workd?


What segment of the US Electorate has the OSCE been meeting with recently?


What organization is the OSCE affiliated with?

UN. The same organization that is demanding businesses boycot Israel ("da jeeeewwws"). Members of the "UN Human Rights" commission include Lybia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Cuba.

Clean up your own house, stay out of ours, UN hypocrites.
Posted by: Lampedusa Snath9571 || 10/26/2012 9:45 Comments || Top||

#16  It is about time for the US to get a divorce from the UN--completely.

You've got to love Texas.
Posted by: JohnQC || 10/26/2012 10:49 Comments || Top||

#17  The OSCE is not a UN organization
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 11:13 Comments || Top||

#18  United Nations

The OSCE considers itself a regional organization in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and is an observer in the United Nations General Assembly. The Chairman-in-Office gives routine briefings to the United Nations Security Council.
Posted by: Chomose Huputle9600 || 10/26/2012 11:32 Comments || Top||


Article 52
1.Nothing in the present Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action provided that such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.
2.The Members of the United Nations entering into such arrangements or constituting such agencies shall make every effort to achieve pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such regional agencies before referring them to the Security Council.
3.The Security Council shall encourage the development of pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such regional agencies either on the initiative of the states concerned or by reference from the Security Council.
4.This Article in no way impairs the application of Articles 34 and 35.

Article 53
1. The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council, with the exception of measures against any enemy state, as defined in paragraph 2 of this Article, provided for pursuant to Article 107 or in regional arrangements directed against renewal of aggressive policy on the part of any such state, until such time as the Organization may, on request of the Governments concerned, be charged with the responsibility for preventing further aggression by such a state.
2. The term enemy state as used in paragraph 1 of this Article applies to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory of the present Charter.

Article 54

The Security Council shall at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements or by regional agencies for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Posted by: Chomose Huputle9600 || 10/26/2012 11:35 Comments || Top||

#20  The Security Council shall at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements or by regional agencies for the maintenance of international peace and security.

UN Permanent and Non-Permanent Security Council Members include Pakistan, Russia, China.
Posted by: Chomose Huputle9600 || 10/26/2012 11:40 Comments || Top||

#21  The bottom line is that OCSE is not needed, nor wanted. And in most states, they are breaking the law if they enter a polling place without being either a poll worker, or an election judge.
Posted by: OldSpook || 10/26/2012 13:08 Comments || Top||

#22  Old Spook

As a matter of fact in most states the observers of the OSCE are "not wanted"... for good reason. That's why they exist.

The U.S. has nothing to hide. All those observers do is write a report. They are NOT allowed to interfere in the voting process in any way and/or break any law that may exist in those countries.

I understand that the U.S. may find OSCE observers totally unnecessary. But the US has agreed to mutual treaties and no Texas attorney may circumvent or break those treaties.

He has absolutely no power to arrest or prosecute those observers as they enjoy diplomatic immunity (they need to because you don't want to run into trouble in Belarus or some of the -stans.

The bravado of the Texas Attorney only serves to arouse suspicion, which is totally unnecessary. It is a lot easier to smile and hand out leaflets with the law and regulations in force in Texas and everything will be fine.

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus usually slam the reports of the OSCE... they know why.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 14:13 Comments || Top||

#23  It's a sovereignty issue EC. Nothing personal my friend, but folks around these parts just don't cotton to UN and Euro overseers. They don't even like our own US Federal agencies snooping around. Call us paranoid if you will, unless you count William Tecumseh Sherman's scorched-earth trek to the sea, we've not been overrun yet.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 14:23 Comments || Top||

#24  But the US has agreed to mutual treaties and no Texas attorney may circumvent or break those treaties.

Actually they can. SCOTUS has repeated pointed out on the death penalty issue brought before it by foreign governments on behalf of their citizens, that while a treaty has been signed, it still requires Congress to implement the treaty by law. The treaty stipulates that foreigners arrested have immediate access to their representatives before things like interrogations. However, Congress has never gotten around with implementing law to enforce it. So the execution process goes forward.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 14:28 Comments || Top||

#25  Besoeker, the US is not an isolated island. It's a country that signs treaties (and usually only those it finds beneficial). And if it does it needs to observe them. Even Texas has to respect international treaties the federal government signs.

Sometimes this may be annoying. But there is a good reason why the US is a OSCE member. (The OSCE btw does a lot more than observe election, it fights against corruption, money laundering, terror financing etc.)

Bullying OSCE member in Texas only encourages dictators in other places to feel free to do the same.

Why does diplomatic immunity exist? Not so much to protect foreign diplomats in the U.S. but U.S. (and other) diplomats in totalitarian states. This comes with a little price to pay.

Pacta sunt servanda. Even if this comes with a minor annoyance. And these observers really won't hurt your pride. Show them how elections are done in Texas. Easy enough.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 14:39 Comments || Top||

#26  Well, if they're not allowed to break the law, and they don't come within 100' of a polling place, they should be fine.

Personally, I'm to the point where we nail the doors shut at the UN and burn it down.
Posted by: Silentbrick - Schlumberger Squishy Mud Division || 10/26/2012 14:40 Comments || Top||

#27  @Procopius2k

That may be so in the case you cited (which is quite problematic because it undermines international treaties).

But when it comes to diplomatic immunity Congress has certainly implemented those treaties.

So the Texas Attorney is way out of line with his threat of criminal sanctions.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 14:44 Comments || Top||

#28  @Silentbrick

OSCE observers get very thorough briefings before they set out. And not breaking any law of the host country is part of that briefing. That includes Texas laws.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 14:47 Comments || Top||

#29  UN types, OSCE, technically reporting to the Security Council a part of the UN, the UN who are the Chinese, Russians, Cubans, who do not respect Democracy, should go to jail.

The OSCE. Time to start shutting that bunch of hypocrits down.
Posted by: Spike Guelph1068 || 10/26/2012 15:13 Comments || Top||

#30  And these observers really won't hurt your pride. Show them how elections are done in Texas. Easy enough.
Posted by European Conservative

After 4 years of Obama, we're fresh out of "pride".
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 15:16 Comments || Top||

#31  It is a lot easier to smile and hand out leaflets with the law and regulations in force in Texas and everything will be fine.

And when they go to jail? You see, what you and these people are doing is trying to implement the UN as a higher authority than the people of this nation. When they go before the court, our Constitution will be the deciding factor. The UN's so called treaty will be treated as illegal based on our Constitution. The OSCE is absolutely worthless in other nations, they will be absolutely worthless and a waste of UN resources here as well. We are the HOST country of the UN. For now. They better understand the people who do not like them live on the same block. Got it, Chump?
Posted by: Spike Guelph1068 || 10/26/2012 15:23 Comments || Top||

#32  The UN is INEFFECTIVE and the people of the United States of America DO NOT TRUST the UN or their "Regional Agencies". Get lost.
Posted by: Dino Tholuck8759 || 10/26/2012 15:31 Comments || Top||

#33  EC, diplomatic immunity does not grant authority to ignore local laws. It grants the ability to avoid prosecution. I'm sure State will issue the appropriate apologies as it works for the release of anyone claiming diplomatic immunity sitting in a local jail, but the usual advise is to quick the country as quick as possible to avoid further discomfort.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 15:33 Comments || Top||

#34  ..is to quit the country...
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 15:34 Comments || Top||

#35  If Texas puts a cookie pusher from the OSCE in the jug for a few hours, lots of Americans will be smiling, EC. We may not have Golden Dawn, but plenty of Americans are fed up with hearing from our European betters.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 10/26/2012 15:47 Comments || Top||

#36  EC makes excellent points...but...the timing of this whole OSCE charade is reelee bad. After chafing for the past four years under institutional liberal fascism, most(?) of Americans have run out of cheeks to be slapped.

Posted by: Thusort Ebbomoting1144 || 10/26/2012 16:11 Comments || Top||

#37  It looks like you are not getting my point here.
If you sigh a treaty you keep the treaty even if it comes with some gentle nuisances.
These observers do nothing which hurts "sovereignty". They respect the law, they don't interfere, they don't even comment on the elections while being in your country.
If you can't handle that then leave the OSCE. But you won't because the benefits of a membership are well understood.

Janez Lenarčič is not a guy who "sputters". I happen to know him personally. He's a Slovenian diplomat who absolutely embraces non-partisanship when it comes to the fundamental duties of the OSCE which stipulate:

“that the presence of observers, both foreign and domestic, can enhance the electoral process for States in which elections are taking place. They therefore invite observers from any other CSCE participating States and any appropriate private institutions and organizations who may wish to do so to observe the course of their national election proceedings, to the extent permitted by law.”

Last year the Ambassador chaired a conference in Rome to raise awareness of hate-motivated crimes and incidents
targeting Christians.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 16:18 Comments || Top||

#38  T.E. it's definitely not part of the job of those observers to "slap cheeks".
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 16:23 Comments || Top||

#39  I might want to add that the origin of the OSCE are the Helsinki Accords, which at the time were seen as a diplomatic victory of the Soviet Union but in fact provided the basis for the work of dissidents in Eastern Europe. This led to Solidarnosc and in the end to freedom of Eastern Europe.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 16:28 Comments || Top||

#40  EC, I'm sure your friend is an honorable man, but perhaps you can understand why we're suspicious of an organizations who says they're going to "observe" our elections to make sure conservatives don't commit voter fraud. Sounds like they've got an agenda - and we don't like that one bit.

It ain't conservatives who have been voting the dead in Chicago for decades....
Posted by: Barbara || 10/26/2012 16:31 Comments || Top||

#41  "to make sure conservatives don't commit voter fraud".

Who said that? Actually a comment like this made in public would be against the OSCE rules of non-partisanship and the person who said so would be withdrawn from the process.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 16:37 Comments || Top||

#42  Forgive me EC, but I smell a Holiday shopping trip to the US. Are there not questionable elections taking place in the Horn of Africa, Haiti, or elsewhere which might present more opportunity for fraud or wrongdoing? As you might imagine, the appetite here for treaties and foreign entanglements is indeed at a low point.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 16:43 Comments || Top||

#43  Besoeker you seem to misunderstand the idea. A lot of those observers are dedicated advocates of democracy coming from countries which are only transitioning to democracy. They also come to learn about how things are done in countries which have had free elections for a much longer time.

Yes, some US leftist groups may want to use OSCE observers for their own purposes. But observers are instructed to remain strictly non-partisan.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 16:54 Comments || Top||

#44  If you sigh a treaty you keep the treaty even if it comes with some gentle nuisances.
These observers do nothing which hurts "sovereignty".

You didn't get the point way back up on the commentary. It's the UNITED STATES of America. The states are sovereign themselves less those power granted the national government. SCOTUS has dealt with this a number of times. The guys in Washington can sign all the treaties they want, but the treaties have no enforcement if they abridge the federal arrangements of the Constitution. Stuff that happens at polling places is largely sovereign to those states less those parts as articulated in the Voting Rights Act implementing the 15th Amendment. See Reid vs Covert.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 17:03 Comments || Top||

#45  @No Procopius you didn't understand my point.
I'm not questioning the right of Texas to regulate who can enter or hang around their polling places. OSCE observers certainly do not insist in entering polling places where prohibited by law.

I'm questioning the threat of criminal prosecution which clearly violates diplomatic immunity. This is something Texas has to respect like any other country in the world. The attorney's letter amounts to intimidation, which is totally unnecessary.

The U.S. would certainly protest if another country tried to intimidate US observers of the OSCE.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 17:10 Comments || Top||

#46  However well intended and innocent EC, events like this have a way of getting twisted for us rather quickly. Any entity acting as an unappointed or unelected election staff supernumerary could spell disaster for a rather delicate upcoming event. The obvious extreme would be the New Black Panther activities of the last election, which have yet to be answered for and have left a bad taste all around.
Posted by: Besoeker || 10/26/2012 17:12 Comments || Top||

#47  Besoeker, George W. Bush personally invited OSCE observers to watch the Presidential elections of 2004 and 2008. No incident was reported.

OSCE observers take great care not to be used/abused by any partisan group in the U.S.

Since you know German, my advice to the Texas attorney would be: "Der Ton macht die Musik"
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 17:25 Comments || Top||

#48  Then we're coming to an understanding.
The Texas 'threat' is that someone who violates the law will undoubted be detained.
They will unlikely be prosecuted but released, probably quickly, to competent authorities or upon their own recognizance if they make declaration not to continue to act in defiance of the law.
However, the state can still go into the process motions of prosecution, appropriate filings, and recordings to establish the grounds to seek persona non grata status for what it might consider gross violations or attempts to violate its laws. Whether DoS acts on that or not is more theater and show and something for the big boys to play games with.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 17:30 Comments || Top||

#49  Of course the real work around would have had the OSCE members certified by DoJ to be deputized federal poll watchers for enforcement of the VRA. Wonder why they decided not to do that? /rhet question
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 17:36 Comments || Top||

#50  “Since the initial issue with Texas we've received a letter, both for Secretary Clinton and one for Texas authorities, from the OSCE assuring us and Texas authorities that the OSCE observers are committed to following all U.S. laws and regulations as they do in any country where they observe elections and they will do so as well in Texas,” Nuland said. "To my knowledge [Texas] is the only state that came forward and said 'please reassure us that you're going to follow our state electoral law.' And they have now been reassured."

Actually the way I read the article is that the Texas authorities were clarifying that STATE law prohibits them from polling place. Neither the treaty or state department were clear that any observers also had to follow STATE law - not just federal.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 10/26/2012 17:39 Comments || Top||

#51  Procopius, but are those threats necessary when it's understood that OSCE observers are already strictly told by their organization to respect all local laws? Why not just hand them a leaflet which in a friendly way states what the local law is (it differs a lot from state to state).

The public threat was meant for public consumption: an unnecessary one which doesn't do Texas justice (it's actually a very friendly country to those who are friendly).
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 17:39 Comments || Top||

#52  CrazyFool

The OSCE regulation clearly include local laws that may exist. The U.S. is a special place because it has 50 states which may have different rules and actually even counties could have their own.

A friendly briefing of the observers - who may be diplomats and even (former) ambassadors) - sounds much better to me than public threats.
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 17:43 Comments || Top||

#53  Ok folks, you know how I mean it, don't take it the wrong way!
Good night!
Posted by: European Conservative || 10/26/2012 18:08 Comments || Top||

#54  Yeah, well, you get what you deserve when you think you can 1) simply walk imto another nation totally ignorant of the laws and 2) suggest they do your homework for you.
Posted by: wr || 10/26/2012 18:17 Comments || Top||

#55  EC, I'm sure you've been to Texas. If not, you should go. It's not really like any other state. They're different. That's why they have Don't Mess With Texas bumper stickers they drive all through the other 29 states. And they mean it.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 10/26/2012 18:52 Comments || Top||

#56  ^^^^^^ :)
Posted by: Shipman || 10/26/2012 19:10 Comments || Top||

#57  I'd always understood observers to be invited in by a host eager to prove they are having fair and honest elections, not to go in unwanted.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 10/26/2012 19:24 Comments || Top||

#58  I have sort of a fundamental question: How does an election judge in Texas have an 'observer' removed, if not by arrest? Surely a diplomat can't go anywhere he or she wants with immunity from arrest. Would an officer tell the election judge "I'm sorry I can't remove this person who's breaking the law"? What's done when someone with diplomatic immunity trespasses and refuses to cease and desist?
Posted by: JonC || 10/26/2012 20:19 Comments || Top||

#59  ..as I posted above, the can be detained by authorities, escorted out and held for a bit of time while their 'papers' are authenticated. They just can't be prosecuted.

You think a person with diplomatic 'immunity' is just going to walk into Area 51? You better believe he'll be escorted not just off the facility but quickly listed as persona non grata.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 21:29 Comments || Top||

#60  Part of the problem here is raise by simply googling 'OSCE voter suppression'.

Seems the same organizations that have dragged Texas and the Texas AG through the federal system on voter ID have appealed to the OSCE. Lower courts have continue to ignore the SCOTUS ruling in April on voter ID.

I'd say the Texas AG has, for reasonable reasons, has a lot of frustration when the usual suspects keep obstructing the process and seeking other venues to keep the ballot boxes open for stuffing. The OSCE has simply walked into that cow dung.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 10/26/2012 21:39 Comments || Top||

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