Monday, June 21, 2004

Supreme Court Decision on the Pledge of Allegiance Case Criticized


Supreme Court Decision on the Pledge of Allegiance Case Criticized



Marci Hamilton has an excellent analysis at Find Law of the US Supreme Court decision in the Pledge of Allegiance Case.



See the LawPundit posting on this topic.



Hamilton - in our opinion correctly - notes that the Supreme Court made a serious error in sticking its nose into local child custody "standing" issues while trying to duck a decision on the proper and nationally significant legal issue of the "standing" of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance under the Establishment Clause.



Hamilton writes:



"The federal courts, and in fact the federal government, simply do not deal with custody issues except in the rarest circumstances. The majority's decision was nothing short of hubris when it decided to reach out to determine what Newdow's rights are with respect to the religious education of his daughter. The folly of this decision could be felt in custody disputes around the nation."



We agree in many particulars with Hamilton's reasoning in her superbly written and - in our opinion - logically analyzed article.

EU Constitutional Treaty Adopted and Awaits Ratification


EU Constitutional Treaty Adopted and Awaits Ratification



As reported at the EU Presidency 2004 Website, "EU leaders have reached agreement on a new Constitutional Treaty for Europe at the European Council in Brussels."



The Treaty now has to be explained to the citizens of the European Union and ratified by the Member States before the Constitution of the European Union can come into force.



Although some of the European Member States wanted the concept of "under God" to be brought into the text of the Constitution, the adopted version does not include this concept. Especially France insisted on a separation of Church and State.



See the LawPundit posting on the US Pledge of Allegience case and the US Supreme Court.

Putin and Kremlin updated online + other Presidential Websites


Putin and Kremlin updated online + other Presidential Websites



On June 20th, 2004, both the Russian and English-version website pages of the Kremlin and the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia were presented online in a completely renovated fashion.



There are numerous pages on the authority and duties of the Russian President as well as many pages on the structure of the federal government in Russia, including:



the System of Power

the President Executive Office

the Security Council

the State Council

Presidential Commissions

Presidential Councils

the Government

Appointments

Control Functions of the State



It is interesting to compare Putin's pages to those of US President Bush



or British Prime Minister Tony Blair



or Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi



or Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero



or France's President Chirac



or German Chancellor Schroeder.



The absence or prevalence of photographs of the chief executive on the front website page of each country are indicative of the style of each leader:



George Bush - 0 pictures of Bush but photos of others from his administration

Vladimir Putin - 1 small photo and much text leading to links about Russia

Tony Blair - 1 photo with many links to British topics

Silvio Berlusconi - 1 photo with numerous links

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero - 1 large photo of himself and virtually nothing else on the page, a few links

Jacques Chirac - 3 smaller photos and links especially to his speeches

Gerhard Schroeder - 4 larger photos of himself - plus prominent links to his biography and a photo gallery of former Chancellors, with Schroeder in color and the former Chancellors in black and white

(status - all as of June 21, 2004)



George Bush has no pictures of himself on his page, but numerous pictures of persons from his administration. It is quite obvious that a "team" idea of government prevails in which the chief executive is the decisive but not necessarily always visible power in the background. See Team Bush, the "first MBA President". The lack of a Bush photo on the whitehouse.gov page fits in perfectly with this analysis.



Tony Blair has one picture of himself with many links to British culture and history, including the Queen.



Quite surprising might be the fact that the newly redone and excellent Russian pages - with but one small, modest photo of Putin - but strategically placed at the top - are by far the most sober and informative about the actual system of government and the most removed from any cult of persons or personalities. This too reflects Putin's style which has been described by Pundit Magazine as unflappable, steely, cool and methodical, with Putin "waiting before he has enough information to decide upon the best course of action."



Italian Prime Minister (Il Presidente del Consiglio) Silvio Berlusconi has one large picture of himself and various government links.



Zapatero of Spain has only one large picture of himself on his Presidential page and virtually nothing else, only a few links, to his bio and so on. Zapatero is known by the nickname "Bambi" for his innocent idealism in politics.



At the extreme of the personality centered cult of government is German Chancellor Schroeder. The rags-to-riches media-image centered Gerhard Schroeder of Germany has four pictures of himself on his page and in a gallery of the historical chancellors of Germany found on Schroeder's pages, it is only Schroeder who is pictured in color.



Schroeder is in his element in the media and has been known as the "Media Chancellor" for never missing a photo opportunity, but he is losing his touch as his SPD party hits all time lows in the choices of the voters.



Indeed, Schroeder is regarded by some, due to his policy and leadership weaknesses, to be the worst post-WWII Chancellor Germany has ever had:

see, e.g. his political opponent

Edmund Stoiber



Similar opinions are found voiced in:

Davids Medienkritik

Scaruffi

Daily Pundit

and

Oliver Kamm



Little Green Footballs writes about Schroeder's recent political statements:

"Schroeder's either a complete idiot (unlikely) or he wants the US to fail (quite likely)".



As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "how can a man be concealed?"

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