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In what will come as a shock to the Tea Party and yet probably not rival the recent royal wedding in London for viewership, Republican Congressman Buck McKeon and Republican Senator John McCain plan to crown President Barack Obama King of America. They're not kidding, and this is no stunt.
Here's what noted Republican Abraham Lincoln once wrote on the subject:
"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don't." The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."
But what if you can create laws that violate the Constitution, and then obey those laws, the Constitution be damned? And what if being a Republican today means striving to expand presidential power as far as possible -- in fact beyond the power ever held by any king? And what if being a Democrat today means the very same thing?
Then you get something like H.R.1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, and in particular Section 1034:
"Congress affirms that--
(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
(2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);
(3) the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who--
(A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
(B) have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and
(4) the President's authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities."
Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. This language would put into law the perilous policies now acted upon outside of the law. President Obama's war in Libya is absolutely unconstitutional, and nobody is about to do anything about that; so perhaps this doesn't matter. But with this language on the books, Obama and every future president would be able to legally, albeit unconstitutionally, justify launching any war at pleasure.
This new "legal" language would get presidents around the restrictions of the War Powers Resolution, which does not permit unauthorized wars when the United States has not been attacked, which requires the reporting of information to Congress that, in the case of Libya, has not been reported, and which only permits wars -- when it does permit wars -- for 60 days, a deadline that has now been reached in Libya. According to the War Powers Resolution:
"The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
(1) a declaration of war,
(2) specific statutory authorization, or
(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."
"The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations."
In the case of Libya, Obama carefully avoided any consultation with Congress but took the time to consult with just about everybody else around the world.
The War Powers Resolution also requires that:
"[T]he President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth --
(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement."
Obama's report to Congress on Libya fell short of A and B and did not even attempt C.
When it comes to the now-surpassed 60-day-limit, the law is clear:
"Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress
(1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces,
(2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or
(3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States."
The War Powers Act, in allowing 60-day unconstitutional wars is itself, of course, a step back from the Constitution as its authors, most readers, and President Lincoln have understood it. The Constitution devotes Article I to bestowing the vast majority of governmental power on Congress, including here:
"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; . . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
In tiny little Article II, the U.S. Constitution establishes the duties of the president:
"[H]e shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
What else shall he do?
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."
Let's go to constitutional scholar, Barack Hussein Obama for an explanation of this supreme law of the land:
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." -- candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007.
"No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are . . . . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers." -- candidate Barack Obama, August 1, 2007.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Three days after President Barack Obama visited Ground Zero in New York City on May 5th with his message of "justice being done" with the slaying of terrorist Osama bin Laden, disturbing news broke about this administration's blocking of a quest for justice in the infamous May 1970 killing of four Kent State students.
Those four students fell in a barrage of gunfire on May 4, 1970 by Ohio National Guardsmen who opened fire during a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War on Kent State’s campus. That lethal fusillade of 67 shots during a 13-second period also wounded nine others, some seriously.
That blocking action by Obama officials includes an apparent unwillingness to investigate new evidence providing damning insights about that shooting orgy forty years ago, which heightened criticism about U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam and about the abuse of domestic political dissidents.
If you like the idea of an independent online force for peace and social justice, join us now.
This video is the first in a series -- intended to generate independent progressive activism in the run up to the 2012 Presidential election and beyond.
RootsAction is part of a growing grassroots movement to push the President and Congress to address pressing economic and war issues -- and to invest in jobs, green energy, schools, housing and education.
We will not be silent as Congress and the President continue to squander billions of dollars on foreign wars, causing destruction and hatred overseas while failing to meet the needs of the vast majority of people in our country.
We will not stand by as people lose their jobs and homes due to Wall Street schemes abetted by both major parties.
We will not give the Obama administration a pass as it continues many of the same policies that sparked loud protests under the Bush White House.
We will take action -- independent of both party leaderships.
RootsAction has been strongly endorsed by such respected, independent-minded progressives as Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and Coleen Rowley.
We'd love it if you would join us now.
I think Harry Belafonte found useful historical perspective this week when he told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
And when you ask me about Barack Obama, it is exactly what happened to Kennedy. We, the American people, made the history of that time come to another place by our passion and our commitment to change. What is saddened -- what is sad for this moment is that there is no force, no energy, of popular voice, popular rebellion, popular upheaval, no champion for radical thought at the table of the discourse. And as a consequence, Barack Obama has nothing to listen to, except his detractors and those who help pave the way to his own personal comfort with power -- power contained, power misdirected, power not fully engaged. And it is our task to no longer have expectations of him, unless we have forced him to the table and he still resists us. And if he does that, then we know what else we have to do, is to make change completely. But I think he plays the game that he plays because he sees no threat from evidencing concerns for the poor. He sees no threat from evidencing a deeper concern for the needs of black people, as such. He feels no great threat from evidencing a greater policy towards the international community, for expressing thoughts that criticize the American position on things and turns that around. Until we do that, I think we’ll be forever disappointed in what that administration will deliver.
AMY GOODMAN: And to those who say, "If you want President Obama re-elected, you will undermine him if you criticize him; and consider the alternative"?
HARRY BELAFONTE: I think we will not only undermine him, but undermine the hopes of this nation, if we don’t criticize him. Absence of protest in the times of this kind of national crisis -- Theodore Roosevelt once said, "When tyranny takes over the national agenda, it is that time that the voices of protest must be awakened. And if you don’t raise your voice in protest, you are a patriotic traitor." And I believe that patriotism is betrayed by those voices that are not heard. Those who would detract you from that fact are those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Nothing will happen but good for Barack Obama and the United States of America, and indeed the world, if everybody stepped to the table and said, "This is the course we must be on."
Let's change that situation.
The President will present more words in a speech today, as his wars rage on. Will you join us in preparing to insist on something louder than words?
Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam - by Stephen Lendman
One dunam is 1,000 square meters, four dunams to an acre. Israel is stealing them incrementally to control all valued Palestinian land, dispossessing indigenous people illegally in the process.
B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In May, it published a comprehensive report titled, "Dispossession & Exploitation: Israel's policy in the Jordan Valley & northern Dead Sea," saying:
Both areas contain "the largest land reserves in the West Bank," covering 1.6 million dunams or 28.8% of the Territory. It's home to 65,000 Palestinians in 29 communities, as well as another 15,000 in dozens of small Bedouin ones. In addition, about 9,400 Israelis live in 37 settlements, including seven outposts.
America's Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates - by Stephen Lendman
An earlier article discussed Permanent Debt Bondage from America's Student Loan Racket," accessed through the following link:
It explained government/corporate complicity to rip off students for profit, a racket continuing under Obama. His July 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act perpetuated the scam. It enriches providers, entrapping millions of students permanently in debt, because rising tuition and fee amounts plus interest, service charges, and late payment or collection agency penalties are too onerous to repay.
It's part of the grand scheme, of course, to transfer maximum public wealth to America's super-rich already with too much. Ongoing for over three decades, it accelerated under Obama, a corrupted Wall Street/war profiteer tool, destroying America for power and profit.
ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011) — Films depicting the 1787 mutiny aboard the British ship HMS Bounty show sailors living cheek by jowl, being forced to dance, enduring storm-ridden Cape of Good Hope crossings to satisfy the ship captain's ego and being flogged for trivial reasons.
We may not think that these harsh conditions have much relevance today. But mutinies continue to occur, especially in the armed forces of developing nations. And mutinies have similarities to other types of rebellions, including worker strikes, riots, prison rebellions and political uprisings.
University of Washington sociologists are studying naval records of mutinies as a way to see how modern-day ill-treatment toward subordinates can lead to violence.
ScienceDaily (May 18, 2011) — A session presented May 18 explored the inhalational exposures and respiratory outcomes of military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Presenters reviewed current knowledge on complex inhalational exposures, epidemiologic studies, animal toxicology studies, and clinical lung findings in U.S. military men and women who are returning from Southwest Asia.
May 18, 2011 - American forces are facing an increasingly dangerous environment in southern Iraq, where Shiite militias trying to claim they are driving out U.S. occupiers have stepped up attacks against bases and troops.
"We're very concerned about it," said Col. Reginald Allen, who commands the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment that operates in five predominantly Shiite provinces. "This environment is very fluid, but in general our planning assumptions and our precautions are based on the worst case, that levels of violence will continue to increase."
With prince having a U.S. flag stamped on his forehead, done in our names, al Qaeda move over, new kid, same as the old, on the block!!
18 May 2011 - You can buy a war for half a billion dollars. But get in quick. That's at current market prices.
Costs may rise following last Saturday's New York Times story revealing that the United Arab Emirates has paid $529m to a company set up by Blackwater boss Eric Prince to recruit and train a mercenary army to undertake 'special missions' against the oil state's enemies, defend oil pipelines, crush internal opposition and so forth.
America's Appalling Human Rights Record - by Stephen Lendman
Coincidental with high-level US - China May 9 and 10 talks, the Atlantic magazine quoted Hillary Clinton calling China's human rights record "deplorable." She also suggested possible unrest erupting like in the Middle East, then added:
"They're worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool's errand. They cannot do it. But they're going to hold it off as long as possible," ignoring America's scandalous human rights record, by far the world's worse.
Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its April 8-released 2010 China assessment can be accessed through the following link:
Unsparing in its harshness, it calls China "an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitutionally is the paramount authority," practicing:
-- "Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life;
The International Criminal Court: An Imperial Tool - by Stephen Lendman
Established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on July 1, 2002, it's mandated to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes or war and against humanity.
Much earlier, the UN Charter was created "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to mankind." Its Chapter I states:
"To maintain international peace and security, (member states shall respect the) principle of the sovereign equality (of other members), settle their international disputes by peaceful means, (and) refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
"Ban the bombers are afraid of a fight
"Peace hurts business and that ain't right
"How do I know? I read it in the Daily News"
PBS (the P stands for "Pure" I think) is concerned that if the U.S. government stops funding the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. economy will crash:
"An executive at a small defense contractor recently joked to me, 'Afghanistan is our business plan.' I asked him what he would do if the war ended. He stared at me for a moment and said, 'Well, then I hope we invade Libya.'"
Read this if you can stand it.
What it's missing of course is the obvious solution to both our public debt and our actual economic problems, coupled with the obvious solution to our foreign relations disabilities: Move the money from the military to peaceful industries, end the warmaking, boost the economy, increase revenue.
The industry we used to have in the United States:
What a job fair looks like now in Charlottesville:
Discussing the situation:
While the Complex likes to threaten job loss and no doubt eliminates jobs in some places but not others, the overall military budget is bigger this year than last year, as has been true for many years, and it has nearly doubled in the past decade.
A conference on the topic is planned for Charlottesville:
Beware of Americans...Bearing Gifts
By Shaukat Qadir
I am sure everyone knows this but merely to ensure we are on the same grid, a policy has one or more aims to be achieved in a specified period and spells out how the said aims will be achieved. While I have no intention of fleshing out a policy in this article, I will merely seek to emphasise the need for one and suggest what it should be aiming at. Pakistan has been without any policy since Ayub Khan’s decline in 1964!
Let us start by looking at what every ordinary citizen of any country, including Pakistan, wants. First and foremost is security: Not just security of life and limb or security from neighbouring enemies, but also food security, water security, job security, economic security, energy security etc. The list is long, and he/she wants to live in peace, so as to have the right to ‘pursue happiness’.
Killing Rachel Corrie Twice - by Stephen Lendman
On May 16, at 6:54AM Gaza time (3:54AM GMT), in international waters, an Israeli naval vessel attacked the Malaysian owned Spirit of Rachel Corrie ship (officially the MV Finch), carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. More details below.
Lawless Monday followed Nakba Day's bloody Sunday, Israeli security forces assaulting unprecedented numbers of nonviolent demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders.
Egypt was complicit, blocking activists from reaching Rafah. So was Jordan, forcefully preventing Palestinian supporters from approaching the King Hussein Jordan River Crossing Point.
Nonetheless, the day was potentially historic. Activists hope it will inspire greater global support for Palestinian liberation and justice, what only hindsight will show.
Man wouldn't pay you unless he had to. Chris Rock
The antiunion movement in the United States keeps us underpaid and represents a serious impediment to economic growth. Despite that, the antiunion sentiment remains strong among the political establishment and their patrons. Why?
From the Stay Human Convoy in Gaza:
The Buffer Zone: realities of this accursed siege
This morning as well, we woke up after only a few hours' sleep: various meetings with our Palestinian comrades here, and which we have been able to attend to everyday, keep us all busy late into the evenings. These are obviously followed by the Convoy's endless assemblies, which keep us all awake until the early hours.
Please phone someone in Los Angeles now and tell them to vote and volunteer for Marcy Winograd tomorrow.
Here's the footage discussed above:
Two-thirds of America wants the war on Afghanistan ended. Veterans for Peace asked the candidates in this Tuesday's special election to sign a commitment not to fund more war. Marcy Winograd agreed to sign. Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen made up lame excuses for not signing. Watch the videos above.
Here's who lives in the 36th district:
Here's Marcy's site:
PS to LA Peace Activists who are not backing Marcy: please, no whining about your warmonger representative if Marcy loses, and no claiming they don't represent you.
Now we know why Obama has gone to such outrageous lengths to keep Bush's lawyers out of prison, claiming powers of secrecy and immunity beyond Cheney's wildest dreams and pressuring foreign nations to clamp down on any outbreaks of law enforcement.
If the Bush lawyers who "legalized" aggressive war, lawless imprisonment, and torture were not consulted on how to keep the war in Libya going in perpetuity, they were certainly the inspiration for the latest White House brainstorming session.
Remember when Alberto Gonzales claimed that the U.S. Constitution gives no one the right to habeas corpus by merely asserting that if you had that right it could not be taken away? Amateur work.
Remember when John Yoo and Jay Bybee explained that a man tortured but never tried had no rights due to his guilt? Child's play.
Israeli Violence Marks Nakba Day - by Stephen Lendman
For Palestinians worldwide and millions supporting them, Nakba Day commemorates loss of their homeland, initially 78% in 1948, then the rest 19 years later in 1967.
Speaking for many, Audeh Rantisi recounted the horror, saying:
"I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July 1948," weeks after Israel's May 14 Yom Ha'atzmaut, its Declaration of Independence at the expense of displaced and slaughtered Palestinians.
"The pain sears my memory," he said, "and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try."
Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians endured brutality, harassment, humiliation, and loss of their entire world, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered lives, and the incalculable horror of it all.
Explaining the horrific toll, Rantisi added:
I hit the pavement today, running a reel of the past few months through the windmills of my mind. I’ve spent so much time, lately, in rooms of joy and sorrow, and hotels, and towns where I catch my reflection in some store window and think: Who is she?
I traveled with one son to visit another. Was sitting outside when the younger said, “Mom, you have beautiful feet. You have the feet of a sixteen-year-old.” Before I could tell him I know this, he continued, “It’s a shame I can’t say the same about your face.”
He and I had been discussing the dollar and what he calls my freak-ass economic doomsday tune. The whole foot thingy probably was an attempt to shift the subject.
By Ken Ferguson
The stunning victory in last week’s elections by the pro-independence
Scottish National Party was a result which was supposed to be
Scotland, after all, ceased to be an independent country in 1707, when it was
forcibly joined with England to form Great Britain.
The union took place against a background of popular riots put down by
troops and has been controversial, to a greater or lesser degree, ever
In 1999, following years of agitation and its endorsement in a
Scotland-wide referendum, the Scottish Parliament reconvened with
powers over a wide range of domestic matters such a health, education,
The new parliament was designed with an electoral system designed so that it
would supposed be impossible for any one party to win a majority -- the explicit intention being to prevent the SNP from using it a stepping stone
From the Stay Human Convoy in Gaza:
14th May 2011- Gaza City
Everywhere in the world, the sea evokes the universal feeling of an endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon, as far as the naked eye can see...bearing evocations of limitless possibilities that fire the imagination, bringing forth dreams and desires of travelling beyond one's native turf.
In this land under military siege, however, where every attack is aimed at undermining the population's autonomy- thus rendering it dependent upon the ‘generous' concessions of the oppressors- the sea is first and foremost one of the few remaining outlets for survival and self-sustenance.
The abuse of was done in our names as we still continue to condemn others for exactly same!
Continuing the lawless damage his private mercenary armies have already created, and greatly enhanced, in the name of the United States and citizens of! The equivalent of al Qaeda but in the U.S. brand and stamp!
Documents show 800-strong mercenary force is aimed at UAE's external — and internal — foes.
May 15, 2011 - Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.
Solidarity with Palestine - by Stephen Lendman
Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, "The People want the Rafah Crossing opened," and "Palestine is a Arab state."
They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting "Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada" and "National Unity" ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.
Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:
"(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution's government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won't accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who's part of the former regime...."
Remembering the Nakba
About this time each year, millions of Israelis and Jews around the world celebrate Israel ’s independence in 1948. But what is a time of celebration for Jewish Israelis is a very different kind of anniversary for over one and a half million Palestinians in Israel, over four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza - 40% of whom live in refugee camps, some 650,000 in refugee camps elsewhere in the middle east, and over 3 million around the world with UN-registered property claims against Israel who are now living in what is known as the Palestinian Diaspora. For them - the largest and longest-standing registered refugee population in the world - March 14 marks the remembrance of their greatest collective tragedy.