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For years there was debate on Capitol Hill over whether or not Congress could end a war by cutting off the funding. Despite the Constitution's clarity, and the clarity of numerous precedents, Senator Russ Feingold was obliged to hold hearings to explain to his colleagues what the power of the purse is. That debate is over.
Those who pretended for years they didn't have the power to cut off the dollar spigot have dropped the pretense. Now it's purely about whether they have the will. The reason for this shift, of course, is that they are actually close to having the will.
On May 26th the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 416 to 5 an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 sponsored by John Conyers and 17 other congress members that (if left in by the Senate) blocks the use of any funds in that act to put US troops or contractors on the ground in Libya.
Weaknesses of this move include:
Parallels Kucinich Analysis of War Powers Resolution
Obama Overruled Pentagon Definition of War
Washington D.C. (June 18, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who along with 9 other Members of Congress has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the President’s violation of the War Powers Resolution regarding the war in Libya, today made the following statement after The New York Times reported that the Pentagon’s general counsel and the acting Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised President Obama that the war in Libya does constitute ‘hostilities’ as applicable to the War Powers Resolution.
Under the Pentagon and Justice Department's legal interpretation of the War Powers Resolution, the President, after May 20, would have either had to end U.S. involvement in the conflict, reduce the mission or get Congressional authorization to continue.
Duplicitous Congressional Posturing on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
In Washington, hypocrisy and duplicity substitute for resolute action to obey international and constitutional law. In fact, they're mere artifacts long ago discarded to advance America's imperium.
All Washington's wars are illegal. International law permits them only in self-defense. Constitutional law only lets Congress, not the president, declare or wage them overtly, covertly or any other way for any reason unless America was attacked.
Moreover, the principle of non-intervention (a cornerstone of international law pertaining to national sovereignty) prohibits meddling in the internal affairs of other countries as stipulated in the UN Charter's Article 2 (7), stating:
Michael Munk sent this Email:
Don WV of West Virginia wrote to the NYTimes June 17 in response to its revelation that Obama
rejected the advice of this Office of Legal Counsel in refusing to ask Congress to vote on his Libyan war. With a straight face, Obama claimed that it depended on what "hostilities" are.
"On April 26, the Defense Department designated troops operating in Libya, Tunisia and a portion of the Mediterranean Sea as eligible for imminent danger pay of $225 a month, retroactive to March 19, which was the onset of Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector. According to the Pentagon, such a designation applies to "foreign areas where U.S. military personnel are
subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions. Maybe the White House can help Congress understand why U.S. troops are entitled to combat pay absent "hostilities!!
Amendment Would Cut off Funds for Libya War
Washington D.C. (June 17, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the unauthorized war in Libya and filed a complaint in federal court to challenge the war, will again offer an amendment to the upcoming Defense Appropriations bill to cut off funds for the continuation of the war.
“This Administration brought our nation to war without Congressional approval or the support of the American people. When Congress demanded an explanation, the Administration tried to argue that bombing operations and support of other countries’ military operations in Libya, which cost almost $9.5 million per day, do not constitute war. In a direct challenge to Congress, the Administration is continuing the war despite its inability to provide a constitutional or legal justification for bypassing Congress. Congress must use its constitutional authority of the power of the purse to end this war.
When a national television program this week needed to find a spokesperson for the right of presidents to launch wars without congressional authorization, it turned -- to the great shame of us University of Virginia alumni -- to Robert Turner. He is the co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law.
The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.
Here's the key section from Wednesday's report to Congress:
On Wednesday in federal court, 10 members of the U.S. Congress sued President Obama in an attempt to end U.S. involvement in a war in Libya.
These are the plaintiffs: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Dan Burton (R-IN).
According to a statement from Congressman Kucinich:
Members of Congress to Announce Federal Lawsuit Concerning President Obama, the Libyan War and the American People
***TIME CHANGE: 12:00 PM ET***
Washington D.C. (June 15, 2011) – Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC) will tomorrow lead a bipartisan group to file a complaint in federal court concerning President Barack Obama, the war in Libya and the American people.
Date: June 15, 2011
Location: Courthouse Steps, 333 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20001
Kucinich, Jones and fellow members will make remarks on the steps of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia following the filing of their lawsuit. They will be available for questions at that time.
And now we're over a decade of oh so many lessons not learned and in not one but two theaters of with a third front being bombed and invaded right next door to one of the two and joined with NATO in bombing another that the previous administration had brought the leader of back into the fold after years of calling him a terrorists supporter and supporting terrorists criminal acts!
As we were coming out of Vietnam, especially in the end of, the Country with almost one voice said they'd "never forget the lessons of!" that lasted oh probably five minutes or, even without cable then, a couple of news cycles as we've seen during this whole past decade. The War Hawk Neo-Cons thought they had the lessons, not the real lessons of wars of choice, needed to occupy and control an invaded country, well a decade plus later DeJa-Vu all over again.
Four days before President Obama made the unilateral decision for war with Libya, under the innocuous banner of a humanitarian NATO action to prevent civilian deaths, the African Union met in Ethiopia to discuss Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi’s proposal to unite the African continent with Arab states in a confederation called the United States of Africa. Both our president and the lapdog U.S. press failed to inform the American people why this just might be of interest to them.
Gaddafi’s plan calls for a common African currency. The Libyan dinar would become the African dinar with more than one billion people and many of the top oil producing countries using it. Libya, with 143.8 tons of gold worth $6.5 billion and the world’s ninth ranked oil reserves, just may have the resources to pull this off.
Read the rest at: http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/2152
“There is a difference between diplomacy and threats.
Remarks from a plenary at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here, and for having invited me to a similar conference five years ago. Maybe in 2016 we can meet under better circumstances. I'm especially glad to have come back to Europe because George W. Bush can no longer do so. He recently canceled a trip to Switzerland because an indictment for torture awaited him there.
It is an honor to speak together with Tony Benn, Lindsey German, Sanasino Al-Yemen, Mohammed Kozbar, and George Galloway, whose wonderful TV show I was on yesterday.
Remarks from a session at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here. And it is an honor to speak together with Steve Bell and Kevin Ovenden, and I'm sorry Joe Glenton was unable to be here. Kevin and I will be on "The Real Deal" with George Galloway tomorrow, so please watch.
Afghanistan was supposed to be the campaign promise that President Barack Obama actually kept. He said he would escalate that war and enlarge the military and strike into Pakistan, and sure enough he did. But he made another promise since the election that we actually want him to keep, and he's going to violate it before the next election. Clearly we need an activist force apart from elections to address this.
Sens. Webb, Corker Introduce Joint Resolution on Libya Operations
Requires Administration to justify actions, prohibits troops on ground, calls for Congressional authorization of continued operations
Washington, DC—Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today introduced a joint resolution requiring the Administration to provide a detailed justification of U.S. operations in Libya and prohibiting the deployment of U.S. troops on the ground there. It further calls on the President to request authorization for the continuation of U.S. involvement in NATO activities and states that Congress should fully debate such a request expediently. Nearly 90 days after the initiation of force in Libya, such debate has not occurred.
Libyan Peace Must be Based on National Unity, Not Domination
Washington D.C. (June 7, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose pivotal involvement in the House of Representatives has resulted in bi-partisan efforts to impose Constitutional restraints upon the President’s exercise of war power in Libya, today put forth an 10 point plan for peace with the intention of beginning a discussion among the diplomatic community and interested parties. The plan, a result of more than a month of consultations, would provide the principles for a blueprint that includes an immediate cease-fire and transition to a stable, democratic Libya.
See the Kucinich Plan here.
UPDATE: HRes292 passed. HCR51 failed.
The U.S. House of Representatives today will vote on two resolutions.
H.C.R. 51 sponsored by Dennis Kucinich would -- if also passed by the Senate -- have the force of law and end the Libya War. If this does not pass, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said on the floor this morning, there are no circumstances in which a president will not be able to go to war at his/her whim.
Fearing that Kucinich's resolution might pass, Speaker John Boehner has introduced H.Res. 292, a toothless resolution that would not carry any force and not even go to the Senate for a vote. This resolution admits that the war is unauthorized but does not end it or even suggest ending it.
Congress members are speaking in support of congressional power but bowing to partisan power and presidential power. They need to hear from you.
Call (202) 224-3121
Tell your representative you want a lawmaker, not a court jester.
A Vote to Permit the Continuation of an Illegal War is a Vote Against the Constitution
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today sent the following letter to colleagues encouraging them to support his legislation to end the war in Libya:
You will be asked to vote on two resolutions; H.Con.Res. 51 and a resolution offered by Speaker Boehner, H.Res. 292, both of which address U.S. military involvement in Libya. While H.Res. 292 is not at odds with H.Con.Res.51, it is not a substitute for my resolution and does not have anywhere near the same impact. There are clear differences and it is imperative that members clearly understand them because a consequence of voting for one (H.Res. 292) and not the other (H.Con.Res. 51) is an endorsement of the illegal and unconstitutional action that has been taken by the White House.
NATO Does Not Declare U.S. War, Determine U.S. Policy
Washington D.C. (June 2, 2011) – As Congress sits poised to consider H. Con. Res. 51, Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) bill to end the war in Libya, Kucinich today sent the following letter to Members of Congress:
Yesterday, NATO announced it would continue combat operations in Libya for at least another 90 days. NATO. The President went to NATO on Libya, not the U.S. Congress, as the Constitution requires. The U.S. has thus far provided 93% of the cruise missiles, 66% of the personnel, 50% of the ships and 50% of the planes at an estimated cost of up to $700 million and now NATO says the war will go another 90 days. Since when does NATO trump the Constitution of the United States? It is time, in the name of the people of the United States, that Congress insist that the President obey the Constitution and the statutes concerning war powers.
It is a crime to learn about a crime and not report it.
The Libya War is a crime.
The White House / Pentagon has pressured Congress to delay voting on ending the Libya War and to instead sit through a secret briefing about that crime.
Those who do so and stay silent become accomplices.
Washington D.C. (June 1, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement after the announcement of an Administration-sponsored classified briefing for Members of Congress regarding the war in Libya. The announcement of the briefing follows within hours of House Leadership postponing a debate on ending the war.
“Washington has become a cynical place, but rarely do we see manipulation for war as nakedly as we do today.
“The House of Representatives had been scheduled to debate and vote on a resolution to end the war in Libya this week. At the last moment, the debate was pulled and delayed, ostensibly to gather more information from the Administration.
The Royal Air Force is to get 2,000lb "bunker busting" bombs to boost its mission in Libya.
The Ministry of Defence said the Enhanced Paveway III bombs were capable of penetrating the roofs of reinforced buildings.
The MoD said this would enable the RAF to attack command centres and communications nodes in Libya.
TRIPOLI — Two French lawyers said they planned to initiate legal proceedings against French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday for crimes against humanity over the NATO-led military campaign in Libya.
A Libyan justice ministry official Ibrahim Boukhzam told reporters in Tripoli that Jacques Verges and Roland Dumas had offered to represent families he said were victims of the NATO bombing campaign.
"The two lawyers are going to file a complaint in the French courts in the name of the Libyan families," Boukhzam said, at a press conference on Sunday attended by 30 representatives of the families.
Verges, whose past clients include Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal, denounced a "French state led by hoodlums and killers.
"We are going to break the wall of silence," he added.
Dumas, a former socialist minister, said the NATO mission, which was meant to protect civilians, was in fact killing them.
Posted on May 30, 2011 by kathleenkirwin
On this Memorial Day, 2011, Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum is sadly all too relevant. As a Canadian, Joni composed the song in 1969 to tell the United States how “we have all come to fear the beating of your drum.” I have been singing this song ever since. It is a piece of my soul. I share it today in memory of the untold numbers who Amercia has killed while beating the drums of war.
And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum
You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist
By Cynthia McKinney
How many times must a parent bury a child?
Well, in the case of Muammar Qaddafi it's not only twice: once for his daughter,
murdered by the United States bombing on his home in 1986, and again on 30 April 2011 when his youngest son, Saif al Arab, but yet again for three young children, grandbabies of Muammar Qaddafi killed along with Saif at the family home.
Now, I watched Cindy Sheehan as she bared her soul before us in her grief; I cried when Cindy cried. Now, how must Qaddafi and his wife feel? And the people of Libya, parents of all the nation's children gone too soon. I don't even want to imagine.
All my mother could say in astonishment was, "They killed the babies, they killed his grandbabies."
The news reports, however, didn't last more than one half of a news cycle because on 1 May, at a hastily assembled press conference, President Obama announced the murder of Osama bin Laden.