Tag Archives: constitutional law

Checks and balances wins out — for now

Obama: The US Military 'Does Not Do Pinpricks'

Associated Press image

The arrogant Barack Obama, shown during his nationally televised speech on Syria last night, has been humbled by actual democracy, but he’s only a part of the problem of a so-called “representative” government in D.C. that no longer carries out the wishes of the majority of the American people in our own best interests, but that carries out instead the wishes of the plutocrats and corporatocrats who fund the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the “Democratic” and “Republican” parties).

President Barack Obama has claimed — and, to my knowledge, has not backed down from that claim — that he has the right to order a military strike or strikes on the sovereign nation of Syria (or on any other sovereign nation that he deems a “threat”) whether he gains the approval of the U.S. Congress to do so or not.

The U.S. Constitution says otherwise — it dictates that only Congress may authorize war — and I’m not sure whether former constitutional law professor Obama actually believes that he has such war powers or whether he’s just another shameless, treasonous power-grabber — but the fact that Obama has backpedaled on striking Syria demonstrates, I think, that, politically speaking at the minimum, you do need the approval of Congress if you want to have a successful war.

You also need the support of the American people if you want to have a successful war. A war is too large a thing to have it widely among Americans considered to be your own personal war.

So while I don’t expect the lame duck Obama to ever back down on his claim to be a bad-ass who can do whatever the hell he wants — never mind that we elected him in 2008 because of his ubiquitous and relentless promises of “hope” and “change,” and one of those changes that we, the people, wanted was a president who does not act like the swaggering George W. Bush did — the political reality is that a war is unlikely to succeed without the backing of the majority of the American people and the U.S. Congress.

(Recall that even George W. Bush in October 2002 successfully fanagled Congress into rubber-stamping his illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, which he launched in March 2003.

The Bush regime relentlessly had marketed its impending Vietraq War as a response to 9/11, a propagandistic lie that enough Americans bought to the point that most of the members of Congress were too pussy not to rubber-stamp the Vietraq War, fearing that there would be adverse political repercussions for them if they did not vote for it.

Remember also that at that wonderful time in our nation’s history, according to the unelected “President” Bush, you were with him or you were with the “terrorists.”)

Despite Obama’s bluster on Syria and on his alleged war powers, it seems to me that for once the broken American system of governance has worked.

A majority of the American people want no more war unless it’s absolutely, absolutely necessary; they — we — want no more wars of choice that benefit only the plutocratic elite who profit from wars of choice.

For once, the majority of the people in this so-called “democracy” have — for now, anyway — actually gotten what we want on an issue.

We’ll see whether or not this populism spills into other important issues to the point that the elites in D.C. realize that they no longer can get away with extending to us their gilded middle fingers and continuing to act against our best interests and in their own best interests.

And I agree with the gifted progressive writer David Sirota’s assertion that actually avoiding war with Syria was not, as the Obamabots will claim, the “genius” Obama’s crafty game plan all along.

(“More specifically,” Sirota writes that this argument goes, “[Obama’s] administration cited World War II and made a full-court press in Congress for war not to actually start a war, but merely to prompt Russia to intervene to prevent a war. You see, it was an anti-war play all along!”

The purpose of this argument, Sirota wonderfully writes, is “to cast the president as a godlike emperor whose reversals, contradictions and shifts are always a product of prescience and calculation, and couldn’t possibly be a product of pressure from the supposedly lowly, weak and otherwise pathetic rabble.”)

The Obama regime very apparently never seriously considered diplomacy with Syria until after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is not up to the job, off-handedly publicly remarked that Syria could avoid a military strike or strikes if Syria agreed to give up all of its chemical weapons, with international oversight ensuring its compliance. Kerry added, essentially, that he had said that only because he had figured that Syria never would agree to such terms.

But Sure, we’ll give up our chemical weapons, the Syrian government essentially said in response, which underscores the fact that the Obama regime very apparently never seriously had considered diplomacy with Syria over war with Syria (and lobbing missiles at another nation can only be taken as an act of war, as surely the U.S. would consider such an act against the U.S. to be!).

Which underscores the fact that this Syria debacle has demonstrated that the Obama regime’s foreign policy is a hot fucking mess.

To interpret it otherwise is to make the same mistake that the supporting characters in the film “Being There” make about the main character, Chauncey Gardiner, whose abject mental incompetence they take as actual wisdom and genius because that’s what they want to see in him.

Under these conditions, with a bunch of Chauncey Gardiners running the show, we Americans cannot feel safe.

And while imminent war apparently has been averted, it remains to be seen whether or not the elites in D.C. have gotten the message that we, the majority of the American people, want our best interests actually represented in this so-called “representative” “democracy.”

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Scary: Our highest elected officials don’t know the U.S. Constitution and/or just don’t give a flying fuck

When the U.S. Congress wrote into legislation to strip ACORN of its funding, and President Barack Obama signed the legislation* — because the self-serving, disloyal, uber-slippery Obama has a history of throwing his former supporters under the bus whenever they come under fire from the wingnuts — I knew that something wasn’t right. You don’t just single out a single entity like that for political expediency.

I’m no lawyer, but apparently I was right.

The Associated Press reported yesterday:

New York – The U.S. government’s move this fall to cut off funding to ACORN was unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Friday, handing the embattled group a legal victory.

U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued the preliminary injunction against the government, saying it’s in the public’s interest for the organization to continue receiving federal funding.

ACORN claimed in its lawsuit that Congress’ decision to cut off its funding was unconstitutional because it punitively targeted an individual organization.

Gershon said in her ruling that ACORN had raised a “fundamental issue of separation of powers. They have been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process adjudicating guilt.”

Bill Quigley, the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of ACORN and two affiliates, said the decision sends a sharp message to Congress that it can’t single out an individual or organization without due process.

“It’s a resounding victory for ACORN,” he said. “I’d be surprised if the government decides to appeal.”

ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, describes itself as an advocate for low-income and minority homebuyers and residents in communities served by its offices around the country….

The law that halted ACORN’s federal funding took effect Oct. 1 and was extended Oct. 31. It was set to either expire or be extended again on Dec. 18.

ACORN’s lawsuit was filed in federal court in Brooklyn and sought reinstatement of the funds. Quigley said millions of dollars in funds should begin to flow again to ACORN next week. The judge said the “public will not suffer harm by allowing the plaintiffs to continue work on contracts duly awarded by federal agencies.” …

I have had concerns with ACORN myself, as I have written. But that a person or entity is entitled to due fucking process before being punished and that there shall be no bill of attainder — these are basic fucking U.S. constitutional principles.

I’m no fan of Ron Paul, who is a homophobic wingnut posing as a centrist or moderate, but according to a website supporting him, more than a third of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are lawyers, and more than half of the members of the U.S. Senate are lawyers. According to Wikipedia, Barack Obama “taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.”

How can so many supposedly educated lawyers get it so fucking wrong on such basic fucking constitutional principles? Are they that fucking incompetent or do they just not give a flying fuck? Or both? Yes, I include our illustrious Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning new “war” president in that non-rhetorical question.

It’s funny, because there is the supposition that the highest elected officials of our land know what the fuck they’re doing.

But they don’t. And/or they just don’t fucking care.

And that’s fucking scary for our national security. It threatens our freedom and our well-being that the political scandal or political flavor du jour can override what are supposed to be the bedrock principles of the U.S. Constitution.

And it makes you wonder what else our “leaders” in Washington get wrong, in what other ways they routinely rape the U.S. Constitution**, which apparently is just an ancient document on display in D.C.

*Notes Wikipedia:

In 2009, in light of various scandals, a number of Democrats who once advertised their connections to ACORN began to distance themselves, as Republicans began to use ACORN to portray Democrats as corrupt. In light of the controversies, the United States House and Senate, by wide margins, attached amendments to pending spending legislation that would temporarily prohibit the federal government from funding ACORN, or any agency that had been involved in similar scandals — including money authorized by previous legislation. President Obama signed the bill into law on October 1.

ACORN sued the United States Government in the United States District Court in Brooklyn over the measure, known as the “Defund ACORN Act,” claiming it was a bill of attainder, and therefore unconstitutional….

**Such as by denying non-heterosexuals equal human and civil rights, and even allowing such equal human and civil rights for a specific historically oppressed minority group to be put up for a vote.

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