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Monday, May 23, 2011

How many broken laws before Bill of Impeachment

Presidential penchant for war

“The Congress through the War Powers Act provided the executive with an exception to unilaterally respond only when the nation was in actual or imminent danger: to ‘repel sudden attacks.’ Today we are in a constitutional crisis because our chief executive has assumed for himself powers to wage war which are neither expressly defined nor implicit in the Constitution of the United States, nor permitted under the War Powers Act.” — U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, House Floor, U.S. House of Representatives. March 31, 2011

Editing, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett
Focus: Progressive Matthew Rothschild’s “In Libya War, Obama Shows Disdain for War Powers Act”

“Under the War Powers Act, the [U.S.] President has 60 days to get authorization from Congress for any military involvement. If he fails to get that authorization, he must end the involvement within 30 days.

“The 60-day authorization period expired on Friday [May 20, 2011].”

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday sent a letter to Congress seeking authorization.

“‘It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation and support.

“‘Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort,’” the letter said.

The president confuses option with mandate. “Getting approval from Congress is [not] mere option; it is law under the U.S. Constitution, which U.S. presidents are “obliged to follow.”

In the face of this presidential breach, Matthew Rothschild points to a partisan-driven affliction, a selective silence that is contrary to the ends of the Republic, to a healthy functioning democracy, and to the public interest.

If U.S. Sen. John McCain, who was among Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency, “had been elected president in 2008 and had proceeded this way,” Rothschild writes, “Democrats would be up in arms. Progressives would be in the streets by the tens of thousands.

“But the peace movement is quiescent and almost all Democrats are silent (Sen. Harry Reid actually praised Obama’s consultation with Congress) — except U.S. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio). …”

Congressman Kucinich this week reiterated the charge he had made March 31on the House floor (inset above): that President “Obama’s Libya war is unconstitutional and a violation of the War Powers Act.…”

The congressional representative says that in a few days he will “introduce legislation to prohibit the president from continuing the Libya war.”

Sources and notes

“In Libya War, Obama Shows Disdain for War Powers Act” (Matthew Rothschild), May 21, 2011,

U.S. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (b. 1946, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio) came to Capitol Hill in the One Hundred Fifth Congress and has been elected to seven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1997- ). Before his elections to the U.S. Congress, Kucinich was a member of the Cleveland, Ohio, city council (1969-1973, 1983); clerk of courts, Cleveland, Ohio (1975); mayor of Cleveland, Ohio (1977-1979); and member of the Ohio state senate (1995-1996). In 2008, he was among the Democratic candidates for the U.S. presidency.

Kucinich holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from St. John Cantius and Case Western Reserve University. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=K000336 http://kucinich.house.gov/

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine. Several times a week, he contributes ‘This Just In’ commentaries at the magazine’s website; and keeps a running tally of civil liberties infringements in his ‘McCarthyism Watch.’ Rothschild is author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression, http://progressive.org/about

U. S. must immediately shift to end bombing in Libya

Four members of the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus
Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
March 22, 2011, statement on U.S. in Libya [posted March 23 at Raw Story]

“‘The decision for the United States to engage militarily in Libya is one that should have been debated and approved by Congress.

“‘We have serious concerns about whether or not an effective and thorough case for military intervention in Libya was made. Too many questions remain. What is our responsibility now? Do we own the situation in Libya and for how long? Where does this dramatic acceleration of military intervention end?

“‘There is a serious humanitarian crisis in Libya, and Gaddafi’s reckless, indiscriminate use of force on his own people in response to grassroots calls for change is unacceptable but there are serious consequences for rushing to war with a limited understanding of the situation on the ground and no exit strategy or plan. We learned this lesson through two ill-advised wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“‘With the potential for protracted civil war in Libya, and similar circumstances of unrest and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Yemen, and elsewhere, we cannot afford to sidestep critical diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to rely solely upon the deployment of more guns, bombs, and troops.

“‘This represents a dangerous path toward perpetual U.S. military engagement around the world.

“‘The United States must immediately shift to end the bombing in Libya. … We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace.’”

“Progressive caucus splits on Libya, abandons joint resolution opposing intervention” (Sahil Kapur),
Wednesday, March 23, 2011, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/23/progressive-caucus-splits-on-libya-abandons-joint-resolution-opposing-intervention/



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